American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Daniel Reid, 1941-1991

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992



On September 10, 1991, Dan Reid, M.D., an A AC member since 1971, and his wife Barbara were killed in a climbing accident on Mount Kenya. Their death left a void in many lives which can never be filled.

Dan was an extraordinary mountaineer. His climbing accomplishments include the first ascent of the Kangshung Face of Mount Everest and one of the earliest ascents of the North America Wall on El Capitan. He made the first ascent of South Taku Tower in Alaska’s Coast Range and the first solo ascent of the University Wall on Squamish Chief. He was the leader of the Juneau Icefield Expedition and the British-American Torre Egger Expedition. His determination and belief in himself was infectious, and his attitude often gave others the inspiration they needed to carry on in adverse circumstances.

More than an extraordinary mountaineer, however, Dan was truly an extraordinary man. He was a highly regarded cardiothoracic surgeon, practicing at the Mount Diablo Medical Center in Concord, California. After growing up in Birmingham, Michigan, Dan attended Michigan State University and then Medical School at the University of Michigan. He received his surgery training in Seattle and thoracic training at the Albany Medical Center in New York.

In Dan’s many avocations, he was an athlete, a fisherman, a bagpiper, a soldier and a charitable and public-minded citizen. He was a member of the U.S. Polo Association, the Diablo Valley Fly Fisherman’s Society, the Saint Andrew’s Society of San Francisco, the Clan Donnachaidh Society and the Board of Directors of the American Himalayan Foundation. He often spoke to local children about his adventures and about drug-abuse prevention.

Dan’s military career included three tours of duty in Vietnam as a Green Beret surgeon. He held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve and served a tour of active duty during Operation Desert Storm.

Dan loved life and lived it as few people do. His enthusiasm, approachable demeanor and sparkling wit made him widely loved and respected by everyone he met. Barbara, who probably was the only woman who could have kept up with Dan, was his ideal companion and was equally capable in the myriad of activities in which the couple participated. To say Dan and Barbara will be missed seems totally inadequate. Perhaps the words of the great Scottish bard, Robert Burns, are more appropriate:

We saw thee shine in youth and beauty’s pride,

And virtue’s light that beams beyond the spheres;

But, like the sun eclipsed at morning tide,

Thou left’st us darkling in a world of tears.

J. Bruce McCubbrey

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