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Eric Brooks, 1902-2001

Eric Brooks 1902 - 2001

As an old friend and occasional climbing companion of Eric Brooks, and as a fellow member of the Alpine Club of Canada, I would like to offer my remembrance.

Eric started climbing when he met Emmie Milledge, already an enthusiastic climber, in the 1920s, and they climbed together both before and after their marriage in 1935. He and Emmie did many climbs together in the years between the wars, including Mt. Robson, Emmie being the third woman to make that ascent.

Eric joined the Alpine Club of Canada in 1928 and was President from 1941 to 1946, and Honorary President from 1954 to 1965. As such he represented the Alpine Club of Canada at the Centenary of the Alpine Club in London, in 1957. Eric was made an Honorary Member of the Alpine Club, had also been a member of the American Alpine Club since 1943.

During his years as president of the Alpine Club of Canada, Eric organized their annual summer camps. I first met him as a weekend guest at the Consolation Valley camp in 1942. In addition to these regular camps, he was also responsible for a military camp in 1943 for the purpose of training troops in mountaineering techniques. In 1966 he was chair of the selection committee for the Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition 1967.

After the war (in 1948-49) he spent a year as an exchange teacher at Eastbourne, England, which enabled him to climb in the English Lake District, in Wales, and in the Alps. In his later years he traveled to Britain, to Europe, and to Nepal several times, where as well as trekking he contributed to the building of a school in a remote village, which he visited when over 90. On his 89th birthday, he climbed Snowdon from Bettws-y-coed, and I believe he celebrated his 90th birthday by climbing Scafell!

Not only was he an expert and enthusiastic climber, but also a splendid and unassuming organizer who would take enormous trouble to help others, in the Alpine Club of Canada, in his profession of teaching, and with his private friends, as I can personally attest.

His final decade was marred by progressive blindness, caused by glaucoma, but that did not stop him from continuing to live alone at his home at Madeira Park, on the B.C. coast some 60 miles northwest of Vancouver, until a few weeks before his death. This was made possible for him by frequent visits from his friend Valerie Walker, who came up regularly from Vancouver.

John S.T.Gibson, AAC, ACC