American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Russell O. Huse, 1908-2004

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Russell O. Huse 1908-2004

Russell Huse’s roots are deeply embedded in the area of Ventura County, California, originally known as the Rancho El Conejo, part of which was named Rancho El Triunfo and later called the Russell Ranch. This 6,000-acre farming and cattle ranch owned by Russ’s grandparents, Andrew and Abigail Russell, comprised a large portion of the area known today as Westlake Village.

Born in Los Angeles in 1908, Russ received part of his elementary education at the one-room Triunfo School located on the ranch. He spent summers and holidays living with his grandparents. Inspired by his love of the land, he began writing poems and essays in his early twenties. Russ began his career with six years as a park ranger at Yosemite National Park. In the 1940s he held positions in the aircraft industry as technical artist for publications.

In 1951 Russ began his 23 years of service at the Naval Center at China Lake, California. His position was supervisory technical report writer/illustrator for the Aviation Ordnance Department, preparing publications for the Navy’s research and development programs.

Russ was a cofounder of the China Lake Mountain Search and Rescue Group and became an honorary club member. At age 49, while other people were beginning to look forward to retirement, he started mountain climbing in earnest.

Russ climbed most of the major peaks in the Sierra, the Tetons, the Cascades, Mt. McKinley, Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, the volcanoes of Mexico, and several peaks over 20,000 feet in the Andes. Russ remarks, “At twenty thousand feet the air is always rare and the mountains ever there.” He retired from climbing in his mid seventies.

Throughout his long life, he never stopped helping people where he saw a need. As a member of the Rotary Club, he was provided the opportunity to serve local communities and address global problems. Because of his dedication and service he has been awarded a lifetime Honorary Club Membership in Rotary.

During retirement, Russ continued writing poems and essays, and perfecting his oil painting skills. In his late eighties, he began assembling his works for publication in this book and future ones. His last book of poetry was From Sunlight And Shadow: Reflections at Age 95.

Russ was blessed with a tremendous support, companion, inspiration, and Muse, his wife Edith. They were happily married for more than 67 years. The Huses made their home in Westlake Village overlooking the site of the old Russell Ranch. Russell O. Huse passed away in Thousand Oaks, California, on May 1,2004, the day after turning 96 years in age.

Mike Winick

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