Ross Bronson, 1946-2010
We now-graying mountaineers remember well the climbing days with our Ross Bronson of yore: confident, skilled, and ever of good humor. Ross came into climbing more than 40 years ago, before almost anyone I queried can remember. Hiram Connell recalls that in 1966 Ross and his friend Bob Seymour were already active in their club's climbing group. There is no Boston climber active today who predates him. Throughout the 1970s he grew into an important rope leader, an active member of the Appalachian Mountain Club Mountaineering Committee, and one of the established New England climbing clan. Competent on rock, snow, and ice, Ross ventured as far away as the Teton and Wind River Ranges and the Bugaboos in British Columbia. Every Club climbing program beginner of that decade will remember Ross as a competent mentor and instructor. Over a span of 25 years some 2,500 trainees felt the jolting heft of the 125-pound “bucket” that Ross fashioned for us in 1968.
Ross was a generous, smart, and diffident guy, who managed an independent and productive life from hard physical effort, an honest business sense, and the employment of his climbing expertise as a safe and skillful tree surgeon; over the years he took down a half-a- dozen major monsters in my yard alone.
He sacrificed much during his years as the caregiver for his aging parents, after whose passing Ross became the long-time companion and chauffeur to an elderly friend and neighbor. Climbing, and its community, has lent sharpness and meaning to many an otherwise unfocussed life—many more lives saved than were shortened by it. Ross was one of those rescued, at least for a while. So sad that he drifted away from the heights so early, for I think they might have sustained him longer than they did, maybe long enough ultimately to have saved him from his demons.