Lorna Ream, 1930-2010
In the fall of 1965, I was a restless 17-year old growing up in Spokane, Washington, and trying to find my place in a tribe of outdoor people known as the Spokane Mountaineers. They had a chalet halfway to the summit of nearby Mt. Spokane, and one Saturday night in the late fall I barged into this Mountaineers Chalet unannounced with a couple of rowdy friends in tow. There at the door was a tall, slender, vivacious woman who introduced herself as Lorna Ream. Lorna immediately took charge of us boys, made sure we ate a proper dinner, stayed away from beer, gave us a place to lay our bags, and made us feel welcome. My first impression of Lorna as a take-charge lady never waned until her passing in 2010.
In 1959 Lorna joined the Spokane Mountaineers at the suggestion of her husband, Joel. From that time onward, while raising her two children, she became very active as a climber, scaling dozens of the peaks in the western United States and British Columbia. A few of peaks she managed to climb while raising her family were Baker, Shuksan, Glacier, Bonanza, Stuart, Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, Hood, Shasta, Middle Sister, Borah, Trout Mountain, the Grand Teton, Athabasca, and the first ascent of Mt. Cooper in British Columbia, in 1962.
Few people loomed larger in the history of the Spokane Mountaineers than Lorna Ream. Beside her considerable climbing skills, Lorna was the organizer and leader of all types of events and committees in the group from the early sixties until her death. On weekends she provided climbing instruction and leadership. More importantly, Lorna was politically active as a leader in the community, offering behind-the-scenes guidance on many of our area's conservation and wildlife issues.
One of the most important projects of our region was the proposed Spokane River Centennial Trail. Long before the Centennial Trail became a reality, Lorna Ream helped lay the groundwork while working at the Spokane County Engineering Department. When the trail was finally constructed, it immediately became one of our area’s most beloved accomplishments. Another dream was a trail from the Spokane Valley over the local mountains to a huge cluster of climbing rocks called Big Rock. Lorna worked tirelessly providing leadership and devotion to the Dream Trail Committee, which led to the purchase of this important climbing and hiking area. For anything that required action involving trail building, climbing, and wilderness issues, Lorna found the time. She inspired not just with her voice, but with her pocketbook too.
Lorna Ream's dedication to wilderness was unwavering, and she walked her talk. She changed our landscape for the better. I will miss her great enthusiasm, her laugh, and her happy smile.