The climbing world lost one of its most inspirational climbers when Ben Horne died while descending from a first ascent in Peru, in July, with Gil Weiss. Ben grew up in Virginia and went to college at Rice University in Houston, where he excelled in academics as well as in being a student leader. After college, Ben discovered his true love for the mountains while living in Kyrgyzstan, culminating in a solo ascent of 7,000m peak Khan Tengri.
Upon returning to the U.S., he enrolled in the economics Ph.D. program at UC-San Diego, climbed frequently in the Sierra Nevada, and became a prolific member of the Pullharder Alpine Club. Some of Ben’s most notable climbs in the region include a first winter ascent of the Evolution Traverse, as well as the full Palisades Traverse. His athleticism extended beyond the mountains, as he trained for and competed in some of the most grueling races around the country, including the Badger and Leadville 100-mile trail runs.
To us, Ben Horne was a friend, an incredibly strong climbing partner, and an inspiration. He was one of the most encouraging and positive people you could meet, and was always the person who would reach out to new people who were searching for climbing or training partners. He did not only have enough positivity and athleticism to achieve his own goals—he had enough to share and inspire others.