American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

John R. Filsinger, 1921 – 2016

  • In Memoriam
  • Author: Erik Filsinger
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

John R. Filsinger of Clearfield, Pennsylvania, died September 24 at the age of 95. He was married to Marjorie Filsinger from 1949 until her death in 1977. In 1980 he married Elaine (Guildalian) Filsinger, who survives him. He is also survived by his son, Erik, his daughter, Kristan, two grandchildren, Jennifer and Ryan, a great-granddaughter, Everleigh, and Elaine’s children, Gregory and Alison Sawyer.

John Filsinger served in the Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946 and was stationed in Jamaica and Tampico, Mexico, as a cryptographer. During World War II, John developed a lifelong love affair with mountaineering. He became a climbing leader for the Colorado Mountain Club and the Iowa Mountaineers from the 1950s through the 1970s, and lead trips for Mountain Travel/Sobek. He guided trips in the Canadian Rockies, Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, Mexico, Switzerland, France, Italy, Japan, Peru, and Nepal. Later in life, he continued his world travels with Elaine.

John was a longtime member of the AAC. He wrote articles for mountaineering publications such as Trail and Timberline and the AAJ. His main focus was leading others on classic lines up alpine peaks. Over his career, he climbed with many of U.S. mountaineering personalities, including Bob Ellingwood, Roy Holubar, Orrin Bonney, Dorr Burns, Bill Davis, Dave Waddington, Elwyn Arps, Baker Armstrong, Tom Scott, Nick Elena, Dan Wolfe, Harold Walton, Jim Ebert, and Ardis Rohwer.

John was still able to quote long poems from memory late in his life. He also gave frequent talks on his mountaineering travels. He loved poetry and the use of words, and wrote two books: A Lifelong Love Affair with Mountains and In Quest of Truth and Beauty – A Love Song and Image.

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