George Bogel, 1944-1977

Publication Year: 1978.



George died in the Himalayas by an act of God. He and Bob Broughton were camped on a rock ledge on the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat when a rock wall collapsed and slid over their campsite.

As expedition climbing leader he had reason to be proud: five team members were established at Camp II above the technical rock band at 21,000 feet and, with the aid of a pulley which George had devised, all the gear necessary to stock the higher camps had been hauled up the face.

The Nanga Parbat Expedition was the culmination of ten years of climbing for George. In 1971 he led the only ascent of the highest waterfall in the world, Venezuela’s Angel Falls. In 1972 a fall shattered his foot and put his climbing future in question. After several operations, determined to continue, George led an Explorers Club of Pittsburgh team up Huascarán in 1974.

George was an extremely talented engineer whose work resulted in many patents. He was also an able and born teacher: Quechuan porters understood him (despite the language barrier) as did the high school students to whom he spoke on climbing and on the environment.

He loved nature and people, and his enthusiasm was infectious. He kayaked, sky-dived and caved. He read and went to the symphony. He enjoyed food and wine. On a three-week climb, after an eight-mile approach and a 5000-foot ascent, he unpacked a seven-course dinner with wine and fresh strawberries. The menu for breakfast the following morning included melon and bagels and cream cheese.

George was twice chosen president of the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh and he was elected one of three Life Members of the 30-year old organization.

He was a man who gave of himself unselfishly. In Peru in 1976 he set aside his own plans for the north face of Huandoy to assist in the search for Mike Rourke and Curry Slaymaker. Later he helped set up a fund to assist Rourke’s widow and child.

He is survived by his love Marge, his mother, brother and many friends.

J. Hellman, R. Slone, J. Unkovic