Wayne Merry has Passed Away

  • RIP Mr. Merry

  • He certainly enjoyed a rich & full life. My life is poorer for not having known him.

    My condolences to his family & many friends.

  • Oh man, such a loss. What a wonderful, talented, kind human being. He gave us some wonderful pictures and a story for our Tuolumne Climber book. He will be remembered!

  • @Roots Is this totally confirmed? When did this happen? I know he was unwell, but you never want to think the worst.

  • Wayne was...

    Too many tears.

    Yes, a great climber, but that means nothing. He was more, much more than a great climber. He was...

    Yeah, too many tears to talk about this right now. Right now, all I can say is goodbye my friend

    And, for those of you who didn't know him, maybe these words from 400 years ago will... I don't know...

    No man is an island, entire of itself;
    Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
    If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
    As well as if a promontory were,
    As well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were;
    Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.
    -- John Donne, 1624

  • A moving and wonderful tribute to a kind and very special human being. Thank you David Harris.

  • @David-Harris Would you mind if I posted your thoughts on the Climbing Forum on Facebook? I know many would like to hear them. They honor Wayne so well.

  • hey there, say, i just heard this, ... i did not know him, in person, but, i am so very glad that i got to ' meet ' him, through all you climbers... my love, prayers and condolences, to his family and loved ones...

  • Okay, a bit of time has passed and I'm starting to come to some sort of acceptance and will post something. For today it will be something Wayne's wife Cindy sent me -- the in memoriam published in their local paper.

    The photo is the front page of the Atlin Whisper, and below that, I've copied and pasted the text that was on page 2.

    But before you look at either of those things, understand that no words or photographs can convey anything close to what this man was. Yeah, sure, you all know that he was on the first ascent of the Nose, but probably most of you think something like "Oh, right, he was one of those guys Warren Harding dragged up the Nose". Wrong. Wayne and Warren swung pitches and neither of them would have made it without the other.

    And the Nose was the least of his accomplishments. Sure, it was a badass rock climb, but it was still just a rock climb. You can read about some of the other things he did below, but what none of it will give you is the feeling...

    Not sure just how to say this, but being with Wayne was to understand what humans are capable of being. If everyone in the world was like Wayne and Cindy, then the world would be a perfect place...

    ...yeah, and he'd elbow you in the ribs and...

    Fuck it. Here's what his locals had to say about him...

    Wayne photos.jpg

    And here's the text of the second page...

    Wayne Merry, long-time resident of Atlin B.C., died peacefully October 30th at home surrounded by his family. He was 88 years old and he was loved.

    Wayne was born in Fresno, California on August 4th, 1931 to Harold White and his mother, Sara, who later remarried Ralph Merry.

    He married eighteen-year-old Lucinda (Cindy) Barrison on March 22, 1959. Her honeymoon was spent on a trip up the Inside Passage from Ketchikan in a wood and canvas kayak.

    Wayne had many accomplishments in his life, but he was most well-known for the first ascent of El Capitan in 1958 with Warren Harding and George Whitmore. He later helped establish Yosemite Search and Rescue, the Yosemite Mountaineering School, and the Yosemite Mountain Shop in the 1970’s.

    He was Chief Ranger in Denali National Park in the late 1960’s, where the young family lived for a time at the Wonder Lake ranger station. In 1972 he led the first ski traverse of the Brooks Range.

    In 1974 the Merry family emigrated to Canada, settling in Atlin, British Columbia. Wayne became volunteer Fire Chief and worked to get a fire house built and the department trained, equipped and modernized. He was the first official Unit Head of the B.C. ambulance service for Atlin, was later certified as a local Ambulance Instructor, and would eventually become Area Coordinator for the Provincial Emergency Program, a Search and Rescue Instructor, an Advanced Tracker, and a Deputy B.C. Fire Marshall.

    At other times, Wayne was president of the Atlin Historical Society, president of the Protect Atlin Lake Society, participated in the Local Improvement District, and sat on the steering committee of Rivers Without Borders.

    For many decades, he pioneered, taught and advocated for Search and Rescue and Northern Survival in Canada. Wayne provided training to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Rangers, and Parks Canada, as well as Yukon, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut search and rescue organizations.

    His awards and recognitions include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program, a Congressional Resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of El Capitan and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada.

    His published works include the St. John’s Ambulance Wilderness First Aid Guide, and Basic Ground SAR in Canada: A Home Study Guide as well as contributing chapters and photos for several works with other authors. He had numerous non-fiction articles published in magazines such as Sunset, Outside, Backpacker, and The Mother Earth News. He was featured in the online version of Atlantic Magazine. Wayne was a prolific letter-writer, and his many unpublished works of prose and poetry were shared with and enjoyed by friends and family.

    Wayne drew satisfaction from mentoring and befriending others and sharing in adventures both outdoors and literary. He also enjoyed interacting with climbers on the “SuperTopo” online climbing forum, where he frequently posted as “Fossil Climber”.

    Wayne is survived by Cindy, his wife of 61 years, his brother Bill, his sons Scott and Kendall, and his grandson Tristan James Hovest (Merry).

    The family is very grateful for the support and help of the entire community of Atlin, and Wayne and Cindy’s many friends around the world. In particular, we would like to acknowledge Nita Connolly and the volunteers of the Atlin Supportive Living Society, as well as the nurses of the Atlin Health Centre.

    A Celebration of Life will be held in Atlin early next summer, date and time to be determined.

    In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation or note of appreciation to the Atlin Historical Society or the Atlin Supportive Living Society on behalf of Wayne:

    Atlin Supportive Living Society
    Box 347
    Atlin, BC V0W 1A0

    Atlin Historical Society
    Box 111
    Atlin, BC V0W 1A0

  • @David-Harris Nice tribute here, David. Wayne seems to have lived a pretty full life and, even more importantly, enriched that of many others. You were fortunate to have been one of them. Thanks for posting this up.

  • Wayne sounds like he lived a full life. I wish I had met him. My buddy, Randy grew up in the Valley next door to him and Wayne's sons were my buddies best friends in the early 70s. I just talked to my friend and told him of Wayne's passing.
    One of my old friends from YMS, Bill Frey, is coming here today and I will share the news with him although I think Bill worked there in the Lloyd Price days but likely knew him.

  • Despite a life well lived, I'm really sorry to read this. I saw him speak in the Valley way back in the day, and I had a couple email interchanges with him. He was gracious and generous in his responses.

    The talk in the Valley was about ski touring in the Brooks Range. It opened my eyes to broader outdoor adventures. I asked him about that when he showed up on Supertopo. He responded
    "... , but anyway, it was Ned Gillette (Captain America), Jack Miller (The Grinch), Jed Williamson (Brillo) and me (Grandfather). Went from Bettles AK to Galbraith Lake across Brooks Range. Had planned to go to Prudhoe Bay, but all those mountains were so great we turned back and climbed for a week instead. Recently got an email from a guy who found our film can register on one of the peaks."
    Then I asked him about a point at the top of Teslin Lake that I had seen driving up to Fairbanks a couple times. It'swhere the road heads west, but if you look up the (Teslin?) valley, there is a very large (>1000ft?) clean looking rock face with a big dihedral (it's been a quite a few years). I asked him if he knew what that was.

    His response was "
    If I understand your description, you may have been looking at White Mountain, which is just south of the road junction at Jake's Corner which goes down to Atlin. White Mountain is limestone. I don't think that face has been done, but Hector MacKenzie from Whitehorse got on it once and reported it is very poor climbing, lots of down-sloping stuff, poor pro."

    Like I said, very generous for such a luminary. Darn.

  • Mr. Merry was thoughtful and kind enough to sell some of his kit to me a while back. Bedayn carabiner is from The Nose FA:

    Mr. Merry.jpeg

Log in to reply