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By John Simpson
From Golden, CO
Apr 15, 2008

A friend of my recently told me that Alan Nelson, a man who put up literally hundreds of routes in Colorado, died about 3 months ago from cancer.

I did not know Alan personally but nearly every guide book that I have for Colorado has him listed in it in some way or the other. He put up many routes in Clear Creek Canyon and North Table Mountain. He contributed a lot to the climbing community in Colorado and the
surrounding states. He will be missed.


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By kirra
Apr 16, 2008

Found this bit o'history to share from www.joshuatreeclimb.com

Sincere condolences to his family, his friends & his partners... RIP Alan Nelson ~

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Alan Nelson was one of the most active climbers in California in the 70’s and 80’s. His many first ascents in Tuolumne Meadows and Joshua Tree are well known, and his bold on-sight solos of first ascents seemed to push lady luck to the limits.

Nicknamed “The Kook” or “The Space Cowboy”, Alan’s new routes at Joshua Tree are still popular today. Many or most of his climbs were done of the lead, on sight and with ¼” bolts. He later went back and replaced all of his ¼” bolts with stronger 3/8” bolts, which is a testament to his dedication to being a responsible climber who thinks of others.

Alan also kept detailed and accurate notes, which he shared with the climbing magazines and the climbing community as underground guides. His rare underground Tuolumne guide was, at the time, the guide to have to the Meadows. His sometime habit of top-roping leadable climbs was thought curious by some, but just part of his appetite for new rock.

Alan moved to Colorado where he continued to consume rock. His drive and motivation left an imprint on climbing and his routes are still quite popular. Maybe you’ve been on some of Alan’s great routes’ try Silent Scream 5.10a 1982, 29 Palms 5.11+ 1981, Alf’s Arête 5.11- 1987.


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By Richard M. Wright
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 16, 2008

A record with very little information attached was located. Alan appears to have died on December 23, 2007. When I last spoke with him he was coping with a gastrointestinal cancer and had been through two rounds of chemotherapy at the Pouder Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. I'll put together a more complete obituary for the climbing mags.


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By Tom Hanson
Apr 16, 2008
Climber Drawing

I will miss The King of Clear Creek Canyon. The climbing community has lost one of its best. Hats off to Alan Nelson, one of the country's most prolific first ascentionists and an all around great guy.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 16, 2008
Stabby

Quite some time ago me and some friends met up with Alan in CCC for a after work session. Alan had just set up a rope on a obscure rock east of tunnel 2 down by the creek (I think). With that wide grin he handed me the rope, intimating that he wasn't sure how the line would go.
He almost blew his secret by blurting out beta to sink my middle right finger into a mono pocket. As I corkscrewed the finger in, I could feel the crystal deep within the pocket wedge uncomfortably deep.

Whatever the following move was (this is like 18 years ago), the finger levered against the crystal in such a way that it suddenly pierced the flesh, deeply. I could feel a rush of blood squirt out of the finger. "WHAT THE F***!" I exclaimed to no one in particular. The middle of a 5.12 crux, don't let go or the tooth will tear a rip right to the end of the finger.

Alan, belaying me on this monstrosity, is looking up at me so excited he could just about burst. "Did it get Ya?"
"F*** yeah, goddammit!"
"Are you bleeding?"
"F*** yeah, goddammit!"

"Isn't that just about the coolest thing you've ever seen! Don't tell the others!"

I managed to somehow reach up left and extract my finger from the Pocket Of Doom, I left about a quarter-sized pool of blood inside it. Nothing was visible from beneath. There was also some older, dried-out blood too. When he lowered me off he held his taped middle finger up, blood seeping through. My finger was still dripping. Smiling the whole time, "don't let anybody see it."

I think his vampire pocket claimed at least one other victim that afternoon. I was pissed. I wanted to climb the thing again with my nut pick and kill the f'ing thing, but I saw how much it meant to Alan.

He also made it a point to consistently mention the need for me - a fellow freckled descendant of English/Irish heritage - to be aware of how deadly constant sun exposure can be. I owe him a lot for that.


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By M.Morley
Administrator
From Sacramento, CA
Apr 16, 2008
8-21-09

I am sad to hear of Alan's passing. We only climbed together on one occasion, a cold January day several years ago, but had the whole cliff to ourselves the entire day and had a blast. He was a good guy and an accomplished climber with hundreds of FAs to his credit in Joshua Tree, Tuolumne, and Colorado.

Mike Lane wrote:
He also made it a point to consistently mention the need for me - a fellow freckled descendant of English/Irish heritage - to be aware of how deadly constant sun exposure can be.

Reminded me of one of Alan's best routes in Joshua Tree, Freckle Face.

Alan was also a frequent contributer in the early years of climbingboulder and climbingjtree.

Condolences to family and friends.

Edit: It might be nice if anyone has a good photo of Alan to post here.


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By kirra
Apr 25, 2008

Mike Morley wrote:
It might be nice if anyone has a good photo of Alan to post here.

Not the best, but found these on rc.com, ...That's a great story Mr. Lane
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

On SD, Mission Gorge, Main Wall, the A5 test piece "Misbegotten" circa 1976

Alan Nelson using a ground-down hook on a clean, hammerless, no-bolts lead of the forgotten A5 test piece "Misbegotten" 1976 unknown photographer, Original submission: Pywiak (rc.com)
Alan Nelson using a ground-down hook on a clean, hammerless, no-bolts lead of the forgotten A5 test piece "Misbegotten" 1976 unknown photographer, Original submission: Pywiak (rc.com)


Onsighting the big roof, Direct So Face on Moosedog Tower
in tennis shoes, February 1978

Alan Nelson onsighting the big roof of the Direct So Face in tennis shoes, Feb 1978. Unknown photographer, Original submission source: Pywiak (rc.com)
Alan Nelson onsighting the big roof of the Direct So Face in tennis shoes, Feb 1978. Unknown photographer, Original submission source: Pywiak (rc.com)


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By Gilroy
From Boulderado
Apr 26, 2008
Thunderkiss

@ J Tree
@ J Tree


Nicked from supertaco Looked like a good one friends would be happy to see.


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By chris deulen
From Merriam, Kansas
Apr 26, 2008
Think it'll go?

I regret never getting a chance to personally thank him for all the climbs he put up. I thought of him nearly every time I went to Clear Creek, and was always curious about who this man was, whom, without, I might never have gotten into climbing. The next drink I have I will raise my glass to him. Mr. Nelson, Thank You.


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