|By bob branscomb
From Lander, WY
Jan 14, 2014
Local Lander climber Bill Hunt passed away in Riverton, WY last weekend.
Bill Hunt-In Memoriam
I first met Bill shortly after Kristi and I landed here in 1990. I was looking for an alpine and ice climbing partner. Someone told me about Bill and I connected with him soon after. I believe our first climbing trip was to Shell Canyon near Greybull in the winter. We did a few of the frozen waterfalls there and hit it off quite well. We were both a little taciturn and cranky with pathological inabilities to admit to fear. We got along just fine and we ended up climbing together for about 15 years, until he decided it was time for him to retire from climbing.
We made a good team. He was very strong with excellent ice climbing technique and I was much younger by 15 or 20 years and quite crazy and fast, so we could really move along climbing. We did some climbs in the Tetons but our main focus together was the esoteric and, frankly, lunatic fringe activity of climbing frozen waterfalls in mid-winter. We were quite successful and did many climbs in Lake Louise by Dubois, Cody, Shell, southern Montana and two trips to Anchorage and Valdez in Alaska in winter.
We became good friends and he was, to a large degree, a mentor to me. I had a long record of climbing on the West Coast and Alaska by the time we came here, but I hadnít done a lot of waterfall climbing. He had done much more than I in the Northeast, the cradle of American ice climbing. He was well versed in the techniques and the latest tools and I learned a tremendous amount from him, which I still apply every time I go out. I will always be in debt to him for this body of knowledge he imparted to me.
As well as being friends, I liked climbing with Bill a lot. In alpinism and ice climbing, you have to pay attention from the moment you leave the tent or car until you return. You can get into a lot of trouble otherwise. When I was climbing with Bill, I knew he was paying attention the whole time and I knew he wasnít going to do something stupid and get us both killed. He was a very fine mountaineer, a quantity difficult in any age to find. I had a great deal of respect for him and miss his abilities.
Iíll always be proud that I was a friend of his. He was a good man, and anyone who knew Bill speaks well of him. He was very good at what he loved to do. If you want a definition of success, then I think these qualities comprise the best definition there is. That was Bill.