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Derek Hersey

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Chase Gee · · Wyoming/ Logan Utah · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 105

I've just been reading all I can find on him (which isn't much) seems like a super interesting guy. I know he spend alot of time in the Eldo/Boulder area. I was just wondering if any of you guys that way knew him or have stories about him.

Tim Hudgel · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 150

Ay-Up Mate!

climber73 · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 185

There is a really great piece on Derek in the movie "Front Range Freaks." If you haven't seen it, you should check it out to get more insight into who Derek was.

Chase Gee · · Wyoming/ Logan Utah · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 105
climber73 wrote:There is a really great piece on Derek in the movie "Front Range Freaks." If you haven't seen it, you should check it out to get more insight into who Derek was.
I'll definitely have to try to get ahold of that. Thanks for the info!
Chase Gee · · Wyoming/ Logan Utah · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 105

I'm going to order it from REI on friday. not only is Derek Hersey in it but it's also got MP's Very own Hank Caylor. Totally worth buying!

Hank Caylor · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 615

We did the 2nd ascent of Ariana on the Diamond together. His girlfriend and mine(names withheld to protect the innocent) lived together. I remember, as it was my first time up the Diamond, he never shut up. We drove up there (cuz' he never owned a drivers license in his life) on my Suzuki GS350. It started DUMPING rain as we were rapping' off and he thought it was just grand. There were no formal rappel anchors at the time, just piles of tat. ATC's, soaked by water, squirt like a fountain and the more miserable I got, the more happy he got.

It kills me that he grounded that way. He wasn't really into soloing that much at the time.

Rambling now..... many other climbers could say more.

Phoenix · · louisville, colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 310

I was told this story about Derek from back in the day by a work associate:

"So G. and I are in the Creek, and it's late season. Of course I had to laugh at Derek wearing socks under his climbing shoes, like 4 pairs of em..... Anyhow that night we were all sitting around the camp fire, drinking beer, and sharing our little epics of the day or whatever. Anyways like I said it was late season, so as it got colder and we drink more and more beer the circle of bodies gets closer, and closer to the fire. While G. was talking about our day, I leaned over to Derek and asked him 'Are your feet warm enough?' to which he proclaimed 'Aye, their toasty!' '............Derek........... Your feet are on fire..' Laughter ensued."

Chase Gee · · Wyoming/ Logan Utah · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 105

Hahah! good stuff. was it true he lived in a treehouse in Zion's one summer?

Hey Hank, why don't you have a wikipedia entry? someone should really fix that.

Robert 560 · · The Land of the Lost · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 570
Chase Gee wrote:Hahah! good stuff. was it true he lived in a treehouse in Zion's one summer? .
See the tree house here.

KevinCO · · Loveland, CO · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 60

Climbing issue 131 has a must read article (I think it is #131, I don't have that issue in front of me.).

Here is a short article in Wikipedia:…

Maybe we can get Mic Fairchild to talk about Derek.

Northwest Corner · · Bend · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,500

Derek and I use to work together at Potters Restaurant on Pearl St Mall in the 80s. He was a dish washer and I was a bus boy. It was great work because we could climb all day and work at night, and each night we would share our climbing adventures with each other. The best story I have from those days was when Derek showed up at work one night after having done the first onsight solo (probably still the only solo) of the Crack of Fear up at Lumpy. He was all grins, as happy as could be, but was unbelievably scarred from his heroics. Derek's right arm and right leg were skinned to the muscle. He was a really skinny guy and his elbow and knee were swollen to a few times (at least) there normal size. I've never seen someone so scarred from a climb they didn't fall on. It looked comical and grotesque at the same time. Despite always greeting you with an, "Aye you punter (or pufter)", he was one of the nicest climbers I've ever known. A tremendous loss when he cratered. Twinkies and Toothsheaf forever...

Chase Gee · · Wyoming/ Logan Utah · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 105

He Seriously sounds like my kind of guy. Thanks for sharing everyone.

Michael John Gray · · Queensbury, NY · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 765

Sweet topic! I love reading about the late great Dereck and his incredible feats.

This is awesome!

Mattq331 · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 15

One of the things that made Derek special was his easy-going nature and plain love of climbing. He didn't give a toss who you were, or how hard you climbed. I bumped into him one day near the Boulder bus station, and he badgered me to go to Eldo with him but I had other plans for the day. Not much later he was gone and I had missed my chance to climb with one of the sport's greatest characters.
We did have a grand piss-up in Eldo though to show our respects. RIP.

YDPL8S · · Santa Monica, Ca. · Joined Aug 2003 · Points: 540

Free solo'd Crack of Fear and El Matador, and then downclimbed off the Tower? These are feats of his I hadn't heard of. Is there a list anywhere of the things he did solo? I'm sure it would be a good tick list of leads to humble the up and coming hardman.

Deaun Schovajsa · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2006 · Points: 220

I never got to climb with Derek, but somehow I drank a lot of beer with him. As good as his reputation was for climbing and soloing, he was even better at drinking beer. And I always seemed to meet up with him at some sort of drinking event...

One night at the Mountain Room bar in the Valley, I was buying (he would never leave your side if you were buying) and he was telling stories of his recent (that day and a few prior) rainy ascent of the Nose with a client. I couldn't help but think of how lucky those folks were that climbed with Derek. Whether as a partner or as a paying client, it had to be an experience that you'd never forget.

One of the nicest and funniest guys I've had the pleasure to tip brews with...

Daniel Battin · · Green Mtn. Falls, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 440

There are some pics of him in this gallery.…

Mike Pharris · · Longmont, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 125

that's a really nice gallery, i've not seen it before.

Andy Novak · · Golden, Co · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 370

Annie: "So I heard you did all that [solo three routes on the Diamond] on a couple of snowballs. Is that true?"

Derek: "Three fig newtons! Three fig newtons!"

Brad White · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2006 · Points: 25

"Twinkies and Toothsheaf forever..."

and bacon buddies and PG Tipps. Derek was as unique as they come, and would have been a memorable character in any area. Such was the force of his personality and his positive spirit. Upon arriving to Eldo the first time, he on-sight soloed the Diving Board simply because it looked like a nice crack.

Crusher would likely have the most complete list of Eldo solos that Derek did, as he inherited Derek's Boulder Climbs South book. I inherited some items of clothing like an old J-Rat t shirt, and some funky, multi-colored shorts. I still have the t shirt.

I don't know if his Mum is still around, as I've lost touch with his folks, but Derek inherited his irreverant sense of humor from her. After his death, some money was raised to bring his folks to Boulder for the memorial. Spending time with them, I couldn't get by the sense that Derek was his mother, or at least very much like her. She told me during that visit, "it's unnatural for a parent to survive their children." Tragically, the Herseys lost their only other child, Norman, who died of a heart attack a few years after Derek fell.

cstorms · · North Bend, OR · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,170

In my opinion, Derek Hersey is one of the most inspiring climbers to ever live. I would have been honored to have met him, let alone climb with him. Just looking at the routes he soloed in Eldo is mind blowing. Rest in Peace.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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