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RIP Steve Johnson
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May 7, 2013
I am sorry to report Steve Johnson has died.

He put up routes in S. Arizona on Lemmon, in the Stronghold and was putting up one in the Santa Ritas when he died.


Deep condolences to his family. I am so sorry. Steve will be missed. His routes will remain to remind us.

Many kudos to the people who tried to help—Eric R; Scott A; Tanya; Hendrixson. Your strength and fortitude are greatly appreciated and admired. Our small S. Arizona climbing community owes them a debt of gratitude.

Scott Mc
Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
Joined Aug 15, 2006
35 points
May 7, 2013
I am so sorry to hear this. Truly a shame. Max Supertramp
Joined Mar 21, 2008
15 points
May 7, 2013
It is sad. A good man that will be missed. My condolences and prayers go to his family. manuel rangel
From Tempe, Arizona
Joined Jan 27, 2006
3,500 points
May 7, 2013
bees? my god that is horrible. rip. Cornelius Jefferson
Joined Apr 5, 2006
75 points
May 7, 2013
We are deeply saddened by this news.

Steve was a great person, a simple man with honest values. He was a dedicated family man.
He was passionate for climbing and helping others.
We could all inspire to be like Steve. He will be missed.

Our thoughts are for his family. Be strong, the climbing community is here for you.
Let us know how we can help. I have many pictures of Steve that I would like to share.

Many thanks to those who helped with the recovery, you certainly have my gratitude.

With Love,

Brian and Emma Benedon
Rock Climbing Photo: Steve in red rocks 3/11
Steve in red rocks 3/11

Rock Climbing Photo: his smile
his smile

Rock Climbing Photo: climbing
brian benedon
Joined Jul 28, 2010
900 points
May 8, 2013
I didn't know Steve but I feel the loss as a climber, a Tucsonan, and a human.

Peace to his family and friends.
Joined Mar 13, 2008
30 points
May 8, 2013
This is very sad news. Steve was a super nice man the few times I met him.

I was so impressed to hear of the great effort that was made to quickly locate and help Steve. The four of you did a wonderful job.
From Tucson, AZ
Joined Jun 7, 2006
2,505 points
May 8, 2013
I only met Steve last summer - a few times up on Mt. Lemmon. He certainly made an impression with his enthusiasm, good cheer and friendly manner. He was one of those climbers who seemed to like it all; the hike, the scramble, the climb and the fellowship of climbers.

My condolences to his family and friends and the Tucson climbing community.
Joined May 20, 2007
15 points
May 8, 2013
Sad, sad news. Condolences to his family & friends. Richard Fernandez
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Nov 23, 2008
510 points
May 8, 2013
My condolences to Steve's family. Here is a photo from a month or so ago of Steve and his dog patiently showing my 2 year old how to belay. Sweet man indeed.
Rock Climbing Photo: Steve Johnson teaching another one the ropes.
Steve Johnson teaching another one the ropes.
From Tucson, Arizona
Joined May 21, 2004
385 points
May 8, 2013
Scott M. McNamara wrote:

That is a horrifying cause of death. Arizona is scary.
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
5 points
May 8, 2013
Here is the article from the May 8, 2013 Arizona Daily Star:

Rock climber with hundreds of bee stings is found dead

A Tucson man was found dead Monday evening hanging in his rappelling gear from a cliff on Mount Hopkins south of Tucson.

He had been attacked by bees and suffered hundreds of stings, but investigators don't know if that caused his death.

Steven Wallace Johnson, 55, was an experienced hiker and climber who went to rappel on Friday, said Lt. Raoul Rodriguez of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department.

One preliminary theory is that Johnson disturbed the bees while hammering his spike into the cliff, Rodriguez said.

Johnson's dog, which also was attacked by bees, was found dead on top of the ridge where Johnson was rappelling, Rodriguez said.

When Johnson did not show up to work Monday, co-workers reported him missing to Tucson police. Authorities were told that he planned to hike in the Santa Ritas and at other sites in Santa Cruz County.

Deputies of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department and its search and rescue unit found his body.

The Pima County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy to determine his cause of death.
Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
Joined Aug 15, 2006
35 points
May 8, 2013
I met Steve two and a half years ago after I had just moved from the midwest and hadn't met anyone yet. I had very little climbing experience (no multipitch, no trad) and the little I did was over 10 years prior. I was getting in my car at Windy Point and saw a guy that looked pretty experienced putting gear in his car, so I did what any noob does and asked if he was a climber. Of course he said yes and shared his number with a stranger that obviously had little experience. After that, I became good friends with Steve. Twice a week I got a one word text from him at about 5:30 consisting of 'Gym' that translated into 'don't be a pansy and come pull down!'. I also had the pleasure of climbing with him outside in the Catalina's and Stronghold regularly. That was the way Steve was... He loved introducing people to the sport he loved dearly, whether it be by taking a complete beginner climbing or bolting moderate routes such that all could enjoy. He was a truly selfless person in all regards.

Steve was a true climbing mentor to myself and many others in the Tucson community. He was also a wonderful person and helped me through the toughest time in my life and he never judged.. Another special thing about Steve was that he never waited to tell people that they were important in his life. He was a terrific father and grandfather. I can only hope that I make an impact in others life as Steve did. He will be missed dearly.
Kirk Hutchinson
Joined May 29, 2012
0 points
May 8, 2013
Thank you all for your condolences and well wishes. Please attempt to contact me(520-975-8870) before reaching out to Ryan and I will pass information on to Ryan and My sister. When we are ready we will reach out to the community that has already done so much for us.

Kyle Johnson
2-5 INF, U.S. Army
kyle johnson
Joined Sep 9, 2012
0 points
May 8, 2013

Please give Ryan and Devin a hug for me.

I've been asked to pass along to you that some of Steve's friends are meeting at Barrio on Thursday evening at 8:00. I know that you are all dealing with so much right now, and that you may not yet be ready, but if you feel like it would help at all, we'd of course love to have you.

All the love in the world,

From Duvall, WA
Joined Sep 22, 2008
50 points
May 8, 2013
Wow, that's truly tragic. His dog too...damn.

Say what you will about our rain and snow here in the Gunks, but you SW-eners can keep your killer bees. (Those Africanized beasts, I presume)
Joined Jul 29, 2009
1,850 points
May 8, 2013

This is very sad news. I remember climbing with Steve at Windy Point many many years ago. He was also a beanfest die hard. Fun to be with , a super nice guy.
Condolences to his family and all of his friends.

With much respect and a heavy heart,

Diane Vetter
Tucson AZ
Diane Vetter
Joined May 8, 2013
0 points
May 8, 2013
Gunkiemike wrote:
but you SW-eners can keep your killer bees. (Those Africanized beasts, I presume)

Yeah, you kinda have to assume this. Even the dog was dead?! Yikes!!!

I also send out my condolences.
Christian "crisco" Burrell
From PG, Utah
Joined May 18, 2007
1,530 points
May 8, 2013
A wonderful soul, indeed.

Steve's smile, laughter, and contagious ambition for adventure will be truly missed. I'm honored to have called him Friend.
From Tucson, AZ
Joined Sep 28, 2006
1,135 points
May 8, 2013
Very sad news.
Condolences to family and friends.
Paul Davidson
Joined Jan 22, 2007
585 points
May 8, 2013
Even though it goes without saying Steve was a great guy I wanted here and just sa I am blessed that he taught me to climb. Without saying too much I wanted to reinforce the things said about him and also his contribution to our climbing community. He was a great mentor and friend who really enjoyed developing n climbing new routes. I hope we can all learn from him. I wont say he left behind anything because he will always be a part of these mountains through his routes.

Whatever the community decides to do to help the family n honor our friend I would offer my assistance. And lastly would just like to recall the 3 climbers who almost died in a single day from bees in the catalinas. Please use our extremely harsh environment with some respect.
Derek Anderson
From Tucson,AZ
Joined Jul 31, 2009
305 points
May 8, 2013
The guy was always overflowing with unfeigned kindness, friendliness, and good cheer.

One of a kind.

From Casa do Cacete
Joined Jul 22, 2005
915 points
May 8, 2013
I'd like to wish;
Condolences to Steve's friends and family. Thanks to everyone involved with SARA. And an extra thanks to Steve Johnson himself for making what he loved so accessible to the rest of the climbing community.
Steve, I hope you find your crux high, exposed, and exciting. Travel well.
Robbie Mackley
From Tucson, AZ
Joined May 6, 2010
0 points
May 8, 2013

I miss you so much.

Goodbye my friend.

Rest in Peace.
Joe Lee
From Las Vegas
Joined Oct 10, 2004
550 points
May 8, 2013
The world just lost an amazing person. I love you, Steven. CaseyK Erin
From Tucson, Az
Joined Jun 11, 2009
20 points
May 8, 2013
He put a FA on some of my favorite climbs at the hairpin. It's amazing looking through "Squeezing The Lemmon" how many times you see the initials SJ. Thank you sir, you were a true hardman. Steven Groetken
From Durango, CO
Joined Sep 30, 2012
10 points

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