Veteran Rock Climber Found Dead at Climbing Gym

Longtime climber, wilderness enthusiast, and Rocky Mountain Field Institute founder Mark Hesse died Monday due to unknown causes at the Boulder Rock Club in Boulder, Colo.

Source: the Boulder Daily Camera

Hesse, 63, was found unresponsive in the bouldering area at the club at approximately 2 p.m. and staff began performing CPR until paramedics arrived. Hesse was later pronounced dead at Boulder Community Hospital, according to police.

While the cause of Hesse’s death is still under investigation, the Boulder Daily Camera reported that no criminal activity is believed to be the cause of his death. The veteran climber was not using an auto-belay device during his climb. 

A climber for many decades, Hesse first began climbing throughout the world in the 1970s and 1980s — including destinations like the Rocky Mountain National Park, Canadian Rockies and Nepal. 

In 1982, Hesse founded the American Mountain Foundation to help fund climbing expeditions. However, he later renamed it the Rocky Mountain Field Institute and changed the group’s focus to help build more sustainable climbing trails after he noticed some of the negative effects that climbers could have on the environment. 

“He loved being in the field and working on projects,” executive director of the Rocky Mountain Field Institute Rebecca Reed Jewett told the Boulder Daily Camera. “He was incredibly passionate about the work and just loved the outdoors.”

Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
AB Show 2023 in Baltimore
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Nov 1-4, 2023
Learn More
AB Show 2023