Bill Forrest, 1939–2012
12/28/12 – The Colorado climber and gear innovator Bill Forrest died while snowshoeing on December 21. He was 73.
Forrest was best-known for his big-wall ascents, including the first ascent of the Painted Wall in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the largest cliff in Colorado, with Kris Walker. He also did the first solo ascent of the Diamond on Longs Peak, and in 1979 completed the first ascent of Uli Biaho Tower in Pakistan with Ron Kauk, John Roskelley, and Kim Schmitz.
Forrest developed a wide range of climbing equipment and soft goods, including leg loops for harnesses, ice tools with interchangeable picks, copperheads, daisy chains, durable haul bags, shock-absorbing quickdraws, and, more recently, innovative snowshoes.
In an interview in Climbing last year, Jeff Achey asked Forrest where his best ideas came from. Said Forrest: “From seriously participating in the activity. When you love the activity—and live it—the ideas flow.” He was living it in the mountains above his Salida, Colorado, home right until the end.