Allport in the Needles. Photo by Alan Bell.
Climber Christopher Allport died in an avalanche in the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood, California on January 25th . A multi-sport athlete, as well as a talented actor and musician, Chris had a life-long love of the mountains, rivers, and coasts of California. He loved to combine climbing with skiing or paddling in a single, perfect day. He felt most at home in the southern Sierra Nevada, where he would combine ski descents with bouldering at the Buttermilks, or a morning climbing multi-pitch trad in the Needles with an afternoon kayaking the Kern River.
Chris was always game to do something, no matter where or when, as long as it was outside and brought him together with friends or family. Hard routes, easy routes, new routes, long approaches or a day at the crag—as long as he was out there, he was the happiest person around, and you couldn't help but be buoyed by his spirit. Partners described his joy for the mountains as "boundless" and "infectious." Kenji Haroutunian, writing in Outdoor Retailer, said "I feel that I've lost four friends…we climbed, skied, sang and played together over the past 15 years."
Chris at Table Mountain, outside Bishop, CA. Photo by Andrew Allport.
Over the course of his life Chris introduced dozens of people to the joys of the mountains, and his infectious pleasure for climbing made it difficult for anyone to be afraid or timid on the rock. In the early 1990s Chris helped develop several routes in the Kern River Valley. Throughout the years he also wrote articles describing the thrills and dangers of climbing and backcountry skiing in Climbing (issue 156), Couloir, and The Los Angeles Times.
In recent years, Chris' proudest ascents were not his hardest lines, but the ones he climbed with his closest friends and family—a 24-hour car-to-car ascent of Mt. Whitney's east face with his son Andrew, a good-natured Dome Rock sandbag of his daughter-in-law, Diana, or a day of moderate soloing at Joshua Tree while camping with his wife, Susan, and younger son, Mason. Their lives and the lives of everyone with whom he climbed, skied, and paddled, will be forever dimmer with the loss of his luminescent presence.