Climbing with Andrea “Andy” Basque was an outstanding experience that always included lots of laughter and close friendship. Unfortunately, the laughter stopped on August 7, 2008, when Andy fell on Dragontail Peak, in the Stuart Range of Washington State. The sadness that descended upon the Portland, Oregon, climbing community was deep, and many were left in shock, though none more than her ever-loving husband, Jeff Gamer, and her family.
Her remembrance service drew friends and family members from all over the country, who came to honor the memory and spirit that Andy lived by during her 43 years. Even though some of the memories may fade over time, the sprit in which Andy lived her life will be with us forever. That spirit included a perfect combination of adventurers, friendship, and family.
Andy was such a community-oriented person and she was very active in the Mazama climbing club and a board member of the Pacific Crest Trail Association. She also served in the Peace Corp in Mali, traveled extensively in southeast Asia, hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail (with Jeff), completed much of the Continental Divide Trail, biked across western states, succeeded with Jeff in reaching the highest peak in 35 states, climbed mountains, climbed rock, and enjoyed a cold beer and a burger after a hard day’s work on the trail.
I knew her best as a friend and an adventurer. Andy taught me many things about enjoying time in the wilderness, but her mutual respect, climbing team cohesiveness, humor and encouraging support taught me what Andy was really about. All the while experiencing typical climbing environments, such as heat, cold, rain, snow, high altitude, and wind and feeling emotions of fear, happiness, excitement, anxiety, confusion, frustration, stress, relief, laughter and exhaustion. She was such a natural and comfortable person in the wilderness that her persona will be missed on future trips, but her influence on many climbers will never disappear.
See ya in the hills, Andy!!!
Andy belaying on top of Boxtop (The Enchantments, WA) High Priest in the background. Photo by Terry Campbell.