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Climber and conservationist Doug Walker, 65, died in an avalanche on Granite Mountain, near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, on December 31. Walker was snowshoeing with friends and became separated from the group. When he did not return to the trailhead, searchers were called out. His body was discovered this morning amid avalanche debris.
Walker had served as president of the American Alpine Club since 2014. The software entrepreneur and avid climber had dedicated recent years to outdoor and environmental groups, including four years as chairman of REI and positions on the boards of directors of the Wilderness Society, Conservation Lands Foundation, and the Sierra Club Foundation. Outside the outdoor world, he was a cofounder of Social Venture Partners and a former chairman of the board of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Phil Powers, CEO of the American Alpine Club, said, “Doug Walker’s leadership at the AAC was the secret weapon that cemented the club as one that welcomes and represents all climbers. He led the capital campaign that funded our growth and stepped from that directly into leading our board with strength and grace. He was not only a mentor and adviser for me; he was a climbing partner and friend.
“Doug was also a generous supporter of the Access Fund and sat on the board of the Outdoor Alliance,” Powers added. “I can think of very few who made as much of a difference to our tribe as he did.”
Walker, a native of South Carolina, learned to climb in the Southeast more than four decades ago. He has climbed throughout North America and in Europe, Africa, New Zealand, and Nepal. He is survived by his wife and a grown daughter.