Outdoor Industry Loses Adventure Travel Pioneer - Climbing Magazine

Outdoor Industry Loses Adventure Travel Pioneer


Richard Earl (Dick) McGowanJuly 12, 1933 - February 27, 2007


Armchair adventurers and professional mountaineers alike mourn the loss of adventurer Richard McGowan. One of the founders of the adventure travel industry, McGowan died in his home on February 27 after a long battle with leukemia.Dick McGowan was best known as the managing partner of the outfitter Mountain Travel from 1976-1992. McGowan left the firm after the merger that created industry leader Mountain Travel Sobek. His adventure travel industry experience was unparalleled: * Team member on 11 major expeditions, including the International Everest expedition in 1955. On this expedition, Dick was the first American to set foot on Mt. Everest itself, though the team did not reach the summit.

* First ascents of major peaks in Alaska, Washington State, Canada's Yukon and in Pakistan's Karakorum (K-1)

* Ten years as chief guide on Mt. Ranier

* Led the first guided climb on Mt. McKinley (a.k.a. Denali, the highest peak in North America)

* Employee #1 at REI

* Founded Next Adventure, a Berkeley-based specialist in custom African safaris

* Many years as a Director of The American Himalayan Foundation, where he served with longtime friend Sir Edmund Hillary

McGowan's adventurous spirit may have been genetic. He was a descendant of the Mayflower crew member John Alden, and of Captain John Oxenham, who sailed with Sir Francis Drake. McGowan is survived by his wife and long time business partner Louise, and children Richard Jr., Devi and Kili. Named after Mt. Kilimanjaro, Kili is taking the reins as Managing Director of Next Adventure Safaris, now in its 11th year. Over the last few years Kili has been learning the business at her father's side, including spending a year on safari, inspecting game parks and lodges across Africa.