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A Climber We Lost: Howie Rode

Each January we post a farewell tribute to those members of our community lost in the year just past. Some of the people you may have heard of, some not. All are part of our community and contributed to climbing.


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You can read the full tribute to Climbers We Lost in 2022 here.

Howard (Howie) Arne Rode, 102, June 16

Howie Rode died in 2022 of old age, after a long and purposeful life. He was a staunch member of the Vancouver mountaineering community from the 1940s on, made numerous significant ascents, and continued to ski and hike into his nineties. Howie grew up in Denmark and then Winnipeg, bicycling to Vancouver in the late 1930s. He was a natural athlete, including tower diving, gymnastics, and canoeing. For most of his adult life he lived on Vancouver’s north shore, and particularly liked the cliffs and pools of nearby Lynn Canyon. He was very handy, building and making all sorts of things–including his houses–and worked as a school custodian in West Vancouver.

Howie enthusiastically explored and climbed the southern Coast Mountains in all seasons with the Alpine Club of Canada–Vancouver Section and the British Columbia Mountaineering Club, and made occasional trips to the Selkirks and Rockies. He taught and mentored many, did an enormous amount of bushwhacking, led innumerable trips, was an original member of Vancouver’s Mountain Rescue Group, and helped with building and maintaining trails and huts. His first ascents, mostly in the late 1940s and 1950s, include Mounts Clarke and Ratney in the Chehalis area, Ossa Mountain in the Tantalus Range, the west summit of Mount Robie Reid, and the north tower of Mount Fee. Howie was one of the first Vancouver-area climbers to use pitons, and with Johnny Dudra was probably the first to intentionally rock climb at Squamish, in the mid 1950s. Other major trips included the Premier Range (1950), Badshot Range (1951–Badshot Mountain, Piton Peaks, and Mohican Mountain), and Mount Monarch/Ape Lake (1953–Princess Mountain, first crossing of Monarch Icecap).

Howie Rode skiing in Canada.
(Photo: Howie Rode Collection)

Howie was a member of the ACC for 75 years, was awarded its Silver Rope for Leadership, and was made an honorary member of the BCMC on his 100th birthday. He saw enormous changes in mountain access, skills, and equipment. Howard was committed to physical and mental fitness: eating simply and sparingly, staying active, and engaging positively with people of all ages throughout his life. Howie is survived by his daughter Marilynn Hunter (Chris), son Brian (Heidi), and grandchildren Jeff, Peter, Erica (Jeff P), Liam, Lar, Lochlan, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife Mary, sister Rena, brother Ken, a nephew and grandniece, and many respected friends.

All who knew Howie remember his generous spirit, the sparkle in his eyes, and the enthusiasm for his, or someone else’s, next adventure. His children and grandchildren continue to adventure in the mountains.

—Marilynn Hunter, with help from Anders Ourom and Glenn Woodsworth.

You can read the full tribute to Climbers We Lost in 2022 here.