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A Climber We Lost: Juan Pablo “JP” Mohr Prieto, February 5

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 2021 here.

Juan Pablo “JP” Mohr Prieto, 34, February 5

Juan Pablo “JP” Mohr Prieto, born February 9, 1987, was the first Chilean mountaineer to make a serious attempt at climbing all 14 8,000-meter peaks without oxygen and Sherpa support, summiting Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Lhotse, Everest, and Makalu in this style. In the process, in 2019, he earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records by enchaining Lhotse and Everest without oxygen, Sherpa support, or returning to basecamp between ascents, in just six days. He was also a prolific rock climber and route developer in Chile, having sent multiple 5.13+ routes. JP’s friend Luis “Lucho” Birkner calls him a consummate athlete.

JP on the summit of Manaslu (Photo: Courtesy of Federico Scheuch)

“He was super talented and disciplined … always training,” Lucho says in an email. JP often combined cycling, running, and rock climbing in the same day—but always made sure to spend time with his three children.

“He was a lovely father,” Lucho says. “A very good father.”

A professional architect and a dedicated humanitarian, JP co-founded the Fundacion Deporte Libre (Free Sports Foundation), which creates access to athletics by building sports architecture (skate parks, jungle gyms, parks, and climbing walls) in public spaces. In one of these projects, Los Silos at the Parque Los Reyes, the Fundacion converted two abandoned cement silos in the middle of Santiago into one of the largest free climbing gyms in the world.

He also worked alongside Lucho Birkner and the filmmaker Mateo Barrenengoa Lecannelier to support their nonprofit Climbing For a Reason, which introduces climbing to underprivileged communities around the world. Shortly before his death on K2, JP identified a village in Pakistan’s Shigar Valley that he thought deserved the attention of Climbing For a Reason. After JP’s death, Lucho Birkner and JP’s friend the Italian mountaineer Tamara Lunger visited that village, built a small climbing facility, bolted a number of moderate routes on nearby cliffs, and introduced dozens of children to the sport. Many of them were systemically disenfranchised girls.

“JP was a humble man,” Lucho says. “He was always laughing and happy, never talk[ing] bad about others and … always ready to give a hand to anybody in need.” As to his friend’s strength, he says, “He was superhuman, the best of the best.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Federico Scheuch)

One of JP’s final projects, Los 16 de Chile, sought to leverage his growing fame in his home country in order to build European-style shelters and trails on Chile’s 16 highest mountains, promoting mountain culture there and giving local communities the means to pursue mountain sports.

JP died attempting a winter ascent of K2. After his original K2 partner Sergi Minote died in a fall above advance base camp, JP opted to continue, joining forces with Tamara Lunger and later, when she gave up her attempt, with Sajid Ali Sadpara, John Snorri Sigurjónsson, and Sajid Ali Sadpara. After Sajid’s oxygen regulator malfunctioned, and he turned back, the other three continued upward and lost radio contact with base camp. Their bodies were found in late July.

On Instagram, a month after JP’s death, Tamara wrote: “I’m thankful that I was lucky enough to meet you with your smile, your energy and all the passion and love inside of you. That this was of such short duration I did not expect … it breaks my heart.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Federico Scheuch)

JP’s death has left “a huge void in the Chilean climbing community,” says Lucho. But it has also inspired others to fulfill his dreams, and in a sense, Lucho feels his friend “is more alive than ever. I feel like he is right next to me, while I write this, telling me to stop writing. Saying, Let’s go climbing!

Steve Potter

 

You can read the full tribute to Climbers We Lost in 2021 here.