Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

A Climber We Lost: Tucker Rowan

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.


Enjoy unlimited access to Climbing’s award-winning features, in-depth interviews, and expert training advice. Subscribe here.

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

Tucker Rowan, 24, January 19

Tucker Rowan was a climber’s climber, with a passion for alpine starts, big routes, and soaking in “every cool rock, overlook, or funky-looking knot in a tree that he came across,” said his friend Miles Moore. 

Born in Austin, Texas, Rowan graduated high school in Frisco before moving to Colorado, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He worked at Echo Mountain Resort in Idaho Springs during the winter and spent his summer doing odd jobs, making music and art, and climbing. “Tucker loved deeply, sent hard, and absolutely always made time to appreciate the little things,” said Moore. 

Moore spoke of their “near-weekly” alpine starts, taking whatever gear they needed and some snacks to eat breakfast at an alpine lake or on a peak. Every time the pair climbed together, said Moore, Rowan “always expressed his gratitude for those climbing with him, and for the privilege of watching the earth turn over another day.” 

“[Rowan] was grateful to be alive, to feel, create, experience, and accomplish,” said Moore. He believes it was this passion and gratitude that drew his late friend to climbing. “[Climbing was] a community he always felt was ‘chalk’-full (pun intended) of like-minded and kind human beings,” he said.

Rowan climbs in Colorado's Ten Mile Range. Ten Mile Range, Colorado.
Rowan climbs in Colorado’s Ten Mile Range. (Photo: Luis Cordova)

The solitude and beauty of the mountains was something Rowan was particularly drawn to, according to Moore. Every time they climbed “[Rowan] would always, much to my amusement, point out that we were the ‘only ones out here right now,’” said Moore. “‘Isn’t that special?’ he would say.”

In that vein, although Rowan was a strong and versatile climber, it wasn’t a difficult sport or ice send that made him most proud, but summiting the Grand Teton via the Upper Exum—widely considered one of the most aesthetic and timeless moderates in North American climbing.

Outside of climbing, Rowan spent his time backpacking and slacklining, and was also a skilled photographer and musician, “capable of conveying nostalgia and his love for friends and family in his art,” Moore said. This love was also shared through climbing. “Anyone who had the privilege of tying in with Tucker knew he was genuinely stoked about spending the day with you.” Rowan hoped one day to become a professional mountain guide, spreading his love for the sport and the mountains with others.

Rowan died ice climbing in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado, on January 19. He fell while downclimbing, after finishing a top-rope solo. He is survived by his parents Robbie and Bethany, sister Averi, and an extensive extended family, as well as his dog, Asher. “Although his time here wasn’t long enough in our eyes, he accomplished so much and has left behind a significant legacy of how we should approach each day,” Rowan’s family wrote in his obituary.

“If [Rowan] had one message for the world,” said Moore, “it was that every waking moment should be lived with gratitude, love, and excitement.” He also shared a favorite quote from his friend: 

Chase what makes your heart light its flame. It’s a beautiful thing to live a life of passion. When I look back on my life, I hope that I am proud of how I spent my time. But I’ll know it all was just exactly how it was supposed to be.

—Owen Clarke

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