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Russell Braddock 1956–2016

Russell climbing the North Buttress of Mt Tutoko in 2007. Photo: Steve Hart

Russell climbing the North Buttress of Mt Tutoko in 2007. Photo: Steve Hart

It is with sadness that the New Zealand Alpine Club acknowledges the passing of Russell Braddock following a tragic accident on the slopes of Mont Blanc du Tacul, in the French Alps.

Russell started climbing in 1975, at the age of 19. He was an important member of the New Zealand climbing community through the 1970s and 1980s. During his career, Russell climbed extensively throughout New Zealand’s Southern Alps, pioneering many new routes. Some of Russell’s notable first ascents were routes on: the west face of Mt Taranaki (1976), the south face of Mt Hicks (1983), the south face of Nazomi (1984), and the north-east face of Mt Aspiring (2003), as well as the Burton Spur on Mt Elie de Beaumont (1984).

Russell began mountain guiding in 1984. He qualified as a full mountain and ski guide in 1987. Guiding led Russell to work and climb in South America, North America, Nepal and the European Alps. Two of Russell’s most memorable and challenging climbs include an ascent of Cerro Torre and an ascent of Fitz Roy in Patagonia, Argentina.

Russell’s love of the mountains not only extended to climbing and guiding. Russell worked extensively in New Zealand as a ski patroller, and trained ski patrollers for the Mountain Education Centre (MEC) of New Zealand from 2000 to 2009. His work at MEC also involved avalanche safety management, explosives use for avalanche control, mountain meteorology, hazard management and mountain rescue skills. In imparting his skills, experience and knowledge to a new generation of ski patrol, Russell contributed to a increased level of safety within the New Zealand alpine environment.

Our thoughts and condolences are with Russell’s family and friends at this difficult time.

–Keith Gilby

Posted: 22/06/16

Posted By: Kester Brown