Richard Bass, the founder of Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah and first man to climb the Seven Sumimits (by one definition), has died at age 85.
Bass, a Texas oilman, and Frank Wells, a former president of Walt Disney, dreamed up the idea of climbing the highest peak on each continent, and Bass completed the feat in April 1985. Bass chose to climb Mt. Kosciuszko, the highest summit in Australia, for his high point in Oceania. Other Seven Summiters have defined the much higher Puncak Jaya (aka Carstensz Pyramid) in Indonesia as the high point of that continent, or else said Seven Summiters must climb both Kosciuszko and Carstensz.
The Bass/Wells Seven Summits quest helped launch the commercial guiding of several major peaks around the world, including Mt. Everest and Vinson Massif in Antarctica. Since Bass did it, several hundred people have completed one version or another of the Seven Summits.
Bass also facilitated the first World Cup climbing competitions in the United States, with events held in 1988 and 1989 on the 115-foot vertical walls of his Cliff Lodge at Snowbird.
A sad day for the climbing community.
His book, Seven Summits, was inspiring and uplifting in a difficult time in my life. It was amazing for me to read about someone who successfully took up mountaineering in his 50s and became the first person to summit the tallest mountain on each continent. If you haven't read it, this is a must read. Seriously, stop what you're doing and go find it.