Memorial to Bill Clack by Al Stebbins

Photo  by Al Stebbins

Photo  by Al Stebbins

When Bill Clack died unexpectedly last summer the Boston climbing community lost a good friend who’s life was defined by passion. When Bill loved something he really loved it. He started his relationship with Boston climbers by showing up, on a cold, dark December night,  for the introductory lecture for the AMC’s annual Ice Climbing Program in the mid-1980s. Upon being told that to take said program he’d need technical climbing skills first he immediately asked how he could get them. The answer, of course, was to take the spring Beginners' Rock Climbing Program, which he did, and he followed that up by taking the Ice Program the very next time it was offered. Bill fell in love with climbing, and not just the joy of actually doing it. He read extensively on the history of climbing, he reveled in films about climbing, and he came to know the joys of traveling, and not just in the United States, to climb. In time Bill became a member of the AMC’s Boston Chapter Mountaineering Committee and a director of the Beginners' Rock Climbing Program. He co-edited The Crux for many years. Bill, working with The American Alpine Club, also helped save and restore climbing movies shot by Ken Henderson before World War II.

Bill married a fellow climber, Holly, and together they had one child, a daughter named Miranda. Bill was a man of strong passions and he was passionate about being the best dad he could be. Because of that Bill put his climbing career on hold, but not his interest in climbing. He had a realistic understanding that errors in climbing can have really bad, permanent consequences, and he wanted to be there for his child. As his daughter grew up he started to think about playing in the vertical world again, but sadly, it was not to be. It is a cliché, but it’s also true, for those who loved Bill his joy for the outdoor world, for climbing, for living, will always be part of them.