Messages of condolence from the climbing community

Below is a collection of condolences which people have sent in response to the news of Brendan's death, which was originally posted to rec.climbing and uk.rec.climbing on 17 June 97 by David Lovell. If you would like to add one, send it to

From Struan Gray, 18 June 97
From David Lim, 19 June 97
From Rick Kruze, 19 June 97
From Stuart Littlefair, 19 June 97
From Jon Wallis, 23 June 97

From David Lovell, 17 June 97

>From Tue Jun 17 18:16:56 1997
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 18:16:40 +0100
From: "David R. Lovell" 
Newsgroups: rec.climbing,uk.rec.climbing
To: Cameron McPherson Smith 
Subject: Re: Changabang accident 

> Cameron McPherson Smith ( wrote:
> : : Hello,
> : : I got an unconfirmed report last Friday
> : : that Brendan Murphy and Andy Cave were
> : : "killed by avalanche on descent from
> : : some Himalayan mountain". This was probably
> : : Changabang.
> : : Can anybody confirm what happened ?
> : Cannot confirm but I email corresponded with Brendan Murphy last year and
> : ***Changabang rings a bell***.  What awful news, I have followed his
> : career in the British mags for some time, Eiger (great report) as well as
> : Divine Providence on the Grand Pilier d'Angle.  I hope the news is incorrect.

Dear Cameron,
Unfortunately, the news is not entirely incorrect. Thankfully, Andy Cave
is alive.

Brendan Murphy was killed by an avalanche on June 3, 1997.

He and Andy had made a successful first ascent of the North face of
Changabang two or three days previously. Four others were involved in
the expedition to this peak, near the Nanda Devi Sanctuary in North
Eastern India: Roger Payne and Julie Ann Clyma, who were lower on the
North face when the summit was reached, and Steve Sustad and Mick
Fowler, who met Brendan and Andy near to the summit.

Steve had taken a 200 foot fall and had broken some ribs. The weather,
which had been bad during the ascent, showed no sign of abating, and a
safe descent of the West face was imperative. From what I can gather,
the foursome reached snowy slopes at the foot of the mountain and were
preparing for an abseil. Brendan had been searching for a good ice screw
placement and had got the screw well in when a serac broke away far
above. The ensuing avalanche swept Brendan down towards steeper ground.

Brendan was due to return home on June 16. An obituary was published in
The Guardian that day.

Brendan was my friend and flatmate, and his parents and his partner,
Kate Phillips came to our flat this weekend. If anyone would like to say
something about Brendan so that he is remembered well, I'd be happy to
collate any responses and pass them on. I know Kate and his parents
would appreciate that.


David R. Lovell (                           Research Associate
Depts of Engineering and Obstetrics & Gynaecology             Q.A.M.C.
University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street,                  Quality Assurance
Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK. Tel: +44 1223 332 754                  in                             Maternity Care

From Struan Gray, 18 June 97

>From Wed Jun 18 09:41:33 1997 Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 10:42:12 +0200 To: From: Struan Gray Subject: Brendan Murphy's Death Status: R It's not much, but here's my response to your post in rec.climbing. > If anyone would like to say something about Brendan > so that he is remembered well, I'd be happy to > collate any responses and pass them on. I didn't really know Brendan but he was a couple of years ahead of me when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge and was an inspiration to someone like myself who was just starting to get into ice and alpine climbing. I always thought of him as a climber's climber: someone who just went out and climbed hard serious routes with a minimum of fuss and hype. Kate and Brendan's family have my every sympathy. Struan -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Struan M. Gray email: Dept. of Synchrotron Radiation Research Tel: + 46 46 222 3425/3478 Institute of Physics, Lund University Fax: + 46 46 222 4221 Box 118, S-221 00 Lund, Sweden. --------------------------------------------------------------------------

From David Lim, 19 June 97

>From Thu Jun 19 08:14:43 1997
From: David Lim 
To: "David R. Lovell" 
Subject: Re: Changabang accident

Dear David,

I never knew Brendan. 

People like him in many ways are mostly people whom we admired from
afar. From magazines and trip reports...wishing we could do some of the
he had been on or tried.

I read with much regret of his untimely death and all his close
realtions and friends have my sympathy and best wishes.

David Lim
Singapore Mt Everest Expedition 1998
now at

From Rick Kruze, 19 June 97

>From Thu Jun 19 10:28:24 1997
From: Rick Kruze 
Subject: Brendan
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 10:28:03 +0100 (BST)

Hi Dave,
	Just read your message on rec.climbing and I'd thought I'd drop a line
in response.

I was very sad to hear of Brendan's death. It's always a shock when news like 
this comes along. I only met Brendan once personally and that was, appropriately
climbing. I'd first heard of him when he posted to uk.rec.climbing asking if
any club wanted a slide show to help raise funds for an exped he was on. I 
replied and he arranged for Andy Perkins to talk to our club. We emailed a
few times and then a couple of weeks before they were due to leave, they had
a climbing trip to Tremadog. That's where I bumped into them and it was fun to
meet someone in person with whom you've been emailing. Brendan had a go at 
Atomic Finger Flake and with a lot of cursing he got up it. He was a bit 
knackered after that! His determination was very evident even on a "small"
bit of rock like Tremadog and so was his good humour.

We've emailed a few more times since and I've noticed his name pop up in various
magazines. His web site has some great photos on. I know it's not much in terms
of knowing someone, but his passing will be missed.


Rick Kruze                      Telephone 0161 275 6036
UNIX Systems Group              Fax 0161 275 6040
Manchester Computing            Electronic mail:
University of Manchester                     
Manchester M13 9PL
United Kingdom

From Stuart Littlefair, 19 June 97

>From Thu Jun 19 15:29:36 1997
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 15:31:38 -0700 (PDT)

Dear David,

I am very sorry to hear the news about Brendan. I had not know him long,
but I had been going to mile end with him during the terms here. I'm
especially sorry for your's and Kate's loss, and of course that of
Brendan's parents. 

Brendan was an inspiration to me; both in his quiet and understated
success as a mountaineer and in his philosophy on life and the mountains.
I very much enjoyed climbing with Brendan, he was one of those people
whose company improved things.


Stuart Littlefair (
Girton College

From Jon Wallis, 23 June 97

>From Mon Jun 23 15:52:26 1997
Subject: Re: Changabang accident
From: (Jon Wallis)
Organization: University of Wolverhampton, UK.
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 97 15:52:19 PST

In article <>, you say...

>Brendan was my friend and flatmate, and his parents and his partner,
>Kate Phillips came to our flat this weekend. If anyone would like to say
>something about Brendan so that he is remembered well, I'd be happy to
>collate any responses and pass them on. I know Kate and his parents
>would appreciate that.

I never met Brendan and only knew of him though uk.rec.climbing 
and his Web page, but I really liked his pictures (especially the one of 
the North face of Les Droites).  I know I will never climb at anywhere
near the standard that Brendan did, but his pictures helped me dream
a little.

Jon Wallis