/ OBITUARY: El Cap Accident - Felix Kiernan
UKC Staff Edit:
There is now Felix's Obituary on UKClimbing.com:
It's been a terrible few weeks on El Cap - a kid went over Vernal falls today too.
L, if you are reading this, you are in our thoughts. Come home safe bud.
Copied from the supertopo thread, Felix, doing what he loved.
Climbing is a way of life, and climbers love this life! It is freedom beyond belief. Rest well Felix you are in our thoughts!
> Climbing is a way of life, and climbers love this life! It is freedom beyond belief. Rest well Felix you are in our thoughts!
Can't say any more than this really.
Very sad news
goodbye mate, thoughts with family and friends
Grim news. RIP.
I haven't climbed with Felix for years now, but my memories of him are of an incredibly kind, friendly and cool person. One of the most photogenic people around as well! It's really shocking that this has happened to him - such a cautious intelligent climber who was really the last person you'd expect this to happen to. It just goes to show that these freak accidents can happen to anyone and how cruelly such a personality can be taken away. There are a lot of people up in Manchester with great memories of Felix and I'm sure there will be a lot of sadness as people find out about his death. Really tragic news.
I have had the great pleasure of knowing Felix over the past 9 years. I met him at Manchester Medical School in 2004.
Having been in touch with his family, I thought I'd write a few words about him here:
As well as a keen climber he was a dedicated and competent Doctor who was taking a sixth month break before embarking on specialist training to become an Oncologist in London.
From a climbing point of view he was an accomplished boulderer, mountaineer, trad and sport climber.
A cautious and dependable partner, with whom, i climbed some of my hardest and most ambitious routes. One of the more memorable being a one day ascent of the Frendo spur in 2009.
He has been all over the world for climbing, medicine and pure travel.
He'd spent time in the USA, Thailand, China, Nepal, India, S. Africa as well as much of Europe and the UK.
He knew a staggering number of different people from all walks of life, he was charming and extremely loveable, as well as offering thoughtful advice when it was asked of him.
He took great photos, liked good food and had a refined taste in music having at one point run a club night at University with his twin Brother.
I was with him in Kentucky a month ago, we had a really great time, meeting loads of new people exploring the State and climbing almost every day.
He is one of the best friends I have ever had, and an inspiring individual who changed the way i see the world in a very positive way.
I will miss him so much.
My thoughts are with his mother, father, sister and brother.
If anyone has any photos or wants to chat, get in touch.
Thank You, Tom Brookes
That's a lovely tribute to somebody who was obviously a great bloke.
Tragic stuff. Condolences and sympathy to all concerned.
Felix was a close mate, a climbing buddy, a fellow native north londoner. He was caustic, funny, highly intelligent, a motivated climber, competitive, aggro, urban, kind and extremely good company.
Many excellent trips around the UK and Spain with him, climbing, drinking, schmoozing, laughing.
You will be missed, Felix.
Desperately sad news, deepest condolences to all loved ones, family and friends.
I think Tom has summed up pretty well what an absolute pleasure it was to have spent time with Felix.
He is a true friend and I have many happy memories spent with Felix, whether it be climbing, at medical school or just socialising in Manchester. He always had time for people, was intelligent, witty and most of all a dependable friend. He was already a competent doctor and well on the way to furthering his chosen career path in London, training as an Oncologist.
I had a minor climbing accident a number of years back and broke both my feet, Felix looked after me, carrying me to the nearest road and drove from Manchester to Sheffield to come and visit me in hospital and bring goodies. I am so thankful for his kindness and will always remember this and all the other great times we shared.
Felix had so many friends and brought happiness to many lives.
We will miss you dearly.
Miles Wilks & friends
I thought 'who's this cocky so-and-so giving me sarcastic lip when he doesn't even know me'. And thus our friendship was made. Wit so quick, it was frightening! Empathy so true, it was staggering.
I've put my life in Felix's and Luke's hands thousands of times, more than anyone else's combined, trusted them unconditionally and have had faith in their judgements beyond all doubt. Saved my arse too many times.
Felix was a proper climber. First at the crag, last out. Committed, motivated and supportive. The perfect partner.
Felix has always been better at climbing than me, more intelligent than anyone I've ever known, better looking than me, funnier, wiser. But he always treated me as an equal.
I remember way back sitting on the sofa in the mezz and asking him what he wanted to climb more than anything. "Easy, El Cap", "Let's do it!".
He was the first person I spoke to after my diagnosis. He told me straight away that I'll be fine. And I believed him. Because he said so.
He would sneak down to me whilst having my treatment, just to sit with me and we'd talk about what we'd climb when I was better. Then eat posh sausage rolls.
He was the first person I told when I got the all clear. I couldn't go Yosemite this year, but it was alright, he said, "coz we'll go next year and you won't be fat!".
Felix has the coolest, nicest, friendliest family, ever. Even the dogs are cool. Felix's life ,his achievements, his character are such a testament to them. I feel so honoured to have got to know him and to be able to have counted him amongst my truest of friends.
You helped me through my darkest days,
You laughed with me during my lightest.
I'll miss you so much...
Onelove, Puds x
I don't want to believe this. We were just laughing together in the Red a few weeks ago. And I was so looking forward to showing you a good 'ol fashioned 'Merican Independence Day celebration next month. 'Wearing an American flag, shooting guns and eating waffles" you wrote to me the other day. Exactly what I had planned, how'd you know?
I met Felix last September through Tom (above poster) when I was a last minute addition to their Kalymnos climbing trip. I was nervous about intruding but he immediately put my fears to rest with the warmest of greetings and his infectious psyche for climbing.
I could see right away why Tom and Felix were such close friends. It is echoed in the sentiments of the other posters here. He was witty and smart; incredibly motivated, handsome and undeniably charming.
My memories of Felix are of his patience and openness in welcoming an unknown girlfriend with a gammy leg join in on his boys holiday; in his giddy excitement for his American road-trip, especially evident as we talked of Yosemite or as we roamed the aisles of Wal-Mart in Smalltown USA; and in his lasting impact on Tom.
We poked fun at him for his little photo shoot with Elodie, but this sure is a nice shot she got.
The Yosemite community sends their thoughts and condolences to his family and friends.
I didn't know Felix that well. He was a great guy, good company and a talented climber.
In 2009 I climbed the North Face of the Piz Badile with Felix and a group of friends. That day stands out as one of my best ever in the mountains.
I've put some words and photos on my blog: http://www.tomripleyclimbing.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/felix-kiernan-rip.html
Rest in peace Felix. You didn't deserve to go this early.
Condolences to friends and any family who may be reading.
Although I only ever met Felix in the most wonderful and wild spots he had a strongh whiff of London about him, his laid back cool, studied nonchalence amd willingness to meet things head on.
One of the reasons I fell into step with Felix was the loyalty and love he inspired in his other friends, he was solid and trustworthy and my thoughts and condolances go out to all his family, friends and colleagues.
As I can read, both people that deeply know Felix and those who just met him for a short while... all tell the same great person Felix was.
I had the lucky chance to cross my road to his road in 2010, when we both were alone in the Ceuse camp-site in Sigoyer, looking for a climbing-partner to climb with. It was easy to find each other on the same feeling... we spent together 3 great climbing days, with deep serenity, chatting, climbing, having dinner together. I remember so well our long talks going up&down from the cliff: he was a smooth guy, so gentle and honest. My thoughts now goes to his family and of course also to Luke. Too sad this moment.
I believe Felix started his love affair with the crags and mountains of the world with forays in to Scotland as a schoolboy with his Father Patrick initially learning the ropes at the Castle climbing centre in London.
Aged 17 he headed to Nepal, he trekked in the mountains for many days and climbed some Himilayan peaks while he was at it.
I remember his tale of heading up Island peak a giant at 6189meters with a Sherpa guide, as they climbed Felix realised that he was doing the guiding it became apparent the Sherpa was probably an alcoholic and in bad shape. Felix ended up pushing on to summit alone.
On the same trip he travelled to India, bought a motorbike and spent months zooming about with just a couple of shirts and a pair of sandals.
I met him the next year in Manchester, he took me to the indoor climbing centre and I was quickly hooked.
We soon found ourselves regularly escaping from the chaos of student life, to the tranquility of the Peak District.
Some of his favourite climbs on the Peak gritstone include:
Flying Buttress Direct, Stanage
Suspense, Lawrence Field
Regent Street, Millstone
A particularly impressive feat being a solo ascent of Great Slab at the grade E3 5b at Frogatt
In 2008 we struck out, in a beaten up old Peugeot that whistled, for the alps. We were in our element, shortly after arriving we found ourselves traversing the Midi Plan, the mountains depicted on a famous brand of French mineral water.
A particularly memorable ascent was that of the Frendo Spur, high above Chamonix, involving Rock, Snow and Ice at a french grade of Difficile Plus. We raced up the climb working as one seamless unit, we made such good time that we went straight past the tiny rock ledge we had planned to sleep on and blasted for the top, eventually summiting with hugs and whoops of delights, to catch the last ski lift back down to the valley floor along with piles of rubbish from the lift station.
Numerous climbing trips all over the UK, Europe and far flung corners of the world followed. He had countless different climbing partners who played small and big parts in his climbing life, too many to mention here. They were all dear to him.
He would have remembered alpine ascents of the Casin route on the Piz Badile in Switzerland, one of the great Alpine North Faces and Modern Times on the Marmolada in Italy.
At the start of this year he was in Thailand climbing numerous technical and steep sport rock climbs, achieving the grade of 7C+ in that genre. He surely would have reached the dizzying heights of 8a, many climbers dream, given just a little more time.
Writing this on the way to the funeral.
I knew Felix through Forest School Camps and we shared a fantastic adventure in 2002 through the NW Highlands of Scotland.
Felix went on to have so many more adventures and it was great when I very occasionally bumped in to him through climbing.
A massive, tragic loss. The world needs more people like Felix.
Blue skies Felix
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Met him a good few years back when he was still just a laddie. Quite an ebullient character that took well to getting piss ripped by us older erseholes.
Condolences to all his family.
God, that's desperately sad. Sounds like an amazing guy. I've never met him or any of his friends but still felt choked reading all that.
Condolences and RIP.
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