/ RIP Dave (Smiler) Cuthbertson
I didn’t know him, met him once (I’m sure a lot of you did) but remember him being on the forums and people mixing him up with “Cubby” Cuthbertson!
What a shock. Some people you just assume will always be there. Smiler was one. RIP Smiler.
So sad to hear that. RIP .
Sad news. I gave him a lift from North Wales to Chester Le Street about 4 years ago. A great conversationalist. On my first visit to Cloggy circa 1973 he caught me up on the rope move on Lithrig, which he free climbed. He had an amazing memory for people he had met years before. RIP.
I first met Smiler around about 1975. We kept in touch over the years and ran into one another regularly at CC and Alpine Club meets and dinners and often just by chance. I climbed with him a couple of times in Rjukan but most of the time he was working and therefore unavailable. He was one of my proposers for both the CC and Alpine Clubs. He was also going to sponsor me to be a guide but we both agreed I had left it a little late in life to make it worth while, We are about the same age so I followed his advice and dropped the idea. He was a good friend and even though I was warned about his illness a couple of days ago it doesn't make it any easier to come to terms with. RIP Smiler, a great character and a good friend, I for one will always remember you with fond memories.
As an aspirant Guide, I had a few great days in the Alps with Smiler.
I remember watching him lead Army Dreamers at St. Govan’s, placing one runner before traversing left and continuing upwards. The bowing rope lifted out the runner as he approached the top. His belayer shouted up, “Smiler, your runner’s just fallen out!” He shrieked out in mock horror, “Don’t tell me now!”
I have met him via FRCC huts. Really helpful, engaging and always giving valuable insight. A sad loss.
I climbed in his company in Scotland one day. We each helped each other out with belays as space was at a bit of a premium that day; we were both making do with what was available and nursing partners who were having 'full days out' . He was tired, being on his thirteenth consecutive day on the Ben and I asked him how he coped - "Get the punters to carry the luggage and use the top car park!" - that, and being as strong as a mule.
Known him since '71. Had a good chat only about 2 years back at Risag. Sadly missed. A fellow Brummie, well almost. We always had a laugh!
I was very sorry to hear this. I met Smiler a few times and he was great company. He had some fantastic anecdotes. He will be missed.
I met him when I was 16/17 at Tremadog, he was just open, friendly and encouraging to a spotty kid.
We ended up climbing a couple of routes next to each other on Gesail, in the dusk: I can still hear his Brummy accent, 'Crack on Rob, crack on! '
My memory of his kindness and concern was so vivid that years later I wrote a letter to the Guardian in his defence after the accident on Tour Ronde.
Sad news. Having been caught up in the Tour Ronde tragedy, I only met him properly again years later at Ynys Ettws and ended up having a great fun day at Gogarth with him. A genuine enthusiast!
Ah Smiler, it's really sad to see you go. I remember you on top of Huascaran, bent double like a coalman with his sack, tied to a client, wheezing at forty six saying 'I'm too old for all this'. And arms outstretched, meeting in the Winking Owl, rushing up making me feel welcome. On a plane, treating it like a six mile high free bar 'another double whisky and a beer' 'Jeez Smiler' 'You don't look a gift horse in the mouth' and 'You get what you get in Wolverhampton' . See you old pal, old mate, kind man, to climb again and thank ya. I'll meet you on the dusty paths , 'tween the Huayhuash and the Blanca.
> ''See you old pal, old mate, kind man, to climb again and thank ya. I'll meet you on the dusty paths , 'tween the Huayhuash and the Blanca.''
It's a special person who lives on like this, in the memories of those left behind.
Known Smiler from the early year's before the CC days when he was just a kid from Wombourne NOT Birmingham or Wolverhamton . So aptly named, a ray of sunshine when he came into the Valnoy on a Friday night in the day's of his youth. RIP Mate
> What a shock. Some people you just assume will always be there. Smiler was one. RIP Smiler.
Smiler was a real gentleman and merited his name, always cheerful despite life's vicissitudes.
Very sad news. Smiler was a great guy. The last time I saw him was in 2007 when he was made president of the Climbers Club at their annual dinner. He invited a friend and I as we were clients of his.
I have met Smiler numerous times on the hill - in the Alps and Scotland. We also had nice chats in the Lagangarbh and AlpineSwiss huts. He just seemed a nice enthusiastic guy to be around.
Sad to hear - a good one. RIP.
What sad news. He was a lovely guy and always happy and so enthusiastic. I did Munich Climb with him sometime in the ‘70s. It was pissing down by the time we finished. We scrambled back down to the sacks, I was busy packing up, Dave looked surprised, don’t you fancy another! But its raining...
such sad news to hear of Smillers passing what a great chap and one of hower older members of the Ceunant MC BIRMINGHAM RIP from all hower members
It was really sad to hear about Smiler and a great shock so soon after Andy Nisbet and Steve Perry's passing, he'll be sadly missed. It's been a terrible year for losses and characters in the climbing world, young and old
To me, Smiler will be remembered for his genuine friendly honest open spirit and especially so for his smile, positive attitude and enthusiasm even in difficult circumstances and the worst of the weather, as much as for his really impressive climbing CV from the early 70's onwards, which included most if not all of the classic alpine north faces and with many of the climbing legends! A few details are mentioned in Simon McCartney's award winning book 'The Bond'
I first met Smiler first in the late eighties and he was influential in getting me into instructing in the outdoors and was my referee for the MIC instructor scheme. Later working with him on several uni winter skills courses and even later when he led several alpine and guided Mt Blanc courses for my clients. Meeting up most summers in Argentiere he would always go that extra mile and more to make sure everyone had a good safe time. However under the surface despite his outward confidence, constant big grin and smile, he'd had been badly affected by the fatal accident he'd had on the North Face of Tour Ronde, years later this came back to haunt him.
More recently when he moved to Dores's with Clare we'd also meet at the Inverness climbing wall or be in contact over route conditions or to borrow kit or guidebooks. Over the last few years Smiler suffered form bouts of ill health and joint pain that affected his climbing and had retired from active Alpine Guiding. However he still continued to help at the Inverness climbing wall and as ex Climbing Club president would still excitedly organise ice climbing meets in Norway and in France even trying to drag me along because of my La Grave experience!
A couple of year ago when I was injured by rockfall in the Cairngorms, Smiler was the first person to literally rush out to see me, bearing gifts of food and excitingly "read this" a copy of his friends book 'The Bond'. I have never seen anybody as concerned for my welfare!
When I last saw Smiler at the start of the winter he was getting back his fitness and his rock climbing and seemed fine a month or so ago when I messaged him.
So it was a great shock when I heard from a post by Mark Edwards of his sudden illness and passing away within a two weeks with lung cancer.
He'll be sadly missed by all who knew him.
I didn't know him but went through a spell, around 2005/6, of always seeing him about and bumping into him, mainly N Wales and in the Alps. A couple of those meetings come to mind:
On True Moments at Castell Helen, my mate was on the traverse, with his left hand locked in the crack whilst repeatedly walking his right hand out and back in search of a hold. Watching this with great amusement, Smiler (I think he was on the stance with me, waiting to bring up a client) laughingly shouts, "Look at him! He's playin' the piano! Playin' the piano!" From then on, we always used to shout that to each other whenever we were on any route with a bit of hand-traversing.
Was in Pete's when Smiler walks in with his clients from the day. He bags a table and sits down whilst letting his clients join the queue, a tactic he had obviously used to good effect before as one of the clients comes looking for him:
Client: "Do you want us to get you anything, Smiler?"
Smiler: "Oh, just a cup of tea for me, please"
"Do you not want anything to eat?"
"No, no, no, just a tea...[a few seconds delay]...What are you havin' then?"
"We're having bacon sandwiches, are you sure you don't want one?"
Smiler pretends to give it a bit of consideration: "Oh, go on then, might as well, you've talked me into it."
As I said, I never really knew him but he certainly seemed a character.
Smiler's Funeral will take place at 12.30 on Tuesday 14th May at Dores Church, Dores by Inverness IV2 6TR and afterwards at The Dores Inn. If you're a friend and can attend, please do. Clare and Smiler's children would love to see you.
For my part, Smiler was my climbing partner in the UK and the Alps back in our youth. He has been a life-long buddy and family friend. The memories are too many to mention, although I will be recounting a few on the 14th. See you there if you can make it.
Hi mate you must get some sleep if the time is right of your post.
So sad about Smiler as you know we have known each other since 73 after our meeting on Earl of Perth on Avon , do you remember or know where Bill Wheeler is last I remember was he was living near Chesterfield.
So many stories that fulfil our lives so chuffed to have known him.
We'll have a few beers and laughs next week as he would us, great mate and good to take the Mickey out of and give it back.
Ha, ha, up late writing stuff! Not heard from Bill Wheeler in a long while. The word has been getting around in the Midlands so there's a chance he may have heard from old pals. Looking forward to the tales o'yore on Tuesday, several pints and a wee dram or two - but missing him badly!
I know Bill, in fact I just spoke to him and he wasn't aware of Smiler's demise. Back in the day I think Bill knew Smiler well and climbed with him quite a lot. I can give you his contact details if you want.
I’ve not been in touch with Smiler for what must be 10 years but it’s testament to the man’s character and personality that our last encounters seemed like yesterday. I climbed with him on the Ben, Cairngorms and spent time with him around Chamonix, always fun, always generous with stories and experiences - and I loved learning new techniques from him, and appreciated him letting me crash in his room! I was privileged to spent 3 weeks with him on an Everest base camp trek which he was guiding, his love of the mountains was ever-present and he gave the whole trip another dimension. His enthusiasm never waned even after many days of eating just dal bhat and dealing with some of the grumbling trekkers, “this is great!”, he’d often be heard saying, even when it clearly wasn’t. It was a special time! I’d like to remember Smiler playing pool in Namche Bazaar drinking a ropey beer laughing contagiously, that memory will always make me smile. But honestly, that’s not where he’ll be, he’ll be on something, a bit of hard rock, approaching the crux, shouting down to his belay, “watch me here...!” Rest in peace Smiler. X
Our Friday Night Video this week is a look at a bright young talent in British sport, trad and competition climbing: Jim Pope. Jim's climbing starts in the Lake District and catches up to his present day visit to Norway to sample some of the hardest...