/ Sad news - Captain Solo RIP

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DaveHK 17 Mar 2020

Sadly, Ewan Lyons (known on here as Captain Solo) did not return from his day soloing on Beinn Dearg (Inverlael) last Friday. His body was found by Dundonnell MRT on Sunday.

Ewan climbed with many people, some of whom he met on here. Some of you may also have engaged with him in winter conditions threads. Still more I suspect will have noticed and admired his exploits through the logbooks/conditions page, benefitted from his knowledge as a crag moderator or just enjoyed his extensive photo gallery.

I'm posting this with permission of his family who are keen to know that this sad news would get to everyone who knew and climbed with him.

Post edited at 18:42 
rogerwebb 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

A man I admired and respected greatly, kind, encouraging and enthusiastic. That he was one of the best, most competent and prolific winter climbers I have known is secondary to that. 

Post edited at 18:30
TobyA 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

That's so sad. Never met him but was impressed by his helpful friendly style here, and obvious massive depth of experience.

Doug 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

very sad news, don't think I ever met him in 'real life' but will miss his contributions here

gavmac 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Sad news indeed Dave, really sad. Thoughts with his family and the close Highland climbing community who will feel the loss. 

Colin Moody 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

That's shocking.

A really nice guy.

I was impressed by his confidence on sighting new routes.

I hadn't seen him for a while but spoke to his partner at Andy Nisbet's funeral

Lawrie Brand 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Terrible news, only climbed with him once or twice but was a very keen and encouraging guy to be out with. 


Trythallj 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Very sad news. A great climbing partner and friend.


Yanis Nayu 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Sad news. Condolences to family and friends. 

AdrianC 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Very sad to hear that and thanks for letting people know.  We climbed together through the UKC connection a couple of summers ago he was a great guy and fun company.  Condolences to family and friends.

In reply to DaveHK:

Very sad news. He was a recognisable name around here. I think I bumped into you guys climbing together once in Lochain. It was awful weather from memory and you guys were climbing Deep Throat I think. Sorry for your loss. Condolences to his friends and family.

Post edited at 20:43
DaveHK 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

> I think I bumped into you guys climbing together once in Lochain. It was awful weather from memory and you guys were climbing Deep Throat I think. 

Yes, I remember that. 

Heike 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Oh no. That's awful. Ewan was such a great guy and we had so many wonderful times with him.

If you see Karen tell her that we are really really upset. Our son loved Ewan - he will be distraught when I tell him.

Brian (on Heike's login)

Steven Carter 17 Mar 2020

Yes, such a sad loss.  His knowledge of the Scottish crags was truly formidable.  I admired his ethics - he'd never use chalk on a mountain route.  A day out with Ewan was always a memorable climbing trip.

Stuart the postie 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Tragic news, just heard from a friend.

I never met him, always wanted to, always struck me as someone with a knack for being at the right place, at the right time! Always figured I'd bump into him sometime, knowing yourself and Erick. 

I'd noticed you'd visited Aonach Beag, Sunday before last, I'd mentioned to Erick it could be worth a look. 

A few seasons ago, Robin and I started climbing together, had a very productive run of it. He'd heard Postman Pat was in, 'no way' I said, I bowed to his experience.

Driving up Saturday night, the signs didn't seem encouraging, I suggested Ben Alder, frosty at Dalwhinnie. When we parked at Meggie, rained all night, mild walking in, everything was thawing....

Driving back down A9, weather was clear, blue skies, 'we should've went to Ben Alder.'

On UKC Monday evening, Conditions page..... who'd went in and soloed routes on Maiden Crag?

I admired his talents


Alex the Alex 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Terribly sad news... The couple of days I had out with Ewan are very fond memories. He was so steady and made you feel absolutely confident in your own climbing too. He described himself as parochial, half jokingly, but he struck me as a truly positive reflection of the word. A local hero. Thoughts are with his family and friends...

Al_Mac 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

That's heartbreaking news. I only climbed with Ewan once, on Andy Nisbet's line up Central Buttress on Beinn Eighe a few years ago. We'd met in Kinlochewe that morning and decided for something high, cold and hopefully windy to keep the midges at bay that were obscuring our view of each other in the Post Office carpark, despite being only a few feet apart. It was only a couple of months after watching one of my friends die after taking a fall at Aberdour and so I had climbed relatively little in the intervening period and indeed wasn't even sure if I wanted to climb any more. But his infectious enthusiasm won me round and was a timely reminder of how nice a day you could have in the mountains among people of your kind. 

We talked about all sorts of things, including how he'd moved north with his wife and for the first few years had driven a courier van. He explained how every Friday he would arrange his round so he could finish early near a crag and get a number of routes soloed before heading back home. I'd hoped I would get to climb with him again, even if it was after we ourselves move north, but sadly that won't now happen. It seems sombre to think that of the people who have climbed that rock since Andy found it, at least two are no longer here because of doing something they loved. Climbing is a bastard; it makes the relationships with your friends all the closer but then there is such risk in seeing them taken away with what brought you together in the first place. I hope his close friends and family are okay, they'll be taking the brunt of the emotional devastation.

jkarran 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Really sorry to hear this, another forum stalwart gone. My condolences to those of you who knew him better. 


Tom Last 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Sad news. I didn’t know him but he was always noticeable in the logbooks by seemingly having climbed practically everywhere in Scotland. 

Rest in peace. 

Johntheferryman 17 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

A good friend gone, climbed with him early when he was based in Dunoon as part of the Argyll Mountaineering Club.  He moved on up the grades and dragged me up a few routes. Will be sadly missed, a great guy and climber.

Heike 18 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I  have just seen this. I am absolutely devastated. Ewan was such a nice chap. I have climbed many routes with him summer and winter and Brian, Lucas and I had many trips with him round Scotland. I was hoping to do a route with him again soon. Met him recently running up Quinag.

I don't know what else to say apart from that I am so so sad. He really was one of the most kindest and nicest people. I am heartbroken!  Rest in peace, we will do a good route for you in spirit. xxx

Post edited at 00:42
Heike 18 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I have posted below already, but I just want to reiterate how sad we are. Lucas, Brian and I have loved doing  things with Ewan. He was a true friend, gent and climbing partner. Love to you from all of us xxx

We are missing you

Post edited at 01:19
Sutty22 18 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Really saddened to hear this. I only climbed with Ewan once, a nice sunny day at Mid Clyth. It was a long drive there and back and we had a good old chat on the journey. Once there, he was a solid, enthusiastic climber and was great fun to spend the day with. It was a shame we didn't get to climb together more. RIP Ewan.

doz 18 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Great guy

So sorry to hear this

CMcBain 18 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

It was devastating to hear this yesterday and has left me not knowing what to say.

I hadn’t climbed with Ewan for the past few years but climbed with him loads between 2014 and 2016. I think we actually met through UKC as I’m sure many others did also. I had loads of free time at uni and I think Ewan was either still a student or in between jobs - I have really fond memories of hatching plans at the drop of a hat to visit a big mountain crag midweek with a good forecast.

Being relatively new to climbing I was always keen to get on the big mega classic starred routes which I’d never done. Ewan had usually climbed these routes before but would always happily repeat them. Usually in exchange for our next route being some esoterica in the guidebook which Ewan hadn’t ticked yet!

More than anything else I really enjoyed getting to spend the day with Ewan in the mountains or the crag. His happiness and enthusiasm was infectious and something which I’ll never forget.


BALD EAGLE 18 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Desperately sad news. I really appreciated Ewan's contributions, posts and wealth of knowledge on ukc so sincere condolences to all has family, friends and loved ones. Cheers Dave

jonnie3430 18 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I never met him, but was always looking to see what he'd done. I also watched him rescue his climbing partner once, who is a friend of mine. My friend had been knocked silly by a collapsing cornice after finishing Tower Scoop. The callout went in and the helicopter started ferrying Lochaber up to the base of Observatory Gully. Meanwhile Ewan, who had been belaying, managed to tie off the belay, solo up the side of Tower Scoop, traverse to my friend, rig a belay, lower him to the base of the route, solo up to get his axes from the top, then go to the base of the route, stripping gear as he went, pack everything away and walk my friend down to the bottom of Observatory Gully to meet Lochaber. I was on Tower Ridge so had seen it all and was in awe of his competence. Still the only person I've ever yelled at on the hill to tell them that I think they are a legend.

Pero 18 Mar 2020

Terribly, horribly sad.

GN Hunter 20 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Yes, very sad news indeed. Only communicated with him on this web site. Really nice and helpful guy. What a loss!

DaveHK 21 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Funeral is Friday 27th 2pm Inverness Crematorium. No gathering afterwards but something will be arranged later.


Post edited at 09:48
BelleVedere 22 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I've only just put the UKC name together with the guy we know from inverness wall.    

Timmd 22 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I always liked his contributions on here, I guess you know who and how a person was by what others say of them when they've gone. Condolences to those close to him, his kindness came through even across the internet. 

Post edited at 16:44
Mark Bannan 29 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I'm probably only just capable of posting now. Ewan was a terrific guy and one of my best ever climbing partners. I will always miss him. Among the truly outstanding days we had were The Seam, Point Five, Indicator Right-Hand, Liathach winter traverse, Centurion, Vulcan Wall and Shangri-La, Salamander on Creag Ghlas and plenty others. He became a much better climber than I am and I'm still struggling to make sense of his tragic departure from our midst.

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