Steve Findlay died on 3rd March at a hospital in Thailand. Suprised that apparently there is nothing on here about it. I knew his family but not him personally. Father of Hazel Findlay, he was a stalwart of the Bristol climbing scene, a Pembroke activist and a member of The Clean Hand Gang. He relocated to Australia and then Thailand. Perhaps others might want to fill in some biographical details? RIP. Condolences to his family and many friends.
That's a real shock. I didn't climb with Steve myself, but bumped shoulders often with him when I lived in Bristol. He was a real character, the sort that you could imagine Hollywood making films about. I believe Steve was the longest lasting member of the clean hand gang. Very good at gentle put downs when you'd topped out of the Leap having plastered a route in chalk that he'd be able to casually cruise 'without cheating' on a hot mid summer's day. Steve was incredibly strong and calm as a climber, but those attributes also seemed to shape his character in everyday life and it's no surprise that Hazel has grown up to be THE climbing Jedi, with the schooling she got from her dad. Others who know him better will no doubt have stories of his first ascents, adventurous repeats, partying prowess, his orchid hunting expeditions and his huge botanical knowledge. I remember Steve just being a great spirit to be around.
I didn't know him well but Steve was often around when we climbed a lot in Pembroke and he was certainly the genius loci of Avon when we lived in Bristol. You tended to be on your best behaviour when you knew there was someone who always be able to climb anything you might attempt in better style, with fewer runners, and without chalk!
Sad news. I was living in Bristol in 1976 and working through stuff at the gorge in the evenings after work. Steve was very generous is asking what we had done and recommending the next route in the chain. His advice was always spot on. Helped me break into extremes with some very hard HVS tips (Beard of Ffoeg Nosam) that are now E2. We were clean hands at the time.
I knew the whirlwind that was Steve Findlay when his then wife was (Deputy?) Head of Saltergill Special School near Yarm in North Yorkshire, where I lived at the time. Steve was very much the househusband, looking after Ben and Hazel (only a baby then!) whilst Angie worked. Steve and I were naturally drawn together for climbing and drinking activities. I had to get used to recovering my "dirt bag" from places that Steve had hidden it - chalkless climbing was never going to be for me. Steve's time in North Yorkshire was all too short but he left behind a few good new routes on North York Moor sandstone and grit.
We saw each other only occasionally over the years but kept in touch, regularly exchanging emails about our respective expat lives in Australia and then Thailand for Steve and the Czech Republic for me. A few years ago Steve sent me a draft memoir that he was working on under the title "Never a Dull Moment". I made a few comments and Steve had great hope that he would get it published. Much to my surprise, I see that he was successful, and copies are still available on Amazon:
I remember that it did contain some rather bitter passages about old friends that he'd fallen out with, and I hope he watered these down or removed them before publication but, knowing Steve, he probably left it just as it was. Never a Dull Moment is certainly a record of a life lived to the full.
Steve, I'll be raising a glass to you this evening old friend!
No one lives forever...not even Steve Findlay. I was shocked to read this. I climbed with Steve any time I was down south with my BMC work before he moved abroad. He always pinched my chalk bag at the start of the day with some pithy comment. He was a sound climbing partner and completely decent bloke. I still owe him a pint and a bag of chips after our last day climbing together at Fairy Cave.
Very sad to read this. I met him only once at a BMC international meet at PyB in 2003 or 2004. It was clear jut how much respect he commanded from just about everybody there - and there was an amazing array of talent both from the UK as hosts and the international guests. He came across as a very kind person and super encouraging to all. I remember him being paired up with some young Swedish wad and they were having a total blast.
I was lucky to be able to climb with Steve when he lived in the north east. Days out with him were always memorable including his comments about my chalk bag to the beers after. He certainly left a mark in the routes he put up in the North York Moors. His orchid collection was something quite special. He was a great friend to both myself and Jancis. A sad loss.
Very sad to hear. I hardly ever met Steve after we climbed in the same place at the same time many times in the 1970's.. But I still remember him so well... including good times in the Verdon... Yet another reminder to get on a live life while we can...
It's nice to hear about his time in the North East as I'm too young to remember most of it!
Just as an FYI Dad wrote this book after a pretty drastic mental health turn and it's an upsetting read for those close to him, especially the people he's bitter about. I know that Dad on better form wouldn't like people to think badly of his friends and family so whoever reads it - I urge you to take those passages lightly.
In reply to rockcat: I just found out too. I climbed a little with Steve in the late 90s. My pervading memory is of him being at the bottom of the crag when I pulled a hold off at the top off To Be is Not to Bolt and i had a 'moment'. He was a voice of calm. Condolences to Hazel and his friends and family. RIP
I know from an article I researched that the best photo of the Range West Mass Trespass in 1991 is of Steve Findlay looking on while Dave Cook and a military guy in a landrover gesticulate at each other. I think from old forums on here, he then went on to arrange a similar trespass at Vixen Tor some years later, when there had been a nasty rope-cutting incident from one of the landowner's enforcers?