/ For Today We Mourn A True Of The Sea

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nealheanes on 29 Apr 2004 - []
Today in Dorset we have tragic news that one of our brightest stars, our most cherished brother has passed from amongst us. Damian Cook disappeared whilst soloing off Porto Christo, Majorca, yesterday.

I'm sure I speak for a small, but close knit and stunned group of local climbers in passing on my thoughts and prayers to Esther, Damian's children, brothers, sisters and extended family.

In posting this message my hope is to reach out to all the climbers who's lives Damo touched, so they can truly reflect on what a remarkable person he was, and celebrate a wonderful life.

Damian I salute you, I'll miss you and wish you could have given us a few more summers,

Your brother water rat

Crazy Neal
johncoxmysteriously1 on 29 Apr 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes:

God, that is terrible news. I didn’t know him personally, but he obviously was a remarkable guy.
In reply to nealheanes:

Extremely sad news. My best wishes to his friends and family.


An extract from Damian published in the deep water soloing book Into the Blue -
darkinbad on 29 Apr 2004 - []
In reply to Alan James, ROCKFAX:

I never met Damian, but I suspect that extract and the front cover photo of him in a perfect swan dive off the top of Connor Cove convey a great deal about the sort of guy he was. I remember being gobsmacked by the guide when it first appeared, and inspired to wend my timid way up a few of the easier classics. It is very sad to lose someone who was an inspiration to people he never even knew.
Ian Parnell on 30 Apr 2004 -
In reply to darkinbad: What an awful day! First Patrick Berhault now Damian. Really really sad news, my heart goes out to all the Cook clan. I only knew Damian in the climbing world where his talent was often hid behind his carefree attitude and cheeky mischieviousness. I also remember his energy, bouncing around raving about his latest solo. In a way he was similar to Berhault in his willingness to try new wild and wacky approaches (which have led to the dws revolution) but always remembering that climbing was more than just number chasing but a great game of life.
Michael Ryan - on 30 Apr 2004
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Nick Noel and myself in Bishop send our condolences to the Cook clan.

Nick has just returned from a great trip deep water soloing in Dorset and Mallorca.

He was deeply saddened by Damian's death.

David Simmonite on 30 Apr 2004 - []
In reply to nealheanes:
This is indeed shocking news. Can you please pass on my commiserations to his family and friends.

The times I have met Damian or spoke to him he was always been charming and his zest for life came through.

I will raise a glass to his memory tonight.

Jus - on 30 Apr 2004
In reply to nealheanes:

Awful news. I met Damian once on the ledge under the arch at Lulworth, such a lovely chap.

So sad.
Ropeboy - on 30 Apr 2004
In reply to nealheanes:

Sad news.

I never met him but read a lot about his exploits.

My thoughts are with his family.

Helen Haenes on 30 Apr 2004 -

Thank you all for your kind comments. I'm sure the Cooks will be touched, by your thoughts and comments.

He will be truely missed
Carless - on 30 Apr 2004
In reply to nealheanes:

Grim news.

Sympathy to the family and friends
TimB - on 30 Apr 2004
In reply to nealheanes:

Very sad.

I still remember the mini-profile in Climber many years ago.

"What do you regard as the biggest threat to British climbing?



Everyone says so"

Sympathies to all Damians family and friends.
Nic Hellyer on 30 Apr 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes:

How awful. I met Damo a few times, and share the sentiments elsewhere on this thread - but words are never enough. I will get on one of your routes and think of you.

Adam Lincoln - on 30 Apr 2004
In reply to nealheanes:

An inspiration to all.

Thoughts are with his friends and family
Dom Orsler on 30 Apr 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes:

Very sad. My condolences to his family. Kids too; that's awful.

Also very sad that it only seems to be in threads where people have actually died that they don't get the usual RT slagging to one degree or another. I suppose in the world of RT, that's pretty much what it takes to avoid a slagging!
Kurt on 30 Apr 2004 -
In reply to Adam Lincoln:

Sympathies to all Damians family and friends.
Bern - on 30 Apr 2004
In reply to nealheanes:
A great loss. I only knew him in passing, most memorably some 12yrs ago when he convinced me to solo Freeborn Man, I made it but only just, meanwhile they were hurling themselves off the top with a home made parrachute!

Alan Stark - on 30 Apr 2004
In reply to nealheanes:

Shocked and stunned!

I had the pleasure of knowing Damian and his family, as well as brothers Dominic and Simon whilst they were in the UAE.

He made a significant contribution to the development of the hard sports climbing in the Emirates, and I shall be for ever in his debt for the fine photos and diagrams he provided for the guidebook which is nearing completion.

Damo was wonderful warm and generous person, who will be sadly missed.

Hazel and I send our deepest sympathies to his family, in particular to Esther and his children, and to his brothers to whom he was so close.

I am still in touch with the UAE crowd and will forward the sad news to them.

Alan Stark
Anonymous on 30 Apr 2004 -
met him and his crew back in the early 90's when news filterred up north of these crazy soloing southerners and the cool scene....
very sad news, my thoughts to his family and friends
JIMBO on 30 Apr 2004
In reply to nealheanes:
A real shock. He was so full of fun and adventure. A real inspiration to me when I started climbing. He and his brothers were one of the reasons I got so hooked in this dangerous game. Deepest sympathies to his family and mostly his children. He will be sadly missed,

Tony Kay on 01 May 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes:

Really tragic, all sympathy to the Eszter, Rebeka and Bruce and to the entire Cook tribe.

His laid back approach will be missed. Still the only person i knew who'd drive 4 hours down to the Bih from Abu Dhabi and wait for the afternoon heat to drop backing to the 40's before attempting his problem for the day.

John Gregory on 01 May 2004 - []
In reply to nealheanes:

Unfortunately bad news travels fast and all here in the Emirates are very shocked at the awful news of Damians death. He left here last year and we all expected to meet up with him again at some stage in the future. He was always good company and very kind and thoughful.

Our sympaties go to Eszter and children and to Dominic and Simon who were also out here and to the rest of his family.

John, Dee Ian and Chris
Hidden User 56 on 01 May 2004
In reply to nealheanes: This is truely awful news. I met Damien at the European student climbing comp, Ecole Central in Paris 1991/2 ish.

He was a great bloke, honest, funny, top climber, all round star. The world is a much poorer place for his passing.

Rest in peace Damien.

Andy F
Annie Anderson on 01 May 2004 -
It was sad and shocking news to hear about Damian this morning. I knew Damian and Dominic when I was in the UAE. Damian had an amazing abundance of energy for his family and climbing. He was always up to some adventure on rock or in the water, or in mid air.

My condolences to all of Damien's family.

Mark Ashton Smith on 01 May 2004 -
Damian was an inspiration to me as an excellent climber with a strong reputation. But his attitude was what was most impressive. He seemed to me to always be working hard to push his own limits and skills - particularly in environments that tested him, that took self-control and skill and boldness to stay on top of. I saw him as a serious person, who took life seriously. He didn't want to waste time, and he was always being productive, moving forward, enlarging his capabilities and experiences, taking on more responsibilities. There was an impressive life force in him like this that I will always remember. He was a strong individual, and didn't seem to be afraid of much. His family must have loved him deeply, and this is tragic.

Alex - on 01 May 2004
In reply to nealheanes:

That's awful. I'm so sorry. My deepest sympathies to his family and all of his friends.

John Sanday on 02 May 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes:
Damian was my best friend. A kindred soul. We may have shared more beers than climbs but we had a bloody good laugh doing either.
Gonna miss you man.

Daimon Beail on 02 May 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes:
A pioneer of deep-water world.
My deepest sympathies.
Al Evans on 03 May 2004
In reply to Daimon Beail: Terrible news, great condolences to all his family and friends from myself and Geraldine.
Sarah D on 04 May 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes:

I used to know Damien in the UAE where he would drive hundreds of kms just to get a bit of climbing in over the weekend. Really easy going, friendly guy with loads of energy, had some great stories of all his various exploits.
Good to see someone who got so much out of life. My sympathies to Dominic and all the rest of his family xxx
taylor on 04 May 2004 - []
my best wishes and condolances to the cook family and everyone else who knew of him. i did not know him because i dont even know where dorset iz, but it iz always very touching wen some one loses their own life whilst doing something they love!
dominic cook on 04 May 2004 - whois?
In reply to all messages
Many thanks for all the messages of sympathy and support. Please continue to think of and pray for Damian and his wife and two children.
Send any personal cards and messages to Eszter and the children at C/O 55 Wentworth Avenue, Boscombe, Bournemouth, BH5 2EQ
All welcome to the funeral. Arrangements will be posted here as soon as they are known.
tobyfk - on 04 May 2004
In reply to nealheanes:

Very sad news. I have never knowingly met Damian but have enormous respect for his achievements. His efforts to publicise and de-mystify deep water soloing must have added a new dimension to many climbers' lives.

I hope this isn't an insensitive question but is there are any detail as to what went wrong? Are there any lessons to be learnt or was it just a freak accident?
Aidan Cook on 05 May 2004 -
In reply to tobyfk: Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and words. You may not have known him but you are right in everything you say. Damian was taken by the sea; the same would have happened to anyone venturing into the water at that time and place. Locals apparently know of the unusual and dangerous conditions that can develop there but there were no warnings.
JD on 05 May 2004 - whois?
In reply to Aidan Cook:

I first met Damian at Connor Cove, watching him and Joff on Freeborn man was an inspiration at the time. Before they left Damian did the swallow dive from the Acapulco point as pictured on the cover of into the blue, awesome! After moving to Dorset I bumped into Damian from time to time and he always struck me as being truly enthusiastic climber who was naturally gifted. I never really got to know him but he left a lasting impression.

My thoughts are with his wife, children, family and friends at what must be a terrible time.

Rest in Peace Damian,
Eszter on 05 May 2004 - []
In reply to all messages: Thank you for your kind words!!! He often tried to relax for a few minutes in front of the computer reading this website between tasks, running around, doing things for other people always. He was the best husband, father, friend. He made me laugh hundred times every day. He was everything to me.
Everyone is more than welcome to the funeral. If you are thinking of bringing flowers then make them colourful.
As he would say, he hasn't gone, he is only in the other room.
Stefan Kruger on 06 May 2004
In reply to nealheanes:

Shocking news.. Never met him, but had nothing but respect for his achievements. My condolences.
Norman Batchelor on 06 May 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes: Damian was a great guy to know and work with. He was always very helpful and upbeat. Damian had wonderful natural enthusiasm and always had a positive outlook on life.
This world is a less bright place without him and he will be very sadly missed.
My thoughts are with Eszter, children and extended family.

Jonathan Nichols on 06 May 2004 -
In reply to all mails:

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may the perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in Peace, Amen.

With thanks for an amazing uncle.

Liam on 06 May 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes: Damo is my uncle, friend and inspiration. Well hung young man! See you soon buddy.
Brian Mosbery on 07 May 2004 - []
In reply to Eszter: My deepest sympathy to you and your family at this time. He has been my teacher and guide in the computer world, and his intelligence, knowledge and wit will be sorely missed. Brian.

Claire Casey on 07 May 2004 -
In reply to Eszter:
I first met Damian when he came to Nescot to be “Fast Tracked” through the Cisco Networking Academy Program instructors’ course. First thoughts were what a charming young man. He did not find the course easy and was very nervous, fearing that he would fail – no chance of that. I will remember how his face lit up when he was talking of his family. His evident unconditional love of his daughter, and later his delight at the birth of his son. His fears of whether he was doing the right thing for his family. He was the sort of person every mother would love their daughter to marry. Always gentle and polite in manner, friendly, kind and helpful, very modest and understating of his own abilities but very able. I am sorry that I was not at Nescot enough over the time Damian has been there to have got to know him better. I would like his wife to know that her husband was valued and his children to know that their daddy was a very special person and I feel honoured that I have had the privilege of knowing him just a little.


ian bryant - on 07 May 2004
In reply to nealheanes:
very, very sad.
I was never able to meet Damian but from the very touching condolences and tributes here i take my hat off to the man, sounds to me like he lived his dream, in both his climbing and family life.
simon_smith on 07 May 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes:
Damian was a good friend through my school years and
after, my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
A unique individual who will be sorely missed.

Tim Emmett on 09 May 2004 - []
In reply to nealheanes:
Ever since I met Damian his friendliness and jovial nature have always been the thoughts I associate with him. You can’t help to enjoy whatever situation you share with him and the last day we went deep water soloing with him, his brother and the Dorset crew was one of the best ever and will remain timeless. My heart goes out to his family and close friends that knew him and cared for him so much, this is devastating news and I find it so difficult to put together words that express how I feel. He has been an inspiration, creating a new form of climbing excitement and liberation, for me, and others I climb with. He will always be there with me to share the experiences I have when climbing above the sea, where I enjoy life so much, as he did to.
Columba Cook on 10 May 2004 -
Damian's funeral will take place this Friday (14 May) in the afternoon in Bournemouth.

Eszter wishes to welcome all of Damian's friends and colleagues to this celebration of his life.

If you would like to come please email and I will reply with more details.

No fruitcakes need apply!

grant farquhar on 11 May 2004 -
In reply to nealheanes:
This weekend I attended the first deep water solo festival to be held in Croatia. It was overshadowed by the tragic events in Mallorca and the organiser, Miroslav Stec of cliffbase, dedicated the entire event in memory of Damian who was one of the original pioneers of the discipline. I hope Damian would have approved of the spirit with which the festival was held which involved climbers from Western and Eastern Europe having it both on and off the rock as much as possible. At the height of the finishing party one minute of silence was observed in Damian's memory. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
Raymond Wong on 12 May 2004 -
In reply to Eszter: My deepest sympathies, Damian was my lecturer on the Cisco course, he alway willing to help and provides the best he can give. His presence will be missed but will always be remembered.
Brian Tilley on 12 May 2004 - whois?
In reply to nealheanes:

My sincere condolences to all Damians family, a great guy what a sad sad loss!
Clare Tickel on 15 May 2004 - []
In reply to dominic cook: Damien's funeral yesterday was a wonderful tribute to his life! His brothers Simon and Gus spoke so beautifully and openly about Damien, that you couldn't help but smile and shed a tear. The prayer Damien's father wrote was perfect!

My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.

Love Clare

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