Hope Meek has Died


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Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 28, 2014 - 10:37pm PT
Hope's daughter has just announced the passing of her mother.

"Hail and farewell to my mom; a fierce, passionate adventurous soul and propulsive life force. She graduated from this life with honors and died as she lived; without fear and without compromise. We will all miss you".

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 28, 2014 - 10:39pm PT
I am glad I got to meet her once at the Sacherer memorial in the Valley.

"Hope Meek" image by Lynne Leichtfuss

She was quite a woman, and her spirit an inspiration.

SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, or In What Time Zone Am I?
Jun 28, 2014 - 10:46pm PT
Very heartbreaking. What a lovely tribute.


Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 28, 2014 - 11:00pm PT
Here's a recent photo, age 87.

Credit: Jan

When I camped out with her in Yosemite for a week in the rain for the Sacherer Memorial, she was a mere 83 years old. We were up at Hodgedon's, camping in a leaky tent with her antique gear from the 1950's, freezing cold, and yet it was one of the most enjoyable weeks of my life. She was a wonderful poet and when we weren't reading her poetry and reminiscing over our youthful days in Yosemite, we were drinking wine and laughing ourselves silly. I feel very fortunate that she contacted me and said she wanted to come and I'll be forever grateful that she was able to take up the slack at the last minute when brokedown had his accident and ended up in the hospital. I only wish I had met her sooner.


Social climber
Jun 28, 2014 - 11:03pm PT
hey there say, jan... thank you for sharing... i, of course, never knew her, but i was thankful that you gave us a chance to 'life-meet' her, by letting us send cards to her...

i loved the story you shared about her, and the goldgate bridge...

may her 'gold', shine sweet on that other side of life's bridge...

my condolences to her family, her loved ones, and that those that knew so much about her...

prayers and hugs, to them all...

Social climber
joshua tree
Jun 28, 2014 - 11:21pm PT
Bless her soul..

Wish i had got to meet her.

I only wish I had met her sooner.

Good thing ur here now doin what your doin!

Condolences to her family as well.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 28, 2014 - 11:42pm PT
from SuperTopo Tuolumne Free Climbs

Great White Book

“…The route is great, it’s certainly a gleaming white and it’s a perfect example of an open book (a.k.a. dihedral). Thus the route would almost seem to be self-naming. But this is not the case. A woman named Hope was on the first ascent, and she was good. Good enough that we jokingly called her the Great White Hope,…

Hope Morehouse Meek remembers the climb well. ‘Steve Roper mischievously put me together with Jim Baldwin. Jim had the reputation of being able to fall in love with a glass of water. Well, I lived with Jim in Camp 4, commuting from the Bay Area every weekend, for two years, climbing any route Jim would lead. Jim finally decided it was time for me to graduate to a first ascent, so we packed up our gear and drove to Tuolumne with Jeff Foott. The boy’s selection of route delighted me. I love climbing, but am a lazy walker, and I remember being able to drive almost to the bottom of the route. The book was very wide open with few cracks in its spine. A foot and hand on each leaf (to continue the metaphor of ‘book’) with cross pressure and a few good hand holds did the trick most of the way. There was very little feel of exposure until the last pitch where one has to fiddle around a small ledge to get up to the friction at the end of the climb. The boys promised I could name it, and I wanted to name it Hope’s Crack—but these wild and wooly and full-of-fleas boys demurred. I remember that we did the route without bolts, which pleased us greatly.'”

-Steve Roper

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 29, 2014 - 04:30am PT
Meeting Hope was a highlight for me while in the Valley for the Sacherer Memorial. Hope's ability to tell a fine story with flare and great humor made her a very endearing friend.

My condolences to her family and her many friends. She will be sorely missed.....rest in peace, Hope.....


Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Jun 29, 2014 - 06:49am PT
Although we never had the opportunity to meet-I am saddened by her passing. My heartfelt condolences to her family and all her many climbing friends.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 29, 2014 - 09:25am PT
I'm very sorry to hear this sad news. Hope was a lively character and then some, and great fun to have at the Sacherer memorial in 2010. Never a dull moment when she was around, and for some reason she and Jan really hit it off. It's all the more poignant in that her death was only days after the 50th anniversary of the death of Jim Baldwin on Washington Column. My sympathies to Hope's family and friends.

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 29, 2014 - 10:34am PT
Along those lines, I can say that she always considered Jim the love of her life and their relationship to be the happiest days that she always looked back to. The reason she wanted to come with me to the memorial, was to deal with her own issues, which were so similar to mine. She was in a TB sanitarium when Jim died and could not go to the funeral and I was in a remote village in Nepal and didn't get the news about Frank until months later. Mighty Hiker showed a film of Baldwin and Cooper's iconic Squamish first ascent at Frank's memorial, and when we drove out of the valley that night, we both felt free finally, of the regrets of our past. Closure, however late it comes, is a wonderful thing.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 29, 2014 - 10:56am PT
While she cherished that time with Jim, kept those memories, and must have been greatly affected by his accident and death; she didn't let that loss keep her from living life fully, with joy and with her remarkable energy.


Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jun 29, 2014 - 03:17pm PT
She sounds like such an amazing woman.

Rest easy Hope.

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 29, 2014 - 03:20pm PT
Beautiful words, Jan....thank you.

Lynne Leichtfuss, Hope Meek and Eric Beck

At the Frank Sacherer Memorial, Yosemite Valley
At the Frank Sacherer Memorial, Yosemite Valley
Credit: Cragman

Jun 29, 2014 - 04:36pm PT
I met Hope briefly at Frank's memorial. Mind you all of us had been put in a special state because of our regard for Frank. But I came away feeling Hope's relationship with Jim was one of those one in a million things, that we all assume we will achieve. We don't of course. Which is why we, at some point, need to meet a Hope Meek.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jun 29, 2014 - 07:02pm PT
Ah Hope

I feel sad, we have not communicated for a couple of years and now you are gone.

After the Sacherer Celebration, what a thrill to share the past, those 50 odd years that slipped away so quickly and to learn more about you before we met way back then in Camp 4.

I was 13 and you were 30 and Baldwin was your man and you were his lady. What a time for all of us.

You were named Hope because your parents hoped for a boy and you were “delirious with the though of escaping furbelows and curtseys and turning into the boy I should have been.”

“As a kid at the Larchmont Beach Club, I learned how to sail from Cornelius Shields and crewed with him on many races. I learned how to swim from Johnny Weismuller and my dad was president of the club so as his tomboy daughter I had a lot of extra perks. All of which will get you nothing but it has been a mad and privileged life I have enjoyed every bit of.”

I remember that sentence, “ Lots of old world, but no money.” Your dad was president of Suncrest Sugar Corporation and Grandma’s Molasses and the foremost sugar futures buyer in N.Y.C. His office was number 1 Wall Street.

I always smile with the Grandma’s Molasses title. He owned a large sugar plantation in Cuba where lucky you got to spend your summer vacations. Your mother was trying to teach you to drink like a lady. Did getting drunk with Hemingway help or was it good practice for Camp 4 in later years?

“Castro was a real bastard, he shot his own room mate from college, a guy I was dating at the time.”

“After Cuba, no old money left but lots of old ancestors buried behind Trinity Church at the head of Wall Street; and enough family connections like the Vanderbuilt and Astor to be a suitable pedigree for a debutante.”

And your mom. Lived to 108 and was “no Victorian dope, one of he frist women to graduate from Cornell in Chemistry in 1918.” A tough old bird as you use to say.

Then the 250 acre farm in Vermont where you said you came into your own for the first time.

One of the last messages from Hope:
“Hi beautiful legs, be careful of sexy old ladies like me and tell your women to keep you on the island!” Plenty of space to pitch tents in my back yard, hot and cold running water as well as maid service.” Classic from a very Classic lady.

And this poem.

Yosemite’s Camp 4 in the sixties
We were the jewels on the walls of the valley,
The young and the beautiful, rebellion on granite.
Climbing our passion, our family camp 4
We loved and we trusted our lives to each other
On the end of a rope. A sexual high,
As is flying, rappeling with tinkling hardware,
Pitons and beeners chiming on stone,
Breathtaking slow motion, our music drifts down,
Ignoring Viet Nam, final exams, anxious mothers,
And more. We were poor, but we ate and we drank
Like the royalty we were.
The tourists in campers were our quarry for food.
Together we foraged our family’s meals
From their blanketed compounds complete with RVs
And TVs ignoring the glory around them.
Their steaks and wine were fine with us,
Just so long as they didn’t dine with us.

Don't know if you remember, I used to cook for 4 after we thefted out the tourists. Remember teton tea?

Sentimentally tearing up. Thanks for the hello, I still love him."


Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Jun 29, 2014 - 07:13pm PT
Wonderful posts on this thread to celebrate Hope's wonderful life.

I never knew her, and I am poorer for that.

Guido! Your post is Poetry!

Thank you all!

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 29, 2014 - 07:23pm PT
Thanks SO much, Joe.....that's the stuff!!!!!!!!!!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jul 7, 2014 - 11:25am PT
Haven't been on the forum forever it seems like! So sorry to hear of Hope's passing. What an incredible woman! I was gifted to meet her. What a great, fun, intelligent role model. Blessings of Peace and Comfort to all her friends and family. Love, Lynne

Gym climber
new milford ct
Jul 21, 2014 - 05:50am PT
Though life can be fragile, you were a strong person. Will miss your laughter and phone calls.


joanie pond
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