RIP Andrew Barnes


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Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 11, 2015 - 07:37pm PT
Andrew, who has made many posts on this site, was killed in a free-solo fall on the first pitch of Cascading Crystal Kaleidoscope in the Gunks yesterday. He was a highly-respected applied mathematician at the GE Global Research Center, and leaves behind a wife an young daughter.

Washington Column Trip Report from Andrew:

NY Daily News item:

Daily Gazette item:

Andrew talks about mathematics

[Click to View YouTube Video]

Andrew writing about the significance of pi ...

...and in a brief video interviewing colleagues about it at GE

[Click to View YouTube Video]

Andrew at the top of Washington Column (from his TR)

Andrew on Zodiac in 2008 (from el-cap pics)

Andrew's obituary from and , reproduced below.

Andrew Barnes 14 Sep 1968-10 Jun 2015

Andrew Ladislaus Barnes passed away on 10 Jun 2015 in a climbing accident in the Shawangunk mountains of New York State. He was born in Calcutta, India, the second of four children of Stanislaus and Grace Barnes, both from the vicinity of Mangalore, India.

An idyllic childhood included close contact with an extended family located near Mangalore, Bombay, and Nasik, a loving and encouraging home environment, and a religious upbringing in a devoutly Roman Catholic family.

His basic education, from first to twelfth grade, was obtained entirely at St. Xavier's Collegiate School, Calcutta, under the supervision of Jesuit priests, one of whom, Fr. Goreaux (himself a student of Albert Einstein), ignited Andrew's interest in mathematics, which thereafter became his first

A scholarship took him across the world to Yale University in the USA, where his elder brother was also studying, and where he obtained his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1992. Yale and its academics made a profound impression on him. Moving on to Duke University for graduate study, he completed his PhD in mathematics some years later.

At Duke, he met and married a fellow student, Natalia Smelova, the true love of his life, who compensated for the mathematician's eccentricities, and kept him connected to everyday life.

Here too, he met Stein and Fabian, two top-notch Swiss rock climbers, who introduced him to the sport that became a second passion, one bordering on obsession. This propelled him to many places over the succeeding years, including Mount Rainier, several trips to the Canadian Rockies, and yearly pilgrimages to the `big walls' of Yosemite.

Both his wife and he had moved to Niskayuna in New York to work at GE Global Research, and in 2004 they were blessed with a lovely daughter, Sophia, who he took great pride in, and whose mathematical education, in particular, he enjoyed supervising.

Andrew was generous, patient and personable, qualities endearing him to many people in both the climbing and professional worlds. Curiously, he managed this while remaining ruthlessly truthful, a fact that was initially disconcerting to some. He believed in not doing things by half-measures. Thus he lived life with uncommon intensity, allowing him to reach both mental and physical heights.

He leaves behind a grieving wife, daughter, parents, three siblings, and many relatives and friends who he touched, and often inspired. The world is a poorer place without him.

A wake will be held on Monday, June 15, 2015, 4-7 p.m. at New Comer Funeral Home, 343 New Karner Rd, Colonie, NY. The Liturgy of Christian Death and Burial will be celebrated at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 16, 2015, at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, 806 Union St., Schenectady. Interment will follow in Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, 2501 Troy Schenectady Rd., Schenectady. Contributions may be made in Andrew Barnes' memory to Playground Fund, Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church, 617 Sand Creek Rd., Colonie, NY 12205.

RIP Andrew.

Gym climber
Great White North
Jun 11, 2015 - 07:45pm PT
Seen him at Poke O a few times in the winter.
Terrible news. Rest in peace.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jun 11, 2015 - 07:47pm PT
No!...I loved his prow trip report.


Seemed so stoked.

Jun 11, 2015 - 07:57pm PT
I met Andrew last year in YV. I truly enjoyed his company. This is heart breaking news. A good guy gone too early.


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 11, 2015 - 07:58pm PT
So sorry to young, so much going for him.

Trad climber
Norwalk, CT
Jun 11, 2015 - 08:05pm PT
Too much death in the Gunks this last year. RIP Andrew.

mali, africa
Jun 11, 2015 - 08:21pm PT
Rest in peace Andrew, you will be missed.
I was lucky enough to climb with him on several occasions, one time on the leaning tower almost 10 years ago, I fell asleep while belaying him and he had such an even keel he didnít even raise his voice and yell to wake me, but rather he just gently tugged the rope and patiently waited for me to check back in. I think that incident speaks for what kind of person we just lost. Andrew was super positive and always so kind, may the rest of us learn something from him.
See you on the flip side brother.

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jun 11, 2015 - 08:23pm PT
Andrew had more "stoke" than most of us and really went for it. I'm sorry he came to such an early end. I'd have liked to meet him.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
Jun 11, 2015 - 08:26pm PT
Very accomplished man. The world is a lesser place. RIP Andrew.

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Jun 11, 2015 - 08:29pm PT
Very sad news. Condolences to his family and friends.
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
Jun 11, 2015 - 08:34pm PT
This is so sad. I looked forward to running into Andrew each time I was in the valley. Such a great guy, and this news is a shock. We will all miss you. Our thoughts are with family and friends.


Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Jun 11, 2015 - 08:50pm PT
Way too young. Another sad episode in the world of climbing.

Balcarce, Argentina
Jun 11, 2015 - 08:51pm PT
Sorry to hear about this. I know exactly what he means in that video. Condolences to his family and friends.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
Jun 11, 2015 - 09:14pm PT
This is the third time I have pushed reply, I wish to extend my condolences and deep sorrow to Andrews family and friends.

This just so. . .
and how gut wrenching this is.
This chokes me

The age and wisdom, the full life that he had built! This is a tragedy that may have been caused by the rock sweating just after the sun went down . As the temperature changes condensation
Builds on the glassy Gunks quartzite, - like in between the outside sheets of a shower curtain.
I have to try to make sense of this. .
I am so sad to hear this
Hi/Low! - so low hold your loved ones tonight.

Jun 11, 2015 - 09:23pm PT
Damn! Andrew was such a fantastic person. Couple of years ago, we were both soloing Zodiac. I was 3-4 pitches above him and we would text each other at night. What a blast, just talking about the day's pitches and what lay ahead. I dropped my new Totem on the first pitch and never realized it for two pitches. Well, Andrew finds it at the base, texts me to ask if it's mine and then after we both topped out, he mailed it back to me. Class act all the way around. Now this was the year of the government shutdown, so when I topped out, I had to leave the park. I stopped by to gaze up at The Captain and there was Andrew, driving on just a few pitches from the top.
Keep driving on my friend. Drive on.

Trad climber
Jun 11, 2015 - 09:29pm PT
RIP Andrew. I honestly never would have thought Andrew would have a major accident climbing, let alone soloing. Andrew was methodically safe, sincere in regard to safety, and never rushed. His love for climbing both rock and ice was infectious. This is hard to process...

Big Wall climber
Solana Beach
Jun 11, 2015 - 09:32pm PT
Andrew learnt how to climb with me back in college, close to 20 years ago.

He was someone special. The way he approached climbing, and life in general, inspired me in so many ways -- patient, persistent, and passionate. I even owe him for meeting the woman who would eventually become my wife -- he flirted with her in a gym on her first day rock climbing, and convinced her to join us to go climbing outdoors.

Andrew, we will miss you sorely. :-(

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 11, 2015 - 09:36pm PT
truly sad news
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jun 11, 2015 - 11:05pm PT
Taking a leaf from what Andrew said in that video, he might have appreciated the idea of randomness entering his life in a way no one can predict.

He was a serious man, and I mean that sincerely.

Condoling with his wife and family.

So long for now, led a good life.

Trad climber
Jun 11, 2015 - 11:20pm PT
Bad news, very sad.
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