Art Morimitsu has passed away


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Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 15, 2012 - 03:46pm PT
I'm saddened to say that Art Morimitsu, long-time SoCal climber, known here as "trapeze artemis," passed away yesterday following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Mar 15, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
Very sad news. I did not know Art really well, but I would run into him climbing all over the place. It was always a real treat to see him. He was a good climber who was modest, cheerful and supportive.

Here's a shot I took of Art gracefully floating a route at Rock Creek, July 29, 2006.

Please accept my best wishes to family and friends at this difficult time.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Mar 15, 2012 - 04:44pm PT
Sad news indeed...

Mar 15, 2012 - 04:45pm PT
this is so sad. i had no idea art was sick.

i climbed black orpheus (redrocks) with art as well as a bunch of cragging at jtree w/ him. fun partner, lots of jokes and sh#t-talk.

see you on the flipflop, artemis.

Trad climber
Beautiful Altadena
Mar 15, 2012 - 04:52pm PT
Oh man! I haven't run into Art for years, but climbed a bit with him back about 10 years ago. Seemed like he was always in good spirits, was fun to be around, and had a healthy irreverence about him.

He will be missed. Carry on in his spirit.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.


Social climber
Joshua Tree
Mar 15, 2012 - 04:55pm PT
Sad to hear it, also had no idea he was ill. Was just wondering recently why I hadn't run into him in a couple of years.

Fair winds Art.

Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2012 - 04:57pm PT
Stich, I didn't know Art's exact age, but it was a lot closer to 50 than 30, believe it or not. He just always looked 20 years younger than his real age.

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA
Mar 15, 2012 - 06:25pm PT
I am so sorry to hear this.

Art was one of my first J-Tree partners back when I started climbing in '02. Art and Tim Bui. Both great guys and wonderful mentors. Have a lot of fond memories of climbing with them and learning from them. Lost touch with him as the years passed. Had no idea he was sick.

RIP Art.

Mar 15, 2012 - 08:39pm PT
Always a smile and a psyched attitude from Art. Sad to hear it. He lived well by my estimation, good on him. Peace, all.

Trad climber
Mar 15, 2012 - 09:05pm PT
wow, very sorry to hear
Martha Mackey-North

Social climber
Brighton, colorado
Mar 15, 2012 - 09:36pm PT
Hello all, I went to school with Art. I am very sad to hear of his passing. He was a wonderful human being. He will be missed as much as he was loved... Alot! To his family... Thank you for having and sharing him with the rest of us! RIP Art!!!
Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 15, 2012 - 10:15pm PT
Met Art a few times...what a gentle man and wonderful spirit.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Mar 15, 2012 - 10:34pm PT
When I met Art on one of my first trips to J. Tree he was living it up like a rock star. I never knew him well, but I used to run into him a surprisingly often considering how far apart we lived from each other. He was always stoked and friendly, and seeing him always brightened my day. I was so sad to read this this morning.

To his close friends and family, I'm so sorry.

Thanks for posting it here, Jay.

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Mar 15, 2012 - 10:55pm PT
Very sad. Art was a great guy.

El Portal
Mar 15, 2012 - 10:56pm PT
My Supertopo handle was given to me by Art. I heard this news today as I headed out of Indian Creek. Art taught me to place gear and lead back in 2003, and I cherish and frequently use those skills. He gave me the black Metolius cam I fell on yesterday.

Art and I went through a lot together. I wish I had stayed in better touch. I wish he had told me he was sick.

Art, you are such a huge part of climbing to me.


Boulder climber
Gilbert, AZ
Mar 15, 2012 - 11:04pm PT
Art may have been small in stature, but not in heart or in spirit. I had great times climbing with Art, swilling tequila with him and starting fights with him vs. a certain JT motel owner (who shall remain nameless) and subsequently the San Bernadino County Sheriff's office which was summoned as reinforcement. Not surprisingly, we lost that one. I will miss him.


Ice climber
Southern California
Mar 16, 2012 - 01:08am PT
Like others, it's been a few years since I've spoken to Art and I had no idea he was ill. Art was awesome. He'd tell it like it is, and held nothing back. If someone were being a jackass, he'd call them out to their face, much to the delight of the folks who were being negatively affected by the person's behavior as Art became their voice, the voice of truth. I learned a bit from Art when I was getting more into technical climbing; being new, I needed to be surrounded by people I could trust from a safety perspective, and he was one of those people. He was far from perfect, like all of us. Yet, there was a camaraderie and bond that comes from people you trust. Life here is short; thanks for the memories. RIP Art.

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Mar 16, 2012 - 01:26am PT

Oh man...sad news.... )-: Condolences to his family and friends..


Mar 16, 2012 - 01:42am PT

Social climber
Mar 16, 2012 - 02:49am PT
hey there say, all.... i don't know many climbers, but i surely know of the wonderful comaraderie between good buddies... and losing them, is terribly sad,:(

very sad to hear this hard news...
thank you for sharing about this wonderful friend...
my condolences to his family and loved ones at this hard sad time...
may god bless you with good memories and such, to help you through...


Trad climber
Mar 16, 2012 - 12:06pm PT
Very sorry to hear this.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Mar 16, 2012 - 05:47pm PT
We are sorry to hear of Art's passing. Art was a generous person and someone who was always fun to talk to... whether at the gym or at the crags.

Randy & Sarah
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Mar 16, 2012 - 06:01pm PT
I remember meeting Art in Joshua Tree in 02' . I thought at the time he was a typical armchair climber / sprayer / poser , but then I saw him climb and he definitely knew what he was doing on the rock . I remember being surprised and making a mental note not to draw too many conclusions about climbers based on their mouth , or size ... he was pretty short . Sad to hear he has died .

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Mar 17, 2012 - 07:59pm PT
Very sorry to hear this. Condolences to friends and family. He was clearly very loved and well respected.


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Mar 17, 2012 - 09:58pm PT

My condolences to Art's family and friends.

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 17, 2012 - 10:19pm PT
I randomly ran into Art climbing in Josh about 5 years ago. He rolled solo into HV campground and crashed at my site. The next day we had climbed together with a group of friends before we realized that we had conversed on before. It was one of the more entertaining days of climbing I've ever had the pleasure of sharing with friends.

I didn't know Art well, and only had the pleasure of climbing with him that once, but I know he will be missed.

Rest in peace Art.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 18, 2012 - 10:27pm PT
I first met Art when I started doing some rockclimbing with a group of people I met through the Outdoorsclub 10+ years ago. Eric O'rafferty, Steve Powell, many others...and Art. I was a mountaineer, and had little experience doing technical rock. All were gracious in showing me the subtleties, and I learned enough not to be dangerous.

I wasn't a serious rock climber, but on my occasional trips to Josh, Art was always there, and was unfailingly courteous and kind, and I always enjoyed seeing him. Art took great joy in climbing, and he clearly was not just a person who climbed, but was a devotee of the climbing lifestyle: he was a climber, in the sense of the old camp 4 climbers. You couldn't quite imagine him in another context.

I always liked this group's emphasis on safety practices. I always learned. There was a reason for doing something, and it could be explained.

I climbed with others, and particularly when I watched what went on around me outside of my group, I was appalled at the safety practices. Just unbelievable.(not to this audience)

I thought about it for quite awhile, and decided that I could either bitch about it, or I could do something about it. So I started teaching free classes in climbing technique and introductory classes, mainly through the Outdoorsclub. Mostly at Stoney. Mainly, I was teaching safety practices.

I think I introduced something like 350 people to climbing over a couple of years, and one day I ran into Art out at Josh. We got to talking, and he told me that he thought that when I started doing the classes, that I was totally off-base, because I was no top-level climber (no sh*t!) with credentials to justify my showing others.

But then he actually ran into people who had learned from me, who wanted to know about the history of the ropes they were climbing on, who wanted to inspect anchors, who were anal about inspecting partner's setups and harnesses, and if they got attitude about safety, they walked away. He told me that he was wrong, and that I had made a difference in what he was seeing happen on the rocks, and the good practices were infectious.

That Art would have bothered to have said that meant the world to me. I'd obviously never known what he'd thought before, but he thought it was important that I should know, and that he had changed his position.

That was the kind of guy he was. He might seem tough and rowdy, but that was to cover that he was sensitive and caring about those around him.

Art was an ambassador for our sport, and those who encountered him came away knowing someone who made them smile and think well of climbers.

El Portal
Mar 18, 2012 - 11:55pm PT
A few months after I met Art, October of 2003, we decided to go climb Human Fright to Angel's Fright at Tahquitz. It was my second time on a multipitch climb.

That day changed my life and my climbing forever. After what happened that day, Art and I were climbing partners and dear friends. He was my mentor. I met him when I was a complete beginner, and he taught me so much.

Art taught me to place gear. He taught me to lead climb. He taught me to build anchors. He taught me rescue systems. He taught me to be skeptical of climbing partners, to ask questions, to make sure I was climbing with safe people. He taught me how to cook on a camp stove. He taught me how to stay calm when lost in the desert in the dark with no headlamp.

Every Thursday night for a long time, he would call me and ask, "What are we climbing this weekend?" He was the best climbing partner life has ever given me.

Falling out of touch with Art will probably always be one of the biggest regrets of my life. I'm so sorry for these years we wasted, and I'm so sorry I didn't get to say goodbye and the thing I really want to say.


Social climber
Phoenix, AZ
Apr 27, 2012 - 06:37pm PT
I have to find my picture of Art in front of Art's Bar in Santa Barbara.

Art and I were good friends in the 80's, roaming around from Rosarito Beach to Goleta. From his zebra painted mail-delivery jeep to his passion for the beach, to his great way to spin humor in to our daily lives - Art was that friend that we all like to have.

Art - the memories will last forever. Adios Amigo - you're missed.
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