Mead Hargis


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 26, 2008 - 08:52am PT

Yikes-I just had this emailed to me....

Mead Hargis 1948 ~ 2008 John "Mead" Hargis, superb climber, dad, and heroic heart, left this world June 18, 2008.Born Nov. 2, 1948 in Yakima, Washington to John Hargis and Ann Mead Hargis, Mead enjoyed growing up with his younger sisters where he played and worked in the family orchard. By his teen years, he was becoming an avid skier and mountaineer and started working as a summer mountain guide. In the late '60s, he was lured to the challenging Big Walls of Yosemite where he established a number of first ascents. His passion for climbing led to his work as a rescue ranger. After graduating from UC-Berkeley, he returned to Yosemite and served as a backcountry ranger, paramedic and law enforcement officer. He was a solid, safe climber and skier and a patient teacher to friends and colleagues. He was known as the cop who was so helpful that some speeders, told that their behavior endangered the park's wildlife, even thanked him for the tickets he wrote. Over the decades, he participated in hundreds of rescues. Many are the hikers and climbers who were grateful to see him ski out of a whiteout or rappel down a cliff to their aid. He loved to sew and was known for his innovative designs for back-packing gear and paramedic bags. Wildflowers and botany were also among his many self-developed areas of expertise. Later, when he had the choice to climb Mt. Everest or start a family, he and his wife Christina Devin chose to have a family and had two wonderful daughters, Heather (1985) and Laurel (1987). Once the girls were born, they were his compass and provided the heart and soul of his life. Before pursuing graduate education at Utah State University, Mead worked for the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining, California. From 1992 to 2005, he was a wilderness manager for the US Forest Service in Kamas, UT where he was known for his practical jokes, integrity, and collaborative work. Mead is survived by his daughters Heather Beitler (Paul) and Laurel Hargis of Arizona; sisters Helen Hargis and Mary Jean Taylor (Neil) of Washington; partner Connie Bullis of Utah; niece and nephews; and his precious grandchildren Chase, Joe, Aubrey, and the baby on the way. His parents and beloved nephew Scott preceded Mead in death. As much as he hated to leave his work, creative projects, skiing and climbing, friends, coke and chocolate chip cookies, he was especially sorry to leave his children and grandchildren. Even as illness took him from us, it was clear that, in his increasingly private world, he still helped his friends with building projects or skied the endless powder chutes, his generosity and joy in physical challenge undimmed by his confinement. Tho' much is taken, much abides: and tho' We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are, One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. Tennyson, Ulysses A service will be held at a later date at Yosemite. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Yosemite Assoc., P.O. Box 230, El Portal, CA 95318 (209-379-2646) are encouraged.
Published in the Salt Lake Tribune on 6/22/2008.
Guest†Book ï Flowers ï Charities†

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jun 26, 2008 - 10:07am PT
That's bad news. Mead was still a young man.
My condolences to his family and friends.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 26, 2008 - 10:29am PT
my sympathy goes out to family and friends,

Ulysses - Alfred Tennyson 1842

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers;
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle —
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me —
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads — you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 26, 2008 - 10:41am PT
his Valley first ascent list

Chopper 5.10c FA 1971 Mead Hargis Rick Sylvester
Cristina 5.11b FA 1971 Mead Hargis Dave Davis FFA John Long
Peter Left 5.10c FA 1971 Mead Hargis Kim Schmitz

Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Jun 26, 2008 - 10:50am PT
Sh#t, this is bad news, he was always a nice bloke. RIP Mead

Eating sand on the shores of Malibu...
Jun 26, 2008 - 11:38am PT
What an amazing man Mead was. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

chica from chico, I don't claim to be a daisy
Jun 26, 2008 - 11:56am PT
Steve Grossman's beautiful words - in a Previous post about Mead.

Those were the days......Mead was the first climber/ranger that I can recall interacting with in the early seventies. He was kind of like an older brother in charge of the kids. Camp 4 was a great amoeboid of boundary stakes and the individual campsites were completely funky and homespun. The sites came together as climbers scavenged tables, coffins and the other various doodads necessary to a proper home on the range! Arizona Avenue, complete with the street sign, was my home away from home for several seasons. Up the draw, first boulders on the right heading into camp.

Mead came around to collect the camping fees every morning at about 8:30. Usually, the place was a ghost town with only newcomers and those too wasted for easy evacuation being forced to pay. Everybody else hung out for the sweep and came back to bed. If Mead saw you a couple of hours later there was never any friction or BS with respect to his position or authority. He simply did his job gracefully.

The offset to looking the other way while fee collecting was the ready help that the denizens of Camp 4 would provide in the event of a rescue. We were all willing to help out and repay the favor when somebody was in trouble. This graceful rapport between NPS and the climbers had everything to do with Mead and his way of conducting his business. He really cared about everyone involved and it showed. Yosar would be a very different outfit without Mead's groundwork.

Rest in Peace *Mead* sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Boulder climber
Jun 26, 2008 - 12:26pm PT
I was asked by a friend to give advice on purchasing a starter rack and she had found a Craigslist post advertising some gear. Upon arriving we learned that the seller was Meads friend and was selling the used but well-cared-for gear on Meads behalf.

I find it somewhat fitting that we placed the gear on some routes in Squamish in the days preceding Mead's death and on a route (Diedre) that Mead had undoubtedly climbed in the past.

I did not have the privilege of meeting Mead Hargis, it sounds like the loss is mine. My condolences to his friends and family.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 26, 2008 - 12:33pm PT
Mead came to the Valley right at the beginning of the 70s when we were all in that awkward age around 20, trying to make sense of our lives and being pulled every which way by the explosive energy of Camp 4. We all grew up together, and in that time with so many different possibilities, Mead seems to have made all the right choices for a full life. My condolences to Mead's family.

Sincerely, Roger Breedlove

Jun 26, 2008 - 12:42pm PT
Now this is the Yosemite community I have always dreamed of, Mead I am truly sorry I didn't get my act together and dirtbag long enough to meet you.
These are the post's that make me realize how tight a scene climbing can be. Impressive how well you all know each other. Along with the impressive individuals.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 26, 2008 - 01:07pm PT
I'm very sorry to hear of Mead's death, and my condolences to his family and friends.

As with so many others, I knew him slightly in Camp 4 in the 1970s. He did a fine job of looking after something of a monkey house.

He also contributed to the evolution of climbing at Squamish, with the first ascent of the Black Dike in February 1970.
Carolyn C

Trad climber
the long, long trailer
Jun 26, 2008 - 02:16pm PT
Very sad news. My condolences to his family and friends.

chica from chico, I don't claim to be a daisy
Jun 26, 2008 - 08:21pm PT

Trad climber
Jun 26, 2008 - 08:25pm PT

Scared Silly

Trad climber
Jun 26, 2008 - 10:51pm PT
My path crossed with Mead's later in life, when he was working on the Logan Ranger District here in Utah. We worked together on the climbing management plan for the City of Rocks. It was a great to meet Mead cause you see he happen to do a few routes over in North Eastern Oregon in the 70s which is where I did some of my early climbing. When we realized this we had a nice chat about these little known climbs and the fun we had on them. Like others have said Mead's genteelness shined through above everything else.

Walk peacefully through the wilderness Mead.


Anne-Marie Rizzi

Jun 26, 2008 - 11:15pm PT
Condolences to all friends and family.


Social climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 30, 2008 - 12:14am PT
Thank you all for writing about my dad, he was a great man and I will miss him more than I can say. If anyone is interested, you can visit his website at to view pictures and post memories. It would mean alot to me and my family if you have any other stories about him. There will also be a memorial service held for him in August near Mono lake.

climber a single wide......
Nov 16, 2008 - 09:47pm PT
I was cruising the web looking for anything about the fast Roskelley and Hargis ascent of the NA Wall. Nada, but did find this little gem. I hope it's OK to post..


Mead Hargis is an old friend. Though he is not really that old—58—a year older than me. But I don’t think he knows me anymore. Mead is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. And so many hearts ache because of that.

I don’t remember exactly when I met Mead—I think it was during some Wilderness Ranger school I was asked to address. Mead was the resource/environmental planner on the Kamas Ranger District with a deep and profound care for the High Uintas Wilderness— for all wild places for that matter. Before coming to the Forest Service, Mead spent a couple of decades in the National Park Service in backcountry management in the Sierras. He was a climber of note, a cross country skier, a winter mountaineer.

His smile was immediate, his eyes connected to yours, he listened, always wore baggy pants, maybe because he was rail thin and as fit as a person can be, forgot to comb his hair on most days, and for the decade or so on the Kamas Ranger District did his job like it was supposed to be done! We were hiking above Long Lake one afternoon and I asked him when he would be applying for a district ranger job. I think that was the first time his heart raced over 50 beats a minute and his face squinched up to something unrecognizable. He asked, “Why? I like what I do and I like to get things done.”
Mead played a major role in some of the most important projects on the Uintas. With Melissa Blackwell as District Ranger, Mead set in motion the first steps restricting campfires in the high elevations of the Uintas. It took a long time—Mead built the process, gathered the data, set it in motion in Naturalist Basin and was still of strong enough mind, though forced to retire, to see it happen across much of the Uintas. He did the majority of the planning and initial analysis on the Lakes backcountry reservoir stabilization. With District Ranger Jane Cottrell, he fleshed out a Lakes Backcountry Management Plan. He insisted on road closures not one at a time but in groups.
And like all with Alzheimer’s, Mead knew what was happening, starting a few years back. Once clearly diagnosed he never lost faith, never lost his goodness or dignity. But he was robbed; of that there is no doubt. At our last HUPC Rendezvous Mead and I sat on a rock for a while and he said to me, “I’m sorry I can’t think as clearly. I have a hard time with more than one thought.” What can be said to respond to that? I think with incredible lameness I responded, “It’s okay.” Sheesh.

The year before, he and Connie and Margaret and I shared Thanksgiving at our house in Hyrum. Nice day. As were most of the days with Mead even as he spiraled down. The last two HUPC board meetings were held in the Assisted Living Center in Oakley where Mead was staying. In April he had a hard time walking and for the first time our eyes simply didn’t meet.

I don’t know where Mead has gone. I know where he has been though—he is a good friend, he did the Forest Service proud, he was a good dad, grandpa, husband and partner. And his story, like so many others robbed by Alzheimer’s, deserves a good telling!

Dick Carter

climber a single wide......
Nov 16, 2008 - 09:54pm PT
Photo from Mead's Memorial site of him bouldering the wide

Or get a load of Mead on the actual El Cap Tree..


Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Nov 16, 2008 - 09:56pm PT
Simple yet beautifully written.
Thank you.
Jim Pettigrew

Social climber
Crowley Lake, CA
Nov 17, 2008 - 12:25am PT
It is with great sadness to hear of Mead's untimely passing! I like many knew Mead from the early seventies until I lost contact with most of my friends upon moving to a permanent lifestyle in Mammoth Lakes. So surprised am I to hear this news and especially saddened that one so capable, caring, and talented was taken from us by this really disturbing disease.

My condolences to Mead's family.

Jim Pettigrew
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 17, 2008 - 02:06am PT
Thanks for the added photos and stories.

Another thread about Mead, starting about a year ago when news of his illness became public, is at
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Nov 17, 2008 - 02:36am PT
My condolences to family and friends.

I talked with him in Camp 4, but never climbed with him. As the California assistant editor of the AAJ back in the 70s, I edited most of his first ascent reports.

Sad indeed.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 17, 2008 - 03:01am PT
Mead was not simply a "solid" climber as the initial bio says, he was a phenomenal climber. One day Mead and I climbed the Meat Grinder. In no way do I exaggerate when I say he walked up the crux, on lead, putting maybe one or two pieces in for protection, not even raising a drop of sweat, as best I could tell. The best climbers in the Valley, and I climbed with them all, couldn't have done better. He was a skinny guy but really tough. He had practiced a bit of karate and one day in Camp 4, needing a dummy to practce on, demonstrated a side-thrust kick to my shin. It was all harmless play, but I got a sense of the power in this seemingly very light, fragile-looking sort of guy. He wasn't fragile but strong. I have thought of him often and will continue to remember this dear friend, one of the really good souls of that land of eternal youth, Yosemite. I say "eternal," because the members of our climbing family don't really ever die. They stay with us, in our thoughts, in our hearts, forever.

Pat Ament
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