Edwin Drummond, 73, Who Turned Climbing Into Activism, Dies




Edwin Drummond, a mountaineer and poet who made worldwide headlines by scaling landmarks similar to the Statue of Liberty as a kind of protest, died on April 23 at a care facility in Oakland, Calif. He was 73.

His son, Haworth Ward-Drummond, talked about that the set off was pneumonia, and that Mr. Drummond had had Parkinson’s sickness since 1994.

Mr. Drummond was already well-known in climbing circles as a type of alpine poet laureate sooner than he decided, throughout the late 1970s, to utilize the abilities he honed on European peaks and El Capitan in Yosemite National Park to draw consideration to causes he considered important. He confronted licensed repercussions for climbing quite a few buildings and monuments, which he observed as a small worth to pay for battling injustice.

In 1978 he climbed Nelson’s Column in London with Colin Rowe, one different mountaineer, to protest apartheid in South Africa; the next 12 months he climbed Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to protest the incarceration of Elmer G. Pratt, a Black Panther who had been sentenced to life in jail in 1972 after he was convicted of killing a coach. (Mr. Pratt spent years making an attempt to point out that he had been framed sooner than his conviction was vacated in 1997.)

Edwin Drummond, 73, Who Turned Climbing Into Activism, Dies

Mr. Drummond climbed a third of the way in which wherein up the Statue of Liberty with Stephen Rutherford, a youthful climber, on May 10, 1980, moreover to draw consideration to Mr. Pratt’s case. Once the 2 climbers had ascended, they opened a 25-foot-long banner that talked about, referring to Mr. Pratt by his Panther determine: “Liberty was framed. Free Geronimo Pratt.”

The two males spent 24 hours nestled throughout the furls of Lady Liberty’s tunic, typically shouting options to queries from reporters, then descended and surrendered to the authorities, who charged them with felony trespass and damaging authorities property.

“As the men, their arms handcuffed behind them, were led away by park rangers, Mr. Drummond said that Mr. Pratt had been framed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” The New York Times reported. “He added, ‘This has been a climb for justice.’ ”

Park Service officers initially accused Mr. Drummond and Mr. Rutherford of doing so much damage to the statue with pitons and completely different climbing devices that $80,000 worth of repairs might be important. Mr. Drummond contended that he and Mr. Rutherford had used huge rubber suction cups, not pitons, to anchor themselves to the statue’s skinny copper pores and pores and skin.

Both males had been launched on bail, and the charges had been decreased to misdemeanors — an indication that irrespective of damage that they’d induced was considerably decrease than the preliminary estimates.

Edwin Drummond, 73, Who Turned Climbing Into Activism, Dies

For a climber of Mr. Drummond’s caliber, the side of a monument might as successfully have been a ladder. He soloed the Nose on El Capitan, the 3,000-foot-tall sheer granite cliff that has bedeviled generations of climbers, in 1973, and he made tough first ascents — that is, pioneering routes — in England, Wales and Northern Europe.

His most daring first ascent was the Arch Wall route up the Troll Wallin Norway, which he climbed in 1972 with Hugh Drummond (no relation). The route took them up the left side of the Troll Wall, the tallest vertical rock face in Europe at about 3,500 toes. The climb took 20 days, all through which they’d been buffeted by rain and snow, ran out of meals and risked hypothermia and frostbite.

Mr. Drummond wrote regarding the Troll Wall climb in “Mirror Mirror,” an article first printed in Ascent journal in 1973. Like numerous his writing about climbing, the article thrust readers into the exaltation, affliction, fear and occasional tedium of an prolonged ascent.

In one passage he described his colleague’s foot, bloated after days of climbing: “It looked as though, during the night, someone had pumped Hugh’s foot up. His skin transparent as tracing paper, the foot was a mallet of flesh, the toes tiny buds.”

Much of Mr. Drummond’s poetry was linked to climbing. During some readings he cavorted on a 20-foot-tall metallic tripod, which he referred to as a “portable mountain.” His poetry and prose had been compiled in a variety of books, along with the gathering “A Dream of White Horses: Recollections of Life on the Rocks” (1987). The title refers again to the determine he gave one among his first ascents, on a seaside cliff in Wales.

In the opening stanzas of “To Climb or Not To Climb,” the e-book’s first poem, Mr. Drummond compares struggling to climb to language:

If climbing is speaking a fluent physique language,

yesterday was all Greek

to me …

Feet stuttered on doorsteps of granite:

a clear face.

Tongue-tied, my fingers

let me down, wanting on the ground

as if I’d forgotten my determine.

Edwin William Drummond was born on May 14, 1945, in Wolverhampton, England, to William and Madeline (Parton) Drummond. His father labored for the submit office, and his mother was a house worker.

After graduating from Wolverhampton Technical High School in Wolverhampton, he studied philosophy on the University of Bristol, incomes a stage in 1967, and commenced climbing; he wrote that his first strains of poetry received right here to him on a major climb. He supported his climbing and writing with a sequence of jobs, his son recounted in a tribute on the British Mountaineering Council’s website: “fireman, painter and decorator, lumberjack, steeplejack and teacher from time to time, to almost make a living.”

Mr. Drummond’s marriages to Josephine Ward, Grace Davis and Lia Simnacher led to divorce. He lived in San Francisco for just a few years sooner than shifting to the care facility a variety of years up to now.

In addition to his son, from his marriage to Ms. Ward, he is survived by two daughters from his third marriage, Fiume Usnick and Areanna Drummond Simnacher, and two grandchildren. A son, Silvan, died sooner than him.

Mr. Drummond developed his climbing protests of the early 1990s right into a worldwide effort, with the assistance of the United Nations, to spice up environmental consciousness and identify for widespread human rights. The event, referred to as Climb the World, raised money for every causes and referred to as for people in dozens of countries to climb native hills and mountains in a gift of environmental solidarity. Thousands took half.




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