Sean “Stanley” Leary died in a BASE accident in Zion National Park, Utah, on March 13. 

Leary was regarded as one of the best big-wall climbers in America. With dozens of ascents of El Capitan, including the speed record on Salathe Wall with Alex Honnold, The Nose speed record in 2010 with Dean Potter (Honnold and Hans Florine beat it in 2012,) and three ascents of it in one day. With Mayan Smith-Gobat, he set the male/female speed record for The Nose in 2012. He had climbed new routes on Baffin Island, Patagonia and in 2013 he climbed, with Leo Houlding and others, a 35-pitch new route on Ulvetanna in Antarctica.

Leary was an experienced BASE jumper and wingsuit flyer. He pioneered a number of “exits” around America. When he did not return home from a trip out, a search was organized and his body was found.

“Sean Leary was one my all-time favourite adventure partners. Not only was it fun to climb El Cap or jump off a bridge with him, but we could talk about everything from veggie gardening to eastern philosophy. Climbing El Cap was fun, as was doing Sean’s first BASE jump off the Potato Bridge. But I remember best the long conversations on the descents from El Cap or over breakfast before a big day in the mountains,” wrote Chris McNamara on his Facebook Page, “We both shared a vision/philosophy that all these big adventures were not about the photos and videos that came from them (though that was a fun side benefit.) It was much more about finding and staying on an elusive path of constant discovery and growth.”

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Sean Leary  Photo Eric Perlman

Sean Leary Photo Dean Fidelman

Sean Leary on Freerider  Source: Seanstanleyleary.com

Sean Leary on Freerider Source: Seanstanleyleary.com

Sean’s Freedom from Chad Copeland on Vimeo.

Source: Seanstanleyleary.com, Super Topo, Sean Leary Facebook, Climbing


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  • Carl

    Remarkable that all one needs is to love what you are doing. Proceed with caution however.