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Climber Dies After Fall on Mount Sir Donald in B.C.

From big ski and climb days to long-distance hikes, David Xiao was a true adventurer

David Xiao was climbing with a partner, reportedly unroped, somewhere on Mount Sir Donald in Rogers Pass when he fell to his death. His loss is being felt by his many friends and climb/ski partners around the world.

Xiao was born and raised in China, but moved to Canada a few years ago.  “Those first few years [in Canada], I climbed to the top of many mountains,” Xiao wrote in a short biography on his website Trailing Adventures here. “I Slept in a tent and backpacked for the first time; getting lost in the mountains for the first time. Those things kept me coming back.”

When asked by his sponsor Osprey about what he thinks everyone should do once in his life, he said: “Cowboy camp (camp without a tent) on a clear night in a ridiculously pretty place. You become so much more connected with nature when listening to the sound of wind, of flowing water, the smells of the plants and earth. Imagine falling asleep and gazing into space and beyond, a billion stars and the swirling colors of the Milky Way. Seriously, it will change your life. Just don’t think about the little critters that lives in that area; they don’t exist if you don’t believe in them.”

Xiao took full advantage of the Canadian Rockies, his backyard range, which you can experience on his social media. From carving turns on remote alpine peaks to bagging local classic rock climbs, his energy and passion for the peaks was evident in every objective he threw himself at.

Sir Donald has a classic Northwest Ridge alpine trad route that is graded 5.4, and it has a deadly reputation. Due to the ease of much of the climbing, climbers often unrope on the ascent or descent, but every few years, someone falls and dies. In 2017, we reported about a number of accidents and deaths in the mountains, one of which was a climber who fell off Sir Donald here.

When asked: If you could make a 20-second phone call to yourself at any point in your life present or future, when would you call and what would you say?

Xiao replied: “To my 14-year-old self. I’d say, ‘Hey, you know that activity where people strap planks to their feet and slide down mountains really really fast? Sounds silly now but turns out you will love it. Go try it now, trust me.'”

Our climbing community in Canada is a close-knit one and we all feel it when we lose someone. Our deepest condolences to Xiao’s friends, family and climbing partners. Be sure to check out the Climbing Grief Fund here if you need support.

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Looking back a few weekends ago at Achilles spire! Thank you @carreradawn for the kick ass action shot of me! Love the motion captured! What a climb that was! Highly recommended if you climb 5.8 outdoors. Super easy route finding, solid, fun climbing and not too bad rapping except for the first rappel. Some advice, start hiking at 4:30 am on a weekend to be the first few parties up and it's a long day so make sure you know your multipitch and rappel system really well and don't, you know, sun tan for a hour on the summit at 4 pm… Got back to the car past midnight 😂 #ospreypacks #thegooddaysaremade #goodtimesoutside #alpineclubofcanada #rockclimbing #multipitchclimbing #climbingmountains #abparks #Albertarockies #explorebanff #mountaincultureelevated #rockclimber #shadyrays #Climbing #banffnationalpark #banff_lakelouise #abparks @beal.official

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