Today marks one year since Andrew’s passing. We would like to share this piece of Andrew’s story, sent to us by Elle Ossello:
Voice shaking, giddy, nervous, ecstatic, I taught my first Introduction to Climbing class years ago at Wild Walls Climbing Gym with Andrew standing by observing his own student watchfully, patiently. I was so proud to step into the formidable shoes of a teacher and mentor more passionate and knowledgable than a whole university of professors. Never have I known someone so dedicated to inciting the fire for his own passion in every single person that walked across his path.
Sharing the teaching podium with him cultivated within me a reverence for those who sat as students before me. It left me feeling forever deeply dutiful to anyone who ever looks to me for help understanding. I never would have understood the profound depth of duty of a teacher to his student had I not watched Andrew conduct himself with great seriousness and tenderness before everyone that signed up for that class.
And then I watched him meet Emily. There are hardly words to describe the joy of having been privileged enough to be around them as their love unfurled. All I know is that I feel a bit less temporal having felt the radiating power of their mutual adoration.
The world lost a truly powerful human. But it is a testament to the goodness of his soul that he lives on so tangibly in the hearts of the people he left behind. Rest with God, Andrew. You will be missed.
It was a year ago that we lost a beloved member of our climbing community, Andrew Bower, in a fall at Dishman Hills climbing area. He was working alone that day, replacing rusted anchor bolts with stainless steel hardware. Hundreds of Spokane’s rock climbs are protected by badly corroded anchor bolts, many of them over 30 years old. Andrew recognized this danger and had singlehandedly replaced dozens in the months before his death. As a climbing community, it is time we carry on Andrew’s legacy and finish this project
Andrew’s life exemplified a passion for outdoor adventure and commitment to community service. In addition to working on an ambulance in Spokane as an Emergency Medical Technician, Andrew taught classes at Wild Walls climbing gym and guided disadvantaged youth on hundreds of wilderness adventures for Peak 7. He and his wife Emily could always be seen together at our local crags; both of them unfailingly cheerful and supportive of other climbers, no matter if you were a 5.13 crusher or a new climber struggling up a 5.9.
Eastern Washington has had no group dedicated to replacing unsafe hardware and clean-up of its many climbing areas. We are happy to announce the launch of the Bower Climbing Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining, expanding and preserving Inland Northwest climbing. We will celebrate the community and culture of climbing through local events and gatherings, and strive to bring climbers together of all ages and abilities.
Emily Bower, thank you for sharing Andrew with us. We will do our best to honor his memory!
Thanks Chris Adams, Jess Roskelley, Jeff Crawford, Arden Pete, Alan Shepherd, Adam Volwiler, Bailey Shepherd, Trevin Spencer, Todd Mires, Glenn Stewart, Joe Lind and Eric Lawson for your work and guidance in launching this project.
More will be posted soon about what we plan to do to carry on Andrew’s legacy.
Above all, we seek to be inclusive of all voices in the climbing community… Sport Climbers, Boulderers, Trad Climbers, and Alpinists! We welcome your input as we proceed!