Chris Walker was born on 16th March, 1980 and lived his life with passion and a tremendous zest for adventure.  He lost this life on Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 alongside his client Robert Pritchard whilst descending from Buachaille Etive Mor; Chris had made all the right decisions that day, they were just plain unlucky to be caught in a small slab avalanche that took them over steep ground.  Chris was a highly talented, accomplished and popular mountaineer who loved to share his enthusiasm, knowledge and skills with others. He already held the MIC, was a full member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors and no doubt would have fulfilled his life-long dream of becoming a British Mountain Guide.

Chris began his adventures by working on a cattle ranch in Wyoming aged 16 and a couple of years later busked his way around Australia. On return to UK a chance decision to go climbing with his manager at work fired his enthusiasm for a career in the mountains.  He signed up on an instructor training course in Snowdonia then progressed to ‘The Night Watch’ at Glenmore Lodge. He travelled and climbed in many mountain areas and developed in particular a deep love for the Himalaya and its people, making numerous visits, contacts and friends. When he returned from one of many Himalayan trips five years ago he made a new base in Keswick. He initially worked as a freelance instructor for local outdoor centres but soon established Chris Walker Mountaineering, rapidly building up an extensive and loyal clientele who provided a basis for his new company Mountain Approach.

Chris was a genuine character. He was keen to scale some of the 8000 metre peaks and trained for this goal in local pubs whilst analysing his special fare of burgers, curry and crisps.   How excited he was to make the ultimate dieting breakthrough – removing the batter from his fish – “That’s healthy isn’t it”.  Chris led expeditions to many major mountain areas within Nepal, India, Pakistan, Tibet, Russia and South America. Successful trips were made to Aconcagua (6962m), Island Peak (6189m), Lobuche East (6090m), Mera Peak (6476m), Elbrus (5642m) and Baruntse (7220m). One of Chris’s proudest moments was summiting Ama Dablam (6856m) in 2005 whilst working for Tim Mosedale; Tim will vouch that not a vegetable passed his lips during the whole trip!

Professional mountaineers who worked with Chris and employed him have commented on his splendid attitude and competence: he would always leave plenty in hand when working as an instructor, although capable of working at a much higher technical level.  The response from his clients was equally positive:

‘Awful news.  A terrible tragedy. He was such a genuine lad. Even in the short few days I was with him you could tell that mountaineering was his calling. I learned more about climbing in those 4 days than I could ever have imagined. Certainly from my perspective I could not have wished for or wanted a better guide’. (RichardO’Donavon).

‘ It’s hard to believe that someone who was so full of life a couple of weeks ago is no longer with us, especially someone as careful and safety-conscious as Chris was. I really enjoyed our week with Chris and I think a large part of that was because Chris enjoyed it too – after we completed Taxus Direct on the Wednesday, he was just buzzing with excitement. It was great being with someone so enthusiastic and who was willing to share his knowledge so freely.’ (Nick Smith).

Over 120 people met together on March 9th 2010 at Carlisle Crematorium for Chris’s funeral. His parents Geoff and Gill Walker have been touched by the deep love, friendship and close camaraderie they have seen amongst us towards them and Chris. Geoff has asked for any of us to contact him if we know of other parents involved in similar tragedies and needing to talk, either now or in the future.

Some of Chris’s ashes have been scattered over the mountains around Keswick and there are plans afoot to help him to visit the mountains of Nepal once more! Some ashes have also been interred in a lovely graveyard in the village of Westnewton – just around the corner from where Gill and Geoff settled to be near to Chris.