Vale Lincoln Hall

Lincoln was the finest of outdoorsmen and adventurers, a generous and charming man, a talented author, a philanthropist, and a loving father. He was a friend to all who knew him and the preeminent alumni of the Australian National University Mountaineering Club.

Lincoln was a Canberra boy. He grew up in Red Hill and went to Telopea Park High, he studied Zoology at the ANU. He learned to climb at Booroomba Rocks (where he did first ascents of crag classics like the Eiger Direct), developed his ice climbing skills at Blue Lake and trained by traversing the walls of ANU buildings. He was one of us.

Lincoln had his real start with mountaineering when he participated in Club expeditions to New Zealand from 1975 to 1978. This culminated in the 1978 ANUMC expedition to the Himalayan peak Dunagiri (7066m) where Lincoln played a pivotal role in the Summit push and lost his first toes to frostbite. Lincoln was helicoptered off the mountain by Indian authorities but never received the bill - until it finally arrived with the Club in 1996, much to our bemusement.

After Dunagiri, Lincoln's mountaineering career went from strength to strength as he participated in and lead numerous climbing adventures around the world. Amongst these were two expeditions to climb Everest (including the first Australian expedition in 1984); the first ascent of Mt Minto Antarctica (1998) and ascents of other notable peaks including Annapurna II (7963m), Makalu (8481m) and the Carstensz Pyramid in Irian Jaya. He was most well known for his miraculous survival after his ascent of Mt Everest in 2006 when he was left for dead near the summit and he survived the night, returning without his fingers and toes but with his wit, intelligence and humanity intact. He wrote numerous books, was a founding member of the philanthropic organisation the Australian Himalayan Foundation and was a remarkable speaker, sharing his inspiring experiences with audiences around the world.

But all this is of secondary importance. Lincoln was first and foremost a remarkable human being. He had a natural generosity, humour and friendliness that made him welcome wherever he went. A common thread through many of Lincoln's expeditions was that he put his companions before himself, ensuring their safety rather than risking all for a fleeting foot on the summit. I remember contacting him in 1996 to ask if he would help us celebrate the ANUMC's 30th birthday. He could not have been more delighted than to come and share stories with likeminded outdoors folks, many of whom shared his passion for wild places and love of adventure. He even returned an ice screw to the gearstore that was, um, a little overdue. Over the years Lincoln has returned to the Club many times and always considered us to be family.

Now we have lost a remarkable member of our family, but every time we venture into the outdoors, his memory will inspire us to explore new places and to look to our companions for strength. Think of him when you walk in the Blue Mountains, when you climb at Booroomba or when you ski on the main range.

Lincoln is survived by his wife and two children. The Club is sending our condolences to the family.

My thanks to a variety of internet sources in hastily putting this together: most notably articles by Zac Zaharias and Will Steffen. There are many more qualified to write about Lincoln but I have done my best - any errors are mine.

Duncan McIntyre
ANUMC President, 1996