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RIP Ryan Triplett 1977 - 2008


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My close friend and climbing partner, Ryan Triplett, died Sunday, while soloing ‘Prime Rib’ up at Goat Wall, in Mazama, WA. Ryan is survived by wife, sister, mother, and father. Ryan’s untimely death has devastated the Seattle climbing community. Ryan was a staple of the Seattle climbing community and will be sorely missed. Details of what happened are still a bit fuzzy, but he apparently fell from high up, and was found in his harness, with a rope on his back, presumably with the intentions to solo the route, and rappel off. His loyal dog was found at the base with his body, waiting with him. The route is a 5.9, and well within Ryan’s ability. Considering I have never seen Ryan fall on a 5.9 anywhere, I would venture to guess Ryan must have broken something. I had heard the route was a bit chossy in places.


Ryan was an extremely talented and diverse climber, whether he was climbing sport, traditional, bouldering, alpine, as well as ski mountaineering. Ryan was also an avid route developer and first ascensionist, putting up hard routes in Mazama, Newhalem, Zeke’s Wall, and other areas around Washington. Several of his routes are still unrepeated. Ryan was a hard sport climber, climbing 13c and beyond, yet he had no problem firing off difficult 5.12 traditional and face climbs at Index and Squamish. Recently, Ryan on-sighted ‘The Passenger’, an alpine 5.12, out in Washington Pass. Ryan was also an avid skier and cyclist. Ryan skied the Cascade backcountry during the winter, and did many ski ascents of Mt Baker growing up. Ryan could also hold his own mountain biking and road riding, winning several Seattle mountain bike races, and doing such burly rides as riding Washington Pass, as a ‘casual’ weekend outing.


I moved to Seattle last year and was fortunate to climb with, and have a friend like, Ryan Triplett. Ryan’s motivation was notorious and addicting for those around him. He was always psyched, and tried hard on everything. His persona made you want to do the same. Ryan climbed harder than most, yet seemed to maintain that balance in life, that many of us obsessive climbers struggle with. Ryan pushed himself in his career as a software developer, and was quite successful. Though he was working for the man, he aspired to eventually start his own business, and had several ‘projects’ of his own, on the side. Ryan was also a loving husband, who had a strong connection with his wife Jen, who is a national cycling champion herself. He somehow always found the time for supporting her and her races, and yet managed time for his climbing and climbing projects. Ryan was the coolest, nicest guy you could ever meet, who was forever considerate and giving to others. Ryan had a great sense of humor that reminded you to not take life, or yourself, too seriously. He always had time to throw back a few IPAs after climbing, which both he and I have quite an affinity for. Over beers we discussed future projects and future climbing trips to take together. Ryan took life by the balls, and lived in acknowledgement of our limited time on this Earth. Ryan was a bro, a husband, a climber, and a mentor in life, and I cannot believe he is gone. He will be missed greatly.








Ryan on 'The Quickening' at Smith.




Ryan climbing in Newhalem, WA.




After climbing the 'Roman Chimneys' in Squamish.




Going up to the 'Left Side' in Squamish.






Some runout 5.10 in Smith.


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Nice write up Patrick.


I make my living in the climbing community and as the years have passed I've found myself slipping out of it. Growing jaded. Climbing with Ryan this summer was a breath of fresh air.


Ryan was what was right inside of our community. Friendly. Humble. Motivated by adventure, friendship and an honest need to push himself. His first ascents will keep testing climbers, but the real legacy seems to be his knack for creating friendships and introducing like minds to one another.


Last Thursday, Ryan managed to pry me away from the computer. The east face of Liberty Bell disappeared beneath us in a few cold hours. We lingered in the summit sunshine looking out at the peaks and mountain bike trails that were quickly becoming his playground. He pointed out the distant switchbacks of cutthroat pass and granite crags he wanted to visit. The joy he got out of being in these mountains was both obvious and infectious. At the end of the day, there were no blow by blow recaps of on-climb heroics or debating of grades. He simply asked "okay, what's next?"


My thoughts are with Jen.

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Patrick, thanks for starting this thread. Losing Ryan is huge.


Ryan was one of the strongest climbers out there. But his strength did not come from being naturally gifted with steel tendons or a huge ape index. His success came from within. He always worked and tried HARD. Lack of effort was never in the equation. I will always admire that about him.






Touring at Baker


Rest Day near Barcelona



Ryan's shit eatin' grin



We love you and miss you Ryan

Edited by orion_sonya
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I got the chills when I heard this. I was climbing up in the Washington pass area with another friend of Ryans when this probably happened. Ryan was one of those people I would randomly run into all over the NW. On every occasion he would brighten my day with a huge grin, a sparkle in his eye, and tales of new adventures to be had. I will miss him deeply. The NW west has lost a great climber and more importantly a great person. He was the type of climber I wish there was more of. My heart goes out to all that had the good fortune to cross paths with Ryan.


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You were such an inspiring person to be around. Your energy, charisma, genuiness, and endless talent still belongs here with us and I am incredible sad. I thought of you much like a big brother, someone I looked up to and aspired to be like, climbing aside. I didn't believe it when I heard the news of your death and am still having a hard time coming to grips with it. Jen, my heart goes out to you, and Ryan, I will miss you tremendously.



Jesse Huey


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Patrick, thank you so much for posting this. I hadn't seen him and Jen for too long now, and heard the news from other friends. Thanks to you and Sonya for the pictures - it's good to see his grin and intensity again and hear from folks who love what he brought to us individually and collectively without feeling compelled to spray. That's the side of the Cascades that I love.


Kaya waiting with him at the base of the cliff is such a heartbreaking image. This hits hard and close and I can't imagine what Jen's going through. One more renewed vow to make sure my loved ones never have to go through this...


It is truly rare to meet someone with his combination of fun, determination, and sheer enjoyment of life.

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I had the fortunate opportunity to climb with Ryan. Ryan is one of the most amazing individuals I have met. He had an infectious personality: intelligent, funny, compassionate, and a great friend to many. As a person who always put forth his best effort, he inspired many climbers to push past their limitations. He always supported others whether they were on a 5.8 or a 5.13 and was as excited for other people's accomplishments as their own. For being such a great athlete, he was humble to the core. He will be missed terribly.



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For Ryan Triplett





Sunday, September 14, 4-6pm

Amphitheater @ Volunteer Park (North of the Reservoir)


Come help celebrate Ryan’s life with friends and family this Sunday @ Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill.

There will be a slide show, Ryan’s favorite music, and a small group of speakers sharing thoughts or reading selections that honor Ryan’s commitment to living each day to its fullest. After the memorial, we’ll walk down to the Canterbury to share a few beers and memories.


Things to bring:

Blankets & chairs

Pictures of Ryan to paste into a memory book for his family

Donations: for a small memorial to be placed near one of Ryan’s favorite crags, or for the Ryan Triplett Memorial Fund, managed by the Access Fund.


You can also donate to the Ryan Triplett Memorial Fund online, through the following link:



Please include Ryan's name in the "Recipient Information" section below where you enter your billing address.


If you prefer to send your donation, please make checks payable to The Access Fund and mail to The Access Fund, PO Box 17010, Boulder CO 80301. Ryan Triplett Memorial Fund should be included on the memo line or with an enclosed note.


Ryan's family will be notified of your donation.


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Thanks to everyone for sharing their love and friendship of Ryan. This thread has meant a lot to his friends and family. I am also compiling photos for a slide show at the memorial so if you have others please send them to "jillita at gmail dot com".


Jen has made a special request to those who can join us at Ryan's memorial:


"Last night we talked about Ryan's service that will be held Sunday at 4pm in Volunteer Park amphitheater on Capital Hill. Rather than be gloomy and super sad - we sat around the table laughing about Ryan's funny quirks about showing up to formal events in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. So we decided - that's the required attire. Points go to those who have the most original t-shirt. Feel free to come in leprechaun attire too - Ryan would be so proud."


So dig up your favorite t-shirt and bring your memories and smiles to share with all who love this guy and know how much he means to our wonderful friend, Jen.




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My heart goes out to Ryan's wife and family. When I first saw this thread I had a nagging feeling that I'd seen his face before. I didn't think much of it beyond the obtuse sorrow we feel for people we don't know, but sympathize with. Then the recollection hit me that I HAVE met him once while he and his wife were in Portland.


It must have been three or more years ago at a scrappy Portland crag. I had only been climbing for a couple of years and, while excited about what I'd accomplished so far, was still a bundle of nervous energy that couldn't wait to get "THERE"- whatever that meant. While I forgot most of the details of that day I honestly remember seeing in Ryan the kind of climber I'd like to become. He exuded calmness and competence.


As fruitless as it might be in my case, I still struggle to carry those qualities with me when I climb and I just wanted to let those close to Ryan know that he's had a positive effect on me.




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