On May 20th, 2009, Jonny Copp, Wade Johnson, and Mountain Hardwear athlete Micah Dash left their basecamp in eastern China and disappeared into the mountains. They never returned. To all who knew him, Micah was a human whirl-wind of frenetic energy, kind-hearted friendship, and infectious good humor. He was also an inspiration to try harder and overcome whatever challenges life may throw in your way, and he is deeply missed.
Micah Dash was raised in Lancaster, California, on the edge of the Mojave Desert. He gained an early love for the mountains through competitive ski-racing and summer backpacking trips through the Sierras with his father, Eric. After high school, he migrated to Leadville, Colorado, where he discovered technical climbing while enrolled in an outdoor leadership program with Colorado Mountain College. Micah soon returned to California, however, captivated by the beauty and challenge of the granite walls of Yosemite Valley. He quickly reeled a string of impressive aid climbs, earning himself a spot on the prestigious Yosemite Valley Search and Rescue team in 2000. After leaving the team in 2003, Micah relocated to Boulder Colorado, where he could concentrate on improving his skills as a free-climber while working towards a college degree.
Throughout his life, Micah continually met challenges with characteristic commitment, energy, and good cheer. Not only did he eventually succeed in earning a degree in history, but by the time he finished his classes at CU Boulder, he was also an accomplished 5.13 rock climber. Next, Micah threw himself into the climbing industry, writing eloquent magazine articles, appearing in films, working with sponsors, and volunteering for a number of community causes. When he broke his ankle in a fall in the Waddington Range one summer, Micah refused to let the injury slow him down, and organized an extensive slideshow tour while on crutches to help support several family members who had fallen on hard times.
Micah’s most recent achievements were a slew of hard alpine routes, including a speed ascent of the Nameless Tower, a new route on neighboring Cat’s Ears Spire (both in Pakistan), and the first ascent of Shaffat Fortress in Kashmir. With his diverse climbing skills, and humble yet positive attitude, he was a natural in the mountains, and he methodically approached the discipline by seeking out more experienced partners to learn from.
Despite frequent expeditions, Micah remained a stalwart friend and indispensable member of the Stone Monkeys, an informal community of climbers and friends scattered among various western climbing areas. His unique spirit of love, comradeship, and adventure will live on in the hearts of the many people who knew him.
- By Freddie Wilkinson
- First Ascent of the Shafat Fortress via the Colorado route VI 5.11 A1 M6 in alpine style, India
- First Ascent of Super Cat of the Karakorum VI.5.11+A0 second ascent alpine style, Cats Ear Spire Pakistan
- First Free Ascent of Non Due Senza Tre VI 5.11+ R/X in alpine style, Greenland
- Free Ascent of El Capitan Freerider VI 512+, Yosemite
- Free Ascent of Half Dome Regular North West Face VI 5.12+ in 8 hours