Forum Index > Pacific NW History > R.I.P. Rowland Tabor
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Schroder
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Schroder
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PostWed Feb 02, 2022 6:47 pm 
Rowland Tabor, the author of Routes and Rocks passed away January 13th

Rowland Tabor obituary

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Rowland Tabor
June 10, 1932 - Jan. 13, 2022
Portola Valley, CA

"We are born of and sustained by the planet earth, and the elements of its rocks and seas are our nearest cosmological relatives. When we can understand the earth and its history, we have come a little closer to understanding ourselves and our place in the universe."
R.W. Tabor, 1975

Rowland Tabor died January 13, 2022, at his home in Portola Valley, in the company of family and dear friends. He was born and grew up in Denver, where he began his enduring love of mountains.
Rowland attended Stanford University as an undergraduate. A fortuitous college summer job as a geologic field assistant in Alaska set him on the path to his life's work as a mountaineering geologist. He pursued graduate studies in geology at the University of Washington. Upon receiving his PhD in 1961, he was hired by the U. S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA. He spent a season in Antarctica, and then over the next 34 years went on to write professional papers and create geologic maps of Kentucky, the Moon, Nevada, the Olympic Peninsula, and the North Cascades. He served several years as Chief of the Branch of Western Regional Geology. After his retirement in 1995, he stayed on at the Survey as Geologist Emeritus, where he continued to publish geologic maps of his beloved North Cascades.

While at Stanford, Rowland found his tribe with the Stanford Alpine Club. There he made life-long friendships forged during memorable mountaineering adventures. The stories of his SAC climbs and skiing expeditions are legend. As an accomplished mountaineer, he was a long-time member of the American Alpine Club. Notable climbs included Lost Arrow Spire (CA), Shiprock (NM), Hoover Tower (CA), and first ascents of Mt La Perouse (AK) and the North Ridge of Mt Johannesburg (WA). While on a Fulbright in Austria he also enjoyed climbs in the French Alps, and an ascent of the Matterhorn.

While his summers were devoted to field work, during the rest of the year at home in Portola Valley, he enjoyed working in his darkroom, remodeling his 1920's-built home, and volunteering on Portola Valley's Conservation Committee and its Geologic Safety Committee. He was instrumental in persuading the Town to move the Town Center to the west, away from the San Andreas Fault. He was also a familiar figure on his bicycle on his daily commute, rain or shine, to work in Menlo Park.

For years, he sang bass in the Stanford Symphonic Chorus, and in field camps he entertained his field assistants and fellow geologists with his guitar and an endless repertoire of folk- and climbing songs.
Rowland believed geology should be accessible to the wider public, and enjoyed writing for the curious layman. With his good friend and colleague, Dwight Crowder, he co-authored Routes and rocks: hiker's guide to the North Cascades from Glacier Peak to Lake Chelan (The Mountaineers, 1965). He followed this with his popular books Guide to the geology of Olympic National Park (University of Washington Press, 1975), and, co-authored with colleague and friend, Ralph Haugerud, Geology of the North Cascades: a mountain mosaic (The Mountaineers, 1999). His last book, Rock pick and ice axe: recollections of a mountaineering geologist (2022) is published by his family.

Rowland is survived by his devoted wife of 52 years, Karin (Kajsa) Eckelmeyer, his sons Whitney and Michael, their mother Lesley Stark Tabor, and grandsons Merce Tabor and Kaito Tabor. His sister, Anne Tabor Winston, predeceased him. Contributions in his memory may be made to any organization devoted to the preservation of our beautiful, natural world.

Anne Elk, Carbonj  Lindsay  pula58, RodF, seawallrunner
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JonnyQuest
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PostWed Feb 02, 2022 8:50 pm 
I hadn't heard, so thanks for posting.  Back in school I spent some time studying his work on ridgetop depressions in the Olympic Mountains.

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Stefan
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PostWed Feb 02, 2022 8:55 pm 
Wow.  Thanks.

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Kim Brown
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PostWed Feb 02, 2022 10:44 pm 
I actually googled him a few months ago to see if he was still with us.

frown.gif

A wonderful man

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"..living on the east side of the Sierra world be ideal - except for harsher winters and the chance of apocalyptic fires burning the whole area."

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RichP
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PostThu Feb 03, 2022 7:50 am 
Schroder wrote:
For years, he sang bass in the Stanford Symphonic Chorus, and in field camps he entertained his field assistants and fellow geologists with his guitar and an endless repertoire of folk- and climbing songs.

He could do it all. RIP

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Olympic Hiker
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PostThu Feb 03, 2022 12:21 pm 
If I remember correctly, he has a couple of first assents to his credit in the Olympic Mountains.

Edit: The one route I was remembering was route 2 for Mt. Dana, according to the 3rd edition of the Olympic Mountain Climbers Guide.

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Anne Elk
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Anne Elk
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PostThu Feb 03, 2022 6:52 pm 
Schroder wrote:
"We are born of and sustained by the planet earth, and the elements of its rocks and seas are our nearest cosmological relatives. When we can understand the earth and its history, we have come a little closer to understanding ourselves and our place in the universe."
R.W. Tabor, 1975

That's just pure poetry.  Sounds like he was a real renaissance man.  Thanks for this post.

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood

pula58
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JVesquire
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PostFri Feb 04, 2022 12:13 pm 
RIP. Routes and Rocks is such a good read and a classic to hold in your hand with the maps and such.

pula58
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Snowshovel
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PostSat Feb 05, 2022 2:04 pm 
He had a hand in the first two Freedom of the Hills

pula58
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Kim Brown
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Feb 07, 2022 11:28 am 
Iím surprised this thread isnít at the top of the list for commenting.

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"..living on the east side of the Sierra world be ideal - except for harsher winters and the chance of apocalyptic fires burning the whole area."

Bosterson, NWHiker's marketing expert
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Jason Hummel
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Jason Hummel
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PostTue Feb 08, 2022 12:35 pm 
Wow. This is heartbreaking to hear. Sounds like he had a fulfilling life. I wish I had a chance to connect with him, but sadly I never did. RIP.

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Bronco
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PostThu Feb 10, 2022 9:55 am 
I remember discovering the Routes and Rocks publications and was so psyched to see some pretty obscure routes into the Pickets.  Tabor and Crowder really got around.

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cascadetraverser
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PostFri Feb 11, 2022 8:17 am 
I didnít see this and posted same in FMS.
More appropriate in PNW history. Thanks Schoeder!
His Routes and Rocks was an inspiration and guide for me for decades. I corresponded with him and sent him copies of videos of our retreads of some of his old routes which he enjoyed. In correspondence he was a true gentleman as I am sure he was in life. Apparently he has an autobiography published by family out this year. I hope to get a copy of that. He will be missed.

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Snowshovel
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PostFri Feb 11, 2022 8:26 am 
I canít find his autobiography on line yet.

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