Bill Forrest, 78, notable climber who innovated mountain gear

DENVER — Climbing legend Bill Forrest, who also made notable innovations in mountaineering equipment, died while snowshoeing near Colorado’s Monarch Pass.

He was 73.

The Denver Post reported that the Salida ­resident was with his wife, ­Rosa, when he collapsed on Dec. 21.


Other hikers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but Mr. Forrest died at the scene.

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Mr. Forrest was known for the first ascent of the Painted Wall in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River in 1972, a 2,500-foot climb on sheer granite that took nine days.

Kris Walker, his climbing partner during the ascent, said Mr. Forrest never quit, adding that ‘‘that word was not part of his vocabulary.’’

Mr. Forrest pioneered the Friends active cam-nut protection system, a climbing aid, and was behind the Mjolnir, the first rock-and-ice hammer with interchangeable picks.

A memorial service is scheduled in Salida on Jan. 13.