NEW YORK — Chad Kellogg, known for his speedy ascents of mountains, died Friday after being struck on the head by a falling rock while descending the Patagonian peak Fitz Roy. He was 42.
Mr. Kellogg was one of a small number of climbers who had begun to make speed as much a priority as establishing a first ascent or a new route up a familiar peak. He had attempted a speed record on Mount Everest three times.
“It’s not that I’m a great climber,” he said in 2011, as he prepared to make his second attempt on Mount Everest without the supplemental oxygen used by many climbers to ascend the nearly 30,000-foot mountain. (Climbing without oxygen was, he thought, a greater challenge.) “It’s that I want it more than anyone else does, and I’m willing to go out there and put in the work, put in the days, to achieve what I think is important.”
His death reverberated among climbing enthusiasts in the Northwest. “It’s like the loss of a family member,” said Christian Folk, the marketing manager for Outdoor Research, a Seattle equipment manufacturer that sponsored Mr. Kellogg.
Mr. Kellogg won the Khan Tengri mountaineering race in Kazakhstan in 2003 and held a variety of unofficial records for speed ascents of Mount Rainier, the 14,410-foot mountain in Washington state. One of those records, now broken, included the first sub-five-hour ascent and descent, a trip that can take some climbers two days.
“He was a cardiovascular machine,” said Brent Bishop, a fellow climber who helped document his Everest attempts. “He was really able to suffer. He just kept getting stronger.’’
Behind Mr. Kellogg’s prowess on rock and ice, he suffered many losses. His wife, Lara-Karena Kellogg, died while descending an Alaskan climb in 2007. Shortly afterward, he learned he had colon cancer. (It went into remission.) A brother died, as did a climbing partner. He continued, however, to find solace in the mountains.