Richard Bass

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This article is about the ski resort owner. For the mathematician, see Richard F. Bass. For the American football player, see Dick Bass.
Richard Bass
Born Richard Daniel Bass
(1929-12-21)December 21, 1929
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Died July 26, 2015(2015-07-26) (aged 85)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Occupation businessman, mountaineer
Known for first documented person to climb the "Seven Summits"

Richard Daniel "Dick" Bass (December 21, 1929 – July 26, 2015) was an American businessman and mountaineer. He was the owner of Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah and the first man to climb the "Seven Summits," the tallest mountain on each continent.

Early life[edit]

Decade Volcanoes
McKinley(6,194 m)
McKinley
(6,194 m)
Blanc(4,810 m)
Blanc
(4,810 m)
Elbrus(5,642 m)
Elbrus
(5,642 m)
Everest(8,848 m)
Everest
(8,848 m)
Kilimanjaro(5,895 m)
Kilimanjaro
(5,895 m)
Aconcagua(6,961 m)
Aconcagua
(6,961 m)
Vinson(4,892 m)
Vinson
(4,892 m)
Kosciuszko(2,228 m)
Kosciuszko
(2,228 m)
Puncak Jaya(4,884 m)
Puncak Jaya
(4,884 m)
Map of the Seven Summits (actually nine, depending on definition).

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1929, Bass moved with his family to Texas in 1932. After graduating from Highland Park High School, he enrolled at Yale University at 16 and graduated in 1950 with a degree in geology. After completing some graduate work at the University of Texas, Bass served two years with the U.S. Navy on board the aircraft carrier USS Essex during the Korean War. In 1953, he returned to Texas to join in the running of the family oil and gas business and ranching operations.[1]

Business and adventure[edit]

During the 1960s, Dick along with his brother Harry invested in the fledgling area that was to become Vail, Colorado. Dick put down the first $10,000 for Vail Corporation and built the largest home in the area. That home on Mill Creek Circle is what helped attract Gerald Ford and his family to the area.[2]

In 1971, Bass opened the Snowbird Ski Resort. He became prominent in the industry due to his self-proclaimed “blanket curiosity, nonstop verbosity and hyper-enthusiasm.”

Together with Frank Wells, one-time president of Walt Disney, Bass conceived of the adventure challenge of summiting each of the seven continents: Denali (Mt. McKinley), North America; Aconcagua, South America; Mt. Elbrus, Europe; Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa; Vinson Massif, Antarctica; Mount Kosciuszko, Australia; and Mt. Everest, Asia.

Bass became the first person to achieve the Seven Summits (the highest point on each continent) on April 30, 1985. At the time, he was also the oldest person to have climbed Mt. Everest. He later co-wrote the book Seven Summits describing his achievement. The ascent has been somewhat controversial; Bass's list puts Mount Kosciuszko as the tallest in Australia, but climber Patrick Morrow has put forward that that the tallest mountain in Oceania (which includes Australia) is instead the more difficult Puncak Jaya.

Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air opines that Bass's ascent of Mount Everest pulled the mountain into a "postmodern era" wherein commercial guided expeditions became big business and encouraged climbers with limited experience to pay large sums of money to these enterprises in order to ascend Everest (a situation that Krakauer himself has profited from immensely.) Bass died on July 26, 2015 in Dallas, Texas from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.[3][4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]