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"
Spouse(s) Rita Crocker (divorced)
Marian Martin (divorced)
Alice Wosham
Children 2 sons, 2 daughters
Parent(s) Harry W. Bass, Sr.
Wilma Schuessler
Relatives Harry W. Bass, Jr. (brother)

Richard Daniel "Dick" Bass (December 21, 1929 – July 26, 2015) was an American businessman, rancher 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]

Richard Bass was born on December 21, 1929 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[1][2][3] His father, Harry W. Bass, Sr., was a co-founder of the Goliad Corporation and the Goliad Oil and Gas Corporation.[4] He had a brother, Harry W. Bass, Jr..[2][4] Bass moved with his family to Texas in 1932.

Bass was educated at Texas Country Day School and then the Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas.[1][2] He enrolled at Yale University at 16 and graduated in 1950 with a degree in geology.[1] 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.[1][5]


Bass returned to Texas in 1953 to join in the running of the family oil and gas business and ranching operations.[6] He was the owner of ranches in Central Texas.[2]

During the 1960s, Dick invested $10,000 in the development of the ski resort in Vail, Colorado.[5] He also built the largest private residence in Vail, and invited President Gerald Ford to winter there with his family.[4][5] He served on the Board of Directors of Vail Associates, Inc from 1966 to 1971.[3][5]

Bass opened the Snowbird Ski Resort with investor Ted Johnson in 1971.[3] He was its sole proprietor until he sold his stake in May 2014.[3]


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

Together with Frank Wells, one-time president of Walt Disney, Bass conceived of the adventure challenge of summiting each of the seven continents: Denali, North America; Aconcagua, South America; Mt. Elbrus, Europe; Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa; Vinson Massif, Antarctica; Mount Kosciuszko, Australia; and Mt. Everest, Asia.[1]

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.[2] He later co-wrote the book Seven Summits describing his achievement.[1][2] 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 the tallest mountain in Oceania (which includes Australia) is instead the more difficult Puncak Jaya.[1]

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.

Personal life[edit]

Bass was married three times.[1] He first married Rita Crocker.[1] After they divorced, he married Marian Martin.[1] They too divorced, and he married Alice Wosham.[1] He had two sons, Jim and Richard Jr. (also known as Dan), and twin daughters, Bonnie Bass Smith and Barbara Bass Moroney.[1]


Bass died on July 26, 2015 in Dallas, Texas from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.[1][2][3] His funeral was held at the St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church on July 31, 2015 in Dallas.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Weber, Bruce (July 30, 2015). "Richard D. Bass, Ski Resort Developer Who Climbed Tallest Peaks, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Peppard, Alan; Granberry, Michael. "Dallas exec and mountain climber Dick Bass dies at 85". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Tholen Rosenlof, Celeste (July 27, 2015). "Snowbird co-founder dies in Dallas home". KSL. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Heinsen, Lindsay (February 1979). "Owning a Piece Of the Rockies: How Harry Bass got to be king of the mountain". D Magazine. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Wyrick, Randy (July 27, 2015). "Vail pioneer Dick Bass dies in Dallas". Vail Daily. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  6. ^ Everest - Dick Bass Bio

External links[edit]