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In Memoriam - David Nordstrom

1954 - 2023

David was among the first people to let Jim Hinkhouse know he was interested in joining an AA meeting atop Mt. Rainier in 1991.  He was number 42 on the roster Hinkhouse maintained as he organized the first Rainier climb by what would become OSAT.  David brought much needed mountaineering experience to OSAT during its formative years; his Beckey Guide indexes contain notes of over 70 Cascade summits between 1979 and 1990.  His name first shows up in Jim's newsletters prior to the 1991 Rainier climb on a climb to a camp at Ray’s Knoll above the Monte Cristo Glacier Basin, when bad weather cancelled plans for the group to climb Mt. Baker.  “It warmed up some for our evening [12-step] meeting, but the roar of avalanches in the morning changed our climbing plans.”  He and Jim did a memorable climb of Bonanza (scroll to Oct 23, 1994 issue), the highest non-volcanic peak in the state). 

Literally hundreds of OSAT members have fond memories of hikes, climbs, and other experiences with Dave.  He was widely admired for his skill, his demeanor, and his willingness to help others both in climbing and in recovery, and his unyielding devotion to our club and its associated AA meetings.

David was an active member throughout the past 33 years of OSAT’s existence, both as a leader within the club and as a leader or participant in activities.  He was on the BOTS in 1995; when Jim, Scott, and Tom were lost in the Denali tragedy, he helped lead the young club through the transition, having lost its founder. David was responsible for the design of at least one, and possibly both of OSAT's logos: the climber with pack and ice axe up until 1995, then the Rainier sketch.  He was a member of the initial Safety Committee and became custodian of the considerable book collection left to the club by Hinkhouse.  David was a frequent attendee at OSAT-AA Tiger Mountain meetings despite the long drive from his home in Tacoma, and later Olympia.

Climbing played an important role in David’s life: his email addresses were “clim4phun” and (earlier) “offbelay1”, and he proudly displayed “OSAT 1” as the vanity plate on his car.  On a 2012 climb of Hinkhouse Peak, David wore the boots that Jim Hinkhouse had worn on Denali.  Among David’s other interests were nature photography and mountaineering-oriented postage stamps.

David Nordstrom died in his home of an apparent cardiac event the week before Christmas 2023, just 2 months after his partner Ramona died.  He is survived by his sister Alison Nordstrom-Brown, brother Michael, son Erik, and Erik’s mother Beth Nordstrom Magden, and three grandchildren.  A celebration of David's life will be held at 2pm, Saturday March 2, at the Congregational Church on Mercer Island.

David Nordstrom and his son Erik with OSAT Founder Jim Hinkhouse, ca 1992.

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