2008.08.12: August 12, 2008: Headlines: COS - Mali: Obituaries: San Diego: Obituary for Mali RPCV Andrea (Andy) Basque

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mali: Peace Corps Mali : Peace Corps Mali: Newest Stories: 2008.08.12: August 12, 2008: Headlines: COS - Mali: Obituaries: San Diego: Obituary for Mali RPCV Andrea (Andy) Basque

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Obituary for Mali RPCV Andrea (Andy) Basque

Obituary for Mali RPCV Andrea (Andy) Basque

Andy and her husband Jeff Gamer joined the Mazamas, an Oregon mountaineering club in 2002. The couple had a goal of donating 100 hours each year to the group, much of it teaching rock climbing and mountaineering classes.

Obituary for Mali RPCV Andrea (Andy) Basque

Andrea Basque

BASQUE, ANDREA (ANDY) USD Alum Dies in Tragic Rock Climbing Accident Andrea (Andy) Basque, 45, USD Class of 1984, slipped while on the Backbone Ridge route near Colchuck Lake below Dragontail Peak in Leavenworth, Washington.

Andy fell several hundred feet according to a climbing partner, Chelan County Sheriff Mike Harum said. Climbing with Basque was 32-year-old Jason Halsey, also of Portland. Sheriff Mike Harum said campers in the Colchuck Lake area at the base of the mountain at about 7:30 a.m. heard a yell for help from above.

One of the campers then hiked for about three hours to get cell service and phone authorities, Harum said. Andy's body was found at about 1:20 p.m. by a sheriff's office helicopter. Another helicopter was called in from the King County Sheriff's Office to lift her body out with a winch.

Andy and her husband Jeff Gamer joined the Mazamas, an Oregon mountaineering club in 2002. The couple had a goal of donating 100 hours each year to the group, much of it teaching rock climbing and mountaineering classes.

Mike Holman, a Mazamas climb leader and instructor, remembers Basque as the best student among the 45 in his intermediate climbing class in late 2002. Holman recalls a climb of Mount Logan in the North Cascades several years ago.

He and Basque were among 12 experienced climbers who came to a particularly difficult rock section. As the others scratched their heads, Andy was 20 feet up the climb. It was the same attitude - head on without a lot of fanfare - that she approached life. Holman and Gamer are still trying to make sense of Basque's death on August 7, 2008 as she successfully climbed the same route on August 2nd with her husband. Andy's climbing partner that day told Gamer that he and Basque were at the foot of the mountain, not even to the first of the 15 difficult climbing pitches up Backbone Ridge.

They faced a 6 foot-boulder, what Gamer describes as a wrinkle in the granite. Basque was wearing a helmet, but Halsey asked if she wanted a rope. Andy looked at him with a smile that said, "I can climb this." But as she stepped up with her left foot, Basque lost her grip with her right hand. The weight of her backpack pulled her back and she cart-wheeled down a 20 degree slope before going over the edge. She fell nearly 300 feet.

A beautiful Memorial was held in Portland at the World Forestry Center on August 16, 2008. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated in Andy's honor Thursday, September 18th, at 5:30 at Founders Chapel, University of San Diego campus. In lieu of flowers, a Scholarship is being established in Andy's name at USD. Donations may be made through the USD Alumni Office.

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Headlines: August, 2008; Peace Corps Mali; Directory of Mali RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Mali RPCVs; Obituaries

When this story was posted in September 2008, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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