A renowned B.C. mountain climber has died from injuries sustained when he fell out of a tree while trying to rescue a cat. Daryl Hatten, 49, lived much of his life on the edge of mountains and cliffs.
He blazed trails in the Canadian Rockies and California's Yosemite National Park, as well as the Squamish Chief north of Vancouver.
But Hatten died Saturday after falling from an arbutus tree soaked by heavy rains in suburban Langford. He was being paid to rescue a large, black house cat for its owner when he slipped and fell about 20 metres to a rocky patch on the ground below.
Emergency medical services were called and Hatten was rushed to hospital. He died of severe internal injuries.
Fire crews returned Sunday to check on the cat. It was still up the tree. Firefighters have not been back since.
Friends in the climbing community are organizing a memorial service for Hatten Sept. 8 at his favourite spot on the Squamish Chief, where some of his ashes will be spread.
Along with climber Eric Weinstein in 1975, Hatten accomplished the first free ascent of the Split Pillar on the Grand Wall of the Squamish Chief, which still stands as a hallmark climb, said McLane.
"Daryl lived to climb," said McLane, 56. "His life revolved around it for many years.
"I always found him to be astonishingly strong on a climb. Nothing seemed to faze him and he was very fast."