December 20, 2004 by

Barry Corbet


Categories: Hollywood, Sports, Writers/Editors

bcorbet.jpgJ. Barry Corbet, a member of the first American team to climb Mount Everest, died on Dec. 18 of natural causes. He was 68.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Corbet attended Dartmouth College on and off for several years. Academia didn’t suit him so he became a climbing guide and ski instructor in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Ever the adventurer, Corbet traveled around the world and tackled many tough climbs, including Mount Tyree (15,919 feet), the second highest peak in Antarctica.
In 1963, Corbet joined Al Auten, Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld in making the first ascent of Mount Everest’s west ridge. Corbet gave up his chance to summit with the other climbers because he assumed he’d be back someday. Five years later, however, he was paralyzed from the waist down in a helicopter crash near Aspen, Colo.
After the accident, Corbet worked as a filmmaker and advocate for the disabled. He produced or co-produced dozens of movies, and edited New Mobility, a magazine that covers disability issues. Corbet also wrote several books (“Options: Spinal Cord Injury and the Future,” “Spinal Network: The Total Wheelchair Resource Book”) and took up whitewater kayaking.
A double black-diamond ski run on Rendezvous Peak in Jackson Hole, Wyo., is named after him. “Corbet’s Couloir” features a wicked 10-foot drop that challenges skiers and snowboarders alike.

6 Responses to Barry Corbet

  1. Rick Moulton

    I want anyone close to Barry and those staging the Film Festival at Jackson Hole, that at this years International Ski History Association’s Annual meeting Barry’s work will be remembered for bringing American Ski Films into a new era.

  2. John Evans

    Wow! Here’s another silent toast—belated but sincere. Barry was a good friend and marvelous climbing buddy of nearly 39 years ago. We should all hope for such full and fulfilling lives!

  3. Carole Honess

    Having just met Barry via his article “Embedded” in AARP magazine, I am now grieving his loss. What a person was he! He continues to inspire and I am so thankful that I did discover him even now. I did experience his Re-Hab situation, although only with one “bag” and being mostly mobile. I would like to know if his dog preceded him in the “final adventure”. Thank you and Blessings.

  4. Jennifer Corbet

    A very belated answer: Paco, Dad’s dog, did not precede him in death. He lived a happy life, still on his hill where he’d lived with my dad, until last Fall. Paco was a fabulous dog.

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