A Squamish geotechnical engineer, teacher and avid mountaineer died on Friday (Nov. 1).
Frank Baumann was involved in a car accident on Oct. 24 north of Pemberton. After a week in the intensive care unit at Vancouver General Hospital, Baumann passed away from his injuries with his family at his bedside.
Baumann had lived in Squamish since 1977, but his acquaintance with the area runs back to 1966 — the first time he climbed the Stawamus Chief. The outdoors enthusiast was recognized as a leading expert and consultant in geotechnology, and was not one to shy away from calling attention to potential dangers, fellow geotechnicalogist Karl Ricker said.
“He was outspoken. I don't deny that. But we need guys like that in geotechnology to get various people and society to smarten up and stop thinking with their back pockets,” Ricker said.
Baumann stood up against development in Squamish's Cheekye Fan area and led the charge for the construction of the Fitzsimmons Creek debris barrier in Whistler. More recently, Baumann voiced opposition to building the Sea to Sky Gondola through a “much-loved Class A provincial park.” Instead, he suggested a gondola be built from the West Coast Railway Heritage Park to the top of Mt. Lapworth.
Baumann was a good climber, Ricker said. An active mountaineer, Baumann had summited Mt. Olympus in Washington State. Baumann was a part of the Whistler Volunteer Ski Patrol, B.C. Mountaineering Club and taught free avalanche courses through Mountain Equipment Co-op. The people he instructed in mountaineering over the last 30 years had nothing but praise for him, Ricker noted.
“His life was non-stop,” he said. “He was always going from here to there and back again.”
Baumann was also a teacher at Howe Sound Secondary School and was loved by his students for the enthusiasm and passion he had for the subjects he taught.
Baumann is survived by his wife Nadine, daughters Katherine, Julia and Amy Robinson.
A celebration of Baumann's life will be held at the Coastal Church at 1160 West Georgia in Vancouver on Saturday (Nov. 9) at 11 a.m. An event will be held at his home in Squamish the same day at 6 p.m. for his friends and family.
— With files from Andrew Mitchell, Whistler Question