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Chad Lewis Kellogg

1971 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Chad Lewis Kellogg Obituary
Chad Lewis Kellogg

On February 14, 2014, Chad Kellogg was killed in a climbing accident on Mt. Fitz Roy, a prominent peak in the Patagonia region of Southern Argentina.

Chad Kellogg was born in Omak, WA on September 22, 1971 to Richard and Peggy Kellogg. He spent his first year in Winthrop, WA surrounded by mountains. In 1973, Chad moved to Kenya with his parents. Chad returned to the U.S. in 1980 with his parents and finished growing up in Brier, WA.

Chad was very competitive, athletic, and interested in the outdoors from an early age. He enjoyed hiking on family trips to Yosemite, and in the Wind River Range. During his high school years, a climber by the name of Dan Waters lived in the basement of his family home, and Chad was introduced to climbing.

Chad was on the U.S. luge training team after high school. He raced on the World Cup circuit in Europe and North America, while he lived in Lake Placid, NY from 1990 to 1994. He tried out for the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Luge Teams, and was a runner-up.

In the mid-90's, Chad worked as a Climbing Ranger at Mount Rainier National Park. During this time he solidified his friendships with fellow climbing rangers at a time when the team was a crack group of young and ambitious climbers put together by head ranger Mike Gauthier. Many from that group went on to have very successful international climbing careers of their own, and became regular climbing partners for Chad. On March 10, 2000 he married his first great love, Lara Bitenieks, a fellow Mt. Rainier ranger.

Chad attended the University of Washington, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He graduated with honors in Economics in 2000, after diversions for luge and mountain climbing. He worked for Expeditors International, but then he ramped up his commitment to the mountains by leaving his corporate job and joining his father-in-law, Robert Bitenieks, in the much more flexible profession of house remodeling and construction. He created a lifestyle with Lara that included long climbing expeditions, sometimes together and sometimes separate, punctuated by stints of furious labor to support their climbing habits.

In 2007, while on a climbing expedition in China, he received word that his wife Lara had been killed in a climbing accident on Mt. Wake in Alaska. This shook him greatly, and marked the start of a dark time in his life. Over the next 5 years, he endured a bout with colon cancer and the deaths of 17 people close to him, including his younger brother Shawn. With his legendary determination, he pulled himself through, learning Buddhist meditation and making explicit decisions to live his life without a wasted moment, focusing on the most important things to him: his climbing and his people. He would do whatever was necessary to climb, making just enough money get by, sleeping in the back of his pickup truck at job sites after renting out his houses, nurturing his relationships with sponsors such as Outdoor Research, who used his thoughtful feedback to improve their products, and usually leaving his finances in a very precarious state but always managing to pull it off. At the same time, he would clearly identify the people in his life that meant the most to him and make sure they knew he cared about them. He had a persistent awareness that life was precious and temporary, and would stop at nothing to make his climbing goals become reality.

His climbing accomplishments are far too long to list here. An extensive list of his climbs and all his sponsors can be seen at http://www.chadkellogg.com.

After several failed attempts at relationships, in 2012 Chad met Mandy Kraus, and they very quickly fell in love. The change in his demeanor was obvious to those around him; his dark years were officially over. Mandy, a distance runner, would run up and down Mount Si with him, and they made plans for much longer runs. While not officially engaged, they did not hide their intention to get married, build a house in the Methow Valley, and raise a family. Chad will be remembered as an exceptional climber, a loving friend, a great son, and a man with a tender heart.

Chad is survived by his love, Mandy Kraus; his parents, Ric and Peggy Kellogg, of Edmonds; and his mother- and father-in-law, Guna and Robert Bitenieks, of Seattle. A memorial service for Chad will be held on Saturday, March 1st, at 11:00 AM at the First Free Methodist Church at 3200 3rd Ave W, Seattle WA 98119, followed by a reception at The Seattle Bouldering Project at 900 Poplar Place S., Seattle WA 98144.
Published in The Seattle Times on Feb. 23, 2014
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