All of us at Climbing Canada are saddened to hear of the passing of our dear colleague, John Haigh. John was a strong constant in our community, an empathetic leader, and a one-of-a-kind human.
“John was very supportive of me when I first started with CEC. He was always available to help, and would provide a friendly and calming presence at our meetings. We will miss him greatly,” said Christiane Marceau, Executive Director of CEC.
Kathy Woods, Chair of the Board of CEC, shared, “John was always incredibly supportive, professional and thoughtful in the work we did with him. He challenged constructively, provided sage advice, and consistently focused on what was in the best interest of all. He was truly an asset to and advocate for the climbing community as a whole. ”
Our thoughts are with his family and his community during this sad time.
From the Alberta Climbing Association (ACA):
It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Alberta Climbing Associations past President — John Haigh, on Sunday Sept 4th. Our hearts are with his family and all those he inspired over the years. His love for the sport and the athletes will be felt for generations to come.
Everyone’s had that one teacher growing up. That teacher that you worked to earn respect from. Not because they were a disciplinarian, but because they exuded a calmness and confidence that you didn’t dare cross because you respected it. As we become adults, we still meet these people, but view them differently than when we were kids. They quickly become our favourite people.
Not everyone in our ACA family knew John Haigh as a close friend, but that teacher you knew and respected back then and that friend you have now is one of the best ways to describe him.
John was involved with climbing forever, beginning in the outdoors way before climbing was what it is today. When his kids got into competitive climbing, naturally John was there. He quickly graduated to mentoring the youth climbing community. He soon became a key member of the AB competitive youth climbing movement. Always helping with competitions, judging, and being a calming influence for the climbers and parents during the stress of competitions, it was natural that he became president of the ACA.
John was a great friend to many whether he knew them for ages or just met them. He often climbed with the parents of the other youth climbers, always offering encouragement, and helping with technique, in John’s classic understated leadership style. He was always that smiling face at the gym you were glad to see whether you were a fellow climbing parent, or his friend.
John has left a lasting memory within the AB climbing community. He climbed in our own Bow Valley in some of the pioneering days of our sport in Alberta. He helped get our competition climbing off the ground and he helped steer us through some of the most difficult competition seasons where Covid lay waste to our events. And he was just that favourite person to all who got to meet him.
He was that guy. And he will be remembered.