I’m very sorry to hear of the passing of Bryden Allen yesterday, truly one of the great legends of Australian climbing.
I took this image of him in 1998, when he was at the age of 58, climbing as hard as – or harder than – ever on the route on Toyland (25), at Cosmic Country in Blue Mountains. Something I found super inspiring at the time – and still do!
Tim Allen, Bryden’s son, wrote a beautiful tribute which I’ve pasted below (with permission), as it touches on the diverse interests and achievements of this remarkable man.
Vale Bryden Allen
28/2/40 – 9/2/22
My father – a unique, almost unbelievably so, human.
He was many things:
Firstly, an individual of extreme eccentricity – that permeated everything else.
Then, a rock climber – his greatest achievements and his legacy.
Then, a mathematician – a PHD in pure mathematics with 3 original papers published by the age of 25.
Also – a morris dancer…
And – a solver of the the world’s problems who spent 30 years writing treatises on how the world should live – to which the world responded with complete indifference.
An accordion player who played every day in the local mall and had to remind people that he wasn’t busking for money, he just liked doing it.
And finally – his other greatest achievement – a paraplegic who lived fully and stubbornly independent for 22 years after breaking his back in a climbing accident. His strength of will and determination was utterly unique.
Rest in Peace Bryden.