On Thursday, Feb. 4, Idyllwild’s beloved rock-climbing legend Clark Jacobs passed away from complications due to COVID-19.
Always a fighter, Clark battled many physical ailments including Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (rare blood cancer) for 16 years.
Many who knew him would agree that it never stopped him from enjoying life to the fullest.
Clark was born in the Netherlands to Hetty and George Jacobs in 1953. They immigrated to California in 1957, eventually settling in Pasadena.
A free spirit with wanderlust, Clark’s love of nature and exploration developed as a teen when he explored the local San Gabriel Mountains, visited Yosemite with his parents in 1968 and cut his teeth on the rocks at Stoney Point and granite faces of Suicide Rock.
Clark’s climbing pursuits ranged from bivouacs in the Rockies and Tetons to the smooth faces and cracks of Idyllwild and Yosemite. The rough stone of Joshua Tree and lichen faces of The Needles added to his long climbing resume.
However, Clark’s accomplishments were not measured by the first ascents, solos on Flower of High Rank or the number of big wall climbs in the Valley. They were measured by the lives he touched throughout his years of climbing and teaching. Never one to refuse a free beer or meal, people embraced Clark because of what he offered them … honesty, joy and a zest for life.
A good story or joke was always at the ready. He was a teacher, a mentor, an athlete and a friend to all of those he met.
Clark was instrumental in much of the development and growth of climbing in Idyllwild over the last 40 years. Protecting the environment, climbing routes and those who climbed there were his passion.
He installed and replaced many of the bolts and hangers in Idyllwild. If you ever clipped in there, you can probably bet Clark had something to do with it.
Clark is survived by his younger brother Jimmy and the extended family of friends in Idyllwild, Joshua Tree, Yosemite and all throughout the country.
An online Zoom memorial service will be held on his birthday, Friday, March 12 at 5:00 p.m. You may contact his brother via email at [email protected] for more information.