Outdoor community mourns loss of The North Face co-founder

Doug and Kris Tompkins. Photo: Sam Beebe / Ecotrust

Doug and Kris Tompkins. Photo: Sam Beebe / Ecotrust

Doug Tompkins, the 72 year old environmental activist, renowned adventurer, and co-founder of The North Face, passed away from severe hypothermia yesterday following a kayaking accident on General Carrera Lake in Patagonia.

According to reports, high winds on the lake whipped up waves as high as nine feet, and six people in Tompkins’ group capsized, including Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. Three of the capsized paddlers managed to swim to an island and all were rescued by the Chilean Navy. Tompkins died at 6:30pm at Coyhaique Regional Hospital.

Tompkins is well known as a passionate conservationist, with strong ties to the Patagonia region. After co-founding The North Face in 1968, and subsequently the ESPRIT clothing company, Tompkins left the business world in 1989 to dedicate himself to environmental activism. His love for Patagonia grew from his first climbing expedition in the region, when he, along with Yvon Chouinard, Richard Dorworth and Lito Tejada Flores established the California Route on Fitz Roy. His passion for the area prompted a life-long commitment to do what he could to protect it. He and his wife, Kristine McDivitt-Tompkins, former Patagonia CEO, have purchased extensive tracts of land in Patagonia with the sole purpose of protection and conservation.

ASJ offers sincere condolences to this extraordinary man’s family and friends. RIP Doug.