Kim Momb seems to have
had a love of sports and the outdoors that reaches back
to his earliest years. It’s a love that would lead him
to make the first summit of Everest via the East or
Kangshung face on October 8, 1983.
Kim began skiing on the
slopes of Mt. Spokane where his parents were instructors at the age of 6. By
the time he was in his teens he was riding on the national motocross race
circuit as well as kayaking, wind surfing, and studying karate. His focus
would shift to mountaineering in 1986 when he joined his sister and her
boyfriend on a climb. He soon hooked up with noted mountaineer John Roskelley
and began climbing in earnest. The two men climbed Yosemite's El Capitan in
one day and then moved on to bigger challenges.
The next year saw Kim
join the Spokane Mountaineer and just three years later (1980) came the
all-Spokane expedition up Makalu (27,790 feet), without the assistance of
Sherpa or supplemental oxygen. While teammates
Chris Kopczynski and Jim States were stopped a
few hundred feet short of the top, Kim was able to summit the world’s fifth
In 1985 Kim was awarded
he David A. Sowles Memorial Award, an award given out “from time to time on
mountaineers who have distinguished themselves, with unselfish devotion at
personal risk or sacrifice of a major objective, in going to the assistance of
fellow climbers imperiled in the mountains.” Kim received the award for his
rescue and assistance of fellow climbers in distress, more than once aborting
his own summit attempts to help others.
Nearing his 30th
birthday Kim was guiding heliskiers east of Nakusp, BC when he was overtaken
and buried in an avalanche, he later died in Nakusp’s hospital.