Remembering Mountaineer Eric Enges

With great sadness we share that Eric Enges, husband, father, and Kitsap Branch Super Volunteer, has passed away.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
February 07, 2022
Remembering Mountaineer Eric Enges

With great sadness we share the news of the passing of Daniel "Eric" Enges, a climb leader and Super Volunteer with our Kitsap Branch. Eric passed away after being put on a ventilator from COVID on January 15, leaving behind his beloved wife of 26-years and their three daughters. He was 56.

Eric joined The Mountaineers in 2016 and quickly jumped right in, graduating from Basic Climbing in 2017, then volunteering as an instructor for the course beginning in 2018. Eric also graduated from Sport Climbing (for which he also instructed), Alpine Scrambling, Wilderness First Aid, and Navigation. He was also an Intermediate Course student and helped with the program as an instructor.

image0 (1).jpegPhoto by Jonathan Ramirez.

In his 8-years as a Mountaineer, he helped instruct more than 70 times. Here are a few things Eric's participants had to say about him:

  • Eric is such a patient, encouraging leader. I appreciated the gentle nudging at spots I felt were difficult - being able to push my comfort level just the slightest bit was so helpful. He also did such a great job making group decisions and adjusting rope teams.
  • Both Eric and Bill were excellent throughout the trip. Their leadership was tested with some party member (one being myself) issues on the climb. They were great in helping me make a very difficult decision to not summit. I am very appreciative of their leadership and understanding.
  • Well engaged, attentive without being too much in your grill, friendly and helpful. Allowed you to trouble shoot through struggles, rather than being a helicopter-instructor.
  • The positive attitude and leadership from Eric, and simple, clear instructions, set a feeling of comradeship with our group.

In addition to being a generous and competent leader, Eric was an all-around beloved member of the Kitsap Branch. When branch members learned he was in the hospital, and had ultimately succumbed to his illness, they shared wonderful stories and messages of hope:

  • The news was absolutely shocking and heart breaking. I remember Eric with his kindness, his care for others, how much he adored his family and how he always talked about them passionately. Eric will always stay alive in our memories. - Kiana Ehsani
  • He was an admirable, dedicated friend who will be sorely missed, and his spirit will surely live on in our hearts forever. - Mike Harlow
  • Eric was such a strong guy, physically and mentally. He was super reliable and always willing to help.  I’ll cherish the climbs we shared and memories we made. - Craig Noel
  • He had a true understanding of the great outdoors, a ready smile, kind/selfless spirit and his moral compass pointed true north. It was a privilege and honor to climb and befriend him. God bless You Eric! “Climb On” to heaven. - Jonathan & Elle Ramirez
  • Enges’ passing hits hard.  He was a great friend.  I will miss his famous childhood stories, his humor, his chicken and his brotherhood. - Eric Lee
  • This news hits hard.  Eric was such a kind and selfless person, as well as an awesome leader and climbing partner. His loss is sorely felt. - Jordan Kott

Friend and fellow Mountaineers leader Craig Noel shared a number of stories about Eric. Here are some of his favorite memories:

Greasy fingers

"A group of us drove to the Sahara Creek Horse Campground near Ashford the night before an attempt on Unicorn Peak. Eric didn't have a chance to shop beforehand, so we stopped at the grocery store. He grabbed snacks for the climb and a hot chicken dinner. The chicken smelled good in the car. We arrived at the campground after dark and it was raining, so we decided to get some rest to be ready for the next day. Eric chose to sleep under the pavilion to avoid having to deal with a wet tent in the morning, and he did not have the chance to wash the chicken off his fingers at the rustic campground. Apparently, he did not get much sleep that night because the mice thought the chicken smelled good too. He was awoken to mice nibbling on his fingers! We all had a good laugh about it throughout the next day, and it really didn't seem to faze him. He was someone always ready to go and never complaining. "

Mountain House meals

"When someone asked Eric if he liked his Mountain House meal, he quipped "It will make a turd." That always stuck with me, because one, it's funny and two, an important lesson that even when you lose your appetite at elevation, you need to eat to maintain energy.  I will remember Eric as a really strong climber, always willing to help, funny, and a kind heart."

image.pngPhoto by Ed Lucas.

Prior to joining The Mountaineers, Eric served in the U.S. Navy from 1990-1994, and later joined the Navy Reserves. He was honorably discharged in 2002. Eric worked for twenty years as a technician for WSDOT, supporting recreation in our state through safe driving conditions. He was also a member of the Jefferson County Search & Rescue team.

Enges_Graveside.jpegGraveside memorial photo courtesy of Enges family.

Eric was laid to rest with military honors in a graveside service in Sequim View Cemetery. A Celebration of Life is planned for his birthday, April 22. You can find more information on the GoFundMe page set up to support his family.

Our deepest sympathies go out to Eric's wife Keri, their three daughters Emily, Addie, and Mackenah, Eric's brothers Christopher and John, and his sister Mary. His passing will be felt throughout our community for years to come. 

Eric Enges.JPGPhoto by Bill Bandrowski.

Memorial Hike

On Sunday, April 17, 2022, leader Bill Bandrowski is leading a Memorial hike-climb in honor of Eric. Join to celebrate Eric while hiking a peak he enjoyed and raise your glass and your heart to our friend on the summit of Green Mountain. Climb on Eric.


Main image courtesy of Jerry Logan.

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Bill Bandrowski
Bill Bandrowski says:
Feb 07, 2022 12:43 PM

I REALLY got to know Eric during the spring of 2017 when he was 50 feet down in a huge crevasse in the Easton Glacier on Mt Baker hanging at the end of the rope - all 200 plus pounds of him and pack. We could faintly hear him calling from the deep crevasse, but we could definitely hear Jerry calling out for the two of us to pull him out! We had rigged a Z-pully system, but it didn’t seem to help much. Since we were being evaluated, we pulled and PULLED. Unfortunately, as I tugged on that rope, I could feel my recently healed broken ribs start to hurt… and HURT! By the time Eric emerged from the crevasse I could barely stand, let alone climb that night, and was angry at Eric and all of his 200 plus pounds, for thwarting my Baker attempt. As it turned out, that anger quickly turned to laughter and a close friendship and climbing partnership that continued for the next five years with hundreds of adventures together. I miss you Enges… I am a different person because of you.