Rob Hart, a prolific outdoor adventurer and founder of Crazy Creek Products, died on February 20 after colliding with a tree on Red Lodge Mountain ski resort, near his home base of Red Lodge, Montana. Hart was perhaps most famous for inventing the Crazy Creek Chair, a popular portable, inflatable camping chair used to lounge around camp.
Hart, a lifelong climber with major ascents in the Himalayas and a worldwide adventurer who undertook and led expeditions on every continent including Antarctica, was discovered by another skier on the Big Silver ski run post-crash. He had been skiing alone and wore a helmet, but when paramedics arrived, they were unable to resuscitate Hart. Investigators classified the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the chest.
Hart once told Michael Hodgson, president of SNEWS, that he got inspiration for the Crazy Creek Chair by hoping “to create something that would provide a warm, dry and comfortable place to put my butt in and then lean back on.”
In that spirit, Hodgson offers this tribute to Hart:
We’d like to propose that sometime this week, winter be dammed, you each grab an old Crazy Creek chair from your gear shed or closet. Call out to your closest friends or your nearby family and ask them to join you outdoors by a fire or on the floor of a cabin in front of a hot stove. And then just sit. Talk about love and life and living. Talk about adventures experienced and still to come. Talk and laugh about anything at all, but do it with family and friends. And know that somewhere, Rob will be smiling with the knowledge that because of him, you are all together, sharing, taking time to slow down, and that your ass is comfortable too.
In lieu of flowers, family asks donations in Rob's memory be made to the "Rob Hart Memorial Fund" c/o Red Lodge Ski Patrol, PO Box 750, Red Lodge, MT 59068.