Peter Sugden – Obituary and Funeral

Obituary – Peter Sugden   b 07/03/1945 ; d 18/12/2014

His funeral will be held at Grenoside Crematorium, Sheffield, on Wednesday 4th February at 2:00 pm and afterwards at Cubley Hall, Penistone. Please let Andy Causer know if you are able to come.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Peter Haigh writes : –

Peter joined the Gritstone Club in 1967. I had already been a member for a couple of years, following in the footsteps of my elders and betters. But it was with Peter, as a comparable pair, that we explored and learned together, progressing at the same pace from raw amateurs to experienced climbers and mountaineers.

The foundations of this friendship were laid in a trip to Scotland in Spring 1967. As a quartet with Roger Sutcliffe and a young Dennis Chapman, we walked in a short week, with full camping and climbing gear, from Poolewe to Dundonnell. I remember climbing Wisdom Buttress on Ben Lair, with its (then) unprotected long run-outs, on the delightful gneiss of Maiden Buttress, and my first visit to A’Mhaighdean summit. We then drove south for the Club’s Bank holiday meet, camping in the Allt a’Mhuillinn, seeking out those famous buttress climbs. For the remaining part of our fortnight, just the two of us went west to Glen Brittle. Many well-known routes were visited but the part that stays in my mind is swimming in the stream that flows out of Coire a’Ghrunnda. Draining off those baking hot slabs, there was sufficient turbulence in the pools for the whole to become heated. A fitting finale to a fine holiday.

Shortly afterwards, on a Pillar meet, we drove far up the valley and then camped high under the crag. It was difficult to find sufficient water for the cooking; we were too naïve to realise just how lucky we were. Later, the Club held its first Four Crags meet. As the fourth route after a twelve-hour day that had started at the ODG car park in Langdale, North Climb proved much more intimidating for the pair of us than it had done a year earlier when the tent was close by and just a few hundred feet below.

It was on 8-6-68 that I made my first ascent of Gimmer Crack, sharing leads with Peter. After this, although I still continued to climb with Peter, he was seeking a partner who could climb to higher standards. Robin Hobbs obligingly filled the bill. The Elterwater Hut logbook records their activities, the increasingly difficult routes being noted with an increasing flamboyance in the style of recording. This culminated with an entry for THE MEDLAR, an entry that managed to overflow the ruled lines in the logbook. After this route, they both decided that, for the present, they did not need to attempt any harder route than that already accomplished.

In 1993, twenty-five years after my first ascent of Gimmer Crack, a celebratory meet was held. It was with great joy that I was again able to climb that route with Peter, sharing leads as previously, on this anniversary occasion.

Although Peter resigned from the Club a few years later, it was again with great joy that, by making an early start and having leisurely progress, he and Janet were able to join myself and a large party of friends on the summit of Ben Lomond to celebrate the completion of my Munros.

Andy Causer adds : –

Before I knew Peter he had climbed with, besides Peter Haigh, Peter Greenwood, Charles Dracup, Mick Green (who remembers Kipling Groove and Sword of Damocles) but mostly with Robin Hobbs. With Robin the grade gradually increased until they excelled themselves with The Medlar – in those days a serious route at the cutting edge. Peter recognised that route as his zenith and shortly afterwards Robin left for Canada.

Peter then started climbing with me in the early 70s and the partnership continued on a steady basis for over 20 years, climbing many of the classic HVSs in the Lakes, Snowdonia and the Peak. In this period he became an enthusiastic and skilful skier, organising many memorable trips.

In the late 90s Peter gave up climbing and left the club because of his increasing breathlessness. This was despite a successful few years running with a local club, during which he ran many events, including several half-marathons. However he continued with skiing well past the millennium, eventually finding the Alpine altitude too much.

After he gave up climbing Peter was diagnosed with a heart problem and pulmonary fibrosis – scarring of the lung tissue, cause unknown. From then until his death in December 2014 he gradually declined, although for most of that time continuing to walk modestly with a group of friends. This was seriously curtailed over the last couple of years when his breathlessness became so severe that a mobility scooter, and occasional oxygen usage, became necessary. For some of his last year Peter was using oxygen twenty-four hours a day.

Throughout his illness Peter has been uncomplaining and in the last weeks his acceptance of his imminent fate was philosophical. He leaves his wife, Janet and daughter, Joanne and his three-year-old granddaughter, Amelie. His funeral will be held at Grenoside Crematorium, Sheffield, on Wednesday 4th February at 2:00 pm and afterwards at Cubley Hall, Penistone.

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