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John Middendorf , Tasmania’s globally-acclaimed mountaineer, inventor and environmentalist, has passed away while visiting the USA with his family. He was 64 and suffered a stroke.

“John was a delightful character who loved the world’s wilderness. Our foundation is shocked by his sudden loss. We are grieving for his wife Jeni and young family,” said Bob Brown.

“John was an acclaimed historian for the global climbing community, writing meticulously researched stories on the ascent of mountains from the Alps centuries ago to more recent ascents in the Karakorums, Himalayas and Andes and, of course, the great walls and mountains of his native North America, including those he climbed in his younger days. He travelled the world and it was Tasmania’s fortune that he and Jeni decided to settle down here.”

“He made a globally-huge contribution to the defence of nature through his invention of the ‘portaledge’, a portable lightweight and weatherproof camp which would shelter nature-lovers in previously unattainable safety and comfort, whether they were 50 metres up a giant Tasmanian eucalypt or 500 metres up an American cliff-face,” Bob Brown said today.

“Deuce loved takayna, having travelled the globe in search of unbelievable adventure in remote wild places, the natural world of this small island ignited a passionate fire that was contagious and committed. His legacy is indelible in the passion we hold for innovative thinking to outrun the forces plundering nature,” said Erik Hayward.

“The world has lost one of its greatest forest defenders. John was Earth’s treesit innovator with his portaledge design. As devastated as we are to lose a friend his work will live on forever,” said Jenny Weber.

Middendorf’s story in the current edition of Australia’s ‘WILD’ magazine is headlined ‘Tasmanian Aerial Blockades’ and records Tasmania’s role at the forefront of worldwide efforts to peacefully save native forests and wildlife. Aerial blockade expert Erik Hayward describes Middendorf’s camping platform as “a total game-changer: now we can walk in the bush with everything we need (for a tree-sit) on our backs”.

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