In Memory of




Obituary for Richard William Prohaska

Richard (Rich) William Prohaska, passed away in the Sea to Sky Hospice in Squamish, B.C. on Dec 4, 2023. Rich embraced his cancer diagnosis and fought it with a vengeance, so much so that he lived 4.5 years with stage 4c colon cancer. The extra time allowed him to see his daughters graduate and grow into young women.

Rich was a devoted husband who cherished his loving wife Heather and their daughters Naomi and Anna. He leaves behind his parents, Bill and Helen, sisters Kimberly Matthisen and Julie Hogeboom(Rev. Michael), brother Stuart Gillies, nieces, nephews, his in-laws, Fred and Lynda Bettcher, and brother-in-laws Dwight(Melody), Trevor(Alica). As well, he leaves friends who are family, Kate and Andy Couvell, Jia Condon, Andrew Howell and Wendy Brookbank, John Chilton and his church family. And so many other friends, neighbours and colleagues who were a big part of his life in Sea to Sky.

Rich was born in Kingston, Ontario on May 3 1969. He was a lover of life and adventure. He tried a variety of activities as a child: Austrian dancing, bike racing, skiing, waterskiing, hockey, and motorbiking. In his teen years, a family friend, Franzel Moeslinger, took him rock climbing, which changed the direction of his life. He began to climb with his father each Summer until he graduated from high school, and then he was off to the West. (Landing in the Rockies for a few weeks until he heard of this place called Whistler.) Once in Whistler, he loved it, stayed in his van for the winter, and then headed back home to work in the family business for the summer. This was repeated for several seasons until his friends encouraged him to stay in Whistler all year. His passion for the mountains drew him in and held him here. He was consumed with skiing and climbing and became accomplished in many disciplines: mountaineering, skiing of all kinds, ice climbing, and rock climbing.

Rich had a prolific and colourful skiing, mountaineering and climbing career. He loved pursuing untouched places in search of first ascents or descents. He made 14 trips to the St. Elias Range, Yukon, and summited Mt Logan 8 times, which I believe is the record. He is known as MR LOGAN in the mountaineering world. His last trip up Mt. Logan in 2017 was with his daughter Naomi, making her the youngest person, at 15, to summit Canada's highest peak.

Some other highlights include the first ascent of Mount Atlantic with his climbing partner Jia Condon. Johnny(Foon) Chilton was part of this trip for the first bit, but an emergency had him evacuated (a story for another time). This was a 45-day, 500km unsupported/no airdrop journey to the peak. He also did first assents in China, Baffin Island, Greenland and Antarctica. Expeditions aside, Rich also rock-climbed around the world and put up new routes in Thailand and Greece. In the pursuit of these ascents, Rich visited each continent except Australia. This man was a machine!

Eventually, Rich realized he should become an ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide which he accomplished. Rich pursued a winter career as a heli-ski guide at Coast Range, Tyax Lodge, Bella Coola and Whistler Heli-ski operations. Forever smiling, Rich had a way of making people feel safe while having a ton of fun. Another aspect of his guiding career was taking people up Mt. Logan every May. He loved it! The escape it provided, the simplicity of the mountains combined with the art of suffering.

In the offseason, Rich kept himself busy with his metal fabrication business, Iron Mountain Works. He learned this trade from his father and worked for many years with him. In Whistler, he worked for Whistler Welding until he had his own shop. Rich's workmanship can be spotted around Whistler and Pemberton in the village, hotels, and homes. He loved it when people would bring him an idea, and he would go with it.

Rich had a strong faith in Jesus Christ. His faith grew throughout his life, becoming an integral part of his being in his mid-twenties. It was at Whistler Community Church where he met his wife, Heather. Pemberton Community Church is where he volunteered as an Elder for a time. He also enjoyed leading groups of teens into the mountains with Young Life. Rich's faith was about loving Christ and loving people. He did great at that, often helping people with firewood, snowplowing, and rides. It was Rich's faith that carried him through his difficult cancer journey. He was forever hopeful for healing and health.

Rich loved adventure, the mountains, and Jesus, but he also loved his family. He embraced fatherhood and all that came with it. He loved sharing the mountains with us, doing everyday life and learning new things like surfing. It was a blessing he lived to see his daughters become young women. He was so proud of the decisions they were making.

Rich had the most fantastic smile and calm demeanour that will be missed by so many. Heaven has gained a kind soul.

In lieu of flowers please consider donating to Sea to Sky Hospice.

Celebration of Life
Friday January 5, 2023
Pemberton Secondary School