Robert “Rob” Dixon Hart, 51, of Red Lodge, MT, died Feb. 20 in a skiing accident on Red Lodge Mountain. Rob founded Crazy Creek Products with his first wife Louise “Weezie” Chandler in Red Lodge, MT in 198
Their first and signature design was the now world-famous Crazy Creek Chair, whose origins hark back to their experiences as Outward Bound instructors in Colorado; after a long day in the field they wanted a lightweight and portable chair to support the back and keep the butt warm and dry. Over the years Crazy Creek Products has had a significant impact on the outdoor industry, and the original Crazy Creek Chair is still produced today. The companys product lines have expanded to several styles of chairs designed for a multitude of uses, reflecting Robs desire to create comfort in the wilderness or at home.
After college, Hart became chief executive of the World Pro Fun Tour. The tours motto was “You can work all of your life to go to the beach, or you can just go to the beach!” The Tour gave him the perfect opportunity to develop his climbing skills, a passion first kindled at his familys ranch in the mountains of Wyoming and during family vacations in Switzerland.
His first major climb was as a member of Fred Beckeys 1982 Ru-Dshe-Konka expedition in the Chinese Himalayas. Later expeditions took him to almost every continent and included National Geographics exploration and climb through Patagonias Cordillera Sarmiento region and Norman Vaughns return expedition to Antarctica. Rob later guided two expeditions of his own in Antarctica, and several climbs of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Rob climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with his brother Doug, nephew Austin Hart and Jim Kadous of Red Lodge in 2004 and most recently led an expedition to climb Mount Tupungato in Chile with his wife Trenay, brother Doug, nephews Austin Hart and Brandon Goldstein and several friends.
Later in life, he co-founded two expedition companies (Burnt Mountain Ski Inc., and Beartooth Mountain Guides), and guided clients and friends in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana and the Absaroka Mountains of Wyoming. Rob was also part owner of the Red Lodge International Summer Ski and Snowboard Camp, on the Beartooth Highway just outside Red Lodge.
Hart was a strong proponent of preserving Montana's lands for recreation. He believed in the intrinsic and economic value of wild places and actively promoted recreation as a viable and sustainable use of public lands.
Hart is survived by his wife, Trenay Hart, of Red Lodge and Billings; his daughter Abra Gasser and granddaughter Ashby, of Phoenix, Arizona; his mother, Margaret S. Hart of Lake Forest, IL; two brothers, Augustin S. (Becky) Hart III of Oquawka, IL and Douglas S. (Harriet Corbett) Hart of Powell, WY; two sisters, Kathryn (Robert) Lansing of Lake Forest, IL and Heather Hart (Walter Goldstein) of Bozeman, MT.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Spring Creek Equine Facility at the Red Lodge Vet Clinic (Beug Arena) at 3pm on Friday, Feb. 27th, 2009.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Robs memory can be made to the “Rob Hart Memorial Fund” c/o Red Lodge Ski Patrol, PO Box 750, Red Lodge, MT 59068.