Misha Kirk, father and mountaineer, died October 2, 2001 at his home in Glen, NH, from a neurological seizure. He had recently turned 50. Little could either of us have imagined, while discussing his curriculum vitae in preparation for his presentation to last year’s OH Winter Reunion, that his bio would used for his obit.
A celebration of Misha’s life was held on the banks of the Saco River and the Jackson Church October 6.
Misha came to the huts in the winter of 1978, to regularly climb with a friend, Eric MacAfee, who was then washing dishes at Pinkham. His involvement with the AMC would continue on and off until his death. Raised in Hawaii and Austria, he bore a lifelong passion for both medicine and mountains. His resume reflects an intimate knowledge and command of both, and includes apprentice, International School of Mountaineering, Leysin, Switzerland; Winter Survival Instructor, German DOD “Special Operations”; Green Beret Medic; Search and Rescue Coordinator, Mount McKinley; Hawaii Ironman finisher; 1986 National Park Service Employee of the Year, for a three day rescue on McKinley; many an AMC rescue (one culminating in his receiving the N.H. Governor’s Award for the rescue of climber Hugh Herr); many New England first ascents on ice; and climbs in the Himalayas and other great ranges of the world. He was also a professional athletic trainer, with dual degrees in Biology and Kinesiology.
His remarkable accomplishments were all the more inspiring given his bout with cancer in the 90’s, which derailed his pursuit of an MD. After returning to New Hampshire in 1997, he worked for the AMC Education Department, and as a guide, SOLO instructor, and ski patroller. He was working towards a degree in nursing when he died.
Misha was a man of straight-up opinions, delivered with compassion and a helping hand for any and all who needed one. He was a generous friend to his partner, Patrice Mutchnick and a loving father to his 2 year old daughter, Ella Jaz Mutchnick Kirk. On behalf of her, a fund has been set up in his honor, c/o Jackson Parents Support Group, Box 383, Jackson NH 03846.
Submitted by Stroker Rogovin with help from Patrice Mutchnick