This site is for family, friends, and colleagues of Avner Magen to post their thoughts and memories of him. Avner died in a climbing accident on May 29, 2010, in Alaska.

Avner was a beloved and devoted father, husband and son; a terrifically warm, funny, and energetic person; a brilliant and creative researcher; and a wonderful friend and colleague.

Please share your stories, memories and words of support by sending an email to You may also post comments to any entry. Visit this Photo Site for a photo memorial of Avner and his family and friends. Instructions for adding pictures appear next to the album.

More details appear on the Avner Magen Memorial page.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eyal Wigderson

It was a great shock to me to receive the news of Avner’s

I did not know Avner very well. He was a colleague of my
father, and through the love of climbing became a friend.

As a climber, in some way I feel a responsibility to try to
explain how he would risk his life for another climb,
knowing what the consequences might be. I too take these
risks, including the risk that the results of my actions
will cause deep sorrow to those around me, a sorrow so many
are now experiencing from Avner’s death.

Unfortunately I cannot explain. The easy way would be to say
that he “died doing something he loved”, but I doubt that
this could be of any real condolence.

There are climbers that are out there for the risk and
suffering involved in the climb. Others go on crusades to
conquer summits, or even just to challenge death. I am
certain Avner was none of these. He climbed out of pure love
for the mountains. Not to face death, but to feel alive.

There is something very irrational about
climbing. Yesterday, while going through my old mails after
receiving the horrible news, and seeing Avner’s invitation
to join him on this trip to Alaska, my immediate reaction
was that I wish I had gone.

Because of this irrationality I cannot explain. Unless you
have felt this passion, I think it is almost impossible to
understand. We use reason in order to reduce the objective
risks. We try to complete the climb in the safest way
possible. But even taking these into consideration, we
knowingly take a huge risk. The overall decision to climb
ignores statistics, or at most helps choose a route. Why, I
cannot explain. A hint might be seen on Avner’s face in the
pictures from his climbs.

It may be best not to try to understand. And yes, he died
doing something he loved. Not for it.

It was great to have known Avner. And I do wish I would have
had the chance to climb with him.

My deepest condolences to Ayelet, the kids and the rest of
the family.

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