Charles Talbot Porter, 63, of Walpole, Maine, and Puerto Williams, Chile, died Sunday, February 23 in Punta Arenas, Chile of a heart attack. Charlie Porter was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, June 12, 1950, and grew up in Pepperell, Massachusetts, the son of Dr. Charles Talbot Porter and Barbara Cooney Porter. Summers were spent in Waldoboro on the Medomak River. Intense interest in rock climbing and mountaineering inspired Charlie to depart from studies at Boston University to climb in the Canadian Rockies and the Cascades and then move to Yosemite Valley. He excelled at big wall rock climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing and soon became a legend in 1972 making the first ascent of El Capitan's The Shield in Yosemite Park. Noted for guts, innovation, wits and determination, Porter pioneered several more routes on El Capitan before going on to Canada to conquer Moose's Tooth, 1974; Polar Circus ice climb at Banff, 1974; Baffin Island's Mt.Asgard,1975; the Canadian Rockies' Fortress and in Alaska the first solo ascent up Denali's Cassin Ridge, at 20,237 feet in 1976, taking 36 hours. Charlie has inspired young and old adventurers worldwide. New Zealanders consider him the best wall climber of all time, a true rock warrior with an infectious sense of humor.

In 1978 Charlie Porter rowed around Cape Horn in a klepper kayak fitted with a sliding seat and oars. On the 2000-mile solo voyage he came across early camp fires and remains of the original Cape Horn inhabitants and later became involved with New York City's Natural History Museum. Charlie met Chilean marine biologist Georgina Valdivia of Punta Arenas. Their initial common interest was red tides affecting fisheries. Porter built a steel vessel, Wild Pigeon, and the young couple sailed from Salem, Massachusetts, south, through the Panama Canal to Chile where they lived on Chiloe Island. He chose Patagonia as his place to live and work.

Since the early 1990's Charlie Porter worked with the University of Maine's Institute of Climate Change on Southern Hemispheres programs covering glaciology and climate change in Antarctica, South Georgia, Chilean lake district, Patagonia and New Zealand. Porter was the CEO of the Patagonia Research Foundation and operated a charter boat service for scientists, explorers and film crews. Charlie captained two sail boats: 42-ft. cutter rig steel ketch, Gondwana and a 68-ft. custom made rebuilt German vessel, Ocean Tramp, which has a range of 4000 nautical miles. Charlie excelled in his focused endeavors, at sea as well in the mountains. He was the nexus between world-renowned scientists and others who came to Patagonia to study. He transported them on his sailboats and helped them cross-fertilize their ideas.

Charlie is survived by ex-wives Karen McDonald, Georgina Valdivia and Camilla Hansen; sisters Phoebe Porter and Gretel Porter, brother Barnaby Porter, nephews Shetu Nandy, Samuel Goldsmith, Elijah Porter and two great-nieces, Soraya and Alana Nandy. Memorial services are planned for Puerto Williams, Chile, and at Orono and Walpole, Maine. Contact: Gretel Porter c/o; tel. 207-563-2106.