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Sean McCabe: A Vibrant Life

“The Wall of Hate,” Alpinist 19. [Illustration] Sean McCabe

Alpinist illustrator Sean McCabe died on the morning of November 7 from undifferentiated anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid. He was 46. Sean was a family man, teacher, artist, skier and climber; the bold brush strokes he painted on canvas and through his life will be profoundly missed.

Sean’s illustrations–unmistakable expressionistic paintings of climbers, skiers and landscapes in which color and motion catch not just the moment but the life of the experience–appeared regularly in Alpinist and in Cross Country Skier, Climbing and the American Alpine Journal, among others. He was an artist who expressed his joys, many of them athletic endeavors in the wild, with lucid color.

Beyond his art, Sean’s greatest talent may have been his ability to teach. The recipient of two Teacher of the Year awards, the Catalyst Award and the Milkin Family Foundation National Educator Award, Sean spent nearly 20 years sharing his joy of life with countless students in Utah and Washington.

Sean is survived by his wife Laura and daughters Novie (7) and Dashe (3).

The Alpinist family is deeply saddened by Sean’s passing. With his family’s permission, we have run a selection of the work Sean published with us over the years. More of Sean’s art can be viewed and purchased at

“Middle Ground,” Alpinist 5. [Illustration] Sean McCabe

“Batso at Rest,” Alpinist 22. [Illustration] Sean McCabe

“A Climber’s Tale,” Alpinist 14. [Illustration] Sean McCabe

“A Climber’s Tale,” Alpinist 14. [Illustration] Sean McCabe

“Middle Ground,” Alpinist 5. [Illustration] Sean McCabe

“Two Frosts,” Alpinist 21. [Illustration] Sean McCabe