Celebration of Life – Kees & Claire

Tragic news has spread about the loss of two very special people. It was confirmed that our good friends and friends of many, Cornelius 'Kees' Brenninkmeyer and Claire Dixon, were killed when their snowcave collapsed on them at night, during their would-be 30 day traverse of the Wapta Icefield.


A news article from the Calgary Herald explained the story in more detail.


They died doing what they loved, exploring the mountains, together. While it's impossible to forget Claire's glowing non-stop smile or Kees' larger-than-life, contagious excitement, the photo above taken on their trip is an easy reminder of just how beaming with happiness they always were.


All their friends and accquantances (scattered around the region from their many adventures) are invited to come to Kamloops Saturday January 27 to celebrate Kees & Claire's unforgettable lives. Details to come, contact Jamie Bond for more information.


We'll miss you Kees & Claire… but we won't forget you.



There are 21 comments

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  1. Kelly

    I've known Claire since we were 17.  We raced together and played soccer together for years.  I will never forget her smile and her strength.  I'll keep a part of her with me forever.

  2. jtdavis

    I first met Kees back in the early 90`s when we both attended Sedbergh School. Since then we have had some pretty crazy times. Kees and Claire seemed like the perfect couple, I always enjoyed the BBQ`s at their place in Kits. They will be sorely missed. I am glad to see that they had touched so many lives. I will be heading up to the memorial in Kamloops for the day on Saturday, if anyone needs a lift from Vancouver just give me a ring.

  3. Erik Eaton

    Kees and I became friends at Salisbury prep. We both shared feelings of being stuck their, but through his positive words and our love for hockey, biking and working out we were able to get through it!!! Kees taught me many things and he and I always shared a special bond and he really made me always look at the brighter side of things and I really admired him for that. He was my biggest fan thru prep, junior, college and pro hockey and always made time to show me how much he cared. He was everything a friend could ask for and in reading all of your blogs its so great to see how many lives he truly did touch. “No Worries” my man “Go Leafs, GO!!”

  4. ansgarjohn

    Kees and I both lived in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 1999-2000. We trained together for the local marathon, Kees was too young to be officially allowed to run, so he ran under an allias. When he didn't have enough time to drive to the Alps, we would do things like sneaking into the harbor at night to climb the ten story high container cranes. Great fun. He recommended the book: "Into the wild", by John Krakauer. I read it then without realizing that it was a window on his future…

    Ansgar John Brenninkmeyer, Amsterdam 

  5. Tobin Seagel

    When we got back from Denali, we traded photos of our great adventure together and Kees returned a photo of mine with the following quote:

    "Mountains have the power to call us into their realms and there, left forever, are our friends whose great souls were longing for the heights. Do not forget the mountaineers who have not returned from the summits." Anatoli Boukreev, 1997.

    I won't forget either of you.

  6. Mike Hickey

    Kees, What can I say? Sam Welles and everyone said it already. But Kees, I will never forget you. I can remember the time you took Sam and I fishing around Mashuam in the summer. We probably caught about 4 striped bass, abosolutley perfect. We took them to your house, cooked them, and that was the first time I had O’Douls. Kees, I was 10, what were you thinking? haha. You were always willing to take me anywhere wether it was Newport to go surfing or just to Salvador’s for a drive and I would never turn down any of your invitations because I could learn more from you in an hour than I could learn from anyone else in years. I will never ever forget you. Its hard to accept the fact you are physically gone, but you will always be in my heart. As you always said, “No Worries” and Im not going to worry because someday we will meet again.


  7. meganderton

    I agree with Andre. It is difficult to put into words how much Kees meant to me. His energy and love for life was infectious. With Kees, there was never a dull moment. He was one rowdy Canadian. It is fun to recount memories and stories…I just wish there were more. He died doing what he loved and I don't think he would have had it any other way.

  8. samwelles

    I have known Kees for as long as i can remember and i have always looked up to him. He always has a smile from ear to ear and whenever he walked into a room the mood would always change for the better. He was a great role model who I will always try to be like. I would always hear of these incredible adventures he would take and he truely lived life on the edge and that was the one place he loved to be. He was taken from us extremely soon and it seems unfair seeing how much he could have still done. Kees you will always be missed and no one will ever forget you and your one of a kind personality. rest in peace

  9. JordanManley

    Kees I wish I had gotten to spend more time with you, but I am greatful for the times we did share together. Your enthusiasm for making a life of adventure was inspiring and contagious. I look back on our bike ride this fall, we all had such a blast that day. I remember you smiling, like you always did.

    Thanks for the good times, you will be missed.

  10. Tux Jackson

    Kees – Claire, thanks for the good times. You two were always so happy and positive it was contagious. Kees, you airing 'lobotomy' that day has always amazed me. Thank you for the stoke. May the adventure continue.

  11. J Dogg

    While it's impossible to recreate the charisma and energy of those two crazy cats Kees & Claire, a video is a neat way to see them in action again, and I realized this one made by Grant Baldwin of our trip to Savary Island is already online. It's not a ski video, it's incredibly cheesey (on purpose), and Kees gave me a pretty hard time for tricking him and Claire into a 'couples weekend' on Savary Island. Needless to say they were the humour and highlight of the trip as always, and I'm sure he'd let me share it with you all, as they were clearly a happy and committed couple to be prime candidates for such a weekend of Island revelry.

    Hope you enjoy it.

  12. AndreCharland

    I’m having trouble getting words together to express how much I miss Kees and Claire already. The loss of two amazing people is so hard to make sense of, but I know Kees and Claire were doing the thing they love with the person they love. And I take comfort in knowing that they lived the life they wanted, everyday. I’m grateful for the time and experiences we all shared and amazing positive and loving energy that radiated from both. I will always see you smiling and laughing, even at my mostly stupid jokes! Kees and Claire are an inspiration to us all. I’ll never forget you guys!

    I’ve started gathering pics (I have more, I just have to find them) here: I encourage anyone with more photos to upload them to the Flickr site or if that’s a pain just email me: Thanks so much!

  13. adamsmythe

    I have never met anyone in my entire life that had such a deep love for life and pure happiness and excitement for wherever and whatever he was doing. Kees had an incredible life, and although it was cut much too short, he experienced countless things and places, many of us can only dream of. If I can achieve just half of what Kees had in his short life during my own, I will be absolutely happy. Although I had never met Claire, from talking to many of Kees’ closest friends, I know that her and Kees were absolutely meant for each other. It affords me at least some peace knowing that they were taken from us while being together, doing what both of them loved to do. Kees and Claire, you will be sorely missed by us all.

  14. Lotte

    This last photo taken of you two couldn't be more perfect… you are both just bursting with life, and that is how I will always remember you! Claire and Kees, your ear-to-ear smiles, exuberant personalities and passion for life and the outdoors will never be forgotten.

  15. Aunt Faith

    Maya Angelou wrote
    “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.’ ”
    That’s Kees and Claire. Kees is Buddy’s hero, everything he could want to be. Annie, Ruthie and Mart adored their Kees and loved his Claire. Kees-to me– was a pain in the neck little kid who grew up to be one of my finest friends. Thanks for the love kid.

  16. Mark Lasseter

    The Last time I saw Kees was in Las Lenas and he like always
    was in a super good mood and super excited to ski some big lines.
    Great guy, very skilled skier and mountaineer.  To Kees and Claire……
    you will be missed………

  17. mhiggins

    If you knew Kees you were a lucky person, and I knew him my entire life as a cousin and a brother. I didn't get to know Claire as well but the little time that I spent with her it seemed as though they were perfect together. They died doing what they loved and they died together, in love.

  18. neumannco

    Kees and Claire will be greatly missed by everybody, from all his friends in BC and Canada to those of us in CO who were blessed to have had them in our lives. Wish we could be up in BC with you all on the 27th to celebrate 2 wonderful lives.

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