In Memoriam: Paul Dedi

Posted on: March 5, 2008

An illustration Paul Dedi drew for his wedding. Dedi's iconic line art, used on collateral and in association with numerous promotions, is synonymous with Alpinist. He passed on January 25, 2008, in a mountaineering accident. [Illustration] Paul Dedi

Paul Dedi passed away on 25 January of this year from injuries he suffered in a mountaineering accident. His death has left many grieving—his beloved wife Im Mei, family in Ontario and BC, co-workers at MEC, climbing partners, fellow artists and animators. Paul's soul was of great character, humor, brilliance and honesty. With his death we have lost one of the like-minded fellow lunatics of the climbing and illustrating communities.

Paul was known best to the readers of Alpinist as the artist who created the line art gracing the renewal card in the magazine; his work has appeared in Alpinist since Issue 0. His was a fresh style of drawing filled with motion, life force and the freedom implied by climbing. When editor-in-chief Christian Beckwith first saw Dedi's drawings in 2002, he realized he had an illustrator with the "minty freshness" he was looking for. Paul's drawings also were used on Alpinist t-shirts, stickers and water bottles. Like all things vintage Alpinist, if you have it, save it... the rest were lost to the fires of bad forklift driving.

Alpinist gear with Dedi's signature line art. [Creative] McKenzie Long


Paul shone brightly in the Vancouver climbing community for his love of the mountains and his drive to be out there in them. He was strong and dependable, good on rock, snow and ice. He learned to climb in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where he grew up; he did more rock climbing while living in Hong Kong and picked up glacier-travel skills in the rugged peaks of the Coast Range.

Paul started out typically enough for a kid from a working-class neighborhood. He was the youngest son and the fifth of seven children born to his parents Alexander and Ella Marie in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Paul grew up a scrapper and was never one to mess with. His brother Peter recalled a story when they were at school. He was called to help his "little brother Paul" who was mixed up in a fight. Peter arrived to find Paul with his larger opponent in a headlock, thumpin' the fellow's head into the dirt.

Dedi on Mt. Baker. [Photo] Paul Dedi collection

After high school, Paul worked on the railroad but realized he needed more education to be happier in a job. He mulled over a decision to study to be a medical technician or film animator.

His sister Sherry told him to do what his heart told him. He entered Sheridan College to study film animation despite having a relatively under-developed style of illustrating. It's no surprise to those of us who knew him later that he worked so hard to improve his style; he graduated top of his class.

A company rep, Gary Thomas, from an animation firm in Hong Kong arrived looking to hire only one person. Despite fierce competition from his classmates to represent their portfolios to the gentleman, Paul's teacher recommended Paul. Paul thought he would be in Hong Kong for three months. He stayed four years.

Dedi and his wife, Im Mei. [Photo] Paul Dedi collection

Out climbing one day at Shek O, a popular crag in Hong Kong, he watched two women climbing nearby. He asked the belayer, Annie, who the leader was. "Im Mei Kwok" was the answer. Later on, Paul saw Im Mei at the train station, where climbers catch the bus to the crags. He told her he had some pictures of her from the day he saw her and Annie climbing. He suggested coffee, and she agreed. "Do you have a boyfriend?" he asked and was crestfallen to hear "Yes..." But he had "forgotten" to bring the photos so asked if she'd meet him again. Years later he would say the greatest feat of his life was "tricking Im Mei into marrying me."

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