Cornelius ‘Kees’ Brenninkmeyer and Claire Dixon were the most beautiful, caring, sharing, energetic, couple you could ever have the pleasure of knowing. Absolutely buzzing with excitement for life, they were always keen for a new adventure, a new project, or a new chapter of their lives.
While their last chapter came tragically too soon, it was one of the best, and all of who knew them were lucky to have a chance to share it with them. They found love in each other and enjoyed challenging themselves and each other in this new phase of life. Kees was well en route to his dream of mountain guiding as a career, and Claire had recently finish her Physio Therapy degree, keen to start her new career. As a couple they could now guide people to achieving dreams in the mountains – then patch them up if dreams led astray, say to a torn knee or shoulder.
In December of 2006, they went for yet another challenge. Setting out together on a bold multi-week adventure on the Wapta Icefileds, they volunteered as ACC hut custodians through one of the most inhospitable months of the winter season, as they made their way across the Wapta Traverse.
Sadly, when they didn’t return on the planned date, search parties were sent out to discover them buried in a collapsed snowcave which they had built for a night’s refuge during their traverse.
Cornelius ‘Kees’ Brenninkmeyer and Claire Dixon passed away on January 4, 2007, a huge loss to their family, their friends, and to everyone in the world who had or would have a chance to enjoy their company. They died doing what they loved, with each other, at the pinnacle of a life few could dream of having.
Everyone who met Kees and Claire along the Wapta Traverse that month were touched by their encounter, elated to meet such an enthusiastic and happy couple. All the photos from their final days boast their matching larger-than-life smiles – a reminder of just how much fun the pair managed to pack into their short lives.
Obviously ‘their story’ can’t be summed up on this short web page, but we do sincerely hope their story and their passion will be shared with everyone throughout this project; gathering a community of mountain enthusiasts to build a memorial hut in their honour, leaving a legacy for friends, family, and future generations to enjoy a taste of the sweet life that Kees and Claire savored every day they were with us on earth.