Holland '72 found 21 years after his death
Two hikers in the Canadian Rockies discovered the remains of William Holland '72 on August 15, more than 21 years after his death. Holland was presumed dead in April 1989 following an ice climbing accident in Jasper National Park in Alberta, when a cornice beneath him collapsed and he fell over 1,000 feet after summiting Snow Dome, an 11,339-foot mountain.
The day hikers were attracted to the body by Holland's yellow jacket, which was visible at the base of Dome Glacier. Despite having moved over half a mile from the original site of his fall, Holland was still clad in his jacket, red pack and purple snow boots.
Following the recovery of the body by a helicopter crew, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police notified Holland's family after using dental records to confirm the identification of the body.
"It's been so long. It's a phone call you never expect to receive after the first couple of years," his daughter, Laurel Holland, said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald.
Holland, originally from Delaware, attended both Western Washington State College and Boston University following his graduation from the College. He then returned to Maine to work as a senior geologist for Robert G. Gerber Inc. of Freeport.
Climbing became a way for Holland to escape day-to-day life. His accomplishments included an ascent of Mount McKinley in Alaska, North America's highest peak, and he was also planning an expedition to Nepal to climb Ama Dablam in the Himalayas at the time of his death.
"It was an incredible high for him to be able to achieve something so awesome," Laurel Holland said. "It was like he was talking to God in some ways."
Holland's daughter plans to spread his ashes next summer, possibly in the Canadian Rockies.
"That was probably where he was happiest. It would be fitting," she said.