Chip Kamin played hard. When friends gathered for outdoors adventures, he was usually considered the athlete in the best condition. An avid bicyclist, scuba diver, skier, mountaineer and ice climber, he had a hard-earned reputation for challenging himself in extreme conditions.
Herman "Chip" Kamin Jr. of Squirrel Hill died of a heart attack Monday while mountain biking in Frick Park. He was 62.
Semi-retired from Kamin Realty of Shadyside, a business started by his grandfather, Mr. Kamin spent much of his time pushing his physical limits.
In 1983, he climbed Mount Denali in Alaska, then skied down from 17,000 feet. From 1984 to 1986, he explored rock and ice climbs and ski descents in the American West and, in 1987, was part of an American team that scaled Ama Dablam, a Himalayan mountain in Nepal, for which he received the John Case Award for Outstanding Mountaineering Achievement from the New York Chapter of the American Alpine Club.
In the 1990s, he instructed at a mountaineering school, led climbing trips to Central and South America, and biked as many as 3,000 miles per year. Mr. Kamin generally avoided competitions, but in 2005 he won silver medals in 20-kilometer and 40-kilometer bicycle road races in the Senior Olympic Games, held in Pittsburgh.
"He just really enjoyed the physical challenge," said his wife of 35 years, Eleanor "Robin" Buchen Kamin. "I think that was the way he handled stress -- being active. He enjoyed the challenge, but to him it wasn't a race. If you were weaker, he stayed with you -- it wasn't like he tried to get there first. He was a team player, very interested in sharing the activity."
Lawrence Walsh, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's recreational sports columnist, remembers Mr. Kamin as a determined skier and longtime friend. Several years ago, when high winds and blizzard conditions prompted an Idaho ski resort to remain closed, he told a house full of friends to carry their skis on their shoulders and follow him up the mountain in their ski boots in foot-deep snow.
"We followed him up, took a break in a lift attendant's hut at the top of a chair lift to catch our breath and then followed him down," Mr. Walsh said. "And then it was time to go back up again."
A gifted multisport athlete and skier who relished deep powder snow, Mr. Kamin was a 40-year member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America, Explorers Club of Pittsburgh and Golden Triangle Water Ski Club.
A believer in sport-specific exercise, he regularly lifted weights, rode his bike and ran the stairs of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning to the 36th floor.
Business and recreation overlapped when Mr. Kamin helped to develop ski resorts. He was a co-owner and operator of The Buckaloons near Warren, Pa., and ran a snowcat operation at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Idaho.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Kamin is survived by his sons Jason and Bryan, and two nephews. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at John A. Freyvogel Sons, 4900 Centre Ave., Shadyside.
The family requests donations to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to support Maggie's Mauraders, a bike team developed by Mr. Kamin. Checks can be sent to National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Western Pa. Chapter, 506 Third Ave., Duncansville, PA 16635.
John Hayes: email@example.com or 412-263-1991.