Remembering Matt Ciancio, 1975-2017
An Eastside “folk hero” passed on last week when Matthew Ciancio, 42, died in a parachuting accident on May 24 in Lodi, California.
Born in Connecticut, Ciancio moved to Mammoth Lakes to ski, and was soon introduced to rock climbing, which became an obsession for him. “He was not a natural,” said friend Jason Lakey, who said that Ciancio pushed himself hard to tick off his accomplishments. “This guy was a very motivated, hard worker and went on to do some insane things.”
“For two decades he was the most visible local at pretty much all of the crags on the Eastside, including the [Owens River] Gorge, Tioga Cliff, Pine Creek, Bear Crag, Dike Wall, and every other nook and cranny,” wrote friend and climbing partner Andy Puhvel. “His constant presence at the Incredible Hulk—where he had climbed nearly every route multiple times, mostly in one day—earned him the nickname ‘the Mayor.’”
He had other nicknames too—“Honky,” said Puhvel, and “Mr. Reliable,” according to Lakey. “You could count on him for more than just being a reliable climbing partner. If you had a life problem or a girlfriend problem, he was there for you. He was a true friend.”
“He’s what I would call a Sierra warrior for sure,” said Dan Molnar. “Matt, those guys [he climbed with], they