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Tragic death of North Face Founder Douglas Tompkins

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Founder of the outdoor clothing company North Face Douglas Tompkins, has tragically died in a kayaking accident in Chile after it capsized. He passed away on December 8, 2015 at Coyhaique Regional Hospital.

In 1966 he opened up a skiing and backpacking shop in San Francisco. Little did he know what a giant success both North Face and the clothing company Espirit he co-founded would become.

While he was a great businessman, he completely changed and realized that fashion was “intellectually vacuous”. He sold his stake in Espirit for $150 million and changed his passion to environmental conservation.

He founded The Foundation for Deep Ecology which helps protect wildlife and promote sustainable agriculture. With the money him and his wife Kris McDivitt, who was former CEO of Patagonia, purchased 2.2 million acres in Chile and Argentina. This includes the world’s largest private park, Pumalin Park in Chile which stretches over 715,000 acres.

Earlier this week him and 4 other experienced kayakers headed to General Carrera Lake in Patagonia where the tragic accident took place. While it appeared that the weather was in good condition, it quickly changed. A large wave came and capsized the double kayak that Tompkins and his friend were in.

Due to the location and circumstances, Tompkins ended up staying in the 4C water for a couple of hours. Eventually a helicopter came but he was already suffering from hypothermia and bruises from the rocky shoreline.

He was taken to Coyhaique Regional Hospital where he passed away 5 hours after arriving and receiving treatment in the ICU. Everyone else is in good condition. He was 72.

In a 2012 interview with the National Public Radio, NPR, he stated, "I have even begun to think that I am caring for Argentina and Chile perhaps more than Argentines and Chileans. I feel like I'm sort of a de facto citizen, because I am looking after their national patrimony — which is the land — very carefully. You come to realize the passport is meaningless. It is really your behavior that determines whether you're a patriot. If you're trashing your own country, ruining the soils, contaminating the waters and the air, cutting down trees, overfishing the lakes, rivers, and oceans, you're not much of a patriot."

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