Review: Jamie Shumway’s Off Belay: a Last Great Adventure

By: Mac Thornton, WV Rivers Co-founder

The January night was closing in and the whitewater group Jamie Shumway was leading would have to spend a cold miserable night huddled on the riverbank. Jamie kept the group spirits up that night; he was very good working in groups and with others. And he loved the West Virginia outdoors.

In 1989, Jamie co-founded WVRC and served later as Chair of its Board. Unfortunately, several years ago Jamie contracted ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”), a gradually debilitating disease which claimed his life in 2014. Jamie’s good cheer – he was known for his big friendly smile – led him in his final difficult years to a tackle an autobiography.

A California kid who attended high school and college there in the 1960’s, Jamie is all about stories, starting with childhood as a gangly kid dealing with bullies, and his education in college in sex, pot and rock’n’roll. His outdoor life started in Yosemite and developed into advanced climbing and whitewater boating, the highlight of which was paddling the Grand Canyon in a canoe with his wife, Betsy. As a medical education officer with West Virginia University, Jamie traveled the world taking the opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Off Belay is available in paperback and as an e-book. You can purchase the paperback directly from WV Rivers here, or on Amazon here. All profits are donated to WVRC. Thanks for the great stories; we miss you, Jamie.

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