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a tribute to aidan

Climbers We Lost in 2019

Aidan’s father, Nick, said it best when addressing the overflowing crowd at his son’s funeral:  “It is an impossible task to distill a life with so much promise into words.”

A full-time lover of the outdoors, Aidan divided his time between New York City and Dublin, New Hampshire, where he could often be found on the lake, on the trails, or skiing nearby. Aidan died tragically in a ski mountaineering accident on the North Face of the Aiguille du Tacul in Chamonix, France.

As a climber, Aidan was remarkable. He took challenges in stride and smiled through … well, most of them. His admirable qualities as seen in the climbing gym poured into all realms of his life. He had an uncommon ability to accept everyone he met. He was extremely opinionated, but, as his father put it, “able to grasp all sides of an issue and, while firmly committed to his own ideals, sought to understand the views of those opposed and to understand that those perspectives were also valuable as collectively we seek to define a path forward.”

As Aidan once put it, “You may not like what people are saying, but you have to let them say it.” His level of acceptance and his desire to learn were rare for someone his age.

Traditionally, the teachers are to provide the lessons, but as his climbing coach (at The Cliffs in Long Island City, New York) I learned as much from Aidan as he did from me. He taught me that it didn’t matter if you had chocolate all over your face. He taught me that on the first day of any school break, alarm clocks just simply don’t go off …. It wasn’t just his rotten luck or irresponsibility, but science. He taught me to be brave and fully myself. He taught me to apologize, to love fully, to keep pushing, to cry, to fight back, and to work at being patient. He taught me that Lady Gaga was boss, and to fully appreciate a well-made croissant.

Aidan was kind and bright, insanely funny, a sincere soul and a great friend. He was passionate about climbing and resolute in his desire to improve. Climbing did not come naturally to him, though you would never know it by watching. He worked hard, had lofty goals, and shared his ever-growing motivation with every member of our Vikings team. He was especially supportive of the growth and development of his peers and had patience that many of us continually strive for. He had a soft spot for the underdog and wanted everyone to feel included.

To quote his teammates, Aidan is: an inspirer. Effervescent. A luminous starfish. Fierce. Generous. Whole-hearted. Courageous. Encouraging. Passionate. Uplifting. Helpful. Kind, warm, caring funny. Magnanimous. Compassionate. Confident. Brave. Supportive. Glamorous. Dedicated. Fighter. “Aidan is what we want to see in a person.”

Please visit for more information and/or to donate to the Team Aidan Foundation, set up by the Silitch Family to honor Aidan’s spirit of adventure and love of climbing by providing opportunities for kids who may lack the financial means to further their competitive climbing careers.

—Emily Varisco

recent events & news

A Dublin Celebration


Friends and family from the Dublin, New York, Prudential, and Cliffs Climbing Gym communities came together early last month to celebrate the life and legacy of Aidan. Over a classic New Hampshire weekend that brought both brilliant sunshine and a torrential downpour, Aidan was honored by the group participating in his favorite activities; swimming across the lake, climbing Mount Monadnock, and spending time with family and friends. 


Nick's Welcome and thanks


New Photos from The First Annual Aidan Climbing Competition

On June 1st, The Cliffs held the first ever Aidan Memorial flash-style competition.  Climbers of all abilities participated as evidenced by Nick's big win in the "Novice Heavyweight" division.  Naturally Kyra and Owen also medaled but most importantly the event brought together the Cliffs climbing community to cherish the memory of Aidan and the light that he brought to all.  A big thanks to the wonderful team at the Cliffs and all who climbed for Aidan!


Aidan's Biography

Learn More About Aidan

 Born on March 10, 2002 in Greenwich Village, New York, Aidan was the beloved son of Nicholas and Regina (Haughney) Silitch and the adored younger brother of Kyra and Owen. He was a graduate of St Luke's School in the West Village and was a junior at The Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, New York.

Aidan was brave, kind, resilient, generous and compassionate. He was also whip-smart, fierce and funny. He had an infectious smile, loved to laugh, and looked out for the underdog; he made the unsure feel sure. He was true to himself and inspired confidence and a sense of well-being in others. He found great joy in his family, his friends, his love of the outdoors, and the pursuit of knowledge.

An exceptional climber, Aidan was a cherished member of the climbing community at The Cliffs in Long Island City. He started with his older siblings when he was 13 and it quickly became his passion. He successfully competed around the country, traveling to Nationals in Bend, Oregon and professional competitions, where he recently made his first final in Albany, NY.

Aidan was also an adored member of his community in Dublin, NH where he was a source of warmth and brightness for everyone. He will be remembered as a force of joy by his extended family and friends in Dublin, in New York and in every community he touched.   A true Viking.

Climbing Magazine's Memorial to Aidan


Aidan Cameron Silitch, 17, died tragically on Thursday, March 21, 2019 in a ski mountaineering accident on the North Face of the Aiguille du Tacul in Chamonix, France. Born on March 10, 2002, in Greenwich Village, New York, he was the beloved son of Nicholas and Regina (Haughney) Silitch and the adored younger brother of Kyra and Owen.  

Aidan Likes


Sport Climbing - Being Brazen

Chicken - Double Fries 

Kindness - Generosity - Strength

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wet Willies - Blue - Finn

Family - Dublin - Michelle Obama

Calvin & Hobbes - The Far Side

Pearls before Swine 


Memories of Aidan

Memorial guest book

New York times memorial guest book Aidan Silitch

Hallie Hayne, New York, NY

 Aidan always had the biggest smile on his face.  He lit up every room that he walked into.  He was the sweetest and most generous person I've ever met.  He would help anyone who needed it with school work and had an infectious ability to learn.  The past thirteen years being in his class and his friend were amazing.  He was so strong and brave, and I am so happy that I got to know him for so long. 

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