Clifton Maloney, husband of Democratic New York Representative Carolyn Maloney, died yesterday while vacationing in Tibet. He was 71.
According to reports, Clifton ‘Cliff’ Maloney was taking part in a mountain climbing expedition along with a skilled mountain guide and a sherpa. He successfully reached the apex of the 27,000-foot Cho Oyu and was in the process of descending when he allegedly passed away in his sleep. Despite his advancing age, Maloney was in good health and had previously taken part in other climbing expeditions.
Cliff Maloney was the President of C.H.W. Maloney & Co., the investment banking firm he founded in 1981. He had also previously worked for Goldman Sachs.
Most recently, his wife Carolyn Maloney celebrated the passage of H.R. 1700, a bill she sponsored which clears the way for the creation of a National Women’s History Museum in Washington DC. She has also championed credit card reform and aims to target overdraft charges in future legislation.
Although the cause of Cliff Maloney’s death has yet to be determined, conjecture is easy. Even the most experienced of climbers can experience Altitude Ilness during ascent or descent, according to Merck. Particularly deadly are High-Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). HAPE symptoms include shortness of breath and the rapid worsening of underlying respiratory issues. It is the most common altitude-related cause of death. HACE, the more serious of the two, can progress from mild to severe in just hours. If Cliff Maloney was alone in his tent, his fellow climbers might not have noticed the onset of either of these potentially fatal conditions in time to seek treatment.
Mountain climbing related deaths that make major news outlets are typically the result of falls or other accidental causes. In July of 2008, a 55-year old climber on Mt. Hood was killed by a sudden rock fall. Just six months later, another Mt. Hood climber, 31-year old Brooke Colvin, was killed when she was hit by falling ice. Like Cliff Maloney, these climbers were traveling with others, but the freak nature of mountain climbing accidents make them nearly impossible to predict or prevent.
Representatives for Carolyn Maloney report that the Congresswoman is currently making arrangements to have her husband’s body returned to the US for burial.
Carolyn Maloney Official Website
Merck Altitude Illness Guide
Mt. Hood Climber Killed by Sudden Rockfall, Traditional Mountaineering
Teresa Blackman and David Krough, Mt. Hood Climber Killed by Icefall in Warming Weather, KGW News
David B. Caruso, Husband of NY Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney dies on mountain climbing expedition in Himalayas, Chicago Tribune