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Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 17, 2017 - 12:52am PT
If you have not been to Facebook, I wrote this Tuesday, March 4th.

I have been sick. I know now in part why. Royal and I are connected. My whole body felt something. Many times through life Royal, and Layton also, would phone me when they sensed I was down. Everyone knew of his illness and feared this day's approach. That doesn't make it easier. I have been in tears, inconsolable. He was the best. He was the Spirit of the Age both for all climbers but on a very personal level for many of us. It amazes me how special a single experience is for so many who met him or climbed with him but once. He and I did one of the first 5.11 climbs in the country, the first pitch of Athlete's Feat, in 1963. He led it unprotected, whereas two bolts now protect the pitch. No chalk, Spiders for shoes, he faced a ground fall onto a dagger of rock. He simply eased upward in perfect control. No one knows how far ahead of the time that lead was. He changed my life when he invited me, a high school merry-Andrew, to travel with him to the desert and then to Yosemite for almost a month. Only stars to light our way down from the summits of Shiprock and Castleton Tower.... Imagine Royal Robbins as your personal tour guide of the Valley. Then, of all those he could have chosen, he asked me to write his biography. It was the hardest thing I ever did, because ten thousand people wanted a chapter of their own, and it would have been an encyclopedia. I made it, ultimately, a short book, one that skimmed the story but got the basics. He approved, and I would not have released it without his approval. I could anticipate Roper would not quite like it. I had not included enough about something or other or some of the earlier stuff Royal later would discuss in his last little books.... One had to grow up in Royal's boyhood environment, be in it, to really understand. I lived with whatever people thought about the book. It was an expression of love, above all. More than anything, he wanted me to grow and to achieve my goals. He autographed my copy with the words, "You did it. You held to the vision and succeeded greatly. This book is another building block in your total edifice of creativity. And you have great things ahead of you." Perhaps of even more importance, he proposed he write the "about the author" and in that said I had become his "lifelong friend." He added, "He... continues to amaze me with his own personal growth, the power of his mind, and the depth of his insights. I am also amazed by the breadth of his mastery of disparate disciplines, from chess, through karate, drawing, film-making, music, and photography, ...and his first love, poetry. I have always felt confident with Pat as a climbing partner. Now, in this biography, as then, on the rock, I know I am in good hands." No one will ever know how much those words meant to me, a person who has always suffered from shaky self-esteem. I love Royal. We did a lot of climbs together and played a lot of chess. He appreciated the poet Walt Whitman, especially one phrase: "Now understand me well -- It is provided in the essence of things, that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary." Royal was my best fan, when it came to the songs I wrote. Some had difficulty identifying me as a singer/songwriter, since they had already defined me as a rock climber. Royal knew I had been in music longer than in climbing. He once phoned from his car while driving cross-country. In Arizona, he told me he and a friend listened to a song of mine over and over and could not stop. He especially liked another of my songs, "Just a Spirit Passing Through." But he was so much more than that.

from out where the anecdotes roam
Mar 17, 2017 - 01:50am PT
big peace all around, and a heartfelt hooblie sigh
Delhi Dog

Good Question...
Mar 17, 2017 - 01:53am PT
Beautiful Patrick.

Thank you for sharing these thoughts and feelings and giving us a further insight into a man we all respected and that many many loved.

with great respect,
ron gomez

Trad climber
Mar 17, 2017 - 09:18am PT
Hope you got my message Pat.

right here, right now
Mar 17, 2017 - 09:29am PT
Condolences for your loss, Pat.

I believe the cover shot is Royal on Ruper, Redgarden Wall, Eldorado Canyon.


Social climber
Mar 17, 2017 - 11:15am PT
Awesome Pat. A loving tribute to a dear friend. May we all be so very lucky to have relationships like this.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Mar 17, 2017 - 03:31pm PT
Thx Pat

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I enjoyed your biography of him immensely.
steve s

Trad climber
Mar 17, 2017 - 09:37pm PT
Thanks for writing that Pat. Royal was blessed to have you as a friend and climbing partner. Peace.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Mar 17, 2017 - 10:32pm PT
Thanks Pat. I intend to read your book now.

Like many here I learned to climb in the early 1970's with some nerve and the two Rockcraft books in a quarry of rotting granite. Fortunately it was a cold climate and the rot would freeze hard enough to hold pro.

Moving forward 35 years I found myself alone with Royal at bar in LA where we could talk for some time and drink a beer. I am so fortunate to get to know my lifetime hero. Met again a few more times but the swift currents of time have swept him away.

May we all wash up on some distant shore again.

right here, right now
Mar 17, 2017 - 11:37pm PT
Spider reports:
... I found myself alone with Royal at bar in LA where we could talk for some time and drink a beer.
He shoots ... He scores!!!

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Mar 20, 2017 - 02:09pm PT
He clearly meant a lot to you, especially, Pat. That comes through loud and clear.

Social climber
Wise Acres
Mar 20, 2017 - 04:34pm PT
Thanks Pat...

Credit: i-b-goB

Credit: i-b-goB

...The legend Royal, Spirit of the Age!

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Mar 20, 2017 - 09:39pm PT
So wonderful to hear from you again Mr. Ament! I sincerely hope you are doing well. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experiences with the great Mr. Robbins . . . you are so fortunate to be his dear friend.

Best thoughts to you Patrick.

Social climber
Mar 20, 2017 - 09:53pm PT
hey there say, patrick... thank you so kindly, for bearing your heart, and sharing about such a dear friend...

all the shares, in life, that made it precious...

that's what life is all about...
enhancing others... and enjoying the fruits of interaction
between experiences in life-- for the growth of all concerned...

my condolences and prayers for his family, and loved ones,
and for you, too, as you move on without him to share
time, talks, and memories...

Boulder climber
Mar 20, 2017 - 10:10pm PT
Credit: T H
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Mar 21, 2017 - 08:27am PT
Wow. A touching soliloquy from one of my early climbing heros about another of my early climbing heros. Thanks, Pat, that was a real gift.
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