Pat Ament, amazing interview!


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Boulder climber
Joshua Tree, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 3, 2007 - 03:22am PT
Climbing Magazine has done an amazing interview with Pat Ament. It is published in part in the actual magazine, this issue, but they were so impressed with what he said they have published the full interview at their online site ( The guy is so amazingly literate and insightful, believe me it's worth the read.

We may never know how far-reaching his influence has been, but I am hopeful that this forum on Topo and this recent interview, will provide an immediate window to this unique individual. I know my life is better for having known Pat for approaching three decades. His teachings, insight, philosophies, and humor stay with me and have helped me on my own ascent through life.

After reading the interview, what touches you the most about Pat Ament?

What do you think about his life, his achievements and his 40+years of influence on the climbing community?

The Bryceman....

Direct Link:


Jul 3, 2007 - 05:23am PT
Pat is still a young one. The story has only just started.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Jul 3, 2007 - 05:57am PT
Pat, if you are reading this thread, I am still working on getting you over here.

When I have something more concrete, I'll e-mail you. I also think a profile of you in Outsider magazine as suggested by its publisher would be a good idea.
Wild Bill

Jul 3, 2007 - 12:25pm PT
Bump, for historical perspective.

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 3, 2007 - 04:05pm PT
I haven't seen the interview yet. I am afraid to look at the photo and how old and ugly I am now, or what I might have said, or what it might look edited down to size. Usually something is presented out of context, when I give an interview. I suppose one can go to the longer version at Climbing's website to see how long-winded I am... in the surreal place I live now in my mind. Thank you friends for thinking of me.


Social climber
The West
Jul 3, 2007 - 05:12pm PT
You should check it out, Oli. It worked for me and a lot of people.
I'm enormouslly self concious about reading my own stuff in print, but I don't think you'll feel let down.

Or, if you are, it will be about stuff that only you know.

Trad climber
Cayucos, CA
Jul 3, 2007 - 05:13pm PT
I've never read a better climbing book than "How To Be A Master Climber In Six Easy Lessons".

Small book, but a giant amount of knowledge.

 Jeff Rininger

Trad climber
Jul 3, 2007 - 05:27pm PT
good to know that the full interview is online, thanks for pointing that out. Yes, Pat, the "out of context" is slightly apparent in the print version....but not too badly.

The picture, though, looks great.
Hardly Visible

Port Angeles
Jul 3, 2007 - 06:04pm PT
Good interview I thought,too bad they didn't print the full version as it is much better reading than their usual snipets and newsflashes. Thanks for the link Bryceman. Pat, I hope you are doing well it is really great to have you on this forum.

Social climber
The West
Jul 3, 2007 - 06:34pm PT
Ya know, there is an earlier thread on this topic, maybe somebody remembers the coordinates?

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jul 3, 2007 - 10:33pm PT
Killer interview, creative questions...more photos Pat!

Surely you've got some extra stuff never published?

More Kor stories too...

Cheers, JB

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jul 4, 2007 - 01:11am PT
thanks for the link - love it

Social climber
Jul 4, 2007 - 07:29pm PT
Pat: I thought it was a great interviewe- I enjoyed your reflections re: halucinogens. I sometimes wonder myself how much motivation I lost in Jr. High by smoking weed and how that affected my schooling.
R. Crumb had some interesting thoughts on LSD and how it shut down his ego for like six months but that it also freed up other areas for creativity.
Hard to say

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 4, 2007 - 07:55pm PT
Ok, at City Market I got a glance at the magazine finally. I really didn't like any of the photos they took, but I settled on the one they used because it had a great view of the Monument in the background, and I was casting a big long shadow along the rock. No one would look at me at all, hopefully, rather at the Monument or that shadow. So what do they do? They put the print (interview) over the Monument and over the interesting shadow, and now all you see is my ugly mug, washed out, wrinkled, anguished, edgy, at the low point of my health problems. They also used a wide angle lens, so my face is about twice its normal width, making me look obviously too fat to be the real Pat Ament (I'm waiting for the slap downs). Oh well. But the worst is that (except for a few of the entries) they haphazardly grabbed probably the weakest most pointless of my comments, and without the original questions or the full answers a lot of them don't make any sense at all. John Gill wrote me and said he thought it was a nice interview, but he would do that. I felt rather as though people would read it and think I am unable to follow a logical thought or say anything at all that has any value or meaning in the universe. I guess ultimately I should only be appreciative they thought of me and included me at all... I hope people will read the longer online version, as I think I was ok there for the most part... but wow am I long winded.

Bachar, did I tell you the story about Kor ciphoning gas? I was about 15, and Layton did what he had to do, you know. The police caught him one night running down an alley with a gas can and a hose. What could he have been doing with those things?! My father simply handed me the police report in the newspaper, not saying a word... When Layton years later asked me to write something for his biography, I decided the more comical stuff was the best and so wrote a wondrous little series of stories, of course including the gas can and hose thing... which, to my surprise, were promptly rejected by Layton. He said he had cleaned up his life and wanted to forget all that. It says nothing of his current life that he was a wild man at one time, but I had to respect his wishes and so wrote the mundane story about our ascent of Overhang Dihedral (on Longs in the rain)... If you like this sort of stuff, I have about a thousand stories...

right here, right now
Jul 4, 2007 - 09:20pm PT
one by one to a thousand stories, yes.
from the beginning and please, take your time.

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jul 4, 2007 - 09:24pm PT
I like the stories about when Kor was walking on the wild side...sorry Layton!

right here, right now
Jul 4, 2007 - 09:28pm PT
oh and,
Pat said:
"I felt rather as though people would read it and think I am unable to follow a logical thought or say anything at all that has any value or meaning in the universe."

Well, we all know editing does that to us Pat, but even so, Croft once said the meaningless stuff is the best stuff, or something like that, in regards to climbing as a worthwhile pursuit, when contrasted with many of humankind's activities.

And if even tho it may be regarded by some few as meaningless, I must say, you do it well and we are all ears!
John Moosie

Jul 4, 2007 - 10:09pm PT
Boldly spoken Pat. Thank you.

For some reason unknown to me, I have faced mental illness for most of my life. Vast periods of deeply entangling depression have engulfed me and fought me to a standstill more then once. The thing that has helped me keep on keeping on is the beauty of the human spirit and the beauty of nature. There is much beauty in you Pat. Thank you for being who you are and showing the way.

This line cracked me up.

"Q: Ever climb with rock shoes and socks?
A: No, I have always worn clothes also"

You have a very funny and dry sense of humor. hahahaha...


Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Jul 4, 2007 - 10:33pm PT
The sotry of Pat driving with Kor in the car with the bald tires is one of the great narrative stories we have in the literature.


Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 4, 2007 - 10:38pm PT
I sometimes say things I wish I hadn't. Years and years and decades ago, I was being interviewed by some girl reporter, about my new book High Over Boulder, which was actually written in 1962 or so but didn't come out until a few years later. So there was a lot of anticipation about its arrival. I was in the office of the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, at that moment. I often had to do all their rescues for them, because most of them weren't serious climbers. That's a whole other story, about how they repeadtly would phone me or Layton, or how they would phone me and I'd call Rearick, and we would go to Eldorado and climb the route quickly in the dark and get the person down, while the rescue group tried to figure out which gully led to the top of the wall. They were all good blessed souls, for their effort, but they were very formal and would not actually let me join the group because I was too impatient and young and distracted and immature to pass the first aid course. Anyway I was always trying to measure up, in terms of getting them to respect me. I always tried to look and act right, but it was hopeless thing, since I was so naturally rough around the edges. But when the reporter asked, "Who is this book written for," I answered in front of several very sober men, "For those who want to get high over boulder." I didn't even quite realize what I'd said until some of the people outside the door started cracking up, but the rescue group guys were not amused, and the reporter didn't even get it... But of course she quoted me in the newspaper, which made a fine impression with Boulder's citizens.
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