Ron Kauk Appreciation thread


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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 14, 2009 - 01:26pm PT

Ron Kauk has been a legend and a fixture in Yosemite (and worldwide) for so long, that when he started climbing in Yosemite his nickname was “Boy Wonder.”

Now we’ve already celebrated his 50th birthday on the taco, and he is still climbing hard…very hard. His “Magic Line” testpiece is one of the hardest pitches in Yosemite and remains unrepeated.

I could go on and on about his climbing accomplishments but perhaps that’s for others to include on this thread. What really impresses me about Ron is his evolution and contribution as a whole.

Way Back in the day Ron had a lot of testosterone. He was like a young warrior counting coup and performing acts of power. He wasn’t much for words, and wasn't good at words, but still managed to be a leader in his way.

As time passed, Ron not only keep developing his climbing skills, he kept connecting his inner Spirit to Nature and the Power that makes Nature. He helped others develop their own selves, their own climbing, and became an articulate spokesman for Yosemite, and our relationship with the Natural world.

When I was in Thailand, I talked to local climbers who Ron helped in many ways. More recently, humbly, and behind the scenes, I’ve seen him support and “be there” for people in their time of need.

He’s not perfect, and he wouldn’t claim it. Heroes never are. We are different enough in our predilections that I’m not trying to be more like Ron. I think Ron would just encourage people to be true to themselves and to open up to the message our dance in Nature can bring us.

He has a powerful relationship with the local Native Americans in Yosemite. I believe they honor each other in many ways.

He has chosen to take the noble path and I think he deserves a seat on any council of Elders.

I’ve been in Yosemite for decades now and have felt almost as if I were married to Yosemite in some way. We have a relationship. Yosemite is a part of me. If I were to pick people whom I guessed has the same sort of “Oneness” with this place, Ron would be first on the list.

So here is to the man, Ron Kauk. I salute you Brother.


Karl Baba

Edit: Photo is by Galen Rowell
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Aug 14, 2009 - 01:31pm PT
Amazing photo above. Is that one of yours?

Aug 14, 2009 - 01:35pm PT
i've always felt he carries the pride in a graceful way, has taken on the path of growth as honest work.
without a word he got me to thinking there's more that holds to stone than fingers and toes
The Wolf

Trad climber
East SF Bay Area
Aug 14, 2009 - 01:42pm PT
I've never "officially" met Mr. Kauk but over the past 20 years I have talked with him in the Tuolumne parking lot or around the campground many times. He is a kind and interesting man who always has time to say hello and offer a smile

Wrung through the paradox, broken into wholeness
Aug 14, 2009 - 01:44pm PT
Simply an amazing man all round. Incredible athlete, awesome dad, conscious on a level few can understand, and truly caring about the Earth and her brood...

Namaste, Ron.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Aug 14, 2009 - 01:56pm PT
No doubt, Ron has and still is an inspiration.
Yay, for the Kaukster!!!!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:01pm PT
Ran into Ron again at OR a few years back. Modest and self-effacing, he is a terrific example to younger climbers of how an individual can play a pivotal role in our pursuit.

Rock on.
Iron Mtn.

Trad climber
Corona, Ca.
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:09pm PT
Like Robbins, Bridwell, Bachar, etc. One of the true visionaries of modern climbing.
the Fet

Supercaliyosemistic climber
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:12pm PT
He's the real hero Tom Cruise tries to portray.

Trad climber
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:14pm PT
Always been someone I looked up to in a big way since my youth. Watched a video of his. Soft spoken, humble, and amazing climber. The way he speaks of every thing being connected, of what he has learned on the walls of Yosemite, it stuck a chord with me. Very impressive individual.
Mark Not-circlehead

Boulder climber
Martinez, CA
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:15pm PT
That photo I think was taken by Galen. It was on the cover of Climbing back in the early 90s.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:15pm PT
I have never formally met you Ron, but I was a few feet away when you spoke at John Bachar's memorial. Great, thoughtful from the heart comments. The metaphor of two brothers perfect imho.

Have a great day. Like one of your bros told me recently...."the future is the moment". Peace, Lynne

Boulder climber
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:19pm PT
most amazing rock climbing hands i have ever seen.
you could hit those fingers with a 10 lb mallet and they stay the same.
unfair And illegal.


Trad climber
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:30pm PT
I saw Ron's slide show last year and that inner spirit and connection to and appreciation of nature shined brightly.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 14, 2009 - 02:35pm PT
Not to mention, the guy is 50, looks like Tom Cruise and has all his hair in abundance

unfair And illegal!

Plus, he's killing all my excuses for climbing softer with age


Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:40pm PT
Bundy is the MAN!!!!!!

Big Wall climber
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:43pm PT
Looks like Tom Cruise... Talks like Morpheus? :)

Ron is awesome!

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Aug 14, 2009 - 02:53pm PT
Yeah, the guy's a to meet him someday.

Trad climber
East Bay San Fransisco
Aug 14, 2009 - 03:13pm PT
Always a pleasure to see Ron and chat when our paths cross in the valley or Tuolomne. Years ago, published photos like the one shown here by Galen Rowell, were my first impressions of rock climbing - and impress they did! To find out he's very approachable just makes him a kind of natural wonder in his own right and amid the Yosemite habitat full of natural wonders! Most importantly, you just get this sense that he strives to be a truly good soul! Quite the inspiration!

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Aug 14, 2009 - 03:18pm PT
I always thought Ron had more talent in his little finger than most anyone else had in their whole body.
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