Apparently Charlie Porter has died


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between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 23, 2014 - 11:24pm PT

Social climber
joshua tree
Feb 23, 2014 - 11:27pm PT

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Feb 23, 2014 - 11:31pm PT

RIP Charlie . . . you earned it as one of the best.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Feb 23, 2014 - 11:35pm PT
Tribute to a special life......

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Feb 23, 2014 - 11:35pm PT
Wow. What can you write about such a legend? Wow.

Trad climber
Feb 23, 2014 - 11:36pm PT
Whoa! This is jarring news!

Trad climber
Feb 23, 2014 - 11:40pm PT
Thanks for all the incredible routes, and sorry we destroyed them.

Ice climber
Brujo de la Playa
Feb 23, 2014 - 11:43pm PT

It's always a bit troubling when someone 5 years younger than yourself dies. Even more troubling that this particular youth died.




Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Feb 23, 2014 - 11:58pm PT
zbrown! You say it very well!

It's always a bit troubling when someone 5 years younger than yourself dies. Even more troubling that this particular youth died.

I never met the man, but I admired the way he lived life large.

Best thoughts for Charlie.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 12:45am PT
One of my heroes growing up a climber. The man who climbed inside the rurp and was looking out. Rest in peace Charlie.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Feb 24, 2014 - 12:47am PT
Too much. He was quite a guy.
RIP, but, hey, we're all gonna die.

You just don't want to go so quickly.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 12:47am PT
A lion and a gentleman.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:06am PT
Along the lines of Fatdad's famous quote....

Charlie took the Rurp from a piece used as a 'last resort' to a staple on long, hard aid routes.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:27am PT
Here he is in recent years aboard his boat in those waters. His passing really is huge for many of us.

Todd Eastman

Bellingham, WA
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:48am PT
Rowing to Antarctica with Gillette on the Sea Tomato!!!

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Feb 24, 2014 - 03:36am PT
Skiing, solo, across crevassed glaciers with a shower rod suspended from his waist as a safety device!
Delhi Dog

Good Question...
Feb 24, 2014 - 03:48am PT
One of those rare individuals that showed the rest of us what is possible and one that shifted a collective paradigm of climbing possibilities.

RIP Charlie.
wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
Feb 24, 2014 - 04:22am PT
What a lot of fine adventures you packed into your life, Charlie. R.I.P.


Social climber
Feb 24, 2014 - 07:27am PT
hey there say, oh my...

i did not know much about him, only by the few shares, i've read here, since i am not a climber... as always, thank you all for the history of the times, and the men/woman, that climb...

my condolences to his family and loved ones...
may they be strong, as they move on, without him...


Social climber
Feb 24, 2014 - 08:04am PT
Mad, mad, mad respect. Rest in peace.

Feb 24, 2014 - 08:18am PT
What an inspiration. Pushing the edge long before others, often solo. I'd love to hear more about him from those who knew him, or those who directly witnessed his adventures that he was so reticent about.

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 24, 2014 - 08:53am PT

My first reaction is:
This can't be. ...

I'm glad he was down there. He seemed to have become one with Punta Arenas (where he apparently passed away). He spoke pretty interesting Spanish though. I just yesterday drove by his former shop on the way to Parkline and of course thought of him, Matt and Bruce --- all gone.

I'm sorry to be living in a world without Porter.


Trad climber
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:18am PT
He probably lived a total of 4 lives from all the stuff he did.

climber's near nevada...
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:31am PT
Wow - What a life, amazing.

My condolences to the family and friends.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:32am PT
The passing of a great man. Nothing but respect.

He set the bar high indeed.

Trad climber
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:39am PT
el cap, asguard, cassin--

and then he did all that crazy, scary stuff on water.


Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:43am PT
The purest adherent to letting one's actions speak louder than words.

Trad climber
Arroyo Grande
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:53am PT
Russ McLean told me a story once that I never forgot (even with my memory), though the details are fuzzy.

He and Charlie had just been near-missed avalanche out of a couloir somewhere in Patagonia or the Paine area and Charlie begged to return back up since it was now "clean" and success inevitable. Charlie seemed a little obsessed and it was more than Russ was willing to gamble. Charlie began screaming up loudly at the lord, "god come try and kill me."

Sorry Russ if I didn't get this just right but it made a significant impact on me many years ago and still does.


Feb 24, 2014 - 10:59am PT
That doesn't sound Charlie? ^^^

In those hairy ass hideous situations he'd usually be laughing and joking.

When you're freezing your ass of and minutes from dying he'll be saying
"Want me to build ya fire kid?" all while chuckling and and making jokes.

Charlie Porter = One of the all time greats, the real Burt Bronson

Jim Clipper

from: forests to tree farms
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:02am PT
Condolences. Amazing, amazing, life. I've heard a little of his exploits, and hope time will bring more stories. Utmost respect for his work to preserve parts of Patagonia, apparently by taking his experiences from the Valley, and building with them.

Ice climber
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:18am PT
Wow, sad news indeed. Jack talked about him a lot, and had a ton of admiration for him. Seemed like an amazing guy. to join so many other bright lights.......Pam
steve shea

Feb 24, 2014 - 11:28am PT
RIP Charlie. You were a true visionary.

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:39am PT
Wow, what a shock.
Hard to believe. He was such a tough guy. He had such a kind heart.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:48am PT
tremendous contributions
much respect

Sheba A4+ 1972 Charlie Porter
Shield, The (Salathe Start) 5.7 C4F VI 1972 Charlie Porter Gary Bocarde
Zodiac 5.7 A2 VI 5.13d 1972 Charlie Porter FFA 2003 Alex Huber Thomas Huber
Abazaba 5.11c A3 1972 Charlie Porter Walter Rosenthal FFA 1986 Scott Cosgrove Walt Shipley
Arlington Heights 5.9 1972 Charlie Porter
Coffin Nail A3+ 1972 Charlie Porter
Fatal Mistake 5.11a A1 IV 1972 Charlie Porter Walter Rosenthal FFA 1975 Dale Bard Werner Braun
Keel Haul 5.1 A3 VI 1972 Charlie Porter Walter Rosenthal
Nashville Skyline 5.8 A3 V 1972 Charlie Porter Gary Bocarde
Psychopath 5.9 1972 Charlie Porter
Tangerine Trip 5.8 A2 VI 1973 Charlie Porter John-Paul de St. Croix
Copper Penny 5.10a 1973 Charlie Porter
Mescalito 5.8 A3 VI 1973 Charlie Porter Hugh Burton Steve Sutton Chris Nelson
Ejesta 5.8 1974 Charlie Porter Bob Ashworth Jeff Stubbs
Grape Race 5.9 A5 VI 1974 Charlie Porter Bev Johnson
Horse Chute 5.9 A3 VI 1974 Charlie Porter Hugh Burton
Little Wing 5.10d 1974 Mark Chapman Charlie Porter Bruce Pollock
New Dawn 5.8 A3 VI 1974 Charlie Porter Yvon Chouinard Chuck Pratt Dennis Henneck Chris Jones
Porter's Pout 5.10a 1974 Charlie Porter Bruce Pollock
Riddler, The 5.10a 1974 Bruce Pollock Matt Pollock Mark Chapman Charlie Porter
Excalibur 5.9 A3 VI 1975 Charlie Porter Hugh Burton
Magical Mystery Tour 5.10a 1975 Charlie Porter Dave Altman

Social climber
boulder co
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:54am PT
Charlie has always been one of my heroes and the routes he put up were true expressions of what it means to be a climber. I've only done a couple of his routes but they were some of the most amazing experiences of my life. He was a master of the sport and even though I never had the opportunity to meet him his passing saddens me deeply. RIP Charlie and find some FA's in the promised land.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 24, 2014 - 12:31pm PT
This is a huge loss as Charlie was a true anchorite.

He was a major inspiration to me as a Yosemite climber and a rare personality with the depth of character and mechanical genius to move climbing into deeper water.

Thanks for the spark Charlie! It lit countless bonfires of imagination and illuminated the soul of the deeper game that climbing can be if you follow the path of Heart, Porter's Path.

Hard to believe that his adventures are done.

Does Charlie have family connections that anyone is aware of as I would love to preserve any writings or other effects that may still be around to shed light on his extraordinarily monastic life.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 24, 2014 - 12:35pm PT
So sad.
What a legacy.



4 Corners Area
Feb 24, 2014 - 12:43pm PT
Aside from a massive pair of nuts, I wonder what kind of rack he carried on his 1975 1st ascent of Mt. Asgard???

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 24, 2014 - 12:55pm PT
One of the most amazing things about Charlie Porter was how young he was when he was doing his great ascents. Early 20s in some cases.

A true pioneer and bad ass. RIP.

Mike Libecki

the moment of now
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:09pm PT
Hero. Inspiration. Thanks for inspiring and truly embracing enthusiasm for life and not rationing passion.

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:20pm PT
The HARDEST of the hard.

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:53pm PT
Damn! When I first saw this thread I thought it was a sick troll. Damn!

One of the truly greats is gone. RIP.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:53pm PT
A legend. Really wish I'd have had the opportunity to meet him.

Social climber
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:54pm PT
A sad loss. Never met Charlie but his reputation is immense. A modest, quietly-spoken, behind the scenes legend.

A couple quotes from the R&I interview:

“I remember Bev Johnson saying, ‘Hey Charlie, get with it. Short, hard free climbing is where it’s at!’ I’d just take my pitons and wander off and do something else.”

And this:

“We thought climbing should be an amateur sport—or not even a sport at all.”

Much respect.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 24, 2014 - 02:11pm PT
Look at Ed's list at the top of the page. It is an awesome rap sheet for a lifetime yet only list three year's worth!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 02:14pm PT
Say it ain't so. Deepest sympathy to friends and family -- and to the climbing community at large, because we feel he was part of us.


Social climber
boulder co
Feb 24, 2014 - 02:26pm PT
Hey Chief that is so cool you have some letters from Charlie. I'm probably not the only one but I would love to read what he had to say so if you could post a couple up in their entirety that would be awesome.

thanks in advance

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Feb 24, 2014 - 02:27pm PT
Great quote Chief.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 02:39pm PT
McLean spent a lot of time with Charley. I just phoned Russ - he's been sick, but intends to say a few words.

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Feb 24, 2014 - 02:59pm PT
Sorry to hear this news.

Charlie leaves quite a legacy! An iconic figure in the history of climbing.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 24, 2014 - 03:25pm PT
Charlie in Puerto Williams on his boat.

Trad climber
On the road!
Feb 24, 2014 - 05:03pm PT
So sad. Bev was staying at Charlie's before we went up on el Cap, and I wentto Briceburg to get Bev. He was the mayor of Briceburg (pop.=1, I think)! Charlie lent us much of the gear we used on El Cap - ropes, pins, nuts, whatever we didn't own. Really a wonderful, kind, helpful person.
craig morris

Trad climber
Feb 24, 2014 - 05:59pm PT
Rest in peace Mr. Porter

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 07:17pm PT
Too young.
Condolences to his many friends and his family.

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 07:32pm PT
Truly one of the great legends who earned very accolade bestowed upon him. He was the real deal. One of my heroes for sure. He will be long remembered.

The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Feb 24, 2014 - 07:48pm PT
Sad news.
Never met the man but he was very much a guiding light for many of us.
Seems like he left us too early.
Condolences and respect.

Social climber
Feb 24, 2014 - 08:10pm PT
Time to pull out that copy of Yosemite Climber and look at all the cool photos of him swinging that hammer.
Total inspiration
Bad Climber

Feb 24, 2014 - 08:14pm PT
Damn. One of my heroes. One of the greats. As Largo said, Bad. Ass. I wish I'd met the man. I guess we're getting to that point where many of the Yos pioneers are stepping out--Harding, Bard, Porter et al. The end comes for us all. It's just hard to imagine it with such lions of the mountains. Rest well, Mr. Porter.


Feb 24, 2014 - 08:54pm PT
Hi Everyone,

It was me that posted that link at UKClimbing. I guess due to the time differences and locations Charlie's death reached some of us before others, in my case via Chilean and NZ friends. Another Chilean friend just emailed to confirm that Charlie had indeed died of a heart attack, after being medevac'd to Punta Arenas from Puerto Williams, where his yachts were often moored or visiting.

I hesitated to post anything right away here on ST because I'm not a regular visitor here, because Charlie was such a legendary figure, for me and many others. Some here knew Charlie personally (I did not), and so I just didn't feel right being the one to announce his death here. I waited, figuring someone else would post it. After a while, I put it on UKClimbing, figuring nobody reads that anyway ;-)

I was shocked at Charlie's passing. The combination of such significant climbing feats with almost total silence is something many of us admire but almost nobody really does, not to that level. He truly was a legend, a word used far too indiscriminately these days.

Before and after most of my Antarctic trips I spent a lot of time in Punta Arenas and Charlie was well-known in that part of the world, due to his more recent wanderings and work. We had a couple of mutual friends and one of them, we'll call him El Quiltro, saw Charlie regularly and was trying to get us together to go do something in the fjords. I regret not taking them up on that sooner. El Quiltro, incidentally, is the current owner of the 'Sea Tomato', for those of you familiar with that journey, and had talked with Charlie about using it for another trip (!).

El Quiltro knew Bev Johnson and Mike Hoover and many other similar visitors from those days in the 80s. We used to stand on the edge of the Straits of Magellan, at a house I used there, and he would tell me of Bev's kayak trip across to the other side, so cold she nursed a flaming stove between her legs.

Charlie was way too young to die, and in that way, but that's life. Death is the hard song to sing, none of us gets it just right, so the saying goes. Charlie died in a part of the world where he had loved to stay, where he was loved, had friends, had made a contribution and where he clearly belonged.

 Damien Gildea

Double D

Feb 24, 2014 - 09:02pm PT
Sad news... my condolences to his family and friends. He redefined Yosemite big wall climbing just after the pioneers of the major first ascents and just before in invasion of the Stonemaster clan. His routes on El Capitan went into no-mans land at the time on terrain so steep that it was unanimously agreed that there would be no chance of retreating once committed to the climb. He dropped his haulbag containing his sleeping bag once during winter-like conditions and survived by cutting arm holes in his sleeping pad and wearing it like an ill-fit poncho. There will never be another like Charlie Porter.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 24, 2014 - 09:04pm PT
He blazed bright across the sky of the climbing world. Never met the man, but in the early seventies we couldn't wait to get our hands on the latest climbing rag for accounts of his groundbreaking exploits. R.I.P and condolences to his family and friends.

John 6:44
Feb 24, 2014 - 09:18pm PT
Damn! RIP

Mountain climber
Davis, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 09:21pm PT
Wow. I have always treasured the time I knew Charlie in the late '60's in Yosemite. He lived in Briceburg making amazing RURP's for specific cracks and purposes. Always a gleam in his eye, a bit of a chuckle, dreaming of his next adventure. I have always regretted not saying yes when he asked me to go up on the Shield with him. Bad mistake... Always fun to hear a rumor, a story- catching a glimpse of his exploits. He did have an amazing career with scientists and such exploring the fiords, sounds and islands of Patagonia. He reminded me of Shackleton.

portland, Oregon
Feb 24, 2014 - 09:57pm PT
RIP I never met Charlie, but the stories and routes are legend. Jack use to regale me with Charlie Porter stories. When a true hardman is impressed you know he was one of the greats.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:00pm PT


El Capitan. Four new routes were made on El Capitan. Canadians Hugh Burton and Steve Sutton had worked for three days in 1971 on a new route which starts to the right of the Muir but could not continue because of bad weather. In 1972 they completed their route in eight days. It crosses the Muir route at Mammouth Terraces and follows crack systems between the Muir and the route done in 1971 by Sylvester and Wreford-Brown. Jim Dunn made a solo new route, "Cosmos," which lies between the Dihedral and Salathe routes. He had started with the Canadian Gordan Smaill, who was hurt in a fall some 800 feet up. The pair descended, leaving several fixed ropes and a few slings to bypass places where piton placements were poor. Then Dunn returned alone to complete the route in nine days. He placed some 70 bolts. Other notable climbs involved Charlie Porter. He and Gary Bocarde made a new route which started up the Muir Wall. From below the Gray Bands they climbed left to the "Shield," an overhanging, nearly blank area left of the upper dihedrals of the Muir. Porter is an expert with rurps and in one spot placed 35 in a row. They used only 24 bolts on the seven-day climb. Porter did a solo first ascent, "Zodiac," a route he had previously attempted between El Cap Tree and the East Buttress routes. He completed the route in seven days, placing 74 bolts. Earlier in the summer Porter made the third ascent of the Wall of Early Morning light in ten days solo! He started differently from on the two previous ascents, following the route attempted by Schmitz, Madsen, Chouinard and others on the left side of El Cap Tower. He traversed to the right onto the Harding-Caldwell route, part way up placing some 15 bolts.

AAJ 1973 p415-416
Anne-Marie Rizzi

Feb 24, 2014 - 10:00pm PT
What the phuque?

I am so so sorry to hear this devastating news.


Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:00pm PT
damn, I never met him but he sure as hell was a bad ass when he did the shield.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:07pm PT

Middle Tripple Peak

Russ McLean
AAJ 1977 p103

"...Charlie Porter had just finished his solo of the Cassin Ridge (an accomplishment in American mountaineering which deserves far more attention than this west wall.) when he called me in Salt Lake City demanding that I leave on the next available flight to Anchorage, or he’d kill me..."


Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:24pm PT
He was in on the FA of Polar Circus too.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:42pm PT


Mount McKinley, Solo of the Cassin Route. Charlie Porter made a remarkable solo ascent of the Cassin route on the south face of McKinley. He is reported to have been in the area for two weeks and four days on the final climb. He is said to have taken only 36 hours in a single push from the top of the Japanese Couloir. With his usual reticence, Porter has given us no details.

AAJ 1977 p. 148
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:49pm PT
Mount Asgard, Northwest Face, Cumberland Peninsula, Baffin Island. In mid-July Pat Padden, Shary McVoy, Rick Sylvester, and I* were finally on our way to the unclimbed northwest face of Mount Asgard. Upon our arrival at the Eskimo village of Pangnirtung, we were met by Charlie Porter, who had similar ambitions to ours. After a week of waiting in Pangnirtung for a helicopter, we were eventually standing at the base of the 2000-foot northwest face of the twin summits of Mount Asgard. We had chosen an obvious dihedral slanting up to the left, the same line that had been attempted in 1972 by Doug Scott and party. After 250 feet of mixed free and aid climbing we placed a few bolts up to the left to another crack system. Deteriorating weather forced us down to Base Camp on Turner Glacier, where we spent the next five days in our tents as the storm raged outside. Pat and I were now out of time and food and so hiked out to Pangnirtung while Rick and Shary stayed on. Charlie Porter now showed up and joined Rick and Shary. By starting 80 feet to the right of the original start, they moved up, eventually penduluming into the main dihedral higher up, thus placing only 1 bolt. After getting two-thirds of the way, a bad snow storm forced them to retreat. By now Rick and Shary were going hungry from lack of food and had to hike out to Pangnirtung for more. Charlie elected to go up on the climb, completing the climb in stormy weather from September 1-10. Winter had now arrived in full force by dumping four feet of fresh snow on the mountains.

CRAIG MARTINSON, North Star Mountaineers

*Recipient of a grant from the A.A.C. Climbing Fellowship Fund.

AAJ 1976 p. 467
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 10:59pm PT

P 8233, Ruth Gorge and Other Peaks. Stacy Taniguchi, Grant Henke, Dick Wheaton and I had a successful two weeks on the Ruth Glacier. We made the first ascent of P 8233, which lies south of Mount Dickey and west of Glacier Point. We first climbed a 2800-foot snow and ice couloir on the east in about three hours. Whiteout conditions forced us to bivouac in a col for several hours. We then completed the climb in another five hours on the north ridge, which involved snow, some 60º ice and rock scrambling. Around Mount Barrille and the peaks to the north we did rock routes, which ranged in difficulty from F6 to F9 on mostly excellent rock. Charlie Porter and I made an attempt on the great couloir on the north face of Mount Hunter. After sixteen pitches of high-angle front-pointing and avalanche-dodging we came down.

AAJ 1978 p. 513
Jim Pettigrew

Social climber
Crowley Lake, CA
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:44pm PT
I spent a day eating apples and cheddar cheese with Charley, back in the day, while making wire nuts for aid climbing. Fun day, I learned quite a bit from him. Twenty years later called me about taking this trip to Chile to ferry boats for researchers. Absolutely wanted to go!!

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:45pm PT
BITD, we had Jack Roberts give slide shows at the local college outdoor center. Jack and Charlie did a few walls together. Jack recalled that Charlie would take little pebbles while belaying from above and drop them on Jack's head...

And Jack probably deserved it, too. At least Charlie would get a rise out of him for entertainment!

Rest in peace, Charlie. He was more than a strong Porter; he was a stout!

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:48pm PT

A life well lived.

My condolences to Charlie's family and friends.

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Feb 25, 2014 - 01:20am PT
That quote that The Chief posted is pure gold
Soloing is the way. No one to blame that voice of retreat on. No one to complain about the heat, cold, lack of food or water. No one. Just you. That is the beauty of the world of multi day solo aiding my friend. It's not for everybody. Only the chosen few that wish to be alone.

That quote really captured my reasoning for
Wanting to solo Zodiac last fall. It took me two weeks and no one past me the whole time on the route. I thought about Charlie a lot while I was on the route. I thanked him several times although not in person. Never got to meet him. Sure grateful for his inspiration and how he set the bar high. Zodiac has to be the best route I have ever done. The experience is tattooed on my soul.

Thank you Charlie. My condolences to all that loved him.


Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Feb 25, 2014 - 04:07am PT
A sad loss,

Charlie Porter's justifiably outragous reputation spread accross to the UK, as accounts of what he was doing were published in climbing rags. It was generally beyond our understanding and experience.

I 'bumped' into him walking out down the Weasel Valley on Baffin, in 1975, we were finishing a five week trip, and he was shuttling loads, in preparation for his solo on Asgard...... An out there adventure, in an out there place. A degree of lonliness few could contemplate, let alone desire.

He must have been an incredibly cool person with a very special headspace.

Condolences to family, friends and community.


Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Feb 25, 2014 - 04:23am PT
Made in Briceburg by the outstanding Man!
With my warmest thoughts to Charlie Porter's family and friends.

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Feb 25, 2014 - 09:20am PT


Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 25, 2014 - 09:38am PT
Rock and Ice obituary:

New York Times profile on his scientific work:
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Feb 25, 2014 - 10:15am PT
Another one of my inspirations... gone.

R.I.P. brother.

Social climber
Feb 25, 2014 - 10:18am PT
Wow. This is a bit of a shocker. Charlie was a special guy. One of the few I really admired. A really inspirational guy. The photo of him in Briceburg is how I remember him. Had a fun day visiting him there with the Pollock brothers and I believe Werner. Enjoyed the times we climbed together. Really sort of speechless. It seems he left us too soon.

Feb 25, 2014 - 11:16am PT
The combination of such significant climbing feats with almost total silence is something many of us admire but almost nobody really does, not to that level.

well said, damien. a rare quality these days where every step is blogged.

vaya con dios, mr. porter.
Handjam Belay

Gym climber
expat from the truth
Feb 25, 2014 - 11:23am PT

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Feb 25, 2014 - 08:30pm PT



Feb 25, 2014 - 10:13pm PT
RIP Charlie - you were a huge force in the climbing world.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 25, 2014 - 11:04pm PT
The Rock and Ice obituary only said "heart problems." I wonder if anyone here had been keeping in touch with him? 63 is not so old, especially for an athlete. You expect these guys to either die an extremely violent death, or live forever.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 25, 2014 - 11:28pm PT
Charlie on his boat Godwana.

Trad climber
mt. hood /baja
Feb 25, 2014 - 11:34pm PT
Another one of my heroes gone..
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 26, 2014 - 12:59am PT
Mountain 7
"…The established routes have not been ignored. Tom Bauman made the first solo ascent of The Nose of El Capitan in six days. Three further parties did the route: John Howard, an Englishman resident in Canada, and Bob Sneider; Charles Porter and Scotsman Bugs McKieth; Chuck Kroger and Cliff Jennings. North American Wall was climbed by Scott Davis and Chuck Kroger (its 3rd ascent). They don't think the piton placements will get any easier with time. Other routes completed were the West Face (2nd. ascent) by Pratt and Tom Bauman, the Dihedral (9th. ascent) by Charles Porter and Phil Koch, and the Salathe (10th. ascent). A hard year all round."

Correspondent: Chris Jones

Mountain 25
"…There are, however, exceptions to all trends, and Charlie Porter has been quietly doing his thing. Accompanied by Jack Roberts, he began by making the second ascent of Tis-sa-ack, on Half Dome, a route that had repulsed some five repeat attempts. He then went on, this time solo, to make the third ascent of the Wall of the Early Morning Light, or Dawn Wall as it is universally known. He did not, however, take the original route, where many bolts have been chopped in the early part, but rather went up the right side of El Cap Tower, the route favored in the early attempts. This notable effort took him ten days, and he is reported to have chopped a number of bolts that he deemed unnecessary, in the upper sections.

It is not intended to belittle this achievement, but it should be pointed out that among the hard core of young Yosemite climbers the Dawn Wall is a subject of extreme disinterest: they do not consider it to be a legitimate route.

Finally, with Gary Bocarde, Porter started up the Salathe-Muir combination, to break out on the impending headwall to the left of the upper part of the Muir (the Shield), having taken a reported 30 rurps, and used all of them, as well as placing 24 bolts.

Mountain 29
"On El Capitan the only new route to have appeared so far this year is Charlie Porter's and J. P. de St. Croix's Tangerine Trip which completes the unfinished line above El Cap Tree, first attempted by Royal Robbins . The climb, which was made in bad weather, took ten days and consumed 100 bolts."

Mountain 31
"…The major event in the late part of the season was a new route on El Capitan between Wall of the Early Morning Light and North American Wall. This took a team comprising of Charlie Porter, Chris Nelson, Hugh Burton and Steve Sutton nine days to complete. There was much hard nailing but only 85 bolts were used, and half of these were on belay stations. Porter said that the route, entitled End All, was the best he had done on El Capitan.

Previously Porter had been acting on other uncharted sections of the mountain. He had made an abortive solo attempt to plug the gap between Cosmos and Salathe Wall and, with Beverley Johnson, had added a new variation to The Nose, entitled Grape Race. This starts above pitch 3 and rejoins the original route below Camp 4, after taking a line well to the left of the normal way. The total climb took 7 days; the new section involves hard nailing and skyhooking and some very thin face-climbing. Thirty-five bolts were used…"

Mountain 38
"Moose's Tooth: South-West Face
(Central Alaska Range) Charlie Porter, John Svenson, Mike Clark, and Gary Bocarde climbed this 2,500ft. wall by a completely new line (grade 6, 5.8, A4)."

"…On El Capitan, two recent routes pioneered by Charlie Porter, The Shield and The Zodiac, both received second ascents by Jack Roberts and Hugh Burton. The pair took 4½ days to climb The Shield and they found that Porter's notorious rurp pitch could be climbed by using knifeblades in many of the placements. The Zodiac, which turned out to be easier than expected, was climbed in five days during poor weather…

…Ron Kauk and Charlie Porter made the first complete Nabisco Wall ascent by the Waverly Wafer, Butterballs and Butterfingers combination…"

Mountain 42
"…Last Autumn Hugh Burton and Charlie Porter added a fifteen-pitch variation to Dihedral Wall on El Capitan (Horse Chute: 5.9, A4). From the top of pitch five of Dihedral Wall where the original route moves right, the variation continues up the main dihedral. Where this curves over to form overlaps, the variation breaks through to follow a prominent 'chute', and rejoins the original line two pitches below Thanksgiving Ledge. The climb took 7 days and 24 bolts…

…Dale Bard made the second ascent of Owl Roof and, with Charlie Porter, repeated Gold Rush…"

Mountain 45
"…On the South-West Face, Charlie Porter and Hugh Burton worked a line called Excalibur into the remaining space between Cosmos and Salathe Wall…"

Mountain 48
"…Polar Circus (300ft., grade 6), previously referred to as the Cirrus Mountain Gully, proved to be a major undertaking; it was completed in seven days by the strong combination of the Burgess twins, McKeith and Charlie Porter…

…The North-West Face of Mt. Asgard was climbed solo by Charlie Porter, during the period September 1-10. This is the prominent face first tried in 1972 by Doug Scott and Dennis Hennek. This year, Porter teamed up with Pete Padden, Shary McVoy, Craig Martinson and Rick Sylvester, who had already made an abortive attempt to climb the face by the obvious left-slanting dihedral. Poor weather forced them down after they had climbed only 250ft. (placing several bolts). Porter, Sylvester and McVoy returned and, taking a different start rather to the right of the dihedral, they were able to gain the dihedral higher up, by means of a long pendulum (utilizing only one bold). This attempt petered out two-thirds of the way up the 2,000ft. wall, in the face of a bad snow-storm. Finally, Porter returned to complete the route."

Mountain 51
"Porter Solos Cassin Rt.
The Cassin Ridge was climbed by Japanese, British (the Burgess twins and Paul Braithwaite) and American groups. The first solo ascent was achieved by Charlie Porter, after an earlier retreat. Reportedly aided by equipment left by the Japanese, Porter completed his ascent in a single 36-hour push from the top of the Japanese Couloir...

Kitchatna Spires
(Alaska Range) Charlie Porter and Russ McClean made the coveted first ascent of the West Face of Middle Triple Peak in late June. With several rival parties waiting in case they retreated, the pair completed the route in nine days of mainly rainy weather. The route consists of twenty-seven pitches (4,000ft.), many of which involved difficult nailing. The pair abseiled down their descent route. During the descent, Porter was hit by falling ice and sustained a broken finger…"

Mountain 66
"East Buttress of Fortress Climbed
Paine Group
A three-man British team made the first ascent of the 5,000ft. East Face of the Fortress in January 1979. Phil Burke, Mike Horlov and Keith Myhill completed the climb in a 13 day push after two earlier attempts had stopped low on the climb because of bad weather.

The 6,000ft of climbing was in 40 pitches. Eight of the pitches were artificial aid climbing, including two of A4 and one, the penultimate, of A4 and grade 6 mixed climbing (a rurp and skyhook traverse). Five of the free-climbing pitches were particularly hard (grad 6 sup, British technical grade 5b) and many of the others were alpine grade 6 and 5.

Because Burke's hands were badly frostbitten and because of bad weather, they did not complete the last pitch on the summit terraces. The team used a special modified bivouac box on this extremely steep face; the first third of the route is vertical and overhanging, and the upper part lies back at a very steep angle. Burke and Myhill had been in an attempt on the climb two years ago which was defeated by extreme weather.

This is the first 'big wall' climbing in an area alive with possibilities for such routes - but featuring iced-up rock and very bad weather. After their success the American Charlie Porter abandoned his plans to attempt the line, in favour of an even more difficult route up the groove system near the centre of the face. There is no news yet of how he fared."

Mountain climber
puerto williams
Feb 26, 2014 - 09:59am PT
life is a bivouac

Trad climber
Feb 26, 2014 - 02:04pm PT
This news has really shaken me, could not have expected it.

As others have pointed out, Yes, I hung out and climbed with Charlie. We first met bouldering behind Camp 4, and really had a good time competing, he's unique to say the least and we became friends, had mutual friends and climbed a bit.

A few years passed (as they do), I had moved to the Salt Lake City area to experience new faces, new mountains, the climbing and skiing offered by such a great place. One afternoon I drove up Little Cottonwood Cyn. to catch half a day of skiing; there parked on the side of the road was an old blue and white VW van, with the windows all round the top, and Mass. plates...Who else could it be? I pulled over and started to call his name, "Hey Porter!!"
Sure enough, an unmistakeable Damariscotta accent answered... it was serendipitous indeed.

We were like minded and started to train together. He did not look like the typical athlete, read "Jock", but could run sub-seven miles one after the other for quite a while... He'd often go off, by himself, with his X-country skis up a canyon not telling anyone his plans... He set-up a course near the bigger boulders in Little Cottonwood that included a fixed pull-up bar to a classic lay back, run up the hill to a short but hard face problem, run back down to do more pull ups etc etc. He purposely took on a full time job shoveling sand for a concrete contractor to strengthen his back and after work we'd run up the slopes of Mt. Olympus right off the Highway...We'd climb a bit in Big Cottonwood but we both preferred the granite in Little Cottonwood, especially sneaking in to do the routes above the "Mormon cave complex"...

That next winter he pulled me up a lot of ice... Almost every Sat.or Sun. morning at 5AM we'd start up Little Cottonwood or the canyon above Provo. He was really a remarkable ice climber. Salewa hinged crampons and straight wooden shafted axes beat the holy s#it out of our knuckles, some how we didn't die... We'd sometimes be benighted high up on a route and rappel in pitch dark, tails between our legs. Humming Birds and Terordactyls and Charlies own designs made placements easier and safer and Lowe's platform crampon eased the over all fatigue( This "new" curved gear and mono-points, wow!)Any way...There was no better climbing partner than Porter.

So, he set off to Solo the Cassin and did not use a shower pole for crevasse protection, Rather he built a telescoping tube system out of hang glider weight alu. complete with an adjustable harness to swing the system at 90 degrees. It weighed a bit, but reached overall about 25 feet. He thought every thing through...

After climbing McKinley, he did call me. We planned it, I had a whole new set of gear etc. to bring up for the Middle Triple climb. The weather of course was bad, we waited a lot... but as a window opened we went for it and climbed up for 10 days to the summit and rappeled for 24 hours in a storm to get back to the glacier and our water logged tent sitting atop a 3 foot pillar of unmelted snow. Charlie was and is the safest climber I ever climbed with.

A couple of years later we made plans to climb a 5000 foot face on La Fortalisa in the Chilean Patagonia. He was in Maine on the East coast and I was back in Calif. We had different things to make and or procure for the climb and were to meet in Lima, Peru to continue down to Santiago together.
I'd earlier contacted the Chilean Alpine Club to let them know of our plans and asked what we might need to do to climb in the Park Paine. The then President of the Club wrote back saying, come on down, no problems...

Well, we had problems: Chile and Argentina were at War with each other. (The Pope finally intervened in that) We did indeed have to go through their Government channels for permission to climb; they thought we were CIA operatives and no one wanted to help us. I had to fly back and forth from Punta Arenas to Santiago, eating up my extra bucks, while Porter sweet talked the Park officials to at least let us get our gear to the Park's boundary. They also let him in with a tent etc to set up a base camp.
It was a night mare and so frustrating trying to communicate with each other a thousand miles away. We did at last, in fact get a Document giving us access to the Park. Weeks later we'd caught up with each other and made an approach to the face only to find a threesome of Brits rappelling down the left edge of the face we wanted. They were wet ragged and a little bloody when we met up. They'd gotten up on the ridge a couple of thousand feet only to be blown all over the place. They hadn't summited. Down they went; and we started to traverse this huge wall to look for a weakness.

The winds howled through the sharp narrow gaps on either side of the wall. Stones, mostly pebbles to golf balls, were pinging down the wet dripping face, as we put on crampons to get up to where we thought it might go...
There was a discontinuing set of grainy flakes towards the top of the snow, and more golf balls came down... I admit I was very concerned with our position. The Willians Box type of hanging shelter we made was going to be too heavy and unmanageable to haul in the wind up this thing; so we would use our covered hammocks. We dropped down the snow slope a ways and started digging a cave. That night a slab of granite slide over and across our cave, compressing the lid down close to our faces. The next day after bringing up more gear from Base, I opted to sleep down on the moraine. The next day as we were hiking down for more equipment we came up to a couple hundred foot wide path of an avalanche that came down from between the Towers of the Paine and swept across the whole valley...

Charlie and I had a falling out. Not good. Too much for me. He did mention during our conversation that god in fact wanted him to climb this mountain.

Charlie had always said, he wanted to live his life with no regrets. I think he managed well there.

Another thing, he'd often talk about; he wished he could have his fortune read so he'd know how much time he had left to complete his goals.

Here are some photos of the man I knew, Charles Talbot Porter


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 26, 2014 - 02:22pm PT
Ver sad to hear. I hadn't seen Charlie in many years but we were good friends and I truly admired his style.
captain chaos

Feb 26, 2014 - 02:32pm PT
The world just lost one of its more impressive and accomplished pioneers. There will never be another Charlie Porter. So sad to see him go at such a young age.

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Feb 26, 2014 - 02:38pm PT

RIP and condolenses to all his family and friends, what an inspiration, a book could be written about his life.

Thanks for the stories and photos, makes this forum worth visiting.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 26, 2014 - 03:14pm PT



Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Feb 26, 2014 - 03:53pm PT
life is a bivouac,

thanks for sharing your time with Charlie!

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Feb 26, 2014 - 03:57pm PT
this is a great tribute thread
to a very unique and accomplished person.
fine condolences, amazing photos
and worthy stories make for a great

i too have been moved by charlie's life.
my hat is off for the man.
Bad Climber

Feb 26, 2014 - 04:33pm PT
I love this quote from the R&I interview:

"For me, climbing was a very personal thing – and it still is. When I first came to Yosemite, that was the general attitude. We thought climbing should be an amateur sport – or not even a sport at all. It was a neat game with no written rules, a game of one-upmanship. It had a bit of mystical aura about it. You could say we were romantics."

What a dude...


Trad climber
Feb 26, 2014 - 05:09pm PT

Life Is A Bivouac,

Great stories, great photos- Thanks!

Social climber
Feb 26, 2014 - 06:18pm PT
Thanks Russ
goatboy smellz

Feb 26, 2014 - 06:37pm PT


Trad climber
mt. hood /baja

Feb 25, 2014 - 08:34pm PT

He has been gone for awhile.
That was one of the things I respected about him, he did his thing then
moved on to new challenges, lived in the here and now,
not come on here and try to fluff up praises off his past accomplishments.

He was one of the greats.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 26, 2014 - 06:41pm PT
Thanks Russ, was a beautiful thing you put together and shared with us.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 27, 2014 - 07:14pm PT
Can someone translate the article about Charlie Porter from the local newspaper, La Prensa Austral? Thanks!

[text omitted - see link]

Social climber
Feb 27, 2014 - 08:49pm PT
I just hit the translate button. I was using Google Chrome
Scott McNamara

Tucson, Arizona
Feb 27, 2014 - 09:40pm PT
Click on the link to see a nice photo.

Here is my very rough, quick translation:

A black veil covered the weekend for international mountaineering and for the world of science because of the sudden death of one of the greatest and most recognized pioneers of mountaineering in the twentieth century. Thirty years ago he settled in Magallanes and devoted himself to study the climate and among other things to promote exploration of the high mountains of the southernmost corner of the continent. He ended his days in the city of Punta Arenas because of various cardiac complications.

Born in Massachusetts, in the United States, Charles "Charlie" Talbot Porter, was a geologist and mountain climber. Since the decade of the 80s he settled in Chilean Patagonia and devoted his life to the study of climate and to explore the wild and incomparable landscape that characterize the region of Magallanes.

For nearly 20 years this American was based out of Chile. He was frequently employed as a scientific guide in the province of Cape Horn and participated in various expeditions to Antarctica to assemble scientific databases and monitor the environmental and climate change.

After a series of ailments over the past weeks and symptoms associated with a possible cardiac complication, Friday afternoon he was taken from the Naval Hospital in Puerto Williams to the Magallanes Clinic. There on Saturday despite several examinations and treatments by physicians, a heart attack ended his days.

He was renowned for being the first person to kayak the South channels, along the cordillera Darwin to Cape Horn. He also sailed alone from Germany to Puerto Williams aboard his yacht Ocean Trump. Nelson Sánchez Oyarzo, a friend of the climber and a member of Magellan Professionals based out of the United States, told the Southern Press that "Charlie" will be remembered for his great contributions to modern mountaineering. "He was a pioneer and inventor and re-inventor of much of the equipment that is currently being used in mountaineering."

Nelson Sánchez highlighted the contributions of the late climber and his low profile. "Very few in Chile knew who he was, but on the international level his death has been a very big loss. "Charlie" started the "Patagonia Research Foundation", which promoted this area as a center for ecotourism and science that came to have international relevance. In 2001, the New York Times published an article and biographical sketch of the life of the climber and scientist who explored Patagonia.

"Hopefully the Government in some way can help to make a memorial and have his house converted into a Museum", said Nelson Sánchez. The expeditions of the 63-year-old man included various climbing routes on Monte Sarmiento, at different times of the year and all their faces, as well as multiple climbs on mountains that had never been explored. "In Chile, United States and Canada, Charlie will be remembered for his bravery and for being a pioneer who opened and discovered climbing routes, in addition to being of the few people to solo navigate Cape Horn".

Feb 27, 2014 - 09:46pm PT
Thanks for the translation Scott McNamara.

I think the Americans should make a bronze statue of Charlie
and bolt it onto the face of the triple cracks on the Shield of El Cap ....?

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Feb 27, 2014 - 10:22pm PT
Charlie Porter sounded like a demi-god...It just doesn't seem possible that such an iconic hero could die...
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 27, 2014 - 10:35pm PT
Thank you for the translation - much appreciated. I thought it would be nice to hear a perspective from those who Charlie chose to spend most of the last 30 years living and working with.

His mother was a well-known childrens' author:

His father, a doctor:

Plus there's a Charles Talbot Porter who died in 1910, who was quite involved in the development of steam power in the USA:

Perhaps a great-grandfather or such?

It sounds like Charlie may have come from an old New England family - there were Talbots and Porters with the pilgrim fathers.

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 27, 2014 - 10:41pm PT
These are some remembrances that I cobbled together from my few experiences with Porter and from stories told to me. I can in no way attest to the veracity of my memory, just that I'm trying to be accurate. Among my crowd, Luke Freeman and Matt Pollock knew him the best, and I was mostly on the periphery.

Everyone must be able to tell from the photos, even the later Chilean ones, that he had a wonderful smile. Perhaps more than the smile, I remember a characteristic giggle that hinted to me mostly in the pure joy of his surroundings but with just a twinge of maniacal laughter thrown in.

I met Porter through Luke Freeman, and they had already done the Nose when Luke was 15 or 16. Porter was, what, 19 or 20?
I think in preparation for more difficult routes after the Nose, Porter took Luke for practice aid on Bear Rock.It had a completely blown out shallow pin crack, you know, placements 1" deep by about 3/4" wide by about 3/4" tall. Porter insisted that they stack pins rather than use bashies, because using bashies would have made it too easy.
I think I wandered by just before they started and remember hearing Porter saying something to the effect, "why turn A3 into A1".

Around '71 at the end of what was to be my last extended stint in the Valley (pathetic spray alert!), I wanted to investigate a potential new route to the right of The Vendetta, so Matt, Porter and I went up to check it out.
P1: P1 of Vendetta
P2: short traverse right (10b now?). I led and took a little swinging fall when a crufty dime edge sloughed off. I felt a twinge in my right shoulder.
P3: Matt led. I think this is now the second pitch of Anathema. It was cool: steep but pretty straightforward. Halfway up that pitch, I was yarding on a good overhead pinch hold and my shoulder dislocated, complete with popping gristle sounds. It seemed to take 30 seconds to pop back in. Matt lowered me to the ledge and we retreated.
Porter was not particularly impressed with the whole show.
It rained that night and I remember feeling pretty sorry for myself.

I think from the next Spring ('72, story from Matt): Matt was following Porter up Stone Groove.
This was still when pitons were used for pro for free climbs, and you all
might guess that Porter could pound a piton with the best of them, especially
if he was feeling a bit insecure. Poor Matt had to clean Porter's
awesomlly well driven pins as he followed, and Matt still succeeded in getting the climb clean.

Around Then: The Pollock brothers (Matt and Bruce) and I headed down to Porter's machine shop in Midpines/Briceburg for a visit. Some of us (not Porter afaik) were irresponsibly and artificially phase shifted from reality.
This was pre-Friends, but after nuts really started taking off in the Valley.
The more mechanically inclined climbers were hunting around for alternatives
to the Clog hexes imported from Britain and the newer Chouinard hexcentrics.
Porter was trying out ideas.
He told us how he had dug into the engineering literature
and came up with this rounded cam that would confer some advantage sticking in cracks. He milled them out of solid aluminum stock, and the walls are (I just measured) 3/8" thick, compared to about 1/8" in hexcentrics!
I bought a set, and over the years, I've used them a number of times.
Given their thickness, you could literally hang a truck off them, but I can't actually attest to magic holding qualities of that rounded face.
During that visit we discussed my future, too. I had taken a fall quarter off from College of the Redwoods to be a climbing bum, but now was agonizing about making this a permanent condition. The alternative was heading for degree in chemistry at a university.
Porter weighed in for the climbing bum route. For better or worse, I went on for the degree.

Finally: Completely coincidentally, a non-climbing friend and I stayed at the same pension with him in Punta Arenas, Chile in 1980(?).
The encounter started kind of strange.
It was dark and we were looking for a recommended pension.
We saw a gringo on the street and tried to ask him directions, but he kind of fled into this house.
That was the pension to which we were headed, and the gringo turned out to be Charlie.
I don't think I knew he was even down there. He then did us a good turn
with the planning of a trip from the central part of Chilean Tierra del Fuego to Ceno Almirantazgo.
The roads didn't extend nearly as far then, the border was contested between Chile and Argentina,
and maps were very difficult to come by. Charlie took us to an ???maritime or Navy??? office
and helped us find some rudimentary maps of our proposed route.
That's when we heard his rather bizarre Spanish grammar. It was a way cool trek, and we couldn't have done it without those maps.

added in edit: Here's the route.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 27, 2014 - 11:01pm PT
What a post!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 27, 2014 - 11:07pm PT
Antler on a mountain top
Gary Bocarde
Mountain 43

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 27, 2014 - 11:23pm PT
El Capitan Up-Date
Hugh Burton
Mountain 44


Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 28, 2014 - 12:38am PT

I still have that ^^^ one (44), and remember poring over it the first time.

I don't have 43.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 28, 2014 - 08:17am PT
Weren't those some of the first color photos in Mountain?

They changed my life.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 28, 2014 - 11:51am PT

THE BOATING REPORT; A Steel Yacht Serves As a Field Laboratory

Published: May 6, 2001 New York Times

Tucked into a far corner of the harbor serving Puerto Williams, Chile, a navy town hard by the Canal Beagle, rests a small fleet of rugged steel yachts that have clearly traveled long miles to get there. The one called Gondwana -- a 49-footer named for the southern hemisphere's onetime supercontinent -- is skippered by an antic American whose English and Spanish are both delivered in staccato bursts framed by peals of laughter.

The sole proprietor of his far-flung Patagonia Research Foundation, the 50-year-old sailor and scientist Charlie Porter is a study in perpetual motion. Fittingly, his floating field laboratory, Gondwana, is as mobile as he is, regularly covering the thousand miles of waterways from Puerto Montt to the north, to the southern tip of Cape Horn.

''I'm in the right place at the right time doing the right thing,'' said Porter in a recent interview, while describing his current studies in climatology and historical archaeology...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 28, 2014 - 12:19pm PT
if someone has Climbing 22/23 there is a report in it on the FA of The Shield.

I don't have that issue.

Social climber
Feb 28, 2014 - 08:45pm PT
'Heavy' Talks Ian McNaught Davis

McNaught Davis: To most British climbers, Yosemite means big overhangs, cracks stuffed with pitons, and six day routes.

Heavy-duty: "They were the big challenge, and the photographs got everyone jerked up, but now you can split the valley into two groups: those who want to do all the big face routes, and those who do one or two, realize how intrinsically boring six days of hammering can be and promptly relax and enjoy the one or two day routes. So far there is only one person in the first group."
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 28, 2014 - 11:20pm PT
A tough act to follow;
Charlie Porter's wilderness of pain: Baffin Island

Mark Synott
Climbing 174 pages 56&58


Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Mar 1, 2014 - 03:40am PT
Ed what year was the above article written ?


Googled it. March 15 ,1998

Gross Vegas
Mar 1, 2014 - 11:33am PT

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 4, 2014 - 08:51pm PT
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 4, 2014 - 10:10pm PT
Yeah, Ed, that is a good piece by Duane just today, I think, right? Unfortunately it does not answer its own questions as of course; such answers will never be forthcoming. Duane is a wonderful writer too. As it is with real genius and independence, it always has a certain amount of inexplicability to it. There are some very close to Charlie from back in the day, who today are just gutted and will be for quite some time.

Charlie knew he was meant for all of this and to a very few, he told them so.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Mar 4, 2014 - 10:30pm PT
Thank you all for posting your memories, articles, and good thoughts about Charlie Porter.

Please post more!

Thank you!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 4, 2014 - 11:40pm PT
I wouldn't be too impatient, Peter, maybe there will be an answer to the article's question in good time.

Of course at our ages, impatience is a reality.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 5, 2014 - 12:58am PT
Not impatient at all, Eddie. And I really like Duane's writing, as always.

Hey, here we are finally reviewing Turing's work, for example and its 70 years later. It is in the nature of such peerless contributions, that their origins are not always very clear at all. Not to insist there is magic in the machine, but the human widget has still to be elucidated.

Mountain climber
Eastsound, Wa
Mar 5, 2014 - 10:11am PT
Charlie Porter was a great hero of mine. Both for what he did and how he did it, but also how he kept moving on, changing the palette of where his adventurous spirit took him.

In the fall of 1983, returning from a long kayak trip to the coast of Labrador, my wife and I stopped for a while in Camden, Maine to earn enough money to get back home to the West coast. We met a man there , named Geoff Heath ,who the year before, had made a long solo voyage in an open sailing dinghy to the Torngat Mountains of Northern Labrador, climbed a virgin peak and sailed back.

He was a longtime friend of Charlie Porters and had been helping him fit out a steel boat for a voyage to Antarctica. Apparently Charlie had found evidence of prehistoric human settlement on the Palmer Peninsula and was returning to continue his explorations.

I got the impression that the refit work was being done at the Porter family home.
Geoff said that one of the perks of the job was that every morning, while they were there working, , a uniformed French maid would come from the house and out to the boat to bring them a tray of hot coffee and fresh pastries.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Mar 5, 2014 - 11:42am PT

I don't know if this is the correct thread to do it, but please post up a recounting of you getting stuck in Hollow Flake and the ensuing epic!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 5, 2014 - 12:48pm PT
Hilden, please.

Steve has done that already in great detail on the Forum and we even had the artist's proof he did of that incident, later given to Bill Zaumen from whom I received it and digitized for our perusal. And this thread is about Charlie. There was even a benefit tee shirt done by I Hate Plastic Simon of Steve G's artwork. Go here:

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Mar 5, 2014 - 03:31pm PT
One of the visionaries. When I was a dumb kid, he salvaged a stuck rappel line of mine, found out who it belonged to, and gave it back to us. He was a good egg.

Trad climber
new paltz, ny
Mar 5, 2014 - 03:38pm PT
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Mar 5, 2014 - 08:14pm PT
This is so sad, condolences to family and friends. I only climbed with him a handful of times, all free climbs no walls.

He was a pioneer and certainly did things his own thing. For example, on Henley Quits around late 1974, I was belaying him as he led the off-width, and he was banging in a bong.

Along came Lou/Lew Dawson and Rich Jack, they asked me why he was not using a tube chock, I just shrugged my shoulders, he looked down and made a comment.

To say he was a character would be a huge understatement.

RIP Charlie
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Mar 14, 2014 - 10:31am PT
At the time of my first trip to Yosemite about 1973, Charlie Porter was already a legend for his El Cap ascents.

One of the vogue phrases at that time was “It was casual, man.” This was used to indicate climbs, moves, or pitches you found to be unexpectedly easy. An exchange might go like this:

“How was the famous “Belly Crawl” pitch on the Prow?
“Totally casual, you can just hand traverse it”.

Charlie Porter seemed to be able to turn some of the grandest mountaineering adventures ever attempted into “casual” outings. 35 Rurps in a row? Casual. Danger of crevasses while soloing the Cassin on Denali? Casual, just pack a long length of tubing. First ascent, solo, of a remote Baffin Island big wall? Apparently so casual that it was not worth the effort to write about it in the magazines or the alpine journals. Charlie always made it look like his landmark first ascents were casual and when I first learned of his reputation that first summer in Yosemite, I hoped one day to attain his level of nonchalant, climbing mastery.

By the time I spent some extended periods of time in the Valley in the mid-seventies, Porter was moving on to ice climbing and mountaineering. If memory serves, I encountered Kevin Worral and Porter one day practicing ice techniques on some smears off the trail to Half Dome in about 1975.

That may have been the same winter I spent some weeks in the valley scoping out its ephemeral ice climbs. Camp 4 was a nasty place to pitch a tent, with a distinct lack of sunlight, and an abundance of damp and cold; the only reliable heat to be found was in the Lodge and the toilets. So when someone mentioned a party on New Year’s eve in an El Portal bar, I was happy to pile into the car with the other campers. Porter was there at the bar, complete with white cap, and I spoke with him, yelling over the noise at a perpetually grinning face. I wish I could tell more about that encounter, but my enduring memory of that night is of the wooden floor of the bar, broken glass, and little else.

Climbing, then and now, seems to attract those who march to their own drummers. But among the various lunatics, geniuses, and those in between whom I encountered during my time in the Valley, for pure commitment to a life of adventure Charlie Porter stands alone, just like the way he preferred to climb.

Gross Vegas
Mar 14, 2014 - 10:34am PT
Great tribute Rick!!

Sport climber
Mar 14, 2014 - 11:17am PT
Great tribute Rick!!


El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Mar 14, 2014 - 04:50pm PT
Dang Rick, that was a great tribute...beautifully conveyed.

Coz, cool story.
(I can relate, in a way. I had gotten the wave of the day and was super stoked for some pats on the back from da boyz. One of the legends said. "Was that you? I didn't know you sucked so bad." Laughter and pats ensued)

This Porter thread is something special.

Trad climber
Mar 14, 2014 - 05:17pm PT
Climbing, then and now, seems to attract those who march to their own drummers.

So true Rick.

Trad climber
Mar 14, 2014 - 08:18pm PT
What amazes me most is all the fools who let Charlie and the Canuks bag all those gems on El Cap, Ray Charles could have stumble into the valley and spotted the Shield.

Was Charlie not an American?
And besides, you guys bagged the first ascent of the Terminator near Canmore.

Mar 14, 2014 - 09:52pm PT
In memory of Charlie Porter

Others contained no depth
of purpose
their surface a thin like
floating aimlessly in shallow

Then you happened.

Heather burns

Mountain climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 16, 2014 - 12:35am PT
Today's NY Times
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 16, 2014 - 01:00am PT
Thanks Deeg. Great piece from NYT! Really helped clear up some of the errors about Charlie's basics. Imagine, he got to visit Tristan da Cunha even.
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Mar 16, 2014 - 11:53am PT
Interesting to learn that Charlie's mother authored the wonderful children's book, Miss Rumphius.

I must have read that book to my kids a hundred times and it was a perennial favorite. It is about a woman who wanted to accomplish three things in her life: travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful. The last she does by planting Lupens throughout the countryside in Maine.

Mar 16, 2014 - 12:04pm PT
When Charlie finished Asgard he mailed me a letter describing his ascent and epic descent and getting back to the Eskimo village.

The NYT article says he hiked .

The letter Charlie wrote me he told me how his feet got frozen and had to crawl a good portion of the way out of there back to civilization.

He told me how he is staying with local Eskimos because he can't walk and they are teaching him the fine art of sea kayaking.

The stuff he was learning from those Eskimos would be instrumental later in his adventures in the Drake passage and building the sea tomato for Ned Gillette.

When I saw Charlie after he came back from building the sea tomato for Gillette he was really pissed off at Gillette for fuking him over.

I'm not going to into that here.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 27, 2014 - 01:37am PT

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Mar 27, 2014 - 08:02am PT
There are several legendary climbers who have died in the last year, who in their lifetime, made significant advances in our sport. The accomplishments of Charlie, and my close friend John Ewbank, have appeared in numerous articles, on an international scale.

I regret that Charlie and John are not around to read the fine tributes directed towards them. Even thou Charlie and John were both very humble
individuals, I'm sure they would have appreciated the recognition.
Anne-Marie Rizzi

Apr 14, 2014 - 09:54pm PT
So, I just opened a Black Butte Porter, my current favorite beer.

And I started singing (to the melody of Hallelujah chorus), "Charlie Porter, Charlie Porter, Charlie Porter, Charlie Porter, Charlie Porter-uh. This was a song that Jim Erickson, Art Higbee, and David 'the kid" Brashears would sing whenever Charlie came into the Lodge bar. I thought it was hilarious.

And all these years later I still remember it. What a scene...


Trad climber
Bay Area
Apr 14, 2014 - 10:53pm PT
Very nice eulogy for Charlie by a sailing adventurer who crossed tacks with him several times in Patagonia and the Southern Ocean. In the Alpinist I got yesterday.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Apr 14, 2014 - 11:46pm PT
Bump for Charlie Porter song! Way fun!

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 15, 2014 - 01:04am PT
Missed this thread the first time around. Charlie had a strong influence on my climbing and why most of it has been free roped soloing. Pretty much pegged the whole self-contained-on-rock-free-of-external-dependencies thing. Had hoped to get down to meet him some day and more than a bit sad that's no longer possible. A life lived on his own terms for sure.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Apr 15, 2014 - 07:36am PT
Mr. Porter was one of my heros.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 15, 2014 - 12:04pm PT
Great story Anne-Marie, but Breashears is no longer the Kloeberdanz Kid. I saw him a couple years ago. He is documenting climate change among other things.

Saw Jim at the Hersey memorial, but where is Art?

I really don't think they make 'em like Charlie Porter any more.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 15, 2014 - 12:15pm PT
ron, did you miss this?

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
May 27, 2014 - 03:06am PT

An obit for CP has been published in one of the UK's broadsheets. Remember it is written for the non climbing public.

The photo looks like the Weasel Valley. I bumped into him a few miles North as he was shuttling loads. It was piss wet, I recall he was wearing that yellow cagoul that's in the top of his pack.


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