Apparently Charlie Porter has died


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 101 - 120 of total 153 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

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
Messages 101 - 120 of total 153 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta