Apparently Charlie Porter has died


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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
Messages 121 - 140 of total 153 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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