Apparently Charlie Porter has died


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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:
Messages 61 - 80 of total 153 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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