Apparently Charlie Porter has died


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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 4˝ 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!
Messages 81 - 100 of total 153 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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