Royal Robbins (RIP)

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Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 14, 2017 - 04:00pm PT
February 4, 1935 (West Virginia) - March 14, 2017.

Royal on right, 2007, with Tom Frost and John Stannard.
Royal on right, 2007, with Tom Frost and John Stannard.
Credit: Mighty Hiker (copyright, too.)
BruceHildenbrand

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:02pm PT
What impressed me most about RR was his ability to understand the next level of the game. Most likely it was just part of his competitive nature, but he always seem to know how to take it to the next level. RIP.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:03pm PT
Thanks Anders for starting this thread.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:04pm PT
Oh no,
My sincere condolences to family, friends and tribe.
His two Rockcraft books and a good mentor taught me the climbing game BITD.
Tad

RIP Royal


mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:06pm PT
The word legend barely starts to describe him.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:09pm PT
Would it be too cliché to say: end of an era?
No, I think not. Even now, still breathing fresh air, I can feel the suction. He's taking a bunch of us with him.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:09pm PT
We all need to give thanks to Royal.

He showed us the WAY forward, with style.

Rest in Peace

My since condolences to His Family, Friends and extended tribe.

Guy Keesee
kief

Trad climber
east side
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:10pm PT
Oh no, what a loss and what a guy.

Heartfelt condolences to all his loved ones and friends.
ClimbingOn

Trad climber
NY
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:12pm PT
A true innovator and legend within our sport. RIP.
Bullwinkle

Boulder climber
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:13pm PT
The Natural, R.I.P.
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, Moab, A sailboat, or some time zone
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:16pm PT
Very, very, sad.


Susan
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:20pm PT
It isn't sad because he had a great life and lived to a decent age.
RIP
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:22pm PT
He was the man. The most significant rock climber in American history.

You can't say enough about his ability, vision, writing, influence, and environmental awareness.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:26pm PT
The Natural, indeed.
A life well lived.

I've enjoyed his climbs so many times!
Hope to continue that for a long time.
Have enjoyed his writing very much, too.
 Basic Rockcraft
 Advanced Rockcraft
 many articles in Summit magazine
 his autobiography (he really shared a lot there that I didn't expect)
Ghoulwe

Trad climber
Spokane, WA
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:26pm PT
Damn! Royal was an inspiration and a true pioneer of our chosen sport. The climbing world would have been much different without him. RIP Royal.

Eric Barrett
Spokane, WA
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:30pm PT
American Original all the way. Condolences to his family and friends.
meclimber

Trad climber
Newmarket, NH
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:38pm PT
Wow, sad when a legend dies. Condolences to any family.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:40pm PT
A fine gentleman, a historic figure, trend- and style setter, and climbing legend! Royal was all over the California climbing scene for sixty years.

My warmest regards to his family and friends for his life and memory.

—Robs John Muir
Claremont, California
norm larson

climber
wilson, wyoming
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:40pm PT
If not for Royal where would we be today? The man had the vision to give us all the information in his simple to understand books to get out there and do it ourselves. What a gift he gave us. RIP Royal
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:40pm PT
What can you say?

Incredible legacy
Incredible drive
Incredible heart

We could all take a page out of his book and do a little better. What a life. What a f*#king life he lived. Cheers, Royal.
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:42pm PT
I'm just stunned. Thanks for alerting us, Anders. Wow...so sad. What an incredible legacy he left--for me personally, and for the climbing world in general. What a huge loss.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Cali
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:42pm PT
Yep, between the Rockcraft books and the Chouinard catalog I learned to climb. End of an era, indeed.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:48pm PT
I remember climbing into the bottom of the mighty Crescent Arch chimney, on Half Dome Direct in 1978, at age 17, and having my mind blown.

I had insisted on climbing the "DIRECT", rather than the "REGULAR" for my first route up Half Dome. And boy was I in for a ride. Monster chimneys, difficult freeclimbing, difficult aid, stacked flakes, tricky route finding, bivouac ledges seemingly miles above the Earth.

I was grateful that the route had been pioneered, and all I had to do was try and follow it.

Thank you Royal.
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:53pm PT
Fly free Royal.  What a Legend.  Took this photo during an Alpine Club...
Fly free Royal. What a Legend. Took this photo during an Alpine Club meet at his home in Pinecrest.
Credit: karodrinker
ecdh

climber
the east
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:57pm PT
The Buzz Aldrin of walls from the days when it was not a game. Peace, sure. But dont rest long.
Curt

climber
Gold Canyon, AZ
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:07pm PT
Very sad news. I heard last Oct or so that he was not doing very well. RIP.

Curt
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:08pm PT
No words.

Just... no words.

Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:09pm PT
Karodrinker... WONDERFUL image!
WanderlustMD

Trad climber
New England
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:11pm PT
Rest in peace, sir!
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:11pm PT
Rest in Peace Royal Robbins.

You will not be forgotten for your words and deeds are written in Stone.
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:14pm PT
I took my son to shake Royal's hand. It seemed worthy. He signed a couple of books for the kid and I'm feeling pretty lucky and honored to have just met the man. Without much awareness, I followed his footsteps up the half dome and later solo up the leaning tower. Then to the rivers and the hinterlands. Berg Heil! Absolutely Legendary!
Alois

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:14pm PT
I remember trying to get any news about this man and his climbs in far-away Czechoslovakia in the late 60s. I was a teen just starting out and Royal was larger than life figure of the climbing world.

A true legend of American climbing is gone. They don't make them like Royal anymore. My condolences to his family and many friends world-wide. Alois Smrz, Idyllwild.
FTOR

Sport climber
CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:18pm PT
honored to have met him once. i too learned to climb with basic and advanced rockcraft, in a pair of his shoes (rr's) at the leap. his vision will endure, his purity of style defined an era. a life well lived. condolences to friends and family.
paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:19pm PT
Really sad to hear. Amazing pioneer and a terrific writer. Just sad. First climbing article I ever read was one of his in Summit. Long, long time ago. He was inspirational.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:20pm PT
Relatively few of here actually knew him. But how many of us learned aid climbing (and a fair bit about free climging, too) from Basic Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft? To say nothing of being inspired by RR's climbing?

What a life he led.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:26pm PT
A Man for All Seasons.  RIP Royal Robbins.
A Man for All Seasons. RIP Royal Robbins.
Thanks for it all.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:29pm PT
What a wonderful life.

Cheers Royal
DMT
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:30pm PT
Royal left a legacy in American climbing that has not been,and likely never will be, equaled. The "Golden Age" produced a gallery of larger than life personalities. Pratt, the most naturallly gifted free climber, left a legacy of climbs that still give climbers pause, Chouinard was an innovator who took the lessons learned in Yosemite to the alpine crucible, Frost showed that an engineering mind and unflappable good nature had a place in climbing and TM was the court jester loved by everyone.
Royal was a synthesis of the above....okay, I'll leave out court jester. He left a mark inscribed in granite that will span the ages.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:32pm PT
Many of us grew up in his long and imposing shadow, as he lived at a time when it was still possible for a single person to dominate the scene. Pete Sinclair, in his beautiful and mysterious memoir We Aspired---The Last Innocent Americans, likened Robbins to Achilles. Robbins was larger than life, and no one else in his time had more to do with shaping the spirit of American rock climbing.
Bushman

climber
The state of quantum flux
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:33pm PT
To say he was one of the truly great climbers of our times, would be an understatement.

Only Royal

Were it not for the man
No one could have given
Me those hand-me-down boots

Were it not for the man
Making his living
Plying cracks for great routes

Were it not for the man
Who taught rock-craft the while
I might never have been a climber

Were it not for the man
Climbing bold lines with his style
Few could ever be finer

Were it not for Royal
Were it not for Robbins
Were it not for the man

Were it not for Royal
I wouldn't of had a clue
If not for the man

-Tim Sorenson
crankster

Trad climber
No. Tahoe
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:36pm PT
There weren't many Tahoe climbers in the '70's who didn't learn how to climb partly by reading his Rockcraft books. This, from the '76 guidebook...

Credit: crankster
Credit: crankster
EdBannister

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:43pm PT
He lived well..

a tribute to himself.

We only spoke once, he was helpful, and knew exactly what he was talking about,
a real asset to the industry and the sport.

Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:55pm PT
A great man has passed. My condolences to his family & friends.

I had the pleasure of co-hosting Royal in early 1974, when he was out touring his Mountain Paraphernalia dealer network & giving slideshows on his experiences in England, rock-climbing. He spent two days in Moscow, Idaho, the back of beyond. Royal was gracious, polite, & only slightly larger than life. Although we didn't manage to go climbing, he was a ferocious competitor at Foozball, during our obligitory night of tavern beer-drinking & climbing stories.

This thread on ST is a worthy tribute to his days as an importer/wholesaler of climbing gear.

Royal Robbins/Mountain Paraphernalia
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1022257&msg=1022257
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
Mar 14, 2017 - 05:55pm PT
yes, I would say the end of an era. What a legacy Royal Robbins left with his creativity, fortitude, and presence. Peace and love to Liz, Tom, and all the close ones.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Mar 14, 2017 - 06:09pm PT
Thank you for your generosity, Mr. Robbins.

Credit: Jim Brennan
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 14, 2017 - 06:10pm PT
He was without doubt the number one pioneering american climber of the 1960's.

Was lucky enough to work with him on the Tahoe guidebook researched and put together 1974-75 and published in 76. As a climber in his very early twenties, I marveled at what I considered a very old man of 40 years floating Surrealistic Direct in high top Keds tennis shoes. Funny how perspectives change.

Condolences to his family and close freinds.
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss On the End of a Wet Fist
Mar 14, 2017 - 06:11pm PT
RESPECT!

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Mar 14, 2017 - 06:20pm PT
This is very sad news; it feels very personal. My sincerest condolences to Liz, Tamara, and Damon.

I don't get back to California much but when I visited a few years ago, I called Royal on my way back to SF from the Valley (I think it was the Sacherer Memorial weekend). He rearranged his schedule, and we sat at his kitchen table easing back into a time-long-ago. Just the two of us; Liz had an appointment she had to keep. I was surprised when he told me that he had read things I had written on SuperTopo and gratified that he liked my take on the 60s and the 70s. As has happened before when I have had a chance to catch up with Yosemite climbers before my generation, the look back foreshortened the 20 years spanning from the mid-50s to the mid-70s: it all feels so comfortable and fluid, like it occurred at one time in one place with one group of climbers (none of which is accurate). Always warms the place up.

As brief as it was, I am very glad we caught a bit of quiet time together.

Royal did a lot more than climb new, hard routes; we are all part of his legacy.
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Mar 14, 2017 - 06:28pm PT
Climber, Boater, Writer RIP
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Mar 14, 2017 - 06:32pm PT
Not just granite. He did some good alpine limestone climbs too.
How many people in the 60's thought of doing the north face of Edith Cavell solo?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 14, 2017 - 06:48pm PT
RR and JL in 2011
RR and JL in 2011
Credit: Largo

Royal Robbins was my hero when I was 16 and he still is. He was the greatest. Feels like I have a hole in my chest. Condolences to all of his peers and fans worldwide. He was an American treasure.
ncskains

Ice climber
Alaska
Mar 14, 2017 - 07:06pm PT
Rip Lord of the Great Stone. Your spirit will for ever be missed. Thanks for setting the example for many great generations of climbers.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 14, 2017 - 07:08pm PT
Put this on the other forum as well. Wow what a huge loss. Seemed like that guy never got old. I idolized others more but he seemed to loom large over everything climbing related when I was getting into climbing.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 14, 2017 - 07:23pm PT
A life well lived, but I still have tears in my eyes.
i-b-goB

Social climber
Wise Acres
Mar 14, 2017 - 07:24pm PT

photo not found
Missing photo ID#493477

Sad day R. I. P. Royal!
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 14, 2017 - 07:25pm PT
Royal Robbins is woven inextricably into my idea of what rock climbing means.
Climberdude

Trad climber
Clovis, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 07:47pm PT
Thank you Royal for your inspiration.
Clyde

Mountain climber
Boulder
Mar 14, 2017 - 07:55pm PT
In my signed book of legends, he is among the greatest.
Royal
Royal
Credit: Clyde
Evel

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Mar 14, 2017 - 07:56pm PT
RIP Royal.
BruceHildenbrand

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Mar 14, 2017 - 07:59pm PT
Credit: Glen Denny

This is one of my favorite images of Royal Robbins. It was taken on the descent from Robbins' ascent of Tis-sa-ack on Half Dome with Don Peterson. The article that Royal wrote about that climb, where he assumed the narrative of all his partners, was groundbreaking and many consider it his finest work.
Mike.

climber
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:03pm PT
Time to climb a Robbins route or FFA or in good style and celebrate the man. How about a Muir Wall solo?

Much gratitude for being shown a worthy path on the stone. Condolence to all.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:04pm PT
THE DAY A KAYAK BOUNCED DOWN BESIDE OUR CLIMBING ROUTE: FOLLOWED BY ROYAL ROBBINS

At the foot of the Planet of the Apes Wall, Malibu Creek runs neat. In the late 1980s, The Gargoyle, E, Mike and Mari, perhaps Mike Ayon, Matt Dancy, a couple others and I were top roping this dirt clod cliff. From the Bubba Deck, Guns and Roses blazed above our pipes and catcalls……

Boom-Bounce-Bang!!!

We all turned our necks aside, ears now stolen uphill along the wall by the hollow thud of a trundling kayak. Two steps behind and attending this curious portage was none other than Royal: the man, myth, scholar…no…make that, Professor, of the steep.

The waterman caught us in his eye, smartly gathered his boat in hand, shuttled it down the slope, plainly dropping the plastic porpoise square within our little circle. Shod in primate-toed neoprene boating booties, the man neatly snatched a string of handy solution pockets dotting the base of the wall and performed a dandy left to right climber-style traverse for us: one part dance, two parts monkey bar routine, three parts Royal!

Without any further ado, and with no break in motion he stepped off the rock, grabbed up his boat, plopped it in the stream, wriggled back into the flow and while Mari perched with her camera clicking, Royal, resuming his descent and in regal declarative, hollered out to our motley crew: “Tell all your friends you saw Royal Robbins in a kayak!"

And that we did.
We're still telling 'em, Royal.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:09pm PT
Heard him give a talk at a Sierra Club banquet a few years back. He didn't talk about climbing too much. He talked about hopping trains when he was a kid.

RIP
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:19pm PT
His solo of the Muir Wall BITD always blew me away, among other things. RIP Royal, a life extremely well lived!
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:19pm PT
Pat Ament said it best when he entitled his book on Royal: The Spirit of the Age. That's how I saw Royal in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Many climbers of that period were reverential of the man and his accomplishments.
RIP Royal.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:24pm PT
He was completely patient with little girls who were interested in chess :)


F10

Trad climber
Bishop
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:27pm PT
A hero of mine. I looked up to him early in my climbing years.
RIP Royal Robbins
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:37pm PT
My condolences to his family and friends. To paraphrase Shakespeare, he is a man upon whose like I will not look upon again. In my humble opinion, the greatest of his generation.
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:39pm PT
Ah shucks.

You were such an inspiration to me as a young climber and continued to be as I aged.

RIP Sir.
Mei

Trad climber
mxi2000.net
Mar 14, 2017 - 08:57pm PT
My first reaction when it dawned on me that this was real was "no, it can't be real! Legends like Royal don't die!"

But quickly, I realized how silly I was. At 82 years of age, he was probably ready for his new adventure.

I can't say I read all the literature and watched all the footage of climbing from the golden era, but based on my limited exposure, Royal stood out. I don't know what he was like in his youth everyday, but he seemed to me to have broken the mold of stereotypical rock climbers of the time, loud, wild, and drunk. I feel that sometimes people do those thing just to fit in. Yet, Royal showed us we do not always need to blend in in order to be accepted and respected.

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:03pm PT
For him to come to the black hills or any other area away from home and crush some of the best lines showed a lot of guts. That and obviously he just loved to climb.
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:03pm PT
my wife, heather baer, and myself pay tribute to the legend, author, and partygoer that royal robbins was. his pinecrest events in our sierra nevada section were an amazing get togethers with climbing gods and noobies happily mixed together. his climbing prowess, first ascent ticklist and influence were unmatched. he changed a lot in the climbing world. we salute his mastery, and shed tears for a man we truly enjoyed to be around. Steve schneider
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:10pm PT
The other side is getting interesting. What a life!
Modesto Mutant

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:11pm PT
As a young misguided youth growing up in Modesto, the Royal Robbins Mountain Shop was an oasis in a town lacking in adventure and culture. It was simply a revelation. I would hang out in the shop just to soak it all in. One day, Royal walked up to me and said "Hey kid, do you want a job"? That changed my life. I got a job working in the back helping with Mountain Paraphenalia. Over time, Royal's insights, wit, intelligence and grace taught me what it was like to be a man. And I was only one of hundreds if not thousands who felt this influence. RIP Royal. You live on though all you connected with.

Kevin Givens
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:12pm PT
All modern climbers have stood on his shoulders. RIP to RR and condolences to his family and friends.
Srbphoto

climber
Kennewick wa
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:22pm PT
RIP Royal.

Basic Rockcraft was the first climbing book I ever read.
steve s

Trad climber
eldo
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:23pm PT
I learned so much from his climbs, his rock craft books, his writings, his ingenuity ,and his integrity in the climbing world. Shaped how I climbed and respected the rock and the environment . Thanks Royal , may you rest in peace.
yanqui

climber
Balcarce, Argentina
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:23pm PT
Sure, my first pair of rock shoes were some rigid RRs and I learned about the basics from his rockcraft books, but of the little I know about Royal Robbins, I think what most impressed me were the comments he made about Warren Harding and the Dawn Wall in the movie "Valley Uprising". After Warren Harding's epic journey up the wall, Robbin's went up to second the route and chop all the bolts. In the movie Robbins says: "I was just pushed to my limits to follow his leads and I was overcome by admiration for the level of expertise. Warren Harding, he was climbing at an inspired level. And so I thought, this doesn't make sense. This doesn't feel right. And so I stopped removing them at that point and I decided to just go ahead and climb it, leave the rest of the bolts in. It's hard to admit it, but I have to say that I think some of my reaction was Harding getting all the credit. And I felt I should get some. And that was a personal thing. I suppose it was an ego thing, Yeah."

RIP Royal Robbins.
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:42pm PT
I know he got to live a good long life but this news still made us cry.
His impact and significance is so great.
Best wishes to his family.
Kevin Crum

Sport climber
Oakdale, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:44pm PT
Meeting him and learning about him is the reason I got into climbing.
When I read his book what stuck with me the most (aside from the epic on leaning tower) was the way he spoke about Liz. He seemed to love her dearly and is the reason I want to marry my special someone someday.
Brian More

climber
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:54pm PT
I consider myself very fortunate to have known Royal. Basically, I sent him an email and he invited me over. I visited with him half a dozen times between 2004 and 2008. He and Liz were always really nice. He was always funny, self-effacing, and profound.

I'm the last person qualified to write his eulogy but if I did I'd say:

He climbed his "inner mountains" and he taught us to climb ours.


Thank you for spending time with me, I'll never forget it.








OnsightOrGoHome

Trad climber
Fair Oaks
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:55pm PT
He taught and inspired us all in one way or another. My father was born on the same day/year, and I'm lucky he can still enjoy the freedom of the hills with me. Our big climb this summer will be Grand Teton's Upper Exum Ridge, unfortunately I don't think we'll be doing Royal's FA route of the Direct North Face.
Friend

climber
Mar 14, 2017 - 10:05pm PT
Such an inspiration. I've gone misty reading this thread.
Not what he did. The way he did it.
RIP Royal Robbins.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 14, 2017 - 10:10pm PT
I am nearly struck dumb by this news.

Many have spoken about his rockcraft, which was amazing and revolutionary.
By itself, that would have been something.

However, what impressed me far more was the development of his arthritis disability in his hand, which ended his climbing career.

That could have been it, settled down into a quiet life. BUT NO!

A pivot to other activities, maintaining a high public profile, making himself accessible to many many people, as documented above.

A remarkable person. For those who have not read is autobiography, quite amazing.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Mar 14, 2017 - 10:21pm PT
Condolences to his family and friends. An amazing life. Not many climbers in California have not laid a hand on a Robbins FA.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 14, 2017 - 10:23pm PT
hey there say, mtnyoung...

this is a sweet share... i've learned a lot more about
him, with that photo, too, and these words:

He was completely patient with little girls who were interested in chess :)

not just the climber, but the elder, to the little ones...

thank you for sharing this...
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 14, 2017 - 10:29pm PT
hey there say, mighty hiker... thank you for the 'offical thread'
too...

good to have it 'set in stone' more, here now...

my deep condolences and prayers for this family and loved ones,
as they must move forward, without him...


will add my other message, here, too, in just a minute...
Mar 14, 2017 - 09:53pm PT
hey there say, steve w... oh my... thank you for sharing, and taking care, as to not put too much info, in the title, until you were sure...

very kind of you...

oh my... very very sad to hear this...

all these older climbers have been such great mentors:

by JUST BEING THEMSELVES... and--living the life...


thank you to royal robbins, for all you have in your life,
and for sharing it without others, then and now, and
leading the way for many...

my condolences and prayers for his family and loved ones...

thank you to all that post, and help folks like me, learn from
what you have shared, as to this very special climber, that
made his way into history, doing what he loved so much...


thank you, royal robbins...
for being who you were...

in case anyone needs the other link:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2956629&tn=20#msg2956929
msiddens

Trad climber
Mar 14, 2017 - 10:55pm PT
Words can't begin to describe. RIP RR
Axis

climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 11:08pm PT


RIP - The world was a better place, thanks to Royal.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Mar 14, 2017 - 11:25pm PT
Such a generous man. I still can't believe that such a legend would do little fundraisers for local climbing organizations. He was a guest in our house for just a couple of days, and he was gracious - we will never forget his legacy as a climber and a gracious man.
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Mar 14, 2017 - 11:26pm PT
*
*
)-;
Much Respect...

Rest in Peace Royal Robbins...
Sincere condolences to his family and friends..
labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 11:38pm PT
So sorry to hear the news of his passing. Condolences to his family and friends.
Erik
Sheik aka JD

Trad climber
Mar 14, 2017 - 11:41pm PT
Much respect to Royal Robbins. We pale in the loss, and in comparison.

Question:

Royal Robbins is of course known for classic Yosemite FA's, Idyllwild's Open Book, his fun Mt. Woodson crack, and countless other accomplishments.

Does anyone know a list of RR's Joshua Tree routes? I know he put up Buissonier (sandbagged 5.7+).

If anyone responds here with Royal Robbins' Joshua Tree routes, we will try to climb them tomorrow.

Big thanks and RIP.
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
Mar 14, 2017 - 11:46pm PT
When I think about style and climbing, Robbins is the first reference that comes to mind.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 11:50pm PT
my thoughts go out to Royal's family as his time passes, truly an end of an era.

I am in Yosemite as much as I can be, and there is always a moment on every day I'm there that he comes to mind. I asked him once if he felt he left anything he would have wanted to do in the Valley, he said no.

American climbing was largely defined by him and his band, we all wanted to be a part of that, and eventually we found our own way, but every time we thought we had launched off into the unknown our paths crossed the unmistakable signs that he had been there earlier.

Credit: Ed Hartouni

Credit: Ed Hartouni

jstan

climber
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:01am PT
Royal's not going away. He will always be here.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:02am PT
Both he and John Gill graced our much loved Southern Illinois hollows with their presence and inspiration. Royal's small, but meaty tomes were our main guides us as we found our way on stone. Without him we likely would have still become climbers, but I can't imagine what that trajectory would have looked like. Much respect for a life well-lived.
Tamara Robbins

climber
not a climber, just related...
Mar 15, 2017 - 02:28am PT
Gratitude for the sentiments expressed here....

 that's all I've got for now, cheers and "keep on climbing"....
BruceHildenbrand

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Mar 15, 2017 - 03:46am PT
Here's another great photo of Royal with his wife Liz taken after topping out on the first solo ascent of El Capitan; Muir Wall 1968.

Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 03:50am PT

Credit: Sheridan Anderson


Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Mar 15, 2017 - 04:52am PT
What a great gift we were given, a part of us all has passed. A "national treasure" indeed, my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of RR.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Mar 15, 2017 - 06:09am PT
Much respect for Royal Robbins. What a great life! What a force.
wayne burleson

climber
Amherst, MA
Mar 15, 2017 - 06:23am PT
Never met the man, but his influence was profound. He explored and set the rules of the game by which many of us climb, and in some ways, live life. RIP.
Levy

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Mar 15, 2017 - 06:39am PT
I'm so sorry to hear th his, the man was a LEGEND to mys er lfa and countless othersites.

My condopenness to his wife. Liz and the rest of his family.
divad

Trad climber
wmass
Mar 15, 2017 - 07:13am PT
An inspiration long before I became a climber.

RIP
steve shea

climber
Mar 15, 2017 - 07:19am PT
RIP Royal
MIRELLA TENDERINI

Mountain climber
LECCO, ITALY
Mar 15, 2017 - 07:24am PT
Great sadness also here in Italy where he was much admired and loved.
karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
Mar 15, 2017 - 07:35am PT


Royal you will always be remembered!
Many Blessings to the Robbins family

feralfae

Boulder climber
in the midst of a metaphysical mystery
Mar 15, 2017 - 07:46am PT
He's climbing on.
Peace and Height, Royal.


Royal was one of the first climbers I admired.
ff
mooch

Trad climber
Tribal Base Camp (Kernville Annex)
Mar 15, 2017 - 07:50am PT
Sad news! The Man and Visionary showed US the way. Grateful to all of his contributions in climbing and to the world overall.

You'll be missed, Hero Of The Hinterland! See you on the other side, Royal!
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 15, 2017 - 07:58am PT
One of the guys we owe it all to.
susu

climber
East Bay, CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 07:58am PT
Thank you dearly for your examples of kind consideration, honesty, openness, and especially for your vision and inspiration, Royal, and for the life you forever breathe into climbing.

With Heartfelt condolences to Royal's family and many friends.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Mar 15, 2017 - 08:40am PT
Mythological.
Barbarian

climber
Mar 15, 2017 - 08:43am PT
A little yellow book changed my life. It opened the door to a world that I have called home for nearly 50 years.
Last night I reread that book through the blur of tears. My hero has gone on to new adventures.

Thank you, Royal, for everything.
Rest in Peace.
AKDOG

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:25am PT

RIP Royal
Thanks for all the inspiration and life of adventure
As many have already stated, his little yellow book was a starting point to get things going.

Credit: AKDOG
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:34am PT
By the time I got around to reading the "Rockcraft" books (1984 - 85), their technical advice was aging.

His discussions of style and ethics weren't old though. Those thoughts were fantastic then and have definitely stood the test of time.


WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
Mar 15, 2017 - 10:28am PT
RR's climbing/boating influence speaks for itself, as an enormously influential and impressive figure of global climbing.

50+ years of marriage is a proud accomplishment as well, one which deserves a hearty applause.

A man amongst men.
Jkruse

Trad climber
Las Cruces, NM
Mar 15, 2017 - 10:36am PT
"Whether you will or not You are a King, Tristram, for you are one Of the time-tested few that leave the world, When they are gone, not the same place it was. Mark what you leave."

Rest in Peace
Gunkie

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Mar 15, 2017 - 10:56am PT
IMO, one of the most bad ass things ever done in 'modern' rock climbing was RR's solo of the Muir Wall in 1968.

RR -- Hero, Pioneer, Legend
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:02am PT

Exceptional, a natural and complete alpinst. RIP!
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:03am PT
Goodby old man. Thanks for the leadership. You gave my life a valuable thread.

Glen Dawson & Royal Robbins chatting at the Angeles Chapter Centennial...
Glen Dawson & Royal Robbins chatting at the Angeles Chapter Centennial Picnic
Credit: Spider Savage
John M

climber
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:06am PT
Respect Sir.. Thank you for living large and with vigor.

The thread "Valley Giants" makes me think of Royal. Thats how I would describe him.
splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:07am PT
what a life he lived. I'm honored to have met him and to have climbed some of his routes.
Blodgett Goat

Trad climber
Missoula, Montana
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:08am PT
A truly visionary pioneer and an inspirational adventurer, RIP Royal.
Mike.

climber
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:14am PT
IMO, one of the most bad ass things ever done in 'modern' rock climbing was RR's solo of the Muir Wall in 1968.

Agreed.

A decade earlier, climbers were musing about whether it was possible to climb EC. That fell, then TM and Yvon stepped it up with the first two-man FA on EC with the Muir Wall in '66. Solo SA by Royal two year later, done in 10 days. Unreal...


vvv Great addition, Bruce. Talk about an intimidating place to be alone in '63.
BruceHildenbrand

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:36am PT
^^^^^^^
Robbins did the second ascent of the West Face of the Leaning Tower in 1963, solo! He knew how to up the level of the game!
Scole

Trad climber
Zapopan
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:37am PT
Robbins definitely changed the climbing world in a big way. Somewhat lacking in social skills, he was still a major player in Yosemite climbing. Basic and Advanced Rockcraft are how I learned to climb.

He will be missed by thousands.
okie

Trad climber
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:38am PT
He was roughly the same age as my Dad I lost not long ago this time of year. I don't know the words for this.
I would certainly rank him among the world's great adventurers.
chipperdarl

climber
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:43am PT
i bow to this moral capitalist.

he upheld strict ethics while satisfying his immediate needs
and pursuing expansive horizons.

and he authored some extraordinary routes.

regards, sir.

you led an admirable life.
i strive to follow your lead.
Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:46am PT
The cycle of life.

I remember being in college and studying RR's books on rock craft like they were the Bible. They showed me the way of life, as it existed for me then. I've looked all over for them and can't figure out where they disappeared to. I'd love to read them again now.

jg
Axis

climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:47am PT
Please post any info on funeral or memorial service.
zmaster

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:49am PT
I never had a formal Rockclimbing class as I learned from the 2 Rockcraft books and some non-impressive rock in the midwest. 40 years later I taught piles of people to climb including my wife and kids and climbed throughout the world. He inspired us all.
Larry

Trad climber
Bisbee
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:14pm PT
Thank you, Royal.
BruceHildenbrand

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:17pm PT
You can read a scanned copy of Royal Robbins seminal work 'TIS-SA-ACK' here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/856536/Tis-Sa-Ack
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:35pm PT
Nothing but respect.
Russ Aulds

Trad climber
Delano, TN
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:37pm PT
This one is to you Royal!!  R.I.P.  and thank you for my first lessons...
This one is to you Royal!! R.I.P. and thank you for my first lessons from Basic Rockcraft.
Credit: Russ Aulds
This ones for you Royal. Thanks for my first lessons learned from Basic Rockcraft!
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:40pm PT
for the record, a couple of encounters with this great climber--

i did a feature article for rock & ice in the early 90s on the climbing area in southern new mexico which got me started on this sport: the organ mountains. digging into the climbing history, who should i encounter but RR, back in the beginning of it all. he was stationed in the army in nearby el paso. the locals were surprised one day to find him doing an aid route, high up on an "impossible" wall. it eventually went free--many, many years later.

i've done a little professional guiding, but it never quite took. at a couple of meetings i suggested opening up yosemite to other guide services besides the sacrosanct YMS. hell, why the heck not?

i think it was at an OR convention in reno--royal took me aside and sorta whispered: "just go ahead and guide in the valley. that's what i did."
Phil Bard

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, OR
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:46pm PT
In 1978, before I was worth much as either a climber or a photographer, I was packing up my rope and shoes at the base of Ranger Rock when Royal and a young apprentice showed up. Royal uncoiled the rope and started off up After 7. His partner was obviously new to it all, and when Royal was about halfway up the first pitch the pile of rope became a huge tangle and the poor guy just looked lost. He said something about it to Royal, who stopped and just stared down. I ran over and sorted out the mess as the belayer sheepishly thanked me over and over. Royal said nothing at all, and when I was done he just started climbing again. I grabbed my camera and shot two photos.

Years later I met the apprentice again, rented a room from him in Berkeley. He didn't recognize me but I remembered. He laughed about that day and how terrified he was going out to the rocks with a legend.

Truly...

Note that he passed up the (later placed) bolt.
Credit: Phil Bard
SpokaneBob

Ice climber
Spokane, Washington
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:49pm PT
Hi Fellow Climbers,
So much has already been said by others. I do not really have anything to add, but felt a certain inner imperative to express something. Royal was a giant for me. Like so many of you I bought his books, importantly his "Basic Rockcraft" in the early 1970s and learned to climb from that, along with what any older climbers willing to climb with a greenhorn kid at the time taught me. I bought his shoes of course, but too small it turns out--they always hurt my feet.
He was a living legend to me. Later in life I got a chance to meet him a couple of times and I am so grateful for those brief encounters. He brought a rigorous ethic and vision to his climbing that few can match. The history of climbing is marked by the contributions of many, but of that many, only a select few really stand head and shoulders above the rest--he was one--at least for me he was. I am glad I got a chance to tell him that some years ago.
My day is impacted. Despite my best efforts today I remain unfocused and a bit empty. Thank you Royal. I never matched your rigorous ethic in my climbing but I tried, at least some of the time, and your influence on me was, and remains, a gift of great value. Perhaps the best thing I can do as tribute is make an effort to find some young climber, take that person out, and be a patient and wise mentor--maybe tell a story or two along the way. I think Royal would like that.

Bob Loomis,
Spokane, WA.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:00pm PT
My heart goes out to Tama and Liz.

Royal was in a class by himself.
Surprisingly modest about his enormous contribution to our particular form of insanity, an inspiration and an icon.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:09pm PT
Goodbye to the giant of American rock climbing and inspiration to me starting out, struggling up his many good first ascents at Tahquitz and Yosemite in awe.

Thumbing through my old diary now to think back on routes of his I enjoyed. There will be no forgetting this man.

Condolences to his family.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:18pm PT
Before I stared actually climbing, I began reading about it.One day, I bought a thin magazine at Highland Outfitters in Riverside when I was getting some camping gear. It was an issue of Summit containing Royal’s article on his solo ascent of the Muir Wall, the first solo first ascent of El Cap. It was like reading about the feats of the Greek gods: fantastic, heroic, and almost beyond my imagination. Like he was with so many others, he was one of the initial inspirations for my own adventures. For that, I’ll be always grateful.

Too many great accomplishments to list, but I was always most impressed with his routes in the Alps, on the Dru and Aiguille du Fou, that were so far ahead of any rock climbs in the Alps in the early sixties.

Met him several times over the years, most recently at Bachar’s memorial. He didn’t seem to act the part of the demigod that he unquestionably was. At the memorial, Royal was introduced as being one of John’s heroes, but Royal startled the audience by stating, “John Bachar is my hero”, and then eloquently explaining why.

He really was climbing royalty and as long as people climb mountains, he won’t be forgotten.

Rick Accomazzo
oldtimer

climber
Concord,CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:18pm PT
Even though i was expecting this sometime soon it was still a shock to hear it. I used to work for Royal in the Warehouse and both retail locations plus i used to Kayak with him a lot. I will certainly miss him, he was always a hero to me. I loved how he lived life with such character and elan. I miss him already.
He used to love the color of the green grass in the afternoon sunlight on the way home from kayak trips. He always called it "that special time of the day" i always remember that from Him.

As he said when our good Friend Bruce Carson died "in a world full of villians it is sad to lose a hero" he was a hero and always will be to me.
Condolences to Liz, Tamara and Damon!

Love
Garry Pollard
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:23pm PT
It was fun bouldering with Royal in the early 1960s in the Tetons. We were both in our 20s and full of energy. A few years later we met again in the Black Hills Needles, where Royal skipped up a number of hard climbs, including the classic Cerebus. He did Queenpin also, and I repeated his route (for a second ascent?), amazed at how he put in a protective bolt. He and I with my wife Lora and Liz walked in to the Incisor one afternoon and I had the pleasure of belaying Royal as he played on the forbidding north face, going up further than I cared to venture. Calm and in control, his moves were precise and effective. I was very impressed with the maestro.

He took a fairly serious approach to bouldering at a time when "Big Wallers" sometimes passed the activity off as simply playful and of no consequence. For me, this was one more appealing facet of a great climber, a Spirit of the Age. I was always impressed with his gentlemanly and reserved demeanor during a period when it was popular to run to excesses with alcohol and drugs.

A true gentleman who had great successes in his life has passed.
Atkinsopht

Mountain climber
Boston, MA
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:27pm PT
Robbins: A giant in the preservation of the native rock we all embrace.
His conservation influence in the 'Gunks was unparalled and far reaching.
http://www.atkinsopht.com/mtn/screeds.htm 'Gunks 70's
clode

Trad climber
portland, or
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:33pm PT
WOW! What a shock when I saw Chris' email! I learned much from the Rockcraft books when I took up climbing as a teenager in the early 70's. On my first trip to the Valley I had a brand new pair of blue RRs. I remember it was in June, I was on the Apron, and got caught in a thunderstorm. The Apron became a solid 4-inch thick sheet of water. I got soaked. When my RRs dried out the next day, they fit perfectly!

As I posted years ago:

There once was a man named Robbins.
He really knew how to pound pins.
He went up the Big Stone,
All alone,
And came back to Liz's big grins.

Condolences to family, friends and the Earth's climbing world!
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:34pm PT
I'm saddened by the fact that in my many years of climbing that my path never crossed that of Royal's. He was to me, a setter of the bar, the standards we all hoped to meet. More than physical standards, Royal was our setter of ethical standards--which I strongly took to heart. The concept of "bold leading" was an outgrowth of the earlier Oliver Perry Smith/Rudolf Fehrmann school of thought, but in a more refined way. In my mind's eye, Royal will be there with the greats gone before, sitting around that campfire eternal, with the likes of Paul Preuss, Oliver Perry Smith and Rudolf Fehrmann, and Emilio Comici, all swapping takes of facing death and the fear of death--all grinning and laughing at the Grim Reaper.
The Frog

Trad climber
West Allis WI
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:35pm PT
I first met Royal Robbins at a 'Never stop exploring' type lecture. Two things impressed me about him-his matter-of-fact, non-bragging approach to describing his adventures and the way he was able to change, but still keep exploring as he got older. As a climber now in my 70's, I've had to change some goals and the level of climbing I do, but his inspiration is one of the things that keeps me enjoying what I can do, whatever the level. Rest well, Royal. Those of us who knew you will always remember.
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:39pm PT
. . . Royal will be there with the greats gone before, sitting around that campfire eternal, with the likes of Paul Preuss, Oliver Perry Smith and Rudolf Fehrmann, and Emilio Comici, all swapping tales

You bet, Rodger. Right up there with other great pioneers!
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:43pm PT
Having known Royal for more than 50 years, if I were to choose one word for what he meant to me it would be INSPIRING. I came of age with him as a mentor, not so much personally, as through his climbs and the style and ethics that he displayed not only on his climbs but in his writings as well. He made me want to be like him.

Rest in peace, Royal; it’s your lead… My sincere condolences to Liz, Tamara, Damon, and everyone who knew and loved him.

Ken Boche

Royal in Camp 4, 1969
Royal in Camp 4, 1969
Credit: BooDawg

Royal in Camp 4, 1969, showing off his DOLT patch.
Royal in Camp 4, 1969, showing off his DOLT patch.
Credit: BooDawg

Royal at the Camp 4 Reunion, 1999.
Royal at the Camp 4 Reunion, 1999.
Credit: BooDawg

Royal at the Camp 4 Reunion, 1999.
Royal at the Camp 4 Reunion, 1999.
Credit: BooDawg

Royal at the 50th Anniversary of the Salathe Wall Reunion, 2011.
Royal at the 50th Anniversary of the Salathe Wall Reunion, 2011.
Credit: BooDawg

Royal at the 50th Anniversary of the Salathe Wall Reunion, 2011.
Royal at the 50th Anniversary of the Salathe Wall Reunion, 2011.
Credit: BooDawg

Liz and Royal at Oakdale Climbers' Festival, 2012
Liz and Royal at Oakdale Climbers' Festival, 2012
Credit: BooDawg

Royal and Tom Frost at the Oakdale Climbers' Festival, 2012.
Royal and Tom Frost at the Oakdale Climbers' Festival, 2012.
Credit: BooDawg
bobinc

Trad climber
Portland, Or
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:48pm PT
Another one of the indestructible generation gone. Sigh.

Growing up in the Pacific NW in the 1970s, I could only dream about the granite slabs and cracks that were found throughout Basic and Advanced Rockcraft. Yes- some of the techniques may have already seemed outdated only a few years later, but the writing is still good. I always wondered if Royal wrote the vignette at the end of AR. He must have; it makes sense given his style and overall perspective.

I am so glad I finally met him in my home town of Hood River about 10 years ago. He was there to visit his daughter and his slides and talk are a lifetime memory. I had him sign my first edition AR; that produced a chuckle!

VDub

Trad climber
San Francisco
Mar 15, 2017 - 02:22pm PT
Man, this is hard news. Condolences to RRs family. He was one of the shining stars - one of the great movers and shakers of Yosemite during the Golden Age of American climbing and well beyond, love him or hate him. My experience and understanding of Yosemite was shaped in major part due to his routes, efforts, and ethics. Another great one makes his final ascent... He will be missed!
Jim Pettigrew

Social climber
Crowley Lake, CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 02:34pm PT
Truly a sad, sad day!
Hopefully his family is well.
A great man with incredible vision.
Mary Moser

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 03:27pm PT
I still cannot believe it! He seemed so young to me. RIP, Royal. You will be missed and I will never forget your legendary accomplishments.
TomKimbrough

Social climber
Salt Lake City
Mar 15, 2017 - 03:30pm PT
Well, I have out lived both Pratt and now, Robbins.
Do I get a few stars for that?
I could never out climb them.

I didn't much like Robbins.
We played some chess and I beat him once.
His competiveness over the board was hard to take.
But.... He and his values shaped my climbing life.
And they do to this day.
dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
Mar 15, 2017 - 03:34pm PT
Yosemite Valley, 1974 (?) Mtn. Room Lodge Restaurant (The Four Seasons?), my first encounter with "The Man."

When asked our name, to be put on the waiting list at any busy restaurant, our habit was to use the name of a famous climber but, only someone we had utmost respect for. It might be Walter Bonatti, Herman Buhl, William Feuerer, Tom Frost or Royal Robbins. On this occasion it was the name Royal Robbins, our idol, the man who topped our list titled "Climbers Who've Earned Utmost Respect."

On this summer's eve it was Alan and Spencer Lennard, Matt Cox, myself and Randy Vogel.

Our motley crew strolled up to the Hostess's podium (16-18 yrs. old, hands still chalk covered, aluminum oxide soiled painters pants, tousled hair, etc.)and asked for a table. She smiled and asked "the wait is 30 minutes, may I put you on the waiting list?"

Without batting an eye Al replied "Royal Robbins party of 5."

Her smile turned analytical and critical as she actually registered what we looked like. In a voice dripping with disdain and disgust she said "you can't be he, Royal Robbins is sitting right over there" and pointed over our heads.

In unison we turned 180 degrees in the direction she pointed.

There, at the closest table to us sat Mr. Royal Robbins himself and his entourage.

They had overheard the whole exchange and everyone at the table was staring at us.

Royal had a look of wry amusement while Chris Vandiver had a look that, if looks could kill, we had all died and gone to hell a million years ago.

We spun on our heals back towards the Hostess in panicked and stunned embarrassment and Al stammered out "m-m-make that Warren Harding" and the 5 of us sprinted for the door.

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 15, 2017 - 03:40pm PT
Great comments John. I am sure those were exciting times to see all the unclimbed rock the Black Hills had to offer. It seemed like he would step up to the plate at many classic areas and put up some of the most exciting climbs around.
Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Brooklyn, NY
Mar 15, 2017 - 03:54pm PT
Deeply inspired by his climbing and his writing.
Hard to imagine the trajectory of climbing without his contributions.
Condolences to family and friends.

PS: would love to see one of those Supertopo lists enumerating his FAs and notable ascents.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 04:28pm PT
Here are some of Royal's notable ascents and attempts.
This was my attempt at a chronological list a couple of years ago,
using the guidebook, Pat Ament's biography "Spirit of the Age", Royal's autobiography, and Joe Fitschen's autobiography.

Yosemite Climbs

 Higher Cathedral Spire, Royal Robbins, Roy Gorin, FA of Robbins Variation on p2, 5/1952
 Lost Arrow Spire, Royal Robbins, Don Wilson, Barbara Lilley, 3A or 4A, 10/1952
 Yosemite Point Buttress, Royal Robbins, Jerry Gallwas, 2A, 5/1953
 Steck-Salathe', Royal Robbins, Jerry Gallwas, Don Wilson, 2A, 2 days, 6/1953
 Half Dome - Regular Northwest Face, Royal Robbins, Don Wilson, Jerry Gallwas, Warren Harding, (attempt), 6/1955
 Steck-Salathe', Royal Robbins, Mike Sherrick, 3A, 1.4 days, 8/12/1956
 Liberty Cap - South Face, Mark Powell, Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, FA, 9/1956
 Half Dome - Regular Northwest Face, Royal Robbins, Jerry Gallwas, Mike Sherrick, FA, 5 days, 7/1957
 Lost Arrow Chimney, Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, 4A, 2 days, 9/1957
 Middle Cathedral Rock - North Face, Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, 2A, 2 days, 8/1959
 Steck-Salathe', Royal Robbins, Pete Rogowsky, Lin Ephraim, 8A, 9/7/1959
 Elephant Rock - Worst Error, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, 3A, 9/1959
 The Crack of Dawn, Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt, Tom Frost, FA, 9/1959
 Lower Cathedral Rock - North Face, Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt, Joe Fitschen, FA, 3 days, 6/4/1960
 Steck-Salathe', Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, 12?A, 10 hours, 6/1960
 Lost Arrow Spire, Royal Robbins, Janie Taylor, 6/1960
 Arrowhead Arete, Royal Robbins, Janie Taylor, 6/1960
 Lower Cathedral Spire, Royal Robbins, Janie Taylor, 6/1960
 Higher Cathedral Spire, Royal Robbins, Janie Taylor, 6/1960
 Higher Cathedral Spire - NW Face, Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, attempt 1 (needed larger pitons), 6/14/1960
 Rixon's Pinnacle - East Chimney, Royal Robbins, Dave Rearick, FFA, 6/16/1960
 Half Dome - Regular Northwest Face, Royal Robbins, Dave Rearick, 3A, 2 days, 6/21?/1960
 Arches Direct, Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, FA, 3 days, 6/26/1960
 Nevada Fall - Left Side, Royal Robbins, Lin Ephraim, 7/1960
 Bridalveil East, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, Joe Fitschen, 6 hours, 8/1960
 Nose, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, Chuck Pratt, Joe Fitschen, 2A, 7 days, 9/13/1960
 Yosemite Point Buttress, Royal Robbins, Janie Taylor, 6 hours, 9/1960
 Slab Happy Pinnacle - Center Original, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, Harry Daley, FA, 5/1961
 The Dihardral, Tom Frost, Royal Robbins, FA, 5/1961
 Higher Cathedral Spire - NW Face, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, attempt 2 (forgot bolt kit), 5/15?/1961
 Higher Cathedral Spire - NW Face, Royal Robbins, Steve Roper, attempt 3 (fixed 2 pitches), 5/22?/1961
 Higher Cathedral Spire - NW Face, Tom Frost, Royal Robbins, FA, 2 days, 6/8/1961
 Half Dome - North Ridge, Chuck Wilts, Royal Robbins, 6/24/1961
 Sentinel - West Face, Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt, 2A, 2 days, 7/14/1961
 Steck-Salathe', Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, 16A, speed ascent, simulclimbing, 3 hours 14 minutes, 9/1961
 Steck-Salathe', Royal Robbins, solo, 17A, belayed on 3 pitches, 9/1961
 Salathe' Wall, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, Chuck Pratt, FA, 5+6 days, 9/24/1961
 Bridalveil East - Aqua var., Royal Robbins, Rich Calderwood, FA, 1961
 Washington Column Direct, Royal Robbins, Liz Burkner, 4/1962
 Little John - Right, Jack Turner, Royal Robbins, FA, 4/1962
 Slab Happy Pinnacle - Left, Royal Robbins, Jack Turner, FA, 5/1962
 Sentinel Rock - Direct North Face, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, FA, 3 days, 5/7/1962
 Salathe' Wall, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, TM Herbert, attempted 2A, rain/sickness, 9/1962
 Salathe' Wall, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, 2A, 5 days, 10/13/1962
 Washington Column - East Face, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, 2A, 10/1962
 Leaning Tower - West Face, Royal Robbins, solo, 2A, 4 days, 5/1963
 Middle Cathedral - Direct North Buttress, Royal Robbins, Layton Kor, 5/1963
 Rixon's Pinnacle - Far West, Royal Robbins, Dick McCracken, 6/1963
 Half Dome - Direct Northwest Face, Royal Robbins, Dick McCracken, FA, 4 days, 6/13/1963
 Misty Wall, Dick McCracken, Royal Robbins, FA, 3 days, 6/23/1963
 Bridalveil Falls - East Buttress, Royal Robbins, TM Herbert, 9/1963
 North America Wall, Royal Robbins, Glen Denny, recon 1 (600'), 10/1963
 Goodrich Pinnacle - Right Side, Royal Robbins, Liz Robbins, TM Herbert, 5/1964
 North America Wall, Royal Robbins, Glen Denny, Tom Frost, recon 2 (1200'), 5/1964
 El Capitan - West Buttress, Royal Robbins, Bob Kamps, attempt, 5/1964
 El Capitan - West Buttress, Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt, 2A, 6/1964
 Dihedral Wall, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, 2A, new hauling system, 6/1964
 North America Wall, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, Yvon Chouinard, Chuck Pratt, FA, 10 days, 11/1964
 The Slack - Left Side, Chuck Pratt, Royal Robbins, FA, 5/1965
 Eat at Degnan's, Royal Robbins, FA, 1965
 Steck-Salathe', Royal Robbins, solo, 34?A, 3 hours 35 minutes, 9/9/1966
 Pulpit Rock - Notch Route, Royal Robbins, FFA, 1966
 Reed's Pinnacle - Direct, Royal Robbins, Gordon Webster, Terry Burnell, FA(p1-p3), 10/1966
 Boulderfield Gorge, Royal Robbins, Liz Robbins, Mike Dent, Victor Cowley, FA, 10/1966
 Nutcracker - left finish, Royal Robbins, Liz Robbins, FA, 5/1967
 Nutcracker - direct finish, Yvon Chouinard, Royal Robbins, FA, 5/1967
 El Capitan - West Face, TM Herbert, Royal Robbins, FA, 4 days, 6/7/1967
 Half Dome - Regular Northwest Face, Royal Robbins, Liz Robbins, 2.5 days, 6/1967
 Nose, Royal Robbins, Liz Robbins, attempt (600', needed more water), 6/1967
 Crack of Doom, Royal Robbins, Dave Rearick, Pat Ament, 10/1967
 Nutcracker, Royal Robbins, Liz Robbins, Dave Rearick, Steve Roper, Yvon Chouinard, Pat Ament, Fritz Wiessner, 10/1967
 Vendetta, Royal Robbins, Galen Rowell, FFA, 1968
 The Remnant - Left Side, Royal Robbins, Loyd Price, FFA, 1968
 Cookie - Left, Royal Robbins, Loyd Price, FA, 2/1968
 Cookie - Right, Royal Robbins, Loyd Price, FA, 2/1968
 Meat Grinder, Royal Robbins, TM Herbert, FA, 3/1968
 Muir Wall, Royal Robbins, solo, 2A, 9.5 days, 4/1968
 Mt. Watkins - South Face, Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, 3 days, 6/1968
 Steck-Salathe', Edwin Ward-Drummond, Royal Robbins, 42?A, 9/3/1968
 Tis-sa-ack, Royal Robbins, Dennis Hennek, Chuck Pratt, attempt, 10/1968
 The Prow, Royal Robbins, Glen Denny, FA, 6/1969
 Tis-sa-ack, Royal Robbins, Don Peterson, FA, 8 days, 10/7/1969
 Steck-Salathe', Doug Scott, Tony Willmott, Royal Robbins, 46?A, 4/8/1970
 Vain Hope, Royal Robbins, Kim Schmitz, Jim Bridwell, FA, 5/1970
 In Cold Blood, Royal Robbins, FA, 2 days, 5/27/1970
 Arcturus, Royal Robbins, Dick Dorworth, FA, 4 days, 7/1970
 In Cold Blood, Royal Robbins, Egon Marte, Johanna Marte, 2A, 10/18/1970
 Wall of Early Morning Light, Royal Robbins, Don Lauria, 2A, 6 days, 2/4/1971
later climbs, including solos, like:
 attempt at FA of Tangerine Trip, solo
 solo of DNB in Tretorn sneakers

non-Yosemite Climbs

 King's Canyon, John Mendenhall, Darrell Towler, 7/1951
 first trip to Tahquitz Rock, Don Wilson, Frank Hoover, John Mendenhall, 7/1951
 Sahara Terror (Tahquitz Rock), John Mendenhall, 9/1951
 Dave's Deviation - extension to top (Tahquitz), Tom Frost, Royal Robbins, FA, 5/1960

Many more could be added, like:
 solo of Mt. Edith Cavell "Cutting Canadian Capers" article in Summit
 FAs in the Alps - American Direct on the Dru
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Mar 15, 2017 - 04:49pm PT
One of my American partners lived with a kayaker. The kayaker was amazed to find out that Robbins and Chouinard were climbers!
BG

Trad climber
JTree & Idyllwild
Mar 15, 2017 - 04:49pm PT
Royal was a pioneer and now a legend.

Many people don't know that when he freed the Open Book at Tahquitz, arguably the first 5.9 in America, he was only 17.

Many years ago I teamed up with Scott Cosgrove to try and free climb one of Royal's big wall routes: The Northwest Face of Higher Cathedral Spire in Yosemite, which Royal climbed in 1961 with Tom Frost, and rated 5.8, A4.

At the fourth pitch it was my lead and I looked up at a flaring bomb-bay chimney. I took a look at the Royal Robbins topo. It read: "Chimney of Horrors" with the rating "5.8", then A4.

40 feet above the belay, with no pro, the rope dangled ten feet out from the wall. I remember feeling that I would have rated it 10a, and chimney climbing is my forte.

Higher up the pitch the chimney narrowed to a wide crack, wider than anything Royal would have had at the time that would fit in the crack.

I noticed a barely perceptible pin scar in a hairline crack just next to the wide crack. It dawned on me that Royal must have pounded a marginal knifeblade pin and tied it off, risking a hundred foot fall if it popped when he stood on it. Nerves of steel. Me, I just plugged in a #5 Camalot and kept going.

RIP Royal Robbins, you were an inspiration to generations of climbers.

David Trujillo

Trad climber
CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 04:56pm PT
Aww, sorry to hear about Royal's passing. RIP Mr. Robbins.
norm larson

climber
wilson, wyoming
Mar 15, 2017 - 04:59pm PT
Holy sh#t Clint! That is some list of achievements for 20 years of climbing. The man was driven.
Mike.

climber
Mar 15, 2017 - 05:27pm PT
dee ee, thanks for the smile on the previous page.
Jim Herrington

Mountain climber
New York, NY
Mar 15, 2017 - 05:36pm PT
RIP Royal.

Photo © Jim Herrington

Royal Robbins at his home in Modesto, CA, 2000.
Royal Robbins at his home in Modesto, CA, 2000.
Credit: Jim Herrington
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Mar 15, 2017 - 08:25pm PT
I always had a psychic connection to Robbins...Not that he was a hero in any sense but that my grand father , who also lived in Modesto could have passed as Royals older brother...My grand father could do a hand stand on top of a framed 2x4 wall but the comparisons ended there...Sounds peculiar but i always felt Robbins was related.. In 73 my older brother and i drove from our grand parents house off Paradise to Robbins shop which to 2 young backpacker dorks was like walking into a shrine..LOL...
Nick

climber
portland, Oregon
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:09pm PT
RIP Royal. A true big wall of a man.
drF

Trad climber
usa
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:13pm PT
Clint...thanks for the 'list of routes'.

Legendary body of work by RR.....rip
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:13pm PT
Credit: apogee
Chippychopperone

Social climber
SLC, UT
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:17pm PT
Thank you Royal.
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:31pm PT
^^^^ That's a nice tribute Apogee.

A reminder to all when you do a Robbin's route we are standing on the shoulders of Giants.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:37pm PT
^^^^ That's a nice tribute Apogee.

+1
Yeah,
and good to see ya back at the asylum Apo. ;)
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:51pm PT
First Harding and now Robbins. End of an era indeed.

There are no words.
Chris Jones

Social climber
Glen Ellen, CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:52pm PT
Royal Robbins had a profound influence on climbing worldwide. As British climbers in the mid-60s based in Chamonix, we knew almost nothing about Yosemite. But we did know that Robbins and Gary Hemming had made a direct start to the fabled West Face of the Dru. And now in 1965 he and John Harlin were working on the even more audacious “direct.” Europeans were not yet at this conceptual level.

During a typical period of bad weather a bunch of us were hanging out at the Vagabond Club in nearby Leysin, Switzerland, enjoying some good food and a few beers. One evening Royal offered to show slides of the recently completed North America Wall. I can still remember the scene, and the absolute silence that followed the first astonishing, almost otherworldly pictures. We had never seen or imagined anything like what unfolded before us; were stunned by the audacity, the steepness, and mastery of it all. I have never forgotten the impression Royal made that day.

An astonishing life. An inspiration to generations. Farewell - you transformed our lives by your skill and passion.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 15, 2017 - 10:33pm PT
Nice apogee. I'll have to repeat that this season.

Like BG wrote, first 5.9 in America (The Open Book)
First Grade VI in the U.S. (NW Face of Half Dome)
First continuous ascent of El Cap (second ascent of the Nose)
Second route on El Cap (the Salathe)
First solo of El Cap (the Muir Wall)
Hardest aid climb in the U.S. (at the time): NA Wall
First American climber (pretty sure?) to climb clean
Climbing the Steck-Salathe in 1:45.

Probably lots I'm forgetting or don't know about. I mean the guy would solo Ahab in a pair of Tretorns! What a talent. What a life well lived.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 15, 2017 - 11:37pm PT
hey there say, ... very nice shares, here...


and BooDawg... very very wonderful photos, there...
thank you for sharing...

helps folks like me, see the 'man among friends' and
the sparkle, he had, in his older age... :)

very nice!
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Mar 16, 2017 - 12:27am PT
Fond memories ...

I first met Royal when he yelled at me and my Scottish climbing partner Robbie Blackwood for our evening attempts to yodel from the Petzold Caves on the Grand Teton.

The second time Margaret Young and I met him and Jane Taylor part way up Baxter's Pinnacle and I followed Royal up the 5.9 variation ... possibly the hardest pitch in the Tetons at the time

Jane and I played the Bach Double Violin Concerto together in the Teton climbers camp

Then Royal and Jane Taylor invited me to climb with them on the Jensen's Ridge of Symmetry Spire, and the Grand Teton North Face (interesting stories there)

August 24, 1961 Royal and Jane Taylor did Teepe's Pillar North East Face first ascent, 3 pitches, 5.7-6.7, 39 pitons, 10 hours (I have his detailed route description and topo ... I took two long leader falls trying to repeat it...a few years ago I discussed this with Royal and he raised some interesting confusion about this route.)

Saturday August 26, 1961, Royal and Jane did the Middle Teton North Face - Taylor Route, 10 pitches, 5.9-6.7, 61 pitons, 13 hours 45 minutes (also have his detailed description and topo)(This entire classic route has since fallen off the mountain)

Royal and Joe Fitchen climbed Big Bluff in Garnett Canyon, 6.9. I made several attempts to repeat it.

My notes on this are unclear, but I think Royal may have done the first ascent of The Fifth Column on Disappointment Peak in the Tetons.

I was one of the early people to repeat Royal's free ascent of the Open Book at Tahquitz, climbing with Margaret Young and Jim Richardson. Knowing that it had been done before is what made it possible to step beyond earlier standards.

I did the second (with Margaret) and third (watched by a crowd from Camp Four) free ascents of Rixon's East Chimney and Sacherer followed me as the fourth. I don't know that we ever sorted out whether the first free ascent was done by Royal or by Chouinard. Either way it was another step up as to what we could do. At the time it was considered to be the first 5.10 and the hardest pitch in the valley. (your history book may differ, Crack of Doom came a little later)

Royal and I did the fourth ascent of the Chouinard-Herbert Route on Sentinel using a nuts kit sent to me by Joe Brown. We used a few pitons at stances, so it didn't count as the first significant clean ascent. We had a lot of fun playing around with living without pitons

I made several attempts to solo Royal's route on Higher Cathedral Spire using various engineering innovations to protect the 'Chimney of Horrors'. Royal was always interested in my engineering contrivances, playing around with rope climbing and hauling systems and anchoring systems. When Lionel Terray came to visit, Royal had me demonstrate hooks and mashies/bashies and hauling and Jumars. Some of my solo devices have still not been shared with the general community.

Royal and I did several repeat ascents of Rixon's Pinnacle, once in a driving rain storm with sheets of water running down the rock. Frost was standing in the parking lot yelling up that we were crazy. (He's always been good at noticing such things ;-) It was interesting to see each hand and foot leaving a wake like a speed boat in the layer of water running down the rock.

Royal and I had an ongoing competition between us for doing outrageous no-hands routes. One of his wildest was on Stoney Point Boulder One. I was apparently the only person able to repeat it regularly. Another is at Indian Rock. Also one or two of Gill's no-hands routes in the Tetons. A special challenge in the Tetons was a long bent over pipe rotating in a socket. Unlike a tight rope or a high line, when the pipe started moving in one direction, it wouldn't come back, but just keep moving along in the same direction. So you couldn't use pressure against your feet to maintain equilibrium. We also used to walk along on the tops of a row of coke bottles, but I think Pratt was the only one to get really good at that.

I used a borrowed Questar telescope to study Half Dome and trace out the line of cracks that later became Tis-Sa-Ack. Royal was very doubtful about it, until I convinced him to study the line through the Questar.

Royal and I did an early exploration of the NA wall, but I got out-ranked for the first ascent team when Chouinard showed up. So I was in charge of rinsing out Frost's photochemical bottles and filling them for the team water supply. The water tap used to be where the bench is now below Columbia Boulder. I kept calling up the hill to our camp trying to tell them that you couldn't get all that stuff out of the plastic, but Royal just yelled at me to rinse them out and fill them up. Then up on the wall the contaminated water made Pratt sick and he was furious with me for not rinsing them out better. It seems a dozen rinses was a sign of general neglect. I can't imagine his fury had anything to do with my girl friend playing us off against each other.

In 1964 Royal and Liz and I did the second free ascent of El Cap East Buttress (first free by Sacherer) We moved fast and got very tired and thirsty. I'm guessing Royal was trying to set a speed record as timed by TM in the parking lot. So we were not allowed to take a break for even a second on the way down.

Royal and I did the second free ascent of Sacherer Crackerer with Frost and one or two other people watching.

My notes say that Royal did the second ascent of the East Face of Washington Column (now called Astroman)

Royal and Liz did the first ascent of Goodrich Pinnacle right side. Jim Baldwin and I repeated the left side a few days before he fell off the column.

I watched Royal and TM make the 1963 first ascent of Bridalveil Falls East Buttress ... TM kept Royal laughing uncontrollably for most of the ascent!

We shared a camp under the Wine Boulder and Royal would leave me to guard it during his romantic excursions to Modesto. One time when running out of food and money, I took the liberty of nibbling on his stash for a few days. Upon returning he was furious that I had eaten some of his European biscuits instead of the salami, which I would have preferred anyway...hoping he has forgiven me!

Layton Kor and I did the second ascent of Royal's 1960 route on the North Face of Lower Cathedral Rock in 1964, with Royal at the base yelling for us to come back down, as too dangerous ... (as usual, he was right...)

Very curious that any of us lived long enough to get old ...

Magical times ...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 16, 2017 - 04:16am PT
Great photo, Jim H.

Thanks, too, Tom. Your post shows the value of taking notes.
October 23, 2014.  State Theater, Modesto.
October 23, 2014. State Theater, Modesto.
Credit: mouse from merced

That same evening, a screening of Valley Uprising in Modesto, the Robb...
That same evening, a screening of Valley Uprising in Modesto, the Robbins and their son Damon pose with Alex Honnold.
Credit: mouse from merced
cornel

climber
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mar 16, 2017 - 05:28am PT
Condolences to his family and friends. RR was indeed The first Grand Master of American climbing. A visionary of the highest order. Thank you RR.
pssesq

Trad climber
Modesto, CA
Mar 16, 2017 - 06:53am PT

Royal

Up the mountain, down the river.
Touch a rock he hasn’t touched.
Find a rock he hasn’t touched much.
I dare you.
Train jumper, law breaker, self namer, mountain tamer.
Upright man in a vertical world.
Up the mountain, down the river.
Beware the flat ground.
Prospect’n, no regret’n, find a rock he hasn’t touched.
Find a river he hasn’t run.
Up the mountain, down the river.
Lord of the rings, lord of the rocks.
Swapped his pitons for a sling with chocks.
Renegade boyscout on the loose.
Glad that this one slipped the noose.
Up the mountain, down the river.
Name a tree, a flower, a rock.
Name a crack, a face, a route.
Up the chimney, down the shoot.
Pointy end of the rope.
Envy of every mountain goat.
El Cap, North Face, name a buttress, pinnacle.
Camp 4 saver, Yosemitee fund raiser never nay sayer.
Bolt cutt’n, head butt’n fast climber slow driver.
Beware the flat ground.
My friend Royal

wbw

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
Mar 16, 2017 - 07:24am PT
Thank you Mr. Robbins, sir. To say that your influence completely changed the direction of my life 35 years ago is no understatement.

With greatest respect and admiration,
Brad White
Boulder
Larry Nelson

Social climber
Mar 16, 2017 - 07:42am PT
RIP to a man universally admired.
Thanks to all for the great photos and stories.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Mar 16, 2017 - 07:44am PT
The Modesto Bee's headline story today is about Royal. So is their editorial.

The editorial gets some of the climbing details wrong, but its first sentence is wonderful:

"To call Royal Robbins a rock climber is to call Picasso a painter."
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Mar 16, 2017 - 08:36am PT
I read the Ament books, Spirit of the Age, and only then realized the distance that Royal was above the cut. Driven like a bat in a blanket.

I had my basic Rockcraft I & II autographed by Royal.

When he open the first volume to autograph, he said, "Nice, it's not often you see the first printing!"

My Advanced Rockcraft was also a first printing, but he was less impressed when he opened that one to pen his name. Inside the front flap was the stamped card from the Modesto Library (Royal's home town). I still remember the sideways look he gave me.

Thanks Marty Garrison for giving that one to me (also Marty's home town).


RIP to a truly grand visionary.
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Mar 16, 2017 - 10:20am PT
Fond memories ...

Thanks for sharing with us Tom.
SuperSpud

Trad climber
Cayucos, CA
Mar 16, 2017 - 10:34am PT
He autographed both of his instructional books for me with the inscription "Good Climbing, Royal Robbins".

After awhile, I realized how much he really meant it.

Thank you Royal.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Mar 16, 2017 - 11:48am PT
One year at Dodge Ridge, I sat at a table across from him. I wasn't sure it was him, but I didn't know him even though for awhile I lived down the street from the Robbins. What a dork I was not just asking him if he was Royal and that Nutcracker was one of the first routes I did that first year I was climbing in the Valley.

Later having been encouraged by mtnyoung to come up to Pinecrest for the AAC weekend, I was absolutely delighted to meet the man in person. Exchange a few emails. Talk climbing.

Having first read the Rockcraft books, then Pat's biography (which mentions local stone they climbed on 108), this was a rare opportunity to hang out with him and Tom Frost and some of his other friends. As typical of any climber gathering there was gesticulating and talk of climbs, the beer, the wine, the friends. It was fun to see Royal's friends having a good time.

At one event, I at least got to tell him how much his memoir of growing up in So Cal resonated with me. I was another lost soul in the so cal sess-pool of smog, people and plasticity. Climbing was my way out. It was/is a huge part of my life.

I regret having lost my keys at the last AAC event where I had to go back to the parking lot at Burst Rock. Only briefly got to say hi to him that trip, rather than being able to hang out and talk climbing, just like any other climber on any other climbing day.

Best to his friends and family.

-Rob Munge
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Mar 16, 2017 - 11:50am PT
All I can say is that I have much respect and admiration for him. But what a life! Rest in Peace Royal Robbins
Jay

Trad climber
Fort Mill, SC
Mar 16, 2017 - 03:50pm PT
Legendary, classy, a hero among heroes of the climbing community. He will be missed and his legacy will endure as long as rock climbing does. Respectfully and honorably I salute thee.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Mar 16, 2017 - 04:29pm PT
Tears in Santa Cruz and around the world today.

Our condolences to the family.

An old friend of over 60 years I can't imagine the scope of lives he touched while on this earth. I do think we are all better individuals for having Royal amongst us.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 16, 2017 - 05:23pm PT
Fat Dad wrote:
Climbing the Steck-Salathe in 1:45.
I don't think he went quite that fast, but he was fast.
Pat Ament's "Spirit of the Age", p.57 describes how Royal and Tom Frost
simulclimbed it in September 1961 in 3 hours 14 minutes.

Later on the page Pat said Royal soloed it later, belaying himself on 3 sections.
This may have been later in 1961, or his solo ascent in 9/9/1966 (3:35)
where we can read his entry in the summit register.
(The John Muir quote looks like his handwriting as well).

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1533071/Sentinel-Rock-Summit-Register-Classic-Whos-Who-1934-1976
oldtimer

climber
Concord,CA
Mar 16, 2017 - 06:44pm PT
anyone know of any funeral/memorial plans i would like to attend

Garry
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 16, 2017 - 07:19pm PT
Clint, I'm sure you're right about the time. Maybe I was confusing it with Henry Barber's ascent.
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Mar 16, 2017 - 07:50pm PT



Royal, Pat, and me, 1992 in Boulder.
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Mar 16, 2017 - 08:00pm PT


The Maestro highball no-hands bouldering at SP. Long time ago. Photo perhaps by Bonnie Kamps?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 16, 2017 - 08:00pm PT
Royal Robbins Tahquitz FA/FFA

Northeast Face East FA: Don Wilson and Royal Robbins, September 1954.
Whodunit FA: Joe Fitschen and Royal Robbins, September 1957. FFA: Tom Higgins and Bob Kamps, 1966.
The Swallow FA: Chuck Wilts and Royal Robbins, June 1952.
Consolation FA: John Mendenhall and Chuck Wilts, May 1953. FFA: Royal Robbins and TM Herbert, 1959.
Long Climb FA: Royal Robbins and Don Wilson, May 1952.
The Illegitimate FA: Royal Robbins and TM Herbert, May 1959.
The Step FA: Royal Robbins and Jerry Gallwas, 1957. FFA: Royal Robbins and TM Herbert.
The Flakes FA: Royal Robbins and Don Wilson, July 1953. FFA: John Long, Tobin Sorensen, Richard Harrison, and Bill Antel, 1973.
The Vampire FA: Royal Robbins and Dave Rearick, June 1959. FFA: John Long, Rick Accomazzo, Mike Graham, and Bill Antel, 1973.
Lower Royal' s Arch FA: Royal Robbins, Don Wilson, and Chuck Wilts, May 1952. FFA: Rick Accomazzo and Tobin Sorensen, 1973.
Upper Royal' s Arch FA: Royal Robbins, Jerry Gallwas, and Chuck Wilts, 1953.
Gallwas' Gallop FA: Jerry Gallwas, Chuck Wilts, and Royal Robbins, 1953.
The Jam Crack FA: Royal Robbins and Don Wilson, September 1959.
Dave's Deviation FA: Tom Frost and Royal Robbins, 1960.
The Blank FA: Royal Robbins and Jerry Gallwas, May 1954.
Frightful Fright FA: Royal Robbins and Don Wilson, July 1953. FFA: John Long and Mike Lechlinski, 1978.
Human Fright FA: John Mendenhall and Royal Robbins, June 1952. FFA: Bob Kamps.
El Camino Real FA: Royal Robbins, Harry Daley, and J. Taylor, November 1961
The Hangover FA: Royal Robbins, Jerry Gallwas, Frank Martin, and Mike Sherrick, August 1954. FFA: John Long, Rick Accomazzo, Robs Muir, and Mike Lechlinski, 1978.
Open Book FA: John Mendenhall and Harry Sutherland, September 1947. FFA: Royal Robbins and Don Wilson, 1952.
The Unchaste FA: Royal Robbins and Mike Sherrick, September 1957. FFA: Tobin Sorensen and Gibb Lewis, 1974.
The Reach FA: Mike Sherrick and Royal Robbins, September 1956. FFA: Erik Eriksson, John Long, and Rick Accomazzo, 1978.
The Innominate FA: Chuck Wilts and Gary Bloom, August 1947. FFA: Royal Robbins and Jerry Gallwas, 1957.
Lizard's Leap FA: Royal Robbins and Harry Daley, November 1961.

(I think I have them all. Someone please let me know if I missed any)
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Mar 16, 2017 - 09:20pm PT
My best wishes to Tamara and the family.

Todd Eastman
WBraun

climber
Mar 16, 2017 - 10:45pm PT
solo of DNB in Tretorn sneakers

Holy cow !!!..... He was King ......
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Mar 17, 2017 - 10:47am PT
Oh, man I get back from a desert trip and find this news on supertopo. What an impact. Thoughts stayed with me all evening, went to bed, tossed and turned, finally fell asleep and into a dream. I was wandering around in Royals house it seemed so empty, just a lonely kitten wandering around. I see some of Royal's shoes on the floor (not climbing shoes). They are dusty and larger than I remember, and I just start bawling.


The day that changed the course of my life at age thirteen, was the day I started learning to climb, and it was the day I first encountered the legend of Royal Robbins. He was only about 22 or so, but was regarded as the best rockclimber America had ever known. Each time I went to the crag I would hear more first and second hand reports that boggled people's sense of the possible.

Finally I met him at Tahquitz, and on that day, still finding my way up the learning curve, could have killed both of us. I wrote an account of that event on this thread.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1030477/The-day-I-could-have-killed-Royal-Robbins

We crossed paths, brief encounters, several times the next half dozen or so years. One day in Camp 4 Lois Rice walked up and handed me a slip of paper with a phone number and said, "Royal wants you to call him." On the phone he said that he was starting a climbing school and asked if I would join him along with Steve Roper and Michael Covington. Wow! I was pleased, surprised, grateful, and stoked. Thus began a new and enjoyable phase of my climbing life.

Royal was an excellent teacher and had devised a very effective system for improving climber's abilities. There was the instruction of efficient techniques of course, but more so it was us watching the students on the practice crags and seeing what they could do, then taking them up to a bigger climb that was near their limit, which, in these days before sport climbing, was usually to or three grades higher than they thought it was. The students mostly loved it and left quite satisfied. Royal received letters afterwards from some of them thanking him for the best week of their life.

For me it felt like I was a graduate student. I wanted to learn the mystery of mastery. There were numerous climbers who were good athletes, but did not have Royal's mastery. I watched. listened, asked questions, climbed with him, and soaked it all in. After seven summers I realized that mastery is no number on a scale, but has a lot to do with self awareness. Enough rubbed off on me for climbing to become less frightening and more enjoyable for me. I found simultaneous calmness and exhilaration. Also it was fun getting to know Royal and Liz better, tripping around the Sierra from Sugarloaf to Shuteye, sneaking into Yosemite from time to time.

Liz, Tamara, Damon, my heart goes out to you.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 17, 2017 - 12:11pm PT






 La Siesta Press
Rockies Obscure

Trad climber
rockiesobscure.com....Canada
Mar 17, 2017 - 12:36pm PT
Condolences to his family.
I was hired to take pictures in 1995 at a climbing shop in Calgary for a wine and cheese night then a slideshow later on in the evening.
What a nice man he was!
Credit: Rockies Obscure

Credit: Rockies Obscure

Credit: Rockies Obscure

Credit: Rockies Obscure
Gilroy

Social climber
Bolderado
Mar 17, 2017 - 12:41pm PT
Very fine remembrance, Dick. I especially like the part about the big shoes in your dream.

I was lucky enough to have dinner with Royal a couple of times involving business matters. He was a very solid, erudite presence and a gentleman in discussion over a range of subject matter in the course of an evening. He knew his way around a wine list too and schooled me on dry whites.

RIP RR
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 17, 2017 - 04:21pm PT
I just heard a beautifully written and very moving tribute to Royal Robbins on NPR's Sacramento Capitol Public Radio. Watered my eyes it did.

DMT
i-b-goB

Social climber
Wise Acres
Mar 17, 2017 - 04:56pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#493842

Cheers!
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Mar 17, 2017 - 06:04pm PT
Photo above is l-r Joe Fitschen, Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt, and Tom Frost, Probably after the second and first continuous ground up ascent of the Nose of El Cap.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 17, 2017 - 07:30pm PT
The NPR piece

http://www.npr.org/2017/03/17/520576895/royal-robbins-pioneer-of-american-rock-climbing-dies-at-82

DMT
nah000

climber
no/w/here
Mar 17, 2017 - 07:40pm PT
what a bamf...

while it's not necessarily exhaustive and there is probably someone more capable of compiling this, here are a number of rr's adventures as an alpinist that i am and/or google was aware of:



canadian rockies:

mt. proboscis, robbins route [1963]: kor, mccarthy, mccracken + robbins
mt. geikie, north face [1967]: hudson + robbins
mt. edith cavell, north face [1967 - first solo]: robbins



alps:

aiguille du dru, american route [1963]: hemming + robbins
aiguille du dru, american dirretissima [1965]: harlin + robbins



u.s:

mt. hooker, north face [1964]: mccracken, raymond + robbins
mt. jeffers [1969]: fitschen, raymond + robbins



and if you're interested google tour d'ai, robbins route. a three pitch route in the swiss alps freed at around 11b by robbins in 1965.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 17, 2017 - 08:24pm PT
Alpinist did a nice tribute today.

http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web17w/newswire-royal-robbins-obituary
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Mar 17, 2017 - 08:57pm PT
Via NYT
Credit: Robbins Family
Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2017 - 05:17pm PT
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/03/15/us/ap-us-obit-royal-robbins-.html?_r=0

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-royal-robbins-20170315-story.html
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Mar 18, 2017 - 07:34pm PT
A Black and white photo in a book about Dave McCoy's life lists Royal Robbins as one of the ski racers in a group photo... I can't make out Royal's face but judging by the other names listed Royal must have been an elite racer at some point in his ski career...rj
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Mar 20, 2017 - 04:06pm PT
I met Robbins personally just once, probably 1978 in his Modesto store. Tom Gibson, George Manson and I were going to do an El Cap route, Mescalito, and we were looking for a rope. We told him of our plans and after some pleasant conversation he suggested a factory-second rope. It was a second (he explained) because of a flat spot. We got it for cheap (like us). I took a fall following the molar traverse and thrashed the rope as it turns out. We felt so special to have talked climbing with Royal.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Mar 20, 2017 - 07:56pm PT
Up thread, Dick Erb posts about getting a message to call Royal to start working as a guide at Rock Craft. Five or six years later, Royal reached me the same way: a message from someone at the Tuolumne mountain shop with Royal's phone number and a request to call. Dick was the head guide when I worked for RockCraft.

While I had run into Royal enough to say hi, I was surprised that he knew me enough to ask me to guide--I never knew why he thought I would be a good guide (I had guided for Wayne Merry at the YMS).

I had an interesting perspective on Royal when I started working for him. It was based on knowing what happened to Yosemite climbing after Royal had passed the baton, so to speak. The 70s was in full swing and the hard climbing of the 60s was just the starting point for young climbers. I was good friends with Bridwell, and he and I spend lots of time talking about what it meant to be climbing in "The Brave New World," as Jim titled it in an article he wrote for the Ascent magazine. Jim knew the history of Yosemite climbing cold and, while he and Royal were very different personalities and wary of one another, Jim had a huge respect for Royal's skills and leadership. Jim recognized that he was filling the leadership position in Valley climbing and took it seriously. Jim worked hard at learning to see what climbing needed to both progress new, hard routes, adapt to new ideas, and keep the disparate community in one peice, more or less. He was a master at inviting new climbers into the fold, and it showed in the productivity of the 1970s climbers.

As Jim assumed the mantle of Valley Don, he took into account everything he could from the way Royal had run the show. I got a close-in view watching Jim express his leadership, seeing the purpose and artfulness of it. I watched Jim become Bridwell. While I was not around when Royal was running the show, and Jim and Royal certainly had different styles, I had a huge respect for Royal's artfulness, care and commitment by seeing how hard it was to pull-off. Building consensus amongst climbers is what cat herders do when they want a real challenge.

So, when I started working for Royal, I was past any period of being awed by climbing greats, but, having committed myself to free and first-free ascents I understood how difficult it is to climb new routes and how good they were. I had also gotten to know many of the 60s climbers, so I also could draw distinctions between great climbers and the underlying personalities. Aside from TM, I only occasionally climbed with the 60s climbers who were still around, I knew them more for their personal traits rather than any specific to their climbing. Also, none of them liked being treated as stars or museum oddities, so I practiced just regular friendship: no need to drag anyone into the 1000th telling of heroics or scratching old wounds on missteps or dust-ups. That approached worked very well in building close relationships, but it has left me in a odd position of knowing a lot of climbers but with few good stories to tell. I was in my mid-twenties and just starting to grasp the issues all full-time climbers face after they have been at it awhile: what comes next; how do you live your life. As I was trying to figure this out, my frames of reference were the 60s climbers, who were 10-15 years older than me. How were they living and making a living? I wanted to know about their futures. My other frame of reference was my private guiding clients, whom I interviewed one summer to find out what had worked for them and why.

Royal was very busy with his business and new family--Tamara was about three; time at RockCraft for him was time to get back to climbing, but it was hard work to keep all of those elements in balance, and the strain of all of those competing demands showed.

Working at RockCraft was an easy gig. The classes were 5-6 days with a group of clients and guides camping and climbing together, with a mix of classes and guided climbs which were often first ascents. Dick Erb was the chief guide when I worked there, while the other guides were climbers Royal knew who were available. I knew everyone from Yosemite. During those early days, as I was learning to adjust my style to RockCraft's style, and Royal was learning to trust me with his clients, I commented that I had only done one El Cap route, the Salathe. Royal's eyes lit up, his face opened and he said, "I didn't know you had done the Salathe. What did you think?" It was the most animated I have ever seen Royal. He loved that route.

At the time, getting up El Cap was still a pretty big deal, at least for 60s climbers--that changed really quickly--and climbing the Salathe was a step-up from the Nose or Triple Direct, I think mostly because of the obligatory, runout 5.9 climbing. When Royal hired me to work for RockCraft, he knew me as a free climber and a guide. I think Vandiver said something about Allan Bard and me climbing the Salathe. It was still a formidable route and Royal was very proud of it. "The best rock climb in the world" was how some had captured it. When Royal heard I had climbed it he really brightened up. He was rarely demonstrative, but he gave me a big grin and asked what I thought of it. I said, "It was okay." I was probably thinking of the wet rock under the Block and the rotten rock below the headwall. You know, all that horrible stuff that makes you want to only climb at the Cookie. Royal looked crestfallen. And I immediately felt like a shithead. The Salathe is a great route, and I should have told him so. He poured his life into those routes. In any case, that shared climbing experience created a bond between us: a stellar route linking his generation and my generation, with our different sensibilities.

Sometime around that same time, I had my debacle soloing the West Face: strong start, closer to the top than the bottom, climbing really well, on pace to finish in three days, and I lost my drive. I spend the better part of two days reversing the traverses and rapping down. I told Royal that I started talking to myself, my way of expressing the disjointedness of it all. He looked at me with a quizzical, friendly smile and said, "Everyone talks to themselves." By which he meant, he talked to himself. And he had done more big wall soloing than anyone else. I wished I had known that before going up there by myself; I probably would have stuck to it.

Free climbing was the only part of climbing that I cared about. I had a climbed a few walls, mostly Royal's routes (I climbed or guided the RNWFHD three or four times, starting at age 19, maybe 20, years old), but my focus was on free climbing and new ascents. The East Face of Washington Column was a likely target for an all-free ascent. I had climbed it with Allan Bard in preparation for the Salathe Wall and stared at the rock from my slings and tried to work out what it would take to climb free. In any case, I thought it would probably go, but had no idea when or by whom. Royal and I were talking about it, and Royal categorically stated that it would never go free. I was a little stunned. Royal seemed pretty open and reasonable, and he had certainly seen a lot of changes in climbing standards. I pushed back and pointed out that Valley climbers were doing routes all free that would have seemed impossible only a few years before. Of course Royal knew all of this, so it was odd that he was choosing to stand on such shaky ground. Sacherer had put everyone through this drill when he wrote out a list of the routes he thought would go free, most of which he then free-climbed in 1964 and 65, during the same time that Royal was in his prime and still very productive, and still focused on big walls. Even Sacherer's good friends, such as Eric Beck, were skeptical; they thought Frank was too optimistic. Evidence of a Single-man History in the making.

What is possible starts with someone seeing it as possible. Salathe and Steck saw it in the early 50s. Royal saw it in the late 50s and the early 60s, along with Warren. Pratt saw it in crack climbing. Sacherer saw it in the early middle 60s. The new wave of 70s climbers had a new take on what to try, and big walls all-free was the becoming the focus with the East Face of Washington Column the mostly likely wall to go free. During this friendly argument, I pushed Royal on the insanity of saying something would never happen forever. "Why not go with the good odds of being right rather than almost certain odds of being wrong?" I asked. Royal chuckled--not a common Royal attribute--and said that if he were right it would be a great prediction lasting long after we were dead. He knew, and good naturally accepted, that his position was crazy. The next year, Ron Kauk, John Bachar, and John Long climbed Astroman.

All pace-setting climbers have to adapt to changes in climbing, with changes in difficulty and style. It can be painful: one's high point marks don't seem so high anymore. And new kids can be a pain in the ass. Pratt was a guide at RockCraft, and he and I were friends through Roper in Berkeley. We were talking about the new fast ascents of routes in the Valley, and Chuck just went into an exasperated rant: "It takes as long as it takes!" Chuck and I were both fans of Mahler's symphonic music, and there is a famous quote from that period of music in which a patron of the Vienna Orchestra, in response to a musical theorist reducing Mahler's symphonies to a few essentials, said, "He left out all the parts we like." Chuck loved being on walls; shortening the time was not the goal: "It takes as long as it takes," and he thought the focus on speed was misguided. However, lots of climbers, including Royal were focused on speed. Royal seemed to be handling the changes well enough, although he probably slipped beyond a sensible line when he free-soloed routes at the base of El Cap in Tretorn tennis shoes in response to Henry Barber free-soloing the Steck Salathe. Hot Henry's ascent seemed outrageous at the time even though many of us thought that the route was barely 5.9. (I have been told that stuff has fallen off and the route is harder now.) Up thread, Clint posted that Royal soloed the DNB in Tretorns but I am guessing Royal was rope soloing which would be easy enough to do on the hard face moves.

As I have read many of the responses honoring Royal, the focus is mostly on his exploits, which are hugely impressive. But, I have been thinking about Royal in the leadership role he took on, and how he led all of us in how to think about climbing, especially on the edges, in establishing first ascents and in subsequent ascent's honoring the first ascent's "statement" in establishing the new route. Royal also showed us how fluid those boundaries are and how hard we have to keep thinking about it, especially on the edges. Climbing has changed tremendously, but Royal's take on how to think about it still clears the path.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 20, 2017 - 08:34pm PT
Thank you Roger, for those insightful perspectives.
i-b-goB

Social climber
Wise Acres
Mar 20, 2017 - 08:37pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#494208
BruceHildenbrand

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Mar 20, 2017 - 08:47pm PT
^^^^^
That looks like the top of El Cap Spire. First ascent of the Salathe Wall?
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Mar 21, 2017 - 10:01am PT
Sept 1961. 1st ascent. Robbins, Pratt, and Frost. 9 1/2 days. I think Royal was 26 and Chuck 22 years old. What an adventure.
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Mar 21, 2017 - 10:11am PT
Royal, Chuck Berry, Don't you mess with my blue suede shoes!
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 21, 2017 - 10:39am PT
Oakley Anderson-Moore's video tribute from Brave New Wild:

https://vimeo.com/208538167

steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Mar 21, 2017 - 11:49am PT
I just learned of this sad news, while travelling in Ireland, with my wife. Royal leaves one hell of a legacy, which will endure thru the ages. I had a few memorable encounters with the legend which left quite an impression on an aspiring climber.
An icon has passed on.
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 21, 2017 - 01:28pm PT
Putting in clean pro, while quietly skipping a bolt put in by a later party, that speaks a lot of his integrity. (in one of the photos above)

Also, the way he reached across the generations, coming to the John Bachar Memorial Event to show his support for John's friends and family, that was really great. His integrity and ethical standards reached across the generations.

It is the end of an era, with Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt, and Warren Harding all having left us.
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Mar 21, 2017 - 01:46pm PT
And Layton Kor and Bob Kamps . . .
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 21, 2017 - 03:24pm PT
All those guys above did more with less while pushing the bounds of possibility. What an inspiring lot for the generations to follow.
Tamara Robbins

climber
not a climber, just related...
Mar 21, 2017 - 04:41pm PT
Dick, Roger, Grossman, Gill, Haan and anyone else - please reach out to me via email if inclined. I'm writing a piece and could use some stories and timelines.....
If you have my number feel free to ring, i lost all my contacts last July.
email is tamara@postpro.net

much gratitude -
dhayan

climber
culver city, ca
Mar 23, 2017 - 08:35am PT
Respect. Thanks for the vision, inspiration, and legacy of climbs! Condolences to his family and all who knew him.
dickcilley

Social climber
Wisteria Ln.
Mar 23, 2017 - 11:42am PT
There was an obit in the leading spanish paper.But the picture was Frost.RIP Royal.You were an inspiration.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 23, 2017 - 12:30pm PT
Royal on the Dawn Wall

Pete_N

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 23, 2017 - 04:10pm PT
I was up in Yosemite for a couple days last week on my own. I set up a top rope on the Five and Dime cliff—not as much as having a partner, but fun nonetheless. The next morning I heard that Royal Robbins had died, so I went down to the Nutcracker on Manurepile Buttress. I didn’t want to solo it, but I wanted to do something in Robbins' honor. In any case, there was an Austrian couple hanging around, Stephan and Babsi, and, lucky for me, they were willing. We climbed Nutcracker in the sunshine, the waterfalls in full glory and thought about Robbins.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 23, 2017 - 04:28pm PT
solo of DNB in Tretorn sneakers

I, like Werner, am stunned by that - in 70 was it? Oh, but that more details existed.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Mar 23, 2017 - 04:47pm PT
Credit: Lynne Leichtfuss


Royal Robbins showed up unannounced at the Camp 4 Bachar Memorial for the regular folk who wanted to honor John. Royal gave a wonderful talk about John and RR's warmth and openness was just what was needed to make so many comfortable and give them the courage to come up to the (invisible) mike and talk about how Bachar's climbing and life influenced and inspired their own.

Now we are here for Royal, a man so influential yet humble, a human that paved the way for climbing and so much more. Thank you Royal Robbins and God give good rest to your soul. lynnie

i-b-goB

Social climber
Wise Acres
Mar 23, 2017 - 04:55pm PT
^^^^
Nice photo Don, on the Dawn!

EDIT: Maybe this is when he came up with the idea for RR climbing shoes!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Mar 23, 2017 - 05:07pm PT
Steve Schneider, Doug Nidever, Royal, I should know this guy, John Sta...
Steve Schneider, Doug Nidever, Royal, I should know this guy, John Stannard and Wayne W.
Credit: Lynne Leichtfuss
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
Mar 24, 2017 - 05:21pm PT
Any info on a memorial for the climbing community at large?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 24, 2017 - 09:56pm PT
A fine essay about Royal by Katie Ives, in today's New York Times:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/opinion/on-the-rock-looking-inward-and-outward.html?_r=0
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Mar 24, 2017 - 10:12pm PT
Perhaps Royal's message to us is that we are better people as older climbers than as young striving climbers...

... age and shared experiences make a community complete.
WBraun

climber
Mar 24, 2017 - 10:13pm PT
A real climber never gets old ......
melski

Trad climber
bytheriver
Mar 26, 2017 - 03:48pm PT
Inspite of some rumors Royal was humble enough to personal y fit and sell my lovely wife with the hotest new climbing shoe of the time ,an EB. He will live forever as the Rockstar he is.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 26, 2017 - 04:46pm PT
Half of people climb for style or interpretism..

While the other half climb to push the limits, orelse their own limits..

I only remember Royal climbing for integrity and honor.

RIP RR

Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2017 - 08:01pm PT
In May 1971, when I was just getting started mountaineering as such, my father took me to a presentation by Royal at Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre (or maybe the Playhouse?). That same month, we also went to a presentation by Gaston Rebuffat of Entre Terre et Ciel, also at the QET. Two outstanding climbers, and two outstanding presentations. I don't remember much of Royal's talk, being that I was a noob, and through my parents mostly knew mountaineers. Still, it was impressive.

(I can't recall any other climbing or mountaineering related presentation at the QET or QEP - the QET being one of the larger and classiest theatres in Vancouver.)

Of course, when Basic Rockcraft and then Advanced Rockcraft appeared over the next two years I eagerly devoured them. The latter in particular reflected the paradigm shift that was taking place in rock climbing. Naturally when we started going to Yosemite we detoured to stop at the Robbins shop in Modesto. A sort of pilgrimage.

Thirty years later I was at an Access Fund conference in Estes Park, and Royal gave talks on two consecutive nights to entertain us do-gooders. The first his more or less stock presentation, the second much more personal, again both excellent. Naturally I introduced myself to him, and mentioned seeing him speak in 1971. Royal was his usual kind self.

Royal definitely lived up to the philosopher's maxim that the unexamined life is not worth living. As seen in Tis-sa-ack and then the Dawn Wall, he was not only willing to advocate and try for values and standards that were out of reach, but honest when he felt he hadn't measured up, or was wrong.

It was nice to see him again at the Facelift in 2007, when for the first time he, Tom Frost and John Stannard met in person. Three great pioneers of climbing, and advocates for its enduring values, as seen in their, Chouinard's and other's vocal support for the clean climbing wave of the early 1970s. He also came to the memorial for John Bachar at Camp 4 in 2009, and spoke eloquently in John's memory.

Credit: Mighty Hiker
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Mar 27, 2017 - 08:48pm PT
Anders, thanks for including Stannard in the pantheon, he set an excellent example to those of us climbing in the Baltimore/Washington area in the 1970s.

Climbing for me still lives within those parameters: climb well, make the place better, and participate in the community.

jstan

climber
Mar 27, 2017 - 08:48pm PT
In Caesar's and Lincoln's day people could be forgiven for thinking their world was evaporating before their eyes. That said, we climbers have spent our many decades in our own very special world. Whatever we now feel, we have to go on.

There is more to be done. Yesterday the California Highway Patrol taped an "Abandoned Vehicle Warning" to the window of my truck. Might this portend something?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Mar 27, 2017 - 09:06pm PT
me thinks it portents a new parking spot! :)
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Mar 27, 2017 - 09:07pm PT
There is more to be done. Yesterday the California Highway Patrol taped an "Abandoned Vehicle Warning" to the window of my truck. Might this portend something?

JS, I hope is was not the Vega that was parked at the turnout below the hairpin in the Gunks nearly every weekend in the 70s...?

rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Mar 27, 2017 - 09:09pm PT
jstan...nice knowing you..
Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2017 - 09:15pm PT
John's post simply means that we'll need to have another fundraiser at the Gordons, this time to get him a suitable litter collection vehicle. Like Werner's, maybe.
Credit: Mighty Hiker
Or maybe Jody can help? Wasn't he on CHP?
the goat

climber
north central WA
Mar 27, 2017 - 10:01pm PT
Royal Robbinsl. It's hard to add anything that hasn't already been said. Climbing at Schurmann Rock in West Seattle in 1972 and seeing the best local climbers of the day wearing those pretty blue boots, I knew I needed a pair. Then reading Basic Rockcraft as an employee at the old 11th and Pine REI. Wow.

May of 1976, I'm sorting gear in El Cap Meadows after doing the Salathe. This older guy comes up to me and asks what we were up to and I tell him. "Hmmm, a lot of new bolts up there" he asks. I reply, "no, pretty much as Roper describes it." "That's good to hear," he replies. He goes on to ask what kind of rack we had and how much of it we were able to do clean. "A lot of it went clean until we hit the roof/headwall and were scared sh*tless, but other than that it was ok," was my answer. He then says, "good, that's great. I'm headed up this week with some friends, haven't been there in 15 years or so."

Hmmm, 1976 - 15 = 1961! Damn, I think I just met my hero.................................RIP Royal.

and a post note- My future wife's first rock climb was following me on The Nutcracker. It was an amazing experience and made me appreciate her and the climb Royal created.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 27, 2017 - 10:10pm PT
Good one Goat!

Anders, I'll pitch'in on that one;)
frostback

Social climber
great white north
Mar 28, 2017 - 06:19pm PT
Like so many posters on this thread, my first real instruction came from the two superb books from Royal Robbins. I yearned to do long climbs, but was afraid of, well, myself and being unable to handle come what may, bivouacs in particular seemed to hold a special feeling of total commitment. How comforting it was to read the passage in Advanced Rockcraft about relaxing and enjoying nights out; something about munching cheese and salami and enjoying the celestial lightshow. So I did just that. Thanks Royal!
jstan

climber
Mar 28, 2017 - 07:58pm PT
JS, I hope is was not the Vega that was parked at the turnout below the hairpin in the Gunks nearly every weekend in the 70s...?

That Vega had a really useful feature. I could push start it on the level with no help. I had two bodies and three engines before finally giving up. Now I have a 92 Silverado half ton.

This makes my second run-in with the law. My first occurred at Carderock where I was cited for

"improper use of a comfort station". So proud of that.

One question. Why is it Werner always gets the good stuff?
Leon Alan

Social climber
Gearhart, Oregon
Mar 31, 2017 - 11:06am PT
I was lucky enough to be at an employee weekend outing the summer of '76 @ the Balls. Royal was leading a short route. Seeing I didn't have climbing shoes, he took off his new prototypes that he was testing (red RRs) and just gave them to me. He did the climb in tennis shoes. Not only bigger than life, but also the best of life. Great Man.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Apr 4, 2017 - 01:54pm PT
Has anyone heard anything about a memorial service being planned for Royal?
Gina E.

Trad climber
Apr 4, 2017 - 03:15pm PT
While the long list of first ascents Robbins achieved is incredibly impressive, it's the strong sense of ethic and style he brought to those climbs that has fostered my deep sense of admiration. His stories will forever be woven into the granite walls of Yosemite Valley and the consciousness of climbing.
A short tribute piece in his memory:
https://sinkerjams.com/2017/03/31/standing-on-the-shoulders-a-tribute-to-royal-robbins/
norm larson

climber
wilson, wyoming
Apr 4, 2017 - 03:33pm PT
Nice writing Gina. I agree with you about his influence that goes so far beyond just the routes he put up.
chill

climber
The fat part of the bell-curve
Apr 4, 2017 - 04:33pm PT
Credit: chill

My favorite picture of a badass.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 4, 2017 - 07:45pm PT
There is no question that Robbins was enormously influential, and that he cared about the means of ascent as much as the end result. Robbins was larger than life, which means, among other things, that there was an entire generation of climbers who were receptive to and moved by his message. He was influential because he had an audience capable of understanding where he was coming from and willing to embark on the journey with him.

For me, part of the sadness of his passing is that it is also the passing of a time when a visionary like Robbins could rise above the cacophony of competing individual perspectives and entitlements and embue the activity with a commonly if not universally shared set of values, based on principles and not exigencies. I don't think Royal Robbins could be Royal Robbins in today's climbing world, and I do not find us richer for the loss.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Apr 4, 2017 - 10:30pm PT
rgold,

"I don't think Royal Robbins could be Royal Robbins in today's climbing world"

spot on. The words epitomize and defined come to mind of his climbing world. by definition he could only be Royal in that time that was defined by Royal Robbin's actions.

kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Apr 4, 2017 - 10:44pm PT
For me, part of the sadness of his passing is that it is also the passing of a time when a visionary like Robbins could rise above the cacophony of competing individual perspectives and entitlements and embue the activity with a commonly if not universally shared set of values, based on principles and not exigencies. I don't think Royal Robbins could be Royal Robbins in today's climbing world, and I do not find us richer for the loss.

Where I agree wholeheartedly Rich is that early 60's generation embody the last of Climbing's true romantic past of home made gear, gym shoes and hemp then even goldline...if you knew a guy who made pins or had some Euro gear you could go climbing sort of thing from Climbing's earliest roots.

And you are right that Royal could not be Royal today as the more mature sport (older, not necessarily wiser) doesn't have such personalities lecturing from on high anymore...those battles have been fought.

But the best of today are doing AMAZING things like Dawn Wall and a free solo of the reg route on Half Dome...these things were not even dreams in Robbins time...he (reportedly) believed Astroman would never go and hell if you asked anyone in the 80's and 90's if Dawn Wall would go free people would've laughed...The top achievements of Climbing today are nothing to sneeze at.

The guys doing that stuff now are just driven in a different way and are raised in a more accepting time of different styles and even sports. Climbing was IT when it came to extreme outdoor sports BITD...now there are a dozen or more activities outdoors that compete for which is the most cutting edge...I think that has changed us too.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Apr 4, 2017 - 11:43pm PT
Rich:

How can I say this kindly? You’re getting old. Every generation makes the same assessment--they tend to be relative.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 5, 2017 - 12:19am PT
Mr. Muir,

Tamara says it's being worked on.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 5, 2017 - 01:30pm PT
In this regard, Pat Ament's assessment says it all:

The Spirit of the Age

That is to say:

The Spirit of Royal's age


Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Apr 5, 2017 - 02:19pm PT
I've hesitated to post the following image. Several reasons:

1. Out of respect to and for Mr. Robbins
2. Out of respect to and for his family and close loved ones
3. Out of respect to and for the folks who posted to and read this thread.

This thread has been a model of decorum. Tip of the hat to all involved.

Ahem.....

So, about the image. Its real. It was taken in the long gone summit register can at Tollhouse Rock. It was taken in 1990 or early 91, so the picture (I took it) is 26 or 27 years old. My buddy Angus has a copy of it and when I told him RR had passed he said he needed to think about it for a few days before we talked about it.

Indeed we talked but he never mentioned the photo. I'd so forgotten about it I had to stare at it for a while to even remember the context. I recall the day (barely) and also recall going back some time later to find the whole register thing just plain ole gone. So this photo is an image of a long lost relic.

He texted it to me a week or 2 ago and because of the other name on this register I've been wanting to post it. Its also a place many of us NorCalers have visited of course.

Now there are other reasons I didn't post this earlier but I'll leave those be for now. If others take exception to this being posted here I'll explain and even remove it if needed, no worries at all. But I finally decided based on Pat's title, Spirit of the Age, to post it anyway.



Ok the other reasons:

4. That's not Royal's hand writing at least from what I've seen
5. Royal of all people could be expected to spell 'ethics' properly. The imposter was nearly illiterate haha. Dumb bastard.
6. I don't think he would have ever spoken this way much less committed such words to paper.


So why DID I post it?

Because I think its funny and I think it shows irreverent respect for the Spirit of American Rock Climbing.

The king is dead, long live the king.

Dingus Milktoast

ps. From basic rockcraft on, Royal Robbins has been with me on every climb I ever did or will ever do. RIP, Master.

rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 5, 2017 - 06:46pm PT
Rich:

How can I say this kindly? You’re getting old.

What? Holy Crap! I had no idea!

Every generation makes the same assessment--they tend to be relative.

Only if you view the generations through the back end of the telescope, which is to say staying so far away as to be unable to make any distinctions.

If you had said that every generation grumbles about the "transgressions" of the next generation, I'd agree. But with respect to my assessment of
Royal's ability to be influential, relative to his generation's receptiveness to his message, I'd say his was a unique moment in American climbing, and his life brackets that moment, which has now given way to a different culture, both in climbing and in society at large. Generations before may have been grumbling, as is their right and privilege, but they were most certainly not making the assessment I described, at least not in this country, because there really wasn't such a thing as climbing "ethics" in the US.

Before 1950, there was very little in American climbing culture that celebrated means over ends and embraced the risk associated with the voluntary renunciation of available technology as a positive and even desirable aspect of climbing. Previous generations, perhaps too much under the sway of the big climbing clubs, promoted mediocrity in the mistaken view that it would increase safety, which was their main concern. (Perhaps not paradoxically, this attitude resulted in one of the worst accidents in American mountaineering.)

Robbins' period of influence also coincided with the sixties youth revolution, which, among other things, rejected establishment thinking, elevated idealism, and made it seem, briefly, that ethical ideals might be attainable. In other words, the sociological matrix in which the climbing community was embedded already predisposed climbers to an idealistic approach to their pursuits.

So if indeed Robbins was the spirit of the age, it was a very particular age, an age capable of having an identifiable spirit, and of being broadly responsive to Royal's idealism. I think this age is passing along with Royal, I think climbing has lost something of value, and this was my original point. But this is not to deprecate (as some posters have implied) the astonishing accomplishments of today's young climbers, and of course Royal, in his dotage, was generous in his praise of what the younger generation has wrought.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 5, 2017 - 07:33pm PT
Yes, Rich, without need of entertaining any sort of value judgments, (and not to point to any such judgments) this is it, in a nutshell:
I'd say his was a unique moment in American climbing, and his life brackets that moment, which has now given way to a different culture, both in climbing and in society at large.
Not just the end of an era, but the beginning and the end of an era, all embodied in one man, and this belongs to all of us.
A much appreciated perspective!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2017 - 08:50pm PT
Dingus- that isn't Royal's anything but whatever...I agree that it is funny but I doubt that it is authentic in any way.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Apr 5, 2017 - 09:09pm PT
Agree Steve. But it still speaks to his role in our tribe particularly at that point in time.

Cheers
DMT
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 5, 2017 - 09:23pm PT
Interesting to compare two differing influences in climbing during the 1960s and 1970s.

RR carried the sport into the deeper realms of gamesmanship and serious considerations as obvious extensions of his personality.

The Vulgarians brought a rather different aspect to the sport, that of the fun and craziness they refined at the Gunks.

As a climber learning during those years, both influences were valid and contributed to making climbing such an amazing pursuit.

Some days you feel like a nut... some days you don't!
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Apr 5, 2017 - 09:25pm PT
I think rgold's thoughts on RR are very appropriate. Let's remember to be kind here, for our fallen mentor & hero.

Apr 4, 2017 - 07:45pm PT
There is no question that Robbins was enormously influential, and that he cared about the means of ascent as much as the end result. Robbins was larger than life, which means, among other things, that there was an entire generation of climbers who were receptive to and moved by his message. He was influential because he had an audience capable of understanding where he was coming from and willing to embark on the journey with him.

For me, part of the sadness of his passing is that it is also the passing of a time when a visionary like Robbins could rise above the cacophony of competing individual perspectives and entitlements and embue the activity with a commonly if not universally shared set of values, based on principles and not exigencies. I don't think Royal Robbins could be Royal Robbins in today's climbing world, and I do not find us richer for the loss.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Apr 5, 2017 - 09:51pm PT
Royal Robbins' message was best exemplified by Sheridan Anderson.

kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Apr 5, 2017 - 11:07pm PT
^^^ So very appropriate, Jim.

Remember, this was the birth of Environmentalism in broader American Middle Class Culture too, and a minimalist approach had a lot to do with not wrecking the place. Clean climbing was a huge part of that.

That ethic is still quite strong, albeit we haven't attained the purity we would like commuting to the crags burning insane amounts of hydrocarbons...

Tamara Robbins

climber
not a climber, just related...
Apr 9, 2017 - 03:00am PT
Jim Brennan, your post brought me to sharing a bit of joy that came our way a few days after Dad died.

On the doorstep were some flowers, a note, and a lot of love from a 12 year old girl who lives nearby - part of her note said, "I love how he did not want to crack Half Dome" - turns out, she and her family had watched Valley Uprising a week or so before.....

;)

....as for the Memorial, there will indeed be one - likely in the Modesto vicinity and sometime later than June 1 and before Dec 1 ;)

Will post something here when it's sorted out. Meantime, if anyone hears of anything informal in the Valley or elsewhere, we'd love to know about it -

cheers
frostback

Social climber
great white north
Apr 9, 2017 - 08:24am PT
Tamara,
Condolences to you and your family as you walk forward. So many people look forward to honouring your father at an appropriate time. No need to rush, he was the "Spirit of the Age".
ec

climber
ca
Apr 9, 2017 - 01:49pm PT
Royal Robbins...RIP

We were stuck, stuck in the Southern San Joaquin Valley without a 'real' climbing shop with depth. So, in the early '70's, we made the pilgrimages to Royal Robbin's shop in Modesto and in Fresno. To be fair, we also made the journey to West Ridge Mountaineering or GPIW in SoCal as well; West Ridge sold bolts & hangers. However, I was more than impressed by Robbin's shop for its extensive climbing book selection and resources. They didn't sell bolts & hangers there, but they never had any employees that interrogated us for our intentions or abilities like at West Ridge; at Robbin's they gave out inspiration.

In the mid '80's, I eventually worked for a climbing shop, Sunrise Mountaineering (aka Sunrise Mountain Sports) in Livermore, CA. Through my association with Sunrise I met Royal at the trade shows and also at our store event, hosting Royal's 'Triple Crown' Slide Show. It was there I was able to 'grill' him for information. Royal was very forthcoming and helpful on his experiences in the Sierra. He had not climbed for a time due to arthritis, however I could tell that he had not left behind the spirit of adventure.

Back then, Sunrise was in an old Victorian building on 1st Street that had been a hardware store, BITD. It was a rustic old place, creaky wood floors and all. It was there that many a climber visited on the way to their adventures and we tried to offer-up that same kind of inspiration like we had received at the Robbin's shop.

In the office, I answered the phone with the Sunrise greeting, "Sunrise Mountaineering, can I help you?"

"Hello. This is Royal Robbins."

"Hi, Royal, this is Ed."

Royal, "I remember you."

Well, it was not a social call, but a sad announcement; Royal was closing his shop. It was the end of an 'era' so to say. Royal wanted to clean house and allowed Sunrise to purchase his remaining climbing inventory for cents on the dollar. Royal and some employees delivered the goods in person. I could sense that it was a bittersweet moment. Royal remarked that he had chosen Sunrise, to best represent what his store had been. Wow...

During those 'early' years at Sunrise, I would take employees out climbing. On one occasion, we arrived early in the morning at the base of The Nutcracker, on Manure Pile Buttress in Yosemite Valley.

As we were gearing-up, one employee asked me, "Who did the 1st ascent of this?"

"Royal Robbins."

At that moment, no sh*t, Royal walked from behind the rock!

"As a matter of fact," I said, "here he is."

"Hey, Royal, how's it going?"

"Good morning."

I introduced Royal to an astonished bunch of newbies, like it was NBD (I was just rolling with it...).

After the intros, Royal asks, "Hey, have you seen Kauk around? I'm supposed to meet him here to climb."

Royal explained that after his long hiatus he was going to climb again. Ron Kauk did show, and they did the 5.9 finger start to the route, while we did (us, a much slower party) the 5.8. That whole day was great because of that encounter. The employee who asked who did the FA, eventually worked for Royal as a designer...

 ec
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Apr 9, 2017 - 09:00pm PT
ec-

Thanks for the share.
rincon

climber
Coarsegold
Apr 25, 2017 - 08:12am PT
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39697638
frostback

Social climber
great white north
Apr 25, 2017 - 01:26pm PT
"politicaly this country is in a mess, probably need to go back and find some more of those Royals"
No finer tribute.
Tamara Robbins

climber
not a climber, just related...
May 12, 2017 - 03:18pm PT
Kingtut, you referenced "standing on the shoulders of giants".... I presume you knew/know that he titled a speech in Banff something similar - available to read here on Tom's site:
http://frostworksclimbing.com/standing%20on%20the%20shoulders.html
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
May 12, 2017 - 07:00pm PT
^^^^ Thanks for that Tamara!

Rest assured, there was no greater Giant than your dad in 20th Century climbing and all that we ever did, from modest to other's mind blowing accomplishments in Yosemite, was but standing on those broad shoulders of his and a handful of other greats.

Once the first ascent of Half Dome was complete Modern Wall (Grade VI) Climbing following small features up blank walls was really born, imho. The entire modern era was ushered in with that climb, and the Nose and Salathe were small expansions of that concept, imo, albeit longer and harder to go with expanding abilities. But Half Dome opened the gates.

We stood on the shoulders of giants indeed, and your father became a truly great man when he acknowledged that he did as well in his formative years, despite his impeccable ability.
frostback

Social climber
great white north
Sep 13, 2017 - 07:52am PT
Shoulders of Giants bump
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Nov 26, 2017 - 01:33pm PT
I just got to thinking…

We haven't seen anything further about a planned Memorial/Celebration of Royal's life. Are there any plans afoot? Can I help out in any way to help bring an event to fruition?

He was, indeed, a great man. It seems a pity to not hold a more public memorial to his memory…
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Nov 26, 2017 - 01:43pm PT
^^^
+1,
Good call Robs.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 26, 2017 - 07:36pm PT
I have been working with Liz on all of this and there will be a memorial gathering in Modesto around the anniversary of Royal's passing.
I will post the details as soon as I get the green light from her to do so.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 26, 2017 - 09:02pm PT
Kevin-I am sure that you would be welcome despite the hubris of your youth.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Nov 27, 2017 - 09:15am PT
The anniversary of Royal's passing was March 14th. I'll put it on my calendar…

Please let us know if there's anything we can do to help.
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Nov 27, 2017 - 01:33pm PT
I can help with pro quality PA if location does not have it...

ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Nov 27, 2017 - 02:22pm PT
Road trip worthy! Be glad to haul a couple of you geezers up. Let me know.
Peace
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 27, 2017 - 03:02pm PT
Will do and thanks for the offer.
The event won't be exactly on the anniversary so don't mark it down just yet.
Tamara Robbins

climber
not a climber, just related...
Feb 5, 2018 - 06:29pm PT
Please refer to the RR Memorial thread for more info, or contact me at rr.memorial@hailmail.net.....
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Feb 5, 2018 - 06:31pm PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=3056749&tn=0#msg3058432
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