Royal Robbins (RIP)


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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.

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 14, 2017 - 04:53pm PT

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.

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.


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

Just... no words.


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

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

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!

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.

Sport climber
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
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.

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
Thanks for it all.

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.

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.

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

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...


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.


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

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.
Messages 21 - 40 of total 263 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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