BVB, the passing of an American Legend…


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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 8, 2018 - 08:30pm PT
THAT explains a whole lot of WTF...Thanks Off.
Still can't find much though.

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, CO
Feb 8, 2018 - 08:44pm PT
I saw that it was Bob's birthday today as well. Nice to see friends over here talking about him.

The Good Places
Feb 8, 2018 - 10:59pm PT
loose lips sink ships
loose lips sink ships
Credit: thebravecowboy

the dude saw the light but weren't ever the evangelist publique
Greg Epperson

Joshua Tree
Feb 9, 2018 - 08:16pm PT
Credit: Greg Epperson
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 9, 2018 - 09:41pm PT
Sweet shot Greg!
Damn you're good with a camera!
Just Plain Heroic even with the TR.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 9, 2018 - 09:49pm PT
The patriotic Stonemaster look is sure to be in resurgence now...

Sport climber
Feb 9, 2018 - 10:14pm PT
I love BVB, but I don’t know what’s worse in that shot...the tight TR or the cheat stones stacked up for stairway next door
Off White

Tenino, WA
Jul 11, 2018 - 10:58am PT
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of Bob's death, so I thought I'd poke this thread and add something from the archives. This is a bit of an experiment so bear with me if I don't get it right the first time.

Here's three pages of an unpublished epistle he wrote about top roping entitled "Five Killer Top Ropes" The notes about the five climbs are handwritten on yellow tablet stock, scrawled rather than written, but I could post that too. There's also a bunch of other choppy re-writes and handwritten drafts, perhaps best send to the BVB Archives at Mesa Community College in San Diego.

Credit: Off White
Credit: Off White
Credit: Off White

For the record, his five top rope choices were:

Rambo Roof - Smith Rocks
Dominatrix Without Mercy - Cochise Stronghold
The Lie Detector - Mt Woodson (though Mother Superior was in the running)
Short Circuit - Yosemite Valley
Leave It To Beaver - Joshua Tree

Hobart, Australia
Jul 11, 2018 - 12:03pm PT
Cool stuff, Off White. Always thought the crags would be a better place if top roping was as highly honored as rap bolted leads. I always enjoyed the top rope circuit with Bob back in the day—maximum density of hard climbing per hour of cragging!

Bob was definitely a pioneer in lots of aspects...

Jul 11, 2018 - 12:03pm PT
Thanks, Off White.

Social climber
great white north
Jul 11, 2018 - 12:11pm PT
Thanks Off White
I remember Brooke waxing on approx 85-86 about BVB and how he really had that TR thing figured out. Brooke was no slouch at it either.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jul 11, 2018 - 12:58pm PT
It's like he's talking to me! :)

Tongue in cheek speaking truth to the power of the leader meta narrative! :)

Where is The Pump Dummy? Don't make me break out my JT bible!

A long way from where I started
Jul 11, 2018 - 07:49pm PT
Lest we forget

The American Legend created this distillation of Supertopo and posted it about six years ago...


Trad climber
Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 12, 2018 - 04:55am PT
Oh, man. Those X-tranormal text to speech animations that BVB did were great!
dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
Jul 12, 2018 - 10:15am PT
Bob toproped the Nabisco on a 400' 8mm?

Oh Bob, that is visionary and so bold!

dont make me come over there
Dec 3, 2018 - 11:29pm PT
I am lagging with this, but I honestly didnt think of it until now. I went to Bob's memorial service and said a few words, talked to his mom and brother and cried alot, because I counted Bob as one of my best friends.

I met Bob through Michael Paul in 73 or 74. He was a brash and abrasive smartass who was already leading 5.9 when I started climbing. The next time i saw Bob was at Mission Gorge. I was in the middle of my first lead ever, a 75 foot tall 5.3 aptly called "The Stairs".

I was about 40 feet up the route and placing my 6th or 7th piece of protection when Bob came around the corner. He called up to me "Hey bub everything ok up there?" and not because he was concerned, lol. I was too gripped to answer.

Bob then put on his shoes and proceeded to free solo the 5.6 "Trauma" which was about 8 feet to my left. Bob zipped up the route making noises that would have been funny had i not been frozen with fear. Then he soloed it again, and then a third time, that time cutting his feet loose at the crux with a loud "WHOA!" That was Bob, with his acid but hilarious sense of humor.

The San Diego climbing community was small and close knit back then, and we all ended up climbing together because there were really only two climbing areas back then, Mission Gorge and Santee. As I got better I burned Bob every chance I got and he returned the favor. We both found it impossible to offend each other, so we began to try harder. Nothing was off limits. Insults and comments that would make most people blanch or get sick were routine, and when either of us scored a victory we would shamelessly gloat in the most demeaning way we could manage.

When Bob moved away we kept up a hilarious and sometimes disgusting stream of correspondence to continue our quest for the ultimate debasement of each other. Collages, drawings, photos, raves scrawled in crayon etc were exchanged and replies immediately sent. In this way we bonded, and when Bob and I saw each other again we were fast friends.

Bob and I started climbing together when we could, talking about everything from the absurd to the profundities of life, philosophy and religion. We confided in each other and used each other as a sounding board. In time we truly began to treasure our friendship and we said so. Bob filled a niche in my life that nobody else was capable of filling.

I was the last person to climb with Bob, at Santee. Both now old men, we sucked on the rock but really enjoyed each others company. Bob was fraill but we talked about making a comeback. We were going to start bouldering once a month and get strong. He unburdened himself about his struggles with alcohol (he had finally beaten it) and how that affected those around him. I just listened, grateful that i could provide the sympathetic ear he needed.

My tears fall as i write this, because that was the last favor i did for Bob and the last time that I saw him. Bob was a completely unique character. He was a gifted writer, great climber, family man and loyal friend. When he passed it left a hole in all of our lives that can never be filled.

Farewell ol buddy, Rest in Peace

Social climber
Location: It's a MisterE
Dec 4, 2018 - 07:08am PT
That is really a wonderful tribute, gonamok!

Just read through this whole thread - thanks for posting all the pictures and memories. My favorite quote:

"A belly full of scotch and a chest full of burl!"

Fly Free Bob - you are thought of often.


Oh, I started a FB page for Bob after his passing:

Gym climber
Dec 4, 2018 - 08:14am PT
Inspiration. I will be breaking out the TR gear asap.

The Good Places
Dec 4, 2018 - 07:07pm PT
Credit: thebravecowboy
Credit: thebravecowboy

right here, right now
Dec 4, 2018 - 07:51pm PT
Nice little write up, Ron.
We both found it impossible to offend each other, so we began to try harder. Nothing was off limits. Insults and comments that would make most people blanch or get sick were routine, and when either of us scored a victory we would shamelessly gloat in the most demeaning way we could manage.

So you're talking about stuff like this, perhaps?
Some of the best damn sh#t talking action I've seen on the Taco!

Credit: Amick

I think about Bob often. I stay in touch with Jocelyn. I call his mom. I send his parents cards on his birthday.

It's what it is to grow old: losing friends. I would much prefer to have another twenty years with him. He was one of those people that was almost indispensably clued in to what it is we are (and were) all about as climbers. Being with Bob was almost like seeing through and sharing the same set of eyes. I can still see the world without him, but not as well.
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