Video: Bob Kamps climbing at Stoney Point at 67 years old

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Cole

Trad climber
los angeles
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 3, 2019 - 03:31pm PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]
zBrown

Ice climber
Apr 3, 2019 - 04:04pm PT
pretty cool

any idea of the date of the filming

Cole

Trad climber
los angeles
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2019 - 04:33pm PT
Video is dated 1998 but could have been shot the year prior more or less.
i-b-goB

Social climber
Nutty
Apr 3, 2019 - 04:47pm PT
Cool, cutoffs and crank!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Apr 3, 2019 - 05:17pm PT
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 3, 2019 - 07:34pm PT
I have a copy of that video (yes an actual video) around here somewheres.
I saw Bob out at Stoney with his posse of crusher old-dudes making the rounds with some regularity for years . Kind of a shock he was just gone one day. His wife Bonnie helped us out with a lot of contributions to the Sedona Climbing guide since Bob put up a lot of the classics in AZ.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 3, 2019 - 08:37pm PT
Nice stuff of him on the low traverse on Boulder 1. Too bad alot of those holds broke off.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Apr 4, 2019 - 07:39am PT
So nice to hear Bob's voice again.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 4, 2019 - 08:00am PT
Damn, he sure moved well! We started watching him demonstrate his displays of immaculate footwork back in 1977. And he'd been at it for over 20 years, with almost another 30 yet to go!

The man probably transferred those movement skills to more people than most veteran rockclimbing guides, given how often he was out at Stony for all those decades.

I last saw Kamps out in front of the motel we were both staying in, Phoenix Bouldering Contest, 2004. He asked me out to breakfast, but I had an appointment to keep later that day, some 13 hours away.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Apr 4, 2019 - 08:17am PT
He asked me out to breakfast, but I had an appointment to keep later that day, some 13 hours away.

Roy, thou who art never cryptic, elaborate for us, please.

And good morning!

A ditty for Bonnie and to Bob's memory.


Immaculate footwork

Precision, precision, precision
Is how you climb those boulders, Oh!
Footwork, footwork, footwork,
While standing on Kamps' shoulders, Oh!
--Old Clueless

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 4, 2019 - 09:09am PT
Breakfast with Kamps

I was only acquainted with Bob, and not on a first name basis as far as he was concerned, but he was something of a mentor to one of my mentors, Mari Gingery. Mike and Mari were older than the rest of us Southern California Stonemaster underlings by a short handful of years. Mari was a research biologist and Michael a longshoremen, but they were probably the best weekend warrior climbers of my generation and notably, also among the best climbers overall. This is a time when a lot of us were following Bachar into the fire, cutting loose and poised to tear off a full decade of itinerant dirt bagging. In my case, I became a rockclimbing guide, which was much the same: high risk, low pay, no future.

Mari once reminded me that Kamps wisely reported to her that most of the guys from his generation who went full-time as climbers failed to last physically as they aged. He said that if you wanted to be able to climb into your 60s, it was best to keep a job and remain a weekend devotee. Ha ha. Of course I didn't listen! Look at me now functionally crippled. So it goes. In the 70s and 80s I would occasionally chat with Kamps at Stony. When I asked him what he did, he claimed he sold junk. I think that was a half-truth, at best.

In 2004 I'd been working the Phoenix Bouldering Contest as a sales rep for Evolv rock shoes and Asana packs and bouldering pads. I had a pretty stern work ethic, and stayed in the booth for something like twelve hours. Probably had a piss break but that was it. Even took my lunch in the booth. The next morning, I was tasked with a drive all the way to Evergreen Colorado, where I was to present a pair of rock shoes to the winner of a contest we'd sponsored at the local climbing gym.

When I stepped out of the motel room into the faint morning sunshine under a thin veil of overcast, I looked to my left and saw a bandy legged, lean figure with short gray hair on his head, walking away from me. Without even seeing his face, I knew who it was.

"Hey! You're Bob Kamps!"

He turned around, smiled, and graciously admitted being outed.

"That's me, how do I know you?"

I told Bob we were mutual friends with Mari and that I'd remembered him from Stony Point from way back when he climbed in the red and blue BB smooth-soled, edging oriented rock shoes. He asked me how Mari was doing and suggested we have breakfast together. I had to decline. I then drove thirteen straight hours north into Evergreen Colorado, where the competition had already ended, and a nice young guy, the winner of the contest, was still waiting with the manager of the rock gym (I think it was called The Spire) for the Evolv guy to show up and present the winner's prize. When I got there the lights were out, the manager locked the doors behind her, and I sat on the front steps in the dark, chatting up the winner and handing over the shoes. Kamps was gone not long after.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Apr 4, 2019 - 09:43am PT
We are grateful and so glad
To hear the times you had
Trying to sell a bouldering pad
So thank you, "Mr. Trad."

I, too, used the effective edging of BBs by Galibier to some advantage. My favorite Tshirt, too, the Jose Cuervo one.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Apr 4, 2019 - 10:05am PT
Thanks Cole, an inspiration....may we move over stone for as long as possible (Ill be 68 in July!)
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 4, 2019 - 12:03pm PT
Well, turning 67 this year and still at it myself, it's always good to see things like this...
Cole

Trad climber
los angeles
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 4, 2019 - 12:41pm PT
Glad ya'll are enjoying the video. Even though I'm sure most of you have seen it by now I'm going to go ahead and drop the Bob Kamps section from my Stoney Point documentary here, the full movie is available on the same youtube channel if you're interested.


[Click to View YouTube Video]
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 4, 2019 - 12:57pm PT
One time, looking up at the Rubicon crack in Josh, Bob said "It looks hard, but it succumbs to good footwork."


On my first visit to Stoney Point after moving to L.A., Julie Lazar and I were examining the front boulder when Bob took us for newcomers, strolled over and said hello.

"Where are you two from?"

"We just moved out from New York." I was, as yet, unaware of the sandbagging I was about to get, being a Gunks climber.

"If you want, I'll show you around."

We had no idea who this friendly and unassuming man was, and we took him up on his offer. Then he said "Here's one to try," and he got on the rock. That's when I knew I was in trouble. His circuit of mantles, low traverses, eliminates, crimpfests, and long static reaches brought us around to the finale, an athletic overhanging roof traverse called Hot Tuna.

"Kris, you should feel right at home on this one, being from the Gunks..." By then I could barley raise my arms above my head.

That was the first of countless days bouldering at Stoney. Almost every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon Bob would be there, always ready to invent a new problem on a section of rock which had been climbed every which way for years.

"No, you can't use that hold, it's too easy that way. No, that one's off too, don't you remember?"
Quasimodo

Trad climber
CA
Apr 4, 2019 - 01:36pm PT
Thank you for posting. Seeing Bob climb again makes me smile.

I remember Bob showing up to Boulder 2 at Stoney with two left climbing shoes. He ran back to his car, but he must have accidentally grabbed two left shoes leaving his house. Bob returned to Boulder 2 and proceeded to climb the entire afternoon wearing two left shoes. He said the outside edging was "great" on his right foot. I never heard him complain. He always had a big smile on his face and was genuinely interested in everyone he met. He was a fun and inspiring climber with amazing technique and many notable first ascents.

Bob's rated his first ascent of Chingadera, Tahquitz, at 5.9 in 1967. He told me that 5.10 was the hardest rating in the 60s so he was reluctant to rate it at 5.10. Today it is rated 11a. I have heard that just clipping the bolts Bob installed is hard. I can't imagine drilling by hand while standing on 11a foot holds.

There is a small memorial plaque next to Pot Holes Traverse at Stoney....come say "Hi" to Bob sometime soon.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 4, 2019 - 02:23pm PT

Fun with Bob in the 1960s at Sylvan Lake.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 4, 2019 - 02:41pm PT
Bob's rated his first ascent of Chingadera, Tahquitz, at 5.9 in 1967. He told me that 5.10 was the hardest rating in the 60s so he was reluctant to rate it at 5.10. Today it is rated 11a. I have heard that just clipping the bolts Bob installed is hard. I can't imagine drilling by hand while standing on 11a foot holds.

I'd say that Chingadera is a sandbag at .11a in modern shoes.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Apr 4, 2019 - 08:50pm PT
Thanks Cole!

Kamps is the Guru of small hold footwork and body positioning . . . as evidenced by the video.

Give 'em hell Bob.
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