Pat Ament, amazing interview!

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bryceman

Boulder climber
Joshua Tree, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 3, 2007 - 03:22am PT
Climbing Magazine has done an amazing interview with Pat Ament. It is published in part in the actual magazine, this issue, but they were so impressed with what he said they have published the full interview at their online site (www.climbing.com). The guy is so amazingly literate and insightful, believe me it's worth the read.

We may never know how far-reaching his influence has been, but I am hopeful that this forum on Topo and this recent interview, will provide an immediate window to this unique individual. I know my life is better for having known Pat for approaching three decades. His teachings, insight, philosophies, and humor stay with me and have helped me on my own ascent through life.

After reading the interview, what touches you the most about Pat Ament?

What do you think about his life, his achievements and his 40+years of influence on the climbing community?

The Bryceman....

Direct Link:
http://www.climbing.com/exclusive/features/patament/index.html

jstan

climber
Jul 3, 2007 - 05:23am PT
Pat is still a young one. The story has only just started.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Jul 3, 2007 - 05:57am PT
Pat, if you are reading this thread, I am still working on getting you over here.

When I have something more concrete, I'll e-mail you. I also think a profile of you in Outsider magazine as suggested by its publisher would be a good idea.
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Jul 3, 2007 - 12:25pm PT
Bump, for historical perspective.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 3, 2007 - 04:05pm PT
I haven't seen the interview yet. I am afraid to look at the photo and how old and ugly I am now, or what I might have said, or what it might look edited down to size. Usually something is presented out of context, when I give an interview. I suppose one can go to the longer version at Climbing's website to see how long-winded I am... in the surreal place I live now in my mind. Thank you friends for thinking of me.

Pat
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jul 3, 2007 - 05:12pm PT
You should check it out, Oli. It worked for me and a lot of people.
I'm enormouslly self concious about reading my own stuff in print, but I don't think you'll feel let down.

Or, if you are, it will be about stuff that only you know.
SuperSpud

Trad climber
Cayucos, CA
Jul 3, 2007 - 05:13pm PT
I've never read a better climbing book than "How To Be A Master Climber In Six Easy Lessons".

Small book, but a giant amount of knowledge.

 Jeff Rininger
dmalloy

Trad climber
eastside
Jul 3, 2007 - 05:27pm PT
good to know that the full interview is online, thanks for pointing that out. Yes, Pat, the "out of context" is slightly apparent in the print version....but not too badly.

The picture, though, looks great.
Hardly Visible

climber
Port Angeles
Jul 3, 2007 - 06:04pm PT
Good interview I thought,too bad they didn't print the full version as it is much better reading than their usual snipets and newsflashes. Thanks for the link Bryceman. Pat, I hope you are doing well it is really great to have you on this forum.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jul 3, 2007 - 06:34pm PT
Ya know, there is an earlier thread on this topic, maybe somebody remembers the coordinates?
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jul 3, 2007 - 10:33pm PT
Killer interview, creative questions...more photos Pat!

Surely you've got some extra stuff never published?

More Kor stories too...

Cheers, JB
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jul 4, 2007 - 01:11am PT
thanks for the link - love it
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Jul 4, 2007 - 07:29pm PT
Pat: I thought it was a great interviewe- I enjoyed your reflections re: halucinogens. I sometimes wonder myself how much motivation I lost in Jr. High by smoking weed and how that affected my schooling.
R. Crumb had some interesting thoughts on LSD and how it shut down his ego for like six months but that it also freed up other areas for creativity.
Hard to say
murf
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 4, 2007 - 07:55pm PT
Ok, at City Market I got a glance at the magazine finally. I really didn't like any of the photos they took, but I settled on the one they used because it had a great view of the Monument in the background, and I was casting a big long shadow along the rock. No one would look at me at all, hopefully, rather at the Monument or that shadow. So what do they do? They put the print (interview) over the Monument and over the interesting shadow, and now all you see is my ugly mug, washed out, wrinkled, anguished, edgy, at the low point of my health problems. They also used a wide angle lens, so my face is about twice its normal width, making me look obviously too fat to be the real Pat Ament (I'm waiting for the slap downs). Oh well. But the worst is that (except for a few of the entries) they haphazardly grabbed probably the weakest most pointless of my comments, and without the original questions or the full answers a lot of them don't make any sense at all. John Gill wrote me and said he thought it was a nice interview, but he would do that. I felt rather as though people would read it and think I am unable to follow a logical thought or say anything at all that has any value or meaning in the universe. I guess ultimately I should only be appreciative they thought of me and included me at all... I hope people will read the longer online version, as I think I was ok there for the most part... but wow am I long winded.

Bachar, did I tell you the story about Kor ciphoning gas? I was about 15, and Layton did what he had to do, you know. The police caught him one night running down an alley with a gas can and a hose. What could he have been doing with those things?! My father simply handed me the police report in the newspaper, not saying a word... When Layton years later asked me to write something for his biography, I decided the more comical stuff was the best and so wrote a wondrous little series of stories, of course including the gas can and hose thing... which, to my surprise, were promptly rejected by Layton. He said he had cleaned up his life and wanted to forget all that. It says nothing of his current life that he was a wild man at one time, but I had to respect his wishes and so wrote the mundane story about our ascent of Overhang Dihedral (on Longs in the rain)... If you like this sort of stuff, I have about a thousand stories...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 4, 2007 - 09:20pm PT
Pat,
one by one to a thousand stories, yes.
from the beginning and please, take your time.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jul 4, 2007 - 09:24pm PT
I like the stories about when Kor was walking on the wild side...sorry Layton!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 4, 2007 - 09:28pm PT
oh and,
Pat said:
"I felt rather as though people would read it and think I am unable to follow a logical thought or say anything at all that has any value or meaning in the universe."

Well, we all know editing does that to us Pat, but even so, Croft once said the meaningless stuff is the best stuff, or something like that, in regards to climbing as a worthwhile pursuit, when contrasted with many of humankind's activities.

And if even tho it may be regarded by some few as meaningless, I must say, you do it well and we are all ears!
John Moosie

climber
Jul 4, 2007 - 10:09pm PT
Boldly spoken Pat. Thank you.

For some reason unknown to me, I have faced mental illness for most of my life. Vast periods of deeply entangling depression have engulfed me and fought me to a standstill more then once. The thing that has helped me keep on keeping on is the beauty of the human spirit and the beauty of nature. There is much beauty in you Pat. Thank you for being who you are and showing the way.

This line cracked me up.

"Q: Ever climb with rock shoes and socks?
A: No, I have always worn clothes also"

You have a very funny and dry sense of humor. hahahaha...

Thanks
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Jul 4, 2007 - 10:33pm PT
The sotry of Pat driving with Kor in the car with the bald tires is one of the great narrative stories we have in the literature.

JL
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 4, 2007 - 10:38pm PT
I sometimes say things I wish I hadn't. Years and years and decades ago, I was being interviewed by some girl reporter, about my new book High Over Boulder, which was actually written in 1962 or so but didn't come out until a few years later. So there was a lot of anticipation about its arrival. I was in the office of the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, at that moment. I often had to do all their rescues for them, because most of them weren't serious climbers. That's a whole other story, about how they repeadtly would phone me or Layton, or how they would phone me and I'd call Rearick, and we would go to Eldorado and climb the route quickly in the dark and get the person down, while the rescue group tried to figure out which gully led to the top of the wall. They were all good blessed souls, for their effort, but they were very formal and would not actually let me join the group because I was too impatient and young and distracted and immature to pass the first aid course. Anyway I was always trying to measure up, in terms of getting them to respect me. I always tried to look and act right, but it was hopeless thing, since I was so naturally rough around the edges. But when the reporter asked, "Who is this book written for," I answered in front of several very sober men, "For those who want to get high over boulder." I didn't even quite realize what I'd said until some of the people outside the door started cracking up, but the rescue group guys were not amused, and the reporter didn't even get it... But of course she quoted me in the newspaper, which made a fine impression with Boulder's citizens.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 4, 2007 - 11:21pm PT
Let's put a name with a face here:


-from CLIMB!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 4, 2007 - 11:29pm PT
My 1984 edition is a bit war worn:

Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 5, 2007 - 12:32am PT
That photo of me was taken by Tom Higgins at the top of Nerve Wrack Point, early 1970s. Although the sunburn hadn't quite set in yet, that was the worst sunburn I've had in my life, I think. I didn't know the Tuolumne high air burned one so easily.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Jul 5, 2007 - 01:28am PT
When you attain a certain age, Pat, it's OK to entertain a little risque reminisence or two. This is a great thread. I'm glad you're with us.

-Jeff
wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
Jul 5, 2007 - 02:58am PT
Hopefully this interview is the kind of thing we will see more of from Climbing in the future. There is so much power in so much of what you say in it Pat. How refreshing to read words like integrity, humility, generosity etc. on their site, and this one as well...
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 5, 2007 - 03:18pm PT
Thanks for the kind words. I fumble around in my way.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 5, 2007 - 09:05pm PT
I basically hate interviews. Once on a television feature about rock climbing in Boulder, they had me on as the "historical expert," along with several others such a Jello and Joyce Rossiter, and Dale Goddard. Dale was the new star, Joyce the female representative, Jeff Lowe (Jello) the mountaineer... Anyway, the interviewer started off with me, "Can you give us some of the history of how rock climbing began in Boulder?" I began what was to be a carefully thought-through reply, "The first organized group was the Rocky Mountain Climber's Club, and..." He interrupted, "Tell us, Mr. Ament, what is a carabiner?" He was tired of the history.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 6, 2007 - 02:18am PT
Wow, that last comment, "Shine on you crazy diamond." Syd Barret was one of my favorite people. I wept bitterly when he died not too many months ago. I related to him on such a high level. It was as though his spirit communicated with mine. I've written songs I felt he had some distant hand in creating, as though we were meant to be brothers, but life kept us apart. So many things we had in common. You know those words are about him, right? Quite a few of Pink Floyd's songs were dedicated to Syd, such as "Wish you were here," and maybe even "Dark Side of the Moon," to describe Syd's tragic mental illness...

Thanks for the reminder.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 6, 2007 - 08:25pm PT
Bod D'Antonio said, "Pat...just read your full interview on climbing.com...maybe one of the all time best."

I am very happy a few like the interview, especially people the quality of Bob and Roy and... I was quite worried about it, actually, as I am so opinionated. John Long once wrote to me, "I reserve the right to be full of it." That gave me a good laugh, and I will borrow it, to cover anything I say here or in the interview that clearly doesn't work or is just me sounding off.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 6, 2007 - 08:37pm PT
"If you like this sort of stuff, I have about a thousand stories... "

Which would make Oli the Scheherazade of SuperTopo, in a manner of speaking.

Story on!
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Jul 6, 2007 - 09:43pm PT
Pat
It's so awesome to see your words straight and unedited.
Maybe you can post your version of the interview that will show what you really meant.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 7, 2007 - 02:27am PT
To post that interview would take too much space. It's a long one, for I am long winded. Better, if you are interested, just to go to the www.climbing.com site and trudge through it. That would be probably easiest. I don't know how long they will keep it up there. Our moment in the spotlight is always ethereal and brief...
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 9, 2007 - 01:13am PT
My friend Roger Briggs just wrote me and said he likes to stay in his own world, away from the negative things people say in the various forums. He says if he can still climb and move his body, that is the most rewarding for him. The thought seemed attractive, though my body is fast failing it seems. I feel I have been blessed with very positive remarks here at SuperTopo, but truly I have trouble with the kind of hate some people have and how they present it and direct it at me, especially those I've never met and who know nothing about me, those who question my every motive. If it were a true rival, someone with whom I disagree or who disagrees with me, we could have an intelligent debate. We could have the respect of worthy enemies and speak honestly and not in the immature, petty, snide ways that some do. We would not need to post ludicrous images to try to injure. The question becomes, is it worth it to me to put up with the inanity of these small minds, in order to be in touch with the intelligent spirits, such as Largo, Bachar, Accomazzo, Tarbuster (Roy), Jello, Bob D'Antonio, Stannard, Goldstone, Werner, Kevin Worral, Higgins, etc. I have loved hearing the thoughts of these higher, finer spirits. But the other stuff darkens my spirit, which perhaps is what those kinds of people seek to achieve. Too bad there isn't a webmaster to moniter and wipe out the garbage the instant it appears... I wonder how many people here have nothing to do with climbing but simply have no life and seek to cause trouble...
bryceman

Boulder climber
Joshua Tree, California
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 9, 2007 - 01:55pm PT
It seems to me Pat, that you had an amazing ability to get yourself to where the action was. I cannot even imagine how hard it would be to hitch a ride on a freight train and hold on until you made it to base camp.

How did you find the courage to ride a method of transportation that might have been more dangerous than any of the climbs you put up when you got there?
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 9, 2007 - 04:53pm PT
The dangers of freight riding were sometimes subtle. Of course you usually tried to ride alone and not with others, because someone might jump you. On occasion I found that couldn't be done. Fortunately no one jumped me, and I made friends with a whole lot of hard-travelin' men, not the phony kind that sing songs about it in Nashville, but the real loners and hard-luck cases who were as genuine as any people I've ever met.

One time during the coldest weather I'd ever ridden in, I jumped into a boxcar with another fellow, much older. We both seemed to appreciate the company. I had my warm sleeping bag. He had nothing but a tweed jacket (and his worn jeans and boots). He squatted down and stayed in that position all night, shifting his weight slightly, from one leg to the other, and back and forth, smoking cigarettes, as he said, "to keep warm." I thought I was going to freeze to death with my big coat and sleeping bag. I offered to switch off with him with the sleeping bag, but he refused the offer and said he could make it. Anyway, it could be dangerous to travel with others. But not on that occasion. He could have clubbed my head in at any time but didn't. It felt to me as though I were in a tent in a storm near the top of K2, unable to move and only desirous of sleep.

Another danger was the boxcar door slamming shut when the train jerked. It was important to know how to block the door open, with a wooden block I always carried. A number of people died when the door slammed shut unexpectedly, and they couldn't get out, and their yells were like wind blowing through the yards, for weeks. Another danger was having your had cut off by the door slamming shut, if you were standing there looking out.

Of course you had to know where the long tunnels were, and get inside your sleeping bag and hold your breath as long as possible. Some people were found dead of asphyxia. I found another state of mind, a kind of suspended animation, that could occur from too much diesel smoke. It is wise to always fill up with as much air along the way, while it's there.

In terms of danger, I wouldn't compare freight riding to climbing, although climbing is not really dangerous so much as people are dangerous. It's a bit like taking a shower. You have to take care not to slip and fall. Some people always have one foot on the banana peel, so to speak. John Glenn was the first to orbit the earth and then fell in the bathtub and seriously injured his back...
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jul 9, 2007 - 06:27pm PT
"That photo of me was taken by Tom Higgins at the top of Nerve Wrack Point ..."

What, the climb wasn't scary enough so you had to tie in with a Goose knot?

___


"Life is full of virtual worlds that compel people to create them."


One of my favorite quotes, thanks Oli.
bryceman

Boulder climber
Joshua Tree, California
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 9, 2007 - 06:34pm PT
I have listened to other people talk about blocking the freight doors but I had no idea about the danger of asphyxiation. You must have felt like you had arrived in paradise by the time you were in the Yosemite Valley.

Were you the only climber riding freight to Yosemite or was that something everybody did to get there? In other words did every one at base camp shake their heads in disbelief that you would take such risk to get there or was it such a common mode of transportation back then that no one even gave it a second thought?


looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jul 9, 2007 - 06:52pm PT
Excellent interview. Too bad the whole thing (or most of it) wasn't published in the Mag. But, the short attention spans of most of Climbing's readers probably would preclude that.

It is nice to see Pat posting here.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 10, 2007 - 01:06am PT
Freight riding wasn't that comman a practice. Quite a few individuals may have hopped some freight here or there, as an isolated event. Robbins had ridden freights a little in his juvenile youth and in L.A. pulled off one great stunt of jumping from the top of one moving boxcar to the top of another moving boxcar going the other direction. He used to catch freights back to California on leave, when he was in the Army. Pratt did the same, a bit. He and Chouinard got arrested once and put in striped clothing for a week, set out in a big field to catch horses, as their punishment. They never caught one horse. I think that was somewhere in New Mexico or Arizona, if I recall. A few others had done or did a tiny bit of freight riding, but I think I may have gone into it more than just about any climber I knew. Those few who rode the freights, I think, may have valued that mode for its pure utilitarian function, whereas I became romantically involved with the whole idea of trains. It had something to do with the fact that my father worked for the Rio Grande for 17 years and took me down to the railroad yards in Denver when I was very young. The trains captured my imagination... I longed to be on the freights, out there being rocked to sleep among the canyons and deserts, under the stars, or in the dustblown sunlight of day...
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 10, 2007 - 01:09am PT
k-man, I don't know what a goose knot is. That's just a bowline, tied to a few strands of webbing around my waist (called a swami belt). That's how we did it back then, or sometimes simply tied the rope in a single strand around the waist (Kamps style). I guess the idea was to discourage falling, rather than make it easier and more comfortable.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jul 10, 2007 - 01:49pm PT
Looking closer, I imagine the knot to be the bowline with a follow through, like the on TM showed Bachar. It just looks like a bunch of loose cord in the pic.

Nice 1" swami though!

Cheers!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:19pm PT
Hi Pat,

Wanted to add my voice to the appreciation of you, even though I haven't yet seen the interview. Can't wait.

BTW, I recall it was Winslow, AZ where Pratt and Chouinard were hauled off the freight and into the greybar hotel. Seem to remember that they were fed little but oatmeal for the whole stay. And haven't been able to stomach it since. I had forgotten about the chasing horses part -- nice touch.

OK, a little mindful drift here to appreciate your superb book, Wizards of Rock: A History of Free Climbing in America (2002). It is so good and so comprehensive, and parts of it are brilliant. I think immediately of the section describing Pratt's FA of Twilight Zone, which was the cutting edge climb of its day, maybe of the entire decade of the 60s because the boldness of its unprotected style will never, NEVER be repeated in this age when you can basically push a cam next to you up any offwidth. (Unless of course Werner has soloed it and isn't telling us.) You captured that moment so brilliantly that I got floaty reading your account. So, thanks!

Many, many other passages in there are brilliant, and a couple more of them have that foaty, transendent quality. (Been ransacking the house and can't find my copy -- probably loaned it out, raving about how good it is -- so I can't place exact passages.) I am not qualified to give a "balanced view" of the book as history. Ironically, you are one of the few who come to mind who might, and you have been accused publicly of sliding onto the Colorado side of the whole CO vs CA we-did-it-first debate. Which is just silly chauvinism masquerading as history anyway, so let's not go there.

So my raves about what you wrote there are not in the nature of historical scholarship, OK? It's value, it's brilliance, is more in the vivid direction of poetry. You have painted events that turned out to be the cutting edge of free climbing. And free climbing is the best game we play on stone (I'll lump bouldering and soloing in there for now, just to avoid starting up THAT argument).

Get it. Read it. All of you. If you see only one Ament book, this is the one. Poking around our climbing community, I'm surprised at how few folks seem aware of the gargantuan thing you did there, Pat. And that's a shame.

Thanks, Man. And I send you good vibes for the ongoing struggles with your health.

Doug
LongAgo

Trad climber
Jul 10, 2007 - 07:05pm PT
Pat is the freight train of the climbing mind - barreling into unseen turns, wailing sweet and mournful tones, shining light on rails few other climbers have found or touched. Pat is always after the inner story so often lost in the buzz and blast of the sport, and the one voice reminding us it is not sport at all ...

Tom Higgins
LongAgo

PS: small correction - the photo caption atop Nerve Wrack Point indicates "Eldorado" as the location, but a peek behind Pat reveals all - the pines and sweeping domes of Tuolumne. Good day we had on that first ascent Pat!
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 11, 2007 - 02:44am PT
Now that I have read those last two posts I could die now and be happy and believe I did something that meant something to individuals who truly were something. Those words, from Tom and Doug, are among the best I've ever heard... two who are the measure...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 11, 2007 - 11:21am PT
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Jul 11, 2007 - 03:28pm PT
Pusher (it's a compliment..)
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 11, 2007 - 03:31pm PT
A little history and thought, about Wizards of Rock.

First of all in no way can or could it have been my best writing. My main focus was bring in the actual spirits as much as possible and let them speak and tell the story, rather than letting it be too "second hand." I wrote where I had to, in and around the interviews, quotes, and other info. Some of it is cut and hewn, as the original text was about twice its size, but Wilderness Press couldn't imagine the expense of doing such a large book. So they hired who was then the current editor of Climbing, Jeff Achey, to whack away. I anguished at what fell to the floor, though he didn't do too bad of a job, in view of what the task was and once I realized and accepted it that things were going to go.

The one and only thing I made the publishers promise on their lives was that the photos would be done properly, and that the photos be put out on high quality paper. They promised -- on their lives. But when publishing time came they freaked at the cost again and, without discussing it with lowly author, rolled it out on recycled paper. I was aghast when I saw the book. I couldn't believe the photos. I had spent over a year gathering all those great collector shots, scanning, fixing, removing scratches, improving... And they enlarged less important photos and reduced important ones, rarely getting that part right.

But also the layout was awful, ugly, and cumbersome. I had been sick at the time and had no energy to help much with the layout, nor did they want more than my pages of written guidelines. With their reputation I trusted them. They threw my guidelines away, feeling creative, and did a fine job of rather messing the whole book up from one end to the other -- layout-wise.

I also had spent countless hours making paintings of many of the major players. I had envisioned those starting each chapter, or something like that, in an artistic way. Each of those paintings was reduced to postage-stamp size and marginalized beyond even seeing that they were paintings.

Though disappointed, to my surprise I got strong raves from lots of good people. The essence of what I had created seemed to survive in some measure. Tom Frost wrote me, "You are without question the leading authority on the subject." That shocked me but was some small solace. Roper wrote, "Even I am impressed" (you know how he likes to fancy himself an astute critic). Gill said basically that he felt I was the one person who could have written such a book. Funny little Gill aside: I let him read the book prior to its publishing and asked him to make any corrections he might. He sent the book back with a strong go ahead, and when it came out he sent me a list of small corrections!

I have been listening to feedback and gathering info, corrections, improvements, etc., for a revised version I hope to publish at some point, the gods willing. If you have info or corrections, please let me know.

Some of the best writing I've ever done, far superior to "Wizards," is in my book "Everything That Matters, (Remembering Rock Climbing)." Of this latter book, I think it demands more of a reader, though. "Wizards" is just easy to peruse, glance at, read wherever. The writing in Wizards is simple for the most part. "Everything That Matters" is much more literary and artistic, some really crafted writing... Brilliant poet Mark Irwin (praised by W.S. Merwin and who now teaches at Southern Cal), wrote (and which I used as a cover blurb), "Total abandon of the heart."

I am very pleased, though, that so many have given Wizards a thumbs up, despite its problems. With regard to Doug's comments, I am reminded of a line from Steinbeck's "The Moon Is Down," where Doctor Winter is likened to a "man so simple that only a profound man would know him as profound." That might well fit the Wizards. It has taken a profound man to see beyond its simple nature...

Pat
gazela

Boulder climber
Albuquerque, NM
Jul 11, 2007 - 06:41pm PT
Great interview!

I can only assume that Pat's friend whose dire experience with psychedelics in 1967 was Mort Hempel. It's illuminating to know (a) how much self-recrimination Pat feels for what happened to Hempel, and (b) how detrimental it was to Pat's ongoing progression in climbing.

Pat's greatest gift as a writer, it seems to me, is his utter candidness about his own feelings. I can't think of even one other person who would be as open to strangers about his/her life as Pat is.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 12, 2007 - 01:11am PT
No, it was NOT Mort of whom I speak in the interview. It was a young lad who was my climbing partner at the time...

Mort's troubles began, though, in Berkeley not far from the same time, during that wild period centered around 1967. I did visit him on several occasions, even rode the freights once to see him and a girl friend of mine. I greeted Mort one day, my face almost black from train smoke. It spooked him a bit at first. We have had many great times together, and we have recorded music together.

Mort and I have been friends for many years. I helped him settled in Boulder, first living at my apartment for quite a while until we figured out a great housing deal for him. He's still there, sits at his window looking out, smoking cigarettes, sometimes listens to music, very meditative, a fine man, a genius, a tremendous sense of humor, loved by the Valley greats of the golden age... He calls me now and then... He is dear to me.

Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 13, 2007 - 02:28am PT
Oh, Gazela, that openness of which you speak is probably a disease of some sort. Or maybe it's that I have come to realize through the years that what goes on more deeply is more often more real than our superficial existences. Each one of us is a complex and deep creature, though some of us don't know it. And some of us would find only terror to look in there and see. Others of us hang at the edge, unable to see much of anything, while a few of us see hardly anything else but those depths that are what we are and from which our experiences continue to be affected...
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 19, 2007 - 04:25pm PT
A few have asked where to read the full interview. As said upthread, it will be found (but not for much longer) online, at www.climbing.com

I also gave them some fun photos to post...
scuffy b

climber
The deck above the 5
Jul 19, 2007 - 08:57pm PT
The cover photo of Wizards of Rock is worth pondering.
There's Robbins, a teenager, at the top of one of the Spires,
having just done an early repeat (2nd?).
So, yeah, he's sitting there looking over at El Cap, NA Wall in
the picture.
Ten years before any Grade VI was done in Yosemite.
Is he thinking he's going to climb El Cap someday?
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jul 19, 2007 - 09:06pm PT
The great man himself, Royal Robbins

Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 19, 2007 - 11:08pm PT
Thanks, Ray. That would be a perfect place to end this thread, the face of a great spirit. What a blessing it has been for me to know him.
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