One of my best memories was to climb Shiprock with Royal Robbins
and his wife Liz, in the early fall of 1964, when we were on a
little tour of the southwest desert. We started late, went slow,
and got to the top just as the sun got really beautiful at the
west edge of the earth. We climbed and rappeled down in dark,
with stars and wind. Royal was very somber and said virtually nothing.
At every belay spot, though, Liz and I had memorable conversation,
our whispers in the still dark. Finally we had a steak dinner at
about midnight in the quiet black desert night. What
a great adventure for a 17 year old. The climb wasn't difficult,
by any standard, though the Horn had one or two 5.9 moves,
as I recall, nothing too taxing. It's just wonderful, though,
to be up, away from the world, on that big eerie mass of stone....