To Be Brave - Royal Robbins Autobiography

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WBraun

climber
Aug 12, 2009 - 11:15pm PT
Tamara

When I first started climbing around in Yosemite I always wanted those blue Royal Robbins boots made by Galibier after only having Sears work boots as climbing shoes.

Anyways one summer in Tuolumne everyone I saw wearing a pair of those blue boots I would first think it was Royal.

Never did see him.

Until one day that summer I was hitchhiking some where, forgot where, and a VW bus stopped and the guy said get in.

It was your dad ......

Bridwell told me how Royal eliminated bolts by lowering off a ledge because the pins were in the bottom back and you couldn't haul standing up. I thought that was so stupid and so cool at the same time that I employed this method on a new route myself once.

I wouldn't care to much about what others think about your dad if I were you. He's your dad and that's all that matters.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Aug 13, 2009 - 01:07am PT
Wow, Little Tamara

I was living with your mom and dad in Modesto when you were born. Royal was off on a "work" trip to Europe and I was the defacto dad while LIz adjusted to being a new momma.

Good on you, stick up for the OL' Boy. You have two very creative and powerful parents and irrespective of the climbing parameters, you were fortunate to be raised by the likes of Royal and Lizard. We could all be so lucky?

As far as the Wall of the Early Morning Light saga and the second ascent by Royal and Lauria, enough has been written and it is well documented as to the difficulty and the respect the endeavor entailed.

Perhaps someday we will get a chance to meet again, " although I would probably not recognize you."

cheers

Guido
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Aug 13, 2009 - 07:34am PT
Right on, bump for the brave - the only thing better than a climbing thread is a thread about a climbing book!

At the moment I can only think of Marcel Proust whose autobio was done in volumes - maybe Dostoevsky ? - anyow, can't wait for the book to arrive...
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Aug 13, 2009 - 09:20am PT
As far as the issue of “how many volumes are we going to see from this man” and how perhaps no past giants of any sort have gone to six volumes, Pilgrims, you are neglecting the great Le Roi Jones (Amiri Baraka). He issued his “Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note” in 1961. V. funny title of course and it was just his first coyly titled collection of verse. But seriously, I think it is the default listing template of the apparently “vanity” publisher, “Pink Moment Press”. (Not at all clear what else they have published by the way....) The second volume is “Fail Falling” which I would guess is going to be more on his fun arcane and cryptic theory that we let go rather than actually simply fall (yawn).

If nothing else, let me assure you the man has had a lot of fun being alive!!

For the herpetologists amongst us: here is Chris Vandiver and RR about 1972-ish. Take a close look at it. Vandiver was quite absorbed by and with RR.

And next is RR beheading a Matilija Poppy out in the desert north of Kelso, 1970/71 winter when he and I were on a kind of road trip that hardly involved climbing but was all about RR trying to get his mind around the fact his wife was pregnant.



Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 13, 2009 - 10:44am PT
Well, I'm still looking forward to getting a copy of each volume - even if there are as many 'chapters' as there were in Bleak House, and they're more booklets than books.

Edit: Tamara, I've met your father once or twice, in the context of climbers' access matters. I saw him speak in Vancouver in 1971, when I was starting to climb, and you were being born.
Tamara Robbins

climber
CA
Aug 13, 2009 - 10:55am PT
THis is way too much fun... I'm so enjoying all the posts! And love hearing from you who knew me/family early on. I remember Chris & Terry well - would love to get in contact with them (Peter, do you know how to do this?).

FYI, Pink Moment Press is a new leg of Pace Lithography (a well established printing co. in So Cal). I believe the owners are on the Yos. Fund board - that's where they met Mom & Dad.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Aug 13, 2009 - 11:03am PT
Hi Tamara,

Welcome to the forum. I have never met you but have gotten to know your mom and dad pretty well. Above all your dad is honest and true to what he believes. I admire those qualities.

Ken Yager
RDB

Social climber
way out there
Aug 13, 2009 - 11:09am PT
I am really looking forward to this.

Volumes? If you know anything about Robbin's career in climbing and business it becomes obvious he packed a lot into a short amount of time. I'd think volumes would be required just to cover it all with any depth.

Spring/summer of '67 was nothing special for Robbins....1st ascent of Nutcracker then the 1st ascent of the West Face of El Cap followed. The 1st ascent of the Grand Sentinal in Canada, VI, an early repeat with Liz of NW Face of Half Dome, 1st North Face of Geike another VI and the 1st solo (2rd ascent) of Edith Cavell.

Tamara Robbins

climber
CA
Aug 13, 2009 - 11:12am PT
Just off the phone with Dad, he said, " I think you should write that this all confirms what we already knew: That 1971 was a marvelous year " :)
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Aug 13, 2009 - 11:13am PT
What a cool thread. I can't wait to read it - I shall devour the words right off the page.

He resonates through all our lives, this climber. His influence on American rock climbing cannot be overstated.

DMT
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Aug 13, 2009 - 12:00pm PT
Here is a photo of Liz and Royal at the Granite Frontiers opening.


Ken
Gene

climber
Aug 13, 2009 - 12:04pm PT
Repost of Royal when he visited Modesto High School earlier this year.



RR sure has a great smile.
Tami

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Aug 13, 2009 - 12:54pm PT
Tamara - Yer dad Rocks. He was not only a great climber but a great community builder , loved the clothing put out under his name.........and, best of all, he's still with us.

I've met him on a couple of occasions - one memorable occasion at the ACC Centennial dinner where I did a slightly out of control performance on stilts as the eight-foot tall "Zelda". Royal was one of the people in the audience pissin' himself laffin' at the sillyness. Yey !

Good to see mentioned upthread of the most marvelous Blue Suede Shoes. I had a pair - bought in '78 - and, after they broke my feet in, were the most marvelous hiking/climbing shoes I ever owned. They were good on EVERYTHING. I finally destroyed them to oblivion out treeplanting in the late '80's.

Tamara Robbins

climber
CA
Aug 13, 2009 - 12:58pm PT
You know, we don't even possess a pair of the Galibier boots. Fortunately, I do have some wonderful old ads (which I've scanned in) for them, as well as for a sundry of other "ancient" gear! Most of Dad's historical gear was lost in a fire... very unfortunate.

Nice to hear a recount of Dad's sense of humor - I have some great shots of similar home moments - it kills me when he does the hysterical laughter. And due to broken ribs in the past it "kills" him too... but well worthwhile! :)
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 13, 2009 - 01:39pm PT
Not only that, he's a devotee of the fine and noble art of the pun. What's not to like?

Here's your dad at the 2007 FaceLift, with Tom Frost and John Stannard. The first time all three had met in person.

The photo is also on the YCA website.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Aug 13, 2009 - 02:27pm PT
Some of my favorite photos courtesy of Tom Frost.

On top of the Nose and sitting on the tree that fell over about a week after Harding completed the climb. 1960


The rest are on the Salathe. I love the casual belay. 1961



On the Salathe rapping off after getting to Lung Ledge. Frost said that Royal must have really studied the route as "Royal grabbed the ropes and just started rappelling down the void much to our amazement".



Royal grabbing the ropes prior to rappelling.



Royal is very comfortable.



The summit. Royal and Pratt do not look too happy.



Enjoy,
Ken
Gene

climber
Aug 13, 2009 - 02:33pm PT
Ken,

Is that a Dulfersitz rap off El Cap? Mercy!

Brave.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Aug 13, 2009 - 02:38pm PT
Hi Tamara,

Welcome to SuperTopo. This is a picture of you, your mom and dad, your dad's guides at RockCraft and the clients.

Say hi to Liz and Royal.



Dawn Erb is sitting on her dad's (Dick) lap on the right. Judy, her mom, is on the far right, second row. Others you may know or have heard of: Chuck Pratt is on the far right top row. Chris Vandiver is on the far left second row. I am the second from the left in the top row. This RockCraft session was in the Balls in Southern Yosemite. Fun times.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Aug 13, 2009 - 02:38pm PT
At least he has a prusik backup.

Ken
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Aug 13, 2009 - 02:47pm PT
Another classic.


Ken
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