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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion
General Climbing Discussion
About two months ago a regular climbing partner of mine did the VCC trad leading course at Arapiles. Prior to signing up for it she’d asked what courses I’d done when starting out and my reply was that besides observing what the leader had done as one seconded routes, I had also purchased Royal Robbins’ early 70s published books Basic Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft. I had then proceeded to read and reread them so many times over that large swathes of the material was burnt into my memory and thus soon proceeded to launch out on the pointy end. On several occasions BITD I observed at close hand the unfortunate results of long lines of nut runners unzipped due to falling leaders not having placed initial upwards force resisting or oppositional nut arrangements. Potential hazards that Robbins’ books illustrated well.
My favourite Robbins anecdote is from Chris Jones’ “Climbing in North America” 1976 book, that I used to own but have long ceased to.
One afternoon at the Climbers Camp in the Tetons, Robbins was hanging around with the Vulgarians when someone suggested a push-up contest. Within moments people were straining and sweating on the ground, but not Robbins. He disdained to join in. Not long afterward, so the story goes, one of the Vulgarians was walkng outside the campground when he saw a naked torso rhythmically heaving up and down. He gingerly crept forward, eagerly expecting to see a couple making love. To his surprise the torso belonged to Robbins— practising push-ups.
Sometime later Robbins was again enjoying a bull session with the Vulgarians. During a lull in the conversation he seized his chance, “Hey, you guys, do you want to have a push-up contest?”
Robbins was firmly on top of the American climbing pecking order and worked hard to maintain that position.
Actually that brings to mind a certain someone from the Australian 70s and 80s scene who’s loomed large on Chockstone in recent months. Hmm, now who might that be? ;)
I’ll finish with another bit from Jones’ book.
By the spring of 1968 Robbins had made the first or second ascent, and in the case of the Salathé Wall both the first and second ascents, of all seven major routes on El Capitan save the Muir Wall. Obviously this route, which still lacked a second ascent, was high on his list. In April he was on the Muir alone. It was a master stroke without precedent on El Cap. First, he led a pitch using a self-belaying system based on Jumars. Then he rappelled down and attached his haul bag to the rappel rope. As in a normal ascent, he jumped back up the fixed climbing rope while removing the pitons, hauled the bag, and was ready to tackle the next pitch. Small wonder that he averaged about 300 feet a day. On the tenth day he pulled over the top.
This is indeed sad news about the passing of one of Big Wall Climbings greatest icons.
He was a long held inspiration for me personally; so much so, that I once even made a pilgrimage to climb at Tahquitz Rock (southern California), to experience first hand where Royal was prolific in his early days of freeing early hard routes and putting up new lines...
Amongst my many climbing books that feature him, or were written by him, is a copy of his book Basic Rockcraft that is personally signed by him; ... something that I will treasure a little more whilst it sojourns in my possession.
I'm still somewhat stunned by this news though I read it the other day; (thanks for bringing it to our attention PI), ... as he was certainly the main influence on my climbing for pretty much the whole of my climbing career...
My sincere condolences go to his family and friends, as we are all poorer for his passing.
Just hit the 'Like' key M9.
If anyone finds additional articles or obituaries please link them here... The following are good for those who've not yet read them.
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