ROUTE The Nose (VI 5.9 A2), El Capitan LOCATION Yosemite Valley, California
On Tuesday, March 14, California rock-climbing and big-wall pioneer Royal Robbins, perhaps the leading light of American climbing’s Golden Age, passed away at age 82. Robbins pushed free-climbing standards to 5.9 with his 1952 ascent of Open Book in Tahquitz, California. Five years later, he made the first ascent of the Northwest Face of Half Dome with Jerry Gallwas and Mike Sherrick, America’s first VI big wall. With his wife, Liz, Robbins established the classic Nutcracker (5.8) in Yosemite, where they used passive protection, climbing clean, instead of bashing in rock-harming pitons. He taught many climbers critical ropework and climbing techniques through his books Basic Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft. In 1960, Robbins along with Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt, and Tom Frost made the second ascent of the
Nose ( pictured) without siege tactics. Through his climbing, Robbins defined big-wall style, climbing with few bolts and total commitment. “Getting to the top is nothing,” Robbins said. “But the way you do it is everything.” He is survived by Liz and his children, Tamara and Damon. Visit tinyurl.com/
mjwzprx for a full obituary.