Royal Rob­bins

Climbing - - FLASH - TOM FROST / AURORA PHOTOS

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.

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