royal rob­bins

Climbing - - THE APPROACH -

Back in 1997, I was liv­ing in Boul­der, Colorado, and climb­ing ev­ery free mo­ment. Royal Rob­bins was one of my idols. One day, dur­ing a staff meet­ing, I found out that my as­sis­tant man­ager was Royal’s daugh­ter, Ta­mara. I was in shock. All I could say was, “Oh … so you’re from Modesto.” Months passed, and Ta­mara and I be­came good friends. We never spoke of her fa­ther un­til one day when I was con­sid­er­ing driv­ing up to Jack­son Hole, Wy­oming, to climb the Exum Ridge on the Grand Te­ton. I had only mi­nor ex­pe­ri­ence in that type of climb­ing and asked Ta­mara ca­su­ally, “The next time you talk to your dad, ask him if he thinks a solid-5.9 climber can han­dle the Exum Ridge.” A few hours later, Ta­mara yelled from the of­fice, “Chad, my dad’s on line two for you!” I nearly shit my shorts. I ended up hav­ing a five-minute phone con­ver­sa­tion with the God­fa­ther of Rock Climb­ing. I was in such a panic I didn’t even know what to say. His deep voice greeted me. He asked me ques- tions about my climb­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and then rem­i­nisced about the last time he’d climbed the Grand Te­ton. The en­tire call, I did my best not to sound like a giddy school­girl. He ended the call say­ing I should go for it and to have a great time. It was truly one of the coolest things that has ever hap­pened to me. Thank you, Royal, for all that you did for the climb­ing com­mu­nity and for me, and for hook­ing up Mag­num P.I. with Billy Goat shorts! Rest in peace. —Chad Baird, via Climb­ing.com

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