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Item #: OP54-288
MASTER OF ROCK: THE BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN GILL Pat Ament 1977 1st ed Hardcover DJ Fine
By Ament, Pat
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Boulder, Alpine House,, 1977, 1st edition. 197 pp, 255 Photos. Biography of the legendary Colorado boulderer. Hardcover, DJ, Very Fine. Book and DJ are like new. 

This first printing is different from the 1992 edition. This 1977 first edition has 70 more photos, different photos, and is larger in size than the 1992 edition.

This book includes several chapters by contemporary climbers who describe their experiences with Gill: Dave Rearick, Paul Mayrose, Yvon Chouinard, Jim Erickson and Steve Wunsch. Gill climbed in the Needles of South Dakota, Estes Park, the Tetons, Devil's Lake Wisconsin, Shades Mountain in Alabama, Elephant Rocks Missouri, Pueblo CO, Pennirile Forest KT, Veedauwoo Wyoming, Shawangunks New York, Eldorado Canyon CO, Dixon Springs IL, City of Rocks Idaho, Rocky Mountain National Park, many boulders and short routes around Fort Collins CO, etc.

From the blurb for the book:

John Gill is probably the most legendary American climber. Since 1955 he has specialized in bouldering, and many of his creations have never been repeated. In 1969, the American Alpine Club published Gill's essay, 'The Art of Bouldering,' and the climbing world, vaguely aware of Gill's ability to do a onefinger pull up, sat up and took notice. Here was no gimmick artist, but a serious climber who had dedicated countless hours and many years to training body and mind, and to accomplishing short routes of previously unconsidered difficulty. In MASTER OF ROCK Pat Ament clearly communicates John Gill's evolution in climbing. Gill's accomplishments are identified, and we are given a clear view of Gill as a person. At times Gill's approach to climbing verges on the transcendental, and, as we read of his powers, we are left with the feeling that perhaps some mystical force propels him.

From John Gill's Website:

Pat Ament : Pat and I first met in 1967, just after I had moved to Fort Collins. The friendship that resulted from our first encounter has lasted 36 years. Although ten years my junior, we had, in common the most important thing two climbers can have in common: remarkably similar perspectives of our craft.

We were both gymnasts, and Pat, independantly, had started using chalk in climbing only a few years after I had introduced it elsewhere. We both viewed rock climbing as an extension of gymnastics. What I had in pulling strength, Pat had in pressing strength. He could do a hollowback press to handstand from the floor, followed by a number of handstand push-ups. He once held a one-arm handstand on the parallel bars for 18 seconds (I don't think I ever went beyond 5). Along with one-arm mantels on the rock, he could also do a very slow and controlled muscle-up on the high bar, rotating both elbows simultaneously a very difficult feat.

But, most importantly for our friendship, we were aware of spiritual or mystical dimensions of the sport. We also thought of our climbing as an artistic endeavor.

Pat is a significant artist. He is a prolific writer, having written literally dozens of books about various aspects of climbing, including an original guidebook 'High Over Boulder', that set benchmarks for precision and accuracy. He is a composer, pianist, and singer, and his line drawings are superb. He is also, and fundamentally, a poet. The balance he has achieved between the physical realm including being a black belt Karate instructor and the artistic or spiritual realm is extraordinary.

Now , for a few words about his climbing feats. Besides setting new bouldering standards at Flagstaff Mountain, in Boulder, during the 1960s, he made significant climbs in Colorado and Yosemite. Pat's ascent of Supremacy Crack in Eldorado Canyon at the age of eighteen in 1965 established one of the hardest short climbs in the country. He authored the first 5.11 in Yosemite - the Center Slack at the base of El Cap - as well.

He is also a true master of safety in climbing , having the ability to place adequate protection in even the most barren of traditional climbs. Pat was a leading innovator and experimented with various approaches to rock climbing during a transitionary era, fraught with ethical dilemmas, toward the end of the Golden Age. He raised a few waves because of this and because of a powerful intellect and a quiet but forceful attitude, not averse to philosophical and verbal argument.

He has weathered these minor squalls with determination and resiliency, and to some extent, I think they define him. He is a rare renaissance man in an age of increasing specialization. The only true poet I know who weaves his spell upon the rock as well. (2003)

For those of you interested in learning more about this great old friend of mine, I recommend Pat's Stories of a Young Climber an Autobiography . By the way, Pat Ament has a great new book : Everything That Matters (2004)


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