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ROYAL ROBBINS THE AMERICAN CLIMBER David Smart 2023 1st edition New IN STOCK Multiple copies available
By Smart, David
Price: $21.95

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Detailed Product Description
USA, September 2023, 1st edition. 253 pp, photos, some in color. New paperback. 

This is much more than a biography of one man and his climbs. It tells us in detail how modern Yosemite Big Wall climbing developed, starting at Tahquitz actually. You could climb bottom to top at Tahquitz in the 1950s, but not in Yosemite. Nobody was even thinking about climbing the big walls until Warren Harding came along and climbed the Nose of El Cap in 1958. In the 1960s modern climbing, free, aid, solo, and multi day big walls, was being developed, and Robbins was one of the inventors. So this is really a story of much more than RR's part.

RR also was the person who brought nuts and clean climbing from Europe to America. He had to twist Chouinard's arm to get with the program of clean climbing! There are many stories like this in this wonderful new book. (I read it, Mike C)

''Once again David Smart brings his impressive abilities for in-depth research, nuanced historical interpretation and immersive prose to a biography of a complex and enigmatic climber -- demonstrating how fortunate we all are, as readers of mountain literature, that Smart has chosen this genre.''  -- Katie Ives

Royal Robbins (1935 – 2017) was one of the pioneers of high standard free climbing as well as epic multi-day big wall aid climbing. After learning to climb at Tahquitz Rock, he went on to make first ascents of many big wall routes in Yosemite. As an early proponent of boltless, pitonless clean climbing, he, along with Yvon Chouinard, was instrumental in changing the climbing culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s by encouraging the use and preservation of the natural features of the rock. 

Royal Robbins chronicles his early years growing up as a latchkey kid in Southern California. As an adult he was an aspiring banker, as well as one of the original Camp 4 dirtbags. His later decades found him as as a father, husband, kayaker, and the trailblazing founder of the outdoor apparel company that bears his name. 

This intimate, colorful tour of climbing history covers Yosemite, the Tetons, the Gunks, the Alps, the United Kingdom, and more from the 1960s onward. The memoirs include his wife Liz Robbins, Yvon Chouinard, John Harlin, Steve Roper, Warren Harding, Tom Frost, and Doug Tompkins.

An important addition to our knowledge of the Golden Age of rock climbing in Yosemite and the development of the clean climbing ethos, Royal Robbins sheds new light on an elemental figure of outdoor culture.

Royal Robbins' list of first ascents is truly awesome:

1952 First free ascent (FFA) of Open Book (Tahquitz), the first route to be rated 5.9 in the Yosemite Decimal System.
1957 Northwest Face of Half Dome, Yosemite, CA. First grade VI climb in America. With Mike Sherrick and Jerry Gallwas.
1960 The Nose, El Capitan, Yosemite, CA. With Tom Frost, Chuck Pratt, and Joe Fitschen, Second Ascent (first continuous) completed in 7 days

1961 Salathé Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite, CA. Hardest big wall grade VI climb in world at time of first ascent. With Tom Frost and Chuck Pratt.
1962 American Direct, Aiguille du Dru, Mont Blanc Range, France. With Gary Hemming.
1963 Direct NW Face of Half Dome, Yosemite, CA. With Dick McCracken.
1963 Robbins Route, Mount Proboscis, Logan Mountains, NWT, Canada. With Jim McCarthy, Layton Kor and Dick McCracken.

1964 North America Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite, CA. With Tom Frost, Chuck Pratt and Yvon Chouinard.
1964 North Face, Mount Hooker, Wind River Range, Wyoming. With Dick McCracken and Charlie Raymond.
1964 Danse Macabre, Devils Tower, Wyoming.
1964 Final Exam, Castle Rock, Boulder, CO. With Pat Ament.
1964 Athlete's Feat, Castle Rock, Boulder, CO.

1965 American Direttissima, Aiguille du Dru, Mont Blanc Range, France. With John Harlin.
1965 Dihedral Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, United States. With Tom Frost. First Continuous Ascent. 
1967 Nutcracker, Yosemite, CA. An early all-nut protected route, now a Yosemite classic.
1967 West Face, El Capitan, Yosemite Valley – First ascent with TM Herbert.
1967 North Face, VI 5.9 A3, Mount Geikie, Canadian Rockies, first ascent with John Hudson.
1967 North Face, Mount Edith Cavell, Canadian Rockies – First solo ascent.

1968 Muir Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, CA – First Solo Ascent.
1969 Mount Jeffers, Cathedral Spires, Kichatna Mountains, Alaska. First ascent of peak with Fitschen and Raymond.
1969 The Prow, Washington Column, Yosemite, CA. With Glen Denny.
1969 Tis-sa-ack, Half Dome, Yosemite, CA. With Don Peterson.
1970 Arcturus, Half Dome, Yosemite, CA. With Dick Dorworth.

What were YOU doing in the 1960s?

Harding did the Nose in 47 days in 1958.
RR did the Nose in only 7 days in 1960.   
The time to beat now is Tommy and Alex, 1:58:07, in 2018. 

I just noticed that there is a magic sound doing the climb in under 2 hours... just as we are about to see one of the oldest sporting events also break the 2 hour limit, the Marathon!

I was 10 years old in 1954 when Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, and remember what a hoopla there was from people who had probably never seen a real foot race. 




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