Rock Climbing Pioneer Royal Robbins Dies At Age 82

Rock Climbing Pioneer Royal Robbins Dies At Age 82
Royal Robbins, one of the pioneers of American rock climbing, died on Tuesday after a long illness. He was 82. 

Along with his unprecedented ascents of many big wall routes in Yosemite, Robbins was also instrumental in shaping what climbing culture looked like through the 1960s and '70s. He, along with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, helped encourage "clean climbing" by using minimal equipment that wouldn't cause damage to the natural features of the rock like bolts and pitons. These standards and techniques would shape modern free and aid climbing as we know it today. 

Robbins would go on to author multiple how-to books that have become classics in the climbing world. Basic Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft both emphasize Robbins philosophies in respect to his "clean climbing" movement. To this day they are still invaluable resources and learning tools for rock climbers.

For the span of over a decade, Robbins made groundbreaking ascents that would change the face of climbing forever. While his most notable accomplishments took place in Yosemite, including first ascents of classic routes on El Capitan, Robbins accomplishments spanned the globe from the Wind River Range in Wyoming to the Mont Blanc Range in France.

In 1968, Royal, along with his wife Liz, founded his own outdoor apparel company called Mountain Paraphernalia. In the beginning the store started selling imported climbing equipment but would go on to add a clothing line, including the signature RR heavy wool sweaters. By the 1980s the company was known simply as Royal Robins, a name that it still holds today.

Robbins was not only a pioneer in the sport of rock climbing but was also an incredible writer, accomplished business owner, and loving father and husband. He will be missed.


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