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Royal Robbins: Spirit of the Age (Climbing…

Royal Robbins: Spirit of the Age (Climbing Classics)

by Pat Ament

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0811729133, Paperback)

Royal Robbins is one the pioneers of American climbing. His competitive spirit helped him change his sport forever. But it was his relentless desire that helped him push back the boundaries of what anyone had previously thought possible. Pat Ament has diligently chronicled Robbins's life and achievements by taking us from his Boy Scout days, to his triumphs in the Yosemite Valley, to his postscript career as a formidable kayaker. But the main focus is Robbins's years in Yosemite, where he went after whichever route the world said couldn't be climbed. We follow him up the Washington Column, Half Dome, the Nose of El Capitan, and on a solo ascent of the Leaning Tower. Ament also plays historian by laying down the foundations of the American climbing scene, transmitting a feel for Yosemite during its golden age--when the world had not yet crushed "the valley" in its clumsy grip. Moreover, he allows us to appreciate what went into setting the routes we climb today by giving detailed accounts of the first ascents. It is humbling to know that the routes we struggle on were first protected by slinging wires through machine nuts called "stoppers." And you get a real sense of the dedication when you know that Robbins' friend and fellow pioneer, Yvon Chouinard, was first creating pitons from shards of old Ford axles. Ament's style is constricted at times, and the biography often reads more like a textbook, but if you fancy yourself a student of climbing history, this is your textbook. And the life of Royal Robbins is certainly a prerequisite. --Benjamin Tiffany

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:12 -0400)

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