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Robbins Biography

Original Post
Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 180

Ive watched Valley Uprising and Vertical Frontier (very similar) which both have a ton of info on Ribbons' time in yosemite but Im wondering if anyone has read either his autobiography or the biography written by Pat Ament or other robbins biographies.

If so, are they a good read? Thanks.

Rich Farnham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 278

I read the Ament biography years ago and enjoyed it. Ament's writing style takes a little getting used to. It's been a while, but I think it was a little choppy, like a collection of anecdotes that son't really flow into a longer story. Still, lots of good Royal stories.

Also lots of good Royal stories in Roper's "Camp 4".

Alex Rogers · · Sydney, Australia · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 40

I bought the first installment (now only installment, I guess) of his autobiography To Be Brave. I found it mildly interesting, and his painfully honest account gave some decent insight into his character. But I found his plans to write a 5-7 book autobiography ludicrously ambitious - one well-edited book would have done it - and didn't plan to read any more. He was first rate at so many things, but not so much at writing. I would love to read a comprehensive Robbins biography by a good climbing writer - maybe Krakauer or Roberts.

Arlo F Niederer · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 460

I went to two of Robbins RockCraft courses when I was 18 and 19, so he has been an inspiration for a long time, and I read everything I could about him.

A way to learn about him is to track down the various articles about Royal and his climbs. The easiest ones to find are AAJ accounts of his major climbs. The AAJ articles about the Salathe, North American wall, and Mt.Hooker are quite interesting and engaging. The North American Wall photos of many placements of nested pins with barely their tips in the rock (A5) will scare the piss out of you. You will find these articles (and others) reproduced in compilations of articles about Yosemite. One is called Yosemite Climber.

There are several good articles in Ascent Magazine. There are articles about Tis-si-ack, Robbins rescue of Warren Harding and Galen Rowell on the south face of Half Dome, and another about Royal climbing big walls in Alaska. I believe that's where the article about his solo of the Muir Wall is located, too.

In an 80's book about Colorado climbing there is a good account of his trip to Colorado to climb with Pat Ament and Layton Kor, when he freed Athletes Feet.

I think Pat Aments book is better after you have read the articles about the bigger climbs. It fills in the times where he would get together with the best climbers from other areas and "just" climb.

Also, read Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft and you will have a good feel for the man. I think his writing of accounts of climbs is way better than the writing in the biography Royal wrote.

I'm sure the AAC would have all of these. If you are a member you can check them out.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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