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Plaidman

Royal Robbins Book - Fail Falling

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I wrote this up on my blog. Thought some here may be interested:

 

Royal Robbins is one of my heroes of all time. Here he is again writing about adventure in the highest sense. The stories of his apprenticeship with the Rock Climbing Section of Sierra Club's Los Angeles Chapter are great, in that they show that great climbers are not hatched. They are taught. Some climbers have natural ability, which Royal Robbins had and has coming out his ears, but some skills need to be learned at the hand of others.

Most climbers have to serve this apprenticeship and some like Royal, exceed the teachers that shared the craft of climbing freely with those in their charge. To survive your apprenticeship, move into the teacher's role, and then give liberally your knowledge to others, is what Royal Robbins has done and shares in this volume.

The title of the book comes from the pages of the story of learning and adventure on Maniac's Face at Mt. Pacifico. Robbins writes, that on a climb of some difficulty he learned this lesson. "What if you climb as if you were going to make it, without any thought of failure?" He made up his mind that he that he would fail falling. What a gem in the art of climbing. He tells this better than I, on page 27. It's gems like this that I look for when reading about climbing. There are many more in this book.

The free climb of the Open Book, Yosemite Point Buttress, and the climb of the Steck- Salathe' route on The Sentinel are some of my favorite stories ever. The accomplishment of free climbing a 5.9 problem in tennis shoes grips my attention. How Royal found that hole in the top of the chimney in The Narrows on The Sentinel has me dreaming that someday I could be there. It is still one of my goals and tops my list as the most sought after lead, even before getting up El Cap before my 50th birthday. I was told by an up and coming guide that if he should not be up there on The Sentinel, I had no business being there either. I'll keep working away and finish that dream someday.

Royal Robbins also writes about some of the innovations that he had a hand in contributing to the climbing community, like the Yosemite Decimal System of grading rock climbing routes. Also figuring out some of the biggest walls ever done up to that time. The climb of The Northwest Face of Half Dome in 1957 was nothing but pure brilliance. As a result of this climb it changed the whole world of climbing. The big walls could be climbed as proven by the master and his partners. The narrative is riveting and getting to Thank God Ledge, when the author tells the tale, you can almost hear the relief from the pages.

 

I loved this book. I thank the author for all he has done to inspire my generation to climb with style, and an ethic to think about preserving the rock for future generations.

When you pick up this book, you will not be disappointed. I wasn't, I've read the it twice so far.

 

Why is patience a virtue?

Because not many people have it.

Edited by Plaidman

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i'll always be more of a warren harding acolyte though :)

 

Semper Farcimus Bruther! Rough translation must be "Fail while F*d up, Brohter".

 

Nice report Scott. I'm waiting for the full 6 book set.

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As a young climber I poured over all the old robbins photos and stories, and emulated his ethic of style and ethics. Defenitley an inspiration as a young climber looking at the big walls and asking if I could even aspire to 2% of what they did.

 

I have been whitewater boating nearly all my life, but hadn't heard of Royal Robbins in that arena. Not too long ago, A good climber friend of mine that happens to be a top notch whitewater kayaker qued me into another aspect of Royal Robbins, He should have been just as famous if not more so in the whitewater kayaking community than the climbing community with many first descents of rivers that were cutting edge difficulty at the time. Somehow he was not immortalized in that sport, maybe there wasn't the publication scene at that time, and whitewater stories may not be as interesting to read, at least to me anyway. Seriously, if you can believe it, his whitewater feats were as much or more impressive in the whitwater kayaking cirlce as his rock climbs were to us climbers. It is quite amazine to be at the top of the game in two very differnet adventure activities.

 

a little snippett

http://adventuresportsjournal.com/miscellaneous/flashback-high-peaks-and-deep-canyons-by-kayak

 

Harding while also impressive with climbing, drinking, and pussy (not to discount any of these skills as unimpressive) was probably more one dimensional

 

 

Edited by shapp

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i'll always be more of a warren harding acolyte though :)

 

[video:youtube]J6_1Pw1xm9U

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I have a good deal of respect for him too but noticed that his new book seems to have a "part 1" and "part 2" as different books at $20 a piece. Wish he could have found a way to put that together. Still, he is probably one of the most influential and visionary climbers of the US.

 

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Anyone who thinks their autobiography needs to be 7 books long is a little (a lot!) full of themselves, even royal robbins.

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