Royal Robbins, Father of Yosemite Rock Climbing, may have passed away on March 14, but his legacy of benchmarking "clean climbing" and respecting the natural earth formations will remain. He and his wife, Liz Robbins have been considered as icons during the 1960's when they had set techniques that allow them to climb with damages to the environment.
Robbins and his team first climbed Northwest Face of Half Dome in the Yosemite Valley during 1957 which was said to be "unclimbable." Among his other feats include climbing solo the West Face of Leaning Tower and El Capitan.
Royal and Liz also went on developing tools, techniques and even apparel for other climbers to follow suit. Notably, the couple created a route which they call "Nutcracker," when they avoided using pitons when climbing in the Yosemite. Pitons are spikes hammered to the rocks, therefore, destroying the geological formation of the valley. They instead use nuts placed in holes and crevices of the mountain and uses ropes to hold on to. That way, they wouldn't destroy the rocks at Yosemite.
Also, in 1967, when they climbed the Half Dome, they saw their jeans being ripped to pieces they said, "Maybe we had better get in the apparel business!" Thus, the Billy Goat apparel and the Royal Robbins Company started, so that climbers like them can have the ease of moving to the harsh environment of Yosemite.
When Royal was in his forties, he developed psoriatic arthritis which triggers joint pains and swelling. He gave up climbing and found new love in kayaking for the next few years. The couple, moreover, sold their company in 2007. A decade later, he was proclaimed dead at his home in California. He was 82 years old.
National Geographic Magazine reported Royal as saying: "I have given my life to the vertical endeavor, and it has repaid me in full, but there are other areas too, such as hopping freights, kayaking, business, marriage, and raising a family, that speak of high adventure. ... Life is an adventure and character counts."
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