Climbing Legend Royal Robbins Dies at 82

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Royal Robbins, a renowned rock climber, environmental activist, and all around adventure pioneer, has passed away at the age of 82 according to the apparel company that bears his name.

“We are deeply saddened to report that our founder and legendary rock climber Royal Robbins passed away Tuesday, March 14 after a long illness,” the brand noted on its website and Facebook page.

“Royal was a leading figure in the Golden Age of Yosemite Valley climbing and was one of the first and most vocal proponents of clean climbing. In 1967, Royal and (wife) Liz Robbins made the first ascent of Nutcracker in the Yosemite Valley using only removable nuts for protection. It was the first climb of its kind in the United States and it started a clean climbing revolution.”Robbins, who was born in West Virginia, ushered in the age of Big Rock Climbing with numerous first ascents inlcuding El Capitan’s Salathe Wall and North American Wall in Yosemite and the first free ascent of the Open Book in Tahquitz, California.

When a bout with arthritis ended his wildly successful climbing career, Robbins set his sights on the world of extreme whitewater kayaking, completing multiple first descents and bagging kayaking’s famed Triple Crown alongside fellow adventure pioneers Doug Tompkins and Yvonne Chouinard.

The Triple Crown includes the Middle Fork of the Kings River, the San Joaquin Gorge, and the 55-mile Kern Trench, all in California.

Robbins also wrote two influential rock climbing books, Basic Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft, effectively steering the culture of the sport in a more ethical, “Leave No Trace” direction.

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