Royal Robbins Dies at 82

Royal Robbins

Royal Robbins | Credit: Pat Ament Wikimedia | License

Royal Robbins, a legendary rock climber who helped define the rules of engagement for the sport, died on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at the age of 82. 

Robbins made his mark on the world of rock climbing, taking his shots at famed Yosemite sites like Sentinel Rock and El Capitan – part of his allure fell into the way in which he climbed, often using cheap tools and footwear to achieve the impossible.

Born in 1935, Robbins grew up in Southern California much like most other working-class children spending segmented years between trailer parks before learning how to climb in the early 1950s. His first tackle was Tahquitz, a granite crag that includes nearly featureless sections across its routes and is notorious for loose rock on its North Side. His daring first run would be a testament to his audacious achievements in the future, which struck awe in his followers.

One of his most famous ascents was on El Capitan when he successfully made the second ascent after Warren Harding made his first, which took Harding 18 months of fixed rope planning, 125 metal bolts and a final 47-day push to the top in 1958. Robbin’s ascent only took him 7 days.

His 20 plus year career in rock climbing saw him break barriers and change the way the sport was played, being ever so daring and incredibly fearless.

His achievements include ascents on Sentinal Rock, Tahquitz, Open Book, Steck-Salathé and El Capitan and he frequented Yosemite National Park for his adventures.



Duane, Dan. “Obituary: Royal Robbins (1935–2017).” Outside Online. Outside Magazine, 15 Mar. 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. <;.

Miller, C., comp. “Tahquitz & Suicide Rocks.” Mountain Project. REI, 19 Jan. 2006. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. <–suicide-rocks/105788020&gt;.

“Royal Robbins.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Mar. 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. <;.

9 responses to “Royal Robbins Dies at 82

  1. I had no idea Robbins had died. I’m very sad to hear it, will do some writing about him (met him in the 1970’s) and cite you. No doubt there’s been some writing about him, any pieces you recommend?


  2. Pingback: Remembering Royal Robbins | Richard's Notes·

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