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Royal Robbins (1935 - 2017)

Wikimedia Commons / Tom Frost

Royal Robbins (1935 - 2017)

Royal Robbins, a rock climbing legend and founder of an outdoor clothing company that bears his name, died Tuesday, March 14, 2017, after a long illness, according to multiple news sources. He was 82.

The CEO of Royal Robbins, Michael Millenacker, said Robbins died at his home in Modesto, California, surrounded by his family.

Millenacker paid tribute to Robbins in this statement: "Royal was a legendary pioneer who approached everything in life with a true spirit of adventure. He gave me my first break in the outdoor industry and set me on the path to meld a passion for the outdoors with a career. He taught me to work with purpose, that the harder we worked, the more we could give back."

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Robbins was part of a group of pioneering rock climbers who lived in Yosemite. He was involved in many notable first ascents including climbs of El Capitan and Half Dome. He was also a pioneer of clean climbing methods that spare the mountain of any damage.

"I think that he set the rules for the game of climbing and he believed in the rules of the game. The lives of those of us who climbed were enriched by Royal's insistence on getting the rules right," said Daniel Duane, an author who wrote a book on Robbins. "If it hadn't been for Royal, all those cliffs would be a total mess."

Robbins and his wife, Liz, completed the first ascent of the Nutcracker route in the Yosemite Valley using only removable gear. It marked the first climb of this kind in the United States. The couple founded the Royal Robbins clothing line in 1968.

Robbins, who continued climbing into his 70s, also was a world-class adventure kayaker. He also wrote popular instruction manuals on rock climbing.

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