/ NEWS: VIDEO/PHOTOS: John Bachar Dies

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UKC News - on 06 Jul 2009
[Tyrus and John Bachar, 2 kb]John Bachar: 1957 – 2009

John Bachar fell whilst soloing at the Dike Wall, Mammoth Lakes, California yesterday and was found dead at the base of the cliff. He leaves a son, Tyrus. John was 52.

"I'm going to climb for the rest of my life"

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=48225

Thanks to Damo for the original thread
Jamie B - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

That footage of Crackattack is a masterclass in precise, controlled movement. He was a very special and pivotal climber. RIP John.
Ian Parnell - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News: The thing that impressed me most about him was not just the truely astonishing climbing (he's probably appeared in the most ammount of photos where Ive starred mouth open in amazement trying to find the hidden rope...) but his committment to what he believed in.

It was obviously exceptionally difficult for him to fight the corner for traditional climbing, at times what must have seen single-handledly, particularly at a time when his contemporaries using sport tactics suddenly "appeared" to be climbing several grades harder. But he didn't waver and stuck true to his vision of what climbing could be. A vision of climbing far beyond mere numbers and closer to a form of art where not only did he master the physical side of climbing but also the mental game to a level very few have ever reached.

PS Is it just me or has the other thread been removed? If so could the thoughts of posters be transferred here please Mick/Alan?
Hugh Cottam - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Very sad. Seems crazy to have done the things he's done and fall somewhere as innocuous as Dike Wall. If someone came along today and claimed to have soloed half of the things that he'd done they'd be dismissed as a fantasist.

I remember doing Moratorium and desperately trying to get my head around the idea that he had actually soloed it on sight. Unbelievable.

RIP
Bulls Crack - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to Hugh Cottam:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Very sad. Seems crazy to have done the things he's done and fall somewhere as innocuous as Dike Wall.

It tends to a bit of a leveler.

Very sad. RIP and condolences to his family.
duncan - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

September 1981. Every day at 5pm, a small crowd would gather around the east side of the Columbia boulder, a house-sized rock in the middle of Yosemite’s camp 4. Fingers were poised over shutters; there might be a couple of Japanese guys with a video camera. A figure would stride out of the woods, briefly clean his boots and climb. Precisely and securely, moves that were ludicrously hard but performed with utter precision and control. Was that a slight hesitation before the final mantle? A brief recognition of the ankle-twisting height? No just a subtle readjustment, then he bounded up the slabs and away. At the time, Midnight Lightening had been climbed by just two people; dozens more had spent weeks or months in futile effort. This blond god would climb it every day, in the middle of the climber’s campground in the most important climbing area in the world. The confidence! The arrogance!

The crowd would slowly wander away. The locals would continue cooking, pretending badly not to have been watching all along. Two or three well-muscled individuals would resume their efforts with the same holds. But how could they be the same holds? It was like seeing a group of three year-olds trying to kick a football after witnessing Maradona.
Michael Ryan - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

>
> Thanks to Damo for the original thread

by - Masood ? on - 06:00 Mon
In reply to Damo:

R.I.P.

A true legend and an inspiration...

- by - john arran ? on - 07:30 Mon -
In reply to Damo:

How very sad.
He was an inspiration to thousands - the most talented, accomplished and charismatic climber of his age. What a shame he'll no longer be able to enjoy what he clearly loved so much to do.


- by - Crofty ? on - 08:03 Mon -
In reply to Damo:

Very sad. Condolences to all who knew him. Crofty

- by - witnessthis ? on - 08:29 Mon -
In reply to Damo:

Terrible news,he was a massive personality and though I did not know him he was a living legend in the world of climbing that i grew up in. .Definately inspired many many people it was horrible to hear about his accident a while ago and then reassuring to hear he came back from that and now this- a real shame.

by - petestack ? on - 08:59 Mon -
In reply to Damo:

What sad news!

by - Mick Ward ? on - 09:01 Mon -
In reply to john arran:
> (In reply to Damo)

> He was an inspiration to thousands - the most talented, accomplished and charismatic climber of his age.

Beautifully put. Like so many, I always yearned to meet him, see him climb... We swapped the odd email, but it's not the same. At least he died doing what he loved. May you rest in peace, John Bachar.

Mick



Nic on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Only 51? Blimey, he was only 5 years older than me, but seems to have been around for ever? No doubt he's done a bit more than me, whether on grit or otherwise. May his God go with him.
Karl Bromelow on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:
I didn't know John but have known of him since I first got interested in rock climbing. I emailed him a few months ago with a couple of queries about Acopa rock shoes. His replies were brief, witty and friendly. I'm sad at this news. His influence his character and our fleeting communication makes me sad as though I had known him. Your father is a legend Tyrus. Be strong fella.
jazzyjackson on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:
terrible news. Always had massive respect for John. RIP.
3 Names - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Thats a real shame, condolences
petestack - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

What a sad quote at 3:49 in the video...

'It doesn't really do anything to me, cos I know I'm not gonna fall.'

Hope it didn't hurt in the end.
john arran - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to petestack:

Wasn't he talking then about not being scared when he was roped up?

The quote that brought a lump to my throat was at the end: "I'm gonna climb for the rest of my life."
petestack - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to john arran:

Don't know (not sure now, because it depends what he meant by 'strapped into the rock'), but it's not important. A sad end to a great life either way.
Craig Smith on 06 Jul 2009 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
Very sad. There is no doubt in my mind he had a major effect on UK climbing. A truly inspirational climber and an ikon.



Dave Garnett - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to Nic:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Only 51? Blimey, he was only 5 years older than me, but seems to have been around for ever?

My reaction exactly. He was the same age as me but I always thought of him as being of an earlier generation based on his achievement and reputation.

Am I the only one who didn't read this thread immediately because I had no idea what it was about? He didn't pass, or even issue passes. He died.
Mr. K - on 06 Jul 2009
Very sad news.
subalpine - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to Dave Garnett: i was expecting to see video/photos of him in the back of an ambulance like Jacko
Funk on John..
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=203728
neilh - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:
A hero and climbing god....I did not realise he wa sonly 51...
French Erick - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

A truly great figure of our sport has gone. The Man had reached mythical status in my scale of thing.
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to john arran:

I think when he said 'strapped in to the rock' he didn't mean roped, but more about when in felt in control and had good holds.
SteveSBlake - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

It was only last night I was reading some of his input on Supertopo about the Bachar - Yerian.

It's a sad day when anyone dies climbing, but this man was a giant in our game, and his attitude and approach to ethics rippled across the pond to here. I for one was hugely inspired by his approach.

I never met him, but it was clear from his posts on Supertopo that in addition to being a superb climber, he was a great bloke, enthusiastic and supportive to all, regardless, be you punter or stud. An elite athlete without an elitist attitude to the community.....

A sad day,

Best wishes to his family.

Steve
Dave Garnett - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to subalpine:

I don't usually do emotion online, but you'd need to be hard indeed not to be moved by this:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=896157
Michael Ryan - on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to Dave Garnett:

That's right Dave and whether you are father or son, mother or daughter.

Devastating.

Online, offline it makes no freakin difference in this case.
Jonno on 06 Jul 2009 - user-3e88652a.tcl119.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to UKC News:

This is strange. I could have swore I read news of his death in a US climbing magazine last year !

I thought when I saw the headline...why have they resurrected this old story ? convinced as I was that he'd been dead for at least 10 months.

liz j on 06 Jul 2009
In reply to Jonno:
I think he had a car accident last year? I have just read some of the tributes on Supertopo, very sad.
survival on 07 Jul 2009 - 75-173-37-41.albq.qwest.net
In reply to UKC News: Hello all. My name is Bruce and I was an old friend of John Evans, whom you lost in Wales recently. I created a memorial thread to John Evans on Supertopo after the accident.

It is good to see all your posts and thoughts about John Bachar. We are truly reeling here in the states as I'm sure you know. Thanks to those of you that have posted on Supertopo.
Thanks to Mick for posting a link to Tyrus's thread.

Here is the most complete memorial thread that we have going. (There are a number) This thread was begun by Mike Graham, a lifelong friend of Johns.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=896012

Please come on over and post up to any of these threads. We will all appreciate knowing that our brothers across the water are with us.
EddieBauer - on 07 Jul 2009
In reply to survival:

Good article here -

http://www.mountainsandwater.com/
Bachar was a pivotal figure of Ameican climbing, a visionary and one of the few that wholeheartedly walked the talk. He made a set of rules for himself and he lived by them. Sure his passion was so deep and all consuming that it made him many enemies though time, but it's also figures like this that make climbing so special, and why history is so important in our fragile sport so that everynow and again we can be reminded of that. Climbing is rawness that we sometimes too easily forget.

Paul T
SteepMedia - on 07 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Awful news.

We only met John the once, but were immediately struck by his generosity, his passion for climbing and his incredible story telling ability. Here's a video extract from the interview we filmed with him in July last year:

http://steepmedia.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/john-bachar-1957-2009/

My deepest condolences go out to John’s family and friends.

Dave
ads.ukclimbing.com
Cragrat Rich on 07 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

I was really touched by his Man, Myth, Legend dvd.
His personal experiences of climbing are the kind of which I cannot imagine and frankly, daren't even dream of.

It's a very sad loss; my thoughts are with his family and friends!

Gasmerchant - on 07 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

RIP John. You were an inspiration to so many of us.
gallam1 - on 07 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:
He soloed Father Figure at Joshua Tree. Anyone who likes gritstone and is in the vicinity should go and have a go at leading it. A truly shocking and inspirational ascent.
Kipper - on 07 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Very sad news. And in all my time reading/interacting on other sites I never knew he was Karl Baba....

RIP
subalpine - on 07 Jul 2009
In reply to Kipper:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> I never knew he was Karl Baba....
>
eh?

SteveSBlake - on 07 Jul 2009
In reply to Kipper:

Hi Kipper,

I think you're mistaken, Karl Baba has been contributing to the obit and support thread for John's son Tyrus on Supertopo and more.

It all remains a great shame.

Best regards,

Steve

Jon Read - on 07 Jul 2009
In reply to gallam1:
Indeed. The photo of that for Boreal advert is one of the finest most outrageous climbing photos I've ever seen. Amazing.
tobyfk - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to Dave Garnett:
> (In reply to subalpine)

> I don't usually do emotion online, but you'd need to be hard indeed not to be moved by this:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=896157

Indeed. The opening post of that thread is heart-breaking. Various people's comments elsewhere imply that he had sole care of his son: if true it would be easy to moralise ... Then again, as far as I recall, Dike Wall is scarcely bigger than a gritstone crag and was also near his home, so maybe he did not perceive it as any kind of meaningful risk?

subalpine - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to Jon Read:
> (In reply to gallam1)
> Indeed. The photo of that for Boreal advert is one of the finest most outrageous climbing photos I've ever seen. Amazing.

this one?
http://www.wspinanie.pl/serwis/200901/02bachar_father_figure.jpg
5.13a- isn't that about E7/8?

EddieBauer - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to subalpine:

Think this one used by Boreal back in the day...

http://cirrus-digital.com/Bachar/On%20the%20Lamb.jpg
Fire Marshall - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

One word... Moratorium. A solo, on sight ascent of this is mind melting by today's standards, never mind back when he actually sent it. And that's just one route in a long line of both roped and unroped ascents that redefined the envelope of what's actually possible... An utterly awesome rock athelete and pioneer, totally badass, totally rad. 'nuff said. J
Kipper - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to subalpine:
> (In reply to Kipper)
> [...]
> eh?

Apologies - got (more) confused by the copyright while hovering over the photo in the news article.

gallam1 - on 09 Jul 2009
In reply to subalpine:
> (In reply to Jon Read)
> [...]
>
> this one?
> http://www.wspinanie.pl/serwis/200901/02bachar_father_figure.jpg
> 5.13a- isn't that about E7/8?

The closest comparison in the UK is Second Generation at High Rocks, with pumpy climbing to a crux right at the top at about 40'. And then you have to climb a very gritty version of the crux of Three Pebble Slab to get to the belay. Any ordinary human being facing this having just survived the rest of it would simply burst into tears and jump off.

And this was 1985. Can you imagine what might have happened if he had visited gritstone that year? Soloing Beau Geste would be physically and mentally easier.

tony on 10 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Ed Douglas does a fine job with this obit in the Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/10/john-bacher-rock-climber
James Oswald - on 12 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:
RIP. Condolonces to those who knew him.
Seems like an inspiration from all I have heard of him.
James
Kipper-Phil Smith - on 12 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

John was a legend really sorry to hear this terrible news
subalpine - on 12 Jul 2009
witnessthis - on 12 Jul 2009
In reply to PSmith1000: Talking of legends...
According to a friend of mine(Brian Lockett)was doing some runout 5.7 up in the 'Meadows', out of sight from his belayer he started to hear saxophone music,looking up he saw some guy walking down the 'slab'crux towards him calmly playing his sax!It was Bachar...Fires(first sticky boots) had just come out-he was testing them out apparently.
petestack - on 12 Jul 2009
In reply to witnessthis:

What a cracking story (hope it's true)! :-)
subalpine - on 12 Jul 2009
In reply to petestack: i wouldn't be surprised
He took up the saxophone, buying his first instrument after a previous owner threatened to turn it into a bong, and would serenade climbers high on the big granite walls above Camp IV
witnessthis - on 12 Jul 2009
In reply to subalpine:Just to clarify the 'meadows'this was Tuolomne meadows...
Jonno on 14 Jul 2009 - user-5af08465.wfd103.dsl.pol.co.uk
Michael Ryan - on 14 Jul 2009
In reply to Jonno:

Interesting timeline of John Bachar's life being assembled on Supertopo.com.

Clint Cummins started this because as he says,

"I constructed this because I felt the obituaries which have appeared so far have focused on his free soloing, to the neglect of his many other climbing achievements."

1957 - born
1971 - started climbing - Stoney Point - age 14 - bouldered with Bob Kamps
1973? - set record for his high school in the pole vault
1974 - FFA of Black Harlot's Layaway 5.11d (Taquitz) w/ Tobin Sorenson
1974 - FA of Short But Thin 5.11b w/ Tobin Sorenson
1974 - FFA of Rixon's Pinnacle South Face 5.11d w/ Tobin Sorenson
1975 - FFA of Free Blast w/ Kauk, Bridwell, Long, Worrall and Graham
1975 - FFA of Astroman w/ Ron Kauk and John Long
1975 - FFA of Hot Line 5.12a w/ Ron Kauk - first recognized 5.12 in Yosemite
1970s - 5th or 6th ascent of The Shield; 3rd ascent of Tangerine Trip
1975? - free solo of Double Cross 5.8 w/ John Long
1975? - 3rd ascent of Naked Edge 5.11b w/ Tobin Sorenson w/ some falls
1975 - FFA(except for start) of Tips 5.11d A0 w/ Ron Kauk
1976 - dropped out of UCLA after one year - wanted to become the best climber in the world
1976 - FA of Gait of Power 5.11d w/ Ron Kauk
1976? - Colorado bouldering tour with John Long and John Gill
1976 - free solo New Dimensions 5.11a
1976 - elbow tendinitis - unable to climb as hard as before (probably recurred in later years)
1977 - Yosemite plane crash scavenging - bought a car
1977+ - guided in Estes Park CO for Fantasy Ridge
1977 - FFA of D7 on the Diamond onsight w/ Richard Harrison
1978 - FA of Caliente 5.12b - Suicide - possibly the hardest pure face climb in CA at that time
1978 - second ascent of Midnight Lightning, after working with Kauk on the FA
1978 - FFA of D1 on the Diamond w/ Bill Westbay
1978 - FFA of The Wisdom 5.11d - Eldorado
1978 - FFA of West Owl Direct aka Silly Putty 5.11+ R - Estes Park
1978 - Nose speed record - 15 hours w/ Mike Lechlinski http://www.speedclimb.com/yosemite/thenose.htm
1979 - solo groundfall from Clever Lever 5.12a - swung further out than expected without rope drag
1979 - free solo Nabisco Wall - Waverley Wafer 5.10c - Butterballs 5.11a - Butterfingers 5.11a
1980 - close call during onsight free solo of The Moratorium 5.11b - (was rated 5.10d) - wanted to downclimb but unable - gave up onsight 5.11 solos after this
1980 - FA of Chasin' The Trane; Frankenjura - first 5.13 in Europe
1980? - 7-Up commercial with Bridwell - $30k
1980? - featured on That's Incredible (TV show) - clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03udLvtNR6Y
1981 - started playing saxaphone - self-taught
1981 - FA of Black Magic 5.11c R - Tuolumne w/ Alan Bartlett (June)
1981 - FA of Goldfinger 5.12a - Tuolumne (July)
1981 - FA of Body and Soul 5.12 R - Tuolumne w/ Mike Lechlinski (July)
1981 - FA of Bachar-Yerian 5.11c R - Tuolumne w/ Dave Yerian (August)
1981 - issued $10,000 challenge for anyone to follow him on a day of soloing in Tuolumne Meadows - no takers
1982 - started distributing Fires for Boreal (Spain) - after Miguel Angel Gallego gave him a pair - $65k/year
1982 - FA of Movement in Camouflage 5.10d R - Tuolumne
1982? - FFA of Bombs Over Tokyo 5.12b/d? R - Tuolumne
1982 - FA of Tunnel Vision 5.12d
1982 - FA of Moongerms 5.11d w/ Werner Braun
1982 - free soloing in Joshua Tree - Hot Rocks, Spider Line, Leave it to Beaver, More Monkey than Funkey, Baby Apes
1982 - married Brenda Lugo
1983 - Rolling Stone article (28 April) - "Valley boys" by Trip Gabriel - transcription: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=244379
1983 - Gillette shaving commercial - $38k
1983 - FA of The Promise 5.11b R w/ Dale Bard
1984 - FA of The Believer 5.12a
1984 - Life Magazine article (September) - "The ultimate dare - solo rock climbers in Yosemite, John Bachar, Ron Kauk"
1985 - FAs of The Kid 5.11b R, The Pinhead 5.10c R, and Here's Johnny 5.10d R - Tuolumne w/ Kurt Smith
1985 - free solo Father Figure 5.13a - Joshua Tree
1986 - FA of The Phantom 5.13a R
1986 - Nose speed record - 10:05 w/ Peter Croft
1986 - linked The Nose and Half Dome NW Face in 14 hours w/ Peter Croft
1988 - punch incident at Camp 4 parking lot after Cottage Dome project was rap bolted and bolts chopped on Arch Rock
1990 - separated from Brenda Lugo
1990 - Foresta house burned down in forest fire - after building permit hassles, sold land and moved to Mammoth Lakes
1996 - son Tyrus Bachar born with Val
2000 - stopped working for Boreal
2003 - formed Acopa International LLC with Dario Piana and Steve Karafa
2006 - car accident where Steve Karafa died; Bachar fractured 5 neck vertebrae; had intermittent weakness in one hand/arm
2009 - died in soloing fall near Mammoth Lakes; CA


http://supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=898272

Lots more contributions on that thread.

Mick
mloskot - on 03 Aug 2009
Here is a short backlog of how the news got to the public, I suppose

"Very bad free solo accident at Dike Wall"

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=895790
Ensô - on 05 Aug 2009
In reply to UKC News:

one of the few people who lived up to the term legend
catt on 13 Aug 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Another good John Bachar piece in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204619004574320703021843332.html

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