Big Wall Pioneer Royal Robbins dies aged 82

Californian big-walling pioneer Royal Robbins has passed away aged 82, according to reports in the US climbing media. Active during Yosemite's 'Golden Age', Royal was a proponent of 'clean climbing'; using the natural features of rock for protection, instead of placing bolts or pitons.

Royal Robbins
© Tom Frost (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Robbins' notable ascents in Yosemite include the first ascent of the Northwest Face of Half Dome in 1957 and Salathé Wall in 1961. He also made first ascents on on Mount Hooker, in the Wind River Range, Wyoming and established the renowned American Direct on the Aiguille du Dru in the French Alps. Aside from climbing, Robbins became a proficient kayaker, with many first descents to his name and launched the well-known clothing brand Royal Robbins.

He passed away at home on Tuesday 14th March in California after suffering from a long-term illness. 

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