Modesto lost one of its best people Tuesday, a man known to some for reasons other than his fame as an adventurer. A friendship with Royal Robbins was unusually valuable because of the integrity and the serious way in which he approached his life. A conversation with him, even at a party over a glass of wine, was a philosophical journey because he was also an adventurer of the spirit. During the 30 or so years I was fortunate enough to know him, he was on a never-ending spiritual quest.
I never climbed with Royal, never kayaked with him, but I will remember many conversations, many adventures of the mind. The story, apocryphal or not, of his climbing El Capitan alone, removing from the granite face the bolts that had been drilled by a previous climber, reveals the essence of the man. The mountain had been defaced, and Royal’s standards violated. He met his commitment, as he always did.
Paul Neumann, Modesto