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Our Heritage

Royal Robbins and his wife Liz were iconic Sierra Nevada rock climbers during the 1960s. They belonged to a scrappy band of modern climber/philosophers who coined and embraced the term “clean climbing”: a set of practices and techniques that enabled them to climb big walls with little or no damage to the rock, a literal representation of their lived ethos of deep respect for the natural world.

Royal RobbinsRoyal was simply one of the best climbers in the world when he and his friends forged this new outdoor ethic in the late 1960s, giving birth to a technical foundation that is still in use in the American climbing community today. Royal went on to climb and kayak throughout the Americas, Europe and the world, always coming home to Modesto, CA, the gateway to Yosemite Valley, where he and Liz still live today.

Royal and Liz at the top of Half Dome, July 1967When Royal and Liz were making their mark in the climbing world, the outdoor apparel industry started and ended with Army surplus and jean cut-offs. Climbers and hikers sorely needed clothing that could move, that could stand up to the harsh Yosemite granite, and that fit well and looked good.

In 1967, Liz became the first woman to climb Half Dome in Yosemite, posing at the top with Royal for the snapshot to the right. Seeing their torn jean shorts, they said, "Maybe we had better get in the apparel business!" Liz stitched up a rugged short she called the Billy Goat, and Royal Robbins the apparel company was born.

The Billy Goat felt good, looked good and was built to last. And, like other Royal Robbins clothing, it could be worn through an entire day of outdoor activity, work and relaxation. Royal and Liz regularly began a work day with a sunrise hike with employees, and would then go straight to work at the Modesto headquarters.

Today, our heritage brand still makes enduring, classic, outdoor clothing for people who embody a love for the natural world. Our modern classics enable people to get up in the morning and “dress once." Our clothing performs well because it moves, dries, packs and wears extremely well. We embrace a refined aesthetic with a sophisticated, nature-inspired palette that is understated, classic and smart. It works on the trail, at the office, on a plane, at dinner. Our clothing literally goes everywhere.

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