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Royal Robbins: 1935-2017

March 15, 2017
RR & LR Atop Muir Wall Post-Solo - El Capitan 1968 (Glen Denny #101 Full Usage 2016)

We are deeply saddened to report that our founder and legendary rock climber Royal Robbins’ passed away Tuesday, March 14 after a long illness.

Royal was extremely special to us. He and his wife, Liz, founded Royal Robbins in 1968 as an active lifestyle apparel company for rock climbers, adventurers and travelers. Royal was a leading figure in the Golden Age of Yosemite Valley climbing and was one of the first and most vocal proponents of clean climbing. In 1967, Royal and Liz Robbins made the first ascent of Nutcracker in the Yosemite Valley using only removable nuts for protection. It was the first climb of its kind in the United States and it started a clean climbing revolution.

His environmental advocacy and his love for adventure provide direction for everything we do. Royal was an inspiration to us all and will be greatly missed.

We encourage you to post your own remembrances below. Royal loved, and was loved by, his friends.


Michael Millenacker, CEO, Royal Robbins

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.

His leadership style was unique and uncannily effective. On my very first climb, he tied in, started climbing, and left me with a harness and the end of a rope. As with all outdoor and business pursuits, he led by bold examples.

He also knew how to harness the power of perseverance and courage to influence so many lives – including mine. With tremendous class and a huge heart, he taught me so many the valuable lessons about conviction and grit. Every time I saw him walk into a room, you could feel a shift, as if everyone knew they were in the presence of greatness. Many like me, will always be inspired and guided by his leadership.


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