1952: Young Royal’s first glimpse of Yosemite was on a rock climbing trip with his scout troop. Standing at the base of El Capitan, his response to being told that no one would ever be able to climb it was, “why not?”

“To a 15-year-old, unsuccessful at school and seemingly everything else, this promise of the mountains being the anvil upon which the climber could forge his character was powerful and convincing. I saw my destiny: I would become a climber.” —Royal Robbins