Key determine in Sixties Yosemite age of climbing innovation dies at 82

Washington pals kayak Chestnut road all through heavy rain Sunday


Tom Frost, of Oakdale, a key figure in a era of Yosemite big-wall pioneers in the Sixties and a gritty godfather of mountaineering photography, died on Aug. 24. He changed into 82 years ancient.

Frost did multi-day ascents on El Capitan with different legendary climbers, authors and equipment heads like Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard and Chuck Pratt. What set Frost apart is he become probably the most few to carry a digital camera and film, and he understood the way to use them, taking pictures dramatic perspectives no person had considered or photographed before.

“They have been very good pictures,” Ken Yager, president of the nonprofit Yosemite climbing affiliation, noted Thursday from his home in El Portal. “The things he photographed are iconic climbs. What’s crucial are him and Glen Denny had been the only photographers documenting the golden age.”

Frost’s pictures were first-time views of the vertical world in Yosemite Valley, as a result of he became up there climbing partitions that, until he and his companions had been there, had under no circumstances been climbed before, Denny told organizers of “No Guts, No Glory: A heritage of the Stanford Alpine membership,” a photo exhibition 18 years ago in the Bay enviornment.

“The spectacular aspect about Frost is that his traditional photos had been considered, and photographed, all the way through essential first ascents,” Denny pointed out within the year 2000. “In those brilliant cases he led, cleaned, hauled, every day and — one way or the other — used his digital camera with the acuity of a Cartier-Bresson going for walks a few piazza.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a pioneering urban-based mostly photographer within the employ of discreet, Leica rangefinder cameras in the Thirties and have become globally famous as a grasp of candid images and highway images. Frost also worked, in the Nineteen Sixties, with a Leica screw mount camera, a collapsible 50mm lens, and black-and-white film.

Frost’s photos show such details because the hardware, slings, ropes, packs and apparel climbers used as well as their now and again grimy faces, gnarled fingers, and hard-to-think about exposure on vertical and overhanging cliffs hundreds of feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley.

Frost was born in Hollywood in the late Thirties. He studied mechanical engineering at Stanford school and he knew americans within the Rock mountain climbing section of the l. a. Sierra club. He climbed at Tahquitz Rock above Idyllwild and he got here to Yosemite Valley in the late Nineteen Fifties.

In Camp 4, where climbers plotted their adventures in Yosemite Valley, Frost teamed up with Robbins and Pratt for historic first ascents of the Salathé Wall in 1961, and then, with Robbins, Pratt and Chouinard, the North American Wall in 1964, each on El Capitan. He additionally climbed in the Tetons, the Andes, the Alps and the Himalayas.

From 1965 to 1975, Frost labored with Chouinard to develop fundamental insurance policy equipment, together with knife-blade thin pitons referred to as RURPs, and clean-mountaineering protection equipment known as Stoppers and Hexentrics.

Later in the 1990s, Frost campaigned to retain Camp 4 from closure by using the country wide Park carrier. Backed through Robbins, Chouinard and the American Alpine club, the effort obtained Camp four listed on the national Register of ancient places, and Camp 4 continues to be there these days.

Frost’s photos may also be present in varied rock mountaineering books, including Robbins’ “basic Rockcraft” and “advanced Rockcraft,” published 1971 and 1973, Chouinard’s “mountaineering Ice,” 1978, “Fifty classic Climbs of North the us,” by means of Steve Roper and Allen Steck in 1979, and Pat Ament’s “Royal Robbins: Spirit of the Age,” 1998.

In 2009, Frost told hiking journal, “I picked up the digicam as a result of I had found a world in Yosemite so lots more fascinating than I’d ever viewed.”

In may additionally this yr, Frost instructed Chuck Graham with Photographer’s forum that he considered himself an beginner when he was mountain climbing. He pointed out was just doing documentary work as a member of the crew.

“i was the man who introduced the camera alongside,” Frost pointed out. “It turned into ninety nine % being in the correct area on the correct time.”

Frost referred to that one day in 1960 someone in Camp 4 handed him a Leica digital camera earlier than he and Robbins, Pratt and Joe Fitschen all started the 2nd ascent of The nose on El Capitan. He learned the way to use the camera, utilize the light meter. They went up on the climb shooting about one roll a day for seven days.

“these were truly the top of the line seven rolls of film that I even have,” Frost stated. “yet another plus turned into being influenced by means of Ansel Adams. I a lot favourite black-and-white film, so darn good for Yosemite.”

in addition to Chouinard’s tributes to Frost’s images, Flatlander movies has documented perspective from Lyn Hill, a number one competitive recreation climber and the primary person to free climb The nostril in 1994, and Tommy Caldwell, who completed the primary free ascent of El Capitan’s morning time Wall with Kevin Jorgeson in January 2015, and made the primary ascent of The nostril in under two hours with Alex Honnold in June this year.

Frost spent his final years in Oakdale so he might dwell close to Yosemite. He came to Yosemite Valley remaining fall and spent time with Honnold in El Cap Meadow.

Steve Grossman is working on a yet-to-be-published biography of Frost and he stated Thursday, “Tom Frost, as far as rock mountaineering images, is the premier there’s of his generation. he’s a guy who always bought the shot. a lot of people lift cameras but he at all times got the digital camera out and documented what he changed into doing. And what he was doing become cutting-edge stuff, in Yosemite and in every single place the realm.”

Grossman’s booklet about Frost is anticipated out later this year. Flatland films has been working for seven years on a characteristic-size documentary about Frost. In October at the Oakdale Climbers festival, Frost and Robbins will be remembered in a tribute, “Reflections on the Golden Age of huge Wall climbing in Yosemite.”

There may be no cost for the application, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Oct. 12 at Gene Bianchi center, one hundred ten South 2nd Avenue, Oakdale.

guy McCarthy at gmccarthyuniondemocratm or 588-4585. follow him on Twitter at GuyMcCarthy.


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