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Camp 4: Recollections of a Yosemite Rockclimber Paperback – November 30, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

In the 1960s, California's Yosemite Valley was the center of the rockclimbing universe. It was the perfect place for young nonconformists to drop out, hang loose, and channel their energy into climbing the valley's largely untouched walls and cracks. Many of these "misfits" were the finest rock climbers in the world. Some even shaped the future of the sport. And by the end of the decade, climbers from around the globe were coming to Camp 4 - gathering spot for the creators of the "Golden Age" of Yosemite climbing - to see what all the fuss was about. Climber and author Steve Roper spent most of ten years living in Yosemite Valley with its intriguing inhabitants. Camp 4 is his take on the era's top climbers and the (sometimes whimsical) influences behind their achievements.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Mountaineers Books; F First Edition Used edition (November 30, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898865875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898865875
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David L. Nelson on July 31, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a Yosemite climber in the 1970's and met a number of the major characters (Frost, Chouinard, Robbins, Harding). Steve Roper has done an incredible job of capturing the ephemeral facts and essential spirit of the climbers and times. He is frank about their weaknesses: "We were thoughtless and immature"(pg 154) and "...we were puerile youths. We had been taught the correct values at home, yet we rebelled against everything," (pg 155-6), referring to the troubles they caused in the Vally. He is honest about his own failures, both in his own character and on climbs he could not do. He is enthusiastic about the successes of the pioneers and freely gives credit to those who deserve it. Steve not only gives you facts, he gives you feelings and insights. You can't get better history than this.
The only criticism I have is that the book ends. I could have kept reading for many more days. If you want to FEEL what it was like, buy this book. I will bet you can't read it only once.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow! Steve did an excellent job of portraying the 'climbing scene,' as well as accurately describing the many colorful characters of the era.

I spent some time in Camp 4 during the summer of 1965 and met many of these wonderful characters. But...as an earlier reviewer pointed out, this was an extremely closed society, and non-California climbers were treated with disdain. Younger "wannabees" were pretty well ostracized, and women? Well, women climbers really didn't know how to climb! Living on next to no money, sleeping under a rock, hiding from the rangers, confronting bears, scarfing food in the cafeteria and coffee shop, stealing tips from the restaurant tables were all "normal" for many of these gifted lunatics. Many of them were my friends, and a good number of them haven't survived to present day and I miss them. Pratt, Fredericks, Sacherer, Roper, and numerous others; they were certainly unique individuals.

This was a heart rending book for me--reminding me of days gone by and the experiences I had in Yosemite.
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Format: Paperback
If you want to understand rock climbing, this book is a must read. Roper's "Camp 4" describes where it all began. This book should be part of every climber's education. It may not be written in the most beautiful prose and some may not always agree with Roper's perspective, but this book is packed with pictures, facts, and stories - many of them exciting, often funny, and some of them tragic and sad. Reading this book has only deepened my fascination with Yosemite and climbing in general. I wish there was a follow-up that tells the story about what happenend since the "Golden Age".
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Format: Hardcover
As an avid climber I also find my interest in the past has always been sparked.If you want an insiders view of the "golden age"of Yosemite climbing then this is a great read!!!As Steve Roper was there.Ive been a climber since 72 and early on Yosemite "rules" were what everyone went by.Roper brings you right into the minds and personalitys of the true stars and heros of this great sport.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of climbing and mountaineering literature this one is a must! You will find yourself constantly reminded of the legendary people and events of the 1960's and '70s and what it truly meant to climb the big ones at Yosemite.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Steve Roper does a fine job chronicling the evolution of man and rock climbing in the golden era of climbing. His prose is easy to follow and enjoyable. Thank you for taking the time to put it all down.
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Format: Paperback
Steve Roper is meticulous. This is an excellent history, and I feel positive and secure that Mr. Roper's records are as accurate and precise as they can possibly be of that rowdy and rambunctious world. I enjoyed reading about the historical climbers and the more social rock climbers of the '30s. Those were the days when families came, climbed a little, picnicked a lot, and a good time was had by all.
The Golden Age of the '60s, of which Steve was a part, was a time of great improvements in equipment and methods, and also a first crack at some of the awesome spires that were heretofore thought "impossible." It was wild, giddy and reckless, adjectives I would never apply to Steve Roper. Mr. Roper is austere in his beliefs of the "purity" of the climb and who is worthy. Though he recounts a few wild escapades, I had the feeling he did not approve. His callousness toward the first Camp 4 fatality made me back up and reread. Yep, I read it right, though I'm sure he was trying to keep up the "Right Stuff" façade in the face of what must have been a great shock to an 18-year old boy. That is the problem; there are so few that Roper considers to have the Right Stuff. If they were women, they were mere appendages. If male and had the misfortune to be born after 1955, they were not pure enough.
John Long's "Rock Jocks, Wall Rats and Hang Dogs" is devoted to Camp 4 in the '70s. John is Steve's polar opposite except in their mutual love for and expertise in rock climbing. John is wildly funny and sometimes just wild, but I had more a feeling of place when reading his book.
As another reviewer said, "Camp 4" is a must-have for West Coast rock enthusiasts. It is considered the Bible of the Golden Age.
-sweetmolly-Amazon.com Reviewer
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