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Tom Frost: How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

Posted on: November 4, 2015


When climbing historian Steve Grossman describes Tom Frost, he calls him a "visionary who redefined climbing style; an engineer who helped revolutionize climbing equipment; an artist whose iconic photography documented the most celebrated first ascents on Yosemite's big walls; and a conservationist who led the international effort to save historic Camp 4." Filmmaker Tom Seawell, who worked with Frost on several projects over the years at Frost's lighting business Chimera, recognizes the similarities between how he managed the company and its employees and how he treats his climbing partners.

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Over the past few weeks we've been talking with Frost, his biographer Steve Grossman, and filmmakers Seawell and Jeff Wiant of Flatlander Films to learn more about the parallel film and book projects on Frost. The projects are about Yosemite's Golden Age, Frost, his partners and the philosophy behind the great climbs that were established in the 1960s. Frost applied those same ethics—climbing in pure style—to operating Chimera, which he opened with Gary Regester in 1979, after he stepped away from working with Yvon Chouinard at Patagonia. The film contains dozens of interviews by highly influencial climbers spanning several eras, including Lynn Hill, Tommy Caldwell, Chouinard, Royal Robbins and many others.

Flatlander Films is currently in the midst of an Indiegogo campaign to help bring the project to fruition. To support the film, click here.

Flatlander Films LLC

"Tom [Frost] is not a self promoter. He's always been the ultimate team player. The film and book project have the same values."-Steve Grossman

Frost on the first ascent of the North America Wall (5.8 A2, 2,400', Chouinard-Frost-Pratt-Robbins, 1964). [Photo] Royal Robbins

"Tom is my biggest hero from that era for sure, and that's basically shaped by my personal interaction with him. He's been such a humble and inspiring person; he has got to be one of the most good-hearted people I've ever met in my life."-Tommy Caldwell

Frost on the first ascent of the Salathe Wall (5.9 C2 or 5.13b, Frost-Pratt-Robbins, 1961). [Photo] Royal Robbins

"I started climbing in 1970, and the way that I formed my goals and my climbing was entirely framed by [Tom] Frost, Royal [Robbins], Bob Kamps and Mark Powell. The climbers then took the time to let everyone know what was on their mind in creating this game. It's not a matter of overpowering the wall, it's a matter of keeping the adventure of uncertainty to a maximum. A lot of my biography on Tom [Frost] brings back the original climbs that he was a part of."-Steve Grossman

[Screengrab] Tom Saewell

"We have a saying over here that we use: how you do anything is how you do everything. If you're cutting corners and not facing yourself on the wall and being kind to mother nature, then you're probably not going to be performing in other aspects of life at the highest standard either. We picked that up from somebody else, but I tend to agree with it."-Tom Frost

To learn more about the book, click here and to learn more about the film, click here. The film is not for profit, and any proceeds will be donated to the charity of Frost's choosing.

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