With a number of hard El Capitan wall climbs under his belt, Charlie Porter drives to the Canadian Rockies in his dilapidated "California van" to climb with Bugs McKeith and the Burgess twins. In this installment of our Charlie Porter series, Alan Burgess tells of their first ascent of the now-classic Polar Circus, Cirrus Mountain, and attempt on Grand Central Couloir, Mt. Kitchener.
Sibylle Hechtel remembers Charlie Porter as the "burly, and utterly huggable" boyfriend of Bev Johnson, with whom Hechtel made the first all-female ascent of El Capitan. Her story continues our series on Porter's life, as told by his friends and climbing partners.
In Part 1 of this series on Charlie Porter, told by some of climbing partners and friends through the decades, Gary Bocarde recalls their days together in Yosemite, where Porter pushed the upper limits of hard aid in the early 1970s and climbed not for ego but for joy.
"...[A]ll was done quietly, unremarked upon, in classic Porter fashion. With his reticence, [Charlie] Porter was "old-school," a classical figure from the pre-social, un-hyperlinked past in which actions carried greater weight than words and images.... Thus it's mainly through hist friends and partners, a few of whom have contributed the essays that follow, that we know anything of Porter's feats."
Fresh off deadline, the author of our latest Mountain Profile—the North Cascades' Picket Range—Forest McBrian sat down to debrief and explain why, among other nuggets of wisdom, "climbing is like mapping is like writing."
After months of working with writers to edit, revise and fact-check the stories that make up Issue 47 of our magazine, all that's left for editors Katie Ives, Gwen Cameron and Shey Kiester to do is proofread.
"I wanted to climb it solo in a push, without hauling or sleeping, and I knew that if I was successful I would break the record.... It was appealing because no woman had done it in that style before, and besides, let's face it—hauling sucks."