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Pioneer in rock climbing + the outdoor industry

Blog

Graeme Byrd's thoughts, stories and adventures. Lessons from life.

Pioneer in rock climbing + the outdoor industry

Graeme Byrd

royal

Finding out this morning that Royal Robbins passed away brought back many memories from my childhood. Growing up in the Central Valley, I heard Royal speak at school and local community events frequently, read his autobiography and chatted with him a number of times at the Royal Robbins' Modesto company store and warehouse. I remember the stories he shared from his childhood of jumping onto boxcars in Southern California to ride the trains. My favorite memory is when he signed this poster for me - I was at the company warehouse, wearing one of the first shirts Liz, his wife, designed - it was 15 years after my father purchased the shirt -and Royal was so surprised about how great of condition it was in, that he called Liz to come down to the warehouse to see.  (That was the moment I learned about the importance of quality clothing.)

Little did I know, that during my childhood one of the famous outdoor pioneers I grew up hearing share stories would influence my life in so many ways. Royal was one of the first people in the Outdoor Industry (before it was referred to as the "Outdoor Industry") to talk about sustainability in business - and how important it was to protect our parks, the mountains and give back.  Not only was he a pioneer in rock climbing, he was a pioneer in business. My journey in life took me back to this Outdoor Industry a number of years ago - both personally and professionally. Royals influence gave me a deeper appreciation of the sustainability work my wife, Stacey does in the apparel industry, her childhood and the amazing work her father has done in the outdoor industry. Royal gave me a deeper appreciation for "technical" clothing and the intricacies of the outdoor industry - both things that became very helpful when I worked at Cascade Web Development - as many of our clients were outdoor companies.

Royal Robbins has had an impact on so many people - as a pioneer in the Outdoor Industry he will be missed. I will always remember him when I see a freight train in the Central Valley or when I visit Yosemite National Park. Thank you for all that you have done to make the world a better better place.

Keep on climbing Royal!