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Bob Kamps passing
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dancesonrocks


Mar 4, 2005, 2:28 PM
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I'm saddened to hear of Bob's passing but happy to have known him even if it was in a limited fashion. I knew him as always being a smiling and helpful regular at Stoney Point who was happy to show a new climber various routes on the boulders. Even when I moved farther away from Stoney and then came back after a couple of years of being away, he was one of the few who still remembered me.

It is fitting that now we remember him. I have always and will always think of Bob when I visit Stoney Point.


jeffstephan


Mar 4, 2005, 3:28 PM
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I will always remember and continue to try his simple yet HARD mantle problems on Turlock and Boulder 1 at Stoney. A great and humble man who consistantly humbled others on and off the rock. Perhaps it is fitting that Stoney has been recieving so much rain as the climbing community weeps for his loss.

May he now climb to heaven.


kcrag


Mar 4, 2005, 3:34 PM
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So sad to hear the news, but I feel blessed to have met him at Stoney. What a cool guy.

Sending out my heartfelt condolences to Bob's friends and family. He will surely be missed.

-kelly.


cmbclimb


Mar 4, 2005, 8:44 PM
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ooopsssss


kalcario


Mar 4, 2005, 9:09 PM
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Very sorry to hear about this, I was on a few east coast climbing trips to the Red and the New with the San Fernando climbing crew in the last few years and had the pleasure of watching/belaying Bob onsighting up 5.11+ at the age of 70. One of the best climbing days I've ever had was at Funk Rock City at the Red with Bob a few years back. We'll miss him.


jgill


Mar 4, 2005, 10:22 PM
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I've only just learned of the death of my old friend. Eloquence fails me. I won't attempt to write a eulogy of Bob, Rich Goldstone has done a marvelous job of that. For those who haven't seen the piece I wrote about Bob for my website a couple of years ago, it can be found here Bob Kamps.

I'll always remember the climbing and bouldering we did, especially the bouldering. Our first session must have been in the late 1950s at Jenny Lake, where, I recall, Bob made the FA of Mount Fonda - a small no-hands problem right on the Jenny Lake road. Bob's footwork was impeccable, and he loved the challenge of balancing up a steep surface, only the tips of his boots in contact with the rock (usually punching me out).

He will not be forgotten . . . let's make sure his spirit lives on! God bless him.


sonso45


Mar 5, 2005, 1:15 PM
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May God bless you Bonnie and Bob. The Mace was my first Sedona climb and I love doing it still. I will say a prayer for him on the summit. M


cmbclimb


Mar 5, 2005, 7:08 PM
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ok, to all who would like to attend a memorial to
Bob Kamps

Stoney Point

Thursday the 10th of March at 1:00 pm

Thx
chris Brewer


imissbob


Mar 5, 2005, 10:10 PM
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I just got an email from Bonnie and she said 2:00PM on Thursday. Though getting there an hour early and getting in some boulder traverses sounds good! Here's part of her email:

We hope that in this informal setting you will feel comfortable to share your thoughts and stories about Bob with the group, much like you were sitting around a campfire. If you have something to share that you may be unable to get out please write it out and someone will read it for you.

I think I'll write mine down, just in case.

:(


Partner mahlon


Mar 6, 2005, 6:41 AM
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My thoughts definitely go out to Bob's family and friends, never had a chance to meet the legend himself, but from the stories I've heard before, and the ones that you all have posted for us stand as a testament to both his amazing skill as climber as well as to what a incredible person he was himself.


socalclimber


Mar 6, 2005, 7:03 AM
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When I first started climbing, I spent allot of time at Stoney Point. One morning while I was flailing away on Boulder 1, I couldn't help but notice this "old man" tearing up the rock. At one point I muttered to him "I really suck at this". Which he responded, "No you don't, it's just your approach is all wrong". He spent an hour and half bouldering with me and helping me with my technique. I had no clue who this guy was at the time. I bumped into him about a month later and he greated with a smile, remembered my name, and asked "how's your technique coming along Robert?". I finnaly told a friend of mine about the "old man" and he proceeded to tell me all about the legendary Bob Kamp.


I continued to run into him over the years and would have the odd bouldering session with him. It was always a pleasure and a learning experience.

Rest In Peace Bob, you were always gracious and a gentleman.

Robert Fonda


karenwittmer


Mar 6, 2005, 1:48 PM
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The Memorial and Celebration of his life will be held Thursday March 10th at 2 pm at Stoney Point.

All you young and strong guys and girls, please park a bit farther up the road or across the street on Old Santa Susana Pass so that we can save the close spaces for the older people.

We will have a guest book available and invite you to write your thoughts for Bonnie.


islander511


Mar 8, 2005, 8:27 AM
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September, 1975

A steady drizzle has washed out a weekend of climbing on Mount Desert Island, Maine. The hitch back to school is going to suck.

My partner and I are standing on the side of Route 3, just outside the town of Bar Harbor, when a white VW bus with California plates approaches. We both recognize the driver -- a guy who had appeared at a big campfire the previous evening and asked about climbing on the island. We had made plans to hook up at the South Wall, but yesterday's bad weather had only worsened. Today, all of us are fleeing.

The ride is short, no more than fifteen minutes, but incredibly, its affect still lingers nearly thirty years later.

I was just short of my eighteenth birday, a climber for just a year and a half, and full of questions about the west, Yosemite in particular. This man seemed to know something of the place and I pumped him for all I coiuld get, knowing the ride would soon end.

He patiently answered every silly question, then offered this: "The Valley is great, by all means, get some climbing in there, you'll love it. But do this for me if you ever get out that way: take the time visit Tuolomne, it's special."

He talked a bit more about this magical place, then our intersection appeared and our ride was over. As I climbed out of the bus I paused to ask the guy his name. "Kamps, Bob Kamps. And don't forget: Tuolomne."

As the bus pulled away I remember the exact words I said to my partner: "Bob Kamps -- I don't know alot about climbing history, but I bet you anything that guy is somebody."

It took another year to pass, but I eventually learned that, indeed, Bob Kamps was somebody and that my first instinct had been correct: I had encountered, probably for the first time in my life, greatness. And later, when I joined my friends on our first pilgramage to Yosemite, I demanded we save enough time for Tuolomne. The week we spent camped on Tenaya Lake and climbing nearby remains one of my fondest climbing trip memories.

I saw Bob a few years later bouldering up on Flagstaff, above Boulder. I wasn't quite so wet behind the ears by then, but the opportunity to step up and thank him never developed. He was having too much fun with his friends to interrupt. Among others, that is one of the regrets I carry in this life. So, delinquent as it is, I offer it now: "Thanks Bob, for the example and the advice. I tried not to waste either."

Jeff Butterfield
Bar Harbor, Maine

ATTENTION: IF SOMEONE WHO IS ATTENDING THURSDAY'S MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR BOB COULD PRINT THIS OUT AND PLACE IT WITH THE OTHERS THAT I'M SURE WILL ARRIVE, I WOULD BE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL. FURTHER, IF SOMEONE WANTS TO READ THIS AT THE SERVICE, I WOULD BE HONORED.


deblv


Mar 8, 2005, 2:00 PM
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I met Bob through a mutual friend of ours. We were not climbing friends, but, we were bridge friends. He was a great guy and I am going to miss seeing his wonderful smile and sparkling eyes. I have printed out your post as I will be attending his memorial service. I am not sure if I could get the words out without many tears flowing, but, I will ask if someone else will read it. Also, I will make sure it gets in the guest book that will be there for people to write in and give to his wife Bonnie.


socalclimber


Mar 9, 2005, 5:25 AM
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DEBLV,

If you could, please add my post to the list for Bonnie.

Thanks,
Robert Fonda


cwegener


Mar 9, 2005, 11:59 AM
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Bob Kamps looked around his hometown in Wisconsin and saw a life of working in the mill and drinking on Saturday nights. He heard that there were summer jobs available in Yellowstone and agreed with his friends that they would go apply. When the time came, Bob knowing Kimberley Wisconsin was a dead-end for him was the only one to get on the bus and the world of climbing has been richer for it since.

In Yellowstone Bob saw the mountains. He had to climb them; he set out with a clothesline and a piton without having any idea what to do with them. If he would failed on an attempt he could never get anyone to go back with him a second time. Undeterred he pressed on and made early ascents of Montanaís Pilot and Index peaks as well as others that he saw from Yellowstone.

His first real introduction to climbing was at Stoney Point with the UCLA Bruin Mountaineers. Soon Don Wilson became his mentor. His fumbling days as a novice climber did not last long. He hit his stride at Tahquitz with a first ascent of the Blank and then graduated to Yosemite.

On a later trip in 1957 to Yellowstone, he met his future bride Bonnie. After courting Bonnie, he confessed to her that there was no room in his life for anything but climbing; when he found out that Bonnie would not marry him he wired back that there might be room for both Bonnie and climbing in his life. Bob and Bonnie became a fixture in climbing campgrounds across the country.

In the golden age of Yosemite Bob climbed many of the classic lines in the valley as well as being among the first to explore and climb the wonderful domes in the Yosemite High Country, Tuolumne Meadows. Many modern climbers, sticky rubber equipped, have had to reassess their commitment to climbing when following some of Bobís insightful leads. He climbed with and was a friend to many of the finest climbers in America.

In 1960 he and Dave Rearick were the first to climb the Diamond on Longís peak snatching the choice plum from out from under the Coloradoans noses. Bob and Dave were amazed at the whirlwind celebration of their accomplishment as well as how quickly they faded from the publicís attention. He was one of the first to lead 5.11 with his visionary lead of Chingadera on Tahquitz with Mark Powell. He drilled the bolts on lead in places that it is hard just to stand to clip the bolts. He put up many bold ascents in the Needles of the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The most remarkable thing about Bob was his lifelong love of climbing. He went through a thin period in his forties when he held a number of long falls by Frank Sacher, Joe Fitschen and his long time partner Tom Higgins. He feared that he was a jinx when he belayed anyone and became afraid to climb. His love of bouldering reasserted itself and soon he was back in the swing.

Bob shared his love of climbing with everyone he met. He has impressed and frustrated several generations of young hard men at Stoney Point in the San Fernando Valley. He loved it all, trad, sport, gym or bouldering. Whether it was in the north, south, east or west Bob climbed wherever there was rock. He had an impish sense of humor and could needle people with the best. The only two things you did not do with Bob were let him choose your rack for a lead; he was always saying, ďOh you donít need that much gear!Ē Moreover, you never let him belay you at a sport area where there were young women around for him to chat with, or leastways you did not want to fall.

Chris Wegener

Bob's passing leaves a void in my life that will be filled.


cwegener


Mar 9, 2005, 3:30 PM
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Let me try that again.

His passing will leave a void in my life that will never be filled.

Chris


kwright


Mar 15, 2005, 6:21 PM
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Hi All,
I have set up a Tribute to Bob Kamps web site, http://www.bobkamps.com. It is a work in progress.

It would be great if all you folks could click on over and re-post some of your thoughts and sentiments there. I know that Bonnie Kamps and I would be much appreciative. The site will serve as a working archive and tribute to Bob.

There is a forum, photo gallery, journal and a Climbs of Bob Kamps database (in process). If you have a story to share or photos of Bob, please post them!

If any of you belong to other climbing forums and wish to spread the site link to bobkamps.com that would also be much appreciated.

If you have any suggestion for the site, links to articles or Bob related sites, please email me at
admin@bobkamps.com

Thank you,
Kevin Wright


ines_sita


May 21, 2005, 3:51 PM
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I was introduced to Bob by Herb and Eve Lager when I was in my early 20's in the golden era of free climbing. Though I had the opportunity to climb and learn from the many of the greatest, Bob taught me things and paid me a unique respect which others did not. He taught me to laugh and not take myself too seriously; to maintain calm in the face of the abyss; and to remember to always be humble. He paid me great respect for who I was as a person and above all as a young climbing woman. One of my fondest photos was taken at a moment when my son Erik was 3 years old and sitting on Bob's lap at Joshua Tree with Herb and Eve standing behind. Bob had a big toothy grin and his right middle finger proudly displayed. I will never forget him and Bonnie--a relationship forged in climbing heaven. My heartfelt condolences to Bonnie.

Ines (Ohlsen) Johanson
Santa Rosa, CA

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