Brief History of Climb

The early 80's was a time of immense change in the climbing world. Sport climbing and bolting on rappel had just started to spread from Europe to America, and the ethics that had ruled the previous decades started to be questioned.

John Bachar - arguably the greatest climber in the world at the time - hated the idea of these new ethics changing the sport. In July of  1981, after attending an international climbing meetup in Germany where sport climbing was the hot topic of the day, he returned to Yosemite with plans to make a statement against the way that climbing was evolving.

The statement was a bold and dangerous new route - the Bachar-Yerian 5.11 R/X.

In this episode, we continue the story of the route, look deeper into the controversy surrounding it, and investigate some of the historical repeats (and attempts!).


Ament, Pat - "Climbing Free: A History of Free Climbing in America." 1999.

Chambre, David - "The 9th Grade: 150 Years of Free Climbing." 2016.

Bachar, John - "Bachar-Yerian" Alpinist #26.

Yerian, Dave - "Close But No Cigar" - Rock and Ice.

Various, extremely long SuperTopo threads...

"Bachars Last Interview" (Oakley Louise Youtube)

"John Bachar Interview by Dave Gill Russian Subtitles" (Dymtro Zhyvov Youtube)

Tom Higgins - "Tricksters and Traditionalists" 1984 (found on

Hayden Kennedy on the Bachar/Yerian (5.11c R/X) (Found on Dailymotion)


Track: "Back In Your Town"
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Track: "Roll Through"
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Track: "Celluloid Visions"
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Track: "Just For Kicks"
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Track: “Gnarly Man”
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Track: “Fun Time Party”
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What is Brief History of Climb?

Explore true stories from rock climbing and bouldering's modern history with host James Howell as he introduces you to the people, events, and incredible places that shaped our sport.