Review of Camp 4, Steve Roper

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Rather, the haunt is in the passing of an age. An entire way of being, seeing, thinking forever gone. To view Yosemite walls with the trepidation of not knowing if they could be climbed by any means, because the means were paltry and evolving. To be wholly surprised or appalled by the newest technology twist instead of expecting it or something like it or something better. To look across a flock of half empty tables in Camp 4 and know the face of every climber and every climb they have done. To share within that narrow and oddball community your deepest beliefs, desires, hopes and hates, and feel the intimate, hot ricochet of looks, lies, boasts, jokes, plans and defeats. To have no idea what your future and the future of climbing will bring—and not to care. To sit in bivouac maybe the only one that night in the entire Valley. Swept in the wonder of the separate way it was. Utterly outside the understanding and sympathy of about every other man and woman in the country save the ragged ring of climbers. Utterly free. Utterly spent.

And so, thanks to Roper, we are left to feel the immerse joy and profound sadness of our fleeting dumb luck. The luck to lust for good walls and move over them, toned, tan, holding tightly to a vague, yet so bright, glimmer of meaning. Does anything in life compare to it?

Get the book. Savor the wacky, tall and weird feats, the moving feast of characters, the delicious detail of so many routes and motives revealed, the onslaught of images, the bundle of revelations, joys and disasters. Then reflect on it all and rediscover why you climbed or still climb or will climb again.

American Alpine Journal, 1995