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Charlie Porter
Photo by Bruce Carson / karabin musem

Farewell Charlie Porter, the Space traveller


Charlie Porter, the legendary American rock climber and alpinist, has died aged 63 at Punta Arenas in Chile due to heart problems. Ivo Ferrari remembers.

Charlie Porter has died... the El Capitan man , the Big Walls man, and my heart breaks. It's difficult to remember a "silent" person, but when I browse through the "history" of this great world of climbing , he is always there, on the front pages. His achievements, his "journeys" up the world's big walls are and always will be a reference point.

Even in this day and age of "rushing" about we're forced to stop and think of that man who, in the most complete solitude, managed to transform a dream into reality up the NW Face of Mount Asgard, on the distant and inhospitable Baffin Island. A route that was so "poignant" for its era that even today it is still considered a great achievement. An ascent coupled with an astounding descent... ground-breaking! Expert British mountaineer Doug Scott defined this as "the most remarkable achievement on Asgard, Baffin Island, and probably anywhere!"

I've climbed in California, experienced fabulous days on El Capitan and, looking upwards, I've always tried to meet him... I saw him there, "light" and hanging off a long series of Rurp, up on The Shield, engaged through the space of Mescalito, beneath the roof of The Zodiac, Tangerine Trip and Excalibur. Charlie Porter was and is a "part" of Capitan. But my amazement continued, travelled towards the cold, long and immense crest... Porter really knew how to climb, knew how to "travel" quickly... thirtysix hours for what at times "isn't remembered" as one of the most amazing solo ascents in North America. And not only! The Cassin Ridge on McKinley.

Porter was, as I saw him, the man of great spaces, reserved and humble, silent and immense! He is now most certainly travelling towards remote locations with his sailing boat, definitely against the winds, against the currents... perhas with his kayak, like that time around Cape Horn. Yes Charlie, we never met, but this doesn't stop me from feeling sad. And over the years I'll miss you... Rest in peace, legendary Porter!

by Ivo Ferrari

Charlie Porter - important moments
1972: New Dawn (Wall of the Early Morning Light), El Capitan, Yosemite. Third ascent, 10 days, solo.
1972: Zodiac 5.7 A2 VI, El Capitan, Yosemite. First ascent, solo, 7 days.
1972: The Shield 5.7 C4F VI , El Capitan, Yosemite. First ascent together with Gary Bocarde, 7 days.
1973: Mescalito 5.8 A3 VI, El Capitan, Yosemite. First ascent together with Hugh Burton, Steve Sutton, Chris Nelson
1973: End All, El Capitan, Yosemite. First ascent together with Chris Nelson, Hugh Burton, Steve Sutton
1973: Tangerine Trip 5.8 A2 VI, El Capitan, Yosemite. First ascent together with J. P. de St. Croix.
1975: Excalibur 5.9 A3 VI, El Capitan, Yosemite. First ascent together with Hugh Burton
1975: Polar Circus , Canada. First ascent with Bugs McKeith & Burgess twins
1975: The Porter route (VII, 5.10+ A4), NW Face Mount Asgard, Baffin Island. Solo, nine days.
1976: Cassin Ridge, Mount McKinley (Denali), Alaska. First solo, 36 hours from the top of the Japanese couloir.





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