Here, Chuck Pratt enjoys the beginning of a new day at El Cap Tower following the team’s second bivouac on their ascent of the Nose in September, 1960.  North America Wall diorite forms the backdrop.    So at home on any wall was Chuck that Royal described him as “the best climber of our generation” and, “the very best of climbing companions.”  True enough.

           Chuck was witty and delightful to be around.  He loved to help, and teach, and protect, and show people an experience that was greater than themselves.  He was kind and soft-hearted – and it was hard for him to be around people.  You could trust your life to this man.  He believed in you even when you didn’t believe in yourself, and held a good thought for you even when you were struggling with yourself.  He was unwavering to that which he believed to be true.

           He also appreciated greatness in others.   Of their world class ascent of the South Face of Mt. Watkins, Pratt tearfully reported:  “Warren giving us all his water on the last day was the kindest, most courageous act I have ever experienced.”  (Related by Eliza Moran)

           Chuck said little about himself, but his deportment and words allege a strong spiritual base.   Awareness of Nature, and time in the mountains, enabled him to recognize that the feeling of a Creator was “…certainly there.  I have no problem with the concept of a supreme being, I sort of conceive of it as the just totality of nature, everything, all living things in nature.  Even things that we wouldn’t normally think of as living in the sense of being an organism, like rivers and there are times that I suspect, or may even think, that Rocks have a soul.”  (Interview by Scott Wood at Pratt’s cabin, 15 June 1991)

           Following the Camp 4 reunion of 25 September, 1999 Chuck gathered with Yvon, Royal, and myself for a photo op.  During a pause between shots, he issued this Prattonian appraisal of our times together on the Big Stone.  Said he, “We were pioneers in deprivation.”

           End of story.

AT HOME ON ANY WALL, Chuck Pratt on the second ascent of the Nose of El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, California, September 1960.