“Next morning, nature smiled.  The eastern sun, with beams of warmth, cut the crisp clean air, while the white panorama of the High Sierra, ‘the gentle wilderness,’ stretched from northeast to southeast, a deep blue sky arching above.  Half Dome, as ever, stood sublime, a new cap of white on its bald head.  We felt joyous to be greeted by such a magnificent morning.  The beauty, the expectation of certain success, and the sun’s heat made our blood race.  Six hours later we had overcome the last problems and shook hands on top.”  (Royal Robbins, AAJ 1965)

British editor, Ken Wilson, reflects about these climbers:  The big four – Robbins, Pratt, Frost, and Chouinard – together seemed to exert a very strong moral force, Pratt silent and brilliant, Frost cheerful, humble, and friendly, yet with that religious dignity, Chouinard impish, quite sharp and critical yet skillful, a great trend-setter, and Robbins an almost Buddha-like presence, a supreme dignity tinged with courage to say and do controversial things, a sort of moral leadership in both words as well as deeds.  Royal could see that any idiot could bolt his way up a big wall.  The great Yosemite routes are not mindless bolt-ladders but really tenuous exercises in the just-possible.  There is little doubt that without the core of Yosemite activists in the early 1960s…. America would have been a far less ethical place, climbingwise, in the last thirty years.”  (Quoted by Ament in Spirit of the Age)

        The NA Wall ascent seems to have deeply affected the four climbers; it was as if their entire Valley careers had been geared for this one crowning climb.  Frost never again did a major Valley first ascent and soon faded from the scene, going into a ten-year partnership with Chouinard Equipment; climbing often in Peru, the Himalaya, and Alaska; and spending more time with his wife, Dorene, and his newfound religion, Mormonism.  Pratt began concentrating on short, superdifficult crack climbs, never again making a first ascent of a Grade VI, though he climbed El Cap several more times by various routes.  Robbins lay low temporarily, making only one major Valley first ascent during the next four years.  Chouinard, too, soon faded from the scene, to build his business and take up ice climbing; he did only one first ascent of note in the remaining years of his Valley career.”  (Steve Roper, Camp 4)

THE POWERS THAT BE, Tom Frost, Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt, and Yvon Chouinard, El Capitan summit, 30 October 1964, following the ten day ascent of the North America Wall, Yosemite National Park, California.