John Gill To be At Neptune Mountaineering, June 28
JOHN GILL To be AT NEPTUNE MOUNTAINEERING, JUNE 28, TUESDAY, AT 8PM Boulder's legendary climber Pat Ament will premier his new film, "Gill Across Time," and Gill will attend the event! If you want the chance to have the master boulderer (Gill) sign your "Master of Rock" book, here it is. Don't miss this one. Rumor has it there will be "wall to wall" legends at this film showing. It should be fun. There is a $10. charge at the door, and seating is limited.
John Gill is viewed by many as the greatest pure rock climber of the golden age.
As far back as 1958 and 59, in the Tetons, John did V9 and V10 boulder routes, a level so far ahead of its time people could only imagine. Before anyone knew 5.10 existed, John was leading roped first ascents of that difficulty on the higher peaks and in lost canyons of the Tetons. Then in 1961 he free soloed his infamous Thimble, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In 1963, Royal Robbins tried to repeat this route and was stopped cold. Word began to circulate about this mysterious, quiet man who left tiny white chalk arrows at the bottoms of impossible-looking faces. As people began to become acquainted with Gill, they learned he was a humble, generous man -- anything but an ego trip. Gill traveled the country and put up routes from New York and Chicago to Alabama and Illinois, and onward to Montana, Missouri, and Wyoming, but especially in Colorado where he settled for a time in Fort Collins. The routes there remain testpieces for even the best climbers today. Gill moved to Pueblo, and hundreds of his routes are found in surrounding gulches, canyons, and mountains to the west.
In 1977 Pat Ament wrote "Master of Rock," a kind of biography of Gill, a book which is now a collector item and, virtually by itself, revolutionized rock climbing worldwide. People saw what it would take to become not only the best, strongest climber but the finest human being.
In his prime, Gill was able to climb a rope to the top of a tall gym in 3.8 seconds.
Most people could not simply pull a rope through their hands that fast. He could do one-arm, one-finger pullups on either of the first two fingers of either hand. He more or less invented the one-arm front lever and once managed this feat using only one-finger. But he was never simply a show of strength. He did no-hands routes that some of the best climbers of his day could not repeat using their hands.
John Sherman says there is no greater feeling than traveling to a bouldering area and seeking out Gill routes.
Pat Ament's new film visits some of those places and reveals the current doings of legends such as Ron Kauk, Layton Kor, Tom Higgins, John Sherman, and Richard Goldstone.
It is a documentary, while at the same time the film has a tender, beautiful, artful side, with all sorts of new thoughts and analysis by Gill of his own climbs.
Lynn Hill says, "Gill has looked within himself to find the truth rather than being limited by the false beliefs of others. Yet as a person he is very polite, compassionate, and respectful of others. Regardless of what he has accomplished as a climber and visionary of bouldering, I respect his human qualities above all else."
Gill is now 74 but still an amazing, vital spirit. Here's the chance to meet him, this coming Tuesday at Neptune Mountaineering.