DAVID SMART at Sports Basement Presidio

Author image of David Smart and cover photo of his book Royal Robbins

Books Inc. in the Marina proudly joins writer, editor, and adventurer David Smart at the Sports Basement for a thrilling discussion of his biography of climbing legend Royal Robbins!

Please RSVP here!

"Royal Robbins had an outsized impact on climbing history. This great new biography by David Smart brings the man behind the famous climbs to life in a way that's both relatable and inspiring."--Alex Honnold

  • Robbins's passing in 2017 was covered from the BBC News to NPR to the New York Times, which deemed him the "conscience of rock climbers"
  • Includes never-before-published information drawn from Robbins's family archives and personal papers
  • International interest in the Golden Age of Yosemite only continues to grow

Acclaimed writer David Smart illuminates the fascinating life of Royal Robbins---in all its soulful ambition, rivalry, and romance. Royal Robbins chronicles his early years growing up as a latchkey kid in Southern California, the push and pull between being an aspiring banker or one of the original Camp 4 dirtbags, and his later decades as a father, husband, kayaker, and the trailblazing founder of the outdoor apparel company that bears his name. This intimate, colorful tour of climbing history covering Yosemite, the Tetons, the Gunks, the Alps, the United Kingdom, and more from the 1960s onward features star characters such as Liz Robbins-- Robbins's wife and a pioneering adventurer in her own right-- Yvon Chouinard, John Harlin, Steve Roper, Warren Harding, Tom Frost, and Doug Tompkins.

An important addition to our knowledge of the Golden Age of rock climbing in Yosemite and the development of the clean climbing ethos, Royal Robbins sheds new light on an elemental figure of outdoor culture.


Royal Robbins was a leading climber and legend during the golden age of big wall climbing. This is an important story of him and that age.--Yvon Chouinard

Royal Robbins set the cultural and ethical standards for the golden age of American rock climbing. Readers everywhere will surely be moved by his inspiring story.--Tommy Caldwell

A central figure in the history of climbing in Yosemite, Royal Robbins taught us how to allow the vertical world to change us--an antidote to conquering a mountain. David Smart takes us on Robbins's amazing transformation of this sport.--Conrad Anker

Once again, David Smart brings his impressive abilities for in-depth research, nuanced historical interpretation, and immersive prose to a biography of a complex and enigmatic climber--demonstrating how fortunate we all are, as readers of mountain literature, that Smart has chosen this genre.--Katie Ives


David Smartis founding editor of Gripped magazine, editorial director at Gripped Publishing, and author of five guidebooks. His biography of Austrian solo climber Paul Preuss was shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize, and his biography of Italian climber Emilio Comici won that prize along with the Banff Award for Climbing Literature. Other honors include the H. Adams Carter Award for Mountain Literature from the American Alpine Club. His work has appeared in ClimbingRock and IceThe American Alpine JournalThe Canadian Alpine Journal, and Alpinist. Smart resides in Toronto.

Event date: 
Sunday, September 24, 2023 - 2:00pm
Event address: 
Sports Basement Presidio
610 Old Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94129
Royal Robbins: The American Climber By David Smart Cover Image
ISBN: 9781680516586
Availability: In Stock Now - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Please allow up to 48-hours for Curbside Pickup orders to be processed.
Published: Mountaineers Books - September 1st, 2023