The ‘Gunks of Yore: Bob Larsen (1925-2018)

Remembering Bob Larsen (1925-2018)

Sixty-two years ago, in September of 1956, I arrived at the Uberfall—a total neophyte; an Appie beginner.

That first climb! All the way to the top of the cliff on a rope led by Bob Larsen.
Wow! Who knew?

It was The Easy Overhang.

Bob led many of my early climbs; I felt that he was looking out for me. The next spring he offered my first “leg on a climb” toward becoming an Appie leader.

It was the top pitch of Baby.

We became friends. On long drives from Manhattan I learned with fascination about the Merchant Marine, the arcane social entanglements at the Uberfall, and the stirrings of a new sub-culture unfettered by convention—a culture to which Bob was an early adherent:

There was a john in the kitchen of his East Village pad. There I smoked my first joint.

Eventually, inspired by Bob’s account of his own Teton ascent, I bought a rope and went west to climb the Grand.

And so, owing to Bob’s mentorship, a door opened to the world of mountaineering;
And my life was changed forever.

Bill Atkinson, 22 September 2018