Bachar and Karafa Families Remember - John Bachar, Rock Cli
By Duane Raleigh
07.09.2009 – Carbondale, Colorado - The acclaimed rock climber and free soloist
John Bachar, 52, died Sunday, July 5, in an unroped fall while climbing on the Dike
Wall near his home in Mammoth Lakes, California. Bachar was one of rock
climbing’s greatest pioneers, a visionary, whose strict code of climbing ethics, which
included free soloing and respect for the natural environment, influenced
generations of climbers.
Bachar began climbing as a teenager around Los Angeles. After graduating from
high school, he moved to Yosemite Valley to become the greatest rock climber of his
A natural on rock and highly disciplined - he could do a one-arm pull up while
holding a 12.5 pound weight in his free hand - Bachar quickly rose through the ranks
and began climbing ropeless in the early 1980s. His ascents included routes so
difficult and dangerous - such as Yosemite’s Nabisco Wall (5.11c) and New
Dimensions (5.11a) - that even climbing's elite had to take pause. In 1981, Bachar
issued a famous "bounty," offering $10,000 to anyone who could keep up with him,
ropeless, on the rock for a single day. There were no takers.
At the time of Bachar's boldest exploits, professional climbing didn’t exist. Bachar,
however, elevated the sport to the point where it gained national attention, and
through spots in television commercials, product endorsements and even a feature
about him in Rolling Stone, he became America's first real professional climber.
During his nearly 30 years of soloing, Bachar estimated that he had climbed 1.5
million feet of rock without a rope, and up to 5.13 in difficulty.
Although he suffered a broken neck in an auto accident in 2006, Bachar trained
himself back into fitness, and continued to solo at a high grade and designed rock
shoes for the company Acopa, of which he was a part owner.
While the details of his fall may never be known - a hold may have broken or he
might have slipped - his