|In Memory of Bob Kamps|
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Bringing humor and wit to climbing, Bob's puns were endless and funny. One friend described them as "knife-between-the-ribs puns ... made on the fly with material at hand." His wit was apparent in fitting, smart names to routes. Seam-Stress in Estes Park follows, of course, a difficult seam. Next to my climb The Vision on Pennyroyal Arches in Tuolumne are his routes Da Vision, and Multiplication. In the same vicinity, he coined our route up damp cracks as Ooze and Ahs.
Climbers aren't saints, especially when young, and Bob was no exception. He could be self-centered and competitive. He was ecstatic to beat you at a bouldering move, and pissed if he "lost." Same thing for cards, jokes, and crosswords. As time passed, Bob became wry, accepting, and funny. We began joking about our heel/ankle breaking competition, which he won three to two.
Nor was Bob always a climbing comet. There was a period when he slacked off to dabble in golf, and dig around in ghost town dumps for glassware. Bob believed that seeing and holding three successive big falls caused his slack period: my 50-foot slider at Tahquitz, and Joe Fitschen's and Frank Sacherer's 60-foot Yosemite tumblers. All these falls were caught without belay devices, as was an enormous earlier whopper, Yvon Chouinard's 160-footer off The Crooked Thumb in the Tetons. While these falls scared him into thinking he was a jinxed belayer, his slack period eventually ended, and he returned full force to the crags.
Finding new climbing areas was a passion for Bob; he loved chatting with the locals, and trying their recommended routes. He wasn't after a volume record; he just loved climbing. His climbing trips paralleled his later-life job as buyer and seller of unclaimed storage units; in both, he went seeking, finding, and savoring volumes of unpredictable gems. Bob invented a name for his work: "Entrecrapeur," as many of the units proved to contain mostly crap.