Bouldering Companions  

Bob D'Antonio 1980s Bob D'Antonio
   One of America's finest and most prolific rock climbers, Bob has established nearly 1,000 high quality routes - particularly sports climbs -  in a number of popular areas across the nation. A mountain runner and mountain biker as well, he's competed in many competitions and is living proof that a top rock climber can also excel in endurance sports, a combination of talents that I greatly admire (not being an endurance athlete, myself).

An author of some consequence, Bob has published at least 15 books – guides of various kinds, covering everything from trail biking around Philadelphia (from which he hails) to severe sports climbs in Penitente Canyon, in the San Luis Valley, and Shelf Road, near Canyon City, Colorado.  Blessed with incredible energy, a graduate of St. John's College of Santa Fe – widely known for its highly respected Great Books curriculum – Bob is proving himself a renaissance man when specialization is the focus of so many, particularly young climbers.

Bathtub Road, Wet Mountains 1980s  

I got to know Bob in the early 1980s, when he and wife, Laurel, lived in Colorado Springs. I have the fondest recollections of dinners with my wife, Dorothy, Bob and Laurel, and their children. At the time D'Antonio was working in the restaurant business, finally managing a restaurant in the area. He held a variety of positions in Colorado and Philadelphia, many in the food industry, and was, refreshingly, a devoted family man, at a time I saw many young male climbers hedonistically avoiding such a commitment. He was also a vegetarian - causing me to ponder how he could maintain such strength and energy from eating spaghetti and salad! A great metabolism, I guess, for I've known others who swelled up like a balloon on a diet of pasta - while Bob stayed trim and fit.  

bobd1953 (guess where this comes from!) and I enjoyed a number of bouldering sessions in Southern Colorado, along with buildering divertissements on the campus of Colorado State University at Pueblo. An age difference of about 17 years allowed me the composure to avoid humiliation when D'Antonio scampered lightly up something that had frustrated me. Our styles were entirely different: Bob was strong, but he was also precise and poised, balancing on the tiniest holds, and moving with a smooth grace in delicate, static fashion, while I sought overhanging dynamics largely dependant on strength. It was great fun to go out with this guy! I only wish I were still young enough to enjoy the bouldering camaraderie I felt 20 years ago when Bob and I, and our mutual friend, Lew Hoffman, assaulted - perhaps I should say finessed - the boulders.
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On the other hand, D'Antonio has always had, shall we say, unusual sartorial preferences  – as seen here . . .  Young climbers, emulate, if you wish, the technical excellence of this great climber, but, pray, look elsewhere for clothing advice!  (2004)

   Bob on one of my short solo scrambles in the Wet Mountains 1980s