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.
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