Text by Alyson Sheppard
Free climbing legend John Bachar, 52, died on July 5 after a fall near his home in Mammoth Lakes, California. The 52-year-old was attempting a solo, unroped ascent of Dike Wall.
Bachar was considered a rock-climbing icon for his unprecedented, dangerous climbs back in a time when professional climbing was not yet even nationally recognized. He pioneered physical and mental training for his sport, which ushered in a new era of athletes focused on respecting safety and nature.
Originally from Los Angeles, Bachar regularly climbed the Joshua Tree National Monument, and it was there he met friend John Lang in the 1970s. He gained notoriety for his free-solo climbs of Yosemite routes such as New Dimensions (5.11a) and his 1981 first ascent of Bachar-Yerian (5.11c) with Dave Yerian. That same year, he famously offered $10,000 to anyone who could follow his ropeless exploits in Yosemite for a solid day. No one claimed the bounty.
According to Rock and Ice, Bachar climbed 1.5 million feet of rock without a rope, up to 5.13 in difficulty, over his 30-year career.