The Stonemasters: California Rock Climbers in the Seventies
Introduction by Jeff Jackson. Text by John Long. Photographs by Dean Fidelman.
In the early 1970s, a small band of young rock climbers, decked out in bandanas, shades and cutoffs, came together and blew open the conventions of climbing. Dubbing themselves the Stonemasters, these now-legendary adventurers established techniques that allowed for some of the most spectacular climbs to be done with a minimum of apparatus. Beyond their unsurpassed skills as climbers, the Stonemasters embodied a lifestyle—they were loud, proud, smoked dope, chalked their lightning-flash insignia across rockfaces, took the light stuff seriously and the serious stuff lightly—and the glamour of this lifestyle made a massive impact on 1970s youth culture across the world. Among the first Stonemasters were Rick Accomazzo, Richard Harrison, Mike Graham, Robs Muir, Gib Lewis, Bill Antel, Jim Hoagland, Tobin Sorenson, John Bachar and John Long, but the character or myth of the Stonemaster caught on like wildfire, spreading from coast to coast and across the ocean, and spawning Stonemasters everywhere. Here, Dean Fidelman's thrilling archival photos reveal for the first time an era defined by risk, camaraderie and nonconformity. Tales from original Stonemaster John Long and others recall the highs and lows of the early days—a magical time in the annals of adventure sports.