The Legendary John Bachar

We all have heroes, mentors…people we look up to. John Bachar is one of those people to me. The first time I read or even heard about Bachar was after I bought a pair of his climbing shoes, Acopa Aztecs. I didn’t really like them all that much but I looked into the company that made them, nonetheless. That is how I discovered the likes of John Bachar.

I don’t know what captured me. Maybe it was because I was captivated by his soloing or his ability to focus on his movements, strength and confidence needed to move alone on long hard routes.

I don’t really need to go into detail about his legendary status or his unfortunate passing, John Long’s story, The Only Blasphemy, shines perfect light on the climber for me.

“Soloing is unforgiving, but okay, I think. You just had to be realistic, and can never stove to peer pressure or ego. Soul climbing, and all that jazz.” —John Long

The full text of the story can be found over at Rock & Ice, it is well worth the read and the listen by the author, John Long.

John Long’s gripping tale of a big free solo day with John Bachar, in Joshua Tree in the late 1970s. For the e-book with a collection of Long’s best stories and bonus readings check out

Narrated and written by: John Long
Photography by: Dean Fidelman
Edited by: Dean Fidelman, Ted Distel