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Dolphin, Arthur Rhodes (1924-1953)
Dolphin, Arthur Rhodes (1924-1953)
Yorkshireman Dolphin was one of the first of the post-War rock climbers to take technical standards by the scruff of the neck and haul them up a notch. In an era which would later come to be caricatured as dominated by short, compact tradesmen, his university background, athletic approach, and slim lanky frame mark him out as being ahead of his time and in many ways he presaged the modern climbing 'wall-rat'. Surviving film footage shows Dolphin to have moved with a lithe, easy grace, and it's easy to see why he was responsible for big breakthrough climbs on Yorkshire grit, as well as in the Lake District. His influence lay in pointing the way for the chasing pack towards the 'Extreme’ Grades. His style, which comprised overcoming hard moves in a fluid and controlled manner, was much admired but rarely emulated. Had he lived, the historical listings of first ascents of many classics may well have looked very different. Unfortunately like so many rock athletes, he lost his life, ironically, to a simple slip in the mountains of the Alps.

Standout climbs: Great Western and Birdlime Traverse (Almscliffe Crag, Yorkshire) Kipling Groove, Sword of Damocles, Deer Bield Buttress, Hell’s Groove, Pegasus (Lake District).
Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett
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Dolphin, Arthur Rhodes (1924-1953)