I bumped into an edifice while in America, Henry Barber! Known as Hot Henry Barber in the 1970s, his impact on climbing was deep, he left a hole that was hard to fill. The only person with such a big hit on climbing among the elite was Peter Croft years later. For me though Henry was the guy who made the whole thing a more serious game. It already was serious, after all, all the hard leads in the UK at this time involved serious injury as a consequence, but Henries majesty of movement in the various sub games was what I wanted to emulate.
There were many guys to look up to in the UK, many bold confident climbers, but Henry was good, and it wasn't his home ground-he was playing away. He was involved in the first visits to East Germany Elbe Sandstone, and brought over to the UK and Mountain Magazine tales of German superiority! No body wanted to know then, and the history of climbing is still badly Anglo /American slanted.
Anyway Henry came over while I was working, and cheered me up, and replayed my own Dresden Sandstone experience. Henry has an out of print book out there some where, with that stunning time all recorded. It's very hard to understand Henry's influence, but it lives on in those few who still solo on cool headed routes, and multi pitch, where it's not gym training, but mind control that is required.
Henry is big, he all ways was big, it's not a joke he is an edifice, he is like a big rock buttress standing proud. He is some one I'ave always looked up to, thanks for coming to the UK in the late 70s Henry, and showing us how to play the game. Climbing 5.11 is not really the same as in the mid 70s, we had just got Chouinard Hexs, and were just learning how good they were, cams weren't thought of yet. It's hard for kids today to understand seeing Henry climb, or hearing him speak, he had walked the walk, and talked the talk. Oh yes, and where I learnt to climb, North Wales, my mentors adored Henry. There you go, one day I would love to go back to German Sandstone with Henry, and do the definitive documentary on the history of modern rock climbing. Henry was a dream seller, I bought the dream.