David Trubridge — Camp 4 Wine

David Trubridge

David Trubridge

Camp 4 Wine

11 October 2017

by David Trubridge

Damon Robbins has created a wonderful restaurant and wine space deeply rooted in the history of the area and the spirit of Yosemite’s Camp 4. It features two of our massive 1600mm Kōura lights.

Camp 4 in the Yosemite Nationa Park is and always was a scruffy place.  That’s one of the reasons we like it so much: it wasn’t neat and orderly like other campgrounds in the Valley.

When we first went there, in the early 1950’s, it was already the climbers’ camp, a spot dotted with large boulders and with campsites in irregular places

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Yosemite’s Camp 4 was our “home”, our refuge from the “world out there.” Occasionally tourists in large RV’s, refugees perhaps from full campgrounds in the east end of the Valley, would park there. But they usually didn’t stay long. They didn’t care for the anarchy, but it suited climbers fine. The 1960’s were a time of great upheaval in society, with war, protests and universities shut down. But we climbers mostly ignored it. We concentrated on the walls of Yosemite. And we spent a lot of time in camp, talking about literature, philosophy, girls, life in general, and of course, our next climb. Yosemite’s Camp 4 was a good place to eat, to live, to chat with friends, and to booze a little – a good gathering place….” - Royal Robbins (father of Camp 4 founder Damon).

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The Robbins Family

The Robbins family have been coming to Yosemite’s Camp 4 since the 1950s where Damon’s father, Royal Robbins, launched many expeditions as he pushed the boundaries of rock climbing & helped define the sport. The family spent may nights huddled around the camp fire with travelers from far and wide sharing tales of the day’s exploits. The camp is a gathering place, part of the Robbins family tradition and inspiration for the Camp 4 Wine Café, some 90 miles away in Modesto.

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Camp 4 Wine Café

Damon Robbins has created a wonderful restaurant and wine space deeply rooted in the history of the area and the spirit of Yosemite’s Camp 4. The café occupies the building in Modesto, California that was the original facility that housed the clothing company launched by Damon’s father in the 1970s. Camp 4 Wine Café is a gathering place for sharing food, wine, tall tales of Yosemite experiences and exploration of life itself.

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David on Yosemite

I was kept alive through the gritty city constraints of university years by regular escapes to climb the crags of northern England. My heroes were the early pioneers on the big walls of Yosemite—walls that were impossible to imagine alongside our small crags. Climbers such as Royal Robbins had, for me, mythical status, who seemed to come from the lofty domain of the gods. Later in life, my climbing years behind me, I spent time walking in Yosemite; it fulfilled all my expectations with its unique grandeur pervaded with all those memories of the legendary pioneers, lingering like leaf humus on the soft forest floor. Now I am humbled to think that my lights are gracing a space inspired by Yosemite’s Camp 4 where it all happened and that they are cared for by Damon Robbins.


David Trubridge in Yosemite National Park in 2006

David Trubridge at Yosemite

“I learned about the lights and David Trubridge from a lecture he gave in San Francisco. He told his incredible story of his life on a boat and how it changed his perception of material things. His dedication to the simplicity, beauty and form of these light fixtures was mesmerizing to me. His ideology seemed to really align with Damon’s vision and dreams for the space and when I first met Damon, I thought of the lights and how perfect they could be. They sort of set the tone for the rest of the design.”

Hannah Collins Designer