Bachar-Yerian timelinep-who did which ascent and when


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Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 28, 2009 - 03:41pm PT
I've been trying to figure out the sequence of the first 10 ascents or so, but everybody seems to have a different opionion. i'm hoping to get some clarity with dates and what not. would love to hear from mike waugh and jerry moffat who did early ascents. hears how i remember it
1) bachar and yerian 81
2) schneider and scott frye 83
3) kurt smith and ed barry 84
4) mike waugh and darryl nakahira
5) moffat and partner ?

i'm positive about the first 3, despite what cristian griffith claims he heard from bachar

other early notables
scott cosgrove and partner
rob oravetz(seconded by cosgrove)
christian griffith and tim wagner

any other early(1980's) ascents?

steve schneider

Trad climber
In the mountains... somewhere...
Dec 28, 2009 - 04:10pm PT
Steve, Mike never posts online but I know that he thinks that his ascent with Darryl was the first no-falls ascent. Fall 1984 sounds right.

Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Dec 28, 2009 - 04:36pm PT

Pete Steres made an ascent as well but do not know
who partnered him, nor the date. I should have asked
him, never did.

good luck,
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Dec 28, 2009 - 04:57pm PT
Todd Worsfold led all pitches onsight in Summer of '85.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Dec 28, 2009 - 05:22pm PT
I'm still waiting for you to guide me up it, Steve. Didn't we have a deal once?
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 28, 2009 - 05:24pm PT
How many times did John do it? And Dave?

Trad climber
Dec 28, 2009 - 06:29pm PT
Didn't Scott Burke send the whole thing? It may have been early 90's though.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Dec 28, 2009 - 07:00pm PT
Scott Burke did it at least 5 times...

Buzzard Point, TN
Dec 28, 2009 - 07:09pm PT
Someone should sack up and do that thing sans bolts...

Oh wait...

...Close enough for me...

Why just do 80's, we should probably recognize the "Audacity of Youth"!

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2009 - 08:03pm PT
this is some help. who is todd worsfold. summer of 85 would make him in the top ten. i'll ask burke where he came in, i know he's done the route more than anybody.
jan, you know mike? i would love to hear his timeline, i think summer of 84 is more likely than fall, it gets kind of cold
mark, NO DEAL. the deal was for you, me, and shelly. without the t and a its less attractive.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Dec 28, 2009 - 08:35pm PT
Damn! I was hoping you wouldn't remember that part!
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 28, 2009 - 08:39pm PT
Had always heard that Lance Bateman and Dave Bell from SLC made an early ascent, and, that JB was there and he was pretty psyched on their effort.

Both those guys are around (saw Lance the other night).


Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Dec 28, 2009 - 08:42pm PT
Steve, it may be possible Pete's ascent was among
among the first ten as well.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 28, 2009 - 11:45pm PT
coz (Scott Cosgrove) said he did the 5th ascent.
He posted in the middle of the big Bachar-Yerian thread with all the cool photos and stories:


Trad climber
California Jun 29, 2009 - 04:49pm PT
I can, I did the fifth ascent of the B/Y and Bacher didn't sneak up to the base but walked up with me to take photos. I had train climbing knobs for about a month and basically just climbed as fast as I could to get it over with.

The third pitch gave me a little pause where everyone before me had broken off a few holds but I managed to wiggle by. John got some great photos.

I did it again many years latter and it felt about 11c, great climb.

I think, the thing I really still find amazing is, running it out that far hanging on a hook and drilling for fifteen minutes. Pure terror.

Bacher is and always will be the man!
KP Ariza

Dec 29, 2009 - 01:11am PT
Steve, Todd W. was an old school little known climber from N. Tahoe (now in S.F.) who moved out from the east coast in '83ish. I first met him through wally (Paul Tier) and wanky (Dave Le winter) and the North Tahoe boys. He was a heady confident climber with nerves of steel.
His FIRST El Cap route was a SOLO ascent of Eagles Way (on a recommendation from Troy Johnson) in '84/85 after his partner for the Nose bailed on him two weeks prior. He has also done repeats of seldom climbed Calaveras Dome sketch fests's authored by the late Dick Richardson.
On a summer day in '85 after frying the night before, Todd led every pitch of the BYR not knowing exactly what he was even on. In the summer of '86 he suggested that he and I go and do it together. I thought I might be capable of doing one of the leads so I agreed (bad joke). He led the first pitch and I cut my right index finger badly trying to just follow it. Blessing in disguise. I was nowhere near capable of doing the thing. We bailed.

Back to the topic at hand, Todd did an early ascent of the BYR in early summer '85. I just got off the phone with him and it brought back some good memories, hope this helps straighten the record.


Dec 29, 2009 - 01:18am PT
Sept 1985 It was a late evening attempt, the Trons Challenged me to climb this immortal piece of stone, I remember up and down climbing several times just to clip the first bolt, I reached the belay at the first pitch(NO FALLS) at dusk, I trailed a rope and raped of those infamies bolts and remember pulling the cord in the dark. I left the next day back to the OC. never to return?????????
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Dec 29, 2009 - 01:42am PT
Did Wolfgang Gullich ever complete the route? I know he
went up and took a fall... But it slips my mind, whether
they went down or continued or returned later...

Dec 29, 2009 - 01:59am PT

close but no cigar
British Headpointer Tries Bachar-Yerian on Natural Gear
Issue 172

In 1981 John Bachar cast off into the uncharted expanse of Mendlicott Dome, a steep 500-foot, knob-spackled granite face in Tuolumne Meadows, California, with nothing but a hand drill and bolts, some slings, hooks and cams. Climbing onsight and belayed by Dave Yerian, he established the litmus test for runout climbing, the Bachar-Yerian (5.11c R). Over the years, climbers have assayed their mental fortitude against Bachar’s standard by stepping up to onsight this piéce de résistance. Some succeeded, but others, famously, didn’t. Wolfgang Güllich (one of the strongest climbers in the world before his untimely death in a car crash), for example, broke a brittle foothold and zipped 60 feet onto his belayer while trying to make the second ascent.

In July, the 19-year-old English climber George Ullrich attempted to better Bachar’s style by skipping the nine bolts and protecting the face entirely with natural runners. Ullrich had already repeated some of the British Isles’ boldest headpoints, both on gritstone and, more recently, in the Lake District, where he sent two of Dave Birkett’s sparsely protected lines, Impact Day and Dawes Rides a Shovel Head. Both lines are rated E8 6c, which translates to scary, dangerous 5.13 climbing protected entirely by natural gear.

With that kind of background training, it’s no surprise that Ullrich managed to onsight the Bachar-Yerian while clipping the bolts, but his decision to try the line without the fixed pro might leave people scratching their heads, since the route largely lacks cracks that accept gear. Ullrich spent another day on the climb sussing placements, which, for the most part, consisted of slings hitched around the suspect knobs, and then he went for the send. Six feet from the third-pitch anchors (and the end of the difficulties), Ullrich balked, opting to clip the last bolt, and bringing his historic bid to elevate America’s iconic testpiece to a close.


Why did you decide to try the Bachar-Yerian without the bolts?

After climbing it with Mason “Bob” Earle with bolts, I was excited to see that it looked possible to protect most of the climb by slinging chicken heads with small slings and cord, and I thought it would be fun to give it a bash. I climbed it once more clipping the bolts and I felt comfortable—kinda comfortable, actually. We got rained off the last pitch so I wasn’t able to check it out.

What happened at the end of the third pitch on your attempt without bolts?

Halfway up that bit, I realized that I didn’t actually have any decent protection to hold a fall, and I had only climbed the top section once before. After fiddling a crap wire into a hole, I was sketching and thought it sensible to clip the bolt a few meters up. A wise decision, as I did not feel comfortable on the top few moves. The crux of the route is halfway up the first pitch, protected by a sky-hook and a couple of cams below the break, but the top section is the psychological crux.

Other than that section, did you feel solid throughout? Yes, it was more mentally

Watch this guy he makes the original bolts look BOMBER!



Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 29, 2009 - 03:29am PT
clint, thanks for showing me the b and y thread, although i'm too gripped now to sleep tonight. there's some curious discrepancies in there. i'm still checking out the thread. ciao, shipoopoi
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 29, 2009 - 04:30am PT
Always glad to share cool threads like that one!!
Keep us posted on what you figure out on the timeline - definitely a worthy project.
The dates should help straighten out the puzzles, and I bet people will have pretty clear memories of it. (Maybe too clear?!)
I think some of those epic attempts should go in the timeline, too.
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