More Chris Vandiver from BITD


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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 28, 2010 - 12:41pm PT
Continuing with my new resurrected images, these of my main climbing partner, Chris Vandiver. These images are from around 1971-1972

Triple Direct Reed

Lunatic Fringe, the Valley:

Vendetta, the Valley, the second pitch on lead:

Sweet Nothings, Tuolumne Meadow, in the process of falling!

other: Outer Limits and a goofy portrait of Chris:

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 28, 2010 - 02:09pm PT
The Diver! Where is he now? I knew him when he hung out in the Tahoe area in the early 80s.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 28, 2010 - 02:17pm PT
Hi Mark.

He moved to Santa Fe, NM, was married to Barbara Brill, really got into woodworking, that marriage came to an end, he moved to SLC, set up his own shop after awhile, got married to Lori and about 6 years ago they eventually moved to a place near Quincy, CA, above Truckee. For a couple of years he had been living out here working and Lori was holding down her considerable position back in SLC---- it was hard on them. Then he kind of disappeared but actually is up on Bainbridge Island I gather. We worked together on the Larry Ellison Medieval Japanese Village estate in Woodside before he went up there. In recent decades he has really become a japanese woodworking guy, loves it. He must be just about 60 now, maybe 59. He was a tremendous climber and terribly bold.

Trad climber
Behind the Zion Curtain
Jul 28, 2010 - 02:21pm PT
"and terribly bold."

what an awesome compliment Peter.
scuffy b

Eastern Salinia
Jul 28, 2010 - 03:39pm PT
Terribly bold when he had to be.

I followed him up the last pitch of New Dimensions.
It was quite an eye-opening experience.
I had heard it was relentless, a long strenuous lieback with nearly
no opportunities for stopping to place protection.
Chris just sewed the thing up. Every two moves he would find a wonderful
stance, some of them most subtle indeed, casually place a nut, chalk up
and move on.
I learned a lot about knee/foot and heel/toe combinations that day, and I
thought I already knew a lot about footwork.
I got to the crux totally fresh, following his lessons, popped out the #7
stopper from its bombproof placement ("clicked" into place, just as he had
predicted) and was able to stay calm and focused for the last few moves.
Grab the top with the left not the right, as I recall.

He was also really good as a sandbagger, but I guess I wasn't victimized
too terribly.
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Jul 28, 2010 - 05:51pm PT
classic photos!

Trad climber
Yachats, OR
Jul 28, 2010 - 05:51pm PT
Took a class with Chris at the Alpine Skills Institute at Donner Summit in the 80's. Very cool and fun guy.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 28, 2010 - 06:27pm PT
Classic photo of him leading Mexican Crack in the local guidebook here in SLC. I remember seeing him around a bit. Was friends with Lori and her soon-to-be ex as well (still see him around a bit and his new wife).

Have always wondered where they ended up...

Was it in Rowell's High and Wild that talked about Chris' prowess as a climber? I seem to recall hearing that Chris would just smoothly cruise right through a crux and you wouldn't know. But, if he hesitated, you were doomed.

Fun history. Thanks!

-Brian in SLC
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 28, 2010 - 06:37pm PT
Brian, exactly. Hesitation was not a good sign. Chris actually held Pratt in high esteem, especially with Pratt's notion to always find balance in all moves.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 28, 2010 - 06:39pm PT
He's the first guy I saw use two different shoes (one stiff, the other soft) for a specific boulder problem.

Social climber
Jul 28, 2010 - 08:26pm PT
hey there say, peter... not that i need to, but just stepping in to "cheer you on" with all this neat "BITD" sharing-stuff here....

way to go... :)

good job and keep up the good work...
thanks, though non-climber, but hiker, i am... :)
Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)

Social climber
Aug 19, 2010 - 11:34pm PT
Thanks for this post. I climbed with him quite a bit in the late 1980s in NM. Brilliant, fun, wonderful character. Cam
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Sep 21, 2012 - 06:39am PT
Peter, wasn't that Outer Limits photo used on the cover of Mountain, or perhaps on the Brave New World article by Bridwell? I am sure I have seen it somewhere before.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 21, 2012 - 10:10am PT
I remember the Lord of Price telling Jeff and I about some of the boulder problems he and others used to try with different shoes on either foot. I haven't ever heard of actually using the "two shoe" on a climb.

Speaking of Price being right, he did the FA of Vendetta, Peter. His hand size being very big, witness his filmed ascent of Reed's Direct in the YV Lodge's ancient flick. I wonder if CV found that hard, easy, no factor. I have never witnessed any one even make an attempt, so good on Chris and yourself! Dish, Petey! How fun is that old bugbear?

beneath the valley of ultravegans
Sep 21, 2012 - 11:34am PT
Wasn't there one of Chris as refracted through Royal's round glasses? (Or maybe the other way around?) That was one of the first things I remember you posting and it was great.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2012 - 11:38am PT
Mouse, to answer your question, Vandiver and I loved Vendetta and found it casual. I did it three times even, he had to have done it several as well. My first time was with Schmitz back in 1970. Granted it was terrifically exposed coming out of the triangular alcove that is situated above that long fascinating offwidth. In fact that egress was the only spot where the FA party had aided the climb, out there on the vertical and overhanging face you come upon as you emerge from the alcove. Unsurprisingly the FA party had an awful case of snail-eye out there. RR immediately went up (thus "Vendetta") and rectified that however, and got those few moves out there done free. They were barely 5.10 as I recall, pretty much lockers in fact with a couple solid undercling moves beforehand. These new moves were easier than perhaps some of the climbing lower down that had already gone free but which had not been so intimidating. In other words, Lloyd's first ascent was aided but soon rectified.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 21, 2012 - 11:54am PT
Very nice clarification. I knew when I first saw it that it was not for the likes of moi!

Oh for one good try, let alone 3 sends! We sorta got over-intimidated by that alcove, Jeff and I. Lack of confidence. Lack of technique. Now he tells me!

Hullo, Chris, wherever you are. Wood that you were in the campfire.

Bring my jumars, okay? :0)

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2012 - 12:01pm PT
Mouse, you could have done it too. It was gutsy of course and the offwidth was a big runout and much fabled but mostly so by those who hadn't done it. SO SO many routes faked climbers out as they mulled around at the picnic table, I have to say. And still do. If only we could keep our yaps shut, we would all climb many more routes than we do. Admittedly there are subtle differences between a death route and a good difficult well-constructed route that is still pretty normal. Vendetta looked hard and kind of "death-routish" from the ground but foot by foot, it melted away in the details and never was as desperate as it appeared if you kept yourself from snail-eyeing. I would add that the route is very very interesting and quite jaunty and certainly transcends most of the routes down on Cookie Wall in quality, variety, classic trickery and position.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 21, 2012 - 01:55pm PT
"Tiny degrees of separation."

Excellent choice of words, DMT; you a lawbucks, by chance? :0)

So generous of you to clear the air about that, Pete. It's something everybody needs to listen to and benefit from.

We live in a modern world and it's good to see you taking the best of it for our advantage.

Kudos. Kudos. Mas kudos.

Trad climber
On the road again!
Sep 21, 2012 - 02:09pm PT
Regarding "two shoes" -- back in the 70s, the late Tom Dunwiddie and I were climbing a hard face route at Suicide, for which we used two different shoes. His idea I think. He'd been a Devil's Lake (Wisc.) climber, and good at hard, steep face. It was some combination like an EB on one foot, a PA or RD on the other foot, for a particular move. And specific shoes were allocated to specific feet.
Haven't sen Vandiver in many years -- send me his email, if you have it. BTW, Peter, I'm heading to the Bay Area to take care of my mom and her house, if you want to visit. Are you coming to Facelift?
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