Galen Rowell's 1,000-Mile Sierra Weekend-Climbing 1970

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 6, 2010 - 03:34pm PT
A classic Rowell Sierra outing from Climbing #4 November 1970. Thanks to Jim Phillips for these early issues of Climbing.


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David Wilson

climber
CA
Sep 6, 2010 - 05:50pm PT
That's a good read. Thanks for posting Steve
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 6, 2010 - 10:32pm PT
The article really needs a shot of El Bravo but I have a feeling one will show up!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 7, 2010 - 08:22pm PT
Nice find!

When we were young teenagers, the stuff these guys had been plucking inspired our High Sierra goals.

In the mid-70s we trampled the same canyons, groped the same walls, talked about rigging a VW bug with a soft top and roll bar just so we could strip it back to accommodate starlight drives on those late Friday night rambles, well out of LA, coming up into the magic of Highway 395.

Summer 1980, in downtown Mammoth Lakes, I finally met Joe faint. He was sporting a four-day-old five o'clock shadow and stood hunched over the grimy engine bay of a road weary Ford Falcon.

I knew Galen was a hot rodder: Clevenger spent a fair amount of time with him and if I have half the story right, he and Galen were out on Highway 120 near Mono Lake late one night, at speed, catching air off those big humps in the road.

'Would be really cool to see an archive of photographs from Galen's motorhead days.
El Bravo!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 7, 2010 - 08:33pm PT
The photo resources are definitely present and accounted for! I have seen a shot of El Bravo somewhere. Have to check the AAJ.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Sep 7, 2010 - 09:34pm PT
Tarman-just a couple of shots of some Rowellmobiles I have owned over the years. You would have had to own one of Galen's creations to fully understand the intricacies of the design.

Galen loved to match out trans and rear ends for optimal efficiency and he loved to retrofit Chevs with Hurst "four on the floor" trans and he was totally mad about Overdrive. For some odd reason, quite often all the door handles were on either upside down or backwards. No sh#t, ask Hennek about this!

When the Chev 327 engine first came on the scene Galen was in 7th heaven. He finally had something with the Hp to match his energy.

I spent a lot of time with Galen cruising the salvage yards in the Bay Area. He was a master at wheeling and dealing and a natural horse trader. One time an old acquaintance stole one of his El Bravos and he had to steal it back. Best to keep the "man" out of such deeds.

My first Rowellmobile was a 56 Chev that I bought from Galen in 1963, after my 48 Chev died, coming back from Mexico. We painted it Corvette Silver, one of our fav colors at the time. Young kid stole it from me in San Jose when I was in college and beat the sh#t out of it.

Next, was to be a 56 Chev convertible which he was going to sell me for $300 but the deal fell thru when I was short on cash. Classic white with the turquoise/white interior. Luv to have it now.

Next was this classic 57 Chev.

This lovely 1964 Chev Carryall was one of my all time fav cars. Retrofitted with a 327 hp engine and matching rear end this baby could fly and still maintain excellent gas mileage. The front seat was large enough to sit four across and we recorded the mileage on the dash with a pencil in lieu of the defunct gas gauge. Had a couple of serious wrecks with this vehicle but she still ran like a charm. Had to retrofit a 8 x 8 fir bumper on the front end to keep pace with the minor things we kept running into.

One time, got in a wreck with the same truck, twice within a week on the old Baja road. Quite an achievement since we were about the only cars on the road. Guy gave us phony name and address.

I will try and dig up some more photos later. Harper, Faint, Harding, Mort and others at one time or another had various bastardizations of one sort or another of Galens mechanical genius.







Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 7, 2010 - 11:11pm PT
Guido you are pure gold!
Wonderful photographs you've laid out for us.

This is exactly what I was hoping for:
Galen loved to match out trans and rear ends for optimal efficiency ... I spent a lot of time with Galen cruising the salvage yards in the Bay Area. He was a master at wheeling and dealing and a natural horse trader ...an old acquaintance stole one of his El Bravos and he had to steal it back ... [!!!]

Would love to see some pictures to go with; such as Galen belly up on a creeper half-underneath one of those creations, wrangling with parts, wrenches, grease and so forth ... in situ as it were.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 7, 2010 - 11:35pm PT
Minor things...8 X 8...Great shots, Joe! How is Von Henneck's battle with the scanner going?
BooDawg

Social climber
On the Road, Pacific Slope
Sep 8, 2010 - 03:46am PT
Steve, After spending the long weekend together at Lauria's, we are all more resolved than ever to DO some things to help preserve our collective legacy. Don't be surprised to see Dennis (and maybe Russ) posting photos soon. More to come. Tomorrow, I fly back to Paradise. Lots of cool opportunities here.

I did see Galen's gallery in Bishop for the first time...

Here's a pic of Guido:

goatboy smellz

climber
Nederland
Sep 8, 2010 - 10:11am PT
Check out those rides!

ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Sep 8, 2010 - 11:40am PT
Cool pics! That Carryall has the same front face as my old 63 Chevy pickup. That old thing had torque out the wazoo, I could be cruising up Monarch Pass in 4th, step on it, and it would jump up and pass whoever I wanted (maybe 8 mi to the gallon, but what the heck, gas was 50cents/gallon)
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 10, 2010 - 08:51pm PT
Odometer Reset Bump!
klk

Trad climber
cali
Sep 10, 2010 - 08:58pm PT
moving to sea level has helped to appreciate galen's accomplishments.
Chinchen

climber
Way out there....
Sep 11, 2010 - 02:15am PT
I passed this thread on to Tony, Galen's son. He digs it!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Sep 11, 2010 - 02:53am PT
Well damn. Somone at Brutus' memorial (may have been Pat Brennan) mentioned that Harding had spent time in the Stone House too. Good to hear the story.


I don't know if it's just me, but each story of California climbing from years ago makes me feel more connected to those that have gone before. We cover that same ground, as was mentioned. We come up with similar crazy schemes. Not all of us had a 327. But aluminum blocks with 2 plugs per cylinder still carries a fair bit of hp for a light truck. hahaha

thx

M
Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Sep 11, 2010 - 03:18am PT
this thread is a beauty...what a great bit of history to see...Thanks!
dirt claud

Sport climber
san diego,ca
Sep 13, 2010 - 12:27pm PT
thanks for the post. Great reading.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Sep 13, 2010 - 04:01pm PT
I later sold the Chev to Jack Miller with the understanding we could buy it back or use it any time. Hennek and I owned 5 acres next to Jack on Hastings Mesa near Telluride. Last time I saw the machine it was still running but needed some TLC.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 14, 2010 - 12:02am PT
Them kids cuts a fine swagger next' that valiant steed they do!

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 19, 2010 - 02:48pm PT
Lignostone and AutoFunk Bump!
Messages 1 - 20 of total 49 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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