Catherine Freer Profile in Courage Paul Piana Climbing 1987


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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 23, 2012 - 03:48pm PT
I have been wanting to start a thread about Catherine and this Paul Piana profile from Climbing August 1987 is perfect. Catherine graced us in Tucson with her estimable presence during the nasty months for several years in the company of Todd Bibler and Dave Anderson. She was a climber's climber and her strength, desire and exuberance was inspiring to be around. Those were great years in the Old Pueblo!

For aspiring women climbers, Catherine set the mark for my generation and dreamed big to the last.

She and Dave disappearing is still surreal...nobody stood taller.
wayne burleson

Amherst, MA
Jun 23, 2012 - 04:00pm PT
Met her once in Boulder in mid 80's. Seemed really bad-ass but friendly.
Like SG said, a climber's climber.
Sorry to see her pass... But if you gotta go, the Hummingbird Ridge couldn't be more noble... RIP

Trad climber
Jun 23, 2012 - 04:02pm PT
Thanks for posting about Catherine Freer.

Portland, OR
Jun 23, 2012 - 04:28pm PT
There is a wilderness therapy program for troubled teens in Oregon named in her honor. Below is a link to a thoughtful writing about her by the founder of the program.

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jun 23, 2012 - 04:33pm PT
She spoke at the A16 in San Diego. Very motivational, it was a gift that she was blessed with(the ability to inspire others). She was an incredible influence to many. She utilized a particular moment in time in regards to how a person could rise above their particular situation and the restrictions that are placed on you and excel. Not only women, but anyone. It was a different time and things have changed(as far as women in sports, particularly climbing)but, she was effective at motivating people in general and not just women, particularly the underdog. I felt very motivated, not only as a climber, but towards life in general. I recall her talking about how she would go out and run up this hill near her home everyday dragging/pulling a mounted tire on a wheel tied to her waste inorder to get in shape for the Hummingbird Ridge. It was very sad when she didn't return from that climb.

I didn't know that she new Dave Anderson. Dave was a good friend and climbing partner in the mid seventies in the Valley. I would have approached her and said something.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jun 23, 2012 - 08:05pm PT
I got to know Catherine in March of '87.

Dave Cheesmond and I had done our first El Cap climb together, and when she told me about the Hummingbird I told her she couldn't have a better partner.

So sad.
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Jun 23, 2012 - 10:21pm PT
Here's a poignant note. In an old address book, for Jim Logan, the only entry was a phone number for his girlfriend, Catherine Freer.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 24, 2012 - 01:05am PT
She was the strongest woman I've ever known, period.
A real nice person too.

Social climber
Jun 24, 2012 - 01:47am PT
Catherine and I climbed a lot for a brief period in the Cathedral Spires of the South Platte. We repeated a number of the local classics and she assisted me in putting up the second pitch of one of my creations in the area.
I'm proud to post on this thread!
Cheers, Olaf

Mountain climber
Jun 24, 2012 - 04:47pm PT
what a great piece. thanks to sg for posting and to all of the piece's original contributors.

the photo by lecoq, on the page with mk's introduction, is a beautiful one. while likely also in part due to mk and pp writings, that photo seems to me, to capture a truly powerful and intense, but still vulnerable human.

if there are any other writings about freer (esp. by her) that anyone can suggest, i'd appreciate them.


Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
Jun 26, 2012 - 04:35pm PT
Thanks Steve and all who added....such an exciting life that passed way too soon.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 30, 2012 - 02:18pm PT
Bump for the Freer way...

Jun 30, 2012 - 05:07pm PT

I'll be danged! Are these Korean War Boots? In the Adirondaks I had KWB's fitted out with size 48 grivels. You never had to worry about the temperature falling to -35F. At -35F you could fill those boots with water, stick your feet in and have them toasty again within a hundred yards. And you paid $10 at most for them.

I still have them.
Captain...or Skully

Jun 30, 2012 - 05:14pm PT
That's my kinda gal. Respect.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 30, 2012 - 05:28pm PT
Probably Scarpas by this date I would guess...not to wreck your buzz, John.

Jun 30, 2012 - 06:40pm PT
Darnnit! There you go ruining my buzz. There are not many buzzes on ST. Have to hang onto whatever buzz you can get these days.

Boots were worth sh#t in the 60's.

I have read reports from the Korean War of Chinese regulars wearing pajamas at -30F marching in formation into enfiladed machine gun fire. Fire from our troops whose feet were frozen solid in leather boots. It was so bad we didn't want to open fire. It really might have made more sense not to open fire and powwow with them as to how best to manage these North Koreans.

Here we are nearly 60 years later, trying to do exactly that.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 30, 2012 - 06:45pm PT
Mickey might say! LOL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 14, 2012 - 01:28pm PT
Badass bump...
James Doty

Trad climber
Phoenix, Az.
Jul 14, 2012 - 06:04pm PT
anyone got that pic of the bird and the boys plus her all posing their backs with no shirt on? She is just as ripped as they are. I always thought that picture semi-iconic. Thanks for the thread.

Trad climber
Jul 14, 2012 - 11:45pm PT
bump for coolness.
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