Your 1st, first ascent


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Social climber
The land of ice, snow and rocks
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 14, 2013 - 07:56pm PT
This has made the rounds a few times, but was your first, first ascent any good?
All of mine are total piles- at best, a couple are worthy of second ascents if someone has nothing better to do. Most fall in to the "I wouldn't recommend it my worst enemy category."
My point is, out of the climbers BITD with more rock and bigger balls at their disposal, were your first-first ascents any good?

(This message is endorsed by the keep it on-topic, on the first page movement.)

Sport climber
Golf Wall, CO
Dec 14, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
Mine was worth doing again. And recommending to friends. A bit run out, but later on someone added another bolt with my permission, so I think it's pretty popular now.

And then I got into the crappy, chossy, don't-bother-unless-you-like-to-be-scared first ascents...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Dec 14, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
Pervertical Sanctuary

Haven't repeated it, but I think some have.

Dec 14, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
Coonyard, and it was good. Fun and lasting. I can still see that first pitch above Monday Morning Slab. I thought it was incredible no one had climbed there before as it was so easy on the brain and body compared with the classic Steck Salathe of Sentinel.

Dec 14, 2013 - 08:30pm PT
It's was a pile when I put it up in 1994, but just as everything that gets done frequently at Smith, it has cleaned up over the years:

Now there is a steel-and-4X12 staircase going up to it!

Stairs to Snuffy Smith
Stairs to Snuffy Smith
Credit: MisterE


Trad climber
Spokane, WA
Dec 14, 2013 - 08:30pm PT
My first 1st Ascent started out as a short practice solo-aid session back in the late '70's. I was living in the Valley and had wall aspirations, so went looking for a place where I could practice on my own, without a bunch of people watching me flail. I found an interesting, short dihedral over by Mirror Lake and commenced to figuring out how to aid-climb with a prussic system. From the top of the corner, maybe 70 feet up (if I remember correctly), I rapped and cleaned the munge out of the crack and it looked like it might be kinda fun as a free climb so I returned a few days later with a buddy and free-climbed it at 5.9. Top-roped a face climb to the right too.

I mentioned it to Don Reid and didn't think much more of it until I saw it printed in his yellow Yosemite Climbs guide listed as Eric's Book and Thin Man. I climbed there a few more times and it turned out to be a pretty fun little area!

Eric Barrett
Spokane WA
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Dec 14, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
Good times BITD
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Dec 14, 2013 - 08:53pm PT
Southwest Face, Mt Lyell July 1963, age 14 along with other youths, Dennis Schmidt, Vern Muhr, led by Les Wilson. II 5.6

Choss heap of course but amazing place.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 14, 2013 - 08:54pm PT
Underground City, the Original Route, which incidentally was my first lead.


Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Dec 14, 2013 - 08:57pm PT
Spiders from Mars 5.9 A2+ 1986 it has since been freed by Zeb Jacobs @ 5.11d scary. went unrepeted for 10 years has been done maybe 6 times total. with 3 or 4 of those ascents by myself. Yea, It's a pile ;)

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Dec 14, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
We had this 170' granite cliff located about 5 miles from my high school, so logically I would skip days worth of classes to explore it. This was my fourth lead ever; and the first of 8 or so FAs that we put up that year and the next. Due to access concerns the cliff sat unexplored until 2011, when a crew of friends secured access and began putting up new routes to fill in the blanks. Of the 65 routes on the cliff, I have about 25 FAs.

Why on Earth was I carrying a cliff hanger, or even own one at that po...
Why on Earth was I carrying a cliff hanger, or even own one at that point?
Credit: Edge

Jon Garlough about to launch up the consensus 5.7 crux wide crack/sque...
Jon Garlough about to launch up the consensus 5.7 crux wide crack/squeeze chimney.
Credit: Edge
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Dec 14, 2013 - 09:40pm PT
My first first-ascent that got recorded was Danny Gore out at Joshua Tree in 1968. It was 5.6/ 5.11. I have not been back there to free it! I remember the shaky block almost like it was yesterday. Free-climbing it with cams probably wouldn't make it budge. It got its name because I banged a finger and was dripping blood straight down onto my belayer Joe Brown.

My best known early first ascents would be those at the Needles in California; 1st ascent of Warlock, 1st ascent of Voodoo Dome; Pea Soup, first ascent of the Magician; Sidewalk Magic, and Hermit Spire. I wrote a story here at ST about being in on the 1st ascent of the east face of Mt Powell. Story is on this page;
life is a bivouac

Trad climber
Dec 14, 2013 - 09:59pm PT
Hi all, As a So. Cal. boy I grew up at Stoney... I did quite a few Firsts there, which were all nailing back then, and are pretty much free climbed now... One sunny and bright blue day, I think it was 1965, I soloed a first ascent on a block in the back of Stoney with four or maybe five placements; it's now known as the Yabo Arete. Another I was pretty jazzed about was the Patio to Coonyard traverse. Then bigger still was the N. E. face of Mt. Brewer. Those still put smiles on my face...

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:11pm PT
mine was a 5.10D/5.11A slab route at my local crag... me and my buddy put bolts on it and call it an FA but I bet some one has top roped it before (maybe)... "room with a veiw"

Somewhere out there
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:16pm PT
not totally sure of the date/time…

But in Bishop Ca., Happy Boulders has a little trail on an off the desk piece of rock I called "High Anxiety" V1-2…

Set on a ships prow type boulder just south of the more water less power area, to the left…

I used to look at it and wonder why not… Then I helped clean it up and sent it…

Not sure how many (if any) sends it has seen.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:26pm PT
HA!! Speaking of piles, my first was nearly the end of me. A no-nothing teen trying to emulate the mountaineers he was reading about in library books.

I took a picture of the canyon cliff this summer.
I actually made it without dying!
Credit: survival

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
Shakey Legs, 5.10c at Tollhouse Rock, CA, 1978. It gets 2 out of 3 stars in the latest guidebook and helped usher in ground up first ascents at the area. Thank heavens the locals removed the soft iron pin which protected the crux and replaced it with a solid bolt.
The Warbler

the edge of America
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:35pm PT
Stoners Highway was my first, the first bolt I ever placed was after the traverse right on the first pitch. I ran it out so far that I was looking at a grounder from about 60 ft up.

Largo had led past two (?) bolts to a ledge about 40 ft off the deck, placed a third to protect the traverse right, and lowered off. I led the traverse, and didn't drill after the crux moves, mostly because I didn't know how to. Next thing I knew I was way out there and Largo was barking drilling instructions from the ground.

We retrobolted that pitch with another bolt after the traverse to better protect the second too.

We had a great time piecing that baby together in the days that followed.

Fun, fun, fun!!!

I was hooked on FAs after that

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
Great to see you folks posting 1st ascents and new routes. I always was at my best on "new-ground."

Idaho climbing ethics are somewhat stern about writting up new routes, since they tend to remove the adventure from what little adventure remains.

I do know that the best adventures of my life were on new routes, and the next-best adventures were on established big-routes, with only a paragraph in a guidebook to describe the route.

So the first, first ascent?

1st first ascent.
1st first ascent.
Credit: Fritz
The June Phallis, under Boulder Peak, near Ketchum Idaho in June 1970. Chris, Gordon, & I were very proud.

We did not submit it to the AAJ.


Trad climber
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Joe Simpson's 1st first ascent didn't go too well. Neither did his 2nd
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