Welcome John Stannard to ST


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Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 6, 2006 - 06:06pm PT
Hey campers, please welcome John Stannard to ST land. He has posted about 15 times in the last 3 months. We need to draw him out and get him to tell us stories about time before time.

If I ever met John it was only a brief social introduction, but I certainly knew about him from the stories told by John Bragg and Steve Wunsch who were pals when they came to the Valley.

For the ST campers who don't know, jstan is John Stannard, one of the major 'sparks' that created the early 1970s hard free climbing. By way of introduction, from an article published in Rock and Ice in 1994:

"...When Stannard free climbed the eight-foot wide Shawangunks roof on Foops in 1967, it changed climbers' perceptions about what was possible. It was five years before anyone else could repeat it. For many years, Foops was among the hardest climbs in this country, and a "destination climb" for foreign visitors. Through the mid seventies, Stannard continued creating some of the hardest climbs in the world, while introducing a revolutionary idea -- repeated falling. Jim Erickson, comments, "Stannard saw that if you could fall three or four times, you could fall twenty-five times." More than anyone, Stannard shaped the course of contemporary climbing.

"...By 1970, as more climbers entered the sport, Stannard worried the greater numbers would exacerbate land and rock erosion, and undermine the quality of the climbing experience. Aid climbing particularly concerned him, because of its greater wear on rock.

"In his campaign to free climb the remaining aid routes, Stannard enlisted the help of the next generation of Gunks stars: Wunsch, Bragg, and Barber. Kindred spirits with the requisite physical talents, under Stannard's influence, they began to chance more falls and push into higher grades.

"Their efforts were wildly successful, producing many of the enduring hard Shawangunks classics. Of 33 aid routes existing in 1972, two years later, they had free climbed all but two. Russ Clune, who freed the last, Twilight Zone, earlier this year, sums up Stannard's success. "He persuaded people that free climbing was the hip thing to do."

"In tribute, the other admiring Gunks climbers dubbed Stannard and company, "The Front Four." Rich Romano says, "Everything they did made news. We considered them the "A Team" and we were the "B Team." When other climbers repeated the Front Four routes several years later, they joked they made, "The First Human Ascents."

Best, Roger

East Coast US
Sep 6, 2006 - 06:28pm PT
Holy crap! Where's my chalk bag? And yes I've done Foops @ 5.10 A0. Just had to pull on the sling to get out there... Thankgoodness for fixed pins :)

Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Sep 6, 2006 - 06:32pm PT
He was also instrumental in promoting the use of nuts over pitons.



Sep 6, 2006 - 06:53pm PT
My friend Roger threatened to do this. I think I need to defend myself right away. First of all I suggest you not believe everything you read. Like Roger and everyone else, I was just a climber doing something I loved. As chance would have it I do have a story but about something that happened today.

I am frequenting a bagpiping site that is loaded with incredibly talented people. I'm a hanger-on if you will. Yesterday a thread developed which got down to who is a Grade 1 piper and who is not. So I include my post and the post following from Wulls, a really interesting sort and moderator from Scotland. The thread was located in "The Beer Tent" forum and Stuart Cassells is a very well known piper who can reduce a pub to a shrieking bedlam just by picking up his pipes.

Holy smoking keyboard! (>1000 posts)
Member # 4089
posted September 06, 2006 09:15 AM                       

If this were the music forum I might feel more confident in making a comment. Let me try anyway. This thread is going in the wrong places IMHO. What is it that makes the forum so enjoyable and useful? For me it is that this is a place where chanter students and established recognized artists can talk almost as equals. Both are trying to improve. Both love the music. And we all want to learn. That commonality is enough to permit us all simply to bypass any inclination to compare grades.
Who would not want to be in a place where Stuart Cassells can come on and say, “Easy folks. I am not all that good.” As to the issues in this particular discussion I am prepared to follow Master Cassells and say, “I am not all that RIGHT.” I am not even sure I understand what has happened.

John Stannard


Member # 2239
posted September 06, 2006 10:05 AM                          


Originally posted by JES:
If this were the music forum I might feel more confident in making a comment. Let me try anyway.

More than a good try John.........
I thought about mobving this to pipe bands or music or something........
Hell as long as it stays civil.......

It's not knowing the answers that is important.....It's knowing where to find the answers......

Posts: 1770 | From: Ellon, Scotland | Registered: Nov 2002

I don't suppose this is relevant to climbers.


Ice climber
Sep 6, 2006 - 06:58pm PT
Wow!! A legend from my younger days for sure. He has much about everything also in this great read! He and Henry's FFA of Vertigo was truly a motivational milestone in my future climbing endeavors!

Ice climber
New York
Sep 6, 2006 - 08:05pm PT
Well, as a relative young'un and a gunkie, I just need to say... uhm... hi John!
I'm not really climbing quite hard enough (maybe face-y 10c on an excellent day) to have done most of your FAs, and to me you're still just one of those crazy guys who used to climb crazy stuff back in the day (and makes me wonder why it is with all my lovely "modern" gear I still don't have half the balls y'all did) and I think you're going to have to post more to help me believe that you're a real person!!

Social climber
The West
Sep 6, 2006 - 08:27pm PT
Salutations, and welcome to this branch of the dysfunctional fold. Another name with a voice. Fooops is one of those routes I've always wanted to go fall off of.

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Sep 6, 2006 - 08:31pm PT
I'm with AYA on this one. How do we know he's not Jerome Stanford or Julie Stanhope?

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Sep 6, 2006 - 08:57pm PT
John, you're really starting to get around these days - welcome to the virtual ditch...

Trad climber
New York, NY
Sep 6, 2006 - 09:06pm PT
Yes John - Please post!

From Happiegrrrl - just another young(climbingwise anyway) Gunkie who appreciates the groundwork you laid in doing trail work at the place. I don't think I will ever be able to climb any of the FA's you're known for...unless you did any 5.5's or less in the area.....

Ice climber
New York
Sep 6, 2006 - 09:11pm PT
I should probably have chosen my words better, because I now realize that the reason I don't have half the balls JS does is because I'm a girl....

And Happie... some day when I come up for air (wow I'm so busy through December!) we'll go climb Higher Stannard together - it's not too hard - I'm sure you could do it!
john hansen

Sep 6, 2006 - 10:53pm PT
Once Me and my ex showed up in Estes Park on a friday night in early Sept. We had been camping for three nights straight and were looking for a hotel. No such luck,, it seem there was a scottish highlander festival in town. We ended camping again about 20 miles outside of town. But the next morning were rewarded by seeing a parade with about 50 full on BagPipe bands.
Very impressive with all the diffrent clan colors, kilts and large furry hats and booming Bass drums.
Ever been to that one Mr Stannard?

Crestline CA
Sep 6, 2006 - 10:54pm PT
Yo.. I knew John back in the 60's in the DC area when he was a great climber and I was a pud.... unfortunately I am still a pud! Nice to hear from and about John again.
Tom Evans

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Sep 6, 2006 - 11:09pm PT
Hello, John. I hope you're well.

John Long

Trad climber
The Tilted World
Sep 7, 2006 - 12:24am PT
Climbing issue 241 includes a great quote from John Stannard in response to the question "Why trad?"

"While climbing on the lead you must build a protection system, but more importantly you must know just how much to ask of it. And when you use only natural features for that protection, an entity or reality vastly larger than ourselves enters the conversation. For me, that conversation is the essence."

This passage hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it for the first time. It so eloquently describes committing climbing and completely resonates with my view of the vertical world and our place in it.

So, Mr. Stannard, or anyone else who cares to comment, let's here more about that "conversation"...


Sep 7, 2006 - 12:27am PT
Haha they all eventually come thru this virtual door ......

Hello John, welcome .........

Boulder climber
Gilbert, AZ
Sep 7, 2006 - 12:30am PT
Hey John, I'll still help you install the swamp cooler in the JT place, but you'll need to lay-in a substantial amount of beer before-hand.....

.........the good kind.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 7, 2006 - 12:37am PT
The black and white image of John hanging one armed on the Foops lip in the Red Williams guide always fired my imagination (which was about as close as I was going to get to being there). I have looked at that route from lots of angles and watched many climbers work the moves... inspired vision saw the way first time through, and changed the conception of what was possible.

"Like Roger and everyone else, I was just a climber doing something I loved."

Words to live by.

Welcome John!

right here, right now
Sep 7, 2006 - 01:12am PT
Well geez,
'Nother Icon, a Virtual God of the outback lands of climberville steps into the fracas.

We welcome you with noble salutations and regal proclamations,
As well as all the ruff-house treatment duly (daily-weekly-monthly-kindly) afforded the rest of uz...

Sep 7, 2006 - 01:41am PT
Welcome and cheers, John Stannard.

And damn you, ya sandbagger. I could--did--not pull that damn lip on Foops. Nice work!
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