Sorenson & Adams on the Shield


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Social climber
In this form at present
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 7, 2015 - 01:16pm PT

Social climber
In this form at present
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2015 - 01:41pm PT

Social climber
In this form at present
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2015 - 01:50pm PT
Had a little trouble getting the order straight.
I climbed it several years later with a partner from Sacramento named Brad Hart and my memory of all the pitches is a bit rusty.
The triple cracks and the whole headwall were so awesome.
Tobin Groucho Marx is one of my favorites.


Feb 7, 2015 - 03:21pm PT

Cool history shots Tim! Thanks for sharing!
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Feb 7, 2015 - 06:03pm PT
Thanks for posting this Tim! There can’t be that many siblings who have done El Cap, much less the Shield.

The shot of Tobin jumaring the “fixed” rope on the Shield roof shows the famous incident. Tobin of course, thought this would save some time, so he did not hesitate to clip his jumars on and start up it. Imagine his surprise when he reached the end of it and found that it was not anchored to a bolt, but instead was merely twisted by happenstance into the crack! Yikes!

Feb 7, 2015 - 06:34pm PT
Great stuff, Tim. Pure gold!


Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Feb 7, 2015 - 09:20pm PT
Great pictures of a wild route!

covina, ca
Feb 8, 2015 - 07:39am PT
I love it. I only remember hearing the stories and being so young at the time, didn't know what any of the slang terms really meant but later putting it all together at slide show presentations and tales told in camp. What an awesome and amazing time. What awesome and amazing brothers!
If you can imagine, our twos story home where we grew up had tennis shoe smears on the stucco under the slings hung under eaves from the traffic of traverse from older brothers bedroom window. Wild trips to Yosemite, JT, Idyllwild. What a great theater to grow up in! Thanks for sharing photos Brother Tim.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 8, 2015 - 07:59am PT
Thanks Tim!!

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Feb 8, 2015 - 08:19am PT
just a tourist here in my loafers
with a super-sweet margarita,
gawking at proud pasts
which cascade over my present.

is there a can into which i can
drop my dirty currency?

thanks for the oohhs and ahhs,
i really admire your brother.

i notice that your memory
is rusty, frayed and barely connected,
like an old head,
thus we wouldn't hang much
on it, definitely not a life,

whereas your understanding is
obviously solid,
bounce-tested by your story.

egads, does anyone have some salt,
i'm gagging on this agave.

Social climber
Elk Grove, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2015 - 10:24am PT
'The Norwegee Board'

You know that one particular route?
It's rising from the scree,
It's wet now,
Slimed with moss,
But when it dries sometimes late spring,
Maybe you or a similar being,
Will paste your soles on its lichened streak,

Not for the aged or the meek,
Quite run the start to first good piece,
Oh I'm not sure which route you'll do,
It scuffed eroded chipped and ground,
With trundled stones that smell of flint,
And sulfurous fumes like Hades pipe,
That burn the nose to make one squint,

I know not what new route you'll do,
Like sons and daughters would,
With stone or ice or gnarled brown wood,
And grassy cracks,
The sanded shelf awaits the toe,
And anchors set with courage steeled,
Knowing not Norwegian's climb,
Still see him climbing in my mind.

dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Feb 8, 2015 - 03:32pm PT
Awesome Tim, thanks for that!

Boulder climber
Feb 9, 2015 - 10:12am PT

Only weeks following Tobin's funeral service, Tim and I were able to rope up together at JT briefly. Bushman was sorta bushy even then, by the way, but more like just stubbles on his face.

The climb was called "A Nice Day to Die." I guess it had an odd therapeutic aspect to it for both of us maybe.

I had soft fingers and pudge from Grad school and marriage, but what I remember most was Tim's sensational climbing ability. The Dude is mega strong! Tobin made mention of it to me often.

Rick is right- having the fortitude to continue climbing for years at a high level in the wake of Tobin's passing shows phenomenal soul, Tim. Thank you for affirming us all by keeping the connections and memories alive.

Greetings to Tom Sorenson! Long Live Tim and Tom Sorenson!

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Feb 9, 2015 - 11:41am PT
This is a notable event in Poway Mountaineering history.

Social climber
Elk Grove, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2015 - 03:29pm PT
Thanks for the kind words, Bruno.

Maybe you could give us some more Tobin memories and a story about that climb?
I would especially like to hear about those goofy antics on what looked like Chickenhead ledge near the top, and what was my bro thinkin' by jugging that old rope at the roof?

Boulder climber
Feb 9, 2015 - 04:17pm PT

EE-onk-EEE reminds me that I should mention that in late October the Poway Mountaineers celebrated their fifty year anniversary in Yosemite. We had a simple ceremony, recalling Tobin, along with fallen Poway Climbers, George Manson and Dan Hines. Tobin was an official Honorary Poway Mountaineer as well as an Original Stonemaster, but you know, Stonemasters are commonplace nowadays!

Bushman: I will try and write a little or find something I have already written or at least a photo. Final version of writing is yet to come, but lately, progress. -- Progress spurred on by Rick Accomazzo's writing about Tobin in the new Alpinist, as is rumored. Can't wait. -B

Boulder climber
Feb 9, 2015 - 10:08pm PT
This from some beginning parts:

"…One day he approached me, arms in the air, his mouth wide open and calling out over and over again, "The bones began to walk," and "The bones are now alive!" (He was referring to Ezekiel's vision.)

That is when I knew we were already tasting Paradise, when our youthful faith poured out of our mouths. Can you imagine feeling so cleansed and innocent and so free as to easily agree the only thing which mattered in life was to know God more, to quest for miracle and to literally crawl through the sky and rush the Most High and say we wished to be among the spinning wheels and walking bones? We didn't want to meditate about it though. We wanted to pack our bags and tie-in..."


If he were still alive today…sigh… I believe Tobin was en route, no holds barred once again, to become a much needed figure in Christian theology, the sort of one who would be the opposite of what we have come to dread. He struggled at first with academics but then his intellect began to mature and obviously mushroom. As it is, I feel I can make a case for Tobin being the most original and serious Christian Mystic in modern times, interpreting his climbing experiences as true worship, and simultaneously, growing out towards other people, having done a complete about face in the end, unconcerned about his stature as a great climber, which he surely was.

There is a story to go with the Groucho glasses but it needs a certain photo with it I have to locate.
 Bruce Adams

right here, right now
Feb 10, 2015 - 03:48am PT
Brunosafari/Bruce said:
… what I remember most was Tim's sensational climbing ability. The Dude is mega strong!

Yes, strong ... and he’s gutsy too!

About 1981 you and I climbed Inverted Staircase on Fairview and Swept Away in Joshua Tree. You led the hard pitches on both climbs. We needed to do some preliminary route finding to get established on Inverted Staircase. I recall the bolt which you clipped on Staircase’s crux was pure crap! (We tried not to worry about spinners in those days, just happy to have something to clip, haha).

What I remember most about those two routes we partnered up for, was something you said before heading out on the crux of Swept Away: "I'm willing to go for it! And I am not afraid to take a fall!”.

Well, it isn't El Capitan, but quite a thrilling lead position on Swept Away and you did fall … It's a daunting little ripper from that position … And quickly, with total conviction and no fear, you got right back up there to fire the thing! No question, boldness runs in the family.

Really fun to see you posting here Tim.
We've missed you at the JT/Stonemaster reunions.

As you can imagine this story of your brother's antics on this ascent with Bruce has been told many times here on the forum. Thanks much for the great pictures!

Great stuff Bruce Adams, on Tobin's character.
Looking forward to more!


Feb 10, 2015 - 09:02am PT
About that fixed rope over the Shield roof to the headwall.

Me and Dale Bard found that rope laying on the gray ledges.

I told Dale we should drag it with us and fix it at the anchors over the roof and at the anchors below the roof.

That way if we somehow get hurt on the shield headwall we could retreat easily.

Since we found this rope just laying there abandoned it seemed like a no brainer.

We were on the 5th ascent.

Dale anchored the rope thru the eye of one of the bolt hangers.

As far as the story being Tobin had found the rope just jammed into the crack when he got to the anchors over the roof seems far fetched to me ......

Who did the sixth ascent? Bachar, Kauk and Gramicci ? Followed by Sorenson on the 7th ascent.
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Feb 10, 2015 - 10:20am PT

I saw that story of the rope in the crack in an old thread here in 2005 and a post from John Vawter:

My favorite story is the Shield Roof. (No idea if it's true.) He was up there with Denny Adams, a brother in Christ shall we say, and when they got to the A4 roof pitch they found a rope hanging down from above. Denny looks at Tobin and shakes his head in the negative. After a bit of debate, Tobin slaps his jumars on the line and starts to jug. He finishes the free jumar and is into the relative ease of steep rock when he spies the end of the rope . . . not fixed to an anchor, but running into a crack. As he nears the end he sees what he has been jumaring on: a knot wedged in the crack.

Luckily, we have Bruce available to set us straight: to what was the rope attached when Tobin jumared over the roof?
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