Drone Stephens

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Leigh Stephens

climber
Chico
Topic Author's Original Post - May 27, 2015 - 08:11pm PT
Hey there. My name is Leigh, I'm Drone Stephens's youngest daughter. I found this place via Google, searching for climbing stuff about him and noticed there was a pic of him, circa 1971. Kind of a stretch but was hoping that maybe someone here has stories, more photos, etc. to share with me? I came along after Yosemite for him and he passed away when I was a teenager so I missed out on a lot of stories about that part of his life. Anything anyone is willing to share with me would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
zBrown

Ice climber
Bruj de la Playa y Perrito Ruby
May 27, 2015 - 08:17pm PT
His name shows up in a couple of Ed Hartouni's lists of route names and first ascents. Not very informative though. Sorry.


http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2337906&msg=2337914#msg2337914


http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=371949&msg=372432#msg372432
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
May 27, 2015 - 09:47pm PT
^^^ AWESOME!

This right here for supertaco. Is the Goods!!!

Good Luck Leigh : )
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
May 27, 2015 - 09:55pm PT
Yeah, I love when these connections happen.
ST rules for that!
I've had the pleasure of connecting with old friends too as a result.

Thanks CMac for creating these opportunities and good luck Leigh!
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
May 27, 2015 - 09:58pm PT
... maybe someone here has stories, more photos, etc. to share with me? I came along after Yosemite for him and he passed away when I was a teenager so I missed out on a lot of stories about that part of his life.
Leigh Stephens

climber
Chico
Topic Author's Reply - May 28, 2015 - 06:05am PT
Thank you, Kevin! I believe I've met Bruce Brossman before, at least I know I've met Debbie, when my dad took me to Yosemite for the first time. I understand there are a lot of pictures here of Mike White as well? He was like an uncle to me. I'd love to get in touch with the aforementioned friends and try and find some pics, so thanks for the headstart!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
May 28, 2015 - 07:20am PT
Who, me?

You need to check this thread, Leigh.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1172273&msg=1172273#msg1172273

I had this email come yesterday from Pilar.

Hello, my name is Pilar and Drone and I got together in Yosemite back in the early 80's.Ten years we were together and have a daughter who is now 28. Wow how the years have flown by! It was great to see all the old pic's of everyone from back then. Just wanted to say "Thanks"

Bless you both.

Drone and Mike (Whitey) were like twins.

Gypsy! Paging Gypsy!!
WBraun

climber
May 28, 2015 - 07:39am PT
So Leigh, is Babs your mom?
WBraun

climber
May 28, 2015 - 07:56am PT
Kevin

I was working on a NPS vehicle last summer when this guy and his daughter walk up.

I had no clue who he was until he started talking.

It was Mike, (Fig).

He looks and is doing real good .......
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
May 28, 2015 - 08:01am PT
Werner, are we talking about two Mikes? Or is it Mike Fig-White (sounds Brit, how cool)?
WBraun

climber
May 28, 2015 - 08:10am PT
Brian

This Fig did the 3rd ascent of Tissack and got a huge piece of lichen in his eye plus had an epic with huge falls due to expanding nature of the route.

With modern cams it's a pussy climb now ......

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 28, 2015 - 08:15am PT
Werner, better be looking out for "pussies"


good luck Leigh... I might be able to help you out with some contacts, email me on the STForum mail feature...
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
May 28, 2015 - 08:18am PT
Leigh, I hope you find the things you're looking for here. Supertopo is great that way. You may have to follow a couple dead ends and dark alleys, but it will be worth it.
PEACE!!
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
May 28, 2015 - 08:18am PT
Ellie Hawkins spoke at Oakdale Climbers' Festival last year. Steve Grossman would have her contact info. She wanted to contact Fig. Can anyone here help her out?? She'd be grateful.
Leigh Stephens

climber
Chico
Topic Author's Reply - May 28, 2015 - 11:27am PT
Sorry for sporadic replies and lack of "quoting" but I'm on my phone and unable to figure out all the features just yet.

I'm not Barbara's daughter, I am Pilar's the one whose email is quoted above! I'm 28, Drone passed away when I was 15 and he was 56. Idk if anyone here knows Jolene, but she was my dad's significant other when he passed and she's bestowed upon me an amazing photo album of his, I'll have to double check for Camp Four pics and post them if I find any.

I'm not surprised at the lack of media given the time period, but am eternally grateful for all of your input! By the time I was born in '87, dad had already been out of Yosemite and no longer climbing. We went back to Yosemite to visit and I try and go as often as possible let because it's so amazing and there's so much heritage there for me. Again, thank all of you for your input!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 28, 2015 - 03:23pm PT
Leigh,

Your father was in Yosemite when a great deal of dedication and sacrifice was a requirement for becoming a climber. This was a stiff barrier to entry. Because of this, to really drink deeply from the well, to attain mastery and gain satisfaction, many of us felt we needed to commit a great deal of time to the pursuit.

In fact this pursuit enveloped entire periods of our lives. We were not weekenders. We didn't so much have individual climbing partners, instead we drew from a rich and varied climbing community in which we all participated, daily. This allowed for lots of cross pollination of ideas and rapid improvement of skills. The melting pot arrangement provided a bulwark against stagnation. There was a great sense of belonging for all involved. We were indulging in a rich and rewarding kind of tribalism!

Maintaining the climbing lifestyle was nearly as challenging as the climbing itself. In this regard Drone was a master. He was savvy, resourceful and cunning when he needed to be.

One day hanging around Camp 4 in 1980, Cochran, Whitey, Carter, and maybe Hitchcock or Ashworth said "let's go over to the Ahwahnee and visit Drone!" You see, most of us lived at various times in Camp 4 and quite often in our cars in the surrounding parking lots. The smart people maintained a low profile (or thought they did, ha ha).

So, as we were walking over to check in on your dad, Cochran said "Drone is the Mayor of the Ahwahnee !!!" [parking lot] Check him out youngster and see how it's done right Drone has class". Your dad was sitting in the bright sunshine on the tailgate of his pickup truck wearing a smart looking straw hat. He had light-colored skin and a tidy mustache. I looked around and realized he was parked in much more becoming surroundings than the rest of us! He was in the garden spot. He was also probably there being very low-key, for reasons best left to another story.

I didn't know your father well, because I was of the next generation and he moved on. I had the feeling that one needed to be well-established within the community to meet somebody such as Drone. By that time he was a tribal elder. His friends venerated him; that much was clear. And my sense was the impression he made had less to do with his feats as a climber per se. It was more about his character: it was about his hard-won smarts, his acerbic wit and his ability to be a consistent survivor.

Best,
Roy
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 28, 2015 - 04:19pm PT
Here's the only photo I have of Whitey.
Taken by somebody else, it was from a discussion here on the forum quite a few years ago.
It was from a bigger photo (I think he is standing next to a portaledge ) ... and we needed lots of enlarging to determine whether it was Mike or not ... It's him!



I'm sure he was one heck of a great uncle to you Leigh!
You could probably tell us some stories!!!

Urmas

Social climber
Sierra Eastside
May 28, 2015 - 04:27pm PT
FYI the Fig pictured above is not Mike Breitenbach.
WBraun

climber
May 28, 2015 - 04:49pm PT
Mike Brietenbach (the first Fig) is the one that showed up last summer at my work bay with his daughter ....
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
May 28, 2015 - 05:11pm PT
Leigh, As all here have said we are all in, in the legacy thing i think. and will beat the weeds of our collective. . . mind (but, it may take time for some who lurk are very sporadic, especially
during the high season for climbing.
my best wishes and good start ! the real ones have answered you I must say to check them and there posts for their pedigrees.
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