disneyland climbers


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 15, 2006 - 08:37am PT
Last weekend the family went on a reunion trip to Disneyland. It was a great time, especially for the 3-6 year old first timers. While I was there I thought back to a day at Suicide many years ago.
In '78 or '79 after climbing Hernia, The Plague or one of the cracks in the area, I joined a group in conversation at the base of the rock. The crew included JL and 3 or 4 climbers I did not know. After partaking in a bit of chatter, I agreed to take off with one of the climbers to Clam Chowder.
I believe his name was Sean. On the climb he told me he had just quit his job as a Matterhorn Climber at Disneyland. He said it was fun for a day or two, but after 2 months couldn't take it any more. After the descent, I never saw him again.
Any Disneyland climbers out there with harrowing tales to tell?
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 15, 2006 - 11:18am PT
Worked at the Tragic Kingdom and climbed the "mighty Matterhorn" for a very short time in the early 70s. No harrowing tales (well, except tourist's acting in the typical manner of tourists).

The thing was filthy (smog, dust and bird poop), slightly vibrated (from ride operations), suffered from the constant noise of screams, recorded wind and other sounds, and had a large open area above the ride where you could actually shoot hoops. The lederhosen outfit with red turtlenecks was a bit funky. Nice to have tic'ed it as a "climbing area," but it either appealed as a job (or not).
Dapper Dan

an 89' honda accord
Dec 15, 2006 - 11:22am PT
Yes i know the Sean you are talking about, he taught a climbing class at Fullerton Junior College. He told me about climbing the Matterhorn , he said it wasn't too bad , there are some 5.10 routes on one side of it, it was sport bolted and everything....
ol one eye

Trad climber
south lake tahoe,ca
Dec 15, 2006 - 04:56pm PT
I worked there for mmm... six months in 73. Met Fred East there. We caused much mahem, actually had lots of fun there. Supposed first free ascent of the overhang, at 5.7? And when they closed the mountain for maintenance, we climbed the waterfall area at 5.9,5.10? did a three pitch circumnavigation of the mountain also. It's true, the holds are dirty, sometimes covered with bird sh#t, but I had to laugh -I was getting PAID to be there! You had to climb and rappel once an hour, but no one really kept track. So, we would go out in the park looking for mischief. Bouldered on Tom Sawyers Island, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, wandered over to New Orleans to listen to jazz. Much fun. In the mountain, above the ride, is a huge floor with a b-ball hoop, picnic table, and a wide staircase that gets you to the top( for Tinkerbell). One day, we took one of our old ropes, some sling, climbed to the top of the stairs, rigged an anchor , and hung the rope down the center of the staircase. Then ,with a LARGE knot in the rope about ten feet off the floor below , we clipped into the single strand with our rappel device- six-biner break at the time - put on our asbestos-lined gloves, and let go. I know from this that ropes really do stretch! and the fall was so cool. All in all, not a bad gig. And after six to eight raps a day, I got pretty comfy rapping off anything.

Las Vegas
Dec 15, 2006 - 05:43pm PT
Basketball court in the Matterhorn
Tahoe climber

Texas to Tahoe
Dec 16, 2006 - 03:06pm PT
That dude rappelling is sporting some classic rappelling socks.
Are those Smartwool?

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 17, 2006 - 08:43am PT
Mickey on belay, hidden hoops court. Great stuff, that's what I wanted to hear about.

Dec 17, 2006 - 07:50pm PT
Saw this Matterhorn basketball hoop shot on another forum that's kind of funny:


Social climber
So Cal
Dec 17, 2006 - 08:07pm PT
Anybody know the whereabouts of Scott Little? An ex Materhornista.


Dec 17, 2006 - 10:22pm PT
Hey ol one eye, is that you edgar? I wondered if someone from your group would should show up. wheres Fred?

Edit: tell about how you guys had to wear the costumes and Fred was Dopey.

Trad climber
So. Cal.
Dec 17, 2006 - 10:33pm PT
This is bitchen.

If stuff like this thread showed up in ClimbingRock'n'IceMagazine I would still be a subscriber.

Ice climber
Los Alamos, NM
Dec 18, 2006 - 10:57am PT
If I remember correctly, Climbing or Rock and Ice published an article on the climbers who worked at Disney in the early to mid 90's. It even included a mini guide to the climbs.

Las Vegas
Dec 18, 2006 - 11:50am PT
Mickey at the crux

Trad climber
Dec 18, 2006 - 12:23pm PT
I worked with a guy at Sport Chalet in La Canada back in 1986-1987, back when people who worked in the mountain shop actually climbed and used the equipment they sold and didn't tell people a dry rope was for climbing in the rain. Anyway his name was Patrick Stutzenacker or something like that. Anyone know him?

Those were fun times in the shop, never at a loss for people to climb with. Davis Lee Roth would come in and buy up the shop every once in awhile as well as Mike Hoover and his late wife Bev Johnson. Good memories.
ol one eye

Trad climber
south lake tahoe,ca
Dec 18, 2006 - 12:25pm PT
Hey, Wonder. What's up? Yea, as "swiss alpinists",we were part of the character dept. So in the winter ,when they cut back climbing to weekends, we got into other costumes. I played Goofey(only shoes that fit),Brer Bear, and once Fred & I were Col. Hattie (elephant from jungle books for those unknowing few) in the parade. I took the front half.
Also spent a lot of time at Rob Muir's shop in Newport Beach. High speed, single strand rappels eight times a day fried the sheath, melted it. And the sheath stretched so much that we had to keep cutting off the end. Those ropes lasted only three weeks in the summer. So, we'd tell our boss we needed new gear, and he'd send us to the beach. And since the climbing store was SO close to pirates cove, we had to have a bit of bouldering.
Not a bad gig, looking back. Climb the Matterhorn during the week, and Tahquitz on weekends. Pay sucked though.
The Wretch

Trad climber
Forest Knolls, CA
Dec 18, 2006 - 02:23pm PT
I was a Disneyland Matterhorn climber in 1962. More fun, though, were my stints as Practical Pig of the Three Little Pigs, Doc of the Seven Dwarfs, and Gideon the Cat from Pinocchio. I have since told many great stories around the campfire about these days.

Trad climber
Bixby, OK
Dec 18, 2006 - 06:44pm PT
I'll join in on this one. I climbeed the Matterhorn from 1966-68. Fred Burri (the Disneyland yodler) was my gymnastic coach at MTSAC and knew I was a climber and asked if I be interested in a job climbing the Matterhorn. What a hoot; get paid and had a place to study. I free climb (unroped the overhang in 68, along with many ot the other routes. My climbing partners over the years include John Atherton, Scott Little (where are you), Lyle Shook and a few other I can't remember. Most of my climbing was at Big Rocks, Tahquitz, Yosemite, Bitterroots (Montana). I've also had the opportunity to boulder several time in Fontainbleau, France (mainly an excuse to work up a sweat so we could do wine and cheese).

Dec 18, 2006 - 09:54pm PT
I know (knew?) Pat Sturzenacker, haven't seen him for, shoot, 7 years or so. His folks probably still live in South Pasadena if you want to track him down. If you remember Pat, you probably know another occasional poster to this site, X15X15.

On an unrelated note, thanks for the Strawberry Peak topo and info you faxed me last spring - I had a blast dealing with the loose rock and unknown up there this summer. I didn't care for the biting gnats, however.

-John Canby

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Dec 18, 2006 - 10:04pm PT
Bump the great thread again! Thanks for sharing your stories!

Dec 18, 2006 - 10:13pm PT
So you & I are still alive ...
wheres Greg & Fred?
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