States of the Art


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Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 15, 2007 - 10:35pm PT
This article was in Mountain 66 (March/April 1979) and 67 (May/June 1979).

Sorry for the relatively large size - no other way to do it. I downsized everything, so there's some loss of photo quality, but it's still readable.

The related article, "The Art of the States" was in Mountain 66 - an article by Bob Godfrey about filming the first free ascent of the northwest face of Half Dome.

The cover photo, "The States of the Art", is a painting by David Hague. Hopefully it's ok to post it also. Also, some of the photos aren't by Mark or Max, e.g. Ed Webster - hopefully ok to put them up.


Phantom Fugitive

Trad climber
Jan 15, 2007 - 10:46pm PT
thank you!

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 15, 2007 - 11:41pm PT

Bummer we were off the radar back then or we could have entertained you down in Southern Illinois on your trip...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 16, 2007 - 03:11am PT

Wow, thanks for saving and sharing that! It is great to see the original photos and the full text. It brings me right back to being blown away by their slideshow in the late 70s. "Saying goodbye to their hands", etc. Leading the Phoenix on hexes!! The lads were way ahead of their time, that was for sure! (It was obvious then as it is now).
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jan 16, 2007 - 11:43am PT
I was way up there on the Phoenix, on our third day working on it, I was going for the top but I had to stop to place a largish hex, I was maybe ten or fifteen above my last nut but as I moved past that one, I hit it with my foot and it totally tipped out! I was now way, way pumped and looking at a forty footer (onto a swami). My brother was hanging next to me, taking photos so I leaned over and grabbed his rope and batmaned to the top.

Trad climber
Jan 16, 2007 - 04:13pm PT
Man did that article define my generation of climbers-totally captivating-what was cool was it was about just doing it. Not shooting,writing, pissing, moaning but going out climbing- and trying to climb at your best as far high and hard as you could.

thanks for the post and the great memories

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Jan 16, 2007 - 06:57pm PT
cool stuff. hey mark, max vaguely referred to the "team" that you guys made in terms of freeing stuff. care to elaborate with the Taco?

seems to me there's some writin and shootin right there...frankly, I enjoyed it...


Minneapolis, MN
Jan 17, 2007 - 10:11am PT
Another MOUNTAIN "article" that fired my imagination:

The argument in the letters section between Austin and Bridwell about the latter's gear disappearing after he booted it off El Cap.

Jerry Dodrill

Bodega, CA
Jan 17, 2007 - 11:57am PT
That's Classic! Thanks for posting it, and Mark, thanks for the additional insight.

I gotta get some of those gaucho pants.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jan 18, 2007 - 02:54pm PT
hey mark, max vaguely referred to the "team" that you guys made in terms of freeing stuff.

Max's sister, Lynne, made us shirts that had our name over one shirt pocket and "Dynamic Duo" over the other. We used to laugh and say we had super powers.

Max and I just fit from day one. Our first route ever was the Nose in the spring of 1976. We did the route, free climbing up to 5.11 in 2.5 days. It was Max's first El Cap route and my second.
He was as dedicated as I was. We would sit around looking at topos trying to figure out if a route would go free or not. If something had a pin list of, i.e.,, 35 knifeblades and was rated A3 then we figured it wouldn't go. If if had only five or six, we figured it would. Even if it had aid, if there looked to be a lot of good free climbing, we'd go up on in. We didn't care if it was all free or not.
We used to flip a coin at the start of the season and the person who won the toss got to call which pitch he wanted to lead on the first route. After that we would alternate every day for the rest of the season. Max was the technical pro and I was the run out master.
We would show up in the Valley with a calendar of routes and rest days all planned out. We'd leave in some slush days for bad weather or new routes we might hear about.
In the four years we climbed together we never had an argument or anything. We pretty much always wanted to the same route and were always really psyched to get out and climb. I remember once, we were speed climbing the NW Face of Half Dome and I was leading a pitch, it was pretty easy so I just yelled down to Max to start climbing, he started and I continued on. About 300 feet later I stopped on Big Sandy and put him on belay (around the waist!). He came up to the ledge and said "jeez, that was a long pitch"!
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jan 18, 2007 - 03:47pm PT
Nice post. In addition to being super motivated climbers, the few times I met Mark and Max, they were always friendly and encouraging.

One Valley memory is of Mark showing me his tube tent filled to the brim with "cans." He was nice enough to clue my friend DE and I about were such bounty lay waiting. After our own midnight foray, and rapid fire "redemption" scheme, we had enough folding money to spend another three weeks in the Valley.


Randy Vogel
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jan 18, 2007 - 05:29pm PT
That bag of cans kept me in pancake breakfasts for about a month!

Truckee, CA
Jan 19, 2007 - 08:44pm PT
I met Mark and Max, at Donner Summit when I was 14 in 1976. I was leading Black September and they, along with Jim Orey and Gary Allen, were doing Lightning Bolt roof, later that afternoon I got to join their session at Goldilocks wall. Over the next 4 years they inspired me and gave me a lot of mentoring on training and technique, I often camped in their site at C4 and spent many rainy days and evenings in their company. For four years I tried hard to crank in their footsteps and with a couple of the first new Friends on my rack, did some of the next or early ascents of the some of the “State of the Art” routes: Tales of Power, Astroman, West Face El Cap, the Prow, White Eye, Supercrack; but not the hardest - Babylon and the Phoenix. Mark and Max were the dynamic duo and they pulled down, inspired us all, and made an impression at any crag they visited.

One time I took over their camp site when my high school summer vacation started, and they had finished their Valley season, I said goodbye at breakfast and they left camp while I was out climbing. When I returned to the site I saw that they had left me a few mattresses that they had “borrowed” from K dorm. No sooner had I set down my pack then the rangers arrived, and I was detained in the parking lot for questioning about “stolen property”. I negotiated for non-responsibility and offered to get them back to the dorms where they came from, the rangers let me slide, but had to call my dad to be assured that I could be a c4 resident for the month of June as a fifteen year old. I never held it against the boys, just another camp 4 moment.

Years later I got to help Max start up Spooner Lake Cross Country, and spent a few years competing with him in Nordic races, including three years of national championships. The dude is the consummate athlete and kicks ass at whatever he does, he almost made the Sarajevo Olympics in biathlon, then had some podium finishes at Mountain Biking Nationals. I would love to hook up with Mark for some good middle age sport climbing!

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jan 19, 2007 - 09:27pm PT
I remember those mattresses, that was hilarious!
My brother worked for Curry Co. that season and was living across the road at the O-zone. Max and I were walking out of his room and this mattress was laying against the wall. I grabbed one end and Max grabbed the other and we ran straight out the door, across the road and tossed it into a tent. That wasn't the last one we got either!

Didn't you guys have some giant Coleman tent paved with mattresses?

I'll look you up next time I'm in Truckee, Peter.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 27, 2008 - 09:28pm PT
Bump for more fun!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 27, 2008 - 09:33pm PT
A welcome reminder, that I still need to scan and post "The Art of the States", the companion article, one just as well worth reading.

Jan 27, 2008 - 09:38pm PT
Anybody else believe the "Phoenix" was deliberately "pinned out" at the bottom part?

The finger locks seem suspiciously too perfectly spaced in between a very thin crack.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 27, 2008 - 09:47pm PT
Just like magic!


Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 27, 2008 - 09:58pm PT
flipping though old '70's issues of mountain really brings home just how much climbing and R&I suck.

Jan 27, 2008 - 09:58pm PT
Yeah Steve

Where are those guys now?

Me and Kauk topped out on Tissack in this horrendous storm half frozen to death and we see Frost down on the saddle with this huge blazing fire going.

"C'mon over boys an git warm", he says as we stagger up to him.

Tom tells us that Art and Jim are down in the Valley and their sleeping bags are over there. "Go ahead and get in them" "They'll be back tomorrow morning and we'll be filming those zig-zags".

Just as we start to nod away we hear this "Fuk where's my sleeping bag" Hahahaha

Sh'it ......

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