SPANKED! Cookie, Left TR


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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 21, 2007 - 01:13am PT
SPANKED! A trip report - Cookie Left

Always good to start with Roper:

The Cookie - Left Side

I, 5.10. Royal Robbins and Loyd Price, February 1968. The Cookie is a prominent, 150-foot exfoliation slab on the main wall of the cliffs, and can be seen in profile when first approaching the area. The first ascent of the slab was done in August 1958 by Chuck Pratt and Dick Sykes, who climbed halfway up the right side, then tunneled behind the slab to its left side (5.8). Climbing the entire left side involves several short, difficult cracks, beginning with a narrow, flared chimney.

In the Reid guide, it is 5.10a Pro: To 3 1/2".
The topo shows the first belay above the 5.10a "squeeze" after the 5.9 left facing corner.

This day, Saturday, we went up to check out what I thought would be a routine climb. "We" are Zander, spyork and Gary Carpenter; veterans of Gary's off-width machine. Cookie, Left is a two pitch climb, but Gary and I had the lower part, a 5.9 squeeze chimney, on the "Chimney Circuit" toprope list and had done it before. We knew that we could break the first pitch up into two short pitches, one a squeeze chimney, the other was 5.10a off-width/squeeze.

First up was Zander, on lead. Here he is just below the crux

and spyork right behind him

The chockstones wobble around a bit, but are ok, and the pro is there with out too much drama.

Here is Gary at the crux with spyork high above (well, at least 60' up) just making the careful exit moves onto the nice ledge above:

Up I went to the ledge, finding Zander already engaged in the bidness. This picture shows the entire ~40' of this part of the pitch...

that's all, folks, how hard could it be? Do you remember the scene from Monty Python The Holy Grail? you know which one:

TIM: There he is!
They all turn, and see a large white RABBIT lollop a few yards out of the cave. Accompanied by terrifying chord and jarring metallic monster noise.
ARTHUR: Where?
TIM: There.
ARTHUR: Behind the rabbit?
TIM: It is the rabbit.
ARTHUR: ... You silly sod.
TIM: What?
ARTHUR: You got us all worked up.
BEDEVERE: You cretin!
TIM: That is not an ordinary rabbit ... 'tis the most foul cruel and bad-tempered thing you ever set eyes on.
ROBIN: You tit. I soiled my armour I was so scared!
TIM: That rabbit's got a vicious streak. It's a killer!
GALAHAD: Oh, f*#k off. Get stuffed.
TIM: He'll do you up a treat mate!
GALAHAD: Oh yeah?
ROBIN: You turd! Mangy scots git!
TIM: Look. I'm warning you.
ROBIN: What's he do? Nibble your bum?
TIM: Well, It's got huge ... very sharp ... it can jump a... look at the bones.
ARTHUR: Go on, Bors, chop its head off.
BORS: Right. Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew coming up.
TIM: Look!

As TIM points they all spin round to see the RABBIT leap at BORS' throat with an appalling scream. From a distance of about twenty feet there is a tin opening noise, a cry from BORS. A quick CLOSE-UP of a savage RABBIT biting through tin and BORS' head flies off. The RABBIT leaps back to the mouth of the cave and sits there looking in the KNIGHTS' direction and growling menacingly.

ARTHUR: Je...sus Christ!
TIM: I warned you!
ROBIN: I done it again.
TIM: Did I tell you? Did you listen to me? Oh no, no, you knew better didn't you? No, it's just an ordinary rabbit isn't it. The names you called me. Well, don't say I didn't tell you.
ARTHUR: Oh, shut up.
TIM: (quietly) It's always the same ... if I've said it once.
ARTHUR: Charge!

They all charge with swords drawn towards the RABBIT. A tremendous twenty second fight with Peckinpahish shots and borrowing heavily also on the Kung Fu and karate-type films ensues, in which some four KNIGHTS are comprehensively killed.

Run away! Run away!
ALL KNIGHTS: (taking up cry) Run away! Run away!

They run down from the cave and hide, regrouping behind some rocks. TIM, some way away, is pointing at them and laughing derisively.

TIM: Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha.

Well I had the idea that Steve Roper was our TIM, and the 5.10a bit our rabbit; Zander got the big piece just about where he is in the picture, then came down. He and spyork decided to do the "easier" 5.9 variation (also a bit offwidth, just different). SPANKED!

Then it was my turn. Maybe we can get spyork to post some ignominious images of my attempt. I managed to work out what I thought was the best left-side in technique, arm bars, gastoning the edge, knee bar and an aggressive right heel-toe. This eventually powered me, in three tries, to just below "the pod" which is the squeeze part of the story. I had the pro, a #6 Friend and an old #5 BD in a secure place, then lowered off. Maybe I had made it 35' up? about 10' to go. SPANKED!

But I was out of gas, Gary's up! He managed the group effort high point and then into "the pod." Gary has become quite the Oh-Dub master, so I thought he'd be able to unlock the secrets above. Here he is in the first crux:

The Second Crux is just beyond him, where the left crack necks down and the seam on the left continues up. Gary got a piece in high, eventually, but work as he might, didn't get the exit moves. Zander and spyork had made the top of the Cookie, had come down, and were hanging out waiting for us. Gary got an assist from above and exited, spent. SPANKED!

We should of been yelling "Run Away! Run Away!" but no sense have we...

Zander and spyork worked it on toprope, or should I say, allowed it to work them on toprope. Here is an aspect of spyork which he probably won't appreciate...

Getting to the packs I took an 800 mg pill of vitamin I, my left shoulder was complaining already. We cast away down to the VW, had lunch and a beer.

Earlier in the day Alexey and a friend spied us on the ledge, getting ready for the offwidth. The friend yelled over: "Hi, are you Ed Hartouni?" ... "Yes" in a questioning reply... "you don't know me, but I know you from SuperTopo, and since you are doing an offwidth, I figured it was you" laughing from my mates, of course, "I suppose we'll be reading about this in the Forum next week,"

and you are!

... and thanks guys for returning our sling and ring from the toprope! (They were up dancing around on Wheat Thin and all).

Anyway, we didn't make it... anyone out there have a story about Cookie, Left? By the way, Reid says 'Pro to 3 1/2"', hahahahaha.... you're a better man than I am, Donny Reid! (which is true of course).

The list has been a brutal master... and this day more than on others. But of course, sitting around licking our wounds, "hey, let's go scope out Crack of Doom and Crack of Despair," oh god, they're on the list too!

from left to right: spyork, Zander and Gary...

...and in the distance? Elephant rock and the tail end of the list (which also includes Pink Dreams and the Worst Error). Maybe I'll need surgery and have to take a year off... and come back as a sport climber...

Social climber
No Ut
Feb 21, 2007 - 01:34am PT
Total masterpiece, Ed!
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Feb 21, 2007 - 01:41am PT
Bravo again Ed! You guys are the BOMB!

Let me know if you need a 5th on the Crack of Doom, Crack of Despair, Lost Error, Pink Dream, Worst Error day.... I might just gas up the car.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Feb 21, 2007 - 01:49am PT
I remember doing the left side of the Cookie in 1969 and, if I recall, it was just horrid. But why relive old nightmares? Bravo!

Happy and Healthy climber
the Gunks end of the country
Feb 21, 2007 - 08:42am PT

Never seen this up close and personal, but in the "aspect shot" the crux does kind of look like a dihedral. Maybe?

Even looks like there are a couple feet with light shining on them just to the right of his knee.

But after all, I am just sitting here looking at a picture taken from the ground.

Ack! a white rabb


Trad climber
Golden, CO
Feb 21, 2007 - 09:14am PT
Thanks for a very entertaining TR.

Social climber
The West
Feb 21, 2007 - 09:40am PT
Moma mia!

Social climber
St. Looney
Feb 21, 2007 - 09:47am PT
Excellent. I am salivating at how fun that looks. I need to go back there soon.

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Feb 21, 2007 - 10:04am PT
Sweet TR. I vaguely remember some LB'in---I'm no purist. sport ways work well, provided you are strong enuf...warning:hard sport destroys the shoulders just like wide!

Desolation Basin, Calif.
Feb 21, 2007 - 10:29am PT
Fun day, eh?

Trad climber
Feb 21, 2007 - 11:02am PT
Just for the record, spyork and I also got SPANKED on the "5.9" variation. More fun? Run Awaaayyyy!
scuffy b

The town that Nature forgot to hate
Feb 21, 2007 - 11:12am PT
Wonderful report.
Sounds like a most entertaining day. The kind that could produce
bad memories with the wrong partners.
Casting is important!!

Social climber
Land of Green Stretchy People
Feb 21, 2007 - 11:36am PT
Argh! Not the picture!

Hmm, its only 5.9, cant be that hard, oops! Overhanging POS hand jams and no feet. No swagger was gained by myself on that day.

Nice leads by Zander on the 1st and third pitches. Very bold lead by Gary on P2. I had to lieback the top part of the damn thing. Let me try to get a couple pics up.


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 21, 2007 - 12:05pm PT
Not having spent much time on granite, or pretty much anywhere with OW's (ok, I've probably just always looked the other way), they remind me of an old Kliban cartoon called "Futile Hurling". This kind of self-flagelation must clearly be an acquired taste where I'm guessing half the object is finding elegance,grace, and style in an otherwise enduring landscape of awkwardness, humiliation, and defeat.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 21, 2007 - 12:22pm PT
Nice TR, Ed. Good to see someone getting the biddness done. Geez, you guys are in the Valley just about every weekend. Do it!
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Feb 21, 2007 - 12:23pm PT
Great TR. I feel both the desire to try, and also...'run awwwaaaaay'.

Don't you think that those big cams resemble Don Quixote's lance?

Social climber
Land of Green Stretchy People
Feb 21, 2007 - 12:45pm PT
I got a couple of pics I can post later. At work right now. Funny thing about offwidth, I have been getting right side in stronger by working the OW at Gary's house. I flail on left side in, need to practice more I guess.

scuffy b

The town that Nature forgot to hate
Feb 21, 2007 - 12:57pm PT
My machine will be left-side in, at least for a while, to
compensate for Gary's and for the PE crack.
Progress, though slow, does continue. No photos yet.

The City of Lost Angels
Feb 21, 2007 - 01:29pm PT
ED--Great TR and funny as...well...a Monty Python flik! The white rabbit scene comparison had me rolling on the floor.

Got to admit, those photos had my shoulders aching and skin bleeding just looking at 'em. You guys are tough, even if you did get a spankin'.

Feb 21, 2007 - 01:33pm PT
Heh I walked by that first pitch about 30 times already in the past 2 months. Yech!

Nice TR though, Ed.
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