First Ascent of the Prow

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 20, 2007 - 12:39am PT
In connection with the Glen Denny theme, the classic Prow went up in June 1969. This is the Summit account that hit the press in the July/August 1970 issue. RR was a contributing editor at the time. Superb and historic route.












WBraun

climber
Jun 20, 2007 - 12:49am PT
Yeah It was a beaut that article and the route back then.

I knew I had to do it.

Took pins and 24 lost arrows and some rurps when when we did it.

And a big ass Yo hammer too ......
Gene

climber
Jun 20, 2007 - 12:51am PT
Thanks for posting Steve.

Catch the reference to Anchorite Ledge?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jun 20, 2007 - 12:52am PT
I hate you for making me read that.

I love you for making me read that.


What's this? a way to avoid the crumbling rock?

:)
WBraun

climber
Jun 20, 2007 - 01:00am PT
Hey on second thoughts ......

Aren't ya all glad we pounded the sh'it out of it so the you can now claim all clean and stick those modern spring thingys in it now?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2007 - 01:34am PT
I had the touch when I did it. I hand placed them all into those well worn grooves!

In the mid seventies I climbed the Prow with Barb Eastman. We were carrying most of the recommended iron and I started up the third pitch loaded up with angles, big and small. I reached up off the belay and slid a big one snugly into a well worn groove. It was solid enough without hammering that I clipped directly into the eye and stepped gingerly on up. Second verse same as the first all the way up the pitch. I had the iron and left every hand placed piton behind. Once I got to the station and traded signals, I had a chance to look down and take in the situation. I grinned ear to ear and waited for Barb to leave the lower stance and start cleaning. "I ah, wouldn't lean back if I was you" I said innocently enough. Barb instantly got my drift and stayed smooth and flat to the wall while jugging lest the hardware come raining down in quantity and short order. She really did nothing to deserve the strange anxiety and peril but it persisted for the rest of my leads.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Jun 20, 2007 - 01:41am PT
I remember doing this route in the early 70s and realizing just how destrictive a climber could be with a hammer. We were going fast and I was slugging pins home even if they were the wrong size. I'd just blast them harder and move on. I was ruining the route. Not good. I got good with nuts none too soon. A route like the Prow, with a lot of thin cracks, gets beat out in no time.

Great location and great view of the Valley and th Dome.

JL

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jun 20, 2007 - 01:47am PT
I remember running out of gear and hammering in a couple pins to haul off of, as I was out of rope just before the belly crawl pitch.

Probably not crucial to any particular placement at that point, but there is something to be said for not hammering if it can be avoided.

Lambone

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Jun 20, 2007 - 02:41am PT
The Prow was a fun solo.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Jun 20, 2007 - 04:11am PT
Aren't ya all glad we pounded the sh'it out of it so the you can now claim all clean and stick those modern spring thingys in it now?

Yes.

Now, keep going back up, pounding it out some more, so we can claim all free, at 5.8, by next summer 8-)
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jun 20, 2007 - 09:40am PT
What ever happened to Mike Covington (Fantasy Ridge dude)?? Is he still around banging it out? Remember watching that guy put away filterless "American" cigarettes. Tough dude.
TwistedCrank

climber
a luxury Malibu rehabilitation treatment facility
Jun 20, 2007 - 10:18am PT
I recall a South African fellow in the early 80's who was all of about 5 feet tall refering to the belly crawl as the "squatting part".
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jun 20, 2007 - 10:27am PT
Thanks for posting that, Steve.

Inspired by Robbins' article, John Byrd and I chose the Prow in spring '71 as our first Yosemite wall. A grand adventure it was. Rurps, crack-tacks and hooks, stacked Leepers and tied-off blades, I think there were three or four A4 leads on our topo. We were slow, brought no hammocks, and climbed by headlamp two nights in a row to reach ledges. The third morning on Tapir Terrace a snowstorm hit at first light. We slogged on aiding snow-covered 5.6 pitches, finally reaching the rim about dusk. One more headlamp epic, grim I think but the memories have faded, to get our soggy worn-out selves and gear down through snow to the valley floor.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2007 - 10:54am PT
Great adventure Chiloe. Few people realize just how difficult or controversial that route was when it went up! Second to none on the Column overall even though a couple of other lines were technically very difficult. As Roper put it," several pitches on this route involve A4 nailing- hooks are often used" and the prophetic "this airy climb could become very popular."

Gene- knowing RR's love of puns, Anchorite ledge probably just had an all bolt belay or something scandalous like that. LOL
Scary Larry

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jun 20, 2007 - 12:59pm PT
Anybody recall an arcane piece of hardware known as a "Denny Arm?"
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2007 - 10:50am PT
Never heard of it. Do tell......
Gene

climber
Jun 21, 2007 - 11:12am PT
Isn't the Denny Arm a reference to Glen's height and reach?
Scary Larry

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jun 21, 2007 - 11:19am PT
Presumably an ancestor of the more mundanely-named "stick clip." The one I saw was a Cliff-Hanger with a foot or two length of webbing, taped onto a collapsible transistor radio antenna. It was very compact and gave enough extra reach for a short guy to clip a widely-spaced bolt. Denny was pretty tall (I think I recall 6'7"?) and in those days it was a point of honor to stretch things out as much as possible.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 21, 2007 - 03:07pm PT
Soloed it as my second Grade 5 in 1981. The nailiing was already lots of sawed-off and stacked stuff in places.

Had a Bat Tent but only had to use it for my legs since i didn't have to share ledges. It rained/snowed a bit when I was on Tapir Terrace and I heard Sirens responding to my bosses' boss's house burning down next to Ahwahnee Meadow.

Hauling the final bit sucked. I learned how to make the gutteral call that folks now call a monkey imitation by breaking down and just tying the haul-bag to my harness and jugging with it.

What about that proposed finish that Robbins wrote about. Is it a route?

Peace

Karl
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2007 - 09:24pm PT
A reach contest between Denny and Kor is still in the realm of possibility... First one to fifty feet with least number of holes on 85 degree rock. And they're off...

Usually skillful use of the hammer would accomplish the same thing as a Denny Arm if you have hangers to clip into. Don't have any idea about that finish Karl Baba.
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