Dihedral Wall - FA + extras

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 25, 2007 - 01:54pm PT
The Dihedral Wall is another of Glen Denny's greatest hits and the first El Cap route established by "outsiders," which is to say non-Cali boys. Lots of history here as the third big line done even though this one doesn't see many complete ascents these days. Outstanding photographs with Ed and Glen on the team.











Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 25, 2007 - 02:05pm PT
Thanks, Steve!

Ed Cooper has written a photo-essay book that will be published by Falcon this autumn, called "Soul of the Heights".

http://www.globepequot.com/globepequot/index.cfm?fuseaction=customer.product&product_code=0%2D7627%2D4527%2D4&category_code=

Including many pictures and stories from his climbs in the 1950s and 1960s. I saw it at the Outdoor Retailer, and it looks really good.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 25, 2007 - 02:18pm PT
Too cool! A veritable wave of sixties history in word and image coming right at ya from all angles these days.........Thanks for the heads up Anders.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 25, 2007 - 02:48pm PT
"....even though this one doesn't see many complete ascents these days.

Petie jumping up and down, waving his hands: "We did! We did!" Cybele did a particularly good job of upstream swimming on one of the finishing pitches. The top pitches go through a deep gully that is unique on El Cap, similar only to the pitches on Cosmos just below Thanksgiving Ledge.

On the penultimate pitch, I had so much rope drag that I couldn't move, and had to put my jug on the rope to pull up slack, then rope solo to finish. It later turned out that my rope was almost hopelessly snarled through all the dead trees that had collected in the bottom of the gully! I ended up going the wrong way around the final overhang, and had a bit of a bushbash epic, with desperation mantels made by grabbing twigs. Even though it was grungy, the finish is unique, and if you're going to climb the route, you really ought to climb the route! We did not haul the final section, but rapped it in the dark, then moved all our crap along Thanksgiving Ledge whence we rapped Lurking Fear with our pigs [tricky but doable].

Dihedral Wall was far from one of my favourite routes - in a lot of places the climbing just isn't that good. Todd Skinner's overbolting litters the route, with 3/8" fatties a measured fifteen inches from perfect red-yellow Alien pods on the pitch above The Ledge. I didn't use the bolts, pretending to make the pitch still A3. The bolts need to be removed and the holes filled with epoxy - unfortunately I didn't bring my bolt replacement kit with me when Cybie and I climbed it.

What's incredibly rad, however, is that these necky buggers climbed the thing 45 years ago, and did so bivying in hammocks. Holy!
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 25, 2007 - 05:50pm PT
good one Steve - remember the classic shot - I think from Climbing In North America - of Glen Denny cleaning, this huge rack of pins on a 1" sling? Great moments, that pic is etched in my mind.

cheers,
Ray
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 25, 2007 - 07:24pm PT
Two Dihedral shots from Climbing in North America.


Steve Roper during an early attempt.
yo

climber
The Eye of the Snail
Aug 25, 2007 - 09:26pm PT
Man, that topout shot says it all. Says it ALL.

The conqueror and the conquered. hahaha
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 25, 2007 - 11:21pm PT
Big wall impedimenta.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 26, 2007 - 12:51am PT
mind boggling how Denny looks so dapper after the days on the wall. White shirt and all.
gunsmoke

Trad climber
Clackamas, Oregon
Aug 26, 2007 - 11:35am PT
Funny how ethics and remembrances change over time. DW was heavily criticized for siege tactics, unlike the second route on The Captain (Salathe) that went up in great style. Now it seems that those who put up DW are incredibly rad, too cool, and way dapper.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 26, 2007 - 12:44pm PT
It will be interesting to read what if anything Ed Cooper has to say about it in his new book, with 40+ years perspective. Both Roper and Robbins have said their piece, but it's just possible that there are other sides to the story.
elcap-pics

climber
Crestline CA
Aug 26, 2007 - 02:26pm PT
BITD the DW did take some flack for the tactics used but when the detractors actually climbed the route they were the first to admitt that the climbing was done in the best of style with the min of bolting, and also admitted that the route, done with the equipment of that time was probably not possible without the tactics used. Seems it is easy to dis routes one has not done themselves! I did the route in 92 with Brad Jarret... or I should say that Brad hauled me up the route... before the extra bolts were installed for the free climbing attempts and found it to be a great route. I wonder why people are so willing to muck up a route just so a few elite climbers can have a shot at free climbing it... This route was really screwed up just so it could have a free ascent... what kind of ethic is that? Think of how impressive it would have been if it had gone free as it existed instead of making it a big sport route. As an example... how uncool would it have been to bolt the Salathe headwall every 15 ft so that it could have been free climbed without relying on the natural protection available? My feeling is that if a route has been climbed before using natural protection and minimum bolts, even though it was aided, then free attempts should be done on the route as it exists... adding a bunch of bomber bolts because you don't want to face the route as it is is a form of reducing the route to a lower level. But this is just the opinion of someone who is merely an observer and whose day is long gone.... but an opinion for what it is worth.
yo

climber
The Eye of the Snail
Aug 26, 2007 - 02:30pm PT
They are rad. They're way radder than you.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 26, 2007 - 02:36pm PT
The currency of lasting value is just that, experience and opinion, good as gold. Doesn't seem to lose its luster either.
elcap-pics

climber
Crestline CA
Aug 26, 2007 - 03:17pm PT
I agree with you YO... they are ALL radder than me... thanks for pointing that out, it added so much to the conversation. BTW I started the post with the greeting "Yo" which I use as a greeting... kind of like saying hello for me... perhaps you thought I was posting in response to your earlier post... I wasn't... it is just a greeting... so I removed it from the start of the post.... sorry if it caused you some confusion.
yo

climber
The Eye of the Snail
Aug 26, 2007 - 06:11pm PT
haha, yeah Ansel, I've noticed Yo is your trademark opener. I was ripping on the other feller. They're bad for putting it up and you're bad for getting after it later. Good on ya!
gunsmoke

Trad climber
Clackamas, Oregon
Aug 26, 2007 - 06:36pm PT
Yo, I made no judgment regarding the radness of the FA, merely observed that they were dissed and their route demeaned for something that is now commonly accepted. Actually, I'm quite impressed with their tenacity and quality of the final product. Same thing with Bachar-Yerian. Aid was employed to assist in placing the FA bolts. Gasp!
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 26, 2007 - 09:27pm PT
any more great Dihedral wall pics?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 26, 2007 - 09:52pm PT
I could upload some from my ascent with Cybele if you like. Yes, no? If you're lucky, they'll be pix of her, not me.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 26, 2007 - 09:53pm PT
go for it Pete - seems totally appropriate.
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