Kid, any possibility for a TR on Burning Down the House?

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bob

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 8, 2007 - 01:34pm PT
Was wondering what that thing is like in the x-factor areas? I've done a bit o routes up on Fairview and was thinking on getting into some more of that pucker stuff I used to love if I can get my bud Jake to split the stress. Cheers!!!!!!
Bob J.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 8, 2007 - 08:40pm PT
Yeah, tell us a story Kurt!
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Sep 9, 2007 - 12:04am PT
Yeah, burn down the Taco Stand, Kurt. Let's have it!

-Jello
spyork

Social climber
A prison of my own creation
Sep 9, 2007 - 07:58am PT
Maybe slightly OT, but as I was standing at the bolt on Inverted Staircase where A Farewell to Kings runs right thru, I spied the lower bolt far away and it just chilled me to see that runout.

Any stories about that one?
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Sep 10, 2007 - 06:10am PT
I'm honored by your requests so i will now go into story mode...
ahh..... the good ole days. to be 20 again!!!!

It was the end of the summer of 1984. my confidence is up after doing the B&Y and a handful of FAS all summer long...
I had just put up "math of the Pastor" and "Defenders of the Faith" on the Whales Back, and in doing so spent a lot of time looking up at the "Dark Side" of Fairview.....
I spied a nice looking set of arches into a white streak and more arches. In looking through the guide book the left side of Fairview was wide open. So being the junkie for adventure i thought i would have a go at it...

Enter Steve Schneider- we both spent the summer on meadows YOSAR and were doing some climbing together. I mentioned the line and we hiked to the base for a look and decided it looked promising...
We spent the first day getting through the first big arch and wanting to follow in the footsteps of Kamps, Clevenger and Bachar and try to use bolts only as a last resort...I lead the first pitch through the arch and get us established on the face. Steve leads the next pitch across the face and onto the white streak and we rap off and call it a day. This is where it get good..
Vern and Claude find out what we were up to and come by camp to have a chat.. It gets heated when they tell us Fairview is their domain, all the best routes have been done already and that we are not ready to play on the big rocks yet...

Well we are young, brash and not wanting to hear any of it so we end the conversation with a wait and see..

the next day we return with a mission. BOLTS ONLY WHEN needed, and then "maybe" at that...We are motivated by the challenge of our peers and decide to make a statement...
Instead of fixing pitches we rapped that first day and when returning decide to lead each others pitches and get a feel for the team and vision of the line. I take the lead @ the high point and start up the white streak... 75'and a nut or cam later i get a stance and bring up Steve. He has the next arch and punches it with 2 bolts up the face above. He brings me up and i have a traverse right onto a steep face and overlapping arches.. i place a bolt begrudgingly and it turns out to be a spinner.. i punch it higher as it looks easy and end up 45' above the spinner looking at a greasy mantle (.10+)into a slick scoop... I quiver (really gripped) and manage to keep going to the belay..... Steve follows and we are on easy ground and top out in the dark....
Celebratory dinner at TPR and the day is done....

Our statement is more of keeping with tradition and using the drill only when needed and letting the line dictate the pro. It helped that we had extra fuel and the end result is 7 lead bolts and 5 belay bolts for 9 pitches of climbing hardest being 5.11c...
Again, for me, not the hardest FA I've done, but one I will remember for the partner i had and the vision that the line presented to me and the extra encouragement to keep it within Meadows Tradition....
So the guess the 2nd ascent is still waiting, so have at it and i think with the modern gear of today you may scratch out a small cam here and there....
Ahh....to be 20 again.....
ks

seamus mcshane

climber
Sep 10, 2007 - 06:20am PT
Thanks Kurt!
I've always wondered what the "mota"-vation was behind that ascent.
Great piece of TM history! sm
bob

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 10, 2007 - 07:41am PT
Awsome Kurt! Thankyou for that one. Must say I am second guessing my motivation, but that's what those stories do. Never know til one tries, right? Nice job!!!!!!!!
Bob J.
PS I could look at it as a bolt replacement job. I have some ASCA bolts for that purpose, but...........wouldn't that be a bit of an oxymoron(sp?)? Imagine "American Safe Climbing Ass." bolts on a climb that is undoubtably UNSAFE no matter what the metal is like.
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Sep 10, 2007 - 08:30am PT
only one way to find out what it is like...get on up there!
with the mini cams and other gear gadgets, there may be some decent gear on the arches...
on the faces you are on your own...

now i would look at "a farewell to kings".
Scott Burke and myself tried to get in as many bolts as we could stance and still let the line flow... more bolts and gear than the house and comes in @ 5.12a or so...

I would also look at "grace under pressure" right side stately pleasure dome...
Can't remember the route that it begins on (arch rival?), then you bust right out the arch and onto the face.. 5.12- as well....crux is slab 20' or so above the last bolt...
ks
G_Gnome

Sport climber
Everywhere, man...
Sep 10, 2007 - 08:51am PT
So where is today's generation of young, bold climbers that can repeat some of these routes? They certainly are NOT putting up even harder and crazier test pieces...
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Sep 10, 2007 - 08:52am PT
having been motivated by climbing vids, i can still recall the Colorado footage and a certain stylistic hair style that was apparently strictly verboten in that part of Colorado.

it's a trip to learn more of your Tuolumne days and what that means in comparison to the later day sport stuff.

full value at all of climbing's fun.

thx for the TR.

Munge
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Sep 10, 2007 - 11:54am PT
yes those hair cuts and many more... i still think tube socks and fires were the winning combo!
there are plenty of young guns doing some of that old school stuff, but not too much. no glory in the mags for repeating 5.11 routes...
now for personal tick list always memorable...

what i like about the meadows is it still brings out the adventure in todays climbers and still carries the aura that it had when i lived there...
ks
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 10, 2007 - 01:06pm PT
Kurt says: "...Vern and Claude find out what we were up to and come by camp to have a chat. It gets heated when they tell us Fairview is their domain, all the best routes have been done already and that we are not ready to play on the big rocks yet..."

I wonder if Vern and Claude got the same response from Kamps and Higgins when they started putting up their new routes on Fairview ten-twelve years earlier.

So, Tom did you have trouble with the new guys on your rock? You and Bob pretty much owned Fairview's hard climbing then.

Roger

G_Gnome

Sport climber
Everywhere, man...
Sep 10, 2007 - 03:51pm PT
Roger, I find it impossible to think of Kamps acting that way. I don't know Higgins well enough to say for him, besides he is still here to stand up for himself.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 10, 2007 - 04:29pm PT
Yeah, I cannot hear Bob saying anything like that, or Tom either. But those sorts of thoughts are fairly common, I think, just usually not expressed.

It would be interesting to see if Tom felt any sense of lose when young climbers such as Vern and Claude did new hard routes on Fairview. Sure seemed like it motivated Kurt and Steve to place their bets on fighting fire with fire.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 10, 2007 - 05:09pm PT
Roger wrote:

> It would be interesting to see if Tom felt any sense of lose when young climbers such as Vern and Claude did new hard routes on Fairview.

It's clear from his Commentary in the Tuolumne guidebook that Tom liked how Piece de Resistance turned out, even though a few of the bolts were placed with aid.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 10, 2007 - 05:31pm PT
In 1973, Tom and Bob and Mike Ivrin climbed 'Fairest of All.' I remember that Tom was very proud of that route--it shows in the name.

The next year Tom and Vern climbed Piece de Resistance--clearly one of Tom's names (sort of a french version of 'Fairest of All')--while Vern, Claude, and others climbed four additional routes. 'Piece de Resistance' was the only overlap route between generations.
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Sep 10, 2007 - 05:34pm PT
They certainly are NOT putting up even harder and crazier test pieces...

I dunno, nobody from the old school ever did what Leo Houlding has...on the Captain, fer godsakes.

I watched Englekirk free some A4 and A3+ onsight, but he's pretty soft spoken about how badass he is...

I hear some of those Huber FA's have 5.12 pitches with 1 bolt in 100'....


Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 10, 2007 - 05:40pm PT
5.12 is the new 3rd class.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Sep 10, 2007 - 06:35pm PT
I'm in trouble if 12 is the new third class. doh!
LongAgo

Trad climber
Sep 10, 2007 - 06:53pm PT
Clint, Roger, others:

Feelings About Passing Climbing Days

It's no news to any older climbers that feelings of passing days in climbing are bittersweet. Bob and I were very satisfied to have had our days in the Meadows, but of course sad too that life, age, younger generations and altered styles were all washing over the glory days. The feelings didn't center just on Fairview or the Meadows, but around all the areas where we did first ascents. While we grumped about these changes from time to time, I don't think we fell into resentment and certainly didn't lash out at anyone about staying off of "our dome" or cliff. Nor did we ever leave fix ropes or put up ribbon to reserve works in progress. Our approach was to take our shot and leave the undone to whoever might want to try. We also increasingly took to a new game - repeating some of our own classics and trying some of the newest things too, testing our old ways against the new. Bob, as all know, climbed right up to his hardest standard in his preferred style until his death. I tapered off climbing altogether as other things in the big mix of life came along: building a consulting company, having and enjoying a great kid and eventually undergoing a nasty back surgery. Cest la veie (sp ?).

As for my interactions with Clevenger on Fairview, yes we had some heated discussions about style issues and I knew he and Harrington used some aid on the Resistance headwall which had turned back Bob and I in an early attempt of the route. Here's how I characterized my teaming with Vern to do the complete FFA in the Ascent article (75/76 article), Away, where I start the article with an imaginary letter to Kamps:

"Now, he and I are going to try to complete the west face route you and I started in 1968, the direct line in the center of the face. We've been to the high point where you and I retreated, though by three more clean and direct pitches than those you and I originally did. Since then, impatient soul that he is, Clevenger recruited Bob Harrington and together they climbed the sixty-foot smooth headwall above our 1968 highpoint. They took all day, trading leads on ten-foot sections to get the bolts in. Neither Vern nor Bob (Harrington) made all the moves, and at one point a bolt served as aid to get another in. So, we'll see if it all goes free."

It did all go free and that too was bittersweet as I knew I was passing at least one bolt put in while Vern or Bob stood on another. But I didn't harp on it with Vern and he and I enjoyed the route and day and have stayed friends ever since, especially now that he is facing his own bigger than climbing challenges with a business, kids and health issues.

It takes time, but slowly we learn there's even more to life than climbing.

For history buffs, the complete story of Piece de Resistance (with pics of the infamous headwall) is here:


http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=20

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
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