muir wall


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the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 2, 2009 - 06:46pm PT
this is my favorite shot from our attempt to free the muir wall in 1994. We went up there equipped old school style to have a real good time. Greg and Scott eating out back oven pizza for dinner and sipping on beer, this is the way to go if your going to haul...


East Coast US
Jan 2, 2009 - 07:08pm PT
I see no beer. Maybe "gatorias", but no beer. You guys probably did this thing sober.

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
Jan 2, 2009 - 07:12pm PT
That is so stellar, love the Yellow boombox!!
And pizza on the wall? Living very large man!!!


Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 2, 2009 - 07:19pm PT
Luxuriating on Chickenhead Ledge- good for lounging, worse for sleeping. Damn if that food doesn't taste twice as good when you've earned it!

Jan 2, 2009 - 08:19pm PT
Great pic Kurt! Got more? Bring it onnnnnnnnnnn!
Brutus of Wyde

Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
Jan 2, 2009 - 11:35pm PT
Hmmm. Chickenhead Ledge ain't on the Muir. For that matter, neither is the Shaft. Seems to me you tried to free a different line, for somewheres around a third of the Captain.

Not to belittle your fantastic effort, which was way beyond what I could ever conceive of attempting.

But Muir it wasn't.

"Truth in advertising"

Cheers Kurt.


beneath the valley of ultravegans
Jan 3, 2009 - 02:43am PT
Did Justen Sjong and Rob Miller talk to you guys at all about their free line on the Muir? Justen gave a fantastic slide show a few years ago covering their early attempts--before they'd finished--and it seemed like their efforts diverged from the Shaft quite a bit. Anyhow, you guys--Eppi included--were doing something pretty amazing up there.

Any photos of those really awkward stem/wiggle pitches and the stylee Kinnaloa bag?

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Jan 3, 2009 - 05:07am PT
The Muir Wall
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 3, 2009 - 10:02am PT
actually we did attempt the muir from the ground, on sight starting @ pitch 1. We freed it to pitch 16, where we then busted right for a pitch leading back to the muir. then @ pitch 21 we went right into another set of dihedrals that were not in any topo. Found an odd bolt or two in those 6 pitches. Then we got to the level with Shield head wall and the last pitches looked too thin to get our fat fingers in so....

We flipped a coin and i went left across the shield head wall, super cool airy, scary .12a pitch with very little gear and i stanced a bolt or two and ogt us to the ledge. HAuling all the crap we had across the headwall took all day and drained us. so it was pizza and the last of our secret stash that got us to bed that night. This was part of our final 13 days on the wall and by the time we got to the stopped pitch we were toast.

What we went looking for and found was adventure, pure and simple. Not having ever done the muir we had no idea when or where we would get shut down, but did not care as each day another pitch would go down and the climbing just got better and better. We were not the first nor the last to take the power drill on the big stone and i have NO regrets of replacing all that sh#t hardwear for good bolts.

The best part of this adventure was sharing it with two old friends who shared the same vision and desire to seek adventure and not dog this route into submission.

Here is Greg cleaning the head wall traverse..

and an eppie photo of scott on pitch 17- .13- sic face traverse!

Enjoy the photos....

Trad climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
Jan 3, 2009 - 10:21am PT
Hey Kurt,

Great pic and history, thanks.

What was the fine for using a power drill on ElCap?

Just curious,

the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 3, 2009 - 10:33am PT
$2000 each.

Ice climber
canyon country,CA
Jan 3, 2009 - 10:57am PT
I've seen an awful lot of criticism of style. What kind of "style" was the power drill??

Trad climber
Jan 3, 2009 - 11:12am PT
wow, you guys must have had a great time, I've never seen a smile like that on Greg.

great photos, any more?

Cardiff by the sea
Jan 3, 2009 - 11:13am PT
Great pictures Kurt. I remember you quizing me some about the route more specifically the upper dihedral pitches before you guys went up there at the trade show (Was it in Reno then?) Keep this thread alive with more pictures and tid bits about the ascent, this thread is killer!
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 3, 2009 - 11:19am PT
T2- you did give us great beat and moral support for this endeavor.

As far a style- the power drill became my tool of choice when i got to use JB's for the first time in 1988. So i had no qualms about using it on this route as an efficient means to replace the many old bolts up there. Is it a crime- yes. Did we break the law- HELL yes. Is the Valley and El Cap a wilderness area as stated by the wilderness act- HELL NO. Hard to be a wilderness area worthy of wilderness protection when 5 million people drive by el cap every year. So again- i have no regrets and i would do it all over again in the same style. Don't let the drill over shadow what we went up there to do- ground up on sight like the first ascent.


Trad climber
Jan 3, 2009 - 12:23pm PT
So did Tommy Caldwell follow the same line as you guys when he freed it? Seems like you guys laid the groundwork.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jan 3, 2009 - 12:42pm PT
Yeah, that power drill deal was a bunch of bullsh#t. What? Did they also fine you for taking up that tape player? isn't that mechanical? What about that frikken computer camera? Why the drill and not those?
You guys got hosed.
Awesome job on the route though.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jan 3, 2009 - 01:00pm PT
The new mentality seems to be sport crag.
But the adventure is still there, and plenty of it, for the ones that choose it.

That being said, a power drill wouldn't have been my pick.
You guys are plenty badass without it.

Trad climber
North Hollywood, California
Jan 3, 2009 - 01:38pm PT
Hey Scott,

I remember doing Free Blast with a friend and running into you on Mammoth Ledges. You were kicking back with the tunes and resting up. Way cozy. I was and still am impressed with your style and ethics. It matches my own. I think it must be part of our generation and the climbers we looked up to.

Gene Mayo

P.S. That single static line to the ground was awesome!! We hit the dirt in about 15 minutes.

Jan 3, 2009 - 02:37pm PT
COZ wrote
"It seems no one has a hold on values now, they are lost without some kind of morals. There can be no creativity without some kind of structure. We had beliefs back then a code to climb by.

Now all you have are soul-less results, without borders or method."

No one has values and all you have are soul-less? Seems like stong and ignorant words that are grouping all active 1st ascentionists as one crappy group. Bummer.
Bob J.
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