Roots of the Boulder Free Climbing Renaissance- Briggs 73

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 12, 2009 - 11:04am PT
Chiloe's Naked Edge thread got me thinking back to the first time that I became aware that something amazing was cooking in B town. Climbing Nov-Dec 73 (with the Mace on the cover) has to be one of the all-time best. In it is Roger Briggs' excellent survey setting the table for things to come. Way inspiring!!







The start of a tick-list for the ages!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Feb 12, 2009 - 11:11am PT
What an awesome article about one of the best areas in the
world, home to the Eldo Prancers, like Tarbuster, BrassNuts,
Crimpergirl, and even l'il ole me!
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Feb 12, 2009 - 11:14am PT
Roger in 1974, powering through the direct finish to C'est la Vie. Probably thinks he's on belay.

mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Feb 12, 2009 - 11:53am PT
You start the best threads, Steve.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 12, 2009 - 12:34pm PT
Done them all (on lead), most of them many times over ...
(except, oddly, the 2nd pitch of C'laVie, but I have done the 3rd!).

That last picture, of the third pitch of C'est La Vie, that's a really cool thing that very few people do.
Committing balls out lay back into a great big scoop.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 12, 2009 - 01:34pm PT
Third pitch of C'est La Vie,
Pretty much the only gear, well below the climber's feet.
Nothing in the scoop either; a bit of unprotected moderate face climbing exiting to the headwall above:


From CLIMB!
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 12, 2009 - 01:38pm PT
Wow were those some stiff ratings or what?

I remember when this article came out. It really made an impression on my youthful ambitions.

To Taint or not to Taint that was the question.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 12, 2009 - 02:29pm PT
I think I know why those ratings are so goofy. We cruised through there in about '73. We were on our way to the high country (Petit Grepon, etc) so only had an hour or so in Eldo to do a classic. Did the Bastille Crack and said, "If that's 5.6 then I don't wanna see no more!" Man, that thing was a grease-fest back then.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Feb 12, 2009 - 02:31pm PT
Yeah -- Rosy, Blackwalk and Outer Space all 5.9+. That was a stout enough grade
back then.

As for C'est la Vie, I used to have the corner pitch wired. But the more serious overhang
still spooked me.

For grades even older than Roger's article, check out these Recommended Ascents from Pat
Ament and Cleve McCarty's blue guidebook. Bastille Crack, along with Redguard Route
(the Birdwalk) and The Bulge, were the definition of 5.6. Grande Giraffe was the definition
of 5.8.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2009 - 08:43pm PT
These shots of Steve Wunsch airing it out off a couple of #1 Stoppers, high on Jules Verne, really stoked my fire back when Climb came out and the lines had images to accompany the reputations.


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 12, 2009 - 09:40pm PT
See that bit of gear to his left in that second picture?
That's where I put my belayer: bomber number 7 stopper & something like a number 1 or 1.5 friend.
That way, no rope weight and no rope drag.

Then, forget about any other pro, #1 stopper, RP, or otherwise for the rest of the lead until the mean stuff is over...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2009 - 09:44pm PT
I always got the impression from the captioning that those two pieces are #1's?!?
richross

Trad climber
gunks,ny
Feb 12, 2009 - 09:56pm PT
Mike Gilbert on Kloberdanz.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 12, 2009 - 10:05pm PT
Steve,
I'm pretty sure those pieces are in the top of the corner, just above where that overlap heads out right for a couple of feet.

The number one stoppers were to be fiddled in about halfway through the run out where it gets just a little bit incipient.
To me that would've just wasted precious energy and concentration.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Feb 12, 2009 - 10:29pm PT
Like Tarbuster, I repeated all those routes and many other Eldo classics, in '74 and ''75. In '74, my first full season in Eldo, Kevin Donald asked me to do the Edge. Such was the reputation of that route, and such was my desire to make a good, clean climb of it, that I agreed to try only after we'd done about 25, 5.11 routes, prior to getting on the Edge. The routes we did included most of the climbs on Roger's list, which we did - all of them, I think - with no frigging or falls. When we got on the Edge, the climbing was beautiful, but it seemed less difficult than many of the other routes.

Then, in '76, I'd just returned from alaska - where I'd broken my ankle falling through a cornice on Mt Hunter about six weeks before - when Jim Collins asked me if I'd belay him on Jules Verne. Even though the ankle was still weak and sore, I thought it would be OK to belay and follow. But when we got to the crux pitch, Jim took two huge falls from just below the end of the difficulties. Just being polite, I think, he offered to let me give it a try. "Why not?" I replied, and surprised myself - and Jim, I'm sure - by walking the pitch. Jim followed and we swung leads to the top of the route, completing what I think was the sixth free ascent.

-Jello
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2009 - 10:36pm PT
RighteousJello!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 12, 2009 - 10:37pm PT
Now that's the way to do it Jello:
No frigging & no falls.

(I was still gripped out on The Trough at Taquitz [5.0] when you were knocking off that route list!)
Although my first 5.11's were in the late 70s, I didn't start getting after that stuff in Eldo until '90.

I like Rich Ross's post of that cover with Michael Gilbert.
Man that guy has been getting after it forever...

Steve,
Here's a good view right through the crux of Jules Verne and looking down into that protection that we are talking about:
 Bruce Miller climbing, handy on run outs and a bit of an alpinist himself!


I've never heard of anybody belayin' there besides myself.
I have very trusting partners.....
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Feb 12, 2009 - 10:47pm PT
Yeah, Tarbuster, we took style real seriously back then. In fact, up until '74 I wouldn't use chalk. Considered it an unsightly blemish on the rock, but when I got on the band-wagon, my consistency on hard routes shot way up.

-JelloAllChalkedUpAndSpewingLikeANoob

EDIT: And Kevin Donald? Now there was a master free climber...and the ultimate ladies' man.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2009 - 11:37pm PT
I quit using chalk because of the way it looked on Eldorado Stone. A Colorado climber, Steve Antel, got me thinking about the whole issue. Having cruxes mapped out in white was a bit of a grim future back then and YC and others were urging restraint.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Feb 13, 2009 - 08:30am PT
Tarbuster:
I like Rich Ross's post of that cover with Michael Gilbert.
Man that guy has been getting after it forever..


Indeed he has. Mike made an early ascent of Jules Verne, maybe the 3rd (?)
around the time of that Climbing cover -- I believe the article inside has photos.

His partner on JV was Wendell Nuss, a relatively unsung climber who led the crux
pitch on their ascent.
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