Musings on perfect moves and memorable routes

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MH2

climber
Nov 5, 2009 - 03:34pm PT
So what are other routes have that characteristic of the best combinations of holds and features that somehow just define a routes must-do status?


And how come some people know the answer to this before anyone else has done the route? I have no idea. Maybe that 'Eye of Faith'?

Bryan Burdo had picked out a line on Cutthroat Peak in Washington Pass. Under a roof there was a corner where there was supposed to be a finger crack. The corner looked pretty blank up close, but closed in just enough to allow precarious chimneying and the crack accepted a couple RPs.

Then the roof. To my total surprise and delight it not only had a good undercutting crack at the base, there was another deep horizontal crack a few feet above the lip! In fact, it seemed like there was nothing holding the roof up! I didn't care because the piece of stone was too big to care about the additional improbability of supporting my weight.

It was dark by then and our plan was to fix and return, anyway.

We had to wait out a day of rain. The picture below shows me after jumaring back up to the previous high point. I was sent up with a bolt kit, because of fear of the unknown, and since I couldn't see far ahead, I bought into the fear. Rather than resort to a bolt I placed a perfectly good-looking Leeper in a ridiculous slot and recalled from the Good Book, 'this is the kind of problem which can only be solved by moving up.' Stepping up did solve the problem and the climb in spectacular fashion.


hooblie

climber
"i used to care, but things have changed"
Nov 5, 2009 - 03:44pm PT
roger, it's great to have fuzzed you up about these old paths. this may be the start of something great. is it possible that you guys turned the page and did the preamble, or more generously, laid the foundation for southern belle? granted, nothing is a perfect analogy, and i seem to be mired in them. (it's still a path of self discovery, thank goodness.) i give you great belated credit for blazing the trail.

when i think about it, there was a report of what the moves entailed. so, at least a couple of members of the fa party were up there whooping, and little dots made progress, but the light was too blinding for me to imagine what a couple of degrees of angle would do to inflect the world of the possible. i was dealing with what was by then mundane, but all too fresh for me.


Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 5, 2009 - 04:31pm PT
I could name about a hundred routes in the Boulder
area and in Eldorado that fit the description. And just
off the top of my head... but, no, wait. If I name them,
all sorts more people will go up there and polish them
into oblivion. I have always hated articles that always
appear in some of these mainstream magazines, with titles such
as, "Best, most remote areas in the world." And that ends
their remoteness. Or, "Fifty classic climbs in North America,"
and they get overdone. Or, "Must-do routes in... wherever."
I think people should pay their dues, become acquainted
with, say, the Needles, or Eldorado, and learn the history,
and follow their instincts, and have some adventures, and
eventually on their own realize the routes to which they are
most attracted. The must-do routes will become known naturally,
with that kind of experience, and then the masses won't
assault those routes... Maybe it's too late, though. Too
many people already? Ok, "the Bulge" or "Ruper" in Eldorado? If you
want something more difficult, how about "T-2" or "Vertigo?"
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Nov 7, 2009 - 01:19pm PT
"Hey Mooser, I have some photos of Mike Briedenback "Fig" following that pitch (I think). I will have to dig them out and post them. The picure I now use for my id is from the bolt ladder pitch on the East Buttress, taken from the same roll. Mike snapped it. I think it is a very cool spot with the Spires behind and El Cap across the way."

I agree, Roger. The view to the left, to the right, and behind is part of what makes it so beautiful. Sometimes, it's as much the setting as anything.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 7, 2009 - 03:16pm PT
hey there say, roger.... i am glad to keep seeing this thread/post pop up... say, i will go and check the music link tonight (when i can wait longer on line and not tie up the phone line--am dial up, here)...

thanks for the link...

say, best wishes with the guitar work.. i WILL check up on you about this... ;)
*i have been getting to redo my piano, due to a "garage sale" special..

well--back to this thred/post of yours:

this is REALLY grest stuff... very good write-ups and while i will not retain most of it, it is filling my spirit in a very lovely way,and THAT part will stay forever...

keep shareing this marvelous stuff here...
god bless...
:)

*will enjoy the music link tonight and add your "handywork" to it... ;)



edit: WOW, great to see patrick (pat) here in the last few days... :)
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 7, 2009 - 05:04pm PT
Hi Roger,

Just checked out this thread - Great photo of us!

Freewheelin' fits the title of this thread well, and that photo stirs the reasons why for me. The whole route fits together in an uncanny way, although from the ground that doesn't appear to be the case, as the whole slab is covered with seemingly unrelated features.

The 2nd pitch which you led is the first taste of that magical path of holds which enable and guide the climber up the route - no real choice - just follow the unclimbed, but already existing route.

George's next lead up through the band of Quartz crystalline bullet rock takes the leader to a dramatic change in rock character where the face suddenly becomes smooth and unclimbable but for black and orange spots of diorite and harder rock, which through weathering, have been left just proud of the face enough to provide a weakness for climbing.

Pitch four and five continue to barely allow progress in some sections, and reveal their weaknesses slowly as the leader studies and tests the rock.

I bet it's like it was in that photo up there right now...

426

climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Nov 7, 2009 - 08:05pm PT
Drop!

Credit: 426

Edit: Aww, you can't see the drops...sry, will have to dig up the original sometime...
chappy

Social climber
ventura
Nov 8, 2009 - 02:33am PT
Hi Kev, Hi Roger,
Hope you two are well. Kev I have been meaning to call. I was always and still am amazed at how some climbs or boulder problems just seem to have that magic hold, edge, finger lock, jamb or combination of these features that allow passage over some section of rock that otherwise appears impossible or at the very least overly daunting. Add a touch of exposure and a classic location and you have climbing magic. These otherwise random features of nature seemingly created for our enjoyment make one think there exists some higher power--a climbing God if you will. This is a big part of the beauty and wonder that climbing holds for me. To be climbing virgin rock and be the first to unlock the combination or discover the key hold is the sweetest thing. This is the lure of climbing new routes. One of my more memorable ascents was that little nugget Littlewing. Matt Pollock and I hiked up from the valley floor never realizing the road was there. Surprise Surprise! I tied on with a swami and a rack of nuts started climbing and whole thing just came together. It was so sweet. By the way on the subject of Middle I always thought the second pitch (I believe it is the second pitch) of Jigsaw was quite unique if somewhat out of character for Middle Rock climbing.
T H

climber
. . . not !
Nov 8, 2009 - 04:06am PT
The formula can be captured even in a single-move boulder problem , but the element of risk / uncertainty should also be in the mix (bad landings , sketchy topouts etc) for full value.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 8, 2009 - 05:58pm PT
In my experience, the truly fantastic moments that stay with me usually come on the boldest routes. Once you can let the mechanical distraction with protection and fall calculus slide out the back of your mind and really sink into the movement and wonderful discovery of the next set of holds. Climbing on Middle is the epitome of that sort of immersion because you simply have to shut your internal dialog off and let yourself move upwards. The reward of getting just what you need because you aren't expecting anything and are willing to accept the pure challenge of climbing is empowering, spiritually.

The secret to bold face climbing is to climb powerfully and deliberately until you succeed or stall and remain humbly unstoppable in between. When I dream awake about a particular route that I am trying to psyche up for or just about moving over stone, it is that oneness that I am trying to key into. Some climbs just have character that allows me to groove on them right away. It really isn't about difficulty because that is a shroud around the real treasure.





Classic shot of Kevin on Quicksilver from Yosemite Climber. George Meyers photo.

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 8, 2009 - 08:43pm PT
You can see the crux pitch of Black Primo in the background of that old photo of me, just past the wet streak. It follows an amazing weakness between two steep and unclimbable slabs.

That route has some perfect and marginal moves which are rarely done. The line and independence of that route set it apart from the others on the NF Apron, making it possibly the best one up there.

Nice photo of Jigsaw by the way Steve! And a cool one of The Arches Slab. Is that GBG?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 8, 2009 - 08:58pm PT
Shakey Flakes not GBG!

Since you took these , I will post the shots of Black Primo too!



Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Nov 9, 2009 - 05:23pm PT
Just want to say I really enjoyed reading the discussion & perspectives here.

You guys really were fortunate to have all that virgin canvas to explore. And interesting, Roger, that you say Bridwell encouraged you to do first ascents. Doesn't seem like much FA encouragement goes on these days - probably more discouragement - despite, and/or maybe due to, what is undoubtedly an increased rate of route development throughout the country. 'Course I don't have any stats & charts to back that up, but Ed probably would - at least for the Valley. Is it the case, as I assume, that even as the available rock for FAs is in decline, that conversely the rate of new route development is amplified?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 21, 2009 - 08:09pm PT
Great thread bump!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jan 6, 2010 - 02:13am PT
hey there say, steve grossman... wow, really great pictures and a very nice share here... thanks...

also...wow... chappy chipped in here and i never saw this:
as to your quotes, mark:
I was always and still am amazed at how some climbs or boulder problems just seem to have that magic hold, edge, finger lock, jamb or combination of these features that allow passage over some section of rock that otherwise appears impossible or at the very least overly daunting. Add a touch of exposure and a classic location and you have climbing magic. These otherwise random features of nature seemingly created for our enjoyment make one think there exists some higher power--a climbing God if you will. This is a big part of the beauty and wonder that climbing holds for me. To be climbing virgin rock and be the first to unlock the combination or discover the key hold is the sweetest thing. This is the lure of climbing new routes.

though i never climbed and only hiked and love just to scramble over the wonderful rocks... i SURELY feel the very same way--it must run in the ol' family blood! :)

it SURELY is one of the sweetest things, i seen, too, as to nature... seen in a tree-climbs,as well, even... :)
and thus, for me, too, as to trail and such--the lure of the love of nature, as a whole, too...


man oh man, mark, sure wish you weren't so busy and could share your vast adventures, insight, and joys...
god bless dear brother!...
(thank you so very kindly, too, for the christmas cards and kindess)...

if you get on line, happy new year to you!!!!! and much love from ol' sis...
:)
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jan 6, 2010 - 02:51am PT
really nice thread bump

this is really it for me... where Roger says...

a routes location and some measure of its improbability set it apart

and again

it comes down to the improbability that the barest minimum of really good holds could get one over the roof at a moderate difficulty

yes, and yes, and yes. the 'getting away with it motif' is spot on for me. I can think of one my early multi pitch routes at Joshua Tree. The Moosedog Tower.

The improbable looking roof at the bottom that turned out to have two perfect edges on the side wall and then if one liked, trending out left to an exposed arete up higher that had huge holds at 5.6, but was just a joy to climb out over the edge. At a young age I felt like I had gotten away with something that day. Top it off with an overhanging rappel off the backside, and you've got a classic. Silly and small compared to the above climbs, but I think the idea of what Roger was poking at shows something somewhat universal to the climbing phenomena.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jan 6, 2010 - 02:58am PT
Siniestra, on the Meat wall on the left, Indian Creek, not a dud move in 160'!
drljefe

climber
Old Pueblo, AZ
Jan 6, 2010 - 10:37am PT
For me, it's The Vampire.
Slammer hands, boulder problem, perfect airy flake climbing, and some dicey steep slab.
Throw in nice exposure and a liberal amount of history...
Perfect, memorable.

Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Jan 6, 2010 - 11:04am PT
Ah, The Vampire what a place. Eric Beck and I made an early ascent of that route and it never occurred to us that it would some day be a free climb.
nutjob

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Jan 6, 2010 - 12:18pm PT
Regarding potential for new FA's: I think the potential never diminishes, but our willingness to spend the time looking or dreaming diminishes. As I sit at different belays around the Yosemite Valley and look at all the uncharted rock around me, I see tons of places that would be fun to explore if I prioritized the time for it.

But alas I don't live in the Valley, and I make it out there less often than I'd like. I've got a big set of well-known classics on the to do list, and all those dreamy new lines and places to explore get pushed to the category of "some day."


At present, I'm enamored with an unheralded MUST DO climb I visited last week in Joshua Tree: Thrash or Crash. No stars in the guide, easy approach near a well-hyped climb, and the most unusual body position I've ever encountered on a climb. Cool stuff!
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