Dick Erb Appreciation Thread

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Messages 21 - 40 of total 57 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 9, 2009 - 12:16am PT
That's ok Pat, I wasn't very clear and made a mistake thinking Dick had gone to Europe with the others. I just went back and reworded things to correct. The great thing about ST, is that the collective memory is better than any individual's.
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Nov 9, 2009 - 10:14pm PT
Any relation to Arkel?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:21pm PT

I do think I remember Erb invested in some highly speculative stock that did pay off after 20 years or so? It might have had to do with mining in Australia????
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:42pm PT
Thanks for the thread Steve, and thanks to all of my wonderful climbing friends. I once heard TM Herbert say "I don't have a friend in the world who is not a climber". Tom Kimbrough posted about the ride I took in a ten foot fracture hard slab avalanche while patrolling at Alpine Meadows. That's a day I remember quite clearly and as I was going down I felt grateful that Tom was the one who was there to find me when it all came to rest.
I'm no relation to Arkel. The speculative stock that I bought hoping to get to Europe finally came through long after I had given up on it. Years later when I got married after countless rides hitch hiking and thousands of miles on the freights, I cashed it in and bought a VW bug.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 10, 2009 - 01:04am PT
I would like to hear more about your freight train trips.
I guess I never did learn much about those. I'm sure we
could have a few stories to share.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 10, 2009 - 01:39am PT
Dick-Climbers of your generation have led lives packed full of adventure and hilarity and I hang on every word and recollection. You are the reason that I put time into this forum and find great reward here. I have had my own wild times and always love a great story and a good laugh! I do my best to draw people in and delight in the merriment that results. When I actually get to meet the characters that make the climbing world so rich I feel even more deeply blessed and honored.

Here's to ya!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 15, 2009 - 04:31pm PT
Dick- How did you get into climbing?
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Nov 16, 2009 - 11:54am PT
I got an obsession with the mountains at an early age after a family vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park. While still in elementary school school I hatched a plan that would enable me to live in the mountains full time. I would find a secluded place in the high country where there was a small waterfall and a pool of water below. There I would stretch a net across the creek at the exit of the pool, and wait for the fish to get trapped between these two obstacles. Living in my nearby secret hideout I could feast on trout and blissfully explore the beloved mountains. Finally at age 14 I got to go on a Sierra Club base camp trip where I learned the hip belay and body rappel, made an ascent of Mt. Humphreys and learned about the Sierra Club Rock Climbing Section. The LA RCS which no longer exists was an amazing concentration of climbers. The godfathers of the group were Chuck Wilts and John Mendenhall and there was a group of twenty somethings that included Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard, Tom Frost, TM Herbert, Dave Rearick, and Bob Kamps. I found a sparkle in these peoples eyes that my school teachers didn't have. Life was never again the same.
Mike.

climber
Nov 16, 2009 - 12:49pm PT
Howdy, Dick--glad you're here. I tagged up with you and some of your mates including Sally M. in JT some years ago as you might recall. I mean, how many people pull out a 300' rope?

No capacity cap here on thoughtful, soft-spoken climbers with deep experience. So, welcome! And cheers, amigo.


crunch

Social climber
CO
Nov 16, 2009 - 02:47pm PT
Hi Dick,

Wonderful anecdotes!

On a slight tangent, I'm putting together a book about the history of climbing on desert towers. Layton told me you climbed the South Sister with him and Larry Dalke, back in December 1966. That must have been quite an adventure. Do you remember anything about how the climb went?
TomKimbrough

Social climber
Salt Lake City
Nov 16, 2009 - 04:11pm PT
If I recall correctly Erb was one of the Matterhorn climbers at Disney Land and there was a story about a broken piton hammer......
hossjulia

Trad climber
Eastside
Nov 16, 2009 - 05:35pm PT
Lucky bastard.

Dick is a great person and I really appreciate being able to work with him.
Always fun to be around.
Thanks Dick!
Tamara Robbins

climber
not a climber, just related...
Nov 16, 2009 - 07:33pm PT
Dick - How are you? And Dawn?
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Nov 16, 2009 - 08:15pm PT
Hi Tamara - Long time no see, although I just saw a photo of you and Dawn sitting on your daddy's laps up thread a ways. You were one of her first playmates. Dawn is doing well. She and her partner Dave are both astronomers working at UCSB.
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Nov 16, 2009 - 09:04pm PT
Tom - Interesting that you remember that. I haven't thought of that time I almost killed someone for many years.
I felt fortunate indeed to land a summer job climbing the Disneyland Matterhorn at age 15 with a referral from Chuck Wilts. I played the part of Otto and my friend Jim Crary was was Hans, two Swiss mountain climbers entertaining the tourists. The "mountain" was a 1/100 scale replica of the real Matterhorn (sort of) built above a fairly tame roller coaster, "The Matterhorn Bobsled". The Fuergen, Hornli and Zmutt ridges were all sport bolted, except that the bolts were five foot long steel bars a half inch thick an two inches wide. All but a few inches of them were inside the mountain bolted into the structure with many large machine bolts. For sure that was the most bomber pro I've ever clipped. The Fuergen was our favorite, especially the top where we would step right under an overhang, clip some pro, then hand traverse out a little ways on good buckets, pull up to the lip, clip another bomber bolt, throw a heel hook over the lip and pull to another bucket. Sounds wild, but it was only 5.7. The lower of the two bolts we we would pound on with the hammer as though we were placing a piton, and then at the lip right after the heel hook hook we would take a leader fall just for show. The first one was just a short one. The next day when it was the other guy's turn there was a little more slack and the fall was farther. Eventually we were getting to over fifteen feet and approaching the limit of how far we could go without hitting the wall below. Each day it was a little scarier than the last time, and it didn't help hearing your partner telling you how your head was going to split open like a watermelon. One day I just pulled over without taking the fall, and that was the end of that nonsense. Another thing that caused us to scale back the show was our hammer. One day as I was tapping on the bolt, the head flew off of the hammer. I turned and watched it sailing through space and saw a bobsled come speeding out of a tunnel below in perfect alignment with the falling hammerhead dead center over the track. The passenger in the rear seat never even knew that it missed his head by only a few inches. The next day we saw one of the mechanics holding the hammerhead saying, "Look what I found on the track this morning". We just shrugged our shoulders.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2009 - 12:34am PT
THAT is an amazing story! It would certainly have been the strangest death ever on the Matterhorn!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2009 - 11:25am PT
Having done a fair bit of artificial climbing wall design and construction myself, I wonder who the technical consultants were for the Disney Matterhorn? Was Chuck Wilts involved?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 17, 2009 - 01:35pm PT
Yes Stevie, Chuck Wilts WAS hired by Disney to establish the anchors. Soon after, Chuck hired/got them hired, Dick Erb and Jim Crarey to be "Swiss guides". Dick left the summer of 1960 and was replaced by Jeff Winslow.

I am going to establish a Disney Matterhorn thread separately here in about an hour. It is going to be fun!

This is Jim Crarey and I think Dick Erb August 3, 1959 on one of their Disney routines on the 147 ft structure:

BiletChick

climber
Huntington Beach, CA
Nov 17, 2009 - 03:59pm PT
Is Dick Erb any relation to Arkel Erb who died on Dunagiri (Garwhal Himalaya) in Oct 1976? My cousin John Baruch was roped up to Arkel on the climb and they fell over 2000ft. There were two other climbers with them Graham Stephenson and a climber from Mexico...I think his name was Mendoza. They also fell.
Any old timers heard of this accident?
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Nov 17, 2009 - 04:15pm PT
Cross link to an old (2006?) Disney Matterhorn thread with some stories:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/294089/disneyland_climbers

There may be others of note, Peter.
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