Dick Erb Appreciation Thread

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 7, 2009 - 01:47pm PT
Another California legend has quietly pulled up a chair at the ST campfire!
Welcome Dick Erb!

Whether it is posting beautiful scenery and backcountry skiing shots...

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=955545&msg=989926#msg989926

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=988834&msg=989879#msg989879

or splendid historical accounts of climbing Valley routes BITD on the Frank Sacherer thread and elsewhere...

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=778437&msg=978220#msg978220

Dick is the real deal and we are fortunate to have him on the forum!

DrDeeg

Mountain climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Nov 7, 2009 - 02:37pm PT
Erb was both a good climber and a reliable partner. He was one of the denizens at the Great Pad on Regent St in Berkeley, along with Sacherer, Beck, Thompson, and me. He also went with me on two expeditions to the Hindu Kush, Koh-i-Tundy in 1968 and Koh-i-Marchech in 1970. I have a lot of Erb stories; here are two:

Driving into the Valley, he saw a bunch of people taking turns trying to lead Rixon’s East. He got out of his car and watched for a while, then, dressed in Levis and Hush Puppies, he said let me give it a try. He just tied into the rope – no swami belt and many years before harnesses – and flashed it.

In 1965, Thompson, Morton, Peppin & I were climbing in the Dolomites. During a period of bad weather, Thompson & I hitched south to Venice to hang out on a beach for a couple of days. On the way back, we got into a conversation about Dick Erb. Arriving back in Cortina, a letter from Erb awaited us. He described how he had gone to a great martial arts movie. After getting home, he was practicing knife moves in front of his mom’s full-length mirror, and he managed to stab himself in the back of the leg, severely enough to go to the ER for stitches. Thompson & I sat on the curb at the Cortina post office, feet in the gutter, laughing so hard that tears poured down our cheeks.
TomKimbrough

Social climber
Salt Lake City
Nov 7, 2009 - 02:45pm PT
One of my most memorable avalanche experiences was triggering a huge slide at Alpine Meadows and watching Erb go down in it. The last I saw of him he was chimneying and mantling in between huge moving blocks. Somehow he fought his way out and was just fine.
Cheers, Dick!
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 7, 2009 - 02:53pm PT
I just wrote a big paragraph, hit the return, and the whole
thing erased. Does anyone else have this problem with this
program? This has happened to me several times.

Guess I'll start over, but it will be different, as I can't
remember anything I write.

I met Dick in about 1966, and he was the quietest person I
think I ever met, a man able and true. We used his downstairs
pad as a kind of basecamp during the psychedelic age of 1967.
Layton and I and others were swept up in those voluptuous and
disturbing times. Dick and I climbed any number of routes. I
remember one moment when he rounded a corner, as he followed
an A5 pitch I led. His eyes widened when he caught sight of
an amazing nested thing, where I had placed about ten pitons by
the tip in a single, shallow, rotten little hole. It was tied-off,
but if it went then so would half the rack. I remember another night
after I was walking on the hill and happened to catch sight of
my first love, with whom I had been engaged, and I saw her walk into
Tulagi's nightclub with some guy. She glanced back at me, and
our eyes were on each other as the door slowly closed. I walked
to Dick's pad. One didn't have to knock, and I simply went downstairs
and sat on his bed. I put the headphones on and heard, for the first
time, the beautiful Simon & Gargunkle album with Dangling Conversation
and Scarborough Fair. I looked down and noticed a large pool of water
on the floor and wondered what that was about. I suddenly realized
those were my tears. Dick said nothing and simply sat beside me.
He handed me an apple.

I'm sure I wasn't a perfect friend then, by any means. But still
I hold to the good light that flowed from Dick, that fine climber,
that Yosemite boy... who filled my mind with stories of Beck and
Sacherer, both of whom I later met, probably due in part to Dick
who brought us together...

All hail to one of the great ones,

Pat Ament

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 7, 2009 - 03:52pm PT
I met Dick first through Eric Beck,when we both lived in Squaw Valley in the winter. I met him, Judy, and Dawn, their little girl when Dick was the main guide at Royal's RockCraft. I don't think I ever heard any of Dick's stories from him, always from someone else. It was always great to work with Dick; he had a knack for keeping Royal happy, the clients moving, and everyone on an even keel. I remember his quick and very understated wit.

Here is a picture of Dick with Dawn on his lap, seated second from the right and Judy, standing, behind him--a group photo from RockCraft in about 1973 or so.

Credit: Roger Breedlove
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Nov 7, 2009 - 04:36pm PT
Three cheers for Dick!
We are indeed lucky to have the extreme quality guys on here.
It keeps me coming back to sort through the piles....
Thanks Dick!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Nov 7, 2009 - 04:37pm PT
One of the nicest individuals on the planet.

Cheers to the Erb man.


hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Nov 7, 2009 - 05:59pm PT
Pat I think that is the best story I have ever read from you- thanks
Erb sounds like someone I'd like to meet
murf
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2009 - 06:56pm PT
Nice photo, Roger! Anyone else of interest in what presumably is a staff shot!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 7, 2009 - 08:53pm PT
Hooray for Dick!!!
Bargainhunter

Mountain climber
Central California
Nov 7, 2009 - 09:31pm PT
Is this the same Erb who donated the amazing rare climbing book collection to the Malibu County Library?
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 7, 2009 - 09:35pm PT
hey there say, steve, pat, and roger...

say, thanks for teaching me about a bit about dick erb here..

very nice write-ups... :)


say, welcome to you dick erb... :)
have a great supertopo time...

and god bless...
rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Nov 7, 2009 - 09:41pm PT
met dick erb at the lumber yard and didn't know he was some famous climber.....thought he was just this really nice human being.....just...?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 7, 2009 - 09:51pm PT
Welcome, and thank you for the entertaining story of the second ascent of the south face of Mount Watkins, and preparatory attempts.
http://supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=778437&msg=978220#msg978220

Any relation to TM 'Erbert?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 8, 2009 - 01:45am PT
I've been trying to remember any stories I might have about Dick Erb back in the day. All I could come up with were the usual "really nice guy" and that he was great at story telling. He used to entertain us with his stories of weekend rail riding among other adventures.

Another thing that seemed to happen to him with some frequency, were epics brought on by others. Here's an account he posted to the Frank Sacherer thread a while back.


Jan 13, 2009 - 06:19pm PT

When I began climbing in the Valley I soon met Frank and we started climbing together. This was a great learning experience for me, but the way he climbed scared me half to death. I think it scared him too, but that was a fascination of his. These experiences peaked for me on the Powell-Reed route on Middle Cathedral Rock. Kamps and Higgins had recently bagged the first free ascent and we were going up for the second. Two of Frank's characteristics that factored into the ensuing events were his impatience and the fact that he never liked to stop at the end of the pitch if he had much rope left. It was up here that I took the longest fall of my life, and most amazingly while following. Somewhere a number of pitches up I made a mistake following a pitch and grabbed a pin to avoid falling. This didn't upset Sacherer too much because the pitch had been led free, but it frustrated me and higher up at a series of traverse moves I decided to just swing across on the rope. I called my plan up to Frank. "OK" "Got me" "Gotcha". I started the short pendulum but was immediately falling through space. My first thought was this was some kind of joke or punishment but I soon realized this was no joke. My mind seemed to enter a very clear space where all of the possible reasons this was happening and their consequences were instantly apparent. One reason I could check right away was whether the pendulum pin had popped. I looked up and saw it still there. Too bad, that was one of the better possibilities. Then I was looking out across the Valley, then at the river , then down at the talus, then I snapped to a stop just a few feet short of a three foot ledge. Good thing our rope wasn't any longer. I climbed back up the rope and figured I'd gone about eighty feet. When I got to the top of the pitch there was Frank staring at the rope burn shredded skin on his hands. When leading the pitch he had passed up the belay ledge and went another forty or so feet and stopped on a sandy sloping shelf where he quickly pounded in an anchor piton. He didn't like it so he tied a slack anchor to keep the weight off of it, and started belaying me up. When I put my weight on the rope he started to slide off the ledge and grabbed at the anchor with his braking hand. The rope took off and he grabbed at with both hands, not in belay position, just his two hands desperately squeezing the speeding rope until all my weight and momentum slammed into the single anchor piton, which held. When I got back up to him he said, "You'll have to lead the rest of the pitches but don't fall because I can't hold you." I believed him. About forty feet up I get to a move that looks to be about 5.8 and slam in a piton. I looked down at Frank bent over with the rope lying across his open hands. A quick mental calculation tells me a fall here would be well over a hundred feet. Let's get out of here. I grab the pin as Frank looks up and yells up, "Let go of that pin Erb". He looks away, I grab the biner and I'm on my way. Higher up at the next pro he yells, "If you grab that pin I'll tie you off right here".

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=268647&msg=762544#msg762544
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 8, 2009 - 01:50am PT
Dick even had adventures climbing on the UC campus buildings at night. Here's his account of one night.

Jan 19, 2009 - 04:36pm PT

Frank and I and others would wander around the Cal campus at night looking for things to climb. Trying to work out techniques for odd sized smooth off widths, Like maybe seven inches wide and four inches deep. We also liked summiting various buildings. We always found an unlocked door on top for an easy descent. One frightening event I recall one night with Frank and John Morton was on a small building no more than twenty feet tall. It had a tile like masonry wall with features for the feet and crimpers for the fingers at the mortar joints. All three of us started off the concrete slab side by side. Near the top, as I was getting pumped, I found the mortar had filled the crack to the lip and I started looking around to get a grip. I must have sounded desperate because Frank reached out over the edge and said, "Grab my hand". I lunged and latched on but was alarmed to see that Frank was starting to tip off the edge head first. Just then John grabbed Frank by the waist and pulled us back as I grabbed the top.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=268647&msg=766855#msg766855
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 8, 2009 - 05:24pm PT
Jan, I guess I didn't get where Dick fit into
that last story, but then I'm kind of out of it,
to say the least.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 8, 2009 - 06:00pm PT
It is Dick's post, Pat. He is the narrator.
John Morton

climber
Nov 8, 2009 - 08:58pm PT
I love reading these accounts, they bring back Dick's face and mannerisms and many memories. A wonderful person. I am reminded of a couple of things ...
Dick had planned to be with us on the 1965 invasion of Europe that Dr Deeg mentions. To finance the trip he gave $300 to a stockbroker, telling him to invest it in something "highly speculative". It was called Superior Oil. The stock plummeted and he never made the trip.

Upon returning I rented a place with Dick. I guess the most memorable day there was when we got hold of our first LSD. It was a single tablet, so we attempted to split it with a razor blade - it shattered, the pieces went all over the floor and we licked it up. Nothing was happening so we went to see Help at the UC Theatre. By the time we got out we were incapacitated, and walked home in time to see the old St. Joseph's school across the street burn down.

Later I wanted my girlfriend to move in, so Dick got a place with Eric Beck not far away, a 2nd floor apartment. One night he waited on the steps for Eric to arrive, sprawled with an empty whiskey bottle as if in a drunken stupor. Dick was always so mild and reliable, I think Eric was genuinely shocked. Those were two funny individuals, it was very fun to visit. This was not a bad neighborhood: TM and Jan Herbert lived nearby, Tavistock also (his mom's place) and Jan and Frank Sacherer after they married.

Dick moved to Boulder in 1966, a great loss to the community of Berkeley climbers. At that time Boulder was the only place you'd consider moving if you wanted a change of scene. Dick would write to fill me in - each letter ended with his latest count of the number of leaves on his marijuana plant. I have made these references to dope, but being students and active climbers and impoverished we didn't get very far into it. Anybody from Berkeley seemed like a major stoner in Boulder.

I'm just rambling, I'll leave this to Jeff and Eric, who have great memories for detail ...

John
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 8, 2009 - 09:10pm PT
Ok, sorry. I'm a bit out of it, as I said. Makes
perfect sense now. I should not say anything at all,
if I don't want to get in trouble... until this dumb
leg things settles down.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 8, 2009 - 09:16pm 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 - 07:14pm PT
Any relation to Arkel?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 9, 2009 - 08:21pm 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 - 08:42pm 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 9, 2009 - 10:04pm 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 9, 2009 - 10:39pm 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 - 01:31pm PT
Dick- How did you get into climbing?
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Nov 16, 2009 - 08:54am 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 - 09:49am 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 - 11:47am 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 - 01:11pm 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 - 02:35pm 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 - 04:33pm PT
Dick - How are you? And Dawn?
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Nov 16, 2009 - 05:15pm 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 - 06:04pm 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 16, 2009 - 09:34pm 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 - 08:25am 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 - 10:35am 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 - 12:59pm 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 - 01:15pm 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.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 17, 2009 - 01:24pm PT
BiletChick, the aftermath of that accident is mentioned in Peter Boardman's The Shining Mountain - the chapter is "Descent to Tragedy". The book is about his and Joe Tasker's ascent of the west face of Changabang, a desperately hard route, in autumn 1976. They returned to base camp after 40 days, met some other people, and socialized. One was a woman named Ruth Erb, who reported the deaths of four of her teammates on Dunagiri a few days before. Boardman and Tasker went back up on Dunagiri, saw and photographed the accident scene and obtained evidence, and buried the bodies in a crevasse. A very difficult experience for them.

The dead were Graham Stephenson, Arkel Erb, John Baruch and Benjamin Casasola. They died as a result of long falls on hard snow and ice. Erb was survived by his wife Ruth - the book reports her as having a 22 year old son.
BiletChick

climber
Huntington Beach, CA
Nov 17, 2009 - 03:22pm PT
Thanks Mighty.
Yes, I have read the book and it helped describe the situation, but it still doesn't answer the questions "how and why?". Two questions that are rarely answered in accidents like this. His death had quite an effect on me back then, he was only 19...I was 11. I don't think I'll ever really know what happened to him up there, but I have never stopped wondering about it. I've realized that sites like this, especially the TR's and forums, really help in understanding what he was doing out there. Maybe I'll connect with someone who knew him.
I am not a climber, I hike and backpack. Someday I hope to climb a little just for the experience. It might bring me a little closer to closure.
Thanks,
Stacy
ps My aunt has the knapsak and journal described in the book. I have yet to ask her to see them...kind of scared I guess.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 17, 2009 - 04:31pm PT
Stacy, you're probably as likely to find someone who knew your cousin, or the other men, here as anywhere else on the internet. This website generates a great deal of activity and has many active contributors - who may only be 5 - 10% of those who look at it. It's a pretty large and diverse group, and it's surprising the linkages that can be found here.

(Local and regional climbers' websites, and clubs, are another possible source.)

Do you know where your cousin and the others were from? The book said one was from Mexico, but what about the other three? That may help narrow down a search - if they were experienced enough to be going to the Himalaya in 1976, chances are they knew a fair number of people, at least in whatever areas they were based. (Climbers got around a bit less then.)

Another alternative is to find the other six (seven, including Ruth Erb) who were on the expedition, but who left early. They may have some information.

The families of Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman may also have photos, diaries or stories. Peter Boardman's wife was named Hilary, but I don't know more than that. Joe Tasker's partner was Maria Coffey, and she has written eloquently about losing him, and other things. She now lives on an island in the Gulf of Georgia, near Vancouver. Her website is at http://www.hiddenplaces.net/

If you're interested in climbing, you've come to the right place. Maybe someone here can help. There is good rock climbing near Huntington Beach, for example at Idylwild (Tahquitz and Suicide Rocks) and Joshua Tree, and at smaller local areas that I don't know much about. It's not hard to sign up for an introductory course, and such things are very safe. (You can also try a climbing gym, but outdoors is better.) That would be a taste of what it's about. Dunagiri is a whole different challenge, in that it's at significant altitude (6,000 m or more), fairly remote, subject to bad weather, and completely glaciated and snow covered. Rock climbing is a small but important part of the skills needed to climb such a mountain, and mountaineering is considerably riskier than a day on the sunny rock. Perhaps you can learn a bit about snow and ice climbing, and mountaineering, on the local mountains, but you may have to go to Wyoming, Colorado or Washington for it.

Good luck!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 17, 2009 - 04:32pm PT
Here is my writeup on the Matterhorn. I put it on the thread that Nate points out just above:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/294089/disneyland_climbers
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Nov 17, 2009 - 09:33pm PT
I am no relation to Arkel
BiletChick

climber
Huntington Beach, CA
Nov 18, 2009 - 08:33am PT
Thank you Sir... :-)
adventurous one

Trad climber
Truckee Ca.
Nov 18, 2009 - 10:34am PT
Dick,

Curious to know what years you were patroling at Alpine Meadows? Some of those hardened old patrolers worked at Alpine for decades. I was a race coach and ski instructor there for about 10 ten years in the 80s and 90s. (Skied / coached every single day of the season back then) Saw some pretty amazing slides set off by patrol at Alpine back then. Probably long after you were there, but those old Alpine patrolers had some stories. The longstanding rivarly with the Squaw Valley patrolers, in particular, yielded some good tales.
Were you climbing around Tahoe back then? If you were climbing in Tahoe in the 60s / early 70s I would be interested in hearing about it and who you climbed with. Not many Tahoe climbers from that era. There have been some good climbers over the years who have workd at Alpine Meadows.

John Jackson
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 5, 2010 - 12:36pm PT
Disney Bump!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Sep 5, 2010 - 07:25pm PT
I climbed the Matterhorn from c. 1984-1985 while finishing up as an undergrad at UCLA. While I had always heard great tales of the earlier climbers, I had no idea I was following in such big footsteps.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 14, 2011 - 08:25pm PT
Proud Ski Patrol Bump!
hanger on

Social climber
Groveland ca
Sep 28, 2011 - 02:17pm PT
Very late to this thread, but need to add some comments.

I am a long time friend of Dick's.

Dick was the one who introduced me to climbing, when we were both students at Fullerton College, must have been spring of 1962. He took me up a route at Tahquitz rock, a 5.1 route that I escapes me now, one of many that we were to do over the years. The last one we did together there was the Open Book if memory serves.

I worked in Yosemite Valley during the summers of 1961 till 1964, and Dick and I did several climbs in the valley. He introduced me to many of the climbers of the day, from TM Herbert to Chuck Pratt, Kor and many others. Dick was living at "the pad" in Berkeley, with Frank Sacherer, Eric Beck, Steve Thompson and Jeff Dozier. I would drive up form San Jose from time to time, always a fun distraction.

Perhaps one of the remembrances I have was how Dick would use opportunities to have some impromptu fun. We were on a geology field trip in the San Gabriel mountains outside of some suburb of Los Angeles, where the professor was standing at the edge of a road cut, looking out over the view, and talking about a relevant topic, such as the San Andreas fault or something like that. Dick saw a truck tire nearby, fully inflated and apparently abandoned, and (typical for him) decided it would be fun to roll it down the mountain in front of us. The tire took on a life of it's own, gaining remarkable speed, bouncing higher and higher, to the point it looked like it could clear a house in a single bounce. The bottom of the slope in front of us fed into a narrow concrete channel, typical for LA flood control, that was deep with critical walls fifteen feet or more high, and the tire just HAPPENED to hit the channel and the wall just right, so it started down the channel, going from right to left from our point of view bouncing so high it appeared above the houses along the channel, with the geology class cheering it on, as it made it's way down the neighborhood in Burbank, or where ever we were.

I have many such memories of being a friend of Dick, never boring.

Bill Haas
thaDood

Mountain climber
PortaLedga OnzaKaleefa
Sep 28, 2011 - 03:42pm PT
hanger on,

Great story. I bet you have many more rich memories. i also learned to climb at Tah/Suicide. The O.B. is a very stout route, so awesome. I have much respect for those early routes and their respective developers and early climbers. I hope you continue to share with us. Thanks.
hanger on

Social climber
Groveland ca
Sep 28, 2011 - 09:03pm PT
I must admit full disclosure; I didn't complete the OB, I dislocated my shoulder at the flake move, and had to get some assist from Dick to move past the flake.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2012 - 09:52am PT
Bunmp for more Erb...
go-B

climber
Habakkuk 3:19 Sozo
Feb 19, 2012 - 12:49pm PT
Hey Dick Erb,

Just wondering if you are related to Clayton Erb, he is the Minister of Music at my church, Grace Community Church?

Dr. Erb has been the Minister of Music and Worship at Grace Community Church for over 30 years. His previous experiences include accompanying instrumental and vocal groups for evangelistic ministry on the road, Bible camps, and Christian television programs.

Tenor Philip Webb singing the hymn "It Is Well" with the Grace Community Choir and orchestra, conducted by Clayton Erb
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bcZTuMKgN8&feature=related
TomKimbrough

Social climber
Salt Lake City
Feb 19, 2012 - 02:07pm PT
I don't know about any connections to Clayton Erb but Dick is one of the most spiritual, non-christian, people I have known.
He is still ski patrolling at June Mt, although given the season that we are enduring this winter, maybe not much work.
Actually, I think, ski patrol is one of the most spiritual of occupations.
TK
himalayan-girl

Ice climber
pacific palisades, california
Dec 3, 2012 - 11:15am PT
hi. well - as it turns out, biletchick (stacey), you DID find someone who knew your
cousin, john baruch. we were very, very close friends. i just sent you an email -
don't know if you'll receive it - hope so. i did spend time with betty and with ruth erb.
i have much i can share with you - if you'd like. just let me know. take care.
all my best to you, himalayan-girl (karen).
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