son of hart


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 28, 2010 - 05:25am PT
hi can i have some info about this route?
what route can be compared ?for example mescalito or the shield
is it much harder than those etc
can you post some photos?

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jan 28, 2010 - 05:41am PT
oh deer.
Cooler chimblys, from what I've gathered.

The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Jan 28, 2010 - 06:17am PT
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 28, 2010 - 06:25am PT
There's some stuff here on McTopo.

I climbed it with Tom in the fall of '04. In spite of its outstanding natural line, it is one of my LEAST favourite El Cap routes.

There are some pretty nasty offwidths and chimneys that are hellaciously awkward. My lack of free climbing ability is well-known, but I am a caver, and usually do OK in chimneys. But these ones were tough and unfriendly, "as much fun to clean as they are to lead."

We brought along some 9" and 12" Valley Giant cams which obviously helped a lot, but even so, these chimneys were HARD and wicked awkward.

I have my Dr. Piton Super-Duper Beta topo scanned, and I could email it to you if you like - send me an email via the website so I can reply. And it might cost you a few beers on the bridge this spring... {wink}

Excalibur is a much better route nearby. Sunkist is brilliant and much much better. Cosmos isn't bad.

I haven't done the Shield, but SOH is a couple notches harder than a trade route like Mescalito, for sure. It sees very few ascents. I think it's only had the one ascent linked above since we did it.

In spite of it being one of my least favourite routes on the Captain, if not my VERY least favourite, on a different post here on McTopo, you will find a number of climbers writing that they have climbed it, and saying they really liked it. So one man's grovel-fest is another man's classic.

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Jan 28, 2010 - 07:32am PT
See the link Wally provides to my earlier Trip Report from 2008 for lots of pictures.

Bring some large cams & be solid on wide cracks, or at least have the ability to aid your way up them. A 9" cam or two would be nice to have.

On pitch 10, where the C-Mac topo shows a pendulum over left, you can hook instead directly over to the upper crack. An old bolt is nearby and 2 or 3 hook moves get you to the crack much more easily than the grassy nailing you would have to do if you pendo.

Great position, cool rock and a high Obscurity factor make this a memorable route.

Have fun!

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2010 - 07:48am PT
thank you so much the kierkegard chimney seems very hard....
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 28, 2010 - 08:56am PT
Bill's hooking tip above [the "slick arete" pitch] is important! I used the bolt and penji'd-lowered down, only to find myself climbing a vertical jungle of bushes. Really really horrible.

Kierkegaard didn't seem too bad [the 13th pitch] but the chimney above it [the 14th pitch] was a REAL struggle for both me as leader, and for Tom as cleaner. And that was WITH the big cams!

Blech. Why the appeal of this route?

Bill - you've done a ton of El Cap routes - what was your bottom line take on SOH? Great? Good? OK? Not good? Horrible? I'd be somewhere between "not good" with some "horrible" thrown in. So many better routes to climb, in my opinion.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2010 - 01:54pm PT
pete do you think the shield is better?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 28, 2010 - 02:36pm PT
Amazingly, the Shield is one route I have knott yet done! So I can't tell you.

But I just didn't like Son of Heart, even being a caver I didn't like the chimneys and the claustrophic feeling. So in spite of never having done the Shield, I'm sure I personally would enjoy it a LOT more than Son of Heart. In fact, I would enjoy a visit to the dentist more than Son of Heart.

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Jan 28, 2010 - 04:10pm PT
Hey Pete, I liked it! The route was more strenuous than most but with memorable pitches & position. The wide stuff was burly but who wants to do easy walls?

Lots of killer gold & tangerine colored rock up there to enjoy.

Trad climber
san diego
Jan 28, 2010 - 10:02pm PT
Spring of 1975 Dave Stutzman RIP, and Maurice(from Norway)attempted the second. Neither one of them had done a route on the Captain. Dave led Kierkegaard and Nietzsche chimney pitches totally unprotected. From belay to belay with zero/zilch/Nada piece of pro. Dave described it as a double overhanging flared OW/chimney. Did it with no aid or pro. No one has done it in that style since. Although Dale and Gramicci must have come close with just the bongs.

Social climber
Newport, OR
Jan 29, 2010 - 12:41am PT
Bill, loved your post on this one!!

Especially this one of "E" enjoying a refreshment break midlead!!!

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jan 29, 2010 - 12:51am PT
so, if your'e oaky with leading .10 wyde do you really need to drag those boat anchors, with you?

Trad climber
Lausanne, Switzerland
Aug 4, 2011 - 12:00pm PT
It has been written above
"Spring of 1975 Dave Stutzman RIP, and Maurice(from Norway)attempted the second. Neither one of them had done a route on the Captain. Dave led Kierkegaard and Nietzsche chimney ..."
So far OK, except I am Swiss.
What is written after is false, pure legend! Dave did place several protections, in particular we had some 10-15cm aluminium tubes (I may still have some in my basement), and in order to remove them when jumaring up, I had to go so deep inside the chimneys that I had to remove my helmet.
I do not claim that these protections were very good ... but probably not worse than the belays :-(
We have been rescued 3 pitches below the top on the 12th day, by Mark Chapman, Jim Orey, and 3 of their friends who helped carrying water and ropes.
May Ganesh protect them! One week later, Jim even did lend me some hardware to go to the triple direct ... the kind of nice gestures you will never forget!

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Aug 4, 2011 - 12:18pm PT
^^^^^^ There you have it^^^^^^^^^

Another urban climbing myth squashed on the Taco.


Mountain climber
PortaLedga OnzaKaleefa
Aug 4, 2011 - 06:19pm PT
"Another urban climbing myth squashed here on supertopo.'

I hardly agree nor thinkso.

Dave and I had planned on clmbing SoH and bagging the SA since the middle of that winter. We bailed from our jobs on the eastside in mid-March and took the long way around(thru Tahoe)since the TPR was still closed. Upon inspection from the base we observed a cornice(of ice)still suspended above various west face routes and particularly the SoH and was crashing and sometimes nailing people along the base of El Cap. So we decided on another wall free of ice(but turned out to still be wet)after tireing of doing shorter free routes(not me particularly).

That was the Gold Wall which was a Kor route with only one additional ascent the SA(Robbins)at the time and which had rebuffed many polished third ascent co-tenders over the years at the time. This was before Silent Line had been done, and before cams, etc. On the way down(from the GW)Dave who was carrying his rucksack with all our wall hardware, biners, jumars, etc. managed to drop it(his rucksack)and evidently it blew apart and our gear was spread and lost to the thick underbrush & manzanita below. Might not sound like a big deal now days, but it was practically everything i owned back then. And just about everything else I owned(tent & whatever I had left in it, eg. Galibier Superguides, etc.)was gone when we returned to C4.

Dave & i had setup our tents in far west end of camp next to the road(not that close/about 50 yards). When we returned both of our tents were gone. I had a North Face Mountain Tent, and Dave had a North Face St. Elias tent. Expensive tents for that day($300.00)and still expensive by todays standards. Pretty dissapointing. I chocked it off as a loss, but Dave reported it to park authorities. Good thing that he did cuz they eventually aphrehended the culprits & the tents/gear, but it was all put on hold for about one year as evidence.

Dave obviously had some savings from his Army years & was able to replace some(including a rope)that was lost, but I had to pretty much dirtbag it(literally)in the dirt or snow(as it did at least once)with my down bag and bivy gear. Along with losing all my hardware/pins, biners, jumars, etc when he dropped his rucksack, and my stolen tent and whatever money I had stashed there, I had also borrowed about twenty pins and another twenty or so Chouinard biners(initially for SoH)from a friend(W. Rosethal)and that was my first perogitive, to repay him for the borrowed gear. So needless to say, things had started to go downhill for me in regards to an extended stay let alone a big wall/Cap route.

So one morning, not long after, Dave returns to camp with the answer(according to him)regarding having the essential gear for SoH...enter Maurice. Initially I didn't like the idea of a three man team since it cuts your leads from 1/2 to 1/3. But Dave informed me that Maurice had a full wall rack, and the necessary experience since he had recently climbed the Trolltind(sp)Wall, the longest & perhaps hardest European wall at the time. My only objection was that Maurice climbed everything in Mt. boots, not necessarily conducive towards being sucessfull on hard valley free climbs, or what was being descriptive to date in regards to what we would find on SoH.

So i agreed to a test that included several of the .9-.10 routes that if he (Maurice)could sucessfuly climb we would include him on the SoH. The first one and only one I can recall was Moby Dick Center which Maurice(although looking a tad desperate at times)dispatched of with his first attempt. I actually thought this was pretty remarkable considering the heavy Mt. boots(I didn't think I could have onsighted it in Mt. boots), as were the various other routes we may have done.

I remember having replaced all of WR pins and biners, and having zero money. Dave was paying for all my food, etc. something I appreciated and never offered to pay back(I don't think he expected me to)after he didn't offer to at least help in paying for/replacing WR gear since he dropped it. But that was just Daves idea/way of doing things. And I could understand. But I had somehow developed a bad and continueing case of dysentary and was getting weaker by the day. I either had no money or what little i had I wasn't going to spend on going to the doctor. Plus I had no clue what was wrong with me(little was commonly known regarding E. coli, etc, or at least by me to suspect it and how easily it could be treated at the time).

So I eventually bailed secondary to having the squirts, stomach pain, and overall weakness, etc. along with my other problems.

I spoke to Dave about the route(SoH)and would like to clarify a few things. It's been a long time, but I do recall this discription of the two back to back wide/chim pitches known as Kierkegaard & Nietzche Chimneys. Dave said that he lead them all free. That if he had any pro, it was very marginal and he might as well had none, or at best was leading as if he had none in because he was way to far past a very sketchy placement. I would also like to add that I had at least three of the tube-chocks and had either used them or attempte to on many occasions including Twilight Zone and for the most part considered them often not worth the effort.

Regarding the N&K chims the following is an example of his(Daves)leading and the exchange that took place between him and Maurice: Dave said that about halfway or so up the pitch, and at best, a long way past a sketchy placement that no longer if ever served its purpose Maurice yells for him to place a piece of pro. Maurice continues to shout every few feet or so and about 75' out starts yelling "Put something in or you are going to die." Dave continues on and as much as he would like to place something he can not. As he proceeds without any possibility of pro Maurice starts to yell "Put something in or WE are going to die." Finally, in order to "Get Maurice to shut up."(Daves words not mine)Dave takes out one of his two aiders(etrea)and rolls it up into a ball, stuffs it into the back of the chimney, clips a biner and the rope to it and proceeds for another 15-30 ft. before it falls out and down the rope to Maurice. And I do recall him mentioning the sketchy belay which consisted of perhaps only one 1/4" bolt. So Maurice's concern about the both of them dying should he fall was not entirely without any merit.

Maurice, I do understand that you and Dave did not get along very well on the climb(to put it mildly). And that you wanted to turn back(bail)well before the total commitment of turning the roof out of the Heart. And had allot of communication breakdowns, etc and never spoke to one another ever again.

I am/was sorry to here this because I remember you & Dave as getting along well(actually the three of us getting along well)and that you were very easy to get along with and very good natured, etc.

And I do understand how Dave could be very obstinate, particularly in regards to climbing.

In regards to being "three pitches from the top" that is true(as I have stated elsewhere). But you were less than one pitch from finishing th SoH proper. Which ended at Easy Street. And the problem(according to Dave)was along with the running out of water(dehydration)was the lack of strength to pull himself up to the next step in the aider at his high-point(although he went up to that high point on several occasions as he deteriorated)and not the technical(relitively)difficulty of that pitch. That pitch ends on Easy Street(i think that's the name)and then follows a couple of pitches that are no longer overhanging to the top. So Dave felt that if he had enough strength for the last 50 ft or less of overhanging rock on the SoH he could have and would have had been able to easily finish the route.

And although I think it was rephrehensible, I can understand his explanation for not thanking, nor buying dinner at the Four Seasons for Mark & Jim. It was wrong, and perhaps he was additionaly overthinking Mark & Jims secondary motives, or what they would have done if it were someone else. He(Dave)felt that if it had been a friend, or a Valley regular, etc. they(Mark & Jim)would have brought more water, enabling him/you to finish the remaining pitches. For instance take into consideration the "rescue" of Pratt/Fredricks on the Dihedral Wall about 7 years prior to this. They had brought food, water & dry cloths/downjackets/bags in order for them to complete the route if possible. Dave felt that they didn't want him to bag the SA of SoH. He(Dave)only got less than 1/2 bottle of water(typical water bottle equaled about 16-22oz water back then). If they had brought a couple of liters, the two of you could have rehydrated and finished the climb.

Dave was a difficult individual to understand, for instance I recall him telling me shortly after, and again a year or so after that he would have rather died on SoH at your highpoint rather than be rescued. Dave was intense and driven. If you climbed with him it was sokmething you should know, or soon became aware of, and shouldn't be climbing with him if you didn't share similar objectives and willingness to risk much if not all. I seemed to get along well with him in that regard as more as a voice of reason when it was absolutely necessary.

Silver, Dave said he led the two back to back pitches entirely free. Would he have resorted to aid if it were feasible, probably so, he wasn't looking for glory by leading a rather obscur(at the time)pitch that probably wasn't done totally free by the FA party. He remarked that the hardest free part on one of the pitches wa near the very end with either little or nothing in for a very long ways. Regardless, lets see someone today(of this day and age) go up there with only a 10" and 12" tube chock for pro & no cams, etc.! Or at least go up there and leave all the wide stuff(cams, etc.)except the tube chocks, in the haulbag until the sh#t is totally scared out of you and you are humbled enough to request them from your belayer. Rather then spray that "another urban myth"...

Maurice, you prollie no lnger remember me but I remember you and have often wonderred what happened to you. I have only heard one side of the SoH saga so I would be hoping that you would be willing to share your side of the story. I can understand how you may still have a bad taste in your mout(so to speak)regarding th SoH and Dave Stutzman in general. He could be a bit hard to get along with, or at least understand at times. For instance, when I caught up with him on the descent of the GW and asked him what happened to the rucksack full of gear he simply said "I dropped it". And simply shrugged his shoulders as if to say so what or that's the way it goes in response to the look of shock, disbelief and dismay or whatever i was feeling. He never said he was sorry or offered to help me buy and return the gear i had borrowed for the both of us. That's just the way he was. But he was a good friend, one who would put his life on the line for you if you asked him whether climbing or whatever the situation. But he expected the same from you, and didn't like to be disapointed.

Dave was an odd indiviual in some ways, and as Allison Osias(sp)commented in an obituary she wrote for Dave in some climbing rag she was affiliated with at the time "Dave was born a hundred years to late". She mentioned this in regards to his not excepting the free cabin he was offerred, while guiding for some place in Washington that they had both worked together at, and instead chose to hike up some stream to pitch his tent for the summer.

Maurice, glad to hear from you after all these years, and I welcome you here to Supertopo, I know you have allot to offer and share and I am hoping that you continue to do so.


edit: Sorry about the long post, just trying to put a few things into perspective. Maurice, I also heard that you went on to do the RNWFHD also after completing an the TD, congrats!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 4, 2011 - 06:45pm PT
Wow. You guys got rescued three pitches from the top? That's one easy nailing pitch, and two easy slab pitches.

Maurice - what happened?

[Thanks for your recollections, Butch, although they are of course second-hand]

I never could have gotten up SoH without Tom's big-ass Valley Giant cams. Yeah, I cheated. And we had a solar-powered shower on the summit.

Social climber
Aug 4, 2011 - 07:08pm PT
Butch - Gnarly story of dirtbagdom. Thanks for the post.

Mountain climber
PortaLedga OnzaKaleefa
Aug 4, 2011 - 07:51pm PT
"Second hand" yes, but I heard it directly from the horses mouth, the man that lead those two pitches, how unprotectable they were, etc. He said he lay there(below either K or N)for a whole day before he got up the courage to do so(lead). He new they would be unprtectable with what they had...Period.

Dave mentioned that the only reason that he placed, or attempted to place was to quiet, or assuage his(Maurice)fears, and that the incessant demands(to place pro)were only making matters worse, annoying and not helpfull in anyway. He felt that the two pitches were basically unprotectable to any degree with what they had, or what he new of existing at the time(in regards to my question as to what he would suggest the next party who may consider SoH cuz D. Bard & A Bard had questioned me and later Dave about it).

Personally it is easy to look at it from both individuals perspective. And add the fact that both were not happy campers in regards to their campmate and on the climb of their lives up to that point...

I would love to here of someone, with the balls, that went up there with only a couple of 10-12 inch tube chocks & with the weight of a basically useless wall rack of pins & biners, etc. over their shouder(not conviently from the current wall harness, and with not much of a harness at al other than a homemade 1" webbing around the waist and dragging a 11 mil. haul line onto an double overhanging chim/wide for two pitches with your partner hanging from a shitty belay. Think about that and launch off on this 10d-12+ double overhanging nightmare...

Rather than speculate from their urban keyboards about what they percieve as myths from high places & yesteryear.

But then this is Supertopo and would be prollie non-existant with out it since most posters have forgotten what a well placed pin biteing granite & producing the occasional smoke & sparks sounds & smells like to the climber that is a long, long way out with his partner yelling..."Your gonna die."!

edit: "How come?" I can give you Dave's explanation as why they ran out of water, but that would be "second hand" so why bother, and I would prefer to hear from Maurice also. And the 12 days on the wall that Maurice mentions above includes at least 4 days of hanging sta
tionary at their high point, hanging in their hammocks(not climbing)and according to Dave "hallucinating" secondary to dehydration.

The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Aug 4, 2011 - 08:42pm PT
On our ascent, the Iron Monkey led the Kierkegaard Chimney with two pieces of pro. He clipped a fixed bong and then placed a big bro tube that Yogi so graciously loaned us. When I cleaned the pitch I found out to my delight that Dave had forgotten to clip the tube chock thereby leading the entire gnarly pitch with on piece of pro.
Captain...or Skully

or some such
Aug 4, 2011 - 08:46pm PT

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Aug 4, 2011 - 09:23pm PT
KILLER thread guys.

We need PICS LEVY!!!



Trad climber
Lausanne, Switzerland
Aug 5, 2011 - 12:42pm PT
Some reactions first, thanks anyway for opening the box ... a lot to be said but I have to be careful, sometimes there are words that cannot be removed. Nice to hear that some people do remember ... Butch ...

"And the 12 days on the wall that Maurice mentions above includes at least 4 days of hanging stationary at their high point, hanging in their hammocks(not climbing) ... "
False, we stopped moving the 11th day early pm. This is what made the decision for the rescuers to move up the next morning.
They had been observing us from the beginning, and latest on the 5th day was it clear to them that our attempt was "kind of hopeless".

I will try in another post to explain how we managed to be so slow (starting hauling the 2 bags along the Salathé, or the leader forgetting to take either the hauling line or the second skyhook ... yes, we did all this :-) ... a lot to be learned for unexperienced big wall climbers ... as we were)

I consider Dave's suspicion regarding Mark & Jims secondary motives just odious! These guys had taken risks, sacrified a nice day and given lot's of efforts, just to avoid us facing an official rescue and a desperate bill! They had carried all the way up not only water, but as well teans of fruits, the only thing we would be able to eat in our condition.
True, from what I could observe jumaring up the rescue ropes, the last pitches did not represent any serious technical problems, but:
we would have needed liquid, food, and most probably additional hardware, for we had lost quite a lot, and were no more in condition to climb with a "ready to be washed" belay. Even if we had received all of this and finished the climb, for me it would not have been the 2nd ascent anyway.
What the 5 rescuers did that day remains a beautiful piece of modern chevalry


ps: I had written a high level account in french
click on the left "Les plaquettes GHML" then 1976
Moreover there is a picture of Dave in his hammock on the

Mountain climber
PortaLedga OnzaKaleefa
Aug 5, 2011 - 04:40pm PT
Not that it really matters one way or another, but from what I heard from Dave was that after 8-9 days you had pretty much stopped making progress. Whether or not that was three pitches below the top, I don't know, but Dave did say that he, and perhaps the both of you continued to go up to the highpoint on the third to last pitch(last overhanging pitch)without much success in regards to making any additional gains. Whether this was on the 11th & 12th day, or 10th & 11th day makes little difference. You had run out of steam secondary to lack of water(you cannot eat food without water). Maybe Dave was referring to spending one day(11th)at your highest belay leading up to the highpoint & going back up several times that day without any success, and laying in his hammock and hallucinating on the 12th day. It sounded pretty desperate & frustrating in the least.

But Dave definately said that on the final day he was hallucinating(maybe even sooner). Whether you were i do not know. Hardly any state to be considerring continueing climbing again simply with additional water. I am just reporting what he told me. I am not saying one way or another what could have or should have transpired. I also remember him saying that Mark(or someone)thru down a 11mm rope and you jugged up it. A 7mm rope was tossed down shortly after to which he tied the haul bags, etc. clipped his Jumars, cutloose, and then proceeded to jug up it.

Dave came up with the idea of doing the SoH for whatever reason. Since you guys hadn't climbed together(walls)it would have been better to do something less ambitious. The Salathe' perhaps. And as I have said, Dave could be annoying at times. I do recall that everytime I jugged up towards him or looked down at him belaying he was either eating or drinking water or doing both. I recall that at the end of the first day on the GW I checked the large bag of gorp we had put together and it was about half gone already and i hadn't touched it yet.

But i do recall that he was excellent at offwidth & chimneys. I had done many shorter ones with him in the Valley up to about 10d & the SS on Sentinel. And I recall him doing the Generator Crack on his first try, something I couldn't do(first try/day). We also had done some other cracks up to .11b/c eg. Gold Rush & Anticipation, etc. preparing ourselves for the difficult free on SoH. We felt like we were prepared in that respect, but we were not carrying a heavy wall rack when we did them, just sayin.

Dave was upset that I didn't go with you guys, and thought we would have been sucessfull. To be honest, I thought it could have just as easily turned out similar to your fate. For one thing we would have had three people needing water, and the likelihood of having an even bigger cluster fuk of gear, etc. at the switching of gear/belays etc. Or maybe a three man party would have worked. Or if things were going that badly/slowly hauling up the slabs, etc. I would have sided with you and we could have altered our plans(Salathe' or retreat). Or I would have countinued with Dave & you could have bailed. I think I most likely would have talked some sense into Dave and put off SoH until a later date once things started going bad.

Dave had some wall experience in the Alps, both aid(Dolomites)and mixed eg. NF Grand Jorrass etc. And besides what he had done with me in the Valley, I know he had done at least one other wall in Yose with Alex MacIntyre(RIP)the previous Spring, on Sentinal, either the Psych. Wall or Gobi(or maybe the C-H).

Well, once again, sorry that things didn't work out on SoH. You guys gave it a good shot(I heard that you lead the A5 traverse). It was obviously a little to much of an undertaking at that point in both your climbing careers, but you came pretty damn close to succeeding.

If you still have some pics you could download them here. Or start anoher TR thread on the SoH, it seems to be a popular TR(trip report). Or if you have any pics of the Troltin(sp)Wall you could do a TR on that and it would be much appreciated. Or for that matter the Triple Direct or anything else youhave done over the years and would like to share.

Regardless, good to finally here from you again Maurice.


edit: I would just like to add that in no way was I sticking up for Dave in regards to his attitude towards Chapman & Orey, etal. effort. I to felt as though it was "odious" highly offensive, detestable, repugnant. I was simply telling what Dave said, was feeling. As far as climbers being given additional water, etc. & therefore enabling them to complete a climb(rather then be rescued)it has happened. But i personally do not think you & Dave were in any position to argue in regards to the motives of anyone that came to your aid. You could have just as easily been left to die. Like I said, Dave told me he would rather have died then be rescued. Odd character. And I do know how he was disliked in the climbing community in general, and looked down upon by the Valley locals in general(long before the SoH saga). Let them say what they want now, but I new both sides of the situation. My own friends said i was crazy for climbing with him, and said he had a death wish. Whatever. I feel as though he was just totally committed, and ahead of his time. Whether it was alpine, stone or ice, he picked the hardest line and went for it.

As far as how he rebuffed Mark & Jim, I feel and felt as though it was rephrehensible(have said so and told him so). He was simply a climbing partner & someone I considerred a friend, but i am not responsible for his actions. I simply have attempted to give you a rather poor(on my part)look inside his head, a gimpse as to what made him tick. For the most part he was a great guy to climb, ski and hang with, and had a great sense of humor. But he could be driven, as far as climbing goes.

Also i am not sure what you are saying(perhaps insinuating)with "glad some remember....Butch...."

Like i said, I do remember you as I have already commented, an overall great guy, humorous & very interesting individule. I thought you and Dave had allot in common both being Alpinist, free spirits etc. and seemed to be getting along well when i left. I was very surprised to here how rapidly things had soured between the both of you. And knowing Dave, I took what he said about you with a grain of salt(so to speak). But I had only one side of the story to share, since I never saw or talked to you again.


edit: Just wanted to add that in rgards to Dave jugging up the 7mm with the haulbags attached shocked Mark(Dale Bard told me so anyway). Dale said that Mark tossed down the 7mm for Dave to tie the haul bag[s] into and was going to toss down the 11mm once you finished jugging. A strecthed out 7mm would be scary as hell to jug on(particularly with a haulbag or two on it). I can't recall what Dave gave as an explanation for doing so when I got around to asking him. I just included it above to demonstrate his lack of reasoning/rationality(or whatever)at the time.

Trad climber
Lausanne, Switzerland
Aug 5, 2011 - 07:33pm PT
"Also i am not sure what you are saying(perhaps insinuating)with "glad some remember....Butch...."

Just take it positively Butch :-)


Mountain climber
PortaLedga OnzaKaleefa
Aug 5, 2011 - 07:48pm PT


That's what I did origionally(took it positively)but then I got to thinkin that this is Supertopo after all...and I seem to get myself into one mess after another. Lol

Thanks again, Maurice!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 5, 2011 - 08:11pm PT
Wow, nice mountain photos on your link. But where is the SoH story please? Can you provide a direct link?

I am still lost. Where precisely were you guys rescued?

I uploaded my annotated SoH topo, have a look - can you tell me where you guys were?


P.S. Lemme know if the link to my topo above is working ok, eh? All you aspiring ascensionists should have a look. And the Hardmen can make fun of us for using Valley Giants and taking two weeks to climb it! Actually, laughing my ass off here - the two weeks doesn't count the five nights preceeding the route itself! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!! I had busted my ankle pretty badly on the Ranch that spring, and I remember wearing my removable cast on part of the climb. So I wasn't exactly "on form"....

Trad climber
Lausanne, Switzerland
Aug 6, 2011 - 05:56pm PT
"I uploaded my annotated SoH topo, have a look - can you tell me where you guys were? "

We were in the pitch after the Tonsilectomy traverse (about 1/3 of the pitch?). Actually you can go to
The last picture is on the top, the last but one picture is in the pitch after the T traverse. We were slightly below the point were the climber is.


Trad climber
Lausanne, Switzerland
Aug 6, 2011 - 08:11pm PT
"But where is the SoH story please? Can you provide a direct link? "

No direct link sorry,the young guys in my club did scan some old publications.
I will try to be more precise: Open

and stay at the top of the page, untill it becomes blue and a menu opens on the left,then click the last but one item "Les plaquettes GHML", the menu expands, click " 1976",
appears then a new page. Go down 3/5 of it:
the title is "San Fransico le 27 mars 1975".

The actual account of SoH begins with "Fin avril: Un gars nommé David ..."

If instead of "1976" you click on "cinquantenaire", then going down a little bit, after a nice drawing (premonitory of Alex Honnolt on HD :-)
you get a picture: "bivouac au Yosemite". It is Dave in his hammock at belay 14, hanging at a rope fixed at the triangular roof (beginning of the T-traverse).

Although 36 years have passed, I must say that your topo seems at some points for the least strange to me (in particular between belay 9 and 11) maybe I should take the warning seriously :-)

Trad climber
Lausanne, Switzerland
Aug 8, 2011 - 06:27pm PT
First part of the story ... SoH 1975 ....

We had planned to be 8 days on the wall => 8 gallons of water. (one of them got damaged and part of its content lost).

We had fixed some ropes at the bottom of the Salathé.
First bivy above half$.

day2: We reach Mammoth terraces (already tired, hauling the bags on the low angle slabs has been killing). Moreover hauling 2 bags needs lot's of time, with our organisation the second leaves his belay only when the 2nd bag starts moving up. Down to Heart Ledge. We fix two pitches pm and back to the ledge for the night.

day3. . Vey dirty cracks. First incident: while leading I find a bolt from the FA ... actually it is just a dowel, with a nice screw thread ... but no nut, no hanger! ... My vocabulary is too limited for explaining the problem to Dave. I fix a belay a bit higher on regular pitons, not that good, Sylvester had some reason to put a bolt ...

When Dave arrives, good news: he has taken the same kind of bolts (ie we have the appropriate nuts and hangers) ... bad news ... he has only 5 of them!

It will appear later that Rick had removed most of the nuts along the route.

We reach the right corner of the Heart, first (of the 9) bivys in our single point hammocks. My sleeping back has no zipper ... getting into both the sleeping bag and the hammack is kind of expedition on its own.

We had carefully packed every item contained in the haulbags in a plastic bag, because of possible rain. A disaster! How long does it take to explore more then 40 identical white bags in order to find your toothpaste, or something more useful. By the way, think how stupid we have been, each one of us had its own tube of toothpaste ... some energy bars would have been a better investment.

day 4: The next pitch is mostly a bolt ladder, easy, but because of the nut problem, I have to cut a mini string in small pieces for progressing on the dowels. Dave takes the lead for the pitch finishing below heart roof. Taking a picture when he is close to the end, I realise that he has forgotten the hauling line. He has to rappel down and we bivy ... just one easy pitch above the previous bivy :-(

One of the gasoline bottle is licking.

day 5. Dave finishes his pitch and I take the lead for the roof. I find one bolt in the roof, a 2nd one 15 meters higher, (real hard nailing) and get desperate crazy when I get to the belay (heartbreak ledge): There is just one huge rivet, one huge f... completely rosted rivet!!!

I do not have the drill (Dave considered he was the specialist), and no way to place a solid piton ... just down to my right some lose rocks in kind of vertical hole that I can fix with 2 or 3 chuckstones ... yes, I consider the chucks were holding the stones. Desperate, this is just enough to belay someone climbing below ... but what next .... after probably two hours of hopeless thinking I decide to have Dave coming up ... and not me retreating. After all he will bring the drill.

I nevertherless take a pic of this crap belay ... just in case ... never knows, might help who it may concern to understand what happened to us, if ...
When Dave arrives he adds one bolt ... well, he just manages to have the dowel entering half-way ... rather unpleasant, all of our 5 bolts will have the same fate: Half-way in ... maybe Dave had taken the wrong drill ?

I would really love to know if the guys from the SA observed these bolts ...

Looking backwards to it, I am convinced that the guys of the FA had much safer belays than we had.

Our stove is hanging to some wires, huge flames that night, close to one meter high, dangerous ...

We knew we were slow and started svaing food and water.
Dave decided that I was too slow, and that he would lead everything. Why not, I am not ready to waste strength in a dispute, especially when I believe that time is going to clarify everything for free. He did lead for the next two days, I have little memories of these days, remember that once the dihedral did open to the right, making the atmosphere less claustophobic.

I remember as well Dave doing a beautiful layback at the beginning of pitch #12 (according to the pic of

Finally, on the 6th day, I lose my balance while cleaning, hitting a peg from below, receive tha hammer with full strength on the cheekbone, close to my eye, lot's of blood. I wrote about this: "I could not see my face, but I saw Dave's one when reaching the belay".

I had no gloves, and began to have wounds at all my fingers. Higher it turned out to be rather handicaping.

7th Bivy at the bottom of K Chymney: Again half a bolt inside. Looking upwards Dave comments: "looks like death" ...
In the dark a piton escapes ... 3,4,5,6,7 ... double sheaf of sparks above heart ledge, then a thick piece of silence, just the beat of my heart, bad night, full of anxiety.

In the morning everybody stays hidden in his sleeping bag, we are awake, but the nightmare is still above us.

Dave wants me to go for it. Ridiculous! Matter of good will I go up 6 feet. Ridiculous, not because of my mountain boots, just because that's me ... in those days I could perhaps go up to 6b-c (french scala, say 5.10d ), but with better shoes, and on limestone, gneiss or dolomite. In a granit chymney my limit must have been just french 5b-c ... basically no idea, never met an OW, not the same sport.
Sometimes, early pm I guess, and after smoking some grass, Dave eventually went for it.
Lot's of yelling, on both sides ... "we are going to die" Actually it was the first time I used this one. That's me, no problem with this, my friends will recognise my style immediately. Actually they find it safe with me, for I can recognise the smell of death from far away ... and that particular day it was some smell ...

I know it does not help the leader (and made progress since then), but you never know how reasonnable someone under grass might be. I never used grass or mushrooms, NEVER. I am just a human being (smoking regular tabaco then), courageous to some extend, in the sense that even when scared to death, I find sometimes the ressources to keep going, to some extend ...

How many A4/5 pitches have been done so far with a clean mind, without any dope ? You know better than I do ... for me it has been a cultural shock (It must be clear that for me this is not a moral problem!).
Some yelling from above too, kind of "I am coming down", "I am slipping". Dave has been very brave, congrats, could place very little protection. He made a belay directly at the end of the chimney, and I took the lead till the bottom of N Chimney. It was a wide crack, I used all bongs we had, removed some below me to use them again higher, did twinning bongs, and even a bong xrossings.
When I reached the next belay, Dave refused to join for the bivy (???), I hauled my hammock and sleeping bag, received a bit of food and water ... strange ...
In the morning he joined and that time went directly to the chim, no time for breakfast. Yelling, on both sides ... bis repetita.... congrats Dave!

Small comment regarding Dave's account." Finally, in order to "Get Maurice to shut up" Dave takes out one of his two aiders(etrea)and rolls it up into a ball, stuffs it into the back of the chimney, clips a biner and the rope to it and proceeds for another 15-30 ft. before it falls out and down the rope to Maurice."
Actually it's a good one :-) lol :-) but there might be another interpretation ... that day Dave simply learned from me how to avoid having a rope getting stuck too deep in a crack ... less funny, but think about it!

Last point, it would be rather incoherent that someone needing half a day to go for it does not try everything to place protections, no matter how bad. Anyway, congrats Dave! the chims were behind.

Going up to the (double) triangular roof was most interesting aid. Was happy to find a bolt close to the end. I had my first serious signs of dehydratation:When doing a strenuous move, my vision was becoming unclear, my picture of the world overexposed like a picture taken facing the sun, and during some seconds I could not figure out if I was still on balance.

Severe disapointment getting out of the roofs. I believed it would keep going straight up ... and a bolt 15m to my right had a different opinion ... had never seen any topo, did not know about this traverse.

It was already hard to pull the rope because of the double roof. I decided to pull all of it, and to continue as a solo climber would do, with a prussick on the rope. Most tricky nailing, no real crack, just a sample of all kinds of possible holes, and a unique bolt in the traverse.

The one bolt of the next belay was in sight (3 meters) when I had to use a skyhook. Drama, there was consecutively a second skyhook move, and our second skyhook had stayed by Dave. I tried tu use the hook of my ladder (european had this) but it did not work. That time I did not shout ... nowadays one would use the cell phone and tell the partner to put the hook on the hauling line, but shouting then, the risk would have been too high of having Dave believing I had reached the belay ... and happily sending the haulbag. I unroped, fixed the end of the rope to my last piton, went back all the way to the roof secured just by my prussick, and rapelled down to Dave. It had been kind of dancing with the angels.
Dave was in a bad mood, had been waiting too long without understanding what was going on. Much worse, Dave had finished his grass, maybe during his lonely night, maybe earlier ... or had it for breakfast ...

it was the beginning of the 9th evening, the end of what I did not know yet, had been the nice part of the story.


sorry guys, leaving tomorrow for climbing in Italy, more later

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Aug 8, 2011 - 08:56pm PT
Dang! I want to hear the end of that story!

Mountain climber
PortaLedga OnzaKaleefa
Aug 8, 2011 - 09:56pm PT
"Dancing with the angels."


Wow, that was one hairy rap/descent back to the belay ledge. And some very scary belay anchors and belays, etc.! And it sounds like the "angels" had your back(were watching over you)for the whole climb. Sheeesh!

AWESOME story Maurice.

Mountain climber
PortaLedga OnzaKaleefa
Sep 17, 2011 - 11:58am PT
"the end of what I did not know yet"


Hope your climbing trip to Italy went well. We would love to here "the end" of your story. i have only heard Daves version and would love to here yours.

edit: BTW, Dave obviously held you in high regards when speaking of you and your accomplishments outside of SoH. It was also evident that he felt that you had redeemed(so to speak)yourself on SoH with the difficult nailing leads you accomplished higher on the route. I can recall at least one situation where Dave & I came very close to fisticuffs. It would have been a good match, imo, but fortunately for the both of us it never happened. He wasn't one to offer apologies or excuses easily regardless of the situation. But had you met again somewhere, perhaps some windswept plateau, it would have been as though SoH had never happened the way it did and all that would matter would be reaching the top of whatever had brought you back together and enjoying a few laughs regarding the past along the way. Hope to here from you soon.
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