son of hart


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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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