Welcome to Ken Boche


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Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 4, 2010 - 04:49pm PT
Hi Ken,

Good to see you here. The pictures of you, Dennis, Joe, Russ brought a smile to my face. Ken's first post

For Campers who don't know Ken, he was a stellar 60-70s climber with a nice list of first ascents.

Lucifer's Ledge 1965 Ken Boche Dave Bircheff
Lucifer's Ledge Continuation 1965 Ken Boche Russ McLean
Lucifer's to the Oasis 1965 Ken Boche Russ McLean
Monday Morning Slab, Far East 1965 Dennis Hennek Ken Boche
Patio to Coonyard 1965 Russ McLean Ken Boche
The Mouth Boche-Hennek Variation 1966 Ken Boche Dennis Hennek
Psychedelic Wall 1966 Ken Boche Dennis Hennek
Gobi Wall 1969 Chuck Pratt Ken Boche
Snow Creek Slabs 1969 Bob Summers Ken Boche
The Cow, Left 1970 Ken Boche Mary Bomba
The Cow, Right 1970 Ken Boche
Marginal 1970 Ken Boche Mary Bomba Joe McKeown
Mt. Starr King, Northwest Face 1970 Ken Boche Mary Bomba
Mt Starr King, West Face 1970 Ken Boche Lee Panza
Mt Clark, SW Face Ken Boche Joe Mckeown Aug 19, 1970
The Grack, Right Side 1970 TM Herbert Ken Boche
Leaning Tower, East Face 1970 Russ McLean Ken Boche
Rainbows 1971 Ken Boche Russ McLean
Mass Assault 1972 Ken Boche Dennis Hennek Judy Sterner Russ McLean Sibylle Hechtel Tim Auger Mike Farrell

Welcome to ST

Edited for more routes

Trad climber
Feb 4, 2010 - 04:50pm PT
Welcome, Ken.

Here's to keepin' the MAGIC alive!


Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 4, 2010 - 05:24pm PT
Hey Boo

Maybe you can come up with some more photos of this fun trip? I posted this a while back but thought you might enjoy it and I encourage you to contribute to ST with your vast wealth of tales and photos from over the years.

Marginal-First Ascent May 1970

Boche was teaching in Palm Desert to avoid vacationing in Viet Nam and I was in grad school at UCLA. Fri he would drive into LA, pick me up and his girlfriend, the lovely Mary Bomba with the electric hair, and we would head to the Valley on many a weekends. I think Ken was spending 22 hours in his VW to spend 36 hours in the Valley!

The Grack was his idea but I quickly warmed to the concept as I always enjoyed climbing on the Apron. The odd thing about the climb is I have little recollection about the actual route but vivid memories of the picnic Bomba put together for us. Part way up, we stopped for an elaborate picnic lunch resplendent with fresh potato salad and cold greasy chicken. A feast indeed and we woofed it down lickity split to continue the route.

Now, cold greasy chicken fat is a hard thing to get off the fingers and since we had forgot to bring along warm water and soap we had to use the well proven and traditional technique of dragging our fingers across the granite. Chalk to us, was something you used on the blackboard and not in our vast assortment of gear. But we did have a bolt kit and a small collection of pins. Pretty much your standard Apron first ascent paraphernalia. .

I do remember being quite a ways out at times and I did take an 80ft leader fall, but to this day I still attribute that not to the difficulty or my own technique but the dam chicken fat. I think an 80ft “slide” was the perfect solution to removal of the chicken fat and maybe a little too much epidermis but I quickly regained my high point and finished the pitch.

We use to joke about the ideal Apron climbing attire being motorcycle leathers, We even
had our own Apron dialogue with such terms as Pilot Slippée and Piolet Crashée, just a little game with Yvon’s book on ice climbing.

During this era my Apron shoe of choice was the Robbins Boot. Several years prior, in a race down four flights of stairs at the UCLA Med Center, I made the serious error of jumping the last 12 stairs to guarantee success. Won the race but did major damage to my ankle. RR’s were perfect for a seriously weak and unstable ankle and I never went back to the traditional Apron shoe of the era, Kronhofers.

My theory was one of max surface area and the RR’s had any other shoe beat. And man were they comfortable. Did consider one time as a joke, a pair of ginormous clown shoes resoled in Vibram as the ultimate Apron shoe.

The name Marginal was my idea, but I have never been crazy about it. Seems pretty egocentric by todays standard and level of climbing. Perhaps we should have stayed with one of Boo’s ideas like Chicken Fat, or Lickity Split? Hey if you did the first ascent can you rename your route. Now that would be a confusing trend indeed, but certainly would stimulate Forum discussion.

Mutt and Jeff at dah base Marginal 1st ascent
Mutt and Jeff at dah base Marginal 1st ascent
Credit: guido
Guido after lunch-first ascent Marginal
Guido after lunch-first ascent Marginal
Credit: guido
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 4, 2010 - 05:31pm PT

Ken is posting as Boodawg, and perhaps will enlighten us as to his interesting nom de plume.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 4, 2010 - 05:49pm PT
Hi Ken. Very stoked to see you are part of our little fire circle! Guido-Joe McQuacken has been really a big part of it in recent years, by the way. Best to ignore Roger, however, as he lives in the midwest and muses. Our next goal is to suck Hennek in here.

It would be great to hear what you are up to these days. Are you still on the Big Island?
scuffy b

Where only the cracks are dry
Feb 5, 2010 - 08:49pm PT
Hey cool. When I was new, and studying the Green Roper and notes in the
back of Ascent, I always wanted to do all those Boche climbs.
I wanted a nice tight pair of Kronies, too.

I actually had a Ken Boche encounter, not that you'd remember, Ken.
As I recall, it was something like, you were visiting your cousin in Santa
Monica who happened to live next door to Dave Black, one of the G&E Buff
climbers (the Santa Monica guys).

You and Dave spotted each other over the fence and laughed at the surprise
encounter.Then Dave asked me, "Do you who that was? That was Ken Boche!

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 5, 2010 - 08:59pm PT
Boche could be a little bit selfish. In Afghanistan he had his own personal cook, here is a shot of him gathering the evening meal.

Credit: guido

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Feb 5, 2010 - 10:35pm PT

Welcome, Ken!

Please share some stories!!!

The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Feb 6, 2010 - 12:37am PT
And let's not forget that Jingus North face of Merced Peak, YIKES! Welcome Ken.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

. . . not !
Feb 6, 2010 - 01:41am PT
The Starrking routes would be cool to hear about . I hiked around the dome once , and that west side looks really sweet . Welcome to the climber's forum .

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Feb 6, 2010 - 10:23am PT
Welcome Ken!

I hope you brought your sense of humor.....

And your tinfoil hat!
The Warbler

the edge of America
Feb 6, 2010 - 12:24pm PT
Hi Ken,

Nice to hear from you. Are you still climbing?

When I think of you the first thing that comes to mind is a big pair of Kronhoffers with holes in the sides, and a big smile to go with them.

Hope to hear more from you...



Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 6, 2010 - 12:43pm PT
I broke in at Yosemite by climbing a lot of those Ken Boche runout slab routes over on the Apron. All of us So Cal guys came from Tahquitz, Suicide and Roubidoux so Glacier Pt. felt rater cozy, though at times a little sketchy in the old hard-soled boots. Since we (Stonemasters) came right on the heels of Ken and Russ and Dennis and the others, our paths rarely crossed, but the routes remained the same. Sort of amazing to see those old photos. They feel like older brothers we never met . . .

Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 7, 2010 - 02:45am PT
Hey Boo,

Glad to see you made it. I checked that photo in the Stoney Point thread. Egad, I didn't know there were any pictures taken that day.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 7, 2010 - 02:48am PT
We even put routes up on the Apron (McLean and I) that we never finished- two or three pitches - one we tentatively named The Filthy Mother.

Trad climber
Depends on the day...
Feb 7, 2010 - 03:44am PT
Fun to read about Ken, and I still remember my Kronnies, loved those shoes. Until Eb's came along. Remember ordering my first pair from Great Britain, and everybody wanted them. Three of us did a new route (Flakey Foont, next to Mr Natural) on the apron with all of us wearing different shoes, RR's, PA's and EB's. Interesting experience as the FA had one bolt in the middle of the first pitch and nothing else to the belay. Second pitch was a repeat. EB's were the preferred shoe. Soft rubber just stuck better.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 7, 2010 - 03:55am PT

> We even put routes up on the Apron (McLean and I) that we never finished- two or three pitches - one we tentatively named The Filthy Mother.

Cool - do you remember where? I've seen mystery bolts here and there, like above the top of what is now called Shuttle Madness on the far left side of the Apron (left of the Calf/Cow).

Social climber
Paradise Island
Feb 7, 2010 - 08:34am PT
Now you’ve gone and done it, Roger. I’m not sure if I should thank you or curse you, but I’ll play, OK?

Having been marooned, more or less in the Mid-Pacific for more than a quarter of a century, I feel like I need an experienced guide around this site, so I don't feel like I'm stumbling up Tenaya Canyon thru poison oak in the dark, looking for the beginning of Quarter Domes. I'd appreciate any tips on approaching and route-finding on this site... If anyone is moved to put links to or pastes in previous postings like Guido did for “Marginal,” that’d be very welcome. I’m happy to answer any questions as my senior moments allow…

While most have heard about the Airplane and its cargo that plunged through the ice into Merced Lake, there's an untold story about a treasure that was undiscovered when Guido and I left the Glacier Point Road and passed through Mono Meadows on our approach to attempt the first ascent of the SW face of Mt. Clark. Guido knows; so does Bomba… After all, Starr King and Mt. Clark are neighbors… But that story will have to wait, unless Guido wants to tell it…

Thank you all for your welcome; I’ll respond to some of the postings above:

Missing from the FA list is “Angel’s Approach,” the last “Kronhofer” climb that Russ and I did. When EBs arrived, the game really did change… In time, I’ll post a few of those “A-A” pix… (Also most of the high country climbs are missing.) If I have “Marginal” pix, I’ll post the best ones as well. Thanks, Guido, for bringing that story and the great photos out…

BooDawg? How the heck does one pronounce ‘Boche’ anyway? My family pronounced it ‘Bowie.’ My early climbing friends, Hennek, McLean and other high school classmates morphed it into “Booey” which got shortened to “Boo.” If you’ve ever tried to change your name, you know it’s like rowing a boat upstream; it has its own momentum downward, and even one’s best friends resist any changes…

On our first technical climbing trip to the Valley in 1964, Russ and I rappelled off the Higher Spire using body (Dülfersitz) rappels; Russ got a heckuva raw spot in his crotch which oozed for days and was commemorated by Jerry Hooper (a climber-friend of Eric Beck’s from San Diego) in the following limerick:

There once was a climber named Booey (Boche)
Who kissed Russ’s scab which was gooey.
So great was the pleasure,
He dove for the treasure,
And found the appendage quite chewy.

Now Hooper was an English teacher and enjoyed limericks, and I think it was he who composed this one about his friend Eric:

There once was a climber named Beck
Whose balls hung down from his neck.
He jerked at his throat
Till his cheeks they did bloat,
And he spitted out c#m by the peck.

Realizing no one could ever pronounce “Boche” ‘on-sight,’ when my brother, Philip, realized he was going to have a male child, he & I conferred and commiserated on that potential problem. We independently decided to change the pronunciation of Boche to “Bowshay,” giving it a French flare as in “Boché,” even tho it actually comes out of Germany. It helped that, at the time, I had newly moved to Hawai’i where I had very few friends, since long-term friends, as I said, resist such changes…

The “Dawg” part of BooDawg was added very recently by a friend here in Hawaii who is continually making up new nicknames: BooDini, Boodalini, etc.

Peter, thanks for your welcome; however, if I ignored Roger, this thread wouldn’t even be here; I suspect that he has his own very good reasons for being in Ohio… It was Hennek who told me about Dr. Deeg’s thread during a Birthday call I made to him a few weeks ago. We talked slide scanners a bit, and I’m betting that he’ll come forth with loads of good stuff if we can be patient and encourage his participation here… I’m also rattling Russ’s cage…

Actually, scuffy b, I DO remember that encounter! I’m betting that if/when Russ McLean reads your comment, he’ll laugh because we had an inside joke about “THE Ken Boche and THE Russ Mclean, as if we were actually famous or some nonsense…

Guido, shame on you for spreading false rumors about my having a private cook in Afghanistan. I do have plenty of stories and slides from that trip which I’ll save for another time. What a great photo!! Thanks, mate!

North face of Merced Peak??? DO tell!

I have pix of Starr King’s west face which I’ll post at some later time with some commentary.

Kevin, great to hear that you are on here. Thanks for demystifying your nom de plume. Marooned as I have been here in a land of brittle, weak, sharp and low-angle rock, I don’t climb much now. I DO have ALL of my old climbing hardware, however, pack-rat that I am. Some are museum-quality, I’m sure. Now, I go hiking and snorkeling a lot, and sailing sometimes, especially during the winter when the humpback whales are here. I especially enjoy diving down and listening to their singing. You can actually here them in real time from a buoy near where I live. To do so, go to: http://www.jupiterfoundation.org/new_bw_liveaudio_hawaii.html

Hey Don! Did you ever post anything here on our 8th ascent of the Nose?? In just perusing my many boxes of slides, I think there will be many others who may repeat your statement, “Egad, I didn't know there were any pictures taken that day.” LOL. I thought it was pronounced, “Feelthy Mutha!”

Looking forward to sailing among the whales tomorrow. Here’s a couple of pix from 2 weeks ago! And looking forward to continuing this thread…

I hope there’s enuf humor here…
Humpback whale slapping its tail.
Humpback whale slapping its tail.
Credit: BooDawg
More tail-slapping!
More tail-slapping!
Credit: BooDawg
Dick Erb

June Lake, CA
Feb 7, 2010 - 10:38am PT
Ken, Welcome to the campfire.
The Virtual Campfire
The Virtual Campfire
Credit: Dick Erb
The 8th ascent of the nose with Lauria that you mentioned, wasn't that the first winter ascent?

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 7, 2010 - 11:54am PT
BooDawg.... THE BOODAWG.... yes please post up more stuff.

Makes for great reading....

Guy Keesee
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