Royal Robbins Falling while Soloing I-12 at Indian Rock

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Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 20, 2010 - 09:36am PT
Years ago, when I was sixteen or so in 1979, Mike Loughman, a born mentor if there ever was one, taking yet another young climber under his wing... as I was saying, years ago at Indian Rock, Mike told me that when Robbins was living in Berkeley (in the early Sixties, I think) he climbed, soloed, the tall and intimidating I-12 drunk. Actually he didn't so much climb it, as fall off. Mike summed it up by saying something to the effect that "Robbins fell off because he was drunk but also survived it in one piece because he was drunk."

I've always wondered about this. Does anybody have any first (or second) hand knowledge of this incident? Or is it just one more piece of precious apocryphal climbing lore?
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Feb 20, 2010 - 10:51am PT
Can't verify the Robbins story, but Roper, having I-12 completely wired, did it unroped.
Barto

climber
Minneapolis, MN
Feb 20, 2010 - 12:57pm PT
THE Eric Beck? The "There's a leisure class at both ends of the social spectrum" Eric Beck?

I have repeated this quote so often in so many situations. This is actually a celebrity sighting for me!

Thank you for your brilliance--and at such a young age! : )

Barto
Evel

Trad climber
Slartibartfasts Newest Fjiord
Feb 20, 2010 - 01:19pm PT
Yo Randisi!

What's shakin Dude? Duderino Duuuuudddddde Dudius Maximus Give me a shout Dude!

Dude Evel
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 20, 2010 - 03:54pm PT
There is a pretty good chance the Loughman story might not be true. He was not all that grounded especially when it came to lore. I knew him well and actually still am in touch with his then-wife Amy. It is now forty-seven years later. I have never heard the tale and it would be really unlikely for Royal to be this lame.

As far as I-12 is concerned, in the heydays of the early to mid-sixties there were a couple climbers that unroped it. Then for a period, no one did and actually a bunch of routes sort of vanished from the known world for a while. By 1968, I finally couldn't stand it and had to start unroping it as well. Vandiver soon joined me by 1971 or so. I think for quite some time we were the only ones firing it this way. It isn't very hard, just overhanging and highball.
EP

Social climber
Way Out There
Feb 20, 2010 - 04:15pm PT
I-12 was the last thing I climbed the day before I left Berkeley to live in
the Central Valley. I told one of the regulars I was going to climb it, and he asked me with all seriousness, " You're gonna top rope it?"

You bet I did. I climbed it, but I am glad I had that rope.
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2010 - 06:55pm PT
I suspected it might be apocryphal. Seemed out of character for the reputed-to-be very controlled Robbins. But I never met the man, so how would I know? Maybe he had just had a fight with Liz.

It's funny. With all the time I've spent bouldering at Indian Rock, the possibility of soloing I-12 never really entered my head. It's so easy to forget it's there. Only top-roped it once. I wonder how often it is done these days. Haven't been there for almost ten years, but even starting from then I don't remember seeing a rope on those climbs (I-12, I-13 and I-14) for quite a while. It seems they may have disappeared again, Peter. Though Dave Altman would go up and dangle from the bucket at the top of 1-14 regularly. Next time I get out West perhaps. You can be certain I'll top-rope it first!


PS: Greetings, your Doodness, Cruello d'Evel!
C4/1971

Trad climber
Depends on the day...
Feb 20, 2010 - 09:32pm PT
Eric,

You took me on my first climb in 1971. Church Bowl Chimney as I recall. I didn't surf for over ten years because of you. But I met and lived with some great folks, and enjoyed some beautiful places. Many thanks for that Brother!!!

Vincent Goetz
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 22, 2010 - 01:32am PT
Speaking of Indian Rock and I-12 and .........................

There actually were a number of unroped ascents of I-12 in the early 60s.

For belay practice we use to sit on top of I-12, gather 5ft or so of slack and jump off. Roper was the master at this and on one occasion dam well created a crater below when the belayer let him fall. Beck I think you were there that day?

Here are some old shots of BBA, Bitchin Bill Amborn, on the bolt route next to I-12. Many climbers got their first taste of slings on this route. Photos by BBA's momma.

1960

BBA and Indian rock  1960
BBA and Indian rock 1960
Credit: guido
Credit: guido
Credit: guido
Credit: guido
Credit: guido


Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2010 - 09:16am PT
Cool! Except for the car in the driveway (and of course the gear), you'd hardly know it was fifty years ago.

Those bolt hangers sure didn't last long. By the way, who placed them?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 22, 2010 - 11:09am PT
It is really kind of moving seeing these pictures of Bill Amborn doing the old bolt route on I-12. By the time I was a denizen of Indian Rock, the bolt route had been smashed and otherwise removed and there was no more aid climbing anywhere at Indian Rock unless you were stupid enough to go practice hooking on boulder routes....and I never actually saw anyone aid climb the feature. But there still are today vestiges of that aid climb on the overhanging face and ceiling below. Cool; I had always wondered when that route went extinct. There was a similar practice route at Cragmont. As Joe says, these spots were where it all began for many of us back then.

Here are 3 of the Guido images pimped to the extent I can with 132K files.










klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 22, 2010 - 12:20pm PT
tx for the pix, guido.
the one with the driveway in the background is especially cool.

the vegetation was pretty different then.
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
Feb 22, 2010 - 06:48pm PT
Luke Freeman would routinely solo I-12 in the mid-70s. Up and down.
It must have been after Vandiver had a change of heart, because he
wouldn't do it anymore, and was impressed by Luke.
Vandiver would routinely solo his special Center-Direct overhang variation
though, which Luke thought was really impressive
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 22, 2010 - 10:12pm PT
I also heard that story of Robbins falling off drunk, maybe from Mike, I don't remember. But the punch line was that if you were drunk enough you could fall right down on that hard ground and be just fine.

Wow, real cool photos of that old bolt route! It was gone by the time I started out there too.

I do remember that there was one bolt that still had a hangar on it sometime in the early 70s, and one day Vern Clevenger and someone else...maybe Dennis? and I tried to pull that guy out. The intact bolt was placed straight up vertically into the rock so we figured it would just pull out and that would be real cool!

We hooked up a rope on that sucker and all three of us slowly started weighting the rope until we were all hanging on it. It was so scary, we expected to get dropped on the ground and the bolt and hangar blasted into our heads...nothing. We started bouncing on the rope and still nothing.

I think that darn bolt is still there.

Fred
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2010 - 10:26pm PT
Do any of you remember what the original I-1 through I-11 routes were?

Guido, what did you guys consider a hard boulder problem back then? Were there any variations on the Watercourse yet?

Hi, Fred.

Randy (erstwhile from Marin)
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 22, 2010 - 11:57pm PT
Those are good questions but I have little recollection. As a matter of fact I had forgot about the Watercourse routes! You know there are enough of us out here to write a bloody book on Indian Rock. Bouldering with Leif Patterson, Bruce Cook, Tavistock, Roper,Pratt, TM, Rowell , Steck, Long and many others was an incredible experience!

The funny thing is, when I was a year old I lived at the very end of Shattuck Ave which is almost on top of Indian rock.

It was our Stony Point.

Couple of nostalgia shots from the late 50s. Anybody have any shots of Bruce Cook or others?

Guido below I-12, 1958
Guido below I-12, 1958
Credit: guido
Hey kid, when is your mom coming to pick you up?

1959 - state of the art climbing shoes
1959 - state of the art climbing shoes
Credit: guido

Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 23, 2010 - 09:12am PT
My God! Are you about to rappel down I-12 with a Dulfersitz?

Or is that the stairway slab?

I've only performed a Dulfersitz on a slab, once. If I recall it was required for membership in the RCS. But a handy thing to know.

More great pictures.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 23, 2010 - 09:33am PT
Randisi,

Probably one of the hardest problems back in the mid sixties were the Far Left Watercourse. A strange deceptive little problem of four real moves at most. Actually pictured behind Young Guido just above, where he stands in "The Pit".


Although I-12 wasn't more than a V2 (if that), you felt "exposed" up there, 30 feet up and would get gripped of course; it was about 10 moves long, overhanging and again deceptive. There were many no-hands routes that actually were difficult, some one-hand ones too. Galen loved these and also the one-hand-one-foot ones. Some of these he would time too and get all competitive. I remember racing Galen all the way around Indian Rock on one foot (and you could not change your operative foot too). Quite hard to finish the whole loop. And just great for your knees 50 years later. All this was before Mortar Rock up the street had more than 5 routes and trees were cut out of there; long before Nat's Traverse.

stonefly

Social climber
Alameda, California
Feb 23, 2010 - 10:06am PT
Earlier photo yet. Basement find: Leonard at Cragmont, 1933.
Earlier photo yet. Basement find: Leonard at Cragmont, 1933.
Credit: stonefly
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Feb 23, 2010 - 11:50am PT
Jeff Foott, who lived nearby, and had everything wired, would often walk by Indian Rock after school with an armload of books, in street shoes, naturally. One day he observed a group toproping the watercourse with little success. He said, "Hey fellas, that looks like fun. Would you mind if I tied into that safety line and try it?" Of course he fired it and said, "Gee, that was fun, thanks fellas".
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 23, 2010 - 11:14pm PT
Whenever I even considered doing I-12 unroped all I had to do was to feel that critical left hand hold expand when I got my fingers into it. Several of us believed that it expanded a bit.

The most memorable unroped ascent of I-12 was Cliff Coleman. Oh man, he was a bold guy. He showed me some very outrageous skateboarding stuff one day out on Indian Rock Ave.

Fred
LongAgo

Trad climber
Feb 24, 2010 - 06:53pm PT
I guess Royal could weigh in and clarify if he fell off I-12, but maybe it's more fun to watch us speculate. I think it was Vandiver who told me he asked Royal long ago about it and got a smile, but nothing more. Maybe Royal knew half the secret to being and staying a legend is mystery.

As for falling off I-12 and being fine on flat ground below, I have to attest to falling off water course way up at about I-12 height on some easy, wet, snotty stuff after a rain. I landed exactly where an I-12 fall would land. Result: broken heel, my second. I think anything above 12-15 feet can break bones even for a flat landing, though of course we had no pads in those days. My first broken heel was falling into the North Sea (and onto rocks just below water) outside Aberdeen, Scotland. Very humbling, those falls. Made me fully averse to soloing, which was never very attractive to me anyhow, well, except for self belay stuff which I also found dangerous and ultimately unsatisfying.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 24, 2010 - 07:33pm PT
Sweet BITD pics. Never been to Indian even though I live in the South Bay. I got stuff down here to keep me busy.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Feb 24, 2010 - 07:43pm PT
in the version I heard (started bouldering there in '85), Robbins dusted himself off, went back up and fired...
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Feb 24, 2010 - 07:56pm PT
I've got a biz buddy- Ezra Bowen- who joined me at Indian Rocks one day 20+ years ago. He had never touched rock previously. I showed him the moves on Watercourse. Being fit and bold, he fired it (only a tad shakey up top). He has never touched rock since.

Awwwright, more about Robbins, I-12 and BITD please!!!

p.s. I am a So Cali, so never knew lots of you NoCali's. Was visiting Indian Rocks- again- late 80's. Doting Dad was helping his young daughter do some traverse moves. She was in tennies, and I pointed out that she would have more success in rock shoes. Had never met LongAgo before, but he just looked at me and said something like, "she's got climbing shoes at home". Only then did I realize, "oooops, that's LongAgo!"
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
Feb 24, 2010 - 08:06pm PT
Many years ago Ben Borson told me that a friend of his had fallen from
I-12 with no ill effects. He said this guy was a skydiver, or at least
a parachutist, and thus well-practiced at landings.
Also, that on at least one occasion, he had jumped out of a second-story
window to greet a friend who was passing by on the street.
I believe this friend of Borson's was also known to LongAgo.
BBA

Social climber
West Linn OR
Feb 24, 2010 - 11:03pm PT
Anybody can fall off anything, so it’s not a big deal.

That aside, here are some interesting facts about the evolution of Indian Rock… Just call me Rip Van Winkle, for I was a daily user of Indian Rock from the fall of 1960 to the end of 1961. Every day I’d hop on my bicycle, ride from my place near campus to the rock, and climb everything I could many times which got to be about everything there was at the time. I was a terrible student, but got to be a pretty good climber. Fast forward 40 years. Working in Richmond, I began to spend my lunch hours there for some time until I was mistakenly promoted and had to be an example for others and shorter lunch hours were in order.

What I noticed after 40 years absence was the loss of vegetation, especially alongside the path leading down next to the rock. The overhanging area was impossible to climb due to the shrubbery, but I could see that generations of avid climbers, perhaps with beaver-like teeth, had destroyed the plants. This opened up some extreme problems we never imagined existed. I also noticed that the bolts were gone from the overhang that Guido has pictures of me climbing via direct aid. Otherwise the rock was incredibly stable in its appearance, a testament to its hardness considering the millions of sweaty and chalky hands place on it. Much more stable than Stoney Point. It still smelled of urine under the overhang – when will they ever get a restroom at that park?

Now I will tell the secret of how I upgraded of the abilities of northern California climbers. I used my Gerry hammer to smash a flake off the Watercourse which transformed it from a 5.7 to a 5.really hard. From that point forward if you wanted to say you could climb the Watercourse, you had to get some real finger strength. Guido and Foott were witnesses to this reverse of the Leonard action on the Cathedral Spires where he knocked out some nice chunks of rock to make foot holds. Of course I regret my egotistic action today (just kidding). I was accused in another thread of not understanding sport climbing –Hah! I could still see the shadow of the flake’s former placement after 40 years!

After I upgraded the Watercourse it was interesting to watch people work out the problems and have to come back over and over. Foott, of course, began to work on doing it with one hand. I’m not sure how far he got.

My Mother was interested in the techniques of rock climbing of that time, so when she was in the Bay Area she asked for a demo which Guido and I put on. From there came Guido’s copies of the photos. I once did the bolts solo as a macho deal (like swimming under that rock on the Merced River where we all used to hang out at down the canyon) to prove to myself I wasn’t chicken sh*t, but did not enjoy it as I was nervous about something coming loose. It’s probably for the best that the bolts are gone.

I do not believe I12 existed at the time, because anything Roper could do at the time, so could I, and I would never have rested until I could do it better.

As to why we called Guido “Little Joe”, it was not to honor him by calling him after Joseph LeConte whose moniker was also Little Joe. It was because his pecker was so small he often times had to tie a string on it to get it out to pee. This was an absolute essential after swimming in the cold Merced River waters.

Any questions?
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 24, 2010 - 11:47pm PT
Well well BBA

I wasn't going to say anything about the Watercourse modification, because until you opened up that can I had forgotten the incident.

Now BBA could be either, Bitchen Bill Amborn, or at times as we all know, Bitching Bill Amborn. Once, he wrote me and called me an as#hole for adding an e to his name. You know like, Amborne. I still love the guy.

How strange, that only this morning I came across the following letter he wrote while on vacation in Taiwan in the early 60s, courtesy of the US Army.

Credit: guido
Credit: guido

cheers

Little Joe





nutjob

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Feb 25, 2010 - 12:55am PT
Such wonderful slices of life!

I have a serious question that belongs in this thread. Is there a comprehensive written Indian Rock guide? I've never seen jack in writing on the place, only what folks have showed me. I live a mile away from the thing and I don't know which is I-12, but I've done the Watercourse a bunch.

A Clint Cummins style photo overlaid with lines and route names would be nice here :)
Strider

Trad climber
one of god's mountain temples....
Feb 25, 2010 - 01:16am PT
I am looking at the 2002 Tresa Black guide "Rock Climbing the SF Bay Area" and there are descriptions of a lot of the routes at the Berkley areas. There aren't exactly topos in the guide but it does a fair job of showing the routes.

You can also check out Clint's digitized version of the 1988 Marc Jensen guide here:

http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/ba/index.htm

-n
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 25, 2010 - 01:47am PT
I wonder what other incriminating evidence Guido has stowed in his hold, for use at strategic moments?
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 25, 2010 - 01:52am PT
Holy cow! I have climbed on watercourse for 40 years and it was once easy. Sheesh.

Regarding a book about the rock, as my graduate school days ended and before I got a job I must admit I did quite a bit of reading in the Doe Library to get some history of the place. I have not opened or looked at my draft in many years but I can say with some certainty that I-12 was climbed pretty early.



First ascent: Probably January 26, 1941 by Robin Hanson.
This climb starts on the tongue of rock just above the watercourse at 20’ above the ground. It traverses left a few feet then goes straight up the darker of the two depressions in the rock.

This climb was described by Dick Leonard in his 1939 guide to local rock climbing.

Traversing on an overhang into a very open overhanging chimney with almost inadequate holds. Dick Leonard, in early 1939, made the complete ascent, but in two separate shifts. "It can be done, but one will have to be good."

After some thought about the book I decided that it would be good for each generation to discover the place for themselves. I was going to write a really detailed bouldering guide. Now I think a decent history would be pretty good.

Fred
tarek

climber
berkeley
Feb 25, 2010 - 11:46am PT
thanks Fred. That's a nice nugget indeed. Any more? First ascent of the bubble, other notable problems rising in difficulty?

L

climber
Just surfin' the tsunami of life...
Feb 25, 2010 - 12:13pm PT
OMG Guido! You're better than Britannica! X-rated Britannica!


I'm laughing so hard right now, I can barely type...
tarek

climber
berkeley
Feb 25, 2010 - 12:48pm PT
Yeah, if we get BBA coming back and upping the ante (that had to sting) we could have something that makes Pate vs. Bob A. look like a couple of cabbage patch dolls going at it.
BBA

Social climber
West Linn OR
Feb 25, 2010 - 02:28pm PT
I was kidding Guido to get his blood pressure up without coffee. But I have documentation which shows he wrote "Perversion is diversion" before I did. Actually it was a phrase that Roper used to spout off all the time and it had a nice ring to it. As far as the string story reference, the line was from the famous valley tourist, Harry Tee (Camp 4, pg 146). He came walking up to his campsite near the Columbia boulder and said hello one day, and I noted a long string hanging down from his bathing suit and asked him what it was for. He said the river was so cold he needed to attach a string to it to find it if he had to take a leak. Just fictionalizing a bit - makes history more interesting, somewhat like Guido's version of Suhl's arrest. The readers seem to enjoy it. Laughter is good.
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2010 - 09:53am PT
Roper, having I-12 completely wired, did it unroped.

I think it should be pointed out that Roper and the others who soloed I-12 in the early '60s did something almost fifty years ago that would cause most of the young pups today with all their power to sh-t their pants. And they did it without chalk and in shoes that today seem equivalent to roller skates!

Peter, I imagine that you and Vandiver had chalk when you did it?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 26, 2010 - 10:19am PT
Randisi, no. I didn't start using chalk until 1970 when I got out of college. We did use rosin at Indian Rock however back in the mid-sixties. Powdered rosin, the stuff ballet people use on their floors. It is kind of grippy too, colorless basically at least compared to chalk.

The handholds on I-12 aren't so bad, it's probably more an issue of balance and the sloping footholds once you start the shifting/changing lieback moves and the psychological problem of traversing left from total security to this overhanging situation with a roof just below you. Many would actually get totally pumped on this tiny 9-move climb.
wildone

climber
GHOST TOWN
Feb 26, 2010 - 10:33am PT
I hope this thread never dies. That place has kept me from going crazy sometimes, having moved from El Portal to Berkeley a couple years ago...
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2010 - 10:38am PT
That's incredible, Peter. Even roped, I remember that traverse over the void of the Pit at the start as being intimidating. The TR set-up usually involved a nice swing should you fall at that point.

I didn't know pof or rosin was used at Indian Rock. So it's you guys then who are responsible for all the slick holds! (Har!)

Bill, I had no idea the Watercourse had been doctored! I never would have guessed. I can't even imagine where that flake may have been. Does anybody have a photo of where it previously resided? Bill says the outline is still visible.

Randy

klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 26, 2010 - 10:48am PT
I can't even imagine where that flake may have been. Does anybody have a photo of where it previously resided?

You can still see where it came off-- it's once you're in the groove. the surrounding rock looks a bit chossy.

i never see anyone doing i-12. folks don't set top-ropes anymore. and it's not terribly obvious as hi-balls go.

aawesome to hear about people doing it back at mid-century. but i wouldn't traverse from that spot to, "kids today can't hi-ball." the bar for hi-balling is actually incredibly advanced compared to what folks in my cohort were doing back in the 1980s at josh and black mt., which was one of the golden ages for hi-balls.

i-rock-- or at least mortar --have been important centers for difficult bouldering for eighty years now. it ain't fontainebleau, but it's pretty cool.
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2010 - 10:58am PT
Hi, klk.

There's a lot of history in that miserable (I say this with love) pile of rocks.

Do note I didn't write that kids today can't high-ball. Some are quite amazing at it. I merely wrote

something almost fifty years ago that would cause most of the young pups today with all their power to sh-t their pants.

I know many incredibly strong boulderers, at least around these parts, backwaters that they are, who need a sketch pad to climb off the toilet. Few in my experience have any head for getting off the deck, pads or no.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 26, 2010 - 11:13am PT
I know many incredibly strong boulderers, at least around these parts, backwaters that they are, who need a sketch pad to climb off the toilet. Few in my experience have any head for getting off the deck, pads or no.

Yeah, my comment was just aimed at forestalling the way these threads usually turn, rather than directed at anything you posted.

It's funny about sketchpads-- folks won't climb anything w/o a pad.

On the other hand, here, folks are hi-balling way up there, typically w/o tr prep. It's not enough now to be consistent in double digits. A lot of the new stuff in the Sierras is by Bay Area locals pushing way up there.

Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2010 - 11:27am PT
I don't even own a pad!

I've had people come up to me while bouldering at the Gunks and scold me for this!

Bouldering dinosaur that I am, I still feel that bouldering is defined by risking a groundfall, and don't feel I've climbed a problem until I've done it padless (I do on occasion use the pads of others when around).

I will admit that pads are quite useful when there is snow on the ground - they help keep the shoes dry.

But all this has little to do with I-12, at least directly. I wonder how many pads it would take to make that fall reasonable?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 26, 2010 - 11:48am PT
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2010 - 12:01pm PT
Good picture, Peter. Shows the features quite well.

Now in relation to the climber's feet, which one of those whitish patches used to be a flake in its previous incarnation?

For those not familiar with it, I-12 starts on that projecting sloping ledge with the sunlight on it above the climber's head.

You can still see the old bolt in the middle of the overhang.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Feb 26, 2010 - 12:42pm PT
I first did I-12 onsight on tr no falls when I wore climbing shoes 2 sizes too big and had about as much technique as a monkey wearing iceskates. On his go, my buddy crumbled a bit off of a hold (probably off-route) and fell. Never went back to it but I notice that the obvious ramp for the feet at the crux is now covered in lichen. That would make it feel sketchy.

So, it seems pretty unremarkable to me that people bouldered the problem after practice back when. There was a lot of focus on it. Climbing was in full chest-beating mode, owned by a few--is my read of history. Now we know that we all suck. I think Randy Puro onsighted I-12 no rope, when the holds were chalkless, which actually is impressive to me because of that inobvious and insecure transition at the start.

People using pads do some incredibly scary and very high problems. Low probability dynos, the group working out the moves. Many of the types of moves done now use body positions that you would never have used when you had to land on your feet. To put it charitably, I think the boldness shown by the top level boulderers now is at least the same as BITD. One big difference is that very few people seem to know how to downclimb well anymore.

It would be interesting to know what levels of boldness were operating in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Stolby, and places like that in the 60s. I think we might find them well beyond the levels back here.

Still would love to know if RR picked himself up and climbed back up the thing. That would be worthy of legend status.
BBA

Social climber
West Linn OR
Feb 26, 2010 - 05:00pm PT
I thought the young wild men I saw 10 years ago were doing really hard stuff, especially next to the path where it overhangs. Some moves relied on a finger or two stuck in a little hole as the only hold - pretty dramatic. Instead of chalk, we used the dust from the ground, and instead of pads on a muddy day we walked on the outsides of our soles to keep the edging part dry. I think someone once had an old piece of rug, but that was it.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 26, 2010 - 05:24pm PT
Couple more old shots of Indian Rock-probably circa 1961. These are from a weekend session of the Rock Climbing Section of the Sierra Club.

Carl Weissner on the left, a mentor to many of us and a fabulous man. Carl was a Marine veteran of the Korean War. His wife Helen was also a gem and kept us in good humor with her forever smile and lovely attitude. The center is John Shonle. On the right is I believe Larry Williams? Roper would know. Hey Roper give me a hand with this one.

I am pretty sure this is the belay spot for I-12. On one of Roper's jumps off the top of I-12 for belay practice, he dam near hit the ground. The belayer was almost launched off this spot to fly down the Watercourse route. Was the belayer Beck???????
Credit: guido

Climbing rope litter with Andy Lichtman as the injured climber. Good in theory but in practice? Probably came out of that classic German book on rescue techniques.
Credit: guido

tarek

climber
berkeley
Feb 26, 2010 - 05:34pm PT
Guido, those are neat to see.
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 26, 2010 - 06:32pm PT
I never met Andy Lichtman but we all had to do his pull up move. I learned it as "Lichtman's Lick" and the story was that he did a bunch of pull ups on it then licked the rock. I never repeated the lick part...

This is another little bit from my "book" that got started in the 80's.


March 1932
The Cragmont Climbing Club (CCC) formed. Dick Leonard, Kenny May, and Bev Blanks went out with “a 1/2 inch cotton rope of doubtful strength” and climbed C-1 at Cragmont on March 20, 1932. One week later, on March 27th the CCC made their first foray to Indian Rock putting up I-1, I-2, and I-3. Cragmont, Pinnacle, and Indian Rocks were rapidly pioneered by a growing group of enthusiastic young students and Sierra Club members. In order to become a member of the CCC one needed to both up and downclimb C-1, (or "qualification crack") at Cragmont during the same day. “You couldn’t go up on one Sunday and down on the next.

Qualification crack was the easiest way up the east face of the rock.


Fred
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 26, 2010 - 06:41pm PT
cool photos, Guid. Here they are with some retouching.

the first photo of Andy L. in a rope litter has I believe, the late and much beloved Bruce Cooke looking down at him. Bruce is wearing glasses and one of the austrian felt hats.

Cool that the second one has Weissner. I vaguely remember him and I think I climbed with his son Barry and nephew. Great kids.



Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2010 - 07:06pm PT
So Fred, you must know what I-1 through I-11 are. I'm sure Transportation Crack and Beginner's Crack are among them.

I have some vague memory of Dave Altman talking about Lichtman's Lick. But I've forgotten where it is.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 26, 2010 - 07:24pm PT
Hi Peter

Thanks for the retouch as always!

I don't think that is Bruce-believe it is Larry Williams?

I think Carl also had a cute young daughter?

cheers

joe
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 26, 2010 - 10:31pm PT
Yeah you are right, Guid. I see the two images corroborate that. How cool it would be to see now a photo of Bruce Cooke. We have kind of elaborated his climbing presence here in the past. Great gentle guy, great friend of Higgins too.
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 27, 2010 - 12:23pm PT
That guy does look like Bruce. I have a couple of slides of him taken when he was sick. Amy and I visited him. He was always such a good guy and was very nice to me. I rode with him a couple of times, I remember doing a long ride through the Oakland hills. He was a fit guy before he got sick.

I-1 was the ledge system above the edge. Chimney up and traverse left.
I-2 was called the Eucalyptus Crack and I'm pretty sure it is what we know of as Beginners crack. Bev Blanks made the first ascent on May 1st, 1932.
I-3 was traversing across watercourse from the slab on the left. FA 3/27/32 by Dick Leonard, who wrote...

"“The Overhanging Ledge and Crack.” One of our finest climbs, requiring a good knowledge of the use of the holds available. Starting from under the overhang of the huge monolith a very difficult problem is had in solving the manner of getting on to the ledge imediately under the overhang. Once having gotten on the ledge by means of clever pressure holds, an excellent hand hold enables one to easily come out from under the overhang and go up the crack which looks to be far the most difficult part of the climb."

Fred
LongAgo

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2010 - 08:30pm PT
Peter, Fred,

I'll try to post a couple of pics of Bruce once a crashed computer gets revived and I scan them in. I see there is a new tab above this window as I write noting "photo." I'll try to use that once i have a jpg file. I have a couple of him at Indian Rock too, I think.

A search of "Cooke" will bring up some scattered remembrances and tributes on Supertopo, which someday might be brought together into a single thread. I gave a tribute to him on supertopo last year (I think on a Daff Dome thread). What the heck, here it is again complete with a link to one pic of him and me:

"The Bruce in question is Bruce Cooke. Indeed, he did one arms well into his 60's. He and I climbed quite a bit together. He had hip arthritis in later years and climbed very stiffly, but loved it so much he just went with the pain and immobility.

He served on front lines in WW2 hinted at but didn't dwell on some of the horror of horrors he witnessed. He was a blacksmith in Oakland shipyards. He liked to live a lean life. At one point, he gave away his big Oakland house to a young relative staring up her life and moved into a one room hovel holding a hot plate, bed and his super bike. I think he also gave away his car to another relative. Then he moved to a modest two bedroom house in Richmond where, nowadays at least, bullets probably whiz by in the night. He stopped drinking one day after driving up on a road median and cursing himself. Once he set his mind on something, he just did it, like the time he rode his bike from Oakland to Tuolumne Meadows with a load of camping gear. He liked women, but never married - I think he had very high ideals about love and came away from one relationship soured on certain relationship realities. Very painful cancer plagued him to his death, but he enjoyed visitors to the end. He didn't talk much about his condition, just asked how you were doing and liked to share listening to music.

Quite the man. I much loved him. He was best man at our wedding, such as it was - no friends or family, just Bruce with us there in our home. I have a picture of his holding our baby daughter in front of the fireplace. I think he liked the simplicity of how we did it. We were honored to have him there. His entire manner and being helped set us on our way, affirmed our belief in ourselves and our journey, now 30+ years in the making.

Bob Kamps also respected and liked Bruce and they climbed together too. We named a route after Bruce in the Meadows: the Cooke Book on Daff (yes, Cooke is correct spelling).

For a picture of Bruce and me sitting and talking about some route long ago (I think at Lovers Leap), go here:"

http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=20

Kinda says it.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
BBA

Social climber
West Linn OR
Mar 6, 2010 - 10:55am PT
Richard Leonard (oral history at the Bancroft Library) says the CCC was disbanded in November of 1932 to merge with the newly formed Sierra Club Rock Climbing Section. On the Mt. Starr King register some still signed in using CCC in June 1933, but none after that.

Here are a three images from the Starr King register with Bruce Cooke's entries. "Clutchrock"! It looks like he did the first ascent of the East Face, too.






guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Mar 6, 2010 - 03:42pm PT
Tom and BBA

Nice addition!

Tom can you post a larger version of that photo of you and Bruce?

Lauria has several photos of Bruce and will chime in I hope. I still don't think that is a picture of Bruce I posted. First name Larry but maybe not Williams.

cheers
joe
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2010 - 06:20pm PT
In the top register, on April 9, 1966, do you suppose that is the same Jack Rankin who taught Harding how to climb, that Zone 10 "culprit [who] must accept his share of responsibility for the many climbing travesties perpetrated by Batso and his henchmen"?

Besides Bruce Cooke I remember occasionally seeing around the early '80s another man about his age who used to come to Indian Rock: Jim Crooks, if I recall correctly. Mike Loughman used to speak of both of them with respect.
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 6, 2010 - 07:24pm PT
Hi Randy,

Jim was one of the most graceful climbers I ever knew. He finally had to stop because his retina was detaching and falling became super dangerous for him.

Jim and Bruce were both amazing guys. They also both very generously befriended a 15 year old kid from Oakland.

Bruce and I worked out a concept that never seemed to catch on. You always heard about people being "benighted" on climbs, sometimes this was an excuse for not finishing the climb. I remember he and I coming up the idea of being "bedayed". Somewhere there is a slide of me downclimbing the beginning of Nerve Wrack Point. I was totally bedayed.


Tom,

I followed the link to your page. That sure is Bruce, but who is the young hippie looking guy talking to him? Wow, what a shirt! I also read a bunch of your stories there. Very cool times.

Fred
BBA

Social climber
West Linn OR
Mar 6, 2010 - 07:46pm PT
Rankin also climbed the peak in 1957 and gave his affiliation as the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club which is out of Sacramento. In all probability it's the same person who got Harding into the game.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Mar 8, 2010 - 08:29pm PT
Guido,

I've pulled the old photo (5X7) and will try a scan once computer difficulties are solved. But even in the small pic, note the lats on Bruce popping through his shirt. He could do one-arms.

Fred,

It would be so fun to hear of various "bedayed" climbs from whoever would weigh in. We all are quick to tell of feats and successes, but failures are equally interesting and instructive. Yes, Jim Crooks was a wonderful climber and subtle wit, especially when mixed up with Bruce. I climbed with them both at Pinnacles many times, and had little prayer of matching their ribs and jibs, as I was way too impressed with myself when young and dumb and they found all the chinks in my armor. Jim's wife Afton still lives in Berkeley and we are seeing her for dinner soon.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
storer

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Mar 10, 2010 - 10:15pm PT
Indeed that's Jack Rankin of the Mother Lode RCS who introduced to climbing. Adolf Baur (DAV: Deutscher Alpen Verein) went on numerous trips and I believe died climbing in the Alps.

I wrote the following in the thread "Warren Harding's Letter to the AAC..."

As I recall, he (Harding) came to several "dynamic belay practice" sessions Jack (Rankin) held at some property he had down in the Sacramento river bottoms. We'd hoist a 200 lb concrete block up a tree using rope wrapped around a washing machine agitator bolted to Jack's car wheel. The belayer would request slack be let out (say, 20 feet of white Columbia) and the block would be dropped. The belayer used a hip belay with a leather butt patch and gloves. Smoke was produced, the belayer most often upended, and the lesson, in those days, was "the leader must not fall!" Times have certainly changed!

The pics show Jack during belay practice:

Credit: storer

By the way, Jack passed away recently:

(Rankin obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sacbee/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=131730225);
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 10, 2010 - 10:55pm PT
I have said it before here but Jim Crooks was a wonderful cagey friend and climber. He actually even knew my artist Uncle, Jack Stangl(e) up in Seattle. Jim was in the copywriting profession for ad agencies and was bright as hell but way subtle too. For example, he would do copy for Scientific American, I recall. He must have been almost 50 years my senior. One day he, Bruce Cooke, myself and a young friend even did Machete Ridge in Pinnacles Nat Mo. even, a venture away from Indian Rock. I loved these older mentors and always looked forwards to seeing them on the weekends at Indian R. Great to hear that Afton is STILL alive, wow, TH. Who would have thought.

best to all, p.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Mar 10, 2010 - 11:18pm PT
This thread is wonderful.

Good god, this is Cragmont?



It's so different now. Lots of trees and shade. I'll go take a pic when I can.

Ditto for IR. I hope some of the current locals are seeing this and will post some photos.
oldguy

climber
Bronx, NY
Mar 11, 2010 - 02:00pm PT
I seem to get into these threads when they are almost as old as I am. However, I will claim to know the real story about RR and I 12. I was living in SF in 1960 (in the Army), and when RR visited me after he escaped from El Paso I took him to Indian Rock. We did a few things and then I mentioned that there was this overhanging climb, quite hard, that people did with a top rope. By the way, it used to be somewhat easier until somebody pulled off a few crucial flakes, but that was a little earlier than this story. A little later in the day, I noticed RR out at the start of I12, just having a look, I thought. Then he makes the first traversing move and, to my astonishment, keeps going. At the top he shakes out and looks down and says, "Nice climb." He then starts climbing down, harder to do because the overhang tends to obscure the footholds. When he gets to the traverse, instead of going right back to the notch, he goes left and proceeds to climb I13. (I can't remember anyone climbing I13.) The reader's own reaction to this, especially if he/she has climbed I12, will probably be a fair imitation of my own on that day. As far as I know, RR never fell off anything when drunk, although we both did some climbs when we had been drinking, as did everyone except Frost. My own experience was that it tended to focus the mind since the odds of falling seemed to increase.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Mar 11, 2010 - 02:04pm PT
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
klk

Trad climber
cali
Mar 11, 2010 - 02:09pm PT
My God, is this Cragmont? . . . I'll go take a pic when I can.

Just do it when I'm not there-- I sometimes solo those things (DM), and I wouldn't want to add to your risk.

Heh
tarek

climber
berkeley
Mar 11, 2010 - 02:15pm PT
klk, ditto, and one time had a couple with a toprope muttering that I was going to "kill myself" on that slab, BUT

you're a historian I gather, did you read the friggin' amazing post above??!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 11, 2010 - 02:21pm PT
Ah, those driving questions that make climbing lore so special!
Did Ervine and Mallory climb Everest?
Did Maestri climb Cerro Torre?
Did Robbins fall on 1-12?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Mar 11, 2010 - 02:27pm PT
back off donini, we live at sea level four hours from the closest mountains. don't diss our love for the local choss.


and tarek: yeah, cool thread-- the pix are great.

i-rock and cragmont do actually have a place in climbing history since it's where the body belay was systematically developed back in the 1930s. chris jones's mountaineering in north america has a great photo of david brower on part of the low traverse. almost every time i do that move i think of brower.
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 11, 2010 - 08:44pm PT
Joe, you have to be pulling our collective legs.

Downclimbed I-12 and finished with I-13?

Astonishing, if true.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Mar 11, 2010 - 09:04pm PT
Randy, I never tried I-13. What are the details?
richross

Trad climber
Mar 11, 2010 - 09:26pm PT
Credit: richross
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
Mar 12, 2010 - 11:20am PT
I-13 is slightly easier than I-12.
I would think that if you had downclimbed the meat of I-12,
traversing left to I-13 might seem more reasonable that traversing
right to the really insecure moves back into the notch.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Mar 12, 2010 - 12:51pm PT
thanks scuffy b.
Yeah, that start to I-12, with your feet at, what, 20' up, would be delicate to reverse. Still, for RR to venture up I-13 as reported above showed some major sack, not to mention endurance. He had to feel pretty confident that he could back off I-13 and go back up I-12 if needed.

Or maybe he didn't think much at all, and just climbed...
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
Mar 12, 2010 - 03:49pm PT
Or maybe he'd already done I-13 and knew it would be better than the
moves back to the notch.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Mar 12, 2010 - 04:22pm PT
report makes it sound as tho it was his first go at the two routes.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Mar 12, 2010 - 05:10pm PT
Just do it when I'm not there-- I sometimes solo those things (DM), and I wouldn't want to add to your risk.

Just don't be a dick and climb over my head without first asking or giving me a chance to move out of the way...

Heh
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 12, 2010 - 06:24pm PT
It may have been an on-sight solo first ascent. Even if it weren't, Robbins sure didn't know anything about it. Its difficulty, sequence, whether it had ever been climbed or even could be climbed were all unknowns.

He may have intended to climb I-13. Surely he was aware of the insecurity of traversing off the bottom when he began the down-climb of I-12. Still, heading out onto unknown ground over that void and onsight soloing a climb that wasn't far from the upper limits of free-climbing at the time is nothing but bold.

I wonder how this turned into a story of a drunken fall? My best guess is that the truth was just too incredible and would have made the rest of us feel very small indeed.

It just underscores once again that climbing is about far more than strength. How many of us today with all our training and ability to climb well above a 5.10 standard would consider repeating this feat? Let alone chalkless and in climbing shoes that are more akin to hiking boots than ballet slippers.
oldguy

climber
Bronx, NY
Mar 14, 2010 - 08:02pm PT
I detect a sliver of doubt about my account. I admit it can't be verified, except by RR, because none of the few other climbers who happened to be around that day were paying any attention to what Royal was doing (they didn't even know it was Royal). This also shows that he wasn't playing to the crowd--I was the crowd. And to clarify, this was his first trip to Indian Rock. He didn't know that I13 was a climb; he just figured that he could climb it, and doing so meant more climbing as opposed to going back to the notch. Earlier, Royal did some impressive free soloing at Stoney Point, and he used to use some kind of self belay at Tahquitz when there was no one else around to climb with, so he was used to being out on the edge.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 14, 2010 - 08:21pm PT
Thanks for sharing what happened, Joe.
I didn't think the rumor of him falling was very plausible.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 14, 2010 - 08:45pm PT
RichR,

the image of David Brower is reversed; here is the correct orientation:

Credit: Peter Haan

just below/starting The Great Overhang
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2010 - 09:41am PT
Joe, my doubt was merely the expression of my amazement.

Thanks for solving this little local mystery.

Peter, thanks for restoring the photo of Brower to its proper orientation. I was always puzzled as to where exactly he was. Now I recognize it.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Mar 15, 2010 - 10:19pm PT
Sidebar: kinda like a real climb

Well, thread really isn't about IR per se, but a little general lore is always fun. At Mortar rock, there is a small boulder with a nice traverse called Pipeline because there used to be a pipe at its base, maybe for irrigation. Some years back, O maybe 70's, I was working on this problem with Chris Vandiver and a couple of other regulars, just who I can't recall(maybe Fred will help out here). We tried not to work sections, but rather kept trying it from the first move (working right to left) until we fell off and had to start over, kinda like a real climb. Not sure that approach kept going very long, but anyway one Sunday I came back to have a look and started off to find a little piece of paper stuck behind a crucial flake. I pulled it out and it said something like, "Got it today, Chris" with a date on top. I think he had come out on the previous Wednesday, I guess after one of his carpenter jobs at the end of day. So, Chris got the FA, kinda like a real climb, and his note kinda like a summit register, and that’s the history as I recall it. Hard to know about FA’s for other climbs, since there is no record, and maybe that’s fine too, all in the name of foggy history.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 16, 2010 - 08:42am PT
Hi, Tom (I met you once at Indian Rock around 1982 but there's no reason you would remember me).

I recall hearing that Vandiver had left a big chalk-drawn diagonal arrow on the Pipeline Traverse, after having snagged the first ('79?). But that's probably just malicious scuttlebutt, there being a bit of rancor toward him in those days as being too competitive (I met him a few years later in Tuolumne and, expecting an egomaniac, found him very amiable).

Mike Loughman and I once sat at the top of Beginner's Crack around 1980 or so and watched him do circuits on the overhang across the way, going up the Center Route, down The Cleavage Plane, then the Right and Left on and on for maybe a half an hour (or so it seemed). Mike's comment: That's what five years in Yosemite will do for you.

Do you know what Vandiver is up to these days?

John Morton

climber
Mar 16, 2010 - 12:44pm PT
To correct a minor detail in Tom's short bio of Bruce Cooke: Bruce actually worked at Mare Island, the enormous naval shipyard in Vallejo which dated back to the Civil War. I always imagined Bruce as a man from another era, when people arose from obscure beginnings to make lives for themselves in the West. A fantasy, I guess, but a heroic figure somehow.

The Mare Island blacksmith shop had huge steam-powered hammers: 19th century tools which belched clouds of steam with each stroke. Bruce gave me 2 pitons he made in the shop. One is a Salathe-type horizontal which I drove and removed many times with no wear or fatigue. The other is a sort of horizontal RURP for which I never found a use. Jerry Coe really wanted to get one of those steam hammers for his shop when they decommissioned Mare Island in the nineties, but there was no room for such a monster.

John
Credit: John Morton
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
Mar 16, 2010 - 03:31pm PT
Tom,
it was Nat and Scott who were in the Pipeline race.
I'd heard, from Scott and Tom and Chris, that it was just a little note
announcing the achievement. Diagonal chalk streak, I have to think that
story sprouted on its own.
Nat and Scott were a little miffed at Chris's gamesmanship, but, you know,
if you're going to be competitive about a boulder problem first ascent,
you have to be willing to be second. He may have rubbed their noses in it,
but not all that hard.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Mar 16, 2010 - 03:40pm PT
ok, that pipeline story is hilarious.

it only gets v6 these days, but that last move is fairly low-percentage for me.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 16, 2010 - 03:53pm PT
John,

Bruce must have worked at Hunter's Point as well, because when they announced that they were closing it around 1972, he told me they were closing his "alma mater."

John

edit: How could I have missed the rest of this thread? Even though I spent only four years in Berkeley, and left in 1973, I still dream (literally) about Indian Rock. It's great to hear from so many who loved the places as I did. Seeing those pictures of Andy Lichtman reminded me of when I first met him there. He was in tennis shoes demonstrating Watercourse center and, of course, Lichtman's Lick, among other things.

Incidentally, Galen Rowell demonstrated the technique for a one-handed ascent of Watercourse Right to us. In addition to a dynamic start, it had a key move of using your knee, just like all the textbooks said you shouldn't.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Mar 16, 2010 - 04:39pm PT
John,

Yes, Bruce used to talk about his blacksmith exploits, working near major heat and I believe injuring himself once, perhaps pulling a tendon from a bone in his arm, perhaps trying to catch something going wrong. Beautiful picture of the environment in which he worked. I also remember his pitons and had a couple myself, and maybe still do buried away.

Randisi,

No, I don't know where Chris is these days. He was living north of Tahoe still doing construction, last time we connected, but his e-mail has not returned in some time. We had some great first ascents together in South Yosemite and Pinnacles and I'd love to get back in touch.

As for the chalk arrow, I didn't see it, but I was a weekend climber, so I got there a few days after he did the route, according to his note. Good to know from Scruffy b who else was working the climb in those days. Well of course we were all competing to get the route and he was proud to get it first and we wished we had instead, but that's the deal with bouldering and climbing. You win some FA's and you don't. The main thing for me was I did get it that weekend, maybe spurred by Chris's achievement, and that too is part of the game, getting motivated to follow where one knows someone else has gone, maybe pushing harder for it.
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 17, 2010 - 12:55am PT
Oh Man!

In the photo under the Great Overhang (no one has called it that for many years, the Great Traverse too has been de-valued over time, alas) from the direction of the rope I would guess young Mr. Brower is doing that nasty, edgy traverse to the left. In those horrible looking boots with the big overhanging soles! Probably 5.15 at least.

Tom,
I do remember when that traverse got done. That was classic, I don't remember anyone else leaving a note or arrow (I don't think he left one) to mark a first ascent. Mostly they happened on the weekend when the whole gang was there. Inspiration runs high at times like that. I liked the V6 rating comment too. I have never understood rating boulder problems but it seems inevitable. I found that traverse to be pretty hard when I was not real fit.

I think maybe it actually got harder, like sun spot cycles or something.

I always thought of that boulder as the "Haan mantle boulder". There was a mantle (scary before pads...still scary actually) that I attributed to Peter. I did that route about a zillion times over the years.

I always thought that boulder had more good hard problems per linear foot than any other boulder in Berkeley. For a while Scott was adding new nasty routes about one a week. Most went up the left, tallest part where the Girl's Problem goes. Those routes are all forgotten (thank goodness).

Fred




Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 17, 2010 - 09:13am PT
Fred and Kerwin, The Pipeline Traverse got a bit harder sometime in the mid 1980s: there is the crux slap out to the left slopey on the edge of the rock toward the end and then you used to slap up to a good vertical door jamb-sized flake/edge. That flake/edge broke off.

Though my memory of the sequence could be off. I haven't been there in almost ten years. The problem was never popular. At least during my stint at the Rock '79 - '89, '92-95, and 2000, it was rarely chalked up. I may have climbed it five times at most over the years. Now the hand touching hand traverse along the lip, with pullups at the top...

The Haan Mantle is a great problem. Peter, did you put this one up? I always thought the throw was the crux, but then I'm good at mantles.

I can't believe I'm discussing that paltry boulder with such nostalgia! The bouldering here in central PA is really so much better, barring the summer humidity and the few weeks each year it is too snowy or cold. But I still miss Indian and Mortar Rock, not to mention - but I am about to anyway! - Ring Mountain's Turtle and Split Rocks and Stinson Beach (Marin boy that I was). Has anyone seen Russ Bobzien?

Ciao!
Randy
klk

Trad climber
cali
Mar 17, 2010 - 11:59am PT
The Haan Mantle still gets done, although I hadn't known it by that name. Pipeline is moderately popular, mostly because it's right next to Nat's.

The bar is very high in the Bay area-- if you don't consistently climb v10-12, you just aren't in the game. I still haven't done Stan's (Nat's backwards), about 13d or so-- there's one move on it that's very low percentage for me. Last night I watched someone I didn't know simply float it in a handful of tries.
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 17, 2010 - 12:26pm PT
Ha! Stan's Traverse. I'd never heard it called that.

Once, when I was very strong, I did Nat's, chalked up and shook out on the Cheesegrater and reversed it. Getting back around the corner at the end can be tough. Scott Frye could do that kind of thing with his eyes closed.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 17, 2010 - 01:36pm PT
We started going up to Mortar in the mid-late sixties. It seemed there had not been any serious consistent climbing before that point. And of course the main rock was caught nearly completely up in a net of vines, trees and bushes. So over time of course we denuded it, separating the geology from the botany and asserted our preeminence. As it has turned out, it has some really seriously hard routes---- longer, harder and better than Indian Rock itself down the street a block. By 1972 we had three routes on the main rock over to the right by the obscure short stairway and a bunch of ways of messing with Pipeline and the Tiny El Cap boulder at the curve. The real meat, the Nat’s area, was still to come.

Also I agree with John Eleazarian; Bruce definitely worked at Hunters Point at least at some point.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Mar 17, 2010 - 01:37pm PT
well, there's Nat's, and now there's Not's traverse. Not's uses some sneaky pinch and reach-through beta to avoid the layback match move at the start that I always thought was what makes Nat's hard. It's also what makes Stan's really hard, especially if you are over 6'. Or you could just do Ston's...
klk

Trad climber
cali
Mar 17, 2010 - 02:02pm PT
yeah, almost no one does the original shoulder move or even the rose move on nat's anymore. a few exceptions. glen park mark still hucks laps when he's in shape, and i notice that he always does the shoulder move.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 17, 2010 - 02:13pm PT
I thought it might be fun to post a couple of maps from Marc Jensen's 1988 Bay Area guidebook



http://www.stanford.edu/%7Eclint/ba/index.htm
tarek

climber
berkeley
Mar 17, 2010 - 02:34pm PT
serious thread drift and minutiae, but...
Harrison Dekker pointed out to me that Nat did the traverse without the smile. Someone excavated the smile later. Very hard move without. Footholds at the bulge were better then, though, Harrison also mentioned.
FTOR

Sport climber
CA
Mar 17, 2010 - 03:29pm PT
also the end moves were much easier. used to be buckets that finished by grabbing a vine at the top. on the other hand, in its original form there was a row of boulders below the length of the traverse that you really didn't want to fall on to.
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 17, 2010 - 04:41pm PT
I had heard that Nat at first worked on it without the Smile, came close and abandoned that sequence once he became aware of the easier ossibilities afforded by the Smile. But that's just what I'd heard. Harrison or Rob (Hi, Rob! It's Randy, erstwhile from Marin.) would certainly know better than I.

I've always done it with the ape swing. It's not Nat's without that. Didn't Scott dub that the "Girl's way"?

Sounds like Glen Park Mark is still cranking (when he is in shape, as you say)!

Thread drift? Joe (oldguy) settled the original matter. Now the thread is just an Indian/Mortar Rock history and general gossip thread.
BBA

Social climber
West Linn OR
Apr 19, 2010 - 09:22am PT
Bruce Cooke and Kenyon Cooke - http://10thmtndivdesc.org/?page_id=9
Same outfit that Dave Brower served in.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Apr 20, 2010 - 01:52am PT
BBA-that is so cool. What a resource and to see those photos of a young Bruce and the history! Worth gold.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
Apr 21, 2010 - 02:48am PT
Thanks Joe (oldguy), I find your version of the story much more believable than any rumor that Royal fell off it while drunk.
Tom
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 21, 2010 - 09:55am PT
This BBA post/link is a major development, isn't it. Wow. God I miss that wonderful man. Bruce lives on surely.
Maysho

climber
Soda Springs, CA
Apr 21, 2010 - 10:26am PT
Wow, that 10th Mt. link is incredible. I had no idea he had that history. I used to enjoy talking with him at the rock, a wonderful man.

Peter
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
Apr 21, 2010 - 11:13am PT
Tom, did you ever take any big falls at Indian Rock?
I had heard a story from Ben Borson in the 70s of a climber who was also
a parachutist (thus good at landing) who fell off something like I-12 and
just went right back up and did it.

My memory plays tricks on me at times, but some things stick like glue.
I thought for sure he had named you.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Apr 21, 2010 - 09:13pm PT
scruffy b,

Yes, fell off easy part of watercourse on day or two after rain when IR rock was a bit slippery. I was over hard lower section on damp upper easy part. Very dumb to boulder there after a rain. Broke a heel in the process. Did the other heel in a more dramatic accident - trying a new route off the coast of Scotland, near Aberdeen. Roaring ocean was out when I hit, revealing rocks for my "landing." Great partner hauled me in without drowning me. That's a fine trick, turns out...
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
Apr 22, 2010 - 12:34pm PT
Thanks, Tom.

I actually meant Tom Cochrane, though, regarding the story I had heard
from Ben back then.

One of my first times at Indian Rock, still a fairly new climber, I was
up on the "nose", to the right of Watercourse.
I had already learned the Indian Rock mindset, that is, if something feels
too reasonable, start off-routing holds.
So there I was, way up there, trying to figure out some moves that would
be appropriately challenging, when my feet popped.
A group of Real Climbers was for some reason talking at the base, right
under me. Me, someone they didn't know, climbing in bright blue new-
looking Robbins boots...

An indelible memory, looking down to see five hardmen, including Peter
and Dale, running away from my landing zone in panic.
Best landing I ever made, too. Hands never hit the ground, butt never
hit the ground, knees didn't hit my chin.

Peter actually started talking to me a week or so later.
wildone

climber
GHOST TOWN
Apr 22, 2010 - 12:41pm PT
This thread is so AWESOME! I think I'm gonna go over there right now.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
Apr 23, 2010 - 11:26am PT
Scuffy b, I have climbed at Indian Rock a fair bit over the years, but don't recall taking any notable falls; or seeing any for that matter. It would be a good place to know the Jeff Schoolfield landing technique!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 23, 2010 - 11:37am PT
That's all true, Scuff. I remember your first words.
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
Apr 23, 2010 - 11:48am PT
I don't, Peter, but your first words to me were

"You're going to Kill Yourself!!"

right?
LongAgo

Trad climber
May 20, 2010 - 01:55pm PT
How Much for an Hour?

Dreaming of doing a few easy slab climbs in the old kingdom of Yosemite, taking in the big space and distance and jutting rocks, these days I’m working every moderate slab route at IR I can find to get prepared. Last Sunday while on the little apron above the stairs, I noticed from the corner of my eye a family standing at the bottom of the stairs watching me and the pit boys and girls working on watercourse routes. There were both parents and daughter looking foreign by dress and manner, just as we Americans are recognizable in our travels. As I finished the slab and came back down the stairs, the daughter of the family, a very lovely woman maybe in her thirties wearing a revealing tank top and tights, came bounding up the steps smiling. She said, in broken English, "How much for an hour?"

Now there's a question I've never had in my 60+ years! Of course, I was wearing my most fetching, tattered pajama pants and thirty year old turtle neck, all speckled with white chalk. That must have been the attraction. But of course what she wanted was to learn to climb. I gathered she thought she was seeing a class with me the old instructor on the slab and pupils in the pit. I was so dumbstruck by her beauty I couldn’t think what to do. Deep tan, so wrong we now know, but o so right to me this second. Even deeper dark eyes. Black, black hair. I checked her shoes: fashionable little boots with thin, worn, slick rubber soles. I had no belay rope. Her English was poor. My Portuguese was non-existent (yes, Portuguese). Even in my bedazzled state, I began to see she could not safely climb much in those shoes and I could convey, and she absorb, very little, even if we went across the street to the smallest boulders where I could show her footwork basics and, heaven of heavens, spot her.

I pointed up the slab and said "need rope" "good shoes" and mentioned something about classes at gyms (groping for "gym" in Spanish) struggling on with half Spanish garble she barely got, no wonder. She admired my shoes, said she loved San Francisco (gesturing across the bay) and people she met and was here on a trip with her family, who waved from below. I recommended some places they had not yet seen, including Yosemite if they had a few days. She kept up, haltingly, then smiled a little disappointed after the talk petered out. She pointed up the slab and asked, "Not safe?" "Not safe," I said and looked to her and her family, my palms up, sorry. They gave a forgiving wave and went off.

Within the next hour as I kept climbing, I grew sad I hadn't been more accommodating, of course for the charge of her energy, youth and beauty, but more because I let down such a fresh spirit from far away, out for a walk with her parents and open to spontaneous adventure. Maybe another day.

Indian Rock: small rocks, forever moments.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
May 20, 2010 - 02:44pm PT
Tom,

It looks like I picked the wrong day to not join you at IR! I would have been a little bit more creative in handling the 'situation'; including the fact that I always have a spare harness, shoes, and a rope in my car!

On the other hand the chemistry was obviously aimed at you...
She admired my shoes, said she loved San Francisco (gesturing across the bay) and people she met

...didn't you ever learn to read between the lines???
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 20, 2010 - 02:46pm PT
I love this thread, because it brings back my favorite moments from my four years at Berkeley. Thanks especially to BBA for linking that post by the Cooke family. I think Bruce must have been a favorite of everyone who knew him.

John
LongAgo

Trad climber
May 20, 2010 - 04:29pm PT
Tom, I used to carry a half rope in the car for quick belays at IR, but stopped because, well, did mostly traverses and easy high things, so didn't use it. But, yes, I'm looking for that half rope again right now!

Lovely how even old brains still can fantasize, though fantasy it shall stay.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
May 20, 2010 - 10:40pm PT
"bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven." -- wordsworth, i think.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Jun 4, 2010 - 01:31am PT
Tony,

Thank you. I don't know very many climbers who quote Wordsworth straight away. Well, there was Bruce Cooke, friend in my day. I found Wordsworth wrote your quote in 1805, enamored by the French Revolution, it seems. Excerpt:

OH! Pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime Enchantress--to assist the work,
Which then was going forward in her name!

Poem goes on from there, but there's the gist. As a fogy, I get to say climbing once was something of revolt from "the meagre, stale, forbidding ways of custom, law and statute." But of course it is what we make of it ourselves, no matter how mainstream and commercial it has become.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Jul 8, 2011 - 02:00am PT
One of the best threads ever bump.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Jul 9, 2011 - 10:27am PT
Agreed. A superb thread bump...

Peter, I do recall you and Chris using that resin. You pofster, you! One of you had a sticky little block of it that didn't seem to help much, when I tried it.

I'd always wondered how, or when, that flake came down on Watercourse. It seemed like such a fortuitous event to have such a positive edge there. It never occurred to me that what was there before would have been better.

I remember seeing Royal visiting the Watercourse area several Saturday mornings during 1969-70. Rumor was that he was driving in from Modesto just to work on Left Watercourse... He was that frustrated with it! Seemed silly to me, but I did notice that he almost never spoke to anyone. :-)
frog-e

Trad climber
Imperial Beach California
Jul 9, 2011 - 12:04pm PT
Really great thread!

Sidebar question:
anyone know what "type" of hat this is?
Where can I get a cool hat like this?
Where can I get a cool hat like this?
Credit: edited
Or, what this type of hat is called, commonly?

I'd like to look for one, and am wondering
what they (hats of that type) are called...

guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jul 9, 2011 - 02:36pm PT
frog-e

You mean one of these hats?
Guido looking for the Lost Arrow.
Guido looking for the Lost Arrow.
Credit: guido
Credit: guido

Popular in the early 60s and commonly referred to as Tyrolean Hats. Back then, readily available at the Ski Hut etc. Today? Maybe try Sporthaus Schuster in Germany?
frog-e

Trad climber
Imperial Beach California
Jul 9, 2011 - 02:40pm PT
cool guido!

yes, those hats. ;-)

having seen enough of them (in pics) worn by climbers in various photos from that era (including John Salathe, I think) started to wonder what they're called.

Thanks for the feedback; Tyrolean hats. They look like they're made from felt?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 9, 2011 - 02:47pm PT
I often pine for the old days but I definetly don't miss those silly hats.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 9, 2011 - 02:53pm PT
Easy hat to make so find youself a felt artist and show them a shot of one. Felt is a hot material these days so it shouldn't be hard.
frog-e

Trad climber
Imperial Beach California
Jul 9, 2011 - 02:55pm PT
guido, Tyrolean hats they are!

google search:
google search: tyrolean hats
google search: tyrolean hats
Credit: google screen capture

I say we take up a fund and get one for donini!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jul 10, 2011 - 03:50pm PT
Ah Donini, you may not miss those silly hats but there were other assets in wearing them. Perhaps you missed out ?
Camp 4 hostess back in the day.
Camp 4 hostess back in the day.
Credit: guido


FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jul 10, 2011 - 05:09pm PT
If you want to see one of those hats in use. This is Al Steck giving instruction in rapelling without any of that new equipment in 2008. He was totally in his hat.

Credit: FredC

We did not try this out on this occasion. I am waiting for a big overhang.

Fred

PS: I went to Indian Rock yesterday and can report that gravity has indeed increased in recent years.

FC
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 10, 2011 - 05:34pm PT
Guido, when you cut Lederhosen that close to the bone, the silliness quotient is nullified.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jul 10, 2011 - 07:43pm PT
Captain Long and Tyrolean Steck
Credit: guido
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 18, 2012 - 10:34am PT
So, what's new at Indian Rock?
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Sep 18, 2012 - 12:18pm PT
This is wonderful stuff, gives me insight into Indian Rock's
golden era. I remember when Higgins first took me to Indian Rock
and showed me literally every route and more... I got
a little perspective, since we had so much much more rock near Boulder
at that time and had our own parallel history. The rock
seemed polished from
lots of activity. Amazing what creative people can do when given
so small a resource as Indian Rock. And then to be shown Yosemite,
by contrast! No wonder they were all so great.
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Sep 18, 2012 - 09:11pm PT
Must be a nice view at this moment... misty fog settling over SF, but the bridge is still visible and the sky is clear up higher.

What is the route that starts on the northeast side of the I boulder? (near the entrance to the tunnel that is the easiest way to the top) By extrapolation, I'm thinking it would be about I14 or I15, with a committing swing up and right over the overhanging arete, but then it's pretty easy slab to top. Probably 5.8-5.9 but unacceptable to fall.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 18, 2012 - 09:28pm PT
I-14 was what happened if you kept going left from I-13. The arete route we used to call I-15 but knew we probably were making it up.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Sep 19, 2012 - 01:51am PT
hey there say, just a bump...

saw some interesting things here...
i don't know much about royal robbins and always
like to read these...

:)

splitter

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Sep 19, 2012 - 02:22am PT
I have never been to IR, but use to occasionaly see RR soloing in the Valley in the early seventies. The open books behind C4 and elsewhere. He never said a word each time he walked up or passed us. Except for one time he got up to the crux of this new route down at Knob Hill. It was obviously an 'on sight' for him, I believe it was .10a or .10b! After a few moments of contemplation he called down and asked if anyone of us would like to rope up and do the climb with him. We responded, "GO FOR IT YA BIG CHICKEN SH#T!" in the spirit of Frank Sacherer!

Just kidding! lol

One of our crew, a young lady, gladly joined him and they ended up doing several routes together that day.

Pat - that was around '73. and it was at the 'New Diversions" cliff (i guess that is a different area then Knob Hill/i forget?). He was able to down climb since he hadn't commited to that move. I believe his quiet demeanor had a lot to do with his intense focus. He was the epitomy of control and conservation of movement, imo! Very fluid. A master on stone, and we were all eyes and ears (should he have spoken).
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Sep 19, 2012 - 03:51am PT
Funny how the legends grow...

Splitter, what year roughly would that have been with Royal
on Knob wall? One year I "rescued" Heinz Mariacher off that wall.
He went up to solo the obvious nice line, and it's all pretty straight-
forward except one move that is a bit committing. He made the
hard move, and there was another one just past that, so he decided
to climb down but couldn't reverse the first hard move. I don't think
it's 5.10 but approaches that... and Heinz politely saw me down
below with Luisa Iovane and asked if I would like to do the climb
with him (translated, come and give me a belay). So
Luisa belayed me up... Sound a little similar...

I would bet one or other Peter and Higgins (and others, Beck,
Guido, etc.) could speak about
Pratt's climbs at Indian Rock. I just know he was immediately
identified as an exceptional climber, virtually in a league of
his own. If I recall, there are a few little testpieces named
after him at IR. Chuck was never a fanatical boulderer but had such
a natural gift he would casually visit some boulder and
more or less set a new standard. He always viewed it more or
less as play.... I speak about the late '50s
and early '60s.
ArmandoWyo

climber
Wyoming
Sep 20, 2012 - 04:04pm PT
Before this gets too off-track, I'll add the original guide to Indian Rock. Dick Leonard did 2 of them, the first was November 13, 1939, and then a "reprint" in April 3, 1950. Both were mimeos on cheap stock colored paper. The 1939 is hard to see, so I will post both. The originals (if the term can be used of mimeos - ask someone over 60 what mimeo was) are at the guidebook collection I established at the AAC Library.
Armando
IndianRockGuide-Leonard-11-13-39
IndianRockGuide-Leonard-11-13-39
Credit: ArmandoWyo
IndianRockGuide-Leonard-4/3/1950
IndianRockGuide-Leonard-4/3/1950
Credit: ArmandoWyo
ArmandoWyo

climber
Wyoming
Sep 20, 2012 - 04:43pm PT
Comparing the 2 descriptions of I-12, the 1939 guide (and probably all done by Leonard), said that "It can be done, but one will have to be good." Maybe Dick should have added, And sober. The 1950 version of the Indian Rock Guide is obviously a re-type of the 1939 mimeo. The 1950 version added, "Ed. Has anyone been that good since 1939?" Although both are said to be "by Dick Leonard", I can't imagine Dick writing the Ed-note.
IndianRockGuide-Excerpt-april 3, 1950
IndianRockGuide-Excerpt-april 3, 1950
Credit: ArmandoWyo
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 20, 2012 - 05:08pm PT
Thank you Armando, for those excerpts. I didn't realize I-12 was done before WWII. Considering the likely footwear available, that's quite an achievement.

John
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Sep 21, 2012 - 05:29am PT
I bouldered with Galen, Steve, Tom, and Bruce. Bruce, amazing, at what 60 something or more, he would put a hand jam in between the 'fork' of two large branches of the tree down by the pit and do one-arm pull-ups, from a hand jam in a tree, AMAZING.

I have been there when Steck, Robbins, Chouinard and others were there but I can't say that I bouldered WITH them.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 21, 2012 - 05:35am PT
In the early 70s I spent quite a bit of time at Indian Rock. My bouldering was spotty, if you will. I don't like crowds. Whenever I went there, I generally went across the street to the small park and went cruising back and forth over the traveses, high, low, in between, for hours. Much more relaxing and took me to the Dolomites in my head. For a time I could be Comici! Who needed Robbins?
Randy Hamm introduced me to the place. He liked it there as well.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Sep 21, 2012 - 07:24am PT
Yeah, Mouse from Merced, I use to do those traverses across the street a lot as well. Fun and sure helped build the arms (and legs). If it was too crowded at Indian Rock, I'd go to Cragmont, which was even more crowded. Or Perhaps Mortar Rock or Remillard Park.

But some of the best views of the bay was sitting on top of Indian Rock, drinking a beer and smoking a doobie. That was classic too.

Good view from Grizzly Peak Rock also, if one could find one's way through all the broken beer bottle shards.

A good thing about Dalkey Quarry, it being so close to Dublin city centre (25 minutes by DART) and a 10-minute walk from the DART Station, one would think that in such a conurbation area, like Grizzy Peak, that there would be loads of broken bottles, trash etc. Not so, none. Okay, once I saw a television dumped at the bottom of one of the cliffs, but that is it.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2012 - 07:25am PT
Wow, the original Indian Rock guide.

Thanks for posting that!
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Sep 21, 2012 - 09:11am PT
ArmandoWyo

ask someone over 60 what mimeo was

I am under 60 (56) and of course it stands for mimeograph. I use to use them a lot at school on the school newspaper (cheapest way of publishing back then).
BBA

climber
OF
Sep 21, 2012 - 11:50am PT
Does the AAC have the entire collection of Yodelers? Maybe five or six years ago I was at the Sierra Club HQ in SF looking at documents and was given the "Yodeler" binders to peruse. They were an interesting history, and I was told they had not made it to the Bancroft. The paper was in trouble, starting to fall apart in a few places. It's a digitization project of worth because of the role the Bay Area had in early rock climbing.

I used the Yodeler as a reference for the first ascent of Kat Pinnacle on page 129, Volume 4, A Biography of William and Jeanne Kat (on the web). I was focussed only on William Kat, so I skipped a ton of interesting observations and climbing information by others about other climbs.
ArmandoWyo

climber
Wyoming
Sep 21, 2012 - 12:01pm PT
Patrick, the old mimeos were cheap, but not too good for preservation. I had mimeos of first Valley guide (really a 2 page list, half of it, Climbs To Do), first Pinnacles National Monument (by Dave Brower), and Cragmont and Grizzly Rocks in Berkeley. All mimeos. These were Dick Leonard’s and the RCS’s records, so I don’t think the original mimeographs exist. Now the mimeos that Dick and others made are in the guidebook collection at the Library. Would folks like to see the scans I retained of these?
Armando
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 21, 2012 - 12:03pm PT
Armando, yes we would love to see your scans!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Sep 21, 2012 - 12:09pm PT
But some of the best views of the bay was sitting on top of Indian Rock,

You know its pretty danged awesome, here in our Boomtown West, the land of the rapid rise and rapid fall, to have some continuity with generations past. Very cool that such a small rock can play such a big role in our collective mythologies and other assorted histories.

From mid-August of 2012:



DMT

ArmandoWyo

climber
Wyoming
Sep 21, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
BBA,
I don’t think the AAC Library has Yodeler, but you should ask Beth Heller. Maybe in Nick’s collection, but not in mine.
The guides I have were pages of the Yodeler, but that is all I had - the selected pages, and not the complete issues. But I had a lot of them. These were part of the complete Cragmont Climbing Club/Rock Climbing Section records from 1932 on, everything from meeting notes to expense receipts of “expeditions” to the Valley in the 1930s to records of climbs done, books read, and RCS parties. These are now all part of AM Guidebook Collection at the AAC Library. I was the RCS chair in early 1970s, but didn’t inherit (or even see) this treasure trove then, but years later, when RCS had been shutdown by the Sierra Club and this big box of records had been badly damaged in a flooded basement. As I recall Willi Fuller, another ex-chair of the RCS, was heading to Alaska, and gave me the box. He didn’t know what to do with the box after the Sierra Club had abandoned the RCS and said I was the only “responsible” person he could think of, which I took to mean, I had lived in the same house near Indian Rock for a decade. Maybe I was on his way. Same way I “inherited” the remains of the Rotten Log from Royal Arches, which should be in my ex’s house in Berkeley - unless consumed by the termites.
Armando
Rich101

Mountain climber
Anatone , Washington
Sep 21, 2012 - 03:28pm PT
IS this the Erric Beck that started climbing in San Diego RCS ?

Richsrd Sheffield
The Real Mad Dog

Gym climber
Napa, CA
Sep 21, 2012 - 10:57pm PT
I do remember Peter Haan soloing it. Don't know anything about Robbins. However, when I started bouldering there back in 1963, there was a large tree, and it was possible to traverse from one wall to the opposite one. So, I speculate that back in those early days, if someone had attempted to solo I-12 (5.10B ???) and fell off, hitting a few branches could save one's life. Over time, branches and then the tree disappeared, as did the soil, so for the regular watercourse route you start a foot or so lower. The answer lies with Royal? Are you listening?

p.s. Not too long after our Rockzilla gym opened in Napa, I dropped by after a good meal and perhaps three glasses of wine, and in street shoes led a 10C (at about age 65). The next day, I really struggled to do it. So, should we climb drunk (I wasn't quite there; doubt if I've ever been drunk.)? Rhetorical question.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Sep 21, 2012 - 11:09pm PT
If Randisi suspected it was apocryphal, why did he post a thread with this title and repeat a slanderous story he thinks is FALSE?

Weak.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Sep 21, 2012 - 11:19pm PT
Graniteclimber are you stoned?
ArmandoWyo

climber
Wyoming
Sep 23, 2012 - 12:25pm PT
Armando, yes we would love to see your scans!

Peter,
I will start to review them and select the neat ones to post. Give me a moment. Still trying to milk the last of our Teton summer - before our looong winter.
Armando
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Sep 23, 2012 - 04:04pm PT
Enjoying this thread.

It illustrates how even the tiniest crags can have a storied history and be significant to generations of climbers.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 23, 2012 - 06:32pm PT
No kidding. If nothing else, Berkeley's Indian Rock is at least one of those static Byzantine Edging Temples we all know about scattered across the world, too close at hand to a town to be overlooked or only given the once-over and yet too tiny to make much difference other than social.
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Sep 23, 2012 - 06:39pm PT
Someone should make an artsy climbing movie sort of like the Red Violin, where Indian Rock is the constant in a sea of changing history and personalities.

I'll be flailing there some time this evening for a bit. Maybe around 6pm?
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Sep 23, 2012 - 08:51pm PT
"yet too tiny to make much difference other than social."

Do most big crags or mountains "make much difference other than social"?

According to the wikipedia History of Rock Climbing article, the practice and concept of the dynamic belay was invented at Indian Rock.
gonzo chemist

climber
Fort Collins, CO
Sep 23, 2012 - 09:44pm PT
this is actually a really cool thread.


I have a question for BBA or Guido:

the "Borghoff" that is mentioned in the letter up-thread....is this the same Mike Borghoff that put up 'Borghoff's Botch' at the Gunks and 'Borghoff's Blunder' at the Garden of the Gods?

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 23, 2012 - 09:58pm PT
What I meant Granite, and being one of Indians denizens since 1963 myself, was that Indian Rock's actual rock climbs, though technical as they can be, are still utterly tiny little things and in themselves make no difference within climbing, do not have the import that the "real" routes in the real hills and gorges. What is so rich and important about Indian Rock is its long history, its social power and ability to connect thousands of climbers, all levels, through more than eighty years.

Gonzo, Mike Borghoff was the marvelous poet and father of our very own Mister E. and yes I believe one and the same in your references.
Dirka

Trad climber
SF
Sep 23, 2012 - 10:31pm PT
Climbed and lived by it for about Five years. Endless laps and countless sunsets. "pine for the dayz". Even got a job as leader of Cal-Ventures leading their climbing course for a summer. What a great place.
BBA

climber
OF
Sep 23, 2012 - 11:19pm PT
My year plus at Indian Rock while I was at UC went from August 60 - December 61. Those were great days. One of the interesting memories is the day I heard the screaming of tires and brakes then a large crash. Another one bit the dust going too fast down Marin. In my short time at Indian the only guys who were pretty regular were me, Guido and Foott. Galen was in and out as was his strange pal Scott. Roper was a sometimes presence. Not many could take that place daily. Pratt was in the Army.

I was thinking about the broken flake on the Watercourse and it popped to mind that Janie Taylor asked me and someone else what we were doing on the Watercourse as we were failing by trying to do it a hard way and avoid the flake. I said we couldn't make it she said it's easy and used the flake. I believe I resolved then that the flake had to go.
oldguy

climber
Bronx, NY
Oct 4, 2012 - 01:17pm PT
This thread seems to be getting some recent traffic, so I'll add a few tidbits. I posted earlier about RR's I-12 & I-13 climbs. Remember, that was still in the days of klettershue.
And thinking about Indian Rock, I once did a fun no-hands traverse on the little boulder to the left of the stairs behind the water fountain. The traverse starts pretty far left and goes right. The hard part is getting your foot on a hold you can't see because your head is plastered to the rock, and then you have to balance over onto it. If you can manage all that it is then a walk off. Royal and I used to work on it, and I'm not sure he ever made it.
One more little piece of news. I have finished and published my book, Going Up. Pat Oliver (Ament) wondered at one point if I was going for perfection. He should know that perfection is the enemy of the good. The book's good, could be better given another ten years to work on it. Anyway, for now it is only available through my website: joefitschen.com. I would appreciate it if all of you would spread the word. Better yet, buy the book and read it.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Oct 4, 2012 - 02:15pm PT
Ahh, this is great news. I will be one of the first takers, and
yes one can overwork things in a quest for perfection. Many of my
books and articles are loaded with places and passages
I look at now, with so much more experience, and realize I
could have greatly improved. But sometimes one has simply to
let go. Some of my writings were like journal writing, full of
rough stuff and imperfections, but there is a value to such stuff,
perhaps especially when it has a kind of spontaneity. Sometimes
that good, relaxed feel can be killed by too much work....
I know Joe's book, at its "roughest" will be art of the truest sort
and will be the perspective of one who truly was there.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 4, 2012 - 04:04pm PT
Randy Hamm introduced me to the place. He liked it there as well.

I remember Randy! I remember you, Mouse, in the Valley, but I wasn't aware you played at The Rock as well. We must have crossed paths there too, I guess, sometime during my four years (fall of 1969 - June of 1973) at Berkeley.

John
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 29, 2013 - 01:16pm PT
Here is a rare image. Just got it from my sister. I am completing I-12 unroped. Only a couple people ever unroped the climb. You end up forty feet off the deck. It was about 1971.

Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 29, 2013 - 07:55pm PT
Wow, Peter. I never had the balls to do that. Heard tell of a flexing flake. No one even top-ropes the thing anymore.

That photo certainly doesn't convey the exposure of that climb.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 29, 2013 - 09:42pm PT
Yeah there is a critical side cling you step over left to reach. You are working above the void while traversing from the notch. The hold is a hidden slot around a bulging rib; you feel it flex, yes, as you cram your tips in it. Long ago it was larger and broke off somewhat. That was before my time namely before 1963. Once you access the side cling, you pull into a kind of two-move lieback on it to gain sloped handholds. You are overhung a bunch when you do this and feet are slopers too. A suddenly exposed mind rattler this route, good to have at a practice rock. Exit is also slopers and not very positive either. There is some real risk and the fall is not acceptable.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 29, 2013 - 09:47pm PT
great shot peter.

several years ago, i headed off to do that and didn't. i'd want to tr (and prolly clean it) first.

prolly deathzone. at least w/o pads. or worse.

Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 29, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
Beautiful photo Peter! Did your sister take it? That's right around when we were climbing most together, but I don't know that I remember that day. Your hair length looks about right and even stikes chords of recognition of blasts from the past, but I think I would have guessed 1970.

Dar

ps in edit: I can't tell if you're wearing modified EBs or ???.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 12:10am PT
Darwin, I am wearing really new PA's there. Not a great choice for a slopey friction-foothold type of route.

This photo was taken by Jim Crooks. You remember him of course. Older guy in his late sixties, close friend of Bruce Cook.

It turns out he even knew my uncle up in Seattle long time back. Jack Stangle (Stangl) the painter/artist/papermaker. Jim was a wonderful presence at Indian Rock, as we have all said in past threads. He was a retired advertising exec from Seattle, married to Afton Crooks who was Exec. Assist. to the Chancellor and a friend of my mother's. Jim had been climbing for decades by this point. I think it started in the Northwest.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 30, 2013 - 01:21am PT
I've been meaning to repost these from another thread where I didn't upload or link them correctly: http://www.bigstupid.org/Valley_IndianRock_70/
I've selected out the Indian Rock ones. All these are circa 69-71.

There was a period '68-'70ish that Luke Freeman, Matt Pollock and I went up there almost daily after high school. We/I heard the Robbins falling off of I-12 story, but I can't remember if it was from Vandiver, or before. Justice Drake, maybe?


Credit: Darwin
Peter and Galen

Credit: Darwin
This is just around the corner from I-12. Although it's not the highball that's I-12, I remember thinking about how I would want to bounce if I came off. That's me. Luke took the photo and Peter cleaned it up a bit.

Credit: Darwin
Peter Amy Steve and ??

Credit: Darwin
Amy Mike and ??

Credit: Darwin
Ben Borson, Lynea(???) and ??? (edited)

Credit: Darwin
Ben Borson on Water Course. I sure wouldn't mind hearing from him again if any of you are in touch. (edited)

Credit: Darwin
This is from the Valley, but I just can't bear not to post it. Luke Freeman

Then back to the topic of the thread. One of my dearest friends to this day came off higher on Water Course wrong back in 69 or 70 and broke her back and ankle (being cold sober). She quit climbing after that, but went on to do awesome very remote river trips in Alaska not to mention a slew of travel adventures including climbing Mt Elgon in Kenya.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 30, 2013 - 02:04am PT
THIS> IS > WHUT > THE > TACOSTAND > IS > FOR !!!!!



Wow, just wow!!!!
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Apr 30, 2013 - 02:23am PT
And thinking about Indian Rock, I once did a fun no-hands traverse on the little boulder to the left of the stairs behind the water fountain. The traverse starts pretty far left and goes right. The hard part is getting your foot on a hold you can't see because your head is plastered to the rock, and then you have to balance over onto it. If you can manage all that it is then a walk off. Royal and I used to work on it, and I'm not sure he ever made it.

i loved that little no-hands traverse and had it pretty well wired...i tried it more recently with Tom Higgins and couldn't touch it...

bitd i heard that Royal had soloed I-12 and so played around myself, but was never willing to go for it

but did do the one to the left

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 02:32am PT
Darwin and Peter,

Thanks for posting those pictures. They bring back my happiest memories of Berkeley.

Ben Borson was the first person I met at Indian Rock when I was a freshman at Cal in 1969. He gave me a private tour and dazzled me with his ability. It's been over 40 years since I've seen him. Another denizen of that time that I haven't seen or heard from in many decades is Eddie Litton. Anyone know what happened to him?

John
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 10:33am PT
Wow Peter, to folks who h, ave climbed that route that photo makes you want to chalk up! You look really relaxed right there. I 12 has gotten very lichen-covered over the years since then. I have toproped it in the last 10 years for sure. I never really considered doing it unroped.

Ben Borson started coming around again some years ago. I believe he had been working at UCSF in molecular biology and he went back to get a law degree. Nice combination. He was much heavier than when he was active in the early 70s but he could still do his little left hand undercling route on watercourse. Scott Frye dubbed that climb the "Borson Boulder Bonus" problem.

I was thinking about Ed Litton just yesterday because I was riding my bike. I got a really cool Pogliaghi in the early 80s from a guy at Velo Sport and Ed painted it for me. He was a bike builder for a while around then.

One guy from those days has surfaced lately, do you guys remember Charlie Loo? He was really skinny with big hair and he shook while doing really hard routes on watercourse. He climbs in the Berkeley climbing gym sometimes. He is now Charles because he is 43 years older now. He is climbing well in the gym.

In the past year my junior high school photo identification surfaced after many years and I am about 80% sure that young kid behind Peter and Galen looking intently at their arms is me at age 15-16.

Fred
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 10:49am PT
I am about 80% sure that young kid behind Peter and Galen looking intently at their arms is me at age 15-16.

Haha, classic, Fred.

I love how a thread can come back to life.

By the way, Borson looks so serious in those shots! He was much more relaxed (and chubby) when I met him in the early '90s or so.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 30, 2013 - 11:18am PT
Fred,

That would be awesome if it's you in the Peter/Galen photo. I just searched around for Ed Litton online and found he has a bike shop in Richmond, LITTON CYCLES. It's his voice on the answering machine.

I'll correct my spelling of Ben's last name. I just noticed on the Rubidoux thread that rmuir pointed me to borsonlaw.com when I asked about Ben.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 11:30am PT
Fred, I thought the kid was a young Peter Mayfield and so I sent PM the image some years ago. He says it wasn't him, so you may be right.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Apr 30, 2013 - 11:30am PT
This may have been covered already but I remember hearing, I think from John Sherman, that in the mid 70s an attractive woman in the house used to vacuum naked with the blinds open. Urban myth?
Ben Borson

Boulder climber
Orinda, California
Apr 30, 2013 - 11:50am PT
Dear Indian Rock Denizens:

It has been a long time since I heard from anyone. Darwin was kind enough to send me a message today. With gas prices so high, I've found it more difficult to get to IR. Perhaps when my sons are financially independent, I'll get back there. Life in Orinda is good. We moved there in 1998 to get out of the fog in SF A few years ago, I did some trad climbing with Ward Little, and have "pinched plastic" in the gym too. Unfortunately, that resulted in some long-term problems with a foot. (General advice: don't push it!). Nonetheless, I get outdoors a bit (hiking etc.). Very relaxing. For anyone in the area, pleaea feel free to call or write.
Best regards,
Ben Borson
(925) 360-3420
bborson@borsonlaw.com
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 01:58pm PT
Fred,

Charlie posts here as clu. Thinking of Charlie reminds me that I also haven't seen or heard from Bill Fujimoto since around 1973 as well, when he was still driving Deerslayer. Ironically, while Bill took a few trips with me in my Ford Fairlane, I never got a chance to ride in Deerslayer with him, but I've owned seven BMW's since I last saw him.

John
FTOR

Sport climber
CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 02:47pm PT
altman and i painted that house way back when. probably wishful thinking more than urban myth knowing sherman.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 03:22pm PT
Ni kidding FOTR.

Sherman is a really fun and very good writer though. His kooky guide to american bouldering is really not a guide so much as a fabulous travel memo. A lot of us have read it cover to cover, as an account.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Apr 30, 2013 - 03:26pm PT
Here's more evidence that Royal may have fallen once;

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1030477/The-day-I-could-have-killed-Royal-Robbins
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 05:17pm PT
Speaking of cars...

Vern and I made a few trips to Consumnes River back in the very early 70s. We took his grandmother's Plymouth Fury. I remember he got a ticket one day on that drive, it was for 85 or something but during that run we got to 115 by the speedo. I used to call it "Clevenger's Fury", that would have been a decent name for a climb.We were off to try "The Struggler" and other stuff I can't remember.

The other memorable Indian Rock Car event was when Dale Bard got a Mini Cooper. He offered to show me how his car worked in a ride around the Indian Rock neighborhood. I had no idea what I was in for until we headed up toward Mortar rock up the street. The road turns about 90 degrees as it passes the rock but he did not seem to notice the turn as we approached. We just kept going faster. I remember looking at Dale and he had an exceptionally innocent look. My life passed before my eyes as we went around the turn at by far the highest speed I have ever done it.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 05:40pm PT
I, too, rode in that Fury more than once, Fred. I never rode in the Mini, although I still have very vivid memories of Dale and Allen riding away in it at a rather impressive speed. I wonder how Dale felt in the bread truck after experiencing the exhilaration of the Mini.

John
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 5, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
Bump for a better ST team.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2014 - 06:39am PT
For interconnectivity's sake: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2311911&tn=0

An Indian Rock Outing 1/1/14
splitter

Trad climber
SoCal Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jan 7, 2014 - 01:56pm PT
RR had a climbing school (called Rockcraft, i believe) back in the 70's that utilized the Balloon Domes as a base. He also had a pair of tennies ( euro shoe specifically designed for playing tennis) that he popularized and promoted as an excellent shoe for climbing, etc & sold out of his store. It became an immediate trend among climbers (Valley/eastside, anyway) regardless of their efficiency (imo, worthless).

During the summers, Meyers worked for Royal as a guide at the school. He related a story to me of how RR had done an OSSFA of a multi-pitch route, which he rated at 5.9, at the area wearing said tennis shoe (i had a pair, but don't recall their name). Meyers wanted to do the SA (solo) and, after considering using the same type of tennies as RR, decided to go with his EB's instead. When he encountered the crux, several pitches up, he found it very tricky, thin and difficult (stout) and was glad that he hadn't went with the tennis shoes.

edit: "OSSFA" - onsight solo first ascent.

jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Jan 7, 2014 - 10:12pm PT
He also had a pair of tennies


Tricorns or something like that. They seem ridiculous now, but not then for some reason.
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