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Sport climber
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.

Boulder climber
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.

Social climber
West Linn OR
Apr 19, 2010 - 09:22am PT
Bruce Cooke and Kenyon Cooke -
Same outfit that Dave Brower served in.

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.

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.
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.

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.

scuffy b

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.

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

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.

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

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

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!!"


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 Iím 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 couldnít 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

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

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???

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.


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

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.

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

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
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