Royal Robbins Falling while Soloing I-12 at Indian Rock

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klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 26, 2010 - 07:48am 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 - 07:58am 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 - 08:13am 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 - 08:27am 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 - 08:48am PT
Randisi

Boulder climber
PA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2010 - 09:01am 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 - 09:42am 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 - 02:00pm 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 - 02:24pm 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 - 02:34pm PT
Guido, those are neat to see.
FredC

Boulder climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 26, 2010 - 03:32pm 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 - 03:41pm 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 - 04:06pm 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 - 04:24pm 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 - 07:31pm 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 - 09:23am 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 - 05:30pm 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 - 07:55am 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 - 12:42pm 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 - 03:20pm 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.
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