Don Lauria Climbs Half Dome Summit 1966


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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 20, 2010 - 09:44pm PT
A classic grudge match from Summit September 1966.


Boulder climber
santa cruz, CA
Jul 20, 2010 - 10:12pm PT
sweet! thanks for this!

i'm pretty sure my friends father is Don Lauria, i'll have to let her know to poke fun at him for this.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jul 20, 2010 - 11:08pm PT
That first pic looks to be mechanical ascenders, not you-know-what knots.
66? I thought we had recent threads that had jumars appearing after that.
Maybe I'm just confused again. Yoo hoo, Don? Guido? Tom C.? Boo Dawg?

Read the article, duh...

Jul 20, 2010 - 11:24pm PT
That writing cracks me up! Thanks to both Steve and Don!
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jul 20, 2010 - 11:28pm PT
Nice trip report, Don. I don't remember it from the the original. I do however remember spending a night in approximately the same place a couple of years later. Over-bivouacked: good phrase.

Social climber
Paradise Island
Jul 20, 2010 - 11:30pm PT
Squatch: Would your friend's name be Kimberly?

If so, here she is in 1966, the same year her dad climbed HD. But this was taken in the fall just after he climbed C-H on Sentinel at the same time Dennis and I did the FA of the Psychedelic Wall. Simultaneously, Schmitz & Madsen did an early ascent of Robbins-Frost "Direct" while other parties were doing Kor-Fredricks & Steck-Salathe. That was 5 parties on different Sentinel routes at one time, unheard of in those days!

Edit: Is the "unknown" guy in black over Hennek's shoulder Chris Jones?

Edit: Survival: I didn't post on the jümar discussions tho I probably should have chimed in. My dad acquired a pair in '64, I think. I'm pretty sure Higgins and I used them early in '66 on HD; certainly Dennis & I used them that fall on the FA of Psychedelic. But there were very few around then.

Social climber
Newport, OR
Jul 21, 2010 - 12:46am PT
Super archival stuff SG! Found this: An ascender is a mechanical device used for ascending on a rope. One such device is a Jumar, named after the Swiss factory which developed the first tool for sale in 1958.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 21, 2010 - 10:26am PT
I would be willing to bet that Sentinel never saw that kind of mass assault ever again!

Social climber
Jul 21, 2010 - 10:56am PT
Mutt and Jeff are, of course,...................

Jul 21, 2010 - 11:00am PT
Don's writing is terrific. What history.


Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
Jul 21, 2010 - 11:13am PT
I was using Jumars in Yosemite in the early 60s, purchased mail order from Sporthaus Shuster in Germany.

I'll be spending this weekend with Layton Kor. I'll ask what he remembers about when he first borrowed them from me. I'm thinking he borrowed them for the first ascent of El Cap West Buttress. Then we used them together on the second ascent of Lower Cathedral Rock N Face.

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Jul 21, 2010 - 11:24am PT
Thanks again Steve (and Don!)
This writing produces the same humor and enjoyment of climbing today as it did when I first read it.
Cheers, mates!

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jul 21, 2010 - 11:39am PT
We eventually quit trying to nap, and just shivered and talked about water until dawn.

BWA HA HA hahahaaaaa!!!

One of the best sentences EVER! Been there, done that.
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Jul 21, 2010 - 01:14pm PT
Summer of 1966 is when I did Half Dome. The percent success was exactly 50%, 11 of 22. This was back when it was still possible to keep track. I counted an attempt if they carried everything all the way up to the wall. Not counted as attempts: racking the hardware in Camp 4 or solemnly declaring intent to climb it in the bar.

I think this was the last summer for the psyche flake; that it came off the following winter.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 22, 2010 - 12:09pm PT
Any pictures of the mythical Psyche Flake? Anyone?
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 22, 2010 - 03:06pm PT
I'm bumping this up at Survival's request for more info. It's a work in progress. Be patient.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jul 22, 2010 - 03:29pm PT
Yes! Thanks Don.

I was just wanting to be sure that you'd find us mucking around in this thread here and join in.

These threads are SOOO much cooler when the original players start chiming in.

Thanks again.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 22, 2010 - 04:06pm PT
I'm having all kinds of memory problems with regard to photo manipulation. This is just an effirt to see results before I inundate the site.

Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 22, 2010 - 04:11pm PT
In response to this email message from Survival :

“Don, there is a fun thread going about your 1966 ascent of Half Dome. Please get over there and help us keep that one alive for a bit!”
I submit the following bits of info:

Squatch: I have two daughters, Kimber and Valerie. Which one do you know?

Survival: Yes, those are Jumars. In about a year after Kor introduced me to them on the Leaning Tower I learned to use them properly as opposed the way I used them on the Tower.

Kids on 1966 descent from Half Dome

BooDawg: That’s definitely Christopher A. G. Jones in the black shirt!
Gene: Mutt & Jeff were Pratt and Roper. By the way, I mentioned that Chuck Haas and I rushed to our “refreshment cache”. I actually submitted the article to the editors of Summit magazine (two nice ladies that lived at Big Bear Lake) with the phrase “beer stash”. They, being “nice ladies”, edited “beer” out.

Cochrane: Ask Kor if those were the same Jumars we used on the 3rd ascent of the Leaning Tower.

Kor and BooDawg getting stuff to the base of the Leaning Tower in 1965

Grossman: As for the “mass assault” on Sentinel’s north face, there was a great meeting of clear thinking, straight-laced, gentlemen on the summit ledges. How would the likes of Schmitz & Madsen, Hennek & Boche, and Lauria & Willett spend a celebratory evening without beer? How would they?


Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jul 22, 2010 - 04:22pm PT
Holy buckets Don!
Awesome shot of TG ledge.

And: I think 1965 was the last time anyone approached Leaning Tower with that much snow on the ground!!
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