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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 28, 2010 - 09:41am PT
Continuing with my new resurrected images, these of my main climbing partner, Chris Vandiver. These images are from around 1971-1972


Triple Direct Reed



Lunatic Fringe, the Valley:








Vendetta, the Valley, the second pitch on lead:







Sweet Nothings, Tuolumne Meadow, in the process of falling!



other: Outer Limits and a goofy portrait of Chris:



Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 28, 2010 - 11:09am PT
The Diver! Where is he now? I knew him when he hung out in the Tahoe area in the early 80s.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 28, 2010 - 11:17am PT
Hi Mark.

He moved to Santa Fe, NM, was married to Barbara Brill, really got into woodworking, that marriage came to an end, he moved to SLC, set up his own shop after awhile, got married to Lori and about 6 years ago they eventually moved to a place near Quincy, CA, above Truckee. For a couple of years he had been living out here working and Lori was holding down her considerable position back in SLC---- it was hard on them. Then he kind of disappeared but actually is up on Bainbridge Island I gather. We worked together on the Larry Ellison Medieval Japanese Village estate in Woodside before he went up there. In recent decades he has really become a japanese woodworking guy, loves it. He must be just about 60 now, maybe 59. He was a tremendous climber and terribly bold.
Tea

Trad climber
Behind the Zion Curtain
Jul 28, 2010 - 11:21am PT
"and terribly bold."

what an awesome compliment Peter.
scuffy b

climber
Eastern Salinia
Jul 28, 2010 - 12:39pm PT
Terribly bold when he had to be.

I followed him up the last pitch of New Dimensions.
It was quite an eye-opening experience.
I had heard it was relentless, a long strenuous lieback with nearly
no opportunities for stopping to place protection.
Chris just sewed the thing up. Every two moves he would find a wonderful
stance, some of them most subtle indeed, casually place a nut, chalk up
and move on.
I learned a lot about knee/foot and heel/toe combinations that day, and I
thought I already knew a lot about footwork.
I got to the crux totally fresh, following his lessons, popped out the #7
stopper from its bombproof placement ("clicked" into place, just as he had
predicted) and was able to stay calm and focused for the last few moves.
Grab the top with the left not the right, as I recall.

He was also really good as a sandbagger, but I guess I wasn't victimized
too terribly.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Come on in boys, the water's fine!
Jul 28, 2010 - 12:47pm PT
One of the amazing attributes of the Taco are the tiny degrees of separation between me and the forefathers who I tried to emulate as I grew into this sport.

I never knew Scuffy, I was 'this close' to Vandiver.

Like the day Stu told me, 'oh yeah, I worked for Robbins for a few years. Our sons played little league together."

Lol.

Cheers buddy
DMT
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Jul 28, 2010 - 02:51pm PT
classic photos!
BillO

Trad climber
Yachats, OR
Jul 28, 2010 - 02:51pm PT
Took a class with Chris at the Alpine Skills Institute at Donner Summit in the 80's. Very cool and fun guy.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 28, 2010 - 03:27pm PT
Classic photo of him leading Mexican Crack in the local guidebook here in SLC. I remember seeing him around a bit. Was friends with Lori and her soon-to-be ex as well (still see him around a bit and his new wife).

Have always wondered where they ended up...

Was it in Rowell's High and Wild that talked about Chris' prowess as a climber? I seem to recall hearing that Chris would just smoothly cruise right through a crux and you wouldn't know. But, if he hesitated, you were doomed.

Fun history. Thanks!

-Brian in SLC
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 28, 2010 - 03:37pm PT
Brian, exactly. Hesitation was not a good sign. Chris actually held Pratt in high esteem, especially with Pratt's notion to always find balance in all moves.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 28, 2010 - 03:39pm PT
He's the first guy I saw use two different shoes (one stiff, the other soft) for a specific boulder problem.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jul 28, 2010 - 05:26pm PT
hey there say, peter... not that i need to, but just stepping in to "cheer you on" with all this neat "BITD" sharing-stuff here....

way to go... :)

good job and keep up the good work...
thanks, though non-climber, but hiker, i am... :)
:)
Cam Burns

Social climber
CO
Aug 19, 2010 - 08:34pm PT
Peter,
Thanks for this post. I climbed with him quite a bit in the late 1980s in NM. Brilliant, fun, wonderful character. Cam
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Sep 21, 2012 - 03:39am PT
Peter, wasn't that Outer Limits photo used on the cover of Mountain, or perhaps on the Brave New World article by Bridwell? I am sure I have seen it somewhere before.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Sep 21, 2012 - 04:51am PT
Patrick, there's a photo in Rowell's The Vertical World of Yosemite that looks just like that one. It may be it in fact.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 21, 2012 - 07:10am PT
Donini,
I remember the Lord of Price telling Jeff and I about some of the boulder problems he and others used to try with different shoes on either foot. I haven't ever heard of actually using the "two shoe" on a climb.

Speaking of Price being right, he did the FA of Vendetta, Peter. His hand size being very big, witness his filmed ascent of Reed's Direct in the YV Lodge's ancient flick. I wonder if CV found that hard, easy, no factor. I have never witnessed any one even make an attempt, so good on Chris and yourself! Dish, Petey! How fun is that old bugbear?
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Sep 21, 2012 - 08:34am PT
Wasn't there one of Chris as refracted through Royal's round glasses? (Or maybe the other way around?) That was one of the first things I remember you posting and it was great.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2012 - 08:38am PT
Mouse, to answer your question, Vandiver and I loved Vendetta and found it casual. I did it three times even, he had to have done it several as well. My first time was with Schmitz back in 1970. Granted it was terrifically exposed coming out of the triangular alcove that is situated above that long fascinating offwidth. In fact that egress was the only spot where the FA party had aided the climb, out there on the vertical and overhanging face you come upon as you emerge from the alcove. Unsurprisingly the FA party had an awful case of snail-eye out there. RR immediately went up (thus "Vendetta") and rectified that however, and got those few moves out there done free. They were barely 5.10 as I recall, pretty much lockers in fact with a couple solid undercling moves beforehand. These new moves were easier than perhaps some of the climbing lower down that had already gone free but which had not been so intimidating. In other words, Lloyd's first ascent was aided but soon rectified.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 21, 2012 - 08:54am PT
Very nice clarification. I knew when I first saw it that it was not for the likes of moi!

Oh for one good try, let alone 3 sends! We sorta got over-intimidated by that alcove, Jeff and I. Lack of confidence. Lack of technique. Now he tells me!

Hullo, Chris, wherever you are. Wood that you were in the campfire.

Bring my jumars, okay? :0)

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2012 - 09:01am PT
Mouse, you could have done it too. It was gutsy of course and the offwidth was a big runout and much fabled but mostly so by those who hadn't done it. SO SO many routes faked climbers out as they mulled around at the picnic table, I have to say. And still do. If only we could keep our yaps shut, we would all climb many more routes than we do. Admittedly there are subtle differences between a death route and a good difficult well-constructed route that is still pretty normal. Vendetta looked hard and kind of "death-routish" from the ground but foot by foot, it melted away in the details and never was as desperate as it appeared if you kept yourself from snail-eyeing. I would add that the route is very very interesting and quite jaunty and certainly transcends most of the routes down on Cookie Wall in quality, variety, classic trickery and position.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 21, 2012 - 10:55am PT
"Tiny degrees of separation."

Excellent choice of words, DMT; you a lawbucks, by chance? :0)

So generous of you to clear the air about that, Pete. It's something everybody needs to listen to and benefit from.

We live in a modern world and it's good to see you taking the best of it for our advantage.

Kudos. Kudos. Mas kudos.
sibylle

Trad climber
On the road again!
Sep 21, 2012 - 11:09am PT
Regarding "two shoes" -- back in the 70s, the late Tom Dunwiddie and I were climbing a hard face route at Suicide, for which we used two different shoes. His idea I think. He'd been a Devil's Lake (Wisc.) climber, and good at hard, steep face. It was some combination like an EB on one foot, a PA or RD on the other foot, for a particular move. And specific shoes were allocated to specific feet.
Haven't sen Vandiver in many years -- send me his email, if you have it. BTW, Peter, I'm heading to the Bay Area to take care of my mom and her house, if you want to visit. Are you coming to Facelift?
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Sep 21, 2012 - 11:17am PT
Randisi, yep, I just looked it up in my copy of the book, you are right, The Vertical World of Yosemite, though the pic on page 127 shows Chris a bit higher up (caption is on page 126) than the one Peter posted on this thread. It credits Galen with the pic (page 207, Photo Credits).

Caption: Chris Vandiver leads Outer Limits, a difficult free climb, using nuts for protection. Pitons are no longer being used on most of the popular climbs in Yosemite.

Randisi, I think Outer Limits is one of the best 'short' 5.10s I have climbed, but there are so many, aren't there.
fsck

climber
Sep 21, 2012 - 11:47am PT
did this chris vandiver guy get into ultra-running at some point? i seem to remember that name appearing on various 100 milers. same guy?
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Sep 21, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
The Vendetta may break down into individual do-able sections alright, and, if you take your time to deal with it detail by detail, it may be a manageable endeavor. However, doing the second 5.10b OW pitch in shorts without knee-pads? That doesn't sound like much fun at all!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2012 - 12:41pm PT
Sibylle, you can reach Vandiver via Supertopo; his handle is his name. He only has posted a couple of times however.

Patrick, that image of Vandiver on Outer Limits: I am in possession of that slide. Chris gave it to me sometime after Galen did a photo shoot of him on that climb, and Chris of course was given the image by Galen. There were as usual a ton of images from that lead as I am sure Galen was hardly belaying. (grin). Galen and Chris were very close friends going back into the sixties even. They logged what must have been thousands of hours together throughout the west. I think Chris often had to carry a lot of that heavy Nikon glass too, of Galenís. In a sense Chris mentored to RR and then phased into Galen with a bunch of overlap as well.

Fsck, Chris never was an ultramarathoner. He could have been however as the sucker was a terrific athlete even as a god-forsaken medium smoker. His name has been around forever, since the sixties. He has lived in Yosemite, The Meadows, Squaw, Truckee, SLC, Santa Fe, near Greeley, CA, the Alameda/Bay Area of course, and now outside of Seattle where I think he has settled for good with an absolutely wonderful wife. He currently is not climbing, but it would not surprise me if he resumed at some point soon. He was at the absolute pinnacle at Indian Rock by 1971 and for a few years afterwards and was a major trad climber for more than twenty years afterward. A ferocious boulderer and fabulously competitive, lots of fun. And leading, he was incredibly gutsy, as we had to be back then given the bogus hardware and shoes. He soloed probably as much as Bachar but not usually above lower 5.12s he had wired. He has a long list of trad FAís and FFAís and has been at the same time very wise and never been injured or rescued despite his high level of risktaking. I do have to say that he was rescued as a kid though before he took up climbing; it was down at Pinnacles on Machete Ridge. I think he was like fourteen or something. Like Doug Robinson, these young dudes just started up a feature and kept going until they couldnít, finally realizing their situation and then finally calling meekly for help. We donít know who the ranger was that saved Chris, but Wayne Merry was the one to rescue child Doug.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2012 - 12:43pm PT
Brucer, yeah I hear you. I hated climbing in shorts but Vandiver was so disciplined with his knees and general climbing form and a good 40 pounds lighter than me that Vendetta offwidth in shorts turned out just fine for him. And I mean it too. You would think he would be all cut up as that pitch is so rough and fairly serious as well.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Sep 21, 2012 - 02:07pm PT
Peter, great info.

BTW, I was just merely mentioning the credits given. I don't care who took who owns the photo, it was a great shot.

But your contribution, indeed start, to this thread is priceless.

I never achieved the level of climbing that a lot of you, or indeed, dudes my age did, I just enjoyed climbing. Sure I aspired to be a first ascentionist on new routes in Yo Valley, but it didn't happen, my road took a different path.

I admire you and the rest of the pioneers and those pushing the envelope in the (1960s) 1970s onwards. I climbed with some of them but though climbing is my first love, I had other 'loves'.

I love this forum and the contributions of those who have played a part in climbing history and those who have yet to play a part. My hat is off to you all.

Now.. if I can just lead Streetfighter (HVS, 5.9ish) in the Quarry without shaking and shivering, I'd be happy. (Okay, done that, the shaking and shivering part, but the crux is either a placement or a finger jam... what to do? Hah hah).
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 21, 2012 - 02:25pm PT
I seem to recall that Galen and Chris were on an FA of Mt. Conness' W Face which was written up in AACJ.
splitter

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Sep 21, 2012 - 02:37pm PT
Mouse - I think it was the FFA SW Face/Harding Route (10c)!

edit: believe it had something to do with the face climbing variation low down on the route, which ultimately (they) freed the whole route.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
Sep 21, 2012 - 05:40pm PT
Chris told me that he often climbed off width in shorts as a matter of
pride. He had exceedingly good technique, and he was not averse to letting
people become aware of that.
I know that is an awkward construction, but it begins to address his style
of gamesmanship. He was not bombastic at all, relying on subtlety to a
large degree.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2012 - 06:19pm PT
Sort of right, Mouser. Splitterís point is right on. What a feather too, Conness. And we pause in memory here, of Don Goodrich who died up there so long ago from rockfall.

Scuffy, thatís true too and incredibly funny as well!! CV loved the technical and like Pratt with whom he climbed a whole summer after Prattís heydays, he wanted his climbing to get to where each move was drained of its craziness and fear and crafted in equilibrium to the extent possible. Thus when you watched Pratt climb, even later on, and when you watched CV climb, there usually wasnít any drama. Though Pratt was not a soloist really, Vandiver was a ferocious one and excelled for many years at it. We got our start on the South Face of North Dome linked with Washington Column Direct Route unroped many times. I was done soloing hard things by 1975 by Chris kept at it through the 1990's I think.

Patrick, I love this forum too. It is a near effortless means of staying in touch, reaching across imagined barriers and across continents, to friends past and future in rich ways and in a manner never before experienced until our digital age. We are so lucky today. This forum allows us to manifest our best instincts easily. Like you, I am finding it awfully important, especially as my powers wane and people are so far flung now across the globe.
David Wilson

climber
CA
Sep 22, 2012 - 09:39am PT
Peter, remember that Galen pic ( in the AAJ i think ) of Chris leading a crux traverse on Conness with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth - essence of cool !
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 22, 2012 - 08:03pm PT
Mouse...I recall pulling into the Camp 4 parking lot and before I could turn off the engine Chris's smiling face was inches from mine outside the drivers side window. He immediately drug a driver weary me to his new boulder problem. He proceeded to climb it with two different shoes on; one for smearing and one for edging.
I was still young but already versed in excuses for not climbing...and I didn't have two different pairs of shoes.
I saw Chris several years ago in SLC. I would love his contact info.
Thanks Peter.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2012 - 08:42pm PT
David, fortunately, Chris has stopped smoking and is in pretty good shape too, though not climbing currently. Conness was a big feather and he was proud of that ascent. I could tell as it would crop up in our conversations sometimes.
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Sep 22, 2012 - 09:01pm PT
Chris guided for YMS for a while. He had (probably has) incredible reflexes. One time we were playing a silly game in the neat old TM bldg. that was our home for a while; the game where two of you stand face to face, one holds his clasped hands in front at waist level, the the other holds hands at sides. Challenge is for the second guy to slap the other's hands with one of his - number one just dodges from the wrist. Anyway, no one could touch Chris. Finally, Loyd and I teamed up on him. Still couldn't hit him. Finally Loyd got really pissed off and took a mighty swing. His follow-though drove his giant damn thumb right into my eye socket and I went down like I'd been hit with a sledge. Fortunately, no permanent damage and I got to wear a patch for a couple weeks.

Really enjoyed Chris - hope he is thriving.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 18, 2013 - 09:02am PT
speed bump
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 18, 2013 - 11:00am PT
Yeah, Chris Vandiver IS thriving, Fossil. He is living in Washington with the most incredible wife and their life together is going quite well. Chris hasn't been climbing in recent years but is still thin and fit, walks a ton with his Irish Setter pair, Cleo and O'Riley. He is remodeling their house a bunch and has a giant unique garden that came with the house. Many unique trees also. I would say he is in the best situation of his entire life now.
harryhotdog

Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
Apr 18, 2013 - 11:52am PT
Thanks Peter for all these great stories and classic pics and to you Tarbuster for the bump. It would be nice if all these historical posts were in one history folder so we could all peruse at will as opposed to relying on bumps.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 18, 2013 - 11:55am PT
Thanks Harry. yeah, I agree; all in due time.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Apr 18, 2013 - 12:17pm PT
great pics.

I've been coming across more of Chris' routes recently. Glad to see this thread pop back up.
crunch

Social climber
CO
Apr 18, 2013 - 02:53pm PT
Peter, these are fabulous photos! Thanks.

Crusher
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 18, 2013 - 03:10pm PT
Chris was one of my early climbing heroes at Indian Rock, along with Ben Borson and, of course, Peter. At the time, Chris used to wear black work pants available at J.C. Penney. I quickly adopted them as my garment of choice. Then I heard him say what Steve (Scuffy) mentioned: that he liked to climb off-widths in shorts as a matter of pride and to enforce using proper technique. At that point, my secret emulation ceased.

John
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