The Longest Climb: A Pioneer Profile by Wayne Merry


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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 8, 2011 - 06:51pm PT
Wayne has been a huge guiding force in Yosemite climbing history. He initiated changes as far reaching as starting the mountain shop, the guide service and YOSAR. He even introduced multi-colored webbing into the market. A gentleman and class act all the way around.

It wasn't just the Warren Harding show on the FA of the Nose and Wayne's excellent account makes that clear. The Nose FA reunion was a smashing success in large part because he was MC.

Trad climber
Imperial Beach California
May 8, 2011 - 08:52pm PT
Wow - terrific story, very powerful prose.
Thanks so much for posting this.

Trad climber
Lander, WY
May 9, 2011 - 09:57am PT
Wayne has been writing for quite a long time. He has published some excellent stories about living in the North (Yukon, BC) and wrote the St. Johns Ambulance First Aid book for Canada (where he and Cindy live), quite an excellent first aid book with adaptations for living in the North. He is also quite an expert on search and rescue in Arctic and sub-Arctic environments, having published quite a few treatises on the subject.

He's a very interesting and lively person whom I feel quite honored to know. He and Cindy are both doing well living in BC.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 10, 2011 - 01:45pm PT
I read this story again very carefully and found this to be one of the finest passages on rock climbing from the 1950s. Terrific. Perhaps someone at Mariah might have tuned it up a bit, and if not, Wayne has a most excellent ear.

And so we went -- up the trail to where the wall leaped out of the ground like a castle; up the springing ropes, dangling packs tearing at our waists, into the sun and the white granite; up past the rusting pitons that secured the ropes, cotton-mouthed with apprehension. Questions nagged at us: had the ropes been chafing in the wind, or been nicked by falling rocks? Little darting shocks ran through us each time the ropes slipped over some unseen irregularity above. The upper half of the face leaned over us, incredibly high and forbidding. How far would a body fall free from up there before it touched the cliff, and how long would one have to savor the flight? We climbed far apart, one on each fixed rope.
ron gomez

Trad climber
May 10, 2011 - 01:50pm PT
Great post, is that you Dave? If so thanks for this, it does remind us of where our roots were sewn. Wish there was more of this writting today.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 26, 2012 - 10:57pm PT
Merry bump...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 15, 2012 - 05:12pm PT
I just picked up a press photo of Wayne on the Nose showing hauling technology 1958 style. No Yosemite hauling system for several more years so weight went upwards the old fashioned way.

The caption reads:"10/6/58 Yosemite California: Wayne Merry, Calistoga, ascends Yosemite's unconquered El Capitan with a duffle bag full of gear 10/5 as he and three other climbers advanced lines to within 700 feet of the top of the sheer cliff which rises 3,604 feet above Yosemite Valley floor.The climbers hope to reach the top during the Thanksgiving Holidays. UPI."
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 8, 2012 - 12:11am PT
Merry Old Ledge bump...

Trad climber
Sep 8, 2012 - 01:08pm PT
Bump for a great read!!

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
May 19, 2019 - 12:05pm PT
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