A look at Lost Arrow Chimney


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kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Feb 2, 2006 - 08:36pm PT
That's an awsome story. I didn't know that had been done. I remember somehow hearing Eric Gompers was psyched to solo that route too but not sure if he ever did.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Feb 2, 2006 - 10:44pm PT
Incredible accomplishment.

Big Wall climber
Feb 2, 2006 - 10:53pm PT
Very impressive solo grug. I wonder if anyone else has even repeated this feat?

If you don't mind me asking, what's the story behind your solo of Pipeline at Squamish. The fact that you soloed the first free ascent of a 10+ offwidth always kind of blew my mind. Had you done the route before? If you don't want to post specifics I'll understand; soloing is, after all, a very personal matter.

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 3, 2006 - 11:31am PT
Hey, thanks for all of the kind words. By today's standards, these accomplishments seem like nothing.

As for Pipeline, it was an on-site free-solo. Never even saw the thing up close until the day I did it. Perry Beckham was the one who put the bug in my ear. I did in the Fall of 1979. I remember before I did it, Perry had already come up with the free ascent name for it...Pipeloads. Needless to say, it didn't stick. Pipeline was interestng in that, back then, there were a number (perhaps, four) of fixed pipes that had been sawed off and hammered into the crack. On the free-solo, not only did I not want to taint the ascent by weighting any of these pipes, I was actually afraid to weight them and it was difficult to get around one or two of them.

Luckily, this whole free-solo stuff wasn't something I did for long. I remember backing off a free-solo of the NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock about 10 pitches up in 1981. Ended up down-climbing those 10 pitches and then doing no more soloing until 1995. In 1995, after not climbing for over a year, I was visiting the Valley with my girlfriend, soon to be wife, soon to be ex-wife. I was showing off by free-soloing Generator Crack (in shorts with no shirt on, no less), when I fell and broke my back. Had to get helicoptered out of the Valley and all.

No more free-soloing for me.

Social climber
The West
Feb 3, 2006 - 11:48am PT
I heard that generator story, 3rd hand as well, man!
congrats on still being here!

Feb 6, 2006 - 05:50am PT
I have cited the Lost Arrow solo various times and gotten no response at all .Hmmm.Wow ,didnt hear anything about your brokeback.Back in the day it was pretty scary climbing with Greg Sometimes.You'would be around a corner and hear sum scuffling around .I would look around and find Greg trying to solo some improbable thing.

San Diego
Feb 6, 2006 - 06:35pm PT
Kevin, Yes you're right. I had wanted to solo that thing really bad back then. I was so into offwidths and chimneys at the time and after on-sighting the left side of Reeds figured that I was good enough not to get spit out of anything on the Lost Arrow. Then I talked to Walt in the Village Store one day and he told me about the flakey face climbing part. I knew I wasn't good enough to feel confident on that so I started boning up on my edging skills but it never came to pass....

Talking to Walt every now and then kept me out of trouble. : )

Social climber
The West
Feb 6, 2006 - 08:11pm PT
Goes to show ya, no one listens to dick. Ha ha

gomp, I wanted to free solo it onsight too, but when I finally climbed it, I was SO glad I had not, for the reasons you mentioned.

--contrarywise, walt greenlighted me on Fairview reg, which gave me the umph to do it solo, even though the first time I'd been up it had been as a wide-eyed pants-pissing teenager.
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Feb 6, 2006 - 10:16pm PT
O.K. so all day long I'm thinking about downclimbing 10 pitches on the E. Buttress of Higher on the solo. From what point was that Grug? I did that route last year after having soloed it a long time ago and this time found it not so easy. It's interesting how one can get into the free-soloing mindset and everything seems straightforward- a pleasant illusion?
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Feb 6, 2006 - 10:17pm PT
P.S. to Jaybro, maybe that's because they "don't know Dick"

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 7, 2006 - 12:59am PT
I consider Grug's on site free solo of LA Chimney to be one of the boldest ever done in the Trench. There's just no way to get really well plugged into that upper section--just too grainy and akward and those pin scars are full of dirt. I congratulated you then and I do so now.


Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 7, 2006 - 02:27pm PT
Thanks Largo. With Bachar, Werner, Croft, Rearden and others free-soloing 5.11 and harder (I still have a hard time fathoming this), it's hard to believe that a solo of a 5.10 route commands much respect (but I'll take it).

Kevin. I may be wrong about the pitch number on the NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral. There's one scary, big step with nothing much for your hands around the 9th or 10th pitch. I remember beginning it, then backing off several times. Finally I said to myself, "This is stupid! I'm going down"

Oakland, CA
Jan 27, 2012 - 09:18pm PT
Little-known, on-site free solo bump.
David Wilson

Jan 27, 2012 - 09:38pm PT
Missed this - that is an impressive solo. Who, if approved to reveal, is Grug ?
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 27, 2012 - 09:39pm PT
Now posts as eeyonkee, IIRC.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 27, 2012 - 09:53pm PT
Forward links of Zander's Lost Arrow Chimney progression since this 2006 recon:
2007: beta gathering and planned attempt http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Supertopo-Lost-Arrow-Chimney-Beta/t134n.html
2009: trip report! http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Lost-Arrow-Chimney-Trip-Report-9-19-09/t416n.html

Trad climber
Cheyenne, Wyoming and Marshall Islands atoll.
Jan 27, 2012 - 11:04pm PT
Hey, Man
Its a sporty solo by any standard back then. I too thought about it. When I did climb it we got a late start, had to spend the night up top in T-shirts no water. Someone had gathered a big stack of firewood before us, but it was still cold. Man that was a long time ago.
steve shea

Jan 28, 2012 - 11:01am PT
Wow, LA Chimney solo! In 77 with Larry Bruce made a trip to the Valley to do wide stuff and a tour of the early Pratt 5.9/5.10s. We were pretty honed and had been to the Umph Slot, Crack O' Fear, Virginia Dale and Vedauwoo lapping wide stuff. Jack Roberts joined us for part of our Pratt research. We had a blast over a two week period and finished up with the Steck/Salathe in a day and the a few days later the LA chimney. We jugged out of the notch on ropes that Molly Higgins and Barb Eastman kindly dropped for us. One of the best, most fun trips ever to the valley. Impressive solo Grug!

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jan 28, 2012 - 11:44am PT
This is a great thread! One, for the nice into story with pics. Two, for Grug's tales of the solo on Lost Arrow and then more bonus stories.

Boulder climber
Apr 24, 2014 - 02:31am PT
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