Stonemaster stories

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Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 25, 2006 - 05:14pm PT
Anyone out there with old (before, say, 1975) Stonemaster stories, I'd love to hear them as I'm slowly trying to put something together. Hearing other perspectives might help trigger some long lost memories. The Stonemasters were always as much a frame of mind as anything else, but what folks remember--especially in terms of anecdotes, or what they thought the Stonemasters actually were, or stood for--might help give some little shape to what feels like a very amorphous subject.

Thanks,

JL
WBraun

climber
Jan 25, 2006 - 05:22pm PT
One day I saw a John Long appear. He had much exciting energy. He went on to become a famous Stonemaster under the master tulage of the King Stonemaster, Bridewell.

:-)
Apocalypsenow

Trad climber
Cali
Jan 25, 2006 - 05:40pm PT
[a recent story, but one I enjoy]

I was in the company of T.M. Herbert, at Joshua Tree one New Years Eve, enjoying my third green label as he downed his tenth Bud Light. We were having good fun joking about the nut cases on top of Intersection Rock, most likely freezing their Asses off as they drank their malt beverages from the Keg. The Keg that was a wonderful tradition, but in a few short years was to end, thanks to the Feds.

T.M. noted that our fire was getting low. I agreed and started looking around for addition scraps of that pallet we had been using for our smoldering blaze.

T.M. returned with so much desert vegetation, that all I could see were his feet and outstretched arms.

“T.M., we really shouldn’t be burning that stuff,” I said as he heaved a good portion of it on the fire.

“Ohh, you damn kids, if it wasn’t for us burning this stuff years ago, you wouldn’t have any place to put your tents.”

I gave this some thought, realizing how distant I was from the experiences of this man.
We tapped our beers together, fired them back and stood by the warm fire.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jan 25, 2006 - 06:59pm PT
I remember the first time Bridwell, Long and Westbay gave me three pieces of this "stuff" on a rainy spring day in the Valley. Don't think they knew I never had the "stuff" before. Anyway, it was pouring rain and we were sitting inside Yosemite Lodge's lounge and I noticed the water was melting the cement outside and it was flowing away. That's when I decided we should all go bouldering. No one wanted to boulder with me as I pumped off traverses on the "hand traverse" boulder by Swan Slab (I couldn't understand why at the time). After the traverse session Long and Westbay took off somewhere and left me with Bridwell. We had some weird conversation about Socrates and Plato and clouds.
After all that I went back to UCLA but things never seemed quite "right" anymore so I quit college and became a climber.
Pretty weird, huh?
WBraun

climber
Jan 25, 2006 - 07:21pm PT
TM said; "Ohh, you damn kids, if it wasn’t for us burning this stuff years ago, you wouldn’t have any place to put your tents."

LOL, Hahahahah, now that is on hell of a classic line!

One of my favorites

Hack sacking in front of the Tuolumne meadows store was a daily ritual. One day a whole platoon of bikers ride into the lot. A group of people are hacky sacking and the sack goes flying over to one of the bikers sitting on his ride watching.

Bachar goes over to retrieve the sack when the dude on the Harley asks him what’s inside the sack.

Bachar looks at the sack then looks at the biker and says; “Ground up Harley parts”
Dapper Dan

climber
an 89' honda accord
Jan 25, 2006 - 09:20pm PT
did bachar get his sh%t knocked out ... again ?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 25, 2006 - 10:04pm PT
Back in those days Harley parts could be easily found in the wake of bikers. Its why the rear view mirrors were so big.
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:22am PT
This is something I've never forgotten and laughed about ever since:

Sometime in the mid 70's I was returning to Camp 4 after a day of cragging. It was in the late afternoon and I was approaching camp from the east. The place was PACKED-people at every site, most of which were fixing dinner or hanging out at their camps. Typical noisy afternoon. As I walked past the first bathroom, yes there used to be two bathrooms, one at either end of camp, the place suddenly went totally silent. Everyone was staring at me. People were whispering and pointing at me. I tried to remain calm but inside I was raging. WTF? I had no idea what was going on. My imagination was working overtime. As I went past Columbia boulder it didn't improve. People were starting to follow me. Everyone up ahead had stopped cold and was staring.

Kevin Whorral (sp?) ran up to me and asked, "Is it true, is it true." I had no idea WTF he was talking about and said so. He said, "Is it true? You free soloed Nabisco Wall, including Butterballs this morning?" My response was, "Are you out of your f###ing mind?" This was many years before people started doing things like that. He nodded and sauntered off.

I found out later that Dale Bard and Ron Kauk, two "Stonemasters", had pointed me out to a group of people earlier in the day and, with total sincerity, told them I'd just free soloed Nabisco Wall and had rested and shaken out halfway up Butterballs. People were PISSED. They thought it was an over-the-top arrogant thing to do.

It wasn't till years later that a truely arrogant, talented "stonemaster" did solo Nabisco Wall, a feat way before it's time, and etched a place in history.

I had people coming up to me for years asking me about this. I always assured them that it was true...
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Jan 26, 2006 - 12:44pm PT
Wow John, a Stonemaster collection would be so cool.
My first brush with the Stonemasters was at Josh in about '73 or'74 (I was about 15 or 16). Angione and I were walking around "North Fourth" (now the Old Woman) and saw climbers on Dogleg. We walked over to watch and it turned out it was Richard and Tobin (and I'm not sure who else). They asked if I wanted to climb it too and I was stoked and accepted. We knew who they were and it was such an honor to be invited along.
Soon after Mike Graham invited Matt Cox and myself to go to Suicide (also Ed Lasly). We all piled in Mike's little car and the next day found us following Mike up "Pass Time" on the Buttress of Cracks. I remember Ed was struggling and called for tension at the crux. Mike laughingly lowered a loop of rope giving Ed the opposite of tension! Ed was pissed and Mike said something to the effect of "climb it free or not at all!" I was next and felt some pressure to make it but it went just fine.
Soon after that I was with Alan and Spencer Lennard (the "Home Made Hash Boys") and we headed off to do what was probably the second FA of my life, Negasaurus. I had tied in and was just about to lay hand on rock when you and a full contingent of SM's came around the corner. It was "Ho man, what's going on here!" Everyone plopped down in the sand to watch but the pressure was too much for me. I had to ask you all to leave lest I fail in front of my heros. You guys complied and we proceded without the horrendous pressure of possible embarrassment (thanks for that!).
Matt, Craig ("Guns"), Spencer and I were always thankful that you all took us under your wings and showed us the ropes in those early years. You were our mentors and shaped the way we approached climbing for the rest of our lives. Thanks again.
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Jan 26, 2006 - 12:54pm PT
Old stonemaster stories... classic.

Until you write them down, they are probably mostly prehistoric.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Ca
Jan 26, 2006 - 01:30pm PT
I remember this one time while walking down from Taquitz with Largo and Mike Waugh. We had all just done some new route that John had just put up. Largo starts asking us what we do for training. We did of course train our asses off, but we were not about to admit that in public. Waugh and I then started harassing John because he 'needed' to train. About the time we hit the road the harassment went overboard and John reached down and picked Waugh up by the ankles with one arm and started shaking him up and down. I ran for my life (cause John still had another hand) and laughed so hard as Waugh's head bounced off the pavement. John, you were too f*#king strong back then!
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Jan 26, 2006 - 02:18pm PT
Not flattering, but true. Easter vacation, 1974 I think, back when most of us were still climbing in white cotton painters pants. Mike and Tobin were on the Prow when a front blew in. Snowed all night and there were murmurs of concern in Camp 4. Some friends and I drove up past the stables on a closed road, hiked to the base and started yelling. We thought we heard some faint cries for help. On the way back down the road I got a ticket from an LEO who seemed unconcerned about wet, frozen climbers. Turns out they were stranded on Tapir Terrace, and too cold to climb. Someone rapped in with dry clothes and hot packs, and they jumared off, or so we heard. Maybe Mike can confirm this. I'd like to think that ranger who ticketed me called in the cavalry.
asioux

Trad climber
pasadena,ca
Jan 26, 2006 - 03:07pm PT
Hey thanks for the great srories. I am not a stonemaster of that era. I am a rockclimber, and that is my life. Well I do have a full time job, but it does allow me to take time off to climb. A week in Josh in april. And up coming trips to Yosemite this year. Thank God I live near Stoney Point and can get out there after work (L.A. Zoo). Thank you for paving the way for the next generation of climbers. I have been climbing for nine years, mostly out at Joshua Tree and Yosemite. I also boulder out at Stoney Point. Everytime I climb a route I think about the first ascent and appreciate them for discovering the route and having it logged for other people to climb. I respect everybody that have contributed to the world of rock climbing. Thank you for all the topos of climbing routes from the places that I climb. Also thank you John Long for the books of knowledge.
Armando (Pasadena)
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 26, 2006 - 04:39pm PT
John Vawter-

You remember correctly. I was living in C4 that spring. Mike and Tobin had gone up on the Prow in blue jeans and t-shirts (with some sweaters or such) when a really nasty storm blew in. Snowed several feet if my memory serves me. The rangers finally trolled through C4 for volunteers to hike stuff up to the top of the column for a rescue. Several of us did.

The funny thing was that while Mike and Tobin were jugging to the top, several slingers topped out on the south face. Most of us had a good laugh over that.

I remember Tobin's mother was down in the lodge lounge area before the rescue talking about her son up on "that huge mountain in such terrible weather". I felt kind of sorry for her.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 26, 2006 - 04:49pm PT
John,

Pretty much the way it happened. It had rained and snowed all night. I remember being wakened out of a miserable slumber with Tobin yelling for help. I Looked at him and asked what was he you doing? He says back “I’d rather die than just lose some fingers or toes” by the time Chris Vandever rapped down to us we were pretty well warmed up sadly to say. Probably could have saved him the trouble. Damm, that place sure gets cold sometimes. Another wrong time of the year to wall climb story was when I was when I soloed the Aquarian Wall on El Cap. Spent four nights in the same place in the middle of an icy waterfall. Stuck that one out though, owed it to myself.

I miss Tobin, you could fill a book on his exploits alone.
powen01

Mountain climber
Louisville, KY
Jan 26, 2006 - 05:11pm PT
Threads like this are why I bother to look at the forums. Thanks for sharing...
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Jan 26, 2006 - 06:15pm PT
Hey Mike, was it you and Tobin who first climbed an .11 at both Tahquitz and Suicide in one day?

Here's my favorite Tobin story. True? Who cares?

He was up on the Shield with Denny Adams, a Poway Mountain Boy (along with Rick Piggot, Greg Cameron, Dave Goeddel, etc.). When they got to the A4 roof pitch (it was still A4 back then) they found a rope hanging down from above. Tobin saw it as an opportunity to speed things up a bit. Denny knew what Tobin was thinking, looks at Tobin and says "NO." They debate about how God might view such a foolhardy act, but Tobin becomes impatient and lets his actions speak for him: he starts to jug the line. He finishes the strenuous free jumar and is into the relative ease of steep rock when he spies the end of the rope . . . not fixed to an anchor, just running into the crack. As he nears the end he sees what he has been jumaring on: a knot wedged in the crack. Divine providence?
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal
Jan 26, 2006 - 06:19pm PT
Sorry this is 10 years after John but I have often reflected on it!

My first Stone Master encounter:

A Rogue, is A Rogue, is A Rogue, is a Rogue!..or is he?

We were at the Chapman mannor in Yosemite West 1984 and it had to be Thanksgiving because there was a turkey, frost on the windows, a huge fire in the woodstove, and we were psyched to be inside.
Mark was downstairs plinkety,plinkety,plinking, on his guitar a song called "White girl" by a band called "X".

Pooch the dog, the two cats Mama and Sneakers were running laps around the sofa in the living room. The aroma of meat was driving them wild and little cartoon bubbles appeared above their heads read: (MORE GRAVEY) it was insanity.

The house had a rustic appeal and was in the early stages of development. My good friend Nance had promised to make the meal, being a vegitarian I was against the whole gluttonous affair but had promised them a Vegan cake.
I was in the kitchen when I heard a very loud BAM!

Bam,Bam,Bam, Again, Bam,Bam,Bam! I thought to myself geeze that sounds like some sort of ramming device and I hoped it was'nt the rangers. Pooch bolts to the door Woof,Woof,Woof..mouth foaming,fangs out, the works..i'm hot on her heels.. she always had a special way of greeting people.
I open the door and lock eyes with somebodys waist then looking upward lock eyes with a very large man!

The stats:
I'm 5ft. 3ish 110lbs. He' well over a foot taller than me, double my size, has hands as big as my head, and is grinning like the Cheshire Cat himself.
Pooch has now fled and is cowering in the bedroom while i'm thinking I sure wish Mark would get his butt up here and save us!

He then proclaims! "Where's Chapman?" I manage to stammer "downstairs I think" and pray this guys a friend.
Mark comes to the door and upon seeing the stranger goes beserk! He starts doing his Happy Chappy dance waving his arms around wildly as he does his introductions. Jo, Nance, this is John Long!
Holy smokes i'm thinking this guy's a living legend, one of those Stone Master dudes and i'm now face to face with history and history was now in the making!

Minutes pass and it's like we've been living together for years. Marks beaming with delight and filled with nostalgia, Nance is smitten and flirtatious, the animals have fled, while i'm just floored.
Seconds later John walks up to the turkey on the table rips a leg clean off the thing (which I thought a bit barbaric yet mesmerizing!) he starts waving the thing around like a baton as he spits out questions to Mark. "What's happening Man?" "Nice pad!" "Who are the chicks?" and "How's climbing going!" food is flying everywhere ( now i'm thinking the man is a savage).

As the night waned, and the food disappeared the stories told went "LONG" into the night. I wished for more time. Here I was twentyish sitting around a fire with my best friend Nance, Mark Chapman (a legend in his own right), and one of the origianl Stone Masters...Wow! My life was definately on the upswing and Thankgiving that year was'nt so bad.

All the best lads,

jow


I might have the made the Turkey leg thing up...(NOT).


p.s. John come on by any time it's been twenty years folks claim I make a mean Tofurkey!

"Go Vegan"!

WBraun

climber
Jan 26, 2006 - 06:20pm PT
Hahahah LOL

John Vawter

Hey man that's the rope me and Dale Bard found on the grey ledges and Dale just threads it through that leeper hanger and ties an ovehand knot. Then we hear later Tobin jugged it, YIKES!
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 26, 2006 - 07:34pm PT
Whoa,

I remember being in my teens, late '70's and starting to climb. I drove to Josh and in a month went from 5.8 to .10d. There were these dudes soloing the ski tracks in gangs and running all over the place doing laps in RHV, etc. I knew it had to be those guys, I had heard of the Stonemasters. They could solo both ski tracks in about 5 or 10 minutes total.

Totally changed my life. I went back on days when I couldn't find a partner and soloed about every one of those routes, even the .10d one. It led to a bad habit, but I usually only soloed stuff I had done before.

Painters pants, swami belts, EB's. They were my heroes. That's what I got out of those guys, anyway. Totally defined my style for life. Every new thing after that I had to get used to, which seems to happen to most people over a period of years as climbing changes.

Does anyone remember the "Space Stations" around Josh? The Hobbit hole under the boulder that you slithered into to find the big room inside the boulder? Another time someone took me over to RHV and we slid into this slot and slithered through to the belay on the second pitch of a route. Supposedly there were a bunch of these things called space stations and they had numbers.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Jan 26, 2006 - 07:59pm PT
Werner:

So the knot in the crack was an exaggeration. Actually, the way I heard it, the knot came out of the crack when he got there and he grabbed something just in the nick of time! (That's the old "never let the facts get in the way of a good story" principle at work.)

Still! An overhand knot in the end just to keep it from slipping through a sharp, skinny Leeper hanger!! I'll bet it never even occurred to you and Dale that some angelic upstart would trust his life to a weathered old rope hanging down from God knows what!
WBraun

climber
Jan 26, 2006 - 08:04pm PT
Not so John

Me and Dale where just as crazy as Tobin in a lot of ways. (Nothing to be proud of)

It's a total miracle we survived those years.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 26, 2006 - 08:26pm PT
John, may have been us. Don’t know if it was the first time though.


Werner summed up the rope on the roof it was tied off but not real well. Bachar, Kauk and I had done the ascent in between Werner’s and Tobin’s. Ron led that pitch and there was no way in hell he was going to jumar the line. Besides the aid looked to good.

Tobin borrowed all my knifeblades for the route and I specifically told him not to use the line, only that it looked old. I believe it was from Charlie’s FA. Maybe be we all left it there as tribute to a great ascent who knows. Hind sight says we should of cleaned up after ourselves.

Here is one tall tale

We had this little stunt we pulled by jumping off Piasano pinnacle to the adjacent slabs at suicide rock. We scoped it out pretty well from all the different angles. Then tossed a line across to hook this odd set of bent up gate hooks that were use for a rap point. This gave us a pretty good TR so to speak to give the jump a try. I was stupid enough to do it first but it seemed to land OK considering the slab was about 5.6 at the LZ. After some more TR courage we got to a point of doing it un-roped. To sum up the tale Tobin, thinks to add a full twist to the maneuver. We all watch in disbelieve as he hits the slab off kilter and barely arrested the slide down the chasm.

Despite all his hair raising stories he was quite a brilliant climber.
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 26, 2006 - 08:56pm PT
Mike,

I remember when you went up on Aquarian Wall. If I remember correctly, you were using a prototype ledge that you had just made. The weather turned and we all wondered about you. Aquarian Wall seemed like a galaxy away. It seems like you kind of disappeared after that. I don't remember seeing you in the trench much in the following years....
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 26, 2006 - 09:05pm PT
I'm amazed that so many folks remember so much about those days now 30 years past. Man, I sound sorta obnoxious back then. But what these stories stir most inside of me is how much I wish Tobin was still here to add his own 2 cents. And Yabo as well. And Billy.

JL
F10 Climber F11 Drinker

Trad climber
e350
Jan 26, 2006 - 09:24pm PT
JL

I remember plugging up the trail to Suicide during the mid seventys, behind you and the gang. I had to stay within ears distance to keep tuned into the fascinating conversation between the Stonemasters. It all seemed to be centered around chaw and the proper disposal of it while up on the rock. It seemed to get quite involved as to different techniques or procedures, all quite entertaining. Just another fun day out at the rock.
dave

climber
Earth
Jan 26, 2006 - 09:33pm PT
WOW!! I "grew up" climbing at Tahquitz/ Suicide and Josh. All we ever talked about was how we could'nt wait to do Valhalla, we wanted to be Stonemasters in among our own little society of friends. Went to Blackmountain fell from the top of "Where Bone Heads Dare" caught the branch of the pine tree behind me and was set down relatively gently on the ground. Did it next go. Repeating Stonemasters routes makes me feel like a part of the tribe, like I'm accomplishing something, you know these are the baddest routes of their time....and all have stood the test of time.
Keep the stories coming!!
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 26, 2006 - 09:34pm PT
I’ll second that Largo! Not the obnoxious part. Hell I use to let out the slack when someone called for tension I guess:-)

Mastadon, I am wondering who you are? Yeah It did seem like I disappeared thanks for noticing. Basically started traveling more and mainly free climbing. Then business and family took hold. Still love the adventure and all you guys and gals (jo)

Wow, Rokjox I remember Mead Hargis Major brain jogging
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 26, 2006 - 10:20pm PT
Gramicci,

You'd remember me if you saw me, or at least saw what I looked like back in the 70's. I'd been spending Springs/Summers/Falls since '72 in the Trench/Tuolumne/Trench. If I could figure out how to post a picture on this site I'd do so.

You SoCal boys were a little stand-offish to us outsiders. Especially Bard (Dale), who I thought was a little weasel. He walked up to me one time in C4, right after Bridwell had abandon him for Schmitz to do Zenith, looked me up and down and said, "If I was as big as you, I'd beat the sh#t out of Bridwell." To which I responded, "If you were as big as me you wouldn't have to."

And the stories roll forth.......
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 26, 2006 - 10:35pm PT
Mastadon, If you are as big as I gather we may have just been scared of you, not standoffish. Dale, was more like a cuddly little weasel and was actually from NorCal like Kauk. Us SoCal folk actually clashed for a little time with them. It was Long and Bridwell that got us all to get along. Funny the dynamics involved looking back.

Cheers
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 26, 2006 - 10:56pm PT
Gramicci,

Just about everyone was bigger then Dale.

Yeah, personalities and interpersonal dynamics are facinating. Some people, as much as you wish they would, really don't change. Camp 4 back then had the same bizarre dynamics as any business, school, entity, establishment, etc. People who were leaders back then are probably still leaders today. People who were losers back then are probably still losers today. Many people, though, managed to shed the bonds of expectations and excelled. Many of my old C4 friends have gone on to great things.

Mid 70's: I'd found an old Curry Co bike somewhere and was wheeling it into C4 one afternoon when Dale and Ron came towards me. Dale, in his normal sneering voice said, "That's my bike and I want it back." I responded, "Nice try, Dale." He tried to look menacing and said, "How much is that bike worth to you?" I set the bike down on the ground and asked, "How much is your life worth to you?" Kauk almost fell down he was laughing so hard.

And a good time was had by all.....
WBraun

climber
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:04pm PT
Who is Mastadon?
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:10pm PT
Werner,

Should I give you one of your Zen replies about "Who are we anyway, but souls borrowing time?" or "What does it matter, anyway?"

I often wonder who I am.

I'm the one who told you about picking apples in Washington State in the early 70's but forgot to tell you which month to do it. You drove all the way up there only to find they weren't in season. I still feel bad about that.

WBraun

climber
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:16pm PT
Mastadon

No no, don't feel bad man, don't make me feel bad by you feeling bad. That was actually a cool trip and I learned so much. I sat in the peach orchards eating the best peaches ever.

I eventualy got to mammoth and worked pounding nails. It was good!
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:17pm PT
So NOW do you remember who I am?
WBraun

climber
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:22pm PT
Yea ....
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:31pm PT
You and I went up and tried Soul Sacrafice or whatever that ghastly overhanging crack is in Tuolumne. We were afraid to even start because we were terrified of the swing....
WBraun

climber
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:45pm PT
Soul Sacrifice? In Tuolumne?

Soul Sacrifice; FA Gramicci, Cashner, and some guy by the name of Werner, at the base of east buttress of Lower Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Valley.

The thing we tried in Tuolumne was a real swingin thing? (Do or Fly?) I have alzheimer's also :-)
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:57pm PT
Now for the missing piece of the Tobin rope roof story.

In 1975 Tobin followed on my heels making the second ascent of the Diamond half of Pervertical Sanctuary (free!) and then followed me again not a year later.
In June '76 I made the 7th ascent of the Shield with Trevor Jones. Trev led the roof (mostly fixed and NOT A4) and I suggested to him to trail that stiff old rope as high as possible following the next pitch to possibly assist a retreat if needed.
He did but when it ran out there were no anchors so, not thinking anyone would be crazy enough to jug it blind, he tied an overhand and hammered it into the crack.

Later I heard that Tobin had jugged it and wondered what his expression was like when he got to the upper end. At least it was an A1 crack he could add anchors to....
WBraun

climber
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:13am PT
So that's what happened? Now I've heard another version. Me and Dale did the 5th so some one else before you dropped the rope.

He actually jugged a rope hammered into a crack way up there, holy shit!!!!!!!!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:25am PT
The 6th ascent was May '76, Kauk, Graham, Bachar

Rumor was John was freaked at the exposure. That summer he walked up to me at Komito's and said," So! Did you do the Shield?"
I said, "Yes"
He said,"You're a f*#king liar!"

Ten minutes later he was back. "You never soloed the Shield."
"Never said I did. You asked me if I climbed it."
"Yeah, but you didn't solo it."

I suppose I had my brash moments as well.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:25am PT
Werner, now I have Alzheimer’s on that east butt climb. I beleive you and dale did the 4th ascent?

Ron, stranger than fiction this must be the missing link I thought for sure Tobin had done it right after us (5th). I believe I may have a shot of that very rope tied off at the top of that pitch. That was definitely the season for that climb. Never though that rope was rigged for reverse engineering only. Wow! So the story could be true. That could have been quite a ripper. You probably would have hear the screams all the way to Utah. Twice

Hear the route goes clean now, yet people still want to pound sawed off angles into it.

I still remember putting 9 rurps in a row in the grove amonst the fixed and of the 35 porter put in.

What a place!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:44am PT
I fixed the first cabled rurps on it and then showed the remainder to Yvon. His subsequent cables were thinner though.

Didn't heard any screams, but then I was in Colorado and thats a bit farther...
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 27, 2006 - 12:44am PT
I didn't get around to doing the Shield till 1977 but even then--and moreso now--I can't imagine just slapping the jugs on some phantom rope and start chugging over the Roof. I swear Tobin is the only person who would ever consider doing that.

JL
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:54am PT
Na, John wasn’t freaked he had already done trip the season before. Could have been me being the third man out one of us had to free jumar. I thought I’d have a little fun and I kicked myself off the wall for a little extra swing! OMG when I finial stopped swinging I took this shot of Kauk laughing at me.

Point of the photo here. There is the infamous rope tied off just as Werner described it

WBraun

climber
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:56am PT
Hey Mike where the phuck is Bachar now? I know for sure he's lurking, common John, post up!

:-)
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:59am PT
Surprised you got the photo.

That's how Trevor found the rope (but not how he left it.)
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 27, 2006 - 01:02am PT
I suspect he'll be in Utah this weekend.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 27, 2006 - 01:05am PT
Yeah, Werner its the good ole Outdoor retailer show this weekend. going myself tomorrow.

bye

WBraun

climber
Jan 27, 2006 - 01:06am PT
Say hi to all the bros for me, Mike

And about that Sheild, it don't matter if one did the first ascent or the last. That's one hell of a wild place to hang around for a while.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Jan 27, 2006 - 07:57am PT
Joe, that's a no-brainer. It's EEEEEEEEEEEErickson. He was also the guy holding the rope when Tobin led The Edge. I think it left an impression on the poor boy..LOL

It seems there were only a few guys who have been tagged with the original moniker of Stonemaster. Since the only qualification was to lead Valhala at Suicide, there were many folks who would be considered Stonemasters but not part of that inner clique. But back then (I arrived on the scene in 76) there were quite a few folks who had led it by then and didn't seem to be part of that inner clique. At least that's my take on it. So, lets see who was in that first tier group.

1st tier Stonemaster roll call, and you guys please correct me if I am wrong or omitted anyone

John Long
Mike Graham
Ricky Accomazzo
Tobin Sorenson
Richard Harrison
Jim Wilson
John Bachar
Gib Lewis
Bill Antel
Rob Muir
Erik Eriksson

Once these guys started showing up at in the Valley, the name sort of became synonymous with both the No Cal guys and So Cal guys.
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 27, 2006 - 09:54am PT
Werner,

The beauty of Alzheimers is that you're always making new friends.

I think it might have been Love Supreme or something like that. It's to the right of the trail up to the Phobos area. We went up there and tried it long before anyone had ever successfully done it. We were both scared s###less of the nasty swing.

It's funny, the stuff you remember and don't remember. I remember, with total clarity, seemingly insignificant scenes from 30+ years ago in Yosemite and/or C4. Smells, sounds-just about anything can trigger these memories. Makes you wonder, as you wander through life, whether there are certain moments in your life of total clarity that you won't realize till later. Insignificant moments, like just walking down a trail, where maybe you're close to the surface of something.

Then there are whole seasons that are blank. Maybe we were doing too many controlled substances those months.

Gramicci-don't get me wrong. I liked Dale and did stuff with him but he, at times, REALLY pissed me off.

The trench, in those days as it is now, was a real soap opera. There were always little dramas, and dramas within dramas. You'd think you could escape it by getting off the deck but that only presented different dramas. Camp 4 was a teeming, festering drama. It used to make me laugh. Now I can walk through there and be totally detached, but I can still recognize the current kings and queens of drama.

Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 27, 2006 - 10:28am PT
Pat, As Largo put it up top. It is really a frame of mind. I couldn’t count that high to list all that aspire to maintain the style and the respect for the rock as much we enjoyed to. Erik is a poster child of the ideal, with his ability and soft spoken word.

Mastadon, I hear you. Dale could really Piss me off too but I really love picking him up every time I see him.

Werner, I’ll catch up with everyone for you out in Utah.


Signing off
Kofi Donny Annan

climber
darkest of africa
Jan 27, 2006 - 10:33am PT
who IS mastadon?

my guess is Don Harder
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 27, 2006 - 10:40am PT
Jobee--

I still remember that night at MC's house and the big turkey and also a lot of beer and of course all the gorgeous girls. One of the greatest things about the Stonemasters was the way they interacted with girls, or rather, how the girls stepped in and sorted things out and kept the balance. It would have been boring and hopeless without the girls, who were heros to put up with us waving turkey legs around and taking up all the space. Most all the Stonemasters were pretty rustic and unformed back in the day, but all were kind people in their own way.

JL
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 27, 2006 - 10:43am PT
Thanks Donnie!

So much for anonymity.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Jan 27, 2006 - 10:45am PT
I agree Mike, it's much more a tude or lifestyle so many of us adopted back then. I think it's pretty cool you guys set a cultural standard that was aped by monkeys around the world.

I think it's kind of amazing what Erik is still doing..at his age:) So many of the old dads are beached now, but E is still going strong. The dude is as whippet thin (largoism alert) as he was 30 years ago.
Kofi Donny Annan

climber
darkest of africa
Jan 27, 2006 - 10:52am PT
chuckle....

i did not make my first timid forays into the trench until '78 or so (and never did make much of a dent), but i DID meet the WA boys. Pat McNertney and Eric Simonson et al. And they said Don/ you was the most highly capable of the bunch.
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 27, 2006 - 11:08am PT
Donny,

This must be what it's like to be outed.

I feel like I've been violated!
Ditch Trad

Trad climber
CA
Jan 27, 2006 - 11:21am PT
Whippet thin means 2 bucks and a nickel, right. Or did i drop a dime?
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Jan 27, 2006 - 11:34am PT
Mine is a mundane late 70’s tale…. Nuthin’ special. Just a snapshot from back in the day.

Keith Cunning was something of a protégée of JL. Keith was a highly sociable individual, and believed that climbing was best done with a horde of friends. In that spirit, Larry Lloads and myself found ourselves surrounded by Uplanders in the back of Keith’s Mom’s station wagon with JL riding shot gun. Our destination was a FA out near Jumbo Rocks.

Turns out the climb in question had been scoped out previously by JL (and likely others) but dismissed as not quite 5 stars. Back in ’78, the JT pickings were fat, so climbers strolled past obvious FA lines. But Largo was on a roll. He had bagged 25 FA’s so far that season, and was primed for more.

The horde of Uplanders piled out of the car to find one Richard Harrison roped up and ready to fire (belayed by Mike Lechlinski; moral support by Mari Gingerly). Said FA had been pre-named “Notahogen”. This was a pun because it the route looked like a teepee; two cracks formed a perfect A-frame. Harrison strolled the 5.9 hand crack, tossed down some scrappy flakes, then hiked the 10A flare/offsize crux that formed the apex of the teepee. Casual stuff for a Stonemaster.

Soon after Mike and Mari had their go on the route, I had my first sighting of the ubiquitous little “opium pipe” favored as a means to insure maximum mileage from tasty bud (I buy these same rigs off e-bay to this day… ). The Uplanders were far too many to share, so Mike horded his smoke. Richard, John and Mari only.

The conga-line that TR’d the poor choss-pile was endless. When I had my turn, novice me was vexed by the opening moves. I was perhaps 10 months into my climbing life, and was a slow learner. I was also still shod in those damnable Shoenards (everybody else had a clue and climbed in EB’s). I had never climbed 5.10 before, but with sufficient grunting, the crux flare fell to my efforts.

Notahogen prolly deserves a “1/2” star in the guidebook, but for Lloads and me, was a great experience to see Stonemasters in action.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:19pm PT
I’m back for a minute just to say

MastaDON you have been outed!

Don Harder , how are you!

WBraun

climber
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:19pm PT
Bad bad Donny, revealing the mastadon :-)

But you're right Don, Dale did piss people off at times, even he knew it. Bridwell blew him off on that Zenith deal because Dale wouldn't let Schmitz in on the "Team", because Dale thought he wouldn't get enough leads, (3 is to many). Dale started the second ascent while Bridwell and Schmitz were still on the wall doing the FA. I think he got Deaglman for that.

Don you still runing some Ski area in Tahoe?
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:23pm PT
JL and the gang:
Wow! Great stuff Thanks a bunch for this thread it goes deep. 1978 I arrived in the Valley. Still here..sort of and it's impossible to tell you what an influence/force all of the "Stone Masters" had and still have on me. There was this core of ferocity, something of a "Power". It was prevalent and it was real.
I am moved.

Met Yabo in 78, it was like meeting some kind of entity, every encounter like standing infront of the Burning Bush.
Billy in 80's, he had it too underneath that soft demeanor a "Wildfire".
John...honestly you are nothing but "Great" be glad you've got it as well. Certainly character is not something one could call an imposition.

To every one on this thread...a hearty thanks..you've made a diffence in my life.

For it is not the arrival, it is the journey that matters. -montaigne

More tales please,
jow





Jobee

Social climber
El Portal
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:37pm PT
ahhh..haaa ha!
Harder you're outed! Great pen name Don, very clever.

I can still visualize you coming into the valley on that motor-bike just like something outa "Easy Rider". Crazy!

All the best,
jow
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Jan 27, 2006 - 01:50pm PT
OK. So Mike Graham might have a better recollection of this, as he's much younger that some of us...

Right after we had done the first continuous ascent of Valhalla, I transferred to UC Irvine and got a part-time job working at Ski Mart in Newport beach. 'Twas a great place to work and it had a budding crew of young climbers who proceeded to turn this sporting goods store by the beach into a really good climbing shop.

Some of the other kids included Graham, Tobin and Steve West. Rick Accomazzo also joined the Ski Mart team. (Eventually, that store also employed Largo, though at a branch store in San Diego.) And didn't Harrison do a short stint?

Gramicci--a kid still in high school--was in awe that we had done Valhalla (with Steve Toy and Jim Hoagland, who were both attending UC Riverside at the time). I must have been, like, five years older. Many new routes were going up at Tahquitz and Suicide, and Graham started keeping a new routes book at the shop since the Wilts guide has getting hopelessly out-of-date as we started ticking-off new ones.

As I remember, right after Mike too climbed Valhalla, two things happened... 1) the Stonemaster name was coined (I vaguely recall it was suggested by Doyne Pedorski, and--with all the surfing kulcha in Newport Beach--this was a natural.) and Graham drew up a logo for the group using a lightning bolt, and 2) Mike decided that this new "club" would have a membership requirement. (Sheesh. Kids...) That was, you had to have climbed Valhalla. I think that "can't say" has a pretty complete list [see above] of the originals. (Of course, the first ascentionists Couch, Dent and Reynolds couldn't count because they didn't do a continuous first ascent, and they were "not us". Ya know?)

So... Along with new lines, the book also included a record of the early ascents of Valhalla. And after a while, Mike got tired of keeping track. So, at some point, I remember Mike getting us all to agree that members of the first 10 parties (or was it 20?) that bagged the line were the REAL Stonemasters!

I wonder if that book still exists...

Of course, it was all a joke. There was never a rigid roster of Stonemasters, we all just did stuff together. And the Stonemasters eventually grew to include friends in the Valley, etc.

Stonemaster outings... El Gran Trono Blanco... Ricky's Pinto (a.k.a, the Death Mobile") and the biggest trundling session known to man or beast! Remember, Largo?

Some of my stories:

http://www.cusd.claremont.edu/~rmuir/stonemaster-interview.html
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Jan 27, 2006 - 03:42pm PT
Too cool, another one makes his debut on ST.

This is better then crack
mastadon

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 27, 2006 - 04:32pm PT
Mike-
Life is good-thanks. I always wondered what had become of you other then becoming famous and making a world-wide successful clothing company or maybe it was the other way around. When you disappeared after the Aquarian epic we all wondered where you'd gone.

Werner-
No. I'm not running the ski area anymore. I'm still in Tahoe, though. I'll see you the next time in the trench.

Jobee-
Great to hear from you. Did you ever get those pictures I emailed to you?? The pictures of you and me at Squamish when you were about 16 years old?? Just joking, I'm sure you were way older then that-at least 19.
scuffy b

climber
S Cruz
Jan 27, 2006 - 04:57pm PT
My first words to Rob on meeting him at the base of Suicide:
"Are you Couch?"
sm
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Jan 27, 2006 - 06:58pm PT
Trundling on the Throne reminded me of something I haven't thought about for years. Sometime around '79, Werner (another Werner) and I were poking around on unclimbed rock at the toe of the South Face. It was blowing like a motherf***er and way steep, so we didn't get very far the first day. We backed down to a pretty good ledge with a lot of rock litter on it, and we trundled it clean. We thought we had the place to ourselves, bright moon and a view of big canyon. We felt lucky to be there, even though it didn't look like our route would go anywhere.

The next morning we heard people coming up the gully!! We couldn't see them but Largo's booming voice was unmistakable. I think we yelled down to them, but never saw them. Then we heard music bouncing off the walls!? Somebody had a boom box and was toting it up that horrid gully. If you've ever crawled out of that canyon, you know you wouldn't want to carry an extra ounce. As they made their way out, the plaintive strains of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald echoed weirdly off the walls. Surreal.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 27, 2006 - 08:54pm PT
Dude, you think we'd actually trudge all the way down that gulley without tuneage? Not!

I used to tote a 32 pack of batteries so we could keep our groove on. The weight was an issue I just dealt with. Of course I was 20 and stupid, but we were living large.

JL
Yed

Trad climber
Wa
Jan 27, 2006 - 09:38pm PT
I got caught up with climbing in 1975. Took climbing lessons from Steve West along with my girlfriend at the time(who is now my wife, Mike ,do you remember the Hahs family,lived right around the corner in Santa Ana Heights)out at Suicide.Steve was a great guy and took us out for a few guided trips as well and introduced us to a few of the regulars at ski mart, as I lived in Costa Mesa.Bought my first pair of Eb's at SkiMart along with my swami ,even had some of my Ceramic art work there in the mountain shop.I became somewhat of a regular at Idyllwild and JT and alot of bouldering at pirates cove. Never managed to reach the skills of these guys but it was always something to work for.Whenever these guys would come and boulder I'd watch and think"how do they do that"as I would flail away and sometimes after much effort figure something out. I continued to climb up until abut 8 yrs ago,never gave up that 2" swami and leg loops either.
Never having the abilities of these guys I followed their exploits with interest,especially Tobin. I think it was in 1979 or 80 my climbing buddy and I went to a slide show with Tobin and Jack Roberts, up here in Washington . Fresh back from a trip to the Canadian rockies, Tobin told about his climb of the direct on the Eiger with Macintyre,in which he mentioned was too scary to stop and take pictures, in fact I don't think Tobin had much in the way of slides at all that nite, he really didn't need them.The trip up the matterhorn N. Face. And a desciption of a climb on the Grandes Jorasses that I remember made my blood run cold as he described the situation they were in. He described all these like they were a footnote to the real reason for going to Europe was to bring bibles to eastern Europe.Plenty impressive for an aspiring alpinist. I guess it was the single minded ferocity on the inside and the calm outside that amazed me. I knew I'd never be one to set the standards like these guys,but it sure was a great time to be out climbing.
Wonder

climber
WA
Jan 27, 2006 - 09:42pm PT
one name i havent seen here is bullwinkle. always wanting to smoke Bong loads, Bong loads, bong loads. but then i met yabo and then we were alwasy on the search.
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Jan 27, 2006 - 10:39pm PT
use to boulder at the beach in CDM(very close to the above mentioned "ski mart") and on a good day you could be bouldering with: Randy Vogel, Maria Cranor, Mike Lechinski, Mari Gingery, Tony Yarniro, Rob Raker, Shawn Curtis, Nick Badyrka, Tobin Sorenson, Yabo, John Long, Lynn Hill, Eric EEEErickson, Uh Howard King, Rick Accomazzo, Pat Ney, Rob Muir, Dave Wonderly, Jack Marshall, Kevin Powell, Darryl Hensell, Mike Paul and others I couldn't begin to remember their names. That place was a training ground for the southern group and there was plenty of good karma going around that place. The "stonners" home ground when they weren't out blowing away everyone at the rock. You guys remember the place? Last I heard...the lifeguards won't let you climb there because it's too dangerous...for the beach goers! Great memories of chaulk gooo if the humidity and/or the tide got too high. "Bowls in the Cave boys!"
Peace
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Jan 28, 2006 - 11:01am PT
All right Johnny, here’s one.

John and I stop at a hardware store to get a part to repair the Pinto, before the long haul out to JT.
We ask the hardware store guy to help us find the part. He leads the way down the parts aisle. John pulls even with him and the following dialogue ensues:

John quietly: “Your tool, man.”.
Hardware guy: “What??”
John, casually: “Check your tool.”
Hardware guy looks down quickly, puzzled look on his face: “Huh?”
John is insistent: “Your tool: it’s hanging out of your pants.”
Hardware guy checks his jeans, everything seems to be in place. Now he’s getting angry: “What are you talking about?”
John says nothing, raises his hand and points behind the guy, where a phillips screwdriver is sticking halfway out of a hole in his back pocket .
Hardware guy meekly: “Oh….. thanks.”

Quintessential Largo, circa 1972.

The story about Gramicci dropping a loop of rope to terrorize the top-roped second reminded me that this was not an uncommon practice and even had a name: the “simulated leader fall.”
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jan 28, 2006 - 11:23am PT
In the early 1970's, I was walking through the courtyard area of the Lodge and hear this big voice beginning a recitation of a poem. I stopped and saw a small group of climbers and pretty girls listening to this big guy.

As more people stopped to listen, the voice got bigger and stronger--and more theatric. It was a soliloquy from Shakespeare, and a long on at that.

I have no idea if John captured any of the young ladies' hearts. But he certainly hushed the whole place down until he was done.

Hey, Rick, that's a funny little story about John.

Welcome to ST Land, Roger
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Jan 28, 2006 - 12:41pm PT
John composed some of his own poems too. I heard him recite a mini epic in a limerick format (IIRC), about a climbing lass scampering over El Cap and leading men on a merry chase. I complimented him, but he dismissed it a just a little doggerel he made up in his spare time. I wish you'd written those down. They inspired me to imitate. I made up a few verses on the spot for Maria one afternoon up on the Apron.
paulj

climber
utah
Jan 28, 2006 - 02:41pm PT
Largo,

Just a suggestion, but you might wish to include a couple of stories from those of us who have always toiled in well-deserved obscurity, but had encounters with Stonemasters during the heyday. I'll bet there's a great writer out there with the outside perspective needed to tell a story that explains just why you guys were so well-known and influential (beyond the hard routes, of course). Many of us operated at the edge of the scene for years, watching you folks at C4 or in Josh or wherever, with very little interaction with you guys. But then, maybe once or twice, we got "inside" for a day or two, and discovered that all the stories we'd heard were probably true, or at least frighteningly plausible.

I know you won't remember this because it probably happened very frequently, but my own encounter was at JTree in 1978, with you Mike, and Mari. Over the course of 48 hours you guys heckled me and my partner mercilessly as we botched our way up one climb, applauded us loudly as we styled an even harder climb later that same day, and then at the campground asked us if we wanted to boulder the next day. The bouldering session was what we had always imagined a quintessential Stonemaster day to be: hard climbing fueled by intoxicating substances. My buddy and I were what today would be called "stoked", and we each had one of our best days climbing ever. And that's the key: obnoxious as it may have been for you guys to heckle us, we climbed better for it.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 28, 2006 - 05:06pm PT
Well done, paulj.
Bldrjac

Ice climber
Boulder
Jan 28, 2006 - 05:49pm PT
YED,

If I remember it correctly. Tobin gave his slide show about the North face of the Eiger with Alex Macintyre (Harlin route) and he only had six slides. He was also well into his religious phase and sorta let everyone know how he felt about that sort of thing. At the end of that trip and before we left Canada he and I had just finished the first winter ascent of the central couloir on Kitchener and I'd got frostbite so bad we had to get to Bellingham so I could check into the hospital. So the night of the slidehow comes around and I'm stuck in the burn dept. Tobin bribes the orderly with a six-pack of beer, wheels me out of the hospital in a wheel chair and then after his show I do mine on the North face of Huntington, in my wheelchair on the stage hign on pain killers. Probably the worst show I've ever given. Afterwards, he wheels me back into the hospital and he and the same orderly put me back in the bed. The nurses never knew.
todd-gordon

climber
Jan 29, 2006 - 06:56pm PT
Here's a JL story..(See if you can jog your memory to this one, John)..during the Stonemaster's era.......I was living and climbing in So Cal. during the end of the Stonemaster days.(Late 70's). I took a trip to Boulder and was climbing in Eldo. Some climber's came up and said, "John Long is in Eldo." I knew John from seeing him at the crags. Everyone knew and saw everyone in the late 70's;...it was a very small, close-knit sub-culture. I said to myself," Cool; a familiar face and a bro from California". As we went about our business, I didn't see Largo, BUT everywhere I went in the Canyon, EVERY climber said, "Have you seen John Long? He's in Eldo." John already had a name for himself in California, but seeing him at the crags wasn't front page news where I came from ; if you climbed in So. Calif, you probably saw him every week-end. Anyways, finally we spotted Largo, the Largo of the late 70's had big ol' bi-ceps. I was walking up the road with some Colorado climbers, John's is facing away from us. My friends whisper," There he is, There he is, There's John Long." I whisper back, " That big doofus? That's what everyone is all worked up about? How much will you give me if I jump on his back? " They whisper back, "Don't man, he'll kill you; rip you apart with one hand." I was all of 150 lbs. back then....John probably over 2 bills. As we get closer to " The Man", I sneek up behind John and quick as a snake on a lizard, put my skinny arm around John's neck in a choke hold,........I look over at my friend who are white as sheet; it looks as though they are going to cry because I am about to get ripped apart , limb by limb, by John Long. John wheels around, quite quickly and surprised, and in a big booming voice says, " You're a dead man!!!".......actually he says, " Gordo, what the hell are you doing here?" My friends hearts again started to beat, we chatted a bit as we walked up the canyon. The Largo name , myth and mystery was alive and well in Colorado ; we were in our mid- 20's. I completely enjoyed freaking my friends out, and seeing John away from home was cool for me . (I used to get homesick on roadtrips up until I was in my 40's!!!)
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jan 29, 2006 - 11:19pm PT
I think it was the summer 1975; one of my first trips to the Valley. It was a solo trip, with the idea of spending a month or so and hooking up with other So Cal climbers who said they would show up. After settling in to C4, not seeing anyone familiar, I was feeling kinda out of place.

Later, I saw Mike Graham, Largo, Jim Wilson, and some of the other usual suspects from the Tahquitz/Josh scene. Though they were people I saw most weekends, they were certainly the "in" or "A List" climbers. I was not.

The Stonemasters had, at that time, what I can best describe as a "hanger on." Not a particulary good climber, he had other favorable attributes: a Porsche 914, a house near Tahquitz, and apparently, something all of us young climbers lacked, discretionary income. It seems in memory he was in his 30s, far older than any of the Stonemasters (or us "B List" climbers). But, from appearances (and to hear him talk), to an outsider such as me, Ed was another lesser god, cranking 5.11s.

I was hoping to do some long routes in the Valley, perhaps even my first wall. One afternoon, in casual conversation with Mike, Largo, et al, I'd mentioned my interest in doing a wall and my lack of a partner. Ed's name was volunteered as someone who was in need of a partner for the Regular Route on HD. Everyone assured me Ed had all the gear needed.

Though Ed was essentially a stranger to me, an endorsement from the Stonemasters was as good as it got; I was pysched, even if a bit nervous by my lack of aid climbing experience. I figured if worse got to worse, Ed could take the hard leads.

After about 5 pitches of swinging leads, Ed said he "didn't feel well" and was ready to bail. But after hiking those long miles up to base, I wasn't about to head down. Perhaps to Ed's chagrin, I volunteered to (and did) lead the remainder of the route. Later, I came to know that no-one expected us to actually climb Half Dome. Unbeknownst to me, Ed had apparently had a pretty good track record of not completing ambitious plans. I had been set up; the Stonemasters had no intention of sacrificing their valuable time in humoring Ed's big wall aspirations.

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 29, 2006 - 11:56pm PT
We were climbing in pretty much complete make-it-up-as-you-go obscurity in SoIll from '74-'78 and rarely if ever climbed straight. In fact it was almost hard to imagine how you'd find a groove that way. We'd go out to Eldo and everybody would kind of freak out when we'd get high and climb; they'd all be happy to after, but never before or [especially] during a climb. We ended up thinking they were a pretty tightly wound crew and kind of kept to ourselves a bunch. Then we heard about you guys and true or not assumed a double entendre and finally felt almost human for a change. In hindsight we should have just kept heading West on one of those trips, particularly in '77.
todd-gordon

climber
Jan 30, 2006 - 12:16am PT
Got one more. I spent a summer climbing in Australia. Even though it had been years since his visit, they were still talking about it. Seems a very young American climber named Tobin came over to Australia to climb. At the time, I believe there was this 5.10d slightly overhanging hand/finger crack that was one of, if not THE, hardest climb in Australia. Some locals took Tobin over to take a look at it;.... he on site free-soloed it. I led the climb when I was there.....placing many pieces, and thinking of Tobin, especially at the crux, a section in the middle, where the crack disappeared and there was 5.10+ face climbing before the crack started up again. Tobin was unusually gifted, and, though I did not know him well, I did often see him out at Joshua Tree, always with a good word to say, and a big smile on his face. I remember hearing about Tobins' accidental death;....I had just gotten off the Prow with Rick Lynsky ....we had stormy weather and even a bit of snow, but faired fine.....As soon as I got off the wall, I had to call my parents to tell them I was fine (so my Mom didn't worry), and when I called, my Mom said she read in the paper about a climber killed in an accident;.... she asked if I knew him. It was Tobin. I was young, tired from the wall, and quite sad. We all loved climbing so much; it was our lives, and sh#t like this wasn't supposed to happen.
Roger

Trad climber
Boulder, Colorado
Jan 30, 2006 - 01:01pm PT
I'll add one short Largo story, from the late 1970's at JT. After a morning of climbing around Intersection Rock, John was walking back into Hidden Valley Campground along the entrance road. An elderly driver in a large RV was leaving the campground, and he almost hit John with the right side of his wide vehicle. I heard this loud yell "Stop! Stop you motherf**r!" John was holding onto the huge (three feet high) side mirror on the RV, looking like he was about to rip it off. He continued to yell at the driver, and the old guy was slinking down in the driver's seat, probably pissing his pants. The driver must have started to reach down with one hand, because Largo then yelled "Are you grabbing a gun? Go ahead, shoot me, see what happens then."
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Jan 30, 2006 - 02:24pm PT
I remember a funny comment E (E. Ericcson) made in the late '70s when we were climbing alot together. We were talking about hanging out with "Largo" et al. and Eric said, "If we didn't have loads he wouldn't give us the time of day!"
It wasn't really true because on our early trips to the Valley John gave us all the Valley living beta. Where to score a shower, where to wash clothes, and maybe even how to score meals in the cafeteria. It was that skill and the canning money that made the long broke visits possible.
One time "Sketchy" and I pulled off a well executed late night pilfering of the stash of returned cans. We hid in the woods over by Camp Curry and crushed them, then the next day made the rounds of all the rebate spots, never turning in too many at a time to avoid arousing suspicion. The $20 each was good for a couple more weeks in paradise!
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Jan 30, 2006 - 05:55pm PT
Too many memories after a lifetime at the crags, but here is a nice one.
Went climbing with a fellow named Mike Watt (friend from high school '75-'76) that I also used to jam with on Banjo. We both played "old timey" style. We were going to Idyllwild for the weekend and brought our Banjos along to mess around with at Humber Park. Come Sunday morning we were sitting on the tailgate banging out some hick numbers and over comes Tobin. We are playing "Old Joe Clark" or some such and Tob knows the words and starts singin' and dancin' and carryin' on. This went on for quite awhile until whoever he was climbing with dragged him off to hit the crags. We all packed up and headed off.

Just a moment in our lives. I climbed with him a couple of times but that is how I remember Tobin, dancin' and singin' in Humber on a sunny Sunday mornin'.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jan 30, 2006 - 06:35pm PT
DE: That is one of my fondest memories from dangling in the Valley with virtually no money. Those cans (thanks to a tip from Mark Hudon) nearly financed another 3 weeks of climbing; saving the last few bucks for gas money home.
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Jan 30, 2006 - 06:46pm PT
Another thing that helped were certain peoples late afternoon trips to the market to obtain dinner for the whole campsite. Seems like we ate a lot of tamales!
Wonder

climber
WA
Jan 30, 2006 - 07:04pm PT
i remember the late afternoon trips to the market, those guys were true daredevils.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 30, 2006 - 08:35pm PT
Sketchy,

That was actually a test with Ed on the NWF. You passed with flying colors to the A list! After all that’s how we all got there, guiding him around. Hope you slipped him some slack every once and a while. It built character you know. :-)
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 30, 2006 - 08:59pm PT
wow. floodgates breach, and the air is so thick with memories i have to swat them away like flies.....

two of my favorites largo stories, probably as much myth as reality but we lived and died by them back in our early teens:

circa 74/75, idylwild:

one story goes that tobin and largo are returning to the parking lot from either tahquitz or suicide, and tobin decides to take a shortcut off one of the embankments and sets off a small rockfall that sends a few small loose rocks into the middle of a bunch of bikers getting ready to mount their choppers. as the story was related to me, by a buddy who claimed to have seen the whole thing, the bikers were in the middle of giving tobin a raft of fairly intimidating biker vibes when largo comes crashing out of the woods in a fury that his bro is getting hassled, throws off his pack and rips off his shirt in one swift motion, exclaiming in his most intimidating baritone "OK, WHICH ONE OF YOU GUYS (OR WORDS TO THAT EFFECT) WANTS TO BE FIRST!?!

another story i recall, again, probably a blend of truth and myth (the best kind): there used to be a greasy spoon biker joint right at the top of the grade where you climbed out of hemet then hit a "t" and took a left into idylwild. story was that largo and company went in there for breakfast and the place was wall-to-wall bikers. largo wades through the scene, takes a look around, and points a hamhock finger at some of the leather-vest-clad ladies in the place and proclaims in a loud, conspicuous voice "HA! CHECK IT OUT! MOTORCYCLE MOMMAS!" then he holds his arms out and pantomimes the "vroom vroom" of a biker gunning his ride.

beyond the stories, there were the actual encounters with JL: at the ski mart on garnet, a block from crystal pier, when largo was working there, again about '75, my buddy and i were sitting in rapt attention while he held forth on climbing: the one moment we most clearlky recalled was when he paused, looked out the window, glanced back at us, and murmered like a zen master as if to himself: "you gotta have vision man, you gotta have vision..."

that summer, astroman went free, and me and a buddy of mine used that quote as the denoument in a decrepit little guide we published to new free climbs in san diego. we were awestruck, inspired, and were climbing the hardest routes of our lives within months of that encounter.

the problem with largo attempting what will essentially be an oral history of the stonemasters is that he was the dominant personality of that small tribe, and in the intervening years has been the principal historian of the period. but i can't wait to see such a project hit the presses.

i have so many other memories, encounters with tobin, bullwinkle, henny penny and the c*#k, the core stonemasters and all the folks who came milliseconds on their heels, getting up their early suicide and tahquitz routes -- although i've climbed far, far harder routes, i think doing "new gen" with mike paul when we were both still teenagers may be one of the two or three most memorable days of my climbing life -- i don't know, there was a magic to those days that i know for a fact is not idle middle-aged nostalgia...it was as real and tangible as the air we breathed on the approach to suicide or the throne or middle....too many memories, too many stories...i try not to reflect so much on the past, as the fututre holds so much more of the same....

berg heil!
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Jan 30, 2006 - 09:11pm PT
bvb, ain't it the truth!! Great stories all.

I think Largo was probably the most imitated person at the crags. You would hear people out of nowhere say, in a loud and authoritative voice, "HO MAN". It was contagious and before you could say "Fire me a burger" you were saying it too.

Wonder

climber
WA
Jan 30, 2006 - 10:15pm PT
yeah, but there was bridwell. we all smoked camel straights cause he smoked them.
WBraun

climber
Jan 30, 2006 - 10:17pm PT
I didn't! I used filters, I'm light ......
Wonder

climber
WA
Jan 30, 2006 - 10:20pm PT
ps. my favorite largo, " fire or retire"
zardoz

Trad climber
Wheat Ridge
Jan 30, 2006 - 10:30pm PT
Man, it's hard to believe this has hit 100 so fast. I really am digging the stories, one and all.
sr

climber
Bay Area, CA
Jan 30, 2006 - 11:15pm PT
Steve West rounded up these Stonemasters (and some others) at an AAC event in Joshua Tree in the early 90's.

bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 30, 2006 - 11:43pm PT
i'll take a stab at it....recognize almost all the faces, biut can only crib a few of the names....

left to right:

dude with glasses...i climbed w/ him, but drawing a blank -- wanna say can't say, but i don't think so
next five...seen 'em all, but can't recall....is that russ in there?

i climbed w/ #6, too..

easy pickens:

mariah
clark
the voice
dunno
dunno
dave evans
dunno

wierd, it's like they're all ghostly figmants from jtree in '81, somebody please wake me from this dream....

missing: spencer, shockley, mp, raker, too many too mention.

where's my time machine? i wanna go back to hidden valley, november, 1974....
WBraun

climber
Jan 30, 2006 - 11:46pm PT
Ricky Acamazzo (sp?) way to the left Bob?
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 30, 2006 - 11:49pm PT
accomazzo went into law and has/had darker hair...can't be him unless he went to seed! plus he looks younger in that pic than he did in '77 when he was going to law school at sdu!
Ksolem

Trad climber
LA, Ca
Jan 30, 2006 - 11:56pm PT
Isn't that Lechlinky between Clark and Evans in the front row?
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 30, 2006 - 11:58pm PT
you know, if it's an aac thing and it's the early 90's in josh gordo has gotta be in there somewhere but hell if i can pick him out...nobody in there seems UGLY enough to be todd!!!
WBraun

climber
Jan 31, 2006 - 12:01am PT
These guys are all dinosaurs, where the phuck are all the real climbers?
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 31, 2006 - 12:07am PT
the real climberz??? we're right here in flag, babe. bustin' the moves and keepin' it reealz.

Ksolem: that's not lechlinski.

a) nowhere NEAR ripped enough

b) mari woulda been in the pic too (altho i KNOW i've seen that raven-haired babe mariah is grinning at SOMEWHERE......
sr

climber
Bay Area, CA
Jan 31, 2006 - 01:02am PT
Actually, that is Mike, and Mari is wearing the striped sweater to the left of Mariah. Todd's not in it.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 31, 2006 - 01:22am PT
damn.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 31, 2006 - 01:38am PT
That's a picture! What great stuff!

You are all getting most of it. I won’t name them all but I probably can (except two). I will add a few though. That is Rick Accomazzo. Gibb Lewis on the left, Randy Granstaft arm around him. Dave Brasheres (edit, wrong it is mike needed to put on my glasses) next to E.-Yerian behind Clark and Mariah. West at the east end.

I’ll leave some for others
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Jan 31, 2006 - 11:23am PT
left to right- Gib Lewis (Gibbo), Robs Muir (most naturally gifted ever), Randall Grandstaff,? (should know, sorry), Mari (gingspinkerbee)Gingery, Big Al (Bartlett), Dave Yerian (Bachar/Yerian), Mariah (most loved)Cranor, Clark Jacobs (King of The Flower), Ricky Accomazzo (the original "Master"), Mo (linky)Lechlinski, Guns (Craig Fry), DE, Steve West (Boreal)
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 31, 2006 - 11:38am PT
I can’t believe I didn’t recognized Robs with that beard! Went Surfing with RA the weekend before last, still looks as good. Saw Yerian this Weekend, same!

Dave that had to have been a great get-together.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2006 - 11:57am PT
I wasn't the most influential Stonemaster–just the loudest. The most influential was Richard Harrison, who modeled to us the Prime Directive: Follow your own prerogative. That's what enabled us to mame a clean break from tradition. This all seems old hat now, but it wasn't 30 years ago.

JL
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 31, 2006 - 12:36pm PT
Not just the loudest, the strongest too!

I had to consult Richard on where to buy the white sailor pants. Then drove the 100 miles (hard to do when you’re 15) to get as many pairs as possible. Everyone always refers to them as painter pants. They just weren’t the same.
paulj

climber
utah
Jan 31, 2006 - 01:01pm PT
Sh#t...sailor pants. I had the kind with the buttons up both sides. The squeeze chimney on New Dimensions ripped all the buttons off the left side, a big flap ended up hanging down over my thigh, and my Fruit of the Looms got torn to shreds. Sailor pants...sh#t. Maybe that sort of thing never happened to the Masters.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 31, 2006 - 01:22pm PT
They actually made some with a single button up fly. One problem I remember was the bells getting in the way of your edging sight.
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Jan 31, 2006 - 01:46pm PT
OK here is one that has been nagging at me for years. It has two parts.

'75 or '76 Easter Week Yosemite Valley
Matt Cox and I are in the valley on a very wet Easter week trying to climb stuff. We are succeeding on some but getting shut down on others due to rain and inability. One afternoon we decide to try the Swan Slab Aid Rt. after looking at it and the funky 10d (?) start many times. We go over there and it is a little bit wet with more rain imminent. It's too hard for me to lead so Matt is giving it some tries. He finally scrapes his way up the short first pitch in a virtual/quasi free style and is nearing the belay when up walks Largo. Once again it's "Ho man, what's going on here. Give me a rope, I've gotta try this (in John's booming voice!)." It's my turn but I defer to the King. John dispatches the route with little difficulty, of course, and is soon on his way. "I'll see you boys later!" I somehow get up the pitch in a somewhat less free style than Matt and set off on the second pitch right as the rain really cuts loose. I soon am forced to resort to aid the bulk of the pitch in makeshift etriers and eventually top out. By then it's wet and dark and we are done.
Later we are in the lounge drying out and someone comments to us that Largo had managed to get in a free ascent of the SSAR on this rainy day. We tell him that yes it was true as we were there. He asks," Oh, YOU GUYS were there climbing with Largo (in an incredulous tone)?" To which we replied, "No, HE was there climbing with US!" Even we were pretty damn arrogant.
Just to be in the presence of John's huge persona was to be relegated to a subordinate or subservient role! We REALLY felt like B-team material then.

Late '80s Suicide Rock
Craig Fry and I are on the FA of my route Moondance on the Sunshine face one afternoon. We are high up on the 3rd pitch close to finishing the route. A voice booms up from below,"Ho man, what's going on up there?" It's John and his Myrmidon Dwight B. at the base calling up. We explain that we are doing an FA. To which John demands, "Ho man, throw me a rope!" Crag and I have a quick hushed conference and we both agree "no way!" But I yell back "sorry John, the rope won't reach." "Sure it will, I'll even solo up to the (Log)ledge". He even assured us, "just me, DB won't do it." We yell back and forth a couple of times until we finally have to tell him the truth which is "sorry John, this is our project, you can climb it tomorrow." John says,"I just want to climb the thing, you guys don't even have to include me on the FA".
Well, anyway, we held fast and denied "Largo" the rope knowing that our roles would be diminished and our glory for putting up such a proud route would be minimal.

Sorry John, we never intended any disrespect.

looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jan 31, 2006 - 02:25pm PT
John's timing was often impecable (as DE's examples demonstrate). It was March of 1980, I had just placed the last bolt and lead up to the top of a new route in Steve Canyon (Grain Surgery). Brian Rennie, who had patiently belayed me, started up to follow and along comes John. John asks, in that special persuasive way of his, whether he can get a TR. Who are we to deny him?

After Brian tops out, I cast the line to John and he quickly dispatches the route. The rope is not even coiled and John is off to find other easy pickings. Brian and I decide not to include John in the FA since he had not contributed in any way.

But, as the years have passed, I've become more tolerant of others in the hope (or understanding) that others will extend similar charity to my own foibles (past and present). I see the humor in more things. The new guide (out in March) now for the first time has John listed on the FA; it somehow seems fitting.



scuffy b

climber
S Cruz
Jan 31, 2006 - 04:05pm PT
I always thought the key was to get Milkman pants.
No bellbottom, regular fly, no extra loops etc.
like painter pants.
sm
Gene

climber
Jan 31, 2006 - 04:19pm PT
Who coined "Stonemasters"?
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2006 - 04:36pm PT
By the time folks were hoarding "their" projects (as was their right), the true Stonemaster era was already over. In the Stonemasters "Golden Era," it was come on, come all, and that included throwing down the top rope for total strangers to have a go at whatever we were doing--or begging a top rope for whatever else others were doing. The first ascent of some routes included upwards of 10 folk. The whole point of the thing was to get all the climbing in that you could, and move on to the next project. The business of who got credit for this or that was secondary to the thrill of the climbing itself. Once individual credit took precedence over the group experience, the Stonemasters, as a movement, were finished.

JL
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 31, 2006 - 04:50pm PT
"Once individual credit took precedence over the group experience, the Stonemasters, as a movement, were finished."

couldn't of put it better.

Probably pretty arguable and not that important regarding the coin. Regardless of who or how exactly we were a group.There are about 6 of us that should really sit down and shake each others memories if not just to recount some stories for the record.

MG
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Jan 31, 2006 - 05:42pm PT
Yes John, we were all young and arrogant.
Some of us still are.
Right on.
DE
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jan 31, 2006 - 06:14pm PT
Ok, so I didn't start getting to Josh or the Valley until '77, thereby missing most of the Stonemaster glory (but Josh and the Beach were still pretty hopping). I do, however, have a good Werner Braun story.

Early 90s, my buddy and I are in the Valley for a week and a half to climb Mescalito. It's been a while since we'd done anything so we hope on the NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral to see how we move on a long climb. We're close to half way up in that wierd flared crack section, switching over at a tiny belay stance.

We look down and see Werner free soloing up to us. Pretty wild given the location. We just park it so he can cruise by. Werner climbs up to us, stuffs in a hand jam and eyeballs us up and down and says: "You guys speak Engish?"
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jan 31, 2006 - 06:14pm PT
Ok, so I didn't start getting to Josh or the Valley until '77, thereby missing most of the Stonemaster glory (but Josh and the Beach were still pretty hopping). I do, however, have a good Werner Braun story.

Early 90s, my buddy and I are in the Valley for a week and a half to climb Mescalito. It's been a while since we'd done anything so we hope on the NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral to see how we move on a long climb. We're close to half way up in that wierd flared crack section, switching over at a tiny belay stance.

We look down and see Werner free soloing up to us. Pretty wild given the location. We just park it so he can cruise by. Werner climbs up to us, stuffs in a hand jam and eyeballs us up and down and says: "You guys speak English?"
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Jan 31, 2006 - 06:37pm PT
"You guys speak English?"

That is pretty funny. Werner you crack me up!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 31, 2006 - 11:46pm PT
Early 70s I meet another climber somewhere around Boulder and we do a few routes. His name is the one and the same Dwight Brooks. A CU student he lived at (if I recall) Nichols Hall #114.

Says he has a friend back in SoCal who is really good at weird size cracks because his hands are so big.

The first of the many Largo stories. Many came from Randy Grandstaff, doubt I'm not the only one who misses him.
Ropeburn

Trad climber
Riverside, CA
Jan 31, 2006 - 11:58pm PT
Well, reading all of this is very entertaining. John - if you're project is a future book, I guess you can forget it cuz it's all here for free. Great stuff.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Feb 1, 2006 - 03:02am PT
I came on to 'Stonemaster conciousness' well after the fact.

First time I ran into Mark Wilford was about spring '80(?). We bouldered with him, by chance in Vedauwoo. He had lightning bolts inked on his eb's.
"Hoh man, no wonder he climbs so well, check out the stonemaster ebs," my buddy, John Wilke, said.
"Hunh?" I replied.

Years later, the year of the first five tennie approach shoes. A young Chris Raypole and almost even younger Jaybro roped up at the base of Valhalla.
"So those guys climbed this to get the title?"
"Soloed it, I heard."
"Yeah, well belay me."
"Cool."

We climbed the first two pitches in fear, mishap and trepidation. The climbing, however, was clean, so we hung at the belay switched into our 'coolguy' 'tenies and partook of a sacrament we had been led to believe was part of the whole stonemaster thing. I was out of practice for the "joys of cannabis," as Fritz the Cat™ called it, but since that was the time and place for it, I could do no less.

'Zonies get good sh#t.

As luck would have it, this would be my lead.

With kaya in my head, laced but not tied shoes on my feet ("rubber's stickey, what else could matter") and a vague memory of the topo (lower fifth/maybe fourth class climbing) in my blotted head, I set out on lead and (wrongly)hung a hard right.

... and became more and more scared, especially after I traversed into some climb (5.10 I later determined)(with at this point ~a fifty foot runout) just above a seemingly critical bolt. Scared to death, I climbed to a belay (might have clipped bolts before the belay, having seen god below, I just don't recall) and belayed my partner up.

"Well, mr Anderson THAT was interesting," said a wide-eyed mr Raypole.

Though we missed the stonemaster era, we tried, in our own, lame, scary, and uninformed way, to experience it.
Wonder

climber
WA
Feb 1, 2006 - 03:11am PT
jaybro that is sick.
Tom Hanson

Trad climber
Castle Rock, CO
Feb 1, 2006 - 09:05am PT
I have a hazy recollection from the summer of 80?
Yabo had borrowed a bicycle from some kid at C4.
It was one of those old precursors to todays mountain bike, kind of a fat tire beach cruiser.
He proceeded to carry it up, and then attempt to ride down, a talus slope!
He kept taking headers, then geting back on and continuing down until he made the bottom.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 1, 2006 - 09:15am PT
Roger, thanks. I haven’t wallowed in this much nostalgia since Yosemite’s Woodstock- the dedication of Camp 4 as a historic site a few years ago.

Todd Gordon’s story about Tobin’s influence on climbers in Australia reminded me of this one.

With the exception of Tobin, who did not like bouldering,, most of the group spent a lot of time on the boulders at Rubidoux, Hidden Valley, Baldy, Pirates Cove, Camp 4 and many other venues. In the mid seventies, Gramicci was one of the most talented of the lot, especially on high, scary problems, his specialty. One of Mike’s best efforts took place in 1976 and had an international impact. That summer, Mike and I went to the Alps to try our hand at alpine climbing and camped at Snell Field, the abode of the English speaking climbing world in Chamonix.
Within view of the entire campsite is the famous Pierre D’Orthaz, a solitary, glacier erratic with a rich climbing history. Imagine Camp 4 with only a single, highly- featured, 15- foot high boulder near it and you can understand how the D’Orthaz was, bar-none, the most sought after summit in the self-proclaimed World Capital of Alpinism (don’t argue, it says so on billboards as you enter Chamonix). Celebrated Briticsh climbers, such as Allen Rouse, had established first ascents on it, and it had felt the touch of every prominent British climber from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
Mike found a right-slanting line of holds on the overhanging north face, worked out a sequence to move his hands to the highest holds on the slanting weakness, and heel-hooked a left leg high near his hands. He then dispatched an improbable, diagonal, dynamic move up and right to a flat hold near the top of the boulder. The key was to hang on after the legs swung free, but Mike managed it and established what the Brits dubbed the “American Leaping Route.” Almost 30 years later, Scottish guide Cubby Cuthbertson (recently seen as the stunt double in the recreated climbing scenes in “Touching the Void”) cited it in his online climbing column as one of his early inspirations.

Gramicci could truly, in Largo terms, “Crank like a Fiend.”

PS. the next year, 1977, Rob Muir snagged the most technically difficult line on the D’Orthaz, the low traverse, probably a first or early ascent of this route.
paulj

climber
utah
Feb 1, 2006 - 12:00pm PT
Piton Ron, re: Randy Grandstaff

Randy started climbing very young, pre-teen, I think, but definitely by the time he was in high school. I had history class with him as a freshman at Gorman High in Las Vegas. Every once in a while the guy would show up on a Monday with greasy hair, totally filthy, and stinking. Of course, no one wanted to sit near the freaky kid, and I remember the teacher commenting one time that Randy needed to show better respect for himself and his classmates, or something like that. Turns out that these were the days after he and Herbst or one of the other early RR guys (Matt ?) had gotten benighted on some climb and had to do the early morning race back to town to get Randy to class on time...
tdoughty

Mountain climber
descanso, ca
Feb 1, 2006 - 12:18pm PT
As I rember it:

Largo and crew sitting at the top of Smooth Sole Wall at Suicide, mid 70s, staring down at me as I come to grips with the crux of Ultimatum. As a poor teenager, I've worn holes at the toe and ball of both EBs (and therefore my feet as well), and I'm madly edging with the outside edges of the shoes. The route at the time, as described in the Wilts little orange guide, was done straight up, but I'm thinking there's no way I'm gonna be able to do that, and I spot a large, inviting alternat knob, up and left, with some larger edges leading to it. So off left I shuffle to the knob, goofy footed as all get out. As I move on towards the top Largo opines as he gets ready to move on, "never seen it done that way" Was it the goofy edging or the easier variation he was talking about? Don't know, but the easier variation I worked out showed up in the next guide!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 1, 2006 - 02:26pm PT
paulj,
was that after Randy's cousin shot him in the ass with a .22mag ?
Three months later he was fully recovered and at a family get together he beat the crap out of his cousin while the parents stood back refusing to interfere saying,"Uh uh. He had it coming."
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Feb 1, 2006 - 04:48pm PT
JL, I want to try and explain what I mean(or meant) by saying something like "my route" or wanting the "glory" of an FA.
None of the climbers that I have ever done FAs with were motivated by wanting glory or fame. We have always joked about it though, it's sort of an unavoidable byproduct. People come up to you years later and say "thanks for putting up such a cool route." Sometimes it's "dude, what a gritty pile." Either way I enjoy the comment. It was and is about the experience, always has been.
It is hard not to feel a sence of ownership though. I see a line and think "damn, I've got to climb that!" I will dream about it and obsess about it indefinitely until "my project" is in the past. Then I will rarely give it a second thought. Except when I hear that it has had bolts added. That is irritating. I feel like a small piece of performance art has had tomatoes thrown at it. It has been violated, soiled or blemished.
The other thing I want to mention is on the subject of the "interloper." Since it is about the experience, it is about being there for the WHOLE experience. I like to see things through from the beginning to the end. It's the play, not the act, it's the movie, not the scene, it's the whole enchilada.
CF had a very irritating habit of going along but not hanging out and sharing the work of the project. We would find the project and someone would make the first probe, figure out a section, maybe place a bolt or two and then turn the lead over to someone else. Meanwhile C is off raking in solos, birding, looking for arrowheads, doing whatever, too impatient to hang. Then as soon as someone tops out there he is demanding his turn, often stepping on the toes of someone who may have belayed for 4 hours or assisted in some fashion. Often it's just "the girlfriend" or someone who is a little unsure (of their ability to follow) that he can demean like this without feeling any guilt. The person that sat there and sliced oranges has priority status in the followers hierarchy over the "Jonny come lately."
You seem to imply that the Stonemaster's valued maximum vertical mileage over what I would call the "experience." I'm not sure I believe that.
I understand how Randy and Brian felt when they decided to exclude you from the FA info on that route in Steve Cyn. It has less to do with hoarding the glory than the feeling that you weren't really "there."
"The business of who got credit for this or that was seconary to the thrill of the climbing itself." I couldn't agree with you more. It's always been that way, for us as well.
Climb on,
DE

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 1, 2006 - 04:53pm PT
Googling "Stonemasters Yosemite" and "Stonemasters Joshua" each turns up five pages of web hits and a few in google groups...
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 1, 2006 - 08:08pm PT
One thing I remember that summer in France was the free climbing scene was just sitting there waiting to happen. Rick, if you can remember that boulder problem you’ll surely remember the pondering looks we got while climbing in the south of France. Weather was so perfect all you needed was a head band (silk) and a pair of shorts. Of coarse also the Boots and a light rack were handy. All the routes seemed to have at least a short section of aid, even if you were just suppose to grab a pin or two. An interesting style that came about from the necessity of climbing fast in the higher mountains but we couldn’t see the point since they typically went free at a moderate clip. A few heads spun as we wandered up all these great lines. It could have been the precursor to their coining the red point or even the red circle. A good way for them to move forward or justify the past without destroying all their great history.

mg
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 1, 2006 - 09:09pm PT
Hi Rick, good to hear your 'voice.'

Your comment about the Camp 4 dedication strikes a real nerve. I got several calls asking me to come. But, I was too dense to realize how much fun it would be to see everyone. I watched the video and instantly regretted blowing it off.

Your story about Mike's flying ability also takes me back. On the free ascent of the center route on Phantom Pinnacle, he lunged past a blank section on the first pitch. Took him about 30 seconds to size it up and finish it off. I didn't let out the rope fast enough--who knew he would really lunge--and almost pulled him off. It was the first time I had ever seen a lunge on a lead.

I hope all is well with you. ST is sort of a cool place to hang out with so many Valley climbers posting up. Hanging out, wasting time, but cool nonetheless.

Best, Roger
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 1, 2006 - 09:27pm PT
Mr Long, sir
I am afraid I owe you a personal apology for a transgression that occured more than 25 years ago. It was December 1980 in Las Vegas You wanted to rip off my head and crap down my throat. We were all gathered at the Urioste house over by the old Show Boat. You were there with Lynn and I was the Colorado punk kid hanging with Newberry and Geoff the "Madman". I had just returned from an accident in Morocco and was recovering from a total knee reconstruction. My best friend while serving over seas was a cool cat from California named Steve Long. Steve oftened talked about his super strong brother the climber. I never made any particular connection until I was layed up in the hospital and the latest climbing rag d'jour had an article of yours about a climb called Moroccan Roll. Now when I say Steve was a cool cat I mean this dude could roll up the most amazing moroccan 'mixed' blend cones you have ever layed eyes or flames upon. So, I ask you, what was I to think while coming out of a morphine haze? I know that by the time I ran into you in Nevada I was so convinced that he was refering to you that I was willing to "take it to the mat" to convince you I had met your brother. I thought that your denial of even having a brother was probably because Steve was on the lam after not quite making it thru customs. It really pissed me off that you wouldn't accept that I was really his friend. Now at that time you out weighed me by about three stone of solid muscle and I was a twig awaiting snapage. But, I had the courage of conviction of my assumption and I wouldn't let it go. It started getting heated and you must have really wanted me to shut up. Fortunately for me Madman was also a walking eclipse and in a fit of pity for the fool he got between us. I have to confess that I thought you were such a Mules' O-ring. Later I found out the whole, real, story and I felt, to say the least, quite embarresed. I never crossed paths with you again so consequently I never had the chance to appologize for being such an ass. So here goes... I am sorry! Oh and thanks for leaving my head attached to my shoulders it has really been usefull over the years. Without it I could never have appreciated the quality of your writting.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 1, 2006 - 10:49pm PT
What's that great Patsy Cline somg? Sweet Dreams?

Grandstaff reported seeing numerous instances where JL would be sleeping deeply, then suddenly awaken, and from a ready pipe take a monstrous hit of weed, exhale a veritable smoke screen and then just as quickly be snoring again.

Then there was the time Randy showed up in Tokerville on a saturday evening with a certain Scottish orthopedist client in tow. They had just failed on Prodigal Sun, not surprising considering the doctor's girth and the minute remainder of a bottle of Tanqueray still left in play.
Before the evening was out I had to restrain Randy who had suddenly attempted to remove my 9mm from a tac-vest hangfing on the handlebars of a motorcycle in my living room. He was apparently unaware that it might be (and WAS) loaded.
He promptly stumbled outside and began thrashing the shrubbery attempting to vomit, taking little time to succeed. The shrubbery had never recovered although whether it was the thrashing or the vomit I know not.
Later he fell asleep in my front yard and I awoke late the following morning to find horrified mormons walking past my house on their way to church shielding their children's eyes while they gaped at the six foot plus guy with blond hair which pointed in various directions passed out face first in (yet another) pool of vomit with his pants either pulled half off or back on.
wildone

climber
right near the beach, boyeee (lord have mercy)
Feb 2, 2006 - 01:41am PT
Ron, refferring to the Grandstaff observed, Largo-trick; it's called "wake and bake". Almost always followed by another 3-4 hours of blissful sleep. I'm sure you've done it. And I can see those mor-mons now. What a sight!
Your story of the (loaded) nine reminds me of a similar personal story, the punchline of which is, of course, (friend): It's loaded? (a disgusted look of incredulity on his face)
me: Of course it is! What good is an unloaded gun?! Jeez!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 2, 2006 - 03:49am PT
It was the speed with which the snoring resumed that was the remarkable issue.

Were it not for the aftermarket thumbsnap on the Bianchi UM84 the story might have had an ending similar to yours and my shack yet another AD hole.
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Feb 2, 2006 - 11:13am PT
I had to check my records to get the exact date. It was October 12-13 1974 at Suicide Rock and it was THE STONEMASTER PARTY.

I remember very little except for a couple of things.

1) All routes on the Weeping Wall were climbed simultaneously. We did The Big Peach. The belays must have been crowded.

2) Robs Muir rappeling down the center of the wall face first (?) completely dressed in white, like some sort of religious icon!

3) I also climbed Hair Lip and Low Pressure with Jim Wood and others. Jim was variously nicknamed "Hard Wood" or "Balsa Wood" depending on his performance on the given day.

I need to get as much mileage on this thread as possible since I will be out of the office for a few weeks!
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 2, 2006 - 12:49pm PT
T'was reputedly reported that Rick Accomazzo said:
>PS. the next year, 1977, Rob Muir snagged the most technically difficult line on
>the D’Orthaz, the low traverse, probably a first or early ascent of this route.

What I remember about that Summer, with our California tents pitched below Pierre D'Orthaz, was the fun bouldering. We'd walk into town to check the weather and if it looked like crap up above, the weather in Chamonix would often be warm and sunny. Perfect excuse to boulder, instead...

While working-out the low traverse, I recall these three French kids. ...couldn't have been more than 16 years old, or so. Man, did they watch us intensely! One of 'em was a pretty credible boulderer, and he would join in the cycles of attempts. Never did see him do it, but after we started regularly repeating that problem, he'd be seen--over many days--trying and trying to do it too.

The thing that really struck me was this kid began to copy our dress and CA style. Right down to the bandana! We wore cut-off jeans, always had a chalkbag and each of us ALWAYS tied a rolled-up bandana on our brow to keep the hair under control. There was even a ritual to rolling that handkerchief! If it was colder, then the shorts became "dress whites" or beat-up sweat pants.

Rick said that no one in France had wore that headdress the season before, so we agreed that that Stonemaster trip affected an entire culture! Blame it on Gramicci...

Indeed, in subsequent seasons, the European climbers all started to look like they were all Valley regulars!
WBraun

climber
Feb 2, 2006 - 12:54pm PT
Yes it's true, a lot of the current fads came and still come out of California.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 2, 2006 - 01:06pm PT
Oh yeah...

Right after Rick, Gib Lewis and I did the fifth (or sixth?) ascent of Brown's "The Great Wall" on Clogwyn dur Arddu in Wales, the two of them went over to Ken Wilson's house --then the Editor of Mountain Magazine. (Candi and I went off to see the sights of London, instead.)

Ken was a huge "clean" ethics advocate, and that included chalk. The stuff was an eyesore on popular gritstone areas, but we KNEW it made routes happen, and we could give-a-damn.

So, the first thing Wilson asked of Rick was "had we done it without chalk?" In response, Rick laughed and said, "Of course not!" "We always use chalk; it wouldn't be hard, otherwise."

Wilson said, "Damn. I could have made you stars!"
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal
Feb 2, 2006 - 01:47pm PT
Don't know what year it is but...

What i do know, The men in the valley are beginning to wear tights while climbing and it's really bothering me, I dunno it was just plain (Wrong).
I'm at the base of Catchy and I note a party to my left donning them i'm focused and thinking i might finally be good enough to lead this pitch and if i'm lucky i'll be able to pull the second pitch as well.

So i'm half way up the first pitch and on my left in another crack is this super ripped guy with very curly hair, no shirt, and giant arms leading the 5.11. For a young woman in Yosemite his was a man to be desired EXCEPT you guessed it he's YIKES wearing purple tights.
I'm trying not to gawk when I realize this super human is none other than Jim Bridwel o.m.g.!
Super Jim and I are now neck and neck crankin our pitch's when he looks across at me and says "Man, times sure have changed".
I shall never forget that day because all the way home I thought,
"Boy have they ever"!

jow


Jim's great in my book but gentlemen trousers please!

Way to go Gramicci.




Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 2, 2006 - 03:55pm PT
Jo,

I have never met another person that could meld so well with each coming craze as Jim Bridwell.

Fortunately Retro is back in!
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal
Feb 2, 2006 - 06:33pm PT
Gramicci,

Every encounter i've had with jb, warm, polite, and very funny!

Maybe you should bust out a hundred pair of those cuffed white pants we all wore in mid to late eighties..they rocked and held up quite well. The new/old trend might just go off.

jow



Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 2, 2006 - 06:49pm PT
Would like to hand out a few hundred pairs but I retired from the Company back in ’99 That pant style with the cuff was actually Bachar’s design. Evolved from there through the years, at least until 99

That’s a good idea busting out with something new. Keep your eyes open!
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 3, 2006 - 12:24pm PT
Above, Dave Evans mumbled:
> I had to check my records to get the exact date. It was October 12-13 1974 at
> Suicide Rock and it was THE STONEMASTER PARTY.

Whew. The Stonemaster Party at Suicide! I remember lugging 2.5 gallons of wine up to the base and summit for that weekend. Talk about mass ascents! In everything from tennis shoes to bare feet.

Here's a link to some old photos I've had laying around that just got scanned this morning...

http://chs.cusd.claremont.edu/~rmuir/webalbum/

Check out the early photos of Al Bartlett doing a repeat of "Ten Carat Gold" during that weekend!
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 3, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
The circle of "Stonemasters" had expanded to include quite a few notables, by the mid-seventies. Someone should tell some stories of the guide school that was formed up in Idyllwild called "The California Mountaineering and Technical Rock Climbing School."

Not too sure if anyone ever made much money guiding for them... (With the exception of Clark Jacobs, maybe?) But it was quite the place to hang. Talk about a roster of official Guides, though.

Check out this list, taken from an old brochure:



Among the rates they listed for services, the School offered a $10 bouldering outing for one hour. "Offered daily from 5 P.M. to 6 P.M.", it was reputed that rookies and idolators could, for a fee, go watch Largo chalk up!

can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 3, 2006 - 12:49pm PT
Rob, those shot are way classic. Big Al, sure looked a bit different then, kind of a svelte looking guy with hair.

nice
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Feb 3, 2006 - 01:08pm PT
Ho man! Those are some great old photos. Really takes me back. Was one of those shots of Bartlett on Ten Karat published? Really looks familiar. Rob, were you on the Foraker expedition with Kenny Cook?
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 3, 2006 - 03:02pm PT
Yeah, one of those Bartlett photos was published somewhere. It was also used on the California School of Mountaineering brochure, too.

And, yeah, I was the expedition leader on the Mt. Foraker trip, Summer 1975. Ken Cook (RIP), Rob Dillinger (RIP), etc. Fun incident, that Summer, which proves how very small the climbing world was back then...

After we got off that mountain, I hooked up with Mike Graber (who happened to be in the Kachatnas at that time) and rather than flying back to SoCal, it was more fun to hitch a ride back down the AlCan in their old van. 1100 miles of dirt/mud road back then... We spun that rig many times, and got towed out of the mire three times by passing logging trucks!

We decided to hit the Tetons and then on to the Wind River range. Hiked all the way into Pingora from Big Sandy and arrived there late in the afternoon. The mosquitos were HORRIFIC! ...quickly pitched a tent and dived in to escape the onslaught. ...had to wait until nightfall to try and start dinner.

Later in the evening we stumbled out to discover, on the other side of the boulder from our tent, was Alan, fricken, Bartlett! Damn! And there wasn't another single climbing party in the entire cirque. So we SoCal lads had the whole place to ourselves for three days...
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Feb 3, 2006 - 10:18pm PT
Rob: Thanks for the link to the great shots. Don Wilson (the proprietor of Cal. School of Mountaineering) also used that one photo of Big Al on a poster (wished I'd saved one). Remember using the poster (along with a bunch of climbing photos) to decorate the ceiling of my 59 Bug.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 3, 2006 - 10:33pm PT
Whew, hell of a faculty they had going there. Good to see a bunch of you Emeriti and Emeritae here on ST...!
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 4, 2006 - 10:10am PT
I knew Dale Bard from Indian Rock in Berkeley in the sixties...

Most of the regulars there were high school and college aged (with the notable exception of really old guys like Bruce Cooke--"The Cooke Book" in Tuolumne. And then there was Dale... (...couldn't have been more than 13 at the time.)

Everyone thought he was so cute, trying all those overhanging probs and having to work out alternate holds since he couldn't reach all the holds in the usual ways. But he was tenacious (even back then) and guys like Peter Hahn and Chris Vandever took him under their tutilage. And Dale cranked off some great problems, very creatively.

Much later, when he started living in the Valley, I vividly remember sitting in the Camp 4 parking lot one morning... We were all slowing getting the day started, shooting the breeze and drinking cup after cup of coffee. Some were smoking fags (JL) and using the gas station bathroom to wash faces, etc. The usual crusty daily ritual. We all had pretty strange diets, but Dale brought along some sort of vegan sensibilities from Berkeley that, at the time, were quite unusual.

Dale sat on hood of some car throughout the whole morning, there in Camp 4, with spoon in hand dipping into a freshly-opened quart of honey. Organic honey, probably. By the time we all were sufficiently awake, the rest of us (having by then consummed gallons of coffee and dozens of cigarettes) were shocked to observe that Dale had finished the ENTIRE jar of honey. Solo.

...could never figure-out how Dale could "crank like a fiend" on that diet!

But, then again, who wants to retell the story about the retreat from El Cap because the haulbag contained only "two raw spuds"?
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 4, 2006 - 10:23am PT
Robs

Funny, I don’t remember being associated with that guiding service up in Idyllwild. You may recall that we had established our own guide service at the time, run out of the Ski Mart: Flight Systems Mountaineering. We even had a brochure printed. Remember our slogan that Largo came up with?:

Any place,
Anytime,
We’ll lead it with grace
And you’ll jumar the line.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 4, 2006 - 01:52pm PT
Ok, trivia time regarding the old Ski Mart (old employee's can't play). They had an recurring ad in Climbing and Summit back in the day. What was shown on the doctored photo they always used in those ads?
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 4, 2006 - 01:56pm PT
Hey Rob, who was the older guy at Indian Rocks? In 1970 he probably was 60 or so. Lived in Oakland and would ride his bike up to Berkeley. I think he only mostly bouldered.

I remember seeing him riding his bike somewhere over by the Claremeont Hotel. I slowed down, gave a honk on my horn and rolled down my window (actually, the windows slid open on my '58 bus) to say hello. He didn't even look up, he just flipped me off and keep riding.

Crusty sort.

Do you remember?

Also, you guys should get Dale to post up. It would be good to have him join in. I have been working on some other guys, not much luck so far.

Best, Roger
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 4, 2006 - 03:26pm PT
Hey, Rick.

Ob: Flight Systems Mountaineering... Yep, we didn't make too much money doing that either. Back then we charged $45 for a two-day guided ice climbing class at either June or Lee Vining.

Here's a link to a scanned image of the cover of our old brochure:
B&W photo

And, for the record, that's Dominique Thomas and Dennis Bird at the first belay during the third (?) ascent of The West Face of El Cap, circa 1972.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 4, 2006 - 03:46pm PT
Yeah, Roger. That would have been Bruce Cooke. Back in the late Sixties, he must have been nearing seventy or so, I'm guessing. I remember him being an old RCS guy--but back then almost every old climber was a part of the Sierra Club's Rock Climbing Section. ...don't recall how his name got attached to the Cooke Book up in Tuolumne; I thought he did the first on it.

Those old guys were truly an inspiration to me. Smooth, methodical and disciplined boulderers. Bruce could whip-off 15+ pullups from a dead hang on Lichmann's Lick (sp?), a notorious set of crimpers down in the Amphitheater. At that time, doing five was pretty impressive. Bruce could also do one-arm pullups on one of the trees at Indian Rock. But you're right about the slow bicycle; peddling up those Berkeley hills at his pace... Damn, we could have walked it faster! OK. Smooth, methodical, disciplined and SLOW.

I always thought that climbing was a truly righteous sport if you could keep doing it into one's seventies! I remember his dry wit, and he was very generous to us younger kids.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 4, 2006 - 05:12pm PT
Looking back at the group picture. I think that was one of the original Access Fund events, the 93 Joshua Tree AF Rendevous. The only person Dave missed, between Mari and Grandstaff, is George Meyers, 70’s Yosemite regular and Chockstone Press guidebook maven.

On Rob’s story about Dale and Camp 4 food. Here’s one about Werner.

We are sitting on the cars. Werner is eating from a bag of carrots and celery, but the vegetables are about a week old and well past their prime. Werner holds up a stalk of wilted celery, and demonstrates that he can bend it into a knot. He has a nutritional theory that he explains it to the group:

“If you want to stay limber, you must eat limber food.”
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2006 - 09:36pm PT
Ricky wrote:

Any place,
Anytime,
We’ll lead it with grace
And you’ll jumar the line.

Is it any wonder you guys didn't land many clients with such a promotional slogan? But then, in those days the whole point of being a "guide" was to rope in a personal belayer for projects. The strategy was just this: Every client always had a few "dream routes," and you'd ask them what those were straightaway. You'd immediately race him/her up said dreams in nothing flat, and since they never actually considered doing these routes, they were always so stoked that holding your line and getting hauled up your project(s) by main force was no biggy. Oftentimes the ratio was one hour for them and the rest of the day for you. Pretty shoddy form, but it worked at the time . . .

JL
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Feb 4, 2006 - 09:40pm PT
Largo,
What the hell ever happened to that boulderer guy, Oliver Moon? Dude was bad! Alot of these young guys never have heard of him either....damn shame it is. I think he still has some unrepeated stuff at Josh... Where are some of his other testpieces? I'd like to go check 'em out after all these years. Know what I mean?
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 4, 2006 - 10:10pm PT
Hey, Can’t Say.
I don't remember the Ski Mart ad you refer to, but I have another quiz about the Ski Mart. A 10’ high rock was installed in the parking lot for bouldering purposes. The grand opening of the bouldering rock was a contest: the first no-hands ascent won a rope. Who won and how?
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Feb 4, 2006 - 10:34pm PT
ad had el cap sprouting out of the sand along some pacific ocean beach
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 4, 2006 - 10:38pm PT
ding, ding, ding, we have a wiener, sort of. The pic also had a babe sitting in the sand. Way to exercise those remaining brain cells Jeff.

Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 4, 2006 - 11:09pm PT
Good memory on Ken, Rob. (Edit: the person referred to real name is Bruce Cooke, not Ken. See posts below from 'Scuffy b')

He was pretty impressive on the boulders. The Cooke Book was first climbed by Kamps and Higgins is 1967. I think Tom and Ken were friends, but I don't know what, if any thing, he had to do with the climb. It may be just a tip of the hat. It is also a good name.

Roger
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 4, 2006 - 11:13pm PT
Oh, dear. The braincells could use a wee dusting!

The adverts had The Captain rising out of the Pacific, indeed. And you could see a good line of surf, but there was a DUDE sitting on the beach looking out at the sea and stone! No babe in sight. (I grabbed a Mountain Magazine at random, #57, and there's an ad there on page one.)

Who took that? Steve Makay, maybe? I'm guessing that might be Bruce Nyberg on the sand. Maybe Steve West? And Steve West and I cut up the El Cap photo for the quick paste-up.

As for O. Moon... He owned Rubidoux, too, didn't he? Isn't the O. Moon Crack down below Hemophiliac's Horror? Largo knows the best stories of Oliver Moon...
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2006 - 11:27pm PT
I'm actually trying to get hold of Moon right now, but it's tricky because I haven't seen him in nearly 15 years and all I have is a phone number for the casino in St. Croix (which, I believe, his family owns). Gimme a day or so to track him down.

JL
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 4, 2006 - 11:45pm PT
Rob, you're right, maybe I just wanted to see a babe on the beach. The question was posed from my memory. After checking the mags, I saw it was a dude.

What is slightly ironic was that the first mag I picked up had Tobin's obit in it and I flipped right to it. I only met him once (when he lived in SLO) and even though the meeting was brief, it left an idelible image on me.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 4, 2006 - 11:53pm PT
Quiz question for the history buffs:

Which Uplandish lads, who later went on to become Stonemasters, claimed the first ascent of the El Cap of Cucamonga (TM)?

Hmmm?
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Feb 5, 2006 - 12:12am PT
rob, that story got it's own thread on ST

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=39279#msg39351

rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 5, 2006 - 10:05am PT
My God! I had no idea!! ;-p (Truly, ST addresses the most monumental topics of our generation.)
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 5, 2006 - 11:40am PT
JL, I know you remember this one.

One memorable night was the rescue on the White Maiden route at Tahquitz, around 74. As I recall it, we were getting ready to head down the trail one evening after a day at the crag, when there were calls for help from near the top of the White Maiden. A number of us, including Gib, Richard, John and several others I don’t remember scrambled up the Trough to lower a rope to the stuck climbers, who were about 15 years old and had some sort of problem, although they weren’t hurt. It was getting dark quickly, the boys were too exhausted to climb any more, and we needed to get them up to the top.

It was decided that the quickest way to rescue them was to simply haul them up. Somebody rapped down and attached the first to a rope while those of us on top grabbed the rope and started pulling. We started putting our backs into it like a good rowing team and someone, probably you John, acted as coxswain, setting a steady rhythm of Pull!, Pull! Pull!. The first one came up pretty fast, but for the second guy, we had the technique down and we reeled him in like a trout. Now the top of that climb is by no means vertical and the poor lads endured some scrapes as they were rapidly hauled over little roofs and other rock features. They were grateful nevertheless and we all made it down the trail in the dark.

The young lads who were rescued grew up to become excellent climbers and second generation Stonemasters.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 5, 2006 - 07:51pm PT
one of those trivia tests was pretty hard!

The funniest ad Ski Mart did and would rivial any today was the Photo of Owen Gunter hanging at a mock bivy setup at knots berry farm. He’s sitting in a belay seat (if anyone can remember those) with this devilish grin and a live sheep hanging out of the haul bag!

That was quite bold even back then.

Mg

PS: Largo’s jingle for the school was hilarious.
sandsnow

Social climber
SoCal
Feb 5, 2006 - 11:11pm PT
I remember the boulder from the Ski Mart parking lot. It was still there a couple years ago, but they had moved it to the back of the parking lot.

Back in 73 0r 74 my friend and I were guided by Dominique (I guess it's the same guy) up Tahquitz. we met in the Ski Mart parking lot. He drove too. I remember making fun of his car, a Reneault I think that had a steering column shift. I think he took us up The Trough. We were 15.

We were always trying to get our parents to let us have money for gear. Then my mom asked Dominique and he said we had enough gear to do all the climbs on Tahquitz already. That sucked.

I really don't remember much about the climb, but all that other stuff is just weird.

uzi

Trad climber
oslo
Feb 6, 2006 - 05:02am PT
met JL at malibu creek couple years back. i believe he lied about his name, can't blame him : ) but the "largo" on his rope bag, and my recolection of the ever-classic "basic rock climbing" vid saw through the lies. i remember him saying "hell, if people put more than a couple feet between bolts these days it's RUN OUT" : ) look forward to the book. met bridwell in jtree where i learned that "laybacking is not technique at all".....us younguns need to learn all we can from you visionaries. i'm always inpspired by your ascents and freespririted adventures.

"use to boulder at the beach in CDM(very close to the above mentioned "ski mart") and on a good day you could be bouldering with: Randy Vogel, Maria Cranor, Mike Lechinski, Mari Gingery, Tony Yarniro, Rob Raker, Shawn Curtis, Nick Badyrka, Tobin Sorenson, Yabo, John Long, Lynn Hill, Eric EEEErickson, Uh Howard King, Rick Accomazzo, Pat Ney, Rob Muir, Dave Wonderly, Jack Marshall, Kevin Powell, Darryl Hensell, Mike Paul and others I couldn't begin to remember their names. That place was a training ground for the southern group and there was plenty of good karma going around that place. The "stonners" home ground when they weren't out blowing away everyone at the rock. You guys remember the place? Last I heard...the lifeguards won't let you climb there because it's too dangerous...for the beach goers! Great memories of chaulk gooo if the humidity and/or the tide got too high. "Bowls in the Cave boys!"
Peace "

...........this is totally off topic, but do you know the right-to-left "green burrito" problem? last time i was at CDM i pulled the best hold off it, a small-wattermellon sized chunk. have kept that grease-smeered chunk for some reason........ : ).........have to wonder how many of you folks have touched that chunk :)

btw: last i checked lifeguards won't allow at certain times. i've nearly landed on a couple beach umbrellas when coming off problems these days. still remember with bliss first time i pulled the iron man roof. that's a beautiful problem
scuffy b

climber
S Cruz
Feb 6, 2006 - 12:05pm PT
Rob, Roger
Good memories of Indian Rock.
However, his name (the older whiz kid) was Bruce Cooke.
He was also a bit younger than most folks realized,
probably only about sixty when Rob moved South.
He and his contemporary Jim Crooks had been in the Mountain
Division in WWII. One of them had one of the world's first
nylon climbing ropes.
Those two guys had a big influence on the outlook of a lot
of youngsters coming along.
Cooke Book was a tip of the hat to a dear friend.
Fun climb, too.
sm
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 6, 2006 - 12:28pm PT
Thank you, scuffy b! BRUCE Cooke, not Ken. I've modified my prior posts, to correct the name. He and Jim Crooks were such a huge influence on several generations of Berkeley climbers; I want to set the record straight.

I think I recall using his goldline when we'd toprope some super-tall problems. And his Kronhoffers were always PERFECT!
Russ Walling

Social climber
This space for rent
Feb 6, 2006 - 12:44pm PT
I'm way too young to get in all this Fossil Talk™™, but Richard Harrison sends his best. Was climbing and yapping with him yesterday. He is still out there in Vegas floating stuff. Smooth man, smooth......
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Ca
Feb 6, 2006 - 02:34pm PT
Oh come off the sanctimonious crap Fish. You are almost as old as the rest of us and been around just about as long too.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 6, 2006 - 03:23pm PT
In some parts of the MidWest and South where there are steep sandstone overhangs and roofs without cracks, "laybacking is not technique at all" would be fighting words - not that anyone would want to particularly mix it up with Bridwell...
ol one eye

Trad climber
south lake tahoe,ca
Feb 6, 2006 - 03:40pm PT
+wow!deja vu. so many names i haven't heard in a long time. rob, where did you get that brochure? i don't think any of us made money, but it beat pounding nails. don also had us start a boy scout explorer troop,mainly for the insurance,i think.we had a few 'sponsored' events,a pancake breakfast or two,which paid for a road trip to gran trono blanco, among others.funny cause most of us were 'advisors'. i think malcom best, kurt reider,grandstaff and mcdonald were the only scouts! but it worked.good fun.





rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 6, 2006 - 05:42pm PT
Hi, ol one eye.
I found a copy of the brochure for the old climbing school in Idyllwild--which was around for a few years in the mid-seventies (?)--kicking around in my old files. Here's a very detailed image of the front and back of the brochure, but be prepared to scale it for useful viewing...

HUGE scanned image

The original brochure was a lot more than a tri-fold flyer. Must have been something like a 6-fold, with 12 sides. Lots of details, probably so that Don Wilson wouldn't have to explain too much... :-)
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 6, 2006 - 06:05pm PT
More Stonemaster trivia...

Anyone know who this guy is? Taken at Suicide Rock, 13 Oct 1974. (Neither Gramicci or I can remember...)


bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 6, 2006 - 07:45pm PT
oliver moon was a product of media fluff. i watched him try "how's yer momma?" for about three hours and all he did was rip his tips and grease out the holds for everyone else. 'couldn't even get his feet off the ground. pffft.

i'll come out and say it, even if you people won't: the dude was a poseur.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 6, 2006 - 08:23pm PT
Never met Moon myself, everyone always said I should have been there yesterday. I bet there are lots of you guys out there that have a story about him. maybe even climbed with him?
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Feb 7, 2006 - 02:12am PT
I was bouldering at Indian Rock back in 1975 when a 13 year-old kid wearing a climbing helmet comes over and introduces himself and asks if he can climb with me. This energetic lad offered that he was training for his "dream" climb, Desperado Chuteout, an obscure line at Pinnacles National Monument. I had done an early repeat of route and he wanted to know everything about the climb.

We bouldered a bunch and went our separate ways. Peter Mayfield went way beyond hauling his skinny butt up a little know chossfest in central California.

Bruce
steelmnkey

climber
Phoenix, AZ
Feb 7, 2006 - 08:38am PT
Here's the Ski Mart ad (from Mountain #56):



Somebody oughta start a second thread here...gettin' pretty hard to load all of this from a dialup...
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal
Feb 7, 2006 - 11:11am PT
Awh come on Mussy post up! Every story you've ever told/written has had us LOL...and I know you've got many rabbits in that hat of yours..tell us a tale or two..pleeeeassse.
-jobee
Gentlemen: by the way Werner still climbs like a fiend! He's super fit and pumping laps on everything down canyon, the guy is 50yrs young. (the celery/carrots must be a secret weapon)
(he's gonna kill me for posting this..now i'm scared) sorry W.!
-jow







rbolton

Social climber
Glendora, CA
Feb 7, 2006 - 02:52pm PT

Ok

Here’s the story of my first real J-Elvis encounter. It’s the summer of ’75 or ’76. One of my first trips to the valley. I pull in to the lodge lot in my trusty Dodge Dart after getting a site in camp four. Grab boots and chalk bag and head in to the boulders East of camp. I get up a few easy things but get spanked by an overhanging face between swan slab and the lodge. As I sit in the dirt, eyeballing the problem, I hear this booming voice call out “Ho man, that looks hard. Mind if I give it a go?” I turn and see this…giant…tourist. Must be a tourist. He’s wearing flip-flops, jeans, a completely unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt and this pink, knit, pork pie Budweiser hat. The kind with cut up cans woven into it. He’s got a girl with him. I decide to humor him (he is rather large). “Sure, go ahead” I mumble. The giant tourist steps up to the problem, kicks off the flip-flops, crimps down on these two nasty little side pulls and fires for the summit. With two hands. Sticks it. Presses it out with feet dangling. The giant tourist laughs, collects the girl and stumbles off in the direction of the lodge. I decide not to have a huge gear sale in camp after someone informs me “Dude, that’s just Largo. He does that to everyone."
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 7, 2006 - 02:59pm PT
The cowboy boots on intersection rock was a pretty good show too!
Russ Walling

Social climber
This space for rent
Feb 7, 2006 - 03:22pm PT
There is now a part II for this thread as the download times are getting way up there. Please post all new replies to StoneMaster Stories to this link:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=150211&f=0&b=0

This is a link to Stanmaster Stories part II
guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 7, 2006 - 05:00pm PT
Great topic, reading all the stories got the memory banks working in my head. The old days are sort of hazy, cause it was such a long, long time ago and well you know we smoked herb by the ounce! I was able to do Valhalla in like 1976 with Mike Pope. We made many tries before we did that sucker and I still have a sore back from catching that huge 200 lb dude using the “hip belay.” That night at the celebration, we were drinking vodka Collins from a bleach bottle – the standard water bottle used in those days. Pope gets tired of waiting for the bottle to come back to him so he grabs the bottle of vodka and starts guzzling it down at a furious pace. We gave him the warning but he didn’t listen to US and in about 40 min he is just screaming drunk….that was one wild night in Humbler Park. But this is the story I want to tell. A few weeks after Valhalla, Largo comes over to me and tells me “you should go do the Drain Pipe, its right up your alley.” Now having Largo recommend a climb to you is sort of like having GOD himself gives you a commandment. Up at the rock John points out the start of the climb. This baby starts at the end of a ledge about 50 feet above the deck. We were all standing on this ledge getting beta from John and I was holding on to a large flake of rock and leaning back so I could get a better view of the holds. The flake comes off in my hands! Somehow I manage to flip around and grab hold of the ledge, just barley catching myself! So John, always cool goes “Ho-Man Hang ON!” He reached down and grabbed me by arm and just powered me back up to the ledge. That guy was/is the world’s strongest man. Fearing for my safety John walked me back a few steps to a large tree and tied me in using about 20 feet of rope….after, I was tied in, John and Dean F. rifled my back pack and took out my stash. What a bunch of pals! A few hours later Bullwinkle and I did the Drain Pipe. When I think about the STONEMASTERS I think about the whole California climbing scene back then and how much fun we had and how we were all really motivated to climb harder and better. The energy was fantastic and I feel privileged to have been able to hang with some of the best climbers in the world.

(I am sort of new to Super-topo..how do you get to see the photos??)
Bart Fay

Social climber
Redlands, CA
Feb 7, 2006 - 05:33pm PT

>>(I am sort of new to Super-topo..how do you get to see the photos??)

You have to provide age verification and a valid credit card number.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Feb 7, 2006 - 07:09pm PT
GK, is that you?

After reading the "Acid" thread, I thought back to the time I drove up with you, Ed E, and Jessica from the Valley and did my first climb in the Meadows -- The Dike Route -- a mind blowing experience.
Mark Hudon

climber
OR
Feb 8, 2006 - 03:22pm PT
Well, it sure does my heart good to see all you crispies from the 70s here posting. I wish you all well.

I have two Tobin stories.

In the mid 70s, there was an article in Summit with photos of Tobin and Grammici climbing Insomnia at Suicide. I had just started climbing and I ached to get out to the west and climb routes like that.

A few year later I met Tobin and climbed with him for a little while. Once, we were at a party at the Ozone and John Long came over. He and Tobin started doing "boat races" with Tobin beating John every time.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 8, 2006 - 03:30pm PT
Mark good to see you sign on.

Yeah but Tobin couldn't hold his liquor
Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Victorville, CA
Feb 10, 2006 - 01:38pm PT
Mike, Tobin did the green arch, high. So, when I think about it, he was not holding any liquor at all.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 10, 2006 - 03:39pm PT
Ed, I think Tobin was “high” in you’re vernacular once in his life. And it wasn’t on the green arch. Regarding his drinking he could “Boat” a Coca Cola as well as a beer. In Tobin's own words,” this tastes like cow piss” (beer that is)

Perhaps you meant high on life?
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 10, 2006 - 04:40pm PT
What Fish said somewhere upstream on this thread:

There is now a part II for this thread as the download times are getting way up there. Please post all new replies to StoneMaster Stories to this link:

[url="http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=150211&f=0&b=0"]
This is a link to Stonemaster Stories--part II [/url] (http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=150211&f=0&b=0);

Don't post more here. Move over to Part II.
Spencer Lennard

Trad climber
Williams, Oregon
Feb 11, 2006 - 01:25am PT
Hey John,

you might remember the time you and the stonemasters resued myself, Dibbs Sorenson, my brother A;l and Chris Robinson off of White Maiden's Walkway on Tahquitz. Also, remember Acapulco Bill's cliff dive on the Guillotine? I belayed him.

See ya,

Spencer
hashbro

Trad climber
Wiliams, Oregon
Feb 11, 2006 - 02:07am PT
Hey John,

Do you remember when you and the a classic cadre of Stonemasters rescued me, Dibbs Sorenson, my brother Al and Chris Robinson off of the White Maiden's Walkway in mid-winter, around 1972 or 73'? You hauled our 15 year old asses up the last pitch in the dark, hand over hand.

You may also remember Acapulco Bill's 120 foot cliff dive on the Guillotine at Suicide in the mid 70's. I belayed him and Randy and I pulled in around 50 feet of slack before he stopped inches above the ledge.

Spencer
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Feb 11, 2006 - 03:10pm PT
I remember that night. We heard you guys screaming from Humber Park and then all hiked up the trail at night. Some of us hung out on Lunch Rock while Largo and crew went up top to get you guys. It was pitch black as I recall... totally nuts!!
Tommy Tope Rope

Social climber
Telluride
Mar 24, 2006 - 02:50pm PT
Hey Guys , guess who ? Graham you remember how cold it was that January in Jt. I followed Largo up my first solo of the damper . ? my hands were rattling no tape, had to mash em to stay in the crack. then I threw up at the top.


LARGO ALWAYS THE SAND BAGGER.
any guess's?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 24, 2006 - 03:06pm PT
Tommy, over here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=169730&f=0&b=0
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Mar 24, 2006 - 08:19pm PT
Hi Werner, i'm just trying to chase Steve West down!
Uplander

Social climber
Upland
Jun 26, 2006 - 12:55pm PT
I was one of said "Uplanders". We all rode around in a stationwagon with a 500 CU motor that could easily haul six guys, all our gear for a week of climbing. Back then, Largo was working at a raquet ball club, and he would sneak us in so we could overtake the Gym for free. He'd pretend to be vacuuming and pump out a few reps while one of us covered for him. In reality, I don't think Largo ever did any work at all, as we probably did most of it but all got free access to the gym so what the hell, it was a great deal.

Then when we'd leave he'd follow us to the car, and huff the party bowl and go back to "work".

One time we all loaded up the wagon and hit the road to JT, but the motor started making noise so we turned back. Unfortunely for me, the fistfull of mushrooms I had chewed up when we hit the road kicked in just as we got back home to Keith's parents place. JL had a remarklable ability to maintain composure under those kinds of circumstances. I didn't. It was a long night.

I'm going to get some old pics from those days and post them here. Keith Cunning and I are business partners and he has thousands of slides all scanned. Keith is working on an article about a climb in Mexico that John may remember???

This is written inside the cover of my old orange JT climbers guide, circa 1977

Yabo's a man who climbs rocks.
He carries his home in a box.
We walks up in bare feet,
Asks for something to eat,
then spit's while he eats and he talks.

Anybody remember the JT ranger that hassled us every weekend? Officer Jan Dick. Appropriate.




Pigtails

Sport climber
Berkeley, California
Jun 27, 2006 - 04:31pm PT
Hey, JL:
I'm from the early 70's era, former summertime resident of Camp Four, with a minor reputation (Sybille Hechtel once greeted me with, "Oh, you must be a climber GROUPIE!"), but have simple stories of our campsite at the corner of "Arizona Avenue and Berkeley Way" (stolen street signs). Knew (and still communicate with) the notorious "Glacier Point Annie"/"Chinquapin Annie" -- now with the NPS in Ajo, Arizona. Probably have stories to tell, but at the moment, am wondering the whereabouts of, for example, "The Old Man", i.e., Dave Bircheff? Dan Asay? Steve Williams, aka "Slings"? Pettigrew? "Millis" (Dennis Miller)? etc...
signed, "Pigtails"
barbarianism

Trad climber
Blurgemanvilletowne
Dec 4, 2007 - 01:00am PT
What i do know, The men in the valley are beginning to wear tights while climbing and it's really bothering me, I dunno it was just plain (Wrong).
I'm at the base of Catchy and I note a party to my left donning them i'm focused and thinking i might finally be good enough to lead this pitch and if i'm lucky i'll be able to pull the second pitch as well.

So i'm half way up the first pitch and on my left in another crack is this super ripped guy with very curly hair, no shirt, and giant arms leading the 5.11. For a young woman in Yosemite his was a man to be desired EXCEPT you guessed it he's YIKES wearing purple tights.
I'm trying not to gawk when I realize this super human is none other than Jim Bridwel o.m.g.!
Super Jim and I are now neck and neck crankin our pitch's when he looks across at me and says "Man, times sure have changed".
I shall never forget that day because all the way home I thought,
"Boy have they ever"!
MisterE

Trad climber
One Place or Another
Feb 25, 2009 - 03:08am PT
An early bump to a 5-parter

Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 25, 2009 - 03:11am PT
More like ten. Plus spin-offs.

Stonemaster stories http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=145850

Stonemaster Stories (Part II)http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=150211

StoneMaster Stories (Part III) continued onward http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=155821

StoneMaster Stories (Part 4) continued onward farther http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=157408

StoneMaster Stories (Part 5) the epic continues http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=161148

StoneMaster Stories (Part 6) the epic continues http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=164782

Stonemaster Stories; Part 7-More of the same, only different http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=169730

Stonemaster Stories, Part 8; More Tales from the Crypt http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=173337

Stonemaster Stories, IX – The Eternal brotherhood http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=176623

Stonemaster Stories; Part X--What? Still more!? ttp://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=210947
Kironn Kid

Trad climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 10:29am PT

Wow! Mat Cox, I haven't heard his name in forever. He Gary Shwartzenberger and Howard King, are the ones that taught me the basics. Out at the Tree, Matt would solo (tennis shoes) the middle Ski track before taking a leak in the morning. He told me that "Oliver Moon" could do it blindfolded... Matt's rack cosisted of a few small wires, saying that he never saw cracks much bigger than those.

Kiron Kid
Russ
Kironn Kid

Trad climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 10:41am PT

Speaking of Yabo, my girlfriend and I ran into him at Swan Slab, and we all did a couple of short routes together. After finishing and walking back to the camp, she says to me, "he's got internal Demons, and isn't long for this world." Then months later, I read of his passing. :-(

Kiron Kid
Kironn Kid

Trad climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 11:05am PT
This is a great thread. Ski-Mart in Newport Beach? I bought my first set of Jumar's (grey editions)there. Remember Holubar in Costa Mesa. Later, the Ski-mart had a fire, and they unloaded a bunch of climbing gear for way-cheap, due to smoke damage. I was there for that sale. I believe Bullwinkle was there too.

Kiron Kid
Kironn Kid

Trad climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 01:50pm PT

Bought my first rope (Goldline) from Jim Dutzi, out at Rubidoux. Goldline, EB's, swami hip belays and homemade chalkbag. Man, those were the days!

Kiron Kid
Robb

Social climber
It's like FoCo in NoCo Daddy-O!
Mar 22, 2009 - 01:26am PT
Bump
'bout time to go back to the good re-runs.

barbarianism

Trad climber
Blurgemanvilletowne
Mar 22, 2009 - 01:52am PT
As I rember it:

Largo and crew sitting at the top of Smooth Sole Wall at Suicide, mid 70s, staring down at me as I come to grips with the crux of Ultimatum. As a poor teenager, I've worn holes at the toe and ball of both EBs (and therefore my feet as well), and I'm madly edging with the outside edges of the shoes. The route at the time, as described in the Wilts little orange guide, was done straight up, but I'm thinking there's no way I'm gonna be able to do that, and I spot a large, inviting alternat knob, up and left, with some larger edges leading to it. So off left I shuffle to the knob, goofy footed as all get out. As I move on towards the top Largo opines as he gets ready to move on, "never seen it done that way" Was it the goofy edging or the easier variation he was talking about? Don't know, but the easier variation I worked out showed up in the next guide!
Mar'

Trad climber
Santa Fe, NM
Apr 8, 2009 - 10:57pm PT
I wasn't a real Stonemaster— my partners were Sutton's girlfriend's little brother, Malcolm Best and Karl Koch, eventual creator of the "Hardman" comic series. I remember when I got to shake hands with Hugh Burton down at Idyllwild's town center, by the pull-up bars. If we wuz called anything at all, it was "youth". We were the "wineheads" …not because of wanting to be like Warren Harding, but simply due to the fact that I'd sewn some hilarious, ugly violet-colored pullover fleece hoods for each of us.

I love that Skimart's old piton rack is at the climbing shop in Idyllwild. I saw my first pair of real ski-mountaineering boots at Skimart on the barrel at the top of the stairs. I was blown away that they existed. They were "San Marcos" with many buckles and a built-in gaiter. That must have been in '72. I didn't have a clue about what was involved in using them. It's really awesome that I've come to find out… I still have the aluminum cordlocks I stole :x. And I did my first 5.9 on the famous boulder out back!

Eventually I ventured to Rubidoux and was watching some guy in teensy shorts and sawed-off EBs play around on the slab to the right of the 5.2 crack …so I guess the first time I really saw Largo climb, I have to admit my jaw did actually drop. I never did have sawed-off EBs, but I wish I hadn't sawed-off my Fires. La Sportiva is actually now selling performance "mid"-height crack and edging shoes after all these years of nothing but low-tops. I'm getting my Fires re-randed and resoled at the shop in Bishop right now!

Somehow I'd gotten a camera gig hauling lenses up to the base of Bye Gully for that Wheaties "Operetta" commercial from one of the Poway Boys. Man, did the "art department" tear that tree up! That was 1982… I ended up giving the gig to Malcolm and he got paid ninety-five bucks cash + pack rental~ but that came back as I'd get tossed guiding bones from Malcolm and Mike Paul when they were off blowing their minds! All because I'd been squatting at Humber for a month, and a rat or something had taken up residence in my 1957 rolling Whillan's box. That's why I spent that day plugging all the holes in it, instead of working! Said tree at the base of the descent gully is history, now that the slab that used to be by the belay bolts above the Weeping Wall is gone!— which is something that really takes me back.

My first "ascent" of Suicide, with $20 half-shank "Hanwag" closeout mountaineering boots from Steve Mackay's "Backpacker" store in Santa Ana was a link-up via the 5.2 gully, Bye Gully and Continuation. My partner had real RDs. We were using a doubled "greenline" (5/16" Marine Corps antenna-line), which gave us a 60' cord. I ran out of rope and the closest feature was that same big split slab. So, urging my partner not to fall, we simul-soloed toward it until I could throw a home-made dinosaur egg back into the crack. I forget how we got down. Probably walked all the way around to the north side.

But I'm about as obscure as a taoist cloud as the only print I've ever seen is the last page of the "Hunk Guide" where Randy states: "It has come to the attention of the author, that a 'brave(?) soul'" is sea-cliff climbing the 40' high rib jutting out into the surf at the south end of the cove where the old beach-front trailer-park was between CDM and Laguna. That, and an ice-climbing shot of Rick Linski following the line up to the tree-belay on the Trough that appeared in the Chouinard catalog in '83 or '84.

Later, Rick and I were at the June lake ice-fall. I was leading and suddenly I got a ferocious tug. Fortunately I was using BOTH tools again and wondered what the heck had happened. Seems a plywood sheet sized piece of ice had calved and hit Rick pretty bad as he tried to tuck into the belay. Somehow he made it up and I lowered him down the slope off to the side. We made it to the ER and it turned out that he'd broken some ribs on that one!

I must have gotten the Iron Cross perfectly though, because the Troll let me lead that and when I popped-off the crux, I was smiling before I landed. I got it the 2nd try. It's a perfect name, as the move is padding up while pressing the thumbs outwardly in opposition in a full wing-spread lock-off. Excellent!

Once, Clark Jacobs saw me with a French Red Patagonia Bunting full-zip at Jan's one morning and accused me of stealing his …I should have lied, but I was just a kid then~ and didn't think to mess with anyone, even Clark!

Another time, the usual (local) suspects were looking for …well, body parts (sorry)— for the County Sheriff. A terrible thing had happened one Memorial Day weekend on Tahquitz. Well, that's what we were doing, and with a good dose of black humor, as I recall. We were combing the base of Sahara Terror— then someone found something all covered with ants! They shook off the bugs and started to wrap it carefully in a big sheet of paper, when somebody hawked "$2.69 a pound"!

My Valhalla experience was graced in a pure style as I wandered up to the crag by the crack of gloaming afternoon light. The Stonemaster smiled down as Kelly and Malcolm lowered the rope for a proper "mass" ascent!

Where is Nyberg and Steve Mackay? Last I heard of Steve was he started working at a bank~ after he had had that store. I was with Bruce and Kelly on Hubris in the late-ish 80's. Sutton mailed a new Metolius rope to Malcolm Best for his 40th bithday from Telluride, but that was already 7~8 years ago.

Oh yeah— does anyone really know why Fred Becky blew off the slide-show at Rock+Ice? I'd seen him the previous night at Holubar. He showed so many lovely and professionally exposed shots of beautiful mountains in perfect light that some people were actually complaining that it went too long. Unbelievable— I'd gone to Rock+Ice the next night for more!! "…are you Fred?"

This thread has been an amazing experience of tears and laughter. Thanks to everyone and the Stonemaster in us all. Now, after all these decades, I finally know where my partners got "HO-MAN"! I never really noticed the expression, as such, to actually utter it myself. This is the best thread ever!

Probably the funniest thing Largo ever wrote, imo, was his account of climbing "Hades" in the AAC Journal… "razor-sharp sidepulls" :o

barbarianism

Trad climber
Blurgemanvilletowne
Apr 8, 2009 - 11:53pm PT
wow. floodgates breach, and the air is so thick with memories i have to swat them away like flies.....

two of my favorites largo stories, probably as much myth as reality but we lived and died by them back in our early teens:

circa 74/75, idylwild:

one story goes that tobin and largo are returning to the parking lot from either tahquitz or suicide, and tobin decides to take a shortcut off one of the embankments and sets off a small rockfall that sends a few small loose rocks into the middle of a bunch of bikers getting ready to mount their choppers. as the story was related to me, by a buddy who claimed to have seen the whole thing, the bikers were in the middle of giving tobin a raft of fairly intimidating biker vibes when largo comes crashing out of the woods in a fury that his bro is getting hassled, throws off his pack and rips off his shirt in one swift motion, exclaiming in his most intimidating baritone "OK, WHICH ONE OF YOU GUYS (OR WORDS TO THAT EFFECT) WANTS TO BE FIRST!?!

another story i recall, again, probably a blend of truth and myth (the best kind): there used to be a greasy spoon biker joint right at the top of the grade where you climbed out of hemet then hit a "t" and took a left into idylwild. story was that largo and company went in there for breakfast and the place was wall-to-wall bikers. largo wades through the scene, takes a look around, and points a hamhock finger at some of the leather-vest-clad ladies in the place and proclaims in a loud, conspicuous voice "HA! CHECK IT OUT! MOTORCYCLE MOMMAS!" then he holds his arms out and pantomimes the "vroom vroom" of a biker gunning his ride.

beyond the stories, there were the actual encounters with JL: at the ski mart on garnet, a block from crystal pier, when largo was working there, again about '75, my buddy and i were sitting in rapt attention while he held forth on climbing: the one moment we most clearlky recalled was when he paused, looked out the window, glanced back at us, and murmered like a zen master as if to himself: "you gotta have vision man, you gotta have vision..."

that summer, astroman went free, and me and a buddy of mine used that quote as the denoument in a decrepit little guide we published to new free climbs in san diego. we were awestruck, inspired, and were climbing the hardest routes of our lives within months of that encounter.

the problem with largo attempting what will essentially be an oral history of the stonemasters is that he was the dominant personality of that small tribe, and in the intervening years has been the principal historian of the period. but i can't wait to see such a project hit the presses.

i have so many other memories, encounters with tobin, bullwinkle, henny penny and the c*#k, the core stonemasters and all the folks who came milliseconds on their heels, getting up their early suicide and tahquitz routes -- although i've climbed far, far harder routes, i think doing "new gen" with mike paul when we were both still teenagers may be one of the two or three most memorable days of my climbing life -- i don't know, there was a magic to those days that i know for a fact is not idle middle-aged nostalgia...it was as real and tangible as the air we breathed on the approach to suicide or the throne or middle....too many memories, too many stories...i try not to reflect so much on the past, as the fututre holds so much more of the same....

berg heil!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 9, 2009 - 12:02pm PT
Bump, for the men of stone!!!!11111
barbarianism

Trad climber
Blurgemanvilletowne
Apr 9, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
wow. floodgates breach, and the air is so thick with memories i have to swat them away like flies.....

two of my favorites largo stories, probably as much myth as reality but we lived and died by them back in our early teens:

circa 74/75, idylwild:

one story goes that tobin and largo are returning to the parking lot from either tahquitz or suicide, and tobin decides to take a shortcut off one of the embankments and sets off a small rockfall that sends a few small loose rocks into the middle of a bunch of bikers getting ready to mount their choppers. as the story was related to me, by a buddy who claimed to have seen the whole thing, the bikers were in the middle of giving tobin a raft of fairly intimidating biker vibes when largo comes crashing out of the woods in a fury that his bro is getting hassled, throws off his pack and rips off his shirt in one swift motion, exclaiming in his most intimidating baritone "OK, WHICH ONE OF YOU GUYS (OR WORDS TO THAT EFFECT) WANTS TO BE FIRST!?!

another story i recall, again, probably a blend of truth and myth (the best kind): there used to be a greasy spoon biker joint right at the top of the grade where you climbed out of hemet then hit a "t" and took a left into idylwild. story was that largo and company went in there for breakfast and the place was wall-to-wall bikers. largo wades through the scene, takes a look around, and points a hamhock finger at some of the leather-vest-clad ladies in the place and proclaims in a loud, conspicuous voice "HA! CHECK IT OUT! MOTORCYCLE MOMMAS!" then he holds his arms out and pantomimes the "vroom vroom" of a biker gunning his ride.

beyond the stories, there were the actual encounters with JL: at the ski mart on garnet, a block from crystal pier, when largo was working there, again about '75, my buddy and i were sitting in rapt attention while he held forth on climbing: the one moment we most clearlky recalled was when he paused, looked out the window, glanced back at us, and murmered like a zen master as if to himself: "you gotta have vision man, you gotta have vision..."

that summer, astroman went free, and me and a buddy of mine used that quote as the denoument in a decrepit little guide we published to new free climbs in san diego. we were awestruck, inspired, and were climbing the hardest routes of our lives within months of that encounter.

the problem with largo attempting what will essentially be an oral history of the stonemasters is that he was the dominant personality of that small tribe, and in the intervening years has been the principal historian of the period. but i can't wait to see such a project hit the presses.

i have so many other memories, encounters with tobin, bullwinkle, henny penny and the c*#k, the core stonemasters and all the folks who came milliseconds on their heels, getting up their early suicide and tahquitz routes -- although i've climbed far, far harder routes, i think doing "new gen" with mike paul when we were both still teenagers may be one of the two or three most memorable days of my climbing life -- i don't know, there was a magic to those days that i know for a fact is not idle middle-aged nostalgia...it was as real and tangible as the air we breathed on the approach to suicide or the throne or middle....too many memories, too many stories...i try not to reflect so much on the past, as the fututre holds so much more of the same....

berg heil!
rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Jul 10, 2009 - 09:03pm PT
largo....drove my 62 bonneville up to humber park one fine warm summer evening in 75 into this raging stonemaster party....it was dark and there was a boxing contest and tree climbing contest going on and some guy named jim wilson was half way up this 100 ft ponderosa pine....those guys knew hw to party.....was in the valley when tobin and graham got rescued on the prow....it was easter vacation and snowing...mead hargis and dennis miller were on the rescue and hargis took a swig off a water bottle that turned out to be white gas...according to millis , the veins in mead's neck started distending....i remember seeing tobin and mike after the rescue in the c4 parking lot....johnny rotten
rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Jul 10, 2009 - 09:15pm PT
mar...last i heard , steve mackay was working at a trash dump entrance station in oregon....that was several years ago....i think i remember the rock and ice ..was it in santa ana...? bruce nyberg was living in mt. center last time i talked to him getting into teaching....j. rotten
dfrost7

Social climber
Jul 11, 2009 - 01:14am PT
Another great thread.
fred haering

Boulder climber
New Zealand
Oct 6, 2009 - 09:11pm PT
Hi. Just saw the film: Nordwand. Recollecting my own life adventures, I remembered earlier when living here in New Zealand in 1979, when a guy named Tobin Sorenson came through on a climbing lecture. I didn't bother to attend, but at I thought at the time, the name was familiar, mostly as it was unusual.

In the autumn of 1970 or 1971, I had climbed one weekend with a 14-year old lad with that name. It was Tobin's second weekend out. He was donning a pair of a new-age of climbing shoes....what would later become the standard. I remember seeing him clutching in his hands these weird-like women's dancing shoes. They were tourqouise in colour. The Royal Robbins climbing boots (blue with red strings) had come onto the market in recent years, replacing our Clutter shoes or simple hiking boots. Longware pitons and bongs were being phased out by Dolt and Chouinard stuff as the European stuff became more costly (excepting the Bonatti stuff).

Tobin was brought out on our Sierra Club trip to the Granite Mountains. This was a climbing area some of the Rock Climbing Chapter people had found situated deep in the Mojave Desert. somewhere behind Joshua Tree National Monument and 29-Palms. It hosted some awesome, bigger scale Joshua Tree climbing. I later heard that the local Indian tribes had closed it to public access...probably due to increasing accidents and liability issues.

Jack Schirr, a fireman and a well-accomplished climber, was about 5 years older than I, making him about 22 or so. He was well known in the Riverside Chapter as a young, keen type, who even already was well encsonced in the Riverside Mountain Rescue unit. Jack told me he had come across this lad who lived in the vicinity where he lived, somewhere arouund Upland, California. Tobin, Jack and I set off to climb a new route named "The Purple Haze". It was one of the Granite Mountains' more formidable new routes, in asmuch as it was an 80-foot roof that actually started almost immediately from a ledge to which we climbed under a huge boulder-bulge-like buttress. The rock seemed to have a purple hue to it. I led the climb out to about 45-feet with etrier and direct aid (bongs and pins). Jack belayed, as Tobin was still learning "the ropes". Once exhausted, I rapelled off. Jack rigged up some prussocks, then showed Tobin how to ascend. After that, he coached Tobin with the remainder. Tobin continued with ease up around and over the roof, then up a very steep bit of crack climbing, until it panned out on a vertical, still unbolted face. He then rapelled off. It took him only 20 minutes or so, with protection. I was impresseed with this kid's tenacity and ability. He was the first of what would become a new generation of young urban climbing lads.

Later, I heard much about a kid named John Long, for example, who was easily doing direct and even un-roped some of our Joshua Tree direct-aid cracks of the 1960's.

I heard later that Tobin had continued with much zeal and success. Jack once mentioned that he was climbing almost every weekend, mostly at Taquitz or Suicide rocks. After those years, I transferred my university studies from Riverside City College to Chico, then thereafter out of the USA. I think the memory of that weekend of climbing stuck in mind, mostly as Tobin would typify a new era and breed of climbers who emerged in the early 1970's out of Urban America: driven, focussed, almost religious in finding an interest to which they could attach and ossify their fledgling identities. Every male teenager in a competitive nation needs some kind of outlet. Life in the Southern Californian overt-urbanesque human-ridden setting, can smother ones sense of identity in general.

As mentioned earlier, years later, when I was resident here in Christchurch, Tobin came through on a lecturing and climbing Austral-Asian stint. He gave a lecture across the street here at Canterbury University after climbing with many of the local lads at Mt. Cook. He seemed to have made quite a name as an alpinist. I thought his lecture was about an Eiger North Face soloing effort, but it might have been his reknowned mid-winter Matterhorn climb.

Only a corollary now, but here I am in my late 50's. I have a new young lady in my life with a 13-year old Tobin Sorenson-like son. He shows uncanny focus, ability and tenacity for anything physical. Maybe it is a sort of Zen-like obsessiveness, couple with a loner's attitude. I put Connor into some shoes and took him along to "The Roxx", a "Real-Roc" indoor climbing gym we built here (have a look on the web). He is already climbing steady 19's and getting onto 20's. It is his second month of climbing now. I hope his fate is not akin to that of other Tobin's I have met continuously in my life and are no more. Somehow pushing the limits of ourselves is a personal thing that only knowing how to strike the balance of our entire being ensures continuance.

I saw the photo someone had posted of Tobin Sorenson with the characteristic white taped hands (for Joshua Tree-like crack climbing on that big and sharp-crystalled Quartz Monsonite). He was with the same hair style I had met him that weekend sometime in the autumn of 1970-71 (?)

I must find Jack Schirr, if he is still around. He'd be about 62 or more now.

graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Oct 6, 2009 - 09:36pm PT
Nice story Fred.

A good friend reminded me yesterday was the day Tobin died back in 1980. so its curious to read your post.

When ever I look at any of my Photos of Tobin I see a Man/Boy frozen in time and forever young.

Thanks for the picture you painted for me.

Cheers,

Mike
eKat

Trad climber
BITD2
Oct 6, 2009 - 09:52pm PT
LordLovaDuck, MartiniMan (aka rotten johnny). . . YOU KNOW STEVE MACKAY?

I didn't know that!

I'd LOVE to hear from him. . . we go WAY back.

Whoa.

If you ever hear from him, send him to TheTacoStand and tell him to look Brockman up.

Damn!

Kath
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 7, 2009 - 03:56pm PT
Fred,

His name is Jack Schnurr. He taught me how to climb.

JL
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Oct 19, 2009 - 12:52am PT
Bump for The Ages. I can spend a whole evening reading a handful of these 10 Stonemaster threads. That's gold Jerry, gold!

oh and P.S. I got to eyeball Pat Nay's copy of The StoneMasters the other day. Wow wow wow!! Anybody who considered themselves a California rock climber in the 70's has to have this book. Huge kudos to all involved in making a reality.
Robb

Social climber
The other "Magic City on the Plains"
May 25, 2010 - 11:35am PT
'bout time for a bump.........
MisterE

Social climber
Bouncy Tiggerville
Jul 19, 2010 - 02:26pm PT
History Bump - MH's links listed earlier for the rest of the threads:


Stonemaster Stories (Part II)http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=150211

StoneMaster Stories (Part III) continued onward http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=155821

StoneMaster Stories (Part 4) continued onward farther http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=157408

StoneMaster Stories (Part 5) the epic continues http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=161148

StoneMaster Stories (Part 6) the epic continues http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=164782

Stonemaster Stories; Part 7-More of the same, only different http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=169730

Stonemaster Stories, Part 8; More Tales from the Crypt http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=173337

Stonemaster Stories, IX – The Eternal brotherhood http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=176623

Stonemaster Stories; Part X--What? Still more!? http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=210947 [/quote]
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 13, 2011 - 08:42pm PT
Whole bunches of primo tales...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 5, 2012 - 11:08pm PT
bump
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 5, 2012 - 11:28pm PT
bomp
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Nov 5, 2012 - 11:28pm PT
bumping the bumper

There should be a "classics" menu over on the left.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 15, 2012 - 05:31pm PT
hey there say, jobee! woww, thanks for the fun story about my brother, ... mark's pretty even keel around home, so--when he's this jumping-wildly, you KNOW he's entertaining something wonderful...

also--i remeber seeing pooch, too... and mama cat finaly went to live with my MOM, when i was STAYING there (after my divorce)... i got to her enjoy her and comb knots-of-yosemite out of her fair-hair... very neat cat... she lived a few more years there (i moved out to michigan, just before the ol' cat-mama passed on)... must have been over twenty years, i am sure...

as to your quote:

Jan 26, 2006 - 03:19pm PT
Sorry this is 10 years after John but I have often reflected on it!

My first Stone Master encounter:

A Rogue, is A Rogue, is A Rogue, is a Rogue!..or is he?

We were at the Chapman mannor in Yosemite West 1984 and it had to be Thanksgiving because there was a turkey, frost on the windows, a huge fire in the woodstove, and we were psyched to be inside.
Mark was downstairs plinkety,plinkety,plinking, on his guitar a song called "White girl" by a band called "X".

Pooch the dog, the two cats Mama and Sneakers were running laps around the sofa in the living room. The aroma of meat was driving them wild and little cartoon bubbles appeared above their heads read: (MORE GRAVEY) it was insanity.

The house had a rustic appeal and was in the early stages of development. My good friend Nance had promised to make the meal, being a vegitarian I was against the whole gluttonous affair but had promised them a Vegan cake.
I was in the kitchen when I heard a very loud BAM!

Bam,Bam,Bam, Again, Bam,Bam,Bam! I thought to myself geeze that sounds like some sort of ramming device and I hoped it was'nt the rangers. Pooch bolts to the door Woof,Woof,Woof..mouth foaming,fangs out, the works..i'm hot on her heels.. she always had a special way of greeting people.
I open the door and lock eyes with somebodys waist then looking upward lock eyes with a very large man!

The stats:
I'm 5ft. 3ish 110lbs. He' well over a foot taller than me, double my size, has hands as big as my head, and is grinning like the Cheshire Cat himself.
Pooch has now fled and is cowering in the bedroom while i'm thinking I sure wish Mark would get his butt up here and save us!

He then proclaims! "Where's Chapman?" I manage to stammer "downstairs I think" and pray this guys a friend.
Mark comes to the door and upon seeing the stranger goes beserk! He starts doing his Happy Chappy dance waving his arms around wildly as he does his introductions. Jo, Nance, this is John Long!
Holy smokes i'm thinking this guy's a living legend, one of those Stone Master dudes and i'm now face to face with history and history was now in the making!

Minutes pass and it's like we've been living together for years. Marks beaming with delight and filled with nostalgia, Nance is smitten and flirtatious, the animals have fled, while i'm just floored.
Seconds later John walks up to the turkey on the table rips a leg clean off the thing (which I thought a bit barbaric yet mesmerizing!) he starts waving the thing around like a baton as he spits out questions to Mark. "What's happening Man?" "Nice pad!" "Who are the chicks?" and "How's climbing going!" food is flying everywhere ( now i'm thinking the man is a savage).

As the night waned, and the food disappeared the stories told went "LONG" into the night. I wished for more time. Here I was twentyish sitting around a fire with my best friend Nance, Mark Chapman (a legend in his own right), and one of the origianl Stone Masters...Wow! My life was definately on the upswing and Thankgiving that year was'nt so bad.

All the best lads,

jow


I might have the made the Turkey leg thing up...(NOT).


p.s. John come on by any time it's been twenty years folks claim I make a mean Tofurkey!

"Go Vegan"!


wow, happy to see that john long enjoyed remembering all that, too...
:)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 16, 2013 - 01:13am PT
bump
gf

climber
Jan 16, 2014 - 08:54am PT
BBST-I regret I don't have time to run a dragnet for gems like these on ST -great reading!
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