Stonemaster stories

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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!!!!!!!!
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