Stoner's Highway?

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Pcutler

climber
Iowa
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 26, 2011 - 12:08pm PT
Its a line that has always looked fun to me. Not in the Supertopo and there's limited info in the don reid guide. I've heard its bold with challenging route finding.

Any beda, stories, or pics?

Just another climb to dream about as I sit in front of my computer looking out the window at the rain.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 26, 2011 - 12:24pm PT
I've done the Powell-Reed, but not Stoner's Highway. The Powell-Reed has quite a bit of munge (ignore the thread on its definition, please). Stoner's Highway looked cleaner -- and harder. The face itself is a beautiful place to be.

John
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 26, 2011 - 12:30pm PT
Stoners is a great route. Paradise Lost is great climbing but easier if you need a warm up. There have been a few great threads on Middle climbing over the past few years. 1970s Bolt Protected Slab Climbing
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Apr 26, 2011 - 12:46pm PT
Great climb, but as advised by Roger, you may want to get your "Middle" game on before jumping on it. Middle climbing is fairly distinct and doing an easier (but still exciting and worthy) line like Paradise Lost first may be a good idea.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 26, 2011 - 12:48pm PT
Don't confuse it with a "modern" 5:10c sport climb.
pk_davidson

Trad climber
Albuquerque, NM
Apr 26, 2011 - 12:52pm PT
Oh, I don't Jim.
It's awfully sporting. ;-)
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Apr 26, 2011 - 12:55pm PT
Ha!, confusion with sport routes will end before 1st bolt!

Did 8 or 10 pitches mid 80's, loved it. Wonder what the bolts are like now?

BH
Pcutler

climber
Iowa
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 26, 2011 - 01:04pm PT
Paradise lost gets an "R" rating in the Reid book where Stoners does not. Is it really any more dangerous?

I've had a taste of the runout slab face climbing before - is there any gear? or is it just runout bolts?
maldaly

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Apr 26, 2011 - 01:08pm PT
Every one of those routes over there is 5 star. Do them all. And...don't worry about the bolts cause you better not fall!
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Apr 26, 2011 - 01:08pm PT
Best face climb I ever did in all the years I lived in the valley...
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 26, 2011 - 01:19pm PT
Nose = faster, zodiac = faster, Mescalito = almost free, Freerider, Salathe, etc etc....

MIDDLE CATHEDRAL = Central Pillar, Stoners, Paradise, Black Rose (Primo), Mother Earth, all old school.

Are there any modern R/X routes going up over there?

Why no interest?????
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 26, 2011 - 01:24pm PT
I did it years ago. All the info you need is in the Meyers/Reid topo -
bolt locations, crux locations, etc. It's accurate.
The bolts were replaced in 1999, and it gets done on a regular basis.
http://www.safeclimbing.org/areas/california/yosemitefree.htm
"Stoners Highway Replaced 24 bolts All bolts are 3/8". There are still a handful of fixed pins on the route some of which are poor. 08/99 Jack Hoeflich, Greg Barnes"

Paradise Lost is no longer as runout as it was, because Beyer added bolts and fixed heads/pins to its runout pitches 2 and 3. Roger replaced the other bolts last summer (Chad led it to fix the rope for Roger).

As others have suggested, you should be solid doing 5.9 face moves quite a ways out from pro.

Bruce, "Border Country" is a new route on Middle which is runout in places (on the easier pitches).
tallguy

Trad climber
eastside
Apr 26, 2011 - 01:38pm PT
6 pieces of pro on the best protected pitch. If you can do the first 60', you can do the whole route.
CrackAddict

Trad climber
Joshua Tree
Apr 26, 2011 - 02:10pm PT
Did it a long time ago, it seemed that the upper pitches were really hard, with a lot of 5.10+, maybe borderline 5.11a. Also fairly runout but you are never unreasonably runout on crux type moves.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 26, 2011 - 02:22pm PT
Routes like Stoner's aren't popular because of today's climbers addiction to big numbers (ratings). I'll bet there are "5.13" sport climbers around who think that 5.10 is hiking who would have there hands full getting up Stoner's.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 26, 2011 - 02:34pm PT
Go do it.

I remember great climbing with the runouts exciting but nothing intentionally dangerous. It felt natural and induced concentration while relaxing your mind between gear. A lot of measured, deep breaths...
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 26, 2011 - 02:48pm PT
CrackAddict, your comment about the upper pitches doesn't sound right to me. Speaking only from memory, I would say that they are closer to 5.9.

It sounds like you are describing the upper pitches of the original Powell-Reed route which are rated hard 5.10.

If you look at the red, 1964 Roper guide, there is a picture of the NE face of Middle with two variation of the Powell Reed route marked with line drawings. In 1964, both versions were aid. The original route goes more or less straight up and follows the shallow, right facing corner system up and slightly right to the Powell Reed ledges. This version was free climbed by Tom Higgins and Bob Kamps and rated hard 5.10. The second version moves up and to the left on less distinct features but slightly lower angle rock. In 1964, Frank Sacherer and Dick Erb did the second all free ascent of the Powell Reed and free climbed the left hand aid version. They rated the entire climb 5.9. Tom and Bob believed they had done the original route all free at 5.10+; Sacherer and Erb thought they done the route all free at 5.9 with better route finding. It was still a sore point in the early 70s when I wrote my history of Middle climbing.

There are two interesting points about all of this. The first is that both free versions of the route are shown as aid variations in the 1964 Roper guide, so it is not so simple to say which all free team was right. I subscribe to the view that there were two aid versions and, hence, two free versions. (I climbed the left hand, Sacherer-Erb version in about 1973 and thought that the climb was reasonably 5.9. as described by Sacherer and Erb. I never climbed the Kamps-Higgins straight up version.)

The second interesting point is that I think that the upper pitches of Stoners are the same as the left hand version of the Powell-Reed. At least it looks that way on in line drawings and topos, and sounds reasonable since none of the Stoners first ascent team had climbed the Powell-Reed, and I recall that we all pointed the straight up version as the route.

Has anyone done both Stoners and the left version of the Powell-Reed, and has a good memory of the specifics care to comment?
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Apr 26, 2011 - 03:39pm PT
Stoner's is a great route. I climbed it twice bitd, once with Ericson and Vogel in May '77 and once with Hensel in Aug. '77. Originally you had to rap off a single 1/4" bolt at the top of the 9th pitch. Very scary on a crag famous for bolt failure. The climbing and runouts seemed pretty reasonable for the time. I'm not sayin' it wasn't a little bit scary!
I've never done the top part of the Powell/Reed.
henny

Social climber
The Past
Apr 26, 2011 - 03:57pm PT
I remember that rappel. Single quarter incher, and the stories of bolt/hanger failure on the lower pitches were still floating around, making it even more exciting. DE was up for going first, so I just unclipped and stood there, figuring that way at least I wouldn't get taken along.

Anybody else remember those stories? Wasn't there something wierd that happened while the route was being put up? Rockamazzo? Like a bad batch of bolts around that timeframe or something.
rick d

climber
ol pueblo, az
Apr 26, 2011 - 04:36pm PT
I'll be a denier, i bailed after the 3rd pitch because I found it boring.

gimmie a crack!
madturtle

Trad climber
folsom, ca
Apr 26, 2011 - 04:51pm PT
I climbed the 1st 5 pitches of stoners as described in the Reid book in 2003ish. I thought the route was outstanding, gear was adequate enough to not be terrified but sparse enough make it memorable and keep my very full attention. A lot of thin tenous moves. We rapped off of good bolts I believe, or at least nothing scary enough to be memorable. I've heard it gets scary higher up though. I'm about a 10d leader for ref.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 26, 2011 - 05:32pm PT
Stoner's Highway came out of the hours we used to spend traversing at the base. I came across an interesting looking section and climbed up about 15 feet and said, "I think there's a route here." The others looked up at the face shooting overhead for 2,000 feet and asked, "What makes you think so?" or something like that. I didn't have an answer but was willing to find out.

The first move off the deck is like 5.10a so that made it seem serious right off. All the way up we kept saying, "If we get this section, it's in the bag." I think I was 18, Kevin was probably 17, Ed Barry 18, and all the others who chipped in around that age. We had almost no experience.

The trickiest part was route finding, and climbing a big face route like that in those old red PAs, which were crappy on Middle. That was a fabulous adventure for us.

Little known fact: The first pitch was originally led with just two bolts, the one protecting the 5.10a stuff down low, and the one protecting the 10c traverse. After that, we just ran it to the belay off a couple pathetic blades. Kevin and I both led the pitch like this and it was XXX dangerous because if you pinged on the greasy 5.10 after the traverse you'd go for a 50 foot swinger and just eat sh#t. Later, Kevin wisely put a bolt in after the traverse believing no one would want to do the route staring at that kind of whipper.

Good times. Fond memories.

JL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 26, 2011 - 09:56pm PT
Great route with consistent quality climbing all the way up. I used to do it every season to get my footwork dialed. I have no idea what sort of shape the anchors are in these days...



My well used Meyers guide topo from BITD.

Very proud FA guys!
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Apr 26, 2011 - 10:29pm PT
i sent the first and third pitch. 06/98.
killer root.
we got rained off!
Greg Barnes

climber
Apr 26, 2011 - 10:43pm PT
In 1999 the pitch 8 belay had 2 bolts about 4 feet apart, the right one placed higher - clearly also doubling as the first pro on the 5.10 slab off the belay. The right hanger was bent and cracked open (about a 1/4" gap, clearly wide enough that if you clipped it and leaned back the biner would obviously pop out) - and also pulled out a bit from the wall. Someone had snuck some supertape under the hanger, but it was completely crispy.

So unless a rockfall duplicated what you'd expect the hanger to look like after a factor-2 fall on the belay, someone out there has a sketchy story of blowing a bolt hanger!

Funny side story - right after we replaced it a guy got all riled up and in my face for having "chopped Stoner's Highway." This was completely incorrect of course, and just based on the fact that the first bolt was no longer easily visible from the ground, while before it had been a doubled 1/4" bolt with red retreat webbing!
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Apr 30, 2011 - 01:20pm PT
Dale Bard and I did the second ascent. Stoners was one of the first routes to venture out into the big, wide open faces between the crack systems on Middle Cathedral, and the first ascent made quite an impact at the time.

I think it was the spring of 1974, and I had just arrived for my first full season in the Valley, a year after the first ascent. My high school friend, Largo, had already made Yosemite his residence the year before. As usual, John was a fount of motivation: “Hoh man, you need to get on Stoner's Highway, right away!”

I teamed up with Dale and we got an early morning start.

We started up that multicolored face and moved well. I was at the belay at the start of the crux pitch and was just getting ready to start climbing when Dale pointed out a group in the meadow below. It was Bridwell, Long, and other valley regulars; they had come over to watch us, and had set up a telescope.

Well, this upped the pressure a bit, but I tried to ignore it and just focus on the moves. Pretty soon I came to a good foothold and a bolt with the smooth, crux section above it. I went up a couple moves, scoped out the holds, then down climbed back to a little ledge. I made a quick hop down at one point and from below there was a commotion.

“Did he fall?” I distinctly heard a spectator say. The voice carried like he was right behind me.

Well, now the pressure was on and for pride’s sake, I really wanted to solve the crux without a fall. But the reconnaissance had revealed the likely sequence and after a few calming deep breaths, I made a pull to a balancy high step and reached a large hold for my left hand. At this moment it occurred to me that, while I was beyond the crux moves and completely secure, those in the meadow had no way of knowing that.

I recalled a time at Suicide Rock when Richard H. and I were belaying John on a tense lead with a potential fall right onto the hanging belay. As John lead up on dicey holds, he ignored our calls of “How is it?... Have you got it?” Only silence, and our anxiety grew. We imagined that Largo's 180 pounds might come down and obliterate us at any moment. Suddenly John’s hand reached out past the rack hanging on its sling and made a leisurely scratch of his right butt cheek, which resulted in howls of laughter from the belay. This gesture became part of our lexicon and was used whenever the leader wanted to signal that the hard part was over.

In a moment of inspiration, I now executed a slow motion, and highly exaggerated ass scratch with my right hand, hoping that even the distant observers could see it. I was rewarded with the unmistakable bellow of John himself, who happened to have his eye to the telescope. Largo’s laugh is a force of nature face-to-face. This time, it seemed to echo between Middle and El Cap, directly behind us.

The spectators left and we carried on, but the climb was not over, not by a long shot. Farther up, I completed a lead and belayed Dale up to a two bolt hanging belay. Dale got out his belay seat, and sat down, so that he could rack up for the next lead. In a split second, we both dropped, but only a couple of feet. What the ….? Something had failed, and we both realized at the same instant that we were hanging from one bolt, not two!

In a flash, we unweighted the anchor, and got our feet onto face holds. We then tried to understand what had happened. We were horrified to find that the bolt had sheared off flush with the rock. Closer inspection revealed that there seemed to be corrosion in the remaining visible metal. We were almost physically sickened by this. Our confidence from the successful pitches below vanished and we were terrorized. But we still had to finish the climb.

Dale lead up and we were both relieved when he was able to get some wired stoppers in 20 feet up. But the real fear came later on the rappels down. There was no choice but to rappel off that single, now highly suspect bolt. Dale went first and I wished him much luck before I unclipped from the anchor. Dale moved like a cat down the pitch, down climbing with his free hand and hardly weighting the rope at all. Dale was (and still is) extremely lean and a good 20 pounds lighter than me. This weighed heavily on me when it was my turn.

Had a good story when we got back to camp, though. There is a thin line between a good story and the end of earthly existence, but that is the essence of climbing. Stoners Highway remains to this day one of my most memorable climbs.
Bad Climber

climber
Apr 30, 2011 - 03:13pm PT
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Rick! Stories and history like this make ST a blessed place. Wow, talk about a hairy moment. My experience on Middle consists of two trips up the east butt., twice up DNB, and one and a half times on the north butt. What a great stone! Oh, and a couple of times on the first five of Frenzy. Glad to hear there's an alternate rap route to clear the crowding. But Stoner's? Always out of my league but oh so beautiful.

BAd
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 30, 2011 - 03:14pm PT
Now THAT is a fine story Rick!

Thanks for telling it. Love that butt scratch detail!

Those skinny old Rawl splitshaft bolts sure sucked especially having to trust just one with your whole show!

The belay at the top of the first pitch of Space Babble was one 1/4" Rawl backed up by a #2 Stopper stamped MG when I first got there. I sent down for the bolt kit right away and put in a 3/8" Rawl before bringing anyone else up. Even the bigger Rawls are garbage as it turns out!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Apr 30, 2011 - 03:20pm PT
Rick A - thanks for a terrific story. One of the best I've read here.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Apr 30, 2011 - 03:53pm PT
Yeah! Really nicely told, Rick.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Apr 30, 2011 - 06:06pm PT
This thread needs some pictures:

Here is a picture of Eric Erikson on Stoners when DE, EE and I did it in May of 1977. Think this is top of Pitch 5.

Check out DE's EB in the foreground. We would wear those shoes until they were full of holes -- we could not afford the $30 or so for new ones very often.

Credit: looking sketchy there...
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Apr 30, 2011 - 06:28pm PT
More Stoners, EE leading what looks like Pitch 6.

Credit: looking sketchy there...
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Apr 30, 2011 - 06:31pm PT
Looks like Pitch 4 (maybe me)?

Credit: looking sketchy there...
Captain...or Skully

climber
or some such
Apr 30, 2011 - 06:35pm PT
That's badass. Right on, Rick.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 30, 2011 - 06:40pm PT
Thanks for the stories!

I had something similar happen at Squamish once. Semi-hanging two bolt belay on a face climb. Led on up, clipped the first bolt, it broke off in my hand. Carefully downclimbed, hung on the belay, and one of the two belay bolts broke. We rappelled very gingerly - IIRC, the first to rappel in effect placed and clipped into protection wherever possible, sort of down lead rappelling. The idea being that even if the one remaining bolt popped, the whole fustercluck would somehow hold us before we fell too far.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 30, 2011 - 06:41pm PT
Wow, Rick - great story! Thanks for sharing that adventure.

Mixing the in joke with the audience of friends and the nearly blown belay anchor is almost like a designed summary of the best and worst of climbing!
Truth is often better than fiction....

Chad leading p2 of Stoner's Highway, May 2010
Chad leading p2 of Stoner's Highway, May 2010
Credit: Clint Cummins
Chad - Stoner's p2. <br/>
We were not actually trying to do the route; jus...
Chad - Stoner's p2.
We were not actually trying to do the route; just setting up ropes for Roger's bolt replacement.
Credit: Clint Cummins
Chad - Stoner's p2. <br/>
So we did the moderate Powell-Reed p1 to approac...
Chad - Stoner's p2.
So we did the moderate Powell-Reed p1 to approach.
Credit: Clint Cummins
Chad - Stoner's p2. <br/>
The goal was just to set up a rappel at the end ...
Chad - Stoner's p2.
The goal was just to set up a rappel at the end of this pitch, since it reaches the ground.
Credit: Clint Cummins
Rapping to ground from the end of Stoner's p2. <br/>
Then I rapped halfway...
Rapping to ground from the end of Stoner's p2.
Then I rapped halfway down, and Chad pulled the rope ends over to the base of Central Piller, and I fixed Roger's rope on Rainbow Bridge.
Credit: Clint Cummins
compare to BrassNuts' 1987 photo - not much has changed in 23 years!
Pitch 2 0r 3 of Stoner's Highway, 1987
Pitch 2 0r 3 of Stoner's Highway, 1987
Credit: BrassNuts
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 30, 2011 - 08:12pm PT
Nicely told story Rick. So did you invent "You're gonna die!" when the visuals wouldn't support the hand signals? You clipped a lot of bolts on Middle; I am not sure I would have done so if any of them had busted off on me.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Apr 30, 2011 - 08:14pm PT
nice tale from the crypt Ricky!

Largo placed the bolt before the first pitch crux traverse, but I led it. Crossed the ledge, and continued to climb up toward the Powell Reed's first belay.

I didn't place a bolt at the end of the traverse because the climbing was so easy, and by the time I decided I had to drill, I was about 30ft out and fifty off the deck. Bad combination, I thought. I had never placed a bolt, and was tempted to just go, but Largo insisted I drill and started barking instructions from the base. So I hammered away.

We decided that it was too dicey later and added a bolt to make it saner for both leader and follower, as JL mentioned.

Randy's excellent photos are a pleasure to view. I believe the one he thinks is pitch four is the start of pitch three leading across to that nice right facing corner with the great nut placements.

probably my most vivid memory of the route is hanging in our butt bags after the first ascent of pitch four, looking down at the line of chalked holds leading all the way down to the base on that amazingly beautiful colored rock.

The setting, the friends, the rock quality, and the adventure always warm my soul when I reflect on that route.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Apr 30, 2011 - 08:23pm PT
Nice pics RV. They bring back memories.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 30, 2011 - 09:15pm PT
That's a great story Rick, and from Kevin as well. Fond memories. There must have been a dozen guys who pitched in on that route and none of us really knew what the hell we were doing.

JL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 30, 2011 - 10:04pm PT
The smoke shows the way...on the Stoner's Highway! Always liked that name.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 1, 2011 - 06:33am PT
The name is from the fertile imagination of Mr Long. There was plenty of spinnin' and grinnin' going on throughout the effort.

Steve, you probably have quick access to the Brave New World article that Bridwell wrote in that era. I believe therein he describes Stoner's as perhaps the most continuously difficult freeclimb in the US, or some such.

That gives a climber a stark and amusing perspective of how far things have come in a mere 40 years. And speaks to where it will be in another forty.
doughnutnational

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
May 1, 2011 - 07:10am PT
Here's my Stoner's Highway story: I did this route in the fall one year in the late 70's. The plan was to smoke a joint of good home grown on every belay and then "scramble" up the U shaped bowl and not get benighted. We achieved about 1/2 of the first goal, all of the second and none of the third, but it was ok because we had lighters.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 1, 2011 - 07:45am PT
donut,

you could be the first crew to do Stoner's to The Katwalk, if I'm reading you right.
doughnutnational

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
May 1, 2011 - 08:09am PT
If we were I would also suggest that we be the last.








Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
May 1, 2011 - 10:57am PT
Thanks, all; glad you enjoyed the story. It is fun to remember those days, which, in the words of the song, "pass you by in the wink of a young girl's eye."

Anders-your story beats mine by a factor of two. Two bolts failed and then you rapped off the remaining one? Yikes!

Dave, Randy, Henny, Eric- I can't believe you guys were in the same position of having to trust that one lousy bolt three years later. We must all have been living right!

Rick
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
May 1, 2011 - 11:03am PT
Stoner's is an excellent route, but will certainly keep most people's attention... continuously interesting and intricate climbing. Here's a fashionable pic from BITD.
Pitch 2 0r 3 of Stoner's Highway, 1987
Pitch 2 0r 3 of Stoner's Highway, 1987
Credit: BrassNuts
gf

climber
May 1, 2011 - 11:37am PT
Stoners gave Mike Beaubien and I an education on the qualities of exfoliating blocks in May of 82. I think it was pitch 5 or so and it was my lead; I cast off the belay and after 15 or so feet wiggled my fingers into a crack of what seemed to be a solid enough block/flake, just as i started yarding on it with youthful hubris, the damm thing cut loose, sliding downward, just avoiding mike, but at the same time nearly planeing off the belay slings. After a round of "hey man, you ok?" we carried onward. Ever since then i've always paid more than passing attention to potential looseness.
Double D

climber
May 1, 2011 - 01:16pm PT
Love the butt scratch Ricky.

My first trip to the valley (to climb) was with Rik Reider that weekend. We watched in awe from the river. I can't believe you guys were so young. At the time you seemed like "old guys" to me. The hauling must have been horrendous. I thought you were using massive amounts of chalk on the hauls as a plume of smoke drifted from each belay. (-;

Man, that thing in PA's...now that's inspirational! Those things blew in a big way.
Jonny D

Social climber
Lost Angelez, Kalifornia
May 1, 2011 - 04:30pm PT
did it in 2003 or 2004 in a party of 3. had a great time. i remember thinking i would have rather lead the first pitch than followed it, less runout that way.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 1, 2011 - 05:38pm PT
One of the sweeter aspects of the route is that the climbing usually moves away from the ledge strikes...the falls look pretty clean.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 1, 2011 - 06:17pm PT
Rick, we didn't have much choice. It wasn't a steep rappel, and as mentioned, the second in effect downled the pitch. Hail Mary sort of thing.

Oddly, it was with my friend Simon, in 1978, and we were climbing today.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 1, 2011 - 09:33pm PT
Somebody needs to continue the line above the Powell Reed Ledges - lots of untouched rock up there...

Stoners leads right to it, just keep going lads.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 1, 2011 - 09:44pm PT
Nice position! Wandering up the center of Middle Rock.




On a much wetter day!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
May 2, 2011 - 01:41am PT
Done the first 5-6 pitches a whole bunch of times cause I love the route, and done the whole route once.

The second pitch got somewhat scarier when the fixed knifeblade protecting the 10b move disappeared. Bring some small aliens and brass nuts/screamers for this climb.

Lots of trippy route finding on the climb. You think the cruxes are over after pitch 5 but then on Pitch 6 (i think) there's a strange long runout right off the belay and you can't really see you next gear very well.

Look a knarley whipper off this pretty solid lieback upside down and backwards once and almost landed in the laps of my two partners. Later they admitted that they accidentally pulled me off!

Peace

Karl
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Run like the wind.
May 2, 2011 - 07:14am PT
"Ass scratch casual" LOL!

I am going to borrow that move whether yall like it or not, hah!

Thanks for the great story. That's funny as hell.

DMT
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
May 2, 2011 - 09:13am PT
If you can do the first 60', you can do the whole route.

I think I now understand why I found Stoner's such a hard climb. My partner and I climbed the 5.7 start on PR before traversing into Stoner's.
teamwhipper

climber
Bay Area, CA
May 2, 2011 - 10:46am PT
I saw Karl's upside/backwards fall; you were maybe a pitch above us. It looked horrendous, and we thought you were going to be in seriously bad shape, but you didn't look messed up when you rapped by. Looked like your chalkbag cushioned the impact! It was a busy day on that route; we had friends a pitch above you, and we were just below.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 2, 2011 - 11:29am PT
These face climbs on Middle, and especially those on The Middle Apron ... really are connoisseur's stuff comprising minimal bolting, creative route finding, sparse but critical and accommodating natural protection; all supporting elegant moves and many rope lengths of climbing.

Dave Nielsen at the base of Stoner's, leading pitch one and following somewhere high on the route, 1982 or 1983:





Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
May 2, 2011 - 11:51am PT
I saw Karl's upside/backwards fall; you were maybe a pitch above us. It looked horrendous, and we thought you were going to be in seriously bad shape, but you didn't look messed up when you rapped by. Looked like your chalkbag cushioned the impact!

Unfortunately, I was wearing a camera in a butt bag and it dug into my back when I fell, killing the camera!

But I escaped with my hide, my back was just bruised and I didn't actually crash into my partners creating an apocalypse!

Glad somebody saw it, it must have looked gengis.

Peace

Karl
henny

Social climber
The Past
May 3, 2011 - 12:39pm PT
Great story Ricky. I thought I recalled talking to you about Stoners and you saying you did the same thing as I did at the single bolt rapp - wish your partner "good luck" and then unclip and stand there. Difference being, you sent Dale first cause he was lighter, I sent DE first cause he was heavier. And judging from the belay bolt failure I'd say those "rumors" of bolt failure on the Middle were more than stories.

I've had a couple of instances where anchors failed. Once on The Last Unicorn at Josh - the entire anchor at the end of the first pitch came out when I went to clip it. I think those were fixed pins or something and it had fractured the rock enough that a block of rock (pins included) fell out when I clipped it. Vogel can probably remember the details on that one better than me - wait - he's even older than me.

The other one, while doing Dream On at Squamish a protection bolt on the crux pitch literally fell out just from the act of clipping a draw into it. That kind of wigged me. Now what? Ended up sticking it back in, clipped it, and down climbed back to the belay. When a bolt falls out like that you suddenly become leary of every bolt in sight. I sure am glad fatties are the standard now days.
Tattooed 1

Trad climber
Sebastopol, Ca
May 4, 2011 - 04:08pm PT
How does Stoner's Highway compare to Beacons From Mars in terms of difficulty and runout?
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
May 4, 2011 - 04:24pm PT
I've had a couple of instances where anchors failed. Once on The Last Unicorn at Josh - the entire anchor at the end of the first pitch came out when I went to clip it. I think those were fixed pins or something and it had fractured the rock enough that a block of rock (pins included) fell out when I clipped it. Vogel can probably remember the details on that one better than me - wait - he's even older than me.

Even at my age, it is hard to forget that. Henny and I went back to establish a second pitch -- only the first pitch had been climbed at the time. When we originally climbed the 1st pitch, we had put a baby angle in the crack behind the sloping belay ledge with a bolt on the ledge itself. Everyone rapped off on that anchor.

For whatever reason, a fracture formed in the ledge, running from the pin and directly through the bolt hole. As a result, the adjacent rock and entire anchor just sorta fell out. I quickly drilled a bolt anchor on the wall above the ledge, and in the process, nailed my thumb with the hammer (which cut short our attempt).
henny

Social climber
The Past
May 4, 2011 - 04:52pm PT
It's coming back to me now.

I quickly drilled a bolt anchor on the wall above the ledge

"Quickly" is relative. I had no trail line and no way to pull up a drill, so ultimately ending up settling for a tipped out single #4 friend as the anchor (behind a flake not on the ledge.) "Hurry up and get up here with the drill. Oh, and btw, don't fall." Good stuff (when looking back).

I had forgotten about the smashed thumb.
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
May 4, 2011 - 05:11pm PT
I did Stoner's twice
Maybe with Sketchy, we did hundreds of routes together back then

Any one remember doing it with me?
Such a great route!
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
May 4, 2011 - 05:14pm PT
Last Unicorn bolts failing!!
Yikes!!

someone needs to put in a bunch of new good bolts
maybe one on the acid traverse
and then use two ropes so you won't deck
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 14, 2011 - 12:15pm PT
Bump for real climbing!
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
May 20, 2011 - 09:31am PT
Found some more Stoners pics, but this one of DE and EE -- giving that "Ho Man!" look at the base -- is classic.

Credit: looking sketchy there...
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
May 20, 2011 - 10:03am PT
Rick A wins the tale telling award on this one so far!

Plus input from 2 FA guys and input from numerous other early ascents.

Classic Supertopo.

Hey Cmac, I suggest a "Classic History Supertopo Archive" link with above mentioned criteria.

I nominate this thread. There are numerous others lurking around here and it would be nice to have them in their own little house eh?
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 20, 2011 - 10:30am PT
Now that is a climbing photo!

Can't deny, the crack on the last pitch (ensconced in green, velvety moss) is surely one of a kind! What beautiful rock this route traverses.
Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
May 20, 2011 - 10:48am PT
I did it with Karl when Brett pulled him off and he broke his camera. I recall Karl basically fell on us and I am glad that his one piece held otherwise he may have sliced me in half with the rope.
I dont recall other parties climbing it that day, but I was a stoner on the highway. That must have been 6 or 7 years ago. Karl have you taken more falls on that route other than the one with Brett and I?
-Rob

Credit: Nor Cal
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
May 20, 2011 - 11:14am PT
Great story Rick A!

Exciting tale with the snapped bolt, ass swiping gestures and the cheerleading Romans in the meadow.

Perhaps Clint ment "truth is better than friction."
Anastasia

climber
hanging from an ice pick and missing my mama.
May 20, 2011 - 11:23am PT
I'm having a love fest with this thread.
Thanks guys for posting!
AFS
Tripod? Swellguy? Halfwit? Smegma?

Trad climber
"The 3rd crappist place to live in England"
May 20, 2011 - 10:52pm PT
Did with doubles. It made so much more sense. all the wandering around was perfect for creative gear opportnities without crazy rope drag. Last pitch massive thunder shower and rapped the whole thing in a collosal downpour on bad 1/4 stations all the way down. very sketchy. Now replaced i hear? Super quality routes and heady, but didn't seem off to hook?
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
May 20, 2011 - 11:43pm PT
I think it was the fall of 77 when I climbed Stoner's with Scott Flavelle and I'd been climbing for just over a year and didn't know jack sh#t about anything much less big Middle routes. Word around Camp 4 was that Stoner's was epic good. We swung leads, I was pretty scared most of the time and blown away by the time we reached the top of the ninth. I looked at the single bolt Scott was anchored to and said, "that's it?" He rapped first and I unclipped just in case.
Stoner's opened my eyes and broadened my horizons like few climbs I've ever done. Stoner's proved anything was possible and Scott and I went on to climb Mescalito that fall, my first El Cap route and another mind blowing experience.
Ahh, the good old days.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
May 21, 2011 - 12:50pm PT
Randy, post more Stoner's pics!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
May 25, 2011 - 11:37am PT
That must have been 6 or 7 years ago. Karl have you taken more falls on that route other than the one with Brett and I?
-Rob

I don't remember! I only keep mental track of memorable up-side down and backwards falls where the ground or my belayer are rapidly nearing!

Peace

Karl
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
May 25, 2011 - 06:20pm PT
Credit: looking sketchy there...

DE following, EE at the belay. 3rd pitch?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 15, 2011 - 09:42am PT
Orange Bumps on a Slab!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 26, 2011 - 09:46am PT
Bump for the love of Middle Rock!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 11, 2012 - 02:22pm PT
And another...
dhayan

climber
los angeles, ca
Jun 7, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
BBST!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 7, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
From Brave New World by Jim Bridwell -


1973 Postscript

Activity reached a crescendo last spring, with feverish interest being shown in the obvious but still neglected plum routes. The new routes varied from all free grade 5's to 40-50ft. severe problems. A generous list of relatively new names was associated with these first ascents. Stoner's Highway, an all-free grade 5 on Middle Cathedral Rock, climbed late this spring by Ed Barry, Peter Barton, Kevin Worrall and John Long, may well qualify as the most sustained free climb in Yosemite and possibly the whole country. Six of the eight pitches are 5.10, which puts the climb high on any zealot's list.

Hah! most sustained free climb in the country. My how times have changed!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 7, 2013 - 01:50pm PT
My how times have changed!

Ha! I still don't see lines forming to do it.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 7, 2013 - 01:57pm PT
Zealots are apparently few and far between
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Jun 7, 2013 - 01:59pm PT
This is so great
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jun 7, 2013 - 02:20pm PT
Zealots are apparently few and far between

At least Middle Cathedral Rock zealots, which is a pity, because the climbing is superb. It seems like the routes on the Northeast Face were more crowded thirty hears ago than now.

Way back when this thread was first posted, Roger asked about how we remembered the upper parts of Stoner's Highway and the Powell-Reed left variation.

I did the Powell-Reed left variation either shortly before or shortly after you guys did the FA of Stoner's Highway (my memory has faded on that). As soon as we started moving left, the climbing got much easier on Powell-Reed.

John
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 7, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
It seems like the routes on the Northeast Face were more crowded thirty hears ago than now.

Well it IS a tough approach ... ;-)
Roots

Mountain climber
SoCal
Jun 7, 2013 - 04:34pm PT
ooops wrong thread..thought we were talking about the 395. Carry on...
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 8, 2013 - 09:13am PT
Speaking of route-finding, I was on the first pitch once and Bridwell came by. We chatted and he said he thought Stoners started off to the left. Since I'd done the route a fair number of times I knew I was on route and that there were no bolts at all off to the left. (The runout to the first bolt on the actual route is bad enough)

just sayin

Peace

Karl
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 8, 2013 - 10:12am PT
There's a bolted one pitch route to the left of the Stoners start, Rainbow Bridge, I think, a 5.11 pitch to a stance. A Chris Cantwell creation if I remember right.

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 8, 2013 - 10:57am PT
I was thinking about the last post...

There might be a continuation to do on Cantwell's start, but it's pretty blank up there for a ways. If you could get to the featured rock about 200 ft up though, midway twixt The Chouinard Pratt and Stoners, you'd have some fine climbing to do.

I think Kauk my have ventured out the right on the face from the big belay ledge on the Chouinard Pratt atop pitch five of Central Pillar. Or maybe from lower down even. The rock looks excellent out there...
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 8, 2013 - 12:52pm PT
"There's a bolted one pitch route to the left of the Stoners start, Rainbow Bridge, I think, a 5.11 pitch to a stance. A Chris Cantwell creation if I remember right."

Yup, pretty close to Central Pillar. There was a crowd on Central Pillar one day so I started up it, not knowing what it was. Took a bunch of falls until I got to the final stretch to the belay and couldn't pull it off. 11D slab is wicked smooth!

Peace

Karl
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 8, 2013 - 12:52pm PT
There's a new Beyer route that crosses right through paradise lost s well
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Aug 19, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
Bump!
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