Stonemaster Stories (Part II)

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Russ Walling

Social climber
This space for rent
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 7, 2006 - 03:20pm PT
This is a splinter of the other massive and bloated thread.

Post new addendums to the original thread here on Part II.

Here is the link to the original thread for background:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=145850&f=0&b=0
Russ Walling

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2006 - 03:34pm PT
Side note: Just so you don't miss anything, the post was split at 197.
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Feb 7, 2006 - 04:19pm PT
Yo Russ, the upper limit for me is 100 posts - any way to divide up part 1 for us dial upers?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2006 - 04:22pm PT
On cable modem it is taking a long asss time too. Not sure except for some giant cut and paste job how to actually split a thread within the thread.

Maybe a GURU will drop by and fix it all up.

Until then, how about Gramicci tells about the cowboy boots on Intersection.... which I think was the last post in the big thread.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 7, 2006 - 04:46pm PT

I’m embarrassed I don’t remember the name of the route. It’s a classic thing with the first move being the hardest some kind of a 5.9 mantel into a grove. It’s on the tip of my tongue.

Anyway there’s this couple giving it a go. The guy trying to get off the ground was the poster child for today’s “yuppie” obviously trying to impress his girl friend. This scene catches Largo eye, or maybe it was the girl?

He walks up just like the tourist in Bob’s post. Ho-Man what are you guys trying to do?

The guy didn’t want to be bothered but wasn’t getting any where. Nothing in yet because he couldn’t get off the ground he sits back taking a breather letting his gril friend know how hard it is.

So John jumps up on it in a slick pair of Cowboy boots and levitates the route. looks back at the girl now giving him the eye and exclaims what’s the problem?

If memory serves me right he lit a “fag” at the crux!
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 7, 2006 - 04:47pm PT
Thanks, Russ.

And, for the record, the start of this (continuing) thread was a first post by John Long (a.k.a., JL, Largo, J-Elvis, Juan Largo, Hoo-man!, Johnny, et al.), to wit:

> 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
Russ Walling

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2006 - 04:59pm PT
Hey Gram,
That has got to be the Waterchute..... Largo used to solo it all the time... had like 5 of us SheepBuggers™™™ in the thing at once with him coaching us along.... we could barely lead 5.9, and had never done the Waterchute, but Largo had this way of talking neophytes up anything.... Always liked the way he would boom "don't you fall now... you'll get hurt if you pitch from there..." kinda stuff as we were all struggling up something.
guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 7, 2006 - 05:02pm 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.


scuffy b

climber
S Cruz
Feb 7, 2006 - 05:06pm PT
Waterchute, right, Mike?
But it's really more like a hard mantle kinda thing
into a 5.9 groove.
My first time there, Jan 73. Even though it's the good old
days we couldn't find a campsite in HV or Ryan or even Jumbo.
My buddy is struggling with that entry move, fixated but going
nowhere when a small group comes around the corner. Man, it's
that big strong John Long guy.
One of them is wearing very dark glasses. Chalking his
fingertips continuously with a block, sort of chanting,
"Agua-CHUTE" (repeat every 8 seconds).
During a miniscule break in the action JL steps in, says "I won't
be in your way" and hops into the pod and starts moving up the
flare. And Starts Sketching. And everyone takes a few steps
back. He gets to the top and grins and commences on a tutorial
on bulky sweater physics and how interesting the climb is when
you don't stick where you expect and so on.
Maybe the only time he actually had to concentrate while
climbing that thing.
sm
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 7, 2006 - 05:47pm PT
Thanks guys, that was it the Waterchute.

Obviously this route made for some great stories and I just remembered it was where I met John Bachar for the first time. A major memory jog.

Good Story Guy, I’m glad you were around back then and now.


rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 7, 2006 - 06:08pm PT
Ah, yes. Largo-isms on the Waterchute...

I wasn't there for that one, but are you SURE it wasn't practiced? Hmmm?? (Wouldn't put it past Juan...)

Back then, we used to call those hijinks "Shockley-isms", or "pulling a Shockley." Dick Shockley was the absolute MASTER of those. Watching him struggle up some desperate lead, I have vivid memories of a near-heartattack when he got close to the top and we watched his feet suddenly pop off! Holy Crap!! Looked again, and he's dangling from some Thank God Jug, laughing his ass off at our expense!
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 7, 2006 - 06:14pm PT
Rob, Mike Lechlinski had a habit of doing that on the solo. Frickin Hilarious
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Feb 7, 2006 - 07:13pm 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.
guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 7, 2006 - 07:22pm PT
Mike...thanks for the props, It is really good to find out you are climbing again...hope to see out at the rocks.

Randy..yes... I sort of remember...

I am having a good time trying to figure out who everybody is
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Feb 7, 2006 - 07:33pm PT
It was 1973 and one of my first trips up to Tahquitz. We planned an ascent of Frightful Variation of the Trough. The crag seemed enormous to me (my only other experiences being Mt. Rubidoux, Joshua Tree and Mt. Pacifico). The early morning shade made Tahquitz seem even more foreboding.

After what seemed a death march up to the base and then eventually finding the start of the route (using an old paperback Wilts guide), I gaze about at the heights above. High and to the left were three (or 4) figures pasted on what seeed a totally bald and overhanging face. According to the guidebook, they were on an aid route. While belaying, my attention kept being drawn away from my partner and to the climbers above.

The scene unfolded as one of the small figures moves out left and then jumps up (for what I couldn't tell, it all looked featureless). He apparently misses since he soon is taking a huge arcing fall into space. Holy sh1t! I'd never witnessed a leader fall, let alone one like that. Again the figure edges out, flies up and then repeats the huge swinging fall. Aid climbing sure looks scary I'm thinking.

I think on the next try, the guy sticks the throw (my first witnessing of a dyno) and proceeds to climb up on features which I could not really discern. Just watching this was stomach wrenching.

That afternoon after descending from my epic first multipitch climb, I see a group of guys in Humber Park, joking around, being boisterous. As a neophite they take no notice of me. Perhaps a year or so later, and a little wiser to the local climbing scene (and knowing a few of the these climbers from Ski Mart), I finally put it together... I had witnessed Rick Acccomazzo leading the first free ascent of the Vampire (they called it 10d back then). It could have been 5.15 as far as I could tell and absolutely more impressive.

rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 7, 2006 - 11:13pm PT
Now, the Stonemasters (whoever they may have been) were always a good group to go climbing with. The assembled group (always spontaneous, seldom planned) would head up to the crag and, somehow, the day's project would coalesce. If someone had something in mind, that would be the target. And, often that project would be a mass ascent. A massively multiplayer game...

Infrequently, it would be a new line. Someone would have some bolts in their bag, and we'd draw straws to appoint someone to go "stand on the dimes" and pound the sucker home. Of course, the rest would have a toprope, so no worries... A good example of this is, I'm pretty sure, was a modest little route on Suicide called "Jigsaw" on the Sunkist Face. (Vogel calls it a 10a *, FA: Tobin Sorenson, Bill Antel, John Long, Rob Muir, Richard Harrison and Bruce Foster.)

I actually recall that there were others, and it seems to me that there were ten (10) folk on the first, but whatever... The point is, it was fun, we had friends, and we all lent moral support to the endeavor. It was a kick to heckle the leader and everyone got a share of the action. Plus, the joint-effort (pun intended) meant that we were developing a common lore and communal bond.

The "push" was always there, and the (usually) good-natured banter helped each of us to climb a bit above the ordinary. Everyone was "good", we were all "equals" in skills and--damn it--we always needed to prove it to each other! ;-) So most weekends were filled with new projects.

But sometimes it was just to check out the competition... And, in many instances, the competition was the older generation. Guys like Kamps, Higgins, Ivan, Dent, and those LA boys, Frost, Yvon, TM, Robbins... They put up many of days' test pieces, and we needed to see if we could meet the challenge. So, if a new route wasn't in the cards, happenstance meant sending someone up some unknown line just to make sure the aura was kept in check.

I don't recall when it was, but Tobin plays prominent in this story. So it must have been prior to 1980... Largo could always be counted-on to come up with a project, and he usually could suck^h^h^h^h convince someone to tie into the sharp end. Tobin was a willing lad, always one to please.

Somehow, we were up near the summit of Tahquitz; having done what, I can't recall. (Was it the mass ascent of The Hangover?) Anyway, there were 8, 10 or a dozen of us, and Largo said, "Tobin, this one!" Pointing to... Big Daddy. (5.10c FFA: Frost & Higgins) Don't recall if any of us had ever done this route, but that didn't matter... It would be cake, and then the rest of us would have a top rope.

Now the rock was friable in places, the first 15 feet were easy and then there was this awkward bit, somewhat poorly protected with an OLD fixed Lost Arrow or summat... And, above was a flared crack jutting through an overhang. Hardly a ripe plum. Even chausey. But, like I said, Tobin was game. Not to mention sometimes bold and foolhardy.

So, off he goes. Tied into some 2" swami, up he led to the fixed pin. From below, we all watched with good-hearted chuckles and encouragements, as he clipped-in to a "reportedly" manky pin. But with no hammer, he couldn't do anything to drive it further home. Up he lofts, looking increasing shakey as the rock gets softer and the grit starts raining down. "Tobin, drop in some pro..." But there's not much to work with, as the crack is pretty rounded and shallow.

You had to climb with Tobin, to know that courage and speed could usually overcome the fear of long falls or bad protection. Why spend time mucking-around with runners and sh#t, if you'd be through the hard part soon enough? Trust in providence...

But Tobin does land the requisite nut, and adds a longer runner so that the trailing cord won't dislodge it. "Whew. That's better," says the throng at the base, enjoying the show.

And Tobin heads to the roof...

Now things start to get quiet and just a bit tense. Tobin is starting to flounder, and things are getting more awkward. Tobin climbs up into the flair, and then retreats down a bit. The clock is ticking. He tries it again, but doesn't get too much farther and it's pretty clear that the jams are shallow and insecure. More pebbles pepper the people. The EBs are skating.

Now the ribbing is always there, and it sometimes masks the mutual affection that we Stonemasters had for one another. No one wants anyone hurt, and the invincibility of youth means no one will. But the rude mug of danger is rearing its ugly head, and Tobin is staring it right in the eye. He's still hanging in there... He glances at us, we stare back at him, and things aren't quite so fun at the moment.

He shifts his feet. More sand. The hands begin to loosen, and he trys to re-slot. Oh dear....

Now he's, like, sixty feet up and the base slants up and to the right so the spectators are RIGHT THERE with him. He's been hanging for 10 or 15 minutes, trying to fight through this overhang, and then it happens...

Down slides the nut, and the 'biner clinks up against the lone, questionable piton. Tobin doesn't know this. He's busy. Oh god!

"Say, Tobin, how 'bout the right foot?" "Can you down climb a bit?" "Match hands!"

Tobin: "Hey, Richard, ya got me? I'm gonna drop."

The assembled throng: (In unison.) "NO! Don't drop, man!!" "Keep going!"

Tobin: (Argumentatively.) "No, I'm gonna drop."

Us: (With feeling and emphasis.) "NOOOO!" "Don't!"

Argument over. Whump, down he drops, lifting Richard Harrison right up into the air, and bringing Tobin into equilibrium again 10 feet from the deck. Whump, the air is thrust from our lungs, as a dark silence drops on the fun. Whump and whew! Tobin is quietly lowered to the earth, leaving a rope draped through the single peg of chromoly.

No one's in too much of a hurry to show Tobin up, after that. But Largo does have the Scottish good sense to go retrieve the biner... And climbs up to find that the so-called fixed piton can be lifted out with a finger!

While it lasted, Tobin climbed with the angels. No one was ever as lucky as he!

Ever.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Feb 7, 2006 - 11:31pm PT
Tobin showed me the tree swing on the big pine on the friction route.

Still do it with a big whoop every time I come down that way.

The "Tobin Sorensen Memorial Tree Swing"

When I'm to old to do that, I'm to old to be up there!

When I get some time I've got some pre stonemasters Tobin stories, most along the same character as the last one.

He was that way from the beginning.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 8, 2006 - 12:29am PT
Thanks for restarting the thread,
Now, is there any way to retrieve posts #143-#197?
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 8, 2006 - 12:37am PT
Rob--

That route Tobin took the whistler on was the Big Daddy, and the piton, which I took out with my hands, was a rusty old baby angle stuck in a hole. Years later Ricky and I went back and climbed the route and was amazed that it was so hard--solid 5.10C, with dice pro, first led in '59 by Tom Frost. It was Richard who held that big whipper. That's an ascent I'll never forget.

JL
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Feb 8, 2006 - 02:51am PT
OK. The statute of limitations has long since expired. I want to hear about the the very creative activities in the shipping and receiving department at Ski Mart.

Bruce

ps - trivia! Name the first route put up on the 10' rock at Ski Mart.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 8, 2006 - 08:24am PT
So... We had just gotten this GIANT shipment of sleeping bags in for a promotion of "Class 5" products. We decide that we should make a GIANT pile of 'em in the middle of the floor to attract attention, so West, Graham, Mackay, Nyberg and I pull all these down and synthetic bags out of their stuff sacks and throw them into a GIANT mound. Must of been 5' high.

Someone notices that the second-floor balcony is nearby. Right...up...there. "Let's go jump into the GIANT pile!" Much hilarity ensued. And at least two of us eventually did full, forward flips into the soft down pit.

Eventually, the boss decides that that might be enough, since we might be blowing-out the baffles!

------------------------------


Christmas eve. Working retail. I'm out on the floor, fitting some customer with new ski boots... One of the maniacs doing ski tuneups in the back room comes out dressed in a Santa Hat. He's got a flaming blow torch in hand, used for melting off ski wax. He's also got a full bottle of taquila, a shot glass, and a HUGE headstart on the rest of us. So, of course, we're all forced to slam down flaming shooters while buckling Koflacks! Even the customers were invited to partake.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 8, 2006 - 10:18am PT
That boss be Dan Baker 5’4” 203 lbs and built like a Sequoia stump. We couldn’t get too creative in shipping, with Dan being a Black Belt in Karate they didn’t need Security Cameras.

Our biggest past time in the back was knife throwing something he taught us besides Sales and the few lethal Kung Fu moves . Funny the fate of that place, at one time it was a real going concern. What an odd thing a place that sold climbing gear in Newport Beach.

MG
Russ Walling

Social climber
This ain't Tijuana
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2006 - 03:37pm PT
The following paste is brought over from the original thread and covers posts #197 to #202.

Yo, you new old guys... try to keep up ;)

----------------------------------------------------


Re: Stonemaster stories Feb 7, 2006, 02:00pm PST
Author: guyman
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??)

Re: Stonemaster stories Feb 7, 2006, 02:33pm PST
Author: Bart Fay
>>(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.


Re: Stonemaster stories Feb 7, 2006, 04:09pm PST
Author: looking sketchy there...

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.


Re: Stonemaster stories Feb 8, 2006, 12:22pm PST
Author:mark Hudon
climber
From: OR
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.
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Feb 8, 2006 - 03:49pm PT
anyone know what is Bruce Nyberg doing these days? Use to work with him at Mountain Affair and climbed a little bit in so cal. last i saw Bruce he was working i think in Idyllwild. Been a long time, I'd like to see or talk to him again! Anyone know of him and where abouts let me know or at least say hey to Bruce for me.
Peace
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 8, 2006 - 03:50pm PT
Mark good to see you sign on.

Yeah but Tobin couldn't hold his liquor
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Feb 8, 2006 - 03:56pm PT
Howdy, Mike.
I don't remember the aftermath of the races. I believe Tobin was a bit into God right then. I didn't think he was into the debauchery too much anymore. When Largo sauntered over I thought that he'd drink two to Tobin's one. Tobin could just open his throat and pour em down.

boat races, for those of you who don't know, were simply opening your throat and pouring a beer down as fast as possible.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 8, 2006 - 05:58pm PT
Tobin did have a talent for the gullet.

Mike could tell this with more detail, but when Tobin was in high school and still living at home, he showed up at the Graham house (Gramicci, too, then was still a high schooler) and asked for shelter. Seems that he was lazing around HIS house and found a full half-gallon of ice cream in the freezer... Grabbed it, started scarfing, and before you know it, he's downed the whole thing! In one sitting.

His folks were so pissed, that he was thown out of the house for a time.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Feb 8, 2006 - 06:08pm PT
I remember him telling me he could eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. I remember sitting out in front of the Post Office and him actually doing it. I probably go through less than half of mine.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 8, 2006 - 06:47pm PT
Robs, I can’t believe you remembered that.

yeah, it happened at my house too.

Actually my parents thought I ate it all and they were pissed, it was my dad’s favorite. When they found out it was Tobin who really ate it, it was more like ah poor boy… and my mom went out and bought a few more gallons just for him.I’m telling you and I said this before, he was a charmer.

He was bed ridden for a week or two with some spleen problem around then. My mom spoon fed him soup for a while so that perpetuated the poor boy thing. She was real fond of him treated him like another son.

Made for some sibling rivalry.
Ligur

climber
PD
Feb 8, 2006 - 09:39pm PT
These storys are great Any pics out there of Tobin.
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Feb 8, 2006 - 09:45pm PT
Yes, it's remarkable how few pictures of Tobin Sorenson have ever surfaced.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 8, 2006 - 10:14pm PT
Here’s one that makes me smile to this day, involving one of the Poway /San Diego crew (as was mentioned in this thread by John Vawter). We’ll call him A.

Tuolumne meadows, midsummer, perfect day, group of us sitting at the picnic tables outside of the store. On the table is a box of peaches provided by A, who just arrived from San Diego. Seems that on the drive up, it was harvest time in the groves bordering the road and A noticed some boxes of freshly picked peaches, unattended. This was too much temptation and several boxes were “nicked,” as the resident C4 Brits would have put it at the time.
We dig into the peaches and they are outstanding. Life is good: central valley peaches and summer in Tuolumne. Just then, a car pulls into the parking space next to our table and who should get out, but a group of nuns in full habit. We can’t think of much to say to a covey of nuns, except for A, who stands up and addresses the Mother Superior. A is exceedingly courteous and friendly, as if he were a maitre’d at a fine restaurant. By all appearances, he has been waiting for this opportunity to welcome the nuns to the meadows:

Good Afternoon Sister, I hope you had a pleasant drive.
Thank you very much, young man.
Lovely day isn’t it?
Yes very beautiful and what a marvelous place this is!
Yes indeed, Sister; truly one of God’s finest creations. Would you like a peach?
Oh, no, thank you, we couldn’t.
Are you sure? They are wonderfully ripe and delicious. And we have lots of them.
Well, if you insist. Thank you so much.

A hands one out to each of the nuns with a flourish, and pretty soon, the nuns are holding up their end of the conversation well, remarking on how ripe, juicy and delicious the peaches are. After a little while, however, this vein is exhausted and an awkward silence arises, but plucky Mother Superior fills the void:

Where did you get these lovely peaches?

We all turn to see how A will handle this, but he is unflappable. I can picture to this day the angelic look on A’s face as he looks Mother Superior in the eye, and says with a smile,

We stole them, Sister.
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 9, 2006 - 09:07am PT
A small correction to John Vawter's (Hi John) Tobin-on-the-Shield story early in this thread. It was Bruce Adams, not Denny Adams who was with Tobin on that climb. Bruce (Denny's younger brother) was a close friend of Tobin's during the last 2 or 3 years of Tobin's life. This story is a legend in Poway Mountain Boy lore, as well.

By the way, a contemporary group, started in 1970 and mostly climbing at Tahquitz/Suicide and bouldering at Mt. Woodson, the Poway Mountain Boys consisted of Dave Goeddel, Denny Adams, Bruce Adams, Kinley Adams, Rick Piggot, Colin Piggot, Jim Cameron, Greg Cameron, George Manson, Tom Gibson, Dan Heiser (honarary), and Dennis Sullivan (honarary). By the technical definition presented in this thread, I suppose, several of the members were Stonemasters by the mid to late 1970s. But, of course, we were generally in awe of the real Stonemasters.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 9, 2006 - 10:40am PT
Greg, thanks for clearing this up for me. I remember Bruce quite well and thought Denny was perhaps his nickname. I would love to get a hold of Bruce if you can be of assistance?

Mike Graham
Dimes

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Feb 9, 2006 - 11:16am PT
Ants in the Pants, Penny Log, Weasels Rip My Flesh, Humber Park Pit Toilet Trick, Walking the "Pipe", Water Tank rolling, etc
Obligatory "White" pants, the old Calcaira(sp)bolt drilling trick, etc
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 9, 2006 - 11:21am PT
KP, glad to see ya joining the ST old dad hordes

Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 9, 2006 - 11:43am PT
Gramicci. I'll send you Bruce's contact info via email after I hear back from my brother, Jim. Bruce gave the eulogy at my Mom's funeral a couple of years ago. A great human being who's still climbing 5.12 and living in or near Bend, Oregon.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 9, 2006 - 12:01pm PT
Hey, Greg, how about Rick Pigot? Where's he at and what's he doing. Always had a blast when I was with Rick.

JL
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 9, 2006 - 12:11pm PT
John. I lost contact with Rick, who was my mentor and by far the best climber of the Poway Mountain Boys. I think he may have been living in Reno a few years ago. I'd like to hear from him myself.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Feb 9, 2006 - 04:03pm PT
Hey Greg! Thanks for the correction. Bruce, not Denny. I've been telling that story wrong for 30 years. Denny was on the trip with Dave Goeddel to the Bugaboos in like 70? Dave gave a slide show at a Sierra Club meeting when I was in high school. I was raving about it at school the next day and somebody told me that Mark Thorpe and Dennis Sullivan were rock climbers. They had just taken the Basic Mountaineering course, had a Goldline rope and Royal Robbins shoes. They took me in. Have you heard from Dennis?
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 9, 2006 - 04:15pm PT
Hey John. I lost track of Dennis after he moved to Hawaii some few years back. Another guy I'd love to hear from. I don't know if you heard about Dave Goeddel - he went on to become one of the founders of Genentech and was this close to receiving the Nobel prize back in the early 80s.

bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 9, 2006 - 07:56pm PT
dimes,

YER LIGHT.

bwhahaaahaha
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 9, 2006 - 07:59pm PT
i asked the same question about piggot just a few days ago. some of my best days were spent at woodson, competition forcing me to attempt to even barely keep pace with rick...meaning some of my best efforts and best memories.

word was he was working constuction south lake tahoe -- guess that would fit in welll with the RENO theory.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 9, 2006 - 08:05pm PT
"Yes, it's remarkable how few pictures of Tobin Sorenson have ever surfaced."

i've got some old mags with pics i can scan...tobin on the 1st ascent of season's end, tobin attempting (or doing?) the 2nd ascent of insomnia, a pic from mountain magazine of him hiking some overhanging horrowshow in australia that either was, or became when he did it, the toughest send down under...plus some pics i took myself of some early attempts on some route out by snickers, can't remember the name....

also, some pics from an old mag of tobin and accomazzo on the 2nd ascent of europe' hardest ice route..tobin grinning with a red "one way to heaven" helmet on, complete with a black arrow pointing skyward!
scuffy b

climber
S Cruz
Feb 9, 2006 - 08:58pm PT
Dimes,
Did you coin "No commitment, hock equipment"?
It's one of my faves for 20+yr now.
sm
Ligur

climber
PD
Feb 9, 2006 - 10:05pm PT
A good one I would hear from KP while bouldering a couple of years ago was "Bijeengus" as in that hold is bijeengus". with an emphasis on the j-e-e-n. Classic.
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Feb 9, 2006 - 10:27pm PT
Not a Stonemaster story from Kath - Missus Blinny.

250 stories and counting.

Seems strange. Are they on vacation?
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 10, 2006 - 01:38am PT
We actually did the third ascent of Insomnia that day Mark Miller took those photos, yeah they were in a lot of mags and the same day did seasons end. All in a days work.

I’ll let you all know soon where to see some Sorenson photos.

Where is Blinny anyway?
426

Sport climber
the start of Bedwetters, LRC
Feb 10, 2006 - 08:18am PT
You guys might try Englekirk for info on Mr. Piggot; he was working for Doug up there for a spell, pwning routes at Donner/Cave (when it was open).


Possibly DE can be tracked down here:

http://www.srcfc.org/endorse.asp#Doug
Dimes

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Feb 10, 2006 - 10:18am PT
Piggot is still in the Reno/Tahoe area. Ran into a guy a month ago at Gunsmoke who knows Rick and is from the same area. Says he is still climbing. I think he mentioned dirt bike riding also. I'll see if Hensel has any contact info.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 10, 2006 - 11:25am PT
Fun with scanners...

Here's an excellent, action photo that we had submitted to Mountain, back in the day. It shows Tobin, in the midst, on Insomnia Crack at Suicide. Originally published in Mountain 32, Feb, 1974. Photo by Mark Millar.



Notice the shoes, the nuts (no cams) and the swami belt. No tape, either...
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 10, 2006 - 11:48am PT
fun with scanners... part 2.

Gramicci sent some e-mail identifying a few old sources relevant to this thead...
So, into the archives I dived last night and found these moldy images:

Owen Gunter and the notorious Ski Mart "sheep ad", which we ran in several places including "Descent", Summer, 1972:
may not be suitable for the office

The infamous flyer for the infamous "Suicide Climber's Party" (a.k.a., the Stonemaster party) circa 1974... I found a copy of it stuffed in an old Mountain magazine:
the flyer for the "pahawtay"

Ivan "Bud" Couch leading the second pitch of Sundance. I have an original, signed copy of the Larry Reynolds photo. Probably taken in 1970 (?) or so:
classic old shot. Check out the footwear!

And, Bolton, tell your Couch story re. the Stonemasters...
nb3000

Trad climber
Oakland, CA.
Feb 10, 2006 - 01:09pm PT
Forget the sheep ... look at the size of those frickin hexes (and is that a fist-sized nut? Good God.) on Mr. Gunter's rack. Good times.
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Feb 10, 2006 - 01:19pm PT
Clark Jacobs told me that Bud Couch changed his name to Ivan after reading The Brothers Karamazov and becoming enamored with Ivan K. Is that true? If so, it seems like a powerful tribute to Dostoevsky's genius for someone to abandon such a proud name.
paulj

climber
utah
Feb 10, 2006 - 01:24pm PT
Has Sorenson got a wallet in his pocket in the photo above?

Also, the comments above regarding the lack of TS photos seems rather ironic. All my old climbing rags got donated to the library a few years back, but somebody help me out. I seem to recall that Mtn Mag published a whole series of pictures of TS climbing a route (Insomnia?) and also noted that a poster of Tobin was available for purchase. A subsequent issue had outraged letters to the editor concerning the photo spread, noting the spread constituted an ego-maniacal approach to climbing and that the poster was simply prostitution of a glorious sport, or some such sh#t. I don't recall any other photos in Mountain till his obit appeared, which showed him in a suit with umbrella.
Brick

Social climber
SF, CA
Feb 10, 2006 - 01:29pm PT
paul- the bruhaha was in summit mag.
Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Victorville, CA
Feb 10, 2006 - 01:42pm PT
So, anybodt got a story about how the "stonemasters" needed to form a group?
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 10, 2006 - 01:47pm PT
That Article was a load of sh#t. Tobin loved that photo because it wasn’t the typical bad ass climbing photo showing how tough you are. It humanized climbing if anything. He gave me an 8x10 of that shot. Its on my wall and I treasure it.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Feb 10, 2006 - 02:03pm PT
Couch definitely insisted on being called Ivan and I think in all the FA info we've chnaged that...

Couch surely had vision and established many of the classic hard routes at Suicide.
Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Victorville, CA
Feb 10, 2006 - 02:38pm PT
Greg Bender and Phil Warrender bouldering together at Stoney Point were approched by what bender later described as an "impudent kid." The kid said: "Hey can we join the your Stoney Point Climbing Association?" Bender thought for a minute, since the only place the stoney point climbing association existed at the time was in the mind of the kid. But Greg perused the kid, and said "no." half joking, half serious, but not at all mean... a week later the kid informs Greg, we don't need your stoney point climbing association... we're the Stonemasters!

and so it was..

meanwhile i was in the sierra, never liked bouldering much : )
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 10, 2006 - 03:01pm PT
So Ed, you got me curious I’d like to hear more on that. There was never a club persay.
Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Victorville, CA
Feb 10, 2006 - 04:17pm PT
Understood there was never a "club" but I do think that was the birth of the term.

I wasn't even there, Phil Warrender related the story to me just a few weeks ago.

and though there was no club, there most certainly was a clique.

Mari, you (MG), and Clarke were always personable and friendly though, and Eric.... Eric was always good for entertainment, broken Ice tools as he actually climbed ice, a failed attempt at discounted friend purchase, and wild route names, all too funny.

G_Gnome

Trad climber
Ca
Feb 10, 2006 - 04:32pm PT
Well, the SPCA did become reality at some point. We hold our annual meeting in TM every August and have a yearly wrap up on Christmas Day at Stoney.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 10, 2006 - 05:25pm PT
Ed,

Sounds like the story could be accurate turned around with ShortTimer’s enlightening post. I know our early group of Bastard kids (sorry JL) formed before any Stoney point involvement, at least one season or even a year. I gather from the numerous posts that we could of looked like a closed group. But I’d never met a more generous group of guys willing to help others along as also evidenced on this thread. No body was ever told they don’t belong or you’re in another tier. You hung out with us if you had the same aspirations as us, plain and simple. We all enjoyed climbing as an adventure not a completive sport. True that shifted as the numbers grew but our core today still has the ideals as back then.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Feb 10, 2006 - 09:36pm PT
Where can I join this Stonemasters club? I don't have much money but I got some cool shoes to trade...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 10, 2006 - 09:54pm PT
When's the reunion - will it be a spectator event?
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Feb 10, 2006 - 09:57pm PT
Johnny, send the shoes and yer in the stonedmasters club
Peace
cts

Trad climber
sw PA
Feb 11, 2006 - 12:58am PT
EEErik Ericksons favorite line, "Lets go silo some loads."
hashbro

Trad climber
Wiliams, Oregon
Feb 11, 2006 - 02:51am PT
John, Mike, Ricky,

Do you remember when you all rescued me, Dibbs Sorenson, my brother Al and Chris Robinson off of the White Maiden's Walkway in mid-winter, around 1972 or 73'? John hauled our 15 year old asses up the last pitch in the dark, hand over hand. We ended up on Tahquitz's longest route on around the shortest day of the year thanks to some great beta from Richard Harrison stating that all we'd need was a few runners for pro.

You might 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
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 11, 2006 - 09:31am PT
Spencer,
Great to hear from you.

On the White Maiden rescue, see my recollection of that night deep in part I of the thread.

On Acapulco Bill. I had completely forgotten the nickname and the story that goes along with it. We could be pretty callous back then. The guy has one 120- foot fall early in his climbing career and he’s stuck with the nicknames “the Cliff Diver” or “Acapulco Bill” for the duration.

Rick
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 11, 2006 - 11:25am PT
Hi Spencer!

This is bringing out a lot of people.

Acapulco Bill! That shocked my memory banks too. My favorite idiom that came out of that was “he fell so far he screamed twice” even used it in part one here.Always liked how descriptive it was.

Good to hear from you!

MG
Spencer Lennard

Trad climber
Williams, Oregon
Feb 11, 2006 - 01:10pm PT
Mike, Ricky, John,

Being the first 15 year old to be dragged up the final slabs of White Maiden, upon arrival on the summit I saw John Long yarding ther bhoys upward as though we were tattered haul bags. We tried to climb the final bit but Largo would not slow down long enough for a single move. We, therfore were sliding upwards on our sides, knees and elbows.

Incidentally, the cause of our rescue could be placed on Dibbs (Tobin's younger brother) decision not to lead or belay at about pitch two. Therefore our four person crew was forced to thrwo a rope down for him at the end of each blocky pitch, which led to lots of snagged lines, rappels and other silly (and dangerous logistical elements). I clearly remember Dibbs nervously asking in his stutter at the end of each pitch," can we smoke those joints now"?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 11, 2006 - 02:24pm PT
"Screamed twice", beautiful! I'm stealing it!

This is a highly informative thread too. Gunter Owen huh? Had that picture on my dorm room door for a year to the tune of many a comment but never knew who it was.
Still have the entire collection of Vulgarian Digest though.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Feb 11, 2006 - 03:05pm PT
Spencer! Good to hear from you bro. Hope all's well - grand theft avocado days are long gone (or are they???) cheers, jb
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Feb 11, 2006 - 03:19pm PT
Grand Theft Avocado ... DE even memorialized that little event with a route at Josh.

I remember the first time I met Spencer and Alan... everyone referred to them as the Hash Brothers. I assumed (wrongly) that Hash was their last name for months; only later was the "homemade hash" story revealed.

Anyone remember driving on the wrong side of the "Trees" heading up to Idyllwild from Hemet! Its a wonder were still alive.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 11, 2006 - 03:27pm PT
Does anyone remember the blinking road flasher that was left on top of some ledge on Tahquitz? It invaribly led to some concerned citizen calling the rangers about climbers stuck on the big stone. I think it only stayed up there for a few years before the battery wore out.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 11, 2006 - 03:51pm PT
Spencer, Look at all the stuff you brought back. Grand theft Avocado!...

Randy, I think you and I did that detour about four times. It was light maneuver past 10:00 pm. But I remember you and I pushing it prime time once it had to be three miles on the wrong side of the law.

You’d be disbarred if they only knew :-)
Spencer Lennard

Trad climber
Williams, Oregon
Feb 11, 2006 - 06:05pm PT
Certainly my most dicey lead (far scarier than the Edge!), was actually as a passenger in Vogal's little yellow fiat, shitfaced on Old English 800, as he cruised through the "wrong way" near Hemet. I almost barfed the first time he did it, and simply closed my eyes on successive passes.

As far as avocado theft, Al and I got off on informal probation, but Chris (just having passes hi 18th birthday) had to spend a night in jail, pay a fine and get a year probabion.

Lesson to be learned: if ya steal, make sure yer collar is white.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 13, 2006 - 08:25pm PT
In a prior posting, up-thread, it was noted that some of the Stonemasters (back then) had a tendency to "urge" people on... This often took the form of encouragement to try new things and, as has been noted, sometimes led to the creation of a top rope for the rest. "Horning-in" was the usual term...

Kind of like a symbiote (or maybe a parasite depending on your point of view or what kind of day you were having), the end result was sometimes to get the "host" to lead a new line or climb up to that divot to place the next bolt. This parasitism frequently would put the unsuspecting host in grave peril, but usually (if they sucker survived) it resulted in making the host all that much stronger!

I vividly recall how the first ascent party of Ten Carat Gold raved about how good the new line was, and how, "We should do it!" Of course, the beta was sketchy-to-none, but the lads watched with gleeful intensity while I padded up quite a long way to eventually clip the bolt. Only they knew how far it was between belay and bolt, so anticipation was high. So, of course, the minute the hard stuff was done (and no fall was imminent), that was end of the excitement. Time to head down to Humber for brews...

Can't recall who else was there, but Graham and I were up at the extreme right side of Suicide, just finishing gawd-knows-what. Largo, and another Stonemaster or two, are just walking down from another route, and has a wee-small suggestion to make...

"Hoo man!" "We should try that old aid crack, over there." (Note the royal "we".)

"OK", says I, after conferring with Gramicci... "You mean that thing heading up to that tree up there?" (Looks maybe do-able. But, how 'bout pro? Isn't that an old aid route that's got a few pin scars? Nuts, only? Hmmm. Looks like several short pitches.)

"Sure, John. Let's go for it." (The first symptoms of the infection...)

So, Graham and I rope up, and I draw the first straw.

Largo and company are lounging at the base, so there'll be strength in numbers on this newby... Now, Largo had probably done this crack as an aid route, so he probably had some beta. Mike and I? No such luck.

Of course, the "urging" begins. Like any first ascent, it's the uncertainty that makes the game really interesting. Who knows what you're about to get into, until you cast off, right?

Lots of kibbitzing from below, and Graham's focused as the stout belayer. But the nuts slot really well, the climbing goes suprisingly-well and--before I know it--I'm at the tree. (Gramicci and I later decide to call it "Lone Pine", and the route later gets the name "Flower of High Rank".)

Up comes Mike and we trail a rope for the other lads, as etiquette demands. This is how mass-ascents usually start. And since this is a FIRST, we're both expecting the horde to follow... So we cast down the cord.

Not this time, however. For some reason, they all beg off and head down presumably for afternoon brews... I'm dumbfounded!

Quite a plum, and Mike and I got to eat the whole thing ourselves.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 13, 2006 - 08:40pm PT
back in the day.
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Feb 13, 2006 - 09:01pm PT
That's an awesome story of the FFA of a beautiful route. You guys must've been loving it.
Ligur

climber
PD
Feb 13, 2006 - 10:31pm PT
Suprised you guys weren't fighting for that one.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 13, 2006 - 10:52pm PT
Robs, that was a great climb. I hear Clark likes it!

I remember all that Asian studding you were doing led to that name. Also that chrysanthemum var. came from that theme if I recall.

You will probably think its weird but we didn’t fight much, Back in the day



Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 13, 2006 - 11:21pm PT
Hey, Rob--

I remember that day very well, and can even remember in my mind's eye pictures of you leading and placing nuts in the crack. But the fact is by that time I had sorta lost my psyche for doing new routes at Suicide--which is a strange thing since I must have done the "Flower" about 10 times since. But not that day . . .

If I can muster the energy some night I'll jot out the really strange experience Ricky, Richard and I had during the first free of Pisano Overhang.

JL
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal
Feb 14, 2006 - 12:19pm PT
Gentlemen;

These tales..holy smokes..palms got sweaty when I saw the photo of Tobin..the brochure..classic..makes the s.t. worth the log on.

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame. -coleridge

Happy St. Valentines Day lads.

jw







G_Gnome

Trad climber
Ca
Feb 14, 2006 - 12:22pm PT
Ho man, the wrong side of the trees almost killed us more than once. I actually had to bomb across to the correct side of the road at about 80 one night as about 3 cars popped into view coming straight at us. Mike thought we were dead for sure. One other time we just pulled off the road and turned the lights out so we wouldn't scare the oncoming car too badly. How did we live thru those days?

looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Feb 14, 2006 - 03:06pm PT
One evening Matt Cox (who was 15 1/2 years old), myself and Steve Emerson were driving up to Tahquitz. Matt had just gotten his Learners Permit, so we figured he could learn best by driving to the crags.

Anyway, just outside of the tiny berg of San Jacinto, we stop to pick up a hitch-hiker. He is thankful for the offered ride all the way to Mt. Center. After he settles in, the conversation goes from this to that and it eventually comes out that Matt is a driver in training. The hitch-hiker seems a little concerned, especially considering Matt's rapid pace on the two lane highway.

After we turn onto Highway 74, Matt asks Steve and I if he should go for the Trees. There is a bit of discussion, but the concensus seems to be "Why not." Steve and I then begin to give Matt some advise about strategies, etc. The Hitch-hiker tries to be casual, but is clearly un-nerved. "What are the Trees?" he asks.

As we are about to explain, we arrive at the "point of departure." Matt veers abruptly into the left side of the highway, which is now divided by a row of large trees for about the next 1/3 of a mile. The Hitch-hiker is pasty white and shouts out "Are you guys crazy!" More of a statement than question.

After "safely" rejoining the right side of the road on the other side of the Trees, the Hitch-hiker is strangely silent. For the next 12 or so miles, he utters not a word. All his focus appears to be concentrated on clutching the armrest, trying to brace himself as Matt develops his driving skills on the winding mountain road. At Mountain Center, he virtually leaps from the car before we come to a standstill. He mutters something which might have been "Thanks," but perhaps not.
Ksolem

Trad climber
LA, Ca
Feb 14, 2006 - 03:28pm PT
I recall one time driving down 74 with a certain stonemaster who was fond of blind passing. Actually he claimed it was not blind, since for an instant one could see a big piece of the road ahead (as if from an overlook) before entering the next turn. Well, he forgot to account for the possibility of a car entering the road from a turn out and coming our way. Ho man! That was a close one.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Ca
Feb 14, 2006 - 03:47pm PT
We probably should NOT start discussing the skateboard rides into town in the evening. People actually got hurt doing that.
Spencer Lennard

Trad climber
Williams, Oregon
Feb 14, 2006 - 03:49pm PT
Dang Rob,

Flower of High Rank is a mega-classic. Which one of you macho freaks did the FA of the infamous Wet Dreams off the top of the Flower? I clearly remember going anerobic on my first lead of that slippery, downpointing off-width slot. Wet Dreams is quite reminiscent of Orangutan Arch at the Cookie cliff in the Valley. Both make ya feel like vomiting.

Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 14, 2006 - 05:09pm PT
So not a Stonemaster Story but Randy's mad driving stories to Tahlquitz drug out some memories. In '85 I was living in LA and would drive up on Friday night to Humber Park and make the return drive on Sunday afternoon. After about my third trip I grew tried of the slow line of cars going down the hill towrads Hemet. There was one place along the road where I could look down into the canyon and see all of the up hill traffic. So I started timing cars and figured out approximately how long I could I blindly pass cars until I had to bail back into my own lane before having a head on. I got pretty good at it and could usually pass a fair number of cars. I think once I managed to go a full mile on the wrong side passing everyone. The last time I was up there was too much traffic coming up on a Sunday to even think about trying it.

Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Feb 14, 2006 - 05:18pm PT
Anybody else ever feel that the name of that park is kind of creepy?
Kofi Donny Annan

climber
darkest of africa
Feb 14, 2006 - 05:21pm PT
i think smooth organs in western attire is creepier
Wonder

climber
WA
Feb 14, 2006 - 06:30pm PT
I remember the skateboarding down from Humber Park as being quite steep. One time i missed a turn and flew many feet into the trees just missing two trees on the left and right. Sometimes we would skate from Idyllwild all the way down to Hemet. Well almost: to the flats at the bottom of the hill where we would turn around and hich-hike back up. This was a pretty long down hill, like 17 miles. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 14, 2006 - 08:00pm PT
Why not discuss skateboarding, even if people did get hurt? (So... Let's not discuss climbing, then, either.) Isn't there an old Fish bumper-sticker: "It's only funny until someone gets hurt; then it's fscking hilarious!"?

Ah, yes. The old Gordon&Smith laminate board. Many evenings, and many people into town. What is that, like four miles? Great fun. Many turns.

I used to LOVE "Wet Dreams"! It always was the most excellent last pitch to Flower of High Rank! Graham and I did Flower back in 1972. According to the book, though, Wet Dreams was done several years later by Sorenson and Bachar. I'm pretty sure that Bachar led it first.

Back in the Day... Graham and I did go back and repeat Flower several times in rapid succession, to do three different variations of the upper section. One, straight up. Another, up and right, which I now gather is the usual finish (and still the best). And, thirdly, up and left to eventually join Etude. One of these alternatives is the Chrysanthemum variation that Gramich alluded to, above. (And, for the record, I wasn't "studding Asian" [sic] back then. Oh dear. I was majoring in Asian Studies, and was reading a text about Kabuki at the time. 'Twas said that actors of exceptional talent were said to possess a "flower of high rank". Seemed appropriate...)

I think it was Clark Jacobs that turned me on to Wet Dreams... A great lead for the thinner folk, since you can slot yourself for a great, hands-free shakeout in a most improbable location. And an excellent place to take the unwitting along. Judicious nut placements can make for some OUTSTANDING potential swings, should the second pop out! Simulated leader falls.

Isomata. USC Summer Camp. The best Idyllwild swimming hole on those hot weekends when up-rock wasn't happening... I used to arrange my class schedule to include three-day weekends for more time at the crags. But, some Mondays--when everyone else was downhill--lazing was THE THING down in Strawberry Creek. Remember?

Once, one of the locals told me about this dirt road that you could take down from Isomata that would eventually lead all the way down to join the road in the valley. Now, back then I was driving a vintage '64 VW bus (with a sunroof and a whopping 45 HP engine). Perfect for an adventure like that!

So, one lazy Monday, I start soloing down this unknown dirt road in the Magic Bus. Down, down, down. The road is getting steeper, and windy beyond belief. The dirt is loose, and there's a section I'm SURE the Bus will never get back up. The farther I go, the more committed I get. So after 15 miles of total downhill on this horrific Forest Service (or BLM?) road, I finally get to the bottom. Fifty yards from joining the main road, I'm at a stinking locked gate! (Which is clearly marked, "No Trespassing. Hippies will be shaved, then shot.") No recourse; no return up that too steep road! And the sun in setting...

Fortunately, the Bus is loaded with gear. Including several Chouinard piton hammers. (Remember those?) Ten minutes beating on the MASSIVE padlock, and I'm a free man again.


(Oh, BTW, it'll probably make your systems admin VERY suspicious if you start googling for "wet dreams suicide". Talk about some weirdly off-base hits!)
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Feb 14, 2006 - 08:10pm PT
rob- in case you need another chouinard hammer for gated forest service road locks..

http://cgi.ebay.com/Collectors-Chouinard-Yosemite-Hammer-Wooden-Handle_W0QQitemZ7218614786QQcategoryZ1299QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 14, 2006 - 08:20pm PT
Starting bid, $19. Currently at $22.50. Damn. I've got four or five of those, some with the handle cut off, and the end ground down for cleaning nuts.

Hey, Ricky. Remember the AAC (or was it an Access Fund) auction, where 4" aluminum bongs were being sold for MUCHO bucks? You said we could sell our big wall racks and retire to the Bahamas.

I've got several machine nuts collected from the Clogwyn railway in Snowden. The original nuts. File down the threads and Bob's yer uncle. Starting bids? Hmmm??
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 14, 2006 - 08:30pm PT
Robs you stud! Sorry I caught my spelling afterwards on that.

I’ll take one of those nuts from Clogy! 5 dalla
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Feb 14, 2006 - 10:46pm PT
Rob, did you live in Malibu at one time? I remember going to Malibu in someones bus with Tobin. Don't remember why though.
Spencer Lennard

Trad climber
Williams, Oregon
Feb 14, 2006 - 11:10pm PT
Rob,

I'm sure you, Mike, John and Ricky remember the big fallen tree on the way up to Suicide.

On the Sunday after our fateful White Maidenrescue we all hiked up the trail to the crags. About halfway up Tobin took a sidetrack to a huge fallen Ponderosa Pine and proceeded to walk out its' trunk. Always searching for adrenalyn whenever available, he found himself 75 or so feet off the ground while tightroping on the puny tree top. The tree bounced this way and that as Tobin dodged the grim reaper yet again, just for the fun of it
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 15, 2006 - 01:43am PT
This is not a Stonemaster's story, but a story from that same era. My buddy Mike R. and I drove out to Tahquitz from Claremont to climb (we would have not gone to Suicide because of its "hardman" rep). The car was an early 60's vintage Impala, which got 11 mpg, highway. We were 16 or 17 at the time, and the car was fueled off of $0.25/gal gasoline, bought during the frequent "gas wars" that competing stations would have... in SoCal at the time there would be intersections on which all four corners had gas stations.

Anyway, we got there, and climbed something, can't remember what, but nothing hard I'm sure. It was still the era of pitons.

On our return we coasted from the parking area at Tahquitz down the hill, in neutral with the engine off... to conserve fuel. THAT was a wild ride.
Wonder

climber
WA
Feb 15, 2006 - 01:56am PT
Yes Ed more than once that was done. In the winters the road would get snow & ice & packed and we would get out the flexey flyer sleds @ nite and just bomb all the way.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Ca
Feb 15, 2006 - 11:50am PT
We used to also try to coast from the JT entrance down into town. If you had the right car and were doing about 90 you could just survive the first few turns and if you didn't scrub too much speed off you could just creep over the hill at the bottom and into town. I am pretty sure I scared poor Charles to death one night doing that.
WBraun

climber
Feb 15, 2006 - 12:03pm PT
Bachar playing the saxophone while coasting down Tioga Pass to LeVining, no hands on the steering wheel, engine off.

I was watching the speedometer steadily creeping upward into the red zone. I thought we were going to die. Externally I faked calm and poise, internally the terror was manefest.

Always free soloing some sick idea, was Johns motto.

We made that last big turn at the bottom in that red VW bus of his without pitching off into the void all while John kept nonchalantly playing some riff.
10b4me

Ice climber
The Happies
Feb 15, 2006 - 02:49pm PT
Bachar playing the saxophone while coasting down Tioga Pass to LeVining, no hands on the steering wheel, engine off.

I was watching the speedometer steadily creeping upward into the red zone. I thought we were going to die. Externally I faked calm and poise, internally the terror was manefest.

Always free soloing some sick idea, was Johns motto.

We made that last big turn at the bottom in that red VW bus of his without pitching off into the void all while John kept nonchalantly playing some riff.


classic
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 15, 2006 - 02:59pm PT
Ah yes, the original Stonemasters... To quote loosely from Quadrophenia:

I see a face coming through the haze
I remember him from those crazy days
Ain't you the guy who used to set the paces
Riding up in front of a hundred faces
I don't suppose you would remember me
But I used to follow you back in '73

It's great to see that there are so many of you old dads still around and kicking/ticking. Even if you guys did pick all the plums... Yeap, those certainly were the days. But I can't help but think that the Stonemasters (the core "Upland" group in particular) served a purpose far greater than just giving us memories. They also helped give us the present. Seeing what they had just done (almost weekly) served as a great motivation for many of us. I mean, who didn't want to do the latest route that they had just done? And, as Gramicci said, even if you weren't part of the core group they would take you in if you had the motivation and shared the common goals. A very open and supportive group. The Stonemaster legacy lives on and will continue to live on through the climbing of all the people they influenced.

Anyway, enough mushy bs.

Rockamazzo: The blue Pinto. Wow. I forgot about that car. I used to get uncomfortable whenever I saw it in the parking lot at the "wild". Figured it meant you were busy "running out" some new horror show. And I was usually right... Always the calm one, even when you were way out there.

J. Elvis: From the problem list for the first Rubidoux bouldering contest: "Long's Boulder", "Mamma's In the York", "The Little Runaway", "J Elvis". Your comment was "Ho Man!, Who named these problems anyway?" Honest John, you need to talk to Powell about it. -- Last time I saw Rick Piggot he was still in the Reno area, but I don't know how to get ahold of him

Muir: What was it with that horrible candlestick problem that you always wanted to do at Rubidoux? Out of curiosity, what year did you guys start bouldering there?

Bachar: Powell, to this day, still claims that if he got in the ring with you he'd drop you cold in three blows or less. Says you never could box.

Bart: I imagine we're supposed to send the money to you? I'll have to pass cause I'm to young.

Powell: Hey, you still have any of those 25 pairs of original EBs that you hoarded? Maybe I'll take a pair if you pay me. Are you still "stronger than the rock"?

BTW: Does anybody know what ever happened to Bill Antell? I remember that there were a few sightings after the Rixon's accident but then nothing. What I remember most about him was that he had a knack for falling from the one place on any route that you absolutely didn't want to fall from. I think he did "Hot Lips" or something like that when he fell off "Hair Lip" and had to mantle out of "Hot Buttered Rump" to get back on route. Anybody remember the exact story with that?

There really should be a Stonemasters climbing reunion. What a scream that would be!
Bart Fay

Social climber
Redlands, CA
Feb 15, 2006 - 03:37pm PT
Mr. Chicken ! How excellent to hear your cluck again.
Hope life is good out in the far reaches of the owens valley.

You still owe me a trip up The Edge, you know.
Wonder if I could even follow that now-a-days.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 15, 2006 - 05:59pm PT
Hensel,

Its almost complete with you and Kevin here. I laughed the other day out climbing with my youngest son. A little local face route and I was complaining I didn’t have my glasses so I could see these “Dimes” (how that was Kevin’s moniker) I had to stand on. Fortunately the boots I had would stick just about anywhere I would put them (Acopa Aztecs to give them a plug for John).

Bill Antel, That was quite a crash back then. I remember some of us were in Estes park when that happened. Then visiting him in the hospital when we got back, he was in bad shape. The next time I saw him was the early –mid nineties at the OR show he had started a cam business not sure where it went.




This shot of Bill is when we did royal arches 72-73 always thought it was pretty classic.

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 15, 2006 - 06:22pm PT
Along with Dean Caldwell, Bill Antell is up here in PDX. I don't know him outside of exchanging a couple of emails with him on behalf of Stephane Pennequin and his Nut Museum who was trying to track him down about some piece of history or another on the gear they used to make.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 15, 2006 - 08:10pm PT
Henny! (Don't think I'll ever get in the habit of calling you The Chicken.) Great to have you join in!

Mount Rubidoux still has some of the best and hardest thin face climbing, 'though I never get out there enough anymore. Damn. That place used to get worked three-, maybe four times a week, back when I was living in Riverside. ...came down as a freshman to UCR (without a car) and within a day, I had ridden the Cinelli up to the top and was bouldering there. That would have been the Fall of 1970.

Back then, the regulars included Jim Hoagland, Dennis Bird, Steve Toy, Phil and (especially) Paul Gleason, and the next Spring came Ben Borsen (who I knew very well from Indian Rock in Berkeley). Ben and I lived in the same apartment building for some time, so we did LOTS together; and I was pleased to have someone else to share the bouldering ethic of Indian Rock. There wasn't much else like that in SoCal, with the exception perhaps of Stoney.

And, when the Uplandish finally got learner's permits... ;-p Well. Rubidoux was only 30 minutes away. So, Ricky, when did you start driving the Death Mobile?

Paul was working at Highland Outfitters, and he was the reason that the Smooth Soled Wall got named. After we did several lines on that wall below the Cross in the chaussure du jour, the PAs--red and black--Paul worked and worked on the center route in his RRs and other lugged shoes, and could not touch it. Of course, the very DAY he got a pair of PAs he floated the thing!

We used to have a regular Tues. and Thurs. afternoon sessions there for maybe a year or so. Six or eight faithful regulars, and we'd climb until it was too dark to see. That's when the Wall of Glass got developed, including the Circle Crack. (Who did the first on that?) Yabo and I, having never done the Circle (with or without a top-rope), worked it out one afternoon. Neither of us was never so gripped, as we each topped-out without any cord. There was an old mattress, but that was worthless. Gripped outa our minds, we were!

Now, Henny, don't be giving me no sh#t about The Candlesticks... That was a favorite of both Borsen's and mine. Overhanging, positive holds. Reminiscent of Indian Rock. Candlestickless was even better. I think Gleason worked that out first. No, Henny, we won't mention "Middle of the Road Madness" or "The Octopus". Nope. Won't mention The Ex. Powell and I won't mention anything in the Wild West Area either...

And, Largo, what was the name of that guy who predated all of us there that did things like the three-hole problem around the corner of Candlesticks? Fabled. (And, no, it wasn't O.Moon.) Phil Haney, maybe?
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 15, 2006 - 10:16pm PT
"Yer lite, Kevin!" Forget all those eeebs... What about those dozens of Gallenkamp "Scats". Five bucks a pair. We all bought those stiff, useless tennies as the next great bouldering shoe. ...remember Harrison doing Sole On Ice, up at Baldy, in those. ...amazed we could do much of anything in those brown piles!
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 17, 2006 - 02:50pm PT
Robs, great names associated with the history of Mt. Rubidoux. It's way cool to have my memory refreshed on the subject. I do have another Rubidoux question: can anyone associate a name with the guy that used to drive the green SAAB? Used to see him (and that car) at Rubidoux quite a bit when I first started bouldering there, circa 72. I believe that he also "contributed" the required hardware for 10 Karat by being in Idyllwild on the right (or wrong for him) day and happening to have bolting gear with him. Or so the story went, as I remember. Largo, could such a thing possibly have been true?

Now Robs, I'm not not trying to give you sh#t about the candlestick(less) problems. Its just that those problems and I never have seemed to get along with each other. Don't know what it was/is about them. And of course you always wanted to go over there. Man, I hated that.

One of my first memories of Rubidoux and the Stonemasters: Bobby K. (hey Largo, remember Bobby?) and myself were toproping Trapeze. Along come John and Richard. They stop, and in disbelief, ask us what we think we're doing using a rope in a bouldering area. They then proceed to inform us in no uncertain terms that using a rope while bouldering is considered quite bad form, and that we are to henceforth "lose" the rope when we go bouldering. Sufficiently intimidated, we immediately take the rope down and start trying the problem without. Talk about peer pressure! Hey, when the Big Man spoke you didn't ask why, you just did it.

Anybody else read the text next to the pic of Tobin doing Insomnia? What a blast from the past. The area boasted a whopping nine 5.11s. Man, what a golden age that was with all the new routes just sitting there waiting to be picked. And it seemed the standards were advancing daily.

A great Largo-ism: To some poor boat anchor of a client that was being literally drug up a route about 10 grades over his head. "Hooooly Mackeral! Stop shaking! Nobody's holding a machine gun to your head!" Oh, yeah...

Yes Bart, I do remember my debt. Stupid piece of paper. You better still have it. The question is not if you can follow the Edge, but if I can still lead it. You see, there's one small problem. It seems that Tobin forgot to drill bolts on it.
And of course, John didn't help things when he propagated the same problem on the direct. Thank God Ricky and I drilled the first bolt on it a few years before John's ascent. Otherwise John might have done something really rash with the direct. But then, I guess what else could he do? To alter the nature of the Edge in any way would be akin to spitting on Tobin's grave. Can't have or allow that kind of thing. Ever.

I know the feeling Gramicci, its getting to the point where I need glasses myself to see the holds. Kinda sad, huh? Maybe Powell will shed a tear for us...
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 17, 2006 - 03:46pm PT
Ob. "holding a machine gun to your head!"...

A few years ago, Peter Haan, sent me a quote, apropos to this Largo line which I sometimes like to use as a .sig.:

"There was always a point on the route when we would know we had conquered
the aura--that it was a 'go' so to speak--and the whole psychic picture would
change from 'watchmaking at the point of a gun to spontaneous
boogaloo.' Our climbing levels would actually increase."--Peter Haan

(Can anyone confirm that this turn of phrase is original to Peter?)

...always seemed the most perfect description of the mental barrier that we always confronted in doing a new route. It's a particularly appropriate simile for the aura that the routes of The Early Dads (tm) had for us. Here, I'm thinking of Valhalla, The Vampire, stuff like Chingadera, and even, English Hanging Gardens at Big Rock. After one overcame the awesome aura, and actually tackled the gizmo, one realized that they were "just guys, you know."

Candlesticks... I have similar feelings for Keeevin's fixation with The Hardy Boy's Crack. Damn, he used to drag us over there ALL the time! An absolutely hateful waste of knuckle skin. How 'bout "The Finger Crack" done as a "one hand, right-hand only" problem? That was an early abomination of Gramicci's, wasn't it? ...became a regular part of the Circuit, for a while there.

As I recall, that anti-toprope force "was very strong, in that one." (That was a bit of the Indian Rock ethic I referred to, somewhere up-thread...)

There were several problems at Rubidoux that I remember us working on very hard. One, vividly, was a problem at the Lower Lot--which in Fry's guide, is probably between "Matt" and "Dutzi". (Now, there's a name from the past! Jim Dutzi!) Now, this problem is MUCH harder that Matt (B1), and much harder because it is MUCH higher when you don't resort to a toprope! We all made a solemn pact on that problem to NEVER use a toprope. ...made that one so much more satisfying, when it fell.

Another similar problem is between "Pilot to Bombardier" and "Autopilot". Way high, this problem was called "Flight Attendant" and it was being worked on ALWAYS without a cord. That is, until some knucklehead ripped off the crucial hold...
Dimes

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Feb 17, 2006 - 04:47pm PT
Well, I still got all those old style EB's! Still in the original bags with the original chalk numbers on the bottom. Got the very first original pair of "Aspen" tennis shoes too. They were 5-6 bucks a pair at Gallenkamps shoe store. Remember leading the first pitch of Valhalla in them while a guy was getting ready to lead the second pitch in EB's. I get to the belay ledge and the guy ask "did you just climb that in those tennis shoes" I comment ya and then he asks "are you planning on doing the second pitch in them also"? And I comment "as soon as your done with it". That was in 1976 I if I recall. Got some of the original Graham Cams also. Any one remember those? Damn, that was all 30 years ago. We all need to meet up there and see if we can still climb that stuff!! Hensel, you lead and set up top ropes with static lines so the rest of us can try and drag ourselves up even one of those desperates!
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 17, 2006 - 04:51pm PT
"Graham Cams also. Any one remember those?"

How about some photos of those...?
Dimes

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Feb 17, 2006 - 05:50pm PT
Bolton, if you are out there tell us the story about "Roll Up The Window" down on the Wall of Glass at Rubidoux and Hensel let's hear about "A Perfect Stranger"
Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Victorville, CA
Feb 17, 2006 - 06:21pm PT
Clark Jacobs memories:
1972- nicest guy in Geometry.
1974- cranking one arms off in the "backpacker" store on Walnut in Pasadena...
1985 teaching some guy at suicide, Clark walks by with Mari and a couple others who simo-soloed... it was if mystudent was looking at Superman and Robert Redford all at the same time
"who are those guys?" Oh, that's the best female climber in the world, and Clark Jacobs...

1990 Clark solo assisted me lowering off a big guy who could not climb. Thanks Clark!

Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Victorville, CA
Feb 17, 2006 - 06:28pm PT
Sorry Eric I gotta tell this one:

Ericson is back at the climbing counter at Sport Chalet, somewhere around 1980. Eric wants more friends but seems not able to decide on the sizes. What he really could not decide on, was the prices. Eric walked off the balcony to the camping department where he installed $12.95 price tags from cheap stoves on the friends, the view from the balcony was a little too good sometimes. Jeff Bosson comes to me and says, Eric just switched prices on those friends you sold him! Jeff calls the cashier to greet Eric with the right price. The expression was priceless.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 17, 2006 - 07:38pm PT
Sometimes you wonder why you hang on to things.

Each of these has a little story. The center nut is actually marked “SM 4” Stonemaster 4 its was part a cabled stopper type set I made. This was way before I ever did any Gramicci Products. The cam on the left was only strong enough to use for aid allowing a clean alternative to a baby angle. The far right is a nut made of nylon for weight. It was part of an Alpine rack that Rick Accomazzo and I used in the Canadian Rockies and the French Alps. The two on the left are circa 1972





healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 17, 2006 - 07:43pm PT
Mike, If those ever need a good home you should consider Stephane's Nut Museum. I suspect Stephane doesn't even know they exist - he'll probably keel over dead straight away with a heart attack on seeing them.
Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Victorville, CA
Feb 17, 2006 - 07:54pm PT
Those are GREAT MIKE! Thanks for digging them out!! wow! very cool.
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 17, 2006 - 08:43pm PT
C'mon guys. I know there are stacks of killer stories out there. Dust 'em off and lets hear some.

I recall the first time I met Tobin. Seems for some strange reason that Bobby and myself had started to appear on John's radar. So one day he says to us "You guys are going to do Valhalla next week-end. I'll even come along in case you need help." Now, as mentioned earlier in this thread, JL telling you to do something was EXACTLY like a direct command from on high. One dared not even entertain the thought of doing otherwise. To say the least we were quite stoked. I for my part bought a brand new pair of those old brown RDs to get ready. The next Saturday we were at the base of Valhalla at 8 am sharp waiting for John. Except, there was no John. About 9 o'clock we decide that maybe he's not going to show but we'll go down to the Buttress of Cracks and see if maybe he isn't waiting for us there.

What ensued next was perhaps one of the most bizarre scenes that I've ever witnessed at the crags. As we got to the base of Frustration we realized there was a guy in white painters pants about 20' up the tree alongside the route. He had a runner tied around a branch, as far out as he could reach, and some funky self belay set up through it. We watched in uncomprehending wonder as he would repeatedly attempt to jump into Frustration, only to swing back into the tree. Finally, we could stand it no longer and asked him what he was trying to do. Seems that he didn't have a partner and he wanted to solo Frustration but didn't think he could solo the opening crux moves (at that time...). So he was trying to jump into the route where he then planned to drop the rope and solo to the top. At this point the tables turned. He started to quiz us. What route were we going to do? How hard was it? Could he come along? Upon hearing that our "other partner" hadn't showed he graciously offered to stand in. We weren't sure what to make of all this but finally agreed to let him accompany us. At this point he climbed down out of the tree and introduced himself as "Tobin". He then insisted that we immediately start on the days chosen route, Valhalla.

The first pitch went smoothly enough. No problems to speak of, and in short order we were set up at the belay ready to engage in the business of the day on the crux second pitch. At this point who should show up but John? After asking why we hadn't waited for him he informed us that nobody in their right mind got to the crags before 10 or 10:30 at the earliest. What could we have been thinking? Our mistake. John makes himself comfortable at the base of the route and prepares to provide crucial beta as need be.

The three of us start taking turns addressing the crux of the second pitch. One move higher each time. The left sole of my brand new RDs starts to completely delaminate making things that were already hard totally desperate. John feeds beta non-stop. "Ho Man, You almost had it that time", "One more move up and left", etc...

Finally Tobin fires through the crux and heads for the belay. Except that he somehow gets completely and seriously off route, climbing into one of the blankest areas around. After about 15' without a bolt, and by now sketchy, he realizes that something is amiss. At that point he finally sees the next bolt down and left. Feeling that he can't down climb he informs us that he's going to jump down to the bolt stance. We immediately start trying to talk sense to him, "Are you crazy? You can't jump down 15'!" Our pleadings fall on deaf ears. Tobin momentarily composes himself, and without blinking an eye, calmly launches himself. Now I must admit, his aim was dead on. He did hit the stance. For what that was worth. Like the stance was going to even slow him down, must less he was going to stick on it. But the 30'er did result in two things. One, he bit his tounge badly, blood everywhere, and he could barely talk the rest of the day. Two, he wasn't going to make the same mistake again.

On his next try, Tobin calmly raced up the pitch in fine style and clipped the anchor at the end of the crux pitch. The 5th ascent of Valhalla was, as the saying goes, "In the bag!"

Tobin was indeed awesome. The stuff legends are made of, and deservedly so.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 17, 2006 - 09:03pm PT
So... That "Stonemaster" nut (the wired one on the left), is a post-cursor to an earlier version that Graham brought into Ski Mart to show off. He had just bought a Nico-press so that he could swedge cables, and the hand-filed lump of aluminum with this tiny cam was pretty cool. (He swedged several dozen bashies with 6-inch loops of cable for us to use on an early ascent of the West Face of El Cap--when it used to be an aid route. Very handy tool, it was, that Nico-press.)

What Mike won't tell you about is the rigorous testing technique he employed. Yep, tested and certified to hold body weight! He'd clip some aiders into these gizmos, and slot them between the bricks of the chimney of his folks' house, and aid up the side of the house. Probably better that having your teenager doing drugs...

He sold a few of them to the gear-heads, back then. And I vaguely recall that he moved a few of them through the store, too. (I, too, must have sewed several dozen butt-bags to sell there as well.) But I, personally, made it a point of honor to NEVER risk leading using Graham's creations.

So, Mike... Got any pictures of the prototypes of the sliding, wired wedges? Very dinky they were.

Ligur

climber
PD
Feb 17, 2006 - 09:10pm PT
Classic!!!!!!!!!
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 17, 2006 - 09:53pm PT
Darrel,

Great story! All these years I never knew who Tobin did Valhalla with. That was a busy weekend. The first time I met Tobin was the next day. I was just finishing revelation on the weeping wall with a couple of friends from NewPort beach. Steve West and Alan ???

Being only 15 Steve drove me around, so in return I climbed him around. Got back to the base of the route to collect our gear and there’s Tobin sitting by himself reading a book. I thought, what a weird place to read a book? Asked him if would like to climb with us and he says nah taking a rest day. Oh? I say…why?

I did Valhalla yesterday! Instantly my friends look at me probably searching for any kind of expression of amazement. They knew I had been preparing myself for just that route.

So we leave and just out of ear shot I turn to my companions and say were doing it tomorrow. I told them if that cocky guy could do it we could too.

So we did the sixth ascent the very next day I always got plenty of leading in doing every pitch. That afternoon we run into Tobin again so we were pleased to tell him we just did Valhalla too.

The following day we drove him home to Covina where he lived with his mother. The next weekend and each there after the rest of the season we would pick him up and take him home and I finally got to swing leads with someone.

Robs, I couldn’t find any of those sliders. They came a few years later and were a Charlie Porter design. I hope no one actually did a climb with those cams of mine! Could you imagine the liability issues of today? They worked the best in quarter inch deep brick joint. I can’t believe the stuff you remember!

The museum sounds interesting! Anyone that’s been to my house already thinks I live in one.

Mike Graham
Dimes

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Feb 17, 2006 - 11:06pm PT
Since Hensel and I were basically joined at the wing so to speak for so many years and others are relating how everyone got connected I thought it fitting to tell our story of chance. A small climbing store that had an indoor climbing wall (back in 1975 no less) in Loma Linda. Every Wednesday night is bouldering night. Put up a new problem get a 25 cent block of chalk. Repeat a new problem get a block of chalk. Down rate a Hensel problem get 2 blocks of chalk. I Still got about 10 of those blocks left. Anyway, our parents would take my brother and I over after school and drop us off and then come back and get us. One night Hensel shows up and an improptu boulder off starts to happen. Hard problems are repeated and new ones added. Keeping with his quiet nature not much is said until it's time to leave. Comes up and ask if I want to go climbing on Saturday and to meet him at the Suicide parking lot. Since I am too young to drive he has to pick me up and drive me there. Say's we are going to do New Generation and Rebolting Development. Since I had done little climbing up there I had minimal knowledge of what was in store. Hensel led the real pitches of these classic slab routes and I managed both with only one fall. That was June of 75 and Henny and I still manage to link up and relive some of those grand old times. What a cool way to grow up. Climbing in the shadows of the worlds best free climbers, listening to the Stonemaster Lore and creating friendships and memories that still motivate us all.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 18, 2006 - 01:45pm PT
Henny, you're killing me with those old stories. And of course I remember Bobby. One of the classic guys from back in the Roubidoux days--and those were for sure some of the best days. I remember driving out there with Richard about 2,000 times and the best part of the whole shebang was trying to reckon what other clowns we were gonna see that day. Ho-ho man, as soon as we'd see you or Powell or Rob or whoever we'd just go off. We'd jump out of the car and everyone would stat yelling, "What the HELL are you doing?!" and then it was off to boulder ourselves to smithereens. I used to leave that place so gassed I couldn't even make a fist. Back then none of us worked on one problem for a month, rather we'd start at the lower parking lot and circle the whole freaking mountain and do about 1,000 or so problems, yelling and screaming the whole time. As much as trying to do your best work prsonally, part of the fun was always trying to goad and literally scream someone else up a route. And if one of the buds went "light" (as in "lightweight") on us--like backing off crumbly holds 30 feet off the deck--we'd all yell and shame the poor sap into risking his life all over again just to maintain the integrity of the group. Man, when I found myself up on the Smooth Soul wall and on Joe Brown boulder, sans cordage, things sometimes got a bit sketchy, but I never told no one as much. I remember one time we were on that wall below the stone bridge and some kid wanted to do that reallly hard mantle on the right side. Except there was a huge bee hive in a hole down and right and after Richard chucked a few rocks into said hive the thing started humming like a regular tornado. The kid mentioned the business of the bees and him being afraid and all and Richard said something to the effect that this just won't do, that the kid had to sac it up and go for the mantle bees or no bees. So he cranks into the mantle and the bees are all over him but we're screaming at him to bear it like a man and power through and he's shaking and crying and getting stung repeatedly but we're screaming lounder and he finally powers through it and on top is swatting himself upside the head trying to get the bees off. When he returns to the base he looks like he has Leprosy for all the welts and when he askes Richard if he's gonna do the mantle Richard says, "What, are you crazy? Look at all them bees!"

The razzing we used to give each other and the sheer joy we used to experience back in those days was reallly the heart and soul of the Stonemaster movement--always much more of a wacky cultural expedition than a climbing fandango.

JL
Add on: Henny--Saab Man was actually Don Watson, who was a super good boulderer early on but then vanished to never be seen again. He had no bolting gear on Solid Gold. He got freaked just following. Strictly a boulderer, but he's the ony guy I ever saw solo all the routes on the Joe Brown boulder, including that super creaky, 40 foot long 5.11 in the middle.

Rob--Yep, his name was Phil Haney. He did the first free ascent of English Hanging Garden at Big Rock sometime in the late 60s, and for me, that route was 5.12. He also did the Candlesticks problem WITHOUT the candlesticks--Candlestickless, which has to like V10 at least. Never seen anyone repeat it. I never even got close, and not for lack of trying.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 18, 2006 - 07:51pm PT
I remember looking at Candlesticks, but I couldn't imagine doing it without... not that I did it with!

What is wierd for me is that you guys were all around but somehow we never interesected... it sure would have helped my climbing. Knowing my nature I probably avoided you all because I didn't think I could climb with you, what I didn't understand at the time was that behind the loud, you all pushed each other to be better. All one had to do is show up and try.


rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 19, 2006 - 09:39am PT
Great story, Henny! Here's my recollection of our first ascent of Valhalla, in April, 1972:

Towards the end of my second year at UCR, I was feeling pretty confortable with SoCal granite. I was living in a house with several other climbers, and Jim Hoagland and I began testing the hard new routes at Suicide that Bud Couch had been constructing with his (older) friends. Once we realized that things like Sundance, the Iron Cross, and Chingadera (at Tahquitz) were do-able, we began pushing hard faces with our smooth-soled boots like PAs, EBs, and (later) Fires.

Rubidoux, in addition to being a bouldering haunt, became a place where we would practice moves we imagined to be like the cruxes on the routes we "wanted" in Idyllwild. The hottest thing on the planet (to our way of thinking) was the new Couch route, Valhalla. They had done all the hard work of placing the bolts and done each individual pitch, but (we believed) that Couch, Larry Reynolds and Mike Dent had still to do the first continuous ascent. We waited, for a suitably respectful length of time, but the stylish single push didn't come. The rumor was, this puppie was the first 5.11 face in the US, and was harder than other face route in the Valley. Since we were on a roll, having just done an early ascent of the Iron Cross, we started loitering around under Valhalla.

Hoagland was a quiet, very intense boulderer and the first pitch of Vahalla looked to us like a boulder problem. With a HUGE aura. So, one afternoon, we clipped the first bolt and several falls later, we found ourselves at the end of the first pitch. Well. That was more than enough for that weekend!

The next Saturday, I led the first pitch without a fall, so we were clearly learning the moves. Jim took several longish whippers on the crux of the second pitch, and we bailed later, quite mentally initimidated. Couch, by the way, had numerous times happened to wander below "his" routes to see us kids; and both Jim and I were quite cowed by his presence. Largo does a good job painting the tension we budding Stonemasters felt. I'm sure he felt that The Sunshine Face was HIS, dammit! (And, actually--back then--it really was.)

A week or two later--after serious bouldering sessions at Rubidoux--we returned with very calloussed tips. Jim also brought along a different shoe for each foot--a stiff one for that too-small, sharp edge on the crux. (I think it was a PA on the left, and a Calcaire on the right foot.) Now, PAs were de rigeur for the rest of the pitches, and he actually changed boots at the second stance.

So when Jim, Steve Toy and I worked-out the moves to Valhalla and eventually completed the route without falls on the third attempt, we had arrived--in our none-too-humble opinions. I think we really frustrated Bud Couch who wanted to finish Valhalla in one go; but he had left the route standing for many months, and we felt justified. And, it couldn't have helped to have a dozen later ascents happen almost overnight, by a ragtag bunch of kids who hadn't paid any serious dues yet. But such is youth.


Now, Gramich, Largo, Rocko, Randy, Evans... Let's hear your individual Valhalla tales.
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 19, 2006 - 09:46am PT
Reading these stories, I can't help but contrast how it was with the Poway Mountain Boys of the same era and what it would have been like if you guys had spent a whole lot more time at Mt Woodson.

We had some guys with great natural talent (and great personalities) but we weren't nearly as competitive. For instance to get into the PMB, you just needed to be able to juggle, and, um, pretty much be from Poway (unless you had a climbing van or something to offer, then we might give you honarary status).

I'm thinkin', if we rubbed shoulders with you guys a bit more, we would have gotten better, faster. On the other hand, if you guys bouldered at Woodson, you probably would have been doing even crazier things in the wide crack arena.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Feb 19, 2006 - 02:35pm PT
This is a great thread. Keep those stories coming. Haven't heard anything about New Gen, and No Go Ledge yet. Mike?
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 19, 2006 - 04:10pm PT
You guy’s are demanding too much typing out of me right at the moment :-)

I’ll put something together sooner than later.

MG
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 19, 2006 - 04:42pm PT
and a retelling of the story of the Pine Cove party when Pete Minks pissed on the Brit flag.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 19, 2006 - 07:28pm PT
I'm almost positive that Ricky Accomazzo and I did the next ascent after Rob. Once we heard Rob had done it, we had it in mind to do it soon. It came down in one of those sponatneous ways that sometimes happens, when you find yourself on something on the spur of the moment without the pressure of thinking and fretting about it beforehand. I think it was a weekday. In any event there was no one at the rock at all. We'd been climbing all day around the corner and were just stumbling by and simply went over to the base of the route to have our first close look. I think at that time the only routes we'd done on the Sunshine Wall were Hesitation and Sundance.

The first pitch started with a mantle and just above we could see 2 bolts closely spaced so I said to Ricky, Hey, this doesn't look so bad. We're here so why don't we just play around on this first pitch. At that moment we had absolutely no intention of doing the whole route, or even the first pitch. I remember thinking I was going to run into some horrendous move somewhere, but aside from a hard, thin step down move by the second bolt--stiff, but far easier than the dime work we'd been up to at Rubidoux--it didn't seem tot bad. Ricky followed without incident.

So we found ourselves on that ledge looking out right at the crux bit. Seemed pretty straightforward to get to the first bolt--just a traverse right on good holds. So I said something like, "Yo, Ricky, let me take a little look at this thing, just for future reference." I had no plan to actually climb the thing, but since I was there I wanted to at least see what genuine 5.11 looked like up close. So I went out and clipped that first bolt and stood there on a big black foothold looking up at the crux bit just above. I was surprised because I could see what looked like pretty good edges, and the second bolt was only a few body lengths above as well. I was like a diver on the end of the board, not sure if I really wanted to try this and not sure if I wanted to go back to the ledge.

I had a brief conversation with Ricky who said from his position it didn't look that far to the next bolt and anyhow, the rock below was totally smooth and a fall would surely be a harmless skidder. No big deal. So I said, well, let me just go up a few moves and check out the holds.

The next part was one of those rare times when you feel like you're in some kind of totally different space, like you're watching yourself as you're doing something. Oddly, I didn't feel any pressure because I still was in "discovery" mode, not at all going for it. Just checking it out, thinking I'd probably jump off after a body length or so.

So I start up, climbing slowly, working off pretty good edges. Now the bolts at me feet but I'm still feeling solid and Ricky says the edges are looking pretty cherry and he's wondering where the crux is--probably up above. I distinctly remember cranking up another move and then pausing, clinging hard but still in control. Then I spoted a bomber slanting edge up and left. I latched it and my body automatically yarded up and I stretched out my right hand and got a big, bomber rill. Then the world came rushing back to me.

Ricky's voice suddenly got real excited and he said, "Man, you mantle that thing and we got it!" No way to reverse it now. And if there was anything I was doing a lot of those days, it was mantles. But I was super nervous now--like a thief who'd broken into a palace and was about to be caught. But I made the mantle okay and clipped the bolt and Ricky started laughing. We had another conversation about if that was really the crux or not and Ricky said he was sure of it--he'd been studying the description in the guidebook for weeks. Strangely, I felt sort of confused. I'd just flashed Valhalla and had no idea how to process the experience because in my mind the thing was some titanic problem. Then Ricky says Hurry up, I want to try it, and a little while later, Ricky hikes it as well--something we later attributed to having found the "hidden hold," that big edge out and left at the crux.

Next weekend we did it again, with Richard leading the first pitch.

This was a huge thing for us because we were still so unproven-especially to ourselves. I think the spontaneous, "Let's just have a look at this" approach worked in our favor because we hadn't put any thought into the thing. We just got up on it, and the rest is history.

The plain fact is we'd been climbing way harder things at Roubidoux for months. Our bodies already knew how to climb 5.11A thin hold routes, and beacuse our minds didn't get in the way, we just climbd the thing. Over the next few years I must have climbed Valhalla at least a dozen times, but it was never the same as that first time with Ricky.

JL
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Feb 19, 2006 - 08:59pm PT
Were the Stonemasters the ones who chopped the bolts on the bolt ladder on the Salathe creating the mandatory 5.10 free climbing?
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 19, 2006 - 09:38pm PT
Kevin,

I’ll get this out real quick. I can not tell a lie.

This is an excerpt from an interview I did with Mt. Magazine. Seems like another lifetime ago. What I said then is probably what I would say today.



“In my eyes the Salathe was being destroyed, mainly due to the appearance of extra bolts placed by climbers who did not have the ability to climb it in the style of the first ascent. I figured that if I raised the standard of the route a little it would attract higher quality climbers, I know that sounds like I was playing God or something, but I just had it in my head to chop them. Several people got upset, including Robbins, or so I heard. The bolts were replaced within two weeks and the free climbing that I'd done, which was about 5.11, now has big holds chipped on it. When Salathe was first done only 1 3 bolts were used, but now it has over 20. In the end the route turned out to be worse."

All this made Graham a baddie, an ego-tripping hot¬headed upstart. But this image did not last for long. The first breath of a wind of change was beginning to blow across the States; the concept of free climbing, using the nut not the peg, had reared its ethical head and was beginning to be practiced by a growing following.

Salathe Wall, however, seems doomed by its excellence to attract climbers worldwide,
some of whom will obliviously place unwarranted aid to compensate for their own inadequacies.



I’ll leave it at that, I still stand by what I did.

Mike Graham
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 19, 2006 - 10:36pm PT
And this Stonemaster, who did the Salathé Wall in 1974 when it still had 13 bolts, saw the route as it was meant to be.

As has been said many times before--and from its very inception--the "Stonemasters" label was a joke! Still is.

Dig it... The "Stonemasters" are a bunch of friends. That's it. Not a team. Not a movement. Not a company governed by a Board of Directors. "Stonemaster" is just a concept, not a tangible thing. ...a loose assembly of climbers who respect each other and have enjoyed each other's company. Some have done foolish things, a few have done brave things, most have taken great pleasure together in doing inconsequential things, and one or two have died along the way doing these things. But these things--and the stories surrounding them--are chiefly about individuals not some fantasy assemblage of indicted co-conspirators.

So, Mr. Fosburg... The Stonemasters didn't chop those bolts! A couple of guys did! For their own individual reasons. (Albeit noble ones, to my mind.)
WBraun

climber
Feb 19, 2006 - 10:46pm PT
Gramicii aka stonemaster bad boy, hahahahaha

I remember the days like yesterday, the sweet smell of the cedar pines and the electric energy from that crew.

Stonemaster is a consciousness that will never die.
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 19, 2006 - 10:58pm PT
Well put Robs, Werner!

Valhalla – I can already see I can’t recollect the events during the ascent as well as those who went before me. Our bouldering mostly was limited to the beach at corona del mar. sure we made the odd pilgrimage to Rubidoux by public bus from Santa Ana. Even had the smoothsole slab pretty wired and a few others problems. Most of the preparation was done a suicide itself. Classic weekend warrior when your 15 with school during the week then bumming rides to the crag on Friday night. That was easy for me since my chauffeurs really wanted to do the cool routes. Like I eluded in an earlier post what pushed me into doing it spontaneously was the fact this guy Tobin whom I had never even seen before at the crags did it the day before.

That morning hiking up to the base went fairly quick. I don’t remember saying much I was pretty much in auto pilot right up until tying it. My partners were cool and pretty excited with the prospect of doing this route.

Steve West was great, a very conscientious belayer knew very well how to keep the right amount of slack in the rope and he knew I was sensitive too that. It was very well engrained in me that the rope was to only hold you in case you fell and any other tension was grounds for execution. The route itself was a blur I actually thought the first pitch may have had a single harder move but I believed in the saying 5.11 is just 5.10 done wrong. I don’t remember any phantom hold out and left maybe that’s why I fell twice on the second pitch? Definitely a sequence to the problem.

I do remember pulling off that mantle with a grin ear to ear. Then looking back at Steve just sitting there smiling at me. After leading the first two pitches the third was just magic. Alan our other partner (Robs I thought you would of remembered his last name for me by now) gave it a good go. I wasn’t mean with the letting out slack ploy but I do remember right after that day Alan just up and joined the army. What’s the motto be all you can be?

So I recon that was the sixth ascent. Two weeks later I did the seventh with this guy Terry Emerson who lead the second pitch in fine style can’t remember if he flashed it our not but I had the sequence fresh in my head from before. Although I still thought that first pitch was still just as hard as the first time I did.

The third and last time I did the route was an interesting day and I will let RickA tell that tale with HB. OK?
Tarbuster

climber
Feb 20, 2006 - 03:59am PT
My concept of the Stonemaster formula:
[rudimentary tools] + [sophisticated movement skills] x [strict performance ethics/unbridled commitment] = excellent constraints for galvanizing character and conviction.

Or: sh#t gear + gonzo = a lot of great routes!

Not that I would know: In ’75 I was not mastering any stone. I was getting a wedgie from a Whillans Ballbuster and scratching my way out of The Trough in case hardened PA’s. The next year I decked off Zig Zag and tumbled, belayed but cordless, down the ramp into a bush at the edge of the final drop. (Thereafter I rarely forgot to finish tying my knot)(Thanks Larry).

The Stonemasters was a tight knit subculture that bred a combination of self reliance and interdependence. It had its icons, sets of codified behavior, rites of passage, and mentorship.

My childhood pal and I learned from Basic Rockcraft and gumbied along, mostly leading sideways until we were fortunate enough for some mentorship- er, well, on rare occasion a Stonemaster was alone mid-week and needed a belay. For Doug it was Richard who slapped him in the back of the saddle for the day, replete with a boom box ‘reppin Jimi. Richard’s girlfriend just hung out. Harboring any notion at all that a rockclimber could actually have a girl we sported hard-ons for a year.

I shortly ponied up for some eebs and liberated ‘dem balls by tying into a 2” swami. Thankfully, Powell ‘learned me what a dime was, one day Henny provided a real opportunity to edge and crimp, and for a couple years E repeatedly shoved my ass out out on lead -with a diet rack.

In the space defined by the advent of smooth soled shoes and the reign of the nut, Stonemasters owned the stage. Once, while squaring a dimp, Yabo told me climbing 5.11 crack with nuts was often a life or death proposition. Gee wiz, with Yab-a-ho the one man tribe, the whole enchilada was a white knuckle ride.

Largo rallied all us n00bs to the real goods like a carnival barker on a hot Sunday afternoon. He gave one the sense that the leader of the Stonemasters was a position up for grabs, defined by whoever took the sharp end at any particular moment.

Searching for Stonemaster crumbs: Bartlett hooked me up. While guiding for Don Wilson’s fading school in my last fresh pair of eebs, Navy Seals as Jugmonkeys, I squirreled up through the Harding Slot. When the men piled up onto the ledge they exclaimed: sh#t, we’ve jumped out of low flying airplanes and killed guys with our bare hands and this is way wilder!

The August years of the Stonemasters where already trailing behind: cams were out from behind Jardine's shirt, I witnessed John Lonne piloting New Gen in board stiff blue suede RR’s (one last time?) and Bachar was out on a methodical rampage with his lats and sax.

But now, persistent still, the miracle of the words: HO! MAN!
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 20, 2006 - 05:51am PT
All this sounds pretty reminicent of our experiences in SoIll in the mid-70's. We all started climbing a couple of years older than you guys, but the "discovery" modis operendi sounds exactly the same though we didn't have nearly as many existing routes or as much of an established culture to contend with as you Stonemasters. But the result was similar, we all "cluelessly" rambled about without any preconceived ideas about what we couln't do and so ended up doing quite a bit in hindsight. The only group moniker ever (briefly) attempted was "Mississippi Roof Rats" and we didn't have nicknames. We did have one short intermingling with the Stonemasters when one of our own, Doug Drewes, spent awhile in c4 one summer sometime in the late 70's or early 80's. When next we saw him he did have quite a few entertaining tales to tell of hanging out playing guitar, chess, and bouldering with a few of you. I know he said everyone was open and friendly. He still speaks very fondly of that summer.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 20, 2006 - 10:16am PT
Roll call of the old dads:

DH and KP- Wonderful to hear from you guys. Hope all is well. Thanks a lot for DH’s telling of the story of Tobin and Valhalla. The day that you describe was the first time that JL and I met Tobin. We walked up to the base of Suicide and, inexplicably, Tobin was up in that tree next to the rock. This could not pass without comment, so we struck up a bizarre conversation with him from the ground, but he never really explained what he was doing up there. Then, later that day, we see this eccentric new kid leading Valhalla!. I always wondered why he happened to be in that tree and now the mystery is solved!

RV-I had completely suppressed the ritual of the “trees”. I do recall that all any passenger in the car had to say was, “tradition,” and the driver was compelled to perform the maneuver ( kids, don’t try this at home, it was really stupid)

RM- about Autopilot at Rubidoux. JL, do you remember the following? It may well be accurate. You and I had worked on the low crux of that boulder route for most of a day, unsuccessfully. Later, we each came back, alone, and solved the problem. When we met each other the next time several weeks later, we each casually say to the other, simultaneously, “By the way, I finally got that problem we were working on.” In comparing notes, we couldn’t figure out who actually did it first. I named it Autopilot, because after the crux, the rest of the moves seemed to flow without conscious thought, probably because the notion of a fall from high on that boulder to the nasty, sloping landing was unthinkable. Johnny, I take issue with your recollection that we were not competitive with each other!

MG- about the early gear you made, I still have one of your prototype, lightweight daypacks, which predated the Golite style of weight- saving packs by about 20-25 years. I also have an early, Hawaiian-style shirt from Gramicci, with a pattern featuring a figure bouldering. If you look carefully, the shirt of the figure who is bouldering has tiny Stonemaster lightning bolts all over it.

GC- didn’t’ know you were just down the road, we should get together. Do I recall correctly that you and I were college sports rivals, prior to meeting at Woodson or Tahquitz?

JL- on the ”hidden hold” on Valhalla. You’ve got a good memory; we thought everyone else might have missed that one. In retrospect, it was one of those occasions when the climbing seemed less difficult than it should have been, compared to our vivid imaginings and too many close readings of the guidebook descriptions. Remember when you, Richard and I did the Prow, one of our first big walls and first experience in using hooks for aid? We had imagined a blank wall where you would have to squint to find a tiny nubbin to hook, and we were a bit disappointed that the hooks were actually A-1 placements on large flakes.

Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:15am PT
Per John Vawder’s request

New Generations

With a name like that we obviously thought a lot about ourselves and what we were doing back then. But oddly enough how we came to do the route that day was quite to the contrary. There was no plan didn’t even consider working towards doing it and not even in the backs of our minds… well at least mine since I can’t speak for Tobin Sorenson.

It was a period when we could pretty much just do any climb we tried We were establishing a number new routes back then in the only style we knew which was on the lead and it typically found us needing to stand on less than small holds. Needless to say you could get real fatigued and fast.

I was experimenting with different types of footwear back then. The mountain shop I worked for had a small boot resoleing setup. I was mostly using PA’s and switching to RD’s occasionally. My though was to make a stiffer boot for just that, standing on tiny edges for the twenty or so minutes need to get the resemblance of a decent bolt in. my choice for this experiment was the Black Galibier “Calcare”.

The first order of business was to rip off its lug sole and replace it with a smooth PA sole. Bingo! it made the perfect edging machine. A very different technique from today’s sticky boot, not very forgiving. It required a very precise foot angle and placement. Usually heel down five or so degrees with the trick being not to change the angle as you stepped through. The classic fault of less than adequate foot work is lifting your heel which pops the foot right off.

Test diving the boot on the weeping wall was fun, felt like short skis underfoot. Largo catches a first glimpse at this point and it’s a ho-man where you get those. John if you remember this your parents came down to Ski Mart that next week and I set them up in a pair for you.

That warm spring day we found ourselves at the base of sunshine face just looking for something to do maybe a little bored. I never did a route more that once or twice… Ok, maybe three times. It’s just me, I don’t see the point. My loss because I never got to have the chance to get something ruthlessly wired.

This was a day we needed some new territory to explore. So just like that it was a, lets go check out this thing above “no go ledge” a seemingly abandoned project. Strapped on my trusty boots tied in and didn’t bother with the drill kit. This was just a classic boulder problem the only hassle was you should have a rope to do it. The decisive move was I remember a thin mantle and having to high step to it. Got it my third try and Tobin went nuts! Kept shaking head and saying “I can’t believe you did it”. I said yeah, but tie the bolt kit on the rope because I don’t want to have to repeat it. Putting myself at considerable risk I got enough slack down to him to get the bag to me all the time standing there focused not to move my feet one tenth of a degree.

Sorry for the bolt being a little bit of a spinner but allowed me to carry on with the rest of the pitch which was unfortunately anticlimactic. In fact I think the balance of the route was pretty contrived. Seems to be a problem when too many things start coming together.

Tobin never prided himself on being a much of a boulderer so found it a little tough that day. But we were both pretty stoked with the end result. I went back once after that with John Bachar and some friends from Yosemite. Dale Bard, Ron Kauk and Kevin Worrall. John and I did the route this time I led it in EB’s and found it quite a bit easier John cruised it too. That was a cold April weekday almost a touch of snow in the air.

Even then it was funny seeing how quick things change. But I want to know why do they still call it “no go ledge”


Mike Graham
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 20, 2006 - 12:57pm PT
Ricky--

How about the legendary Belly Crawl on the Prow. We'd read all about that pitch, imagining some super thin smile where you'd have to shimmy along sideways with a mile of exposure beneath your boots. And then we find some silly, grainy ledge in the back of a chossy ditch with no exposure. We just frictioned across beneath the ledge wondering who in their right mind would have startd groveling across that "Belly Crawl."

After that we never really believed much of anything we read. The philosophy became, "We'll be the judge of what's hard and what's not," and shortly after that we caught fire.

JL
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Feb 20, 2006 - 01:00pm PT
"this guy Tobin whom I had never even seen before at the crags did it the day before." - Graham

First time I met Tobin was on the top of the first pitch of that climb on the southwest shoulder of Intersection rock that starts with a funky mantle move. Me and Craig Parsley added a bolt to it 'cause Craig said it was too scary. That's right, I added a bolt to an existing route! Imagine that. Craig did the drilling. Worst of all, it was a John Long route! Man we never heard the end of that one. I felt like the biggest weenie in the universe after I found out you can't add bolt to an existing route...(especially if it was put up by John Long!).

Anyway, I had led this thing (named??? it's at the tip of my tongue) and a bunch of people wanted to follow on top rope. So I started to belay people up the route from the ledge (Mike's Books ledge). There were a few people who wanted to do it so I kept belaying them up and throwing the rope back down to the ground each time. Finally this guy I'm belaying climbs up over the ledge and I can see him for the first time...he's got a noose around his neck! He actually did the damn pitch (like 10a or something) with a noose around his neck the whole time with everybody watching as well (fortunately I didn't see anything from where I was). He gets up to me, pulls the noose off his head, smiles and takes off without saying anything except a "hi" and a peculiar giggle (that famous sheepish Tobin giggle some of us still remember!). Didn't introduce himself either...We were all newbies at the time, but I knew there was something "special" about this guy.

I found out later it was a guy named Tobin and that he liked to do crazy "stuff". Don't remember when I ran into him next, but I'll never ever forget that first encounter. Eventually we all ended up together climbing crazy "stuff" on the rocks-with Tobin usually at the helm!
Cheers to Tobin! We all miss ya' buddy...

rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 20, 2006 - 01:27pm PT
I remember Graham and West coming into work after that weekend to report about that New Generations line. ...must have been sometime in the Spring of 1973, since I included that new route in my report to Mountain Magazine in the November issue of that year.

I didn't really care for the name, as it smacked of youthful hubris and seemed a little "in your face", but--after all--it was Gramicci's project to name as his own. (Say Mike, wasn't it done right around the time of "New Dimensions"? And was a word play on that?)

But it was new, and immediately it was ripe for repeat ascents!

Now, Back In The Day, there was this interest on soloing hard face. (Tobin in the tree is a good example of that madness.) Why this was vogue is anybody's guess, as it was clearly a sign of mental illness.

Oh yeah... Sure.... You tie the rope on to some tree trunk at the base, tie the other end into your swami belt, CAREFULLY estimate how far it is to the first bolt, tie a knot into the cord that far out, and clip and climb. And Lord help you, if you don't give yourself enough slack to reach the first bolt! Once there, you shake-out, estimate all over again how far to the next bolt. And... ...get this... You unclip, snake out twenty more feet or so, tie the knot again, re-clip and go again. Dime-ing upwards with the prospect of twenty feet of slack hanging off your waist! Really dumb. Kids, don't try this at your home (crag)!

Ricky's dead right to question Largo's revisionist history that we weren't competitive. Damn, we were! But not in the Olympic womens' figure skating sense. No baseball bats to the kneecaps while your competitor's laying in the bag by the watertanks some dark night at Humber. No. We're talking friendly competition.

I went up to inspect "New Gen" one quiet weekday... There was hardly a soul around, and I didn't have a partner. So, hell, let's see what Mike has up his sleeve...

First bolt's not too bad. (Was there a second bolt, above, too?) Then, there was this long-ass traverse up and left across a kinda ramp. Maybe it was just a line of slopers and knobs? And then the next bolt. Still don't know why I actually did it, but it was absolutely NUTS. (In retrospect.) Because there were some pretty hard moves just BEFORE you get to the bolt! Holy sh#t was I scared!

When I got to the No-Go Ledge, that was it. Never again for the roped soloing on hard stuff! Better to risk the grounder by free soloing, than muck around with that 11 mil cord ever again!

Now, I kinda like the No-Go Ledge name!
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 20, 2006 - 02:05pm PT
JB, that was bizarre that noose around his neck and I can’t believe that was you up there. he he
Really funny about the bolt too! You can’t rib me about putting one in on rappel anymore even though I blindfolded myself.

JT was where I saw you first. You were working on that Water Chute climb. I totally forgot the name of the route until Russ reminded me. You had this baseball cap on all backwards even maybe a little hiphop for the day. Thought you were pretty strong back then too.

Robs, you know me a little cheeky sometimes. The climb couldn’t be named anything else next to Valhalla. Never would have carried the same weight. Could have been a play on words it would of made me look less cocky :-p

I can’t believe you soloed the first pitch. We didn’t even put it up but I thought everyone knew that. A Bender\Warender show.

Remember the second pitch of Rebolting! Yikes

MG
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Feb 20, 2006 - 02:48pm PT
jb- is the route you noose belayed tobin on off mike's books ledge- bongladesh?
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 20, 2006 - 04:46pm PT
Yeah, Darrell, part of the reason that I scanned the whole page with that Tobin picture was because of that write-up... Really fun to read all that Old Dad stuff!

Gramicci's remarks about New Gen sent me off to the moldy stacks of mags. Check this one out:

from Mountain #30 (pg. 10), Nov. 1973 (heavily edited by Ken Wilson, since none of us even knew the meaning of "apposite"):

------------------------------

NORTH AMERICA / United States

Tahquitz and Suicide Rocks

Tahquitz Rock and its sister, Suicide Rock, continue to be the major source of attraction to Los Angeles climbers and perhaps the leading centre in the United States for extreme-edging face climbing. This year, no less than twenty-four new routes have been made, eighteen of which have received tentative ratings of 5.10 or above.

While the major emphasis has been at Suicide, in the face climbing arena, a number of difficult aid climbs at Tahquitz have been led free by John Long, including Le Toit, The Flakes, The Bat and The Vampire. The last route was considered, in 1959, "one of the most challenging (aid) climbs on the rock". Long also chopped the aid from Paisano Overhang, a ferocious off-width crack splitting a 220° ceiling. Valhalla, the first 5.11 face in California, has seen eight ascents in the past five months, bringing the grand total to ten.

The long-standing problem above No-Go Ledge has been solved by Mike Graham and Tobin Sorenson in three stages. Called New Generations (an apposite title, considering that the climbers were aged 17 and 18 respectively), this modern horror tops out at 350 ft., with continuously difficult edging and pitches of 5.10+, 5.11 and 5.10+. In an abortive attempt on the climb, Rob Muir soloed the first pitch, but was forced to regain some realism on No-Go Ledge, thereby permitting Bill Antel and Kevin Worrell to bag the first continuous ascent. Suicide now boasts a total of five 5.11 climbs.

A new trend in California climbing has started with the girdling of the two great faces of Suicide: Big Peach (Long) on the Weeping Wall, and Vertical Smiles (Muir/Sorenson) on the Sunshine Face. But the most impressive girdle expedition was Richard Harrison's and Cosmos Foster's Pipeline to Pluto on Tahquitz. Unfortunately the climb finished at the 13th pitch, reportedly due to lack of wine (future parties please note). When completed, this route may become the first grade 6 in the area.

Correspondent: Rob Muir

------------------------------



And for the record, Ricky and I did eventually do a complete girdle of Tahquitz... Left to right. Downclimbing over The Edge was probably the highlight. 26 pitches or something, wasn't it, Rick?
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 20, 2006 - 05:00pm PT
Hey, where'd you ever get the idea that I said we were never competitive with each other. Right after Mike and co. did New Generation (leaving calling cards in the bolts), I literally ran up the trail to Suicide, oissed that I'd missed out on the first. But there weren't the sniveling "I did this and you didn't" kind of garbage that came laterEarly on it was like if one of us did it then we figured we all coudl do it. But the game was much more mental than just physical. That business Ricky mentioned about hesitating on Autopilot wasn't because we couldn't do the moves (probably only about V3 or so, but always tried/climbed with no rope), but because we didn't want to pitch off from 20 feet up and tumble all the ways down to the road--a solid 40 footer adding the tumbling.

I came out of traditional sports and was competitive as hell. And I had to be because I had all that extra weight to haul up the goddam rock. I outweighed most of you guys by 50 pounds, and it was a hell of a lot of work keeping up sometimes. Once I got to be around 21 and my body matured it was peretty much a loosing battle trying, at 210 lbs., to climb the same as guys with tiny finger who tipped the scales at around 150. I'll never forgive you guys for being so thin! I always knew I'd choosen the wrong sport for my body type but I was having too much fun and anyhow, all my buds were climbers so I just went wih it.

JL
Gramicci

Social climber
Ventura
Feb 20, 2006 - 05:05pm PT
OH MY GOD!

CLASSIC!

That was ‘73 and I graduated in ‘74 at 17 for the record

good old Ken Wilson he could of made you stars!

Edit: OH MY GOD!again, i can vaguely remember the cards, Shit!
Tarbuster

climber
Feb 20, 2006 - 07:27pm PT
Largo,
There’s a distinction between competitive modalities: one that drives all players forward and one that snuffs the opposing effort for the sake of winning.

My sense of the early days, late 70’s anyhow by my arrival, was the former.

This is the best of what I gleaned from that particular group dynamic.

By the time the hording of first ascents started up at Josh, things seemed to change hue a bit; not that a productive sportsmanship didn't exist then or that it doesn't, right here, right now.

Anyhow, as noted above, the Stone Master’s for me were a real positive driver…

Cheers,
Roy

todd-gordon

climber
Feb 20, 2006 - 09:12pm PT
I remember one day in the 70's seeing some climbers up on a new route on Tahquitz.....to me, it looked impossible....it was Accomazo and Shockley up working on The Pharaoh, which, I believe is 5.12......they were climbing with stoppers and hexes. I became good friends with Dick Shockley in the late 70's. Once we took 'schrooms in the Humber Park parking lot and I was still flying on the drive home.......I remember driving behind Shockley's maroon Honda Accord....it was a distinctive car......I was honking my horn, flashing my lights, riding his bumper, and acting like I was going to pass on curves... just to mess with him.... finally, I DID end up passing him, and when I drive past the driver's window, it WASN'T Shockley after, but someone else in a maroon Honda Accord, and I haven't seen a look of horror like that driver had , ever again in my life. (How about that hill-billy hat of Shockley's?). Shockley also sort of faded from the climbing scene, and I hadn't seen him in quite awhile.... Then one day, out of the blue, he showed up at my place in Joshua Tree, sort of in the warm months...off season. He bouldered a bit on this trip, got high, and wandered the desert.....He said he felt an urge or need to visit the desert. That night was the Lander's Earthquake... the strongest earthquake in California probably in 100 years......it felt as if the earth was to throw us miles in the sky.....a powerful and intense experience... Shockley, somehow, got a sign from somewhere to show up for the event. There was also 2 Brits staying a "The Ranch".....scared the fuk out of them too.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 20, 2006 - 09:35pm PT
Didn't Dick S hold one of the better mental lists of the whole do or die admonition?

AKA
leader never laybacks
when in doubt run it out
finger locks or cedar box
lead or bleed
no mistake or big pancake
etc, etc.
rmuir

Social climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 20, 2006 - 09:52pm PT
Make haste, or tomato paste.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 20, 2006 - 10:04pm PT
bridging skills or hospital bills

no, : edging skills or ...

I think I'm gonna peel.

feets don't fail me now!
Wonder

climber
WA
Feb 20, 2006 - 10:30pm PT
Two old names in two days: Cosmo Foster. I've been trying to remember his first name for weeks. me & him use to hit up the privet highschool chicks @ desert sun school. Another one always looking for hammerdom.
Wonder

climber
WA
Feb 20, 2006 - 10:35pm PT
fire or retire
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 20, 2006 - 10:44pm PT
speaking of hammerdom,

there was:

Bearamiah
Bear Squared
Bear to the dodecahedron
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:04pm PT
Cosmo Foster = Bruce Foster

We used to get in a whole lot of trouble together . . .

JL
WBraun

climber
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:06pm PT
Largo

You need to start "Stonemaster Stories (Part III)"

This thread is getting too long.

Start Part III please.
todd-gordon

climber
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:08pm PT
I started to climbing every weekend in So. Cal. in 1976, which was sort of the end of the Stonemaster era.....I just was getting used to the climbing life-style, and I used to see the Stonemaster crew out and about, and , even though I was "The next Generation", I learned to climb during the Stonemaster era, and took on "their" views of climbing, partying, standards, and ethics. The Stonemasters climbed on hexes and stoppers, ran it out, didn't hang on the rope, didn't place bolts where they didn't belong or were needed, didn't climb in gyms, climbed more than trained, smoked pot, and climbed every free moment they had.....(Or this is what I believed.....)......THEN.....came the lycra, hang-dogging, sport climbing, gyms, cams, working out more than climbing, ........I'm glad I started climbing when I did, and learned to climb when ethics and integrity really meant something. Maybe that is why I have enjoyed climbing so much and kept with it so long. I owe alot to the So. Cal. Stonemaster way of thinking;....thanks. Todd Gordon Joshua Tree , Cal.
Wonder

climber
WA
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:22pm PT
Thats right John, thats all i kept thinking Bruce, Bruce... and thanxs tar, bear was another good friend, bearsquared, havent heard that in over 20 yrs.
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:33pm PT
It doesn't get much better than reading these posts. I've always been keenly interested in the history of the areas that I climb at. And now I'm getting a torrential downpouring of new information. Little details are filling in, things I never knew are popping out, and many dots are being connected. I can correlate seemingly unrelated comments from one story with comments in another story. Very cool. When its all said and done, the history of an area isn't so much about the routes themselves as much as it is about the people who did the routes. When I look at New Gen, what do I see? Mike and Tobin. Caliente: Bachar. Piasano: John. The Edge: Tobin. The list is endless. And now... When I look at Valhalla I'll see Robs because I've learned that it was him that did the second, aura busting ascent. My perceptions and feelings are being validated, reshaped, and molded in new ways. Almost daily. Yes, it's all about the people. Keep it coming!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:36pm PT
Wonder: cool.

as Powell was essentially my entree to this whole crew I'll get back on my fluffy hangers-on anecdotes:

his penchant for meticulousness was hip.

Kevin and his brother discovered that the way to make chalk work even better- they'd get it wet, I think by spreading Endo out on cookie sheets, hitting it with a fine mist from a spray bottle, then bake it dry again?! WTF

Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:37pm PT
Speaking of Cosmos Foster and the lads from Desert Sun School in Idylwild, nobody has mentioned Jay Smith, who went to school with Cosmos. Climbing seemed to be the main course of study at the school, with the help of their very accomodating teacher, Ed Lasley, who took the boys on numerous climbing “field trips.”
Wonder

climber
WA
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:42pm PT
if i remember right the name b*squared had something to do with phycledellics
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:47pm PT
Henny Penny,
(If I have that second handle right)

After my Pal Munoz got hauled around by Richard, it was you who showed up solo in the afternoon one day at Suicide and offered to show me the real deal...

I'd have to look at the book, but it was a half dozen bolted lines in the vicinity of the sunshine face from 10a to 10d, maybe circa'77.

You worked me through the progression and combed your mustache as you dispatched your appraisal of my skills.

There's a point where that kind of opportunity really matters.

Pretty neet stuff. It's how we broke the veil.
Thanks,
Roy McClenahan


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:53pm PT
'just saw Jay out in Castle Valley last year.

He was proud as a father over this frame up restoration he'd been doing on a maroon '67 Vette Stingray, big block.

um, I digress.
WBraun

climber
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:54pm PT
NOW READ HERE YOU KNUCKLHEADS GO TO PART III

This thread is getting to long for the dial up people to read.

Continue in Part III please ......

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=155821&f=0&b=0
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 20, 2006 - 11:56pm PT
'just saw Jay out in Castle Valley last year.

He was proud as a father over this frame up restoration he'd been doing on a maroon '67 Vette Stingray, big block.

um, I digress.
Robb

Social climber
It's like FoCo in NoCo Daddy-O!
Mar 22, 2009 - 01:27am PT
Likewise, carry on.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 5, 2012 - 11:17pm PT
bump
Ed Hartouni

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

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Nov 23, 2013 - 02:47pm PT
Another from the Yafer collection.

Credit: Yafer collection

Jeff tells me this is Dave Tapes....

bump
WML

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
Jan 15, 2014 - 03:33pm PT
BBST!
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