Take Me Back To The Fifties


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mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Aug 25, 2012 - 09:06am PT
French Alps, Mt. Blanc massif.
French Alps, Mt. Blanc massif.
Credit: RD Gallery

I think this is the Grossglockner, highest point in Austria.  Early fi...
I think this is the Grossglockner, highest point in Austria. Early fifties.
Credit: RD Gallery

Norway, early fifties.
Norway, early fifties.
Credit: RD Gallery (Marcel A. Simon)
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Aug 25, 2012 - 09:07am PT
Credit: RD Gallery

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 25, 2012 - 10:13am PT
That 50's were not that good for everyone. I think generally it was a good time if you were middle class, male and white.

Amen.... interracial marriage was still illegal, women were still either housewives, nurses or teachers and if you weren't a Christian, you were some kind of freak. Conformity was everything.

You GOTTA see "Pleasantville" if you haven't.. Trust me, really funny but with a message



Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Aug 25, 2012 - 10:27am PT
I went to a catholic high school in Philadelphia in the late 50's. None us climbed yet but we all "dry tooled" when we couldn't get dates.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Aug 25, 2012 - 10:29am PT
My favorite part of the fifties:

Grand Teton Summit Register, July 25, 1957
Grand Teton Summit Register, July 25, 1957
Credit: rgold

I was thirteen. Unlike many of you, I grew up in the city in a family that had no outdoor connection at all, so this was an eye-opener of indescribable proportions, a new and wholly unimagined world opened up.

Fifty-five years later, and the magic is still alive...

Whenever people (including me sometimes) complain about guides, I have to remember that I owe this lifelong love of the mountains and crags to the Exum guides Dick Pownall, here in 2011

and here with Herb and Jan Conn and Glenn Exum
L to R: Dick Pownall, Herb Conn, Jan Conn, Glenn Exum
L to R: Dick Pownall, Herb Conn, Jan Conn, Glenn Exum
Credit: From Outerlocal.com

and Karl Pfiffner (killed in an avalanche in 1960 on the Ellingwood Ridge of La Plata Peak) for the 1957 ascent of the Owen-Spaulding route.

I returned to the Tetons to make guided ascents of the Exum Ridge, the East Ridge of Mt. Owen with Bill Byrd (see http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=693085);, and the SW Ridge of Symmetry Spire with Barry Corbet, here shown on Mt. Owen.

After my senior year in high school, I headed out West on my own. My first guideless ascent was the 5.4 East Ridge of Teewinot, after which I failed miserably on the CMC Route on Mt. Moran, defeated by the bushwacking (this was well before the canoe option) and never even reaching the CMC camp, much less any actual climbing.

A few years later, as the sixties began, I atoned for my previous Moran hiking failures by making an ascent of the Skillet Glacier route

and thrashing into Leigh Canyon

four different times for ascents of the South Buttress,

the South Buttress Right,

Staircase Arete, and No Escape Buttress.

We were, however, turned back once from the trip around Leigh Lake when my partner stepped in a bog which stripped off and permanently swallowed his mountaineering boot.

Many other Teton ascents followed, but alas, I've already leaked out of the fifties and into the sixties...

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Aug 25, 2012 - 10:41am PT
On the cusp of the 1950's in government post-war housing and before hi-tech photography.

Older sis, bro, and overalls kid

Credit: zBrown

Oh yeah Charlie - to live outside the law you must be honest.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Aug 26, 2012 - 12:10am PT
Bump 'cause I added a bunch of photos to my fifties (and early sixties) post.

Aug 26, 2012 - 12:30am PT
1957  Handstand
1957 Handstand
Credit: jogill

Good ol' days . . . ;>)


Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Aug 26, 2012 - 12:33am PT
mouse from merced! Re:

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, which always featured Scrooge's money bin. Here is where the mysteries of earthquakes were revealed to me and my brother.
Who remembers the Terries and the Firmies?

Yeah! They cause earthquakes!

Carl Barks did great duck adventure stories!

I've done my duty by scanning and posting: Uncle Scrooge and the duck-nephews finding lost Inca gold in Peru.

mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Aug 26, 2012 - 01:39am PT
It's a little-appreciated bit of knowledge that quakes are indeed due to subterranean beings, Terries, who can form into balls and descend slopes like laser-guided trundulums, slamming into supporting walls and pillars and packed crowds of Firmies. (I think that's how they rolled.)

Incas that look like dogs, much like Beagle Boys...I remember reading this one from the era; most of the WDC&S that I read were part of a massive collection of many different comics (Lulu, Richie Rich, Turok--Son of Stone, Archie, and the obscene, filthy, commie rag, my mom's particular bugaboo, MAD Magazine) in a big old cardboard box in the cellar of a house in Auburn that was rented to my Nana and Grandad. My older bro and I lived in the cellar most of the days we spent up there in the hills, the only sensible way to deal with the summer heat up there.

It was a real grind trying to read them all before the grandfolks moved out of that house in the fall and I had to start fifth grade.

Thanks for the effort of posting that up, Fritz. You should get extra credit.

Edit: This just in. The BSA has awarded Fritz the posting merit badge!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Aug 26, 2012 - 01:54pm PT
Great thread Guido!
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Aug 26, 2012 - 06:07pm PT
Guido/Joe, born in 1956, so I got the tail end, but... much of those shows, songs, comic books, etc were still around in the early 60s, when I was impressionable.

Jim, 1950s Catholic School?

My years being bossed by nuns in Oakland and Walnut Creek was 1961-1968, until I got kicked out twice, then public school.

But what are the ‘good old days’?

I was researching some stuff I was writing for a screenplay about a certain company, the first to come to Ireland from the US.

I’ll leave it that, because I still want to sell it, when to date, I am the only one that I know of that has/is writing about this company.

So I am in the National Library in Dublin (this is several years back), in the archives and I run across some old newspapers from The Kerryman.

Back then the editorials, adverts, letters to the editor, almost everything it seems, ran on the front page.

One issues, a letter to the editor (this in 1909) from a lady: “These young men drinking stout midday on the bridge, and not working, it is disgusting”.

Or a news article in 1909 edition: “The RIC (then the Royal Irish Constabulary before Irish independence) surrounded the cottage where the man had shot is sister in the leg and threatend the officers, the seige lasted most of the day”.

Says another article: “The three men raided the post office but got away with little cash. The RIC is still looking for them (again 1909).”

Letter to the editor (1910) at The Kerryman: “I have been looking for some stout lads to help with both my farm and my shop, but they are nowhere to be found, except drinkg down by the river.”


I think it is all in one perspective at times, or the times.

We never built a bomb shelter during the cold war, but like most of you, we did have three drills/alarms at school.

Fire (get out of the building to an assembly point).

Earhtquake (get out of the building or under a desk)

And of course the one we all know when the air raid siren went off.

Stick your heads between your knees (and kiss your ass goodbye).

I have very fond memories of my childhood in the late 1950s/1960s... a mother who was also a father (he died in 1956, I was the youngest, five months, but as a dentist/dental surgeon, my mom, with four children, got by).

And yes, we never locked the front (or side) doors, and I and my sister (and Mac for a while until he learned how to play hookey) had to commute on a Greyhound bus for first and second (her second and third) grades to the nearest Catholic school that had an opening (St Frances de Sales in Oakland from WC. We were never bothered by pervs. Then there were openings for us at St Mary's in WC.

But I alo have fond memories of the 1970s and beyond. Times change, it is keeping up with those changes that can be difficult (and yes, as the youngest and smallest guy, I was always the one in the trunk going into drive-in movies).

Still Guido, I enjoyed that little video you posted.

Social climber
So Cal
Aug 26, 2012 - 07:22pm PT
You GOTTA see "Pleasantville" if you haven't.. Trust me, really funny but with a message

So the 50's was really a fictional movie?

Patric's version is closer to what I lived.


Aug 26, 2012 - 08:30pm PT
In Georgia life was pretty good for us white middle-class people. I got enthused about gymnastics, studying math, climbing, and yes the music was pretty cool. I got to pilot an F-80 Shooting Star (T-33) briefly (with a Korean war ace), bought a 1957 Studebaker Power Hawk - way ahead of its time - and when I reported for military duty at the University of Chicago witnessed for the first time a student protest in which an American flag was burned. I'm not sure I ever even saw a home bomb shelter and never thought much about the ideological struggle going on between the USA and USSR. I was too young for the Forgotten War, a truly sad affair. And I drove on the brand new interstate highway system that Eisenhour brought to fruition. I have mostly good memories, including roaming all over Stone Mountain, outside Atlanta, when it was still semi-wilderness. A priceless experience. Took a date climbing there a time or two, and they thought I was nuts. ;>)

Trad climber
Aug 26, 2012 - 11:06pm PT

jogill and rgold- great stuff!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 4, 2017 - 03:55am PT
"Take me back to Guido's thread" bump.

Since this thread appeared, Dean Fidelman and John Long have published this fine volume packed with great pix and stories about Yosemite climbing.


(Christmas is coming.)
Around 1958/59.  Brother Tim's Christmas or birthday present...cowboy ...
Around 1958/59. Brother Tim's Christmas or birthday present...cowboy gear.
Credit: mouse from merced

We would be remiss not to mention Playboy Magazine.
December 1953, Hugh Hefner launched the mag with his friend BURT BRONS...
December 1953, Hugh Hefner launched the mag with his friend BURT BRONSON. Unsurprisingly, the magazine took off despite the fact that the duo were selling copies out of Hefner’s kitchen office.
Credit: mouse from merced
RIP, Hef.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 4, 2017 - 05:57am PT
Thank gawd we moved on!
Though my gramma's studebaker billet nose was doll, to look at, anyway

Credit: Jaybro

Sad that we seem to be moving back to that repressive era.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Oct 4, 2017 - 06:17am PT
I was born in 56 so only saw a few years of it.

I've been reading this best selling book about growing up in the 50's,
it strikes a cord with those of us of a certain age.
I highly recommend it. :)

Great Read
Great Read
Credit: T Hocking

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 4, 2017 - 07:32am PT
Will check it out
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Oct 4, 2017 - 08:41am PT
Being a kid in the '50's was great, I thought. We had a freedom to roam that hasn't existed in this country for a very long time. I remember my mom packing me a lunch in a brown paper bag and wishing me the best as I spent all day roaming the cliffs of Austin Bluffs in Colorado Springs, hunting for fossils and scaring the poop out of my self on those manky sandstone cliffs. Since "the Springs" was such an Air Force town I got to see some pretty cool post- WW II aviation history, early Jet fighters, propeller-driven airliners, the first helicopters (we called them whirly birds - they were a really big deal). The family ate together for all meals and everyone seemed to watch the same TV programs. There was more program content than commercials. I remember cigarette commercial jingles and everyone smoked in the movies. Humphrey Bogart was the man and John Wayne was young. Candy bars were 5 cents and a bottle of Coke was a dime.

What I sometimes saw but did not understand were the men my dad's age who were self medicating with alcohol due to what they had experienced in WW II. What I did not see because I was a white middle class kid was how much different folks of color lived than my family lived. Our schools, neighborhoods, and churches were not integrated so we kids just were not exposed to that double standard. I wouldn't trade it, I had a pretty wonderful childhood, but I was lucky in ways I could not possibly understand at the time.
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