Joe Fitschen Appreciation Thread

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Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 7, 2011 - 03:43pm PT
It's time for Joe's thread. I sure hope he can publish his book and soon!

But in the meantime, stories old and new?

Joe- I've a question? I recall one of the old newspaper write-ups (2nd ascent of the Nose maybe) said you lived in my hometown of Monterey Park, CA? If true, that would make you Monterey Park's 2nd most famous climber (!) I know Tony Yaniro attended grade school for a few years in Monterey Park...
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Jul 7, 2011 - 05:27pm PT
bump for Joe and Sewellymon.



The evil one
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Jul 7, 2011 - 05:46pm PT

Hartouni and Fitschen
Hartouni and Fitschen
Credit: ron gomez
The legends.  Joe Fitschen, Tom Frost and Royal Robbins.
The legends. Joe Fitschen, Tom Frost and Royal Robbins.
Credit: ron gomez
A Tom Frost print so graciously signed by the three in the photo.
A Tom Frost print so graciously signed by the three in the photo.
Credit: ron gomez
Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, John Long, Clark Jacobs, the beautiful ho...
Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, John Long, Clark Jacobs, the beautiful host Janie Taylor Levy, Don Lauria, Jerry Gallwas Mike Sherrick Charlie Raymond.

Credit: ron gomez

Joe was one of those early mentors for me when I was "cutting" my ropes. Always an inspiration and a pleasure to meet with.
Peace
Gene

climber
Jul 7, 2011 - 06:03pm PT
Joe looks fit enough to do the NIAD! Does he post here yet?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 7, 2011 - 06:55pm PT
Joe posts as "oldguy".
scuffy b

climber
dissected alluvial deposits, late Pleistocene
Jul 7, 2011 - 07:19pm PT
Joe's got some great stories.

That bivy picture above, the iconic Frost print, autographed...
Taken by Chuck Pratt.
frog-e

Trad climber
Imperial Beach California
Jul 7, 2011 - 07:21pm PT
Got to meet Joe and hang out with him and my friend Eric Beck this springs at Joshua tree. It was great; Joe is really cool guy with lots of interesting insights!

Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 7, 2011 - 10:32pm PT

Bump

ScuffyB: I forgot that was a Pratt photo. It was an important image for me in my youth, i.e. what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Good on ya, Joe.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jul 7, 2011 - 11:20pm PT

I'm glad to see the photo of Janey Taylor. She had legendary status by the time I arrived in the Valley but I never met her.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jul 7, 2011 - 11:33pm PT
Hey Joe-

Knew your son in Prescott. Heckuva climber in his own right.
After he split there were some
"I dunno, I think Fitschen did it" problems.
I worked hard and got the 2nd on one. Named it Gunshy.
Tell him Jefe says Hi!

Would love to hear more "oldguy" stories.
thaDood

Mountain climber
PortaLedga OnzaKaleefa
Jul 7, 2011 - 11:44pm PT
I use to think about Joe everytime I passed by the east face of Tahquitz back in the 70's, and hope that I would'nt have the similar distinction under identical circumstances of having a route named after me such as "Fitschens Follie"!
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Jul 8, 2011 - 12:23am PT
I'm glad to see the photo of Janey Taylor. She had legendary status by the time I arrived in the Valley but I never met her.

Are we going to have to beg for Janey stories too? LOL

Bring on the Joe and janey stories!!!!!!
oldguy

climber
Bronx, NY
Jul 31, 2011 - 06:41pm PT
I didn't live in Monterey Park; my mother did at the time. I lived in Camp 4 and then in Curie Co. housing for the winter.

That Darwin wanted to be like one of the climbers in Pratt's photo--it must be Frost unless Darwin aspired to total depravity.

Yeah, Jason was good--won a competition in Tuscon I think and did some hairy multi-day in Mexico-- Trano?

And there is also a Fitschen's Folly in the Gunks. No one wanted to follow it after I led it (short, unprotected). Note that I didn't name either climb and have sometimes wished that my name didn't begin with "F"
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 31, 2011 - 07:10pm PT
Haven't seen Joe since I ran into him in Moab ten or more years ago. Guided with him at Exum in the 70's. Great guy with amazing, piercing blue eyes.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 31, 2011 - 07:30pm PT
I had the priviledge of meeting Joe last fall in the Valley...truly a fine man.

TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jul 31, 2011 - 09:32pm PT
when i first met Joe and Royal in the Tetons in the early 60s; he was the first guy i'd met who could scramble up a scree slope as fast as me

he seemed to be a poet-philosopher constructed of steel springs and piano wire

my parents thought i went to Occidental College because of the famous violin professor who gave me a scholarship

they never realized it was really because Joe was also a student and had told me about Tahquitz Rock and Camp 4 lore

Joe probably never realized how much he had influenced my life

Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Aug 1, 2011 - 12:59am PT
I have enjoyed knowing Joe over the years. I remember a very enjoyable summer day in the North Cascades climbing the NE Ridge of Mt. Triumph with Joe and Charlie Raymond.
Here is one of John Scurlock's excellent photos showing the ridge between sun and shadow in winter conditions.
Mt. Triumph in winter
Mt. Triumph in winter
Credit: John Scurlock
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Aug 1, 2011 - 01:53am PT
Did Joe ever live in Loosenville ( Susanville) ?
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Aug 1, 2011 - 12:06pm PT
Joe taught English at Lassen College in Susanville for many years.
Rockin' Gal

Trad climber
Boulder
Aug 1, 2011 - 12:47pm PT
Not only a great climber, but an ace NYT crossword solver!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Sep 29, 2012 - 07:05pm PT
Bump for my English teacher at Lassen C.C. (Susanville, Ca.) 76-78

He turned me on to the Robbins Route at Pigeon Cliffs, I think I nabbed the 2nd ascent in 77, and 2 FA's there also.

Also told me about a granite formation just south of Thompson Peak that he spied from the road near Janesville. Nabbed many FA's at a place now known as Toms Thumb.

Thanks for the education Joe!
Tad
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Sep 29, 2012 - 07:39pm PT
Yes Joe is one of the real ones, the authentic article
and had that great blessing of being a central figure
in the golden age. His piece in that second Ascent
remains one of the best pieces of writing anywhere.
Naturally we have waited for the book and know it will
be another masterpiece.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 29, 2012 - 07:40pm PT
I'm glad this got bumped up to the front. I enjoyed my summers working with Joe guiding for Exum in the Tetons. It was the early to mid 70's , a special place and a special time.
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Sep 29, 2012 - 07:42pm PT
Joe is a classy guy. I first met him about the time he made the first descent of Fitschen's Folly at Tahquitz, and his survival of that dive was a real boon to the climbing community, and to everyone he ever influenced. Never saw quite enough of him, but plenty enough to respect greatly.
Great to hear you're closing in on that book, Joe! Can't wait.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Sep 29, 2012 - 08:26pm PT
Here is a Joe story some of you might enjoy.

I used to golf frequently here in Redding with a guy that was the basketball coach at Lassen C.C. at the same time Joe was teaching there.
He told me a story about a time they had a faculty party at this house
that had a large 2 story tall rock fireplace. After a few rounds of adult beverages coach looks up and sees Joe doin bouldering laps on the fireplace to the amazement and cheers of the party goers.
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Sep 29, 2012 - 11:08pm PT
Any idea when Joe's book is going to be published?
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 4, 2012 - 02:12pm PT
Joe Fitschen's book is now a reality! He wrote,

"One more little piece of news. I have finished and published my book, Going Up. Pat Oliver (Ament) wondered at one point if I was going for perfection. He should know that perfection is the enemy of the good. The book's good, could be better given another ten years to work on it. Anyway, for now it is only available through my website: joefitschen.com. I would appreciate it if all of you would spread the word. Better yet, buy the book and read it. "
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 3, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
Bump for Joe and Going Up!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 3, 2013 - 01:42pm PT
Joe was at the Oakdale Festival this October, by the way. I hadnít seen him since 1970 when he and then wife Linea came up to join Royal and Liz for a group trip to the Sea of Cortez and I remained babysitting the house and I think RRís new kitty, Bojangles, or maybe Bojangles came a few months later. Itís all a blur of course. Itís true too, he had the most amazing blue eyes; eyes reminiscent of Kim Schmitzís. Both these guys were really arrestingly beautiful, if you ask just about anyone. And both are still with us!

The Alpine Journal has asked I review Joeís book so I am reading it and putting together some notes for that. Joe certainly was a really unique member of the Golden Age and very much admired by all. And his role in that era seems perfectly integral to it even if he might not have experienced it that way at the time. Really gentle book and quiet writing, incredibly detailed, anecdotal to its core. Hard to imagine Joe living in New York City for so many years since, isnít it. Not sure if that phase will be explained or not as I havenít finished the volume.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 19, 2013 - 12:21am PT


A bump for "Going Up". It's a really interesting book for me. More later.
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Nov 19, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
Joe's book is very, very good, both as literature and climbing and cultural history. Buy it. Read it. Pass the word
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Nov 19, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
Joe's book is very, very good, both as literature and climbing and cultural history. Buy it. Read it. Pass the word

Word passed Yeti,
Great Read!

Joe mentioned he played Trumpet (jazz) pretty well bitd,
wonder if he still has the chops?

Tad
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