Saving Santee Boulders and it's History . . .

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Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 1, 2006 - 01:26pm PT
I am amazed at the power of ST Forum. I have learned so much recently about S. Cal climbing history from many of the Stonemasters and the Poway Mtn. Boys as well as many others who have all been posting. Another wonderful thing about ST is the feature for locating past posts - this is a great archival tool (I hope that will always be the case).

In this process, there also has been many stories, anecotes, and even pictures regarding Santee Boulders that have been shared.

Too much for one person to pull all together, and there are still some unanswered questions so . . .

My plea is this, especially from the old-timers (Stonemasters, PMB, any of the old guard, and those who climb there now). Can you please answer the following kinds of questions in brevity, and add links to your own posts here at ST or another forum that you may have posted on regarding Santee Boulders? (See below)

Documenting the history of Santee Boulders will go a long way in helping to preserve them, as well as generate a valuable resource that those involved in trying to preserve this great bouldering location (San Diego Alliance of Climbers, and the Access Fund) can use and refer to, as a living and breathing cyber community. In this process we can all benefit and learn something new, and know we are helping to save a beloved climbing location.

Questions:

1) Who are you? ST post name and/or real name.
2) What year did you first climb at Santee Boulders?
3) How many times (approx.) have you climbed at Santee Boulders, or from what year to what year?
4) Do you personally know of anyone that climbed at Santee Boulders before you ever did? Do you know who first climbed at Santee Boulders and what year it was?
5) Are you aware of a climbing guide(s) in any form (even scribbled notes) for Santee Boulders, that pre-dates Doug White's "Crags and Boulders of San Diego County" (1978)?
4) Did you climb at any of the Great Western Bouldering Championship climbing contests held at Santee Boulders in the 1970's or '80s? Do you know the specific dates of these contests and who organized the contest?
5) If you did climb at said contests, can you list some names of any noteable fellow contestants? Who actually won?
6) Please link to any posts you have made regarding Santee Boulders in any meaningful way.
7) Say something about what Santee Boulders means personally to you. Why should Santee Boulders be preserved?


Here is something I posted earlier when HV alerted to what was happening with Santee Boulders:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=173604#msg173921

"HV-- Please tell me this isn't true concerning Santee Boulders. I was working with Dr. Chuck Berry (UCSD), of Sierra Club RCS fame, in PB, in the mid '90s concerning saving Santee Boulders from the developers. The land owners are a consortium called "East Elliot Planning Community" named after the old Army
training base that used to be there in WW2. One of the owners is none other than Dr. Coad and another guy that owns an exterminating company I think in La Mesa. Randy Vogel got involved then and wrote a letter to the land owners concerning liability laws to calm their fears. Went to several of those
planning meetings at Rick Engineering. They definitely know about the climbing on Santee Boulders. Sounds like I need to get back involved and find out what's up. I haven't been. Is the Access Fund involved? We need to get on this. Please
let me know what you heard. Santee boulders is a real treasure, and now I even know more of it's history thanks to all this time we've been blowing at SuperTaco. Like the fact that some of the first bouldering contests ever where held here, and just about all of the Stonemasters made it down to climb at Santee Boulders at some time or other. And all the history and beta that bvb, DW, Greg C. and WL have on the place.

I used to have nightmares about losing Santee Boulders back then when I was involved working with Chuck (Charles) to save it and going to those meetings. Pretty stressful. At that time they were planning on developing around it and setting it off as open space. What has changed? I need to know. Damn it. My
previous job before becoming a HS science teacher was working in environmental consulting, and I had my ear to the ground real well at the time."


Here are some more threads on Santee and Woodson history:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=161163

Check-out all the Stonemaster threads. Little gems of history here and there concerning the Stonemasters visiting SD crags including Santee and Woodson:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=173337&f=0&b=0



Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 1, 2006 - 01:46pm PT
for slightly more background check out Tim Toula's Rock 'n Road

references listed for the Santee Boulders:

Rock & Ice 13 (3/86) p53
Climber's Guide to Santee Boulders, G. Schaffer & T. Walker, 1982
Climber's Guide to Southern California, Paul Hellweg & Nathan Warstler, 1990
Southern California Bouldering Guide, Craig Fry, 1990
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 1, 2006 - 02:04pm PT
Google Maps is cool for this too... since it's urban, the resolution is high, and the encrouchment is easy to see...





Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 1, 2006 - 02:20pm PT
1) Glenn Simpson (aka "Klimmer")

2) Approx. What year did you first climb at Santee Boulders?
I first climbed at Santee Boulders about 1978 or 1979.

3) How many times (approx.) have you climbed at Santee Boulders, or from what year to what year?
Once in '78 or '79, then extensively from 1987 (while a student at SDSU) until even now. I live not too far from Santee - it is a short 15 min. drive.

4) Do you personally know of anyone that climbed at Santee Boulders before you ever did? Do you know who first climbed at Santee Boulders and what year it was?
Yes, I know the "Scumbags" and PMBs did, and have recently learned many of the Stonemasters have also. I don't know who first climbed at Santee Boulders or who discovered them. I would like to know this. My guess is at least the late '60s if not earlier.

5) Are you aware of a climbing guide(s) in any form (even scribbled notes) for Santee Boulders, that pre-dates Doug White's "Crags and Boulders of San Diego County" (1987)?
Nope. But there must be right?

4) Did you climb at any of the Great Western Bouldering Championship climbing contests held at Santee Boulders in the 1970's or '80s? Do you know the specific dates of these contests and who organized the contest?
Nope. My first bouldering contest was in '78/'79? at Magnolia Boulders. Missed the ones at Santee. I do know that Werner Landry and ? a climbing shop owner in PB (John Vawter knows) first organized the contests at Santee Boulders? I think.

5) If you did climb at said contests, can you list some names of any noteable fellow contestants? Who actually won?
Nope, but others can.

6) Please link to any posts you have made regarding Santee Boulders in any meaningful way.
See links in original post above.

7) Say something about what Santee Boulders means personally to you. Why should Santee Boulders be preserved?

Santee Boulders is a treasure, and not just for the incredible climbing, and the climbing history it provides - it is rich in all of that. Many noteable climbers have climbed at Santee Boulders over the years: Poway Mtn. Boys, "Scumbags", and the Stonemasters and anyone and everyone in the San Diego climbing scene, (just talk to Werner Landry).

Having climbed out there countless times especially from 1987 until now, I have great memories of time spent with friends and family there. As well, I have spent time solo boulder climbing there for peace and solitude. The climbing is very good and a climber can get very strong and learn a rich repertoire of movement over stone. As an outdoor leader at SDSU in the program "The Leisure Connection," we taught many students to boulder there and introduced them to a wonderful activity and location. When I student taught at Westhills HS I would often go there after work and boulder.

Santee Boulders also has a great climate with an almost daily on-shore breeze and an abundance of wildlife that I've seen over the years that includes: deer, California Gnatcatchers, Hawks, Eagles, Ravens, snakes, lizards etc. The plant community is Coastal Diegan Sage Scrub which has a wonderful aroma, and provides the needed habitat for the Federally Listed and Endangered California Gnatcatcher. Many Herpitology in the area are also very sensitive. The hillsides bloom wonderfully in the spring, in addition to turning a bright emerald green.

It's a wonderful oasis that many people enjoy and not just for climbing. Many in the community hike there, observe wildlife, and Mtn. Bike. It's a wonderful place for so many people. We can't let this location be lost to developement. Every stone has a name and history.
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Apr 1, 2006 - 03:01pm PT
Crags & Boulders was published in 1978, not 1987. Santee section was written by Galen Kirkwood, with the agreement that I would not use his name. Obviously, I'm a rotten friend since I put his monniker on as author. There was no prior guide, people didn't much do guides for bouldering back then. Many formations did not have names, so Galen and I made them up: chutzpah often begets history and traditon. In fact, prior to that guidebook, the only guides in San Diego I was ever aware of were Eric Beck's guide to Mission Gorge and Werner Landry's Gorge guide.

I started climbing there maybe in 74? Certainly a lot from 75-78. I moved away in Jan 79, but most visits back to San Diego include a trip to Santee. Plenty of people climbed there before any Scumbags ever showed up on the scene, but I don't know much of the history. JV is more closely connected to the generation before us, he might be a good source.
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 1, 2006 - 03:15pm PT
OW --

Doug, yes you are right. You published in '78 not '87. I got dsielicx, oops I mean dislexic.

JV shot me an email the other day and he is offering his legal services to those involved in the fight. Hope he posts up again. Would really like Werner Landry to come on board. I know I would love to hear all his stories.

Edit: fixed now, 1878 right? (he-he)
Hootervillian

climber
the Hooterville World-Guardian
Apr 1, 2006 - 05:53pm PT
more specifically what i heard was that the land was/had changed ownership and that the [url="http://www.tierrasantacc.org/Sycamore%20Landfill/sycamore_landfill.htm" target="_blank"]Sycamore Landfill[/url] was somehow involved.

third hand, for sure, but that property has been in the crosshairs for a long time. an ugly clue may be in the website intro paragraph. they (my friends) also mentioned condo's? not sure how that fits.

i am an Aztec and bouldered fairly regularly at Santee from 91 to 2000. nothing historic to add, of course there were many others before and during that time.

F10 Climber F11 Drinker

Trad climber
e350
Apr 1, 2006 - 06:01pm PT
Started bouldering there in 71. You could drive right into the boulders, put the speakers on the roof and have a bitchin time. Have bouldered there many many times, to many to even count. Klimmer email me for any other info, JB
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 1, 2006 - 10:58pm PT
Everyone responding so far thank you.

From HVs post I also found this link which talks about Camp Elliot history which includes the Santee Boulder area, known as East Elliot. Very interesting. Perhaps US Army soldiers in training for WWI and WWII, and then later the Marines all climbed on them? Hey, you never know. What soldier roaming the area could resist jumping on those fine miniatures and recreating for awhile after a lunch of c-rats? (LOL)

http://www.tierrasantacc.org/safety/Unexploded%20Ordinance.htm

Has anyone ever found any unexploded ordinance at Santee Boulders?

From the above article:

"Camp Elliott was used during World War I by the U.S. Army as an artillery and machine gun training facility.
From 1941 to 1944, Camp Elliott was a tank training base, with the tanks housed at what is now Admiral Baker Field (just off Friars Road). Camp Elliott was home to several commands including the Fleet Marine Force Training Center-West Coast, and the Troop Training Unit of the Amphibious Training Command for the Pacific Fleet. The base provided encampments, bivouac areas and 41 firing ranges that were used for tank, anti-tank, artillery training, demolition training, mines, raw explosives and for parachuting practice. In addition, there were specialized schools on site for infantry, scout, mortar and sniper education.
According to the Final Ordnance Report prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by Environmental Chemical Corporation in 1995, "The base and ranges were used for training on every type of weapon in the Marine inventory until 1944, when they moved to Camp Pendleton."
In 1944 the Marines no longer needed the area and it passed to the Navy for use as a retraining center. From 1946 to 1947 the Army had jurisdiction over the land but it was not used during those years. The Retraining Command had jurisdiction from 1947 until 1960.
During World War II and the Korean War, Camp Elliott was home to more than 250,000 troops.
Camp Elliott was annexed to the City of San Diego in 1960 and in 1961 the government declared nearly half the land surplus. The land was zone R-1-40 residential."

Seems like the earliest Santee Boulders became availabe for public recreation was about 1960.

When I was in environmental consulting I recall seeing a B&W image of Paratroopers jumping at Camp Elliot in a file for Biological survey work we were doing within the region. My boss at the time was Mitch Beauchamp, well known biological consultant and author of "A Flora of San Diego County," the bible at the time for plant identification. Here is the kindest article I could find on Mitch: http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0494/et0494s3.html

Perhaps the East Elliot Planning Community a consortium of private landowners has sold their properties? I don't know. The copy of the GIS map "Multiple Habitat Planning Area (MHPA)" below does show that Santee Boulders just above Mast Blvd. does fall within the City of San Diego's Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP), a region wide mapping effort and attempt at conservation. It is an attempt to save endangered plant communities and open space through land swaps and mitigation deals with developers - which is a load of crap. The end net result is always less openspace and erradication of native flora and fauna. We are conserving less and less openspace in S. Cal., and our quality of life is now suffering, and future generations to come will never know what they missed.

http://www.tierrasantacc.org/Sycamore%20Landfill/sycamore_landfill.htm

The developers' motto truly is as the song says-

"Pave Paradise . . . put up a Parking Lot"

Yea, but -

"But, you don't know what you got - till it's gone!"
Mtnfreak

Mountain climber
Bellingham, WA / Bishop, CA
Apr 2, 2006 - 05:24am PT
Nothing historical, but I climbed there from 1993 - 1995 while stationed at the Naval School of Health Sciences in San Diego and at Camp Pendleton. My grandfather was at Camp Elliot back in WWII, and as part of his training "graduation" marched from Elliot to Pendleton to load up and be sent to the Pacific.
mtwoodsonguide

Big Wall climber
San Diego
Apr 2, 2006 - 11:15pm PT
I personally talked to the guy who owner the east half of the boulders from the 60's until this winter. He never made any attempt to develop the land. He also said it could never be developed, but was worth alot of money in, ah whats the word, drawing a blank, When you use as leverage to develop something else. He tried to talk the guy who bought it, some arab guy in Orage County, out of buying it.
The last thing I heard from the access fund was the city was buying the property. The piece of property which the city did buy was way over on the other side of the freeway. brilliant research.
So what parcel of land exactly are you talking about here, because these rumors fly regularly.

BPorter

Big Wall climber
Quartz Hill, Ca
Apr 2, 2006 - 11:30pm PT
Klimmer,

Grew up in San Diego and climbed at the Gorge and Santee Boulders in the early 70's. I remember Greg Epperson climbing out there all the time. Hate to say it, but I think Santee Boulders is doomed. Hell, that's why I got out of San Diego. The "sprawl" will never end. I saw development work it's way right up to the boulders over ten years, and I am quite sure those nice little hills are now on some developers "to do" list.
Still, it would be nice to set them aside if we can create a loud enough voice. Count me in !!!

Cracko
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Apr 6, 2006 - 08:59pm PT
Here's an overview taken in September 1979. I can tell by the knickers that's BVB topping out on the scary highball on the end of the Bullethole Wall.

bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Apr 6, 2006 - 11:18pm PT
i humbly submit that these beautiful boulders are worth saving.

WBraun

climber
Apr 6, 2006 - 11:23pm PT
Yeah, if only because there is very little left where one can go to find some peace from all that urban chaos that is constantly encroaching on everything beautiful.
Trenchdigger

Trad climber
Santee, CA
Apr 7, 2006 - 12:06pm PT
Hey, thanks for starting this thread...

1) Who are you? Adam Kimmerly aka. Trenchdigger and/or Tradmonkey
2) What year did you first climb at Santee Boulders? About 3 years ago - March 2003.
3) How many times (approx.) have you climbed at Santee Boulders, or from what year to what year? I would estimate that I've been there between 100 and 200 times.
4) Do you personally know of anyone that climbed at Santee Boulders before you ever did? Yes, Dick Shockley, most notably. I have his home phone number as well. Haven't seen him lately, and this is reminding me that I should give him a call and see how he's doing. I also know Tim Powell and will pry him to see what info I can get. I don't believe he climbed there much, but he may be able to round up info from family or friends.
5) Are you aware of a climbing guide(s) in any form (even scribbled notes) for Santee Boulders, that pre-dates Doug White's "Crags and Boulders of San Diego County" (1978)? No, but I'm currently in the process of working on a new, updated guide with Erik Roed (another santee regular). Any of you old-timers interested in seeing/reviewing a draft, please send me an e-mail at tradmonkey(at)gmail.com.
4) Did you climb at any of the Great Western Bouldering Championship climbing contests held at Santee Boulders in the 1970's or '80s? Do you know the specific dates of these contests and who organized the contest? I either hadn't been born yet or was still in diapers!
5) If you did climb at said contests, can you list some names of any noteable fellow contestants? Who actually won?
6) Please link to any posts you have made regarding Santee Boulders in any meaningful way.
7) Say something about what Santee Boulders means personally to you. Why should Santee Boulders be preserved? The santee boulders are where I basically learned how to climb. Still the place challenges me with new problems I find that nobody has climbed for years, if ever. The current working version of the guide contains around 60 boulders with 350+ problems. It is no small project! We hope to have this thing complete by summer, as it's a back-burner project. We're still not sure about how we'll publish it. If we can get it printed cheaply enough, we'll sell them for a reasonable price. If not, it'll likely end up on the web in PDF format.

I look forward to seeing more in this thread as I am, of course, interested in the history of the Santee Boulders as well for the purpose of including it in the guide.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Apr 8, 2006 - 05:38pm PT
I have a few photos of the first Santee contest dated 10/29/73. I didn't participate in the contest at Mission Gorge a year or two before, but it was organized by Tom Compare, owner of A Striving After Wind, a mountaineering shop in Pacific Beach. Tom and Werner Landry co-organized the Santee contest, bringing in A-16 as a co-sponsor, and possibly Stanley Andrews Sporting Goods. They had a list of problems, and gave everyone a card with like ten spaces. You picked a problem and gave your card to the judge. If you did the problem, you got the points. If not, you got a zero. After several hours, they totaled up the cards for the finals.

There were seven in the finals in '73. Rick Piggot, Greg Cameron, Mike Wise, Dennis Sullivan, a kid from the neighborhood (literally from the nearby housing tract), Kenny Cook, and me. I had the lowest point total of all the finalists, so I was last to try each problem.

The first problem was the lieback on Lieback Rock. It was easier then, .10-, before someone took a pry bar to it and removed all the crumbly stuff from the lower 6 feet. But it was tricky at the top. Everybody cruised it, except me. I had on my RR's, which were great for edging, but like bricks for everything else. It took me almost all of my 2-3 minute time limit to get it. The judges scored each contestant on time and style, so I stayed in dead last.

Then we went over to Bullethole. Tom had chalked vertical lines to corral us into either Bullethole Center or Right. But at that time, this was not a commonly done problem. In fact, no one in the finals had ever done these. Six guys lined up to take a whack at it, and six guys came close, but never pulled over the top. I asked Tom if I could use a high dime edge that was just outside the chalk line on the right. He said ok. I got it clean first try, and a roar went up from the crowd. I went from dead last to first.

Then we went to the "5.10 ow" just across from the Light Bulb. This stymied several, including me. Kenny had a novel solution. He came in on the horizontal crack from the right. They gave him full credit. But here the kid from the neighbrohood got to show his stuff. He was thinner than the rest of us, and he wiggled up high enough to get the key fist jam easily. That tied him with someone else, probably Greg or Rick, for first, so they went to the ".11+" face to the left on the same boulder. No one could do that, but the kid from the neighborhood was ahead on points, so he went home with the rope.

I vaguely remember the contest where the final was a climb off on the Aid Boulder. Yaniro and another guy duked it out, and Yaniro got higher, nearly pulling it off. but I don't have any way to date that, and no pictures.
mtwoodsonguide

Big Wall climber
San Diego
Apr 8, 2006 - 06:01pm PT
Whoa John V that was sweet except the last part, there is no problem to the left of that offwidth.
The next one left is on the opposite side of the boulder. Could be called .11+ if your tall enough and the frictions sellar, but it's got a bad landing and would have been pretty damm hard before sticky rubber.
Think hard, where was that 11+ at.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Apr 9, 2006 - 11:43pm PT
That was it, around the corner to the left, facing west (?), bad landing, kinda otd and way hard. Nobody got it, or even close. And even now you rarely see anyone try it.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Apr 9, 2006 - 11:45pm PT
yep, i done that problem. goes up a scoop. if you were a santee regular, it was no big deal and routinely in the circuit.

familiarity breeds...having stuff wired??

the contest with the climb-off (yaniro et. al.)on the aid crack was in '81. i remember 'cause i'd spent most of that winter in the hospital.
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