Zoroaster Temple AZ FA Ganci & Tidrick Summit 1959


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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 1, 2012 - 10:33pm PT
An interesting early account of Dave Ganci and Rick Tidrick's first ascent of Zoroaster Temple in the Grand Canyon. Real desert adventure from the January 1959 issue of Summit!


Mountain climber
Eastsound, Wa
Apr 1, 2012 - 11:20pm PT
Earl Wiggins and I did a route in the Garden of the gods called Tidricks. Was this put up by the same guy ?

Mountain climber
Apr 2, 2012 - 12:04am PT
Very cool.
rick d

ol pueblo, az
Apr 2, 2012 - 12:55am PT
Tidrick was living in the Springs in 1996 when i spoke to him.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 2, 2012 - 10:23am PT
Somebody tell the man that he's famous again and maybe he'll join in!

I would love to hear more from these guys as I bet this wasn't their only Grand Canyon adventure!

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Apr 2, 2012 - 11:26am PT
Saw Ganci in 2008 when the Kachinas had a reunion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Pinnacle Peak.

That Zoro's nice!


Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Apr 2, 2012 - 11:34am PT
A little light reading on the history of Grand Canyon Climbing... if I'm busting out the sidewall or diverting the thread with too much text, let me know and I'll pull it.

by John Annerino - Mountain Magazine #77 - Jan/Feb 1981

It was May, The hour was late, snow had begun to fall, and the wind would not let up. We had come prepared for the heat, that intense sort of heat which begins to sweep over the inner Canyon this time of year like a great simoon, not the last vestiges of a brutal winter still frothing down off the Canyon's north rim.

Standing there shivering, we had to make a decision. I had to make a decision: to continue climbing toward the summit and a certain cold and sleepless bivouac or to make a long and dangerous retreat down the southwest face of Zoroaster Temple. The 'temple' is a 700 ft high, Coconino sandstone spire which shoots up out of the Grand Canyon's Hermit formation like the very swifts and swallows which soar up and down its sheer walls.

Ganci had been here 20 years earlier; a pioneer of technical climbing in the Grand, he'd made the first ascent of Zoroaster Temple. So a first ascent of the Southwest Face wasn't as important to him as it was to me. Besides, his guts were still rumbling, having hastily drunk from an old tinaja (rain pocket) found earlier in the day. And Bain, he'd been here a little over a year ago to climb a new, more direct line up Zoroaster's north side, He could live with that for another year or so.

Me, I'd never been on Zoroaster except in my mind, on a bar stool, with these two fellows. Still, if I decided to push on, the three of us would need to enter a second race; like most other temple climbers we'd already entered the first: with water, or the almost total lack of it. Natural springs and perennial streams are as few in the Grand Canyon as they are difficult to reach, Consequently, that water which is needed must be carried on your back: a gallon a day per head, 8 1/2 pounds a gallon, Unless, of course, you're lucky enough to find a tinaja. But if the water's been sitting around too long, like the one Ganci dipped into, and you forgot to pack the iodine, you're liable to quaff a devastating surprise: like giardia,a vicious little amoeba that once consumed, will avalanche the inner walls of your intestines. We'd been on Zoroaster since sun-up, slowly and methodically free climbing our way up five pitches of the whitest sandstone any of us had been on in over a year - absorbing the luminescent rays of sunshine, savoring each of the leads, and knowing we were someplace special, But none of us had had any water since noon, and that was only a mouthful, Just enough to keep the saliva flowing. It was now 5:28 PM and the three litre fluid deficit I figured each of us was working on was beginning to exact its toll, ever more so for Ganci who'd been ravaged by acute G.I.'s since lunch. Even in the failing light, I could see my companion's lips were turning white along their outer edges. Obviously, we were losing the first race.

But darkness, that was the question now. Nevermind that snow was accumulating all around us. If night caught us up before we reached the Toroweap summit blocks, neither Bain nor I would be anymore fit to lead than Ganci now was. And up until the moment, night climbing had not been our specialty. Ganci and Bain continued looking at me, I could see in their indifferent expressions they'd go either way. Up or down, it was my choice. "Goddamnit, make a decision Annerino... we're freezing our asses off."

Slowly, Ganci turned towards me and shot something at me I'd shouted at him, trying to goad him into doing a difficult move, "John, it's not as hard as it looks." Bain laughed, I smiled, then looked down on the Long Arm of Buddha which both pointed and didn't point at the route we'd taken just to reach Zoroaster's Hermit Shale base: a two day approach from the South Rim, involving intricate route finding with full packs over steep and uncompromising ground. On our descent from the South Rim we'd had the heavily used Kaibab trail to guide us down through the Kaibab, Coconino, Supai, Redwall and Vishnu formations to the Colorado River.
Like the South Rim's Bright Angel trail, the Kaibab is so heavily saturated with mule piss, we'd have been better off wearing galoshes or rubber boots than mountaineering boots. But most of the nine miles and 4,200 vertical feet we'd climbed back up to reach Zoroaster's base was marked only with the occasional cairn and Bain's and Ganci's previous experience on the route.

Though I couldn't see it from my vantage, I knew up from the Long Arm of Buddha was its origin: Buddha Temple, another truly monolithic Coconino sandstone temple. Like Zoroaster, Mencius, Confucious, Brahma and numerous other temples, Buddha is a major mountain within the Grand Canyon that requires an ascent of four of the Canyon's five big formations to reach its base. Buddha's also the kind of temple which sits Lotus‑like over an entire cloister of disciples: Hattan and Manu temples, Cheops pyramid, and Sumner, Hall's, Shellbach and Clement Powell buttes. Only after a previous reconnaissance and extensive preparation did Bruce Grubbs, Mark Brown, and Chuck Parker succeed in climbing Buddha's Northeast Arete in 1973 (Grade III, 5.8, A3,free climbed at 5.9 by Joe Sharber and George Bain during the second ascent in 1979).

Across the bay to the east was Angel's Gate now cast an ethereal orange in the setting sun. Up until today, Ganci had been trying to persuade Bain and me into doing its two unclimbed summits. (The two summits were climbed by two Flagstaff, Arizona climbers Glen Rink and John Mattson during the spring, 1980). With good reason. Ganci and Phoenix climber Chuck Graff had done the first ascents of Angels Gate's two highest summits almost six years ago. But the trek to Angel's Gate is half‑again‑as difficult as it is to either Buddha or Zoroaster: requiring water hauls from Clear Creek, five miles and 4,000 feet below; and Fifth Class climbing through the Supai sandstone to reach its base, "One temple at a time," I'd told him.

Behind me I knew stood Brahma Temple, vanguard of the Ottoman Amphitheatre. At 7,551 ft, Brahma is higher than the South Rim and certainly one of the highest temples within the Canyon. First climbed by Donald David and "Doc" Ellis in 1965, Chris Keith, our ground crew of one, was the first known woman to climb its summit.

Before me and all around me were other divine temples with names like Tower of Ra, Shiva, Isis, Holy Grail, Rama Shrine, Osiris that others like Trieber, Clubb, Butchart and Cureton had stood on previous to this day. Some of them "walk‑ups" once the mountaineering problem of reaching their base had been surmounted. Others Sixth Class, requiring all the hard‑ and software that goes into big wall climbing.

Before I got on Zoroaster, there was a certain mystique to the temple names, a come‑hither quality. Now in the coming twilight, two pitches below the summit - the snow starting to back off, the wind pressing a little harder it was easy to understand why Clarence Dutton, one of the first men to map the Grand Canyon, named so many of these sandstone and limestone temples after the stupas and chedis he'd visited in the Orient during the 1800's. They were too sublime to be named after mortals.

I looked from Bain to Ganci, probing their glassy eyes for the faintest hint as what to do, Obviously, it was my choice. Yet if we pushed on and succeeded in climbing the remaining two pitches before dark, the three of us would be forced to bivouac on the wind‑swept summit, in the snow, without sleeping gear. A discomforting thought when I realized a vertical mile below neoprene leviathans were deboating passengers on the first commercial river trips of the season. I envisioned balmy temperatures, laughter, the sweet sound of water rushing.

"George, got any matches?" Even before I asked, I knew what the answer would be. But it was the kind of situation that demanded reassurance of some kind. Like Bain's hoarse voice carrying above the howl.

"Yep..." , The word hung there momentarily, only to be swept away by the bitter wind, "Uagg," I stammered. Couldn't use the no‑matches‑for‑a‑fire excuse. To press on or to back off, which will it be? Just hurry up.

"Alright, I'll make you a deal?" I said.
"What's that?" Bain yelled, ever wary of my business acumen on a climb.
"You lead that," I said pointing to a horrendous‑looking, downward leaning traverse, "and I'll lead the last pitch." There, that'll get 'im.

Nobody would willingly lead that. Bain looked up, his light parka flapping, his stomping feet as numb as Dave's and mine. He saw what I'd seen earlier, two casket‑sized blocks threatening to dislodge and embed themselves in the ledge on which we were standing if he chose the easier alternative than the traverse and climbed over the top of them. He looked back at me in disgust silently waiting for...well, if not a play‑by‑play account of how I'd do it, at least the subtle merits of leading such a frightening pitch. Naturally, I saw the route I would take, had I the panache, and so pointed it out to him much like a used car salesman. "Yessir, this little pitch is a beaut. Low miles, new paint, has all the fine lines of the later models. And I'm going to do you a favor, George, today only. I'm gonna let you have it cheap"

As cold and impatient as I now was, I wouldn't have the finesse to do the traverse without choking at least one move. And on delicate face climbing I need all the time in the world, or at least the attitude that I did. Now, I didn't. Watching Bain's eyes, it was easy to see that he wasn't exactly enchanted with the possibilities either. If he blew a move on this pitch, it'd be difficult for him to recover, and would result in a flesh ripping, bone crushing pendulum into the wall. I knew. The throbbing pain in my left ankle was a constant reminder of a move I'd blown some years ago on a rotten desert climb called "Suicide."

Having seemingly worked out the moves in his head, much like a martial artist might review his elaborate katas, soft parries and hidden counters before doing battle. Bain looked even further up, beyond his lead and into mine: an unprotectable scramble over vertical mud, into a squeeze chimney, ending in a nasty‑looking off‑width crack leading to the summit blocks. "You want it bad enough to lead that in the dark?" He said.

"I'd rather climb at night than rappel at night," I said. Nobody would argue with that, not in this bunch. "You lead the traverse, George, and I'll do the rest." That's it, just close the sale. Worry about the last pitch after he does the traverse.

Each of us held the key for one another; without them both the door to the summit would remain closed. And the two of us, along with Ganci would be forced to make a nauseating retreat down the Southwest Face in the dead of night. Clad only in flimsy parkas and heavy sweaters, we were too cold to remain at an impasse. Not that we didn't bring bivouac gear to Zoroaster's base. It's just that we'd thought the Southwest Face would go in a day, Besides, Bain did have the matches, and there was plenty of firewood a mere 200 feet above us. We'd worry about the National Park Service rangers slapping a fine on us for having a fire in a No Fire Zone later. We could always tell them we were really making a pilgrimage to Ahuramazda to ignite the Perpetual Flame of Zorastrianism, Grand Canyon Chapter. Only trouble with that is, I didn't think our Persian accents would make the nut. Not by the time we crawled off of here.

Buffeted by strong irregular gusts of wind, red‑bearded gold‑earringed Bain started up a pitch I had no desire to lead, either now or at some unspecified future date. Unquestionably, the best man for the job.
Each of his movements were as deliberate as they were cautious, because climbing on the friable likes of Grand Canyon rock is at the other end of the spectrum on which glacier‑polished granite climbing is played. What is usually a full belay stance on Yosemite granite is on Coconino, Supai and Tapeats sandstone and Kaibab and Redwall limestone often a jug‑handled bulge ready to weather at the slightest provocation.

Watching Bain's conservative techniques, I couldn't help thinking about what we'd read in the official National Park Service brochure for the Grand Canyon: "Climbing in the Canyon is dangerous: technical experts won't attempt it, so unskilled climbers shouldn't either."

In his otherwise enlightening book, "Grand Canyon: Today and All Its Yesterdays", Joseph Wood Krutch notes: "Many of the buttes have never, so far as known, been climbed..." Like any mountaineering problem where objective dangers can often play the upper hand climbing in the Canyon can be dangerous. But no matter what the National Park Service brain‑trust and natural historians would have us believe, the truth of the matter is that below the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon, there are some 150 named temples spires, towers, castles, crests and buttes and 40 to 50 unnamed ones that 'technical experts' like Dave Ganci, Larry Trieber, Bruce Grubbs, Joe Sharber and dozens of others have been climbing since the late 50's. And non‑technical climbers like Merrell Clubb, Harvey Butchart, Al Doty, Donald Davis and crew have been climbing since the late 40's.

Sagittarius Ridge, Vulcan's Throne, Krishna Shrine, Dragon Head, Tower of Set, Hindu Amphitheater, Vesta Temple... The Names, themselves, are enough to lure one - if not to attempt a climb up one of the temples, or a hike down one of the 20 or so non‑maintained miner trails that descend into the Canyon - to one of the more remote vistas for a closer, more personal look. That look you take after your film is spent, when you suddenly realize, "it really isn't a postcard." For its these very temples that give dimension and perspective to the Grand Canyon. Without them, the Canyon's seemingly infinite spatial dimension would remain incomprehensible to the mind's eye of 20th century man.

Historical Summary

Climbing in the Grand Canyon began somewhere around a thousand years ago when Pueblo Indians, using only their hands and feet, negotiated the descent of what is now known as Tiyo Point and succeeded in climbing to the table‑top summit of Shiva Temple. Unlike modern man who has to go out of his way to touch the earth and howl in the wind, the Pueblos pawed their way up Shiva in search of the flint they knew to be embedded in the Kaibab limestone formation which caps many of the Canyon's higher 'islands in the sky'. This fact was verified by the American Museum of Natural History expedition to Shiva in 1937.

Lead by Museum Curator of Animals, Dr. Harold Anthony, and accompanied by American Geographical Society mountaineers, they discovered atop Shiva pieces of pottery, primitive tools, and ruins hundreds of years old. They also couldn't help noticing rock cairns left by Emory Kolb, one time Canyon explorer, lecturer and photographer. He claimed both the first and second non‑Indian ascents of Shiva several weeks prior to the American Museum's ascent, having been rebuffed by them as a possible expedition member.

But Dr, Anthony and crew weren't out looking for arrowheads or pot shards, nor was bagging a summit their prime consideration. Rather, they were attempting to find proof for the Park Service theory at the time that perhaps "sidetracked descendants, somewhat different from mammals living today" still roamed atop forested Shiva Temple.
The well publicized American Museum party didn't find dinosaurs atop Wotan's Throne, either; though they did claim the first non‑Indian ascent of this forested, inner‑canyon plateau several weeks after climbing Shiva. In addition to Shiva Temple and Wotan's Throne, evidence has recently been discovered by canyoneers Harvey Butchart and Donald Davis that the Pueblos succeeded in climbing Elaine Castle and Guinevere Castle: two Coconino sandstone temples overlooking the North Rim's Modred Abyss. Who's to say how many other temples they climbed, whether in search of flint, making a "rite of passage" into manhood, or eluding marauding enemies?

Certainly not the scores of fever‑struck prospectors who arrived at the South Rim during the late 1800's. Responsible for constructing the 84 trails that once snaked down into the Canyon, these argonauts were too busy scouring the Canyon's depths for pay dirt in the form of gold, silver, copper and asbestos.

Once their gloryholes played out and it was generally agreed upon that the Grand Canyon was devoid of any real mineral wealth, or it was going to cost more to pack the low grade ore out than its assayed worth, miners like 'Captain' John Hance and William Wallace Bass took up the more profitable profession of guest ranching and guiding tourist down their hand‑forged trails.

With this influx of the Canyon's first tourists came the first recorded ascents of Canyon temples: with Bass and tourist climbing Mt Huethawli before 1900 and a Hance guest climbing Coronado Butte in the late 1890's. Other temples were climbed during the same period by dudes and prospectors alike. Harvey Butchart, the old master of canyoneering, believes these to be Apollo Temple, Cope Butte, Sumner Point, Dana Butte, Coronado Butte, Lookout Point, and Escalante and Cardenas Buttes. Though I think the Hopi or Anasazi can be credited with the first ascents of both Cardenas and Escalante, as there's a pre‑historic Indian route threading the pass between the two buttes. It's no more than a half‑hour scramble up the east sides of either Escalante or Cardenas for the excellent vantage that both provide.

No matter how you look at it, though, the first posthumous "ascent" of a Grand Canyon temple has to go to William Wallace Bass. After his death in 1933, his ashes were scattered from an airplane over Holy Grail Temple. Sometimes known us Bass Tomb, Holy Grail is the focal point for the Shinumo Amphitheater.

But all this is the very beginning of climbing in the Grand Canyon. Things didn't really get serious until a math professor from Northern Arizona University came along in the fall of 1945 and took his first hike into the Canyon. Little did he know at the time that there before him stood waiting a lifetime of adventure. His name and it's one you should remember if ‑ you have any ambitious plans for the Canyon is J. Harvey Butchart. Since that first hike down the Kaibab trail, Butchart has spent over 800 days of weekends, semester breaks, and summer vacations coming to know the Grand Canyon like no other modern man. During that time he's logged well over 15,000 miles of trekking in the Canyon much of it off‑trail; discovered 96 rim‑to‑river routes, (in 1882 the noted geologist Clarence Dutton proclaimed there were only four, each within a days journey of the next); pioneered 154 breaks through the Redwall formation, the most formidable and rotten of the Canyon's major barriers; and climbed to the summits either alone or with others of 78 temples, close to fifty of them being recorded as first ascents. Butchart's not one to brag, however. On the contrary he's a modest man, probably too modest for what he's accomplished. "I've only poked around a little," he told me in a recent conversation.

If you've ever been off‑trail in the Canyon, even for a few minutes, you'll realize just how much of an understatement that is. Especially if you've seen Harvey's crumpled old map of the Grand Canyon. It's mind boggling, for it's virtually covered with felt tipped lines and dashes, X's and dates for bivouacs and summits,and W's for water sources.
Looking at it, mouth agape, you begin to realize earth's grandest maze has been worked out on foot by one man who's had no more than two close calls during his thirty‑odd years of hiking and climbing in the Canyon.

Even at 73 years of age the now-retired math professor is not one to sit on his duff and wait for the golden years to catch up with him. During the heat of June 1978, Butchart hiked up and down the length of the Canyon's seldom‑visited Kanab Creek...at his unusually rapid pace. Many a story has been told by experienced climbers and hikers, 40 to 50 years younger, about trying to stay on the heels of this "old man." Again, it's The Map; one only has to hear about it to understand why Butchart's so fast. No supplementary jogging or swimming for this fellow - straight canyoneering.

Even the Park Service would like to get their hands on Harvey's map to display for the 3 1/2 million tourists who visit the Grand Canyon each year. Because on his map all the questions have been worked out ‑ physically. But again, it's Butchart's kind modesty, preferring to stay out of the limelight, offhandedly noting that those who do technical climbs in the Canyon "are after quality climbs. I'm just doing the easy ones." Right.

The future for Harvey: "I'd still like to do Vishnu Temple and Claude Birdseye Point. But first I'm going to do Manu and, if I can find a way, Schellbach Butte." No doubt Harvey Butchart will find a way: the same way he's managed to do everything else he's done in the Canyon in his spare time; the same way he's managed to climb over forty of Colorado's 53 Fourteener's (14,000 foot peaks) during the last half‑dozen summers. Even Butchart had a predecessor, though, and that was Merrell Clubb, a onetime professor of Old English (specializing in Beowulf) at the University of Kansas. Before Butchart climbed Shiva Temple in 1957, his first, Clubb had already climbed ten and was laying the groundwork for numerous other first ascents in the Canyon. Like Cheops Pyramid, King Arthur's Castle, Vishnu Temple, Wotan's Throne, and others. Though the 1937 American Museum of Natural History expedition claimed the first non-Indian ascent of Wotan, Clubb doubted their success For two reasons. First, they'd promised to build a signa] fire atop Wotan's Throne; they did not. Secondly, Clubb, who's been to the top of Wotan on three separate occasions - no easy feat - doubts the American Museum party could have climbed Wotan as fast as was published in a 1937 issue of the American Alpine Journal. Butchart, who's climbed to the top of Wotan and back to the North Rim in 29 1/2 hours, however, believes it was possible for the American Museum party to have climbed Wotan. And that Walter Wood, leader of the climbing party, said "I wouldn't have endangered the forest by lighting a fire on the summit of Wotan." No matter, the Pueblos got there first.

Along in September of 1959 came a sometime adventurer who'd worked his way on a tuna boat from Panama all the way to Valparaiso to climb Chile's 22,835' high Aconcagua. Dave Ganci returned to the Grand Canyon with plans to do "its first real rock climb" His objective, the then unclimbed Zoroaster. But the actual climb would only be half the problem. At the time not even Butchart had discovered the key to getting through that unrelenting, sometimes overhanging Redwall barrier. Ganci and his partner, Rick Tidrick, did much groping, back‑tracking, and re‑ascending to pioneer the now standard Fourth Class approach through the Redwall. Remarkable, in and of itself, considering the loads they were carrying and the month during which they did it. Even in the cooler month of September, the climb up to Zoroaster's base is not considered one of your more pleasurable Canyon strolls. Sunup to sunset, most of the route is bathed in sunlight; in the Zoroaster Amphitheater during September, that can mean F100 plus degrees.

Once atop the Redwall, Ganci and Tidrick picked their way through vertical and overhanging sections of the Supai formation, eventually arriving exhausted at Zoroaster's base at the end of Day 2. The following morning, still suffering from the approach, they quickly picked out what they thought to be Zoroaster's weakest line.
With vintage climbing gear and a quart of water apiece, the two of them started up Zoroaster's north side, climbing through the heat of the day and into the late afternoon of Day 3. Still three pitches below the summit, Ganci and Tidrick were faced with The Decision: to retreat, or to bivouac where they were and try to finish the climb the next morning. They were out of water and possibly, just possibly, the quart of water each of them had stashed in their packs 400 feet below would get them all the way back down to Phantom Ranch where they could drown themselves in the icy waters of Bright Angel Creek.

Knowing others were "standing in line to do Zoro," Ganci and Tidrick decided to burn their bridges. Their summer of running up and down Squaw Peak and skulking around the Arizona Sonoran desert midday paid off. At 11:05 AM on 11 September, 1959, Dave Ganci and Rick Tidrick completed the 1st ascent of what is now regarded by many temple climbers to be the classic Canyon climb, (Grade IIl, 5,7).

Once Butchart and Clubb had pioneered many of the approaches, Redwall notches, and 3rd and 4th Class temples, and Ganci and Tidrick proved that technical climbs in the Canyon could be successful - given the speed and tenacity - the temples started to fall. One‑by‑one, both technical and non‑technical, over forty temple summits were climbed for the "first" time by the likes of Merrell Clubb, Donald David, Allyn Cureton (who once held the record for running the 20.6 miles from the North to South Rims in 3 hours, 56 minutes), Butchart, and others.
Butchart set the record, having climbed 5 temples in six days during July, 1965 ; they are Chuar Lava Hill, Espejo and Lava Buttes, and Apollo and Venus Temples, and are located on the Canyon's east end.

During this same period Ganci and Jerry Robertson, a Hughes Airwest pilot, were making serious plans for another major first ascent. This time Mt, Sinyala, which looms over the colorful and heavily travelled Havasu Creek on the Canyon's west end. After three separate attempts, spread over a period of five months during the first half of 1969, Ganci and Robertson finally reached the 5434' summit of Mt, Sinyala, only to discover a four foot high cairn and a note "U,C,L,A. 1958." Needless to say, they were not amused. Nor was this the last time temple climbers discovered summit cairns while putting down a first ascent. As late as 1977, climbers have found evidence atop Canyon temples predating their first ascent.

After several prior attempts by experienced Flagstaff, Arizona climbers, Mark Ohlman, Ken Walters, and Neal Kershflink eventually succeeded in doing the first ascent of Dana Butte, a less-than‑solid Redwall limestone temple situated 2,000 feet below the South Rim's Hopi Point. Once atop the 5030' high summit of Dana, the Ohlman party discovered large pieces of old rope. To say the least, they were baffled. I asked Harvey Butchart about this and he said, "in 1919 one of the Canyon's more ambitious entrepreneurs wanted to build a scenic tramway across the Canyon...from Hopi Point down to Dana, across the river to the Tower of Set, and back up to Tiyo Point." No minor undertaking.

Next to Zoroaster Temple, Mt, Hayden off the North Rim's Point Imperial is probably one of the most photographed temples in the Grand. Being 400 feet of Coconino sandstone, undisputedly the best Canyon rock to climb on, also made Mt. Hayden a classic Canyon temple. Another factor that made Hayden such a plumb and a popular temple climb today, was its more enjoyable 21/2 hour approach, versus one‑to‑two days for most other Canyon temples. Ushering in a new wave of climbing in the Canyon, Bob Sigler and Rick Petrillo succeeded in climbing this truly magnificent piece of 'coke' during October 1969 (Grade III, 5.7).

Led by Larry Trieber, one of Arizona's most prolific rock climbers, the 70's in the Grand Canyon turned into a mad scramble for anything that hadn't already been climbed.
Close to fifty temples were climbed for the first time: with Trieber, Grubbs, and crew doing Fifth Class ascents of Malgosa Crest, Holy Grail Temple, Brady Peak, and Cardenas (or Wolf) Pinnacle all at the 5,8 level or above. Butchart claimed nine summits in the 4th Class range; while Flagstaff climber Mark Ohlman also claimed nine in both 4th and 5th Class. In fact, if Butchart were to look over either shoulder, he'd see Ohlman nipping at his heels like an eager protege, Ohlman having climbed over 60 temples during this period.

Ganci, accompanied by fellow Phoenix climber Chuck Graff, displayed his usual tenacity and inherent reptilian qualities by doing the first ascent of the difficult‑to‑reach‑from‑either‑rim Angel's Gate during April 1972: an otherwise attractive Coconino sandstone temple that had repulsed a group of Colorado climbers 2 years earlier.

Surprisingly few climbers from outside the southwestern United States have actually climbed in the Grand Canyon. Except for a group of British Columbia climbers who did the first ascent of O'Neil Butte at the end of the South Rim's Cedar Ridge in 1962; and Englishmen Pat Littlejohn and John Mothersele who put up the difficult (5.10) Book of Genesis, also off the South Rim. But even climbers of Littlejohn's and Mothersele's calibre failed to recognize the Canyon's climbing potential other than what lines might be picked out on the hundred's of miles of the 350 foot high Coconino sandstone band which rims the Canyon on both sides. Perhaps, it's engrained in the psyche, "Hike to the bottom of the Canyon and back." That's all! After all, that is what it is, a hole.

Of all the Canyon climbers I've spoken with, Larry Trieber best capsulizes why people climb in the Grand Canyon.

"The problems of climbing temples in the Canyon are as complex as those found in remote mountain ranges. Only the climbs are located in a vast canyon, and are on desert mountains."

When doing the first ascent of Holy Grail Temple with Bruce Grubbs in 1977, Trieber came quite close to christening Bass Tomb as the official North Rim boneyard. While leading Holy Grail's final pitch, Trieber pulled on a large rock which happened to be the keystone for the tons of loose rubble behind it. Straddling the funnel(5.8) with a hand and foot on each wall, Trieber watched in horror as an avalanche of sandstone debris rumbled and cascaded between his legs.

Larry Trieber is alive and well today and has recently completed a major first ascent of the colossal Kwagunt Butte with team members Dennis Abbink, Jim Haggert, and Bruce Grubbs ("Sunflower" Grade IV, 5.9). Which brings me to my next question What's unclimbed? And now??

By their very nature and willingness to hump murderous loads of water and climbing gear over intimidating terrain for days on end, temple climbers are an understandably laconic, occasionally crusty, lot to deal with. Most of the sixty or so Canyon climbers would sooner bum Butchart's map themselves than have the Park Service display it with all its answers. Even if I wanted to - which I don't - I'm under the threat of death not to identify the fewer than 30 named, and two dozen unnamed, temples below the North and South Rims. I can tell you this, though, without fear of having my head caved in by a retired piton hammer. The majority of unclimbed temples require, if not a thorough knowledge of canyoneering, a mini‑expedition. For they are located, if not on the Canyon's periphery, in its more inhospitable and inaccessible areas. They also demand careful logistical planning; preplanned water caches; a technical ascent of one or more of the Big Five formations; and the ability to move Butchart‑like.

Of the 122 named temples already climbed, there remain countless new routes to be done as most of their summits have only been reached by their original routes. An outstanding example of this was the second route done on Mt, Hayden in 1977. Under the watchful eyes of tourists and NPS rangers, Joe Sharber, George Bain and Abra Watkins put up a Comici like route on Hayden's north side at Grade IV, 5.9, A3. Free climbed at 5.10 by Larry Trieber and Frank Hill on the 2nd ascent during September 1977, Watkins claims the first Afro‑American ascents of Hayden and Zoroaster.

Then, of course, there's always that immaculate, virtually unprobed, Coconino sandstone band - if, for some reason, you're not enamored with Batan Death March-type approaches.

Someday, a John Harlin‑like Grade VI will be made straight up from the Colorado River through all the major geological formations 5,000 feet to the summit of a Canyon temple. Then, it's rumored that's what it will take to do the last of the Grand Canyons unsolved problems

* * *

"You got me Annerino?"
Bain was on the crux. If successful the three of us would be guaranteed a stance at the bottom of the final pitch; if not, he would take a sixty-footer to the ledge below and pendulum into my lap, possibly dislodging those two blocks perched above us, "I got you," I yelled? I was tense. Ganci gave me one of those "Oh sh#t, this is it" looks. We both remembered the 25 footer Bain took on the 4th pitch , violently jerking me five feet up in the air and almost uprooting the three bushes Ganci and I were anchored to. Not a pleasant feeling. The thin line between continuing the climb and the three of us, all roped together, hurtling through space over the Zoroaster Amphitheatre to our water cache three‑thousand feet below. A bolt would have precluded that feeling, that possibility, but we were trying to be ethical, for crissakes.

Slowly, the now snow‑covered dark figure stretched down to his right. The hold was just beyond his reach, an inch, no more than two. He paused, ever so briefly then relaxed.
Without saying as much, we all realized this was Zero Defect country. He had to get himself together. I was detached, If it happened there was nothing to be done about it. Ganci seemed equally resigned. Bain...well, I could feel the clonus from his right leg resonate back down the rope into my cold palms. My only conscious worry was Chris, my lady waiting for us down below. Could she negotiate her way down through the Hermit and Redwall bands? I thought she could; she assured me she couldn't, not without a rope. Then she could always hail one of the dozen or more Bell Ranger helicopters that periodically swept through, and frequently landed on (albeit illegally), the Brahma/Zoroaster saddle each day.

Our only reminder that we weren't alone in this special place. That there were others trying to experience the Canyon's incomparable splendor, its monotony.

Bain had to do it now; we all knew it. As if prompted by some internal, atavistic cue, Bain stretched back down even further than he had before. There he grasped it, politely at first to make sure it wouldn't come off in his fingers. When Bain realized the hold was sound, I could feel the relief reverberate back down the length of perlon.

"You f*#ker, Annerino!"
That small hold, we all realized, was the key to the "Twilight Traverse." Without it, our passage would be barred. We'd wanted to do the first ascent of the Southwest Face all nuts, all free, so we purposely didn't come equipped for any aid climbing.

I turned and looked at Ganci, still holding his guts, "Guess it's my turn," I said. He nodded silently.

Once Bain tied off, I started up, easily seconding what it'd taken our friend several hours to lead. I didn't bother removing any of the protection he had taken so much care to place. There was no time for that. The approaching threat of night would soon be our uninvited guest. Once atop the pitch, I grabbed what remained of the gear rack from around Bain's neck and slung it around my own much like a condemned man.

"Your turn," he said.

"Glad I didn't lead that," I said, squeezing his shoulder like a brother in hopes that he'd be caught up by the camaraderie of the moment and volunteer to lead the last pitch as well. But no such luck

"Wait till you see the off‑width," he said, trying to laugh off the last of his fears, "I don't want to look, George," He laughed again, then lit up a leftover piece of stogie.

It was midnight when Ganci finally reached us.

The wind was still blowing, covering our thighs, eyelashes and handholds above with snow. He was barely strong enough to jumar, so there'd be no trying to pimp him into leading the final pitch even if I'd wanted to.

Hastily, I tore the flashlight out of Ganci's mouth and inserted it in my own. It was my lead, Ganci's belay. There was no time for back slapping. We were losing a grim third race with fatigue - we'd already lost the second. Bain had since crawled between two rocks, like the iguana he is, out of the blowing snow and into a sandstone womb. After such a terrifying lead, he deserved it. He knew, as we all did, I wouldn't exactly sprint up what I would come to know as the "Midnight Crack."

Cautiously - to say the least - I started up, the small Duracell powered beam shining the way; it was now as much a part of me as a Lhasa Apso's third eye. Even with the aid of the light, I was on ground more suitable for ice axe and crampons, not slick soled P.A.s.

The mud on the dividing line of Coconino sandstone and Toroweap limestone being too soft and crumbly to make a genuine purchase with either boot or fingertips. Had I anything in my stomach, it would have been all over the rock in front of me; any moisture left in my tear ducts, they would have been running freely. Not real happy. Yet I'd have to amuse myself somehow before the situation grabbed hold of me completely.

An interesting problem, no doubt about that, I thought to myself. I'll take it a foot at a time...no sense going after the head of the beast in the dark. Not with Ganci sleeping on belay.

Carefully, I took the light out of my mouth and shouted into the night. "Dave ! You awake?" I couldn't do this alone. "...huh, yeah...I gotcha..." Or could I?

I tugged the rope and continued groping, occasionally looking down on the Long Arm of Buddha for some sort of spiritual guidance; there was none. I wanted desperately to sleep; fatigue was about to drop the hammer on me. I wanted to be warm; cold was knifing its way into my very being. I didn't want to be alone; but there was no other choice now. If I can just stay awake long enough to finish the lead, I thought, the three of us might make it. I carefully took a fold of my upper lip and shoved it between the plastic flashlight casing and my eye teeth. So whenever fatigue darted in from its ever‑toughening circle, all I had to do was bite down until I could feel the pain, the warm trickle of blood.
I was climbing for my life.

Each foot I gained, I'd yell to Dave - flashlight in mouth, "Dave...hey Dave...you awake..." But it always took the second or third cry to pry him from his sleep. "...yeah...yeah...I gotcha..."

"Just checking!" Once over the mud arete, there was no backing off. I was committed. I arrived at the base of the chimney and decided to place a bolt, the fourth such bolt I'd placed during our 18 continuous hours of climbing.

Normally, screaming, scatalogical inner‑dialogue would ensue as to the merits of placing or not placing such "unnatural protection." Now, there was none. My mind's opposing forces, though whimpering independently, were still. Fear had since trampled over me. I was far above my sleeping belayer with no anchors between us, except for two medium sized nuts 30 feet below. But even when I'd placed them, I knew they were only psychological pieces, just enough to cajole me into climbing the next five or ten feet to "easier" ground.

I fumbled for the bolt driver, to which I'd already attached a bolt, and commenced hammering. I remembered the last time I'd debated the aesthetics of placing a bolt. I was doing a new route in the Superstition Wilderness. Back and forth the argument raged within me, until common sense finally won out. Shortly after I'd placed it, a handhold pulled off and I fell fifty feet into my belayer's lap. That bolt had prevented a grounder.

The bolt now placed, I clipped into it and fought my way into the chimney. "I'm safe here," I thought once inside. "No exposure...no exposure at night, anyway. So what are you thinking?" I was getting groggier, so I bit down harder. Using my kneecaps and the palms of my hands in front of me, my heels, buttocks, and shoulders behind me, I started shinnying my way further up. More often than not, I'd slip a half‑foot back for every foot gained.

A series of Alien‑looking chock stones loomed menacingly over me. And before struggling past, I'd carefully thread each of them with a runner wondering how much weight it would take to pull the whole bloody works down on top of me. I moved up again, cursing, grunting, biting deeper into my lips. If I fell here within the chimney, and didn't avalanche the chockstones, there would be no need to rely on my belayer - even if he were awake. Because nothing would slow me down quicker than some wedged femurs, compounded fractures, perhaps a dislocated hip. There was comfort in that sullen fantasy, so I didn't waste what little energy I had left trying to keep my belayer awake, as well.

If I were lucky, the chimney would continue widening above me and end in a comfortable foetal cave leading to the summit. I followed it, wondering if this dream would come true. But the higher I climbed the more disoriented I became. I had no real sense of up or down; only that this was the way I'd entered the chimney, so that's the direction I continued to travel - head first.

When my helmet smashed on the ceiling above, my worst fears were confirmed. A dead end. There'd be no caving to the summit on this route. Nausea stood shoulder‑to‑shoulder with fear as I started back down, retracing thirty of the hardest feet I'd ever climbed. There was no need to down climb. As long as I could control it, gravity would work to my advantage. All I had to do was provide enough friction with my wadded up body to prevent The Fall.

The Long Arm of Buddha was no longer with me, though that's exactly what it was going to take to do the crux. I could see nothing below me except northern Arizona's own Black Hole, precious little above me except night.
If I were going to die, I was going to try to do it in control climbing as I never had before. For above was that off‑width Bain had spied from below, the crux of the Midnight Crack. And it was arching up and out over me, defying me to enter it. The ultimate "up yours."

Firmly believing I was about to die, I threaded the last chock, inserted my left hand and arm in the overhanging crack above, and squeezed and contorted them both until the pain brought a certain sense of clarity to me: an almost pleasurable pain. I mean, when a jam hurts that much, you know it's going to hold your entire body, even in the unlikely event you fell asleep.

Drawing in all my mental and physical energy, I focused it into my left arm and pulled; when I did, I felt as though I were going to pull all of Zoroaster down on top of me. I didn't let up; I couldn't. Instead I stemmed my right leg against the wall in front of me, repeatedly missing the crucial nubbin with my quivering right foot. I began shaking all over. My left arm was beginning to dislocate, and I felt myself start to go. I screamed, "AGGHH!" And began whimpering uncontrollably, until suddenly the cries stopped as quickly as they'd begun.

"I gotcha, John."
"Get us off here, Annerino."

But their voices were from another world. Both of them straining to see that which they couldn't, except that fading microdot of light.

I held my breath and concentrated harder, this time grabbing my left arm with my right hand trying to prevent a fatal dislocation. Hanging there by my fist, I tried to relax my right leg as best as I could and focused it on that small nubbin now showcased by the flickering beam of light. The batteries were starting to go and I could taste the salt from the blood running out of the side of my mouth.

Softly, the toe of my boot touched the nubbin; I could feel it. When the light came back on, I could see it. I pressed against it, caressing it at first to make sure it would hold. When I thought it would, I pushed against it harder until I could feel the immense burden being taken off my twisted and pain‑wracked arm.

Relief started to come over me like a warm, gentle wave when I realized I was actually negotiating the crux. Yet, I had to drive away this feeling of well being or sure‑as‑shit it would grab hold of me and leave me helpless thirty feet below the summit. It'd happened to better men; it damn sure wouldn't happen to me.

With both arms digging their way into the crack, my bruised left knee braced below, my right leg fully stemmed and torqued, I moved up. Just a few more feet, I thought, and I'd spit the flashlight out of my mouth and pull the incisors out of my lip...

Once over the Toroweap, I collapsed, only to be awakened by the numbing cold and echoes of screaming voices. "Annerino...hey!...you awake..."

I drew up my left leg which had been dangling over the edge, and crawled to the nearest bush where I "anchored" the rope. "Alright," I yelled, wiping the blood away from the side of my mouth, "we're up!"

Standing there shivering in the snow and wind, second stage hypothermia waiting in the wings, I suddenly realized how right Dutton was. These temples were too grand to be named after mere mortals.
Access & Resources
And this is where I could get myself in trouble with fellow temple climbers if I gave a damn; I don't. Rather, I firmly believe what Warren Harding once said. "Elitists will argue that it is necessary to discourage the masses from mountain areas. No doubt this would work quite well in a feudal system where a small nobility had complete control of the peasantry. But such is not the case ‑ theoretically, at least, this country operates as a democracy... All, worthy or not, have equal right to public lands. Again, theoretically, the use and preservation of our mountain areas would seem to depend on the vote of the masses. How, then, can we expect the support of the average citizen in conservation if he is told the mountains are too good for him that they should be reserved for the minority of self‑styled "good guys?"

The shaded relief map, Grand Canyon National Park, (printed by the U.S. Geological Survey} is a valuable aid when it comes to plotting your course in the Canyon, as is Bradford Washburn's new map, The Heart of the Grand Canyon, (produced by the Cartographic Division of the National Geographic Society}.

To put these maps and others, and this guide, into better perspective, you would do well to get a copy of Grand Canyon Perspectives: A Guide to the Canyon Scenery by Interpretive Panoramas by Kenneth Hamblin and Joseph R. Murphy, (Published by H & M Distributors, Box 7085, University Station, Provo, Utah 84602). But for The Clues, and there are precious few of them written down, Grand Canyon Treks by Harvey Butchart is The Book? (Published by La Siesta Press, Box 406, Glendale, California 91209).

Without it, you might find yourself hard pressed to even get to a temple base. With or without these aids, don't expect the National Park Service to go out of their way to see that you have an enjoyable climb. Technical and non‑technical climbing in the Grand Canyon as well as river crossings and overnight camping ‑ is by Permit Only. An application with a detailed itinerary, route description and climbing resume must be filed with the "B.R.O." (Backcountry Reservation Office) at the N.P.S. amusement park on the South Rim even before your first aid kit and climbing equipment is inspected by a "climbing" Ranger. Be patient,though, because if you haven't already climbed in the Canyon, as Pat Littlejohn so deftly pointed out in his article Grand Canyon Climb (Mountain 56}, the delays and hassles often make you wonder just exactly what it is the National Park Service brain trust is up to. Officially established as a National Park on April 30, 1920, their guidelines were to protect the natural environment and eliminate exploitive activities.

And while they'll bait the public with,and extol at length about, the virtues and human spirit of earlier ‑ now bigger than life Grand Canyon explorers, pioneers and adventurers, as far as 20th century man is concerned the Real Adventure is dead. Somewhere along the way, their vision got twisted. And not only does this Big Brother want to protect man from himself, but will only sanction those activities he deems worthy of the Canyon's image and their coffers: like mule trains, which not only have the right‑of‑way over people on the Bright Angel and Kaibab trails, but more often than not make one wonder if you couldn't get the same feeling by thumbing through a slick, coffee‑table picture book while shoveling road apples behind a parade.

Or the innumerable commercial airplane and helicopter flights which swarm through otherwise remote and once peaceful bays and amphitheaters carrying fat cats unwilling to pay any real dues. The experience some climbers, hikers and canyoneers have said is more like "walking point" through a country under siege, than trying to experience the once primeval intimacy of the most sublime and awesome natural arena on earth. In a manner, I might add, most saddle‑weary dudes, goosenecking greed‑heads, and Scenic Vista‑bound naturalists refuse to, Or...but I'd best not get carried away in print, lest some fervent, desk‑bound Back Country Ranger take it upon himself to forever revoke my climbing permit.
Suffice to say, is the day far off when the summits of the highest mountains on earth will be brought down to the level of every man, woman and child on the planet ‑ regardless of their disposition and the long range consequences to both Mother Nature and man' s relationship to her?

On the other hand, as Grand Canyon climber and boatman George Bain carefully points out, "before the Park Service enforced regulations for river running, beaches were being trashed out from garbage and porta‑potties. Before the Park Service enforced hiking permits, people were delimbing trees and shitting in creeks. So many of their regulations were a response to over‑use and abuse born more out of people's ignorance than anything else. What would you do if the trailhead limitations for back country users were lifted and you went for a hike down the South Bass expecting solitude, only to discover 45 other hikers down there with you?" A good point, and I agree that the Park Service is not only faced with the immense burden of protecting this natural wonder, but a dilemma few of their administrators, concessioners and users agree on. But wouldn't they really do better to orient and educate back country users than try to intimidate them? Over 40,000 people use the back country each year, Yet the B.R.O. on the South Rim does not yet have a comprehensive, multi‑media presentation which not only outlines the damage man can, and has, inflicted on this fragile, non‑renewable eco‑system but the inherent dangers and objective hazards of inner‑Canyon foot travel. Had such a presentation been made available to every hiker who registered at the B.R.O., and every pontoon‑rider who rafted the Colorado, last year the Park Service may have prevented a drowning as well as saved themselves the $25,000 they'd spent looking for one "lost" hiker. What a refreshing change it would be if these over‑worked Rangers and Rangerettes greeted you with a smile and a "Have you seen our slide show?" as southern California's Anza‑Borrego State Park does so successfully - than their usual frown and "What have you done to deserve a permit in our park" attitude? Then, perhaps this dilemma and others could be put into better perspective if you personally wrote: Richard Marks, Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park Headquarters, Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023 U.S.A.

Due to the fact that "the North Rim is eroded back from the River 3 to 4 times farther than the South Rim," most temples are situated on the north side of the Colorado River: the majority being located within the Vishnu and Bright Angel quadrangle. Whether on the north or south side of the River, however, many temples are best approached from the South Rim, while others can only be reached from the North. This is when re-consulting the appropriate topographical map pays off in aces. It is also worth note that the North Rim is usually buried under a half‑dozen feet of snow from December through April. So unless your objective can be reached from the South Rim (necessating a swim or mattress float through dangerous currents and 45 degree water if your route doesn't cross the Kaibab suspension bridge), be prepared to wait until the snow melts or make a 40 mile ski‑tour one way from Jacob's Lake.

Technical or non‑technical objective, be prepared for long and difficult approaches. What takes Harvey Butchart 8 hours to do, most often takes others encumbered with heavy packs or not half‑again‑as‑much to twice as long. And remember, what often looks like a feasible route on your map is often barred by at least one of the Big Five formations: frequently two, (Kaibab limestone; Coconino sandstone; Supai sandstone/Hermit Shale; Redwall/Temple Butte/Muav limestones; and the G.C. Series (Tapeats and Archaen).) Lastly, be careful not to burn too many bridges; the inner‑Canyon can be considered a desert for all practical purposes, it can be as unforgiving as any high altitude objective.

A historical introduction combined with a personal account of the climbing possibilities in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, Arizona. Appended is a table of the summits within the Canyon confines. The route on Southwest Face, Zoroaster Temple is grade IV, 5.9, all nuts except 4 bolt stances.

Apr 2, 2012 - 07:13pm PT
Zoroaster Bump!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2012 - 11:02am PT
Nice addition Greg!

Now we have a great Grand Canyon history thread in the making...

Social climber
Apr 3, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
Thanks for posting this. Excellent story of a grand adventure.

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Apr 3, 2012 - 04:00pm PT
Cool stuff. Getting around in the GC is burly. Carrying all that gear in 100 degree temps must have been brutal!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 21, 2012 - 10:09pm PT
Bumps with long approaches...

Apr 22, 2012 - 07:53pm PT
I'll bump this with my trip report just to show that modern mere mortals can have a good time on this rascal.


This is a great climb with an awesome summit. More stories?

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 16, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
Bump for islands in the sky...

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Mar 16, 2013 - 08:18pm PT
Thanks for the bump Steve.
I was just telling someone how much I want to climb one of the temples.
Bucket list sh#t.

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 16, 2013 - 10:59pm PT
Zoroaster is AWESOME!

In my opinion, one of the middle pitches is the new crux after some rock fall. You either climb a very, very sandy vertical hand crack or do some weird face moves to the right of it. The top pitch is actually really good crack climbing and very secure!

We walked down to phantom ranch from the south rim starting after sun down one evening. The next day we hoped to hike up to the saddle between zoroaster and brahma temple to camp, but stopped early. The following day we did the last technical section of the approach and then climbed zoroaster. after the climb we bivied at the saddle and then the next morning i woke up and did brahma temple before the walk back down to phantom ranch. The approach is super gnarly with tricky route finding and some fairly serious scrambling.

Brahma is a totally worthy 4th class scramble if anyone is curious about that, it also has magnificent views!

Another party of two with us did a traverse, they tagged zoroaster, then brahma, then deva, then down to phantom ranch in a day from the saddle. It sounded like an adventure.

I'm not sure about the best way to do it, it is really fun to camp up there, but packs get heavy quick with all the water one needs. All of our packs were about 70lbs when we left phantom ranch, mostly due to water. it might be better just to do the climb in one long day, phantom to phantom, or you could try car to car, which has been done but sounded epic.

Mar 16, 2013 - 11:36pm PT
The Temples. Those things are a must at least once. To be in the middle of the Grand Canyon like that. Crazy!

I agree franky that middle pitch is now the crux on Zoro's N. Face route. I've climbed it both ways and also before the old pitch fell off. I think I've been up there 5 times now. Brahma maybe 3 or 4.

I tried to do Zoro in a day car to car in 95 and made it out worked in 26 hours. I went back 8 or so years ago and did Zoro and Brahma with some hilarious buddies in 22 hrs car to car. We even napped a bit. I had it dialed and we had the fitness. (barely) Good combo

Those are the only two I have done. Seems a shame since I lived in AZ for years. Many years to come....

Cool read! Thanks

Go Grand Canyon!

Bob J
Cam Burns

Social climber
Mar 21, 2013 - 12:36am PT
Earl Wiggins and I did a route in the Garden of the gods called Tidricks. Was this put up by the same guy ?

Yes, same guy.

BTW: Anthill Direct [in Eldo] has been for years accorded the wrong date according to Rick. Here are my footnotes regarding that for a book I'll likely never finish because of lawyers who unfortunately don't understand publishing and reporting.

"Source: Rick Tidrick interview, May 29, 2010. Tidrick also noted that in 1959 he and Layton climbed Anthill Direct, another climb that has been recorded with various dates (because by 1960 he had left Colorado and was studying law in Arizona—“Definitely not ’61”).

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Mar 21, 2013 - 02:05am PT
Cam: Are you saying that you'll probably never finish the Kor book? Or is that some other project than Layton's?
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
Sometime back in the mid-60s, I think, Dave Ganci sat in the middle of my livingroom floor with sketches and photos, trying to coax me into accompanying him on another Zoraster Temple ascent. I didn't know Dave at all. I had only met him once before. Right now I have no idea why he chose me as a potential climbing partner. Memories fade.

In retrospect and in light of what I've just tead, I'm glad I didn't take him up on his offer.
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