Rubidoux History

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Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 9, 2012 - 07:16pm PT
Many of us (Stonemasters) grew up and learned how to climb here. I was fortunate to get scads of hand's on instruction from Paul Gleason, starting when I was a soph. in high school and Paul was one of the great boulderers who had visited Ft. Collins and other places and knew what Gill was up to. Many from Paul's generation including his brother Phil, Phil Haney, Jim Barker, the incredible Ben Boreson and more established most of the classic problems out there but nobody is sure which ones and by whom. So I'm starting this thread to try and unearth a little history on what is a very historical local site and watershed area for 70s So Cal hardcore.

The Bridge area. A fantastic back story on this Monument to Peace.
The Bridge area. A fantastic back story on this Monument to Peace.
Credit: Largo

Our Mentor: Paul Gleason
Our Mentor: Paul Gleason
Credit: Largo


Teflon, in the old PAs, circa 1971.
Teflon, in the old PAs, circa 1971.
Credit: Largo


JL
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 9, 2012 - 07:22pm PT
I've got nothing to contribute in terms of history; only love for the place. I learned to climb at Rubidoux at 13. I still love going there.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Apr 9, 2012 - 08:22pm PT
Largo, dig the so cal threads. thx for keeping the climbing content rolling.

It was the first place I climbed with my uncle about the same age as Fat Dad's. Our next trip after this was Tahquitz. He wanted to see what I could do before getting on the real rock, I think. He let me TR the 10c Smooth Sole - Right. I damn near pulled it off without hanging. But it was thin, even in the 80s.


I would occasionally see Jean Fradette out there. That guy was a hero to me because he could traverse that wall at Hart Park in his street "shoe" which were boots. Loved chatting him up in REI Orange store, back when that store was in the mall.

He's pictured in the Hellweg guide to Southern California, IIRC, on that same slab. "English Smooth Sole Slab" - looks like hes' doing the 11a though.

As for pics, I got nothing old old, but a pic from the early 90s, I think...



It's on the West Side of the hill, not too far from that massive parking (heroin needles) lot. Forgot the name again.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 9, 2012 - 11:59pm PT
Been a few times over the years. Fun spot.

Joe Brown at Rubidoux
Joe Brown at Rubidoux
Credit: Brian in SLC

Jam Crack at English Smooth Sole at Rubidoux
Jam Crack at English Smooth Sole at Rubidoux
Credit: Brian in SLC

Rubidoux...indeed...
Rubidoux...indeed...
Credit: Brian in SLC
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 10, 2012 - 01:07am PT
climbed there 1970-1972, but not very much...
remember getting there on my buddies Kawasaki 90, the two of us... from Claremont...

also driving up the down road when the gate was locked

but I don't remember a lot of the bouldering, Jam Crack yes, Candle Sticks yes... but that's about all I can dredge up

great thread, hopefully it will expand to describe the history of an important center of SoCal climbing.
Mark Not-circlehead

climber
Martinez, CA
Apr 10, 2012 - 01:38am PT
Just down the road is Roubidoux wall (aka the quarry), where I performed my very first lead, back in 1984.
neversummer

Trad climber
30 mins. from suicide USA
Apr 10, 2012 - 10:19am PT
I got no history either but damn the place is awesome to hone yur chops and talk some shite with yur buds...

Greetings from Riverside.
Greetings from Riverside.
Credit: neversummer
bc

climber
Prescott, AZ
Apr 10, 2012 - 11:15am PT
I grew up in Riverside and learned to climb at Rubidoux in the late 70s. I used to go several days a week. One time a friend and I ducked under a boulder during a storm, another climber was nearby and he dove in also - it was you, Largo. We had a board hidden at the road exit that we'd use to cover the spikes so we could drive up the down road when the road was closed. The road on Mt. Rubidoux was designed by Brigadier General Hiram Chittenden who built the Yellowstone Park roads and was commissioned by the Secretary of the Interior to determine boundary changes for Yosemite National Park for the U.S. Government. Rubidoux is a great place to boulder and I try to get up there when I'm back in the southland visiting family. I've explored every square inch of that hill and most of the other nearby hills like Box Springs Mt., Pachappa Hill, Olive Hills, etc. Lots of granitic desert funk. I even had a little guide to Riverside I was putting together but ditched the project when Fry's So Cal bouldering guide came out. As kids we heard a rumor that there's a tunnel from the Peace Tower down to the Mission Inn downtown. At the time the Inn was run down and kind of haunted looking. Fun to explore back then.
The only other link to Rubidoux that I have is to the Ben Lewis bridge on the side overlooking the Santa Ana river. Ben H. Lewis was a three term mayor of Riverside from 1965 to 1978, but more importantly he was my grandpa. "Papa" was also an actor and artist (made Woody Woodpecker cartoons). He died in '85.
I bet it's nice up there now. Found a link to the Friends of Mt. Rubidoux. A bit of history. but no mention of climbing.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 10, 2012 - 11:32am PT
Great stuff
Great stuff
Credit: Largo
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 10, 2012 - 11:34am PT
John:
Thanks for starting this thread. I trust it will grow with interest as some of the other SoCal threads have.
I'm afraid I have very little history to add. Problems and routes I did were well established. I mostly just followed Paul, Phil Haney, and Keith Leaman around. I fired off an email to Keith to see what he can recall (his memory is holding up better than mine).
My impression was that Rob Muir added a lot of problems when he got there. Prior to our group climbing there it was a freq practice area for the RCS of the Sierra Club and the Riverside Mountain Rescue team.

Credit: PhilG
Tripod? Swellguy? Halfwit? Smegma?

Trad climber
Wanker Stately Mansion, Placerville
Apr 10, 2012 - 11:55am PT
My old good friend Doug Chalker won the Jr division bouldering competition or something similar. He was about the best person on thin face I ever saw. It was certainly a great place to hone those skills.
I do vividly recall going up with my brand new 5.10 shoes when they came out with the first generation of sticky rubber in 86. I was on my own and feeling very on. I decided to solo the crack to roof to the left of Teflon which I had done on TR a couple of times before. I pitched of the roof and landed 15 feet (?) below on the boulders wedged between 2 of them (no crash pads of course). I was stunned that I wasn't smashed up too bad and limped off back to my car convinced I was the luckiest MF around. Those very near misses are defining moments in our climbing careers.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 15, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
Rubidoux Bumpfest...
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Apr 17, 2012 - 09:12pm PT
more bumpage...

I came to UCR in 1970 from the hallowed walls of Indian Rock in Berzerkly. Borson and I were good climbing buddies there and I was absolutely thrilled that Ben came down the following Winter quarter. We shared a love of quality bicycles and had similar bouldering styles which I mostly learned from Borson, Vandeveer, and Hahn, etc. Clevenger, Bard, and I were the younger proteges at the time.

I was there when we named the Smooth Sole Wall. I bouldered a lot with Phil Gleason, and we had a regular Tues/Thurs afternoon bouldering routine when Phil got off work at the Backpacker (?) Mtn shop in downtown Riverside. Ben and I brought down our PA sensibilities, yet when we started working the center route of the Wall, Phil was still wearing his blue suede Royal Robbins. He was convinced that his boots were just fine, so when I turned the problem into a "solution" Phil worked it for days. And days. He just couldn't see it. Frustration was building, he denied it was the boots, but the hooting continued. Finally, he broke down and got some PAs and topped the thing on his first try! The name was born. After we did left-, right-, and many variations and eliminates in betweenówhich Phil also polished off with his shiny red-canvas high topsódid Jim Hoagland come back and do the center route in Super Guides. Phil never lived that one down!
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Apr 17, 2012 - 09:23pm PT
Gallenkamp Scats...

Credit: Photo by John Harlin III.

Bouldering the Joe Brown Wall. (Ask KP about the shoes!)
jmes

climber
Apr 24, 2012 - 10:42am PT
bump.
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 24, 2012 - 10:56am PT
Rob:
Love the above story, but I certain your talking about Paul. He had that "bulldog tenacity" when it came to working problems.

By-the-way, did I thank you for getting me in touch with Clark?
Phil
Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Apr 24, 2012 - 11:47am PT
There was another thread that Largo started that made it to 81 posts.
There was some great Content
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1656688/Old-Roubidoux-Photos

Here I am on the same climb as Robs is on above.
Power Pac, 5.11
Credit: Dr. F.
Credit: Dr. F.
1976, I was 17.

In fact, 6 months before, my third time on rock, Largo comes bouldering by with brand new Alpine Mountaineering boots on, getting ready to go to the Alps and become a Big Alpine climber.

He flashed the Power Pac, then soloed the rest like a smooth Jaguar climbing a tree.
Well that was it for me, I was going to climb 5.11, and become a real climber,
With the obsession fully implanted, I went to work on becoming a better climber, worked the moves on Power Pac, and there I was, a skinny lanky nerd doing his first 5.11 6 months later, Yea.
TYeary

Social climber
State of decay
Apr 24, 2012 - 11:58am PT
Phil Haney Overhang Feedback Direct, maybe '73 or so.
Phil Haney Overhang Feedback Direct, maybe '73 or so.
Credit: TYeary
Sometime before the dawn of time.
Sometime before the dawn of time.
Credit: TYeary
When I could climb.
When I could climb.
Credit: TYeary
Check out those OP shorts! Wow
Check out those OP shorts! Wow
Credit: TYeary
Credit: TYeary
Concerning the above photo: My climbing partner today was so much better than me. He mocked me with every effortless move he made. He never failed, was lightning fast, never needed water and ate only a few high protein snacks. He was a bit hurky -jerky, but I figured it was his superior strength to weight ratio. He didn't waste energy on idle chat, just did his problems and moved on.


I love Rubidoux. I remember driving the road up to the cross parking area in my Lotus just as fast as I could! I still get out there once in a while.Lots of great memories!
TY
On-Site Flasher 69

Sport climber
Riverside
Apr 24, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
Does anyone know who made the FFA of A Major Concept?
Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Apr 24, 2012 - 01:35pm PT
I'm pretty sure it was Henny
Credit: Dr. F.
Henny on A Major Concept, 5.12
Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Apr 24, 2012 - 01:42pm PT
I got this sequence of some unknown dude that made this look sooooooo easy
Credit: Dr. F.
Credit: Dr. F.
Credit: Dr. F.
Luckily, I have my guidebook handy so I can give the name
"In the Picture", 5.11 something
henny

Social climber
The Past
Apr 24, 2012 - 02:52pm PT
I did manage to get the FFA of A Major Concept. Good stuff if one goes left at the top of the lieback, then turns the roof with the rurp crack going back right.

That problem was part of the last major problem explosion that I'm aware of. The place was scoured pretty good, lots of new stuff was done in the Wild West area, overlooked gems were ferreted out from one end of the mountain to the other, and some long-standing business wrapped up. Good times, those were.

Being as urban as Rubidoux is, you would see some strange stuff at times. Cars stopping directly under some of the road boulders so they could gawk while people were on the problems (who needed a pad when you could just step off onto the car roof?). Or the intoxicated dude walking off the top of Joe Brown. Bit through all but a shred of skin on his tongue and broke multiple fingers so bad they were touching the back of his hand. He kept wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, repeatedly poking himself in the eyes. And he didn't seem to think he had the slightest need for a hospital visit. Or the day the transvestite went ballistic (thanks for the help Sketchy/KP - not). Fortunately, once the road was closed to vehicle traffic most of that kind of thing seemed to fade away.
On-Site Flasher 69

Sport climber
Riverside
Apr 24, 2012 - 04:12pm PT
Nice work Henny. I bet that was a proud day. Did many people have their eye on this one? A Major Concept is the proudest line at Mt. Roubidoux IMO. Nice photos Dr.F.
henny

Social climber
The Past
Apr 24, 2012 - 10:14pm PT
Agreed that A Major Concept is one of the best at Rubidoux. Great rock, some length, some crack, and good moves if doing the roof exit. Not the hardest, but definately one of the best up there.

There wasn't much "competition" for any of the later stuff. Easy pickings in that respect for the few of us who were really active during that time.

I think the problem most competed for was probably the Autopilot. There were quite a few more people active and it seemed that several people focused in on it at about the same exact time. I don't even remember who bagged it now, maybe John or Robs remember.
henny

Social climber
The Past
Apr 24, 2012 - 10:31pm PT
A few pictures of a green mountain, always the best time of year.

Weinberg on The Ex.
Weinberg on The Ex.
Credit: henny

Weinberg on Flabob.  Impeccable razor blades.
Weinberg on Flabob. Impeccable razor blades.
Credit: henny

Copilot.  Hoping to stay off the road.
Copilot. Hoping to stay off the road.
Credit: henny

Middle of the Road Madness.
Middle of the Road Madness.
Credit: henny

That paint at the Island is way bogus. They did a decent job sand blasting some of it, but still annoying as all get out.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 24, 2012 - 10:34pm PT
What is it with all the pads?

We didn't need no Stinkin' pads.







































No wonder Werner's a grouch.
Climbing-Impaired

Social climber
Grass Valley, CA
Apr 25, 2012 - 12:39am PT
I too began my climbing at Roubidoux in the mid-70's, even then it was a place of legend where you could catch a glimpse of some of the true masters. One Saturday my friend Neal Konami and I went out for a day of bouldering and Neal had brought along a cute girl from school that he was interested in. She was a gymnast and had a brother who climbed but it was still a bit of a new experience for her. We started with some of the classic 5.6-5.8 cracks and face boulders and she seemed to really enjoy it.

I don't remember the name but there was a boulder (5.9 or 10a) move over on the west side - sorry age taking its toll - that involved a short vertical crack and then you manteled up onto the top of a flake and from there reached out and around an overhang to the top of the boulder. Neal and I would get as far as the top of the flake but kept dropping off trying to make the overhang move. Then this girl tries it and due to her small size and great strength ratio - stands up on the flake under the over-hang, then using both hands reaches around and pops over the top. Neal and I were nothing short of amazed.

That girl really took to climbing in the years that followed while Neal and I faded into climbing obscurity. Her name you ask? Lynn Hill.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 25, 2012 - 12:00pm PT
Great vintage comp thread here...

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/The-1984-Mt-Rubidoux-Bouldering-Contest-with-some-Legends/t11301n.html#comments
BillO

Trad climber
Yachats, OR
Apr 25, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
My favorite story from my friend Tony Condon was about him out bouldering with Robs Muir at the finger crack by Smooth Sole. A couple of climbers were working on the crack and Robs ask if he could jump in and try it. He then proceeded to climb it one handed to the shock of the other climbers. I've run into Robs a few times out there and was always impressed how smooth and easy he makes everything look.
Credit: BillO
rurprider

Trad climber
Mt. Rubidoux
Apr 25, 2012 - 01:02pm PT
John....Thank you for starting this thread. Without contributions like this much of the history of Mt. Rubidoux could be lost. There seems to be a trend on MP and in guideboooks to rename many of the problems, as the poster/author doesn't have the history and facts. Again, many thanks!!!
henny

Social climber
The Past
Apr 25, 2012 - 02:42pm PT
Nice picture BillO. You can see Skidder and The Transvestite on the boulder to the right as well.
BillO

Trad climber
Yachats, OR
Apr 25, 2012 - 02:49pm PT
Thanks Henny it was borrowed from MP.
As far as the climbs to the right all I've ever seen is blank rock. LOL
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 25, 2012 - 03:41pm PT
I remember being a youth and seeing a dude send that thin crack one-handed. Not Muir though, kind of blondish, way buff, real quiet. Impressive though. I still remember it some 30 yrs. later.
REIGN 1

Social climber
Las Vegas, Nv
Apr 25, 2012 - 09:20pm PT
In the early 90's Henny and Powell invited Mike Verdugo and me up to do some bouldering. As we started walking up the hill we run into Tim Powell and not knowing who we were ask's Powell "did those woodson guys your going to sandbag ever show up?" Right then we knew we were in for a long day. They put us on pretty much every hard problem on that damn hill.
Mike pulled off some hard stuff and I floundered the whole day. After that we went back to woodson to find harder problems to burn them off on.
Lots of fun hanging with those two and listening to their sh#t talking. They are great motivators and can take it as well as dish it out.

jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 25, 2012 - 11:07pm PT
I think it was the contest (Western Bouldering Championship?)in 1979 where the winner, Mike Freedman, just happens to be one of the most outstanding mathematicians in the world. Didn't he try a boulder problem others hadn't wanted to try, including Bachar, and succeed?

(Just another plug for scientists/mathematicians!)
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 25, 2012 - 11:39pm PT

Do any of you know where-tf Ben Borsen is now days? I ran into him in the '80s (like at Glen Park Canyon in SF?). This is a photo I took at Indian Rock around 71. I just figured since he had a Rubidoux wall named after him. ...

Credit: Darwin
henny

Social climber
The Past
Apr 26, 2012 - 12:00am PT
After that we went back to woodson to find harder problems to burn them off on.

It was the Pink Bug that finally pushed you guys over the edge. Something about having blunt aretes like that a dime a dozen at Woodson, only longer and harder. All that was needed was to find one and do it. We're thinking, "yeah, right." Got a call a couple of weeks later that Slap You Silly was ready for us, so come on down.

Gotta admit, Slap You Silly does trump the Pink Bug. SYS may have been one of my more focused efforts, probably directly related to desperately trying to avoid getting burned off.

Great, great times Donny.



Didn't he try a boulder problem others hadn't wanted to try, including Bachar, and succeed?

I think the 79 contest was at Santee (San Diego.) That's more or less what happened. How funny, I was one of the others, haha. Three of us tied for second (JB was one) because we had seen someone zero on the problem early on and didn't want to risk it. He (Mike Freedman) did the math and figured he could win without having done as many hard problems because the hard problem offset things pointwise enough. He then waited until the very end of the contest to ensure no one would have any time after he did it. He calculated his way to that win, in more ways than one.


Never met Borsen, I was a few years later on the scene. Kind of wish I had met some of those that went through earlier. Heard a lot about them from people like JL, but never had the pleasure.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Apr 26, 2012 - 12:17am PT
How many times have any of you gone to BeeHive wall, and there were no bees?

Anyone?

Ever?


Always freaked me out going out right on that feature.




How many folks would finish their day on the the traverses at the bridge?



What does the bridge go at, if you don't use any part of the vertical sides, just the underside of the arch? Does it go?!



rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Apr 28, 2012 - 11:38pm PT
^^^^ Perhaps it's still true... I think those critters have become Africanized, as I got stung twice in the face a while back. BITD they were never a problem and we climbed on the Bridge Wall all the time.

Harrison told me once that seven laps was his record. My tips were always fried by the time we hit that part of the Circuit.

Love the above story, but I certain your talking about Paul. He had that "bulldog tenacity" when it came to working problems.

Thanks Phil. Of course, I meant to say Paul Gleason! But I've exceeded the ST statute of limitations, so I can't go back and edit it.

Paul told me that he went back after doing Center Smooth Sole and proved to himself that it was climbable in lugged boots, 'though he continued to use PAs as his regular bouldering shoe.

Do any of you know where-tf Ben Borsen is now days?

Ben and I spoke not too long ago... He's doing quite well, and I was amused to learn that after 30 years of no contact each of us had named one of our sons Galen. Although he never was able to become a medical doctor, he's got credentials and honors galore. You might want to check out borsonlaw.com
neversummer

Trad climber
30 mins. from suicide USA
Aug 8, 2012 - 04:24pm PT
BUMP..
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Aug 18, 2012 - 11:58am PT
love this place.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 3, 2012 - 09:34am PT
I do believe Roubidoux season is about to enter it's prime, right? Has it rained much in Riverside lately?
Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Dec 3, 2012 - 12:18pm PT
It's raining there right now
It will be green pastures next week!!
Johannsolo

climber
Soul Cal
Dec 3, 2012 - 02:44pm PT
Rubidoux in the Winter
Rubidoux in the Winter
Credit: Johannsolo
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Dec 3, 2012 - 02:59pm PT
real nice shot Johann
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Dec 3, 2012 - 02:59pm PT
^^^
Awesome shot. I think this year my two oldest kids will be ready to tag along and discover the place for themselves.
Johannsolo

climber
Soul Cal
Dec 3, 2012 - 08:14pm PT
Wild West area.
Wild West area.
Credit: Johannsolo
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Dec 3, 2012 - 08:45pm PT
The old stompin grounds,
last climb there 1976.
Tad
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Nov 23, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
Rubidoux Bouldering Contest
Rubidoux Bouldering Contest
Credit: Yafer collection

See any familiar faces???
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Nov 23, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
Damn! Looks like me right in the middle and Dick Cilley just to the right. The chick down and left might be The Creature and bottom left corner might be Banny Root? Is that Loomis down there too?

The lower right hand corner looks like a couple of kids we called the Bowling Ball Twins. Just left of them looks like the Rubidoulux aka Chris Hartfield or maybe Dave Tapes.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Nov 23, 2013 - 02:10pm PT
Russ thanks for that.... Jeff tells me that day is sort of blurry in his memory... LOL
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Nov 23, 2013 - 07:11pm PT
id have guessed you were charles cole in that shot russ

CC3 is 6 inches shorter than Russ and Russ' fists are bigger than Largo's.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jan 11, 2014 - 12:45am PT
Rubidoux, the one place besides Yosemite where you can climb "Half Dome" and at 5.8, no less. How about them apples?
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