“OCCASIONAL MISERIES” – Journal-UCLA Bruin Mountaineers

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BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Original Post - May 4, 2012 - 01:18am PT
I don’t know the origin of the club; I do know it existed for many years before I became involved with it in 1963 after graduating from high school. However, it was three years before I actually attended UCLA and became an active member. Until extremely recently (a few weeks ago!), looking back on climbing in the late 60s, I’ve had a difficult time remembering details of many of my climbs. But I had forgotten that I’d written about a number of climbs in the “Occasional Miseries” journal which was printed on old purple-print mimeograph machines. So what follows on this thread are some of the stories of the adventures of these students in the years 1966-67. Earlier editions going back to ’64-’65 have been found, so we may see those here or on a planned FB page for the club.

The Fall, 1966 issue was edited and introduced by Valerie Mendenhall:

This newsletter is the recorded history of the UCLA Bruin Mountaineers. Such a chronicle is not necessary for the club to become infamous. But this university may be gone someday (perhaps turned into a convent by an enterprising California governor) so the records must be preserved.

For the uninitiated, this club indulges in most outside and many inside activities: rock-climbing, hiking, back-packing, fold-boating, ski-touring, jail-birding and partying. The club owns equipment for all but the last two occupations listed.

Trips seem to emanate from Westwood every weekend and holiday. A discriminating person can choose ones he is interested in. A non-discriminating person ends up going on every kind of trip and losing his sanity.

In order to find out about coming activities, one need only traipse out to the lawn at the northwest corner of Moore Hall any day between noon and three. There reside the Marathon sitters. They will introduce him to the Mountaineers and their Misery.

-- Valerie Mendenhall, ed

That issue contains the following article that I wrote; unfortunately neither Tom Higgins nor I have photos of this climb.


14th ASCENT - NORTH WEST FACE OF HALF DOME
Memorial Day Weekend, 1966

Remember Stoney Point in the "good old days"? We would drive up Topanga Canyon between orange groves and rows of Eucalyptus trees, and then at the critical moment we would make a sharp right turn into a just-barely-big-enough driveway while a car invariably tried to pass us on the right. Giant oaks stood by the two-lane road. In the winter and spring, small numbers of climbers (except on Sierra Club weekends) gathered there and scrambled over the rocks.

So it was in the middle of May that I walked around pleading with climbers to find a partner for Memorial Day. Dennis Hennek? No, he had to go to the naval base that weekend. Mike Cohen? No, finals. Russ McLean? No, his girlfriend was coming home that weekend. (Disgusting!) Tom Higgins? Maybe! That made my birthday complete, for I knew he'd eventually go, so I began preparing for the climb.

Saturday morning, after sorting and packing food and equipment, Tom and I and Vivian Mendenhall began the hike up to Half Dome's shoulder. Eventually, Vivian left us and we continued to the shoulder, reaching it at sunset. After dinner, we lay in our sleeping bags in the warm, clear evening and talked quietly until we finally fell asleep.

Morning came too early (as it usually does), but we got up, stashed our packs and sleeping bags, ate a cold breakfast, and began our descent to the base of the face. Down through the forest, the brush, and the talus, all somewhat too steep for the pre-dawn light, we stumbled. As we rounded a corner, we saw it for the first time from that viewpoint. It filled us with a sort of doubt and almost fear, rising in one vertical cliff of cold granite for more than 2,000 feet.

At the base of the route, we filled our water-bottle, tied into our ropes, and began upwards. The mixed direct-aid and free-climbing was only moderately difficult, as we climbed as far as we could because we wanted to reach the "Sandy Ledges" (18 pitches up) before nightfall. Climbing steadily all morning, we passed the ledge at the end of the seventh pitch about 10:30 a.m. and reached the "Robbins Traverse" (tenth pitch) before noon. At this point, the route traverses right onto the main wall and is characterized by extremely exposed but very easy climbing on rotten (therefore completely unprotected) ledges.

Above, direct-aid and pendulums brought us to the base of the long chimney system. By this time, clouds began condensing around us, obscuring our view of the Valley. We started up the chimneys as quickly as possible, for we still had five pitches to go, and it was getting late. Up in the chimneys, we paused briefly when a beautiful, large golden eagle soared towards us out of the mist, then disappeared behind the rock. In the fading light we reached the bottom of Psyche-Flake, a horrible, huge (would you believe 30 feet high?), completely detached flake at the top of the chimneys. One must chimney up behind it. When we reached the ledge above the flake, it was completely dark.

We discussed our situation. We could either bivouac on the small ledge or climb one more pitch in the dark to the "Sandy Ledges". After almost giving in to fatigue, we decided to go on. Tom did a fine job leading this pitch, and I soon came up on jumars.

The ledges were indeed large and sandy, and we both felt very content as we unpacked food, water, and parkas, and prepared for the night. Suddenly the clouds parted from the face, and we could see the Valley in the bright moonlight -- Mt. Watkins, North Dome, Glacier Point, and the sparkling lights on the Valley floor. While we were admiring the view, the nightly fire was pushed off the cliff of Glacier Point, and we watched it descend slowly to Glacier Point Terrace. The rapid sequence of our relaxation after reaching the ledges, the emergence of the moonlit Valley from the cloud, and the fire-fall will forever remain etched in my memory.

Tired but happy, we ate our dinner and then lay down to sleep intermittently till morning. When dawn came, cold and clear, we ate our breakfast and started up the last seven pitches toward the summit. Cold but confident, we slowly nailed up three "zig-zag" pitches.

It was late in the morning when Tom started out across Thank-God Ledge, an 80-foot long but very narrow ledge which he crossed without difficulty. However, he spent half an hour at the end of the ledge looking for the route before he finally climbed a flaring chimney. Carrying the pack, I followed him across the ledge. At the crux, where it's only four inches wide, the pack began to push me off the ledge. Since I was unprotected, a fall would mean a 60 foot pendulum into the rock. Seeing small footholds on the face below the ledge, I desperately let myself off the ledge and onto the holds and hand-traversed the crux. With great effort I managed to get back onto the ledge. The hauling line had become caught behind a flake below, so I jumared down and freed it. The day wore on. I began to jumared up to Tom and then realized I wouldn't be able to jumared up the chimney. Unable to move freely, I liberally cursed my stupidity. The chimney was too flaring to jumared. I got out of my slings and tried to climb it free. No good. The pack prevented me from climbing the chimney. I was wedged in the chimney in a desperate and dangerous situation; Tom gave me some calm words of encouragement, and I began to think. I finally managed to get the pack off, and Tom hauled it up. Then I moved the rope out of the chimney and with great difficulty got back into my slings and jumared up to Tom. Completely exhausted, I rested, had some food and water, and took the lead. We had spent nearly four hours on a supposedly easy free pitch.

The last three pitches were quite easy and very enjoyable, and we soon reached a ledge just below the summit. After packing the hardware in the pack and coiling the ropes, we scrambled to the summit where we began the eight and a half mile hike back to the Valley, reaching it at dusk. Looking back up at Half Dome, standing up there in the last pink rays of the sun, we both felt relaxed and happy.



BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2012 - 01:23am PT
These stories were written by a variety of authors and this next one’s author is unknown at this time, but I wrote my own account of it a while back and posted it on the Stoney Point thread here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=971616&tn=180


The Great Traffic Diversion! April Fool! - Author Unknown

Henry had a great dream. At the beginning of the year, he and/or John thought it would be great to help the commuters from Simi Valley add just a bit of something different to their otherwise dull, routine, ordinary Friday evening drives home to their T.V. sets. These people drive to and fro never knowing what the world is like on either side of their road -- this had to be changed. It was just natural that someone would think of it since Chris and John lived in the hills and watched the 5:00 traffic creeping by, day in and day out, and construction on the new freeway provided all sorts of road signs and a natural reason for the plan. The plan was this -- put up a detour where the small side road leading up into the hills joins with the winding main road at a place in the road where there is only one lane due to construction. The commuters would then fend for themselves once they got into the maze of hills and dirt roads that seemingly lead nowhere. The plan was discussed and modified for about six months and without Henry it would have remained just a plan.

Conditions were just right about mid-March -- it was a little rainy, detour signs were all along the road because of construction, a most beautiful detour-arrow sign had been found and the enthusiasm was up for the project. So out on the lawn the last day before finals, final plans were mulled over. Three people left from the lawn that afternoon with plans to meet the others at Stoney Point. The first group arrived after necessary errands had been run, expecting everyone to be ready to go. Well, no one was there and with the extra time, doubts began to creep into the minds of the three conspirators. It began to rain hard while they were waiting. Were the others chickening out? Would they ever get there? What if the construction workers arrived to see the setting-up? What if . . . . . .? The doubts were momentarily set aside when one of the others arrived with news of the others. There was a vague kind of message from the fellow with all the signs, no one knew if he was really going to show up. Nervous laughter and doubting glances filled the next few minutes.

Finally everyone did get assembled but it was very late and the enthusiasm was considerably less than at the beginning of the afternoon. The drivers took the sign movers up to the site and everyone got out to survey the scene. A major difficulty was discovered -- all the equipment would have to be carried down the road instead of being carried through the bushes but that would be okay, wouldn't it? Maybe books should have been brought so that studying could, at least, be continued while sitting in jail. "Well, if we're going to do it, let's go." So with an exchange of good lucks the group divided. The drivers had trouble getting together but after a short distance things seemed to be fine. But as Stoney Point was approached, the sign movers were seen sauntering down the hill. The highway men had seen them walking down the road with all the signs and cones and so the signs were dumped into the bushes and the first attempt was a failure.

The second attempt, a week later also failed because no one came, but the new quarter began and it was decided to try again. This time the signs were hidden the night before and plenty of time was allowed for all the preparations. Enthusiasm was up and no one was really too scared. When everyone got to Stoney, assignments were made. There would be 6 drivers, 4 sign movers and a look-out, and photographers. The drivers drove to the starting point several miles back down the road and then turned around and moved into traffic in perfect order. After passing Stoney Point, at the curve in the road just before the side side road the head car stopped, and the conspirator behind got out to gallantly help the girl who had apparently stalled. One restless commuter zoomed by, but up at the "site" one of the "workers" calmly waved the man on. When enough time had gone by for a good a really good break, the stalled car really wouldn't start but after several minutes it did get going.

With all this time, the "workers" were getting fussy about how the detour looked and things were arranged until everything was to their satisfaction. The detour was beautiful and as the line of traffic approached no one suspected anything and the cars and trucks followed obediently. Twenty minutes later the long winding dirt road was bumper to bumper with lost dazed drivers. The residents of the area were all out in their front yards and kids were laughing at the funny people. When the cars got backed up to the main road, one brave car went around the detour signs and eventually the cars in back followed him. Soon highway men came and moved the signs and ended the first traffic diversion project. However, little ladies were still wandering around in the hills trying to find their way out, backing out of one driveway only to enter the next. Some of them may still be up there.

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
May 4, 2012 - 04:14am PT
Sent to my daughter at UCLA, thanks booey!

DMT
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 4, 2012 - 06:42am PT
This is excellent, Mr.Dawg. Thanks for putting out the effort to publish these gems, anew. Did you manually transcribe these, or did you get some help from OCR software?

More, Please!
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2012 - 07:11am PT
XX: I had some manual help from a volunteer whom only a few people here know now but whose father even a casual observer of American rock-climbing history will instantly recognize. I can hear the drums rolls now... Thanks for asking!

She has posted her story here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1818126/Speaking-of-statistical-improbabilities
BBA

climber
OF
May 4, 2012 - 07:38am PT
I put a 1960 Occasional Misery on the Arizona Apprecation thread near

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=734974&msg=1660148

The reason for the name of the paper was that it was published occasionally and miserably. There were lots of English majors who aspired to greater things. We used to meet at Kirchhoff Hall at lunch time. Kirchhoff was the old student union building and had some good moves on the decorative concrete around door arches.

I see I have another issue from 1959, so the history goes back at least that far. That issue mentions that my article on Tahquitz climbs was rejected and in another spot I am referred to as "Bill Ego", all perhaps because of my enthusiam for rock climbing which was not quite shared in degree by the others.

Bill Amborn
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2012 - 07:45am PT
Thanks so much Bill. I know little of the history before about 1963. Are you in contact with Lincoln Axe?
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
May 4, 2012 - 07:53am PT
misery wears many masks.

im a simple guy.
i stare cross-eyed at
every day that dares to lay before me.
i needn't bathe more than than infrequently,
for i hate high maintenance shines.
rock can be my pillow,
mountains may block my sunrise.

my daughters though, whew.
this morning,
heavy girl drama.
hair hassles,
wrinkly sock woes,
breakfast too greasy,

even the flowers in the yard bloomed the wrong color thismorning.
i, being a steadfast dad,
maintained my cool and bravely coached them
beyond their smeared emotions.

inside though i was miserable.
i hate drama in the morning.
children are senseless at times,
at least according to my understanding of
the murder of numb.
BBA

climber
OF
May 4, 2012 - 07:53am PT
Sorry, the name doesn't ring a bell.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
May 4, 2012 - 08:25am PT
Ken, I just got Lincoln's new e-mail address and sent it to you.
DE
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 4, 2012 - 09:44am PT
I went to UCLA for undergrad and grad school. Only met ONE climber (Lawrence Yee) and that was it, let alone a club. Where were they when I needed them? :(
toadgas

Trad climber
los angeles
May 4, 2012 - 10:22am PT
-

in the late 1970s, Mark Klemens, Mari Gingery, Vaino and Toivo Kodas were all enrolled at UCLA....

in the mid-1970s, the UCLA Mountaineering Club had a string of bad luck; it was said one club president committed suicide, and another died while retreating off the Nose...the club was disbanded after that, I believe

-
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 4, 2012 - 11:52am PT
Thanks for this thread, Ken.

I was in grad school and law school at UCLA from 1975-1979, but was unaware of the existence of the club, so perhaps it had folded by then. I was, however, a member of the U.C. Hiking Club during my four years at Berkeley, and the President my senior year (1972-3). We didn't have a newsletter when I was there, but we did have Chuck Pratt's 1958 application to become a Qualified Leader. We also had an official song: "We're Losted." Unfortunately or not, I never copied it so I know neither the words nor the tune.

John
LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 4, 2012 - 06:06pm PT
Here's another fun story from the Occasional Miseries. (Any errors in transcription are my own, and not the author's.) Enjoy!

MEXICO 1966

Early one morning, the Sunday after finals to be exact, 12 hardy Bruins met at Lot 32 to begin the trip to invade Mexico and her three volcanoes, Ixtacchuitl, Popocataptl, and Orizabe to be exact. We had been planning to drive to Mexicali in several cars so that there would be a car and transportation waiting for any one of us no matter when we left Mexico. However, early morning became later and the group spirit prevailed and so we all piled into John Williams' VW van for the trip to Mexicali. We were cozily cramped, to say the least, and Dan Smith soon took our minds off the present situation by reading to us from the journal of K2 and the assault of that peak. As a result, the theme of the trip from then on was, "and he walked off into the clouds and was never seen again . . ." It was hot and we soon stopped for hamburgers and root beer. After a pleasant stop, we continued on our way towards Palm Springs.

We never really got to Palm Springs, at least not under our own power, for about 15 miles out of Palm Springs we heard an ominous clankety-clank from the direction of the engine and Phil yelled, "It's the fan belt!" However upon closer investigation, it was found that we had a lovely hole in the engine and that the poor car would go no more. So we hopped out and pushed it down the road to a gas station about 1/4 mile down the road and left it there in the care of the nearby motel owner. Thus ends Part I.

Well, we couldn't stay where we were, and we sure as heck weren't going to go back, soooooo, we split into groups of twos with agreements to meet either in Mexicali or if one was lucky enough, to meet the rest of the group in Mexico City, or Mexico as it is known in the country. We strung ourselves out along the highway after first checking to see if there were any No Pedestrian signs facing our way. To our good fortune, a pick-up truck soon came along and after passing the whole line of us, he stopped to pick up the last couple. Well, all of us were good runners and so the poor man ended up taking all 12 of us and our packs in the back of his truck. He then drove us to the bus station in Palm Springs where we missed the bus to Mexicali by about 2 minutes. Here we paused to let Phil and his buddies scrounge up some new bags to carry their cans of food on this second leg of the trip. We then split up again with hopes of meeting again in Mexicali and catching the train that was to leave there at 8:00 PM. Our next goal was Indio and after several rides, we entered and left that lovely town at different times and conditions.

Jim and I decided that we had nothing to lose if we spent the spare time hitch-hiking. Luck was with us, and we were soon on our way to, would you believe, Mexicali? As it turned out we were in another VW and I had a sneaking suspicion that nothing good could come out of VW's. There were two fellows from Etiwanda in the car and they were bound for Hermosillo to spend their Christmas vacation on the warm sand and cool surf. We told them that we were trying to catch a train in Mexicali and so the trip from Indio to Mexicali was a mad race against the clock. We drove over the border with no problems at all only to realize that the train had left 20 minutes before. They then asked us whether we wanted to spend the night in Mexicali or if we wanted to go on with them to Hermosillo. One look at the night life of Mexicali was enough to have us decide to go on to Hermosillo, no matter what happened. Anything would be better than a night in Mexicali without being able to speak-a de Spanish, we thought. Ha Ha.

We then drove on to San Luis and stopped there for hamburgers with fresh tomatoes and lettuce. From there we drove to Sonoita to get our tourist cards stamped and to get the Tourista sticker for the car. However the officials wouldn't give us the sticker since the car was owned by one of the fellow's fathers and the driver didn't have a notarized statement of permission. Well, this wasn't going to stop those fellows. They were going to try to run the check points and get to Hermosillo anyway. However, the Mexican officials didn't see things that way and they sent us back 40 miles to Sonoita to get the necessary sticker. So there we were, stranded in Sonoita at 4:00 AM half way between points to catch the necessary train.

Situations and circumstances make one bold, so I asked the first person to come into the nearby service station if they were going to Hermosillo and if they would take us with them. Well, this fellow turned out to be from LA and was on his way to visit his sister in Hermosillo and would be glad to take us. So we were soon on the road again. However we were stopped again by that same Mexican official who now told us that hitch-hiking was illegal and that we couldn't go any further with this man and that we would have to travel the remaining distance on the bus. What will happen next?, we wondered.

Fortune smiled again, however, for the man told us not to go the whole distance on the bus, but to go just to the first town and wait for him there for he would have to stop for breakfast there anyway. So, that is what we did. Nothing more exciting happened on the way to Hermosillo. End Part II.
LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 4, 2012 - 06:08pm PT
MEXICO 1966 (continued)

We arrived in Hermosillo about 10:30 AM and after finding a neat hotel for the two fellows and the man, we never did get his name, then took us to the train station to see when our train was coming through. As it turned out, the next train through was in 15 minutes and it was the same train that we had missed the night before in Mexicali! We were soon out on the platform waiting for the train. As we were climbing aboard, someone called out to us and upon turning around, we saw a fellow in knickers coming towards us. He asked if we were climbers and then said that he'd see us later as he was one also. This fellow was George, from Cal Berkeley, and we kept running into him throughout the trip. (Saw him again at Havasu 3/67.)

That train was something else . . . . . Not the recommended way to travel. For example, all of us, with the exception of Wayne, returned to the states via bus instead of train. See the end of this article for a detailed account of the train trip. As I recorded in my log at the time, "That train was beyond compare! DIRTY, dirty, dirty, and people and boxes everywhere! We finally found seats -- wedged between our packs and an open window right next to the coupling and on top of the wheels -- We had the most rhythmic, musical, and air-conditioned ride possible -- both from the window and the door. (It was really the waiting for the Ladies Rest Room) and our feet were courteously dampened every so often, due to the efficient Mexican plumbing!" End Part III.

December 21 found Jim and I a day ahead of our fellow adventurers in Mexico City. Neither of us could speak Spanish very well, but in the course of the trip we picked it up by necessity. However, we had no cause to worry, for UCLA parkas attracted enough others who could either speak Spanish or English and who helped us find the only decent hotel of the entire trip for only 24 pesos a night. It was wonderful to sleep on a soft bed and between clean sheets after 2 1/2 days on that ---- train! After securing our rooms at the hotel we set off for some explorations of the city and visited the fantastic university, Chapultepec Park and generally toured the streets. In between times and trips we met every train from Guadalajara, scanning every passenger for signs of our companions or of climbers who might know what had happened to them. This proved to be very unreliable for we met what turned out to be Phil's geography professor and he said that he and his wife had caught a train about 3 hours after our group and yet there he was in Mexico City long before they were. Jim and I became quite concerned at this point. What if they didn't make it? Oh perish the thought! Finally the tardy 10 arrived, bedraggled and travel-worn. We decided that we had wasted enough time already and that we should try to get to Popo that day, 12/22.

However, Mexico, being the capital city had more bus stops than you could shake a stick at and we had no idea of where we were going, except the name, let alone knowing which bus to take. Dan Smith got us out of this dilemma by making friends with a Mexican who not only knew which bus station to go to, but who also had a car and said that he would take us there! As it turned out he had a Model A Ford, one of the square types, and it wasn't generous enough with its space. We put the packs on the top and packed them around the fenders and then proceeded to pack ourselves in and around the car - 8 inside and 6 outside. We then proceeded to drive through Mexico City singing and laughing and having a gay old time. The poor people and cops just didn't know what to make of it - except one cop. He must have decided that such nonsense just wasn't for his city, and he jumped on the running board and attempted to turn off the key. A struggle ensued between the cop and the driver with Spanish flowing a mile a minute. The cop was saying something and the driver was giving it right back to him. The next thing we knew, the driver took both hands off the steering wheel (we had been madly racing through the streets with the cop at this time) and took the cop by the shoulders and forcefully shoved him off of the car. We left him in the dust, shouting in Spanish as loud as he could. We changed drivers at this point. The original driver didn't have a license! But on to the bus station and Amecameca and Popo. After stopping in Amecameca for dinner for those who wanted it and bargaining for the price of the panel truck ride up to the climbing hut, we again packed ourselves into a vehicle and headed for the mountains. At this point the group split, with those climbing Popo -8- and those climbing Ixty, saying last farewells and the Ixty group drove off into the mists and were never seen again until the reunion mountaineer's meeting on the lawn.

December 23 found everyone more or less altitude sick, but we started up the 5-5a route about 10 AM reaching the first hut by about 4:30 PM. 12/24 found everyone even sicker than the day before from the altitude (no one got touristas etc). Three, Phil, John and I were the only ones out of the 8 to reach the summit. We stumbled back down to the hut, exhausted and nearly senseless. We slept about 15 hours. What a way to spend Christmas Eve!! The next morning we were all famished but we couldn't eat a thing and we were so thirsty that we were drinking just about everything in sight. John commented, "Well, some have their white Christmas. We're eating ours." Later that day we finished our descent of the peak and spent time swapping stories and perceptions with the other climbers at the hut while waiting for the truck to take us back to Amecameca.

In Amecameca we briefly ran into John and Chris, but we couldn't get any information about the rest of the group or what had happened on Ixty. All they would say was, "We're going back." We then returned to Mexico without them. We ate dinner that night at Seps - a fantastic restaurant - but some of us were so tired that we could hardly cut the "tender" Mexican steaks. How frustrating! Afterwards we wandered around the town, taking in the sights, and people watching. We spent quite a bit of time in the big square there gazing at the Christmas decorations and the huge and varied bonbons that the vendors were selling.

We had met a "helpful" cop on our return to Mexico in the Zocalo and he directed us to a hotel that must have been the world's worst going strong. We finally found two rooms, one for two and one for the remaining six. The beds left much to be desired and with the addition of the coughing, sleep wasn't the most restful we'd had. For future trips, we recommend that one not even consider this hotel. It is situated behind the cathedral in the zocalo so beware!

December 26 was spent sight-seeing. And recuperating. We went to the pyramids and climbed them, and toured and wandered through the huge market place near the bus station. On 12/27, we toured the cathedral and Juarez's home and saw Rivera's famous murals in the government buildings. Afterwards, we split up once again and for the final time. Two went home -- Steve and Ken -- Two went to eat and were supposed to meet the rest of us in Thachachuca -- Jeff and John -- and 3 of us decided to go directly to Orizaba -- Jim, Phil and I.

We then caught a bus for Puebla after wandering from one end of Mexico to the other trying to find the proper bus station. We arrived in Puebla too late to catch the bus to Tlachichuca that night so after some hard bargaining, we spent the night in a comfortable hotel around the corner from a ritzy American place where rooms started at 100 pesos !.

December 28 found us finally in Tlachichuca. We contacted the Reyes to arrange for the truck ride to the climbing hut and then sat on the street corner waiting for the truck. It was supposed to leave at 4:30 PM, but as it turned out we left that little town at 10:30 PM arriving at the climbing hut about 12:30 AM. We found the hut already occupied by a climbing party from Cal Berkeley, but we found room on the floor under the bunks and settled down for about 3 hours' sleep before the climb. We were hoping that Jeff and John would catch up with us, but they didn't. They ended up trying to climb it from the other, dry side and didn't make the summit.

It seemed as though we had just closed our eyes, when it was time to leave for the summit -- 5:30 AM. Jim was too tired and cold or something, so he didn't join us for the climb, so Phil and I set off on our own. We reached the summit at 2:00 and 2:20 Phil and I respectively. What a beautiful view, if one was in condition to appreciate it. The altitude was such that one could hardly care if one slept or not and sleep was the predominant impulse. We reached the hut around 4:30 PM. The ride back to Tlachichuca was a long, slow one lasting 2 impossible hours. We were so tired that we were afraid that we wouldn't awaken in time to catch the 7:00 AM bus to Puebla in order to make the connections with the buses in Mexico to take us home. But we went to sleep anyway. We left Jim at the climbing hut, because he decided that well, maybe he'd better at least try for the summit after coming so far.

After I nearly missed the bus from Puebla to Mexico we arrived in Mexico in plenty of time for our bus north. The bus Phil was taking was to leave at 3:00 PM and Jeff and John also had tickets for it and we were wondering if they would make it and if so where were they. At 10 minutes to 3:00 Jeff and John came running in. They'd had to hitch a ride on a beer truck and it took them to the opposite side of Mexico and they had had a mad dash to catch the bus in time. The truck was empty, too, Jeff commented. I caught my bus at 4:30 PM and exactly 48 1/2 hours later I was thankfully back on American soil. Phil and Jeff and John stopped off at Mazatlan for a bit of relaxation and recreation on their way home. All found their way home one way or another -- bus, thumb, etc. End Part IV.
LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 4, 2012 - 06:12pm PT
MEXICO 1966 (continued)

However, this is only part of the story. To pick up on the adventures of the tardy 10 on their way to meet Jim and I in Mexico City, here is a short account. They had broken up into groups of two, but somehow kept meeting or kept being left in the same general area! For example, in Palm Springs three groups of hitch-hikers were given rides to the same area by the same delivery boy! One nearly tragic incident occurred that fateful night of the death of the VW van. Phil and Rich had been left by one driver in Mecca (in the middle of the desert) just about dusk. As they were standing by the road trying to decide what to do, e.g., what and how to defend oneself against the hobos and hostile natives in the area, they saw a group of shady characters coming toward them out of the bushes. The light and wind distorted the figures and Phil and Rich decided that they were going to have their first encounter with the environment right off. They unsheathed their ice axes and prepared for the worst. They could hear these strange voices and "drunken" laughter and really got worried! Just as they were on the upswing of their ax strike, Phil recognized one of the other members of the group in the "attackers" and the clash was prevented. Luckily, too, because the other group, composed of Don, Dan, Ken, Wayne, had recognized Phil and Rich and had no idea of the peril that they were in! The crisis passed and they spent the night on the desert. The next day, the big group gave up hitch-hiking and flagged down the Greyhound bus to Mexicali.

Phil and Rich were more daring and lucky, and they were soon on their way in another truck on their way to Mexicali. Soon, however, they heard the driver ask his son for the pistola. What the heck?!!!!! Rick quickly flicked out his switchblade and gripped it tensely. A few anxious moments passed and then out came not the gun but a bottle of pop! Pistola must have been the brand. They finally reached Mexicali and joined the rest of the tardy 10 and boarded the train

Those participating were Don Lashier, Jim Beck, Chris Bernert, John Williams, Wayne Inman, Dan Smith, Phil Boche, John McHugh, Jeff Miner, Ken Scultiere, Rich Black and Sheila Schaeffer.

-- Authored by SHEILA SCHAEFFER, UCLA, Class of 1969


Credit: LilaBiene
LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 4, 2012 - 07:35pm PT
I'm honored to share that Shiela Ann Schaeffer was my birth mother, and I'm thrilled to be learning so much about her through her friends in the UCLA Bruin Mountaineers, and, of course, the "Occasional Miseries"!

I've moved the story of how I "found" a connection to Sheila Ann (thanks to BooDawg's post about the Mountaineer's 1969 April Fools Day prank), and also about how I also literally found out who my birth father was (thanks to a thoughtful post by DEE EE), to a separate post on SuperTopo. I'll post the link as soon as I finish the story.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1818126/Speaking-of-statistical-improbabilities
toadgas

Trad climber
los angeles
May 4, 2012 - 07:57pm PT
^^^^^

what a remarkable tale...and what a beautiful gal Sheila Schaeffer was!

(glad to be her fellow UCLA alum)


-
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 4, 2012 - 08:22pm PT
I was undergrad from '83-85 and grad school from '87-90, so it looks like I timed it perfectly to miss all the fun.
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2012 - 10:50pm PT
Bill, Would you be willing to post your 1959 issue on this thread or send it to LilaBiene who is transcribing my issues? After she finishes them, I’ve asked her to send them to Charlotte Brown, Librarian & Archivist, @ the UCLA Library who has said that the University Archives would be happy to receive any of the "Occasional Miseries" to add to the Archives, where they will be specially handled and preserved for generations to come. In addition, would you send your 1960 issue to Ms Brown?

Lovely poem, Norwegian. Thanks so much for your presence here!

Fat Dad: Sorry the club wasn’t there for you when you would have enjoyed the outings and social life.

Toadgas: Thanks for the update on the club. I knew it had succumbed but none of the details. Do you have more information? Who lost it coming off the Nose? He must be in the book, “Off The Wall, Death in Yosemite,” which I’m reading now. Should be easy to find.

John: It DOES sound like the club had folded by the time you got to UCLA. I googled the lyrics to that song, “We’re Losted” and came up with the November, 1957 issue of the UC Hiking Club newsletter, “Bear Track.” It includes references to Charlie Raymond, Chuck Pratt, Dick McCracken, Ray D’Arcy and climbing, caving, and hiking adventures. On page 9 are an introduction to the song and the lyrics. In the introduction, it says that the tune is that of the Salvation Army Song, so it will be familiar to most of the Bruins from our era since we sang the original uncounted numbers of times on our trips. That issue with the lyrics can be found here:

http://www.mikehere.com/uchc/newsletters/Bear%20Track%20Vol%2018%20no%202%201957.pdf
toadgas

Trad climber
los angeles
May 4, 2012 - 11:11pm PT
-

Jeff Hall, Nose, 1977 (ANAM 1978). Retreating from the Dolt Hole
back towards Sickle Ledge. Their rope was jammed in the crack
below Dolt Hole, he was working to free it, but his locking
biner came off the rope, and he fell to the ground.



....a little googling came up with this possibility


can't confirm this, though, just a possibility

-
toadgas

Trad climber
los angeles
May 4, 2012 - 11:21pm PT
-

this from YCA correspondence seems to link Bob Kamps to Bruin Mountaineers...

Ken - Here's a bit of what I remember. I think some other things of interest were put on Bob's memorial site, although I don't have the URL. Another source for Kamps' stories would be Joe McKeown as he went to UCLA and did a bit of climbing with Bob.
I first met Bob Kamps at UCLA when I arrived there in 1958. By then he had been climbing a couple of years, having started about the same time as a friend of mine, Dave Harvey. Dave was a middling climber, but Bob had really taken off. Bob's wife, Bonnie, was already a teacher, and they were committed to live their lives with lots of vacations, as Bob once told me. I believe they lived in the UCLA veterans housing. Bob had completed his military service, part during the Korean War. I think he came from somewhere in the mid-west. I asked Bob once if the idea of living to maximize vacations wasn't somehow against the Platonic ideal of service to state, and he gave me a reply that I recall still, "Bill, I live out of civilization the way some people live out of a suitcase." Contact among climbers at UCLA was maintained through the Bruin Mountaineers lunch spot near Kirchoff Hall where one could meet with hikers, peak baggers and rock climbers (the very few).
In the semester break of January 1959, Bob organized a trip to wander about the desert to see what could be seen. He was a good organizer as he had a car. There were four of us, Kamps, Dave Harvey, a third whose name eludes me, and me. I was a 17 year old freshman and had been bouldering for about two three months on weekends at Stoney Point. My equipment consisted of a lot of loaned Bruin Mountaineer items (the UCLA club had very fuzzy white ropes and other curious things one could borrow).
The trip was over a week and is memorable because the climbing was so bad. Chiricahua National Monument had pinnacles all over the place, but they were like those at the Pinnacles National Monument in California – conglomerate that was ready to shed its parts at any time. We also went toward New Mexico, but it started to snow and the roads weren’t good. Cochise Stronghold was granite and pleasant, and it being a cold time of year one had little concern for snakes. Mexico was, to me as a first time visitor, bizarre. Kamps wanted to go there to get some liquor, a gallon per person of which could be brought in tax free so we popped across the border at Mexicali. I was told to "be asleep" when we crossed back so I could be counted as a person for the gallons they purchased. It was not a hard role to play, and I did it with style.

As the vacation began to run out, we headed back toward the Colorado River area as Bob had in mind climbing Monument Peak, a volcanic pinnacle first climbed in 1940 by the Mendenhalls and two others. On one side the pinnacle drops off 1000 feet, but on the other side it is only a 250 foot vertical distance as it is connected by a saddle to another peak. The description by John Mendenhall of the peak is in the 1940 Sierra Club Bulletin: “Precipitous, overhanging here and there, and evilly loose, the Monument had defied at least two attempts as 1939 drew to a close.”

We arrived at the peak on February 2, 1959. I don’t recall much about the climb up except that Bob led everything and rocks seemed to be falling around Dave and me lot when Bob was up above, and below us when we climbed. The climbing wasn’t hard, but it was dangerous, "evilly loose", and the actual value of protection was anybody’s guess. On the way down we rappelled with extreme care as the anchors were nothing to shout about and the mere act of going down caused rocks to be dislodged by rope movement, and when they did it themselves, no one hollered “Rock!” Just silent whizzing sounds and little explosions when they hit.

One rappel ended on a sloping ledge under a little overhang which was a nice respite from the falling rocks. Bob started to pull the rope down and just at the point where we thought it would come whipping down, it got stuck. On what? We all gave a tug, but no movement. So after many tries Bob took matters into his hands and headed off hand over hand up the rope. Dave and I sat huddled under the overhang wondering what will become of us if Bob loosens the rope by accident and takes the big plunge. Would anyone ever find us? Would it be possible to climb down from where we were? All the while rocks were pinging down outside our overhang. As a new climber I couldn’t imagine doing what Bob did then, but of a sudden, the rocks stopped falling and the rope started moving up. Bob hat gotten up and was re-setting the rappel! He never said what the actual situation was with the point at which the rope was stuck which I took to mean “too scary for words.”

I remained at UCLA for a couple of years and spent Sundays at Stoney Point, and many weekends at Tahquitz.. Under Bob's tutelage I was up to leading 5.8 in September 1959 and following 5.9 by October 18, 1959 when he and I and Dave Harvey did the Consolation at Tahquitz, according to a pen and ink note in my 1956 "climber's guide to tahquitz rock". Bob led it easily and following was not hard with a top belay. Bob was big on climbing 5th class for, we all know, anyone can step up slings doing direct aid. I took Bob's opinion and avoided 6th class whenever possible.

On occasion I was the odd man out and got stuck sitting around at Lunch Rock. One time it was just Bonnie and me, and I asked her if she ever climbed with Bob. She said no, he was against it. So we chatted and she said she was interested in trying it. So on May 31, 1959 we did the Swing Traverse (5.1) and on June 12, 1959 theFingertip Traverse (also 5.1). I could see Bob's point. I am one of the very few to have climbed with both Bob and Bonnie!

I left UCLA for Berkeley in 1960 and did no more climbs with Bob, although I ran into him now and then in Yosemite.

The last time I saw Bob was about 1976. I was in Los Angeles for a work related trip and stopped out to Stoney Point one afternoon to revisit a site of my younger days. It was deserted except for one person, Bob. We had a chat and did some bouldering and then we went our separate ways.

I remember Bob as a friend who always had a big smile on his face, who enjoyed a bit of verbal jousting, and who was patient with a new climber.

Bill Amborn



complete link:

http://yosemiteclimbing.org/content/bob-kamps

==
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2012 - 12:45am PT
Thanks, toadgas, for that information about Kamps. I didn't know he was a Bruin.

BBA: Did you know Bill Dolt Feuerer at all? Did you know what years he was in the Bruin Mountaineers?
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2012 - 10:41pm PT
For those who want the amazing behind the scenes story about how these articles from “Occasional Miseries” have come to light, please check out this thread:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1818126&tn=0#msg1818329
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 6, 2012 - 05:20am PT
Thanks for the links, Boo Dawg!

John
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 6, 2012 - 06:12am PT
Thanks to everyone for their contributions to this fun and fascinating bit of climbing
history, but especially to BooDawg and Lila Biene. I laughed and laughed at the account
of their trip to Mexico. What a great time to be young and adventurous.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 6, 2012 - 06:45am PT
Very cool. I never knew UCLA had such strong alumni.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
May 6, 2012 - 09:08am PT
good old days. i was at ucla from 1982-84, and no active mountaineering group on campus then. they have francis farquhar's books in special collections, where i'd go for a supervised reading once in awhile. sometime during the 90s they put up a mediocre climbing wall in the wooden center and i suppose they're running one of those outings programs now--it's tuesday, we must be rafting.
BBA

climber
OF
May 6, 2012 - 03:03pm PT
The 1959 Occasional Misery follows. In a way it is like Chuck Barris' autobiography, a lot of baloney, but not completely without interest.

To set the record straight, it is I who is referred to as Bill Ego, but the climb given was wrong. I was second on the rope with Dave Harvey, and he grabbed a piton or two on Jensen's Jaunt which I followed without grabbing said pitons. I led the Traitor Horn 5th class the following weekend with Dave following. The normally staid Bruin Mountaineers group thought I had a screw loose because I was so enthusiastic.

The Dolt was born in 1932 and I in 1941, so there was no college overlap that I know of, and I don't know if he went to UCLA or not. I frequented his shop on Sawtelle Blvd because it was a reasonable walk from any of my several residences while at UCLA. I would see Bill at climbing areas now and then, Stoney Point and Tahquitz. There weren't so many climbers back then and one came to know the regular crew.

After the 1959 publication I put the 1960 here, too.

Bill Amborn

Credit: BBA

Credit: BBA

Credit: BBA

Credit: BBA

Credit: BBA

LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 6, 2012 - 03:11pm PT
Wow!
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
May 7, 2012 - 03:31pm PT
Ken, I will e-mail contact info for Paul Cooley. He was one of my dads best friends and I believe in the club as well. Lincoln says his memory is better!
DE
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
May 7, 2012 - 03:45pm PT
Yes, no Bruin Mountaineers when I was there.




TheTool
BBA

climber
OF
May 10, 2012 - 10:31am PT
I recall Paul Cooley. He was a big guy who was mostly a peak bagger as opposed to rock climber.

In looking for history and more information about the Mountaineers, I contacted an old friend from UCLA and he contacted another who said this about the Bruin Mountaineers:

//In September 1954 I arrived at UCLA. The Bruin Mountaineers were up and running.

I seem to remember Colin Cantwell typing the Miseries.

In my negative collection I have some pictures of the club members.

I also have some pics of "Bill the Dolt". The negatives are hard to access.

Pass this on to Bill, and say hello.//

The Bruin Mountaineers were a university sponsored activity and may have filed a copy of their bulletins with some administrative part of the student union/government.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 10, 2012 - 10:43am PT
Thanks for the link, Boo Dawg!

John
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2012 - 11:13pm PT
Thank you, DE, I've been overwhelmed with work, so I've had to take a break from this effort. But I've made a little time tonight.

BBA: It'd be GREAT if you could access those negatives of Bill Dolt since on the "Speaking of Statistical Improbabilities" thread, it was revealed that he had a daughter with Sheila Ann Schaeffer who wrote the article up-thread about the trip to the Mexican Volcanoes. LilaBiene, Dolt's daughter, who was adopted at birth, only recently realized that Dolt was her father and Shiela Ann was her mother.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1818126/Speaking-of-statistical-improbabilities
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 11, 2012 - 12:22am PT
BooDawg Knight, singing the blues and golds of the Bruins, the miniseries of miseries. So...SoCal, yet better than Eastern Washington. Southern Mountaineers over the Northern Mountaineers. Elvis or the Beatles. Evian or Perrier. BMW or Audi.

In all truth, I have yet to read the Squamish posts, so...but this stuff is just a priceless find.

It wasn't as long-lived a venture as Stanford's club but the people were every bit the equal. And the Half Dome write-up is as good as this hackneyed bigot has ever read. Leading in the dark is not visionary but occasionally necessary.

I was here writing my senior Term Papers. You guys took on Psyche Flake. While you guys summitted I was doing laps in the pool. Outtasite!

From Central California's several leaders in misery, let me say that one Occasional Misery is worth a whole month or more of the Merced Sun-Stroke from any year.

And they didn't even have a comics page.

BBA

climber
OF
May 11, 2012 - 09:17am PT
BooDawg- I contacted Lilabiene off line and gave her the e-mail address of my contact who said he has the negatives, and I'll leave it there.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
May 11, 2012 - 10:21am PT
I might be able to get contact info for Colin Cantwell as well. That was my dads core posse. My dad (James Evans), Lincoln, Paul and Colin. Yes they were mostly peak baggers but did some roped climbing at Stony, Tahquitz, the Leap and various technical Sierra routes.
LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 11, 2012 - 04:59pm PT
Here's another story from the Mexico 1966 trip!

LASHIER'S LOSERS: IXTA DIVISION – AN ACCOUNT OF “THE OTHER” GROUP OF MEXICO’S ADVENTURERS.

After a brief bidding of adieu with the rest of the group at the Last Homely House (Popo Hut), John Williams, Chris Bernert, Don Lashier, myself (Wayne Inman) and a solo stranger whose name I have forgotten climbed back in the slightly decrepit Chevy panel truck for the ride to the Ixta road head. There was some delay before we could begin, however, because the Mexican driver could not believe that we could actually want to spend the night on the ground. Although slightly disappointed that the hut at the road head had collapsed, we felt the inconvenience of sleeping outside insignificant compared to walking 17 extra miles the next morning from the Popo Hut.

The Ixta road head turned out to be an exposed area of scrub near a hill topped by what must be one of the highest T.V. transmitters in the world. Although without water, we had no complaints. After all, hadn't we just had our fill of coffee, soup, beer and other assorted aqueous solutions along with our native meal at Amacameca's finest cafe? We certainly had. Unfortunately, by morning most of it was lying alongside our sleeping bags. Apparently all those wiggly little black things in our coffee felt a desire to return to their native soil.

Morning showed the solo stranger long gone up the trail. Don starting out, John quietly dying in his sleeping bag, Chris nursing John, and me wondering why the Mountaineers always seem to have so many miseries to write about. Eventually I set out after Don leaving my extra gear hidden behind a lone pine. Chris, who felt fine -- relatively -- was to stay behind with John until the two of them could start up that afternoon. After catching up with Don the two of us completed the more or less uneventful second class rock and snow climb to the second of the three huts at the Knees (16,000 feet) in a partial white-out and light snow.

Once in the hut we both felt comfortable but exhausted -- worn not so much by the climb as by the train ride. After dinner I went immediately to sleep. Don first walked around, took a few pictures, and then went to sleep himself.

I solemnly declared the following day an official rest period -- after I got up at 1 P.M. After taking pictures and melting snow I found Lashier still sleeping. Dinner time came around and he was still out. This was annoying because he was lying on top of our food. As Don began to enter his second straight day of sleeping his breathing became noisy and irregular. A few successful climbers, including our solo stranger, came by to pay their respects. During the night Don became semi-conscious to utter such profundities as, "Ug. Ah. Ater!" I had to help support him while pouring "ater" down his throat. Deliriously thinking a canteen now had to be capped, he would twist a pot lid lying at his side for as long as five minutes.

The third day, Christmas, Don felt well enough to stand with support and sick enough to want to get to lower altitudes immediately. We diagnosed his misery as a combination of acute anoxia, an unknown respiratory infection -- caught by all on the train -- Montezuma's revenge, and possibly a touch of emphysema. We soon found the result to be a loss of sense of balance and extreme weakness. I ended up carrying my pack a few hundred yards at a time then returning for Don's. He would either support himself using his ice axe or grab on to the back of my pack as I walked. We almost got to the snow line before balance problems forced Don to bivouac: he tended to fall off the trail which was dangerously steep for such habits. I promised to leave for help.

By sunset I was at the road head: 10:00 P.M. and 16 very thirsty miles later found me at the Popo Hut. All day I had been anticipating the round welcome of the rest of our group. But all I got was a "Buenos noches" from the ranger. Our people had left for Christmas dinner in Mexico City. A large group from M.S.U. was there, however, and they offered enthusiastic support for the cause of rescuing Don. I did my best to tactfully refuse their aid when I learned that only one of them had ever been on a mountain before. I wasn't in the mood for searching for lost gringos on Ixta. The next morning I did get the one experienced member of the M.S.U. group and a more-or-less fit comrade of his to sneak away from the rest of their over-willing group. We took one of their cars to the road head; they charged up the trail. They took Don's pack down, and a now emaciated Inman barely managed to struggle up to meet a now improved Lahier and then limp back down. By this time the M.S.U. car was gone and the two of us had to partly walk, partly hitch-hike to Amecameca -- where we gorged ourselves on pork chops and orange crush at Cafe La Montana.

We later found that John and Chris had managed to make it to the first hut at the Knees the first day. Not seeing the second hut or John and myself in the dark they were discouraged and returned to Amecameca.

MORAL:
In the future it might be a good idea to rest after traveling by Mexican public transportation, particularly the Ferrocarril Nacional de Mexico. An additional stop for acclimatization at high altitude is important if one of the major volcanoes is to be climbed. A day in Mexico City followed by most of a day at the Popo Hut may seem like a waste of time, but it's preferable to spending four days on a mountain without reaching the summit and then being too tired and sick to do anything. It's also a good idea to be leery of unboiled water just before a climb: this includes coffee. But sick or not, Mexico is fun to travel in even if no peaks are climbed.

-- Wayne Inman
LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 11, 2012 - 05:01pm PT
More on Mexico's special brand of "Misery"...


An Essay on Trains

Last Christmas several of us became experts on trains. Mexican trains that is. As the senior expert -- I traveled the entire round trip via this particular mode of memorable transport -- I have been delegated to inform the world of our findings. To summarize: Mexican trains, especially second class, are very cheap. They are, unfortunately, less than perfectly comfortable. In fact one of the lines, the Ferrocarril Nacional de Mexico, has earned our judgment as the most [CENSORED -- ED.] and [CENSORED -- ED.] railroad in the world.

Traveling by other railroads to Guadalajara we only suffered from lack of sleep, dehydration, and some sort of respiratory infection (T.B.). The lack of sleep was caused by noise, bad odors, uncomfortable seats, and conductors. The dehydration was caused by a lack of potable water on the train. The respiratory infections were caused by extremes of hot and cold caused in turn by a heater which either was on completely or not at all. Usually it was on not at all. Probably the rat meat tacos didn't help either. Although we lacked water we did have a cheery-looking little guy who ran up and down the train shouting, "Cerveza, cerveza". He would run down the isle (aisle?) until he'd get to us where he would make a sudden stop and automatically pull out several bottles of beer. After the trip he probably had done enough business with us to retire.

In Guadalajara we had a short layover during which people who felt well enough ate dinner and others (unsuccessfully) tried to find antibiotics. All of us charged into our respective pink sandboxes and checked out our single pieces of sandpaper-like T.P. from the attendant.

The next twenty hours were farcical. Being ladies and gentlemen, we gave our seats up to some little old ladies. There were twice as many people as seats. Three cheers for the Ferrocarril Nacional de Mexico! After dark, we sacked out on the floor or stood up. Then the plumbing in the head burst. No big thing. To make ourselves comfortable or rather less uncomfortable we improvised. Don, for instance, used a live Turkey for a pillow. We had more or less minimized our discomfort when the 10th Infantry Division sent his train-guarding regiment through. This patrol marched through every half hour all night. When the soldiers weren't going through, the conductors were with their multitude of punches. Everyone on the train was awakened when one conductor punched his finger instead of a ticket.

The next morning we awoke to find that the train was lost. No B.S. The train was lost. We discovered this when the kilometer signs measuring the distance from Mexico City started to give higher numbers. The conductor said the engineer had missed a turn. We actually ended up backing into the Mexico City station.

-- Wayne Inman
LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 11, 2012 - 05:05pm PT
And where there's Tolkien...you know there's a good story:

NEW ROUTE AT SATAN'S STICKSTACK

Following a successful trip to the Minarets, John Williams, Roger Steeb, Dave Meeks, and Don Lashier were sitting idly around cokes and candy bars (the beer wasn't in yet) discussing the various attributes of the female population in the Red's Meadow store when suddenly Don said "Let's go rock-climbing." The others, weighted down with the gravity of the situation at hand, did not immediately respond. But creeping up from the subconscious came memories: The ring of pitons, the smell of granite, kletterschuhe toes. Suddenly everyone sprang to life, lured by the call of the rock.

"But where?" said John, cursing Don for arousing him when he believed he could not get fulfillment.

But Dave's eyes twinkled, for he knew what Don proposed: "Satan's Stack of Sticks," he whispered in hushed tones, looking slowly from John to Roger.

"But that's against the Rule," cried Roger, his eyes afire with horror.

"If we are sly, They won't catch us, and then it won't be against the Rule," explained John, pleased with himself for this bit of wit, otherwise known as a witbit or sometimes nitwit, which is short for nittanywitterbybit.

Later that afternoon they reconnoitered, noting carefully the habits of the black rider with the wide brimmed hat. They carefully studied the Dark Tower, which amazingly resembles a stack of sticks and thus is known colloquially as Satan's Stickstack or First Degree Mordor.

That night, after the Black Rider had gone for nourishment in far lands, the group embarked on their journey in the dark, along the old forest road, armed with weapons from Don's hardware store. After posting Gregg to warn of the Black Rider, Dave began an attack on the tower. He soon surmounted the tower via what was known in the elder days as a chimney, about a 5.4 chimney to be exact. Next John, and then Roger surmounted the tower, following Dave's lead. Don was about halfway up when Gregg cried out in warning. Panic, terror, helplessness, and then relief, for Aragorn rode with us and the intruders were only two tourists come to see the stack of sticks etc.

Our lust not yet satisfied, we returned to the bottom to try another assault. Dave started to nail up a crack between two sticks of the stick stack, but the stacked sticks of the stick stack weren't stacked sticky and the nails didn't stick, i.e., it was an expanding crack -- about A4.

When Dave got about halfway up he could not retreat, because the pins below him had fallen out, but he did not wish to proceed, for the crack expanded easier ("more readily") as one ascended it. It took some technique to shift your weight at the right time. John ran around and gave him an upper belay, and he successfully completed the climb. Inasmuch as the route cleaned itself, and it was growing quite dark, we retired to the hot spring showers to sing:

"Sing hey! for the bath at close of day
That washes the weary mud away!
A loon is he that will not sing:
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!

O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,
and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;
but better than rain or rippling streams
is Water Hot that smokes and steams.

O! Water cold we may pour at need
down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed;
but better is Beer, if drink we lack,
and Water Hot poured down the back.

O! Water is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white beneath the sky;
but never did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing Hot Water with my feet!"

-- poem by J.R.R. TOLKIEN
LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 14, 2012 - 06:15pm PT
Tolkien bump!
LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 15, 2012 - 05:06am PT
Happy birthday, BooDawg!

Hope you have an awesome day, and all best wishes for the year ahead!
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 12, 2012 - 09:40pm PT
OK, now I know why people call Boodawg "Booey" instead of Boche. Sibylle couldn't quite explain.

The UCLA adventures and stories are very reminiscent of university outdoor clubs elsewhere.
marionathalie

Gym climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 5, 2013 - 02:40pm PT
Hello Bruin Mountaineers,

I am writing on behalf of the UCLA Daily Bruin. A few weeks ago, some of the Daily Bruin editors began looking into clubs that existed at UCLA in past years and they came across the Bruin Mountaineers. After reading about this club and all the experiences you all shared, we thought it would be a perfect series of stories that include personal features, some radio content, and even a slide show. This is where you come in. We would GREATLY appreciate if you or anyone you know in Bruin Mountaineers could share a few pictures that you captured on your adventures. Any content is welcome. We want to make this series great, and that can only be done with your help.

Thanks so much for your time!
Marion
LilaBiene

Trad climber
Feb 5, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
Bump!
sammyd415

climber
Thousand Oaks, CA
Feb 13, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
Hello Bruin Mountaineers,

I am working on a story about the Bruin Mountaineer club for the Daily Bruin at UCLA. For part of the story we were hoping to name some of the climbs that the club and its members have pioneered. If you have any knowledge concerning this subject, feel free to email me with any information you can provide, it will be greatly appreciated

Thank you,
Sam DeMello
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2013 - 05:10pm PT
An article in The Daily Bruin about the Bruins as climbers can be found here:

http://dailybruin.com/2013/02/28/the-trailblazers-bruins-help-pioneer-sport-of-mountaineering/

And embedded in that article is a multi-media story about "The Marathon" that took place during winter break, 1966. It can be found here:

They also ran a story about LilaBiene's search for her birth parents:

http://dailybruin.com/2013/03/01/a-rock-solid-connection-woman-traces-biological-parents-back-to-bruin-mountaineers/


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