“OCCASIONAL MISERIES” – Journal-UCLA Bruin Mountaineers

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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
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