Tobin Sorenson / David Goeddel - Astroman. May 1978

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 86 of total 86 in this topic
David Wilson

climber
CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 18, 2012 - 12:19pm PT
I had the opportunity to ask David Goeddel about this early ascent of Astroman. His words are below. A very impressive effort in May of 1978.


Astroman with Tobin Sorenson, May 1978. He had no shoes so he borrowed my old EBs that were about 3 sizes too large for him. The Harding slot was completely wet with snow melt, but was no problem for Tobin. 6 hours ( that was actually considered quite fast in 1978).

Tobin led the entire climb. I was completely out of shape at the time as I was in the middle of 6 months of around the clock work cloning the insulin gene. I was excited just to get to the Valley for a short weekend. Tobin claimed he was out of shape also, so we were planning just to do some short climbs. But then he decided he wanted to do Astroman (and of course, out of shape for him was not the same as for the rest of us). He had no problems, even in the big shoes. He stayed in the slot, climbing right through the water. I jumared most of the climb, but it was certainly a great experience watching him lead.



TripleS_in_EBs

climber
Poulsbo, WA
Jun 18, 2012 - 12:43pm PT
Nice. 1978. EBs. Astroman.

Thanks for the post.

Always love to hear tales of Tobin.
Bullwinkle

Boulder climber
Jun 18, 2012 - 12:58pm PT
word. . .
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Jun 18, 2012 - 01:30pm PT
i look at tobin and
i realize that it is the boy inside that
thrives us, not the man.

the man gets us lost, chasing his prescribed position
a in society.

thanks for the lesson tobin.
you continue to contribute to the progression of my life.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 18, 2012 - 03:27pm PT
That is very cool!
Thanks much, David Wilson/David Goeddel.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Jun 18, 2012 - 04:58pm PT
Gold! love it. Thank you for posting.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Jun 18, 2012 - 05:06pm PT
yep, this is what keeps me coming back--the gems.
Tobin must've unlocked his mind. So impressive!
RDB

Social climber
wa
Jun 18, 2012 - 05:10pm PT
Great stuff! thanks..
Double D

climber
Jun 18, 2012 - 05:15pm PT
Tobin...out of shape. Last time he told me that was '78 or, 79 and he'd just on-sighted Tales of Power then Separate Reality, a feat I believe that hadn't been done prior on either climb yet alone back to back. Amazing talent.
David Wilson

climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 18, 2012 - 05:16pm PT
This really impressed me. Apparently a couch effort. In the first pic, he obviously just linked right through the boulder problem into the enduro corner despite the drag etc...That guy could really pull
Clarke Brogger

Mountain climber
Laguna Beach, Ca
Jun 18, 2012 - 05:33pm PT
Holy moly!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 18, 2012 - 08:55pm PT
David Wilson wrote:
In the first pic, he obviously just linked right through the boulder problem into the enduro corner despite the drag etc...That guy could really pull

Good eye David. I missed that link up evidence.
Also, in the second picture, I'm pretty sure that's the left facing bottomless lay back, which often gets skipped these days in favor of something out right?

What an animal.

Tobin wrote about this ascent and also his on-site of Tales (as noted above by DD), commenting that he felt hollow and it was time to move on. Not sure how that fits timeline-wise with the Bible smuggling thing. In that piece, IIRC, he says he was in the best shape of his life ... So this bit about being off the couch: I think we might be posthumously busting him on a classic sandbag ... Ha!

(Although it could just as well be true that he was off the couch and either are classic Stonemaster/Sorenson fare).

How fun to have the pictures to go with the old story!
And these ascents were, as noted by toadgas: all on nuts.
jmap

Social climber
NC
Jun 18, 2012 - 09:00pm PT
Three out-of-shape people:

Person 1: Drank beer, blew off climbing and conditioning all winter.
Person 2: Got really into re-runs of Bridezilla
Person 3: Cloned the insulin gene.

Ding ding ding!

You can guess the winner.

Awesome post!
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jun 18, 2012 - 09:11pm PT
Sweet. How tall was Tobin?

OT- Tarboy is back posting? Hell yeah!
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jun 18, 2012 - 09:55pm PT
No way! I had no idea that Dave did Astroman with Tobin back then. Dave Goeddel was Duke No. 1 of the Poway Mountaineers. I feel like I just flunked a history test.
Phantom X

Trad climber
Honeycomb Hideout
Jun 18, 2012 - 10:06pm PT
Dave had a bee shirt? When did he get that?
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jun 18, 2012 - 10:20pm PT
I'm wondering when he started going by "David". I wonder if it was one of those "I just barely missed out on getting the Nobel prize and maybe I need to do something to make those people notice me more next time" things.
Phantom X

Trad climber
Honeycomb Hideout
Jun 18, 2012 - 10:44pm PT
How 'bout that, Dave's real name is David! He must of had it legally changed. Thanks DW.
covelocos

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Jun 18, 2012 - 11:18pm PT
Awesome history!
splitter

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jun 18, 2012 - 11:41pm PT
Tales Of Power was Spring '78. He was going to Bible School/College and could only get away occasionally to climb. So it was right off the couch, so to speak. I personally recall watching a good friend of mine at the time(GM)belay RK on the first ascent of Tales.

I specifically remember watching GM belaying RK from Reeds one day while I was climbing something there. Took numerous falls attempting to get the FA(which he eventually did after returning several times, of course). Some pretty run out and impressive looking leader falls from his highpoint that day on that overhanging crack(big air time). GM related afterwards how impressed he was with RK's tenacity(in regards to returning time after time/taking many lead falls, etc).

Then Tobin shows up and sends it on sight/first try and without any falls. Pretty impressive. And like others here have said, right off the couch.

Tobin was conflicted about his desire to become a full time missionary, evangelist, bible smuggler vs his love for climbing and desire to be with his friends and climbers in general, around that time. Which he also considered a mission field of sorts and where a big part of his heart was(reaching climbers with the gospel message). And, obviously, he loved climbing also.

He was fully and 100% committed to following Christ wherever it/He led him. And that, perhaps is what someone mentioned above in regards to what he was preparing to do at that point in his life, move on from climbing to smuggling Bibles, etc!

But he eventually, of course, settled for doing allot of both. It was something he believed his Lord and Savior led him to do and wanted him to do if I correctly recall('78 was the last time I saw or spoke with him). But Tobin was certainly ready and fully committed to sacrifice everything, including his life, for Christ and those he was called to reach. And, eventually, he did exactly that!!

edit: Tobin also new exactly who to pick and whom he could trust to accompany him on Astroman! That being, none other than, one of the legendary Poway Mt. Boys! ...just sayin!!
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jun 19, 2012 - 12:28am PT
Good stuff!
Thanks for posting!
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Jun 19, 2012 - 09:17am PT
Good stuff bump!
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Jun 19, 2012 - 10:00am PT
Pretty cool history. Thank you.

There must be other TS stories that we don't have a clue about. Way ahead of his time.

The boy. The climber. The Man. The Christian. He is pretty inspirational.
David Wilson

climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 19, 2012 - 10:43am PT
eeyonkee - who/what were the Poway Mountaineers?

Roy - out right of that pitch above the slot is a 10c groove. I became intimately familiar with that groove as I fell ( the one fall I had ) from a few feet above Tobin's position is in that photo. It was in the hot sun and I slowly barn doored out of the layback and ended upside down below the little roof. I spinelessly bailed to the groove version after that.

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 19, 2012 - 11:01am PT
David,
Yes, first time up my only fall also in the same spot on lead (barn door lay back above the slot). There is a good left hand hold that is easy to miss and it's a crucial stabilizer.

I think that variation on the right of the left-leaning barn door lay back above the slot wasn't cleaned up until later (post 1980).

Also, I'm betting Tobin did the direct thin crack at the changing corners pitch. Many of us stepped left onto those nice face holds (which you cannot see if you are plugged into the crack just above the mantel) ... holds just left of the changing corners arete which you can putter up, finally reaching right into finger locks just at or above the apex of the changing corners. (I don't know when that was found, but by 1980 it was a standard option).

Good stuff there splitter!
So Tobin did some of his best stuff off the couch. Sounds like standard Sorensen lore. Probably no news to those close to him at the time.

*I know we've had that article where Tobin describes these ascents and his state of mind posted up here before. It would be fun to get it up on this thread.
splitter

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jun 19, 2012 - 12:42pm PT
Tarbuster,

I do recall him talking about the "hollow" feeling you mentioned it gave him afterwards. He also deplored being lifted up and put on a pedestal(as he described it). It is not something a Christian seeks(or should seek). Tobin certainly didn't. And it has destroyed many people, including Christians. Tobin was very aware of this. He desired the focus to be on JC and what He was doing through him. Whom he believed was who had enabled him and gave him the gifts and skills to achieve what he had and would achieve. That is what it was all about for Tobin. He wanted all the glory going to God/Christ.

He certainly wasn't comfortable with, nor desired, becoming an idol or being idolized. I think these were some of the issues he was dealing with and that you referred to. And the actual climbing achievements left him with a hollow, empty feeling. It was a temporary feeling of success, at best. He probably felt as though it was pretty worthless other then boosting ones ego or having bragging rights or lifting him up in others eyes/minds. Something pretty worthless in the grand scheme of things(or how Tobin viewed our reason for being here on earth). It left him desiring something more fulfilling and long lasting. It may have had value here on earth. But Tobin was focused on things that had eternal value, like peoples souls.

Perhaps Christ was working in Tobin at that time also(i am sure He was). For He certainly wanted Tobin to give Him all of his heart(have nothing getting between Him and Tobin). Many things could do that. But it obviously would have been climbing in Tobin's situation.

Like you have already said, Tobin was ready to and perhaps actually did give up climbing for a while and focused on serving Christ full time in some way such as smuggling Bibles into Bulgaria or Romania or wherever they were not allowed at that time. It was the willingness, the desire to do so that JC was looking for. Tobin did have it and gave everything else up. I believe that Christ then gave Tobin the desire of his own, Tobins, heart...reaching climbers with the Gospel message.

It(love for the lost and love for everyone)flowed from his very being, his eyes, his smile and particularly his heart. I believe he prayed for climbers everyday, throughout the day. He had high hopes for everyone he came into contact with and everyone he new.

Tobin was the real deal as far as Christians are concerned. Love emanated from the dude! If anyone was ever "filled with the Holy Spirit" and filled with love for the lost and everyone, it was Tobin Sorenson. Peace, another attribute, also surrounded him. I haven't and don't believe i ever will find or know anyone on this earth that comes close to Tobin in these respect.

edit: yes it would be great to see that article, get the story from the horses mouth. Perhaps he did get totally honed while attending school full time, somewhere locally. Could happen, particularly with someone like Tobin. And perhaps we, I, were just assuming since he hadn't been climbing full time in the Valley or some other climbing area and sitting in class 8hrs a day that he wasn't/couldn't be in top shape. It has been way to long to recall how/why i have that(off the couch)buried deep into my memory/mind!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 19, 2012 - 07:14pm PT
I just scoured the site looking for the article in question and could not find it. I'm now vaguely remembering it as an interview if that helps.

Regardless of the off the couch bit (I'd go with you and DD and Goeddel first on that, not my recollection of something I've read), the published piece would just be terrific provenance to go with David Goeddel's wonderful story and photos. I've e-mailed Grossman about it: he may have it in hand.

Oh, and the borrowed EB's, three sizes too big! Just makes it even more Tobin.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jun 19, 2012 - 07:49pm PT
The Poway Mountaineers were just a group of climbers from Poway, climbing together in the early 1970s. If you asked one of 'em, where is Goeddel's Move? and he couldn't answer, he's either demented or lying about being a Poway Mountaineer.
splitter

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jun 19, 2012 - 08:38pm PT
I grew up in San Diego(more or less). I started climbing in the early Spring of 1971. I initially started climbing with the local chapter of the RCS and went climbing with and learned all the basic skills, and then some, with some of the local greats who were still active with that club, such men as Jerry Galwas.

We climbed and made trips to the Sierra, Idylwild, JT, Canyon de Tajo(sp) and all over SD County, etc.!

I am not sure where the name of The Poway Mountaineers(they were also referred to as The Poway Mt. Boys by some peeps)first was brought to my attention that Spring, cuz we were going someplace different every weekend. But by the time I made my first trip to Mt. Woodson, they, or at least their name and the respect that this group of seasoned men(RCS)had for them as a rising group of young climbers from Poway Calif. had already been firmly cemented into my mind.

I first ran into Rick Piggott out at Woodson while I was bouldering there by myself that same year '71. I new who he was before we even got close enough to introduce ourselves. And had heard stories about many, perhaps all of them, by then. Guys like Rick, Dave Goeddel, Greg Cameron, etc, were spread far and wide already, because once i had cut my climbing teeth with the RCS, I found new, perhaps a bit younger friends who were seriously committed to climbing. They had all heard about the Poway Mountaineers.

One of those stories(don't know if it is true)was swirling around my head the first time I soloed Robbins Crack in '71 or '72. It was about what had happened to one of the PM's younger brothers after he had soloed it one day and evidently fell, at the crux(high up)as he was downclimbing it. They said he either sprained or broke his leg(don't recall).

My heart was pounding away as I began that first downclimb of Robbins at Woodson(only way down). And that story was at the front of my mind, and had certainly caused me to pause and reflect on it before I sunk the first handjam that day. Matter of fact, I thought about it every time I climbed and particularly every time I downclimbed Robbins.

So, when I referred to them as "legendary" in one of my earlier posts above, I seriously meant it. I was 21 when I started climbing and first heard about the PM, and I am pretty sure all of them were younger than I. And they were already "legendary", and that was a status that had been applied to them by at least one of the Legends of yesteryear. Just Sayin...
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jun 19, 2012 - 09:03pm PT
Normally, I would recommend everybody to disregard anything PhantomX writes on Supertopo, but that shirt really does need some explaining. I mean, I've only seen John Belushi in that shirt. How did Dave get it?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 19, 2012 - 09:24pm PT
Poway Mountaineers, hmmm.
So who is this Greg Cameron guy anyway?
And isn't "Goeddel's Move" something that occurs just before you hear the word checkmate?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 19, 2012 - 09:30pm PT
splitter may not have seen this before: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/204717/Poway-Mountain-Boys
David Wilson

climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 19, 2012 - 09:32pm PT
Roy, funny that you fell at the exact same spot on Astroman. Nobody ever talks about that spot being hard.

I think Greg Cameron is the gentleman that soloed the LA chimney - pretty badass

I don't know - "Goeddel's move" may require bothering Dave with even more questions if nobody comes forth to explain. That bee shirt also - serious swag

First free in 1976 - could this have been in the first 10 free ascents?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 19, 2012 - 10:34pm PT
Greg's also got a hell of a chest wig!
Just ask or yell "EE YON KEE" and all things Cameron shall come forth.

Nobody admits to falling off there Dave, or very few of us, because the hold is literally "in your face", actually being scrubbed by one's left cheek as the barn door maneuver unfolds.

First 10?
Good guess I suppose; do you sometimes wonder how even tightknit communities track such things? At the risk of being xenophobic, I mean.
That would be a fun list to look at any rate!

Clevenger told me he did it, I believe with Jardine, and they had the sneaky little cams hidden under their shirts (conforming to other stories of said clandestine deployment).
Theirs was probably an early/first 10 ascent.

Maybe HUD could avail us of an approximate list.

During the high season of 1980, it seems it was getting done once a week.
Kim Carrigan was hiking over there with his binoculars to watch parties work their way up the route. He gave us beta.

Again: BIG thanks to you and to Goeddel for getting this going.
David Wilson

climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 19, 2012 - 10:55pm PT
Well, we could get the story out of Vern with a little digging.

I think the first ten is pretty significant as the insecurities weigh on the early ascents. My friend Mike Graber said he and Rick Wheeler were " first ten " on the shield and it was then it struck me that was a big deal. Steck, Roper and Long were third on the Salathe with no bolt kit on board - yikes ! Tobin had something going and that was pretty amazing. I stood under the big north face of Alberta and shivered knowing he'd died there - a big cold, dark, and somber face. Very sad.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 19, 2012 - 11:02pm PT
Yeah, I've seen a picture of Wheeler on that ascent of The Shield. (Is that in Vertical World?). If not, it was a private collection.

Agreed on earlier ascents of anything notable. Always a feather in one's cap.
I'm serious about Hudon though. We likely just need to ask him.

(edit): by risk of xenophobia, I meant that you don't always know about the odd ball/clandestine out-of-towners doing things without a mention and that can affect the count.
(Though unlikely on something like an El Cap route with such great visual access. Ditto East Face of the Column between the FFA and 1978, but maybe less so)
splitter

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jun 19, 2012 - 11:23pm PT
MH- "...may not have seen this before."

No, I haven't! Looking forward to reading it. Thanks!!
Phantom X

Trad climber
Honeycomb Hideout
Jun 20, 2012 - 12:36am PT
Keep talkin' Grug.
Phantom X

Trad climber
Honeycomb Hideout
Jun 20, 2012 - 12:37am PT
C'mon hit me again.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 20, 2012 - 12:42am PT
> First free in 1976 - could this have been in the first 10 free ascents?

I have it at around the 7th? ascent on my list, but I wasn't around, so this is just a few that I have heard of after the fact.
Best to check with Werner!
[Edit:] Werner (and Long and Bachar) already shared several stories in the thread that Roy linked in his post below.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/520019/Astromans-Pre-History


Astroman - 5.11c *** (11p: 4-6 5.11)

FFA - John Long, Ron Kauk, John Bachar, 5/75
not a continouous free ascent, but all pitches were freed individually during 2 separate days
one day: Kauk had spied the enduro corner, and went over with Bachar to try it. Bachar led the boulder problem (p3), and then Kauk led the enduro corner (p4) with no falls. This was the first time these pitches had been freed.
another day: Kauk and Bachar returned with Long. They jumared a fixed rope to the top of pitch 4, to get out in front of some parties which were aiding the route. They freed from pitch 5 to the top, with many of these pitches being freed for the first time. Pitch 5 (5.10) had previously been freed by Mead Hargis. John Long had also previously freed pitch 5 and a 5.10d pitch above Changing Corners during a mostly aid ascent.
2nd? FA - Ray Jardine, Vern Clevenger, Spring 1975
1 bivouac
3rd? FA - Ron Kauk, 6/1977
led all pitches; Werner Braun jumared
up to the last pitch by 11am
4th? FA - John Bachar, 6/1977
led all pitches; Rick Piggot jumared
5th? FA - Dale Bard
led all pitches; partner jumared
6th? FA - Max Jones, Mark Hudon, Fall 1977
7th? FA - Tobin Sorenson, 5/1978
led all pitches; David Goeddel jumared, wet conditions
photo trip report

http://www.stanford.edu/%7Eclint/yos/longhf.htm#wash
David Wilson

climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2012 - 10:48am PT
Thanks Clint !
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 20, 2012 - 11:07am PT
Well done Clint!
Gotta love the keepers of lists, exemplified by such cool cats as Clint and Ed Hartouni.

That is far fewer ascents than I would have expected by that time.
Probably not complete but still a good thumbnail sketch to start off with, putting Tobin right there in the first 10 ballpark as you suspected, David.
splitter

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jun 20, 2012 - 11:28am PT
Tarbuster,

Regarding the Tobin article, the only one I can recall reading about Tobin back then was an obit written by Bruce Adams(Brunosafari)one of the origional Poway Mountaineers i believe. Anyway, I was just perusing the Poway Mountain Boy's thread that Mighty Hiker kindly posted here and came across his name and it reminded me of that obit/article. I haven't read the article/obit that he wrote in ages, nor do I recall which climbing rag it was in. But it was probably not long after Tobin passed in 1980. Maybe Mountain or Climbing magazine?? I don't recall when R&I started publishing. But i do recall that it was supurbly done. And perhaps they printed/reprinted an origional TS article with it, or Bruno would be aware of one since I think he was a good friend of his at the time of his death. He does post here off and on, and prollie lurks.

edit: A Tobin Sorenson biography is WAY overdue, yes!!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 20, 2012 - 11:29am PT
Frankly, I find Tobin's on-site of Tales of Power, no falls, off the couch, all on nuts more impressive.

Astroman, not meaning at all to take the fire out of an early ascent, but the jamming isn't that technical, except for the boulder problem. (Caveat: it would be pretty darn technical for me if I were protecting with nuts!). Astroman is more about endurance and Bachar agreed with me on this appraisal. But then, factor back in Tobin off the couch coming from seminary school as a few of you have noted upthread, leading all of the pitches really fast on an early ascent and in shoes three sizes too big and it notches right back up.

Then, look at Tobin's feats in the Alps during 1977-1978. Let Ricky Accomazzo elucidate his firm position on Tobin's standing as one of, if not THE top achiever in the Alps at that time. Solo North Face Matterhorn. Dru Couloir Direct, hard new route on The Grandes Jorasses, second ascent of the Eiger Direct in a very fast time. (Some of this may need correction, I think I have it right as all happening in the same time span, if not the same year).

A Tobin Sorensen biography is overdue, no?

*Splitter: we will find the article/interview. You could be on the right track. I still have hopes that Grossman has it because he archives everything.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 20, 2012 - 11:43am PT
And a lot of the original Stonemasters, those active between 1971 and 1976, such as Largo, Accomazzo, Muir, E, Hensel and etc. who have not been posting much lately and who knew Tobin personally haven't even chimed in yet, (DD and Warbler would qualify) ... except for Bullwinkle and he strives for brevity as we saw! (Probably too busy working on said biography if I had to guess, but I am NOT making any statements to that effect, just guessing).

I started climbing with the Stonemasters in 1977/1978, primarily in Southern California and Tobin had already begun to move on from that local scene so I never met him. But I heard all the stories from the principal players, many times.

Oh yes: then there is his ascent of the Grand Central Couloir on Mount Kitchener with Jack Roberts, also right in there around 1978. I have it in my photo bucket ready to post, Tobin's article "Witlessly Bold, Heroically Dull", or some such. If anybody wants to see it I'll post it up, but will refrain for the moment for the sake of avoiding thread drift.
splitter

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jun 20, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
I first met Tobin and many of those other guys while I was staying in Idylwild off and on during '72'73. Bouldered with him and others. Recall getting one move higher then anyone had at that point on one of their bouldering projects the first time i tried it(wow,lol). But, obviously, all those doods were way out of my league. Perhaps one or two of them thought I had some potential, but they hadn't taken into consideration that I was a big chicken sh#t, lol.

They were all great guys/people. I did climb with Tobin once. Myself and another guy were up at Suicide and Tobin wandered up. He asked if he could join us. it was towards the end of the week and the rest of his crew were not gonna show up till the next day/weekend. I was about to lead Hair Lip. I can't recall what my partner and Tobin led. I think my partner led the flared chimney to the right of Hair Lip(Hot Buttered Rump). I don't recall what Tobin lead. Perhaps something I had already done, or I totally flamed/spazzed out on it and have blocked it from my memory.

I do recall the three of us went to dinner at one of the local Idylwild restaurants afterwards and I got stuck with the check. So I must have made a pretty big fool of myself and bought their silence, lol! Tobin was very quiet and very humble that day as i recall. Always had a big smile on his face, and whenever my 'buddie' managed to humiliate me in front of everyone(which was often)and which was supposed to produce laughs, Tobin would look at me with the most compassionate & saddest look. I never forgot that. Crossed paths with him many times after that.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jun 20, 2012 - 12:25pm PT
All on nuts.

Fo shoor, impressive!



6th? FA - Max Jones, Mark Hudon, Fall 1977


It was the old Western Mountaineering store in Santa Cruz that these two blokes rolled in with a slideshow.
I remember them showing some photos of Astroman and one, in particular, of the Harding Slot.

Max or Mark, one of 'em said,
"Then we got under this thing and said 'Whatt?' Nobody said anything about a gaping maw..." (or some such).

They were totally taken by surprise by the OW/squeeze, but apparently, why should that slow them??

All amazing ascents, on nuts.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Jun 20, 2012 - 02:51pm PT
Nuts: people were better at placing them, I suspect, and people got strong as hell placing them--a nice feedback loop.
Tales (never seen it in person) always sounds so hand-size dependent. Ron has normal/big hands. I think it's been flashed by quite a few who have small or thin hands.
Anyhow, just trivial details those.

What is so impressive to me about this story is just the idea, the plan, the concept: Tobin deciding that day was the day, shoes a technicality, that he was going to bite off a big chunk and chew it up. The boldness of going to the rock.

Closest modern equivalent I can think of is a young Leo Holding and partner jumping on El Niño and nearly onsighting its second ascent.
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Jun 20, 2012 - 03:18pm PT
I would like to say that a very complete biography of Tobin is way over due.

A biography all about the boy, the Stonemaster, the man, the alpinist, the Christian, the evangelist, from the point of view of fellow Stonemasters, Poway Mtn. Boys, his father, his family, his brother, his friends, his fiance.

Would like to know what he wrote in his last journal found at the accident site.

It would be an incredible read. Brono's obit has always had a big impression on me. I would have liked to have known Tobin.

Hopefully someone could take up this challenge. Tobin was way ahead of his time in many ways seems to me.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 20, 2012 - 03:31pm PT
Found the interview!
*Thanks to Accomazzo.

I've linked the full interview and pulled out the salient passages referring to some of our questions in this thread. Tobin does not speak specifically about Tales of Power.

Either there is another interview extant, or this is the interview to which I was referring in total. (Likely the latter).

The timeline of his talking about 5.12 clearly predates his "big European season", which is perhaps circa '77 or '78. If that's the case he's not necessarily talking about Tales of Power, if Tales happened in spring of 1978 and his "big European season" transpired in 1977.

Conversely, Tobin's statements could be inclusive of Tales, if his "big European season" was meant specifically to denote summer and fall of 1978 and not that of 1977, with Tales, again unfolding in spring of 1978. Essentially, it's unclear to me, perhaps due to the year and a half time span he says he elapsed between his 5.12s and the subsequent tremendous effort in the Alps.

But perhaps you can see where my recollection of the interview points to Tobin as having been in excellent shape prior to his best 5.12 efforts.
Alas, he does not call out Tales or Separate Reality by name. There's nothing specific about his training (or not) for Astroman.

I will let Ricky interject with his opinion on Tobin's preparation for those three climbs.

Regardless, the entire interview is a real jewel. And now more so due to the recent TR by David Goeddel, which brings it all to life 34 years later.
Please go to Mike Graham's Stonemastergear website for the full enchilada!

Interviewed by Joe Friend
Spring 1979 for Thrutch Magazine

The complete interview found here at Stonemastergear.com
http://stonemastergear.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21:tobin-sorenson-interview&catid=19:stories-and-articles&Itemid=74

Excerpts below:

Q. Can we go back a step, to the epitome of your career as a rockclimber, in Yosemite when you were leading 5.12. You had mentioned that something had clicked for you, that you weren't getting as much out of climbing. Can you expand on this?

A. I had had a very intensive season. It was all climb, climb, climb and not looking back at all on what I was doing. Climbing had become everything to me. It was my God, and I looked to it for my meaning, my existence, my social life and my eternity. I'd finally gotten to the point of where I had always wanted to be. I stood up on this little mountain of mine, of fame and ability. I soon realized the emptiness and began to see just how puny my little world was. I had found nothing and there was still a giant gap in my life.
I packed my bags and went home. It was there I was confronted with all that Christ had to say. Since then my life has taken a big turn. I quit climbing for a while and began to get to know God through the Bible. A year and a half later God seemed to throw me right on back into climbing with my big European season.

Q. What are your most memorable leads in the States?

A. Last spring I did Astroman, leading all the pitches, with my second jumaring. I think it's one of America's best in the sense that it's all overhanging and has five pitches of 5.11, hard 5.11 plus several pitches of 5.10, just a few of 5.9 and one 5.8. It's a long and severe climb.
splitter

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jun 20, 2012 - 07:17pm PT
Splendid! Thanks for persevering and locating it. Perhaps we will be able to connect a few dots.

edit: Yes, much thanks Mike G!!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 20, 2012 - 07:26pm PT
Excellent Supertopo thread on the climb:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/520019/Astromans-Pre-History.

Splitter:
I was so excited to find it and right under our noses!
Longer than I remembered and it really brings out very nice detail about the man's internal state.
I'm thinking I may have read an abridged version republished in a US magazine about the same time, 1979.

BIG kudos to Mike Graham for archiving it on his website.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 23, 2012 - 11:30pm PT
Astrobump...
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Jun 23, 2012 - 11:45pm PT
Tarbuster, thanks for posting the interview.

Great thread, a window into climbing history.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Jun 23, 2012 - 11:48pm PT
1977 was Tobin's big Euro season.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Jun 24, 2012 - 10:38am PT
Here is a group photo, including Tobin, taken in the late spring or early summer of 1978, during the same week that Tobin had climbed Separate Reality and Tales of Power. I think he had done Astralman earlier.


I had just finished my first year of law school and Dick S. and I were about to go up on the Salathe. Tobin had recently returned from his unprecedented season in Europe, which took place from August to December of 1977.

He was in great shape after Europe and my memory is that he was climbing a lot after he got home. He had received some sponsorship from various climbing businesses and this meant he could raise his sights as to climbing goals.

Tobin had asked me to go with him on a trip to climb Shivling, in the Garwhal Himalaya during the summer of 1978. But that trip was cancelled due to the disclosure that spring of a CIA sponsored “climbing expedition” that had secretly planted, on Nanda Devi in the early sixties, a device to spy on Chinese nuclear tests. I am not making this up: Pete Takeda documented this bizarre event in his book, An Eye at the Top of the World. When that trip fell through, Tobin turned his focus to rock climbing.

I remember the day he succeeded on Separate Reality and Tales of Power because Tobin celebrated by going off his training regimen, which had included dieting to increase his already formidable strength-to-weight ratio.

I have a picture in my mind of him perched on a boulder in the C4 lot, holding a large spoon in the palm of his hand. He is sitting there beaming, and relishing every moment as he methodically works his way through an entire quart of ice cream.
Jim Pettigrew

Social climber
Crowley Lake, CA
Jun 26, 2012 - 10:13pm PT
Amazing stories and times!
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jun 26, 2012 - 10:44pm PT
Thanks for that picture, Rick! It's making me tear up. I don't know why, exactly.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Jun 26, 2012 - 11:30pm PT
That picture looks like a teen beat magazine cover....So young...geeze...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 9, 2012 - 06:36pm PT
More on Tobin's disposition prior to Astro Man, Separate Reality & Tales of Power.
From Brunosafari/Bruce Adams here (post 115):
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=116772&tn=100

I believe Tobin had just returned from his spectacular season in the Alps. He had climbed the Eiger Direct, The Dru C.Direct, The Desmaison on the Walker and the N. face Matterhorn solo in the winter, among others, such as the famous Scottish ice gullies and Grecian sea cliffs. In the Spring he returned to San Luis Obispo and began bouldering and rockclimbing locally with us, his SLOtown roomates and buds. He was in the most splendid condition imaginable, highly confident and motivated. Seems to me he climbed "more monk den funk" at Josh around this time, and that would have bearing in relation to Separate Reality.

In late May, I think, he set about some business in Yosemite. After a warm up at the Cookie Cliff, he and I climbed The Crucifix. I believe the following weekend, he climbed Astroman, leading every pitch on sight with no falls in about five or six hours, I think. It seems to me, the following weekend he attempted to climb Tales of Power and Separate Reality together, though he had not laid eyes on them. There was another testpiece he attempted during this period, but I'm not positive of its identity. I only recall his seasoned belayer telling me he had taken three huge, terrifying, headfirst falls. (edit : maybe it was Crimson Cringe) Tobin just told me he failed because it was too hot and said little if anything at all about the falls. He knew I would not have approved.

By this time his E.B.s were thrashed. Amazingly, Tobin and I had the exact height, weight and shoe size. So of course I was honored to sponsor his attempt by providing the "all-the-credit-is-due-to," all important, footwear. That is, an identical pair of the blue magic slippers, only slightly less thrashed. I wished him the best, but was unable to join the spectacle of Tales and Separate together. This was during my finals in my fourth year and I was working. How very much now I wish I had attended anyways.

A couple of days later in the late evening, he stumbled into the house, but was in good spirits. I asked him how it went and he told me the story with full animation, showing the endless hand jams and how he had climbed all the way out to the very lip, had made the first toe hook...but on the next heel hook the rubber on the heel of my E.B.s had torn off suddenly and it had made him fall!

I can still see the gleaming fire in his eyes!

By this time my paternal instincts had often become exaggerated in respect to Tobin. You would have to know how raw his emotions were and how idealistic he was, how penniless we all were, especially him. Each of his victories had strangely become my very own; and now this failure too. We looked stupidly into each other's faces like a literal gold medal had just slipped through our fingers!


-Bruce Adams
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Jul 9, 2012 - 06:55pm PT
I ran into Tobin right after his Europe trip outside the Mtn. Room Bar. In his ultra animated way he described a near miss high on the N. Face of the Matterhorn. His crampons both popped and immediately after one of his axes popped. He swung wildly out of control on one axe, which held, before he regained his composure!
rick&roll

climber
pdx, or
Jul 19, 2012 - 10:02pm PT
graber and i climbed the shield november, 1976
too long ago to remember who else had done it
after the macedonian on the hulk, bircheff told me i should go do the shield
he'd enjoyed it and was probably sandbagging me...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 19, 2012 - 11:41pm PT
Rick Wheeler!
Welcome to the forum!

Haven't seen you in quite a long time.
'Hope all is well.

-Roy
David Wilson

climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 20, 2012 - 11:13am PT
Hey Rick - Good to see you posting. Graber thought you guys were in the first ten ascents on the shield - he mentioned it to me a couple times.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 20, 2012 - 01:52pm PT
Welcome Rick!

I did the Shield with Gary Hervert in 1978 and I recall Werner saying that we got the 13th ascent. He used to keep track of the order back in those days and might have recorded some of the information.
Tony Puppo

climber
Bishop
Jul 20, 2012 - 03:23pm PT
Hey Rick,
How's it going?
They were some greeat photos of you on this sight awhile back. I don't remember who posted them, hope you got to see them.
Tony
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Jul 20, 2012 - 04:04pm PT
So awesome! so old school and such a rad route..
ks
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Jul 31, 2012 - 07:04pm PT
how did Tobin get into alpine climbing?
Bullwinkle

Boulder climber
Jul 31, 2012 - 08:01pm PT
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Jul 31, 2012 - 08:08pm PT
I love that photo.

TFPU
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jul 31, 2012 - 08:31pm PT
how did Tobin get into alpine climbing?
He really kinda started there



http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=161148&msg=161672#msg161672
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Mar 19, 2014 - 11:45am PT
Damn, that picture above is amazing. Tobin looks like he's straight out of the London rock scene of the sixties.
dickcilley

Social climber
Wisteria Ln.
Mar 20, 2014 - 08:48am PT
I recognise everyone in Ricks picture except the girl. Who is it?
Johnny K.

climber
Sep 4, 2014 - 01:25pm PT
3 pieces and some chewing gum....
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Sep 4, 2014 - 06:22pm PT
Avery

climber
NZ
Sep 4, 2014 - 06:57pm PT
I know this is off the topic, but here is a rare pic of Tobin Sorenson near the summit of Mt Cook (NZ's highest peak) taken by John Allen in August 1979
Avery

climber
NZ
Sep 4, 2014 - 07:02pm PT
Tobin Sorenson on the Eiger Direct, October 1977.
Truthdweller

Trad climber
San Diego, CA (stuck in Jersey)
Sep 4, 2014 - 09:32pm PT
Wow, didn't know about Tobin's later years knowing Jesus Christ...pretty exciting! Spreading the Gospel within the climbing circles...imagine that....beautiful. "A lot of fishing to be had in them parts" my Pastor once said (referring to Camden, NJ). Praise God Tobin!
Bushman

Social climber
Elk Grove, California
Feb 12, 2015 - 05:06pm PT
More Astroman pics of Tobin in the next post.
Not sure of the order, Tobin had them numbered as such for his slide show.

-Tim
Bushman

Social climber
Elk Grove, California
Feb 12, 2015 - 05:24pm PT
Here are some more photos of Tobin and David's Astroman ascent.
I'm not sure of the order, Tobin had them numbered as such
for his slide show.

-Tim

telemon01

Trad climber
Montana
Feb 12, 2015 - 07:52pm PT

Thanks Bushman, great stuff
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
May 22, 2017 - 06:12pm PT
TOBIN THREAD trajectory, half-time recap report, and expert analysis from our all-star panel: from Tobin Soloing the North Face of the Matterhorn in Levi's to Astroman to Bridezilla to The Poway Mountain Boys and Woodson, with many brief forays down fascinating sidebars of pure seventies climbing ephemera, wrapped up with a dangerous mission to make the word of god available to those imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain. Sure, why not? Supertopo, against all odds, continues to produce choice nuggets of twenty-four-karat gold.
dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
May 25, 2017 - 01:35pm PT
Tobin!
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Cali
May 25, 2017 - 03:41pm PT
Some people just have bigger balls then the rest of us, for a variety of reason obviously, and Tobin was always in that category.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Apr 22, 2019 - 07:35pm PT
It made me full-on sad to remove the scans of the Climbing Magazine #64 interview With Tobin....



really just beyond unnecessary

Sad,
...
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Apr 22, 2019 - 07:44pm PT
This is why supertool must remain public forever💎
Messages 1 - 86 of total 86 in this topic
Return to Forum List
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta