Tobin Sorenson / David Goeddel - Astroman. May 1978


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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):

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!

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...

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.

David Wilson

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

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.
the kid

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

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

Boulder climber
Jul 31, 2012 - 08:01pm PT
Credit: Bruce Adams

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


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

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.

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

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

Out Of Bed
Sep 4, 2014 - 06:22pm PT
From Climbing #64 Jan/Feb 1981 the issue with Steve Komito on the cove...
From Climbing #64 Jan/Feb 1981 the issue with Steve Komito on the cover.
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase

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
Credit: Allen

Sep 4, 2014 - 07:02pm PT
Tobin Sorenson on the Eiger Direct, October 1977.
Credit: Alex MacIntyre

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!

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.

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