Bachar references in Mountain Magazine

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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 11, 2012 - 01:04am PT
John Bachar in Mountain

Mountain 42 p12
1975 March/April

Taquitz and Suicide Rocks
The 1974 season saw little new-route activity at Taquitz. This was largely due to the shortage of aesthetic lines remaining on the cliff; it did, however, give added incentive to the clean-up campaign on aid routes.

The remaining aid on The Unchaste and Black Harlot's Layaway was despatched in fine style by Gib Lewis, John Bachar and Tobin Sorenson. Both climbs were found desperate, and are now graded 5.10+ and 5.11 respectively. Of the few new climbs that did appear, the least contrived was, Hubris (5.10), put up by Mike Heattr and Manuel Gonzales.


Mountain 45 p13
1975 September/October

The East Face of Washington Column has been climbed completely free by Kauk, Long and John Bachar. This is an outstanding achievement on a grade 5 route that was originally graded 5.9, A3. The climb, which has been re-named Astralman is very sustained, and involves four pitches of 5.11, four of 5.10 and three of 5.9.

...

There have been some interesting developments on Elephant Rock. Hot Line has been climbed completely free by Kauk and Bachar. This is one of the most elegant lines in the valley and the first to involve 5.12 grading. The difficult section, which is on the first pitch, consists of a 5.10 crack followed by a 5.11 traverse (originally tensioned); together, these are said to add up to 5.12 in difficulty. In-situ pegs were used for protection.


Mountain 46 p15
1975 November/December

Another noteworthy event was the first free solo ascent of Gollums Arch, on Twin Owls, by John Bachar.


Mountain 47 p13
1976 January/February

Perhaps the most audacious piece of rock-climbing in the late season was John Bachar's solo ascent of the last three pitches of New Dimensions (5.11). This is the first 5.11 to be soloed in Yosemite; the last pitch is particularly precarious, involving wild finger-jamming and laybacking in a flared corner.


Mountain 50 p12
1976 July/August

John Bachar climbed More Monkey then Funky (5.11), an often attempted 20ft. roof crack. However, rope drag proved a problem after the roof had been climbed, and a top-rope was necessary.


Mountain 51 p14
1976 September/October

Jim Bridwell, Mark Graham and John Bachar climbed Great Moments in Baseball (5.11),...


Mountain 53 p14
1977 March/April

John Bachar and Jim Bridwell put up Pinky Paralysis (5.11)...

Besides Kauk's Hot Line, current candidates for 5.12, or even higher ratings, would certainly include the Crimson Cringe and Hangdog, by Ray Jardine and John Lakey; Tips, by John Bachar and Kauk; Tales of Power, by Kauk; Overhang Overpass, by Jim Donini; and Coffin Nail, by Phil Gleason. No doubt there will be others.


Mountain 56 p12
1977 July/August

Astroman, the name given to the East Face of Washington Column when done free, had two interesting ascents this June: Kauk, belayed by a partner who jumared the ropes, led all of the pitches free; several days later John Bachar climbed the route in the same manner. These ascents, compared with the tentative first free ascent by Kauk, Bachar, and John Long, bring Astroman into the realm of standard, although very difficult, free routes.


Mountain 58 p15
1977 November/December

Two routes on Longs Peak had their first free ascents this summer.
After many earlier attempts, the Diamond 7 was finally climbed free by John Bachar and Richard Harris, who thought it hard 5.10.

Two recent ascents of note made here were John Bachar's free lead of Wisdom and Charlie Fowler's solo (and second) ascent of Perilous Journey. Earlier, Alec Sharp and Arnie Strapcans had made determined attempts to climb the second overhang on Wisdom, but Bachar eventually solved the problem by climbing round to the right, having belayed above the first roof.


Mountain 59 p15
1978 January/February

Correction
The report published in Mountain 58 incorrectly stated that John Bachar had belayed at the bolt during his first free lead of Wisdom Roof in El Dorado Springs Canyon Bachar did not do this, but the second free ascent party did.



Mountain 63 p15
1978 September/October

The all-time classic Diamond-1 was done completely free by Billy Westbay and John Bachar on July 22 (grade V, 5.11). Four pitches were graded at 5.11.


Mountain 65 p15
1979 January/February

More recent developments at Suicide including Caliente (5.11) by John Bachar and Rick Accomazzo. This long standing face-climbing problem ranks as one of the most difficult of its kind in the area.


Mountain 69 p17
1979 September/October

Leave it to Beaver (5.12-), had it s first lead by John Bachar. This and many other fine climbs including a free solo of Hot Rocks 5.11 (also by Bachar) were filmed by Dean Fidelman and are featured in a short climbing film.

John Bachar, Kevin Powell and Mari Gingery free climbed Rainy Day Dream Away (previously A3) at 5.11-.
This follows an exposed arete and involves tricky overhanging face moves.


Mountain 71 p19
1980 January/February

On the Sentinel are The Chameleon 5.12, a top rope climb by John Bachar and Mike Lechlinski to the right of Illusion Dweller. To the right of The Chameleo is The Rubberfat Syndrome 5.11 by Bachar, Lechlinski, Mari Gingery and John Yablonski. Not for Loan 5.10b, previously known as A2 was led free by Gib Lewis and Charles Cole. The first pitch of Where Eagles Dare was lead free by John Long at 5.11+. Across a short canyon from Rubbertat Syndrome is Against the Grain 5.10b by Cole, Lewis and Randy Vogel. On Houser Buttress, Hidden Arch was lead free by Lechlinski, followed by Lynn Hill and Long (barely!), at 5.11+. On the Brown Wall are two new routes that follow steep thin cracks on good rock. They are Brown 25 5.10d, and Jerry Brown, 5.10a. On the Wart is Compound W 5.11 by Bachar.
On the formation as you enter the valley are an un-named layback by Bachar, Dale Bard and Yablonski at 5.11+, a short thin crack Broken Glass 5.10b by Cole, Lewis and Vogel; and a fine thin crack Semi Tough 5.11 by Lechlinski, Gingery, Yablonski and Cole. On Hidden Tower- Not Forgotten was led free by Long, at 5.9 and later a mass third class.
Behind the campground are several new lines, they include A Woman's Work is Never Done 5.11 by Maria Cranor; Wet T Shirt Night 5.11+, by Bachar, and Torn Shirt 5.10c by Yablonski. Dale Bard and friends did Canned Funk a 5.10a roof crack.


Mountain 72 p16
1980 March/April

...and John Bachar and Lechlinski climbed the impressive Cameleon on The Sentinel.


Mountain 74 p15
1980 July/August

Probably the most impressive solo was of Leave it to Beaver (5.12) by John Yablonski, and later by John Bachar. It has seen much popularity as a top rope problem and local test piece. Also, Lynn Hill (5'1") did this route's complex moves and long reaches on her second try! Other routes seeing free solo action include: Left Ski Track, 5.11; Spider Line, 5.11+; Illusion Dweller, 5.10c soloed on sight by Yablonski; More Monkey Than Funky, 5.11; Bearded Cabbage, 5.10c; Right Ski Track, 5.10b; and the very bold Hot Rocks, 5.11b/c; by Bachar.

John Bachar climbed a very difficult roof crack further right called Zombie Woof, 5.12 (top rope.)
Dick Enberg was free climbed, without the 40' tree, (it was tied back) by Bachar and Lechlinski and is considered 5.12 this way. On the back of the Peyote Cracks formation Bachar climbed Baby Apes, 5.13 (top rope). On Echo Rock - Ten Conversations At Once, 5.10a lies in an arch system 60ft right of Stick to what.


Mountain 75 p16
1980 September/October

John Bachar made the first free solo ascent of the Nabisco Wall at the Cookie Cliff via Waverly Wafer (5.10), Butterball (5.11c) and Butterfingers (5.11a). An impressive feat by any standards.


Mountain 78 p18
1981 March/April

Randy Leavitt made the third ascent of Equinox Crack. John Bachar did the first ascent on top rope (5.12d) in 1978. Yaniro did the second ascent in August 1980. On this ascent, Tony lead the Equinox.


Mountain 81 p16,17
1981 March/April

John Bachar, without doubt the most prominent of all, stopped in for a day or two. He repeated Koch platte (8) done by W. Kraus in spring '81, and Teamwork 8, a'78 testpiece by Muhe, failed on the Ameisentrail, "need more training" was his comment.

After having done their duty in the Altmuhl valley they came to Nuremberg to do some climbing. And two of them - John Bachar and Mike Lechlinski - stayed for two months. Here was the new inspiration needed. It was clear that they could do the classics on sight, for example the Dampfhammer (steam hammer), VII+/5.11a. Then it was the desperates' turn. Humbug (nonsense) VIII+/5.11d, Eraserhead VIII+/5.12a, USA-roof IX/5.12c and so on got some more ascents. Uberdach, a more than 180 degree steep 3 metre roof VIII/5.11 in the Fichtelgebirge was climbed clean for the first time.

Then came the turn of the Nuremberg climbers' testpiece, Sautanz (pigs' dance) at the Gcissweinsteiner walls. This line has been free climbed very recently by Kurt Albert and had been marked at the bottom with a small red circle. This circle means that yo-yo tactics have been used. After two weeks of preparing John Bachar made the second ascent and Wolfgang Gullich the third without yo-yo and the red circle was filled up to a red point. The red point is a traditional symbol that was very helpful in spreading the idea of free climbing in West Germany. A red point at the bottom of a climb means that the climb has been done free without putting weight on the protection points. The rating of Sautanz is 5.12c/IX. But 5.12 is not enough. After two days of hard work Bachar freed the old Norwand on Krottenseer tower, formerly A1, V/A1, 5.7. It is now called Chasin'the trane and is at 5.13a/X- the hardest free climb in Germany at present. Shortly after the first ascent Wolfgang Gullich could 'redpoint' it.


Mountain 83 p12
1982 January/February

On Medlicott Dome, John Bachar added Black Magic (5.11+) which takes the black streak to the right of The Yawn. Bachar and Dave Yerian did the Bachar-Yerian (5.11+) which takes an utterly awesome vertical streak to the right of Shambles. It is reported to have a potential 60 ft. fall on 5.11 moves. To the left of Sweet Jesus, Bachar added You Asked For It, 5.10. This has 5.10 moves sixty feet out from protection. Just to the left of this, starting atop the first pitch, is the Bachar Flake Route (5.11) which takes a left-slanting flake to rappel bolts.

On South Whizz Dome, Bachar, accompanied by a variety of partners, added three routes on the vertical wall between the Prow and Rivendell Crack. Start Bouldering (5.11) climbs an improbable face to join the Prow just below the summit. Body and Soul (5.12) takes a direct line up the centre of the face to a difficult roof. Cheat Stone (5.10) starts on a three-foot high pile of rocks, but is totally devoid of protection on the first pitch.


Mountain 87 p20
1982 September/October

...Verdon both done by Edlinger. The Chrysalis pitch was confirmed as desparate by John Bachar when he narrowly failed to lead it on sight.

Patrick Berhault's "bombe de Pichnibul" has been repeated by Edlinger, John Bachar and S. Troussier: Bachar graded it 5.12c.

Mountain 90 p14
1983 March/April

John Bachar's Chasin' the Trane at the near-by Krottenseer Tower had to be down-rated to 9/5.12c after about 10 leads by a couple of climbers.


Mountain 94 p16
1983 November/December

John Bachar climbed several high quality new routes. The Isotope (5.11c) is an ultra thin crack to the left of Chingando. The Promise is a 5.11 face route up the Footstool slab. The Omakara (5.11d) is a very steep crack located hundreds of feet up and left from the Arch Rock cliff. The Nightmare Continuation is a 5.11c crack problem above Pink Dreams on Elephant Rock.


Mountain 97 p13
1984 May/June

Sepp Gschwendtner, The 'Grand Old Man of German Free Climbing' bagged the first 'redpoint' of Maud-Integral (IX+), a 'Flipper' Fietz boulder problem toproped in 1981 by John Bachar and rated 5.13a...


Mountain 103 p19
1985 May/June

Later that month with Dale Goddard, he did the first free ascent of the original aid line of the Wisdom at 5.12 blc. Now named St. Eve, this pitch steps left from the second belay on the "regular" Wisdom (the belay just over the roof), climbs over a roof (crux) and continues up a small corner with incredible exposure and an easier 5.11 face. This is one of the most spectacular routes of its grade in the canyon, and was tried extensively before John Bachar did the regular free variation which begins in a long traverse right from the second belay.


Mountain 115 p9
1987 May/June

Also in that area, John Bachar's Sole Fusion was a victim of the ethics wars, as it was mysteriously chopped for no good reason.


Mountain 117 p8
1987 September/October

Suzuki probably did the third ascent of Back to the Future (5.12b) as it was first done by Kauk and later by John Bachar.


Mountain 121 p11
1988 May/June

YOSEMITE
Recently Ron Kauk established the first rappel-bolted route in Yosemite in nearly 18 years. The climb, Punchline (5.12b), is a spectacular line ascending the outside face of the Entrance Exam Buttress at Arch Rock. The climb, accepted by nearly all locals as an instant classic, enjoyed a brief and celebrated life before John Bachar returned to the Valley and chopped the route. This led to heated confrontations between Bachar and longtime locals Ron Kauk and Mark Chapman. During one particularly heated discussion between Bachar and Chapman a punch was thrown and Bachar ended up in the dirt of the Camp 4 parking lot. The climb has recently been rebolted and other rap-bolt projects are underway.

While at this point both Bachar and Kauk have their followers, it seems the majority of climbers couldn't care less about how routes are established. What they do care about is the flagrant misuse of bolts regardless of how they are placed. Most climbers feel the main criteria for judging a route's validity should be the finished product and whether or not it is a worthy addition to the Yosemite climbing community, not how the route was established.

Putting these ethical dilemmas aside, Yosemite seems to be finally awakening f rom the big sleep that has engulfed it for the past eight years and is poised to retake its traditional position at the forefront of world climbing.
[Watch this space!]
Mark Chapman


Mountain 122 p50
1988 July/August

Biased and Destructive Reporting
from John Bachar

Dear Editor,
I was saddened to read the piece in the Mountain 127 Info section entitled "Yosemite Brawl Over Euro-Ethics as Bachar Bashing Season Opens'. This report more appropriately belongs in the Opinion section rather than next to the factual reports which regularly appear in the Info column. Not only is the sensationalisation of violence demeaning to myself and other local traditional climbers, but the article does nothing constructive to help the involved parties solve their problems. Is Mountain magazine's sole purpose to make a profit, or do they also wish to Bachar Speaks Out help the climbing community? In such a heated issue the magazine should have contacted people involved on each side of the co nt rove rsy.

As far as Mr Chapman's opinionated report goes there are many errors and outright lies. He states that the rappel-bolted route Punchline was ". . . accepted by nearly all locals as an instant classic . . ." . The fact is that nearly all locals were appalled by Mr Kauk's actions and he is without a doubt aware of it. Only a year ago he was telling younger climbers that ground up climbing was the only acceptable way to establish a route. Had anybody else rappel bolted a route it would have been removed. Apparently it is acceptable for Mr Kauk to break his own rules.

Chapman states that "During one particularly heated discussion . . . a punch was thrown and Bachar ended up in the dirt of the Camp 4 parking lot." The fact is that only Mr Chapman was "heated" and when he could not continue the discussion in a rational manner he punched me without warning in the neck. I had to go to the hospital to receive treatment for nerve damage to my neck and upper arm. Many would argue that the removal of rappel bolts is an offensive act, but it must be said that the placement of rappel bolts is just as offensive to the ground-up climber as the removal of rap placed bolts is to the rap-bolter. If a top-down climber has the right to place rap-bolts on a ground-up climber's future route, then the ground-up climber has just as much the right to remove those bolts. In everyday life many conflicts arise and are solved without resort to physical violence. The use of physical violence is a totally unacceptable approach to the solution of any problem and should not be condoned by anyone, the press included.

He further states that ". . . the majority of climbers couldn't care less about how routes are established". The fact is that the vast majority of locals do care about how routes are established and even if it were the case that the majority of climbers didn't care about how routes are established, it must be recognised that minorities have rights too. By looking back in history to a time when a majority of people were in favour of the enslavement of the negro minority or when a majority favoured the slaughter of the American Indian, we can learn that the tyranny of the majority is not always just. In fact it is often irrational and mob-like. The traditional ground-up climbers of Yosemite have rights that must be respected.

Mr Chapman also states that " . . . Yosemite seems to be awakening from the big sleep that has engulfed it for the past eight years . . .". The fact is that Yosemite produces some of the ha rdest ground-up routes in the world to date and the standards are increasing every year. Only because top-down routes are equated with traditional ground-up routes via the usage of the same numerical rating system do Yosemite-style ground-up first ascents appear inferior. After all what is harder, doing an on-sight, on-the-lead first ascent of a 5.13b or doing a top-down, rehearsed, preprotected 5.14a? They are two different games, born of opposite approaches and producing different results. Perhaps Mr Chapman could awaken from his own state of deep sleep by attempting to repeat some of the face climbs recently established by talented young climbers like Steve Schneider or Kurt Smith. The sad fact is that neither Mr Kauk nor Mr Chapman have even tried to repeat the hardest routes of today's gifted young Yosemite climbers.

Unfortunately the main questions in this controversial issue were not even alluded to in the report over the "Yosemite Brawl". How can the freedoms and rights of both parties be preserved and respected? Can top-down rappel-bolting methods co-exist with traditional ground-up methods within the same climbing area? The speed of rappel-bolting will allow rappel bolters to take away all of the best new routes before ground-up climbers even have a fair chance to attempt them. Within a short period of time the local ground-up climbers will have virtually no first ascent projects. This unfair imbalance will cause even greater friction within the climbing community and assure the continuance of more bolt chopping and violence. The speed of rap-bolters vs. the slowness of ground-up climbers causes a natural resource usage conflict that must be addressed if we are to see a viable solution to this matter,

People bashing and bolt removal are most certainly not the best solutions to this difficult issue. Neither does the insensitive exploitation of people's problems by the press help the situation. It is sad to see such biased and destructive reporting in a prestigious magazine like Mountain. Hopefully, in the near future Mountain can offer its readers a more enlightening and thorough analysis of this emotionally charged issue that is not only tearing apart Yosemite but other climbing communities as well.

John Bachar


Mountain 128 p7
1989 July/August

In a trouser-filling effort, John Bachar soloed the popular Father Figure, then later soloed it again for photographs. Father Figure is the new campground classic established last year by Cosgrove. It is easily found by walking to Barker Dam, then heading East for 200 yards behind a slabby formation to a small canyon. It is 40 feet tall and overhanging with 4 protection bolts. Bachar also soloed Bikini Whale (5.12b), another bold effort. Reportedly (but yet to be confirmed), Peter Croft tried to solo Equinox (5.12c), but downclimbed from the top crux move (65 feet up). It just goes to show that you have to know when to say when.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Oct 11, 2012 - 01:25am PT
So glad I got to know Bachar a bit on here and in email - what an incredible loss.
This is the best ST post in a long time and pretty much stamps it out for me on my heart.

Bachar is my Hero!!
Fletcher

Trad climber
Fumbling towards stone
Oct 11, 2012 - 02:38am PT
Thanks for this Ed. This is going into my read later app so I can properly sit down and savor it when I have more time.

Cheers,
Eric
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Oct 11, 2012 - 02:53am PT
I really like John's elegant analogies pointing out the problems of "majority rules".
I'm sure it takes incredible intelligence to climb at Bachar's level and he had it.

Croft=out of this world!

Arne
Cole

Trad climber
los angeles
Oct 11, 2012 - 03:12am PT
Wow awesome post, hands are drenched in sweat. What a frickin' badass, so glad I got to meet him a few times, if only briefly.

Funny, I just read somewhere earlier that Honnold soloed Equinox and then went for it again only to not get the top locks right and ended up down climbing, ala Croft.
moacman

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
Oct 11, 2012 - 03:33am PT
Ed. What a great refresher on some of the great climbing ability that John inspired on future rock rats. Although I never did meet him, I know one of his cousins and she at 70 + has more spirit than most half her age...
Rock on John..............

Stevo
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 11, 2012 - 04:18pm PT
Thanks Ed. Highly useful anthology and quite enriching too. And though for years the question was whispered amongst many of us, this thread proves once and for all that Ed Hartouni is not just a pretty face. Neither in camp nor down at the local collider or in our favorite corner bar, The Cloud Chamber.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Oct 11, 2012 - 06:03pm PT
These reports also demonstrate how influential Mountain magazine was in the 70s and early 80s. Around So Cal, it seemed that everyone read Mountain and having "info" published there would ensure the widest audience.
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Oct 11, 2012 - 06:07pm PT
Thanks for the compilation doc.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Oct 11, 2012 - 06:52pm PT
Ed, I suspect you typed that by hand. Deep respect and thanks.
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Oct 11, 2012 - 08:11pm PT
Dr. Hartouni is one of the lucky few who speaks to his computer and the machine does the typing for him.

The hard part was teaching it to read so that he didn't have to do any talking.

SHRDLU.




Person: PICK UP A BIG RED BLOCK.
Computer: OK. (does it)
Person: GRASP THE PYRAMID.
Computer: I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHICH PYRAMID YOU MEAN.
Person: FIND A BLOCK WHICH IS TALLER THAN THE ONE YOU ARE HOLDING AND PUT IT INTO THE BOX.
Computer: BY "IT", I ASSUME YOU MEAN THE BLOCK WHICH IS TALLER THAN THE ONE I AM HOLDING.
Computer: OK. (does it)
Person: WHAT DOES THE BOX CONTAIN?
Computer: THE BLUE PYRAMID AND THE BLUE BLOCK.
Person: WHAT IS THE PYRAMID SUPPORTED BY?
Computer: THE BOX.
Person: HOW MANY BLOCKS ARE NOT IN THE BOX?
Computer: FOUR OF THEM.
Person: IS AT LEAST ONE OF THEM NARROWER THAN THE ONE WHICH I TOLD YOU TO PICK UP?
Computer: YES, THE RED CUBE.
Person: IS IT SUPPORTED?
Computer: YES, BY THE TABLE.
Person: CAN THE TABLE PICK UP BLOCKS?
Computer: NO.
Person: CAN A PYRAMID BE SUPPORTED BY A BLOCK?
Computer: YES.



ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Oct 11, 2012 - 09:30pm PT
"My oh my, that boy could play", thanks Ed for posting this up, John had talent, vision and motivation. Miss him, still can't take his phone number off my cell.
Peace
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 12, 2012 - 12:22pm PT
Wow, where'd you get all those Mountain Mags Ed? Wish you could see them online.

JL
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Oct 12, 2012 - 12:37pm PT
What a friggin badass. John Bachar lives forever.
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Oct 12, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
"Mountain 121 p11

YOSEMITE
Recently Ron Kauk established the first rappel-bolted route in Yosemite in nearly 18 years. The climb, Punchline (5.12b), is a spectacular line ascending the outside face of the Entrance Exam Buttress at Arch Rock. The climb, accepted by nearly all locals as an instant classic, enjoyed a brief and celebrated life before John Bachar returned to the Valley and chopped the route. This led to heated confrontations between Bachar and longtime locals Ron Kauk and Mark Chapman. During one particularly heated discussion between Bachar and Chapman a punch was thrown and Bachar ended up in the dirt of the Camp 4 parking lot. The climb has recently been rebolted and other rap-bolt projects are underway.

While at this point both Bachar and Kauk have their followers, it seems the majority of climbers couldn't care less about how routes are established. What they do care about is the flagrant misuse of bolts regardless of how they are placed. Most climbers feel the main criteria for judging a route's validity should be the finished product and whether or not it is a worthy addition to the Yosemite climbing community, not how the route was established.

Putting these ethical dilemmas aside, Yosemite seems to be finally awakening f rom the big sleep that has engulfed it for the past eight years and is poised to retake its traditional position at the forefront of world climbing.
[Watch this space!]
Mark Chapman"

Man such history here!
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Oct 12, 2012 - 01:16pm PT
wish we had dates instead of volume numbers. I want to know what was going on in the valley when I was struggling up my first 5.6 in Smith. ha
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Oct 12, 2012 - 01:48pm PT
Ed, TFPU.
This brings back the memories, good and bad.

John is the good memory; I knew him and climbed with him a lot before he was famous.

John really loved to climb and I donít think he set out to be famous; rather he wanted to be the best climber that he could be.

He moved to Josh (the campground not the town) set up shop and started working at climbing.

He became the best climber on the planet because he worked much harder at it than anyone else.


The bad memory is the Greek tragedy that went down between good friends and the whole climbing community.

It was sad to see.

Good read though, one of the best things on the taco, lately.
WBraun

climber
Oct 12, 2012 - 01:52pm PT
He became the best climber on the planet

You're dreaming a fantasy and projecting that fantasy .....

he worked much harder at it than anyone else.

More fantasy which can be so easily smashed it's not even worth the time.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Oct 12, 2012 - 02:07pm PT
Funny that the first Mountain Magazine mention of John is wrong. The first free ascent of Unchaste at Tahquitz was done by Tobin Sorenson and Gib Lewis, and that is what Randy's guide says.

It is one of my favorite routes at that crag and it still rankles a bit that those two beat the rest of us to it.

nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Oct 12, 2012 - 02:45pm PT
This is one of the most interesting history flows on here in a long time. I didn't know anything about the climbing world until the mid-90s, and really for the next 15 years I didn't pay attention except for what I did with my partners.

Thanks Ed.
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Oct 12, 2012 - 02:49pm PT
I wonder if it all comes down to a matter of style.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Oct 12, 2012 - 03:05pm PT

WBraun


climber







Oct 12, 2012 - 10:52am PT


He became the best climber on the planet

You're dreaming a fantasy and projecting that fantasy .....


he worked much harder at it than anyone else.

More fantasy which can be so easily smashed it's not even worth the time.

Werner, will all due respect, I disagree.

WBraun

climber
Oct 12, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
He became the best climber on the planet

He would never free solo "Separate Reality" although he made the claim I can do it right after Gulich free soled it.

I told him him he'll have to do it since talk is cheap.

He never even tried the Phoenix because he was afaraid he might not do it first try on sight.

Moffet and Croft both did it.

He couldn't do "Thriller" after many attempts over a long period of time.

Kauk did the first ascent.

Then he got angry because they reinforced a crucial hold on "Thriller" with a little glue around it to preserve the hold.

He tries to rip the hold off with a crow bar so no one can do it anymore.

He succeeds only in damaging the hold.

That's not something what the best climber in the world would ever do.

Still he can't do it but Moffet and Kauk still do it with the hold damaged and proceed to do an even harder problem next to it using that damaged hold.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg .....
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 12, 2012 - 07:35pm PT
Thanks Werner. Your contributions just above are invaluable to picturing not only Bachar but also his whole era as well.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Oct 12, 2012 - 08:29pm PT
The climb, which has been re-named Astralman is very sustained, and involves four pitches of 5.11, four of 5.10 and three of 5.9

Is this a typo from the mag or on ST? Or was it the original name? lol

I like Astralman much better...lol
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 12, 2012 - 08:45pm PT
It is a cool name, and, it looks like its available for You to use for yourown gnarly cool epic climb Riley!

Send me a topo!

Or maybe we can find it here!
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Oct 12, 2012 - 09:01pm PT
ok - my trade mark!!!! yayayayay
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 12, 2012 - 10:50pm PT
I left the errors in the Mountain reportage, which was often correspondence from someone in the Valley to the editors... funny name mix ups, etc...

We now know the history, at the time this was "realtime" reporting, errors and all...

I will post the issue dates too... editing the OP
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Oct 12, 2012 - 11:05pm PT
And that's only the tip of the iceberg .....

He sure was funny
and he sure told
the truth
and he knew
what he was talkin' about

Challenge Herr Braun at your own risk ... dudes!

TripleS_in_EBs

climber
Poulsbo, WA
Oct 13, 2012 - 04:24pm PT
Thanks for posting, Ed. That one's a keeper and it's going in my bookmarks.

JB in a 1983 Fire ad.
JB in a 1983 Fire ad.
Credit: Phil Bard
(Bonus photo)
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Oct 13, 2012 - 04:26pm PT
^Great Bonus photo. Can't say if it's the best. Does give you pause to wonder how all those rocks were climbed without having any water to drink.

Anyway,

Who was the best Boxer? President? Baseball Player? Swimmer? Climber? Photographer?

These questions never get answered definitively. Are they worth asking? Sure why not?

There's usually a recitation of what it was or wasn't that made someone the best, or didn't.

They're good reading for those of us who were either not there or were, but can't remember.

All that said, I am the greatest (in my mom's eye). You too.



chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Oct 13, 2012 - 07:55pm PT
John was the best, period; your efforts to discredit him are so very shallow and a disservice to history.
Guyman, who was or was not the best is a matter of opinion. Werner was expressing his.
mountainlion

Trad climber
California
Oct 13, 2012 - 08:51pm PT
I like and respect all of the opinions of most who post to this site.

I never had the chance to meet any of my heroes in rock climbing except Reardon.

Werner's reasons for saying John wasn't the best gave me this thought.
It is very hard to do extremely hard things on a consistent basis. Especially when people are rooting against you or you think they are rooting against you. From what I have read it sounds like John made a few friends and others into enemies poisoning his climbing environment. This probably had a negative effect him when continueing to climb there. Also some problems are made for some body types, and styles.

I think it is safe to say the John opened everyone's eyes to what was possible and made everyone believe that it could be done with the proper fitness, mental focus and dedication.

Maybe I'm biased but I always thought the best means in their prime. In his prime I think Bachar was the best at that time. As was Osmond and Reardon.

Peace Eric
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 13, 2012 - 09:13pm PT
John had his moments, pretty close to more than the rest of our's put together. But he still had clay feet, like, all of the rest of, which I think is close enough to what Werner was getting at. He'll correct me if I'm way off...
mountainlion

Trad climber
California
Oct 14, 2012 - 05:22am PT
I wish it was like the debate about who the best to ever play electric guitar is.

ALL THE BEST GUITARISTS JUST SAY "Jimi" the only argument is who is after Jimi. They all trained just as hard and wanted to be just as good as Jimi but they aren't afraid to admit the truth.

Kind of like when Jimi was first "discovered" and a gig was set up to play with Clapton's band. Clapton was prepared to see someone who was good at guitar he wasn't prepared for an unknown to actually be better than him at his own instrument but he handled it with grace and Jimi got his break.



aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Oct 15, 2012 - 05:32pm PT
To say that this person or that person was "the best of his generation" is impossible, as climbing is such a multi-faceted sport. Bachar, to his credit, would occasionally say words to the effect that Kauk was a more talented climber than himself. As Werner pointed out, you can find things Bachar couldn't or wouldn't do, that other people could do. Possibly a more accurate description of Bachar would be "possibly the most dedicated and hard-working climber of his generation."

His reply to MOUNTAIN MAG was so heartfelt and sincere; I don't fully agree with his response to the situation. I would have strongly spoken out against doing rap-bolted routes in the Valley if I felt the way he did, but would not have gone up there and actually chopped the route. Still, the fact that he felt so strongly and spoke up is a testimony to his sincerity. In such a situation, every man needs to speak for himself. If enough of his close friends were to go up to Kauk and say, "I honestly think it is best for Valley climbing if you don't put up any more rap-bolted routes", that is enough, just leave it there.
Jim Pettigrew

Social climber
Crowley Lake, CA
Oct 16, 2012 - 12:36am PT
Great job Ed!
Climbing with John was always an adventure! Especially fun times in the Rockies! Climb in the Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park then pie at the bakery near the Komito's boot shop!
Anastasia

climber
InLOVEwithAris.
Oct 16, 2012 - 12:45am PT
John was an interesting guy. Including a rare fact that he liked being called Johnny. He didn't understand why folks naturally never did.

Yes, I miss him. I would have liked to see how things would have shaped into if he stayed alive. Paola was good for him.

:)
WBraun

climber
Oct 16, 2012 - 01:03am PT
John never actually chopped the route.

He just flattened hangers. That was pure bullsh!t.

If you take a stand then go all the way.

I got caught between the two sides, I sincerely thought there's room for everyone.

The Valley really isn't a place that would lend itself to too much rap sport routes to begin with.

There are a few exceptions here and there and they become mixed in for something for everyone.

Instead this stupid paranoia war that developed thru insecurity by certain rigid individuals with their hardline ideas.

Ron asked me what I thought before he ever did a rap route in the Valley.

I told him he has the intelligence to decide and choose. He knew "THEY" were gonna blow a gasket.

Besides everyone is becoming nihilistic to begin with so no one wants to die anymore over a climb.

So bolts and rap will become more and more ....:-)


mountainlion

Trad climber
California
Oct 16, 2012 - 05:11am PT
What is the story behind Bachar offering $10,000 to anybody who could follow him for a full day of soloing? Nobody came to answer the challenge is all I've read. Can you fill me in Werner (no disrespect intended).

peace Eric
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