Peter Pan


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Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 25, 2014 - 02:34pm PT
Tube chocks for pro?!?! Anybody every take a long fall on one of those and had it hold?

After my 1972 trip up Peter Pan, I made some tube chocks out of 1 1/2" OD aluminum tubing, and one of these held a short fall a couple of years later when I was thrashing my way up Paisano Jamcrack. You would have thought that my technique would have improved by then, but I was still in "struggle" mode. It took me several years to calm down on the lead in an OW.


Oakland, CA
Mar 25, 2014 - 04:05pm PT
Other routes up near PP that would be good to check out after doing this one? Wendy - what's that one like?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 25, 2014 - 05:28pm PT
history and status of some of those climbs can be viewed here:

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Apr 16, 2014 - 03:05am PT
Oh man, I'm putting this one on the to-do list.

I'd wait and post a photo trip report but I will just add to this later when the photos are available...

Ed, it's been ... seven years and 11 months! Are the photos available yet?
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Apr 16, 2014 - 05:07am PT
Talk IS cheap. Look at this forum if you are not convinced!

The story about the right side cunningly named “Peter Left” by Hargis is a classic one....This marked the end of my enthusiasm for Kim. At the time it really mattered as we were all trying to make our mark in climbing.--Pietro Haan

I've only heard tat and rumor until now, Pietro, and this really cleans up the story of the right side's FA for me. I was living in Camp 4 when you had your moment of doubt and pain; I did not realize that it was St. Kim who had a hand in cleaning it with you; and my own sense of fair play was tweaked as a result.

Following that episode, I swore never to do that to a fellow climber when I learned of the skulduggery.

From the last remark in your quote, it sounds as if the water passed under the bridge some time ago, and I certainly hope that this is so. You have both matured long since as men and as climbers.

I climbed this as Jeff Mathis' second that year (1971). It was impressive to us both and it marked a high-water mark in our history as a team.

Following it was easy. My size is such that I fit into smaller spaces than physical specimens like yourself, who I recall as "cut and chiseled" but over-sized for the wide game. Your inherent strength is needed when confronted by anything harder than this grade of any length.

But the smaller frame can get inside and successfully wedge while throwing the inside knee up and locking, assuring progress. It needs no pro in there, as it's just a matter of repetition. I can see that off the couch a person may find it's dead solid 5.8-ish in there, not 5.7-ish.

When I got Andy Cox up there, he bailed on the second pitch, leaving me to lead basically all three pitches. He was new to cracks, you see, and could not get the part past the undercling. It's kind of funny, because he needed my help to rescue gear he and George Meyers left at the bottom of the Harding Slot and found me in the Mountain Room with my girl and explained that he needed me on the East Face of the Column in order to reclaim their gear. (Plus, I had iron which he lacked.)

It was the first time anyone besides Mathis had asked me to do anything longer than a Grade Three climb.

Today Jeff is in the same physical shape (round) as you are nowadays, while I could still fit inside with no problem, I am happy to say.

I COULD still do the climb, but the approach does not seem worth my time. And we never saw any fixed lines going up the approaches back then, by the way.

I loved the Haan-ish description of Me da Hargis as a "wraithlike oddity!"


He gave the rep of NW climbers a black eye in the Valley, despite other conventional success. It was bad juju, plain and simple, and there are undercurrents here about that which need not be expressed.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 16, 2014 - 11:44am PT
the lack of images is a funny story, told elsewhere...

for some reason I had not put film in the camera, but managed, but pushing buttons in various random sequences to get the camera to behave as if it had film in it... the evidence being the whirring sound of the film advance, the frame counter, etc... though something always seemed a bit odd during that episode.

At some point it seemed strange enough that I decided to risk the destruction of the images and opened the back of the camera, thus revealing the absence of film.

I think there were at least three climbing outings which went unrecorded, Peter Pan being one (Chockstone Chimney and Split Pinnacle were the other two).

Perhaps I'll venture back onto those climbs and shoot images, but the images I was waiting for never existed, at least not on film.

Looking back on the events of our youth is like peering at the edge of the universe, the farther back we seek a scene the faster it is receding from our view, shifting its spectrum, and subject to forces beyond our empirical inquiry though fraught with the convictions of our theorizing.

And we all expand in that time, but our biology probably exceeds the geology of which we often refer.

Talk is cheap, by any account, but at the end of a long night, we are drunk with little concern of the cost in coin of the path that brought us there.

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Apr 16, 2014 - 01:46pm PT
le bruce, the first two on the West Buttress round out the day pretty well. Maybe finish on Peter Pan, on that ledge, with a beer.

(This is classic: "I COULD still do the climb, but the approach does not seem worth my time.")

San Jose, CA
Apr 16, 2014 - 05:00pm PT
bump for Gary who is "brilliant"
Still no promised photos of him leading Peter Pan.
But here Gary on Cream in 2008

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Apr 17, 2014 - 02:43am PT
At some point it seemed strange enough that I decided to risk the destruction of the images and opened the back of the camera, thus revealing the absence of film.

Bummer!! I remember many times the film accidentally getting rolled back into the cartridge without ever having actually loaded onto the spool. Zero exposures taken. Whole roll of film wasted. I do not miss film. At all.

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Apr 17, 2014 - 03:30pm PT
I went up to Peter Pan area last weekend in perfect weather & found the area terrific! My friend & I did the first 2 pitches of West Buttress first with the 5.9 direct start. This was really classic with some fist size crack leading to a fun flake and the belay anchors atop the 1st pitch. The Reid book says nothing about the gear required but on Mountain Project, it was suggested to have a 6" piece for the roof near the start of the 2nd pitch. I thought this was key to have a big BD#6 for the funky transition of laybacking the wide section before hitting the face moves out of the wide slot. Above, you gain a Wheat Thin type crack that sounds hollow but seems solid enough. You only climb on this flake for a few moves before moving left again into a super hand sized crack/flake that shoots upwards for another 90' to the belay. The final 20' to the belay go up a 5" crack that had I brought a BD #5 cam I would have gladly placed but, alas I left it on the ground & had to go for it without it. The rope at this point comes dangerously near the edge of the sharp flake unless you have a bunch of long runners to keep the rope clear of the flake's edge.

I think this is one of the more overlooked classic pitches on El Cap. Super quality, great views & exciting moves on great rock. I will definitely be doing these pitches again soon!

We also did the right side of Peter Pan, called Peter Left which is reminiscent of the Good Book I thought. A 5.7 first pitch leads to a nice pinnacle / exfoliation pinnacle with a pair of newer bolts, gear to 4" is nice to have. A brief move the belay up pitch follows to the base of a 50' corner that is 3.5" to 5.5" in width. The guide says its 5.10 b or c offwidth but I was able to lieback most of it until I was able to get some good fist jams. Above, some awkward wideness led me to some nice, new belay belay bolts without modern rings or chains. The final, money pitch lies above. The Reid book says 5.9 hands to a 5.10b lieback. It was more like hand & fist with doubles of 3.5" to 4" gear needed, along with at least 1 camn in the 5" range. This final pitch looks intimidating but it has some wonderful face edges that offer nice rests and allow for one to place gear from a comfortable stance. The final section is termed a 5.7 squeeze but we liebacked it at 5.9 and it neede a 5 to 6" piece to make if sane & fun. The ledge on top of Peter Pan is like the Bismark, fully flat and nice. The route is an overlooked gem, go do it!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Aug 14, 2014 - 09:29pm PT

A Ledge With a View.Not a stellar shot but adequate, since there are so few photos posted here.
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