Photos of The Hourglass Left

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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 26, 2006 - 01:54am PT
Here is the Hourglass from afar:





Here is a closeup of the 350-400 ft profile:



Here it is from below:



and here is a closer view:



and here is a view of the beautiful right side:



These photos were taken late winter, early spring of 2000, when I went back up to the route during a light snow storm, to photograph it and to feel it again after 29 years.



dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
May 26, 2006 - 02:03am PT
Oh sh!t, that thing is calling my name.

YOU sure do make this site better, Peter.
slayton

Trad climber
Morongo Valley, Ca
May 26, 2006 - 02:05am PT
WOW!! That thing looks too freaking cool. Thanks for posting the pics.

sean
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 26, 2006 - 02:14am PT
hhmmmmmm
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
May 26, 2006 - 02:30am PT
It's really beautiful.

Does it get climbed a lot?

Is it polished?

how much goes free, at what grade, and does it go to the top?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 26, 2006 - 02:45am PT
'Always wanted to do it, never did.
It's a known Arse Kicker.


Shipley had a great reportage:
Got up to the undercling, had some mondo piece, tube chock, big cam or whatever, slid it back and forth, left and right, got nothin' but air and just started pimpin'.

Peter?
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
May 26, 2006 - 03:08am PT
Lets do it Tarbaby.

Get yer arms well, I'll get well, we'll hit that thing.
mcreel

climber
Barcelona, Spain
May 26, 2006 - 03:49am PT
The upper part of the R side looks pretty interesting, too.
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
May 26, 2006 - 03:54am PT
tar-babay, I got two gold big bros, they oughta work there.

Let's do it.
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
May 26, 2006 - 04:08am PT
Wake up Tar!!!

TWO gold big bros, what can go wrong? LOL!

YOU gotta carry those sucker though.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
May 26, 2006 - 07:05am PT
Peter, great article.

http://www.terragalleria.com/mountain/info/yosemite/hourglass.html
yo

climber
I'm so over it
May 26, 2006 - 08:54am PT
I was okay from afar. Closer we got, worse I felt.



Now I will go climbing. (Not on that thing!) Out!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
May 26, 2006 - 09:24am PT
That thing would be perfect at bomber hand size.

Maybe we could find a way to screw it back down to the wall to get it down to 10c or so, like the boot flake.

Thanks Peter. Nice that you are here

Peace

Karl
hardman

Trad climber
love the eastern sierras
May 26, 2006 - 10:10am PT
when the walls


come tumbling down
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
May 26, 2006 - 10:25am PT
Very nice pics. This was the only climb I ever did with the late Andy Embick - probably 1975.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 26, 2006 - 10:35am PT
Peter! Nice photos....I think me and Kauk did one of the early repeats on that. Horrendous and terrifying as well.....the undercling pitch and the roof-pitch thing up higher! Even when we did it there was a crushed tube chock at the start of the undercling. I heard the whole thing keeps creeping down all the time - like dozens of feet from when you guys did it?
Landgolier

climber
the flatness
May 26, 2006 - 10:41am PT
Give us flatlanders an idea of size here. 4-5" below the big brow/roof thing, not quite man-eater above?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 26, 2006 - 11:37am PT
...comme la chanson des filles d'Achelous
WBraun

climber
May 26, 2006 - 11:38am PT
Six inch tube chock fits just barely at the foothold on the undercling. Now you probably can get some huge cam in there that they make now.

It's and awesome route, and demands some good leading exeperience.

When Peter first freed it and decided to run it out he was looking at sure death fall. Yikes!

This one is left for those that want the best.

Thanks Peter for the "Left side of the Hourglass"
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 26, 2006 - 01:26pm PT
I remember that crushed tube chock John B. mentioned and unless I'm mistaken it got crushed right after an earthquake when the exfoliating slab moved a bit.

I sure didn't like the looks of that old Kamps bolt, and wonder if it ever got replaced. For shortish classic routes on exfoliating formations, I think Slap Happy Pinnacle and the Hourglass are maybe my favorites. You really got a prize there, Peter. Both routes on the Hourglass are "mans" routes, and always will be.

JL
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 26, 2006 - 01:31pm PT
driftin' here:
ya, left side of slab happy is also quite a cool off the beaten path classic.

i recall some exhilarating flared, bombay hands...
(yes curt, heal up, rack up, get out: i'm all for that).
JIMB

Trad climber
May 26, 2006 - 03:44pm PT
Peter, your posts are as interesting as your list of first ascents.

Good job and thanks for sharing. Anyone have a pic of a person on the route? That would get wood from more than 1 reader I'm sure.
Fluoride

Trad climber
on a rock or mountain out west
May 26, 2006 - 07:14pm PT
Patrick, thanks for posting Peter's article, that was one of the better climbing reads I've had in a long time.

Peter, keep the photos and classics coming. They're much appreciated here.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 26, 2006 - 09:06pm PT
Hi Buds,

Thanks all of you for the really kind and generous words. This was not the hardest route I ever did, but it sure as hell was the deepest. To go through that lead….in those days, with certain death at hand, many route issues unknown (no review no pre-scoping), and no valid protection, was rewarded by a set of the biggest feelings I have ever had as you can tell from the article. BTW I have continued to edit the article and it is pretty much done now, so I should post the update (and to the many sites that seem to have it up as well). It was hard to edit it, since the subject is so emotional and hard to structure. I set out to write something that occurred to many of us, and to some of us on this forum obviously, but of which the emotional part was not getting chronicled much. And I think if truth be told, most top level climber climb for very strong emotional reasons, whether they know that or not.

JIMB, there is the possibility that Rick Linkert or Mike Farrell took some photos of my lead…I don’t recall. But someone MUST have in later years. I would LOVE to see them too. Yes wood, yes. And a video of someone putting the whole lead together would be very interesting too.

Largo, that bolt was a joke wasn’t it, especially by current standards. A quarter-inch compression bolt placed in 7/62! Looking up at it in the year 2000, it looked like maybe it had not been changed out…..It would be REALLY appropriate if someone went up there and replaced that bolt with a modern one, but kept it right where it is, behind the climber as he offwidths to the roof and then would turn to undercling. Not to keep it difficult but to keep the appropriate protection point location for the big-deal undercling. When you are leading it, you are glad the point of protection is NOT on the dihedral as the current location really reduces the pendulum effect (angular momentum) by being to the left several feet. And Largo, its true Slab Happy and Hourglass are superb formations in superb locations!

And the business with the slab sliding downwards, it hasn’t, It is in the same place vis a vis the old bolt etc…what is going on is probably ice-wedging---the crack probably gets bigger in winter a little, in areas since it is completely open at the top of the slab and gets packed with snow and ice probably in spots. And of course an earthquake too would mean the thing would probably shake like a dog! Imagine. The whole 350-400 ft slab is detached from the wall and spaced with chockstones here and there, on both sides. BTW, there are some other route possibilities on this thing….


And it is interesting to hear that some of you have done the left side. Wasn’t Bridwell the only subsequent party that lead it in the same manner? Big pro was coming out soon after, right?



technical route info (Landolier et al):

pitch 1: start at the obvious beginning, with a guillotine slab standing at the base, pull up over an “ear” on the edge of the book (easy), climb a 5.9 left facing offwidth (maybe 6”-9”?) about 20 ft to a downslab in the crack, pass this formation (maybe 5.10a?) and reach the striking undercling, with the bolt behind you under the roof as the offwidth gets a little harder as you ascend.

Figure out how to clip in…. with this bolt positioned behind you, and turn around to undercling left (5” to 6”) 5.10d-ish, to a sloping but reasonably good polished edge 15 ft away where you could place protection in the roof (I did not/nothing existed then), try to rest here, but it will be hard. Get back into the undercling and proceed further left another 6 feet (5.10c and harder) then turn the corner, liebacking a delicate, very polished thin flake-ear formed on the edge of the dihedral. The thin flake is delicate enough to worry you, by the way. The main wall is also extremely waterpolished here too. All the crack edges to this point are very good, the rock is perfect; there is some big lichen under the undercling, though. Note also that there are better places than others for your feet while you are underclinging: that is key; don’t just try to gun it but figure how to move with this much pressure developing.

Gain the top of this ear and the offwidth leg-pod above it, and swing into the pod to rest. A bong endwise near my knees here was my approach, but it was a joke and very very hard to place since my body had pretty much filled the available space…god…. Modern stuff would work here and could appropriately be placed above you instead. The rest stance here is not really no-hands as you are working still to be there and your feet are in heel-toes and kind of also using the top of the ear which is not as fabulous as you might have hoped. This section from the bolt to the knee-pod is very powerful climbing and as a whole ends up being 5.11a. My seconds, who were good climbers, could not get anywhere with this section, after repeated attempts on my upper belay and had to jumar.


Above, the crack is quite varied in width, features, and character, and wants to trap you in its undulations. So, word to the wise, if you are tired at this point, you better be very sensitive and careful here. And that might be hard because of what you have been through up to this point. This upper section is kind of 5.10b/c ( by itself) in places I think.

In general, the protection you may have put in may be compromised in a load/fall situation because of the sharp change in directions from wide vertical crack to wide roof to wide vertical crack, too….This pitch ends in a really cool kind of small basin that again is polished to bits, and should still have the one bolt I placed as anchor and as my mark for this FFA. It of course was a 1/4” comp, and probably can’t be trusted 35 years later (grin). One could get anchors in the main crack though.

Pitch 2 and 3 are very fun, 5.8-5.9ish and interesting, reasonable, scenic and kind of stimulating but safe. You end up behind the slab, chimney to its top where there should be some large anchors. You rappel the right side, and here you must be very careful. You go from summit to the tree, and from the tree to the ground. The dihedral below the tree has eaten ropes and will eat yours too if you let your rope get in that s.o.b. It almost got mine a couple of times, and there is an old one way in there btw.

Best to all of you, PH
NinjaChimp

climber
Davis, CA
May 27, 2006 - 12:30am PT
Recollections of the First Free Ascent of The Left Side of the Hourglass

Nicely done Peter. Haven't experienced anything of that intensity myself (although I've flirted with somthing like it several times) but I think your story goes a long way toward explaining why many of us climb. Thank you for sharing.

-Justin-
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 27, 2006 - 01:26am PT
guys like millis and cochran used to goodheartedly taunt me for being a "deck ape" and this is the climb they wanted me to do...
pyro

Trad climber
Ventura
May 27, 2006 - 01:31am PT
took a hike around that area and felt "skittish".
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
May 27, 2006 - 02:19am PT
Hey Roy, we can redo the quarter incher, looky here what I got:



HAHA, these are good, right?

Maybe we don't need the gold bros, how wide is the widest part?

GOt two blues and a green, two 6 friends, two 7 tricams, what can happen?
James

climber
A tent in the redwoods
May 27, 2006 - 02:53am PT
I'm drinking with a gaggle of college co-eds but instead of slobbering over them I'm salivating over the Left Side. Who's got some big bros?
jack herer

climber
chico, ca
May 27, 2006 - 03:01am PT
thank you peter for bumping back ragmeats posts with something that has to do with "climbing"...
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 27, 2006 - 06:56am PT
We are not worthy. We are not worthy. . .. . .
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 27, 2006 - 12:00pm PT
I always kind of wondered how much of the upper part, after the undercling, Kamps free climbed on the first ascent. I think I remember him telling me he nailed the roof and other parts with bongs placed endwise, and that they were very poor -- like bodyweight, A4 placements. There's no way he could have placed that bolt except on aid since it's on the wrong side of the wall, facing away from the direction you face when chugging up the first off size bit. Yet that first bit is (I think, it's been like 30 years) too wide for even endwise bongs, ain't it??

Also, Slab Happy is also good. The Left Side (Chapman and Bridwell first free) is great but a grunt but the right side (Dihardral) is terrific and a real accomplishment for Sachar to have done 40 some years ago. I know Vern did the center route free as well (old Robbins route originally rated A5) but I never got around to doing that one.

JL
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
May 27, 2006 - 11:44pm PT
james, meet Tarbaby n me when we are all well, I have a pile of big gear, looking to do that thing, seriously.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
May 28, 2006 - 02:50am PT
Slabs come and slabs go, but an Off-Width crack is forever.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
May 28, 2006 - 04:17am PT
Amen Bruce.

jeebus that thing looks intense
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
May 28, 2006 - 09:07am PT
Munge, it looks like fun!

Unless you don't have gear to fit it, like the guys who did it originally. They must have been pretty daring.

LOL, where there is gear, there is no fear.


Rick L

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
May 28, 2006 - 01:25pm PT
Peter-

The photos and story brought back memories from 35 years ago. I am convinced that you enlisted me on the project because I was, quite simply, the heaviest belayer you could lay your hands on. Anyway, thanks for the tutorials on off-widths and all the other great climbs we did together.

Here are some of my memories.

The Hourglass was, at the time, pehaps the only unfininshed Sacherer project in the Valley. Peter was a briliant free climber whose fingers touched the past and the future. In between was the Left Side of the Hourglass. As an exfoliation slab, the Hourglass is a spectacual piece of granite architecture in a wild and remote setting. I remember the marches to the base. The scent of formic acid and bay leaves as we thrashed our way up the oak and talus to the base. We waited until late afternoon to make sure the sun was off. We all knew just how serious the lead would be. I was lashed to some ancient roots as the base of the short dihedral leading up to the roof. The first off-width was pretty straightforward for Peter. Clipping and then swinging into the undercling was strenuous and awakward but relatively trivial in comparison with what lay ahead. From my perspectice, I was absolutely spooked that there would be a fall that I either could not catch, was caused by not being able to quickly feed out the rope or from a spot where Peter would hit the deck no matter what I did. There is a sloping foothold, as I recall, midway across the undercling. The "rest" is not necessarily a good thing- particularly since he could not place any pro. First, it did not appear to be much of a rest. Second, it provides the leader with a spot where indecision can easily set in. Reverse and you are at the safety(?) of the then-old 1/4" bolt. Keep going and you are in it for the ride. When Peter launched into the final segment, Mike and I were transfixed. There was a hideous, delicate "barn-door" move at the end to transition into the left-side-in off-width. The water polish was extreme and a fall at that point would have placed Peter either on the ground if I could not yard in enough rope or into the guillotinne flake immediately above me. I was absolutely focused on hauling in as much slack as I could if he came off- these were pre-belay device days. We uttered a huge sigh of relief when he got into the off-width- we figured it would take a stick of dynamite to get Peter Haan out of any crack he could get his knee and shoulder in. It remained hard, however, and still very spooky in the pre-giant cam days of yore. I have done the "bong-endwise" drill on a number climbs but I have to tell you that I never had any level of confidence that they would actually hold a significant fall. The rule of the day in off-widths was "Don't Fall. Bad Things Will Happen If You Do".

I was last off the ground at near-darkness. I would like to have had a shot at following but doubt I would have had much of a chance at the time. The chimney pitches were a trip in the dark. With all three of us safely on top, the feeling of being present for Peter's success was pretty damned good. Because it was now pitch black, we had the choice of sitting on top in T-shirts for the night or rapping. For reasons I can't recall, we decided to tie the two ropes together and rap to the base. The lights-out transfer past the knot at about 150 feet off the deck was as engaging as you might imagine. The night was damned cold and we huddled together for warmth. In the morning, Peter went back to visit his summit and made the two raps down.

From my perspective, it was a privilege to have been there and witnessed a young man's powerful dream realized.

Take care

Rick

p.s. Peter- for God's sake did you think Mike or I even owned a camera let alone were calm enough to take photos? We were too gripped.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 28, 2006 - 02:42pm PT
Nice post, Rick. A cool perspective and great story. I wondered about Peter's assertion that maybe you had taken pictures. As you said, "who had a camera?"

Best, Roger
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 28, 2006 - 03:13pm PT
God it’s great to hear from you Rick!! I had no idea where you were these days, or even if you “were” at all . Wonderful! I will email separately with particulars.

This warm openhanded post of yours is really interesting and contributes a lot to the history of this climb and the Ribbon Falls area. It’s all accurate too. And as Rog just mentioned, it is really one of the very sad things about climbing back then that so few of us had cameras or took the time to use them. Fortunately my father’s camera was available and eventually destroyed recording history and then my old used Nikon F in mid 70’s.

Right, the barn-door move above the undercling was really dangerous, and also difficult for an additional, special reason. Not only are the leader’s hands, arms and everything else running out of gas by this point and everything is incredibly smooth, but also to perform such a different, balancey and delicate move contrasted hugely with what he has just done, grunting across the undercling in big, powerful moves. And of course doing this all with no protection made that moment pretty special. To make matters really hideous was the critical question whether the earlike flake you are liebacking on would actually break off and send the leader into a really wild, uncontrolled fall. The thing is pretty thin, and really unusual.

It is also true as you say that the “rest” hold under the roof did provide a psychological crisis and classic dilemma. At this point you could kind of get back to the bolt and safety without getting hurt, but to continue from the hold means having to take an even worse fling at the ascent than the one of starting the undercling to begin with. If this hold were not there, this climb would be in the 5.12+ region….but there would not be the mental crisis of having to “re-commit” as you imply. In other words, I guess, it is very hard to make yourself climb this pitch.

It is true that the rest of the pitch as you say (I guess about 50 more feet, above the knee pod) is serious too, although not quite as technical. In this upper section I was able to get a bong or two in and climb over them as was standard in the day, as they were on the outside of the crack, not deep inside it like camming devices usually are at this size.

The story of this ascent is ever so much more complete with your perspective from the belay now added.

I took you along because we were climbing partners, I loved your personality and that you treated me so well. Everyone liked you too. I should mention that I often did extremely nasty climbs with partners who were not part of the central climbing elite “because the puzzle of my life required I be on this major quest with no real competitors, only friends and hopefully, neutral parties, and enough bodies to handle my likely emergency. And guys that could keep our efforts a secret until the experience was complete” as I said in the article. I even did the fourth onsight ascent of the Twilight Zone with essentially a 20 year old nonclimber, Cliff Coleman, whom I had grown up with in Berkeley…hard to believe….and of course I had taught him how to jumar the day before (g).

I had kind of forgotten that we finished the Left side upper pitches in twilight, Rick. We were flying though. And I had definitely forgotten that we had tied the ropes together end to end for the rappel on the rt side (I just edited my initial post to add a photo of the rt side, btw). This was because the hanging complex gnarly bay tree is a real scene getting into and out of, the crack below it wants to eat your rope like no other I have known, and there were three of us which required that all three of us would have had to have been in the tree at once with our two ropes…. perhaps not the best plan especially in full darkness and no lights.

Best to you all, P
here I am in a light snow storm, March 2002 sitting at the base of the Left Side, at the age of 52:


Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 28, 2006 - 05:15pm PT
Hey, you are looking pretty good there Peter, sausage fingers and all. (I like that way you interlaced them to mak'em look fatter. He,he)

As far as I am concerned, none of us look any older than we did then, in a manner of speaking.

Nice thread. Happy Memorial Day.

Best, Roger

PS: Is the angle of main wall as shown in your Right Side photo more or less correct? The pictures of the Left Side make it look steeper.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 29, 2006 - 11:47am PT
I'm pretty new to Supertopo, but I say this is among the best threads so far. A lot of soul exposed here and an outstanding offering to the Supertopo community.

I remembered a bit more flavor from Walt Shipley's ascent: Walt told me that when he arrived at the rest in the undercling, not only was he distressed to find that his gear wouldn't take, but things became so urgent that he just tossed the piece to the ground in lieu of racking it, so that he could save precious energy needed to keep moving.

From my time in Yosemite, late 70's to late 90's, there were very few reports surfacing about ascents of this route.

The intensity and wonderment of first ascent experience of this type stands head and shoulders above most all other types of climbing encounters. Peter and Rick, you guys tell it with a sincerity, candor, and brilliant recall that really brings it home.

Again, much appreciated and very well done.
Cheers,
Roy McClenahan
Walleye

climber
The back seat of my 69 Nark Avenger
Nov 11, 2008 - 01:09am PT
I remember Bruce Brossman telling me that the crushed hexes were from the Hourglass flexing in and out from the heat projected against the formation by the sun... ?????? Any thoughts? Seems possible given how the formation is like a waifer thin mint...
Danielle Winters

Trad climber
Alaska
Nov 11, 2008 - 07:50am PT
Classic climb for sure ~. Thanks for the great photos . I stood at the base of it in the mid seventy's, and looked up one time. Just to walk away in awe . With my head hung low . never have been back . Posts like this inspire me to pump my game back up to a new level and make plans for the future.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2008 - 11:08am PT
I realize I never got back to this thread in regard to the actual true angle of the right side. That nice photo was tilted; here is the correct aspect of the rt side:



It is plenty steep and is roughly equivalent in steepness to the left side.

And in regard to the crushed protection, it is pretty easy to imagine this monster flake not only moves out a bit with ice-wedging every winter but, yeah, with earthquakes too. It is NOT attached above ground but spaced out with various chockstones both sides and deep inside. Kind of a gigantic Boot Flake situation.

best ph.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 11, 2008 - 11:59am PT
Peter

Great to see you at the Nose Reunion.

Forgot to mention this article I unburied this summer that I had written in 1962. In the summer of 62, Kamps, Sacherer and myself made numerous trips to the Hourglass. Sacherer and I began with the Right Side but took a break to climb the first one-day ascent of North Buttress of Middle Cathedral. After that we never again climbed a major route together. Long story.

So Kamps and I decided on the Left Side. What I remember most was the difficulty above the undercling. We climbed the remainder of the route free above here. As usual I wore shorts and suffered for weeks with raw knees. Climbing with Kamps was always a pleasure.

Oh, if only we had carried a camera more often in those days!!!!!!!!!!

cheers






bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Nov 11, 2008 - 12:29pm PT
The unprotected fall off that undercling would be really bad. Stopping to jam in pro would be pumpy too.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Nov 11, 2008 - 12:35pm PT
What a bitchin' thread, with the real dogs on it!!!
WBraun

climber
Nov 11, 2008 - 12:39pm PT
I'll tell ya right now that beast moves while you're climbing it.

I've done the left side 5 times and each time the tube chock I placed out on the under cling was stuck. I had to kick it out on rappel.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Otto, NC
Nov 11, 2008 - 12:39pm PT
Please don't write any more, gentlemen. I am beginning to fell the pull...
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 11, 2008 - 08:13pm PT
Bump. Or perhaps I should say kick - see Werner's post just upthread.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 11, 2008 - 08:43pm PT
The angle of the diagonal undercling is similar to the crux section of The Cobra (although it can be protected). People have still taken some huge falls (like 50') on that crux of The Cobra, as it is quite hard to stop and place gear in such a barn door lieback.
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Nov 11, 2008 - 08:46pm PT
Always wanted to do the Cobra...too.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Nov 11, 2008 - 09:19pm PT
"it is quite hard to stop and place gear in such a barn door lieback. "

that's kinda my point, it may be better just to run'er out like Peter did BITD. if you stop and fumble around with gear....derp!!!!!!!

The fall still sucks ass!!
MisterE

Trad climber
My Inner Nut
Nov 11, 2008 - 09:44pm PT
Peter, I must say - that account of the climb (in the link) surpasses anything I have read about climbing thus-far in my life. I was crying in joy and amazement at the feat and the prose.

Absolutely stunning.

Erik Wolfe (Borghoff)
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2008 - 10:19pm PT
Thanks Erik. Really.

ph

Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Nov 11, 2008 - 10:21pm PT
Didn't look like a good place to fall, to me.

I'd take all that cams that fit.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Nov 11, 2008 - 11:26pm PT
The photos are simply awesome. Only arrived on the Taco in the Spring of 2008. Glad when Threads like this one are brought back to life and also glad to have met you Mr. Peter Haan at the Nose Reunion. Best, Lynne Leichtfuss
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 12, 2008 - 12:47am PT
Link to GM photo of mangled nuts found below the Hourglass.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=261800

And another link to Peter's thread about Crackjacks, the right side of the Hourglass, and such things.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=199325
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Nov 12, 2008 - 12:51am PT
Schneider told me about finding earthquake squished nuts on Pink Dream, or one of those other elephant rock climbs.
MisterE

Trad climber
One Place or Another
Feb 25, 2009 - 10:42am PT
bump for the good stuff
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Aug 20, 2009 - 04:22pm PT
Thanks Peter. This is my favorite climbing thread on ST so far. And reading your account on the link, was a kind of religious experience! I've never seen climbing better explained.
Brunosafari

Boulder climber
OR
Aug 21, 2009 - 09:28pm PT
My first read of this too. Isn't this what you'd call an instant Literary Classic? The apology, sneaker climax, tore me right up.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Aug 21, 2009 - 11:04pm PT
Peter

Bonnie sent me this a while back-my recollection was the bongs were from Long and not Chouinard? Big write up from Mr Kamps, hey what! Mellow man he was.


Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 21, 2009 - 11:12pm PT
Guido, you mean bongs like these?

They are Longware bongs, given to me by Leif Patterson's family, and now in the Yosemite Climbing Association collection. (I have one as a keepsake/paperweight.) The largest is 5.8" at the widest.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 21, 2009 - 11:14pm PT
Well, Joe, that was a loquacious Bob Kamps there, yeah! From 1962. What was the story on the FA? What were the trips up the talus and how long was he on the thing? It was A4 according to the Green and red guides. And I have to agree given the equipment.
Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Aug 21, 2009 - 11:16pm PT
Peters great story on the Hourglass:

http://widefetish.com/features/hourglass/hourglass.html
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Aug 22, 2009 - 04:06am PT
Peter and Anders

First pitch was 7 hours and for some reason,for what it is worth I think the bongs were made by Long. I was working part time for Long in his "garage" while he slaved away in Med school and I had a good supply of them. Couple of things I wrote in the past may clarify or cloud the first ascent. My notes are buried in one of hundreds of boxes in storage.

I do recollect one funny incident on the approach when Kamps stepped on a group of baby rattlesnakes. When I called him back he told me how cute they were and he hoped he didn't injure them! We made the trip up to the Hourglass a number of times and it was always a different adventure.


Ed's thread- Name This Route:

Ed

Funny, I didn't recognize this. But 46 years is a long time and there are some gray areas, whereas other memories are still vivid. The summer of 1962 was a busy one. Lots of climbing with Sacherer and Kamps. Sacherer and I had an agreement to climb all the classic Grade 5 routes. In between we would work on shorter first ascents that we both had our eyes on. Ribbon Falls area always had an attraction, especially the Hourglass. After several attempts on the right side we reached the tree.

Time for a break so we headed off to climb the first one-day ascent of the North Buttress of Middle Cathedral. I had done lots of climbing with Sacherer, but on this occasion all hell broke loose in our relationship. At one point, he was out 60 ft on a blank wall, off route, zero protection, flagellating and screaming at me some of his famous epithets. I threatened to keep belaying but detach myself from the rope; I would have my own anchor. Near the top, on some fairly dicey third class he asked me to throw him a rope. I let loose with some fairly abusive language myself and quickly headed down to the Valley. Needless to say we climbed together little from then on. We remained good friends, but our climbing relationship suffered.

Back to the Hourglass; Sacherer teamed up with Kamps to finish the Right Side. Later Kamps and I would make the first ascent of the Hourglass Left Side. As always climbing with Kamps was the ultimate pleasure and a memorable experience indeed. As always I wore shorts and deservedly suffered for several weeks from abrasion.

For years I would return to the majestic Ribbon Falls amphitheater, sometimes set up a "base camp" and just explore. Thank you for opening up the doors for a memorable peek at the past.


"When Kamps and I did the first ascent of the Left Side of the Hourglass in the early 60s, he used a masterful combination of Long bongs, placed back-to-back,edgewise, with a sling in center both for aid and protection on that wild first pitch. I can't begin to imagine how Haan led the roof and undercling free, years later".

I posted this a while back. Yes, that was the crux. Tenuous even for a flyweight like Mr Kamps.

joe


Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Dec 27, 2009 - 09:35pm PT
where the threshold of gravity meets the threshold of friction, stout men and women thrive.

rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Jun 9, 2010 - 03:06am PT
I was on the second ascent of Hourglass Left Side, and if I was to sum it up, I'd say that I experienced a humbling opposite of Peter's over-the-top immortal first free ascent. I think my story is useful mainly to offer yet another look at the depth of Bridwell's climbing. For he triumphed on that day. As for me, it was a sobering footstep into the world of the real heavy-duty climbers, and I had to downscale my own self-image as a result. All good, because I do subscribe to "know thyself". And "the truth shall set you free"...
I am not a heavyweight.

Two features: 1) I witnessed an all-time display of the power and skill of Jim Bridwell's climbing. 2) I realized I was finally out of my league. To lead that undercling pitch represents a truly cosmic commitment which separates visionaries and masters of the art, from mere climbers.

Anyway, here are the few details I can remember from our climb. (around '74 I'm guessing? Someone correct me...)
Bridwell approached me one day and asked if I'd like to try the Hourglass with him. Naturally, I was excited and eager. Maybe I had done some routes which led Jim to view me as solid on the runout. Most likely was that he was giving me a chance to expand to a greater level. I was just an aspiring hard-man/boy and still looking all around. I had more ambition than focus, probably.

So Jim revealed the existence of a secret training boulder, not far from Camp 4, to the west. A nice walk through the woods brought us to a boulder configuration which had a strenuous undercling several yards in length. I think it was a pretty good simulation of the real thing. We would go there secretly and do laps.

When we felt ready, we went up to the climb, maybe after a couple weeks training on the boulder. Jim led up to the start of the undercling, and hung a belay at the original bolt, where the vertical route becomes horizontal to the left. Seems like he might have been able to magic some back-up nuts in somewhere, but I'm not sure.

Then he brought me up, and offered me the lead. It was what I really wanted, but I also would have let him go first if he mentioned it. So I start going out the undercling. It was spectacular, the geometry of the rock, the exposure, and the gymnastics. I felt pretty solid out to the little rest bump, about 15 ft out or so. I may have tried to get a 6 inch tube chock to stay in, don't remember. Don't think I got one to work.

Then I assessed my situation. Factors: increasing arm-and-body pump; run-out and potential falling onto the belay; and the mortal bashing. I recieved a no-go from the little guy in my head. Even though it looked relatively short distance to the edge, I had doubts about staying in control. I reversed the undercling back to Bridwell at the bolt. I was thinking, maybe if he bails too, I'll get another chance.

So Jim went out on it, looked good, and also paused at the rest bump. Again, he might have fiddled with pro and been more successful, but I just don't remember. We'll have to ask him. Finally he decides to go for it. I think he tested the first move or two, coming back to the rest bump; calculating moves versus remaining strength. When he went for it, he might have started getting shaky reaching the edge and turning the corner into the vertical wide. Don't remember how he transferred into offwidth, or did he actually lieback around the corner? I was so totally gripped, and on max alert to catch the killer fall, yet I also believed he would do it using his tenacity, and vast knowledge of the applied physics of the human body.

What a giant relief when he reached the belay! My turn following was nothing, with the top rope, and the fall relatively safe. Don't remember how I turned the corner either. Last thing I remember was my ego having a little tantrum at not leading the 2nd free ascent. I totally ran out the next 5.8 chimney pitch. When Jim got up to me on the top, he said something like -well, that was a little uncool, wasn't it? (something like that) He was acknowledging my childish behavior, but at the same time he conveyed that it was okay, and he understood my frustration.

Occasionally falling short of one's goals is as much a part of climbing as is setting new standards; just part of the game. I have no regrets about the past, and am happy to be alive today.

rik r
ß Î Ø T Ç H

climber
from the Leastside
Jun 9, 2010 - 04:32am PT
Good writes as usual Rik , Reminded me of another Haan horror show . . . http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=420358&msg=817370
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jun 9, 2010 - 12:36pm PT
Nice Rik-why are my fingers sweating?

Also the thought of a hanging belay off that bolt Kamps placed just gives me chills when I compare it to the superb status of current bolt methodology.
Scott Cole

Trad climber
Sunny California
Jun 10, 2010 - 10:05am PT
You should see the old hexes that Donny Reid found at the base of the Hourglass after the 1981(?) earthquake. # 11 hex accordioned down to about 2". I think the flake moves a little
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 10, 2010 - 10:35am PT
This is the first time I have heard that you guys set up a hanging belay at the bolt....

Thanks tons Rik for the account.

Oh, and if anyone wants to replace that bolt with a modern 3/8" stainless steel one, I am all in favor of it. Put it in the hole of the old 1/4" compression 1962 Kamps unit though.
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Jun 10, 2010 - 12:19pm PT
Peter,
Yeah, I know it seems weird maybe, but that's the ancient image in my memory. How does the CIA phrase their sketchy intel - maybe 95% reliability on my memory...? Hah...

I don't think we would have been all hanging on the one bolt, unless Jim got some backup stuff in. (but looking at your pictures...it doesn't look like there is any place for good pro, does it?) Again, my memory...not perfect. Maybe Jim could verify or correct sometime.

The good thing about belaying there, was close communications and more instant rope handling with less drag and slack to worry about.

rik
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 10, 2010 - 12:34pm PT
Man, I wish I had a camera when we were doing those routes back then. I'd love to see some modern day images of this climb.

I'm rather surprised Rik had a problem with this route, hard as it is, because Rik was every bit as good as any of us back then. Probably jut an off day for RR.

The main problem with Hourglass L., BITD, was the mank pro. If that 1/4 inch bolt would have blown you'd have been in deep water. Modern cams must take some of the sting out of this. Also, back in the early 1970s, the right side basically had no pro as I remember.

That stuff on the Hourglass is rugged.

JL
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 10, 2010 - 12:47pm PT
If the belay was set up below the bolt (although using it), anchors could have been installed near the tiny roofette thing about 6 feet lower. You can see this spot in the photos. I have to think that is where Jim would have set a belay rather than just bare-assed at the bolt with nothing else in between the belayer and the leader as he faces the long scary crux section, viz a category 2 fall--- I don't think so. Plus the hulabaloo of changing from the offwidth to the undercling was in itself really bitchy, weird as hell, and exhausting not to mention really committing.

I think someone may be headed up to re-do the one bolt out of the tree on the right side, by the way, Largo. Maybe Les Wilson's son and grandson (David and Chase)... someone was talking about doing this recently. That bolt was ridiculous--- a self-drill-in thing with a cap screw going into it and the only thing available for more than 70 feet I think when you start getting chockstones and the thing is then an S-chimney.
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Jun 10, 2010 - 12:50pm PT
Thanks Peter, that sounds better.

Howdy, John! You are kind.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 10, 2010 - 01:26pm PT
I had not heard Rik's story until a few weeks ago when we were at the Sacherer Remembrance. Cool story, Rik.

A few years ago I posted this Valley vignette:

On a fine day, Jim asked me to go bouldering with him. It was an odd request because Jim didn't have much interest in bouldering, and my interest in bouldering was limited to finding nice sunny flat ones near the Merced where I could create romantic enticements in my search for the meaning of life.

But, how could I refuse.

I assumed that we would go to the standard boulders with all the caulk marks that ended near the Mountain Room, but Jim started off towards Manure Pile Buttress. I pointed out a few interesting looking boulders, which we passed. Then I pointed out that most were covered with moss and had bad landings. Jim persisted, telling me that he thought there was a good place just a bit farther towards Manure Pile Buttress.

Finally, we arrive at a giant stack of three boulders, two on the bottom, and one on top, with a cave like space between. In the cave, the top boulder and one of the bottom boulders formed a straight up, horizontal edge that ran out the along the edge of the cave. I was thinking in terms of a roof jam crack and noted it had a fairly sharp edge but was a horrible width. Also, the rock was covered with moss, pine needles and dirt. And the floor of the cave was boulder strewn and uneven.

What a glorious find, I think to myself.

As I stood and watched, Jim climbed back into this embodiment of the perfect bouldering cave, and from a crouch, reached up with both hands and grabs the edge and underclings out of the cave, moving from right to left. He doesn't try to find foot holds--just pure gut busting underclinging.

When he gets to the end, he steps down to the ground and suggests that we go back to camp.

Sometimes, being with Jim was like channeling the Delphi Oracle.

A few days later, Jim did the second ascent of Peter's Left Side of the Hourglass

From Rik's post my 'few days later' was a bit longer. It is also possible that Jim found a better practice boulder.
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Jun 10, 2010 - 02:15pm PT
no, Roger, your memory is probably better than mine. That probably was the boulder, but maybe we only "trained" for a few days. Darn details again! The tribal group-mind might have to do an edit on any definitive version of stuff from my memories! Its okay with me.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 10, 2010 - 04:48pm PT
Donny Reid's topo has two bolts at the beginning of the horizontal pitch...

sounds like only one of those should be replaced...

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 10, 2010 - 05:56pm PT
When I was up there photographing the two sides in 2001, I only could see one bolt, Ed. It might be a guidebook error.
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Jun 10, 2010 - 07:18pm PT
Peter, thank you for your photos of this beautiful formation
and your story of first ascend. Did you climbed it with modern gear after all? When you come in 2001 to make those photos have you been tempted to climb it again?
What modern gear would you recommend to protect undercling- is #6 friend will work?, or need bigger gear?
I am surprise that Reid give only one star for Left side of Hourglass and no stars for right side. The book is stingy for stars, but here it seems not fair at all for Hourglass and for Slab Happy Pinnacle
WBraun

climber
Jun 10, 2010 - 07:35pm PT
Alexey -- "I am surprise that Reid give only one star for Left side of Hourglass and no stars for right side."

That's because most people that go there start shi'tting in their pants when they see these two bad boys especially the left side.

The left side is a serious lead especially if you do the whole pitch from the ground across the under-cling to the top of the pitch.

I've been up there 6 times and led that 1st pitch 4 times.

It's a serious mental lead.

I went up there once to on-sight free solo the right side but didn't do it for some reason as I can't remember why.

Maybe it was wet?

More likely I sh'it in my pants that day .....
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 10, 2010 - 08:06pm PT
Yeah WB, these two routes really are in their own world aren't they!

Alexey, no I cannot climb that hard any more. When I went back to visit and photograph it I was really blown away how horrific the left side is. You can use the biggest C4 (sage) which has a range to 195mm. Nowadays I would imagine you would want at least three or more of them as well for the lead. With the way people are protecting so much more frequently.

The rewards of the long hike and the various perils of climbing the two routes are of course that they are actually five star routes in camouflage. The summit is startling too-- distinct perfect nearly knife-edged. Rappel the rt side; watch out at the tree that your rope DOES NOT GO INTO THE CRACK below the tree.
MMCC

climber
New Zealand
Jun 10, 2010 - 09:16pm PT
Superb thread. When climbing and the written word collide and merge.
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
Jun 10, 2010 - 10:13pm PT
Credit: Gunkie
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 10, 2010 - 11:36pm PT
Rik,

Thanks for sharing the story of the 2nd free ascent.
Quite interesting about the sling belay at the bolt just before the crux undercling.
In Bridwell's "Brave New World" article (1973), he states:

"The Left Side of the Hourglass, a work of genius by Peter Haan, remains one of the most respected leads of the day. One thinks of the potential fifty-foot fall while leading the overhanging, 5.10 off-width crack after the undercling. This single lead, with its 5.10 hand crack to 5.10 undercling to a 5.10 off-width, all without resting spots, makes the overall rating 5.11, and earmarks the accelerative pitch - in imagination."

This suggests he thought the pitch should be done without the hanging belay, which does provide a resting spot and eliminates the tricky transition from left-side-in ow to undercling. I wonder if he wrote it before or after the ascent you guys made?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 11, 2010 - 12:14am PT
just checked the two guide books, Reid's © 1994 (page 93) and Myers & Reids' © 1987 (from which page 94 is reproduced above)...

the latest book has two bolts indicated. I believe that you only saw one, perhaps, someone already put the route back to its original state.
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Jun 11, 2010 - 02:21am PT
Hi Clint,
Yeah, good observation. You historians don't miss a thing! I've scrutinized myself silly and just don't remember that we did the first pitch any other way. That doesn't guarantee the truth necessarily - it's just what is in my mind after all this time, and I feel reasonably confident about its accuracy. I don't even remember climbing the vertical parts of the pitch; only what I described. So, yes, it seems that my memory has painted a technically incomplete 2nd ascent of the entire first pitch. Only that undercling is what impressed me the most, and I never focused on the accelerative pitch issue -during the climb or in digging up the memory.

I appreciate all the attention to historical congruency, and realize that a less-than-perfect memory could be frustrating or libelous if carelessly applied in public. This is a good heads-up for me. Last thing in the world I want to do is stir up compost around ST! I tend to relate to climbing history in a visceral way, and am not a proven authority regarding statistics or tricky data. (in other words: I'm a knucklehead!) Thanks for dealing graciously with my sometimes funky posts.

Rik
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 11, 2010 - 02:49am PT
Even with the sling belay, like you said, it's still in the realm of the "masters" with the gear of the day!
Maybe even with the gear of today; on a diagonal undercling it can be hard to stop and let go with one hand to place a cam. There is a potential to "barndoor" off. Same problem on the crux diagonal undercling of The Cobra. But you could get a big cam in and the midway point on the undercling nowadays; that would help avoid the death fall potential of the early ascents.
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Jun 11, 2010 - 02:54am PT
Is that the old Powell / Kamps route Cobra, on Arches?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 11, 2010 - 02:57am PT
Rik, primary historic information is an important first step in understanding... without your story, just as you remember it, there is little else to go on.

Let the historians sort it all out later, better to get it said first... as imperfect as it maybe.

rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Jun 11, 2010 - 03:02am PT
Well spoke. Thanks Ed.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 11, 2010 - 03:13am PT
Awful glad this thread re-appeared.

I wonder if Greg Stock, the park geologist, or perhaps Minerals, can chip in as to the flake expanding and contracting - causes etc? Greg recently installed sensors on a flake somewhere in the Valley to see what it does in response to temperature.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1189611
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 11, 2010 - 10:04am PT
Yes Rik, Clint is talking about Tobin's FFA route, Cobra right of the reg. Arches route.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 11, 2010 - 10:45am PT
I'm counting on the entire feature inverting in 2012!!!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jun 11, 2010 - 11:18am PT
Maybe it's just getting low on sand?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 27, 2010 - 12:02pm PT
Ask not for whom the flake groans, it groans for thee...LOL
MisterE

Social climber
MEEPMEEPmeepMEEP
Feb 15, 2011 - 03:07pm PT
This one is just too good to let fall off the radar.

TR link reminder:

http://www.terragalleria.com/mountain/info/yosemite/hourglass.html
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 23, 2011 - 11:53am PT
the hour to bump this back has arrived
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Carson city Nev.
Mar 23, 2011 - 12:07pm PT
GGG-GULP!
Grayarea

Trad climber
CA
Mar 23, 2011 - 02:33pm PT
Wonderful history here! Have never hiked up to Ribbon yet-looks awesome from these pics. The right side is more my speed these days! How wide is the crux on the 3rd pitch? Sacherer freed this in 62 WOW!!!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Mar 23, 2011 - 02:59pm PT
Bob Kamps and Sacherer climbed the Right side in 1962 with free and aid.

Frank's freeclimbing only started in earnest in 1963. He returned to the Right side of the Hourglass in 1964 with Tom Gerughty for the FFA.

This route is one of several in which Frank returned to a previous aided FA on which he was with a more experienced climber and climbed it all free with a new junior partner.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 23, 2011 - 03:16pm PT
So Jim revealed the existence of a secret training boulder, not far from Camp 4, to the west

Dale Bard took me there on Labor Day weekend in 1972. We did a couple of laps each (TO the extent I remember any details at all, I remember it being no more than five or six feet long)
, but I was fascinated with chimneys and off-widths then, so on my next turn, I managed to chimney to its edge, but found the exit in a different league.

I should mention that Dale and I took -- and used -- a rope on that boulder while underclinging.

John
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Nov 5, 2012 - 09:27pm PT
Bump
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2012 - 10:04pm PT

Apparently there are a ton of climbers who have never been to the Ribbon Falls Portal. What a shame. One and a half hour moderate forest hike with no bushwhacking and you get this enormous experience. It is the highest single-drop water fall in North America and it all happens in the very majestic nearly three-quarter circle of a portal. And even when the Falls is not rally operating, the spot is still nearly magical. And what? There must be something like twenty climbs up in that area currently, many of which are terrific, some world-class.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
May 20, 2014 - 09:49pm PT
Time for the HourGlass to be turned over-BUMP
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