David Brower Appreciation Thread

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 21 - 32 of total 32 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jan 28, 2013 - 11:59pm PT
yeah, i've read that-- but i think that was what we would call a piton.

most of the earliest examples of pitons-- and that he might've been familiar with -- came out of the tirol and were used first for rapping and then for belays. protection pitons came last. the first piton we know of was the one placed by purtscheller on the first traverse of the meiije. there's a picture of it in his 1887 (date?) article that ops would've had access to.

all of the earliest ones were ring-pins because they didn't have carabiners until later. each placement meant untying and then threading the rope and re-tying. the "blacksmith" is a clue that that's what was involved in that reference. the fact that he doesn't mention a drill doesn't mean he didn't have one-- negative evidence isn't evidence-- but i'm dubious that he was drilling, since even a simple piton at the time was such an innovation that he had to mention going to the local smith and telling him what to do.

that said, it's possible that a rich kid from a manufacturing family, like ops, might've known about and even owned a snap-link. (no local blacksmith was going to make a carabiner.) but i really doubt that he placed what we now would call a bolt.



Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 29, 2013 - 12:03am PT
Kerwin,

Cool - thanks for the explanation about how "rings" probably meant ring pitons (no drill).
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 29, 2013 - 12:04am PT
Funny and sad that this has turned into a depreciation and bolt issue so soon.

The bolting thing was, is, and always will be a side issue. And my posts above were in no way meant as depreciation (in the sense I think you're using that word). But he wasn't god, and to understand what he accomplished one needs to understand the man. Which can't be done from a position of worship.
MisterE

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 12:07am PT
Clint: Just saying there is a lot here outside of Skip and I posting that is not "appreciative" for what the man accomplished.

Carry on...wait a minute - did I just get trolled by Mr. Cummins? LOL!

Edit: Ghost - no worship here, just an appreciation of the difficulty of standing up to the status quo of the time.
10b4me

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Jan 29, 2013 - 12:12am PT
I had a lot of respect for Mr. Brower as both a climber, and an environmentalist.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jan 29, 2013 - 12:16am PT
There was good and bad done on both sides, but it seems that the fight for the preservation was, as I mentioned, a farther-looking perspective than blocking every available river constriction for some juvenile perspective on what is "needed", as the new-comers to an old world that we were...

Funny and sad that this has turned into a depreciation and bolt issue so soon.

actually, i think it resonates pretty nicely with the issues that mcphee brings out in archdruids with such subtlety. bolting is a genuinely philosophical problem -- what counts as a bolt, what counts as technology -- although (and possibly because) it's insolvable.

brower usually gets plastered for the deal he helped to strike to build the coal-burning plant on indian land at 4 corners. and he deserves it. but that doesn't mean he isn't also one of the heroes of the 20th century.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 29, 2013 - 02:40am PT
Erik,

I wasn't trolling, and I didn't intend to sound unappreciative.
I appreciate David Brower's leading climbing achievements at the Pinnacles, Shiprock and the Valley.
I don't see his use of bolts as a bad thing, or as a contradiction to his later environmentalism.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Jan 29, 2013 - 08:37am PT
after the war, he was one of those pressing the sierra club to become a major lobbying force.

Which happened, and which, ironically, killed mountaineering in the club.

As a lobbying force they accumulated so much money that it was necessary to protect it from lawsuits. After a couple of unfortunate accidents the insurance companies pulled the plug on their liability insurance. The club then pulled the plug on any mountaineering outings. Thus, the death of the Rock Climbing Sections.

To their credit, the national club has made some changes and is supportive of mountaineering, but it is still an after thought.

Which is too bad, as it is the heart of the club. The early club presidents read like a Who's Who of California mountaineering. Most of them had their name in the old Black Kaweah register:

Muir, LeConte, Colby, McDuffie, Farquhar, Dawson, Starr, Lewis Clark, Bestor Robinson, Dick Leonard.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Jan 29, 2013 - 08:59am PT
Well, I knew zitch about him up until a week ago, so any history is interesting to me. His climbing accomplishments do seem to take a sideline to the environmental work in most biographies so the bolt-talk is relevant. I think E was just worried the whole thread would morph into people arguing about it.

I agree that to "understand what he accomplished one needs to understand the man". Effective people are rarely Gandhi-types so we weren't really coming at this from a "worship" standpoint BTW. One can't deny his accomplishments in spite of the flaws.

It just seemed a little bizarre that an "appreciation" thread was immediately bombed with negativity and a random statement about "attempted infanticide" just in the first few posts.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jan 29, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
It just seemed a little bizarre that an "appreciation" thread was immediately bombed with negativity and a random statement about "attempted infanticide" just in the first few posts.

um, i didn't think clint and i were dispensing much negativity. the "infanticide" remark just extends the fatherhood metaphor. brower was indeed one of the folks pioneering the use of expansion bolts for rock climbing. and later, he was one of the folks pioneering bans on expansion bolts and other fixed anchors in rock climbing.

biological metphors tend not to work well for history.

chris jones's mountaineering in north america has a great pic of a young brower climbing at indian rock back in the thirties. always think about brower when i'm doing that move.

Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 29, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
No negativity from me.

Brower is a very interesting man.
crunch

Social climber
CO
Jan 29, 2013 - 01:56pm PT
Brower would never have become the environmentalist that he became had it not been for the climbing he did.

The ascent of Shiprock, which was very remote, hazardous and in the middle of the Navajo Reservation was instrumental in broadening his horizons. He wrote about bivying near the summit and looking out and seeing lights, campfires, stretching to the horizon, and wondering about the people who were huddled around those fires. How did they live? What was their relationship with the land they lived on? This was, perhaps, a turning point for him.

His mother went blind when he was a kid. This I reckon, had a big influence; he was forced to be her eyes and so he became more observant, more deeply aware of the value of simply seeing fine scenery and grand mountains. He had to guide her around, and so, later in life, a leading, guiding role in protecting the views and senery came more easily to him.

Monumental is fascinating.
Messages 21 - 32 of total 32 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews