Nice. By the way, where is Goldfinger? I'm not saying that's it but much like it.....if it's not it! Beckey and Brown did the first ascent and I remember a very outstanding photo in Summit Magazine - way back late 60s.
A little research shows Goldfinger on the CLEAVER. Goldfinger is 125 feet high........better put it on the list. Goldfinger AAJ (Sawtooth Ridge, Sierra Nevada, CA) 1969: 393
Hey Dingus. I've been up a couple of pitches on that one. Bailed when it got to a roof/chimney thing maybe on the third pitch. Killer line and a nice find. I'd like to go back now with a bit more chimney experience under my belt.
I was lucky to meet Fred through Joe. This pic is from about 68 or 69 in Oak Creek Canyon. I don't know if the left tower was called Church Tower or if Fred named it that - it was even Easter I think - all part of Fred's plan - had to be! We did a route on the back side and put a nice bolt ladder up too! I got to do that after a bit of nailing, and got to use the bolt hangers I had made. I made bolt hangers for Fred back then even though I was only 16 or 17, having some intuitive engineering skills, plus some high school metal shop experience. The hangers were made of 2024-t4 angle stock I'm pretty sure, and I knew enough to drill the holes as close to the spine of the extruded angle as possible.
Anyway, at the end of the bolt ladder I set up a hanging belay and when Fred came up he was pretty impatient for having had to wait so long for the bolt ladder. I didn't have my rope skills down very well yet, and he started throwing me around like I was a haul bag so he could get to things and unf*#k them. That's all I really remember of that climb besides rapping off. It was all fun.
My best all time Beckey Climb was with him and Galen Rowell climbing the East Face of Mt. Powell in June of 69. I turned 17 just a few weeks earlier and I get hooked up with these guys to do a 1st ascent on a 13,000 foot peak! I think I came pretty close to getting killed for the first time! I had my left hand jammed in a 2" crack while pounding out a belay pin when a soccer ball size rock came out of the blue and ripped my hand out of the crack. It had to happen pretty fast of course and fortunately the rock caught my elbow in a way that it just ripped my hand out of the crack without breaking my arm. My elbow caught the rock just long enough for the hand to release allowing the arm to open and let the rock continue on! If it had hit my forearm things would have been very different. I'm pretty sure we were not wearing helmuts either - even though I had one at home. It was pretty freaky - and I already had premonitions of dying up there. I think the rockfall may have been triggered by having to haul a hammer back and forth because one of us dropped a hammer. I was well enough to jumar after the hit, and by the end of the climb was well enough to lead the final easy pich.
There are plenty of gems to talk about, like when I got to hear Galen let out a scream when he slipped on a short slab after going free above an overhang he nailed - I learned that even these guys get scared - Galen must have been about 23. Fred would have been only 43. On the way down - glissading down the snow gully from the summit plateau, Fred caught his leg behind a hidden boulder and almost broke it. On the way up the steep snow slope to start the climb, all I was thinking about was how the hell I could get out of there - not sure why - don't remember - just stark existential exposure in the High Sierra! We probably did the usual 3rd classing at the base - you don't rope up till you almost die - I distinctly remember more than anything else that day, that I could still leap off the climb from that point and go several hundred feet to the steep soft snow below and survive. Thinking about doing that jump was relieving for me compared to continuing on - I figured the outcome was still predictable but onward I went!
After the climb and back at camp, probably more like the base of the snow slope below the face, we stopped to regroup and I decided to wring the water out of my socks. I thinks that's when those guys took off - we all probably figured I could just follow the snow trail and catch up. That worked just fine until the snow ran out about the time it got dark, and I had no headlamp! There's a gully up there that drops straight down to Lake Sabrina and the trail faked me out by crossing the gully there without going down - that's were I went down and ended up boulder hopping all the way around the shore of Lake Sabrina in the dark. At some point Rowell positioned his Corvette to shine his carlights across the lake and that helped - not sure how he figured he would see me but it worked out - maybe that was Fred's idea.
But wait, it's not over till it's over and it wasn't over till we all survived the ride back over Tioga Pass and back down into Yosemite Valley in Galen's FAST Corvette. That was one wild ride. If my mother really knew who she was letting me hang out with.......! Galen was driving as fast as he could - I was sitting in the middle on the console with Fred on the right. It was all pretty fun and funny - many years later a scene from Clockwork Orange reminded me of it! We were probably all too happy to have survived the East Face of Mt Powell to worry about dying in a car!
Photo of Church Tower, Oak Creek Canyon, AZ, Dan McHale on left and Joe Brown, Fred Beckey photo. Joe Brown, in his late 60s is a long-distance road-bicycle racer.