The Vertical Century

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Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 7, 2014 - 09:54am PT

Trento festival 1961


1rst row left to right:
Claudio Barbier, Gaston Rébuffat, Otto Herzog, Mario Stenico, Michel Vaucher

2nd row left to right:
Cesare Maestri, Georges Livanos, Toni Kinshofer, Riccardo Cassin, Walter Bonatti, Toni Hiebeler, Pierre Mazeaud

3rd and last row together left to right:
Gigi Alippi, Ales Kunaver, Pier Liugi Airoldi, Annibale Zucchi, Giancarlo Frigeri, unkown, Yvette Vaucher, Sepp Inwyler, Pierre Marchard, René Dittert, Beppi de Francesch, Aldo Klaus, Maria Teresa De Riso, Dino De Riso, Toni Serafini, Toni Masé, John Harlin, Luciano Ghigo, Romano Merendi.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 7, 2014 - 10:03am PT

Yvette Vaucher

Yvette Vaucher
Yvette Vaucher

Vaucher was born in 1929 in Vallorbe, Switzerland. She took up rock climbing in 1951 and climbed mainly on the Salève in the French Prealps near Geneva, where she joined a group of women climbers who were regulars on the Salève. In 1955, she moved to Neuchâtel, where she began free fall parachuting. She is credited as Switzerland's first female parachutist. She had made over 100 mountain descents via parachute before she formed a climbing team with Michel Vaucher, a mountaineer whom she married in 1962.

One of Vaucher's most famous climbs was the Matterhorn in July 1965. When she reached the summit on July 14, she became the first woman to have climbed the Matterhorn's north face. She made the ascent with her husband on the 100th anniversary of the first successful ascent of the mountain, and their "surprise climb" was noted to have "stole[n] the spotlight" from two other climbing teams who were planning to climb the Matterhorn at the same time with film crews to broadcast their ascent on live television. An article in the St. Petersburg Times about the Vauchers' success was titled "Swiss Housewife Steals Matterhorn Show", and when interviewed about her plans after the descent, Yvette answered, "to go have a hair-do – fast."

Yvette and Michel Vaucher made numerous significant climbs in the Alps throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including Piz Badile, the Aiguille de Triolet, the Aiguille du Dru, the Eiger, the Große Zinne and the Grandes Jorasses. In 1966, they made the first direct ascent of the north face of the Dent Blanche. They climbed frequently with Loulou Boulaz and her partner Michel Darbellay.

Vaucher and her husband joined an international expedition to Mount Everest headed by Norman Dyhrenfurth in 1971; she intended to become the first woman to reach the summit of Everest. Tensions and conflict were rife within the team, however, and the expedition was ultimately unsuccessful. Vaucher, upset with Dyhrenfurth's leadership, is said to have thrown snowballs at him before leaving the expedition.

Vaucher was denied membership of the Swiss Alpine Club until 1979, when she became one of the first women to be made an honorary member. As of 2012, she continues to hike regularly in the Alps, despite having hip and knee replacements.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jul 7, 2014 - 01:08pm PT
As of 2012, she continues to hike regularly in the Alps, despite having hip and knee replacements.

Ha Marlow! That should read 'BECAUSE she's had hip and knee replacements'!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 7, 2014 - 01:14pm PT

^^^^ ... "because" sounds better... she's pretty badass... (that's a compliment)

skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Jul 7, 2014 - 03:54pm PT
Very cool thread. A real history lesson to be sure. Thanks for putting it up.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 22, 2014 - 02:24am PT

La Vendetta del Cervino.

An article written by Edward Whymper in a century long gone and published in Epoca Oct 1962. Walter Bonatti is credited for the photos. And you already know the one on the front page.

Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 22, 2014 - 02:25am PT

La Vendetta de Cervino continues...
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Nov 22, 2014 - 06:34am PT
That great flake looks terrific. Nice thread, Marlow.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2014 - 03:05am PT

Norway: The Northern Playground

William Cecil Slingsby communicating with The Yorkshire Rambler's Club in 1904:

Credit: Marlow

And the book is "Norway: the Northern playground".

The chronology of the first ascents of Skagastolstind caused a certain confusion
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow

And who was Thomas Gray? Well, he helped Slingsby connected to the writing of the book, as seen from the book, dated Christmas 1903

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2014 - 03:07am PT

Skagastølstind, Matterhorn, Grandes Jorasses etc discussed in a letter from 1928:

Credit: Marlow

Skagastølstind
Therese Bertheau and Store Skagastolstind
Therese Bertheau and Store Skagastolstind
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2015 - 09:55am PT

Armand Charlet: Le chevalier de la Verte. An article by Mario Colonel in AlpiRando 96 Fevrier 1987

Armand Charlet: Le chevalier de la Verte - AlpiRando 96 Fevrier 1987
Armand Charlet: Le chevalier de la Verte - AlpiRando 96 Fevrier 1987
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Armand Charlet
Armand Charlet
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 25, 2015 - 11:58am PT

Skil Brum 1st Ascent: An Interview with Qader Saeed

In 1957, a team of four Austrians: Marcus Schmuck, Hermann Buhl, Fritz Wintersteller and Kurt Diemberger made an ascent of Broad Peak (8,047m). This climb was remarkable for a number of reasons, mostly to do with style:

· It was accomplished without supplementary oxygen
· They had no porters on the mountain, and carried everything themselves
· All four team members summited (a first for an 8, 000 metre peak)
· By reaching the summit, Hermann Buhl became the first person to make 2 first ascents of a mountain over 8,000 metres.

To make this expedition all the more remarkable, Markus Schmuck and Fritz Wintersteller followed their ascent of Broad Peak with a flash ascent of a nearby mountain, Skil Brum (7,360 m), which they climbed in pure alpine style.

This video is a companion to an essay that I wrote on the history of this climb (an updated copy of which can be found on my web site - just search on the title):

Buxton, William (2006). Broad Peak and the 1957 Austrian Karakoram Expedition. Canadian Alpine Journal, 89, 176-183.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 20, 2015 - 12:27pm PT

100 Alpinistes. Ed: Charlie Buffet.

100 Alpinistes
100 Alpinistes
Credit: Marlow

100 alpinistes par 100 auteurs. Ce livre présente les portraits écrits de 100 alpinistes qui ont marqué l'histoire de la montagne depuis plus de deux siècles par leur personnalité, leurs ascensions, leurs livres, leur influence... Chaque portrait est écrit par un auteur différent, le plus souvent alpiniste lui-même. Ces cordées d'écriture expriment le lien traversant les générations ou les continents : une fascination, une amitié, ou le souvenir d'une ascension partagée dans la joie ou le drame... Depuis Horace-Bénédict de Saussure raconté par l'historien Antoine de Baecque jusqu'à David Lama présenté par le grimpeur Arnaud Petit, l'histoire de l'alpinisme s'invite dans cette galerie de portraits. Philippe Claudel évoque Catherine Destivelle, Christophe Profit se souvient de Pierre Beghin, Reinhold Messner fait l'éloge d'Hermann Buhl, Joe Simpson de Walter Bonatti, Ueli Steck d'Erhard Loretan... Chaque association est une rencontre, chaque rencontre, une fenêtre ouverte sur les bonheurs multiples de l'alpinisme, au-delà des frontières du temps. Ainsi se rencontrent Erri de Luca et Paul Preuss, Chris Bonington et Albert Frederick Mummery, Sylvain Tesson et Patrick Edlinger ou Jean-Christophe Rufin et Tita Piaz. Ces 100 cordées forment une constellation jubilatoire.

Here you also find Doug Scott, Jeff Lowe, Royal Robbins, Tenzing Norgay, Voytek Kurtyka, Warren Harding and Yvon Chouinard among others.

100 Alpinistes Editions Guérin Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2017 - 11:50am PT

Some role models and inspirations - each one in their own special way - some of them living more than a century back in time:

Jacques Balmat: "On studying Mont Blanc from the top of Brevent, Balmat had sensed that climbing the snowy slope to the right of the Rochers Rouges might lead to the top. That is where he now headed. Despite his youth, he displayed a mature experience on snow and he was obviously sure-footed. Since it would have been too dangerous to angle across the face in an effort to join the upper slopes to the east, he headed straight up, cutting little holds with the iron tip of his alpenstock.
Thus he arrived above Rochers Rouges; just ahead, a gentler, safer slope led toward the summit. But already he could see Courmayeur in Italy - an extraordinary moment of victory! It could be argued that from that moment Mont Blanc had been tamed. Unfortunately, a spherical cloud known as the "dunce cap" had clemped down the mountain, and Balmat did not know exactly where the summit was. He decided to head back down. Step by step he redescended the gigantic ladder of ice. Night caught up with him, and he knew that a large crevasse waited below. Suddenly, he took the most heroic decision of his career - he would spend the night on the glacier, something that had never been done. Without realizing it, Balmat expanded the range of tactics for conquering Mont Blanc. He proved that a night on a glacier was not lethal.
But what a night! A cold sleet fell, and Balmat had no bivouac gear. He spent the night sitting on his leather sack, clapping his hands and stamping feet, not letting himself fall asleep, demonstarting amazing will power. Altitude and fatigue drove him closer to a sleep from which he would never awaken. It was his fourth consecutive night out-doors - two on the rocks in his previous attempt, one climbing the mountain from below, and now this one!
In the morning, he briefly considered heading back up, for victory was in his grasp. He no longer had the strength, however, and could hardly see. He headed back down into the valley, went home, ate, shut himself in the barn and slept for twenty-four hours.
Balmat kept his attempt secret. One day, he learned that Dr. Paccard had decided to mount a new expedition. Paccard was a dangerous rival; he had already conducted several reconnaissance trips, was affluent, and enjoyed a considerable reputation. Jacques Balmat sensed that if he made the ascent entirely on his own, no one would believe him. The whole valley would be against him out of jealousy, and everyone else out of spite. On the other hand, if he climbed with Paccard, he had an unimpeachable witness, whose word no one would doubt. Balmat went to Paccard and told him about the route. Paccard certainly had a great deal of respect for Balmat, since he was drawn to the adventurous nature of the young man, born in 1762 (the year Saussure first launched the idea of climbing Mont Blanc). The two men saw eye to eye. Paccard devoutly wished to climb Mont Blanc. He reckoned that the success of a local man would redound to the credit of the whole valley, and he proved to be right." (Roger Frison-Roche and Sylvain Jouty)

Melchior Anderegg: "When Anderegg was born in 1828 just outside Meiringen in the hamlet of Zaun, mountaineering had barely started. His father was a farmer and Melchior’s early years were dominated by traditional mountain activities: tending cattle, cutting and processing timber and hunting chamois. The latter activity, along with crystal hunting, gave Swiss guides the kind of physical skills and self-assurance that translated easily into guiding work.
Melchior, for reasons lost to history, didn’t take over the family farm. Aged 20, he took a job at the Grimsel Pass Inn, now flooded by a reservoir, possibly because his cousin was manager. His early guiding work is also lost, because his first führerbuch, the book in which his guiding jobs were recorded, was stolen.
In 1855, Thomas Hinchcliff, one of the founding members of the Alpine Club, hired Melchior to take him over the Strahlegg Pass and was impressed. He introduced Melchior to his friends, notably Leslie Stephen, author of the mountaineering classic The Playground of Europe, father of the novelist Virginia Woolf, and founding editor of the Dictionary of National Biography. All three men climbed the Wildstrubel together, and in 1859, Stephen and Anderegg climbed the Rimpfischhorn, a major first ascent.
The list of Melchior’s significant new climbs is remarkable: the Grandes Jorasses, with Horace Walker, the Zinalrothorn with Stephen and F Crauford Grove and the Dent d’Hérens, again with Grove and several others. Most impressive of all was the first ascent of Mont Blanc’s Brenva Spur, although it was a good job that his less cautious cousin Jakob was in the lead for the crux ice ridge. Melchior always put safety ahead of success.
Charles Hudson, who died following the first ascent of the Matterhorn, said Melchior was “for difficulties, the best guide I have ever met.” Yet it wasn’t just Melchior’s mountaineering skill that endeared him to his many English friends. Tall and powerful he combined all the advantages of great strength – physical and mental – with a reserved courtesy and consideration for his clients."

Francois Devouassoud: "Francois Devouassoud was admitted to the Compagnie des guides de Chamonix in 1849. Amongst those who sought his services in the Alps were Freshfield, W. A. B. Coolidge, Francis Fox Tuckett, Horace Walker, Adolphus Warburton Moore and Charles Comyns Tucker. Devouassoud was treasurer of the Compagnie des guides de Chamonix for ten years, but refused the post of president.
Claire Engel offers the following portrait of Devouassoud, based on the account of Freshfield: Devouassoud loved exploration and always felt at home in the mountains, whether in Sikkim or Algeria or on the Rowenzori. Though he started guiding very early, in 1849, he knew how to manage a rope and how to proceed on snow slopes. He was able to save the lives of several of his employers. He was at his best on ice. But this grave, refined man, who had a keen sense of humour and taste for culture, was not only an excellent leader on a mountain, he was an ideal companion on long expeditions."

Hermann Buhl: "The life of the parents is the book their children read. There are those who are always destined to go first. Their path is a lonely one, surrounded by unknown obstacles and dangers, yet they never lose their confidence. One of these men was Hermann Buhl. His vision was called Nanga Parbat, an 8125-meter peak in Pakistan. It turned into his mountain. Seven expeditions had already failed,and its snows had become a grave for thirty-one climbers. The Austrian reached the summit in 1953, without the use of supplemental oxygen, after a legendary solo climb. He was the first human up there, and for a moment, he got to see the world as only the Gods can. Then he went back to the world of people." (Alpinist.com)

Pierre Allain: "And to tell the truth it isn't solely with an eye to mountain routes that we visit Bleau and climb there, it's above all because we make a game of it, one that in and of itself arouses our passion. It's good training? All the better, but even if that weren't the case, for the majority of us nothing would have changed. Every week we would find ourselves, just as assiduous, just as persistent, climbing a route that resisted our assault, and just as satisfied when it finally succumbed through our efforts and technique. Like the games played in stadiums, there is rivalry among climbers, a friendly one, but a rivalry none the less. If, leaving the classics, we venture so far as to try one of "Cuvier's last great problems," and after many a "go" one of us triumphs over this prestigious four or five meter first ascent, he is momentarily just as proud as he would be had he just succeeded on some new route up the flanks of some great alpine summit. Whereupon, his friends get worked up for the second, the third, etc.
That's of no interest, you say? Perhaps, but the same goes for the tenth of a second taken off the time for the hundred meters, or the extra kilo lifted overhead by the weightlifter – a car or a crane can do much better! To this passion for climbing, we can add the pleasures of camping and the benefits of thirty hours of clean air, during which, forgetting the cares of the office, workshop or sales counter, each Saturday we find once again and with the same intense satisfaction – you might even say the same need – the special atmosphere of our rocks and its group of habitués. This is where we often work out our summer projects and dare to speak of certain bogeymen, considering such ventures natural, even if it means revising our judgment once in the field, in accordance with a formula I have long made my own – audacity in conception, prudence in execution."

Walter Bonatti: "At Chamonix in August of 1964, I was almost out of both vacation time and climbing partners. Not wanting to hang around in town, I volunteered to carry supplies up to the Leschaux Hut for Dougal Haston and John Harlin, who were to attempt the then-unclimbed ice face, the Shroud, on the Grandes Jorasses. A spell of improving weather was drawing a galaxy of climbers to the Leschaux Hut. Apart from Harlin and Haston, Pierre Mazeaud and his Italian partner Roberto Sorgato were there for the Walker Spur, as were Walter Bonatti and his Swiss partner Michel Vaucher, who were to attempt the unclimbed Pointe Whymper. (Years later I learned that Rene Desmaison and partner were bivouacked out in the nearby boulders, hoping to steal a march on one team or another). I was in awe of all these guys - they were legends in their own time. Bonatti was known to British climbers not only for his stunning ascents, but very much for the tragedy on the Central Pillar of Fresnay. That story had riveted not only the climbing world, but all of Europe. And of course Pierre Mazeaud had been with him on that climb and horrific retreat, where four of the party of seven died. They appeared to have a very friendly rapport. Mazeaud, quite the soul of the party, was handing out cigars to everyone. Bonatti and Vaucher seemed to emanate calm. As people turned in for bed, the mood in the hut was apprehensive. History was in the making. I was so gripped that I don't think I slept - and all I had to do was walk down to the valley in the morning. I was wide awake when Bonatti leaned over to Vaucher and said: "Michel, c'est l'heure." "Oui," came the reply, and with that they packed their sacks, took a swig of water, and were away. Later that day I scanned the face, but saw no sight of them. Down in the valley, the talk was all off the worsening weather and what was happening on the Pointe Whymper. None of us then knew of their epic struggle, with cut ropes, rockfall, and injury. But once again Bonatti prevailed. I have never forgotten those hours at the Leschaux Hut, nor Walter Bonatti. They changed my life." (Chris Jones)

Anderl Heckmair: "To climb in the cleanest and smoothest way possible - that was my desire. How others climb is their business, and nobody else has the right to interfere. Most people abide by rules because they want to be accepted. I was only truly content when I succeeded in completing a climb the way I had envisioned it. Naturally, there is satisfaction when a climb is acclaimed by the experts, but basically, this was not as important to me as the recognition by my friends."

Armand Charlet: "[He was] head and shoulders above anyone else. His name has been associated for almost fifty years with the toughest climbs in the range of Mont Blanc. All those who have been with him in the mountains have been struck by his impressive, almost tragic face, his intelligence and culture, and above all by his speed and poise when climbing" (Claire Engel)

Gaston Rebuffat: "We should refuse none of the thousand and one joys that the mountains offer us at every turn. We should brush nothing aside, set no restrictions. We should experience hunger and thirst, be able to go fast, but also to go slowly and to contemplate."

Bruno Detassis: "Climbing can only be explained as a great passion. I obviously wasn't devoted to the mountains continuously; I had to work, I had a family—just like everyone else—but I felt this great passion burning inside me...and I gave it my time with enthusiasm. I didn't like using too many pitons, and so I needed ability and preparation. I was always prepared, and I only ever attempted what I felt capable of climbing free. I loved free climbing: it gave me an indication of my possibilities. Free is a source of great satisfaction for climbers: it's a yardstick of personal ability. And I always searched for this, in all my routes. I always interpreted liberty as being one thing, while the submission to someone else's commands — which I never liked — was something completely different. And so, when facing wars, when facing suffering, I always tried to smile. Perhaps this is my true life force."

Lional Terray about Bruno: "L'homme le plus noble que j'ai jamais rencontré"

Joe Brown: "Excerpts from Tom Patey's "The Legend of Joe Brown" quoted from memory, I remember there was more...
Like a human spider clinging to the wall,
suction, faith, and friction, nothing else at all...
Watch him grin when the holds are thin,
on the overhanging wall, he's known by every nig-nog as the man who'll never fall...
But the secret to his success is his most amazing knack,
of hanging from a fist jam, in the over-hanging crack..." (Watusi)

Jo Montchausse: "I don’t appreciate confrontation or competition very much, but I am fascinated by the challenges that make it possible to know oneself better, to assert one's convictions and to realize oneself. Pure block, high balls, dynos or traverses are only conventions that allow us to express ourselves, to renew ourselves, to distinguish ourselves from others and these conventions in time, are sensitive to fashion. I have tried everything with passion, but the taste for risk and dynos requires qualities that do not last long in a climbing career, my turn is over. Traverses may seem less prestigious because the difficulty is not concentrated on one or two extreme movements, but on a long series of difficult movements. The appreciation of the difficulty is ultimately very subjective: Usain Bolt or David Rudisha, solo drums or solo piano, adrenaline or lactic acid?"

Voytek Kurtyka: "Mountaineering is a complex and unique way of life, interweaving elements of sport, art and mysticism. Success or failure depends on the ebb and flow of immense inspiration. Detecting a single rule governing this energy is difficult – it arises and vanishes like the urge to dance and remains as mysterious as the phenomenon of life itself."

Bjørn Myrer Lund: "During the years I started climbing, the stories connected to three Norwegian climbers were the strongest fascinations or motivators. The three were Arne Næss Sr, Peter Wessel Zapffe and Bjørn Myrer Lund. Among them the Myrer Lund stories were strongest, be it Myrer Lund leading the slopy and not well protected route Sunset Boulevard (7) at Kolsås, feared by everyone else, or Bjørn coming tumbling down Terroristen at Dalbokollen. Wherever Myrer Lund went, the stories were growing. Bjørn is Mr Kolsås-Eastern-Wall himself, living close to the cliff and often seen there climbing. He has spent the last years recovering after nearly losing his life during a 2012 climbing expedition. From what I've heard, he's recovering well." (Marlow)

Bernd Arnold: Said about "Soul of Stone" (reflections upon the psyche and overcoming fear): This reminds me about the reason why I loved climbing in the first place; the feeling of achieving freedom and not being bound by the natural limitations of gravity. It is so easy to become distracted by the goal of grades or the aesthetics of gear, etc. Not that these are inherently bad, but they should come second to climbing for the sake of the freedom it brings. (Hadley Wood)

Patrick Edlinger: "A late evening in 1984: The Norwegian Broadcasting Center is showing the film "With life hanging from the fingertips". The film shows Patrick Edlinger, a strong, blond French climber with a headband who climbs without a rope 200 meters above the ground on a high limestone wall in Buoux, Provence. A fourteen year old kid from Hurumlandet, Norway, is sitting in front of the TV screen. He is about to be seriously shocked. And after a while also inspired, though he still don't know. Edlinger's stoical, uncompromising, indian and nearly mystical creature, the characteristic well schooled climbing style with high footmoves and turnout, his white hands, his own laconic French voiceover, the light blue, nearly transparent limestone, the wind, breath, the sky. The soundtrack of the film turning dry, creaking, cold, minimalistic, the courage close to pure madness. Everything about the film is deeply fascinating for the 14 year old kid and the images are burned into his memory and body. He sits as stuck to the screen. He is able to set the new VHS machine on record. After one week he has seen the film around 70 times." (Geir Harald Samuelsen)

Catherine Destivelle: "Catherine was predestined. She began taking to the mountains at a young age. At 12 she was already a member of the French Mountaineering Club and, as a true Parisian (she was born in Algeria), she started climbing in the Fontainebleau forest, where most of France’s best mountaineers have spent time in their formative years. In 1973, aged just 13, she asked her father to go and see the Oisan massif. He accompanied her to La Grave and collected her 10 days later. She had done everything on her own. At 16 she repeated the Voie Couzy - Desmaison on Pic d'Olan and Voie Devies - Gervasutti on Ailefroide Occidentale. Then came the early 80s and brought with them a new wave of climbing of which she became a main player. In 1985 she was the star of the first climbing competition at Bardonecchia. A success that she repeated in the next two competitions. In those first competitions she was the woman to beat, along with America’s Lynn Hill and Italy’s Luisa Iovane. During these years, she was also a prime player at the crags. As the first female she climbed a 8a+. The year was 1988, the crag Buoux and the route was the legendary Chouca first climbed by Marc Le Menestrel. In 1990 she made a solo ascent of the Bonatti Pillar on Petit Dru in 4 hours. Next up was the first female solo ascent of the three great North Faces of the Alps: Eiger in 1991, Grandes Jorasses in 1993 and the Matterhorn in 1994. In June 1991 she also established a new route up the Petit Dru, needing 11 days to breach aid climbing difficulties akin to the impossible (and aleatory) A5. In 1994 she summited Shisha Pangma (her only 8000er), and in 1999 she made a solo ascent of the dizzying Hasse - Brandler route on the North Face of Cima Grande di Lavaredo in the Italian Dolomites." (PlanetMountain)

"We are now all sitting on top of the narrow summit, our legs dangling in the abyss. Catherine is beaming, obviously happy simply to be there...."

Heinz Mariacher: "Climbing enriched my life like no other activity. Climbing and mountaineering are a wonderful school of life: it’s a path that has heart and soul. I have never been an extraordinary athlete—at best I was more open-minded and mentally less limited than most climbers in my surroundings—but that didn’t matter, because climbing was a very personal challenge. It was like a second life lived within a different world; it was a lifestyle, a philosophy, and a form of meditation. My approach to the mountains and climbing was organic because it served no other purpose than to enjoy life and freedom.
I've been around on the rocks for a very long time, such a long time that I still had the opportunity to climb with some of the pioneers of classic freeclimbing in the mountains, long before the spread of modern sport climbing.
The mindset and enthusiasm of my predecessors was very close to my own and I don't think that today's generation feels that much different. Even if climbing has become very popular and is getting transformed to a real sport, there are still young and enthusiastic climbers who are seeking the unknown and are fascinated by the original spirit, by the idea of personal freedom far from the limits and regulations of a mass society."

Patrick Berhault: "20 years old he had already shown signs of becoming an exceptional climber; who had displayed remarkable levels of fitness and proficiency by climbing some of the hardest routes in the Verdon valley in heavy mountaineering boots. Following his adoption of rigorous training (and a pair of lightweight rubber rock-climbing boots) in 1978 he was transformed from an exceptional climber into one of the greatest.
By 1979 he was leading rock climbs of a technical difficulty never achieved before on long, multi-pitch climbs in France. Their grades ("7a" and "7b") are still regarded as highly difficult, even by top climbers armed with modern high-performance footwear. More remarkable still was his ability to climb solo, unprotected from the consequences of a slip, up routes only just below his roped leading ability. He not only achieved this with control and style, but also at great speed - a characteristic that would become something of a trademark throughout his climbing career.
Berhault began linking hard rock-climbs, soloing up one and then, to the horror and amazement of onlookers, descending another, before carrying on up an adjacent one. He soon took this skill into the Alps, climbing long, serious mountain routes in unprecedentedly fast times, such as the North Face of Les Droites in five and a half hours, a route which normally took days, not hours, and required bivouacs. Berhault's seemingly out-of-this world speed and stamina would subsequently earn him the moniker "ET".
And, like his cinematic alter ego, Berhault soon took to the air. He began employing hang gliders to link hard alpine climbs on different mountains in so-called enchaînements. In 1981, together with Jean-Marc Boivin, he climbed the South Face of Le Fou, and then flew to the base of Les Drus and climbed it by the difficult American Direct route, thereby linking two test-piece climbs in a single day. The practice would later grow into something of a competitive fashion among the leading players of the day but, as ever, Berhault had been a trend-setter.
By the mid-Eighties Berhault found himself to be just one star in a rapidly expanding galaxy of extreme climbers who became French household names. The exploits of such luminaries as Patrick Edlinger, Jean Marc-Boivin, Christophe Profit, Patrick Gabarrou, Pierre Beghin and Catherine Destivelle became ever more outrageous and daring and were boosted by exposure on television, newspapers and magazines, as the non-specialist media took an increasing interest in the activities of these apparent supermen and women.
Paradoxically, Berhault remained unimpressed by the cult of celebrity, and was happy to let others, such as his great friend Patrick Edlinger, take the brunt of the limelight. Most notably Berhault was unconvinced of the validity of "competition climbing" - the professional circuit of stage-managed artificial climbing courses which developed into a lucrative spectator sport in many parts of mainland Europe. Just before the official organisation of competition climbing began Berhault was among a group of 19 prominent climbers who were concerned about the effects of commercialisation on their sport and signed a "manifesto" deploring the initiative. But, when competition climbing became a successful business, he remained the only signatory not to succumb to the lure of prize money. "I'm not prepared to sell myself for financial gain," he said: The most important thing is friendship, freedom, your immediate environment and the love you have for what you're doing. If money is not put in its proper place, it takes on a very bitter taste."

Lynn Hill: "What a mission! Never before - neither as a journalist or as a climber, have I known such an excitement, on the verge of being nervous. I googled wildly to read me up on her achievements, she who became immortal in climbing history more than 20 years ago when I was just a kid who climbed. In retrospect, I have tried to analyze this trembling excitement of meeting a 54-year-old, light gray-haired lady who is the mother of a pre-teen, and the conclusion is: This is about feelings, not about reason. Lynn Hill's career and achievements touches us deep into the roots of something mysterious and magic that makes climbing so special and causes people to cultivate the vertical as a way of living. Lynn Hill was one of those who opened a new land for us others. She represents something to stretch for, something to dream about, something of the greatest inspiration." (Sindre Bø)

"For me, free climbing the Great Roof of the Nose was an opportunity to demonstrate the power of having an open mind and spirit. Though I realized that I could easily fall in my exhausted state, I felt a sense of liberation and strength knowing that this was an effort worth trying with all my heart. I had a strong feeling that this ascent was a part of my destiny and that somehow I could tap into that mysterious source of energy to literally rise to the occasion. (…) The Nose was much bigger than me, it wasn't about me, it wasn't about my ego, my gratification it was actually something that I wanted to do.”

"It goes boys!"

Wayne Merry: FA of El Capitan: "Merry, a seasonal ranger and naturalist, joined Harding after the first winter when members of the initial assault team quit for various reasons.
Letters in soup cans. "We were scared to death half the time," said Merry, who stuffed love letters to his fiancee in soup cans and hurled them off the wall. "There were days I didn't know what I was doing up there." Merry's primitive form of air mail worked. He and his wife, Cindy, will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in the spring. The climbers had ample reason to worry. At one point a hemp rope snapped just after Harding had climbed it, prompting the climbers to switch to nylon for the rest of the trip. A ledge near the top is now known as the Glowering Spot because it is where Harding's partners found him glowering after being hit in the head by a piton. During the final push, Harding drilled 28 bolts into the 100-foot-tall overhanging summit headwall. The 14-hour burst of energy allowed the three men to reach the top and make history. "It stunned the whole world and sent a shock wave through mountaineering," Duane said Friday. "The Europeans came into the valley after that achievement and the emphasis on mountaineering shifted. For that brief shining moment, Americans were the best climbers in the world...
Merry went on to start the Yosemite mountaineering school and rescue team and now lives in British Columbia." (Peter Fimrite, Yosemite Climbing Association, Nose Reunion Nov. 2008)

Jim Donini: "Having climbed with Jim in the early seventies I can assure you that he is human. He is also one of the most focused climbers I have ever known, and that focus has warped into the myth. That said, I had huge amounts of fun in Yosemite with him, and learned to become a better climber because of him. In retrospect, I see that he has taken many climbers under his wings over the years, and enriched many lives by sharing his climbing prowess. He is an excellent example of what humans become with focus, knowledge, and a love of life." (C4/1971)
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Nov 21, 2017 - 05:58pm PT
Great stuff, Marlow. We tend to be pretty Yosemite-centric, and it is good to be reminded of excellence in other parts of the globe. Thanks for posting.
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss On the End of a Wet Fist
Nov 21, 2017 - 06:09pm PT
What a GREAT thread! Missed it the first-time-round. A hearty thank you!
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