what is the best first ascent tick list of Yosemite?


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 22, 2013 - 05:52am PT
who has done the most impressive list of first ascents in Yosemite? Please include any stories of the ascents. Stories of the greats and thier routes are welcome as are any of the unknowns who have contributed.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 06:15am PT
John Salathe'
Royal Robbins
Jim Bridwell
are probably roughly on top in terms of quality x quantity.
There are books written on this - The Vertical World of Yosemite is a good one.
So your question is fairly broad.
There are some good stories in this forum about interesting FAs/FFAs like:
 Southern Belle
 Mother Earth
 Hourglass Left Side


Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:30am PT
Seems like Harding deserves a spot near the top of the list.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:43am PT
I personally think Warbler has one of the best FA list's going. Maybe not so much in the big wall category, but Kevin has done some sterling lines.

Social climber
boulder co
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:49am PT
It terms of big walls you have to include Charlie Porter

Excalibur, shield, zodiac, the trip, mescalito, grape race, new dawn etc
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
This is my list from ~1950 to ~1980


The Warbler

the edge of America
Feb 22, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
Thanks for the nod, Pat, but you should include my long time partner Mark Chapman right along with me. Mark has done many first ascents of classics aside from things we did together - FFA of of the Left Side of Slab Happy, FAs of Little Wing, Anticipation, Leanie Meanie, Hot Line, Mark of Art to name a few. He's even done some wall FAs - Eagle's Way and Never Never Land, both routes I started with him, but lost interest on.

Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
This is an odd thread. It's like saying 'tell me the history of climbing in Yosemite'. The short version of the answer, who has the best tick list, is pretty easy to respond to. But the tell me stories part? Isn't that what we have libraries for?
The Warbler

the edge of America
Feb 22, 2013 - 02:48pm PT
This forum offers the opportunity for climbers to interact with each other, in this case to ask specific questions about first ascents sometimes directly to the guys who did them, so it's a bit different than a library.

But too much talk about one's exploits in the climbing arena is often quickly denounced as spray from the anonymous sidelines, so the interaction is pretty limited, unfortunately.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 03:20pm PT
Warbler, I totally agree with the oral history part of the thread and this site. That's the best thing about it IMHO. I love reading stories from Lauria, Higgins, Largo, etc., that you probably can't find anywhere else. My point was that the OP appeared to be inviting people to write long stories about some older FAs that are probably already documented elsewhere. Maybe I just misunderstood what he was asking for?

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Feb 22, 2013 - 03:50pm PT
I think it's a shame that Scott Burk's effort to complete the 2nd FA of The Nose was sullied by water at the Great Roof, forcing him to accept a TR. At least, that's the version I'd heard. He started talking about a free Nose as early as the late '70s; he must have been about 19 or 20 at the time. By the time he made his final push, he'd spent more than 250 days working the route, and it's possible that he has spent more time living on the Wall than anyone.

Scottie adhered to a very rigid, ground-up no-falls-allowed tradition. If his second slipped, or weighted the cord or any pro, Scott would immediately feed slack to the hapless follower. One of his charming techniques for keeping a whimpering second on his toes was: “Now you're going to try a 'simulated leader fall!' and, suiting action to words, would insinuate a 10 foot belly of slack into your belay from his perch above. Those who survived Scott's particular brand of Outward Bound boot camp often emerged broken in body and spirit, with long lasting scars impressed upon their psyche.

He never cared much for the outdoors camping experience. On the few occasions when he couldn't find an willing Park employee to oblige him with a roof over his head for the nights, Scott would lead us around Curry Village after midnight, in an unusually successful vision quest to score for an unoccupied tent cabin. This was in the days before padlocks were installed on the tents, and more than once we'd steal into the darkness of a WOB, only to be greeted by its very surprised occupants. The Curry Glacier tents rented for about $15 per night, but here was an ethical value to be had for free, at least until the door latches were upgraded to padlocks for some reason.

Scott was extremely sensitive some harsh criticism from the Crag Police, following the completion of the upper 1/3 of The Hall of Mirrors. People sneered at the 5.13 grading, and were openly skeptical of the “way homo” means deployed to arrange the bolt ladders set to protect cruxy sections.

Of course, nobody had actually gone back up the thing to substantiate public opinion, nor would they until Johnnie Woodward’s successful 2nd ascent, some 15 years after the FA. In fact, since the HOM was pushed to successive highmarks over the course of several seasons, by different but coordinated climbing teams who'd traversed into the previous high waterline from The Mouth, the route had never seen a continuous ascent at all until Woodward's.

I think Scott's subsequent FA “ticklist” gave voice to the armchair quarterbacking demons which haunted him after the HOM.

Just for grins, I sat down this morning with my outdated guidebook to assist the memories, and I wasn't too surprised to note that many of Scott's contemporaries had many more FA's on account. But during this interval, Scott was quietly posting big numbers on big lines, and short routes too, on his favorite medium: face. I'm sure we can agree that most of these routes have become classics – so classic, in fact, that few of them have yet to see a 2nd ascent.

Scott would usually devote most of a season, or even longer, preparing himself for his projects, and, in particular, familiarizing himself with the nature and properties of the stone geology at hand. He rarely had problems recruiting partners, who would eventually grow accustomed to Scott's trademark practical jokes and signature sense of humor, but his personal favorite belayer was a dude named Et Al.

This syllabus is woefully outdated; for example, none of his activity on the East Apron of LCR has been noted. Additions and corrections would be welcomed to this ticklist of one of the Valley's least heralded face and friction specialists.

Grade I:
Skunk Weed; Koko's area
Toxic Avenger; GPA
The Token; GPA
Afterglow; GPA
Shockwave; Chapel
Rainbow Bridge; MCR
Ticketmaster: MCRnorth apron

Grade III/IV+:
The Shining; RA's
The Rambler; RA's
Friday the 13th; RA's
Dreamscape; HDsouth face
The Fast Lane; HDsouth face
Tour de Force; MCR
Pieces of Eight; MCR

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 23, 2013 - 03:21am PT
thanks Kabalarch for the story about Scott! Just what I was looking for. I enjoy reading the history of Yosemite and the legends as well as the unknowns.

Fat Dad if you have any stories that haven't been posted I would appreciate them. Sometimes the same stories get told over and over while some others sit in the closet. For example I just read today that Coz had put up a route that Bachar couldn't do without altering with a toothbrush (route chiseler thread). I would like to read more of Coz's stories because I have had the pleasure of trying some of his routes and watching my friends do the same in JT.

I posted this thread because I was bored basically...

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Feb 23, 2013 - 08:25am PT
I just finished reading Going Up and highly suggest this book if you want to know more about Yosemite Climbing History.
One fact that I found interesting is that most of the routes put up from mid-50's to the early 60's were done by 9 climbers!

Feb 23, 2013 - 11:37am PT
Dan and Sue McDevitt as well, McD's names appear on about every cliff in the park and well lets just say that most of us will never really know how many routes they have put up and never made the guide or are talked about outside the canyon.


Trad climber
Washington DC
Feb 23, 2013 - 11:51am PT
I think these cats at least deserve a mention if not for quanity but for pure quality of some of their routes.



Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Feb 23, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
Sean Jones has (I think) the longest actual list of F.A's in Yosemite to date.

Alot of them are total crap to be sure, but there is also quite a few potential as of yet undiscovered modern classics as well.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Feb 23, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
How about Tucker Tech..

ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
Feb 24, 2013 - 03:00am PT
Alot of Eric Kohl's FAs have seen few (if any) repeats, and they are serious grade 5 and sixes. Something like Lost Again on SFHD puts him up there with all the renowned Yosemite FAists IMO.
The Warbler

the edge of America
Feb 24, 2013 - 10:49am PT
Rick Cashner and Don Reid have both done scores of firsts all over the Valley.

The best list? Didn't someone come up with an equation to evaluate the overall value of first ascents? Something like quantity of routes x overall quality of each + number of pitches, with a factor thrown in for historic significance...

Popularity shouldn't be a factor - short approach, moderate climbing and lines at the base aren't the way to judge the quality of a route.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Feb 24, 2013 - 11:20am PT
A few big contributors I haven't seen mentioned:

Charles and Enid Michael
Clint Cummins and Joel Ager
The Hubers
Eric Gabel's

The lists are valley-centric. Tuolumne has its own characters.
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