Yosemite's biggest impact....you be the judge.

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donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 11, 2013 - 01:14pm PT
Yosemite is, without a doubt, the best known rock climbing venue on Earth. The Valley has also had a major impact on modern climbing development. I'll name three....which one is tops in your opinion?

1) The development and continuing refinement of modern Big Wall techniques. The most obvious of the three, but is it the most influential?

2) The most influential venue for the development and spread of the "free climbing" revolution. A lot of climbers from around the World learned here that "French Free" was not free. Probably the most far reaching in it's impact on the face of today's climbing.

3) The spawning ground for the American renaissance in World class alpinisim. Granite big wall techniques and the 70's free climbing revolution propelled Americans into the cutting edge of alpinisim, a place where they had long been absent. Yosemite also provided the skills and showed what could be done in the mountains, forever changing the face of alpinisim. The process continues...the young guard of today's American alpinists either cut their teeth or refined their skills in the Valley.
My personal favorite,

What's your vote, or do you have other ideas?
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Mar 11, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
"Games climbers play" was invented in C4..
steve shea

climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
Alpinism! I remember Chouinard writing about Yosemite as a gymnasium. To take the skills learned there to the big mountains of the world. One of several golden ages of alpinism in the Massif du Mt Blanc was in large part moved by American and Brits who honed their techniques in that gymnasium as well as the Valley. Then many of those same climbers went to the remote ranges of the world with the Valley experience. I think most of the ice climbing technical advances were also pushed by Valley visitors who just wanted to keep climbing through the winter. Of course those skills learned on waterfall ice in concert with the rock skills of the Valley is what pushed the sport. For many visiting climbers Yosemite was a just a whistlestop on their respective tours of the world's mountain ranges. A valueable stop but a whistlestop nonetheless, a gymnasium.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Mar 11, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
The easy access to nearly unlimited climbing challenges much like Chamonix seems to be the key.

The development of technique and skill becomes unstoppable once you mix access and inspiration. Each generation can find and learn what is needed to take the next logical step forward. Faster higher better. It's inevitable when you have the perfect playground.

It has become generational. Like Europe before it Yosemite is bringing second and third generation offspring of dedicated pioneers. Kids who are flashing one-time test pieces at age 10. Where will they go in the future? A bright future it seems.
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Mar 11, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Related to the 3 that Jim offers, I think the development of EQUIPMENT in Yosemite or by those who climbed there has also had a profound influence on world-wide climbing.
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Mar 11, 2013 - 01:40pm PT
I choose B. What was the question?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Mar 11, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
iron history lead to clean climbing revolution
scooter

climber
fist clamp
Mar 11, 2013 - 01:46pm PT
proficiency, efficiency, boldness, humble (to the YDS anyways).

Those seem to be the traits of the true Yosemite climber. The first three are pretty self explanatory. The last being humble, may need further detail. What I mean by that is, if a Yosemite climber travels to another climbing area he or she will usually lead, onsight at or above the grade they lead in Yosemite. When a climber travels to Yosemite, in my experience, they onsight lead at least a grade below what they feel they should.

It takes all three of those things to be a Yosemite climber. Whereas just one of any of them will get a climber up a 1 pitch sport climb.




WBraun

climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 01:53pm PT
What me worry.



Oh oh I better run now .....
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Mar 11, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
Timing is everything, and Yosemite definitly hit the timing well.
Remember when docotrs were suggesting Warren and Dean be removed from the dawn wall as they doubted their mental capacities LOL! For the times, it was nearly like the Moon Walks. Natl limelight was a result, and perhaps is the single most reason of CROWDS today. But as far as pioneering,, those first "big walls" done were giant leaps for man(climber) kind.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 11, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
Definetly need to add BooDawg's point about equipment development....that was huge.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 11, 2013 - 02:17pm PT
I saw this title and wondered who had taken the longest fall,..
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 11, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
Of Jim's three, I'm inclined toward big wall technique as the most influential Yosemite effect, but all three had predecessors elsewhere. British free climbing had no "French free" component, and a great deal of boldness, and clean climbing really had its origins there, too. Some of the routes around Dresden had difficulties that were 50 years ahead of Yosemite in free climbing. Alpine big walls came into their own in the 1930's with the great north face routes, so what made Yosemite climbing so different?

To me, the relatively benign weather and good rock allowed its climbers to develop techniques for dealing with long, continuous difficulty that could not be pursued easily elsewhere. Britain lacks really big walls. The Alps have difficult weather and often less-than-perfect rock.

The reason I say big walls, though, is that difficult aid really was a Yosemite concept that got exported. I'm unaware of any climb in the world that had the aid difficulty of the Salathe-Nelson ascent of the Southwest Face of Half Dome in 1946. The overhang pitch on the Powell-Feuerer route on the North Buttress of Lower Cathedral rock in the mid-1950's -- 120 feet of continuous, difficult nailing, still rated A4 years later, was also probably without parallel anywhere else in the world.

By the time of the early 1960's, the Yosemite approach to big walls -- no fixed ropes, avoidance of bolts, difficult aid and free -- led to Yosemite climbers leading the world, and that's where the influence really began to spread. Climbers came from all over by the mid- to late-sixties to learn Yosemite techniques in the Valley, and the rest is history.

In the U.S., Yosemite had great influence everywhere, although I would argue that jstan, among others, had at least as much influence on the switch to clean climbing, and the big push in free climbing had many adherents all over. But for difficult rock walls, Yosemite was, and remains, unique in its influence.

John
nopantsben

climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 02:54pm PT
i think freeclimbing was brought to the US -and then to yosemite for that matter- from the Elbsandstein area in Germany, where they climbed 5.10 or even 5.11 free before 1900, and did not use any aid for progression ever. Fritz Wiessner was one of the first people with Elbsandstein experience to visit the US and import that style, I think.

that said I'd go with nr. 1, because the Valley was (is!) so unique in that regard, while alpinism skills have been developed by European climbers in the Alps as well, Chamonix for the french folks and the Dolomites for Lacedelli, Cassin, etc. that then had an impact on Himalayan climbing.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Mar 11, 2013 - 02:57pm PT
Yosemite invented Problem BEARS through out the Cal/NV region....A whole new sub-specie of ursus americanus,, "Ursus sneak-a-snack-eye"....
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 11, 2013 - 03:15pm PT
Taking the idea of free soloing 5.12 to wall climbs.

This has redefined what people are "4th classing" in the mountains.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 11, 2013 - 03:26pm PT
Jim, I'd say it's redefined what people are "third-classing!" ;>)

To put it in Lito Tejad-Flores's "Games Climbers Play" terms, Honnold on Half Dome brought the boulder game to big walls.

John
10b4me

Boulder climber
Lost
Mar 11, 2013 - 03:29pm PT
I vote #3 first, with #2 a close second
chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Mar 11, 2013 - 03:31pm PT
Cams. Others may have thought of them but they were perfected in the Valley.
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Mar 11, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
1) The development and continuing refinement of modern Big Wall techniques. The most obvious of the three, but is it the most influential?

I think so.

The fact that it's so obvious shouldn't take away from its importance.

The concentration of walls, coupled with the ease of relatively short approaches, compounded by the astonishingly PERFECT weather renders the place unparalleled for exploration and pushing wall climbing limits.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 11, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
I thought of saying 3rd classing John but my point is in context to Kruk and Kennedy's trip up Cerro Torre. It was a roped climb but incredibly fast due to using every blend of technique in their quiver for the situation.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 11, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
from the Elbsandstein area in Germany, where they climbed 5.10 or even 5.11 free before 1900
I think this might be overstated somewhat. True, the Elbsandstein was a strong catalyst for free climbing, but pre-WWI, I think the hardest route was 5.9, put up by American expat Oliver Perry-Smith (c. 1909 I think?).

I think A is probably the most accurate of donini's premise, though gear is pretty close behind.
bergbryce

Mountain climber
California
Mar 11, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
i think the huge tour buses have the biggest impact on the yosemite valley experience. o h wait...

clean climbing without a doubt.
mueffi 49

Trad climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 04:12pm PT
In conjunction with Jim's item 1. and 2. - I like Chill's reply: "Cams"

Think about it - what would the Valley be without it?

Compare it to Europe's "free climbing" approach where - by now - nearly all the classic free climbs are"retro-bolted" to provide (their) State-of-the-Art protection
sempervirens

climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
Perhaps a topic for another time: Climbing's impact on Yosemite.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 11, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
Crack climbing.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Mar 11, 2013 - 06:11pm PT
1. Salathé Wall
2. Nutcracker
3. Nose free

I see those three as the emblems of Yos' progress, each for the obvious reason. Maybe you could add the Phoenix as 2b, for Jardine's contribution of the SLCD.

Maybe the next item on that list would be Honnold's Triple IAD.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 11, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
Regarding Free climbing, Ben and John have excellent points. The routes being free climbed in Germany in the early part of the 20th century were far harder than anything else being done. The British also have a long tradition of hard free climbing with the likes of Whillans, Brown and Boysen and guys like Stannard, Wunsch, Barber, Goldstone and Bragg were pushing standards in the 60's and 70's in the Gunks as was Erikson, Ament and others in Boulder.
These developments, however, were happening in a degree of isolation. The lure of the magnificent granite walls of Yosemite brought climbers from many countries together into one spot. I was witness to the transformation of a really good French climber tn the Valley in the early 70's. He was super good but he would naturally grab a piton if there was one in place. After being admonished, he ceased doing it and found that he could still do the climbs. That sort of attitude was brought back to the Continent and other areas around the World and soon became the norm.
JohnnyG

climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 06:19pm PT
What about climbing clean??

No pitons. Kind of goes along with someone's suggestion about cams.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Mar 11, 2013 - 07:43pm PT
that's what I says above Johnny. It's been glossed over in the thread by the rest of these guys and subsumed into some clap trap about SLCDs. ;)


* and to the point above about Elbsandstain. Its not an impact if it isn't done at a time when magazines couldn't have picked up the story and had the rest of the world doing the same thing.

While poignant, the "impact" was not that big.


In clean climbing though, let's compare Gritstone standards to Yosemite's harder learning curve of having to go through the iron age first to start using nuts and SLCDs and free climbing more.
Gene

climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 08:16pm PT
Yosemite’s impact is a result of the fact that it provides an accessible and benevolent playground relatively free of objective dangers which allows climbers to master the art of moving over stone. For most, that is enough of a goal. For some, mastery learned in Yosemite is just a point of departure for other arenas.

Big walls were done in Europe prior to Yosemite. The Brits had a great tradition of free (and clean) climbing which Yosemite embraced. Yosemite climbers without a doubt opened the door to big climbs in Europe, Asia, and South America – and even in Colorado.

Yosemite’s contribution is that it attracted climbers who took the best from around the world and synthesized it into the techniques and commitment that Chouinard was referring to.

My vote: 1, 2, and 3 with the caveat that what was done in Yosemite – at least after the mid-60s - was not done in isolation.

g
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Mar 11, 2013 - 08:17pm PT
Yosemite's biggest impacts?

The first view a climber gets of El Cap as he cranes his neck to look out the window from South Side Drive.

The awe inspired by the sheer NW face of Half Dome, and the massive and mysterious South Face.

Rolling thunder and flashing lighting moving west fast out of the high country.

Unsurpassed beauty and grandeur on the colossal scale and the miniature.

Unclimbed lines for decades into the future.

The grace and majesty of the Cathedral Rocks and Spires.

The steady crash and boom of water falling from nearly every towering precipice in Spring.

The collapse of walls which seem to have stood forever into clouds of dust and house sized boulders.

The quiet and crispness on a Fall day by the serene Merced.

The impeccable stone and sweeping lines everywhere.


That kind of stuff has big impact.
QITNL

climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 08:24pm PT
From an outsider's perspective, the social scene has/had a lot to do with it.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Mar 11, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
Biggest impact: proof of concept that a climber can meet all his/her caloric needs by eating food leftover on stranger's plates.

This was a quantum leap forward from making a meal of tomato soup from free ketchup packets.

Second biggest impact: proof of concept that the climber can sleep free in a highly regulated and expensive venue by employing the stealth bivy.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 11, 2013 - 08:56pm PT
I gotta go with the big wall climbing on this. I think that is the most uniquely Yosemite contribution to climbing. Clearly the free climbing style was influential in the way Donini suggests, but i think that it was part of a whole that was going a lot of places. Even if it had the largest of the voices it didn't stand out the way the wall climbi g did/does.

And likewise the alpine. It seems to me that Yosemite school contribution to that was mostly an offshoot of the wall climbing as well.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Mar 11, 2013 - 09:14pm PT
I'll vote for #3, as well.

Most of the good alpinist of my generation, had a few big walls under their belt, early in their career.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Mar 11, 2013 - 09:47pm PT

Jaybro, even you didn't say the 'wide fetish!'

Where did reel offwidth start, folks????
wayne burleson

climber
Amherst, MA
Mar 11, 2013 - 10:03pm PT
Great thread!

Thanks Kevin for beautiful poetry...

Thanks PhylP for levity. Climber "culture" is a key contribution.
DanaB

climber
CT
Mar 11, 2013 - 10:11pm PT
Yosemeite was certainly influential in the areas you mentioned. But I'm not sure I understand what you're driving at here, Jim.
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Mar 11, 2013 - 10:12pm PT
i think the huge tour buses have the biggest impact on the yosemite valley experience. o h wait...
LOL.

clean climbing without a doubt.
I concur.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 11, 2013 - 10:15pm PT
It is great how this topic has carried the weight of both what matters to the world and what matters to individuals.

There was some great psych and great tutoring offered by great climbers passing through. For only the cost of taking up space on those big, square chunks of wood that originally held in the C4 parking lot, the value and influences are still immeasurable and subtle where ever life takes me.
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Mar 11, 2013 - 10:24pm PT
My unimportant take on Jim's query
1: The irresistible lure of the big walls.
2: The clean & free climbing revolution.
3: The evolution to serious Alpine climbing.
4: The crystallization of 1 through 3 on Big Mountain Big Walls.
LilaBiene

Trad climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
From my very limited perspective and assisted, estimated triangulation, "spawning ground" would appear to cover all the bases.

I'll probably burn in Hell for that one...
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Mar 11, 2013 - 10:46pm PT
"spawning ground"
LOLila perfect.
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Mar 11, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
The ability for all of the above mentioned progressions to so easily be captured on film and spread out to the world culture at large. Also millions of civilians see headlamps twinkling on walls and climbers walking by.

A world class venue- right next to the road. That is the the biggest impact.

squishy

Mountain climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 11:03pm PT
It's really all about that airplane crash and the extra time bought to produce things like the friends and push the boundaries of climbing by using the abundance of free time. In a culture like california with a place like that, everything just came together at the right time to spawn some crazy ass climbing homos...
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Mar 11, 2013 - 11:08pm PT
What about "controversial techniques"? Some pioneering there in that avenue as well eh?
squishy

Mountain climber
Mar 11, 2013 - 11:10pm PT
pullies, winches, stove legs, hard pitons, no pitons, bashies?, bird beaks?, bongs, HEHEHEHEHE, bongs....
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Mar 12, 2013 - 04:53am PT
Bump, Awesome thread & lots of cool posts. I need to go to the valley to properly answer this.

nopantsben

climber
Mar 12, 2013 - 08:29am PT
i've been told there is a route from 189? that was rated 5.8 but really has mandatory 5.10+ or so on it. can't think of the name.

but I agree with Jim that Yosemite is different from Elbsandstein and ultimately had a very different impact.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Mar 12, 2013 - 10:31am PT
The chance to hang with people from many different countries.
Good parties and socializing after dark.
Eating strange Japanese delicacies with the Suzukis and their friend.
Climbing Braille Book and not being able to see the roads or campgrounds, just thinking we were in wilderness (only 1 other party within sight or earshot).
The first real leader fall. The first 5.10 leads
Lots of fun and challenges.
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Mar 12, 2013 - 10:50am PT
Biggest "impact"
Jan Davis. RIP

http://www.aerialfocus.com/jan.html
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Laramie
Mar 12, 2013 - 10:54am PT
Okay I agree on all 3 counts but Yosemite is the antithesis of overhanging face climbing and its techniques.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 12, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
Yup, it's about crack climbing and always will be.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Mar 12, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
Yosemite doesn't exist anymore.

It's now a dead artifact.
WBraun

climber
Mar 12, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
Yosemite is what you make it.

Not more or less .......
WBraun

climber
Mar 12, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
i've been told there is a route from 1989? that was rated 5.8 but really has mandatory 5.10+ or so on it. can't think of the name.


It's called "High Pressure"

Bridwell rated I believe originally 5.9 to piss off all the down raters during that period.

It's actually 5.11.

Me and Kauk went up there on day to do it and it's definitely NOT 5.9.

Is this the climb you're thinking of?
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