Stonemaster Lore


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right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 05:08pm PT
Ya Shorty,
Vern was proud that Waugh had trouble on one of those routes; Sorcerers?
Na, that's not the one.
Maybe one of the others, where he banged his ankle.
Hey, none of us were ever competitive, noooo.

Vern really was doin' some stuff in The Meadows, about the same time our Suicide Rock revolution was happening? More or less the same time frame I'd say.

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Jun 23, 2006 - 05:36pm PT
So while we're "slandering" Mr. Clevenger, let me recount one of the very first times I ever placed a bolt. Vern, too, I'll bet...

Summer of 1971, we were both so green behind the ears, you coulda harvested the algae for protein. I was barely 19, and Vern was a bubbly teeny-bopper himself. First Summer in Tuolumne, back in the day when you could actually pitch a tent and camp at Soda Springs, right below the Sierra Club lodge (which back then was also a lending library.) There were full-on camp tables and fire rings then, and it was a free campground--mostly filled with climbers. Hell, you could park your car there, too. (See, LEB... That was part of what enabled the Stonemaster lifestyle. lodging!) I spent three or four weeks there that Summer.

Vern and I had scoped-out a possible first ascent line! Hot damn! Probably our first foray into the unknown; possibly our first entry in the guidebooks! A place in history! To the right of the main face of Meddlicott, was this slabby little hunk that had a dike running vertically up a two-hundred foot sloped wall. Modest, but unclimbed!

Somehow, between the two of us, we had a drill, a hammer and a couple of 1/4" rawls and some hangers. We were all set!

"Baggage" would be ours. We hammered-in a bolt (or two), ran it out, and returned to write it up in the Meadows' notebook. As Tarbuster would say, "we were swole!" Our first FA!

"Ruby the Dyke." (Spot that reference, old timers.) ...couldn't have been more that 5.7 at the outside.

Mountain climber
San Diego
Jun 23, 2006 - 06:22pm PT

From above . . .

"Open the pod bay doors Hal.

Open the pod bay doors, I have a load of hexes, stoppers, and oval 'biners from the floor of Clevenger's blue Sierra Designs Faux Mckinley I pole tent knock-off.

Also some old Kastle skis from Barter and Card's Red-Line Trans Sierra Traverse."

So if I understand this right, you want to jettison a pair of Kastle skiis used on the Tom Carter and Allen Bard Redline Traverse of the Sierras? I asked Allen (RIP) when he came down to San Diego for a slide show if he would draw out on Topos, the entire Redline Traverse, and he said "That would be like telling you where my favorite secret fishing hole is (lol). But I'll guide you on it."

Can you authenticate them as being from the actual venture, and if so, how much do you want for them? Maybe I could get them and then give them to the Derryberry's at Mill Creek Station for their Museum?

About Vern,

My neighbor on Mustang Mesa Tina Reed, was a photo assitant for Vern for a few years. Vern has just opened a new photo gallery on Main Street (HY 395) in Bishop next to the new drive-through Starbucks. Hope he does really well. Super nice guy, and lots of great stories.

I gave a map to Vern showing Galen and Barbara's crash site after going out there and crying my eyes out a few weeks after the accident, after the FAA and NTSB were done at the site. Vern was a direct protégé of Galen's.

Sadly, Fiddler's gallery closed that was opposite corners to Galen's gallery. Went in there to say hi, just after he opened his gallery, and bought his climbing guide and had Claude sign it for me.

right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 07:10pm PT
Do I have the red Kaestle skis?
Hell no.
Nore to I have a baby's arm holding an apple.
I wonder if Carter saved a pair...

Hey Robs that was a great little passage!
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 23, 2006 - 08:51pm PT
Hey Robs, that is a great description of the Meadows and Soda Springs--the Park still had the old camping-in-the-woods feel to it. Great story of you and Vern (by the way does he spell it Vern or Verne?) doing your first, first.

Roy, I still have my 70s hexs and stopper rack, with all the old beat up biners, a Dolt cleaning piton--just hammered out long and thin with no hook, on a Forest gear sling, and a hammer with a long blunt pick end. All the other stuff too. Even a gen-u-wine bolt kit. It has been in my 'liberated' milk crate since 1980, in low light basement storage, untarnished by any modern influences.

I started out with a rack of pins, but switched to nuts as soon as Chouinard offered Hexs and Stoppers. I think it sounds sort of lame now, but we all sort of took the position that the protection possibilities with nuts only was part of the route. The first year I guided for Wayne Merry, we taught with nuts--I am not sure that I ever showed a client how to drive a pin.

There were some real skeptics from the 60s crowd. The crap from the UK seemed like toys and it did have a sort of nuts for nuts sake sense to it--a little precious, what with using knotted slings for nuts and counter force placement. But with the Chouinard gear, nuts had a heft and seriousness to them that made using them manly and official. I have pins that I bought 40 years ago that have never been driven.

On crack climbs my experience was the same as yours: set good protection and run it out as fast as you could. But I never led the sort of hard stuff that you guys did.


right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 09:43pm PT
Here's all I have of Vern,
Comin' in at us at the Meadows Gas Station:

Claude Fiddler:

Both these guys epitomize something...

Friendship I think.

Here's Claude,
Dapper in Kronies-
On the cover of the guidebook he did with Moynier:

Chockstone Press '93
photo Clevenger, on the Minaret Traverse

Social climber
Tendonitis City
Jun 23, 2006 - 09:46pm PT
Roy, it was Sorcerer's that Waugh crashed and burned on. Broke his wrist (navicular break) on it. He was climbing with Badyrka. He came home from the meadows broken and I took him to Lake Shasta and taught him how to water ski. F#cker gets up on one ski first try with only one hand. He met his first wife there, 600 miles from home and she lived a mile from his house. That marriage lasted 8 months, she didn't understand climbing. Thank god he ended up with Brenda!

right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 09:52pm PT
Brenda is so Great!
So is Mike.


Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jun 23, 2006 - 09:59pm PT
Yes Ed,
All us Taquitz boys could owe him a debt.

let's talk about the "other" powell.

i'll never forget my first bouldering excursion with KP. winter, 1977. watusi had talked him into coming down to check out santee, spinning tales of highball dimes and knee-knocking nickles.

so we take him out there on a crisp saturday morning in february, perfect conditions -- sunny, cold, green grass and crisp blue skies -- and KP proceeds to effortlessly, and i DO mean effortlessly -- hike every testpeice at santee. he then proceeded to do three or four new routes that it took us one or two years to repeat.

now mind you, in '77 routes like shockley's "the terrible face" and the "shockly lunge", and some stuff the scumbags had done, we're pretty fookin' hard. we'd all done valhalla and new gen at that point, and considered ourselves good face climbers. but on that day, we learned what the real standard was -- and KP, along with the Chicken, who we met shortly thereafter -- were it.

i'd have to say that KP and DH were responsible for the intense motivation that drove me and watusi and galen kirkwood to "up our game" -- we were so damn competitive, and so humbled by those guys -- that a year later we'd made quantum leaps as thin hold dimes dudes, even tho our first love was cracks.

kp and dh will always be, in my mind, the standard bearers for thin hold face climbing in the late 70's and early 80's, the tail end of the e.b.'s era. routes like flabob and ishi are still mind-blowing, a quarter-century later, and sport moves much harder than your typical "hard" slab at font or heuco. there is a reason these routes are seldom, if ever, repeated -- and it does not have to do with slab climbing being "out of fashion".

just slighly ahead of their time they were -- and they stayed that way for 20+ years. at this stage in my life, i'm as jaded and impossible to impress as someone can be -- but to this day, at 49 years old, when i'm talking to KP or DH i still feel like some starstuck teenage girl who swiped a backstage pass and somehow wound up drinking martinis with madonna. it's embarassing to admit, but there you go.

to bad those guys weren't born in san diego. they coulda been contenders.....

right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 09:59pm PT
Remember Hawkins?

Here with Tom Carter at Deadman's Summit.

Here he is with Claude:

Tom Carter,
Partner to Alan Bard and,
Sheesh, who else?
On the Red Line Ski Traverse of the Sierra:

I more or less met these guys along with Vern.
Claude and Vern and the rest were an inspirational crew...

right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:07pm PT
Regardless BVB,
All that is so fun to read and too true about Kevin Powell.
But I was responding to Ed Hartouni's upthread comments about Mark Powell as a late 50's super uber dude...

Here is Ed Hartouni's post:
*there is a piece of history yet to be written, I think, and that is about Mark Powell, who is responsible for the surge of FA's in the Valley around 1957... his story is woven among the big stories of the time, the FAs on Half Dome and El Capitan...*

*...I'll re-read Camp 4 and see how much time Roper spends, but it seems that Powell's influence was very deep.*

My Bad.

What have you got on Mark Powell?

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:14pm PT
not much. from a early 60's ish of summit:

btw, i'm experiencing severe post-Jtree reunion depression. should i see a shrink??
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:19pm PT
Roper starts Chapter 4 Weekenders No More: 1957-1959 with about 4 pages discussing Mark Powell. This is mostly about a 15 month period in which he did 15 first ascents.

The first serious climber to live in the Valley...

"Not content to follow in others' footsteps, he experimented with the unknown, pushed his limits, and often went out on the proverbial limb. The best climbers were to emulate this attitude in the remarkable decade to come."

right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:24pm PT
No Way!
No Shrink BVB.

Let's Talk Scotch.
There is a bottler who's product I almost purchased...
'Name escapes me

"Went for the Tequila:
Milagro Reposado.
How's Jocelyn?

Cheers -Those are the Mark Powell Shots I was harkening.

"Guyman", or Guy Kesee knows about some M Powell stuff.

Social climber
The West
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:28pm PT
Thanks again, Roger.
What Roy said, Lois, contact me if you want to borrow Climb! and/or downward bound.

right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:28pm PT
See Ed?!

That's what we were looking for,
The Stonemaster Progenitor.
Mark Powell.

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:29pm PT
'buster: agreed. a fine dram is much cheaper than a single session with a shrink.

but i do wish that weekend were more like a month. i love you guys.

guess i'll go pour another lagavulin, and dream of days past, and days yet to come.....

Social climber
The West
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:34pm PT
Speaking of Scotch, any one ever read the article (not sure where it was published)with photos by Ace Kvale of a bed and breakfast / Mtn bike tour of scotlands single malt distilliries, partially sponsered by Peet's coffee?

Kragen mor,(sp?) seems like the best choice for climbers.

right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:37pm PT
I've had Cragganmore,
Highland as I recall.
A bit smoky.

Social climber
The West
Jun 23, 2006 - 11:01pm PT
Best served from a silver flask around a campfire, I find.
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