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Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 23, 2006 - 12:31am PT
Well, okay, Lois, if you must. But please be careful with a printed copy of this top secert background information. Don't leave it laying around, okay?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 01:00am PT
Roger,
I think the super topo forum is magnitudes more slippery than any one move on Valhalla.

Lois has climbed boldly here,
with little in the way of protection and less concern for the abyss than many who have come before...



Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 23, 2006 - 01:29am PT
Lois, I forgot to reference the "EB on the other foot" thing. A diversion into a corner of 1970s climbing culture.

EBs were the shoe in the rock climbing world of the 1970s. In most pictures of Stonemasters from 1972 - 1983, and indeed of free climbing in that era, the climber is wearing EBs. The EB stood for Edouard Bourdeneau, the French creator of the shoe. The EB was in turn based on a shoe made by Pierre Allain, a famous pre-war French climber, and the first rock shoe (?) with a smooth rubber sole. To add to the confusion, the main distributor of the EB shoe was an English company, Ellis Brigham.

Anyway, everyone wore EBs in the 1970s, usually with cotton tube socks. So it wouldn't be unusual for a climber from that period on a forum to have the pen name LEB = Lois EB. EBs were better than what was previously available, but still not very good. The uppers were flimsy canvas, and had to be reinforced with colourful bits of leather. They were stiff, and the rubber was hard. And they fitted funny.

EBs of various kinds are apparently still made and can be bought in Europe. Not seen in North America. Classic example of the abuse of a monopoly, as EBs hardly changed in a decade. They were completely eclipsed in North America with the introduction of the Fire in 1983, a shoe made by Boreal, a Spanish company. They brought in shoes that fitted ok, were decently made, and had real sticky rubber. Magic shoes. John Bachar had a big hand in it, and still designs and makes shoes with Acopa, or as Roger B has it "he sits atop life’s mid-point, (and) had been reduced to a shoe fetishist." Though I think he still climbs a bit, eh?

I'm sure Lois EB is far superior to the original version.

Anders

ps Did I mention that, like many climbers, I have an anti-social fondness for puns and plays on words?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 23, 2006 - 03:10am PT
Thanks Roger, that was a great post...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:24am PT
yes i agree with ed, that was pretty cool roger.

i think it would be fun to expand on the work end of things and do some SAR stories, some film rigging stories (mike hoover), apple picking in washington, scarfing, canning, scamming: at least to expand the list of oddities in this regard.

in the yosemite canon, there is also a whole free climbing vector with some bridge characters taking us from the 60's to the 70's,
like getting from gill to kor/robbins/pratt/sacherer/rearick/kamps/higgins to bridwell/haan/klemens/breedlove to long/kauk/bard/bachar/chapman/worral: i'd like to hear some historical linkage there if that's doable. roger you nodded to it a bit and maybe well enough.

ok, just for flavor i crayoned up an impromptu laundry list of other prime late 60's to late 70's actors: cleveland, stannard, barber, logan, goss, wunsch, bragg, bein, devine, clevenger, bircheff, westbay, webster, wiggins, snively, dunn, erickson, briggs, holloway, hudon, jones.

whutabout the gals? hunter, higgins, johnson
someone help me out here.

(ok, we are all prime actors in our own way and time, but per the era, the above were influential and credited with lots of free ascents)



hey anders, did you change from anders ouron(sp?) to mighty hiker? same guy? hmmm.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 10:46am PT
hey radical,

i have permanent muscle/tendon/connective tissue damage from repetitive strain as a result of 100 hr weeks, then if that isn't your weak point and the physical focus isn't your bag, there is always toasted adrenals, leading to chronic fatigue and so on.
i bet LEB punches a mean clock.

keep your nutritional needs dialed in man.

if werner ratchets his cop car building efforts up another 30 hours, we'll have to send him a care package too...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 23, 2006 - 11:14am PT
send Werner and Merry a care package now... when we dropped into YOSAR last week they were busy building a cop car on the weekend, 9:30 am, they were working hard and looking at a huge pile of work yet to do!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 11:38am PT
I'm thinking Vern Clevenger of Tuolomne new routing fame and Fairview in particular; good buddys with Claude Fiddler, sort of the Largo of the Eastern Sierra. Has some great photography.

Red moppy hair, big stature, central figure amongst Oakshot, Stimson, Keating, Harrington, Millis, Milano clan. Did an early ascent of Astroman with Jardine, good buddys with Galen Rowell. Graber took a mouthfull out of his wedding cake before it got cut.

I first became aquainted after he did an El Cap route slide show of Mescalito in '75, a route he did with Rosenthal, RIP. Walt did all his leads in Lowa Triplex, while Vern attempted some FFA of some of the pitches.

He kicked me, no, threw me out of his house once for being a punk. Good times...
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jun 23, 2006 - 12:33pm PT
"He kicked me, no, threw me out of his house once for being a punk. Good times..."

heavens! you, acting like a punk?? say it's not so, roy....
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 23, 2006 - 01:00pm PT
Perhaps LEB would be interested in stories about things like:
 vehicles and adventures in vehicles, with a subthread on uses and abuses of various Volkswagens
 relations with the Curry Company
 dress trends, e.g. headbands, painter pants
 rangers (I remember several who were quite reasonable - John Caulkins, John Dill, others)
 music interests
 the influence of Mountain magazine
 the chess players
 evening life in and around the Lodge

All bits of the culture then.

Anders

ps Today the computer seems confused as to my identity. Bit like HAL, from 2001.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 01:33pm PT
Open the pod bay doors Hal.

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.

Plus some of Dale's Licorice, a hollowed out jar of honey, one headband and a babie's arm holding an apple...
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 23, 2006 - 01:38pm PT
Hi Roy and Ed,

Thanks for the nice comments. I am glad that John published his article on "Stonemasters," because it forms a solid cornerstone to trace the other climbers who created modern free climbing. Vern is one of those guys. I also remember that he was pudgy, at least in the beginning. Then he was just big, like a Sherman tank. How he managed to float up those edge climbs was always a mystery. If he stood in front of Tom Higgins and Bob Kamps, you could only see the top of Tom's head. I also have made the comment that Vern introduced me to the benefits of falling on lead to learn--that first summer in the Meadows he had taken more leader falls than pitches he had led. I teased him about it, but took careful note at the speed with which he was improving.

I like the idea of trying to piece together the line of climbers that culminated in Astroman and Separate Reality. It also needs to include the likes of Charlie Porter for his contribution to Big Wall climbing. We can trace it, I think, with some help from Ed's first ascent database. It would be nice to get some more of those climbers involved in sharing stories and motivations--they are all around, some still climbing hard, but none very interested in posting up. Tom Higgins and Peter Haan are exceptions. Maybe we can entice more to join in.

Best, Roger

PS: I am really interested in what happened in the 80s and 90s--the future history. I lived with the late 60s and the 70s and I like talking about those times. But I know nothing about the details of the climbing after that. Someone--maybe John B-- reported that the first ascent rate in the Valley dropped off when power drills were banned. "What, when were power drills ever used in the Valley?" So there should be some sort of quid pro quo.

(It will also give someone else an opportunity tell Lois who cleaned up after the pet monkey. Note to Lois: it's a joke.)
de eee

Mountain climber
Tustin
Jun 23, 2006 - 01:53pm PT
Just to comment on the early section of this thread. Listen to Ol' Gordo', he knows his Buggerer history. If anyone was the original Sheep B., it was Russ! Although at this point in time Crag might like to claim such notoriety, eh?

Go Fish.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 23, 2006 - 03:10pm PT
I've really enjoyed Roger's posts particularly.

Another event was the publication of George Meyers' "Yosemite Climbs", in 1976. The first all topo guide to be published, and a bible in the Valley. I made my first long trip to the Valley in autumn 1976, and remember buying it at Robbins' store in Modesto. People spent hours and days reading and memorizing and absorbing the thing. It was a record of Valley history, and a foundation for what followed. The previous guide was published in 1970, had funny stories, was all-text, and not so easy to use. The 1976 guide was a kind of marker, and got everyone on the same page, so to speak.

And, to tie it together, the 1976 guide in effect set the scene for all the fine ST guides - some of the topos still endure.

I still have the thing, and in reasonable shape - did I mention that my mother and sister are both librarians? :-)

Anders
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 23, 2006 - 03:48pm PT
That's funny Roger,

When I spent time with Clevenger and Fiddler in Summer of '80, Claude's favorite quote concerning Vern was a version of the one you mentioned/coined:
"The Summer Vern Lost More Yardage Than He Gained".

'80 is the year they finished "Heart of Stone" on Fairview.

So there is "Yosemite Climber", the picture book by Meyers right?

The Colorado equivalent would be "Climb" by Godfrey and Chelton.
That is a wonderful set of B & W photos along with a lot of great history.

"High Exposure" by David Breashears.
LOIS, read that one for a good well rounded tale of a 70's achiever making his way. I felt a lay person could absorb it.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 23, 2006 - 05:07pm PT
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.

Of course, once that is dispenced with, it's on to the late 70's, the 80's and the 90's...

And there is the issue of what exactly happened in the 90's which is heretofore undocumented.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 23, 2006 - 05:41pm PT
That's a great quote, Roy. Says it all. It seemed to me that Vern was the first serious climber in Yosemite who learned to fall before he learned to climb--a huge lever in increasing the standards. The general procedure was that if you thought you might fall you'd just stay in the cafeteria or--in the Meadows--at the grill.

Me? I always ventured out. But if I thought I was going to peel, I was reduced to frantic crys followed by whimpers as I refilled my lungs. Must have been 4 feet above my last piece, I tell you. Strung out like you wouldn't believe. I'd have to take a few days off, re-center myself. Vern? He'd have done 20 routes in the meantime, peeling on everyone.

scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
Jun 23, 2006 - 05:44pm PT
Vern's "bumbly" phase couldn't have lasted too long, since he
did one of the early repeats of Stoner's in 73 and Piece de Resistance in 74. By that time (19? 20?) the baby fat was definitely gone. He could haul partners upward like nobody's
business--"up rope, Vern, I'm still not moving!"
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 23, 2006 - 06:05pm PT
I think it must have been in 1970, although it might have been one year either way--I don't have a good frame of reference. Anyway, it didn't take Vern long to master hard face.

Wasn’t Vern on the first ascent of “Stoner's Highway?” I know he did a least one new route on the North Face Apron in 1973 with Worrall and Meyers--I think.
G_Gnome

Social climber
Tendonitis City
Jun 23, 2006 - 06:10pm PT
I always thought the crux pitch on Mr. Toads was one of the best pitches I have ever climbed anywhere. Sustained, clean (except for those scary stainless hangers), thin, and very hard. That is one of the routes I am most proud to have climbed.
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