Info on Greg "The Hand"


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Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 23, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
Holy moly! What a lot of forgotten and just out of experience history! Carol moyer, john allen, strappo!. loni= Lon harter, by any chance? I know hes been stabbed in reno more than once....prolly met you @ deux gren a, as I was a regular there in those years. We're you there for thos Fish/chums parties with the Mudsharks during the Reno days of OR?

Steve quinlan tole me about a guy called 'the fist". Small world, and we've all shared more, times, space, friends, experience, of it than we think...

Social climber
Joshua Tree
May 23, 2013 - 10:55pm PT
Holy Sh#$& dude. I finally looked at your webpage gallery (it was blocked where I work), and you have a tremendous talent.

Thanks for sharing those.

Trad climber
May 23, 2013 - 11:43pm PT
Really, nice work.
The Fist

Trad climber
May 24, 2013 - 05:38am PT
I'm glad to see Stony Point finally has a roadside sign, just in case it was mistaken for the Reagan Presidential Library and final resting place of our first President with Alzheimer's.

I first met towhead Scott "The Old Man" Loomis out at Stony in '78 or '79. He must have been fourteen at the time and his voice was forever locked in the transition between the high pitched whinny of a boy, and the deeper gravel of a post-pubescent man. It was always cracking and he used it a lot, which may be why we got along. We both liked to hear ourselves more than just about anything. Whether you were a climber just encountering Scott for the first time, or a tourist on a hike encountering your very first climber and completely lost as to what was taking place out at Stony, Scott would tell you right away he was in training to be the youngest person to climb El Capitan. It was believable watching him glide through all the famous 5.10 boulder problems which he had dialed, making them appear no harder than 5.7 til you tried to pull into them. If you had the slightest doubt about his intent it was dispelled by his complete El Cap rack, which he'd acquired Lord knows how. He had it all, pins, nuts, dozens of carabiners, the coveted gray jumars, he even had a drilling kit with plenty of bolts, hangers and rivets.

I'd started climbing to prove a point as much as anything. I was put into a group home days after my tenth birthday and languished there for many years. During that time my mother remarried and moved to Sherman Oaks. My stepfather had a boy and a girl my age, and Larry, the boy met a kid down the street named Randy. Randy went to the prestigious Harvard School for Boys, where amongst his classmates were Lyle and Erik Menendez who shotgunned their parents as they sat watching television (the Billionaire Boys Club murderers,) former California Congressman Alphonso Bell's son Matt, Edger Bergen's son Chris (brother of actress Candice Bergen,) and Max Rheinhardt's grandson Mark, to name a few. Also at Harvard was Chris Friel (Lepton Man) who was on track to become a classical pianist, unfortunately for Chris he discovered climbing which rendered his hands stiffened mitts lacking the necessary flexibility for piano. Chris taught Randy the rudiments of climbing, and Randy and my stepbrother would drag me along on weekends when I was let out of group home for home visits, where my lack of ability gave rise to the term "GNW," which stood for "Greg no way."

They needled me regularly and I didn't like it. I was taken out of group home by Randy's mother since I wasn't the menace my mother always pegged me as. I enrolled in public school and promptly began ditching every day and going to Stony on my own, where I ran into the only other kid not in school, Scott Loomas (After a few years of study at Stony I eventually got my revenge on Randy by hauling him up Serpentine at Suicide and refusing to give him tension on the crux. Eventually I relented as it was the only way we were getting up the route. I'd proved my point.)

I fell in with Scott and we went bouldering together fairly regularly, though I don't recall roped climbing with him except on one occasion, when Scott armed with his El Cap rack led me back into one of the slots at Stony east of Maggie's Farm. Scott led his way up a nailing crack that was on the west side of the canyon. He tooled his way along over the course of a couple of hours, while I grew more and more impatient to actually do some climbing. About three-quarters of the way up he drilled a rivet or a bolt, as much to actually use his bolt kit as anything I'm sure. After seemingly an eternity, he set up an anchor and tied off the lead rope so I could begin jumaring which I'd yet to try. I didn't get far because the crack leaned to the right at a 70 degree angle, so Scott tied-off the better to see me and shout direction. "Take the top jumar and un-clip it, then reattach it past the pin." That part I got. "Now transfer your weight while releasing the lower jumar until your directly below the next pin." I didn't get it, and sat there seesawing on the jumars for half an hour. Midway through the lesson Scott began cackling, his peels of laughter bouncing off the narrow canyon walls repeatedly until I became pissed off out of all proportion to the problem at hand. I wanted to strangle him if I could get within reach. After half an hour without making a foot of progress I gave up, reattached the jumar below the pin and down jugged ten feet to the ground. Scott walked off the back and approached me with good nature ribbing defusing my anger. He took the cleaning apparatus off me, attached them to himself and in seconds was at my high point explaining to me what I'd done wrong. I paid attention, and with my genius for problem solving the lesson did me absolutely no good the next time I found myself in the same situation, the next occasion being in Yosemite 700 feet off the ground under the Kor Roof on the Column's South Face. Scott expertly cleaned the pitch in no more than twenty minutes, and indeed seemed as though he would be the youngest person to climb El Cap.

It was my first trip to The Valley, and Mark Rheinhardt and I had gone up there specifically to do The Column. Suffice to say I didn't figure jumaring out on that occasion either, and it didn't help that no one had ever bothered to show me right off the ground how to do it, and this time my climbing partner was out of sight and sound at the next belay station over the roof. I down-jugged to Dinner Ledge, and Mark pulled the rope and rappelled off, leaving a small gold mine of gear under the roof beyond reach. Mark was academic about the episode and not too upset, he was just that way, a very nice guy.

Fortunately assistance came in the form of one Largo, a.k.a. John Long, who had chosen that day to take a look and see if the roof could be freed. In about three minutes he was under the roof and feeling for holds over it to see if it would go, couldn't find anything, cleaned our gear for us and down-climbed the crack to Dinner Ledge. I was acquainted with John from climbing in J-Tree, and he was one of the nicer members of what we neophytes and less-than talented climbers called "The 5.11 Club." That crew called themselves Stonemasters, I guess, but the rest of us called them The 5.11 Club because you had to be able to climb 5.11 pretty comfortably to be on the in with them, and I can assure you climbing 5.11 in EBs was no easy trick. I had occasion to wear a pair of EBs not too many years ago and I may as well have been wearing wax paper on my feet. It's strange that it took as long as it did for stickier rubber to find its way onto the soles of climber's shoes.

The 5.11 Club was a loose association of twenty to thirty climbers headed by John Bachar, John Long and Lynn Hill, John Yablonski, all in the superstar realm, and closely followed by Mike Lechlinski and Mari gingery, Dean Fidelman, Charles "he drives that green Porsche" Cole, Randy Vogel, Herb and Eve Lager, and others. Even "Dr. F," star of TV's Futurama was on the list. They were all pretty damn nice people and not given to putting on airs and shoving their nose up at you because you couldn't climb 5.7. The only member I thought a little in love with himself was Rick "Crater" Cashner. I don't think in the hundred times I crossed paths with him he ever said "Hello," and my recollection is that if I said it to him he just looked at me like I was stupid, a little out of my league, and carried on with whatever he was doing, which was usually soloing Spiderline. Maybe that was just his way.

There were other groups trundling around J-Tree, which with it's small, looping campgrounds, and frequent biting cold high desert wind was always the most sociable and incestuous climbing area. The other crews were comprised of The Sheep Buggers, with their singular leader Russ Walling who being raised where he was (where was it Russ, Riverside? San Berdoo?) had his own take on the English language and was given to bleating as he walked to climbs. He was also very funny and had a sharp sense of humor. Next in line would be Dave Katz and his crew-- and by the way, I never saw him climb either, though I did hear him boasting of the first ascent of Rice Cake Roof, which reminds me that I saw him eating the aforementioned "nutrition" on many occasions. I imagine it took a lot of them to keep his muscled Adonis-like figure going. He was perhaps best known for having a substantial ego, though a very nice guy as far as I could tell. There was the Tape Brothers, whose real names were I think Dave and Steve, though my memory with names and faces can be suspect. They came to The Tree equipped with reusable, long-lasting gloves made out of Duct Tape and lined with regular cloth tape. As I recall they climbed cracks exclusively. There was Mike Beck and his bunch, which included the slightly-built, yet incredibly powerful Vaino Kodas, who on occasion wandered off to follow Tony Yaniro because he was one of the few that could. I was on occasion attached to this crew by dint of my need to find a ride to get there or anywhere. In reality I was at loose ends when it came to finding a partner, though I frequently climbed with Robert "Duh Simpleton" Carrera, who truth be known only became superhero Duh Simpleton after smoking weed. An absolute vegetable, worse than Vaino even. I also climbed with Alan Placovich, a large and scary person when he was pissed off, something I managed one freezing day while belaying him on the wide Avacado crack. I ran for my life when he topped out and set up to rappel, ran and hid like a little girl. There was the dynamic duo of Leveatt and Yaniro, and finally there was what I called the "Hobie Brothers," because I never saw them in any other brand of clothing which was beyond strange so far from the ocean.

The last nice weekend of Autumn and I was on Suicide Wall's Sunshine Face, climbing Sundance with Mark Rheinhrdt. Mark had finished leading the first pitch I think, and I was following. Midway up the pitch I heard a terrible commotion to the right around the corner and out of sight. Evidently someone was gripped on Insomnia Crack. You know how it is when someone has reached their personal best on a vertical crack, and it sounds like four couples having intercourse at once? That's what I was being serenaded with as I unclipped bolts and followed Mark. Soon I heard people shouting, then a moments silence followed by a horrible grunt. Evidently everyone had come at once. When I arrived at the belay Mark told me a terrible tale. A guy had become gripped or blown out on Insomnia Crack, and had run it out to a sinker hand jam but was too distressed to place a nut (Friends were pretty new and I'm not certain he had any.) Eventually he was trying to place one above him just beyond reach by throwing the piece while holding on to the biner. Eventually he got it in, but as he went for the clip he blew out of the crack and reversed the moves in free flight, clacking with his belayer and stopping inches from the ground after a fall of seventy-odd feet. Horrifying.

Next weekend it was biting cold, so Mark and I headed to Josh. With the weather unclimbable we decided to go into town to get beer, and on the way we picked up a couple of guys hitching. It was the Hobie Brothers. We engaged in shop talk, and when Mark revealed he and I went climbing at Suicide the previous weekend, the lead brother replied that's where they had been. Mark said "Did you see that guy that went nearly the distance on Insomnia Crack?" The guy in the back seat was David Kays, and he answered "That was me. That's nothing, I went 140' on Bird on a Wire." Bird on a Wire might be 170' long. I guess some people are accident prone like my friend Zubie. Sadly, David Kays froze to death near the top of The Nose after spending eleven days to get to a point 250' from the top in a solo bid to climb the route.

I never did climb a roped pitch with Scott after my fiasco in the grotto, though I heard some charitable individual took him to Joshua Tree. I have no idea how that trip went. As I understood it Scott was in The Valley when Mark and I made our failed bid on the Column. As was the custom of the time ('80?) we climbed to Dinner Ledge with all our gear, and in the morning chucked it off the wall in order to climb lighter and faster. As I said, we didn't get far and were soon on the ground looking for our haul bag stuffed with gear. We never found it, and I harbored suspicions as to where it went. I've heard rumors of a certain person ripping off some hash from a well known and highly regarded climber at the same time, and being marched up to the Leaning Tower traverse approach and held over it and threatened with exiting this life if the drug wasn't returned, but that's not my story to tell. I'd heard that Scott Loomas froze on the first pitch of his first wall, ending his bid to become the youngest person to climb El Cap, but that's just slanderous hearsay because I wasn't there.

While it's true that people rarely if ever saw me climb, part of my problem was with my "artist who doesn't draw," work ethic of the time, coupled with the fact I never had any gear to climb with, maybe just a harness and pair of shoes. I was a bit like Yabo's understudy, but without the strength and talent for climbing. The fact is I climbed possibly a hundred or more routes at Josh, thirty or more at Suicide and 1.5 at Tahquitz, a few at the Sequoia Needles and the obscure Christmas Tree Pass, both trips with Vaino Kodas, possibly 50 to 70 short routes in the Valley, a couple of Grade IVs and three trade walls, a few routes at The Leap and Owen's, and finally over 100 routes on gritstone in England and 2 on limestone. I know its not a huge amount of climbing for the years I was preoccupied with it, but it's a few routes more than "never climbed." The bitch of it is (pardon me ladies,) I never got up El Cap, never even tried except for doing the first three on Lurking Fear solo. It was just too much damn work.

Finally this is for Russ, who says I'm no cartoonist or something to that effect. All of Bob Schoenard's big wall systems are rendered as they were on top of the first pitch of our nearly waterless three-day, two night ascent of the Leaning Tower in 110 degree weather. I thought he was going to kill us both.
Mud Flats Bob "The Aid Man" straddles our haul bag and enjoys a Petit ...
Mud Flats Bob "The Aid Man" straddles our haul bag and enjoys a Petit Mal fit while showing off his immaculate big wall anchor system. Nothing equalized, one plus-size figure eight knot to clip the anchor, haul bag on one bolt, stopper key anchors.
Credit: The Fist
The Fist

Trad climber
May 24, 2013 - 05:39am PT
Good Lord, I apologize, it seems I still like to hear myself... what's up with all the deleting jive and bickering? Anyone can come in and edit my sh#t? I spent years scribing this merde out of the darkest recesses of my memory...
The Fist

Trad climber
May 24, 2013 - 05:59am PT
That's me on the right with my co-porn star Daniel Schwartz atop Turlo...
That's me on the right with my co-porn star Daniel Schwartz atop Turlock, waiting to do a double penetration scene on the first girl that wanders within reach. Dig the goldline rope and tube socks on Daniel. Serious chick magnates (ca. 1978).
Credit: The Fist
Kat Atomik getting ready to lasso it on the Black Rock Desert playa, J...
Kat Atomik getting ready to lasso it on the Black Rock Desert playa, July 4th, 2011.
Credit: The Fist
I'd like to clarify some sass about my "Wingman" status on this thread. Dr. F is right about my ability to repulse women when I was young. I was poison to them, and they avoided me like the plague. It got so bad I was beginning to think maybe I was supposed to be gay, the only problem with that was that the idea of a dude's beard between my legs was utterly repulsive to me.

Being raised in an institution made women utterly inexplicable to me and a mystery for the ages, because although they were around it was on the other side of a fence. I thought you had to look like the hirsute Tom Selleck or Ron Jeremy look-alike Burt Reynolds to get any action. I didn't get laid until I was twenty-one I'll admit, which is pretty damn late by anyone's standards. I didn't have the necessary confidence until I was a homeless punk rock kid living under a building in Hollywood.

I finally got rid of the taint in a room above Hollywood Liquors when a bunch of my friends split after we'd burned one, and suddenly I found myself alone with a lady named Grace. She was ancient, possibly in her mid-thirties, and though I wanted to run the thing was so overdue I let it happen. As it turned out I didn't suddenly explode in my pants as Xaviera Hollander's Penthouse column "Call Me Madam" had been assuring me for years would be the case, and I'm sure she had been clueless as to my secret shame. I look back fondly on the event which took place in a roach infested room, the neon glow from the flashing liquor store sign coming through the only small window and casting its off-on, off-on, pink glow over us. She fell asleep and I got dressed and split, exiting onto rain washed Hollywood Boulevard's "Walk of Fame" which was a riot of reflected color from the neon of the pizza by the slice joint next door, and the Chinese Theater across the street.

I was pretty damn happy about the whole thing, I had enough problems without being a homosexual in a society that in the main didn't accept them. I saw Grace on one other occasion about a year later. She was sitting on a bus bench on Ventura Boulevard in North Hollywood, and I recognized her as I drove by in my fiancee's mint '63 Lincoln Continental. I'd of flipped around and offered her a ride if my future ex-wife hadn't been with me, I swear to God.

As far as the interest in my "groinage" goes, and whether or not my hand is somehow reflected there, I can assure you it is. I'm big enough to do porn (though I'm a couple of decades too old unless I want to do niche work.) You have to be a minimum of eight inches by the way. Here's a picture of my 28 year-old current lover, hopefully this will put the matter to rest.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
May 24, 2013 - 11:31am PT
Super stuff Fist!

Just to clarify: The Sheep Buggers were headed up by Craig Fry and the ranks were filled with mostly relatives of people from Newfoundland.

Our crew all hailed from the Sierra Madre area and Arcadia. That would include the Boxer, the Manx, The Driver, the Shake Bros, Me, Jeff Sewell, Roy Mcclenahan, Erik Erikson and sorta Buttf*#kleman and Jon Frericks and Larry Loads. The last few were mostly Joe Boys from like Alhambra or somewhere. Even Joe Hedge aka Homo Joe was in there though I don't think he climbed and mostly just carried the gear for Buttf*#kleman.

As to your art talent... That was in another thread where two different Karls were mixed up. Someone said that you might be an artist or a Karl... I was claiming neither. Having seen the real Karls work I likened you to a drooling crayola scribbler compared to Karl with a K, of course not knowing if you had ever put pen top paper. Now, having seen your art, though different from Karls, your stuff is really top shelf. Great gallery of work you have there.
The Fist

Trad climber
May 24, 2013 - 11:33am PT
Thanks for the beta Pyro.

I think I'm getting the format thing, which you're absolutely right about.

I'm a technotard on the best day, I'll go back and fix.

Checking this...


Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
May 24, 2013 - 11:34am PT
Good stuff fist
but you need to break it up more

+1...agreed, Bad eyesight & old eyes suck.

Just after Russ' post, add an extra space after the word cetera

ps.. I didn't notice the price of your painting on the website?.... curious..

I just enjoyed looking at your art work for the second time...... I love your painting style!..

Edit: Hey...THANKS for editing........(-;

can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
May 24, 2013 - 11:41am PT
da Fist, thanks so much for your memories. I remember vague slander fest's aimed at anyone not conforming to the ruling elite's world view. I'm glad you survived and now have a rockin hot g/f to soothe your artistic soul.
The Fist

Trad climber
May 24, 2013 - 11:43am PT
Like jumaring you have to show me by example Nita...please. Rivets? You mean an extra space after sentences? You mean like this? Crap, it didn't give me a double space...


Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
May 24, 2013 - 12:12pm PT

Best post of the year.


Please keep it up.

Guy Keesee
The Fist

Trad climber
May 24, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
Oh, okay, think it worked right.

Was trying too hard I guess.

All the paintings on my website are sold. I haven't had a solo show since '01 because showing is a huge amount of work that for the most part precludes being able to sell anything for up to the year it takes to put together fifteen to twenty decent paintings. It's poverty inducing in a serious way.

Although over the last twenty years since I began teaching myself to paint I've been represented by five galleries here in Reno, it's not the best mode of sale. I mainly work on a commission basis, and while occasionally I can sell a piece for as little as $250 to $500, for the most part my better work is in the $1,000 to $2,500 range.

It may seem a lot of money, and for us mortals it is, but a large realist piece like the "Centre Court Cowboy," which is four feet by three, can take up to 200+ hours of mentally taxing graft. I earned $2,500 for the painting sans gallery commission which would have been an industry standard 50%, so essentially the painting went for 5K. Collecting art is for the most part a rich person's gig.

I'm basically earning minimum wage, but happy to be able to do so when the majority of artists require a day job to support their habit. "Job" for me, has always been a four letter word, though when it comes to painting I'm a workaholic.

Thanks to all for the props, I very much appreciate them. While I'm supposed to say "I do it because I love it!" the truth is I do it because others love it, and it's what I do best (well, that and one or two other things I like to think.) It can be grueling, solitary work, and though not financially rewarding, it is very emotionally rewarding.

Time for this vampire to retire, I'm about four hours past my bedtime. Thanks again for the nice compliments.
Somebody asked for a current picture to prove I'm still alive. Taken a...
Somebody asked for a current picture to prove I'm still alive. Taken at Bonneville, Utah.
Credit: The Fist

The Fist

Trad climber
May 24, 2013 - 12:17pm PT
P.S. Damn, thanks Guy! And by the way thanks for doing "Clean and Jerk" and "Sail Away" with me all those years ago. A very confidence boosting day for me.

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
May 24, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
I always liked climbing with you....

just out for fun and adventure

good times.


Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
May 24, 2013 - 12:29pm PT

Nice storytelling, Fist. It's nice when someone can come and write without a lot of self censorship.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
May 24, 2013 - 12:53pm PT
That was indeed a good read, sort of felt like I was reading a short story of those Cali yesteryears written by Hunter Thompson...good stuff!
The Fist

Trad climber
Jun 2, 2013 - 05:14am PT
I removed the rant, it wasn't appropriate to the thread, which is now at end. Strange that loud mouth kid stuck in anyone's memory. I'm haunted by my past and the things that don't go away. When I was in group home I accidentally tongue-kissed this girl Lisa Miller and she got kind of hysterical about it. We found out later that she'd been getting off with her roommate in their shared room in the girls unit they were in which was called Taper 2. Her dad got out of prison or reappeared from wherever and pulled her out of the place a few months after that. About four months later my houseparent pulled me aside one afternoon to tell me that she'd been murdered up in Hollywood. He told me that she was living with her dad in an apartment, and one day while her dad was in the shower a pimp knocked on the door and tried to get her to turn tricks. She wouldn't go with him and he stabbed her through the temple with a knife.

Well, you grow up and learn that pimps don't go knocking door to door turning out girls, there are plenty of them arriving from everywhere looking for stardom, thrills, whatever. The good looking ones without mental acuity end up in porn if they're lucky. If a girl is attractive and smart she'll end up working escort. They end up tricking for a pimp if they're not lucky, and pimps are evil.

Working the track in Hollywood you can try to be an independent, but any pimp finds a girl who doesn't have a pimps "protection" on his turf and catches hold of the girl the first offense is a pistol whipping that shatters the girls nose (sometimes more) and renders her unable to work for the three weeks it takes her face to heal. If he catches her again he'll have his girls kidnap her and he'll insert a heated coat hanger in her vagina which will put her out of work for months. A third "violation" and the girl disappears. That's how it was in the seventies when all of Sunset Boulevard was turf owned by powerful pimps who drove around in garish Excalibers or Rolls Royces, wore bright green or maroon leisure suits and had platforms six inches high on their feet. They were quite a sight, like a bunch of menacing peacocks. They're all gone now, mainly due to the crack epidemic which really changed the face of LA in the early eighties. Nowadays pimps drive high-end BMWs, wear track suits and baseball caps. No class at all, but I digress. I think about that girl a few times a month. She'll just pop into my head and I'm left wondering if anyone thinks about her anymore? If her father's still alive how often does he miss her and what she could have been? I'll post my climbing stories as I find the time to get to them, if ever...
Wobbling up the flake on Turlock ca. 1978.
Wobbling up the flake on Turlock ca. 1978.
Credit: The Fist
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Jun 2, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
Fist, great bitd stories, I love your style and art!

Carry on.

edit: Oh yeah, also loved your political thread aka "the rant.".

Big Wall climber
South of the Mason Dixon line
Aug 27, 2013 - 04:17am PT
Greg, someone you would always remember if you ever met him. Greg seemed to know everyone and was quite the conversationalist. He introduced me to Rick Sylvester and I think Warren Harding.

One point Greg made I would like to clarify: I always tied off to each and every bolt hanger at a belay.

He and I climbed West Face Leaning Tower! It may not have been the best time of year to climb, but we had a bloody/good time. Bloody being the bad part where Greg's glasses prevented him from seeing, causing him to gash his "mitt" repeatedly when cleaning the pitons I placed. We did have some good times as well, but they were overshadowed by the gore and blood lost from his big right hand. Anyway cheers to you Greg!

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