Telluride Mountaineering School

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deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Original Post - May 18, 2013 - 03:40am PT
Friends (John Summerlin and John Ely) have recently sent me (John Middendorf) nostalgic pics from when we were campers and guides at the Telluride Mountaineering School. We were interested to see if any Supertopians who might be, or know, folks in the group photos:

Telluride Mountaineering School, 1974
Telluride Mountaineering School, 1974
Credit: deuce4

Telluride Mountaineering School, 1979A
Telluride Mountaineering School, 1979A
Credit: deuce4

Telluride Mountaineering School, 1979B
Telluride Mountaineering School, 1979B
Credit: deuce4

Cancer Boy

Trad climber
Freedonia
May 18, 2013 - 04:04am PT
Count me there summer of 76. Just turned 14. I remember many people - Farneys, Greg Davis, Mongo, Figis (endless Python)... Sherry bread and the Wilsons. Held my first leader fall there for one Richard Levithan. Met Richard again later in life when he turned out to be my brother-in-law's best friend. Small world. Barber was sadly not there when I was, so never met him, or you - were you a guide?

Bob Beach
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 18, 2013 - 12:46pm PT
Break out the old Ophir Wall photos deuce.
gilly

climber
Mohawk Valley,Ca
May 18, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
I was there in 78, I believe second session. Those pics of 78 may be in wrong order? I could go on and on about the whole summer.It didn't get better than that, back then and now! I was 15 and came home and the next step was to learn ice. Salute to everyone who was there.
Gill James, Clio, Ca.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 18, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
Gill and Bob,

Tell us some of your memories . . . what routes did you guys do back then?
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 09:38pm PT
Bob and Gilly

Good to hear of fellow Telluride Mountaineers on site. It would be good to share some stories of our experiences there.

Did you know about the big reunion they had last Fall? I couldn't make it from Australia, but heardmsome goodmthings about the event.

I recall doing one of the Y-cracks on Ophir during one of the breaks between sessions (and getting spanked on the other wide one), but I recall doing harder routes on the wall across from our camp on the Silverton-Durango line across the river. Got a few routes in with Henry Barber when he made his occasional appearances in the years from 74-78.

1978 was the last year of the school. It was a tough summer, we lost Kevin Dippy and Dan on the Ophir wall, and Dave Farny got badly injured during one of the ropes course events.

Mostly I recall doing wonderful long rock routes in the San Juans and of course the great 14,000' peak bagging that was part of every adventure. Oh, and of course the desert canyon trips, and the Lake Powell 3-day holiday were highlights as well.
gilly

climber
Mohawk Valley,Ca
May 18, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Who could forget jumping in the lake on day one! Everyone has to swim across. Coldest water anyone had ever been in. What was the name of that lake. Sunshine? I do not remember specific climbs with names. Just rock and snow school. I do remember Ophir quite well. Desert trips were just as incredible as the high mtns. More to come class mates!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 19, 2013 - 11:53am PT
Thanks for the stories guys.

I had heard about the 1978 Ophir Wall incident you refer to Deuce . . . are you willing to discuss what happened?
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
On Ophir Wall, Dan and Kevin went to climb Honey Pot, but we think they might have gotten off route. They both fell, roped together, off the big ledge on the top of the first pitch of Post Office Crack.

It was a sad day for the school, it happened in between sessions during the break. I was working as one of the guides, and we all were hit hard by the tragedy.

gilly

climber
Mohawk Valley,Ca
May 20, 2013 - 12:05am PT
I spent more time with Kevin than any other instuctor. We climbed, hiked backpacked and all the rest together. He was the one who sent me off on my solo. Remember the solo with no gear except matches? Great guy with a great attitude, I remember him very well.
John Ely

Trad climber
DC
May 20, 2013 - 06:11am PT
Guides TMS 1979 Second Session Top John Ely, Greg 'Mongo' Anderson; Mi...
Guides TMS 1979 Second Session Top John Ely, Greg 'Mongo' Anderson; Middle Neil Beidleman, John Middendorf, Bottom Hal Kingsbury, Dave Farny (Director)
Credit: John Ely
John (pre-Deuce-sildorf) Middendorf and Andy Atkenson at TMS c...
John (pre-Deuce-sildorf) Middendorf and Andy Atkenson at TMS climbing school together with omnipresent black painted pith hat.
Credit: John Ely
Andy Atkeson belays Neil Beidleman TMS style with bowline on a bight o...
Andy Atkeson belays Neil Beidleman TMS style with bowline on a bight on the rope for anchoring the belayer and bowline on a coil for the climber. No 'biners or other extraneous stuff necessary.
Credit: John Ely
Greg 'Mongo' Anderson on Ranch front porch
Greg 'Mongo' Anderson on Ranch front porch
Credit: John Ely
Neil Beidleman from Aspen with John Denver look.
Neil Beidleman from Aspen with John Denver look.
Credit: John Ely
Sherry and Dave Farny, Sherry Carleson
Sherry and Dave Farny, Sherry Carleson
Credit: John Ely

Here's a bunch of pictures from the last year (Summer 1979) of the Telluride Mountaineering School. Neil was super fit, a peak runner and a excellent skier, but had climbed little, and one would hardly have guessed he would later become an Everest profi & movie star. The boss, Dave, had fallen on the rope course and hurt his back really badly, and there had been another serious accident that summer, so Dave stopped the program and focused on his failed project to build 'Little Annie' ski hill on the back of Ajax in Aspen. John M. went on to become a YOSAR dirt bag under a different alias. Greg Anderson was the only staff member that year who had previously been a guide there more than once; Kevin had guided the year before. John M. and I, John Ely, had been campers ('74 &'75 for M, '76 for me), and had both crashed the climbing school on our way from Eldo to the Valley the year before (summer '78) to 'audition' for a guide job. (We were both just 18, and had managed to climb half dome, dragging along my father's US Army issue duffle bag with our water in gallon milk cartons, the summer before - just after our 'audition'.) Henry Barber, who had been a guide for several past years, popped in to teach climbing school that year (he worked for Chouinard back when it was also a gear company), and I remember being awestruck driving over the Ouray-Silverton hiway with him in his van.

The serious accident was the death of Kevin Dippy and Dan Hampton (sp last name ? from Aspen) when their belay anchor failed while Kevin fell trying to lead Barber's Honey Pot on the Ophir Wall. (My assumption that Kevin was leading as he was the only party member with leading experience, though I understand Honey Pot to be one pitch, so maybe Dan fell on second and pulled Kevin off, or Kevin was actually trying one of the y-cracks above?) Both can be seen near John M. in the middle of the group picture (Dan standing with the glasses in his sweater, and Kevin kneeling with the bandana in his head). I had fallen earlier that summer, pulling out a chockstone on Post Office Crack, with John M. belaying. I remember doing 'Choo Choo Train Crack' (5.9) with him as well that summer in the Animas River canyon where TMS had its climbing school. I remember a day before climbing school when we were just visitors. We were 18, had just done some Eldo classics and smoked some of that famous lake weed from a blond yosemite guy in Eldorado who had paid for his van with the stuff, and I had Rebuffet-induced visions of 'needles'. We hiked up from the Alta Lakes road to the gullies on the south-west side of the Ophir Needles, which you could see above, a continuation of the Ophir Wall rocks. We roped up and climbed at least two-three pitches of shale 4th class with absolutely no anchors until we could get into the snow, leading us, gut clutching, up to the only Ophir Needle big enough to use a rope, a largish flat-toped thing a pitch or two in height. But we were afraid we would have to rappel down in some dodgey fashion, and found a less terrifying walk down than our way up. Ophir Wall, indeed the entirety of the San Juans, has a deserved reputation for really bad rock of every possible sort.

The Ranch is now owned by Meg Whitman, yes that one everyone has heard of, which seems a real shame to me, as I doubt it is used for much. (Indeed, the google earth picture of the place shows the water bodies, including what was indeed called 'Sunshine Lake' and the pond in front of the ranch visible in the second group picture, but all the buildings have been razed.) It made a great place to run an 'outward bound' style program from, with a view of the Wilson group and the Ames Ice Hose cliff half way up the hill to Ophir from Telluride.

Greg Davis was my hero the year I was a camper. I remember him leading me up a chimney in the Ophir Wall called the 'slot' which he put up a couple years before, and talking about how to do a big wall with me. He was the senior guide, but I think was weary of working for Farny that summer, and didn't return to the program after one more year.

Greg Anderson and I met on the east coast a couple of times afterwards and skied at Waterville Valley, where his folks had a place. He was older by '78, already making good money as a financial wonk, and drove a turbo-saab. Dave son Mike was on the US Ski Team pay roll as a downhiller, and drove a BMW.

I have very fond memories of adventures in the San Juans, on the Yampa-Green, and in the box canyons around Lake Powell and Nat Bridges Monument.

Questions for Gill and Bob. Gill, you must have been there in '78. Do your remember John and I showing up at climbing school? I actually have the roster for '79, and you're not listed in the either first or second session, which is why you may have the pictures confused. The second session is noticeably missing Dan and Kevin so there is no mistaking the order!

Bob, I'm not sure I remember you from '76. Did you do the first session, with the Yampa-Green trip? or the Second? Do you have the group picture from that session. I certainly remember the roster of guides, including Sigi. I was the guy with the red climbing shoes (PAs) who followed Greg Davis around like a lost puppy.

John Ely
John Ely
Credit: John Ely


(Note the group pictures from the last year are indeed 1979 not 1978. Some YoYo gave deuce4 bad information.)
gilly

climber
Mohawk Valley,Ca
May 20, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
John, thanks for the great pics and info. I think you are correct that I was the summer of 77.(been pondering that)
I have my original black and white group shot and need to have it scanned so I can post it. I also have a few snaps of ophir wall as well. More to come.....G. I do remember some guys showing up for sure. Have to dig deep to recall specifics!
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
May 20, 2013 - 12:54pm PT
In the very 1st pic, is the guy with the young girl's arm on his head one of the Gaskills (Steve?), he definitely looks familiar to me?

Bottom row, 3rd from right, Ken (Manning?).
gilly

climber
Mohawk Valley,Ca
May 20, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
A fall visit in October 2008 and we were surprised to learn that EBay's Meg Whitman was the new owner. But she put the TMS back into its original shape before she razed it, taking away the new buildings that were put up for the Guest Ranch. I stayed at the Guest Ranch in 2001. On my visit in 2008, I was able to wander through the entire property including a visit to my old room. Very nostalgic.
Original Bunk House
Original Bunk House
Credit: gilly
The Barn
The Barn
Credit: gilly
The View
The View
Credit: gilly
My Room
My Room
Credit: gilly
gilly

climber
Mohawk Valley,Ca
May 20, 2013 - 01:33pm PT
Credit: gilly
Summer of 77 - I believe 2nd session? Going from right to left - Greg Davis is 4th from right, Kevin Dippy is 6th from right, and I am 7th with white cap from right.
John Ely

Trad climber
DC
May 20, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
The 'young boy' is little Betsy Farny!
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
May 20, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
Oops! my bad.
Geo.

climber
May 20, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
John Ely, thanks for posting pictures to the Telluride Mountaineering School Alumni Facebook page and pointing me to this string here on SuperTopo. Great to see the pictures. I still have my original photo and address list from 1979, First Term... John, you were there then, and the group picture with Sunshine pond in front is from 1979. Dan and Kevin died about a week before the end of that first term while climbing together during a day off. As I recall, Dan was only 16, the youngest guide. I was only a year younger, but years behind him in mountaineering skills and maturity. Dave had also broken his back on the rope course right about that time, and so the Second Term never happened that summer. It's too bad, as it was a great program.

I have a couple of recipes from my packet: "Sherry Bread" and Granola. Haven't tried either one, but I remember they were both fantastic. I'll post if anyone's interested.

gilly

climber
Mohawk Valley,Ca
May 20, 2013 - 03:21pm PT
Geo, please post the recipes, I am a chef. Did you guys ever go in the kitchen after hours and raid because you were so hungry? Canned peaches and chocolate sauce! Thanks Gill
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 20, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
Thanks for sharing your photos, recollections and stories you guys! I moved to Telluride in 1989 and never heard much about the TMS era . . . many influential climbers passed through during that period.

I know there are more tales . . .
John Ely

Trad climber
DC
May 21, 2013 - 12:15am PT
So much fun to hear from folks. (I've tried to fix my errors above. Sorry.) Telluride was just a fantastic program, and I look back at it as one of the really formative moments in my life.

The Ranch was as a setting nearly a romantic cliche of natural beauty, as Gilly's pics remind us, and that jump into the lake on the first morning was before breakfast, indeed, before the 30 minute soccer match after the swim before breakfast that "Mongo" used to finish up by picking up the ball and turning the game into a traditional rugby match on a field full of hoof prints and quite deadly to the unlimber ankle. All that on the first day at 9500 feet before breakfast. If I'm not mistaken, we didn't end up on the rope course in the woods by the soccer field until after breakfast. And that rope course was not 'g rated.' (The final day included group races over the ca. 9 foot log bridge; like any good leader, Dave was just about final team member over the day he fell into the duff below and wacked his back that last year.)

'Snow school' was the first overnighter, a festival of ice ax arrests in which the guides got more and more energetic at shoving people down from the cut platform (in Bear Creek somewhere I think?), eventually positively heaving the better arresters off until they flopped down the hill a bit like scarecrows. (The better you were at getting the pick in upside down and backwards, the more likely you were to get a real all four limbs heads first 'toss' by the guides until something finally came unplugged.) After snow school, the quorum would break up into groups and do this or that overnight hike, with lots of scree, steep snow slopes, and the occasional exciting third and fourth class sections of medium to biggish mountains. Sixteen year old Mike Farny was my guide for that and another trip. A bit spooked as a great friend had fallen down the Maroon Bells that Fall or Spring, his dad wanted him 'back in the saddle'; and Mike was a relentlessly fit mountain goat who looked just like and oozed exactly that competence in smaller form that his old man ran the program with.

Dave Farny had good taste and used to read ritually from "On the Loose", Hermann Buhl's memoirs, and Edward Abbey's "Desert Solitaire"; Sigi read us "Siddhartha" one summer, typical youth sixties seventies stuff; Henry Barber at climbing school one night read the whole essay of Bonatti's on the disaster on the Central Pillar. A 15 year old around the campfire doesn't forget this stuff.

Climbing school came after an orientation hike where the guide schoolers were given maps and told to lead groups of 12-14 yr olds over an assortment of passes from Ophir over to Silverton, with guides in the passes watching the various results, some precise, and some which scattered to the four winds. From the road into Silverton, we all hiked down into the Animas river canyon with its narrow gauge railway a few miles out of Silverton, where the eastern side of the canyon makes a series of layered crags. (Supplies were brought in on the train.) There was a great hands free slab on the first day, then after setting camp on meadows downstream under the shadow of Mt. Garfield, a daily hike back up to the crags, to the 'lower grotto' for technique and top roping lessons, longer top roping on the 'upper slabs' and rappelling on the tier of vertical crags above these. Upstream was a much larger crag with at least two longer Barber 5.9 routes, 'Choo Choo Train Crack' and 'Fleur-de-Lis.' I recall the former as a kind of back-country 'shake and bake' without bolts. The last real day of school had the better students leading the others on several lead climbs in the 'upper grotto', with preplaced gear, mostly on braided nylon line with really primeval nuts (peck crackers, SMC, etc.) There was the ritual crossing of the Animas on a rope, with ever so often one camper letting go to get buffeted Paul Newman-Robert Redford style by the cold and busy river. On several occasions I remember the guides leading everyone in strings up these positively horrendous choss piles across the river, most of which had no pro for entire pitches and sometimes less than brilliant anchors.

Google Earth image of the TMS Climbing School Locale in the Animas Can...
Google Earth image of the TMS Climbing School Locale in the Animas Canyon
Credit: John Ely

It was great training for the longer trips to come, which mostly led into the depths of the San Juans (right out of climbing school with no break), with the largest percentage of campers climbing the Wham Ridge of Vestal, often approached up one of the healthy steep gulches out of the Animas canyon. Also regularly climbed were Sunlight, Silex and Guardian, Arrow, Eolus, Pigeon, but also the Wilsons, the Uncompaghre group, etc. Indian sweat bathes under the tarp, uncontrolled and irresponsible trundling exercises, killing ptarmigans with rocks and eating them, encounters with giant porkypines, and always more mountain goats than people in those parts of Colorado - at least in the seventies. The campers did a 24 hour 'solo' at some point, sitting alone like birds without nests, with the guide occasionally making the rounds to peer discretely in and make sure they were in situ. 'Guide Schoolers' did a 3 day 'ordeal' which I remember getting a vivid description of in my math school desk at Langley High from John Middendorf - having met him sitting next to me on the second day of class. (The first day and night was to be spent blindfolded. Though we could wear as many layers as we wanted, Dave sneered at too many of these. Five to ten paper matches with a lean-to and a reflecting rock meant the next night was warmer, as long as you managed to get and keep the fire lit. I think 15 year old Deucie told me he failed to get his fire lit, and slept cold a second night.)

That's how deep Dave Farny's schooling went with school kids months later in some urban area on the other side of the continental divide: I wanted to rock climb, and I insisted he -- 15 yr old Middendorf -- teach me, once I'd bought the cheapest rope in the store by about our fourth week in that math class. (It took a while before someone explained to me that I'd bought a static line, but never matter because we didn't have any 'chocks' anyway.) Middendorf took me out to a local crag, tied a bowline on a bight in the rope with one end tied to a tree, climbed into the makeshift chest harness with me in the coiled bowline, and told me to start climbing once he shouted 'on belay.' It all worked from there. I finally a year later convinced my ma to fork over the dough to send me to this fancy camp, but by then I already had been taught how to climb, basically by Dave Farny's system combined with John's certain knowledge that everything right about climbing was to be found in 'Freedom of the Hills', of which of course there were several beat up copies floating around the Skyline Ranch.

There were also multi-day trips into the box canyons on the way west to Nat. Bridges in Utah, 'Fish' and 'Owl' Canyons filled with waterholes, slick rock, sand stone bouldering everywhere, really eye-popping 'third class' maneuvers to get to strange high places above the canyon, and unexcavated Anastazi Kivas. Dave used to write out penciled maps for each guide he sent in there the first time they went. Just watching him scribble his maps and following them was an exercise. (Though for the most of the San Juan's we actually used real topos.)

Dave had this policy of starving the kids by never packing enough food, which made everything seem harder and more intense. Sherry was indeed a fantastic cook, her bread was really great, and there was always mounds of good food when everyone got back from a trip, a sort of proto-bulemic procedure of hardening the psyche. Everyone brought good boots and a winter down bag, we slept under tarps and used fires to cook, and hiked with frame packs (with the bags strung below with parachute cord and traveler's hitch since Dave disdained fitted snug-up straps or bungie cords), in some cases some really really antique ice axes, many of which did not have curved picks of any sort.

This was all in the days before helicopter parents. The main transport was a double axel 2.5 ton chicken truck with benches in the back, which would today be totally illegal I think. Despite the dangers, Dave used to be proud of the fact that no student had ever been seriously hurt in his program. (Kevin and Dan were guides and on their day off.) Despite the trauma of that summer, Dave retired his unforgettable school with that undeniable record of sending everyone of the paying kids home in one piece, but never never unchanged forever. It is a really magnificent legacy. In his own way, a real pioneer of the outdoor education movement that blossomed in those baby boomer 'wonder years.'

Does this sound like most people's experience more or less?
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 21, 2013 - 09:20pm PT
Thanks John!

How about some Largo stories . . . he was around these parts long ago.
Cancer Boy

Trad climber
Freedonia
May 22, 2013 - 03:04am PT
I learned how to climb at TMS, having just turned 14. My recollections aren’t nearly as coherent as John’s. TMS was a summer camp of sorts, and had an interesting mix of people – some rich kids and some kids sent there to get some sense whipped into them. I went to climb, but I was surely one of the latter. I am pretty sure it was the second session of ‘76.
I too hooked onto Greg Davis, because he was the real climber out of the guides. Some guy named Guy had done a peak in the Himalaya, but Greg was my guy. He was clearly getting burned out with the job, and was concerned about TMS sliding backward into Telluride Camping School. He was pretty hard on me, because he saw that I had potential, or so he confessed toward the end – he could be a jerk, but the lessons were well learned, looking back. I did turn out to be a pretty good climber, and it has been my passion to this day. I can still build a fire with only three matches at hand.

What climbs did we do? I hardly recall the names. Stuff along the Durango-Silverton line. Never got to Ophir wall. Snow school was a great lesson in simulating the "bad scenario". The final test was to stand facing into a steep snow slope with someone crouched on all fours outside and behind you. You pleaded with the guide you were facing to give you a second to compose yourself – to no avail. You were pushed over topsy turvy backward, axe in hand, and had to self-arrest before gaining too much speed and taking the long slide into the runout far below. One memory I have from that day is that it was the first time Dave Farney had ever tried crampons. Never did come to understand Dave, or how much he was mountain man or business man. He was clearly very well-heeled, and could have done whatever he wanted in this life. I am thankful he chose TMS. I also remember Dave reading classic mountaineering tales around the camp fire. It was only later, when I rediscovered them for myself, that I recognized the “clothesline” story from Buhl, and others. This sport has such a great tradition and history, and I suppose my respect for it came from TMS. I recall his kids, one, a girl, was training for Olympic luge, and the younger, Mike, a promising downhill racer. “Yes, my children are Olympians yawn ho-hum”. I heard from a ski buddy a few years later that Mike wiped out bad and had to forgo that dream.

The Figis were fun. Hans and Eric? This was near the height of Monte Python, and they would quote incessantly. This drove Greg Davis nuts, who was a “serious person” and considered dead parrots a subject far beneath him. BTW – Davis had a girlfriend whose father, evidently buddies with Farney, produced an early mountain film called “The Edge”, which we were all privileged to view at the Telluride film festival. (All this was before Telluride became a destination for the stars.) The film features kayaking Lava Falls, hang-gliding in the Bugs with one kite nearly augering into a crevasse, and Covington and Choinard climbing Wheat Thin (Covington uses heel jams in the flake!?) and Yvon taking a big whipper on pitch one of Outer Limits. (I have since done both of these climbs. Using your beta guys!!) I can’t find reference to the film on the internet, which puzzles me – it’s really good, especially the hang-gliding. But I digress.

Davis one day selected a motivated team to climb a peak. It must have been the Vestal Peak mentioned above. On the way up I stepped on the same block as the five folks preceding me, but it came loose, and knocked off a nice older kid behind me named Tucker. It was grim. The going was steep, and Tucker would surely have been done for, had he not self-arrested snow style, sans axe, on the slabs (we did the above exercise sans axe, too). He tore flappers from all eight fingertips in bringing himself to a stop, and my most vivid memory is watching him being taped back togather in the fresh sunlight. I was roundly berated, and rightly. Lessons were learned – sorry again, Tucker. I hope one of them was that it is possible to take too many teenagers in a conga line up a snaky third class route.

Back at Skyline Ranch, Will from Birmingham Alabama played a red Guild acoustic very well, and Sherry made wonderful bread and granola for her starving brood. After many years, I threw out the recipies pasted to green construction paper, as well as my lakeside group photo. Wish I had them at the moment.

Best wishes to all – Bob Beach

Oh yeah – John Ely – I think it was second session ’76, and I would be like to remember you, if you had been there. I am pretty sure I was Davis’s only lost puppy at the time.
Geo.

climber
May 22, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
"SHERRY BREAD"
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup sugar or honey
1/4 cup margarine (or butter)
2 pkg. dry yeast dissolved with 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 eggs
2 cups cracked wheat flour
6 cups white flour
MIX sugar, margarine and salt into boiling water, let cool and add eggs.
ADD yeast and mix gently
ADD 2 cups cracked wheat flour and 6 cups white flour, stirring until smooth after each addition.
LET rise in greased bowl until double. Can be refrigerated for days.
PUNCH down and form into two loaves or rounds.
LET rise until about doubled, bake at 400 F for about 30 minutes.
AN egg and milk glaze before baking gives a deep golden color.

This should bring you back to the 70s on the ranch. I remember the gorp being good too.

John Ely

Trad climber
DC
May 22, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
Rappelling at TMS Climbing School on the Molas Creek Crags.  First Ses...
Rappelling at TMS Climbing School on the Molas Creek Crags. First Session, 1979
Credit: John Ely

Has this kid eaten Sherry Bread before?
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - May 24, 2013 - 04:50am PT
I recall the feeling the first day. After being welcomed and warmed in the Farny's camp upon arrival, the very next morning woken up before light, taken outside into the cold to do callisthenics, then a run up a steep mountain road to a high mountain lake with a cold mist rising up its edges, then a naked leap in, and out as fast as possible. At that moment one knew it was time to toughen up.

Back to camp, a hearty breakfast and then meeting the folks.

My favourite was the climbing camp. Not only did we get a taste of civilisation with a moment in Silverton, but the train ride to the middle of nowhere to set up camp for a few days along the Animas river. Camp was cosy--day trips out to the nearby cliffs to learn how to walk down steep rock slopes in big unbroken-in heavy mountain boots, then a bit of toproping. Loved it.

Then, didn't we head off for a 5 day hike from there?--off to climb the Wham RIdge, up MF pass (either a mother-f*#ker or my friend, depending on whether you were ascending or descending), then off to the circuit to climb a series of 14,000 foot peaks. Lovely adventures.
Les

Trad climber
Bahston
May 24, 2013 - 08:30am PT
Loving this thread. Very cool stuff.
John Ely

Trad climber
DC
May 24, 2013 - 10:46am PT
Topo of Fish and Owl from Google Maps
Topo of Fish and Owl from Google Maps
Credit: John Ely
Top of Fish Canyon - Junction with Rt 95 Farny Schematic circa 1979
Top of Fish Canyon - Junction with Rt 95 Farny Schematic circa 1979
Credit: John Ely
Top of Owl, Middle of Fish Canyon
Top of Owl, Middle of Fish Canyon
Credit: John Ely
Junction of Owl and Fish Canyons.  Dave Farny Schematic
Junction of Owl and Fish Canyons. Dave Farny Schematic
Credit: John Ely

Recalling Fish and Owl Canyons

Besides climbing school, one of my favorite adventures was the trip into Fish and Owl Canyons. These are in the Utah Canyonlands-Monument Valley area off route 95 west of Blanding on the road to Natural Bridges National Monument.

It was a two overnight trip, with one night in Owl, one in Fish, and a round trip down Owl to the confluence with Fish and then back up Fish to the road. One group on the way to Lake Powell would dump a load of kids and a guide off at the top of owl, and then pick them up three days later on the road where Fish emerges. The Lake Powell crowd would head down Fish after the meet up, and the other group would then drive off to Lake Powell, and pick up the second group at the top of Owl three days later. I mentioned in an earlier thread that that Dave used to make these great schematic maps. Well, I still had them, so I’ve posted them here. There appears to still be parking near the entrance to Owl Canyon. Distances, walking times, waterholes, are all marked on the map for a DIY trip!

I remember walking into Owl with a girlfriend one spring day a couple of years after the TMS experiences. My warning is that the first water hole in Owl is further than I remembered it, and though we got down there, it took us much longer to get back, and, as we were only planning a one day excursion, got nighted on the Owl Canyon rim since I was too stupid to have a ‘wonder headlamp’ with me. Slept warm by the fire, and found the car the next morning less than a quarter mile from our bivouac spot. To really enjoy this fantastic spot, plan to spend at least two nights down there, but make sure you don’t miss the water holes, and have a copy of Desert Solitaire with you, as it is a mandatory read.

Fantastic rock formations, swimming holes and several unexcavated Kivas, but you have to know where to find them. Two or three of the ones marked were pretty easy, but a sharp eye and a roving mind could find more.

You can see these with a good eye from the canyon floor if you look up...
You can see these with a good eye from the canyon floor if you look up and left walking down Fish past the 'tooth' rock.
Credit: John Ely
Geo.

climber
May 24, 2013 - 11:15am PT
No mention yet of rafting and kayaking down the Dolores River. That was a fun river, beautiful, and with absolutely no signs of civilization along the way. Camping tentless on the bluffs over the river showed the stars better than I've ever seen them. I believe that trip took several days. Not sure where we put in or took out. It must have been on that same trip that we visited the four corners and Mesa Verde.
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - May 24, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
Oh! Reminded of our first boat captaining story.

One trip, I think my second season there, on the Green Yampa river trip. We get to the giant rapid Warm Springs. The guides pull over and go off to scout the rapid. I think I was 15 at the time. My friend--I wish I can remember whom, I can still see the wry smile on his face when he suggested the plan --suggests we take the boat down ourselves and be heros, with all the guides and crew watching while they were out on the scout.

We untie our boat--an army surplus inflatable 15 footer--and stealthily paddle out into the current, me on one oar, our ringleader on the other, and a third boy at the bow (who had saw our plan and asked to come along). We are brave and ready to pound through the massive waves. The first waves spin us around, we pull on the oars without coordination and are heaved through the first big wave sideways, but we make it. Then the second big wave (Warm Springs was once published as one of the West's "10 Big Drops")-we hit it hard and at an angle, and my last memory before entering a turbulent underwater ride is our companion on the bow flying through the air above us prior to the boat getting flipped.

After pumping back up to the surface and catching my breath and getting pounded through the rest of the rapid and its tailwaves, I remember looking to shore--our image of being heroes watched by all instead was a sight of the scurrying guides rushing back to the boats to organise our rescue.

I can't recall the trouble we got into after that (I have a glimpse of Dave's fierce fatherly anger, but there were other times during my tenure at TMS where I was on the receiving end of that), but our shame was mixed with a secret and bonding pride of having gone for it.


gilly

climber
Mohawk Valley,Ca
May 28, 2013 - 11:49am PT
Greg Davis Rock School
Greg Davis Rock School
Credit: gilly
Kevin Dippy Ophir Wall
Kevin Dippy Ophir Wall
Credit: gilly

The back of my Kodak snaps say 1978 gents. A return visit to Fish and Owl canyon is going to happen! Thanks much John for that great piece. First pic is Animas canyon I believe.
John Ely

Trad climber
DC
May 30, 2013 - 04:48pm PT
I really can’t resist adding to this thread, even though it will be a while before I can dig up some more relevant pictures. I did make contact with Andy Atkeson, who sent the email on to his brother Nick. They both supposed to contribute to the thread eventually. Nick was in the van when it got driven off the road on ’78 by the guy who used to manage the camp store, whose name I can’t remember but who is in all the pictures. Nick was a camper in ’78. Andy pointed out that he is in the first pic from ’74, bottom row second from the right, just right of the above mentioned store manager, who is sitting between him and a kid next to John M.

George (aka Geo) Whiting, who has chimed in on this thread, has set up an alumni page on face book for TMS that is worth checking out:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Telluride-Mountaineering-School-Alumni/179202861162?fref=ts

And there is also a page dedicated to Dave’s 80th birthday celebration from last year, which has lots of great pics of Skyline Ranch, and hiking in the Wilsons, and the Farny’s & co. as they look now:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/320602494622395/

Gill has cool pics of TMS climbing school from the ‘Lower Grotto.’ The year John M. and Kevin and Dan were guides, we all top roped that corner right behind where Greg Davis is sitting. It solid 5.10 and Kevin was the only one who made it, which made him really happy that night while we were knocking back 3.2s around the campfire.

The second pic is also of the ‘Lower Grotto’ in the Animas, not around Ophir. You can actually tell because someone is climbing exactly the same overhang that Neal and Andy are depicted on in the Black and White images I posted above. Whoever it is, that is exactly who Kevin is looking at. (One of the things I remember best about Kevin and Dan was their love of ‘Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas’, one of the best sellers that came out of the Aspen literary establishment of their era. I appreciated George Hayduke’s beer drinking, but always thought that Hunter Thompson was just too extreme, hedonism without environmental consciousness, I guess.)

My Memory of ‘Canoeing’ Warmsprings Rapids

My first year was the same as Bob Beach’s, but first session, so I did get to do the Yampa/Green trip. I have a similar but less radical memory to Deucey. The year I was a camper, me and another guide schooler paddled the little 5-man raft as a twosome canoe style. Warm Springs wasn’t that full, but we totally focused on missing the gigantic hole smack in the middle of the rapids, the one which reputedly flipped at least one TMS pontoon. We missed that but then ended up going straight over a giant fall that is almost invisible in the lower right side downstream. We managed to stay in the boat and power through, but I think I literally peed my pants.


‘Walkabout’ and other Slick Rock Delicacies from the Lake Powell Excursions

I also wanted to offer a memory of the Motor Boat trips on Lake Powell. It always sounded hokey to me, also because I had a (justified) Sierra Club, Edward Abbey style prejudice against the Glen Canyon Dam. But these trips turned out to be fantastic once I discovered that you could spend the whole time leading the kids up these slick rock gullies chimney style. We of course did ‘Walkabout’, which was the standard route. And I even had a kid fall in ‘Hal’s Hole’, the overhanging 9’ deep gravel bottomed thing in the middle of Walkabout that could only be passed with a high speed banked turn, a dynamic move by any account. We had no rope, and for a while I had now clue how I was going to get the fellow out, but eventually just walked up Walkabout until we found a big long dead tree and carried it back so he could climb out. (Hal's Hole was named after Hal Kingsbury, who is pictured as a guide in '79 above, and fell in several years earlier as a camper.) We also did a Canyon that ended at a dried up waterfall which overhung the lake by about 50'. We found it by walking up on the slick rock and down in from the back, as it eventually spilled into the Lake. (It would have been possible to leap in and swim back to the boat, but I wouldn't let myself or any of the kids try it.) It was filled with huge dished out water-holes. We called it “Ohm Canyon” because we used to crowd as many people into one of these big dished out holes and do the Hindi meditation chant. Mongo Anderson also found a really 4th-5th class one he called “Kaopectate” or “KO” Canyon because it just got harder and harder and was filled with water below which was mildly stagnant, ending wherever you just gave up chimneying with the thought that if you slid into the thing below, you would probably never get back out, with or without a stool loosener. He told us how to find it, and our group was one of several that did.

Does anyone remember how to find ‘Walkabout Canyon’? As I recall, it had two entrances, and was a round trip, and the 'start' was a cleft in the cliff side right on the water that you had to swim to, after mooring the boat several hundred yards away near the other end of the Walkabout perambulation.
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - May 30, 2013 - 05:00pm PT
Hey John-

I spent a lot of time at Lake Powell in small motorboats since the TMS days (when I was living in Flagstaff), and went back to Walkabout several times (I also went through Fish/Owl again a few times, though now that is a very popular route featured in all the guidebooks, and there are much better "secret" canyons in the same area). Unfortunately, for the previous 5 years or so when I lived in Flag, it was impossible to get into Walkabout because the water level of Lake Powell was so low--the bottom 40' of the canyon was a unconsolidated mush (because it had been waterlogged for years, then the lake drained) and unclimbable. Not sure of current Lake Powell water levels, or if the rock might have dried out--the lower water levels of Lake Powell is a mess--it's terrible environmental devastation at the lake level--fortunately for most tourists who never get out of their houseboat it doesn't matter...

I have annotated maps somewhere... I believe it's called Annie's Canyon on the maps...

It's been so busy with my high school teaching lately (have to run off to work now, in fact), but I do want to post more memories sometime...
Geo.

climber
Jul 1, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
I recently received a flyer from a summer camp in Maine I attended many years ago, with one page written by Henry Heyburn Jr. He is the assistant director of Chewonki Camp for Boys, a wonderful camp and part of a fantastic, progressive organization, Chewonki. Getting to the point, Henry was a camper and guide at TMS, so you may know him.

The article is mostly about TMS. Henry remembers Dave Farny saying: "For the next 5 weeks we're going to live like desperadoes." I think there was an element of that when I was there. I remember coming into Silverton on the back of the truck after a week or so away from the showers and feeling a bit like that.

Henry also mentions Terry and Renny Russell's book "On the Loose" which I don't recall from my year.

A photo shows Henry with Lizard Head Peak in the background.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jul 1, 2013 - 12:54pm PT
I spent part of one summer there with Lynn Hill around 1980. Royal Robbins told me there was a climb called Lankeys, a perfect, overhanging splitter lightning bolt crack about 200 feet long, up an overhanging glazed wall, that if we could free it, would be one of the greateset cracks in the US. His exactl words. That route was "Ophir Broke," I think rated 5.12d these days and it was a beauty.

We did some other routes on the main wall - one, called Dr. Giznmo, was pretty good - and a bunch of short stuff in the Cracked Canyon like Reptilicus and Black Magic. Good times. Wish I had some photos but I didn't have a camera back then. I've never heard of any first hand account of someone climbing Ophir Broke but it must be routine these days. That was a great route and tricky on hexes.

JL
JQS

Mountain climber
Birmingham, Alabama
Jul 12, 2013 - 12:29am PT
Awesome pictures! I was 8th from the right from the photo in '77, smiling on the back row. Dippy was our guide that summer. We had an incredible time and the memories I have are some of the best in my life -- watching the Eiger Sanction the first night we were there (it scared me to death), that first morning run and jumping into that freezing lake, the comfort of returning to Base Camp after hiking along the Continental Divide and eating too much Sherry Bread, Lake Powell and our discussions about blowing the dam and saving the Colorado River, camping in an abandoned miner's cabin when a mouse got in Dippy's hair -- all Incredible. i would not be who I am now but for that summer. I wonder if you can email the Group photo from '77? John Somerville
Mrs. Tea

climber
clio, ca
Aug 20, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
Any other Alum out there? Last call for August,last session.
Peter Kuyk

Mountain climber
Chatham, NJ
Mar 22, 2014 - 09:53pm PT
Hi John,
The Photo is actually 1978. Believe it or not I still have the construction paper folder with the names and addresses, recipes and the photo. I would be happy to scan and send it to you.
Love the pictures and memories. I still stay in touch with Ted Lesher, and my brother in law is Rob White (1974?), and recently saw his brother Jeff who was a guide and went on to climb almost full time out of the Berkley CA area.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Mar 22, 2014 - 10:07pm PT
Thanks for sharing your reminiscences everybody!

Largomon . . . you should come visit your routes.
Griebvinski

Mountain climber
Green Cove Springs, Florida
Apr 21, 2014 - 08:32am PT
I was a graduate of Telluride Mountaineering School in the late 70s... However I do not remember which year 77,or 78,???. I was going through boxes in the attic and came across my Telluride Mountaineering School graduating class picture (See attached). In the picture, I am in the back row 4th person starting from the right side going left. If you are in this Picture, please let me known which year it was. I took my Telluride experience to the next level. In 1981 I became the Ropes Course and Rock climbing Director at Echo Hill Outdoor School in Maryland for two years and then 'Air and Sea' rescue in the Navy for 6 years. I would not have had unique experiences if not for Telluride Mountaineering School
Telluride Mountaineering School, which year 77,or 78,???.
Telluride Mountaineering School, which year 77,or 78,???.
Credit: Griebvinski
.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Apr 21, 2014 - 10:49am PT
Thanks Griebvinski . . . tell us some stories!
John Ely

Trad climber
DC
Apr 21, 2014 - 12:05pm PT
Yeh, thanks from me too...fun to keep the thread alive.

Here's my guess on the date. John M, aka Deucie, went to TMS twice. I'm guessing this is the second time. He's the the first one, the blonde, standing in the second row down and right from Greg Davis in the beard. When I met John in the fall of '76, he'd been there twice already, in '74 & '76. I went '77 and John and I visited just for climbing school in '78 and worked as guides '79. The '74 pic is above, so I'm guessing this is '76?

Dave Farny, as I recall, was a USAF vet. There were pictures of a B-47 taking off in one of his brochures for TMS, and I think the caption said he was in the depicted plane as the pilot. This SKI Mag profile also notes in service record....

Profile of Dave and his Little Annie Ski Project in Aspen.
Profile of Dave and his Little Annie Ski Project in Aspen.
Credit: John Ely


Do tell a story or two!
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