Buttermilk Bouldering in the 80's?

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klinefelter

Boulder climber
Bishop, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 6, 2006 - 04:33pm PT
Just wondering what some of the ol' timers remember about this era of climbing in the 'Milks. What were some of the testpieces and who was climbing them? Stories behind the classics: High Plains Drifter, Change of Heart, Pope's Prow, and others?

Also, does anyone recall the Lidja Boulders or other areas outside the main boulders?

The place is a bit of a zoo now, but those quiet times back in the day are a bit fuzzy in terms of history, so see if you can squeeze some memories from your LSD/THC addled minds. Pics are welcomed and encouraged.
G_Gnome

Social climber
Tendonitis City
Jul 6, 2006 - 05:07pm PT
Mr. Dale owned everything and everone.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Jul 6, 2006 - 05:21pm PT
I remember going skiing and realizing that the Barlett/Allen guidebook I owned had full on beta for a boulderfield full of granite orbs. We stopped on the way back to So Cal.

I'm not an old timer by any means, but there was ABSOLUTELY NO ONE THERE in the 80s.

Green wall was a testpiece of foot trickery.
The overhangs were stout back then, even on big jugs. Overhanging was new to me having grown up climbing-wise in J-tree slab country. But the rock texture was like an old friend. Smoother than Jumbo.

Moving over stone was the key. Doug's video narrative of multiple techniques and how to climb naked got me to first thinking about the place. I kept looking for the shoe demo that never appeared. Just lizards and sand landings before there were crash pads known to us.

Not long after that I started looking for Deadman's. Damn video with Robinson jumping out at the summit sign totally fooled me, but at least I found the hand traverse he almost fell off of.

Later in the 90s we would stop at Aeolian Buttes to do the one problem we could.

It was vista-mania. Killer boulders, to chill with a cold beer, and enjoy looking at the Range of Light. True meditation thru movement.

ps- i have pics of me in those 80s work out pants at Buttermilks. lemme see if I can find them. complete with 'rock crop' with short hair. BUAhahahahah
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Jul 6, 2006 - 05:29pm PT
*wink*
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Jul 6, 2006 - 07:43pm PT
I was there, bouldered the place too much, had all the beta, everything dialed in, then I took some LSD/THC and now I can't remeber a thing! Dale had/has the place wired. Them were the "good ol'days", but the 70's was EVEN better. Bachar....you MUST have some info/stories, give it up baby!
Peace
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Jul 6, 2006 - 08:51pm PT
Here's a few climbing and bouldering shots.












Late '70's, early '80's. I have plenty more but, a little harder to find.

Ken
klinefelter

Boulder climber
Bishop, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 6, 2006 - 09:01pm PT
oh man, these are classic! Bard looks like a 70's Pr0n star.

Who's on the Ironman? Post more if you got 'em.

Thanks.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Jul 6, 2006 - 09:13pm PT
That would be Banny Root.

I will have to look through my slides and scan some more. It won't be until after the weekend.

Ken
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jul 6, 2006 - 10:13pm PT
I onsighted ironman T in the early Fireboat days; no pads, no ass worshipers and a buzzworm in the bush on the left, that is no longer there.

Probably no vitamin L, no doubt vitamin m.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jul 6, 2006 - 10:50pm PT
Neither, last time I was there.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 6, 2006 - 11:07pm PT
Nice goin' Mr Chicken Skinner!
Banny Root, or the "Bantam Rooster" as we called him.

Did Smokestack and Pebbles 'N Bam Bam up on the Wheeler Crest with Banny.
Just saw him out at the JTree Geritol Reunion.

But I digress.
Here's Scott Burke, 'Milkin' It"




Circa Winter '83/'84
klinefelter

Boulder climber
Bishop, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 7, 2006 - 12:15am PT
Burke looking quite vogue modeling the latest in red-neck chic. Nice.

Now is that chalk on his holds or...
Blitzo

Social climber
Earth
Jul 7, 2006 - 12:57am PT
Bouldering at the Buttermilks in the 70s and 80s was a Trip!
We used to have a lot of birthday parties there, in case you wonder why the Birthday boulders are called what they are.
We would consume a lot of beer and other things and boulder until we couldn't move.
One would rarely see another person other than those that they were with.
I did go bouldering there one day last year and I was the only one there. Maybe it was because it was 6am.
Here's a few photos. I have lots more somewhere.
Sorry that all the problems are easy. Also sorry for the lack of crash pads and spotters.

Peabody Boulders and Mt Tom.









Descending Grandma Peabody.


Grant Hiskes stayed there for a month once. He says he ate a lot of rattlesnakes.

Hey, where's the fence?

Mr Large, you must have a "large" collection of photos. Post up!
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jul 7, 2006 - 01:12pm PT
the 'milks in the 70's were pretty exotic to us socal youngsters.

the trip i recall most fondly: we piled a bunch of the scumbags into off white's mom's huge, leather-upholstered, pimped-out maroon-and-white 1973 cadillac for a trip to the 'milks in the spring of '77. we'd boulder all day, smoke huge loads, then soak at hot creek all night. pretty good times for a bunch of 19 year olds. having the caddy really made the trip. we'd roll up and down 395 through bishop thinking we were made men. watusi was on that trip, pretty sure i recall he flashed ironman. off white was the only guy in our crew with a camera, he might have some slides from that trip. you out there, doug? post up.
Richard Large

climber
where you least expect
Jul 7, 2006 - 02:50pm PT
I DO have a Large collection. Trouble is they are all old 35mm slides that I would have to cherry pick and scan. I may get around to it in 2015 or so.

Blitzo, remember the time you, Charlene and I camped at the Milks and were attacked by hoards of scorpions??
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Jul 8, 2006 - 02:11pm PT
"I hate snakes"
---Indiana Jones

My most intense encounters with rattlesnakes have been around the Buttermilk Boulders region. The split-boulder that Galen Rowell made so famous in his image for his book "Mountain Light" that is a sub-set of boulders to the North of the Buttermilks is a den of snakes. A friend of mine Randy O'Connell and I, were climbing and exploring the boulders in that area (early '90s), having just done a climb I quickly rapped-off into an alcove with no escape but one way, and as soon as I touched down a rattler went-off right behind me about 4 feet away. I immediately turned around and jumped over the coiled rattler out of shear fear and panic. I don't think I have ever spun-around so fast and jumped so high. Immediate adrenaline. Then just having jumped over that coiled rattler, a second rattler was scammpering away into the great basin sage but wasn't coiled and without stopping I jumped over that snake too. In a far away safe clearing I yelled at Randy and told him what just happened. Needless to say he didn't come down the same way.

Another encounter, I was hiking up to the "The Bib" paragliding launch at the base of Mt. Tom, to fly. And I had my head down, sweating like a pig and hiking with my wing on my back on the old mining road, I nearly stepped on a startled rattler that was just as paniced as I was, trying to move away from me and coil to strike at the same time. We both paniced and ran away from one another. After my heart recovered, I continued to hike to the launch but sang songs and clapped my hands all the way to the top. I was letting every beast of the field know I was coming. I now have an anklet of cow bells I carry in my pack as a result.

Seems like the area has more than enough of it's share of rattlesnakes.

Did I say I hate snakes?
Rankin

climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 8, 2006 - 08:56pm PT
Funny thing about the Buttermilks these days is that there's not many people climbing there. This spring and early summer have been the best months of weather I've seen there in six years. Many afternoons with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Afternoon clouds and a nice breeze. I love it.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jul 8, 2006 - 09:55pm PT
I lived in Round Valley for a year in 1986 and used to ride my bike to the buttermilks every day. I rarely saw anyone there but Dale or Bobbie or Mimi-dude, and if they went I usually rode with them.

I never heard a single name of a problem except the Transporter Room. It was great. I damn near had the place all to myself. It was totally deserted. Occasionally I would run into someone. Very rarely.

Funny thing was, from the front porch of the house we could see the top of the gorge and never had a clue about it or the bouldering in the table lands. We would climb along the river road, but had no idea of all the cool hidden stuff.

Never ran into a snake.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jul 8, 2006 - 10:13pm PT
speaking of mimi dude, i had dinner with her and her significant other steve grossman and off white in olympia not long ago. she's living in seattle with grossman and doing quite well. the wierd thing is we'd been eating and drinking for a good 45 minutes before the light bulb switched on and i realized that this was the same "mimi" that i'd bump into in the valley and josh and woodson. small world......
Blitzo

Social climber
Earth
Jul 9, 2006 - 12:25am PT
I love snakes! I have only seen one at the milks though. He was beautiful!

Yes, Mr. Large, I remember the night of the scorpions. That was creepy! That one that was pinching Charleen's ear. Then the look of horror on her face when I shined the light on it! The way you and I started dancing when I shined the light down at our feet and saw hundreds of them! Very creepy, but most memorable. We never camped at that spot again.

Remember that rattlesnake that we were playing with last year at the Monastery? He was cool! I've never seen one act like that before.

I look for rattlesnakes down here in Joshua Tree all the time, but rarely find any and haven't gotten any good photos of them.

I haven't seen any scorpions either, but something bit or stung me while sleeping. The bite keeps oozing and the skin around it is dying and peeling off. It didn't make me sick though. I wonder what it was.
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