Rotten Log


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Social climber
So Cal
Aug 12, 2008 - 09:14pm PT
I could'da swore I had my camera along on that one, but I never have found the negs. The camera may have been in the pack at that point anyway.
(circa 72-74)

The exposure, (it was over a bomb bay chasam that isn't adequately represented in the photos),

That it was called "Rotten" decades before on the FA,

And , that it rocked back and forth lateraly as well as flexing,

Well, that probably explains the paupacity of photos.

Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Aug 12, 2008 - 10:12pm PT
from 50 Classic Climbs, photo by Steve Roper


Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Aug 12, 2008 - 10:44pm PT
In early summer, 1983, I'd recently done the Arches, complete with the Log. And that was a great pitch. The Log was polished with human grease, solid enough, as such things go, and the perfect passage over that gap.

A week or two later, in the Camp 4 parking lot, there was a vile braggart, loudly boasting that he'd bounced on the log until it cracked, and so, he trundled it.

I was flabbergasted, both at his act, and his temerity to come forth publicly, as if he'd provided some sort of "community service". He was claiming the Log was a hazard to navigation, or some such rubbish, and it was better that he'd finally gotten rid of it.

I didn't get his name. And only just barely remember his face, here, 25 years later. Had I been bigger, and of a Fight Club mindset, I might have set his mind straight on the issue.

But, I meekly wandered out of earshot of his demented boasting, thinking, "What sort of schnitthead would do such a thing, here of all places????"

To this day, I count myself as one of the Lucky Ones: those who were able to experience one of Yosemite's more colorful pitches before it was destroyed in an apparent fit of climber hubris by an arrogant/selfish mental case.

If there is a God, that man is still in Patton State Hospital, where he can do no more harm to society.

EDIT: I may have heard the Braggart in the fall of '83, when I was back in the Valley. I'm sure it was that year, though.

ANOTHER EDIT: As I recall, the position of the Log was such that it was free from water flow (rot) and mostly out of UV-damaging sunlight. It was positioned perfectly for a long, long life, as evidenced by its usefulness for about fifty years.

It was just under one foot in diameter, slender to the eye, but capable of carrying a man across. But, only if he didn't excite vibrations in it.

I once posted on about wanting to bring down a tree trunk from the summit to replace it. Which was ludicrous, given that the original Log was locked in at its base by its root system. How're you gonna replicate that? Bolts?
Double D

Aug 12, 2008 - 11:04pm PT
That thing was way scary...
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Aug 12, 2008 - 11:23pm PT
Tell me about it, Dave. I only climbed that thing twice and both times I figured the odds of sustaining life itself in the low double digits.

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Aug 12, 2008 - 11:32pm PT
That thing was way scary...

I thought the Log was WAY cool!

Then, again, I used to wrestle as a helium-weight in high school.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 12, 2008 - 11:33pm PT
Dave Schultz is the one that trundled it.I remember it being 1986. People were upset at the time, including myself, some said he stole the glory away from the person that would have been on it when it cut loose naturally.

The Roper photo from Fifty Classic climbs is none other than Ricardo Cassin. I have the original on my desk and will ask Steve if I can post it.


Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Aug 12, 2008 - 11:44pm PT
If memory serves, I believe someone brought Steck a small piece of the log and he has it in his living room.

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Aug 13, 2008 - 12:03am PT
I remember it being 1986

I'm quite sure it was 1983. Or at least, that was when I heard That Person bragging about trundling the Rotten Log.

He may have been lying, though, perhaps trying to pick a fight in the parking lot.

That wouldn't have been the first time a C4 denizen said something aberrant, at odds with reality.

Aug 13, 2008 - 12:31am PT
I also heard thru the grapevine that Dave S. trundled it. He probably saved somebody a bad fall. It was 1983, I think. Definitely gone in 1984.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 13, 2008 - 12:32am PT
Back in the day....Boot Flake and the Rotten Log were Valley features that always warranted a checkup every Spring. At least it never took anybody out when it went. Made the original 5.6 route possible since the bypass is harder.
Fish Finder

Social climber
Aug 13, 2008 - 12:44am PT
hi ken,

somehow i was sure this thread was going to have a picture of you on the john from last years face lift.

best gregg


Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Aug 13, 2008 - 01:53am PT
I'm thinking I should go trundle Boot Flake with a packful of hydraulic jacks. Yeah. Go up as soon as the weather turns bad. Rap in under cover of cloud, and do it.

And then?

People will venerate me for "saving someone from a bad fall".

There should be a special pillory, near the Chapel, with Dave Schultz' name engraved on it, for all time.

Theft of experience isn't in the Law Books, but is a crime, nonetheless.

Aug 13, 2008 - 02:20am PT

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Aug 13, 2008 - 09:06am PT
Is that Dave S on the log there, OUCH!?

Aug 13, 2008 - 09:40am PT
Sorry Ken, I would concur with 1983, late in the season. RA was our first long Valley climb. We were stoked to do the "Rotten Log" traverse. In C4 we found out(B4ST)that it was gone. The variation had only been done a handful of times, as there was still a lot of gardening to do. I was surprised at how the limb went from bomber to leper by 1987. A short period of time for a healthy appearing specimen. We splurged on Degnan sandwiches and stopped to eat them just before the exit traverse. Big mistake, the clouds ambushed us from the North, the rain started. The easy friction pitch became very exciting, at least the view was good. Lesson learned, it isn't over till you top out.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 13, 2008 - 11:00am PT
Too freakin' funny Ouch!

The pitch into the jungle is often the adventure crux of the route. I remember sliding around on shifting piles of sloppy munge to get across there the first time up long ago. Didn't want to swing rap over and lose the free ascent...such as it was!

Aug 13, 2008 - 01:33pm PT
One more shot I dug up of the start of the log.

Aug 13, 2008 - 02:03pm PT
No, Steve. That's not Dave. That is the famous old Camp 4 bearhunter, Roger Breedlove, who is gonna have me whacked one of these days.:)

Aug 13, 2008 - 02:32pm PT
How many people here will admit to a forced bivouac on the Royal Aches? I will. One of our party of three took about 3 hours to coax across the log, yet still refused to bail. It was one of those climbing shouting fests that I'm sure gave the Ahwahnee guest pause. I lead the last skitter pitch in the dark.

Good god I can't believe I was ever that young once.
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