Where is PTPP?


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right here, right now
Jul 16, 2006 - 03:37pm PT
Yes Pete, this could get good.
Quite a can of worms perhaps.
The WOS ordeal was a nasty spectacle indeed.

No I don't feel any reproach from you per se; If I felt squirrely about it I wouldn't have posted my recollection.

The SAR meeting I spoke of was not super well attended, not in the sense of the overall outrage at large; maybe 8-9 of us. It was something Dill put together which was a good thing and those of us on the site on that particular day went in to check it out. I wouldn't say that we comprised a core group of well organized antagonists; we were surely opposed to Richard and Mark's effort via the prevalent ideological scuttle of their tactics. This was a broad community based denial of their efforts, largely based on some reports of excessive bolt ladders/drilling tactics- how that got started I can't say.

I am interested in hearing your findings of the route itself, not that I would be greatly surprised to know that it has significant merit. Your report would probably due more justice to the scenario and better help to vindicate Richard & Mark than any retroactive hunt concerning the individual perpetrators of said inquisition. I was definitely in the Valley when nasty things were going on, but that wasn't my bag, so I can't comment on damaging activities.

Your specific questions are good data points to try to pin down, but you'd need to get that from someone more involved and invested in the reproach. Just who is posting from that era who might effectively support or report on the stance against WOS, we'll have to wait for that - it is out there.

This isn't really the kind of relevant reportage you are looking for, but anecdotally I'll say the dust up had some bizarre and strange peripheral consequences:
A bit later I was involved in putting up some free routes in the Needles and I contacted Ed Leeper for some hangers and button heads, he said he'd recieved a call from somebody blaming him for supplying the bolts for WOS, so he was withdrawing himself as a direct supplier of bolts for the time.

Various bolt wars raged for more than a decade and I saw most of it as building a detrimental profile for climber's interests at large.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jul 16, 2006 - 09:16pm PT
That's frickin' incredible! Ed Leeper stopped supplying bolts because of Wings of Steel fallout?!

Like I say, the more I dig, the more amazing the whole story becomes! Thanks, Tarbuster. Any other tidbits you could share would be greatly appreciated.

What I found is very simple - an extremely hard and runout hooking route that was way too difficult and scary for me, put up by two guys who surfacially seemed pretty ordinary, but who rose to a level so far ahead of their time that nobody could believe they accomplished something good, therefore they must have accomplished something bad.

Some of you here have been libelled on the internet, and know how that feels. I'm one of them. A few years ago a single disturbed individual used no fewer than nine fake user names to perpetuate lies about me. One "person" wrote something, then the "others" backed up the lie. While it appeared to have some veracity, to me the numbers didn't add up. There were arithmetic inconsistencies I couldn't put my finger on. It was like too many detractor fish in too small a pool, and wasn't representative of the real world. Eventually the hoax was exposed, and the perpetrator was exorcised. I can laugh about it now, but at the time it disturbed me a bit.

A far more sinister thing has happened to Richard and Mark for the last twenty-five years. You can't appreciate the depths of their hurt - these guys really got lambasted unfairly! And I just don't get why! It was truly insane! Not only did magazine editors refuse to publish their letters and explanations, but Mark and Richard were physically threatened to the point where Richard actually made some underworld contacts in a bike gang to seek out protection! I sh*t you knott! Randy, Tom and I nearly pissed ourselves laughing when he told us this story! [It worked, incidentally.....]

One thing I also need to do is to read through the 400-odd posts here on McTopo to see some of the things that others have written. Remember, I was one of the unbelievers until Richard and Mark started writing here. I have a quote from Steve Grossman that will make you shake your heads in disbelief, too.

But I'll close this post with the quote from the Reid guidebook:

"Note: This route contains many rivets"

right here, right now
Jul 16, 2006 - 09:32pm PT
This type of topic is typically not where I like to put my energies.

My intent is to share the positive aspects of climbing with those who play here. It's too bad those guys got so torched, whatever the facts.

Hey Pete, why don't you ring me up?
check your email.

Trad climber
Jul 17, 2006 - 10:41am PT
Hey, Interesting PTPP. So did you climb WoS? What did you find?

right here, right now
Jul 17, 2006 - 11:02am PT
Here's some food for thought:
(I am still open to a conversation if you like).

Itís not that incredible that Leeper stopped selling bolts, because the perception of bolts being involved in this whole thing was quite widespread.
And for the record, because this is how things get spun out of proportion, I wouldnít say that he stopped selling bolts in total. He told me on the phone, that he would not sell them directly to me, based on his presumption that the quantity I asked for indicated that Iíd be overbolting. Never mind the legacy of routes at Suicide using purely bolts for protection; Leeper heard from me, that Iíd be using, on 3+ full pitch routes, 2 bolts for belays and between 3 to 5 bolts per pitch. He surmised that to be excessive and decided that a route that unnatural must be forced. This was directly based on his feelings about calls made to him concerning WOS. Oh well, so it goes I thought.

The point is that there was fallout from this thing, not the least of which was the experience Richard and Mark suffered. The interesting thing is, you might say that the community at large brought it on themselves (ourselves) per things like Leepers stance, if we in fact spun this whole thing up out of fabrication. Maybe so; I canít know that for myself. This is where youíd have to read those 400 posts on the other threads, and really dig around historically to sort it out. I think that is not so easy to do, but it isnít impossible.

Which brings me to my next point.
As you try to vindicate those guys, which as I said is probably best done by climbing their route, in itís entirety, youíll find that it isnít so easy to get to the bottom of things in a complete factual sense in regards to what people said and did at the time of the first ascent of WOS. So then this thing becomes potentially a fulcrum for those whoíve felt ďoutedĒ in one way or another by Valley locals or whoever, to project that angst onto this historical event and leverage it to vent that feeling. Fine, but the risk is that the pendulum then swings wildly the other way and then you have a bunch of angry hearsay and finger pointing toward the Valley community of the 80ís.

Well, this has happened before, back when Kim Carrigan climbed Americaís Cup on the Cookie and that whole hullabaloo about the insular and xenophobic nature of quite a few Valley locals. I recall Mark Chapman was quite disappointed that our legacy had been spun down that low, because he relished the time when the Europeans came and shared in the exploits and he was able to encourage international participation. I climbed with Carrigan before all of that and had a great time with him, and thatís how I remember him. If people feel pushed into a corner, they will often push back, yes -no surprise.

I personally had no great stake in the vitriol aimed at Richard and Mark, so my recollection of that SAR meeting is fleeting at best. They probably remember it well. I related the SAR meeting as a neutral anecdote; with a nod to the nuttiness and apparent or potential hypocrisy of the whole dust up and a report of the WOS teamís willingness to meet with SAR and to do so in a well behaved manner. They may as well have initiated the meeting, I do not recall. Vaguely, I took away a sense of no real factual data points emerging from that, just silly posturing and at that point in that room, unverifiable reportage; certainly nothing concrete which I hold now in my mind, so far down the pike. I vaguely recall that they started out doing something funky, whether drilling or bolting excessively, then caught the gist of the community disapproval and kicked into the gear which you described and which they have reported, meaning the repeated big falls from long stretches of hook placements. Good luck sorting it all out and donít take that as any kind of factual support of anyoneís truth; maybe itís there, maybe it isnít. Just call bs on whatever you can, if you can really dig it all back up.

I read that whole Skinner bolting angst thread and Iím just not that incensed by all of it anymore and have not been for decades. I will say that the issue of whether or not Skinner, Richard, or Mark may or may not be nice guys does not have anything to do with accepted practices. Your point Pete is that you feel people shouldnít be unfairly accused of acting poorly by some mob faction. Well that is certainly a fair stance.

Iíve posted this here on this thread, because my responses are only relevant to what I have briefly encountered here with you, Nefarius, and darod, so Iím tossing some thoughts to address this context directly. The other WOS threads are a study in themselves and I am not versed on the context, havenít read them well enough that I would post there.

I also knew Rob Slater quite well and would love to be able to ask him about his experience on the route, but he is gone. We would all do well to get along and enjoy ourselves before we too are gone.

Roy McClenahan
Ben Rumsen

Social climber
No Name City ( and it sure ain't pretty )
Jul 17, 2006 - 12:56pm PT
I was also in and out of the Valley when that route went up, but never hanging out in C4 ( then or now). I can only offer this - back in those days we all threw our cans and poop bags off walls and picked up the cans and other trash at the end of our wall climb. Those two were on WOS for so long, I seen to recall that a lot of the outrage was over the excessive amounts of trash and sh#t at the base. An unfortunate side effect of the wall practices of those days. I think there was more anger over the trash dump at the base than how and what they were climbing.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jul 17, 2006 - 01:23pm PT
Thanks for sharing Roy and Ben. Yes, Mark and Richard told me they had left quite a heap of trash at the base, as was the custom of the day. 39 days' worth of poop bags would leave quite a pile, wouldn't they? It's too bad nobody offered to clean up for them while they were up there on the wall.

One of the allegations I remember from the posts here was that they left a streak of urine and feces running down the slab. They didn't, because they pitched the stuff off. Mark told me years later he was walking in the woods near the base and found one of their pee bottles that somehow didn't explode on contact!

One thing that continues to puzzle me is the over-bolting allegation. See, the first two pitches were chopped after the perpetrators jugged Mark and Richard's ropes. I think it was this act - plus the threats of physical violence - that made Richard and Mark decide to get on the wall and stay up there where nobody could "get" them.

At any rate, the chopped bolts and rivets on the first two pitches were replaced exactly as they were. You can see the chopped rivet right next to the replaced one. They used the bolt hangers to hide the chopped bolt holes, however. The guys who went up and chopped the bolts had to know how few there actually were! The first pitch is quite long indeed, perhaps 150' or more, and there are [I recall hopefully correctly] only a couple rivets and four or five bolts over its entire length, making for huge, scary and dangerous runouts. Blow it while leading this pitch, which you are certain to do because the hook placements are microscopic and insecure, and you will fall long and hard and quite possibly wreck your ankles on some of the small ledges you are certain to hit!

So how could somebody chop this pitch, and say there were too many bolts? It's crazy sick runout! Either they did it in the dark while drunk and didn't realize how serious and runout it was, or else they intentionally misrepresented the facts.

It's not overbolted, it's way hard and runout, it's way too hard for me! I'm not prepared to take the serious long falls that the second ascent of this route will require. It's my belief that the second ascent of this route will require the climber to actually fall farther than he climbs! It might take more than three fifty-foot falls to figure out how to get up a hundred-fifty-foot pitch! [I really *really* hope Ammon goes for it - I'll be there rooting for him.]

This is how far Mark and Richard were falling when they were putting the route up! They didn't know it wasn't customary to continually take big whippers when putting up first ascents!

Mantra from back in the day:

"A thousand bolts to Horse Chute!"

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Jul 17, 2006 - 01:25pm PT
Thanks for the responses here, guys. It's all definitely helpful.

I've obviously researched this quite a bit too, as well as spoken to both Richard and Mark, at length, for weeks now. Both online and off. I've also spoken to some other respected climbers from the time, as well as respected climbers from now who have some knowledge of the route and events that took place. Also, not forgetting that I was a part of the SA team, as long as it lasted, with Pete and Tom.

In light of all of this, I guess the one thing I'd point out is that Leeper's philosophy of overbolting doesn't seem consistent with "hard" routes of the day, on El Cap, and the ethics practiced there. I find it odd that the things Mark and Richard were accused of were evident, in larger proportions, on these "harder" routes. It seems to me that this was more the community's stance than "Leeper's stance". Maybe Leeper was simply defending his business. Makes sense. The guy has to sell hooks to someone, right? The depth and breadth of this thing was pretty large, encompassing the whole climbing community. The loudest voices being some largely respected names. Names most climbers looked up to and listened to. I think there's plenty of evidence showing their influence, which was definitely at work here. There's certainly evidence of the influence they, themselves, felt they had over this.

Incidentally, in light of all of the above, I'd also be interested in anything that anyone would care to contribute to getting to the bottom of things. I think it will be interesting to see the different takes on all of this when everyone's TRs come out.



Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Jul 17, 2006 - 01:36pm PT

That is interesting, in deed. And, Pete's right. 39 days worth of crap and trash! Wow! I can see that being an issue. I wonder, and I'll check, if maybe Mark and Richard *did* have someone who was supposed to help with this cleanup, while they were on the route. They did have a person who was supposed to keep in radio contact with them and help with some other things, while they were on the route, who flaked on them.

I really want to thank everyone for taking the time to post and answer questions Pete and myslef pose and for keeping the dialogue going on this. More than anything, for being open. The whole thing is, as Pete stated, interesting, for sure.

On a side note, Ben... Guess we didn't earn that Charles Mitchell, eh? Bummer. Next time. =)
Ben Rumsen

Social climber
No Name City ( and it sure ain't pretty )
Jul 17, 2006 - 01:42pm PT
" On a side note, Ben... Guess we didn't earn that Charles Mitchell, eh? Bummer. Next time. =) " -

That's ok. If you guys are in the Valley in September I'll bring the '97 with me and we'll drink it!!

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Jul 17, 2006 - 03:10pm PT
Interesting post, Tar.

Nothing new I guess. It took a while for Burton and Sutton to be "in the in" from what I've heard. Weren't they a couple of "outsidaz", too?

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Jul 17, 2006 - 03:20pm PT
Ben -- I can be to the ditch in a hour and a half, any day... At 18 nights on a route, I think Pete and Tom are lookin' to set up reseidence there, however! So September could probably work!

Housekeeping gathering happening in Sept?
Ben Rumsen

Social climber
No Name City ( and it sure ain't pretty )
Jul 17, 2006 - 03:21pm PT
You guessed right - email me!!

right here, right now
Jul 17, 2006 - 04:07pm PT
Burton and Sutton waltzing in and doing the Magic Mushroom?
I knew it shook things up a bit.
That was before my time.

I gotta think that was light years different from this historical fiasco; not that you are saying it was really similar. In fact the Mushroom and Burton and Sutton in general make me smile, while this Wings of Steel experience is clearly a mess for all involved and as well for those watching. And I mean the whole thing, I'm not making a jab at the FA guys.

Good Luck with this thing all!
Tarbuster Out.

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Jul 18, 2006 - 02:37pm PT
Helpin' nature out bump.

Odd that as the actual facts come out this topic gets a little more quiet. Almost like folks want it forgotten or something, before the truth comes out. I, personally, think it's very interesting...

East Coast US
Jul 18, 2006 - 04:09pm PT
Odd that as the actual facts come out this topic gets a little more quiet. Almost like folks want it forgotten or something, before the truth comes out. I, personally, think it's very interesting...

I noticed that too. But who wants to be the doofus who posts up some really stupid stuff in the midst of a rather sensitive subject and potentially historic presentation of related facts?

That would be me.

I'm checking back here all the time to see what PTPP has to convey in regards to WoS. And I'm also looking forward to someone stepping up and doing WoS after all of these years.

Who was on Rob Slater's team that got five or six pitches up in the 1980's? Are any of those guys still around? I'd like to hear from them, too. I'd also like to hear from 'Mr. Poop on Command' [Mr. PoC] because I'd like to ask him [her?] some questions.


Monument Manor
Jul 18, 2006 - 04:45pm PT
I'm interested in Petes' new approach to aid climbing...think he called it "headpoint aid". More grist for the mill....heard that there was some "ahem" route erasure going on after the FA ????

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Jul 18, 2006 - 05:33pm PT

I'm also waiting for Pete's report, and the only reason why I don't post on this topic anymore, is because it doesn't belong here, period.

Pete will start the appropiate topic when he gets his sh#t together, i'm sure.


Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Jul 18, 2006 - 05:37pm PT
There was certainly route erasure going on after the FA. A few SAMs, as I think locker called it in another thread (Self Appointed Moderators), chopped the first 2 pitches of the route at night and shat on the ropes and gear. Now the fact that they couldn't, even in the dark, no matter how drunk they were, separate reality from their ego trip enough to figure out that the route wasn't/isn't overbolted is interesting, as this was certainly the so-called main reason for the smear campaign to have begun.

Maybe it had more to do with Nipsey's (see PTPP's post above) squealing and shriveled bollocks on the route? Or the fact that other "great" climbers had attempted the slab and failed? Maybe the fact that the route has seen many attempts, period, and not yet been repeated? Then again, maybe it's all as simple as it's turning out to be and it is simply all just a lie.

Then again, if you're talking about "did Mark and Richard" erase the route as they climbed? Ummm... No. That would be a new one. One I've never heard. I've heard of Harding being accused of such, but not these guys on WoS. I can personally tell you, from my own sight that this isn't the case for the first pitch, or the crux of the route. When they fixed the pitch, they actually did so in such a way that you can't even see the old holes from the chopping. To do so any higher... Well, why? They'd already done much harder climbing on the crux.

Edited to remove my dumb mistake...

Darod -- As far as the topic not belonging here, well, I beg to differ with you, as you're flat wrong. For one, I was every bit involved with the WoS SA from beginning to end, as Pete, so I have plenty of vested interest in it. Second, this is all a part of the process. Use your head for a second to realize that there won't be any TR, be it Pete's, mine, or anyone else, without an open topic where people can ask questions, answer them, etc... More than anything, I am a member of the climbing community and want the truth that's been hidden for so long. So let's not try the hijack tactic of making this go away, as it's not going to.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Jul 18, 2006 - 05:52pm PT
Pete wrote:

Some of you here have been libelled on the internet, and know how that feels. I'm one of them. A few years ago a single disturbed individual used no fewer than nine fake user names to perpetuate lies about me. One "person" wrote something, then the "others" backed up the lie.

Knott to get too far off topic, but there were actually at least two Internet Bitch Cowardsô obsessed with you,
one of whom also had a rather persistant fascination with me, most likely due to unrequited gay fantasies...
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