Your 1st, first ascent

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AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Joe Simpson's 1st first ascent didn't go too well. Neither did his 2nd
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Dec 14, 2013 - 11:38pm PT
His first book made up for it.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Dec 15, 2013 - 02:52am PT
I suppose the moki steps i cut to the cliff dwelling my brother and i made when we were kids qualifies.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 15, 2013 - 04:00am PT
Think it was in the quarry on the north side of Crystal Springs Road between downtown San Mateo and the Crystal Springs Dam when I was 15. Absolutely horrible piece of choss. I was belayed by a friend I dragged over there from Parkside housing project. Yes, I used a white line (not gold line) rope, pins and a tiny piton hammer I bought at Ellingson's Sporting Goods on the El Camino Real.

Very lucky to have survived the experience. Doubt it has ever been repeated.
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 15, 2013 - 04:14am PT
I tried to do a few FAs, but almost every time, I would find a fixed pin or some other evidence of previous endeavors.

I like the First Ascent with conditions, like the first Winter Ascent. Or the first Nude Ascent or the the first toothless ascent with colostomy bag.

So much more creative potential.
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
Dec 15, 2013 - 07:40am PT
"Walk and Don't Look Back" at the Rainbow area W of Donner Summit. Drilled off hooks, in imitation of Bachar's style. A move of A0, then nice steep face climbing, 10a or so. Named in memory of Peter Tosh, who was killed shortly before.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 15, 2013 - 07:53am PT
Wayno? Many of your ascents can be firsts, right? And if you really like the feeling of FA? Lose the guidebooks. If it looks good, climb it.

There's two parts to FA... the actual climbing, that's for the climber in you. And then there is the 'credit' ie spraying about it. That's for the ego of the climber in you.

We all treat the FA as if both of those components are required. It took me a long time to realize they are not. Well I knew it all along.

DMT
MisterE

climber
Dec 15, 2013 - 08:40am PT
DMT - There is a third part you are missing to a good FA, and that is the legacy. Looking back and realizing you made a contribution to the community that will be there long after you are gone.
jcory86

Big Wall climber
Grass Valley, CA
Dec 15, 2013 - 11:07am PT
Does a boulder problem FA count? I put up a 20+ foot v5/6 highball across the river from the quarry in Auburn. We did a ton of work on the landing but the problem is AMAZING!!! very high quality. It will be the gem of the area "the bar" in chris mac's norcal bouldering guidebook when it gets revised. I believe someone has put up a v7 on the right arete of the boulder now. A couple gerat lines!!! The beauty problem is called SHOGUN. I am unsure of what the new v7 is called. go get on it!!!
just under the crux move. Your feet are about 12 feet off the deck rig...
just under the crux move. Your feet are about 12 feet off the deck right here.
Credit: jcory86
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 15, 2013 - 11:10am PT
DMT - There is a third part you are missing to a good FA, and that is the legacy. Looking back and realizing you made a contribution to the community that will be there long after you are gone.

That's not ego?

Serious question. I think it is. One can contribute without legacy. Not every president needs a library?

DMT

ps JCory sure it counts.
clinker

Trad climber
California
Dec 15, 2013 - 12:28pm PT
First pitch of Prairie Home Companion 5.7r 1984, Pinnacles National Monument.

Dam proud of it. Haven't climbed it since.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Dec 15, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
That's not ego?

Yep, but not all ego is bad.

Tough Shiites, 5.6 or 5.7. Pretty easy, except for one small section. The wind is a big factor. At the Sunni Slabs at Christmas Tree Pass.

clinker

Trad climber
California
Dec 15, 2013 - 12:34pm PT
My daughter Rose and nephew Kurtis, The Big Bad West 5.5 Pinns. 1999

My daughter Kate, Cat and Mouse 5.5 Pinns. 1999

Best days ever!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 15, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Of course, Gary. All I'm saying is it is not necessary to employ it for a first ascent.

Dunno about you and Mr E but I came of age in a climbing world with Mountain, Climbing and the American Alpine Journal. Each of the periodicals was dedicated in part to reporting new routes. In effect these pubs generated money from this activity, profits notwithstanding. R&I added momentum to it. Then the traveling guidebook authors came to the fore, I think of Harlin but plenty of others generated money from now routing and reporting. That's the way things were done.

This (seemingly) established pattern that Young Dingus perceived: climb-a-new-route-report-that-route, no comma. Maybe even get a route or two listed in a guidebook woot!

But all along there were those who did not report, for what ever reasons. They broke the hyphenation. It may have seemed obvious to yall but it certainly wasn't to me.

Another FA pattern: find-area-establish-routes-bring-buddies-pluck-plums-create-guidebook. I use hyphenation to show the emotional connection between these things. That's how the big boys rolled, right?

Older now, not wiser but certainly more experienced I perceived 'impact.' My own and others. I learned about 'tragedy of the commons,' my ego at first chose to be insulted by the idea behind the phrase. El Cap Meadow and the annual phototog sh#t show... great example! (sorry boys, but it just too much!)

One doesn't have to pen a guidebook. One doesn't have to report. One doesn't have to (here's another overused term) give-back-to-the-community. Its ironic that the leave no trace ethic of the late 60s and into the 70s the dirty hippy nutcraft days nawmsayin? Those dirty hippies DID leave tracks... BIG ONES, with sign posts and sh#t, called guidebooks. They say they did this to preserve the rock. Bullshit they did this for their egos.

If you extend the leave no trace ethic to its logical conclusion that retired ethic of yore was, well, failed. They left tracks. They brought others. They bragged about their accomplishments.

I don't mean this in a negative way over all. I benefited from it and so too did thousands of others. I contributed to it and so did thousands of others. We all benefited from the resulting surge in popularity by way of new and better gear, far more variety and number of routes to choose from etc.

But this paradigm of send-and-report? If you at least part of the time abandon the 'and-report- part? You can enable others to experience the FA too. If they observe the same procedure, others too may enjoy the FA.

Oh but they might take credit for it? That's my ego talking right there. So what if they do?

Really, so what? I can show you a bouldering area I helped 'open' 25 years ago, with other peoples' names on "MY PROBLEMS." Lol. Robbins and probably lots of others bouldered there before me and because they didn't report I had the pleasant (illusory? who cares) experience of FAs on dozens of problems. That was a wonderful experience. When I heard a guide might be in the offing I did let it be known that I had climbed there, fairly extensively. But I did not report.

I let go of it and man I gotta tell you letting go of the "MUST" part of reporting? Its a nice feeling to shed.

I love first ascenting. Its way different head space than doing an established route, perhaps saturating oneself with preview and beta. Those many of us who have done FAs surely know this feeling. Its wonderful. Its wonderful to let go and share that feeling. Not sharing FA info is but one way to share it and in many cases that's how I roll now. I know that's Catch 22 but it's true nevertheless.

A mix if you will - report some, withhold others, and try (though I fail) to separate ego from the 'must-report-must get-credit' process?

Just some thoughts on a sedentary Sunday ;)

Cheers
DMT
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Dec 15, 2013 - 01:14pm PT
BITD Chas Cole set me up with a nice 5/16" hand drill and some button heads. That was a good bit of gear. He also had some straight fluted 3/8" bits turned down to fit the same holder but they kept breaking (at least in my hands.) I practiced with this drill on random rocks until I was competent.

I think the first route I put up, using bolts anyway, was Seamstress on Voyager Rock at Courtright.
crunch

Social climber
CO
Dec 15, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
1978 more or less.

My first first ascent was of what is surely the worst route on what might be the worst crag in the entire UK. The crag is called Taffs Well. it's a crumbling, overgrown limestone quarry right next to a major highway (and busy railway beyond that).

There was a climb, quite good, a Hard Very Severe (5.8-9) called Cowpoke that ascended to a traverse ledge, where it stopped. Above this was an unclimbed face, 60 feet tall. Youthful stupidity and enthusiasm blinded me to the simple fact that this face was utterly rotten, devoid of protection and ended at a forested jungle of rusty mattresses, trash and assorted bits of underwear, with a few trees.

First try, got 30 feet up, froze in fear. No gear, could not go up, nor down. Facing a BIG fall. I was using double ropes so hatched an escape plan. My partner tied off one rope to the tree he was belayed to, then rappelled with the other, hiked around to the top, threw the other rope down to me. I either toproped the rest or more likely could not as I was utterly exhausted--don't recall now. My partner did toprope it, and that gave me full confidence that I could do it, leading, since at the time I calculated that I was a better climber.

At some point I rappelled it, cleaning the worst, loosest stuff and placing a couple, very bad pitons that I knew would barely hold any weight but I did not really care--they looked cool.

Came back a week or so later, led it. Rated it Hard Very Severe (about 5.8-9). Which was about my leading limit, back then. Second ascent was Pat Littlejohn, who told me the pitons had, maybe, ahem, fallen out, or something....anyway, were gone. And he suggested maybe a modest upgrade to E1 (5.9-5.10a), for the seriousness.

Since then huge swaths of the cliff have been bolted and there are some pretty okay sport routes. I'd be happy for my route to be bolted, make it not so much a death lead.

Currently, apparently it's now rated E3 (5.10+). far above what I thought I could lead (or even follow), back then. Which says something of my own stupidity at that time and Pat LIttlejohn's own quietly ruthless undergrading style.

Huge thanks to my partner, Howard Nicholls, who patiently put up with all these shenanigans And took the photos.

Flying Frisian, first attempt
Flying Frisian, first attempt
Credit: crunch

Flying Frisian, FA
Flying Frisian, FA
Credit: crunch

McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Dec 15, 2013 - 01:34pm PT
Doesn't anyone have a copy of the article Doug Robinson wrote sometime in the 70s encouraging people to just climb and skip the reporting part? I bring this up from time to time. I remember when the reporting of new routes became epidemic. This may be why he wrote that. Sure would be cool if Doug could post it.
clinker

Trad climber
California
Dec 15, 2013 - 02:51pm PT
Dear Dingus,
We are the "New Natives". Just as we enshrine, protect, and try to understand the meaning of ancient graffiti, future peoples may look in wonder at evidence of our passage.

Please leave the compressor and jackhammer at home.

Or, maybe we climbers should have our own Mt. Rushmore.

Who's bust would you vote for to represent North American mountaineering/climbing? (besides yourself)

thebravecowboy

Social climber
Colorado Plateau
Dec 15, 2013 - 03:25pm PT
Knott BITD

Knott my first FA, but my first inkling that virgin summits are worthy.

No one, and I mean, no one, will repeat this loose phallus of Slickrock Member Entrada sandstone. It is five miles from pavement, stands 10 feet from a prouder summit, totally lacks a rap anchor. The cracks were riddled with black widow webs. It sucks. But I am glad that I did it. To see the hoodoo alone, up close, made it worthy for me.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#335294
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 15, 2013 - 03:26pm PT
With Eric Gabel, FA was Natural on Fireplace Bluff
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=870861





it's possible that this is a repeat of the Shipley/Middendorf route Fireside Chat

But as far as I was concerned, it was a good FA and my first... I thank Eric for taking me along and starting me down the road of FAing, and the beginning of our, now long, FA collaboration.

My second and third FA's are also on that cliff, and are likely to be true FAs, but it really doesn't matter...
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