WoS / PTPP, part XXIV


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Trad climber
Aug 6, 2006 - 01:18pm PT
The more information we get from this sordid saga leads one to believe that the said victims have some sort of Freudian jones for pooh (fecay). They just can't seem to let the pooh go. It must've been a potty-training thing.

It's kind of getting me queasy.

Time to check out the Blue Angels again!

right here, right now
Aug 6, 2006 - 01:30pm PT
What you're suggesting may be a straightforward path to resolution. But keep in mind that it is more along the lines of an arbitration.

This is where a disinterested third party hears both sides and comes to a conclusion, which everyone lives with.

Keep in mind that Richard and Mark may not find the people you mention to be fit to serve in a neutral capacity.

The process of a mediation places the disputants in the driver's seat such that they fashion their own agreement. In this way it has quite the potential to stick.

That said, a combination of the two may work to serve our purposes. The initial steps at a mediation which involves a process wherein each side defines its interests, this I think is very applicable here. The next step of expanding an understanding of the elements at play is also a good one.

The point you bring to bear is a very good one. It is more like a victim/abuser reconciliation program. In this sense, we need to decide or hear from Richard and Mark if the perpetrators alone qualify. My sense of this situation back in 1982, was that the community at large constituted the opponent that Mark and Richard were facing. And has it not expanded to include the media? Food for thought. If it is limited to the vandals then that simplifies things except that they will probably not come forward. We could perhaps use a conduit or spokesperson as LEB described.

As some have suggested, if this is limited to the vandals vs Mark and Richard, then any process is going to be difficult to engage.

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 6, 2006 - 01:31pm PT
-- "The big question is, what if the person who wronged you refuses to apologize?

--Uh...Move on?"

At some point, this is the obvious answer, as it is the only, answer. I think it's pretty obvious, by now, that the "perps" aren't going to come forward, let alone be open to a dialogue that could end in an apology, or a "f*#k you guys, I'd do it again". Honestly, I'd be surprised if they even (truly) came forward in secret/anonymously. I think, in light of this, a lot of people are coming forward and the community is making a effort in their absense. Basically saying, "Hey, that sucked! While we weren't involved, we sympathize and here's an offering of our sympathy or acceptance or whatever"...

When Tarbuster says, "I suggest their needs really do derive from basic human needs of expression, fairness, recognition, understanding.

You know, like credit where credit is due.
The basic need to express oneself in a relatively free and unfettered manner.
A sense of justice."

He has really hit on to some things that they *do* desire. Even the sense of justice, which was a word above that Richard used quite a bit. They've both expressed to me, numerous times, the other things as being desirable. As far as a sense of retribution, it's human nature, even if only on a subconscious level. Who can blame them?

Being that they *are* religious men, it think the things LEB stated above may be their only option, as far as any reconciliation of feelings with/over the perps goes. I think the response and offering of the community will go a long ways towards helping them see this, as it gives them a lot of the other thigns they are seeking. As well, I think it provides some healing for them.

Glen Gardner
Aug 6, 2006 - 01:48pm PT

Your post makes a lot of sense. If what Pete is saying is true, a consensus statement which favors them (as likely it would) might be counter-productive to their stated goals (per Pete). If they want "official" exoneration then a panel of the men I suggested could bring that about. If, however, they want dewey-eyed warm and fuzzy peace, hugging and forgiveness - all that good "feel good" stuff, then the answer is in the realm of metaphysics. Doing what I suggest will create an energy field which will not only bring peace within but will set into motion the very process which they seek. It could take a long while, however, hence this is no "quick fix."

If Pete is truly accurate in what he says and it does represent their true desires, then, Richard and Mark could well benefit from pursuing paths of spiritual enlightenment using this incident as a focus point. This forum is not the place for that sort of remedy but there are many avenues which can provide guidence and open a pathway to these modalities of healing. Richard and Mark CAN likely achieve what they want in these realms but this is not the place for it. They must pursue more metaphysical approaches for that sort of resolution.

right here, right now
Aug 6, 2006 - 02:03pm PT
To my mind Lois, Nefarius, Pete, et al, here is what were seeing here and here is what we can likely expect:

I have more or less offered this up thread, so excuse me if I seem to be repeating myself.

The truth of the route has more or less been brought to light.
The historical context of its original reception is pretty well understood.
We know that it's negative reception had a lot to do with the fallacious reportage and propagation of the route as being a bolt ladder, rivet ladder, with holes and such.
I suspect it still would have had a hard time being accepted, even with the run outs, because of the blankness and the accepted aid climbing context of the day.

As times have changed, it appears most of the general community at large now doesn't see any problem with several pitches of very difficult hooking which is sparsely protected with bolts.

So the names of Mark and Richard have been more or less cleared in terms of their technical achievement. I vaguely recall now as I dig back deep in my memory that Rob Slater said these guys were way ahead of their time in terms of the hooking they did and that they were unnecessarily ostracized in light of this. I can try to talk to some good friends here in Boulder, who were very close to Rob and may remember some such specific sentiments or statements from Rob.

I think the reconciliation with the vandals can be brought about in terms of the defecation, through a spokesperson and perhaps privately by some of the vandals themselves, but not the chopping.

This would make a very interesting written piece of history and it could be published as has been suggested. This should serve some primary interests held by Mark and Richard.

I submit that the earnest analytical effort forwarded by many of the Super Topo posters can be received by Mark and Richard as a vast effort at contrition by the community in as much as it shows a genuine interest in clarifying the matter.


Glen Gardner
Aug 6, 2006 - 02:08pm PT

If Richard and Mark wish to pursue more spiritual avenues of healing and change, here is one program which I can recommend to them


There are many others, of course - hundreds, in fact, at all manner of institutions throughout the country. I offer this one up as but an example. They may well derive some benefit from this approach. This particular institution has an excellent reputation. I can personally attest to its soundness and the quality of the experience therein.

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Aug 6, 2006 - 02:21pm PT

OMG, this whole WOS thing is still going? I don't have the time to read all the posts. I did climb the first two variation pitches to the left, what Pete likes to call the "bogus start". I got busy with work and had to put the project on hold.

I couldn't help but check out the original start while rapping down. It looked easier (to me) than the left start. Elcapfool might be right, Im probably not a good candidate for seconding the route. From what I have seen, the climbing is very challenging, BUT, it is very boring as well (to me). It took me a couple of hours to figure out where to go on the second pitch. I was standing in my aiders for twenty-five minutes trying to figure out what to do. To me, that is boring. From what I did see on the first two pitches was: It is NOT a bolt ladder like I previously thought. They used every possible features to climb the slab. No lack of balls, either. I took some pretty good rides and was impressed with how far they made their run-outs.

The one thing that still puzzles me about Pete is why he top-roped the first couple of pitches. Were you trying to get it dialed on top-rope so you can go back for the red-point? It's just a VERY strange method of figuring out an aid pitch. In aid, you either climb it or you don't. If you have to top-rope it, you have no business on that route. Just my opinion.

Just thought I would comment on this. Gotta go, ready, jump, relax, PULL!!! OH YEAH, got my AFF and going for my first solo.

Cheers, Ammon

Trad climber
Aug 6, 2006 - 02:44pm PT
Welcome back, Ammon! I trust you've had an awesome summer so far. Congrats on the AFF.

Pete is a very loyal subman and that explains his whimpy effort on the first couple pitches.

I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a little TR today!

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 6, 2006 - 03:37pm PT
I didn't mean you couldn't do it, just that is wasn't your bag.
I am glad you concur and didn't take offense.

As for Pete, we have a cease fire in place. And I'm reluctant to fire the first shot. It just gets my blood pressure up for nothing.

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 6, 2006 - 07:26pm PT
Ammon writes,

"The one thing that still puzzles me about Pete is why he top-roped the first couple of pitches. Were you trying to get it dialed on top-rope so you can go back for the red-point?"

Pre-cisely! It was way too hard for me - I couldn't do it. I emailed Mark and Richard to tell them not to come, but they had already left. When they arrived, I told them of my decision, but they said, "you can do it, Pete - we'll show you some tricks."

So I went back up more or less to keep them happy. I thought maybe if I practised the moves and got them dialled, I might maybe just maybe be able to lead it. I told them I would practise to make the "headpoint" like the Brit climbers did for some of the hard gritstone routes - practise on toprope first, then go for the "headpoint" lead.

While I was up there - on toprope - I got so scared at the thought of being so run-out on such miniscule sick hook placements, I was almost sick to my stomach. I felt pretty pukey. I knew that if I tried to lead it, I would have been so scared I would have puked. NO THANKS!

Get this - thirty feet above the last bolt, and still four or five feet short of the belay anchors, I put a hook on a decent-looking edge. It held about five or ten seconds, then suddenly blew - a pop-tart-sized flake and a total timebomb! Thirty feet out, with a screamer on the bolt - you do the math. A seventy-footer, the Fall Of A Lifetime it would have been, bouncing off little ankle-breaker ledges. Forget that, man, we bailed for Cosmos. Only A4- or so, much more sensible.

I was simply unprepared to take the multiple fifty-foot-plus falls it will certainly take to make the second ascent. They took 'em on the first ascent, and it'll happen on the second. It will take Balls Of Steel, and I ain't got 'em. That pop-tart flake pretty much convinced me to get the heck off.

I only toproped the first pitch, after cheat-sticking my way up. I have not set foot on the second pitch. Tom jugged your fixed rope on the second pitch, after securing permission from your brother Gabe, to replace the anchors.

"It's just a VERY strange method of figuring out an aid pitch."

It's not strange, it's cheating.

"In aid, you either climb it or you don't. If you have to top-rope it, you have no business on that route. Just my opinion."

And that is why I bailed. I only went up as a sporting gesture to Mark and Richard.


We need you to get up there, suck it up, get psyched for those 50-foot falls that you will, not might, take, and give 'er! You've got 96 beers offered so far, and I'll throw in a 2-4 fer ya. So that's five cases, dude, for the SA of Wings of Steel.

Let's hear it for Ammon: Go Ammon Go!

It is Mark and Richard, not me, who refer to the left start as the Bogus Start. They climbed it after they climbed the right start [Legit Start] only becuause the perpetrators chopped the original Legit Start, and they didn't want to repeat it. So they climbed the Bogus Start with the sole intention of replacing the bolts and rivets on the Legit Start.

The first two pitches of the Legit Start [Legit joins Bogus halfway up the second pitch] have had the rivets and bolts replaced by Tom. So you're good to go.

Here is the beta:

NTB up to the first bolt and rivets. Traverse L was supposedly free climbed at 5.10, but it looks way way harder. I was able to hook L then down then up to the next bolt.

Virtually every hook placement is as marginal as you could [n]ever hope to use. Truly sick stuff! Wicked scary, barely able to support you. The tiniest miscalculation will send you on a big-time ride. You must be prepared to take long falls, because YOU WILL. It's that hard to figure out. I would consider some kind of "body armour" or something, but then you've taken a few fifty-footers already, so you know what to expect.

Continuing more or less straight up, you pass only two places on the entire pitch where you could leave a taped-down Chouinard Skyhook for pro. I sure as heck would. With the exception of the two hook moves very close to the ground before the head I placed, these are the only two normal hooks on the entire pitch.

The final runout to the anchors is truly desperate. 70-footer is not merely possible, but probable. Scared the piss out of me, and I was on a freakin' toprope. [I have a good imagination]

Crux of the route according to Mark and Richard is the beginning of the second pitch on the Legit [Right] start. Rivet at 10', rivet at 20', bolt at 40'.

Mark took a very bad Factor-2 fall here on the FA, yanking Richard in his hammock up into bolts. The Factor-2 destroyed the end of the rope, and they had to turn the rope around. Apparently it was all kinked from the force of the fall! So then Mark [or maybe Richard by this time] went back up, and took ANOTHER Factor-2, this time wrecking the other end of the rope.

The only [somewhat, not really] safe way to lead the second pitch, I think, would be to have a belayer hanging from a separate rope thirty feet or so below the anchor bolts. If you fell early on in the pitch, then the fall factor would be so much lower.

Use Fall Arresters on every piece! Use Yates Zippers on the bolts down low, use Yates Screamers on the bolts higher up the pitch, and use Yates Scream-Aids on all the rivets anywhere.

Note: As per Mark's and Richard's request, Tom replaced same with same - they are the Z-Mac rivets [the kind with the little nail you pound in the centre] and the box said they are rated for 375 pounds. Yates Scream-Aids deploy at 275 pounds consistently, and are now made with four passes instead of two. John Yates and I discussed this at length, and this is the way to go.

Incidentally, every aid climber climbing A3 and harder should own a bunch of Yates Fall Arresters, especially Screamers and Scream-Aids. They really do work, they make things safer because you will not fall as far because marginal gear will hold you, and you will feel safer and have a lot more fun!

You're the guy for the job, Ammon - if you don't do it, who the heck will, anyway? Please - for the sake of everyone with so much interest in this, for Mark and Richard, for me and for Tom who replaced the bolts, and mostly for the [so far] five cases of beer - GO CLIMB WINGS OF STEEL!


P.S. Great heckling from you and Bill Russell that night through the radio....

Aug 6, 2006 - 08:55pm PT
The WOS saga, by Dr. John.

I been in the right place
But it must have been the wrong time
I'd of said the right thing
But I must have used the wrong line
I been in the right trip
But I must have used the wrong car
My head was in a bad place
And I'm wondering what it's good for

I been the right place
But it must have been the wrong time
My head was in a place
But I'm having such a good time
I been running trying to get hung up in my mind
Got to give myself a little talking to this time

Just need a little brain salad surgery
Got to cure this insecurity
I been in the wrong place
But it must have been the right time
I been in the right place
But it must have been the wrong song
I been in the right vein
But it seems like the wrong arm
I been in the right world
But it seems wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong

Slipping, dodging ,sneaking
Creeping hiding out down the street
See me life shaking with every who I meet
Refried confusion is making itself clear
Wonder which way do I go to get on out of here

I been in the right place
But it must have been the wrong time
I'd have said the right thing
But I must have used the wrong line
I'd a took the right road
But I must have took a wrong turn
Would have made the right move
But I made it at the wrong time
I been on the right road
But I must have used the wrong car
My head was in a good place
And I wonder what it's bad for

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 6, 2006 - 08:59pm PT
Pete says: "Mark and Richard - Lois states the bottom line perfectly above. Please answer that question!"

Pete, Lois, Russ, Deuce, et al. Sorry for dropping out; just got back from a 3+ day trip with no Internet connection. Just reading the last 50 posts won't happen tonight. See you tomorrow night.


la la land
Aug 6, 2006 - 09:05pm PT
F*#k climbing, you all just f*#king hate eachother for stupid sh#t. WHat the f*#k happened to climbing for fun? Don't add bolts but jsut climb for kicks? Is that lost? Stuff that happened before I was born is still this important? God sends death and misery for sure...
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 6, 2006 - 09:28pm PT
Hey - at least *I* climbed a couple walls this spring. And where were *you*??

la la land
Aug 6, 2006 - 09:46pm PT
I was there in spirt! I now just climb it in my mind like a spirtuial experiance. I ascend upward in mind body and soul. My mind becomes one with the great captian and i just move upward and upard. You retired from free... i just flat out retired and still manage to climb all!

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 6, 2006 - 11:08pm PT
pedro wrote:
Craig Shaw - absolutely classic, and indicative of the kind of ignorance of the climbers of the day. Even now Craig still doesn't get it, and in his post above accuses Mark and Richard of "rap[ing] this stone", a misperception fromthe past he continues to hold.

Maybe someone could suggest to Craig that he investigate a bit further to realize that far from raping the stone, Mark and Richard put up a pretty darn hard route in fine style, and that if he were to read some of the stuff here on McTopo, he might avoid putting his foot so firmly in his mouth henceforth.

that's just exactly what i'm talking about-
you cannot credit that route w/ "fine style", because you are sitting here in august of 2006, and that route went up over 2 decades ago. you say craig has the misconception that the route was "rap[ing] this stone", but you have no idea how he defines that term- so you have instead inserted your own standard, your own ethics, that which you would deem appropriate or acceptable. there is one obvious problem w/ that method, and that is that you are not craig shaw. you may or may not appreciate craig shaw's opinion, but he has the right to his opinion, because he was there at the time, and he was a part of the community, the fluid group who combined to define the culture and set the standards of the day, and determined what was and was not up to par. your 2006 opinion of that 1982 route is just not relevant to the legacy of that climb, no matter how you choose to go on and on about it, and anyone who bags the 2nd ascent will only be putting a modern opinion on a route from another era.

like it or not, the community at that time had their say, both before and after the ascent, it seems they spoke w/ one voice. they shunned the route, no repeats, a scarlet letter. in light of that fact, it seems disingenuous for you to refer to craig's stated opinion as 'ignorant'. he may not explain himself at length, but your dismissing his opinion only demonstrates how invalid yours is. have you noticed what the few old timers on this thread have had to say? and what did duece have to say about repeating hard hooking? or what did ammon have to say about the aesthetics of the pitches he tried? (and btw- do you really think he needs your beta?)

in terms of validating this climb for your friends, the best you can ever do is to say something like "in modern terms...", like it or not, you simply cannot rewrite history.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:26am PT
Hmmm, well my partner Jim Tangen-Foster and I tried to do an FA everywhere we visited as a matter of principle regardless of what else we climbed as that was what we climbed for. We never made it to the Valley or it just as easily could have been us being sh#t on literally, figuratively, in person, and in the press. These guys weren't just assaulted, they were made pariahs, blacklisted, and couldn't even publish their side of the whole affair in any of the climbing magazines. Personally, I haven't read a word on ST in any thread from a lot of folks I have a lot of respect for that convinces me any one of you would have simply "gotten over it" if you had been subject to the same abuse - if anything, I imagine we would instead be remembering a West coast "war" pre-dating Ken Nichol's bold misadventures to the East (and hell, even Ken had the sac to admit doing the deed, maybe he should suffer a bit less in the comparison in retrospect...).

And funny how climbers [and all the rags] clamor for decades for clear reckonings of events like those on Cerro Torre, but we shouldn't be interested in the "truth" of an affair of far greater integrity on the part of these FA's on another of climbing's sacred stones? If I see any lasting sh#t streak in the whole WOS saga it's one that exposes a malodorous lameness and spinelessness that one can still detect lingering on, even here on ST.

As for a solution, I have to say that LEB has interesting and useful things to contribute sometimes, but I don't think this one of them. I'm with Dingus, a little sac on the part of the perps would be decent starter, especially if it's "no big deal 25 years later"; and as a former photojournalist I would say both R&I and Climbing owe them a public apology for refusing to publish their letters and articles. Both operated either on hearsay or with bias or both in the matter at the time rather than responsible journalism. In general, you'd have to be blind to not see the wagons of an ironic "establishment" still neatly circling almost by instinct all these years later. Is this Robbins and Harding? No, but a combination of daring naivete and studied indignation has made WOS an indelible part of Valley history and these guys have every right to want the record set straight - even 25 years later if that's what it takes - before another generation reads and hears the same old slander and lies about it.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:04am PT
the Fet

A urine, feces, and guano encrusted ledge
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:21am PT
Pete, some day our paths will cross and I'm going to buy you a beer for trying (that's what's most important anyway) for the SA.

Matt, you say Craig's opinion they were raping the stone is applicable due to his proximity to the FA. No, the only ones who know if they were raping the stone or taking to it with Love are Richard and Mark. Which illustrates a priciple of justice that many have seem to forgotten, who keep asking the Madbolters over and over to justify themselves in detail. That principle is

healyje, another intelligent and insightful post, as always.

Some people will always think the route is lame and done in poor style. A hooking route on a slab. A 39 day FA with 1200 pounds of stuff. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is valid as long as it's based on the TRUTH. There may never be and maybe there isn't a need for a "solution" IMO. These threads have presented a lot of truth to many people. They have also been interesting and entertaining. Far from being a "cirle jerk" these have been some of the best climbing threads I've ever read.


Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:42am PT
Matt, you also seem to forget, that people said this was a rivet ladder up the slab, bunch of bat hook holes and stuff like that, when in reality it was far from that. Independant of the aesthetics of the route, which now is a matter of personal taste, as stated by Ammon, both Ammon and Pete (one of the few people that have ACTUALLY BEEN ON THE ROUTE, PHYSICALLY SEEING THE FIRST COUPLE OF PITCHES!) can surely attest to the runout ballsy nature of this route, not a rape no matter what your definition of rape is. As much as Craig is entitled to his opinion, his is based on slander and lies of the time, not actual facts. At least there's no more speculation about that.


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