WoS / PTPP, part XXIV


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Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Aug 3, 2006 - 02:00pm PT
I wonder if Jensen would be happy if the story were printed in one of the climbing "journals" (using that term very loosely), and the story depicted the magnitude of the climb, the fact that it is yet unrepeated. It could also mention the "anonymous self-appointed tools" - behavior which has, for better or worse, been a part of climbing since the 60's. Potentially it could report also the allegations as to the suspicions of the people in question.

I really suspect, as others do, that human nature being what it is, the parties involved have since realized that their behavior was improper and that they simply do not now have, and may never have, the moral fiber to admit to and apologize for their errors. Perhaps put that way in print, they will. Regardless, public recognition of both the climb and the conditions might put the whole thing to rest.

Big Wall climber
The Immaculate Conception
Aug 3, 2006 - 02:05pm PT
although ranting may be theraputic, screaming "f-u, f-u, f-u, apologize to me NOW!" is rarely a successful approach

Wow....you need a lesson in the Art of Forgiveness, my friend : P

Richard -

I feel for you but it's time to move on. Nefarius has been filling me in on a few things and I've looked at all sides of this. Bottom line: it's all in the past....time to let it go...PERIOD!

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 3, 2006 - 02:09pm PT
Ya know, I gotta agree with some things, and call bullsh|t on some others...

Is this personal to Richard and Mark? You betcha! Would it be, if this kind of crap (pardon the pun) happened to anyone else in this forum? Absolutely. I think it might be worse. I think their class conduct has really helped this stay as tame as it has, for a long time. I know that me, personally, if I had to go through half the nonsense they have, I'd have reacted a lot differently. Someone wanna walk up to me, surround me, call me names, call me out, get in my face, threaten me, my gear, my life, my car, sh#t on my gear and slander my good name, my hard work, etc... I might just summon up an ass whuppin for ya. Maybe no thte first time, or the second... But well before the dozens of times this happened to them. Especially being a climber in my 20's, feeling backed into a corner! Especially when it's all based on lies to preserve some egos, or whatever. At the very least, however, I might take it a bit personally.

Regardless, we're here and it's now, it is what it is. I think to expect what has been asked of Werner and Fish is probably a bit too much, sure. Especially when it's been admitted that neither was thought to be involved. Asking about the Fish hook... OK, most people might want to know, for themselves. It was asked, Russ answered, Werner answered... What else can ya do? I'll even overlook the fact that 24 years makes those answers different. Pretty small piece of the puzzle, however.

As far as an overall feeling... Well, I've come to love DMT over the years for his flat out simple honesty and cutting the chase to the way things *should* be. As he said, "I do think it would be cool if the shitters could find the stones to stand up and be counted." I think a lot of people would like to see this. Certainly, most of all, Richard and Mark. I think that this will be up to the persons involved however, and that to expect anyone else to hunt them down or out them is asking a bit much. In thinking about this as a possible occurrence, however, when you think about all of the behavior associated, the acts committed, etc., you have to come to an understanding that this just *isn't* going to happen. These were all pretty cowardly acts to begin with. I think to expect the persons involved, no matter how "big" their names in the climbing world may have been, to change over the years and ditch the cowardice for a sack is expecting something that just isn't going to happen. People don't change. They change colors, sometimes, but the root remains the same.

So, while Richard's post may make him seem to be a "windbag as#@&%e" to some, I really don't see this. I see someone who has politely, with an ocassional rant, put up with a LOT of sh|t! It's not just about a climb to Richard or to Mark. This has actually affected more than their climbing lives. It's affected other areas of their lives, as well as them, personally. I mean, after all, the attack was more on their character and integrity, more than anything.

Having met Mark and Richard and hung out with them considerably, I can understand how this might bother them. They're both stand-up guys, of extreme integrity. They've been nothing but forthright in all they've said to me and on this forum. On the other hand, while on the route, while talking to people, being a "sleuth", as I think it was called, etc., I've continually had to face the fact that this has not been true of so many other people.

I find it hard to believe, that in all these years, especially in times close to the FA of the route, that none of these people, some of them being you, stopped and looked at the route while up there and saw, plain as day, the truth! Especially in light of the fact that in one way, or another, this has all been kept alive for so many of these years. People attempting the route, writing about it, etc... Word of mouth certainly got the *lies* around the ditch and eventually elsewhere. I guess I'd have to think there was some sort of conspiracy/smear campaign, etc. against me too when it took 24 years for the truth to start emerging.

Trad climber
the ville, colorado
Aug 3, 2006 - 02:41pm PT
A little before my time. I think I was beating off to the JC Penny catalogs under wear section at that time.Why would you call someone out on a forum?? Maybe you guys should get together & have a fight in El cap meadow & then have a couple of beers.
Chopping bolts is bull sh#t. Harding should have whipped Royals ass for that.rg

Trad climber
Aug 3, 2006 - 02:51pm PT
While intriguing,this whole deal is none of my damn business. I do however feel compelled to say that IMHO, Golsen and nefarius ,have both shown what I believe is the best perspective to view this from for all concerned.

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 3, 2006 - 03:31pm PT
Yep, no surprise, some misunderstandings. Some understanding.

I will say, though, that I wasn't just flying off the cuff here. I composed the "rant" in Word, thought it through carefully, considered the tone, etc. Perhaps that will make it seem worse to some people: not being just a "rant," it was carefully conceived and deliberate.

That said, let me clarify that at this point I have done what I can to very publicly open the door. My tone was not intended to derive pity--it was intended to cast light on the fact that people get all worked up over monkey bites and trash on Mt. Watkins, and in the latter case it was thought significant enough that a search and punish campaign was suggested using various means. My point is that what happened to Mark and I is SO far beyond some trash on Mt. Watkins that it would seem that the climbing community would be even more incensed and want the truth to come out. If that comparison seems like self-pity, then you really have no idea who I am.

Russ and Werner, you responded as I expected, but I at least gave you the chance to, as nvrws says, "So WB and Russ say they don't know who did it, ok, but they know who was there. Someone eluded to one individual on the SAR team that was involved and actually got kicked out at a later date(check my facts on this one, there only been 500+ posts). I think we should apply the six degrees of separation theory here. Russ, WB, ya'll start naming names of folks that were there during the wos deal and way will lead to way until we've got the shitters right here on this forum. I think that is the stand up thing to do."

The developing idea so far seems to be that it's unreasonable to expect people to do this very thing. Yet, that didn't seem unreasonable in the Mt. Watkins trash thread. Could it be that so far from US having a "persecution complex," instead the real deal is that a closed clique of Valley locals have a deep paranoia at this point that their precious names and reps will actually be compromised when people find out that it was THEY who squatted down and unloaded their bowels (and that level of drunkenness ADDS to the discredit rather than excuses it).

Speculation about my psychology notwithstanding, the fact remains that the truth is accessible to us, and it is no mere matter of PERSONAL healing that I seek here.

It is probably true that what I would love to see happen never will happen. But, don't fault me for giving it my best, most poignant, most heart-felt attempt. I am an idealist, and I have hoped that the climbing community still had some of that left.

I AM a tenacious person, as WoS itself demonstrates. My "rant" was, in effect, me throwing myself at yet another ridiculous, improbable, risk-laden pitch--knowing that, like the route itself, misunderstanding will be the default response from people. If you have just seen me go down in flames, then so be it. To do anything hard, you gotta risk the falls. I don't expect a quick or easy resolution here. It won't surprise me to find that many more years go by before the truth is completely known. That doesn't dissuade me trying.

Regarding "letting it go" and "getting on with life," my life does not revolve around WoS, but there is no denying that the events of the past 24 years have lingered and often connect up with present reality. That said, you can be assured that if my attempt to give people the opportunity to right an injustice, there will be no self-pity here. I have given justice my best shot, and I don't apologize for it. And be assured that I would be just this "vociferous" if I heard of an injustice of this magnitude that had happened to somebody else, as my friends can attest.

If you as a community conclude that justice isn't worth the price (and, make no mistake, THAT is what you will be choosing), then you will have made the clear statement that once your name has crossed a certain lofty threshold, you can never be held to account. People will fall all over themselves to say, "You can't call ---------- out like that! It's unreasonable to expect --------- to come clean with everything they know!" The process I'm asking for will be painful, but it CAN produce the truth. If you conclude that it CANNOT or that you're not willing to engage in the process, again, I don't apologize for trying my BEST to arouse in you something like the ire people clearly felt over the trash on Mt. Watkins or monkey bites.

Talk is cheap and easy. Perhaps such is all these forums are good for. If so, still I took a shot, and I still have hopes that over the years the climbing community will demonstrate that it values justice in its ranks.

Big Wall climber
The Immaculate Conception
Aug 3, 2006 - 03:48pm PT
Chopping bolts is bull sh#t. Harding should have whipped Royals ass for that.rg [\i]

Amen. Hmmmm......New Dawn?

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Aug 3, 2006 - 04:06pm PT
Many of us are not in a position to help out in this quest for truth other than offer up our opinions here. I hope the truth does come out and as others have stated the WOS history is still ongoing and an important chapter will not be written until someone climbs the thing and reports on it. Apparently, those of us who offered up beer to PTPP need to throw in some whiskey beforehand next time huh? (Just kidding, I am impressed with and was pulling for those guys from the start.)

Many others have written and said they too, would like to find the truth. My guess is that there aint many folks on here that can help you out with that. And those that can are also in an uncomfortable and unenviable position. From my own perspective I remember reading the accounts in climbing magazine so many years ago about the debacle in the Valley. It amazes me that it has taken so many years to gain interest in this route.

Another consideration. If I hiked up to climb Mt Watkins with trash up there I would be directly affected. I was never directly affected other than bid vibes when you were being bombarded with sh&&. Also that is the here and now, not 24 yrs ago. I know that sounds selfish and I am not trying to minimize what you are saying. It took many years to get here and it will take some time to get to the bottom of things. I hope that you get the closure you are wishing but as others have said, that may not happen.

I will say that there is a huge difference between RR yanking warrens bolts while climbing the route and some guys ascending your fixed lines and pulling them. And to me, anyone who has written anything negatively about your route that has not climbed it is speaking with an ignorant viewpoint.

Patience, there are many who are interested in this story...

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 3, 2006 - 04:08pm PT
any which way you slice it there is a huge difference between what happened in the valley 25 years ago and what happens there right now- today, so your comparisons over "the climbing community" reacting to the watkins toprope and a bunch of guys outing other guys who could out the girlfriends of the rope shitters are not as straightforward as you seem to imply.

best of luck either way

(locker- 800? oops, wrong thread...)

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Aug 3, 2006 - 04:21pm PT
Richard, there are two differences between the Mt. Watkins issues and what happened to you. One is time; too much time has gone by for the WoS events to cause as much of a stir as what is on Watkins now. Second is the nature of the injury. Most climbers get more incensed by an injury to the rock or the route than they do about an injury to a person.

I can offer you this. I started climbing about the time all this was coming down. I heard all the rumors because climbing in the Valley and on El Cap then was a huge part of my life. I've read every post on this subject on the several threads.

I'm glad, very glad to see the community of climbers start to recognize that you were mistreated and that your route is valid. Not because I know you or any of the involved parties, but because I like to see "justice" be done. I've heard all the names of all the people who did (or may have) screwed with you, they're well known names to any climber from this era and area. Most of the names are names I've not only heard, but names I've grown to respect. Again, not because I know these people either, but because I've heard of their accomplishments.

My respect for each of these climbers (who I "grew up" hearing about and admiring) has dropped a hell of a lot. I doubt they care, they'll never meet me in these lifetimes and I'm a nobody climber. But I think I represent the vast majority of no-names who make up the climbing community. So, true or not, I've lost massive respect for guys like Mike Corbett. Why? Not because of some juvenile stupidity they may have committed 25 years ago, but because of an unwillingness to come forward now, be a man and say "crap, I was such an as#@&%e when I was younger, I f*#ked up, I'm sorry."

By the way, I for one appreciate Russ's participation in this whole discussion. I don't know that I'd like him in person, he seems like a sarcastic, ascerbic, arrogant prick online, but at least he is an arrogant prick with the courage not to duck the issues. Werner? He's pulled my ass on to a gurney and trucked it over to the Valley Clinic, and I think he may be the biggest unheralded legend in Valley climbing history. But I don't share or pretend to understand his philosophic views.

I think this is how most nobody climbers look at this issue.

the flatness
Aug 3, 2006 - 04:23pm PT
Let me sum it up again. You still give a rat's pink pucker about what a bunch of guys you knew you were pissing off in the first place think about something you did 25 years ago? And you expect everybody here to respect and even feed that sentiment?

Let it go, man. The reanimated corpse of Richard Nixon could personally show up and show you Ansel Adams' large format stills of Nixon, Russ, Werner, and Ted Williams sh!tting on your ropes, and you still wouldn't get back the time and energy you've put into fretting about this.

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 3, 2006 - 04:39pm PT
Golson, I appreciate what you're saying. It might not be coming across in my last couple of posts, but I actually do have a long-term view of this whole thing. I don't expect immediate results, and I agree with you that most of the people on this forum can't do much (directly) to help. All my apparent raving aside, I'm actually a reasonable guy. No, really. I am. Really. PLEEEAASSSE believe me. :-)

I also agree that it's easier for people to get worked up over what is a current outrage rather than one that hasn't affected people directly much, or at all, and that is also seemingly decades distant. So, there does appear to be a certain divergency between Mt. Watkins and WoS.

What I'm trying to point out, though, is that this is a divergency of PERSPECTIVE rather than a divergency of fact. Let a few years go by in the case of the trash on Watkins, and, although people will FEEL less outrage, the FACT of the matter is no less outrageous. My claim has been (with NO self-pity in the mix) is that the ongoing (not just a single incident 24 years ago) campaign of slander is more outrageous than some trash on Watkins. Again, at risk of sounding self-pitying or appearing to have a "persecution complex" let me quote some passages from earlier posts about the route. Then, can anybody try to float the idea that this has not been an ongoing and PRESENT injustice?

Lambone writes: "I heard the team drilled their way up the think then chopped the bolts while cleaning. kinda lame style IMHO..."

Weenis writes: "The Wings of Foil crew spent an interminable amount of time up there. There was a streak of feces and trash 200 meters long below their hangin' bivy camp. I wasn't able to see a line there, most others at the time were in agreement. One of the guy's Mom (Mother of Steel) was allegedly dating Warren Harding during this period. So history repeated itself, somewhat: The route gets chopped, fixed ropes dropped and other unspeakable things happen. Funny how scores of climbers were trying to take credit for the dirty deed. So they finish their route and go on to do some other routes on the right side, cool. Good Mormon kids with a lot of ambition, however terribly misguided (initially)."

Hmmm... I could stop there, couldn't I? These were just two early posts, and it goes on and on like this. "Kinda lame style?" "Wings of Foil" guys? "I wasn't able to see a line there?" "Terribly misguided?"

I COULD go on and on, though, couldn't I? And the point is that slander has been repeated over and over and over as TRUTH, and we have had to FIGHT (contrary to Werner's post about LETTING the truth come out, as though being passive in this would have produced miraculous results!) to MAKE the truth come out.

It is true that I can't "control" others, but only myself. But it is also true that we ALL try to PERSUADE others to share our perspectives, and this is all I have tried to accomplish.

As those of you who have followed all these threads can attest, Mark and I have decided to give THIS point in time our very best effort, and, despite vast early misunderstanding and misapprehension, eventually, over more than one and a half years, the truth IS coming out, and people's perspectives have changed. So, I believe that our efforts have been fruitful. My current "rant" is just the end result of our own ongoing "campaign" to settle things once and for all.

Again, I don't think results are going to come quickly or easily, but you yourselves have seen the power you have on these threads to motivate people to action! (Cases of high-quality beer, people! That's what get's the job done! We need a beer-bounty on these guys!) Seriously, though, over time, and with people paying attention, the "perps" CAN be brought out, and this is my long-term goal. I WANT to look them in the eye, and I WANT to shake their hands. But they HAVE to stand up as men and admit that it was THEY who were "terribly misguided" in their handling of this whole situation. This will be profoundly healing for THEM as well as for us, and the climbing community needs to know that it CAN right an injustice like this.

I am an idealist, and I am well aware that most people are not. What can I do but keep trying to persuade people? Many will misunderstand, and many will say that I should employ this or that different method or approach. What can I say?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 3, 2006 - 04:40pm PT
MtYoung writes:
By the way, I for one appreciate Russ's participation in this whole discussion. I don't know that I'd like him in person, he seems like a sarcastic, ascerbic, arrogant prick online, but at least he is an arrogant prick with the courage not to duck the issues.

Gee.... thanks?

East Coast US
Aug 3, 2006 - 04:43pm PT
Bill Russell, NBA Hall of Fame, class of 1975. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Russell

And I thought Mike Corbett was some sort of hero guiding 90 year-old great-grandpas from New Jersey up Aquarian Wall in a blindingly quick 20 days. Returning to the scene of the climb/crime? Maybe the infamous Poop-On-Demand guy? I gotta shake that guy's hand... er... maybe just politely bow to a pooping god.

Isn't Mike Paul that guy who repeatedly does the JT boulder problem 'Streetcar Named Desire' [??] like 50 times with 50 different camera angles for one of those climbing videos from the 1990's? I fast forward that section everytime. Boring. I understand that bouldering hurts his fingers so he can't play the bass guitar. Hey, I get my info from 15 year-old video tapes. VCRs rule!

I don't think I've heard of Scott Cole. My loss, I suppose.

Trad climber
Aug 3, 2006 - 04:52pm PT
Laugh my ass off at Wallings last post.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Aug 3, 2006 - 04:54pm PT
Its part of history. some of the players wish it would quietly go away but the bad guys allways count on that. hashing it out on a climbing blog won't mean much though. Have an independant journalist write it up in one of the three major US climbing mags. preferably with lots of photos and and monern accent. You don't even need to find out exactly who $hit where. If the rout gets climbed and proclaimed to be a valid line then the bad guys look bad by default. ranting about it personaly on super taco just makes you look sound like a whiner.

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 3, 2006 - 05:10pm PT
Thank you, mtnyoung! What you just said sums it up very well, and your summary of what any of the "perps" could say to solve the problem is right on. I also do understand what you're saying about the lack of motivation in the community now. What you say is all well-founded. Yet, I am a prisoner of hope.

Landgolier writes: "You still give a rat's pink pucker about what a bunch of guys you knew you were pissing off in the first place think about something you did 25 years ago? And you expect everybody here to respect and even feed that sentiment?"

Uhhh, yes, I do have HOPES that people here will understand and respect my perspective on this. First of all, you seem to suggest, as has been the common refrain, that WE were at fault in what happened to us. WE should have climbed ten El Cap routes first. WE should have known/done/said something to "appease the gods first," and then, having offered humble homage to the mighty Valley powers that be, if they deigned to give us their blessing, THEN and only then could we reasonably have EXPECTED to NOT have all this crap fall upon us???? Is THIS what you are really saying??? Do YOU expect everybody here to respect and even feed THAT sentiment???

It seems that people like you never learn from history. WE came into the Valley FULLY qualified to do WoS. WE knew the story of Magic Mushroom, and WE knew that the climbing community had come to respect the stones of those guys BECAUSE they just came in, did their thing, and left WITHOUT paying homage to the "gods." WE thought that the climbing community had learned something. WE thought that Yosemite Valley was an INTERNATIONAL climbing area, where the best in the world could show up unannounced and perform great feats, again, without having to pay homage to a bunch of self-serving, narrow-minded gatekeepers. WE thought that it would be possible to REASON with these people once we saw that trouble had started. WE thought we could show them the start of the route, and they would SEE that their early impressions were mistaken. WE thought we could, as American citizens, enjoy protection under the law (rather than having the law turned against us, as was done). I could "rave" on and on. But the FACT of the matter is that WE had EVERY good reason to do and say exactly as we did, and WE had zero reason to think that what has happened over 24 years would happen.

The POINT to where we are in this saga right now just is the distinction between Landgolier's perspective and mine. If the climbing community says, "Yeah, we don't give a rat's pink pucker" about what happened 24 years ago, then I GUARANTEE that history will repeat itself (as it did in our case after Magic Mushroom), and, even aside from that, that for all its TALK, the climbing community really is admitting that basic human rights and the rule of law matters FAR less than what is THOUGHT to be done to an inanimate rock! On the other hand, I have been sensing that this is NOT the prevailing sentiment, that people DO think that this matters, and that it would be GOOD to get to the bottom of it. THAT is what I care about and hope for, and I am willing to wait for that hoped-for outcome.

Meanwhile, I have "gotten over it" in every important sense. I live my life and have LOTS of joy in it. WoS is not like some shroud hanging over my head, and I don't spend time "fretting" about it. You are handing me a false dichotomy, and I won't buy it. I CAN care deeply about these issues without "fretting," and I CAN get on with my life, while at the same time recognizing that this chapter has not been closed yet.

BTW, did I detect you accusing Richard Nixon of being part of the chopping party? Do you have good reason to suspect this??? Dang! He's dead! I'll NEVER get closure with him now, and he'll never get to absolve himself of his transgressions! :-)

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
Aug 3, 2006 - 05:12pm PT
hmm .. i dont know why i can't stop reading all this WoS posts ..

pete .. get on with it and write your report .. (fish or cut bait with it!) ..

.. richard and mark -- why dont you start a letter writing campaign to climbing magazine to print a correction on WoS .. i would take part in that ..

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 3, 2006 - 05:21pm PT
The letter writing campaign is a good idea, as is the idea of getting one of the major mags to publish an article on the subject. I actually know somebody who's (supposedly) working on just such an article. We'll just have to wait and see if he can produce something in OUR lifetimes. :-)

BTW, my wife and I are going to Smith Rocks this weekend. If any of you are going to be around, I'd enjoy meeting any of you.

Trad climber
the ville, colorado
Aug 3, 2006 - 05:24pm PT
Call Jeff Jackson in Carbonbdale, Colorado.
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