Can't We All Just Get Along? WOS


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Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 7, 2006 - 04:25am PT
Mark and Richard had never climbed El Capitan before.


They figured out a new great line: Wings of Steel.

But, here it came:

The local Camp 4 Party Line?

"That wall is so blank, it must be a ladder of rivets.. . . . "

And this sort of wizdumb took hold, like an easy platitude, a way to confer wisdumb from person to person, without any real knowledge. Or basis in fact.

After a considerable effort of dissuasion from the YOSOR (Yosemite Sh#t On Ropes) team, Mark and Richard decided that their route was worthy, and they persevered.

The YOSOR idiots later said it was a rivet ladder, a fag route, totally bogus, a rape of El Capitan.

In reality, though, what Mark and Richard did was so outlandish, so hardcore, it changed the brain chemistry of these hardcore locals.

And change the brain chemistries, it did.

These Hardmen were the Best. And, as such, they figured they were the only guys who could do great/new/bitchen things in the Valley.

And the Hardmen had a monopoly on this sort of thing.

And as monopolies normally go, there was a seriously virulent effort to ensure that this particular monopoly kept its hegemony.

But, Mark and Richard did something bad-ass and hard-core.

The Monopoists couldn't allow it to exist. Their own bad-ass existence was in jeopardy; if Mark and Richard had actually climbed the Great Slab, the Monopolists would be pussies.

So, naturally, the word was out: Mark and Richard must be the pussies.

And the lies and slanders were given out, to any and all.

Wings of Steel was a rivet ladder.

Even worse, Mark and Richard were the worst sort of climbers, the sort that drilled and drilled and drilled and drilled.

Any place they went, they heard, "You f*#kers drill your way up".

And now?

25 years later?

Who, among the detractors, has been able to ascend the WOS line?

Who, among anyone who has climbed El Capitan, can call this a POS?

And, going way back in time, who among the choppers is ready to admit they got it wrong.

I thought so.

WOS is the Baddest-Ass Line On El Capitan


Then go up and call me a liar.

Trad climber
Salt Lake
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:00am PT
I ain't going up and I'm not calling anyone a liar, Tom.

But thanks for making a heartfelt objection against the snobbery that pollutes the sport and attempts to demean someone elses effort.

I do very, very little bolting, but then, I'm not up to the task of climbing huge blank walls on El Cap. I give the climbers their due, but in the end I still believe free climbing elevates my own soul more than aid climbing.

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2006 - 05:31am PT
It's not a bolt wall. If anything, their wall is not drilled enough.

WOS is not a rivet ladder.

It's a very hardcore hooking route. Runout: way runout.

At the easiest, it's hook moves, on 1/8" edges and smaller, for fifty feet.

Go, doood.

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2006 - 05:58am PT
I've seen what WOS is.

After five walls on El Cap, I can say it's much harder than I've seen.

And I challenge anybody to say that Wings of Steel is a rivet ladder, or any such easy route idiocy.

I, hereby challenge, you old-school guys to come forth and say that you know that Wings of Steel is a rivet ladder, or some sort of similar easy route.

I challenge my friend Leo to see if he can free this thing, because, well, it's freeable.

Trad climber
Durango, CO
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:04am PT
Chuch Clance taught me its real name is "Wings of Steel, Balls of Helium". But then again, I don't think he's gotten on it yet, either.

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2006 - 06:19am PT
Balls of Helium:

Any experience on that route?

More like balls of lead, because he went down.

It's easy to talk balls from he base, but nobody's done this route. I think the BALLSIES is the guy who does this route.

This is the El Cap hardcore route. The lack of second ascent is the the munny on this one.

Trad climber
Salt Lake
Aug 7, 2006 - 07:33am PT
Someday Lynn Hill will free it. But for now I'll take your word on it's quality.

By the way, are you working on climbing it, soon?

East Coast US
Aug 7, 2006 - 08:17am PT

Who, among the detractors, has been able to ascend the WOS line?


Who, among anyone who has climbed El Capitan, can call this a POS?

Anybody. That's a purely subjective opinion.

The Nose is a PoS. There, I said it :) And the title of this thread indicated that it would be more foregiving and accepting in tone. I didn't find a single placating comment in the body of your message. To the contrary, your post was distinctly inflammatory, IMO [the great qualifer].


I have a great deal of disdain for those who threatened, maligned, and bullied the FA team. These folks can be categorized and labeled as pussies and cowards. That is an objective observation.

Aside from that, what can anyone really do except attempt to win in the court of public opinion. I've tried to read or at least skim the bulk of the WoS stuff, considering that I *may* have started off this whole chapter in the WoS saga [OOPS] with this post over a year ago:

I'm surprised that I found some of the logic behind the anti-WoS crowd to be reasonable and understandable; though the actions of some were obviously bordering on insane. In addition, while I generally support the WoS FA team, I found that much of the pro-WoS camp rhetoric to be 'over-the-top' and counterproductive to supporting their argument.

Anyway, I suspect that this controversy will continue to roll-on for quite a while. And to think, a dipshit like me may have cracked the cornice.

the Fet

A urine, feces, and guano encrusted ledge
Aug 7, 2006 - 08:36am PT
yeah what's up with the title of this thread?

Rodney King was just ripping of the original...

Vy can't vee chust climb.

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:53am PT
Oh my fukking god, give it up allready!

Regardless of whether WOS was/is a rivet ladder or not, the fact that it went against the ethic of following the natural fatures on the wall is enough to merit some contriversy.

I think we all agree that the naysayers went overboard in their actions against these climbers.

Until THEY speak up...what else is there to say? Why beat the dead horse over and over? How long will you beat it?
Richard Large

sneaking up behind you...
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:07pm PT
In the interest of healing, lets all get together and have a huge bar fight.

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 01:34pm PT
why anyone needs a NEW thread to promote the vialidation of the route and the vindication of the FA is beyond me, and so is the logic that allows a modern climber to judge this route, and to make that judgement based upon the hooking moves being hard and scary.

here is one take from another thread (duece's):

here is another (mine):

when you make the statement in your post that WoS is a great line, that flies in the face of what most people seem to have thought at the time. your idea that people were upset about the route because of some apparently common exagerations ignores what JM states clearly (that the hole count was higher than acceptable for that era), and what he and Roy both alude to when they talk about worthwhile hard el cap routes necessarily linking natural features (i.e. this route links bolted protection w/ bolted protection)


right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:32pm PT
I might like to watch a bar fight, but I don't think you can just watch such a thing, without catchin' some nasty splinters...

Kudos to Gunkie and Lambone here.

This is a good place for me to post in kind to the title of this thread.

I feel that Matt, someone apparently not from my generation, has a very important grasp of WOS contextually speaking.

After all of it, I have tried to bring some clarity and equanimity to the items at hand and rather than bolster any argument, I have strived for understanding.

I really can't speak for "my" community at large because they have not collectively granted me that voice, but I feel "we" collectively owed those WOS guys some fair analysis and consideration. I was at the '82 SAR meeting and exposed to their recount of their route and I was impressed with their availability to a dialog, independent of right/wrong/acceptance or otherwise.

Richard and Mark are part of our community, part of the grand narrative: as climbers we can do well do mend our fractious ways. It is good training for survival as a species on a global scale.

Youch: good luck with the notion brought forth in that last sentence everyone.

Roy McClenahan

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