What's the story behind Jammit at Suicide?

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skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 18, 2014 - 06:29am PT
I think that thing was put up in 1970 by Jim Donini, Ivan Couch, and Mike Dent (according to Mountain Project). Looking for hand cracks in that area at the 5.9 level, I stumbled onto this route. I had remembered on some other thread JD mentioning when he went to Yos in (around) 1970, very few of the people there were jamming cracks to get up them. Somehow it seems tied into this climb and that there seems to be a story there. So how were these guys getting up cracks back then?

Anybody been up this thing?
scrubbing bubbles

Social climber
Uranus
Jul 18, 2014 - 07:22am PT
Paisano Jam Crack, at Suicide, was put up before Jammit and is now rated 10a. The FA party according to Wilts took advantage of a snow bank, mountain boots, and of course a jug of Paisano

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 18, 2014 - 07:59am PT
I moved to the Tahquitz area in Oct. 1969 with my then wife Sandy to improve my rock climbing. I had spent a couple of seasons in the Tetons and was totally hooked on climbing. I remember reading an article by Chouinard stating that Tahquitz Rock was a perfect training ground for Yosemite. Articles about the Valley both excited and intimidated me....I thought that you had to be a climbing "God" to succeed there. Tahquitz/Sucicide seemed like a good place to start.

Bud Couch heard that a new climber had moved to the area and approached me. Bud was the resident "hardman" and i i was happy to have him take me under his wing. Under his mentorship i led my first 5.9 (the Open Book) and 5.10 (Diddly).

Bud was an excellent face climber and boulderer but shyed away from cracks. He had seen the crack that became Jammit and one day he, Mike Dent and i went up to look at it. Bud was much the superior climber at the time but a bit intimidated by cracks so he handed the lead to me. For some reason crack climbing felt very natural for me and i led it without too much
difficulty....yes, i did jam it.

Around that time i met Phil Gleason. Phil had been to Yosemite and assured me that mere mortals could succeed there. I moved to the Valley and was mentored by Phil and TM Herbert. I immediately became comfortable with cracks. Late that Spring Bud Couch came to the Valley to learn how to crack climb. By this time the mantle had shifted and i was now the mentor. Bud, for all his brilliance in face climbing (Vahalla), never got comfortable with cracks.
overwatch

climber
Jul 18, 2014 - 08:35am PT
I would hardly call you or Phil Gleason a mere mortal climber.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jul 18, 2014 - 08:51am PT
That thing is in a really obscure place.

We were doing something else in the area, (can't remember what now) and I talked the rest of the group into letting me throw a TR on it.

After they watched me struggle they didn't want anything to do with it.

Like many of the other 9's from the era it's full value.

Pretty short though.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jul 18, 2014 - 08:58am PT
Us Stonemasters stumbled along right after Donini showed up and we chased whatever he was up to, including Jammit. There was some other shallow gash Couch did with Dent that was pretty sketchy on the old gear. Can't remember the name.

JL
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jul 18, 2014 - 09:36am PT
thx for the stories guys!


The idea of Tahquitz being a great training ground rings true for the moderate Mungie. Starting in Joshua Tree, then got my multipitch lessons over on Lark, and it wasn't until later that I moved close to Yosemite. Years later, I still find that my talent and interest lies in slab and face.

Did Bud also start in Joshua Tree?
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
Jul 18, 2014 - 09:46am PT
Before the early to mid 1970s, Joshua Tree was not a destination area -- only occasionally visited -- and only had a very limited number of established routes. Tahquitz was first discovered in 1935 and by the 1970s had hundreds of established climbs and a rich climbing history.

Local climbers often developed their skills at places like Stoney Point or Mt. Rubidoux. The idea of progressing from Josh to Tahquitz is a more recent "concept."

Also, I believe that in later years Couch preferred to be called Ivan.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 18, 2014 - 10:20am PT
Donini. Thank you for posting that up for us. History is one of those things I've always been interested in, and the Tahquitz/Suicide area has got loads of history. As this climb appears to be pretty obscure (I have yet to find a photo of it anywhere), I was unsure I would get any response to my query. I'm probably wrong, but to me this one looked like a good one to get on before Open Book.

At 4", Paisano Jam Crack is on the list now too.

Really, thanks to everyone who has posted up so far. Great stuff.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 18, 2014 - 03:10pm PT
Trying to get a photo of Jammit bump.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jul 18, 2014 - 03:20pm PT
No Photo, but as I remember it's a really steep hand crack in a flare, nothing at all like Open Book.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 18, 2014 - 03:56pm PT
I remember it was a bit out of the way...I seem to recall going up a gully to get to it. If memory serves me well it was steep but with good hand jams.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jul 18, 2014 - 04:07pm PT
thx Sketchy!

can't understand why the golden age of Josh didn't happen much earlier.

ground_up

Trad climber
mt. hood /baja
Jul 18, 2014 - 05:29pm PT
I feel very lucky to have had Tahquitz/Suicide as my training
ground in the mid '70's . So many great routes , great setting,
big enough to teach one to keep it together on multipitch.
Still one of my favorite places. Dig the history bump
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 18, 2014 - 08:06pm PT
Wow what a great call and response! Fascinating history and I don't know that I've ever even seen that route.

Donini, when you were climbing with Phil Gleason, did you ever get on the early ascents / attempts of 1096?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 19, 2014 - 07:30am PT
Jaybro.....nope, I wasn't in the hunt for 1096.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jul 19, 2014 - 07:44am PT
I think Josh was unpopular in the early 70's simply because the formations were so minor, relative to Tahquitz and Yosemite.

Rock climbing was more closely related to mountaineering then, summits and long lines had more value. Josh was just too scrappy.

That changed fast.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Jul 19, 2014 - 08:39am PT
I recall the “Josh Season” started on the first cold rainy Saturday at Humber park.
The climbs were too short, to be called real climbs, and we celebrated the return to Suicide in the spring.

And Jim, don’t cut yourself short, we did worship the ground that you and Phil and Ivan walked on, you were the men who were tearing up all the hardest stuff and we wanted to be just like you guys when we grew up. LOL.

I have never done Jammit so I can’t add anything to the Ops question.

How about a TR
scrubbing bubbles

Social climber
Uranus
Jul 19, 2014 - 10:46am PT
Skcreidic, Pass Time and Frustration also involve fun crack climbing, 5.9 and 5 .10-

Both are worthy


And of course FOHR
fosburg

climber
Jul 19, 2014 - 11:17am PT
I'd love to hear the story of why someone with an amazing name like Bud Couch would prefer to be called "Ivan".
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