Stories, fables, and photos from Tahquitz Rock

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 60 of total 60 in this topic
EdBannister

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 30, 2014 - 01:36am PT
Ok this one is more appropriately named…
have at it!
EdBannister

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 30, 2014 - 01:57am PT
The first 5.9 anywhere, was Open Book.
and personal...

laugh at the giant hole in the manzanita on fingertip, i put it there by being overconfident…
i almost decked.

and there was the flash evaporated urine in updraft… hmmm, really bad.

but my favorite, was a lesson….
Gordon, Jeff and I were going to do Whodunnit… but someone was on the route.
so we flew up Sahara terror, i led 5 pitches and they climbed 20 feet apart on my simobelay.
We thought we were reasonable at one hour 23 minutes, well in 79 it was (preflorine) fast.
ok down to finally do what we wanted… not.
I started a boulder rolling in the north gully, i went along. six months later i started climbing again.
but i still walked to the car Gene.
Don't descend faster than is safe.

looking forward to what gets posted here…. need to hear from Willy, about belaying Tobin on the Green Arch..
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Jul 30, 2014 - 11:22am PT
Rumor had it that Robbins had done Humber to Lunch Rock and return in thirty minutes. It used to be standard form to see how fast you could descend to the car from Lunch Rock, and many variations and routes were scoped in the process. I remember one effort where we, at full run, launched over a downed tree and sailed thirty feet on to the sandy, scree slope below. Screaming good fun, until someone breaks a leg!
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Jul 30, 2014 - 02:50pm PT
^^
That's gotta be a fable. I ran down with Tobin several times and, while we were fast, I don't think we were ever that fast! ;-)
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jul 30, 2014 - 03:10pm PT
My first climb at Tahquitz, and my first multipitch climb anywhere, was Fingertip. Still one of my favorites.

Anyhoo, I had led the lieback pitch and was anchored in that bucket just before the traverse. I hear a shout, look over just in time to see a dude taking a huge whipper on El Camino Real. I look back down hoping to catch a glimpse of my partner, when off to the side I see a head pop up over the rock. This guy looks at me, shakily, and says he's off route, and he's 35' above his last piece of pro.

My partner has just arrived, so I threw him a bight of rope and belayed him up.

About this time I'm asking myself, WTF have I gotten myself into?
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jul 30, 2014 - 03:15pm PT
Looking up...



Looking down...


Fun climbing all the way...


The wine & cheese party on the summit... do they still have those?
This one is around '92 or '93 or so.

stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Jul 30, 2014 - 03:28pm PT
First route I did there was Sahara Terror. Didn't seem too bad, just was a little careful around the loose stuff. I assumed it was all like that. Seeing the recent thread on accidents on that climb made me think that maybe us rookies were lucky that we didn't have any issues. Though it was a very hot day and we got a bit turned around on the walk-off and were very hot and dehydrated by the time we got back to the car.

Another climb got interrupted before we even started as a guy in another party broke a leg in a fall about a pitch up. By the time we got him down it was evening. We went looking for the Stokes to carry him out, but it was not where it normally should have been. Ended up carrying/dragging him out on a poncho in the dark. Not much fun.
DonC

climber
CA
Jul 30, 2014 - 04:24pm PT
West Lark in the late 60's

Chingadera - forget the year, but we were "front pointing" in RR's - seemed pretty hard at the time

Psilocyborg

climber
Jul 30, 2014 - 05:09pm PT

as you can see lilly rock is not tahquitz!
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Jul 30, 2014 - 06:09pm PT
Anyone have info on the FFA of Magical Mystery Tour, like mid 70s was it? I heard Matt Cox took a 60 footer onto some small wireds: Matt Cox, the Man and the Myth!!

75,76ish.... I remember Matt and Tobin returned to Humber in the dark after they climb it.... I was cooking and had a Ice chest with ice cold beer. They were both dog tired, had the 1,000 yard stare, but were grinnig from ear to ear, caus "IT GOES FREE."

Anyway they sat there with me and ate some food and they didn't even take off the gear they had with them.


I feel so lucky to have been a climber at that time and place.







Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jul 30, 2014 - 07:14pm PT
The wine & cheese party on the summit... do they still have those?

No.


From the wreck:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/rec.climbing/Tahquitz$20News$20Flash/rec.climbing/SuEN2P0-Qus/WRreYiWAVJgJ
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jul 30, 2014 - 07:27pm PT
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jul 30, 2014 - 08:54pm PT

rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Jul 30, 2014 - 09:08pm PT
I thought Chuck Wilts had the descent record from lunch rock to the parking lot...? I think i did it in 15 mins...? That was getting small air over tiny decroded granite boulders and landing in a parallel turn position..That was 40 pounds and 40 years ago...Sorry for the trail damage..
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 31, 2014 - 09:11am PT
Story by TGT, Social Climber...from TR on FA of the Heart Route.
http://www.supertopo.com/tr/First-Ascent-of-the-Heart-Route-1970-Kroger-and-Davis/t123n.html

This story could just as well belong in the Tahquitz thread, but the primary character is Andy.

I only tied in with him for one long day.

But what a day it was.



The adventure started before we even left. As we went thru the exercise of stuffing a rack, rope and other gear into my saddlebags, Andy realized he’d left his wallet and keys in his room. A quick ascent of the drainpipe to the third floor was followed by a long reach and step across to an open lobby window. He quickly appeared at the front door with wallet and keys in hand. I told him I’d been impressed. He demurred that he’d done it often. I wondered what I had myself in to.

We hit the 10 freeway and I was in my own element. The BMW hummed along thru the patchy pre dawn ground fog as if powered by a giant electric motor. By the time we passed the airport, I could tell I was hauling dead weight. Andy was slumped down, sound a sleep. The best part of traveling by motorcycle is that it is about as close to flying in an open cockpit aircraft that you can get without leaving the ground. We flew thru Colton and San Bernardino, and were soon climbing over the pass at Redlands. Then, that pass marked a true demarcation between urban and rural. Not much but open fields as the freeway undulated over several drainages stretching down from the San Bernardino Mountains to the north. Dropping down a reverse slope, pushing for 90 mph. in the dim dawning light I caught a flash of movement to my left and instinctively ducked. The intensity of the slam to the top of my helmet startled me. It took a second or so to realize that a dove had chosen my head for the location of its self-evisceration. There was a smoke ball of feathers rapidly receding, dissipating in the rear view mirror. Then the flash of panic, I was armored with a helmet, Andy only in a balaclava to ward off the chill. A quick glance back and I couldn’t help but grin. He was still sound asleep, unharmed, but his balaclava had been turned into a bizarre primitivist headdress decorated with feathers and bloody flesh.

As we dropped down the last down hill run to the long flat plain that extends from Beaumont to Whitewater, the bike gave a slight shake. The shake amplified into a violent wobble. The final outcome of a speed wobble is often a wrecked bike and a case of road rash at a minimum. The proper response is counter intuitive. Slowly close the throttle. Relax the grip on the handlebars. Keep the body relaxed. And, above all, stay off the brakes. Andy was now wide a wake and wild eyed. As our speed bled down, the oscillations dampened until, we got down to about 35 mph. At that point, the bike reached a new resonance and again began to lurch violently from side to side. We finally coasted to a stop on the shoulder and hoped off, feeling like dismounted bronco riders. The rear tire as flaccid as a drunken man.

Andy reached up to pull of his balaclava and felt something sticky and wet. As the hat slid off his face, his expression was one of confusion and shock. He reached for his head, feeling for a wound that wasn’t there. As I explained the earlier incident with the dove and how he’d slept through it, he relaxed. I got to work on getting the wheel off the bike. Andy began plucking pieces of bird from his hat.

I had the wheel on the ground and began to attack the task of removing the tire. The five-inch long tire irons that came with the toolkit were completely inadequate for the task. As I struggled to remove, the tire there was a reflection of flashing red lights in the high gloss black of the bikes rear fender. A CHP pulled up behind us. The nature of the situation was obvious and Andy had plucked his hat clean returning to his normal civilized appearance. The officer quickly insisted on giving the wheel and me a round trip to the nearest gas station. He opened the trunk, in went the wheel and I slid into the front seat. With the small talk on the ride he told me that he’d recently transferred to Beaumont, then, considered a plumb rural assignment. Close enough to the city for the conveniences, but far enough away to avoid most of the urban law enforcement problems. After a couple of miles, we pulled off the freeway and into the gas station. The officer tapped on the office window and woke the dozing attendant. He was visibly annoyed at being awoken that early, but the presence of the law inspired him to get on with the job. Ten minutes and five dollars later we were off down the freeway to the bike and Andy. On the way, back the cop got a radio call on an accident so it was a quick exit and a wave at the bike and he was off with lights flashing. The tire went back in place, the tools were packed back up, and the whole incident had cost us less than a half hour, still time for breakfast.

The Banning Denny’s was a regular stop. Both my regular climbing partner and I had only motorcycles and a chance to warm up before heading up the hill was always taken. Denny’s was really the only convenient place and was consistent. It didn’t mater what you ordered, no matter the time of day, it always had that tell tale hint of bacon grease. At least the coffee was hot and acceptable to our unrefined pallets. The earlier shot of adrenaline had my appetite up so a big breakfast was in order. Andy just ordered oatmeal and Postum, (weird?) and laid out his plan. He’d received a Rhodes scholarship and would be headed for Oxford in early summer, but had arranged to go for the second ascent of The Heart Route on El Cap during the spring break in a few weeks. Then, the second ascent of a big wall was only slightly less prestigious than a FA. There were only ten routes then that went to the top of El Cap. The gods of Yosemite had put all except The Heart up. Andy planed to get the free leads and wanted to get as much mileage in as possible beforehand. As midterms were still to come, this was going to be his last tune up day, and he wanted to make the most of it. He laid out his list. It was at least three times more climbing than I’d ever done in one day. I answered that I would do my best to keep up and hurried to finish eating. It was going to be a very long day.

We took off into the fog and were soon on our way up route 243. We climbed into the thickest parts of the marine layer and the fog became a light drizzle collecting on the bikes windshield, dripping off the trees by the side of the road. At Poppet Flats, we finally broke out into brilliant morning sunshine, the low clouds spreading to the horizon like a giant bowl of lumpy oatmeal, the wet smell of the fog replaced by the sharp scent of pine. We were late enough that there was no threat of icy spots on the road, so now out of the clouds, it was time to drop it down a peg and roll the left wrist forward.

In less than half an hour, we were pulling into Humber Park. It took a few minutes to reorganize the rack and the rope and store the jackets. I walked across the street and filled my bota bag from the tap fed from the spring. It was left running until late spring to prevent freezing and ran down from a holding tank that was higher up at the end of the road. We took off down the trail. Reaching the white post that marked the Riverside/San Bernardino county line made a left and started the hump up the hill. We soon reached a landmark I always detested on the way up and looked forward to on the way down. A log crossed the path and was recognizable in that both an oak and pine sapling grew directly through a split in its center. It meant you were almost down to the trail. It always seemed to take a long time to get to this point on the way up as it was about here the body warmed up to the effort and altitude. The second wind kicked in. It wasn’t long and we reached a more welcome landmark. We slid over a large slick log and Lunch rock was only yards away. We changed into Klettershuh and Andy quickly racked up. It was only a mater of flipping the gear and slings over the head and shoulders. I grabbed the rope and cinched the bota up tight under an armpit with an overhand knot in the string that passed for a shoulder strap. We headed around the Maiden Buttress to our first objective.

Andy pointed out or route, The Illegitimate. It certainly looked like it lived up to its name. From a large mountain mahogany, a crack that stood out as a green stripe of plant life shot diagonally up for 150 feet into a corner. The corner was caped by a large roof about 80 feet farther up. I couldn’t visualize at all how this obstacle was to be overcome. At this point, I was proceeding on pure faith. We scrambled up to the large tree and tied into the rope. Andy tied into his swami, threw a figure eight on a bight in the rope around the tree, and asked me if I’d like the first lead. Hubris overcame common sense as I enthusiastically answered, wrapped the end of the rope around my waist three times, tied in with a bowline on a coil, and grabbed the gear sling. Andy threw the rope around his hips and called. “On belay”. After about twenty feet, the crack narrowed and contained a large chock stone. A threaded a sling around the rock marked the beginning of the serious climbing. I swung out on to the face to begin the long hand traverse. The crack was filled with ferns, flowers, and moss but there were clean spots conveniently positioned to allow progress in graceful apelike swings. The Flora actually forced graceful efficient technique. The eye level view was of a miniature Tolkienesque landscape tilted to the vertical plane. When exposure brought back reality there was always a convenient foothold and place for a piton. To soon reaching the belay, this was the kind of pitch you wish went on forever, I had a problem. There was a large flake just to my left, the obvious anchor. I didn’t have enough rope to reach it, let alone tie off a big enough loop to sling it. What now? There was still the four-inch bong on the gear sling and I still had a double length sling over my shoulder. Looping the sling through the lightening eyes on the small end of the bong turned it into a four-inch nut. A couple of flips and it jammed behind the flake with a satisfying clack. Just enough slack remained to clip a carabineer through the loops of rope around my waist, not enough for a proper tie in knot. I called out, “off belay.”


Andy grinned when he saw the anchor and thought it ingenious. That made me feel a little better about its efficacy. He collected the rack and started up the crux pitch, a dihedral that led to a rather large overhang. Sixty or so feet and one piton later he was at the overhang driving a pair of Lost Arrows to the hilt. He then down climbed about fifteen or twenty feet and promptly disappeared out of sight around the corner of the dihedral. One more piton, and then the rope began to quickly run out.

Now it was my turn. The first piton protected the crux of the pitch and had been placed from a good stance. It was quickly retrieved. Soon I was at the headwall and the two
Lost Arrows. The stance was bad; both hands could not be free. Both pins were overdriven and the prospect of a fall with the rope now descending twenty or so feet and disappearing around the corner into the unknown, unthinkable. After what seemed like an eternity of crimping with one hand and pounding with the other, the rock released its hold on the last pin. Careful down climbing led to a quick move around the corner and another pin. Now another traverse and smooth friction, still not my forte, and certainly not then with stiff Vibram soled Kletershuh. The whining commenced and after a little encouragement from Andy I was across to easy ground, thankful that, the rope was finally going up and not sideways. The belay was a large comfortable ledge with a tree.

“Have you ever climbed moving in coils”? Andy asked shortly after my arrival. The answer was obvious without speaking just from the puzzled look. My answer was I’d read about it, but never done it. After a short refresher on the procedures, we both coiled about one third of the rope over our shoulders and I put Andy on belay on the abbreviated cord. It soon went taught and he told me to start climbing. He moved fast and occasionally had to pause to allow me to retrieve a sling around a tree or chockstone. There was only a piton or two placed in the next four hundred or so feet. In no time, at all, we were at the final exit moves of The White Maiden and I put him back on belay as he made short work of the last sixty-foot pitch. A quick hit of water from the Bota and we raced down the Friction Route to the next climb.

Didn’t take long and we were standing at the base of The Inominate. A ramp led to a steep dark and dead vertical, if not overhanging dihedral. Andy offered the first pitch, and once again, I accepted. Shortly, I had a good belay set up on a pedestal below the steep dihedral, this time two firmly driven pins. The bong sung as Andy drove it home, a quick couple of moves and he was moving fast over easier ground. One more easy short pitch and we were again headed down the Friction Route.

The south side of Tahquitz is marked by an unusual distinctive feature. Two parallel cracks about eight feet apart curve gracefully through an overhang and down a bucketed face, the appropriately named Ski Tracks. I’d led the left one the summer before. It was the obligatory next step after Angels Fright for the novice leader. The first pitch is dead vertical with the only real difficulty being an initial move to get established on the face that is so featured that it has been described as , “vertical third class”. The crux, at the end of the next pitch is a handhold-less committing step with huge exposure that still belies its lowly rating.

We were headed for the much more difficult Right Ski Track. The first pitch is pretty much the same as the left. The right crack continually thins and steepens until it disappears into the smooth face several yards from a flake that forms a bottomless chimney under the same platform that creates the step across of its easier sibling to the left. Once again, I drew first pitch duty and was off. It went quickly, familiar territory. Andy took off on the next pitch, occasionally swatting in a pin. At the end of the crack, he placed one final pin and with a call of, “watch me here” started the thin traverse across the face to the base of the chimney. Once he was in the chimney, it was clear that it wouldn’t accept any pro without an unreasonable amount of effort. The sounds of shoes rack and body parts dragging on rock mingled with the grunts of great physical effort. Finally, the sounds of a relieved leader gasping for air and the ring of the belay anchor going in. The crack itself was difficult, particularly cleaning the pitons with one hand and avoiding dropping them. The traverse and the chimney went much easier. With the security of the rope, the worst of the chimney could be bypassed with lieback moves. At the belay, we squeezed the little water that remained from the bota. A couple of more easy pitches and we were off down the Friction Route again.

As we rounded the corner under the Traitor Horn and past The Open Book Andy announced that he thought we had time for one more. Just past the start for Fingertrip was an ugly looking crack that slanted off to the left, The Slab. Not a slab climbs at all, but a short excursion up the left side of a slab. He polished it off in short order having done it before several times, the only climb of the day that wasn’t an onsight. A quick rappel and we were at lunch rock just in time to gather our gear and thoughts by the last of the suns’ rays.

We made a stop at The Charthouse for a beer. Well, at least Andy had a beer. I would not be able to buy one legally for another six months or so. The ride home was pleasantly warm for that time of year. Only an appreciated wakening chill when the road would dip through a canyon that funneled the cold air descending from Mt. San Gorgonio across our path.

I never climbed with Andy again. He went off to the valley, got The Heart, and left for Oxford. He became the town doctor and ice guru of Valdez Alaska and ended his own life with a shotgun in a strange effort to engineer his own disappearance. It’s solid city now all the way to Banning and the CHP aren't nearly as friendly. Riding a motorcycle in Southern California is now an equivalent risk to free soloing. Tahquitz has changed also, although not nearly as much as the encroaching city below. I do not remember seeing another party that entire day. It was a weekend, so there must have been others. The experience of having the place to your self is now reserved for those that can make it on a weekday.

There have been physical changes that remind me of the relentless advance of time now every time I’m there. The first pitch of The Illegitimate has been “gardened” to aseptic standards. The flake I slung is now dangerously unstable. The log that was the first landmark slowly disappeared over the years. The pine sapling died and the oak has now reached tree status. The trail now goes under the log we polished going over. You don’t even have to bend over very far to clear it even with a pack on. I doubt it will be there all that much longer.

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 31, 2014 - 09:36am PT
HAHAHAHA! I beat you to it, TGT. It's a fine story, thanks; and Embick was a good dude; sorry he took the short cut out of here. Had a few conversations in the Valley with him Back When.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jul 31, 2014 - 09:38am PT
Deleted the double post.

I've got a pre-stonemaster Sorensen story or two to dig up too.
BG

Trad climber
JTree & Idyllwild
Jul 31, 2014 - 01:08pm PT
It used to be standard form to see how fast you could descend to the car from Lunch Rock

Back in the 90's, I was up at the base of Tahquitz to put up a new route, when I realized I'd fogotten my hammer. So I timed myself on a speed descent back to the parking lot to fetch it; Lunch Rock to Ernie Maxwell Scenic trail in 8 minutes 23 seconds.
Ryans

Trad climber
Idyllwild, CA
Jul 31, 2014 - 01:25pm PT
Some of us were on a C2C Trough solo kick for a while a couple of years ago. Under an hour was the goal. The known record sits right around 40 minutes C2C! My best was 56:36. Never attempted it again for time after that. I was wrecked.

We broke the event into three parts: up to Lunch Rock, Lunch Rock to the top of the Trough, and from the top down to the car. Each in 20 minutes or less would get you back in 1 hour. I'd guess I was getting from Lunch Rock to the car in about 10 minutes or less.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jul 31, 2014 - 04:57pm PT
That's a good story.
Alois

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
Aug 1, 2014 - 06:42am PT
I don't have access to photos (I'm in England right now) but I have climbed on Tahquitz for about 40 years now. A lot of memories...

In 1980, 19 years old Miguel Carmona just freshly arrived from Spain wanted to do the Green Arch. I lead the first pitch into the Arch and from there, Miguel went up on mostly small stoppers and these new gizmos, RPs. Where the arch curves, he placed an RP and clipped the two small fixed angles there. From there he moved horizontaly under the fold and without a warning, slipped and fell. I was belaying him with body belay. He fell about 45 feet straight down on me. I stopped him about 10 feet above me. I was so shook up from the fall, I could barely hold the rope, but Miguel just asked ME, are you all right? My affirmative answer resulted in him going back up there and climbing the fold cleanly. I needed quite a bit of tension just to get past the lip. Right there I knew I would never ammount to much...

Whole bunch of us entered the Charthouse one Saturday evening for dinner. We have been climbing all day amd we looked it. Charthouse then was a high class place. We were told to wait for table. After about 40 minutes with at least couple tables free, Larry T. had enough and proceeded to climb the outside of the fireplace all the way to the top. What fun! There was a huge response to this, but we were seated in seconds...

Robert Somoano and I went up Whodenet in the early 80s. There was a party above us, sounded like two young women. We were a bit faster and cought up with them couple pitches from the top. Robert was in the lead and I just heard "Hi Dad" and all kinds of giggle and laughter. Robert just cought up with his daughter. She was so proud of her dad...

Ben Chapman and I did the Through in winter. The North Side of Tahquitz can ice up really well once in a while and we had a wonderful day of mixed climbing. Late in the afternoon, we sat at Lunch Rock, had a bite and as the sun was going down, we headed to Humber Park and the car. I drove home to Culver City and Ben to Long Beach. At about midnight Ben calls and says do you have my rope? No I don't. He says I knew I left it at Lunch Rock. So Ben drove to Idyllwild the same night, got there at 3 AM, picked up the rope from the flat boulder at Lunch Rock and was back teaching his class at 8 AM.

Pen and I were sitting at the top of the Swallow in 2006 when this hugely energetic guy comes running up, says Hi and is gone. A few minutes later, the same guy runs by us again, says I'm here again and runs down. In the 30-40 minutes we sat and ate our lunch, this guy appeared several times laughing and greeting us. The last time he came up, he sat down beside us. Said his name was Michael and we chatted about climbing. Penelope invited him for a tea at our place and we had a wonderful time ...About a month later, the Rock and Ice magazine arrived with the Michael Reardon issue. Penelope came home from the Post Office and said you would not believe this...
We miss you Michael.

In 1999 I met Penelope at one of those famous August Tahquitz Rock Dinner Climbs. Pat Orris and Tom Brogan hosted this event for some 25 years. You got dressed in ridiculous clothing, climbed a route with a pack full of wine and food and had a party on top. Pen and I liked the atmosphere so much that we got married on top of Tahquitz Rock in 2011. Some 50 ST posters, hikers and mountain scramblers joined us.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:04am PT
Good times and good people, Alois.
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:18am PT
From previous post...
The wine & cheese party on the summit...around '92 or '93 or so.

GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:24am PT
4 min down? I'd have to see that! These days the fastest kid on the hill is mr Grey (he makes those shnazzy T shirts). More of a runner, he's done the summit from hummer in sub 4 hours car to car and I think has a pretty damn fast time for the trough.

I've never been good at racing down hill, but before work one day climbed the walkway, fingertip and the trough in under 2hrs C2C. Such a great training crag!
Alois

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:41am PT
My wife Penelope, who is just a bit older than most visitors to Tahquitz, did the North-East Rib from Humber Park RT in 56 minutes last September, a new record for her. Not bad for a 62 year old...Tahquitz is a superb training ground for all kinds of climbing..
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Aug 1, 2014 - 03:15pm PT
Son, The Eldest, on Hard Larks:
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Aug 1, 2014 - 05:57pm PT
Wow, some super great stories!

I was involved in the FA of Magical Mystery Tour. There was some controversy and more than a little sour grapes.

....and thanks Ed for starting another classic.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Aug 1, 2014 - 06:03pm PT
My first route at Tahquitz was The Ski Tracks 12/9/73 with Jim Angione, 16 years old.

HA! My second one was The Bat Crack 5.10 with Robs Muir 4/28/1974...still 16.

Remember that Robs?



EDIT! No, my first route at Tahquitz was Angels Fright with my dad, James Evans, in 1968. I was 11 years old. Ski Tracks was #2.


Wow, just went back and read
TGT's story....good one!
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Aug 1, 2014 - 06:40pm PT
Great story TGT.
I loved Tahquitz and have wanted to return for years.
First route, Angel's Fright.
Last route, The Vampire.

Thanks for a great thread!
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:01pm PT
Pen and I were sitting at the top of the Swallow in 2006 when this hugely energetic guy comes running up, says Hi and is gone. A few minutes later, the same guy runs by us again, says I'm here again and runs down. In the 30-40 minutes we sat and ate our lunch, this guy appeared several times laughing and greeting us. The last time he came up, he sat down beside us. Said his name was Michael

Had a similar experience. We were racking up to do Coffin Nail and Traitor Horn.

Michael ran up El Camino and lapped us before we even got started.

We weren't rushing things, but we weren't lollygagging either.
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:16pm PT
What was the last name of your buddy (named Earl)?
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:19pm PT
Copy. My first climbing mentor was named Earl. Still one of my best friends in the world.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Aug 3, 2014 - 09:51am PT
Todd Battey on the FA of "The 5.7 Arete" 5.10b, it looked 5.7 but wasn't (1986).

Rudder

Trad climber
Costa Mesa, CA
Aug 3, 2014 - 11:52am PT
I'm very sentimental about Tahquitz. When I haven't been there in a few years (even more so when I haven't climbed at all in a few years) and I go back there I get immersed in a wave of nostalgia.

My first climbing experience was at Tahquitz. I didn't know what climbing was, I thought we were going on a hike. My buddies hauled me up Angel's Fright in my sneakers. I remember crying 'god damn it" about 500 times on the way up, and also think I'd kill my buddies once they got me back to the parking lot. But, I didn't, I was hooked.

Thought it would be an awesome date experience so ran a girl up the Trough in sneakers, a borrowed rope, and a few slings. She was wearing top siders, and she did the friction descent in those, as well. We ate at the Chart House after and sat next to Michael Constantine, who was somewhat popular back then on TV.

About two months later after lots of runs out to Stoney Point and lots of reading about all my new heros (Royal Robbins and Warren Harding), I went back to Tahquitz wanting to lead it all. I had a short rope, a harness I found in the trash at Stoney (not much of a harness and old and crusty for sure), a few hexes and some slings. I was knocking them off pretty good for awhile, Traitor Horn, The Open Book, Mechanics Route, Whodunit, Sh#t for Brains, at al. Then I started up Fred and came flying off for about 40' ending up hanging there 3' from the ground.

Had the idea to make a direct start and finish to Mechanics Route, I call it "Mikey Screams" which I think is a more esthetic route. Maybe 10b-PG, would like to get some feedback on it sometime.

After not climbing at Tahquitz for over 10 years and only climbing once or twice in that time on a toprope I went up to Tahquitz with a climbing gal and was gripped the entire time... every second of it. haha It had gotten into my head on the fourth class start and it never got out. It was like a severe stress test that just wouldn't end.

Couple years ago did an evening climb up there and reached the top after dark. There were some newlyweds up there that were stuck and had called in for a rescue. I got them down to the parking lot and the RMRU had just showed up and figured out what had happened. One of them pointed at me and said, "that's the guy that intercepted our mission!" haha

Have taken a lot of friends and family up there. Here's my son and his wife up there with me last year:


My fiancé and her Dad last month:


Always thinking about Largo and Henny, et al, doing superhuman things up there.

Always a great time! :)


TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Aug 3, 2014 - 12:57pm PT
Mid / Early 70’s. I hadn’t carried a hammer all winter at Joshua Tree, we’d done a fair number of .8’s with a set of hexes, and perlon slung stoppers. We figured we were ready to step it up to nines that spring at Tahquitz. The Open Book was the first nine established so it should be the easiest, right? John had been following for almost a year now and was competent and fast, but had never shown much interest in getting on the sharp end. I’d managed to convince him this was a good idea and he was enthusiastic about it and offered to drive.


I was able to get a large hex cammed into a pocket to protect the first move, a bouldery move that still gives experienced leaders pause. After a couple of false starts I had the horn above slung and was contemplating the traverse into the main crack. Up to the ear was uneventful with a couple of fixed pins for security. The move around the ear went much easier than expected. I was able to establish a belay with primarily with slung blocks sheepherding the meager supply (one of each) larger hexes for the wide crack above.

It was obvious I would have to be bold or risk running out of gear for the belay. The jams were secure and fit my hands and feet well and soon I was at a flake that the Willits guide book had cautioned the pitons should not be placed there to avoid weakening it. I wedged a sling over it and couldn’t keep from contemplating how many had ignored his advice. It looked marginal even if it hadn’t been weakened. Fifteen or twenty feet up the crack got steeper and the sides more parallel. It was time for another piece.

A number nine hex fit the crack but it was parallel and smooth. I couldn’t find any constrictions to catch it, but a downward tug on the sling seemed to cam it in. It looked and felt ok and I figured a stout yank on the sling would wedge it securely. I leaned back on my jammed right hand and gave it a stout snap.

The next instant there was a deafening boom that originated inside my head as the hex blew my tooth through the top of my tongue. So there I was hanging from a jammed right hand, way to far above a sling draped over a flake of suspect strength with a tooth missing and a newly pierced tongue. A gasp for breath choked me. My mouth was full of sand. That’s what the tooth had been reduced to. I still had the hex in my left hand.

Ok, what next? Down climbing looked impossible. Taking a long fall on that slung flake was out of the question. The adrenaline had kicked in. Another ten feet or so and there was what looked like a good rest and placement. It didn’t take long to get there. Soon I was at the “cave with no bottom.” The normal belay is shortly after that, just around the corner. There was an ancient fixed pin in the cave as well as a block that could be slung. The adrenaline rush was wearing off. I set up a belay and brought John up.

John started laughing when he got close at my gap-toothed grimace that he mistook for a smile. I just drooled some blood and managed to hit him in the forehead. That stopped the laughing. I told John he was going to have to take over the lead. I had always been the rope gun, he’d never led in the year, or so we had been climbing together. We finished with no further excitement. John would never lead after that either.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=282636&tn=20
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Aug 3, 2014 - 02:47pm PT
RV (Sketchy), Rob Raker, Paula and KP (Dimes)at Lunch Rock 1984.


dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Aug 3, 2014 - 02:48pm PT
Rob Raker on Zigzags 5.10 1984.

dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Aug 3, 2014 - 02:49pm PT
Rob leading Pas de Deux 5.10b in 1984.



That's all for now folks!
overwatch

climber
Aug 3, 2014 - 04:06pm PT
Great pictures and stories everyone, thank you for sharing them.
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Aug 3, 2014 - 04:59pm PT
(Open Book) I was able to get a large hex cammed into a pocket to protect the first move, a bouldery move that still gives experienced leaders pause.


Glad I'm not the only once who thought the hardest part of Open Book was the start. After nearly dying on that, I thought the cracks were just fun climbing. Need to go back and do it again... maybe a couple of decades have chilled it out some.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Aug 3, 2014 - 06:01pm PT
Yeah,

Never quite got how the first 5.9 shares the hardest move with the first 5.8 (Booksellers Route, AKA Mechanics)

I guess the "Joshua Tree Rule" (First 15' don't count) predates any Joshua Tree activity.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Aug 3, 2014 - 07:20pm PT
TGT, that is an interesting point.

It appears that the YDS is more complicated than first assumed.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Aug 3, 2014 - 08:23pm PT
Tobin showed me the Friction Route descent tree swing, but decades later I found out from Woody that it was done regularly in the early 60's and probably dates to the 40's.


Never noticed that rope in the background before. Wasn't ours?

Woody leading out off of Lunch Ledge.(looking for the most difficult way of course)

dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Aug 8, 2014 - 07:10pm PT
The Friction Route has several tricks and short cuts.

The tree move was classic.
F10

Trad climber
Bishop
Aug 8, 2014 - 08:56pm PT
Hammock bivy winter ascent

Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Aug 8, 2014 - 11:20pm PT

I first climbed at Tahquitz in the fall of 1965. I was 14 years old and a proud member of Post 4 Mountaineering a scout group from LaCrescenta/Montrose area. Our scout leaders were Sierra Club’s Rock Climbing Section members, some were involved with the Montrose Search and Rescue Team. There was only one of them there that day and unbeknownst to us his young bride had told him, "there will be no more climbing for you!" They had two toddlers and true to his order he became involved only in our evacuation from the face and the descent. It was to be his last outting with Post 4.

Like so many search and rescue groups of that era we spent a fair amount of those first few years having mishaps and often rescuing ourselves. This first multi-pitch route was no exception and like most epics was a result of compounding circumstances the first of which was weather, it had just snowed. Given the cold conditions and our youthfulness we got a late start up to Lunch Rock.

Our objective was the Trough, a hideous deep gash and obvious weakness up the fortress; there were maybe 6 or 8 of us with two or three ropes, all 120 foot gold lines. The lengths of rope were further reduced by tying in with a bowlin on a coil effectively yielding 100 foot pitches. The lower reaches of the Trough were filled with snow so we climbed out lookers left and came back into the route higher up, indeed "From Bad to Worse". Of course all this resulted in considerable delay as one would expect compounded with repeated failed rope tosses to the line up of frozen scouts on ledges with each pitch.

To make, as they say a long story short the last of the scouts arrived at Pine Tree Ledge at sundown. I fortunately was in the forward party and found myself heading down the Friction Route as the last of the sun dropped below the horizon. The one headlamp in our group was carbide (you can't make this sh*t up) which nearly resulting in a forest fire on the warmer and dryer south side, the rest of us held flashlights if we had them at all in our teeth.

We of course had all read about poor Joe Fitchen who becames lost on an early retreat thus "discovering a new route" in his epic body trundling descent years before. This naturally added to the horror of my young friends behind us who had the unfortunate fate of descending the slabs blind in pitch darkness resulting in years of nighmares and/or abandoning climbing all together.

Stumbling cold, exhausted into Humber Park a beautiful "older" women appeared before me from the warmth of her interior lite up VW van. Illuminated like a goddesss in the darkness of the trail head she quickly assessed our deprived state and gathered our small party into the van amongst her puffy down bags. She made us hot chocolate while we told the epic tale of our winter ascent of the Trough!!!

Her soft smile and gentle affect reduced us all into sleepy puppies until her husband (boy friend?) arrived. He quickly fired off questions as to where the rest of us were and talked back and forth to his partner trying to piece together our situation. They had just come off of the Vampire and we sat there in absolute stunned awe having watched them that day from the depths of the Trough. The man was Charlie Raymond and I knew right then and there my journey in the mountains had just begun.

I can't wait to return to Tahquitz which I hope will be this fall with my oldest son and his wife. I haven't climbed there since the mid 80's. Unbelievable it's been nearly 50 years since Post 4 Mountaineering had it first epic (and not its last) on good old Tahquitz. These places we love are haunted.


Berg Heil,

Charlie D.


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 16, 2014 - 08:26pm PT
Hacking some sack at Humber Park!
StahlBro in the hat. To his left Raker's head, to his right Watusi's six pack, Dr. F ... a.k.a. "Guns" in white shorts, Dave Stahl, DE, Kelly Carignan behind Dave. Circa 1984/5.


*Thanks Rob ... Couldn't remember who we came up with last time I posted this photo.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Aug 16, 2014 - 08:31pm PT
Bob Roback to the left of Raker and the mystery man behind him
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 16, 2014 - 08:37pm PT
Doug Munoz, first pitch of Green Arch, 1983

... And Munoz a.k.a. "Mooney" On The Flakes, same year, probably same weekend:
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Aug 16, 2014 - 08:37pm PT
only one more to ID Roy. Still searching the memory banks

Jamesthomsen

Social climber
Mammoth Lakes, California
Aug 18, 2014 - 02:03pm PT
The Trough was my first real winter climb. In 1969 we hiked to the base, my experience being mostly from classic mountaineering books. I must have slept on my arms because I woke up with both hands and arms a sleep and was absolutely sure I had frostbite and would lose my hands.
The climb went ok, but looking back it is amazing we lived through the stupid things we did. 120 feet of gold line and a nice axe from Don's West Ridge.
What a great area to learn to climb.
Alois

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
Aug 18, 2014 - 07:13pm PT
Charlie D. This one is for you..
The Raymonds in 2011 visiting Idyllwild.
Alois

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
Aug 18, 2014 - 07:29pm PT
I have a few old pictures from climbing on Tahquitz in winter. Some go back as far as 1986 and most of them are not of the greatest quality. But ice climbing on Tahquitz can be your most unusual California climbing experience, so here they are:





This is a 1980 photo Of 19 year old Miguel Carmona climbing the Green Arch before his incredible fall off the upper traverse. After he pulled several pieces and fell about 40 feet he went up there and climbed the crux.


Those Tahquitz Dinner Climbs were great fun. Here are Tom Brogan, Pat Oriis, MIchael Reardon and me in 2006. Photo: Penelope May-Smrz


You must know some of these folks.









Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Aug 18, 2014 - 08:17pm PT
Ha! Pure gold thanks Alois.
Alois

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
Aug 19, 2014 - 05:57am PT
Couple more scenics


Johnny K.

climber
Sep 4, 2014 - 01:23pm PT
.....up
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 28, 2018 - 03:58pm PT
Rainy day bump
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Nov 28, 2018 - 05:02pm PT
BITD—if one regularly climbed in Idyllwild three days per week—there was a compelling need to take a break…

Back then, Pete Stears, a.k.a., Indian Pete, was into his barefoot phase—anyone else remember that? Dresden was all the rage in the climbing press.

At any rate, we decided to go for a hike up Devil's Slide and over to Strawberry Cienega. It may have been that we included San Jacinto Peak, too, but I honestly don't remember… I do remember it being a long-ass hike.

Pete, against all reason, thought it'd be a fine idea to do the hike, barefoot. Not even a pair of TSs in the daypack. Whew.

We did a complete loop that day and descended via Suicide Rock. By that time, Pete had confronted the error of his ways.

Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Nov 28, 2018 - 06:00pm PT
Ha Robs! I do indeed remember Pete’s barefoot phase....I ran into him bare foot at Lunch Rock long after our high school days, he was by then in a different league altogether. I do miss those days laughing in he sun. Hope to return to Tahquitz this spring, what a magical place of our youth.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Nov 29, 2018 - 10:59am PT

Here's one for Alois from that 2011 get together in Idyllwild
Messages 1 - 60 of total 60 in this topic
Return to Forum List
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta