Stories, fables, and photos from Tahquitz Rock

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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.
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