The Birth of Wheat Thin

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Messages 81 - 99 of total 99 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jan 11, 2007 - 12:54pm PT
My point isn't to question whether they were sailer or painter pants, as that doesn't seem important really, nor does this whole question seem all that important, but I tend to be interested in historical tidbits. My point is more to wonder where the trend began. Someone had mentioned it might have begun in the later 1970s, or thereabouts, and my mind then began to flood with memories of friends of mine wearing white pants. I have no idea what kind they were. Layton wore white pants when he and I climbed in the Black Canyon and in Eldorado and Twin Owls in the early 1960s. In 1962 on Standing Rock, Kor wore white pants -- as did Huntley Ingalls. I think one reason was because they were planning an article and taking photos. They wanted the climbers to stand out against the rock, but also somewhere in Yosemite Beck or Roper or Kor, who knows, started wearing them to be cooler on the big walls. The old knicker pants were usually a thicker material (corduroy, often), which got pretty hot. There is an interesting set of photos on page 144 of Beyond the Vertical (Kor's bio). They are both taken by Steve Roper, of Kor, on the West Buttress of El Cap (first ascent). In the top photo, Kor is wearing some kind of dark knicker pants. In the lower photo he appears to have white pants. I never knew of anyone to do a change of pants during a climb. Perhaps these photos represent two different attemtps?

More back to the subject of this thread, Peter is not only a great climber but a fine writer -- as you're seeing in his notes here. I very much enjoyed climbing with him one year in Yosemite, just after his solo of the Salathe. He roared up Ahab, as though it were 5.4, and I could only pretend to try to be as relaxed as he. On a couple other similar climbs farther up along the base of El Cap, Peter Pan maybe one of those, if I remember right, he had absolutely no trouble. He was the first climber I had ever met with the ferocity and power and speed of Layton Kor, but with a real Yosemite master's flair for all the nuances of technique. We even shared a tent, and during the late hour conversations I was amazed at how insightful he was about Yosemite and its individuals, each person's styles and quirks. Then later when I was broke in a San Francisco airport he came to the rescue with a few dollars and shared a number of great thoughts about me and Higgins some of which I incorporated into my last section (the airport section) of Tom's and my Nerve Wrack Point article. Peter has been an inspiration on many levels.

Pat
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jan 11, 2007 - 05:15pm PT
John hansen - yes, Henry lives and still climbs hard.

Peter Haan too...I saw him recently - guess what, he was wearing these cool white pants...couldn't tell what kind they were however.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jan 11, 2007 - 08:00pm PT
I always preferred black, for some reason, long before Johnny Cash got the idea.

Pat
Rags

Trad climber
Sierra foothills, CA
Jan 11, 2007 - 09:26pm PT
Maybe one of you elder :) statesman can tell me what this quote from the caption in Mountain refers to -

"Bridwell's hands are bound and chalked and treated with chemicals
in order to resist wear on the jamming..."

My uncle used to box in 1920's. He said they used to soak their hands in brine to toughen them up. What chemicals was Bridwell and others using. NOOOO, I'm not refering to the psychoactive kind....
Whitey

climber
Jan 11, 2007 - 09:39pm PT
Tincture of benzoin
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 2, 2008 - 07:51pm PT
Seems like a good time to give this one a hefty bump.
Mimi

climber
Dec 2, 2008 - 08:19pm PT
Thanks Anders. Another rich thread.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Mar 22, 2009 - 05:23pm PT
a good vintage
Fuzzywuzzy

climber
Jul 21, 2009 - 05:33pm PT
Right on Peter.

Keep them coming.

You were probably around when Klemens and Matt Donahoe took those big falls out of the Grinder?

Terrific history.
scuffy b

climber
Sinatra to Singapore
Jul 21, 2009 - 06:13pm PT
Well heck, I'll just clutter things up with some talk about
pants. Not worthwhile stuff like Who Was First but rather more
nerdly geekish faux tech talk.
I apologize if I've already "said" these things; I only went
back a page or so to "check."

Mighty H, the sailor pants referred to by eeKat are the Navy
surplus with about a dozen buttons in the front. A couple
held the trou together in the middle, then there was like a drop
seat flap (but in the front, not the back). They were
bell-bottoms. Easy to roll up if you wanted to do cool things
like swab deck on a ship, but for face climbing, some visual
obstruction was in the mix.
They had great lines (no pockets on the rear) and tended to fit climbers well.

The painter pants are no doubt more familiar to you these days:
generally straight cut, less flattering, more cluttered, with
a loop that is good for nothing but snagging on branches and a
strange pocket on the side that is good for holding a thin
paint brush or a bunch of dirt and live oak leaves.

MilkMan pants were the way to go for at least some of the
cognioscenti. Not as busy as the painter pants, and only one
button and a zipper, instead of 13 buttons (in certain circ#m-
stances, this could be a major consideration).

I believe a little digression is in order here. The Navy 13-
button units came in either white cotton or black wool.
The woolies were just wonderful, especially for ice skating,
perhaps especially on someone you were watching skate.

Now, to touch on the subject of climbing knickers and their
tendency to be a bit too warm for most conditions: a couple
friends of mine were climbing the Salathe Wall, and, yes, it
was back in the day.
When they got to El Cap Spire, Friend 1 (climbing in those
cord knickers made for Chouinard by Clark's, the really heavy
ones with a double seat and double knees) was so...what?...
distracted? outraged? demented? Well, he was so very something
or other from the heat that he converted his irreplaceable
Chouinard Cord Knickers (wouldn't you like a pair now?)
into SHORTS!!! By pounding on them with his hammer!!!
(maybe you wondered about some of the scarring there, maybe it
is not noticeable)
And I know what you're thinking, you're wondering why he didn't
just use a knife, aren't you?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jul 21, 2009 - 07:30pm PT
Thanks everyone, but especially Peter. It's great reading history written by people younger than me!
Summit.

climber
Bloatmeal, AZ
Feb 21, 2010 - 12:04pm PT
bump
Gobee

Trad climber
Upward Bound Col. 1:19-20 Grace By Faith
Feb 21, 2010 - 02:15pm PT
Nice Peter!

My friend Ed White and I climbed the Nabisco Wall together behind a group of Brits and had a grand time!
Years later I saw this book in Sports Chalet and there was Ed in the book from that day, cool!
It was first Pub in 1990, this was the 1997 edition!




Note; Ed had a split rim wheelbarrow tire blowup his hand and always had to tape his right hand!
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 9, 2010 - 06:09pm PT
Alpinist 31 includes Peter's story of Wheat Thin, somewhat edited.

The diagram of Nabisco Wall that accompanies the story calls the stance at the top of Wheat Thin and Butterballs "Monkey Island". Is that name commonly used? When did it start to be used? I don't think I've heard it called that before.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 9, 2010 - 06:32pm PT
Anders, that was my name for it, Monkey Island. It didn't fit the "Cracker" theme of course back then, in 1971 and didn't quite reach general parlance; it seems to persist anyway, lo these 40 years. I guess my point and observation was that it was the convergence of Butterballs, Wheat Thin, Lady Fingers and Butterfingers, all on that itty bitty 8" wide or so ledgette. And to get there obviously one was part or whole monkey or similar cercopithecoid or platyrrhine.

The Alpinist #31 article is of course edited from the original tale and I like the way Katie Ives and I worked it into shape; it's a better tale and still loads of fun to read. Two more coming in Alpinist apparently soon, also!
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 9, 2010 - 07:03pm PT
Thanks, Peter! Hopefully your name for it will catch on now. It's certainly an airy/aerie spot.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Oct 25, 2010 - 07:34pm PT
just want to say I liked the article in Alpinist Peter. thx


oh and bump for climbing talk
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Oct 25, 2010 - 09:33pm PT
Impressive: Thanks Peter for starting this and posting along the way.
Thanks to everyone else that posted too.

Great history.

It appears that: The good guys wore white, except for Pat---who gets a by.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 25, 2010 - 11:45pm PT
I got a copy of Geology Underfoot, and now I know all about the history of Wheat Thin. Except the last 0.0000000001%, that is. Peter covers that pretty well.
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