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Messages 1 - 125 of total 125 in this topic
Jorge

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 27, 2006 - 10:25pm PT

now why is this bigger?...
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
Sep 27, 2006 - 10:38pm PT
Beautiful shot, thanks. That's a six pack'; could you still drive on that road in those day's?
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 27, 2006 - 11:55pm PT
I have my own Yobo stories and they're pretty much like eveyone else's, so I guess this shot by Bullwinkle will just have to do.


Surf's Up Yabo style!
Jorge

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 28, 2006 - 12:01am PT
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 28, 2006 - 12:13am PT
LEB, Yabo had some crazy energy and I think that top shot shows his heart like none other.

Of all the climbers I have known who have passed on, I probably miss him the most.

or as he was won't to do, and Pink Floyd sang about so many times, "shine on you crazy diamond"

LEB style edit:
It's because they worked out like fiends Lois. The new generation has nothing on these boys
Wonder

climber
WA
Sep 28, 2006 - 01:48am PT
Hey Happi, you out there.
What you said in the HK, I'm starting to become a believer.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 28, 2006 - 10:19am PT
thanks george,
that first shot is sumthin' else altogether.
he looks like a kupie doll from another planet...
Dell

Trad climber
New Paltz, NY
Sep 28, 2006 - 10:25am PT
assuming it's the Valley -- what route is he on?
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 28, 2006 - 10:42am PT
Hi Lois, your comment about upper body strength requirements is slightly off the mark for technical reasons.

In climbing, all that matters is strength to weight ratio, not absolute strength. You cannot afford to carry any unnecessary weight and climb well. That is why climbers are so strong looking and so skinny.

Climbing is mostly about technical skill, conserving energy, using you legs, and keeping a still mind. You cannot do 1000s of pull-ups to get up a climb.

Another element is that working out for climbing is different than building muscle mass. Technically what is important is the speed of muscle cell recruitment. Men or women that work out with weights and look strong are almost never able to convert that strength into useful climbing abilities.

In this light, women don't have the disadvantages compared to men of building muscle mass.
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Sep 28, 2006 - 10:53am PT
Pat some of those shots of Yabo still bring a tear to my eye. ONE OF A KIND whithout a doubt. He BROUGHT energy to so many of us. I'll never forget a bouldering contest at Santee in San Diego circa early 80's, the bouldering area had just burned and back then you could pretty much drive into the boulder area. We drive up like at 5:30 in the morning and Yabo in laying on the ground, COVERED in soot, sleeping. He wakes up, goes to his car, opens the door and out pops his Mom... she was there to watch Yabo. It was hellareous watching the yaboho's, his mom following her son who was covered in soot. Got some black and whites of him bouldering that day, the soot looked like shadows on his skin. I think he and Yaniro were following eachother that particular day, but maybe Bachar stole the show at the end. Remember? Mike Paul was a court jester, musta been around holloween. Viva Yaboho!
Peace
really good to see you a couple weeks ago Pat, was good to see everyone, was actually thinkin of Yabo that evening, missing his company.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 28, 2006 - 12:39pm PT
Ron it was great to see you at the show too. Hopefully I'll be getting out to the crags a bit more often then I have been.

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 28, 2006 - 06:21pm PT
Yabo on Chip Flakey,
foto Dean Fidelman
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Sep 28, 2006 - 06:29pm PT
Lois, the other issue with these Yabo photos is that they were taken over a pretty good period of years. Some of the new ones posted by George are from the early years. The close-up of Deans is from later in his life.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Sep 28, 2006 - 08:15pm PT
George -Great portrait of the Yaborigine. Those pictures of traversing on Middle transported me right back there.

Here's one of John Yablonski on the left O'Kelley crack at Joshua Tree.

Wonder

climber
WA
Sep 28, 2006 - 11:18pm PT
ah, the 2" swammi.
Dell, i think thats the cookie.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Sep 28, 2006 - 11:32pm PT
Someone asked...

That is Wheat Thin, right? It looks like the same time that the picture of him in Yosemite Climber was taken, down below on the flake.

And yeah, the road was open. You just motored up there and parked along the side. I think. Been a long time.

Swamis weren't that bad, really. They were like your mojo.
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
Sep 29, 2006 - 12:02am PT
LEB, climbers have a ridiculous strength to weight ratio ( like gymnasts, some climbers were once collegiant gymnasts), but if you notice the difference between the top end climbers and weight lifters it is huge. Look at old shots of Largo( he could be a debt collector) and The CA Govenor and compare them to some of the pics of climbers. Totally different body shapes, yes many climbers did use additional training besides climbing but usually did higher reps with less weight producing leaner more endurance based muscle fibers, They had great arms compared to the general population but there real strength comes in their ability to do the amount of work required ( body weight) repetitively. In addition most climbers have a core strength that surpasses most professiional athletes, this core strength is always in play on the rocks more so then arm strength; it's needed for balance and counterpressure and it's the foundation for the arms to be able to pull up ones own body weight repetitively. Some climbers look like Knuckle dragging thugs ( myself included) but that's from a different and inappropriate type of training for rock climbing.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 29, 2006 - 12:08am PT
That's a clean shot Rick,
'Looks like it was yesterday...
curlie

Trad climber
SLO, CA
Sep 29, 2006 - 12:10am PT
Such great pix! Can we get some stories to go along with them?

Ok, one comment on the off-topic discussion of muscle development on this thread (which is an interesting point of discussion, but should really be its own thread):
Not all women have less body mass. There are us female climber half-cave-trolls out there that outweigh some of our male counterparts. Of course, I'm not sure that outweighing a gnome really counts, but at 150 lbs, I'm not far off from many male climbers. And while I envy their superior arm strength, I envy superior footwork even more.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 29, 2006 - 12:10am PT
Hey, I wonder if that might be sumthin' besides Left O'Kelley crack (Wangerbanger).
It looks real tuff...
WBraun

climber
Sep 29, 2006 - 12:17am PT
Ah yes, Yabo the Yarbarian

Well looky here, on the old coulterville road below still accessible before the huge ass rock slide. I bet George drove to the base that day at the cookie taking the Yabo on the wheat thin monkey hanging picture.

We used to drive right up that road and park right at the base of Catchy. Now you have to walk. Not good. Car is better. We should build roads everywhere, no? hehehe
brett kassell

Trad climber
san jose, ca
Sep 29, 2006 - 12:21am PT
let's see some more of yabo....maybe some at castle rock???
brett kassell

Trad climber
san jose, ca
Sep 29, 2006 - 12:26am PT
Bruce Morris....you must have some??????
WBraun

climber
Sep 29, 2006 - 12:28am PT
Those are great photos George, to bad the first batch of photos you took for the Yosemite Climber book you were making got stolen.

You think the worm that did it still has them some where?
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
Sep 29, 2006 - 12:39am PT
WB are you saying the shots in "the Good Book" are seconds! Oh my god, I really feel like a shmuck living my life aspiring to climb every route in there( for the last 27 years, or when ever it was published) and now to find out those aren't the first choices, I'm gonna Cry.....
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
Sep 29, 2006 - 10:36am PT
The " Bird" is not bulky by any means. I think your point of refference (select old classic pics posted on this site) has slighty skewed your perspective.
Some modern day high end climbers have trained so specifically for climbing that they are " wide" and narrow kind of weird looking IMHO.
The main difference between monkeys and climbers is "Monkey Butt", on second thought maybe that isn't a difference...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 29, 2006 - 11:12am PT
Here's an unlikely Yabo anecdote relating to your book George:

Referring to the pictures you took of him at New Diversions, the shot with him running the rope out nicely on the big fat knobs; Yabo "complained" that you asked him to run the rope out for the pictures! Now is that unlikely or what?! Poor Yabo, "made" to run it out. Next story he tossed out, something about him "choosing" to do Wheat Thin for photos, without clipping any of the bolts. Now that's our boy...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 29, 2006 - 11:15am PT
Yabo, (running it out) Fisticuffs, JT:
foto Dean Fidelman
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Oct 30, 2006 - 04:21pm PT
Just a little bump

Sometime around 86, wonder what he was thinking??
CathC

Social climber
Wyoming
Oct 31, 2006 - 11:01am PT
George and Rick,great photos of Yabo.
Ouch!

climber
Oct 31, 2006 - 03:45pm PT
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Oct 31, 2006 - 03:55pm PT
bravo, Ouch!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 31, 2006 - 08:45pm PT
Thanks fer bumpin' that eKat.
I missed it first time around.
My screen here at werk picked that lil' guy up a lot better.
scuffy b

climber
The town that Nature forgot to hate
Oct 31, 2006 - 08:48pm PT
Thanks, Ouch. Got me a little teary-eyed here.
Mimi

climber
Oct 31, 2006 - 11:39pm PT
Happy Halloween, Yabo!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 31, 2006 - 11:56pm PT
The more I look at that the more moved I become.
Awsome gesture.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Nov 1, 2006 - 12:02am PT
'Dunno Lois,

Just part of his unfettered subconscious coming out and stuff.
Playtime: that's art.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Nov 1, 2006 - 12:07am PT
I mean, others might not like to deconstruct or interpret stuff,
But everything besides the tents is like a backdrop; sullen, everlasting, and beautiful.
Then there is our little yellow toy time camping reality, sitting up at the front edge of the stage.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Nov 1, 2006 - 12:19am PT
I guess it's that gap that you can't bridge, that you have to feel, that makes it compelling work; you know, fill in the blanks with your feelings and intuition. For me, that's art.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Nov 1, 2006 - 01:56am PT
Again, I really like this one.

Lois, I'm with Tar as far as the unfettered subconcious part.
Take it for what it helps you feel, that's what it's worth, imfufho! -a lot, btw!!!!!!

Also, The push me pull you microbus speaks to a lot of us, though it really shoulda bin a split window*!



*sorry ekat, etal- harking to an earlier though related magic to keep alive; all in one god ( John Muir) faith, though. Jay-recovering,recovering,compleat,idiot-bro
Ouch!

climber
Nov 1, 2006 - 03:11am PT
Lois, this is a small part of it. Friends across a campfire in a certain time and place can evoke poignant memories to loosen hearts, minds, and tongues with such profundity, they are embarrassed to speak of it in the morning light. But it stays with them and becomes another precious memory.

bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 7, 2007 - 10:36am PT
Just found this image - had to bring it back. Wish the man was still around these days - I think the climbing world would be in a different space if he were!

Yabo on the first free solo of "Spiderline", 5.11c/d - also the first lead!!!
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Jun 7, 2007 - 11:28am PT
Cool pic, JB. But with Yabo it's always the story that counts. Free solo FFA, that's Yabo in a nutshell.

I wasn't hanging around the TacoStand when this thread first came around. Gotta agree with JB when he says 'the climbing world would be different if Yabo were around.' But, anyway, he was done here for whatever reason, still baffles me but no one could save him. Did those SD bouldering pics ever surface, with him covered in soot?

Bill
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 7, 2007 - 11:57am PT
Thanx Wild B -
Just before that shot was taken I was talking with Yabo in the campground smoking some hippie lettuce. He told me he saw an omen the night before while he was sitting on the ledge at the start of Spiderline - a spider had lowered out of the crack above and was hovering in front of him. He then told me that this meant he could safely solo Spiderline! I didn't know what to tell him - it had just been freed on top rope and nobody really had it wired yet. I tried to convince him to chill out and get in really good shape - In a couple weeks he'd be ready for it.

Anyway, I walked over to my car and told "Buck" Norden (sp?) about what Yabo said. He couldn't believe it either. We both hoped he wouldn't go for it.

A couple minutes later we heard this weird yelping sound, "yee yee yee hooo". We both looked up and there was Yabo halfway up Spiderline, free solo! The next second both his feet slipped out of the crack and his body took a huge swing out but he hung on. He was still close enough to the start to where he could downclimb and jump off safely we thought. That didn't happen - he kept going. He was shaking like a leaf in a strong wind.

I grabbed my camera and ran up some boulders and took this shot. I looked at my friend Buck and he was turned away - he couldn't watch. After that image, Yabo took his shirt off (while in full layback position) for the last slab move cuz it was pretty sweaty that day!

When he finally came down, Buck and I scolded him and said he was "blowing it" and he "could've died". He looked at us and shouted, "Who are you guys to tell me anything? I just soloed Spiderline!" - and he walked away....

After the foot slip... the shaking begins!
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Jun 7, 2007 - 12:53pm PT
"he kept going. He was shaking like a leaf in a strong wind."

I have sweaty palms after reading this account - thanks for posting this nugget. When I first heard this tale from someone years ago, the image that stood out the most was Yabo's shakes.

Who are you guys to tell me anything? I'm Yabo, bitches!
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 7, 2007 - 01:13pm PT
After that solo, Yabo had the biggest gobi I've ever seen to this day on the back of his hand - it was as big (and almost as thick) as a silver dollar!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 7, 2007 - 01:25pm PT
thanks John for restoring my interest in STForum at a time when the dross was starting to look too much to deal with... A fantastic story made real by some images... that is power, the combination of the two.
KP Ariza

climber
SCC
Jun 7, 2007 - 02:14pm PT
John, those pics are priceless man, and thanks for sharing the stories that go along w/ them. Its posts like this that make this site interesting. You guys were the center of the climbing universe and way ahead of your time. Keep it going!
lamadera

Trad climber
New Mexico
Jun 7, 2007 - 02:57pm PT
I had heard the story, but it was hard for me to believe. That is a scary, insecure, greasy lead with a rope and modern gear! Thanks for the photos.
Mike.

climber
Jun 7, 2007 - 03:24pm PT
Thanks for the great posts, JB.

Pure ST gold.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jun 7, 2007 - 04:19pm PT
awesome - flat out great thread - thanks
tiki-jer

climber
fresno/clovis
Jun 7, 2007 - 04:41pm PT
And in what appears to be EB's for crissakes.
Whew! Where is my chalkbag as I'm typing this.
Thanks JB. I too share Ed's sentiment.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
Jun 7, 2007 - 05:51pm PT
I remember walking away that day too John. I couldn't quite quit watching though. You know that disaster is coming, but just on the off chance that it doesn't you want to watch. Scary sh!t indeed. I know my hands were sweating watching him. We all thought he was gonna die!
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jun 7, 2007 - 06:43pm PT
Wow, unless you're timing/luck is miraculous, you'd don't get that stuff anywhere but here.
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Jun 7, 2007 - 06:53pm PT
"After that solo, Yabo had the biggest gobi I've ever seen to this day on the back of his hand - it was as big (and almost as thick) as a silver dollar!"

Aye carumba, no doubt there. Probably from catching that fall. I'm sure he was so pumped that his hand was NOT coming out of the crack, no matter the EB's or gravity or anything else!

Also, that first photo in the thread is most Yabo-like to me, with his usual impish grin. But of course he's not just standing around somewhere. He's, uh, well, he's HANGING around, as usual.
Fletcher

Trad climber
Varied locales along the time and space continuum
Jun 7, 2007 - 07:01pm PT
Nice thread. Thank you for reviving it John. Good stuff.

Has anyone written a book about Yabo? If not, someone should. I'd go right out and buy it.

Fletch
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jun 7, 2007 - 08:21pm PT
Thanks for posting those pictures John. Brings back lots of great Yabo memories. Sure wish he were here today too.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 7, 2007 - 10:04pm PT
Thanx folks - Never met anybody like him to this day!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 7, 2007 - 10:16pm PT
That's cool you found those shots John.
Maybe after a while Mike & Mari will post some vintage Yablonski and help fatten this tribute.

'Hope your recovery is giving you what you need and allowing you a good chance once again to really enjoy the "game" for yourself.
Mark Rodell

Trad climber
Bangkok
Jun 7, 2007 - 11:28pm PT
It was at the end of winter, early 80s, and I was there a few days before the Yosemite XC race. There was a fair bit of snow on the Valley floor, so much so that a person could ski from El Cap to up past Mirror Lake. Think we ran into Yabo the first day. His kick and glide form was rough, nearly comical. For a couple of days we'd coffee up in the morning and charge around for the rest of the day. I'd refined my technique and had worked out all the previous summer and raced some that winter and felt fit. As we "toured" the Valley Yabo hung tough. He was iron and we had a blast trying to get the other guy to say uncle. Never happened.

I climbed with him some; ran into him in Pinnicles once and had a blast working on something on the backside of the Monolith. But it was those days running free round the Valley floor like a couple of wolves that anchors my memmories of Yabo.
WBraun

climber
Jun 7, 2007 - 11:44pm PT
Bachar

You have to tell the "more monkey than funky" Yabo free solo debacle story.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 7, 2007 - 11:51pm PT
Cool thread Jorge-"I get stronger when I shake!" -Yabo quoted around the time of the Spiderline solo if memory serves. "Yerian Centurian, all hail to the power and the glory of the Burnouts of Gore!" drifts in from long ago.......
Jude Bischoff

Ice climber
Palm Springs
Jun 8, 2007 - 12:09am PT
I have lost two of my best friends over the last 10 years. I think about them every day and wonder what the world would be like if just....

Yabo lived life large and beautiful. I never knew Yabo. One of my good friends was dating Yabo's girlfriends best friend the night the call came in that he had ended his life.

Do any of you care to share any insights as to what drove him to end his life this way? I guess the obvious is he was so in love with this women he could not bare to live without her.

Those of you that knew him, who was he? What was the essence of Yabo's being?
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 8, 2007 - 02:57am PT
The shirt comes off...

KP Ariza

climber
SCC
Jun 8, 2007 - 04:27am PT
That first shot of Yabo on Spiderline above is gold, just look at the smile on his face as he looks down at his bro's. Never knew him very well, just the legends.
Bldrjac

Ice climber
Boulder
Jun 8, 2007 - 11:02am PT
I guess the best story I have takes place in the Valley.

One day Richard Harrison, Yabo and I decided it might be fun to quickly climb the North Buttress of Middle Cathdral Rock. I think we thought it might be a cool thing to do because not many people we knew had done it and it wasn't hard (5.10 or so). We left camp early and each of us had some gear. I had a pack with maybe a quart of water and something else, maybe a windbreaker or something. Richard had the rack and Yabo had the single 9mm rope we brought. Somehow, Richard and I let Yabo go in the lead ahead of us. BIG mistake!

The plan was to solo as much of the climb as we could and then ALL three of us agreed that we would stop when the climbing got sketchy and rope-up. Now, most of the climbing is pretty moderate, like 5.7 or so and there is enough 3rd and 4th class stuff for the climbing to not feel too difficult or spacey but back then the climb was pretty dirty and there was some loose stuff and I wasn't then (nor now) the most confident soloist.
So, Richard and I are soloing along together, chatting, he just ahead of me and together we watch as John quickly disappears above us. BUT, we had made this agreement that we'd belay whenever anyone felt like it, so we weren't concerned. Well, when that moment arrived and I needed that top rope neither the rope nor Yabo were anywhere in sight. We're like ten pitches up the route by now. We have to go UP. Richard was pretty cool and just walked it but even he wanted a rope to tie into. I sort of have this memorty of running into a layback crack that was shallow, steep and dirty but the rock was rough and I kept going up and down, up and down to get my courage up. Eventually, I think Richard just lowered a series of tied slings down for me and without embarassment I just pulled up on those to get by the crux. There was another short section higher up that Richard talked me through but when we fially arrived at the Cat Walk there sat John with the rope still around his back sitting there grinning for all he was worth!!
I don't think either Richard and I were mad, we were just glad to have done the climb and gotten away with our lives. When we asked John why to didn't wait for us he said, "I was having such a good time I forgot all about you guys".

When he moved to Boulder he and I hung out abit together and he was trying to get back into bike racing again. He never did feel like he fit into the climbing scene here and to me he didn't seem very happy here. He was a great guy and I smile whenever I think of him. He was definately an original and I do miss him. Like the sign under the freeway says, "YABO WOULD GO!"
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jun 8, 2007 - 01:51pm PT
there was a period in 80's Josh when I regularly shared a campsite w/ Yabo - we climbed together, drove to town for showers and stuff - back in my '56 Ford pickup. He was a legend then, easy to see why - champions have an aura, it was clear he was gifted and driven in a pure and powerful way - a higher frequency oscillation - the blood of a winner the mind of an artist - my sense of loss moves me to tears, his passing has become symbolic - I count myself lucky to have been a friend then,

for I am one of those who knew him and miss him and the wild clouds of chalk he left in the sky...
Tahoe climber

Trad climber
a dark-green forester out west
Jun 8, 2007 - 02:03pm PT
beautiful thread.
please post more if you can.
didn't know him, but I'm still, way inspired by the stories and pictures of yabo's life

-Aaron
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 8, 2007 - 02:24pm PT
My older brother took his life and I was as close to him as anybody. I can't figure it out. He had problems with our father. Yabo also had some issues with his father. I'm not saying that it's the cause, but it might have something to do with his psychological makeup.
When I was an aspiring climber back in the seventies, I would go to Castle Rock often alone to boulder. Many times I ran into this guy that was a truly amazing climber. I would kinda follow him around and learn as much as I could. Eventually we met and he showed me all kinds of technique. I only knew him as John. I never became a Yosemite local like John but did manage to climb a few valley routes. As the years went by I would run into John occasionally. He was a man of many moods. As for the shaking, that was a part of his style. He would often shake right before pulling off some unreal move.
I had a few meetings with John shortly before his departure. He seemed a bit detached and subdued, but that was one of his moods and I didn't give it much thought. If anything could affect John it was a pretty girl.
he will always be an integral part of my own character developement and I feel grateful to have interacted with such an unique individual. He is sorely missed. Wherever you are John, we love you brother...
Nick

climber
portland, Oregon
Jun 8, 2007 - 03:24pm PT
One winter night in 1980 Santa Cruz when the wind was blowing hard and the rain was coming down in sheets, I needed to head to the lab to prepare for an upcoming lab final. A knock on the door reveals Yabo standing on the doormat soaked to the skin and looking like death. " Can I stay here, I'm really sick" I let Yabo in looking as bad as I have ever seen him, he flops on the couch and goes into the shakes with a coughing fit. My girlfriends eyes are as big as saucers, because of the Yabo stories she has heard. I tell her he is not a bad guy, not to worry and I head out the door to the lab. She proceeds to wrap him in blankets, makes him an omelet and buys him some flu medication. From then on she was the " Angel of Mercy", he never knew her name.
Six months later, a car I was in on the east side burned to the ground. I had nothing. The plan was to thumb to the Valley and call my girl friend for a rescue. When she arrived that night I turns out she forgot her wallet and the tank is empty. As I moped around the lodge parking lot looking for help, Yabo comes up asked what's going on. I tell him my tale of woe. He has no money but, he will get me some. He proceeds to demand money from people hanging in the parking lot. " Got a buck, give it to me" As he hands us the money he collected " anything for the Angel of mercy"
Wish he was still around.
cliffhanger

Trad climber
California
Jun 8, 2007 - 04:08pm PT
From the net:

Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World - Lynn Hill:

"One night the crowd put downa stake of $5 to dare Yabo to make a nude moonlight solo of a route named North Overhang. The route is rated 5.9, and its trickiest section requires one to climb a section of a crack splitting through a nearly horizontal ceiling of rock. Not having a penny to his name, Yabo unhesitatingly took the meager bet, stripped, and set off up the climb clad only in rock shoes, a chalk bag, and a wool cap. Those on the ground heckled him as he swung baboonlike through the roof, and we shone our flashlights onto his bare, untanned rump. When he finished the climb, he down-climbed the other side of the overhang and returned to the ground, only to find that his clothes had been snatched and hidden by one of his friends. We laughed while he wandered stark naked in the cold desert air for a few minutes, but then he reached under a rock and pulled out another set of trousers, socks and a sweater.
'I might be crazy, but I'm no fool,' he said."



Also a story from the Stonemasters site.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 8, 2007 - 06:44pm PT
I was there that night for the North Overhang free solo. We laughed so goddam hard!

One thing else - he didn't do it for $5 however - there was a slightly different "prize" awaiting him!
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jun 8, 2007 - 06:47pm PT
Oh do tell, you tease
If I hadda guess ...
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Jun 8, 2007 - 07:29pm PT
Good story Nick, say hi to Mimi and Kira(sp). Was good to see you last summer, I'll be up with Kelly, Nikki and Galen first week in August, see ya there?
Peace
Nick

climber
portland, Oregon
Jun 8, 2007 - 09:19pm PT
Bachar you refer to the Five american "Bills"? Damn that was funny.
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Jun 8, 2007 - 10:25pm PT
Anyone remember watching Yabo and above mentioned young lady on Sentinel. They diapered for a time, Yabo said the rack was dropped so they borrowed gear from another party rapped to retrieve the gear. They burnt a fat one climbed back up returning gear as they passed the other party.
Maybe is was a skinny one I was in the lodge parking lot so
what did I know.

How about some of Yabo’s Falls.
As a nubie I loaned gear to Yabo. He was going for as speed accent of Triple Direct. Yabo as have others took the wrong crack that gets wet and spits climbers off.
As Yabo fell his rope hooked the rock keeping him from hitting a ledge.
Peter my climbing partner was not so lucky and hit the ledge collapsing his lung.
Seems Yabo ended up in a tree once or twice. In a semi controlled solo exit. One was Frustration on Suicide Rock the other in the Valley.
It was years before Yabo remembered the loaned gear.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jun 8, 2007 - 10:46pm PT
RE:
"As Yabo fell his rope hooked the rock keeping him from hitting a ledge. "

may be the definative "why didn't Yabo die miracle story", tree branches are understandable, but the details as I heard it on the above are really strange
WBraun

climber
Jun 8, 2007 - 11:09pm PT
So Warbler

How about that Yabo,

He was everyones Yabo
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 8, 2007 - 11:42pm PT
..way too funny.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jun 8, 2007 - 11:46pm PT
that's really great Blinny, one of the best

I think Yabo died owing me like more five dollar bills than I can remember...
TwistedCrank

climber
a luxury Malibu rehabilitation treatment facility
Jun 8, 2007 - 11:52pm PT
He got a few dollars out of me and maybe a smoke or two any time he asked for one. No biggie.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jun 9, 2007 - 12:05am PT
LMAO!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 9, 2007 - 12:06am PT
I was once thumbing from the Valley to Mammoth Lakes and Yabo walks up, says:

"Man, you are leaving pretty late to hook up your rides, and I don't see a sleeping bag, you really should have one, really man, let me go get you mine..."
-and he returned with an old blue down bag, in which I spent the night out somewhere in the sage near Lee Vining.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 9, 2007 - 12:20am PT
There was a cast of thousands who came and went through Camp 4 in the 1970s, for better or worse. I was one of them. My first real trip to the valley was in autumn 1976 - drove down with friends from Vancouver, in a VW van of course, and we spent six weeks there. We got in late in the evening, at the tail end of a clearing storm.

With nothing better to do, we wandered over to the Lodge. Some other climbers were there. We didn't know who they were, though later met some of them. Guys from the rescue site. One of them was very vocally upset and grieving, to the consternation of his friends and the tourists. It was Yabo. They'd just heard that Bob Locke had died in a fall on Mt. Watkins.

It left a strong impression. I only ever knew Yabo as a nodding acquaintance in Camp 4, but it fits that he was the one who was raging at the universe.
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Jun 9, 2007 - 12:33am PT
Yabo did give, but did you ever wonder whose stuff you just got?
Yabo would give just as freely if it was his.
The Doctor

Social climber
Da Bronx
Jun 9, 2007 - 12:43am PT
Here I am in NYC late night and the stories are crackin' me up. You can't make sh*t like this up. Sounds like the sort of lovable, yet twisted fellow I'd get along with famously. When I first read the Leave it to Beaver Solo story, I had to read it again. He really did have nine lives, albeit short ones.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Jun 9, 2007 - 12:52am PT
It's very interesting to read these accounts about Yabo but I can't write anthing about him myself. I still can't believe he's gone.

JL
WBraun

climber
Jun 9, 2007 - 12:57am PT
So once Yabo wanted to go aid climbing.

I was disgusted with aid climbing at that time mostly because I was sick of having all that sh'it hanging all over me. How are ya gonna cut loose with all that aid sh'it all over ya.

So I told Yabo you can have all my pins an sh'it, all 200 some aid pins and whatever.

He was dumb founded and could not get himself to take em.

Dale Bard didn't blink an eye an immediately seized that moment.
WBraun

climber
Jun 9, 2007 - 01:00am PT
LOL Mark

Never heard that one before.
nita

climber
chico ca
Jun 9, 2007 - 01:05am PT
Blinny, Did you also go to high school with- K.B?
WBraun

climber
Jun 9, 2007 - 01:20am PT
Yeah The Mid Chalet

The old woman Martha worked there.

She was so cool. She was our boss.
nita

climber
chico ca
Jun 9, 2007 - 01:41am PT
Blinny, K.B. went to Ravenswoods High and took a climbing class with other- future Yosemite climbers..Maybe with Ron K?
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Jun 9, 2007 - 01:48am PT
(when he returns the head of lettuce is GONE as is 1/2 of the ketchup. . .)
John could eat, I forget what year 80? I brought Duce my little bro to the Valley for the season. I would cook breakfast every morning (most) one day Yabo said he would wash the dishes if he could eat. So it went till it was time for Duce to go back to Fla.
Another time I was cooking tacos I guess and Dale, Yabo and Cliff Howard had a contest to see who could drink the most and hottest blend of my hot sauces.
I was the winner I didn’t drink any.
RS
AndySan Diego

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jun 9, 2007 - 01:51am PT
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this, Bachar's photos were awesome & I can't stop laughing about the Whole Head of Iceberg Lettuce & Ketchup.
nita

climber
chico ca
Jun 9, 2007 - 02:55am PT
ekat, Funny you mention Yabo's coffee consumption...I first met John at the Lodge Cafe-1970 something, my first job in the Valley - Cafe server. My new manager was ~~ Ben Savage,( his prior job was a Viet Nam Interrogator) he was one creepy, hard core,by the book dude. .

Part of our job, was to bust scarfers and climbers who took too many coffee refills. In those days, glass coffee pots sat on warmers along the cafe wall,free- self- serve refills. Of course we all know, Yabo was a coffee hound and King of the scarfers.

Yabo was so thin and wild looking, there was no way I was going to bust anyone for scarfing food -that's destination was the trash. Yabo figured out right away -I was a sucker . Dam, I came closed to being busted- so many times myself- because of John and others.... After about a month on the Job, Ben Savage got rid of the free coffee refills,too many climbers sucking up the profits. Months later- Ben left the Cafe and became head of Security- Yikes.


It's deep to think of the days shared with people and what was going on.. yeah, I miss Yabo, I miss- sweet Jane, with her band-aid covered pierced nose...and all the other good friends that left us..way too young. n.t.






















Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Jun 9, 2007 - 11:19am PT
JB, Jack and all: Thanks for the fresh Yabo stories, all new to me. Jack, I think you told my favorite Yabo story about venturing up on El Cap with Yabo and delegating to Yabo the responsibility to buy the bivy food? Am I right that was you?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Jun 9, 2007 - 01:15pm PT
Did the NA with Yabo and Lechlinski BITD...... It was wild.... someday I'll do a trip report.... until then, here are some pics.







feelio Babar

Trad climber
Sneaking up behind you...
Jun 9, 2007 - 05:56pm PT
Kick ass pics Russ....those your red and white houndstooth slacks in pic3? top shelf..
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Jun 9, 2007 - 08:18pm PT
Russ that last shot of John is priceless, so are the socks, or tights or what ever those are going into the boot. Lois yer right, this is stuff of which legends are made!
Yaboho!
Peace
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Jun 9, 2007 - 08:28pm PT
Those are just some double or triple knit pants that I was wearing... EB's with leather sewn onto the ankle portion.....

BITD we used to get kinda dressed up to do a wall..... On this wall I was running those pants with a pink-ish striped long sleeve dress shirt....

I think we were always trying to look like Largo in that El Cap Meadow post Nose pic with Billy and the Bird. That or the one in Yosemite Climber of Dale on Sea of Dreams (I think?) looking very Hendrix.

Somewhere on the Taco is thread devoted to "threads" or something like that....
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 9, 2007 - 08:36pm PT
Nice pics Russ!

Yabo on a wall? This is going to be good!

Especially if it's anything like what happened to him on the pitch off the half-dollar with Lechlinski....whew!
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Jun 9, 2007 - 08:48pm PT
Close to it John... there were some "interesting" times to be sure.....
Like on the blade traverse pitch at the bottom of the Cyclops Eye..... Yabo is out there and beating in these Dolt Bashie things... basically a block of aluminum with a tieoff through the middle.... he beats them in and the tie off cuts instantly... he starts making those "noises"... you know them well!
So he starts free climbing..... and moaning.... and free climbing, maybe clipping the odd piece of mank here and there..... I mean the pitch was rated like A3/A4 or something..... Pretty soon we are looking at the fall potential.... it is GIANT!!! He has basically no pro in at all... and looks like he is going to skate any second.....
Moe puts him on belay with the haul line as a backup to the lead line, which will certainly get chopped if he takes the giant sideways fall..... more moaning..... and a few dynos and some wicked shaking and he reaches the shallow corner that is the start of the next pitch..... he pops in an anchor and just starts doing that insane laugh of his... " heeee- heeee- heeee" and says something like, "casual man...". UNREAL!!!!!!!!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 9, 2007 - 09:08pm PT
Back in 1976, I was headed up on my first El Cap route, the super steep Tangerine Trip. Yabo said he had recently done it and grew wide eyed as he described launching into some rare free climbing Yabo style only to dislodge a big diorite flake and accompany it for a short while until the rope did its thing. "Be careful of that loose crap," he said knowingly. "Sounds like you already took care of the worst of it," I replied with a grin and we both busted up laughing. Yabo's advice was always delightfully personal and direct though slippery to heed.
Anastasia

Trad climber
California
Jun 11, 2007 - 03:13pm PT
Bump!
I haven't been on the internet and almost missed this! Damn, leave the area for a few days and look at all the fun everyone is having!
Great posts! Great thread!
chappy

Social climber
ventura
Jun 12, 2007 - 06:18pm PT

Yabo after a day of climbing at Pinnacles Ntl. Monument. I believe this was just before he left us...Went to his funeral with Kauk. I remember Ron in tears. Always regret that I didn't take a moment to say a few words that day. I felt his notorious climbing antics were an indirect way of trying to leave this world and the powers that be, knowing he was a good soul with a troubled heart, always intervened on his behalf. Only when his actions in this regard became anything but indirect was he able to overcome his heavenly benefactors. Rest in peace Yabo.
jstan

climber
Jun 13, 2007 - 10:05am PT
Perhaps I am wrong but it at least seems the decision Yabo made is limited to very talented and creative people. The post telling when he ran ahead with the rope matches something I have noticed. When the world seems gloomy it can generally be fixed by a good run and the endorphins that are produced. Unfortunately difficult technical rock is better at generating adrenaline than endorphins. He may have run ahead because it made him feel good.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 13, 2008 - 02:58am PT
bump
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Nov 13, 2008 - 05:13am PT
Thanks Ed....wow. Lots of amazing memories came flooding back.
If Lesher read this stuff he'd probably be bawling...
Jingy

Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Dec 15, 2008 - 07:40pm PT
BUMP



Just read the Walling account of a "casual" traverse from Yabo.....


BUMP
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jul 20, 2014 - 02:43pm PT
Yabo was the first climber we met when we first walked into Camp 4 at 6:00am. He was sleeping in his bag which was rolled up in a big sheet of clear visqueen plastic sheeting.

We busted out laughing over something and he jumps up like he had been hit by lightning. We thought he was pissed because we woke him up, but he said in this weird cackling voice,

"Laugh! I love to laugh to!"

I think his total possessions that summer was his sleeping bag and a really sweet road bicycle.

So what was the deal with him? I remember reading that he had bipolar disorder. If so, I feel for him. I know that that is a terrible thing to live with.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Jul 20, 2014 - 04:25pm PT
Wow.. Classic taco gold!! Thanks for the bump!
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Jul 20, 2014 - 04:52pm PT
Come on Kath! Fire up the old wayback machine! ;)
JOEY.F

Gym climber
It's not rocket surgery
Jul 20, 2014 - 05:15pm PT
A supertopo krugerand! Read it all, gold.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Jul 20, 2014 - 05:21pm PT
Yeah! Roy hasn't been around for about a month... Maybe if we keep bumpin this thread he'll get tempted.. :)
Tobia

Social climber
Denial
Jul 20, 2014 - 06:24pm PT
I met Yabo a few times in the valley, never "knew" him. Reading now, and over the past four years on this site and conversations with others, I find myself identifying with the guy. NOT as a climber. I was never very good at that; even with the help of some "valley giants".

Our minds are, or were, similar in many ways. I've lived a little longer than he did; only for reasons such as luck, family and I dare say, "divine intervention".

What jstan said about adrenalin and endorphins, makes me drop this 2˘ worth.

I'm an endorphin junky because i got the same disease as Yabo, the miserable mind disease. Pretty womens' have the same effect on me as they did on he. They do on most people who suffer chronic depression. It's all about the opiate receptors, and our endogenous opioid system is out of whack. Opiate receptors are key components of suitable social behavior and the metal of stable, emotionally committed relationships.

Laughter will get endorphins flowing and open up the opiate receptors better than opiates.

I'm a failure at social behavior and the relationship thing, so my substitute is O² uptake and laughter; but you can't run forever, nor can you laugh all the time.

I was sitting in my misery yesterday, when a pretty face showed up at my door from the past. Much younger than I, but a good friend. Her "darling young one smile" had me convinced for a few hours that I'd be okay; but I found my way back in my own skin a few hours later. And one day, thankfully, it will come to an end.

Does that make sense in unpacking Yabo?

If this post detracts from the thread, I will gladly delete it. Just ask me. I'm not tryin' to rain on the parade, just express my insight into why people take their lives.




overwatch

climber
Jul 20, 2014 - 07:03pm PT
Great thread and post by tobia...fly on John Yablonski.
Mark Force

Trad climber
Cave Creek, AZ
Oct 3, 2014 - 09:31am PT
Yabo sure shined bright and added to the rich texture of the Valley and JT.

I remember one time in the Valley in maybe '75 and I'm just behind Yabo to make a call from a pay phone (remember those?). He's all excited telling his parents that he'd just climbed Outer Limits. Seemed like he was 16, maybe 17.

There was an interview of him in one of the climbing mags that was quite good. It had an awesome picture of him doing a one arm chin; seems like he was holding a dumbbell. Anyone have that to post up? Paging, Mr. Grossman....
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Oct 3, 2014 - 12:48pm PT
Shared more than a few smokes with Yabo and participated in an occasional "Ark Lark".
Pretty deep and complex character gone too soon.

Respect.
Bad Climber

climber
Oct 3, 2014 - 12:59pm PT
Only met the legend in passing,although a gang of us did turn his car sideways in a Josh parking space once. I always wonder how that turned out.

BAd
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Oct 3, 2014 - 01:12pm PT
I also miss John.

He knew he could always crash on the couch for as long as he needed, one time when I returned from a long weekend I was surprised to find out that he had completed my little house painting project that I had negelected to finish cause I had to go climbing.

Other times he would show up and not say much then be gone.

I wish at the time I was a little more wiser about Bi-polar and other mental issues... I would have liked to help him, but he walked his own way always.

miss you John.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Oct 6, 2014 - 10:52am PT
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Crack-N-Up

Social climber
South of the Mason Dixon line
Oct 12, 2014 - 10:32pm PT
I remember the time 1983? He was outside about 1:00AM near the bar in Yosemite. I could hear him softly singing the words to "People are Strange," by the Doors. Every time I hear that song now I think about him and when I hear the Doors. Someone I really looked up to as a climber, because I saw one time what he was capable of on a boulder. Out of my league as a free climber. Much respect for this man. A real loss to the climbing community.
ß Î Ĝ T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Oct 21, 2014 - 08:28pm PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/216039/Yabo
ß Î Ĝ T Ç H

climber
Last >>

Nov 13, 2008 - 12:16pm PT
Sometime in the mid '70s there was two very overwieght sisters (twins?) working at the Lodge . John sidled up to one of them in the lounge and told her that he wanted to f*** her . That's how I heard it .
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Oct 21, 2014 - 09:10pm PT
Thanks for those who brought this thread to life. Gotta find the Fish story where Yabo brings raw potatoes as food for a long wall climb (after getting a bunch of money for the task) Anyway, below is a story I wrote after learning Yabo left the planet

"Meeting Yabo
In the early 1980ıs my best compromise between living and climbing in
Yosemite while avoiding poverty and parental heartbreak was to work for
Curry Company. For three years, I was the Night Housing Supervisor, in
charge of all the Curry employee housing areas between the hours of 5pm
and 1am.

In some ways, it was a dream job for a climber. I had a private tiny
cabin in Yosemite and was free to climb until 5pm every day. There was
a downside though. I was in charge of enforcing a plethora of rules and
keeping the company facilities free of exploitation by unauthorized
persons, particularly climbers.

I was a climber. Curry Company hated climbers. Resolving the dissonance
between these realities nurtured diplomacy in Karl and, eventually,
fostered tolerance within Curry Company.

Curry Companyıs strict grooming code made it easy to divine the
difference between the dorm residents and the Camp 4 residents. I
remember a funny cartoon on the wall of an employee bathroom. It showed
a guy with long hair and a crazy and confused look on his face. The
caption read "Before" Next to it was a drawing of the same crazy and
confused face but this time with short, clean cut hair. The caption
read "After" (employment) Years of the clean-cut company culture
inbreeding made it easy for long-term employees to adopt the attitude
that long hair or a beard were marks of dereliction.

The ex-marine president of the Company was chief among the those who
were pissed at climbers. After some random act of vandalism attributed
to climbers, he took a tour through Camp 4 to the boos and jeers of the
campers.

The behavior of the climbers sometimes didnıt help matters. Besides
snaking showers and drunken deli rudeness, some climbers would camp out
in the cafeteria and scarf leftover food, or shoplift from Curry
Stores.

Worst of all, climbers seeking comfort and love as part of the same
deal would seek out girlfriends among the Curry Employees. Many a young
damsel would be seduced into supporting the lifestyle of a "Park Bum"
or PB as it was abreviated. Now it wasnıt as if there were enough of
these beauties to go around. These were OUR women! Just like in
Alaska, in Yosemite, if youıre a women, the odds are good, but the
goods are odd!

As for me, I definitely had friends on both sides of the fence. I lived
across from Camp 4 and climber friends would come hang out with me. I
tried to encourage a bit of harmony by taking different managers
climbing. I started taking the Manager of Employee Housing climbing and
he got pretty good. We even climbed the grade 5 North Buttress of
Middle Cathedral in a day. One time I had numerous managers and
supervisors camped out on Yosemite Point and dragged them across the
Tyrolean Traverse to Lost Arrow. I hope I played some role in teaching
the Company that climbing wasnıt intimately linked with acts of
vandalism and dereliction.

At night, I tried to strike a reasonable balance between protecting the
companyıs facilities and allowing people to live their lives with
minimum harassment. I wouldnıt bug John Bachar about his Saxophone
playing or hanging out with his girlfriend in the dorms, but when a
world famous cranker emptied a fire extinguisher in the hallways, we
ran him off.

One night I got a call on the radio that there was a violent
disturbance at the Womenıs dorm. I headed my company truck straight
over there with a mix of excitement and trepidation. Responding to
unknown chaos revs the adrenaline, but also the humbling anticipation
that some drunk idiot might be inspired to break beer bottles over my
head. As a standard precaution in potentially violent situation, I
radioed the NPS to send a ranger to the scene as well.

When I arrived, I met a muscular guy of medium height at the foot of
the steps of the dorm. He looked battered. Next to him was a high-end
road bike that looked battered as well. He was reasonably calm. I
asked him what happened. He said his name was John Yablonski and that
he BEAT HIMSELF UP! Naturally, I wanted a further explanation. Yabo
said that his girlfriend lived in the dorm, she dumped him and was with
another guy at the moment. He was so upset that he kicked his own ass!
I thought he was pretty lucid for a guy who just whuuped himself, but
Yabo said he was a non-violent kind of guy who wouldnıt hurt anybody
but himself. He really did an impressive job of hitting himself. You
could tell he was headed for black and blue.

I quickly confirmed the story with Yaboıs girlfriend (and her male
companion) and, since no more conflict seemed eminent, called off the
rangers before they arrived. It seemed like the last thing the
heartbroken Yabo needed was an encounter with the law.

I went back and met with Yabo again. He also managed to totally destroy
his $1000+ (1981 dollars!) road bike that he won in the "Survival of
the Fittest" TV contest. I told him to throw his bike in my truck and I
would give him a ride back to Camp 4. We talked about life, climbing,
and women. Before he got out of the truck he asked for $1 for a pack of
cigarettes. I gave it to him even though I am a cheap bastard and hate
smoking to boot. Somehow, my heart just told me it was the right thing
to do.

The next time I patrolled the womenıs dorm, I was surprised to find a
$1 bill lying on the ground at the very spot that I first met Yabo. It
stuck me at the time that I was being repaid by the Spirit of All
Things for my gift to Yabo.

In the course of years since then, I heard a number of amazing stories
of Yaboıs larger than life existence. Apparently, he would go
free-soloing in fits of despair over relationships. He wouldnıt always
make it. He would always miraculously survive. One time he was caught
in the branches of a tree after falling off an 11c crack! Werner Braun
said "The Angels were watching over Yabo."

Sadly, tragically, Yabo eventually took his own life. He said if
natural forces wouldnıt take him, he would have do it himself. The
incident involved a woman and a relationship, but ultimately, it was
just Yaboıs inner demons. I thought he was a great guy in many ways.
Unfortunately, we are all a bit nuts and those of us with an extra dose
of energy and passion can sometimes be even more nuts. May his Spirit
reach the Summit after a dramatic climb."

Peace

Karl
redrocker

climber
NV
Oct 21, 2014 - 10:13pm PT
Really enjoyed that Karl, thanks!
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