Wind Rivers. 1969

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Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 12, 2006 - 08:05pm PT
STICKING NEEDLES IN THE HAYSTACK


Mountains…
Grey and angular mountains with white clouds to the west. Puffy clouds and five
sparkling lakes. Pure sun jewelling the lakes of the southern Wind Rivers and shining the
granite walls of Haystack Mountain a rich brown. Golden sun on green-textured
meadows. Yellow rays filtering through the pines. The North Tower of Haystack on a
golden day. Bright sun on the Tower – on Geoff Heath – on me. Geoff and I are living
on the side of the Tower. We have a vertical home for today, tomorrow and early
morning of the next day. Then we’ll reach the top of the mountain and as always there
will be no place to go but down.



North Tower of Haystack. 13 pitches, the middle 4 containing a mix of free and aid. Potential for a difficult all free route.


But that’s later. Now, Heath does a slow dance across a polished slab. He’s not
being lazy, but, rather…careful. The long-gone glacier was careful also, to grind off any
rugosities on the slab. Even so, lug-rubber-soled Royal Robbins climbing shoes
and practiced climbing skill allow Geoff to tip-toe safely past three expansion bolts that
I had placed on an earlier solo reconnaissance, and soon he’s belayed to a horn of rock in
the shade of the big overhanging arch that bars entry to the upper Tower. Like a light-footed wolf I scurry across the slab and up to join Geoff at his shady nest: I am climbing well and enjoying it.

Then it’s tap, tap, tap – over the arch and back again into the mid-day sun. The
arch is comprised of compact shingles, and pitons placed straight up between them only go in an inch. Hanging from better ones above the arch I yell to Geoff that it looks pretty
blank below the crack system leading to the summit, and that I hope it will go. Secretly, I
know that somehow it will.

The good crack above the arch ends at another, smaller one. I reach the sky above this feature with a hook and climb into a corner to belay. I doze in my perch. The sound of Geoff removing pitons as he follows the pitch rings distantly in my ears.:
ping, ping, ping…
ping, ping, ping…
Ping, Ping, Ping…
PING, PING PONG!!!
I awaken startled to see Geoff jumaring the last few feet to my belay. Past where
I used the skyhook; he’s jangling with iron. Now is the time to ask permission. I’ve
studied the route for days. I have soloed the first four pitches. I think I’ve spotted a
way into the summit crack that will use few bolts. But it needs to be done right. I
simply can’t leave it up to someone else.
“Would you mind too much if I lead the rest of the way?” I ask Geoff.
The slightest of pauses…
“No man, go for it.” Is his quick reply.
So my dreams can be realized. On this climb, at least.

We switch places at the belay and I lead out above Geoff. At the top of the corner
the crack peters out, so I finesse a beat-on into a little dimple, and hang from it. I look
down to see Geoff at the bottom of the corner, belaying and gazing west at the falling sun. Shadows are being cast eastward by Warbonnet Peak and the shark’s teeth of the Cirque of the Towers. The valleys are cooling off, but it’s still hot up here on the wall.

A tiny nut is the only thing I can find to hold my weight above the beat-on, and it just barely allows me to reach into a short, curving corner with a bottomed-out crack. I
follow this weakness on tied-off angles for a while. Then I reach the first truly blank
section. A bolt or two seems necessary to reach some chickenheads that should allow
face climbing. But not so fast. I know from scoping with a powerful telescope that five
feet to the right and around a small corner is either an incipient crack or a seam. Leaning
waaaaay out right – it’s a seam – there is no crack. Gently smashing a small beat-on into the seam works. After a couple of knifeblade placements it’s exhilarating free
climbing on the chickenheads to a wide, diagonalling crack and a hanging belay.

Geoff cleans the pitch quickly and we get fifty feet higher before we pull out the
hammocks for a bivouac. More accurately, we pull out one hammock and two belay seats. Geoff has forgotten his hammock. Since he had so generously allowed me to lead, I offer Geoff the hammock and I make do with the two belay seats, using one for my feet, sitting in the other and fashioning a couple of webbing slings around my chest to support my upper body and head. Soon we’re eating greasy salami and cheese while the stars begin appearing one-by-one…and then almost suddenly the night sky is filled with
billions of points of light. I spend most of the night adjusting the belay seats in a futile
attempt to get comfortable. However, the night is not too cold - I watch my guardian Orion march across the sky - and we both get plenty of rest.

Chill morning free climbing. We’re a welcome easy pitch above our bivouac site.
Now we must follow a question mark for one hundred feet. In my mind it works to
connect a few miscellaneous flakes and fissures on an otherwise blank wall. But face-to-
face with this obstacle, I become uncertain. Maybe I’ve let my imagination lead me
astray. From here it looks like a bolt ladder is a certainty…

Geoff seems slightly puzzled. He probably wonders what in hell I’m doing.
Well, I’m lassoing a flake from a crack tack at the top of a short line of crack tacks…
pulling and climbing on the rope and the flake is flexing and threatening to break off…
holding on to the flake with one hand and trying to place a pin with the other…I
get the pin in but I know it won’t hold…use it anyway…it holds… several pins
higher…there’s a crack going horizontally left… two skyhooks to reach it…it’s only
a rurp crack…several rurp placements lead to a loose flake that won’t take pitons but it
swallows a couple of creaky nuts…more sky hooks…and now a bolt…A BOLT!!!
Security at last…I can finally relax. Twenty feet higher I place two more bolts and make
a belay. At my solid anchors I wipe my forehead with a “PHEW” and holler down to
Geoff that this is really FUN!

As I haul one of our packs, Geoff begins jumaring with the other. He has trouble
in the spots where the route zig-zags between pitons, but he manages to collect all the
pins and soon arrives at the belay. It will be interesting to see how future parties fare in finding the hidden pin placements on this crucial section. We are now above the blank area and the next lead should bring us to the summit crack. The climbing becomes very beautiful on flawless fine-grained granite, though not much easier. I’m feeling a bit like an alpine animal. I want to test myself in the summit crack and do it all free.

It’s afternoon of the second day. The weather remains excellent. I’m on the first
pitch of the summit crack. Geoff is belaying from a nice ledge where we’ve just eaten a lunch of tuna and gorp washed down with a swig or two of our meager water supply. Our conversation, quiet and almost reverent on this mountain steeple, is tinged with optimism about our progress. We’ve stowed the jumars away. Now we are free climbers.

As I said, I’m feeling focused and aggressive now that we’re virtually sure to succeed. I push myself hard, and the first pitch of the summit crack goes free. Geoff does well following the first part of the lead, but near the end there’s a spot he can’t free climb. Frustrated, he climbs the rope hand-over-hand past the hard part. I watch and don’t think much of it at the time, but it soon becomes apparent that it is bothering Geoff no small amount.

Geoff asks to lead the next pitch as soon as he arrives at the belay. It becomes
clear to me now that Geoff has a competitive drive that is threatened by his failure to
completely free the last pitch, and he wants to atone for what he considers a poor
performance. It also occurs to me that maybe he thinks I’m secretly gloating, and he’s
slightly humiliated: this is our first climb together and he wants to do an equal share.
What he doesn’t know is that I realize this is his first really big climb and that he’s
already proven himself beyond my expectations. But what can I say? I let him have the
lead.

It’s a mistake. Things only get worse for Geoff. In his present state of mind he
can’t begin to concentrate on the climbing. He goes immediately on to aid, but twenty
feet up, the crack suddenly splits and he’s faced with a crackless wall of twenty feet
that needs to be free climbed on small, but good holds to reach the continuation of the
crack system. It’s a stretch that Geoff would normally walk across. Now, though, he
backs off the lead and his frustration is obvious.

As I lead the pitch in the glow of the setting sun I’m aware that my climbing may exacerbate the situation for Geoff. I’m climbing really well, feeling tuned in to the rock and infused with the energy of this beautiful place. I free climb the twenty feet of aid to the blank wall, and then the blank wall itself, very quickly. Established in the summit crack again, I encounter the most difficult free climbing on the route. I know that in his demoralized state Geoff won’t be able to free the overhanging hand and fist crack and his ego will suffer even more, but I can’t bring myself to use aid. I have my own needs. I’m
climbing in my own myth now, and to dishonor that myth by aiding when it’s not
necessary would offend my values more than Geoff is hurting. I push myself right to my free-climbing limits when aid would have been easy and just as fast.

We spend the night under another blanket of stars sitting side-by-side on a little
ledge several hundred feet below the summit. We’re low on water, dehydrated and not
too comfortable in the physical sense. But as the night wears on and Geoff and I shift our
backs and shoulders against each other trying to find some position to relieve the ache in
our bones and muscles, we start talking. Geoff confesses his competitive feelings and frustrations. I reveal my admiration for how well he’s doing on his first big climb. Most climbers require a long apprenticeship before they become comfortable and as efficient as Geoff already has demonstrated himself to be. I tell him I think his experience as an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School is probably responsible for his ability to adapt so quickly. Guiding students all summer through these very same mountains, teaching low impact camping skills and self-reliance, the whole time carrying a big pack has made Geoff so fit I could barely keep up as he loped like a wolf up the trail on the eight-mile approach to Haystack. I admire also his deep knowledge of the trees, flowers and wildlife of the Wind River Range, wishing I could discipline myself to a more organized study of those things that I love dearly, too.

Gradually, the tension that had developed between us dissipates completely. As the last iota of heat leaves the stone, and the transfer of warmth reverses directions so that now the mountain is sucking the heat from our bodies, our egos finally take a rest and allow us to simply deal with the self-inflicted chore of making it through the mountain night.

Morning is a creaky and cold affair, with little food and the last sips from our water bottles. We stand and stretch our arms above our heads and bend from side-to-side in an attempt to impart some flexibility into our joints so we can deal with the remainder of the climb. Still, the narrow chimney above the bivouac extracts a lot more effort than I think it should, and in my groggy and tired condition I’m not paying as much attention as I should be. Fifty feet above Geoff I thankfully grab a basketball-size chockstone and without testing it, start to pull myself up and onto it, thankful for the momentary respite from pure chimney groveling. But as I move up to where the block is at waist-level, I’m pulling out on the chockstone, and suddenly it dislodges from the crack. Shocked wide awake by adrenaline I manage desperately to claw my way into a tenuous position on the edge of the crack as the boulder grazes my hip and plunges toward Geoff. “ROCK, ROCK” I scream. Geoff looks up and I see the stone’s trajectory will score a direct hit if he doesn’t react in one second or less. Geoff’s expression shows very little fear or horror. Instead, I watch his vision lock on the falling rock and in what seems like slow motion, he casually leans to one side and the missile wizzes past his head. Just like that, the crises has come and gone – catastrophe has been averted.

I finish the lead shaking with the knowledge that my carelessness has almost killed my friend. When Geoff arrives at the belay he brushes off my profuse apologies, and accepts my request that he take over the lead to the summit. Grabbing the hardware sling as I pass it to him and throwing it over his shoulder, Geoff climbs past me in a flurry of arms and legs and rapidly stems up the last chimney, disappearing from view as the rock leans back and he nears the top. The rope moves faster and faster through my hands until I can’t feed it out fast enough and I can tell Geoff is above the technical climbing. Then it stops, and after a minute a distant “Off belay” floats out across the void and the meadows and forests far below, the distant reaches of which are just emerging from the shadow of Haystack into the bright rays of another brilliant sun. “Come on up, Jeff, we’re on top!” Heath yells.

Half an hour later I plunk myself down next to Geoff amid a pile of gear and packs at the apex of the mountain. The whole range to the north, east and west is a white-capped stormy sea of peaks. We talk quietly for a while, soaking in the warmth of the sun. The satisfaction I feel is doubled by Geoff’s mellow tone and contented smile. We are out of food and water, though, so after a few minutes we pack up our gear and head toward the descent route down the north side, which will involve following a unique grassy ramp and a lot of walking down gradually lower and lower angle slabs composed of the same impeccable golden granite we’ve been climbing. As soon as we hit the stream in the valley, we plop down on the bank on our bellies, and begin greedily lapping like canines at the cold water. After we’ve quenched our thirst, Geoff promises to teach me how to tickle trout from under the banks of the stream on our way to base camp, which is still a half-mile to the west in a lower meadow

Life couldn’t be better for the two young wolves moving silently through tall marsh-grass alongside the meandering stream, eyes alert for silver flashes in the crystal-clear water. They’ll have fresh trout for brunch.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 12, 2006 - 08:19pm PT
Looks like your writing is coming along just fine pard'.

This Geoff Heath isn't the guy you thought I ran into in North Ogden was it?
goatboy smellz

climber
boulder county
Oct 12, 2006 - 08:35pm PT
Stream of consciousness...gracias Jello!

Future tense; Never left the ground without tricams...

Eric
WBraun

climber
Oct 12, 2006 - 08:36pm PT
The story reads in such a way that I think I'm there also doing it too. I wish I could write like that.
noshoesnoshirt

climber
hither and yon
Oct 12, 2006 - 08:40pm PT
Sweet.
dougs510

Social climber
down south
Oct 13, 2006 - 12:38am PT
Awesome Bro. Thank you for capturing the gift of life in words and sharing.

Doug
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 13, 2006 - 01:02am PT
thanks for the wonderful story.... it captures the contradiction of confinement and expanse that I sometimes feel on a climb.
le_bruce

climber
Oct 13, 2006 - 01:34am PT

This is why I lurk at Supertopo -- thanks. Trim, clean, muscular writing, now archived beyond your lifetime and mine. More please.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 13, 2006 - 01:35am PT
You transported us into the past, dropped the needle in the record groove and it all came back alive!
Mimi

climber
Oct 13, 2006 - 02:00am PT
The Winds are a favorite place. Thanks for sending me back there with such a good story. Looking forward to your book.

And it's really cool that you've joined this forum. Please post more about your time in the mountains and many adventures.
TYeary

Mountain climber
Calif.
Oct 13, 2006 - 06:47am PT
No worries about the writing, Jeff. Beautiful.
Is this coming from the book? I can't wait to read more. Thanks,Tony
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Oct 13, 2006 - 07:09am PT
Great writing. I didn't realise you could get PAs in the States back in '69.
Crag

Trad climber
Oct 13, 2006 - 08:29am PT
Thank you for such a great read.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Oct 13, 2006 - 08:52am PT
Jeff,
thanks for the story. I vaguely remember the route description from the brown WR guide. Something like, "take all the tic tacs and crackerjacks you can think of" (?). As a young climber in the 70's from Utah the Winds was what I fantasized about, mountains, great rock and even a Glacier (a rarity for Utah boys).
Gary
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Otto, NC
Oct 13, 2006 - 10:06am PT
Welcome Jello indeed. You had my attention completely, I was in the Winds. Thanks.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Oct 13, 2006 - 10:56am PT
Nice.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 13, 2006 - 03:18pm PT
Good catch, Patrick - I'm sure they were RR's, not PA's that we wore. Braindead! That's why I decided to post here. It's already working.

Thanks to everyone else for your supportive comments, as well. I do want you to know that if something in the story is not working for you, I'd like to hear about that, as well.

CALL FOR PHOTOS;

We didn't carry a camera on Haystack. If anyone has a photo or photos of the north end from the vicinity of the lake (Deep Lake?), where the Tower appears like a mini-Dru, I'd sure like to see them for possible use in the book.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 13, 2006 - 03:31pm PT
Having just had a fun talk with Jeff about how we're both getting senile I'd like to remind him AND the reader that he mentioned the book in the other thread, Welcome To Jeff Lowe.

Jeff, you ought to post there a list of the routes/faces where you could use a few photos.

Kartch

climber
belgrade, mt
Oct 13, 2006 - 03:41pm PT
Thanks for posting something worthwile on this forum. It seems like there hasn't been much worth reading in the past few days. BTW Jeff I enjoyed your slidshow a few years back in Cedar City, UT. Cheers.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Oct 13, 2006 - 03:44pm PT
Braindead! That's why I decided to post here. It's already working. LOL Jeff.


BTW, I wasn't trying to catch you out, I think your writing is some of the best on this forum and elsewhere.


Also, wasn't it you that said: "A Scottish blizzard will (can) kill you faster than any else" or something to that effect?


I hope to get to Scotland this winter for some ice climbing, probably Ben Nevis and Glen Coe, and I hope I don't find out first hand what a Scottish blizzard can do (I know what a Scottish lass can do though...) ;-)
feelio Babar

Trad climber
Sneaking up behind you...
Oct 13, 2006 - 04:02pm PT
Sweet! IW ant to repeat that route! Got rained off it too summers ago! Keep 'em coming Jello!
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Oct 13, 2006 - 04:12pm PT
Jeff, not the pic you asked for, but just to show some Wind River Beauty.



BTW, we should flog you for not having a camera. :)

In a way it almost seems fitting for the Winds, no pics, no topos, but full of adventure.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 13, 2006 - 04:57pm PT
Patrick, I thought it was, "a Scottish lass can blow you faster than anyone else".



Kartch, so you were there too huh.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 13, 2006 - 08:56pm PT
Patrick, I WANT to be caught out on anything of importance. Better here on Supertopo than permanently printed on paper!

Thanks!

Oh, by the way, I did say something like that about Scottish storms. They can be fast and furious!
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 13, 2006 - 09:02pm PT
Cheers, Kartch!

Babar, let me know if you repeat the climb. I haven't heard of a second ascent, but who knows?

Thanks for posting the great pic of Hooker, Golsen. The Winds are full of great chunks of stone, aren't they?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 13, 2006 - 09:41pm PT

I recall you get a glimpse of Haystack on the way in to the Cirque of Towers? I got nothin' on it.
Yes, Dru like; Billy Westbay mentioned something about climbing on Haystack. He's kinda hard to reach right now, darnit, damn...

Here's some odd's 'n ends from the Winds:

Pingora:


Pingora Corner System:


Looking at War Bonnet, from Pingora Summit:


Another thing from Pingora Summit:


Wolf's Head:
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 13, 2006 - 11:12pm PT
Nice racin' pants there, Tarbuster.and jaunry cap to match... good pics, too. Steepin' up some of the essential Wind River tea. Thanks, Tar. I'll take a big long pull on that concoction, and dream of times wild and free.
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Oct 13, 2006 - 11:36pm PT
Thanks Jeff, that got it just right.

Thanks Roy, only been there once but it was MAGICAL. But how come you always climbed with the cute ones, while I only got Waugh?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 13, 2006 - 11:48pm PT
G Gnome,
Waugh's not cu-ute?
Sorry 'bout that 'un.
Kain't say I blame yah,

Here's 'dem naughty gals, pickin' thru tha 'spores fer the hike out:

I just popped sum reds teh melow out the shrooms, sandwiched a nice pace 'twixt a cuple them lasses on the trail
And rode the clean & true vibe all the way back while the hevun's incessantly drizzled on us.

hahahahaha!
'Git A Long That Trail Little Dowgies,
Yip Yipeee...
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Oct 14, 2006 - 10:23am PT
Jeff –
Nice story. I liked the passage where you describe “climbing in my own myth”. It reminded me of the 19th century gentleman’s code of honor. If a gentleman was insulted by another gentleman, it was expected that the person insulted would risk his own life and challenge the offender to a duel, rather than suffer the affront to his honor. Deep in the wilderness, high on a big wall and miles from any audience, a personal sense of honor and rectitude causes you to free climb a pitch at additional personal risk, rather than take the easier option and aiding it. Great illustration of the quixotic nature of our pastime and that the best climbers are the ones most smitten by the romance of climbing.
Rick
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Oct 14, 2006 - 12:14pm PT
Piton Ron, LOL
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2006 - 01:33pm PT
Thanks, Rick, I appreciate your comments.
labrat

Trad climber
Nevada
Oct 14, 2006 - 05:27pm PT
Thanks for the story. Looking forward to reading more.
no_one

Social climber
Hurricane, Utah
Oct 14, 2006 - 08:33pm PT
Great stuff Jeff!! I love the winds!

Finaly, a super topo post about climbing! That's what I'm talkin about!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 15, 2006 - 11:46am PT
Steve, Steve, Steve,
apparently you failed to read the Welcome thread or you would never say something like," I love the winds" around Jeff,...


Hey! Weren't you just there?
no_one

Social climber
Hurricane, Utah
Oct 15, 2006 - 12:30pm PT
Good mourning Ron!
Yeah, I was there in August. Just did a couple of the tourist lines though. Wolfs head and Pingora. Wolf head is as real as 5.7 gets. Great climbing!


Ezra

Trad climber
WA, NC
Oct 15, 2006 - 05:27pm PT
Fantastic trip report and following pictures. I have to get there someday!!!
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 15, 2006 - 06:10pm PT
Steve-

I can't see your photos. Any idea why?

Also, I've attempted to paste a photo of the route into my original post. If it works, it's thanks to clear instructions from Anders.

-Jeff
no_one

Social climber
Hurricane, Utah
Oct 15, 2006 - 10:39pm PT
He replied to a post of mine with the same instructions. Not to hard with instructions that clear! Thanks again! MH
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Oct 19, 2006 - 11:39pm PT
Great Trip report Jeff,
I like how the picture showed up after a while.
Zander
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Oct 23, 2006 - 02:08pm PT
Thanks for the story Jeff. When I first started climbing, my older brother went on a trip to the Wind Rivers circa 1970. They looked like fairy tale mountains. Ever since, I've always wanted to go, but never managed. Maybe next year.

By the way, Jeff. That picture of you on some climbing rag cover doing Road Warrior is one of my all time favorite climbing pictures. I remember the day I laid eyes on it. I immediately called up my friend Clean Dan and told him that was our destination for the next weekend. That was one of several times, including two with your cousin George, that I did the thing.
handsome B

Gym climber
SL,UT
Oct 23, 2006 - 02:17pm PT
Great stuff.
The Winds are a magical place.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 27, 2006 - 09:32pm PT
I just added the route line to the picture of Haystack in the initial post. Finally starting to figure out how to work these computer gizmos.
Pate

Trad climber
Apr 24, 2010 - 03:46pm PT
Cirque of the Towers and shrooms, a good mix.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 24, 2010 - 08:00pm PT
Hey Pate - do you say that Pah-tay, or as in bald ? - thanks for the bump. The Winds in general are one of my favorite rock areas, and that climb on Haystack is one of my favorite memories. Since this post on ST, Steve Bechtell(sp) contacted me to tell me he and other friends had been working to free climb the route, but hadn't yet quite done it and would need to do a two-pitch variation around the roof area and another on the crux aid pitch. They did confirm the aid at A4, though, and the hard crack that I led free on the FA as being 11-, which is not bad for 1969 on a big wall wearing Robbins boots!

-Jello
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 24, 2010 - 08:44pm PT
Pate- I'm stuck at home with the kid today, thanks for digging up these old threads.

Jello- thanks for the story. That's a nice looking wall.
Pate

Trad climber
Apr 24, 2010 - 08:59pm PT
Jello- no sweat, your stuff is always worth bumping. I've been digging deep today! The Winds are a really special place for me too, they were my introduction to Western mountains as a teen-ager, on a trip in from Big Sandy, all the way through the range, ultimately to the Gooseneck Pinnacle and the top of Gannet, and then the trail of tears down the Glacier Trail, popping out at that Audubon sanctuary. I'd done a long 6 week haul on the AT, but that trip, 24 days, was an eye opener and a game changer. I carried a green Contour IV on that trip- you were with me in a way! I've gone back many many times, to The Cirque, and most recently on a nice mellow fly fishing trip.

Here's a shot of me up on top of Gannet on that first trip, stoked! This would be 17 years after your efforts in Robbins boots. I'm 17 in this shot. So when you were in boots I was in diapers.

Credit: Pate
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
Apr 24, 2010 - 11:22pm PT
That sounds like a great route. I made several attempts to do a new route on this wall of Haystack, and then succeeded on an easier line to the right. I didn't consider the route that you did. The route we attempted involved nailing up under the big arch with the idea of finding an exit over the roof to climb the long jam crack to the right of your route. I figured it would be a combination of hard aid and spectacular jam crack climbing. The nailing under the roof was very difficult due to solution deposits filling the shallow cracks. After wasting a lot of time trying to do this, I gave up and did an easier line that starts near the right base of the big arch and goes directly up. My partners were Rick Millican, Beth Liversedge, and another young woman whose name I don't recall. Fred Becky showed up while we were doing the climb and was disappointed that we got there first; and he wrote it up in the Alpine Journal. As Fred watched, he thought we would be benighted, but I tied all our ropes together and raced to the summit in the twilight and then brought the others up together and we descended in the dark. I don't think Fred ever realized that it was me leading the route. I called down to him, but he didn't hear us. I was disappointed that he didn't stick around to say hi.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 24, 2010 - 11:34pm PT
This is why I haven't renewed my magazine subscriptions for the first time in 15 years. Great story!
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Apr 24, 2010 - 11:41pm PT
Jello: Thank you!

It is always a joy to read your stories. I was not on ST in 2006, to enjoy this adventure the first time around.


Pate: Thank you also: for your bumping up all these threads I never read previously.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jan 10, 2013 - 12:11am PT
This is a good one.
Nohea

Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:47am PT
Yea! Great read. You mix Jello's writings with the time you've had a chat with him. Great stuff!

Aloha,
Will
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jan 10, 2013 - 02:05am PT
I didn't realise you could get PAs in the States back in '69

they could have been Fires, not sure when i got my first pair of those, but it was earlier in the 60s

tinker b

climber
the commonwealth
Jan 10, 2013 - 07:04am PT
thanks, that was awesome.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Jan 10, 2013 - 07:38am PT
Thanks for the fine story.
I was at Deep Lake last August, with a large group, including your old buddy
Jim Donini and Angela.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 10, 2013 - 08:38am PT
Haystack Mountain, Wind River
Haystack Mountain, Wind River
Credit: Tozo

Mille grazie, Jello.

It's seven years since this got posted. Is it in a collection one might find to buy? I hope so. If not, is there a collection of recollection. Ice is not so appealing, but good writing is, so...What's up with that literary bend in your head? Anything I need to read?
ground_up

Trad climber
mt. hood /baja
Jan 10, 2013 - 11:08am PT
thank you Jello...top shelf
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jan 10, 2013 - 07:52pm PT
Great picture mouse climbed a couple of routes on haystack this summer.
divad

Trad climber
wmass
Jan 10, 2013 - 08:02pm PT
yeah, Haystack
yeah, Haystack
Credit: divad
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