Frank Sacherer -- 1940 - 1978

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 21 - 40 of total 596 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
goatboy smellz

climber
boulder county
Oct 19, 2006 - 11:49am PT
Far from being an old dad,
good times was had by all, following in Frank's foot steps.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 19, 2006 - 12:11pm PT
Nice Thread Ed,
Always cool to see a bunch of us wake up and post up in comment on the real goods.

Having gotten into his territory in the later 70's, I often use to invoke memories of Sacherer's legacy when climbing valley classics from his era, whether they were his FFA's or not; for me he was one of the beacons for that sort of tuff minded athletic climbing. Flopping along in EB's then Fires, with nuts or cams or whutever, I'd visualize the stoutness of his Krony & Piton protected free moves on those long weird sized cracks.

I'm sort of a romantic that way.

Thanks Frank.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Oct 19, 2006 - 01:56pm PT
Frank Sacherer's example was highly instrumental in my own choice to forego big wall aid climbing, and replace it with big wall free climbing. By 1973 I'd done enough big walls in the old aid and free style, that I had little doubt about my ability to get up anything, that way. What fun is that? I actually analyzed the list of Sacherer's free climbs - that I knew of - and saw that if you became well-rounded in your free-climbing skills, you had a pretty good chance of being able to free climb some impressive walls. Even though I was never a top free climber, an absolute committment to free climbing, ala Sacherer, and to boldness in the Sacherer mold, helped me to get up about twenty big walls completely free. Frank Sacherer's ideas, along with others such as Peter Haan, kept rock climbing ever-fresh for me, and contributed directly to my personal climbing evolution and satisfaction.

Thanks for the post, Ed.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 19, 2006 - 02:46pm PT
Roger, thanks for all the cool recollections!

> I also just noticed that the list Ed put together does not include the FFA of the 'Stove Legs.' I think that Sacherer climbed with Jim, probably in 1964 or 1965, and that that maybe the idea for the NIAD was born when they climbed the 'Stove Legs' free. Do I have my facts straight?

FFA of Stovelegs was Jim Bridwell and Jim Stanton, 1968. But probably it was Sacherer's idea first (Bridwell's book may say that).

One graphic I'd like to see again was Sheridan Anderson's cartoon of a couple of guys topping out on the Nose, with a tourist lady peering down from above and asking "Did you free the Stovelegs?" What a classic.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Oct 19, 2006 - 03:19pm PT
Climbers and the Nobel prize for Physics. I can think of 3
William Shockley
Enrico Fermi
Henry Kendall

Any others?
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 19, 2006 - 04:42pm PT
Thanks for the corrected facts on the 'Stove Legs' Clint. I am pretty sure that the original ideas for doing the 'Stove Legs' free and the 'Nose' in a day are tied back to Jim and Sacherer in 1964 or 65. But I don't have anything concrete. I also sort of remember Jim saying that Sacherer climbed 'Ahab' with only a few points of protection in the entire pitch. That was common to lead it that way later, particularly with only nuts, but on a first ascent that was really bold. I hope Jim write all that stuff up someday.

It is interesting how Sacherer seems to have been the first 70s free climber--in the mid-60s--but as best as I can remember his friends and climbing partners didn't see the connection. Maybe because the 70s had just started. Sacherer seemed to also have been viewed as a bit crazed. Didn't Chris Jones make a comment in his history that Sacherer was going to kill himself with his climbing if he continued? Nobody made comments about Pratt like that and Chuck would climb hard stuff run way out. Interesting.

Looking back in the mid-1970s it seemed so clear that we were all trying to climb like Sacherer even if none of new climbers had even met him. Until I counted the routes on Ed's list, I had no idea how many ascents he was on. As Peter said, super productive.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 19, 2006 - 04:50pm PT
I haven't included all the "variations" attributed to Sacherer either... I'll review Roper's guide. It seems that there are a number that are used today as the "standard" route, his variation on the Steck-Salathe being one that sticks out in my mind.

It is interesting that Roper wrote that he missed the whole point of short, hard climbing a la Pratt. I believe, however, that Sacherer and Pratt are the groundspring of modern free climbing in Yosemite Valley
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 19, 2006 - 05:02pm PT
Here is another interesting aside. If you look at the early ascents that Sacherer did with others, such as Bob Kamps, he returned in a short time and did them all free.

However, he didn't return to 'Wendy' (5.9 FA 1962 Frank Sacherer Bob Kamps). The first free ascent was in 1970 by Kim Schmitz and his beautiful and lovely girl friend Marty Martin. Kim rated the free climb 5.9 becuase, and I qoute, "Girls cannot climb 5.10."

I never could tell if Kim was kidding. He didn't seem to be.
wbw

climber
'cross the great divide
Oct 19, 2006 - 05:31pm PT
Frank Sacherer is buried in the Chamonix cemetary. I've seen his gravesite there (along with a LOT of other famous dead climbers). The first gravesites one sees when entering the cemetary are those of Lionel Terray (one of my personal heroes) and of Edward Whymper. I've been to the cemetary there a couple of times, and am never sure whether to be awestruck, or simply shocked by how many climbers have died in the Mt. Blanc massif.
It is worth a visit for any climber interested in history.

I believe Sacherer was struck by lightning on the Grand Jorasses.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Oct 19, 2006 - 05:36pm PT
Here you go Clint;



Sacher rhymes with cracker?

or

Sacher rhymes with snatcher?

always heard it one way but recently heard it the other from one who would, presumably, know.
Sheets

Mountain climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 19, 2006 - 06:01pm PT
Hans Bethe was apparently a avid hill climber.

The science writer George Johnson apparently noticed the great number of physicists climbers and wrote an interesting NY Times article about this a few years back:
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/20/science/20CLIM.html?ex=1161403200&en=48973b79b94956e1&ei=5070
(warning: may have to register).

He also mentions Sacherer but mistakes him for a theorist?:
"Over the years physicists have given their names not only to the phenomena of physics but also to routes up obstacles of rock. Theorists at CERN, the leading European particle physics laboratory, refer to the Sacherer frequency and the Sacherer method for computing something called "bunched-beam instabilities" in a particle accelerator. And climbers in Yosemite tackle the Sacherer Cracker, part of a route up the treacherous El Capitan. All these landmarks were named for Dr. Frank J. Sacherer, a theoretical physicist at CERN, who was a world-class expert on the behavior of particle accelerators."
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 19, 2006 - 06:11pm PT
Jaybro,

Thanks for sharing the cartoon. That one always makes me smile!

I'm pretty sure the ch in Sacherer is pronounced hard like a K.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 20, 2006 - 01:05am PT
from Chris Jones' Climbing in North America

page 350

"Roper was an avid speed climber. In an ostensibly uncompetitive sport the time taken to complete a route was a simple method of comparison. The Steck-Salathe on Sentinel Rock was at this time a standard test piece among the better climbers. Robbins had done the route five times and eliminated all but forty feet of aid. On their first trip up the Steck-Salathe Roper and Frank Sacherer shaved two hours off Robbins' time.

When the jubilant pair arrived back in camp, a subdued Robbins offered his congratulations and magnanimously opened a bottle of champagne. The chronically shy Sacherer had never tasted champagne before and remarked that it tasted like Coke.

Two days later Robbins and Frost ate an early breakfast in the Yosemite cafeteria and let it be known that they hoped to be back in time for lunch. They made it back just too late for lunch. After breakfast they hiked up to Sentinel Rock, climbed the Steck-Salathe in 'three hours and fourteen minutes,' and returned. Robbins had made his point."

page 353

"The young Berkeley group were back the next year. The rapidly emerging technical force among them was graduate physics student Frank Sacherer, an intense, thight individual whose concentration on climbing and physics was fanatical. He climbed like a man possessed and deliberately forced himself to use minimal protection. On one occasion he was way above Beck's belay stance without a single intermediate piton. Beck anxiously called up to him to put in a piton. Sacherer spat back, 'Shut up, you chicken sh#t.'

Sacherer directed his energies toward eliminating aid and was scrupulous in his demands that his partners not 'cheat.' After leading the first ascent of the ominous Crack of Despair (5.10), Sacherer belayed his second from deep inside the crack. Tom Gerughty was in his first month as a climber. As he struggled up the crack, he took a quick rest on a bolt. Sacherer heard his panting slow down, sensed what had happened, and mercilessly yelled, 'Get your foot off the bolt, Gerughty!'

In short succession he led Gerughty up the fingertip crack on Dihardral and up the overhanging jamcrack on the right side of the Hourglass. Sacherer cursed when their rappel rope hung on the descent from the latter climb. In a burst of fury, he climbed back up the rope hand over hand.

Pratt and Robbins had been the star free-climbers of the early 1960's, but Sacherer surpassed them. They had a deliberate, controlled style; his was to get mad at the rock, and he often appeared on the verge of falling. If Pratt initiated 5.10 in Yosemite, it was Sacherer who brought it to fruition. When Pratt and Fredericks repeated his Hidden Chimney on Bridalveil Fall -- East Side, they had to struggle hard to get up. Perhaps the best free-climbing achievement of 1964 was Pratt and Sacherer's one day ascent of the 1,200-foot Lost Arrow Chimney (V, 5.10). Sacherer later said, 'The day you do the Arrow Chimney is the day you do more work than any other day of your life.'

The next year Sacherer had to spend more time at his physics books. To stay in shape, he and Beck undertook a vigorous course of training. When they got back to Yosemite, it was with telling effect. They eliminated eighty aid pitons on Middle Cathedral Rock's Direct North Buttress (V, 5.10) and created a stir when they did the west face of Sentinel in a day, the first one-day ascent of a Yosemite Grade VI.

By 1966 Sacherer was through. He realized that if he kept up this pace, he would probably be killed. His nerves were frayed, and there was an offer of a good job in Europe. His companions carried on the free-climbing boom: Pratt and Fredericks on the poorly protected Twilight Zone, and Fredericks on English Breakfast Crack. In a different vein Beck soloed the northwest face of Half Dome. The next years saw a consolidation of Sacherer's achievements, but it was to be some time before free-climbing standards were raised once more."
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 20, 2006 - 01:15am PT
Thanks Ed,
I'm lovin' it.
Did you have to hand transcribe that?

Wasn't Beck the guy that said "At every end of the social spectrum there lies a liesure class?". I'm pretty sure we met him in JT as late as the eighties and he was still actively doing 5.10.
WBraun

climber
Oct 20, 2006 - 01:15am PT
"The day you do the Arrow Chimney is the day you do more work than any other day of your life."

Yes, ugh! It still holds true today.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 20, 2006 - 01:18am PT
yep, by hand via the eye... fortunately it is still quick for me that way.


edit: but I'm jonesing after a scanner that will do OCR and make scanning the pictures possible too...
brett kassell

Trad climber
san jose, ca
Oct 20, 2006 - 01:47am PT
how did Frank die? every time i climb sacherer cracker i wonder about that dude.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 20, 2006 - 02:06am PT
from Steve Roper's Climber's Guide to Yosemite Valley 1971

page 12

"A surge of free climbing by Pratt and Frank Sacherer led to about fifteen first ascents in 1964 and 1965. One of the most important of these was the Arrow Chimney. Seven of the routes were led free by Sacherer in a single month."


the only variation not mentioned in the list above:

Crack of Deliverance 1965 variation Frank Sacherer and Chuck Pratt
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Oct 20, 2006 - 09:01am PT
Brett-lightning, if memory serves. The 'obit' I read was the tail end of a 'current news' sort of peice in, I really think climbing or Off belay. The very last line along the lines of "Oh yeah, Frank Saccher got hit by lightning on the shroud, killed him."
I will research this and other things when I am back in touch with the source material, at the ranch.


"The day you do the Arrow Chimney is the day you do more work than any other day of your life."
I've thought a lot about this one over the years, could be, though running a 50 miler and couching a 14 hour labor are up there too.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Oct 20, 2006 - 03:51pm PT
Very good pic of Frank on page 182 of Camp 4.

As a once "tightly wound Catholic boy" too, I could relate to Frank. He was very driven and principled yet kind and warm to me as a newcomer to the Valley scene. Bob Kamps introduced me to him. We did a few short climbs together but I never saw his legendary temper.

Frank kept a notebook of first ascents and yet to be done FFA targets which he showed me once. I noticed he had his sights on the NE Buttress of Middle as a FFA, as did Bob and I. Given Franks drive and tick list, we knew we had better get cracking and did the Buttress before he did. He later did it too and said he didn't like some layback pitch which he found a way around. Still not sure where he went.

As for his threat to pull someone off from standing on a bolt, that was not me but Tom Gerughty on Crack of Despair. Tom was still learning off-widths and started to stand on an old bolt on the wall (still there?) for rest. Frank yanked the rope and yelled he would pull him off if he touched the bolt. Tom relented, continued to tremble upward, pooped but able to finish. As Tom and I both found, mentors of the day were pretty strict on style matters.

And I wonder where is Tom Gerughty?

Tom Higgins
Messages 21 - 40 of total 596 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews