Frank Sacherer -- 1940 - 1978


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Trad climber
Oct 20, 2006 - 04:03pm PT
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.

Eric lives in Bishop, and still climbs.

that quote is a favorite of mine, and is tributed to Eric, however, I believe the statement was originated from some economist.
scuffy b

The town that Nature forgot to hate
Oct 20, 2006 - 04:19pm PT
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.

Eric lives in Bishop, and still climbs.

that quote is a favorite of mine, and is tributed to Eric, however, I believe the statement was originated from some economist

Rumor raises its ugly head again. This was put to rest some time
ago here on ST. Beck indeed coined the phrase.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 20, 2006 - 05:39pm PT
Beck seems to have "At either end of the social spectrum lies a leisure class" - but it is derived from "The Theory of the Leisure Class" by Thorstein Veblen. A witty send up of "upper class" behaviour, particularly if you know a bit about economics and sociology. I suspect it was popular reading amongst the Camp 4 set in the 1960s, and it was and is still often required reading in undergraduate courses.

Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 23, 2006 - 12:02am PT
Hi Anders,

Scuffy b is right about the quote attribution. All the factual evidence says it is Eric Beck's. Thorstein Veblen book has often been cited as the source, but there is nothing in Veblen's book that talks about the least successful being part of the leisure class.

However Veblen's book is part of the genius of Eric's comment, Roper was reading Veblen's book on a rainy day in the Yosemite Lodge lounge, and reading parts of it aloud. Eric read a bit of the book quickly and said, in his sarcastic way, "There is a leisure class on either end of the social spectrum."

During the ST debate that Scuffy b refers to on the attribution, I read Veblen's book to find a similar quote. I found nothing that came even close to the same idea. I also searched as many other sources I could think of or that were suggested and found nothing. If you have a specific citation, you should post it.

Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 23, 2006 - 12:24am PT
Thanks, Roger. Perhaps I could have been more careful with wording. I wasn't suggesting that Veblen said it, only that his book and its title might have had a role in the genesis of Beck's bon mot. Which seems to be the case.

Thanks for the story itself!


Social climber
Nov 5, 2006 - 09:51pm PT
One of the highlights of my climbing life in the Valley was meeting Sacherer and speaking with him briefly in Camp 4. We were leaning up against Columbia Boulder catching some morning sun. He was definitely an inspiration to me and others of my generation. I loved the verbal descriptions of his routes from Roper's green guidebook--especially the Sacherer Fredricks on Middle and the Dihardral.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 5, 2006 - 10:05pm PT
I agree Mark. And the Sacherer-Fredericks is a really good route inspite of its lack of popularity. I have done it 2-3 times. Another neglected route of great interest and quality. The second time was with Will Tyree, remember him???

And don't even start about the Dihardral, and the other Slab Happy Pinnacle routes. Or that whole area up there. And much congrats on scooping me on the Left side, three years later. I can't believe I never went back up there to work on it. Another unique route that goes ignored.

best. P
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 5, 2006 - 10:13pm PT
Amazing AP. I had no idea that Fermi was a climber.

When my mother attended the University of Chicago in the early '40s he was her basic physics professor until he departed for "unspecified" reasons.
Unfortunately my mom couldn't explain how a wheelbarrow worked.

Just one of the sacrifices we made to become the first superpower.
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Nov 5, 2006 - 11:39pm PT
Here is a shot of the Grand Jorasses and the Shroud, the climb on which he died. The Shroud is the narrow icefield just left of the Walker Spur, which is the buttress that leads directly to the summit.
Sacherer was climbing hard to the very end. The Shroud was one of the prize ice climbs of that era.


right here, right now
Nov 5, 2006 - 11:53pm PT
That it is a very good shot Ricky,
Most photos of the Shroud seem to let it list a bit left and lower.

Also, Peter, that Slab Happy area is tough stuff.
I ventured only up and through the Left Side route and enjoyed that immensely; while on rappel the center route looked pretty stout as face climbs go.

Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Nov 5, 2006 - 11:59pm PT
So it was Bridwell and Frank Sacher who first freed the Stove Legs on the Nose in 1964 or 1965? (Which makes me wonder whether anyone has compiled a FFA list for each separate pitch on the Nose year by year?)

I remember Eric Beck told me some Frank Sacher stories once but can't remember them too clearly. Better check with Eric. Seem to recall one, though, about Sacher pulling someone off a pitch for tainting a free move? It sounded like he had some "stern" ethics . . .
john hansen

Jan 3, 2007 - 11:44pm PT
I just spent an hour looking thru this thread and didn't find
any referance to one interesting quote from Steve Ropers 'Camp Four'.
He said that he had never been able to locate a picture of Sacherer on lead. His partners were too gripped watching him to take pictures.

Sorta like a Holy Grail. Any body got one???
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 4, 2007 - 02:32am PT
I believe there is a picture of Sacherer climbing in Chris Jones' Climbing in North American on page 354, photo credit Tony Qamar...

but those are the only pictures I've ever seen of Sacherer on lead... one is Ahab, I don't recognize the other...

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Jan 4, 2007 - 08:51am PT
I think that was crack of doom, Mr. Morris....Sacherer, hearing less "thrashing" from below, recognized what was going on...

"Get your foot of that @$@*$ing bolt, Gerughty!"
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jan 4, 2007 - 11:04am PT
No 426, Crack of Despair.

Apr 26, 2007 - 11:58pm PT
"It had been eleven years since Frank had first given me the idea, and eight years since I'd freed the Stovelegs pitch with Jim Stanton"

from an Alpinist article by Bridwell
Weekend Warrior

Trad climber
Palo Alto, CA
Aug 23, 2007 - 11:34am PT
A couple of interesting things about the collective memory expressed in these various threads: 1) no one person, even a principal of a period, was party to all events or remembers everything and 2) what sticks in one person's mind, especially after all these years, is often different than another's. Here's one of the things that sticks in mine.

I made my 1st trip to the Valley near the end of the "Golden Age". The gods still bestrode the earth, but the arrival of a wide-eyed kid who could struggle up 5.8 on a good day with a top-rope wasn't noticed. My dint of showing up most weekends for many years, I met a few of the gods and even climbed with one (thanks, TM!). Sometimes, fate intervened to arrange these introductions.

By '73 or '74, I was struggling up 5.10 on the other end of the rope. This was long before plastic, but George Goodman's artificial stone at the local U, was an excellent substitute. I was out one evening on the Art Wall and, as the light was fading, out of the gloom came a man with a briefcase. He stopped and asked me if I climbed anywhere else. While this wasn't commonplace, I did get questions from time to time and, as long as it wasn't coming from the local politzei, I was usually happy to chat.

I answered "Yosemite" and he asked, "what's happening there these days?" Usually, the people asking me questions were generally clueless about climbing, but this question led to suspect that he knew at least something about climbing. I gave a brief summary of things and mentioned that Bridwell was BMOC. He casually let slip that he had taught Bridwell to climb. Who is this guy? The monogram on his briefcase caught my eye: FJS -- "oh, my gawd, you're ..." The conversation continued, but I was a bit more tongue-tied than before.

I still get out on weekends, but not nearly as often as before. When I do, I find myself often stopped in my tracks by the weight of the memories. Yes, I've become somewhat of a nostalgiaholic. Thanks to those that have shared their memories -- especially those that knew the gods that I glimpsed from a distance long ago.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 23, 2007 - 12:59pm PT
Nice to see this thread re-appear - I wonder if somewhere we can find a photo to add to it?

Speaking of mountain-climbing physicists and mathematicians, who are legion, I once read Enrico Fermi's biography, Atoms in the Family. My admittedly distant recollection is that he was more what we would call a mountain hiker - I don't know that he ever did anything requiring a rope. A bit like Pope John Paul II, who was a strong mountain hiker and skier, but never quite a true climber. Still, all part of the family.

Luxury rehabilitation treatment facility in Boise
Aug 23, 2007 - 01:24pm PT
Compared to Sacherer's record in the Valley, the record of his climbing in the Alps is quite obscure.

Does anyone know what he was up to there? One does not simply get a wild hair to go climb the Shroud. Or does one?

right here, right now
Aug 23, 2007 - 01:29pm PT
Here you go Anders,
From Glen Denny's recent publication,
Yosemite in the Sixties:

Standing, (left to right): Frank Sacherer, Jim Bridwell, and Ed Leeper

(A "must have" book, which has appeared as a topic on the taco a few times)
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