Frank Sacherer -- 1940 - 1978

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 541 - 560 of total 596 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Mar 17, 2013 - 02:48pm PT
Sounds like a Darth Vader -Luke Skywalker relationship..?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 17, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
By simply acknowledging that other traditions and spiritual paths can lead you to the Godhead, the Jesuits have long been marginalized by mainstream religion. Freedom to think and choose meaningfully for yourself has made the Jesuit perspective anathema.
BBA

climber
OF
Mar 17, 2013 - 07:08pm PT
That's right, Steve, and Frank learned it to his chagrin when he tried out the rebuttals to the proofs of the existence of God in his theology class which I mentioned some time earlier in this thread.

One can say what one will, and certainly people have on this thread, and Frank comes out as one of the most interesting and compelling characters in Yosemite climbing history.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 17, 2013 - 08:24pm PT
Interesting comments from Peter Haan. Frank always felt exactly the same way about Royal while the others mentioned were considered friendly contemporaries. Layton Kor had the same reaction out of Royal as well.

I'm surprised to hear then, that Royal was friendly to the next generation of climbers like Peter. My interpretation is that he had understood by that time that no one remains on top forever. Maybe if we had returned again to the California scene, Royal would have been friendly to Frank also, knowing they both had a place in history and would both be replaced in history.

Frank's moment of truth in that regard came with the news that Bev Johnson had climbed the Crack of Doom.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Mar 18, 2013 - 11:42am PT
My memories of Camp 4 in the Summer of 1965 have dimmed over the intervening 48 years, but I recall with clarity several of the conversations I had with Frank regarding Pure Science. I vividly recall him once saying that it was "only science that was capable of saving the world from the mess it had become." I was impressed by his idealism, as well as his reserved attitude towards others. He was actually a pretty shy and intellectual person to be hanging out in Camp 4, among the great unwashed.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
Jan, my comment concerned how the established climbing elite members related to kids, not simply whether they were "nice" or not generally. It is an interesting question to pose. I was reflecting on my brief teenage experiences with Frank and thought to evaluate my youthful disappointment with them just above. Nearly everyone in that group of cutting edge climbers soon became guides and instructors, and reached out to the kids that wanted to learn. I think you can discover much by the way kids are treated, you see.

Royal mentored myself and dozens of other youngsters though he was decidedly competitive with his contemporaries, often excessively so, certainly. His help came at a crucial time in my development. In fact I would say he actively sought out young talented people and did a bunch on their behalf, opened his school Rockcraft and ran it into the eighties, even, across the west. He did not need what money came from it; he did this because he loved the joie de vivre of the upcoming generation, took heart from the new young climbers. RR was very generous too. He would pay for everything on our climbing trips and this kept going on for many years after I was gone, his kindness extending onwards to others. He was very accessible to me and my sidekicks; we knew more about RR than most anyone else as he would confide in us during those long long drives to climbing areas, during fireside hours and so forth. He was difficult and all the rest, but as far as his attitude toward the young and aspiring, he and most all of his friends were good people.
oldguy

climber
Bronx, NY
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:02pm PT
Royal and a number of other Southern Cal climbers in the '50s were mentored by Chuck Wilts and John Mendenhall while many of the other older climbers were intimidated by the abilities of the (then) younger crowd while questioning their safety. I imagine that the example of Chuck and John guided Royal later on as he became more of a teacher. As I say in my book, there's always a next generation. As to Royal's aloofness, and perhaps Sacherer's although I didn't know him, I think that at bottom he was quite shy or at least lacked the social skills that enabled one to deal easily with strangers, so when Robbins meets Sacherer it is hard to find easy ground. Royal was competitive, sure, but I think that he asked more that others share his approach to the sport. He was looking for comrades. Keep in mind that most of the climbers of that generation had social problems in school and were also very complex personalities in their own right, each in his own special way.

And by the way, Herb Swedlund also went to a Jesuit high school, was very smart, turned out to be a very good teacher of climbing, and had an especially complex personality.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:07pm PT
I agree with all that, Joe. And in your book your info on Herbie is quite interesting, as so little is known about him, at least in print. I have been told that Herbie was some kind of national level marksman; can you corroborate this? I know he had a .45 in his camper, always. We loved the dickens out of him too, bitd. So fun.
oldguy

climber
Bronx, NY
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
At one time Herb was the black powder champion of Wyoming I believe. He was also a very good black and white, large format photographer, and Ansel Adams let Herb use his dark room in Yosemite. He also played classical piano when young and knew more about the flora of the Tetons than anyone else I met. His reputation, however, was forged more in the Tetons than in Yosemite.

But while I was making my granola, I realized that I tend to lump the '50s climbers too much together. Royal had been climbing seven years and I five when in 1957 who should show up but Kamps, Rearick, TM, Harry Daley, Frost, and Yvon. And that was just the Southern California crowd. In the Bay Area, Pratt, Roper, Charlie Raymond, Lito Tejada-Flores, and a few others started to make a name for themselves. One could say that these guys were the next generation for Royal and me, and we all ended up on very good terms. Some of them even provided some good competition (and a wealth of stories).
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:55pm PT
Joe, I wouldn't say that in your book you have lumped the fifties guys together at all. You describe each one's origins and do make distinctions between the southern and northern groups. There is quite a bit of information on both "covens", more than say in Pilgrims of the Vertical of Taylor, as Taylor's work is more a sociology and environmental study. More than in RR's accounts. I look upon your book partly as a reference work, to tell the truth. I think it is quite important how it chronicles so much history and a good part of that history being merely oral up till now.

We loved Herbie. Bev Johnson really liked him too and I am kind of recalling they may have had an affair; not sure. Joe, what happened to him?
jogill

climber
Colorado
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:39pm PT
Although I wasn't a member of the Yosemite group in the 1950s, I met and climbed/bouldered with several of them. I found Royal to be a gentleman, and I had great admiration for his aggressive and confident climbing style. Pat Ament called him "the Spirit of the Age" ,an appellation with which I agreed. Kamps, of course, was a good friend and delightful companion, and Mark Powell was another gentleman and scholar. My old friend Dave Rearick became an academic before I did - a mathematician, actually - and I still see him from time to time here in Colorado. I camped, bouldered and did a climb or two with Chouinard, and I have nothing but fond memories of our times together.

I never met Frank, but others spoke of him admiringly.

;>)
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 18, 2013 - 07:09pm PT
I can verify that Frank was painfully shy. He also was often in his own world thinking about physics while others were talking climbing. I definitely had to pursue him, otherwise we would have gotten nowhere.

As for generations, I always thought of Kamps, Rearick, TM, Frost, Yvon, Charlie Raymond, and Lito as the generation above us. Roper was a transitional figure who could fit into either generation before he went to Vietnam and after that was clearly older. Bridwell and his boys as we used to refer to them (sorry Peter) were the younger generation. Our generation was very narrow now that I think about it - Frank, Beck, Fredericks, Erb, Morton, Dozier, Geroughty, Higgins. Some people were timeless and could fit in anywhere like Pratt, Sheridan Anderson, and Chuck Ostin.

I still think that Royal perceived Frank as a difficult adolescent son who no longer did what the father wanted, but was too big to discipline as well. Starting with Ament, he was much more comfortable with the younger generation whom he felt free to indulge like grandsons. Maybe this is just my personal impression colored by Frank's, I don't know. I would like to hear from Beck and the others though, how they perceived it.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 18, 2013 - 07:18pm PT
Another part of the dynamics, was that up through Frank's generation of climbers, it was a small world and everyone could keep up with both the climbing and personal lives of all the participants.

Bridwell and his approach really signified a large change in what had been a small intimate world. We laughingly referred to Bridwell and his boys because it seemed there was an ever changing crew whom we never could keep track of. We would learn the names of some and the next week they would be replaced by others. They also listened to different music and seemed to smoke a lot more dope.Tut tut, says the older generation.

It also felt like a transition from a more individualistic to a more sociable and group oriented climbing culture, more interested in a good time than in intellectual angst. I was surprised to learn later, that this same generation produced some of the world's greatest soloists.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 10:19pm PT
Someone should do a flow chart or a chart of genealogy showing Bridwell's long influence upon modern climbing. We have all said it in words, but the actual graphic might be quite arresting to create, tracing his effect.

Bridwell would befriend any climber who showed talent and judgement. He was quite democratic and truly enjoyed helpful and of course adored as well. He was actually down on those who climbed unroped though. He would even get kind of nasty. I think he was quite glad for me that my Salathe solo went off okay, met me at the top etc, but he and Klemens also were worried and watched me every day during it like an older brother. When I soloed the Crack of Despair and other routes he could get pretty shitty about it to me. I never knew him to unrope solo anything. Jim was like Kauk in this respect; neither of them climbed without benefit of ropes ever, to my knowledge.

Jan, it wasn't so much that the "boys" were constantly changing around Jim as an aspect of how fugitive climbing culture had become but more because it was so effing hard to remain in camp, in the Valley, in any legal manner and we were all running out of money all the damn time. Back in the day I remember being essentially unlimited in how long one could live in camp and the cost of living was a smaller percentage of one's income. It was probably more the squalor and difficulty of Camp four that limited stays than the rangers and NPS working against us.

As mystical and Romantic as Bridwell was and is even today, he remained remarkably safe and reliable. We often thought of how his father was a commercial airline pilot captain and would call Jim, "Captain" sometimes, with this in mind. Surprisingly he took fewer risks then than many of us. His many years of ski patrol in Squaw also kept him squarely focused.

The use of psychedelics were common in the seventies but what has not been revealed is their common use in the prior generation. It has been kind of a secret so far. There were other social aspects to the Golden Years generation that would surprise many, as well. They were pretty wild too, as it turns out.
John Morton

climber
Mar 19, 2013 - 10:48am PT
Jan, what I see in reviewing that roster of a generation is a group of university students whose world was enlarged and enriched by climbing. They tended to be smart, ironic, literate, skeptical and charged up by the rapid cultural shifts of that time and place. So you're right about "narrow", and that explains how the young Bridwell looked to us, with his coarse humor, athletic background and boorish manner. That bunch went their separate ways, and now it's very clear that our common attributes do not map onto the personalities of climbers in general.

We're all pretty tame now as geezers, and it's fun to hang with those characters that I couldn't abide back in the day. Great people, all.
John
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Mar 19, 2013 - 11:19am PT
Jim was like Kauk in this respect; neither of them climbed without benefit of ropes ever, to my knowledge.

Peter, you're correct about Jim, as far as I remember, but Ron did do a bit of freesoloing. One fine afternoon, he and I were doing Gripper and we coiled and tossed the rope from the bay tree atop pitch one, continuing up the 5.9 handcrack to the top ropeless. We were both psyched by the experience and soloed the Quickie Quizzes on the way along the top of the crag. That was probably 1973.

Hold on, I remember now that Bridwell, Largo and I soloed Moby Dick Center together probably around then. We had a great time but a bit of a problem at the top. We hung out enjoying the sun and the view on that nice flat ledge for probably a half hour. I was sitting there and Bridwell started coiling the rope we had trailed, handing me one end when he finished without saying anything. I continued to gaze across the Valley and suddenly the end whipped out of my hand. He had tossed the coil off for our rappel without telling me, and it fell to the base leaving us atop Moby Dick with no rope. We had an amusing argument regarding culpability, Largo as mediator.

Fortunately another team of more responsible climbers scampered up The Left Side and rescued our sorry butts before nightfall.

Pretty sure Ron soloed The NEB of Higher, and I know he went on to onsight solo the North Buttress of MCR, but he had an experience up there that dissuaded him from further soloing.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 19, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
Fun story, Kevin. I am surprised it hadn't come up before as it is awfully funny. Imagine if you had been benighted or had to call for YOSAR.

There was a similar tale when Robs Muir and I had done Sickle Ledge in the Sixties and were preparing to descend. We were setting up the rappel and got at cross purposes, letting go of our rope which zipped to the base. Fortunately we had the ancient I think Denny fixed line still there but it was way deteriorated and crusty. Neither of us still is clear on how this mistake took place.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Mar 19, 2013 - 05:14pm PT
Yeah, funny story.

After further reflection, it is possible that The Bird took advantage of a top rope on the climb, and John and I soloed with one of us trailing the rope for Jim. That would agree with your memory, Peter, that Jim didn't do such things. Not that he wasn't capable, of course.

I have made the claim that I've never needed rescue in 45 years of climbing, but given this confession, I no longer can.

Actually, I probably would've gone for the downclimb if it started getting dark...
DrDeeg

Mountain climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 30, 2013 - 11:50pm PT
Terrific thread. As Morton says, we do mellow. Our faults stay with us but seem to diminish.

I thought that all the older generation -- Royal, Chuck, Frank, Steve -- treated my contemporaries and me extremely well, and our relationships did not revolve around how well or how badly I climbed. In fact, very few of our lengthy conversations were about climbing. All of them had a keen sense of fairness and morality, along with many intense interests.

At the time, I thought of Frank as older, although he was just four years older than me. That he was in graduate school may have had something to do with it. I also recall Peter Haan's essay a couple of years ago in Alpinist about climbing on Lembert Dome with two old guys -- Royal and me. I think I am just four or five years older than Peter.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 31, 2013 - 12:09am PT
Jeff Deeg, I was born in 1948, how about you? I thought of you as somewhere between Bridwell and Royal that day. You did great too! And it "off the sofa", too, wasn't it?

That is the Birth of Wheat Thin article. I have a couple other hilarious tales like this one for Alpinist at some point soon. My next piece is on Bill Denz, the NZ climber, deceased in 1983. Next issue!!

I want to concur and underscore how generous RR and others were to us back in the day. We had no sponsorship, lived in our cars and needed any help whatsoever. It was really effing hard. We really should have been helped out more, even back then, so long ago. It was the nerve-wracking poverty that drove me out of making climbing a lifetime, all-consuming full-time commitment.
Messages 541 - 560 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 Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews