Frank Sacherer -- 1940 - 1978


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Social climber
wuz real!
Nov 4, 2008 - 06:44pm PT
"levers in tight
chimneys." =femur ratio

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Nov 4, 2008 - 08:37pm PT

I suppose it would be too much to ask...

to see the proofs!

The Schmutzvink

The WAY past
Nov 5, 2008 - 01:11am PT
pClimbing thread bump. F*ck all those political threads. Yea yea yea it's time for change. Change back to being a Yosemite Rockclimber’s forum.

right here, right now
Nov 5, 2008 - 01:00pm PT
BBA wrote:
"he said his theology class had a single question for the final, prove or rebut the five proofs of the existence of god as set out by Aquinas. Through the various weekend climbs I got him to agree on how to rebut four, but we hadn't gotten to the last one about there needing to be a beginning point."

This is such entertaining reading!
Eric Beck: your passage is really fun too.

Getting first-hand impressions of people like Sacherer,
Many of us, in particular those focused on free climbing, have been thirsting for stuff like this for over 30 years.

Much Thanks,

Social climber
petaluma ca
Nov 5, 2008 - 02:02pm PT
In December 1961 the snow cone had grown to huge proportions under the Upper Yosemite Falls. It is a phenomenon caused by ice forming high on the cliffs and then crashing down in the morning and piling up. In a dry December with very low night temperatures it got big. Maybe global warming has stopped the formation. Down the middle of the cone was a hole into which the falls disappeared.

Roper was recovering from his near fatal accident with Frank on Clouds Rest, so Frank asked if I wanted to go up and climb the snow cone. So we headed out. The hike was nothing and we got to the cone and started kicking up in boots. It wasn't steep and we both had ice axes. Frank was going ahead and getting very high and I said we should rope up and set belays. "What's the matter, you chickensh..? I want to look down the hole."

I replied that if he wanted to it was OK with me, but what if the lip overhung like a cornice. Frank absoultely froze at that point, came down and we belayed each other up for a look over the lip. It was so strange to see all that water disappear without a whisper.

Jack Burns

Nov 5, 2008 - 03:03pm PT
This is a kick ass thread. It's worth weeding through all the dreck to find gems like this. Thanks to all the climbers from the olden days for sharing.

"Get back up there, you chickensh#t."

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Nov 5, 2008 - 03:45pm PT
I'd like to hear a bunch more from Eric B. about the FFA of the DNB and all the other stuff we missed out on.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 5, 2008 - 03:57pm PT
Dana Glacier 1960

Classic Sacherer.

First time on ice.

Denny, Sacherer and I, borrowed a vast array of "state of the art ice climbing paraphernalia" from Wayne Merry for an afternoon of self instruction. Check out these ice screws!

I will do a post up of the trip in the future with more photos.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2008 - 06:40pm PT
I've asked around a bit, mostly my CERN physicist friends who climb, about Sacherer's climbing in Europe but didn't get much of a response. Anyone here have any leads on who climbed with Sacherer there?

I've talked to people who were involved in the accelerator work, but they weren't climbers. There are a set of Sacherer stories from that side of his activities which sound a lot like the climbing side...
scuffy b

On the dock in the dark
Nov 6, 2008 - 11:24am PT
I think those ice screws were discussed in a recent obscure
protection thread--forged from English train carriage bolts?

Trad climber
Nov 6, 2008 - 12:03pm PT
Interesting to hear the stories from Sacherer's old partners.

I greatly admired his climbs. Jesuit-Physicist-Rockclimber.

That was the last generation of amateurs to really change the sport.

Social climber
petaluma ca
Nov 16, 2008 - 11:58am PT
Little Joe (Guido), as he exits the USA, just sent to me the letters I'd written to him. This one is from 9/3/62 while I was in the army:

"...I got a letter from Jeff[Foott], and things sound pretty wiped out up there [in the Valley], especially with Sacherer being in the hospital. It was bound to happen to him the way he climbed with his head up his ass. Maybe he will have learned something that will keep him alive from here on if he continues to climb. Then again, maybe he climbs the way we all should; perhaps he is the only courageous one and we're all chickenshits..."

Does anyone know what happened to Frank to put him in the hospital then?

One of the ideas Frank and I used to talk about was why seeming buffons like Cooper would do big walls. We came up with a list, and it included resources (money enough for all those ropes and time away from work), some physical condition and some degree of technical ability. It left off courage, putting yourself out there and going for it, pushing limits, and that is what Frank did in spades.

climber a single wide......
Nov 16, 2008 - 12:30pm PT
BBA- it might have been when Kamps caught a big Sacherer fall (off Lower Brother?). Sacherer was semi-conscious while Kamps got them down. Higgins writes of this in his Ascent article "In Thanks".

The Tom Higgins article "In Memory of Bob Kamps" tells of Kamps feeling he was jinxed as a belayer because he had caught 3 monster falls over a span of a couple years. Article at below link:
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Nov 16, 2008 - 12:46pm PT
Frank took an 80 footer on the North Buttress of Lower Cathedral Rock, a route which I believe is no longer done. He was aid climbing and had omitted clipping into a number of pitons(Chickenshit to clip them all?). I think he was with Kamps but not sure. He cracked a rib. He was tied in with a Swami, which caught under the lowest rib. The prescribed treatment was no treatment. It eventually healed, but with an asymmetric bulge on one side.

I am writing this from snowy Kalamazoo where Lori and I are visiting her Mom.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 16, 2008 - 01:29pm PT
While you are present...what was the bargain between you and Roper which allowed you to step out and and he to step in on the FA of the West Buttress with Kor. Kor mentioned recently that it was a small amount of cash and a couple of bongs. Would you care to elaborate?
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Nov 16, 2008 - 01:32pm PT
No bargain. This was a project which I was far from ready for, having done only one V up until then. I was happy for Roper to take my place.

Social climber
petaluma ca
Nov 16, 2008 - 02:53pm PT
The North Buttress of Lower was one of the least appealing climbs I remember doing. Lots of dirt. So Frank came out lopsided! That also happened to Tom Naylor on a 120 foot fall I held on Ahwahnee Buttress when he didn't exercise care in using pitons left in the route. Big zipper. No swami belt, just a knot that pulled his rib cage up permanently.

Speaking of the Ahwahnee Buttress, I have a letter someone named Wayne who worked at the Lodge sent to Little Joe on 2/7/62:

"...The day before yesterday Frank Sacherer and I started the Ahw. Buttress on my afternoon off and we left a rope to sunset ledge and we were going to finish it yesterday on my day off but it rained and that really shot the sh#t out of that and really looked like a good climb. If I don't get it done before you get up here this summer you and I will have to do it..."

With Roper still under the weather and Frank and I no longer climbing together, Frank hooked up with this fellow Wayne. I attempted to one up Frank by doing the route with Tom Naylor, and he took his huge fall which was really traumatic for him to take and for me to hold and then have to get him down with one rope.

Since I left so much iron up there I had to get up it quick and luckily Kor became available and we were up in 4 hrs. For a time after that it seems Frank wasn't around. Maybe he was doing his Saturday penance or couldn't stand to hear anyone ask him why he'd placed a fixed rope on a four hour climb.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 16, 2008 - 03:15pm PT
Thanks for clearing up that little historical tidbit, Eric. How is it that you and Layton teamed up for such a grand project at the outset, just one year after doing the Kor-Beck together? Had you done very much aid climbing at that point beyond one Grade V?

Was the Wayne in question Wayne Merry? Great tales of BIG FALLS, Bill!!!! Caught with a hip belay, no less! Thanks for sharing them.

Social climber
petaluma ca
Nov 16, 2008 - 03:26pm PT
Wasn't Wayne Merry. Merry was a ranger (he rescued one of my partners who got bit by a rattlesnake - another story). This was a kid working for Curry, and he only signed his letter to Joe with "See you, Wayne". Maybe Guido will check in and tell. Catching Naylor I was in a hip belay standing in slings and there were a couple of pitons above so it was a no sweat hold for me. Naylor goes flying down by me then takes a glorious goldline bounce back above me and settles almost next to me. I was lucky he didn't land on me. The timing was excellent for Roper. He was working in the Ahwahnee kitchen and came out for a break to watch us climb and saw the fall as it happened and came running over to the talus to see if we were OK. It was hard getting down with one rope and an injured partner. The worst part was at the bottom Naylor insisted I find his watch which had been stripped from his wrist in the fall. He couldn't walk due to a severe ankle sprain and here I am wandering the talus looking for a watch. I found it, and it stopped at the time of the fall, 9am+ something.

climber a single wide......
Nov 17, 2008 - 02:01am PT
Re: Sacherer's fall

Bonnie Kamps emailed me the following,

"The climb was the North Buttress of Lower Cathedral Rock. I think it was aid and Frank was clipping about every third shaky piton. When he fell it zippered.

You said Sacherer was semi conscious. I am sure that he didn't recover consciousness until about the time Bob got him down. That task was worrisome and not easy. He was bleeding quite a bit from head lacerations and was a dead weight on the rope. Help arrived as they got back to the base. I remember going to the hospital with them. If the fall bothered Frank he was careful not to let it show and I don't believe he climbed more safely after that.

Bob enjoyed climbing with Frank because they shared the goal of pushing the limits of fifth class, but like others he was concerned that Frank tempted fate too often."
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