1970s Bolt protected run-out slab climbing

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Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 30, 2006 - 05:04pm PT
The threads on Middle and Lower Rock slab climbs, Jeff’s clean climbing threads, and the love-fest on the Ground Up thread got me to thinking more concretely about the whole Yosemite bolt protected slab climbing ethic. A good number of the participants in bolt protected, run-out slab climbing post on ST and their comments on the style make the conversation more interesting than it might otherwise be.

Several reasons have been given for why climbers ran-out these routes: ego, lack of money, dusting off lesser lights, fear of retribution, ‘Murdering the Impossible,’ and bolts not being a part of ‘clean climbing’ have been offered up. Some have more credence than others. But for whatever the reasons, the style certainly took hold and defined a generation of climbers.

As a basic starting point, the bias is to take the rock on its own terms and limit bolt placements. As Rick says, placing a bolt was a slippery slope towards 'Murdering the impossible.' My only point of difference with Rick's statement is about bolts not being part of 'clean climbing.' I adopted the stance early that bolts were 'clean,’ but it is pretty clear that this is a minority opinion. However, I don't think anyone really disputed claims that bolts are clean relative to pins as long as they did not 'murder the impossible.' What I think is interesting and surprising is that so many of us had the same attitude about bolt protection—we were all drinking the same water, so to speak (maybe Kool-Aid).

We didn’t really have any direct mentors, at least in Yosemite, for the style that we adopted for Middle face routes, at least not the way we did for crack climbing or wall climbing. It did not really come indirectly from the earlier generations either, I don't think. Pratt and Sacherer are the only guys that I know had a reputation for consistently taking long run outs on hard free, but none of us younger climbers were around in their heyday. Also, most everyone who was around then thought Pratt and Sacherer were at the fringes of talent and maybe also sensibility (at least in the case of Sacherer.) Kamps may have been a common point of reference for the guys from Southern California, but I don't think he espoused any strong point of view off the rock that would have had a big influence on climbers from Northern California or other areas.

There were plenty of indirect role models for adopting bold climbing styles in a general way. Klemens’ and Bridwell’s off-widths in 1970-72 were necessarily run-out, but neither participated in the new face climbs. At the same time, the wall climbers were following the same sort of path on hard aid. Jim and Kim pushed hard on ‘The Aquarian Wall.’ Charlie ran it out on ‘The Shield.’ Jimmy did the same on ‘Cosmos.’

The run-out routes are all slabs of one sort or another—the Glacier Point Apron, the NE face of Middle, the North Face Apron of Middle, the slabs under Royal Arches, and lots of the faces in Tuolumne Meadows. It seems obvious, but the run-out style is pretty much limited to a particular type of rock—if there are cracks everywhere, it is moot point, and if it is super steep you cannot drill from natural stances. (John Bachar’s drilling from hooks seems like a special case of combining run-out free with aid assisted drilling.)

In the early 70s there was just a general sense that if there was only the possibility for bolt protection, that you were obligated to push the lead a little harder. How we all reached more or less the same conclusion across disparate groups is sort of a mystery. But, I don't know of anyone of us who didn't approach slab climbing the same way. For sure, some of us were criticized at the time for pushing too far—be it for laziness, limited bolts to place, or willfully excesses.

Since everyone doing first ascents was following the same style, there was also probably a self selection process--if you didn't find it interesting to run out your leads, then you probably didn't work on new routes on Middle and the other slabs in the Valley or in the Meadows. (I picked the word ‘interesting’ purposefully, and truthfully too, I think.) I think that most of us believed that climbing was partly a matter of physical skill and strength, but also hugely dependent on mental stillness: focusing on the metal aspects of the climbing led to big increases in the climbing standards in the early 70s. The mental stillness came in all shapes and sizes--from Zen practice, to Bridwell’s logical analysis, to Pratt's utter calmness, to Mark Klemens capability to just become calmer when it got harder before reverting to his never ending sarcasm. Everyone worked to that goal of mental stillness. Whimpering or whooping were not part of the culture—however, razzing someone on lead, up to a point, was okay—manufactured difficulty so to speak—“So, you think you got your mind under control? Well, let’s see if you can ignore this!”

The whole process of assessing the choice of moving to the next stance and looking at a longer fall versus putting in a bolt was an essential part of the climbing, as essential as actually doing the moves. This is the main characteristic of this style of slab climbing; otherwise we would have sewn them up with bolts. John makes this point very well when he says that he would have gone bouldering if he just wanted to do the hardest moves.

Run-out style slab climbing might also lead, logically, to hard free soloing, but the early 70 to mid-70s group I am referring to did not really move in that direction. In any case, climbing moved quickly to hang-dogging and ‘working’ new routes. While this style was responsible for huge increases in free climbing standards on steep crack climbs it is hard to do 30 feet out on a slab. In this retrospective light, bolting on rappel is the application of hang-dogging style to steep face routes—where only the difficulty of the moves themselves matters and the added risk of a long fall is eliminated.

So it may be the case that long run-outs on face are just a little historical style island, overtaken by hang-dogging, previewing, and sport climbing. Certainly the talk about ‘fixing’ these routes by adding more protection is the antithesis of the run-out style. Run-out slab climbing combines both hard rock climbing with a requirement to do it a long way above protection. Everyone has seen strong climbers be reduced to pulp a long way out on lead. Run-out style celebrated that possibility by mastering it. And lots of 70s climbers participated.

I searched through the first ascents to see who was involved and when. The earliest antecedents seem to be Apron climbs—Coonyard, Goodrich Pinnacle, the Mouth, Patio Pinnacle, etc—were all run-out, bolt protected face climbs. Lots of 60s climbers participated in the first ascents of these routes with Ken Boche and his partners seeming to take a large share of the ‘R’ rated routes.

The interesting part is what happens after Ray Jardine and Rik Rieder climbed Paradise Lost on Middle in 1972. From then on the slab routes on the Glacier Point Apron, Middle NE face and North Face Apron, and the Arches area were being done by the new kids. There are almost no 60s climbers on the list.

Some of the high points: In 1972, there is spate of new routes on the Glacier Point Apron by Rieder, Falkenstein, Carrington, Long, Harrison, Briedenbach—mostly Southern California kids.

In 1973, the NE face of Middle and the North face Apron get new run-out slab routes by Worrall, Meyers, Breedlove, Clevenger, Fosburg, and Long, along with more development of more Glacier Point Apron routes by Chapman and Barry. More of the same follows in 1974 with some new names.

Also in 1974, Long, Accomazzo and Harrison climb ‘Greasy but Groovy’ on the Arches slabs.

In 1975, Meyers, Long, Worrall, Chapman, and Kauk finish ‘Mother Earth.’

In 1976 Accomazzo, Harrison, Yablonski, and East put up three new routes on the East face slabs of Lower Rock.

In these five seasons, bolt protected, run-out slab climbing had extended the Glacier Point Apron style to four new slabs and had defined a new generation of free climbers.

All in all a pretty stellar list of climbers.

Here is question for climbers who are more current: Has run-out slab climbing continued?

PS: A special thanks to Ed Hartouni for his data base of Yosemite first ascents.

Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 05:12pm PT
Nice points, Roger.

I've been on a handful of the old bold routes, and I can't recall many fantastic drilling stances that were passed up once very run out. It's seemed to me as a spectator (who is far more often than not on the dull end for these adventures...and who always is when it's not an unusually 'moderate' pitch!) that the run out must have been dictated by as much by the sensibility of climbing on to a better drilling stance as it was by any philosophy about pushing as far as one could. In that way, the rock seemed to still be dictating where a bolt could go and when it was better to just keep climbing skillfully.

What say you guys who doing the do...?
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 05:18pm PT
"In 1975, Meyers, Long, Worral, Chapman, and Kauk finish ‘Mother Earth.’"

Actually, Roger, George M. and Kevin W. were on the 1975 attempt that ended on the ledge. Chapman, Kauk and I finished it off the next year. I'm not sure why George and Kevin weren't along--that might heve been owing to my impatients back then to every wait for anything.

Also, I think the route that really kicked off the whole open face climbing craze on Middle was Stoner's Highway (I think in '72). There must have been ten people involved in various stages of that project because we didn't know what we were doing and route-finding was hit and miss. So it took us many tries and we took whoever was willing.

JL

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2006 - 05:34pm PT
Melissa, I think that the paucity of stances is part of it, but I also know that we all passed up opportunities to place bolts. Maybe once a leader had set a standard for climbing xx feet out up to a certain grade, at lower grades the leader wouldn't stop to put bolts in. I can think of a couple of cases where this has had the unfortunate effect of allowing the crux to be well protected while other parts of the climb are very run-out.

John, I am taking the data from the guides, Mother Earth has such a complicated history and in some ways has two parts--the lower slab climbing and the upper part. I think it breaks the record of most number of partners.

Stoner's would have been one of my picks for kicking off the slab craze, but you guys climbed it in 1973, according to the guide, a year after Ray and Rik did Paradise Lost and in the same year the Kevin, George and I climbed 'Freewheeling' as the first route on the North Face Apron. In any case there were lots of the same core climbers who had done run-out routes on the Apron in 1972. My own interest in Middle was triggered by finding the CPoF, which Jim and I reconnoitered in 1972. We returned the following year to climb the first eight pitches. However, expect for the 8th pitch traverse to the Kor-Beck, there is no slab climbing or bolts.

By the way, Stoner's is a great route as I remember it.


Roger
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Nov 30, 2006 - 05:35pm PT
I have backed off a few of the f*#king boltless things called climbs on Lower Middle. I hate the Stonemasters.

JDF
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Nov 30, 2006 - 06:24pm PT
Don't know 'bout you guys but I always thought Robbins' runouts in Tuolumne were pretty stout. After doing some of those climbs I felt pretty whimpy if I didn't run it out either - seemed like the standard was set pretty high and we all had to "step up" - if you didn't you'd be accused of being a "lightweight" or something. JB
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Nov 30, 2006 - 06:28pm PT
Yeah, I've looked at the Bachar-Yerian and nearly crapped myself. That, John, is an impressive and bold route. Royal would be impressed I'm sure.

Juan, I think Largo and company would take that as quite the compliment. I'm sure you meant it that way.
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Nov 30, 2006 - 06:34pm PT
While I wasn't putting routes up in the valley and meadows at that time, I was putting slab routes up in Josh with Dave Hauser. And while we didn't meet or even strive for the audacity of some of the routes in the meadows, we did try to maintain some standards. I think that is a lot of it too, standards, and pride of course. Nobody wanted to be considered too light and so things got stretched some. Some of our routes, like Loose Lady, were probably considered pretty closely spaced for the time but as a result get climbed a lot today. Others like EBGBs were a little more run and have earned some respect. In our case while pride pushed the space between bolts, both fear, and an understanding that we were bolting for others kept them from getting too far apart. Then of course, maybe one of the most important ingredients is the pain associated with standing on edges long enough to drill a hole. Add in the occassional "I can't stop anywhere" and some routes got more run out.

Roger, I think you are leaving a hell of an unnecessary gap in history by jumping straight to rapped sport bolting. Lots of slab routes got put up in between and I think that as the climbing got harder the bolts got closer together. Once it got to the point where you were "working" a route in order to just climb it, taking 50, 40 or even 30 foot leader falls over and over just wasn't reasonable. Some of the hardest slab routes were put up in this time period and most are quite well bolted unless the climbing hit an easy section. There was lots of hooking going on in this period too so it wasn't as painful to place a bolt so we were a lot less inclined to run it out to avoid the pain. Oh, and let's not forget the Bosch coming into use which made even ground up bolt placement much quicker.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 06:35pm PT
Roger Breedlove (not his porn name) wrote

"Here is question for climbers who are more current: Has run-out slab climbing continued? "

Runout slab climbing in the valley is virtually dead except for a few freaks like myself, Shaggy, Ben and some old guys who show up with knee pads from time to time.

Stoners gets done most of all. If you see somebody on Stoners, there's a 70% chance they are foreigners and the best guess would be Brits. (Those guys have Bullocks) or climbers going below their grade (seen Hans up there)

Stoners has been rebolted, not retrobolted, but the first 4 pitches or so are only runout enough to be spicy, not super dangerous like most of the rest of those routes. A few fixed pins have Fallen out but dicey nuts and aliens seem to work ok. (Stoner's second pitch crux, bring some small stuff and a screamer)

The DNB gets ascents too.

When it's labor day weekend and I don't want to see a soul, I go slab climbing. I never see another party on the Cathedral Apron, Arches Apron, or on R rated Apron Routes.

Kinda Sad. It might come back into fashion someday, but maybe not. Some of those routes aren't much different than soloing. I'm not advocating it but most folks ain't going back there unless they get sanitized to the Stoner's level of run-out

Peace

karl

Greg Barnes

climber
Nov 30, 2006 - 06:39pm PT
Roger, you ask/state "How we all reached more or less the same conclusion across disparate groups is sort of a mystery."

I'd say it's no mystery at all. It's just hard to stop and drill. Even if you find a route with great stances every 15 feet, if you want to climb face routes on slabby granite with a hand drill, and get the route done in anything approaching reasonable time, you just run it out.

And the highest concentration of very runout routes tend to be on rock with no good stances to drill from. A good number of Tuolumne routes were pretty well protected even in the '70s - at least when the climbing got hard and there were stances.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 06:46pm PT
One time I was waiting for a too-long line for Central Pillar and I noticed a seamingly OK bolted slab route just right. I started up and it got harder. I took a couple falls but kept going until I reached the final bolt before the final runout to the anchors.

It's looked Impossible! I had to bail.

Later it turned out to be "Rainbow Bridge" 11d or 12a in the guidebook I think.

That turns out to be a stiff grade for that kinda climbing.

Hangdogged my way up Perfect Master (11d/12a?) once. Slab climbing at a certain level loses it's fun!

Funny how in the other thread, small features become gynormous landmarks, like the hole on Greasy but Groovy.

There is a pointy hold on the second pitch of Misty B that is the size of the pointy end of a toothpick, but it stands out clearly in my mind and remember virtually mantleing the thing on a couple trips

Peace

Karl
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 06:55pm PT
There has been another party on Rambler 2 of the 3 times that I've climbed at the Arches Terrace area. Once there was a party on the Arches Terrace too.

I've seen people on one of the slab routes at GPA one of the two times I climbed there.

I saw a party on Stoner's last year (they were Aussies...and they bailed after pitch 3).

None of the above were people that I knew...just people who wanted to check out the climbs. I see even more people that I don't know on routes that seem incredibly scarey/obscure in Tuolumne.

I did see someone on Powell Reid once, but that was an oldster guide and his son.

People do the DNB all the time. If Supertopo had done the topo for the N. But in instead of the DNB people would probably do that instead.

I've seen people on some of the random 1 pitch stuff at the base of the N. But. area.

I think that your impression that only 'Shaggy and Ben' are doing these routes is skewed a little towards just knowing about who you know.

I'm not trying to say that these routes are popular...just that they aren't totally off the radar for all but locals and oldsters.
Greg Barnes

climber
Nov 30, 2006 - 07:06pm PT
Yeah, there's also a good number of climbers on the 5.10 slabs on Stately Pleasure dome in Tuolumne. Not a lot, but not insignificant either.

And if you want to see what JB is talking about with Robbins, check out Grey Ghost on DAFF - whoaa! I replaced the bolt a few years back, so it's good to go...
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 30, 2006 - 07:10pm PT
I created, and helped create, a few slab climbs at Squamish in the later 1970s. Mostly "true" slab climbs - fairly low angle, but only micro-features. Not like the Cathedrals.

Generally we only put in bolts where we could, and sometimes not even then. We were well aware of the adventure ethic - only weenies put in lots of bolts, and no one would have dreamed of rap bolting or rap cleaning. The climbs were often a bit licheny, which added to the fun - both cleaning them off a bit while leading, and wondering what lay ahead. It took at least ten minutes to drill a 1/4" x 1 1/2" hole for a Rawl bolt - I saw Daryl do it once, anyway. Usually more like twenty minutes. A delicate art - nothing like standing on tippy toe on minuscule holds for twenty minutes, getting a bolt in.

So it was a combination of community standards, and simply what was possible. Though even if it had been possible to place more bolts, we probably wouldn't have.

As in Yosemite, the "easier" pitches of difficult slab climbs often have few bolts - there seems a light year of difference between 5.8 or 5.9 slab, and 5.11, if you're doing the latter. Though the slab grading system is overly compressed - many supposed 5.11 slabs should probably be upgraded.

As the climbs became cleaner due to traffic, and with the advent of sticky rubber, some additional stances became possible. People ask "Why didn't you put in a bolt in at point X"? and you can only say "With the equipment then, I couldn't have stopped".

Scott Flavelle introduced the use of bat hooks for bolting slab routes at Squamish, on Dream On in 1976. No real stances, so go to the first possible spot, put in a fast bat hook (Leeper pointy hook), then use it for aid while drilling the real bolt. Still not a convenient thing to do, and more than a few whoppers resulted.

The fine art of falling on slabs will have to have its own thread.
AKDOG

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Nov 30, 2006 - 07:22pm PT
I have been on some slab routes where the 1st ascent party could have definitely placed more bolts if they wanted too, probably had more to do with the pain in the arse of hand drilling and not wanting to be “whimpy” than lack of stances. Kudos to the old ethics, but at times these routes are just plane scary for a pretender.
I remember leading a route on Fairview Dome that had a pitch with one bolt, nothing like finding yourself in a sea of knobs way run out and looking over and spotting that lone bolt 20 feet to the left and below you.
I still love the old school slab climbing but am chicken enough and old enough now to appreciate a good sport route where you have to count your quick draws to make sure you have enough before you start up.
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Nov 30, 2006 - 07:45pm PT
Karl - if you like those routes go check out the " Gnar Gnar " 12a? @ the very toe of DNB. Old school baby!!
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Nov 30, 2006 - 07:52pm PT
As a basic starting point, the bias is to take the rock on its own terms and limit bolt placements. As Rick says, placing a bolt was a slippery slope towards 'Murdering the impossible.' My only point of difference with Rick's statement is about bolts not being part of 'clean climbing.' I adopted the stance early that bolts were 'clean.’ It is pretty clear that this is a minority opinion. However, I don't think anyone really disputed claims that bolts are clean relative to pins as long as they did not 'murder the impossible.' What I think it is interesting and surprising that so many of us had the same attitude about bolt protection—we were all drinking the same water, so to speak (maybe Kool-Aid).

A long ways from the Valley, and not only on slabs or at leading-edge grades, other climbers around this early-to-mid-70s time were drinking similar water. It found different expression depending on local conditions -- but particularly in the ethic that prized hammerless (no pitons or bolts, and pre-Friends) onsight first ascents of free routes in Nevada, Colorado, the Northeast and elsewhere. Hard vertical climbing with tiny-wires protection, I think, grew from much the same spirit as the run-out slab climbs of the Valley.
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Nov 30, 2006 - 08:05pm PT
Thanks for posting these observations/opinions Roger.

If your question about the current generation is if there are any doing run-out slab FAs - I'm absolutely no authority, but I'd say yes and no. Yes, in that run-outs happen, but no, in that maybe the run-out is later rap-drilled by the same party to make the route more reasonable/enjoyable/responsible (all subjective terms, of course).

I reckon ablegable, Ed, Greg, ksolem, and others have far more insight on the current state of ground-up slab climbing...

Also hoping that LongAgo will chime in eventually. :)
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 08:25pm PT
Long Ago just chimed in here

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=283058&msg=287184#msg287184

Peace

Karl

Al, I'm too heavy and too light and too old for that stuff now. And too young to die still!

Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 08:36pm PT
"If your question about the current generation is if there are any doing run-out slab FAs - I'm absolutely no authority, but I'd say yes and no. Yes, in that run-outs happen, but no, in that maybe the run-out is later rap-drilled by the same party to make the route more reasonable/enjoyable/responsible (all subjective terms, of course)."

The word responsible is making me cringe.

I'm not saying no one ever decides a route would be 'better' with a different protection scheme, but I don't know anyone who does potentially scarey ground up stance drilled faces in Yosemite that prefers as a matter of course to return in short order and retrobolt it on rappel.
landcruiserbob

Trad climber
the ville, colorado
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:06pm PT
Great read.rg
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:11pm PT
In the sixties in SLC we had already drunk the kool-aid. My cousin George climbed the Dorsal Fin with long ruuts between chickenheads to drill from. It's still rated 10d. It was my first climb of that sort, when George took me to repeat it in 1967. I just thought it must be normal. I also really enjoyed the need for concentration and steady nerves. Compared to the Fin, when George and I put up the S-Direct that same spring, at 5.9, it just seemed like a good outing, even though there were several 30 to 40 foot runouts. I led the Ross route in 1968, which lacked any protection at all because I couldn't stop to drill, for the crux, which is now rated 11a, but somebody put a bolt in to protect the move, and now it's safe.Probably the hardest slab climb in the country in those days was my brother, Greg's route, Infinite, in the City of Rocks. Infinite had lots of 5.10 spice climbing, and a 5.11c crux fully 30 feet above the last 1/4" bolt. Kim Miller made the second ascent in the mid 'seventies, and I repeated it afterwards. These may have been the only ascents of the route, as someone bolted the hell out of it top down sometime later, changing the line and completely destroying an important piece of American climbing history. I always enjoyed that sort of climbing, and continued to occassionaly do a new bolted slab climb well into the eighties. We were not using hooks (we felt they were aid), so the runouts that resulted were natural.
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:15pm PT
Melissa,
I was on the fence about including the word "responsible". Yes, it's a bit strong. But some folks feel it's irresponsible to create a route where someone might get seriously injured, even if it was actually safer on the FA to keep moving and run it out.

And I'm sure rapping in later and adding a bolt is more the exception than the rule. Definitely not planned in advance and not standard practice.


Karl,
Thanks for the tip off. It's nigh impossible to keep up with all this chatter.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:19pm PT
Nate...it's not like folks get suckered onto these routes. Why should the FAist feel responsible for a future party that f*#ks up or that has a bad stroke of luck whilst on a run-out route of their own choosing?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:26pm PT
Mellisa wrote
"I'm not saying no one ever decides a route would be 'better' with a different protection scheme, but I don't know anyone who does potentially scarey ground up stance drilled faces in Yosemite that prefers as a matter of course to return in short order and retrobolt it on rappel."

You know Greg Barnes don't you Mellisa. You think routes like Shagadelic had all their bolt drilled on the first go?

Just like I don't know everyone slab climbing when I'm not around, you're probably not getting the blow by blow on how folks are deciding to protect their routes.

Peace

Karl
Greg Barnes

climber
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:32pm PT
"I'm not saying no one ever decides a route would be 'better' with a different protection scheme, but I don't know anyone who does potentially scarey ground up stance drilled faces in Yosemite that prefers as a matter of course to return in short order and retrobolt it on rappel."

I don't claim to do potentially scary routes, but I do often add bolts to my new routes. Not as a "matter of course," but fairly often (sometimes on lead later on, but usually on rap only a few minutes after the pitch was finished). And I also move bolts that I just placed (since I use a lot of 1/4" and pull them and drill out the holes immediately - it's easy to just move the bolt if the stance was off to the side enough to cause lots of rope drag).

Depends on the route - lots of factors go in to that sort of decision. Making the route a fun reasonable lead for my partner was the primary factor for my most infamous route (Shagadelic, or as a friend called it this summer, "The Blasphemy Route"). But I'm not doing anything in the league of true old-school 5.10-11 slabs, so not sure if that has any relevance to your post.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:32pm PT
Didn't you read the first part of my sentence?

"I'm not saying no one ever decides a route would be 'better' with a different protection scheme..."

This means that it could and does happen on occasion.

Nate was saying that he didn't think people were still doing bold FA's and leaving them at that.

The second part of my post said that I didn't know anyone who rap retrobolted their routes "as a matter of course." That would include Greg.

If it helps, lets define "people that I know" for these purposes as my close friends/partners, and myself...which would exclude Greg since we've never climbed together or talked about our new-routing philosophies and experiences. Anyway, the point is just to say there are people who still prefer to walk the old walk. It's not gone altogether.
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:45pm PT
Melissa- Simply because they view route development as a communal affair. Different strokes for different folks.

Hats off to those who've done FAs (requiring bolts) and haven't later regretted any of their decisions!
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:50pm PT
"Melissa- Simply because they view route development as a communal affair."

Altough they might be a bigger challenge and risk for the community, I wouldn't say that offering beautiful new ground up, stance protected, nature-respecting lines isn't also a communal affair. It's offering something different to the community, but I find that thing very special. That's why I'm taking my swings at this pore stinking, bloated horsey.

Now...off to pull plastic. See you kids tomorrow. ;-)
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:53pm PT
And BTW, I never said I thought people weren't doing bold FAs anymore. I specifically said I'm no authority on the matter. I've only heard of several of these cases, like Greg's above, and have experienced it myself a couple times.

Gotta run as well! :-)
Greg Barnes

climber
Nov 30, 2006 - 09:55pm PT
"But some folks feel it's irresponsible to create a route where someone might get seriously injured, even if it was actually safer on the FA to keep moving and run it out."

I'd have to say my motivation has nothing to do with "responsibility" to other parties - to be honest, the primary motivation for me for most of the bolt adding/moving was to make the routes fun for me to return to and do again & again, even on days where I wasn't feeling super psyched to run it out on a new route. The only time "responsibility" entered into my thinking was for my partner - by placing a couple bolts on traverses that I wouldn't need for the lead but to protect my second!

Most people who get seriously injured or die do so due to belay chain errors and so on. By creating a runout route you're not likely to cause accidents (unless you tell people it's easy and well protected when it's actually hard and runout!). I guess the argument could be made if some bolt location really increased the chance of hitting a ledge in a fall from a crux, but the whole thing sounds kind of weird to me. Climbers are responsible for our own safety - even a tightly bolted sport route can see nasty accidents.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 10:03pm PT
Greg wrote
"Depends on the route - lots of factors go in to that sort of decision. Making the route a fun reasonable lead for my partner was the primary factor for my most infamous route (Shagadelic, or as a friend called it this summer, "The Blasphemy Route"). But I'm not doing anything in the league of true old-school 5.10-11 slabs, so not sure if that has any relevance to your post."

Actually I think Shagadelic was a fine public service and lots of regular folks enjoy it.

Sometimes it seems part of keeping things bold in a place like TM is just trying to keep it our personal playground. I benefit from that I admit. Runout climbing makes climbing with me a good idea for some folks

What about Excellent Smithers Greg? A great route too. Add any bolts after the initial lead? A fine 10a route and just an example of the grades we're looking at. This isn't about 5.10 to 5.11 necessarily. The Apron is loaded with runout 5.8-5.9 and TM has tons of it as well

PEace

Karl
Greg Barnes

climber
Nov 30, 2006 - 10:20pm PT
Excellent Smithers had the following changes (going from memory):

4th pro bolt p1 added after FA (maybe very last one as well)
2nd, 3rd pro bolts p2 moved left (stances were over right but gave bad rope drag in the bottom of the flake)
1st, 3rd, 5th, 8th bolts p3 added after FA
4th, 6th bolts moved way left
About half the pro bolts were 1/4" on the FA, and the original line on the 3rd pitch ran into grainy 5.10 friction straight up, so I went left 40' to find the easiest line up.

While we're in this discussion - how many pro bolts did West Country have originally on that 3rd pitch (one or zero)? Added due to an accident if rumor is correct? Dike Route had bolts added, Snake Dike, Epinephrine in Red Rocks, etc. Adding bolts is not exactly a new-generation idea.
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Nov 30, 2006 - 10:22pm PT
I saw a guy die on the Kamps route Apparition on Daff. I was just starting Crescent Arch and saw this guy sliding down the slab. On the second 5.8 pitch their is only one bolt.

I wish the Stonemasters were not so Ego driven at the time.

JDF

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 10:32pm PT
It's plain that to put up a long face route that isn't super run-out, you can't just go crank it and drill everything on lead in a day. Those routes are projects with an eye to public service.

One modern counter-example to the old 'just do it' way is Galactic Hitchhiker. Some places are silly overbolted, others are just fine, and a few places got left run-out (10b move with an alien 8 feet below your feet) because the FA party never got around to rapping back down and finishing their protection plans.

Still, 39 pitches (26 if you run em together) that end near the Glacier Point railing. Pretty dang fun! Thanks to the guys who put in the effort

Peace

karl
SammyLee

Trad climber
Memphis
Nov 30, 2006 - 10:54pm PT
Karl says:"Runout climbing makes climbing with me a good idea for some folks "

Yep, for me it did and does. I enjoyed the slab climbing on the apron with Karl, though even as a second, I was nervous as heck. At a couple of belay stations, I looked up and thought, "there is NO route here!", only to watch Karl head up. Then he'd yell down, "get your weight over your feet and just step up!" Un huh.

As it turned out, slab climbing with Karl did more for my climbing than anything else to date. When I got home, I was climbing a full number grade harder. I recommend this highly.

These old runout slab routes are indeed a gift to our sport. Many thanks to the hardmen and women who put them up. One day, with luck, I can return and maybe experience one on the sharp end.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2006 - 11:03pm PT
Hey John B, I only remember one Robbins route in Tuolumne—the ‘Grey Ghost’ next to ‘Crescent Arch.’ It is a nice route, but pretty run-out. Robbins did it in 1970 with TM, I think. The climber whose leads terrified me was Kamps. His routes were strung out. So, were Tom’s.

G_Gnome, I didn’t intend to slight the slab route done after the mid-seventies. There are lots of them in the guide. My point was that for someone who has grown up with hang-dogging and sport routes is not going to understand what run-out slab climbing is about. They are sort of on opposite sides of the spectrum. (Both are fun and both have their place,)

Greg, I agree that once you start up a slab without cracks, pretty much everyone does them the same way. But, what I found surprising and interesting is that so many of the best young climbers in Yosemite in the early 1970s choose to climb bolted run-out slabs. Lots of other climbers didn’t participate. It is the breadth that surprised me.

Nate and Greg have provided some interesting feed back on immediately doctoring protection after the first ascent to make it more user friendly for the next party. Moving bolts and belays once you know the lay of the route sounds like a laudable practice. I never returned to a route to fix it, but I did go out of my way to try to make it repeatable and look like soeme thought had gone into it. I am not sure how I feel about rapping in to place bolts, just because you lead the pitch without them.

Roger
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 30, 2006 - 11:11pm PT
Kamps may have provided inspiration to the Stonemasters, but he wasn't part of the group.

It's easy to accuse climbers that did runouts on face climbs as being "ego driven", certainly easier than leading their routes. You could argue that anyone who achieves a high level of skill in any field is ego driven. I'm here to tell you that the Stonemasters above all loved to climb and hang out with their buds...er...contemporaries.

The runouts on their routes are a product of many factors,

Some practical, like a shortage of bolts, dull bits, or burning daylight.

The deeper reasons for it were as varied as the characters involved, but it had a lot to do with a reluctance to alter the rock permanently if avoidable, and a primal urge to put oneself in a serious situation in the hopes of proving to yourself you could handle it, and growing from the experience.

A point that hasn't been raised here is the fact that in that era there just weren't that many climbers, especially climbing at that level. When creating a new route the idea was to climb the thing, not really to create a route for the average climber to enjoy. As has been mentioned repeatedly, hand drilling is a pain, avoidable by summoning the backbone to move on to a higher stance. Of course we hoped other climbers would do the route, but it was understood that they would be of similar mind and ability.

A possibility that hasn't been mentioned here is that future generations of climbers might choose to challenge themselves in the "Stonemaster style" of runout slab. Surfing has seen the longboard and it's syle return. The stone will be here forever, likely climbers as well, and there's still acres of virgin slabs that could be savored ground up with some spicy runouts.
crankenstein

Trad climber
Louisville, CO
Nov 30, 2006 - 11:16pm PT
As a long time slab climber, this is a great topic of interest. I began climbing run-out slabs in Texas and Oklahoma in the mid eighties. What is interesting is that the ethics that began in Yosemite and TM were perpetuated in other locales that had terrain conducive to climbing in that style. So it wasn't just a small group of protagonist's working in a small area. I can say that learning to climb in that style has carried over well for me over the years.
So to attempt to address the original question about whether people still do these types of routes, I'll say that for me and many that I know, we are more into repeating routes that "should" be in our comfort level, than actually putting up the routes. I'm willing to chase a couple of bolts up a pitch of 5.10 slab, but rarely will I do it for much harder.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 30, 2006 - 11:36pm PT
Juan wrote
"I saw a guy die on the Kamps route Apparition on Daff. I was just starting Crescent Arch and saw this guy sliding down the slab. On the second 5.8 pitch their is only one bolt. "

I'll give Juan the benefit of the doubt here. I'm not sure how many folks have actually bought it on routes like that. Any stories.

I assumed it was more like A5 seems to be. Some angels protecting us from the consequences of what should be more common rationally.

I had probably led that 5.9- 150 foot pitch on Goodrich Pinnacle several dozen times before I accidentally fell on it. It was about 6am and we were going for the rim. I hurried, got off route slightly, and slipped on some sandy smear. Fortunately, I wasn't super far off the belay and only went 20-30 feet. My favorite (Lowe Products) shirt still has a hole in it from that and I'm wearing it as I type this! I can't imagine falling from the super continuous, thin, but lower angle 5.7 up higher.

Peace

Karl
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Nov 30, 2006 - 11:53pm PT
I think EGO is a huge factor. I know Kamps was before the Stonemasters but he Higgins started it. Maybe I have it wrong.

As for the Daff Death it was Labor Day weekend 1986 or 1985.
The guy was in his early 20's.

It was a crazy day. Standing under a hovering Huey with its blades feet away from the rock.

JDF
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 30, 2006 - 11:56pm PT
JDF you're entitled to your opinion, but...

You were't there.
Landgolier

climber
the flatness
Dec 1, 2006 - 12:50am PT
As much as I support the respect the FA mindset, which Russ has a great defense of in the other thread, sometimes I get to thinking about how not all FA's are respectable FA's. Don't get me wrong, you'll never catch me out there with a drill on someone else's route, but how far do we take it? If someone goes and free solos a bunch of new .11+ slab lines that don't take any gear, are they off limits to everyone not willing to go on a suicide mission?

This does happen, there are a bunch of Jim Thurmond routes in southern IL that were established as solos/highballs and now have bolts on them. Totally respectable FA's in this case, of course, and mostly moderates and not suicide missions, but you see what I mean. I wish we could get Jim himself on this board, but I don't think anybody regards it as a tragedy that these routes get climbed nowadays in a less dangerous style.

And Juan, how many people have you seen die on the rock? Seems like you've posted quite a few stories.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:01am PT
So far as ego goes, to imply that ego alone was the driving factor in running the rope, also subely implies that the first ascentionists held everyone else in disregard, or at any rate, didn't take their well being into account. But back then, there really was no "everyone else" who had any interest in doing such routes. Back then, the only other people who were interested in repeating these routes were a handful of friends, or a few foreigners who were working off the same philosophy. The idea that we did not magically read the future, and safeguard a route for those who did not have the required skillset, but got on the route anyway--well, that's too much to expect.

The idea that all climbs are supposed to be "safe," meaning anyone has a right to try them with no consequence if they muff it, is a relatively new one, born from sport climbing's clip and go protection. In our time, "safety" was mostly a matter of what a leader had betwen his ears and between his legs--mental control and sack. In other words, a leader took full responsibility for his actions out on the sharp end. And if things went wrong, he didn't blame others for not considring, thirty five years prior, that he might get up there and fly off.

A death is always a sad business, but putting the onus on the first ascentionists only becomes meaningful if the original agreement was to make all climbs fool proof--that is, eliminate the adventure, or so water it down that there's no Piper to pay if things go wrong. Adventure was the earmark of climbing in the 60s and the 70s. The theme shifted in the 80s to the present (at least on the popular level), but revisionist thinking cannot retroactivly lay blame on those who came before simply because they played a game whose rules have since changed.

JL
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:02am PT
Melissa is well qualified to talk about FA team intents... she knows a number of people who put up routes in the Valley (and probably has participated in FAs herself).

An FA is such a pure thing in and of itself that it might be difficult for someone who hasn't done one to really understand all the things that are going on.

First off, you spot a line that you think might go in the range of difficulty you can climb. What you find is by no means guarenteed to actually fit your perception from far off. Every move leads to the next, but you don't necessarily know what the difficulty will be or whether the route continues to go. Putting bolts in is time consuming. I think that Eric and I put around 9 bolts in to finish Waiting For The Sun in January. The major factor was how to finish the climb before the sun went down.

On lead, you might push it a little farther, you might get more imaginative with the gear placement, or with the route direction, to meet a whole lot of competing problems.

The thing about an FA is that you don't really know until you finish it whether or not it is worth reengineering for subsequent parties... if the route is good, you might think, "gee, we really should put a bolt into that runout section on pitch 3". Then you might or might not get a chance to go back and do it. You will probably report the FA anyway. By the same token, you're not out there thinking "gee, this will really f*#k with the gumby's mind." More likely it's "don't be a pansy, push it out a little more, it's not like you're going to die or anything (I hope)."

But Roger's initial post is, in part, the acceptability of bolts in "natural" climbing. My wife Debbie doesn't climb, but she's been around me and climbing for a long time. She is appalled that we do the things we do, bolt in rock, garden and clean, remove trees, etc. She asked me "why do you have to climb there? isn't there enough to climb without having to do those things?" Those are a good couple of questions.

Gary and I climbed Faux Pas in Tuolumne Meadows on Mountaineers Dome. The belay anchors at the end of the 1st and 2nd pitches were put in as bolts by the FA team (Clevenger/Kamps/Higgins). But there are cracks that protect well with modern gear, but probably wouldn't have with nuts and hexes. The question is, couldn't the FA have waited for someone later to have done it in better style? i.e. with fewer bolts.

The inevitable has happened, and was happening right from day 1. Once we accept bolting as legitimate, then how many bolts are ok? What factors into a climb to set the minimal number of acceptable bolts? Should these lines be climbed at all if the gear doesn't yet exist to protect it, or the climbers are not good enough to pull the lead off without bolts?

There is an age old conflict between forcing a line to go where you want it and picking a natural line. There really is no right answer, I think. A route is judged over time by the people who climb it after the FA; was it a good idea, was it a good route, can the style be defended?

In some ways, the FA team has gotten something very special out of the route that no one else gets. And it is perhaps also true that the FA team could care less about what happens to the route later, the route will never be the same for them as when they put it up, it is changed because it is known.

Part of the adventure is the unknown nature, the unpredicability of the climb. That dies when the climb is completed.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:18am PT
Largo wrote
"A death is always a sad business, but putting the onus on the first ascentionists only becomes meaningful if the original agreement was to make all climbs fool proof--that is, eliminate the adventure, or so water it down that there's no Piper to pay if things go wrong. Adventure was the earmark of climbing in the 60s and the 70s. The theme shifted in the 80s to the present (at least on the popular level), but revisionist thinking cannot retroactivly lay blame on those who came before simply because they played a game whose rules have since changed. "

Putting the onus on the first ascentionists only becomes meaningful if they insist that their one bolt per pitch death routes remain as they were before the rules changed. I'm not talking about Stoners and BY here. I'm talking about the X zone vitual solos and the like.

I'm curious how many folk died doing routes like Juan is referring to back in the day? Was it many? Was it few because they were so far below the limit of those climbing them? or was it few because so few climbed them even then?

Did folks go back and repeat their runout face routes or did they tend to just move on?

Just asking questions and probing. If the population increases and the resource is limited, future folks will be making calls about how much to leave untouched as testament to the past, and how much classic 5.8 to 5.10 should be lifted from the death zone, if any.

PEace

Karl
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:19am PT
Ed - I agree with much of your post, but for your last sentence.

Even after a route is done, named and rated it still offers a different climber the challenge of the unknown in the form of unlocking new sequences that confront him. Certainly not the ultimate experience of the first, but a form of adventure in my mind.
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:23am PT
Why is it every time I bring up the possibility EGO could enter the equation everyone wants to dog pile.

I have no problem with danger, that's why I climb.

I used to like dangerous routes.

Sorry for suggesting climbers are any different from the general population.

JDF






Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:24am PT
Warbler wrote "Even after a route is done, named and rated it still offers a different climber the challenge of the unknown in the form of unlocking new sequences that confront him. Certainly not the ultimate experience of the first, but a form of adventure in my mind. "

Yup, plenty of adventure. I'm sure a lot more people get hurt or killed following an established route rather than putting up new ones.

And, as we see in this thread, the FA party gets to decide they are scared and need a bolt, but the ones following have to accept whatever they get. (granted they don't have to drill either)

peace

karl
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:24am PT
Warbler - I agree with you, which is why I said "Part of the adventure...", and that is the part that dies with the FA.

Karl - the others also have some idea of what they are getting into... whereas the FA team didn't know. Given that information, the others may decide not to do the route.
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:28am PT
"So far as ego goes, to imply that ego alone was the driving factor in running the rope, also subely implies that the first ascentionists held everyone else in disregard, or at any rate, didn't take their well being into account"

I have met many climbers that didn't take thier well being into account.

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:30am PT
JDF you didn't say there was a possibility that EGO could enter the equation, You said you thought it was a "huge factor".

Ego does enter the equation, I'll agree, not generally as a huge factor though.

Boys will be boys.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 1, 2006 - 02:02am PT
A little boy inside a dream just the other day
His mind fell out of his face and the wind blew it away
A hand came out and happened to pin that badge on his chest
It said get out there man and do your best.........Jimi

I began climbing in 1970 and was heavily influenced by the whole clean climbing movement from the outset. The writings of Robbins, Chouinard, Robinson, Stannard and Bruce Carson, to name a few, by drawing on their own experiences to expand our collective sense of possibility, clearly set the parameters for the game to come. The 1972 Chouinard Equipment manifesto was arguably read by everybody climbing seriously in the entire continent. No excuses for not having heard the word!

The integrity of the transformation away from repeatedly hammered protection depended entirely on the conduct and style of the climbers on the leading edge. It wasn't difficult to see rock as a limited resource so establishing routes implicitly required your best effort. Free your mind and your ass will follow is I believe how it went. Well, what followed was an explosion of new route activity that for the most part clearly demonstrated how absolutely mind blowing everybody's best efforts could be. I'm talking boldness here as it seems to be the core of this thread.

The climbing world was much smaller thirty years ago and it was simple to keep up with the outstanding efforts of others. Once I become historically aware of the true talent and accomplishments of those climbing before me and my peers, less than my all just wasn't acceptable. A place like Yosemite was the ideal crucible for excellence because of its living history. Add to the mix a group of highly skilled and motivated climbers and away we go.

All the wild tales lately speak to the committment and resolve necessary to send these amazing lines wandering up into the air. Once up, they inspire others to follow. Having your mind blown by your friends and then returning the favor is really about as good as it gets. Inspiration gets accumulated in some strange cosmic capacitor and eventually discharges itself creatively. To repeat these extraordinary routes is to tap into that energy which allows curiousity and wonder to overcome dread and will to best self doubt. How else to better know yourself than to truely witness, absorb and appreciate the dimensionality and depth of others? We all spark each other. History is the cosmic glue. Shine on you crazy runouts!

Roger, Speaking of inspiration, perhaps this would be a great place to post your Mountain article on Middle Rock if you would be so kind.

Tom Higgins, your thoughtful, clear and concise posting over on the hellish Ground Up thread was a pleasure to read as always. Any chance you would repost here away from that flack fest? Thanks
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 1, 2006 - 03:43am PT
One could argue that Ego is a motivator for the people who denounce runout slab climbs. Climbers lacking in either the physical or mental abilities (or both) to master these sorts of climbs need to find a way to massage their bruised egos, the easiest way being to put down the first ascensionists.

Bruce
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 09:54am PT
Ego is a huge factor in all our rockclimbing ethical tirades on all sides.

In defining "ego" I'm talking about the more Eastern concept of it, which includes our self-boasting and our self-doubt. basically our attached mental idea of ourselves.

We see "our way" without understanding other's ways. We use climbing to justify our existence and make us special. When other criticize our climbing perspective, our whole "ego" feels threatened and lashes out.

Of course it's not so much about old routes that we won't do again, or may never do. It's like arguing about religion. God may not care but we feel threatened.

PEace

Karl
Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Dec 1, 2006 - 10:19am PT
It is all a matter of perspective and what you are used to. In the 70's, I was a 90lb weakling, and a very eager kid working my way through the grades in the Valley. The Glacier Point apron was the place to climb, and my first 5.9 leads were done there. Sure, I would think, wow that was kind of scary, but with no well protected face climbs for reference, these routes did not seem exceptional. "R" and "X" are recent constructs only relevant in the age of Owens Gorge. By 1977 I was 15 years old and having succeeded on a handful of 5.11's was part of a group of what could be called "stonemaster little brothers". Middle was where we climbed that autumn, I did Freewheelin, and all 10 pitches of Stoners Highway. These routes were known for their high quality, the boldness required was just assumed as it was the face climbing standard of the day. Also, having never experienced cams, we thought a couple of wired nuts behind a flake were pretty bomber. But no one went up on these routes with falling in mind.

I agree with Bachar, a few of Robbins' routes in Tuolumne were terrifying. One time I guided a couple of nice women up the Grey Ghost on Daff. The polished 5.9 at the end of the pitch must be done looking at a ground fall. I swallowed down the fear of my sweet clients being splattered by my plummeting body and tiptoed through the moves. TM told me he remembered Robbins getting a pin or two in the flared horizontals, but since he was probably in blue hiking boots, I credit him with a truly visionary lead.

Juan is right about the Apparition death fall, I will never forget consoling and wiping the blood off of Doug Nidivers cheek when he got back to the Rat room after trying to give that guy CPR. Story back then was that the guy got lured off route by the fresh chalk on the nearby soloists line between Apparition and RCA.

The only time I was angered by the idea of runouts was during a short weird trend in the mid 80's. The little general bragged to me about his new route "the kid". He climbed up a homogenous black street and had his belayer mark the rope so he would know when he was in ground fall territory, then he climbed 10 more feet before hooking and placing a bolt. At 10b he was climbing grades below his limit, and I told him he had ruined a decent line in a contrived way, a shallow parody of the nearby "You asked for it".

It is what you are used to. Some years back, after a long absence from Tuolumne friction, I soloed South Crack, on the long blank upper slab, the wind started to blow. I could not believe how glibly I used to run up that thing while guiding in my 5 tennies, chatting with the clients, and even a few times with rain startin to fall.

Bold routes are a vital part of our climbing landscape. I still have not let go of the desire to train on some runouts and lead the Bachar Yerian some day, just as years ago I always had the goal of training on friction and doing Greasy but Groovy, which at 5.11 was the heroes journey of the 70's. Thanks Roger for a great thread, and especially for your visionary climbing back then!

Peter
Forest

Trad climber
Tucson, AZ
Dec 1, 2006 - 11:29am PT
The person responsible for someone dying on an x-rated route is the person who made the conscious decision to climb it despite knowing that it was dangerous.

There's been many a route (more than a few of them put up by you, Steve G!) that I've not been willing to do for this reason.

And then some of them, as I've become a better climber, have become things that I could go back and do later. It would not have been the same experience at all if I'd been able to jump on and try those routes as soon as their rating was something that I *might* be able to get up.

When I find that one of these routes is now something that I'm okay doing, completion of such a route is many times over more rewarding than it would have been as a G-rated clip-up in the first place.


Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 1, 2006 - 11:40am PT
Steve and Peter, thanks for the posts. You guys grew up with the early 70s climbs already established. You have an interesting perspective.

Peter, I don't think any one climbing in the 70s was visionary, as nice as it is having you put it that way. John talks about all the folks who worked out 'Stoners' in cluster fashion to figure out how to get up what looked like a blank face. I suppose Ray and Rik could be considered visionary since they just pushed off, so the speak, onto 'Paradise Lost.' That was just audacious. No fiddling around for those guys. Nice route, but no frame of reference for those who followed.

My recollection of the time was that we were just trying new stuff. We all climbed cracks, but we were following Jim's lead. We were also all, ultimately, trying to make our own way in climbing--finding our style and climbing the routes that fit our individual skills the best. Since it was such a small group, we all knew each other, it was both very personal while also being public. The slab routes were mostly new, so everyone had to try to figure out what would work. Once yo-yo 'ing became acceptable and Ray got all of us past hang-dogging hang-ups, the rest of you guys blew the roof off the place.

Steve, there uesd to be copy of the Middle article here on ST. Clint Cummins site has a copy: Middle Catherdal Commentary It is a slow load.

Roger
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 12:08pm PT
It would be an interesting reality check for folks to specify some of the routes in question here. Are some of us talking about x routes with no bolts while other talk about pg routes with mere 25 foot leadouts?

For credibility's sake and to note if people just talk about wanting to get on these routes but don't actually do any, you might note if you've led an X rated route in TM or the Valley in the past 10 years. What was it and how close to your onsight level was it?

Just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing.

I'm not sure one of the best climbers in the world leading a 5.9 face with pitons is visionary, and leads to the question.

Do we bring pins on that climb. fix pins on that climb and hope folks don't steal em, or put bolts where the pins used to be used?

peace

karl
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 1, 2006 - 12:15pm PT
Roger wrote: "G_Gnome, I didn’t intend to slight the slab route done after the mid-seventies. There are lots of them in the guide. My point was that for someone who has grown up with hang-dogging and sport routes is not going to understand what run-out slab climbing is about. They are sort of on opposite sides of the spectrum. (Both are fun and both have their place,)"

Roger, I think you may have missed my meaning a little and I certainly wasn't clear enough. I was using the next period in time to indicate why I thought the long runout slab climbing sort of came to an end. It wasn't that the people putting routes up changed much, after all there were still only a few of us climbing in those days, but rather that once the difficulty of those slab climbs reached the point where they were not "walkable" then the distance between bolts started to decrease. So in reverse, I would say one of the contributing factors to those long runouts is that those routes WERE walkable, with little chance of falling if one kept one's head together, and so the runouts were acceptable.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Dec 1, 2006 - 12:25pm PT
The lack of stances might have caused runouts in some cases, but I'm not buying that as the answer.

Those climbers that put up (and drilled bolts on) the 5.11~5.12 slab climbs on lead (which I still can't imagine how they did that), could have (I would imagine), if they wanted to, stop wherever they liked and drilled bolts on the 5.9~5.10 climbs (whether there was a "stance" or not). Sure, some of the 5.9~5.10 climbs were put up by people leading close to their limit, but other were not (and they are just as run out).

All that that [mostly unclimbed] rock on the Apron [in the sense that so few ever climb there now] is sad. Since some routes don't even get enough traffic for anyone to bother replacing the 1/4" bolts, those routes really are free solos. Its too bad there isn't a Crest Jewel sort of route on the Apron. (A place to spread out some more of the moderate, multi-pitch traffic that Yosemite sees.) If there were more (or at least) a route or two like that on the Apron, maybe more Yosemite climbers would climb slabs.

[If a route gets to the point where the bolts can be broken by hand,] can a route "fade" (rust?) away and decades later be fair game for someone who wants to "put it up" by adding new bolts ground up? Maybe in a decade or two we'll find out.
Doug Hemken

climber
Madison, WI
Dec 1, 2006 - 12:36pm PT
I'm surprised there is no discussion of the aesthetics of the movement here. I find that I really enjoy routes where the pro has a rhythm that flows along with the climbing movement. My sense of rhythm varies from season to season, and according to the rock and according to my current ability. Where I'm not climbing at my gymnastic limit, I have been told that I space my bolts differently than my partner would have - different sense of motion.

For me, a route is overbolted if constant clipping interrupts the flow of the climbing. A route is underprotected if I am stopped, trying to read the next moves, well above my last piece.

It doesn't sound like that was a primary consideration for Yosemite climbers of the 70s? It sounds like risk was the primary aesthetic concern, and not the pure animal joy of free-flowing motion?
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Dec 1, 2006 - 12:40pm PT
Doug,

Sounds like you should just free solo routes (at whatever level seems safe).
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 1, 2006 - 12:55pm PT
Karl, Ray and Rik were not world class climbers when they put up "Paradise Lost," 5.9 climbing and pins or not. (Rik was injured a few years later on El Cap and stopped climbing; Ray worked out his ‘hang-dog’ style a few years later.) Aside from the DNB and the Powell Reed there was not really anything to rely on by just starting up the Northeast Face. Both of those climbs were nailed first, then free climbed, later. I am not sure that I would call 'Paradise Lost' visionary, but I think it may be the only climb of that era that came close since it did not rely on a crack system to define the route. It just stayed in an 'area' of the face, wandering around until it connected to the DNB.

While they were looking at the blank faces, Jim and I were scoping out the crack system to the left of the Chouinard-Pratt. I am pretty sure that it happened the same day as we were all waiting in the El Cap Meadow for a potential rescue. Most everyone else was milling around or looking at El Cap. I had a new set of binoculars and pointed out what became CPoF to Jim. Jim was skeptical since the climb didn’t seem to go anywhere. I argued that getting to the ‘U’ shaped bowl was all that was needed since that is where everything except the DNB ended. Jim looked again with more interest. He then abruptly put the binoculars down, told me not to look, and whispered that others were watching. A few months later Ray and Rik, who were part of the group in El Cap Meadow did ‘Paradise Lost’ and Jim and I reconnoitered CPoF.

Until 'Paradise Lost' it never occurred to me or anyone else to just go to the base and start up. That's what we did on 'Freewheelling' over on the North face Apron and what the ‘Stonemasters’ did for “Stoners.’ But everyone followed Ray and Rik.

Thanks for the clarification, G_Gnome. I had missed you point, and it is a good one, to show the historical progression to more bolts and less run-out as driven by the increases in difficulty rather than a style change. Great call.

Roger

Edited
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:10pm PT
I've mentioned it before, but some did an FA that crosses Paradise Lost and adds a bit of fixed gear to it. Thanks for sharing your sense of its special place in Middle Cathedral history, Roger.

Thanks for the nod, Ed. Even though my bf is a zillion times better than me, and I probably take more dirt on the head at the belay than I take the sharp end with the drill, I still scope out and lead up the occasional new route myself.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:12pm PT
Great thread and some excelent insight by Roger, Largo, Steve, Jeff, Jan, Kevin, and Peter (people who were there).

Climbing slab/face and getting comfortable with the techiques is essential (as people were years back) if you are really going to evaluate whether some of these routes are reasonably protected or not. Most of these climbs have adequate pro, where you need it.

The broad spectrum of people who have entered the sport in recent years have been able develop amazing power and technique because risk has been minimized. Many sport routes amount to hard bouldering on the end of a rope.

But, in honing the physical aspect of climbing, often mental prowess is neglected. The resulting atrophy of the mental aspects of climbing have resulted in a dramatic change in the mental outlook and expectations of many of today's climbers.

This is not to say that ego was not involved to some degree in establishing bolted routes. We often pushed each other, creating a tension between taking away the mental challenge and spirituality of movement and keeping the climb sane. Sometimes the line was crossed; most of the time a balance was struck.

Balance is important in face climbing. Perfect balance comes where the body is attuned to the rock -- and the constant force of gravity -- and where the mind is at peace (or at least remains in control).
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:24pm PT
"But, in honing the physical aspect of climbing, often mental prowess is neglected. The resulting atrophy of the mental aspects of climbing have resulted in a dramatic change in the mental outlook and expectations of many of today's climbers."

Spot on Randy.

The next question for all of us is, given this, do we need a new or modified rating system in the US?

And would such a system help preserve the appeal of slab and other climbs? So many are so concerned with numbers - if we had a rating system that gave a high number/grade to committing, scary routes, do you think it would help preserve those routes over time?
TimM

Trad climber
near Joshua Tree
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:25pm PT
"And would such a system help preserve the appeal of slab and other climbs? So many are so concerned with numbers - if we had a rating system that gave a high number/grade to committing, scary routes, do you think it would help preserve those routes over time?"

Isn't that the essence of the British system ??
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:27pm PT
When in doubt think of Noob!
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:29pm PT
Greg - I kind of liked that movie rating thing with the GP, PG, R and X. Whatever happened to that? Seemed like it was getting popular for awhile. At least that kind of system lets a climber know what he's getting into if he's never done the route... JB

Oh yeah, Robbin's "Grey Ghost" = 5.9 R/X ?
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:35pm PT
Hey JB, yeah that's popular and well-used. But it is still pretty limited, very grade biased, and even less standard across areas than the YDS. A PG/R in Tuolumne might be an X-rated route in many areas, and a runout easy route gets a PG when a hard route with the same runout gets an R/X.

And I guess another aspect has to be addressed - many modern climbers have no idea how to climb slab at all - so the YDS rating means little or nothing. Gym climbers start out on "5.8" routes that are slightly overhung 4th class and require zero footwork.
Hangerlessbolt

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:38pm PT
Exactly right...those letters off to the right of the numbers...yeah, those mean sumthin'

PG = pretty good? probably not
R = you peel...you squeal
X = better to stay home and surf porn
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:51pm PT
But every climb is not for every climber; the ultimate climbs are not democratic. The fortunate climbs protect themselves by being unprotectable and remain a challenge that can be solved only by boldness and committment backed solidly by technique. Climbs that are forced clean by the application of boldness should be similarly respected, lest a climber be guilty of destroying a line for the futures capable climbers to satisfy his impatient ego in the present--by waiting he might become one of the future capables. Waiting is also necessary; every climb has its time, which need not be today.

Besides leaving alone what one cannot climb in good style, there are some practical corollaries of boldness in free climbing. Learning to climb down is valuable for retreating from a clean and bold place that gets too airy. And having the humility to back off rather than continue in bad style-- a thing well begun is not lost. The experience cannot be taken away. By such a system there can never be "last great problems" but only "next great problems."

Carried out, these practices would tend to lead from quantitative to qualitative standards of climbing, an assertion that the climbing experience cannot be measured by an expression of pitches per hour, that a climb cannot be reduced to maps and decimals. That the motions of climbing, the sharpness of the environment, the climber's reactions are still only themselves, and their dividends of joy personal and private.

YC and DR '72

Forest,
Glad to hear that my routes were worth the wait for you. I used to think that my bold and creative efforts didn't really get much appreciation by the community at large. As time goes by, I hear more and people like yourself chiming in that the routes indeed have a special value because of the demands of boldness and self-reliance central to my climbing style and hence vital to solving the climbing puzzles that I leave behing while establishing new routes. My lines leave no less of a lasting impression on me while working them out on the sharp end. Do you have a favorite testpiece of mine?

Karl,
It is becoming abundantly clear that us old timers are going to be the ones to preserve and restore these gems. I have been down in the stainless steel mines and have invented the pin-bolt as a lasting alternative. More soon- Steve
Hangerlessbolt

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:56pm PT
The golden rule of the outdoors...as my dear ol' dad used to say:

"Boy, don't get your ass into something that your mind can't get you out of."

If you can't get out, then don't go in.

Common sense is becoming less common
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:56pm PT
Hats off to Rik and Ray's effort on Paradise Lost. I think I did the 3rd ascent of that route, and the 4th free ascent of the rotue to the right--the DNB. The thing is, the rock here is way more featured than the bald slabs to the left and on the Freewheelin' slab, and so route finding is much easier--and so is the climbing. There's only one small bit of 5.10 on PL (a traverse off a 1" angle), whereas the other routes mentioned are rarely easier than 5.9, with stacks of very inobvious 5.10. I look at PL as a bridege route between the old stuff like DNB, Sachar/Fredricks, and East Buttress, all of which had some face climbing, and the more open face routes like Stoners and Freewheelin'. That much said, PL was in keeping with the run-out ethic of the time insofar as anything 5.8 and below is basically sans pro.

JL
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:57pm PT
I think that runout slab climbing is still alive, but it's a very tiny percentage of the climbing population who partake.

I still enjoy the occasional runout route, and recently tried The Edge. I got spooked when a foot chip blew off as I wandered out above the first arete bolt and bailed. I'll be back though. I just feel that I need to work at it, and get a little more comfortable on that difficulty of climbing before committing to something so serious. That said, it was hard for me to even find a belayer for the climb! I even had trouble finding a follower for EBGBs once!

Most people are used to climbing on positive holds in our gym climbing/training era, and either want something steep with holds, or a crack to plug gear into. The insecurity of slab climbing just isn't for everyone, and there are a lot of other options with the advent of rappel bolting!

However, there are some of us out there that enjoy smearing and keeping it cool out over a bolt. I'm looking forward to finding a partner, possibly next year, to attempt Galactic Hitchhiker (although that doesn't sound too runout) and on my Yosemite hitlist has been Stoner's Highway ever since JL posted it was one of his favorite all time routes a few years ago.

I have some friends who are working on putting up an FA in the sierras that will follow a spectacular dike. So far it has all been ground up and has had at least one runout so long that a bolt was added after putting in a belay. I'm looking forward to helping my friends with their project, if they'll let me. There's a small population out there that enjoys that stuff. They're few and far between, but they're out there.
Forest

Trad climber
Tucson, AZ
Dec 1, 2006 - 01:58pm PT
Do you have a favorite testpiece of mine?

Hardly a testpiece, I'm sure, but one of my favorite examples is the "5.7R" section of Absinthe of Mallet. It was a truly unique, and scary-as-hell-after-the-fact experience for me. Alas, for better or for worse, another of the FAs has changed the last few pitches of that route, rerouting another route up that way with more bolts where there didn't used to be, so I doubt if I or anyone else will ever experience that particular sequence quite the same way again, unless they're explicitly trying to reproduce the original experience.

All I remember thinking when I was actually climbing it was, "you really better not f*#k this up." We had linked some pitches and were using a 70m rope, so my belayer was way way out of site below me.

Tho it was years ago, that day actually remains one of my favorite climbing outings of all time.
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 1, 2006 - 02:00pm PT
PG = Pretty Gripped
R = Really Gripped
X = XXXXXX all over the place if I fall


In retrospect, and given the current rating system, I think a lot of the thin slab route's ratings will be modified upwards at some point in the future. Compared to current practice, that sort of climbing had the ratings pretty compressed toward the end there and I think this will need to be adjusted in the future. Whether this is partially as a result of people no longer having the same skill set, or as a result of the rating band really changing, or that these routes really were ratings compressed, I am not going to venture an opinion. But this will happen at some point.
Hangerlessbolt

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Dec 1, 2006 - 02:09pm PT
Ratings have been and always will be subjective

a 5.9 crack is a hell of a lot easier for me than a 5.9 slab...whereas, my partner cruises the slabs and can't seem to figure out jams to save his life.

Crack, slab, face...different types of climbing...different technique. Learn the technique...increase your grades for that type of climbing.

With regards to ratings established many moons ago...yeah, they're probably a tad off by today's standards (think Yos, JT, Tahquitz, Gunks)...that's why we have discussions like, "Dude, guidebook says it's .9...feels like .10c!" and then that person tells his friend...and that person tells his friend...and then the new guidebook comes out calling it a .10a

Double Cross in Josh...you'll hear all the time..."man, that's no 5.7+!"...and another person will pipe up, "you're right...feels like 5.6" and everyone laughs


You gotta know that a 5.12 climber putting up say a 5.10a route is going to have a different feel for the route than a solid .10a climber
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 1, 2006 - 02:15pm PT
Of course ratings are always subjective.

My question is simple: if the climbing community modified the ratings of "old-school" routes in some fashion or other, could we create more respect for such routes in the current/future generations of climbers?

Thereby leading to less chance of future retrobolting?
Hangerlessbolt

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Dec 1, 2006 - 02:17pm PT
to say that a 5.10c slab is an .11a because the bolts are 30' apart?



(not trying to argue...looking for clarification)
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 1, 2006 - 02:36pm PT
I'm not advocating any particular system of rating, although I guess we might need to in order for good discussion.

Just wondering if people think that re-rating or modifying ratings would, if done well, encourage more respect for scary climbs.

Obviously an X rating in Tuolumne already does that.

But even there it is very grade biased, with many easy routes which would have X ratings if harder get only R (eg Apparition) or even PG/R (eg Great Pumpkin). Actually, The Coming has 5.6/7 moves on a 5.9 route 70' out from pro on low-angle knobs - and it's PG (which in Tuolumne means "excellent pro").

More to the point - with gyms and many modern sport routes, good pro has been redefined and even Owens sport routes are now "runout" (eg the 5.9's on the left side of China wall).

There is this nebulous PG, R, X system - but it is very vague especially for those who are just starting climbing.

Would a number or further refinement of the runout ratings - especially one to make climbing such routes seem "sexy" for the current/future generations - help preserve scary climbing routes and history in the era of positive hold routes that require little skill and lots of power?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Dec 1, 2006 - 03:22pm PT
New counter question to the original question in the first post...

Is there a way to graph the difficulty of runout labelled climbs from guidebook data (Yosemite as a sample) such that we get a sense of what time frames crossed with what difficulties that yield R or X slab routes?

Even a subjectively collated graph would be cool as a starting point for a new discussion on this question.

Maybe it might point to a time and series of people who were the "origin" of runout slab climbing?


side note - i hated reading Steve Grossman's post above on the qualitative aspects of runout climbs because it requires more of us. I have very little more of me, so I feel insignificant, but I will try and toil in obscurity.
landcruiserbob

Trad climber
the ville, colorado
Dec 1, 2006 - 03:27pm PT
The system in place works(R/RX).Thats all you need to know, or do we need the government to get involved tell us to wear helmets & seat belts.rg
ec

climber
Dec 1, 2006 - 04:06pm PT
R : runout

R/RX : runout requires influence of (prescription) drugs
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 1, 2006 - 04:24pm PT
Interesting questions on what to do, if anything, to resurrect old run-out slab routes. It was disheartening to read that only a few of the Middle climbs get any traffic. We loved those routes. Unless there is a current topo, modern bolts, and a reason to venture onto slabs to learn how to climb them, I cannot image that anyone will do them after Karl expires. Long live Karl.

Josh’s summary of the skills of gym climbers on steep plastic reminds me why I don’t like gyms too much--you have to be very strong. Whereas on slabs, if you pull too hard with your hands, your feet skid off.

Maybe Chris should publish a ‘Stonemasters’ topo guide to the Valley and the Meadows. “The Road to BY,” is a potential title. Or “Climb the BROS” (Bolted Run-Out Slabs.) Greg could recruit folks to replace the old bolts and new topos with detailed fall risk potentials, using an objective subjective rating system. Bachar gets the final say. Introduction by Largo.

Maybe we should advertise slab climbing for weaklings with lots of heart—maybe the banner should read: A big ego but weak fingers got you down? Try Yosemite’s BROS. Guarantee to improve you sex life.

Oh, and we need to get a couple of spreads in Rock and Ice, Climbing, and Alpinist. We’ll have those BROS cooking again in no time.

I think you are right John about the relative difficulty of the early slab routes versus the later ones. The standards shot up really quickly—not the run-outs, but the actual move difficulty.

Buzz
durban

climber
Dec 1, 2006 - 04:27pm PT
Steve: "It is becoming abundantly clear that us old timers are going to be the ones to preserve and restore these gems."

Please do! I'm a younger climber and very much hope to do some of these routes as my skill improves, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. While of course I don't want to take any huge falls, I need to know that the bolt way down there would hold if I do!
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Dec 1, 2006 - 04:38pm PT
When desperately run out he could be heard to say. Sh#t I could be home watching the f*#king History Channel and drinking beer.

JDF
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 04:53pm PT
Also, one of the routes I never did on Middle was the Powell/Reed, which supposedly had some hard fac climbing on it. I was never quite sure where this route actually went. Anyone here ever done it? It was a sort of precursor to the other stuff on that and other faces.

JL
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 1, 2006 - 05:09pm PT
I climbed it, John. I included my inpressions in my Middle article. From memory (and re-reading the that section of the article) the climb follows a shallow crack system that only comes within about 300' feet of the ground. Getting up to the base is just like all the other routes on the Northeast Face--wandering around, mantleing, smearing, stemming, pulling sideways on flakes, and searching for protection. I don't think the climbing is very hard if you find a way through the thin spots. Once you get to the crack, the climb is less interesting since there is (was) lots of dirt.

I never did the Sacherer Fredericks. Has anyone done that route? It had a scary reputation.

Roger
Jorge

climber
Dec 1, 2006 - 06:44pm PT
Hey Roger, Kev, John L and all...Enjoying the discussion. Gosh if we ever gave this much thought to anything back then it would have had to involve girls. I just remember first exploring over on Middle cause I had been taken over to Glacier Pt Apron by Tim Harrison to see his efforts on Anchors Away. I thought it was pretty cool, a lot more technical than other Apron routes and I thought I might like to take on a similar project somewhere, being an old east coast face climber type. I think I first started up the first couple pitches of Mother Earth about then...I think with Eric Schoen: Mellow-the pros good, the holds are good I'm coming down-Brutus. Got excited and got you ROger and Kevin back to check out some other possibilities.
As far as ethics of runouts, I would look back to the Brits, who have a long history of this, since they were really the standard bearers for bold climbing. It was just understood to be good form to be judicious in placing bolts, a compromise form of protection if there ever was one. The Brits all during this period--and remember, Mt Magazine was (aside from the geeky Summit) the only climbing rag-- firmly in the bolts are bad camp. We just took it upon ourselves given the history of the bolt in Yosemite's featureless granite, to combine local conditions with an understood ethic of the time. I can still hear the rants of Ken Wilson (Mt's editor) about the "progression" to rap-bolting.
SHoo-eeee, Now I'm overreflecting...
I will say that it is a bit ironic that Jardine--a guy later known for overprotecting himself by way of extreme hangdogging--is first known for launching out on the bold unknown face. He had done the DNB and knew the possibilities. Which brings to mind, I have to wonder if the DNB would not be so popular today were it not so well documented with detailed topos. Yeah, yeah, I bear some responsibility etc, but until I did the route with a notebook and pencil in my pocket it was anything but a cruise because of the uncertain routefinding required.
(And THAT brings to mind, Kevin W, our little adventure up there, that got your mom a nice introduction to rockclimbing, you some burned hands, and me unique bragging rights to having caught a belayer fall.)
and what's the big whoop about ego? So what if extending yourself sometimes rewards your sense of self? Nothing would be invented, nothing would be pushed without it.
Two-cents jorge
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 1, 2006 - 06:46pm PT
George: Tell us more about the belayer fall. It sounds ... intriguing.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 06:48pm PT
he-he...my thoughts exactly MH!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 1, 2006 - 08:29pm PT
You're a jinks, George. Do you remember that you and I started up the DNB, and I got the lead off the ledge with the mantle. I popped with my toe just under my hand, and landed ackwardly, twisting my ankle. Took me out for a while.

It is fun to try to piece all this stuff together again, isn't it.

Great observation about Ray. Anyone got a bead on Ray to get him to join us?

Roger

Oh, yeah. Spend some time getting the belayer fall right. It is a great story you might as well tell.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 1, 2006 - 08:47pm PT
Roger, it's just a Google away:

http://www.rayjardine.com/

graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Dec 1, 2006 - 09:24pm PT
Thought this discussion needed a photo.

Looking back at Tobin Sorenson and Rick Accomazzo on our FA of Piece of Grass in The meadows.





Can’t remember if there were runouts or not on this route but bolts were put in when there were stances. Here were three egos that just wanted to see what was growing up in that hole way off the deck. I always though when you really needed a bolt there was a place to put one in. funny there were not many curxes out from the bolts on a most climbs.

Sure are a lot of routes out there to hone you mental skills before venturing out on your own test piece. The more patience you are in your preparation the less the runouts effect you.

Its all about you and the route right?

Mike
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 1, 2006 - 10:48pm PT
Great discussion lately. Clearly the first step is to upgrade and replace the old original fixed gear on the classics. I don't know about you rushmonkeys but the images and tales really make me want to get out on these things again. The advantage of a fairly tight community like the Valley faceclimbers is that it would be easy to get consensus on alterations to routes if necessary. There are definitely some problems to solve to restore the routes in a lasting way. Lots of the fixed pins on Middle are KB's for which no stainless steel equivalent currently exists (I am working on it).

My familiarity with these climbs and the people involved in their creation had everything to do with my desire to repeat them once I was ready. Articles and forum discussion will hopefully put these classics back on the table so that the history will work its magic. I have long maintained that people will eventually grow tired of heavily bolted lines and return to the roots.

You have to put in your time on Middle Rock to feel comfortable pushing yourself. The base traverse was always a special environment because of the commonality of desire among the few regulars for that smooth contact power that made it all seem reasonable. I did Stoner's Highway as a matter of course every season just to truely get on my feet at the outset. I think most people worked themselves into form before taking on the next project. Contrary to some earlier posts, I think that the Glacier Point Apron saw development continuously and matched the advances in runout climbing elsewhere in the Valley. The skills necessary to put protection concerns out of my mind and just climb is very tied to frictionland, where the usual rules can be twisted severely.

With regard to any specialized rating system to describe this type of climbing, I think that rank ordering the routes in some approximate way based on overall level of engagement is about all that is really necessary. Try Stoner's first Space Babble or Mother Earth well down the line. Climbing on Middle Rock has always been an adventure. I remember some friends returning wide eyed and sputtering after climbing The Flakes (5.8) on my first visit to Yosemite. Sorry, but I will never be able to see Middle or The Royal Arches as a ghost town while we are all still around.
Ahhhh The Absinthe Of Mallet! Great route!
Cheers
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 1, 2006 - 11:36pm PT
Don't worry George, even with a supertopo, folks still get lost on the DNB. I hear stories all the time.

and even if you don't get macro-lost, you're sure to get a bit micro-lost. I've done pitch 7 a number of times but still wander up and down all over the thing before I finally connect the dots and reach the stupid end of the first cruxy bit. The Super Topo shows two versions, both now rated 5.10r (couldn't agree more) and I swear I always start on one and finish on the other.

Roger wrote
" It was disheartening to read that only a few of the Middle climbs get any traffic. We loved those routes. Unless there is a current topo, modern bolts, and a reason to venture onto slabs to learn how to climb them, I cannot image that anyone will do them after Karl expires. Long live Karl."

Karl's living long by not getting too frisky on these routes anymore myself. I did do Paradise lost for the first time a couple years back. Pretty darn fun. Still a challenge and scary but doable for me due to the fact it's doesn't have really desperate cruxes. I go back to Stoners every couple years but usually bail before some of the real headscratcher pitches. There's one variation on some weird face section above pitch 4 or 5 that might actually have a retrobolt but I'm not sure and that variation is reputed to be much harder and still dang scary.

Started up Quicksilver again a couple years back when I heard the bolts were replaced. I got lost on the second pitch and found myself on some old 1/4 anchors that I eventually realize were further left from the actual second belay anchors. I figured it was the wrong day and we top roped the route that I was actually one (runout and needing rebolting) and then went and climbed "sport climbs" like "cat dancing."

I still do stuff like Mid-life crisis and Goodrich, stuff I've done lots and have wired.

Some routes like Stoners, Quicksilver, Freewheelin, and others have had their bolts upgraded thanks to folks like Shaggy, Bernie, Mellisa and others. Paradise Lost needs more help and Space Babble is pure death.

Roger asked about Sacherer Fredricks. I tried to see it from Kor Beck a couple years back. I've never heard of anyone doing it and all the obvious lines looked like you'd need crampons and grappling hooks to get by the vegetation.

Peace

Karl
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 1, 2006 - 11:39pm PT
Pretty funny Mike, you don't remember if there were runouts.Yeah, there are. After doing the traversing section of the second pitch you climb up thru the crux and then 35 feet to the belay. When I did it I did it as my first climb ever with Kris Solem. After he led the 2nd pitch I was half way up the 3rd pitch, there is no pro on the pitch, and he told me if I fell he was going to cut the rope cause the 2 manky 1/4" bolts would never hold. I knew I had a good partner right then and there. Anyway, I think the 1st pitch has 4 pieces, the 2nd is reasonable although a bit spicy getting to the belay, but the 3rd has no pro, although it is only 5.9 and gets continually easier as you climb.
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 1, 2006 - 11:41pm PT
"Can’t remember if there were runouts or not on this route but bolts were put in when there were stances."

Pretty runout, and probably not done much in the recent past since the bolt on the first pitch had broken off. However the bolts are good now and I know at least some folks are doing it. I easily found the missing bolt on the first pitch since there was only one good stance (bolt had been sheared off - avalanche? fall?).

"Here were three egos that just wanted to see what was growing up in that hole way off the deck."

Cool! I love climbing new stuff to explore some strange feature up on a wall...as long as that feature doesn't turn out to have a wasp nest.
graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Dec 2, 2006 - 12:58am PT
Jan and Greg, Great to hear you’ve done the route and even fixed the bolt(s) funny how the spice isn’t a memory for me but more the folk I did the route with. Jan I hear what you’re saying about being comfortable with your partner. There were only about four people I was comfortable with either simo climbing or being on sketchy terrain with, Rick was one of them. Sure a lot of you guys now would be quite solid too.

It’s good to hear all the work reequipping some of these routes. There are some I would like to get back on sooner than later and I really like those long 5/16” stainless suckers with a couple of 3/8” at the belay.

I was talking to Kauk recently about middle and he mentioned a lot of rock fall. I know first hand the havoc that can play on bolts. Maybe a helmet is in order like when those old dads need them walking on the sidewalk.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 2, 2006 - 01:16am PT
From George Meyers' Yosemite Climbs 1982 ("Yellow Guide")

Appendix II

Difficult Free Climbs Compared

Face/Slab

5.9

New Diversions
C.S. Concerto
Fecophilia
Easy Wind
The Mouse King
The Gardener Did It
The Prune
The Prude
Marginal
The Mouth
Flakey Foont
Goodrich Pinnacle, Right
Patio Pinnacle, Left
Patio Pinnacle, Regular
Coonyard Pinnacle
Angelica
Angel's Approach
Lucifer's Ledge
Higher Cathedral Spire, Regular Route
Lower Cathedral Spire, Regular Route
Quicksilver

5.10a
Bikini Beach Party
Black Sunday
God's Creation
Punch Bowl
Paradise Lost
DNB
Cat Dancing
Deep Throat
Patio to Coonyard
Tears of Joy
Spooky Tooth

5.10b
Trough of Justice
No Falls Wall
Slab Happy Pinnacle, Center
The Peanut
Church Bowl Tree
Hoppy's Favorite
Freewheelin'
The Joker

5.10c
W'allnuts
Space Doubt
Cheek
Ugly Duckling
Chain Reaction
Church Bowl Tree
Maxine's Wall
Benzoin and Edges
Rurp Rape
Mother's Lament
Pharoh's Beard, Right
Stoner's Highway
Shake and Bake

5.10d
Axis
Old Five Ten
Cuthulu
Movin' Like a Stud
Dead Baby
Misty Beethoven
Sailin' Shoes
Afterglow
Elephantiasis

5.11a
Black Heads
Moon Age Daydream
Pterodactyl Terrace, Right
Swan Slab Aid Crack
Greasy but Groovy
Strange Energy
Ochre Fields
Anchors Away
Lean Years
Jigsaw

5.11b
The Void
The Wedge
Preface
Christina
The Call
Tightrope
Mouth to Perhaps
Green Dragon
Orange Peel
Black Rose

5.11c
Gunks Revisited
Koko Ledge, Center
Skunk Weed
General Hospital
Shakey Flakes
Flakes Away
Spiderman

5.11d
Abstract Corner
Rocket Man
White Zone
Annette Funicello
Samurai Crack
Chiropodist Shop
Ephemeral Clogdance
Rainbow Bridge
Brass Knuckles

5.12
King Snake
Hotline
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 2, 2006 - 01:21am PT
The DNB also gets done alot because it's in the book and regarded as a classic. When those other routes end on Powell-Reed ledges, the DNB continues up climbing that's not total choss crap.

Opinions vary somewhat. Many think the combination of scary thin face climbing followed by physical chimneys is a pain in the butt. They say DNB stands for "Do Not Bother"

The first time I did it, I thought we had it made when we finished the last 5.9 pitch (all those crazy face pitches were rated 5.9 ma but the one crux move) Nothing but 5.7-5.8 to the top. Ouch. Smooth Chimney humping reaching the Kat walk in time to navigate it in the dark. Not hard, just grunt.

The Ho Chi Mihn trail is arguably a better variation to the Dnb. Stays technical and less wrassling.

I was climbing Pee Pee pillar late morning one time, must have been 10am or later. Some guys with one rope start up the 5.7 first pitch of Dnb and like most folks move and talk about what a sandbag it is at 5.7. I just have to ask them and indeed, they think they're just going to go fire the whole dang route! Headlamps? Nope. Not even a topo. Adventure is one thing but I knew they were doomed. Jesus, I had to talk some sense into those guys. Early start OK? The DNB could also stand for Dark Night Buttkicker for all the folks that get benighted on it.

Peace

Karl
Mimi

climber
Dec 2, 2006 - 01:21am PT
Thanks Ed for taking the time to post such a nice tick list of face routes.

Cheers,
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 2, 2006 - 01:45am PT
apropos of the retro-bolting thread, God's Creation was retro-bolted between the first time I tried it and the second time... many more bolts now, than shown in the topos.

I couldn't find The Gardener Did It either, maybe I could now, but some of those routes never get done and go wild again...
leinosaur

Trad climber
burns flat, ok
Dec 2, 2006 - 02:30am PT
"Here is question for climbers who are more current: Has run-out slab climbing continued?"

(Roger)

Yes, it has.

We still love it here in Oklahoma. Several of the longest (i.e. 250') routes in the state are of the spicy slab variety, and see frequent ascents with their original 1970's bolt count. The granite gods favored us with quality over quantity, so we climb it all, as is.

Many if not most of the FA-artists from the last three decades are still hard at it, and we youngsters get a good schooling in style, ethics and tequila early on. It soon becomes clear that one bolt does not a sport route make, nor yet two or three over a hundred feet.

A handful of Duane Raleigh's solo lines of 10a and below were retro'd down to R-ishness, with FA permission, though not without some gnashing of teeth. The idea was to give the younger generation more faith in our footwork before launching us onto the mandatory 30+' runouts on most every section 5.9 or cheaper.

No bolts, though, have been added to anything that already had one, to my knowledge. Even Snow White (10b RX), whose bolts could be seen as cruelly botched, with the first of two on a 90' pitch coming AFTER the crux, a couple dozen feet over the sloping quartzite ledge she starts from . . . still attracts dwarves up to risk the poison apple. Something about seeing her frequently free-solo'd by a grey-haired dude with a hand-and-a-half to his name, just makes her seem more doable, somehow.

"S-Wall" remains a rite of passage, 5.9/220' with its original two bolts for pro: one per pitch. Granted most of it's 5.8 and under but the first bolt's about 80 ft. up. I'll never forget spotting it on my first lead of that pitch, about 10' left and 5' below my feet. As it only got steeper from where I was at, I opted for the clip. The bolt on the second pitch is about 15 feet off the belay, and then it's up, up and away for another good 60 before it gets much below 5.8.

One reason for paucity of bolts that nobody's said much about would be flow-maintenance for leaders (not just FA parties); if there's not a good stance, it's probably time to keep on paddling, anyway.

We just lost one of our finest to a failed free-solo of the Scariest Ride in the Park, at Potrero. That super-strong and steelheaded Texan was not only an active ambassador for meeting the home stone on its own terms, but an exhaustive chronicler of every runout and rap-bolt detail he could find. In Jimmy Ray's absence many are drinking deeply of his spirit, through their memories and his writings, and swearing to go bigger and bolder for all the right reasons. God knows he did.

The home stone's own terms are often bolts or nothing. Our pioneers went with a very few bolts and a whole lot of nothing. There are many of us busy finding out why.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 2, 2006 - 03:23am PT
This may be relevant, or at least not entirely off topic: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=219262&msg=219775#msg219775
tenesmus

Trad climber
slc
Dec 2, 2006 - 10:14am PT
This has been really fun to read. I've spent a few years working slab routes and I really love it. Well, I love it when the 1/4-inchers have been replaced anyway. Hearing Jello's story about the Dorsal Fin and S-Direct is really cool for a wannabe Little Cottonwood slab climber like me.

It occurs to me that sticky rubber and bigger bolts have really changed this game. I seem to be unfortunately good at overweighting holds and pulling them off alltogether. It makes me wonder how those routes on the Apron have changed over the years as the little flakes of granite have worn off and as holds have crumbled. Have you stuck to the same grades when they are much "cleaner" than they were before? I mean, can you remember how much more featured it used to be 20 years ago? Has the sticky rubber accomodated for that in general?

How has modern belay devices vs the hip belay changed things?

Finally, as the grade progression increased (and sometimes the bolt count increased) on these routes did the terrain often approach vertical? We have a lot of Drew Bedford testpieces around here that echo this trend. Sure, they aren't low angle and they often aren't overhung, but you gotta be able to climb slabs to do them...
Jorge

climber
Dec 2, 2006 - 12:50pm PT
So in the interest of promoting more of this sort of climbing, here are a couple helicopter shots of the wall above the Powell ledges. I climbed something with someone and then we rapped down this line to the left of the DNB (call it a Paradise Found) and left some food and water to come back to. I guess you could call it previewing, but then, I never went back. I will say that the climbing looked splendid. First couple pitches off the Powell Reed ledges super clean, difficult but very do-able. Above, it steepens and has a few loose blocks, but otherwise remains clean and featured. Certainly not mungy.

Heck, maybe this has been done; I have no clue. Likewise the other obvious line that would certainly go at a good standard is the DDNB, the line that follows the prow to the rigth of the DNB, by way of the Turret and that other tower up there. Long, clean, steep, featured, spectactular. What more can one want?





golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Dec 2, 2006 - 01:06pm PT
jello and tenesmus,
this seems to be a valley boy thread, I doubt they really want to acknowledge a route ahead of their time in LCC in 1965 by G. Lowe. (just playfully jabbin at you guys) Tenesmus are those Bedford testpieces the ones he did in the 80's or new ones?

leinosaur, you do have some fine runouts and hard slab climbs out there at Quartz Mountain. I think my first visit was in 1991. I grew up climbing in LCC so I was familiar wth runout slabs but there were some hefty runs there thats for sure. Tony Mayse showed me around and became a good friend, tell him hi.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 2, 2006 - 01:19pm PT
In the early eighties the word was spreading like wildfire about the new rubber. I scraped together enough cash to buy a pair of Fires and promptly headed for the Apron to see if the claims could possibly be true. I had been working on The Calf over on the far left side and it seemed to be a good testcase. At 5.11c, in old rubber, the crux was greasy and technical.

As I laced up the magic shoes, my partner John Steiger was excited and full of anticipation. I moved easily up the first line of bolts and worked left into the crux area. I stepped onto the crux holds and stayed on the crux holds! In fact, I was so solid that I let go with one hand and began raving away at John far below. Barely able to contain himself, John was pacing back and forth relishing the prospects of the New World. Once I reached the belay, I took off the magic slippers and tossed them down to my now frothing partner.

John slipped into the future and started climbing. He moved upwards in wonder and began to step out onto the glassiest, smoothest glacial polished areas just to see where the breakaway point might be. He too was dumbfounded at the crux and looked up at me wide eyed and raving. He started to experimentally wander off onto the blankness again to see if he could acually fall when suddenly out came an "oh shit!" as he abruptly stepped onto the nearest bolt hanger. In his excitement, John had failed to finish tying his knot!
leinosaur

Trad climber
burns flat, ok
Dec 2, 2006 - 01:57pm PT
Hey golsen,

Whenever I see Tony at Quartz he's usually running up those slabs so fast, we rarely get a word. But if I get a chance, I'll holler your hello as he blazes by.

From what little he writes on our local message board, sounds like he had a good trip out to Yosemite last summer: the Nose in a day with fellow guidebook author Clay Frisbee from over Arkansas way. The ticklist from one of the linkups TM did in the Refuge out here, as a warmup, just blew me away. That guy's a machine. Of course it was Jimmy Ray the historian that dragged it out of him.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 2, 2006 - 02:08pm PT
I think there are several things at play here.

First, slab climbing is just out of fashion and fashion is more important than we'd care to admit. Pretty darn run-out climbs get done if they have some kind of classic retro-fashion appeal, like BY and Naked Edge. Real death routes rarely, if ever, qualify.

Randy wrote
"But, in honing the physical aspect of climbing, often mental prowess is neglected. The resulting atrophy of the mental aspects of climbing have resulted in a dramatic change in the mental outlook and expectations of many of today's climbers.

This is not to say that ego was not involved to some degree in establishing bolted routes. We often pushed each other, creating a tension between taking away the mental challenge and spirituality of movement and keeping the climb sane. Sometimes the line was crossed; most of the time a balance was struck. "

That's also a part of fashion. There is an incentive to put up a really, really dangerous run-out routes like some on Daff Dome and the right side of Fairview if there is virgin territory easily at hand to go fire on a given day and all your friends in camp are part of the scene to regard this as a coup.

There's little incentive to risk death (and no matter how good you are anyone can fall, have a cramp or have a hold break on a slab climb), when it's not a first ascent and the crowd isn't waiting in anticipation of a second ascent. Those climbs just become relics of the past.

Steve talks about stainless pin-bolts. That's interesting and we should flesh this idea out some more. Some dangerous routes from back in the day have become considerably more so as the fixed pins, or pin pro placements that never got fixed, fell out or were forgotten, and nobody uses pins for pro anymore.

Perhaps some old dads should look up old guidebooks and see what fixed pin placements are listed versus what pin placements were used (if you guys have notes or better memories than me) Post em up.

A typical example would be the fixed knifeblade below the crux of the second pitch of Stoners. For me, it's the trickiest move of the whole climb and is now only protected if you have the right alien or tiny nut, and who knows if it would hold. The next pro is considerably further down. I might anticipate a howling if that, now missing, pin were replaced by a bolt because the community hasn't admitted to that being a valid way of maintaining fixed pin pro (except at belays)

The one and only pro on the 5th pitch of Goodrich is a rusty 2 pin stack followed by a 100 foot 5.7 but continuous run-out. The Galactic Hitchhiker folks, not wanting to have such a bad runout on their route but not willing to retrobolt such an established climb did a variation that traversed right on a weakness, climbed up another weakness and traversed back left. They used 5 or 6 bolts for this and it takes an extra pitch to it this way. I haven't gone that way cause I have the run-out wired. Ironically, at least 6 of the fixed pins on the Galactic hitchhiker route have already fallen out (cause I pulled em out with one finger) including a few angles at a belay.

Still, we should be clear to our friends that it ain't cool to steal fixed pins from climbs. The 3 fixed pins on the crux of Bircheff Williams were taken awhile back, probably by somebody who figured that RP work there. Tom McMillan replaced on of the Lost Arrows sometime thereafter, making that already insecure stem a tad more reasonable to flail away at.

peace

karl
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 2, 2006 - 02:19pm PT
Many great long slab routes have fallen into disrepair. I applaud the efforts of ASCA and others who have undertaken to replace old rusty time bombs with newer hardware. Fairview Dome still has a lot of great routes that sport manky old 1/4" bolts.

On Middle, when we did Space Babble way back when, the "fixed" pins and most of the bolts on the upper pitches were total crap (the FA did a very poor job). It would be great if all this hardware were upgraded. Maybe it might get done more if a leader fall didn't likely mean ripping the anchor and death for the entire party.

But, talk about replacing fixed pins with newer stainless pins is only a short term fix as some of the placements are either not ideal or the pins will eventually come loose over time -- with little means of testing them. At some areas (eg: Tahquitz), many old fixed pins have been replaced by bolts -- though I'm not sure that is the always the answer either -- and does this fundamentally change the character of the route?.
tenesmus

Trad climber
slc
Dec 2, 2006 - 02:19pm PT
"Tenesmus are those Bedford testpieces the ones he did in the 80's or new ones? "

80's stuff at the East Gate like Bloodline and Speed of Life. Then routes like Closing the Gap variation to Generation Gap in BCC, and Meat Puppets in lcc... stuff like that.
Also, John Storm with Koyaanisquaatsi, Les and Brian with routes like Butcher Knife or Cymbals in the Sun.
They just seem so far out of reach and get very few ascents these days.

Definitely not valley stuff, but its cool hearing Steve's post about his first day with the new rubber.

My friend Leslie said when she did a route on the Apron in the early 80's she felt hip belays were safer she could yard in way more slack at once
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 2, 2006 - 02:53pm PT
"Dear Baby" (5.10d) should read "Dead Baby" and has been uprated to as high as 5.11b.
"Movin' Like a Spud" should read "Movin' Like a Stud" (5.10d). Great route - should be 3/8th retroed. Located in some kind of forbidden zone.
Scott Burke's "Skunk Weed" (5.11c) was obliterated by a huge rock fall.
"Brass Knuckles" (5.11d) was chopped by 'persons unknown'. Remember it was actually pretty good - maybe a candidate for a retro-bolt fix? Think there was a fixed pin on it too.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 2, 2006 - 03:14pm PT
Dead Baby is a great route! (don't know if the big rockfall affected it, don't think so.

Is that a typo or something politically correct that it was called "dear baby"

Otherwise we can expect to see "Very Diverse Alternative Lifestyle Practicioners from the Central Valley" listed over by El Cap

Peace

karl
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2006 - 04:20pm PT
golsen writes, "jello and tenesmus, this seems to be a valley boy thread, I doubt they really want to acknowledge a route ahead of their time in LCC in 1965 by G. Lowe."

Gary, Jeff knows as well as everyone else that nothing happens until it happens in the Valley. That's why everyone came there to climb. Heehe.

Anyway, even in the Valley there are examples of run-out slab climbing by Sacherer, Beck, Gerughty, Robbins, Chouinard, Boche, Higgins and Kamps, to name a few, well before the 70s kids did their tricks on Middle and the Apron. I do think that at least in Yosemite, it was not until 1972-73 that so many climbers participated in run-out slab climbing.

Oh, and Gary, that's "Ego driven valley-boys."

More generally, how about them apples of a proud colony of BROS climbers in Oklahoma? Thanks for the post leinosaur.

And Karl submits a proposed title to the new Yosemite BROS guide, "The Road to Pure Death." Has a nice topical ring to it, don't you think?

And George has a proposed name for the new route to the right of the DNB, Ego Driven. Nice pictures, George. You should give permission to the first ascent party to use the supplies that you left. It's not dog food is it?


Buzz
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 2, 2006 - 05:17pm PT
Jorge: About that the mysterious "belayer fall"? Enquiring minds are ... well, they're snoopy, actually. A possible step up from the "Don't fall or we'll both go." line of Kor's. We've all had marginal belays, but a belayer fall...

For the slab guide title, how about "Blue Sky and Dreams"?

A select guide to the slab climbs of North America may have potential, too. Once we figure out what is a slab, that is.
leinosaur

Trad climber
burns flat, ok
Dec 2, 2006 - 06:49pm PT
"More generally, how about them apples of a proud colony of BROS climbers in Oklahoma? Thanks for the post leinosaur."

My pleasure, Roger.

While I'm at it, let's get some more pics in this here thread-

One I took of my buddy Sean on Jet Stream (.10b RX):
(note the sit-down belay for that extra touch of spice)

(edited to a smaller but grainier detail: sorry for the hugeness of the first one. Mr. Adams there has a ways to go before he hits the second bolt!)

and a nice shot of about half the crag ( Quartz Mt. AKA Baldy Point)
by Marion Hutchinson:


Less than an hour S of I-40 if you BROS bros are ever passing through. First weekend in April and November are always a good party.
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 2, 2006 - 07:56pm PT
"Likewise the other obvious line that would certainly go at a good standard is the DDNB, the line that follows the prow to the rigth of the DNB, by way of the Turret and that other tower up there. Long, clean, steep, featured, spectactular."

Isn't that the Ho Chi Minh Trail? It's in the current Reid guide, done by Clint & Joel in late '80s, went at 10c. They went back a few years ago to beef up a couple sketchy belays with a bolt or two (Clint will chime in with details I'm sure).
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 2, 2006 - 10:21pm PT
I've only done a little bit of slap climbing. It was at White Horse in the mid-'80s and I got schooled pretty hard. I'll admit that, coming from a steep / roof background, there where many times I wasn't even sure if it was 'climbing' and / or what the point was. I'm not sure I would have been interested at all had if there had been a bolt every twenty feet. I'm not saying there aren't technical slab skills - man, there definitely are - but nothing exposes the pointlessness of 'safe-climbing' more than removing the runout factor from slab climbing.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 2, 2006 - 11:45pm PT
Bruce the Dear Baby was a typo in the Yellow Meyers' Guide, it is Dead Baby else where in that guide.

Movin' Like a Spud is called that everywhere in the Yellow Guide. That must have been a typo too (eh, Jorge?)
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 3, 2006 - 12:12am PT
The next door neighbor route to "Move Like a Stud" is also fantastic: "Benzoin and Edges" by the same Canadian team. Those climbs are fundamentally different than GP Apron slab/friction routes. They represent a separate genre of friable pie crust edging where you're never sure whether a whole thin sheet of granite is going to rip off the slab under body weight. Sure enough, the edges are there, but will they break? "Friday the 13th" is like that too . . . It had chalk on it, so somebody else out there must have repeated it? Dunno.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 3, 2006 - 12:29am PT
The yellow "Yosemite Climbs" (Meyers), the 1982 edition, has both Movin' Like a Stud and Benzoin and Edges by Pat Timson and Rick LeDuc in 1980.

The light green guide (Meyers & Reid), from 1987, has it:
Movin' Like a Stud: Pat Timpson, Julie Brugger, Bob Crawford and Dave Anderson, 1978.
Benzoin and Edges: Pat Timpson, Jeff Vance, Don Harter, Rick LeDuc and Bruce Hildenbrand, 1978.

Timson, LeDuc, Brugger, Crawford, Harter and Anderson were/are all from Washington state, so are sort of honourary Canadians. Climbers from B.C. and Washington had a loose association at the time, especially in Yosemite. Rick can probably provide more information, if asked.

Carl Austrom, who is Canadian, did some solid new slab routes in the Valley, especially on the Apron. He liked slab climbing at Squamish, and was very good at it, and simply took it elsewhere. Ochre Fields is one route that comes to mind.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 3, 2006 - 12:35am PT
Anders found the correct route title Movin' Like a Stud in Appendix III of the Yellow Guide... the only place it is listed correctly in that edition.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 3, 2006 - 01:34am PT
Bruce wrote
"Those climbs are fundamentally different than GP Apron slab/friction routes. They represent a separate genre of friable pie crust edging where you're never sure whether a whole thin sheet of granite is going to rip off the slab under body weight. Sure enough, the edges are there, but will they break? "Friday the 13th" is like that too . . . It had chalk on it, so somebody else out there must have repeated it? "

Last i heard, Friday the 13th was missing some bolt and even more dangerous than it already was. Another route crosses it if I'm not mistaken that isn't quite as "dark."

Yeah, those routes over on Royal Arches suffer from friable edges which make rolling the dice on them, well, dicier. I love to go play on some of them in the winter because they dry faster and can be in the sun.

The Arches area is home to two of the more extreme retro-bolted one pitch climbs in the park. I ain't saying where (because they are fun and a relief) and because rumour has it that the FA party is also the retro-bolt party.

Some of those routes have become harder as big edges break and things get smoother. Mostly the ones that get done now and then so not many.

Peace

karl
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 3, 2006 - 01:36am PT
Okay, it was the Washingtonians. But a Canadian, the late Eric Weinstein, was the one who told me about how stout he thought those routes were when he repeated them, so that may have introduced the confusion. Wasn't it LaDuc who used to say "Move like a Stud" all the time? Think that was kind of a theme song of his . . . One thing I do want to know, is why is that wall off limits and not in the latest edition of the Yosemite guide? Don't remember anything special about that area.

Winter is great over beneath the Arches when big icicles fall down off the cliff from above and explode in the talus field below.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 3, 2006 - 06:41pm PT
As part of the first ascent team of Benzion and Edges, a little history is in order.

The actual route name (it was my idea) is Benzoin and Edges: The Testes Squeeze. The Testes Squeeze came from a personal protection move we all read about and laughed at one day at the magazine rack while slumming in the Yosemite Lodge gift shop.

About the route.....we all drilled one bolt; Pat Timson drilling the second while standing on a dime thin edge in a special pair of Vasque Ascenders with smooth EB rubber soles. I got the call for the first complete lead and promptly broke off two footholds 25 feet out on the crux. My belayer, Jeff, ran down the hill and I only ended up going 35 or so feet, but left a nice set of black streaks in the process.

Never undrestood why this climb is now considered to be in some sort of "protected area" unless it is to protect climbers from some nasty runouts. Anybody know the story here?

Bruce

ps - oh yeah, if you are into that nationality thing, Jeff and I are from California. We were friends with Washintonians Timson, LeDuc and Harder and invited them to come do the first ascent with us.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 3, 2006 - 06:52pm PT
Some history on Movin' Like a Stud (the name comes from the Stones song Bitch). The first pitch was started by Bob Crawford and Dave Anderson. Bob Crawford was the one who was always saying "Move like a stud". Pat Timson and Julie Brugger added the last few bolts.

My partner, Jeff Vance, and I did the second ascent. At the belay, Jeff called "off belay" and leaned back on the bolts. Luckily, I hadn't taken him off yet as both 1/4" bolts sheared and he took about a 25 footer onto the last protection bolt. We didn't have a bolt kit with us so I lowered Jeff to the ground and then I climbed up to the last protection bolt to rappel off. Yikes! The only bolt between me and the ground was one of those pretty bogus 1/4" by 1" Zmac jobs which is totally inappropiate for lead climbing much less aid. What's a fella gonna do?

Bruce

ps - maybe Jorge can fill us in on those 1/4" Rawls which were breaking in Yosemite.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2006 - 07:17pm PT
Bruce, I would like to know how just-placed bolts shear off? Were they button heads? Yikes!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 3, 2006 - 07:58pm PT
We had several broken bolts at Squamish in 1978/79 also. I believe they were all 1/4" Rawl compression (split) bolts - probably 1.5". Can't remember if they were button heads or not. The most famous example was Daryl Hatten's 20 metre+ fall on Zorro's Last Ride - he did a hard section, clipped the bolt, stood on it and that was that. I had two break on a short climb called Mirkwood Forest - they simply sheared off, more or less flush with the surface. And others.

The bolts had been placed by several climbers during 1977/78, and we couldn't figure out if it was a bad batch that somehow got distributed, or what.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 3, 2006 - 08:14pm PT
Bruce wrote
"We didn't have a bolt kit with us so I lowered Jeff to the ground and then I climbed up to the last protection bolt to rappel off. Yikes! The only bolt between me and the ground was one of those pretty bogus 1/4" by 1" Zmac jobs which is totally inappropiate for lead climbing much less aid. What's a fella gonna do?

Bruce "

I wouldn't suggest leaving biners on the two last bolts instead of just the last ( since two higher just sheared under body weight) cause we all know it would take a more extreme risk to justify sacrificing two biners back in the day.

;-)

Karl
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 3, 2006 - 10:55pm PT
All I remember is that I thought "Benzoin and Edges" and "Movin' Like a Stud" were both genuinely frightening slab leads that deserved more recognition as pie-crust test pieces. But, of course, I'm timid and easily scared.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 3, 2006 - 11:13pm PT
We had several broken bolts at Squamish in 1978/79 also. I believe they were all 1/4" Rawl compression (split) bolts - probably 1.5". Can't remember if they were button heads or not.

I vaugely remember some scuttlebut about a bad batch of Rawldrives from that era. Seem to remember they were the 1/4" threaded ones though.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 3, 2006 - 11:23pm PT
The trouble with contraction bolts like the rawl split shaft type is that the mild steel is highly stressed by the cross shearing process used to create the split. Add to this the additional stress of compression during installation and you have a recipe for corrosion and stress fracturing right at the top split point. The split point also happens to be the area of greatest applied load and torque once outward force enters the picture. I used to put great stock in the 3/8" Rawl split shaft bolts until I snipped one off with two hammer blows low on El Cap. The remaining metal in the hole had the telltale rusted fracture faces. I was crest fallen since I had placed loads of them by then. It is amazing that more bad batches didn't occur especially with the 1/4" size. If the rod stock is tempered too stiff before being traumatized, look out lads.
Jorge

climber
Dec 3, 2006 - 11:34pm PT
(I'll get to the belayer fall in time, when I have some.)
But I couldn't resist the discussion over Movin Like A Stud. You know, when you put a guidebook together you're alone with the pen and when you see a name like that--blatantly stupid--your hand takes on a mind of it's own. My only mistake was in correcting myself later....
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 3, 2006 - 11:39pm PT
Karl asks about leaving biners:-) The two bolts that sheared were Rawl split shafts. The bolt I rapelled from was a Zmac. Different type and construction, but yes, not really the most optimum thing to do if you want to stay breathing.

Roger asks about the sheared bolts. If memory serves, in the mid-70's George Meyers brought into Yosemite a bunch of 1/4" Rawl split shafts that, as Steve Grossman points out, were badly manufactured. A lot of these bolts sheared off under low loads.

Besides the bolts on Movin' Like a Stud, my partner Jeff and I had the single 1/4" Rawl split shaft buttonhead on the route we used to call Good Friday which is a variation to the Rights side of the Grack put up by Ken Boche and Russ Mclean in 1970. Jeff had clipped that lone bolt and had put in one crummy stopper for the entire protection on that pitch. After he went off belay I was flipping the rope to try and knock out the nut to show him how bad it was when the bolt popped instead!

Bruce
chappy

Social climber
ventura
Dec 3, 2006 - 11:44pm PT
Jorge,
I remember that. You told me that name was pretentious or lame or some such thing and changed it from stud to spud. I thought it was funny at the time. Still do...
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 4, 2006 - 12:49am PT
Sounds like someone ought to 3/8" retro bolt "Movin' like a Stud/Spud" and "Benzoin and Edges: The Testes Squeeze". Great warm winter locale for dodging falling icicles.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Dec 4, 2006 - 01:40am PT
I placed and broke one of those bolts in'80 in wyoming. had been rattling around in my bolt kit for a year. it was 1/4" x 1.5" Rawl threaded. It broke when I clipped in to it.
alasdair

Trad climber
scotland
Dec 4, 2006 - 06:10am PT
fascinating insight roger

I've spent about 8 weeks or so inthe valley generally traveling quite a long way yto do so. Stoners is the monst memeorable free climb I did, just amazing quality, intricate and yes safe enough, but evciting. Somebody has fixed copper heeads on it which are handy mostly for the route finding. I;ve climbed a nice run out o to on the apron as well. Quietest climbing area in the valley, Strangley neglected.

The brits like it cause we do plenty scarysh fcae climbing here and can tick bigger numbers and get more respect than flailing on 5.9 cracks!!

the ASCA efforts and general bolting scene in Y is the best in the world! keep up the good work
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 4, 2006 - 02:03pm PT
"the ASCA efforts and general bolting scene in Y is the best in the world! keep up the good work"

Thanks...I guess? We've only replaced a handfull of classics when it comes to slabs, and many places in Europe have near-total replacement of all the routes with bomber glue-ins. By far the majority of routes (especially slabs) in the Valley are all original hardware.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Dec 4, 2006 - 02:13pm PT
Greg writes

"many places in Europe have near-total replacement of all the routes with bomber glue-ins"

Are they typically allowed to power drill? Is the rock typically granite or limestone?

I'm asking because it's so time consuming to do just a little bit, and I wonder how other areas manage more extensive replacements.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 4, 2006 - 02:21pm PT
"Shakey Flakes" (5.11a) on Royal Arches would be a good project to retro-bolt with 3/8th. Seems like it was one of the routes to do over there and the bolts always looked pretty puny.
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 4, 2006 - 02:21pm PT
"allowed to power drill" ha ha ha!

Yes, although maybe there are some exceptions (probably bolt regulations not how they are installed).

In Europe, the concept of "wilderness" kind of disappeared a few centuries ago, with only some above-treeline areas even approaching the low human impact that we have in many Wilderness areas of the western US.
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 4, 2006 - 02:26pm PT
Bruce, Chris McNamara & a friend replaced most of Shaky Flakes around '98 or so, but they were unable to locate the bolt that the Korean dude pulled in the big fall the previous year (pulled with his hand when he grabbed the draw), and so at least one bolt (crux bolt?) is probably missing. They climbed (& replaced most/all of?) Rambler to get up there.

We replaced the first pitch of your route Midlife Crisis about 6 or 7 years ago, but didn't get higher (that "hard-to-find-partner" thing again). Nice ledge at the top so we pulled one original bolt while clipped into just one old one, then replaced, so all those bolts were done in the original holes.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 4, 2006 - 02:34pm PT
Dan U just reported there is a bolt missing from the first pitch of the Rambler (at the Hole)

Rambler has had bolts replaced if I remember. Wonder what about the Hole?

Peace

Karl
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 4, 2006 - 02:52pm PT
Most folks - if I recall - usually only do the first 2 pitches of Shakey Flakes anyway. Good to know that you guys at least got that part re-installed with 3/8th". The so-called 5.9 first pitch is where you could take a real dumper and hit the ground if a bolt failed. Those old bolts always looked kinda tiny to me.
Alan Doak

climber
boulder, co
Dec 6, 2006 - 01:26pm PT
There's a bit of runout slab activity in Boulder too. Jules Verne 5.11b/c R in Eldo is superclassic with a long history of sending climbers on a 30-40 foot ride. Superslab in Eldo is runout 10c/d and gets done quite often.

Roger Briggs had a great quote about his 1980's Archaeopteryx (5.11d X) in the old Rossiter guidebook: "It's a shame that noone seems to have repeated it, it's actually a great route."

As a result of the bolting ban in Eldo, there's been several 5.11X thin face/slab routes put up in Eldo in recent years. Same with the flatirons.

Birds of Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park has some gorgeous 5.10 runout slab on pristine granite. And Childhood's End has some runout 5.10 slab on it, along with well bolted .12a slab.

Granted, most of these routes aren't the endless granite friction slabs that California enjoys (Rambler is one of my favorite routes ever), but some of them compare.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 6, 2006 - 02:48pm PT
What about the S. Platte in CO? There have to be some run-out bolted slab climbs there that are both long and committing?
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Dec 6, 2006 - 02:50pm PT
Bruces : talked to Donnie about route exclusions @ the Arches - apparently the Park Service wanted to discourage climbing at certain easily accessible,high profile " Cliff Interface Biospheres ". They pressured him to exclude several areas in the Valley including Lower Falls Amphitheater,Upper Falls Wall and Chapel Wall East as well as aforementioned Lower Arches or they would not sell his book @ Valley concessions. BULLSH#T/CENSORSHIP!!

I may have mentioned this before but I started the DDNB (very toe of the North Buttress of Middle). The Gnar Gnar 12a is only one pitch protected by 7 bolts (1/4 inch of course) but to my knowledge - unrepeated. C'mon you slabbers .....time to man up!!!
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 6, 2006 - 04:25pm PT
Go replace the bolts with beefy 3/8 inchers Al and I will pony up. Until then, not a chance.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 6, 2006 - 08:13pm PT
There has been a valuable discussion, including some of the pioneers and first ascenders, regarding many of the bold slab routes in Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, particularly Middle Cathedral Rock, Glacier Point Apron, and the Royal Arches apron, with much discussion about bolting and protection issues. I’m creating this cross link post so that those in the future that wish to visit this issue can read the threads that were interrelated at one time.

Hope this helps, it might be the best record that we get on some issues and climbs

1970s Bolt protected run-out slab climbing

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=287643

The Road to Space Babble

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=289527

What ever happened to "ground up"?

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=283058

Welcome to Kevin Worrall

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=252358&tn=0

Spicey [runouts] by design

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=288190

Peace

Karl
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 7, 2006 - 12:47am PT
I agree with you A-Dude. But I smell $$$ about that Lower Falls Amphitheater exclusion from Donny's guide. Perhaps, the Park Service was afraid of offending those who think that seeing climbers next to the Falls is an intrusion into the natural environment? There was some funding at stake over there, I seem to recall. Old maxim: When in doubt look for the cash motive.

Castle Rock State Park unofficially tried to intimidate me into not including the Green Monster and Heliport areas in the Rock Climbers Guide to Skyline Boulevard (2000). Threatening phone calls from third parties. Nasty messages on my answering machine. Of course, I wouldn't budge an inch. Then anonymous individuals visited local REIs trying to tell them not to carry the Guide. REI told them to get lost. My contract was with the main office up in Washington, so they only made fools of themselves.

But that's what I mean. These characters are not above playing hardball and attacking the first amendment. Guide books are so much fun!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 7, 2006 - 01:40am PT
Bruce: "When in doubt look for the cash motive". As in like follow the money, eh?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 7, 2006 - 01:53am PT
I don't think the NPS thinks "the viewshed" from the Falls bridge is a money issue. They just study those concepts in Resource Management classes and apply it to the Falls area. They probably think the public should pay attention to the falls and not climbers. Who knows what really interests them. Probably varys a bit although I've never seen any tourists offended by climbers being visible.

The area above the Falls Trail is probably closed so rocks don't fall down on the trail at the base.

I've always scratched my head about the other closure on the right arches. Could be some archeological sites over there or something.

Peace

karl
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 7, 2006 - 02:10am PT
The closure of the Peanut area is mystifying. There's some small risk of climbers dropping gear, themselves, their trousers, or bad language. I suspect it's nominal in comparison with the risk of rockfall from the extensive cliffs above - the whole area below the Peanut is a giant talus slope, and guess where it came from?

The tourists I talk with in Yosemite generally find climbers interesting and photogenic. Bear #46 not being available, I've even had my picture taken with some, or been asked to take tourist pictures. There probably are a few who see climbers as unsightly and unwanted, but for most we seem to provide local colour. The panting hikers on the Falls trail may well welcome an excuse to stop for a breather, and watch some climbers.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Dec 7, 2006 - 01:33pm PT
I agree that most hikers seem to enjoy watching climbers climb.

It probably gets stickier when they start watching climbers drill.

Or when people go with the hot pink runners 150 feet above the trail.

I don't mind if you need to really want to be there that extra bit that it takes to hunt down the (easy to find) info if that's what it takes for us to have unrestricted access to pretty much any rock in the park including that rock.

We actually were climbing in a 'removed area' last weekend. There were only a few intrepid winter hikers, but they all were interested in whatever it was that we were doing and stopped to talk to us as we had lunch and shoed up.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 7, 2006 - 03:00pm PT
I do think there was some grant money involved with improvements below the Falls amphitheatre area. Not publishing topos may have been associated with obtaining the money. Dunno. Just a suspicion.

"Moving Like a Stud" and "Benzoin & Edges" has always mystified me, too, unless it was simply an attempt to use power to use power. Fascist logic? To retain power you must exercise it.

Now, the "Green Monster" area, for instance, does have the smell of money. The Sepervirens Fund did collect $15 million from public donations to buy that parcel for the State Park from the San Lorenzo Water District down in Felton. However, the Fund only paid the District around $4 million for it, which leaves about $11 million unaccounted for in the Funds' war chest. Question: Who's playing with all that money?

Now, you could visit the Green Monster if there was an official trail to go there. But since the Climbing Management Plan is still uncompleted after 9 years, the Trail Plan has not been started on. Therefore, because the Green Monster is in the Natural Preserve, you cannot go there. Circular logic.

Guide books = politics.


pro_alien

Sport climber
Zurich, Switzerland
Dec 8, 2006 - 03:44am PT
The green monster - certainly a character building approach... The climbing isn't that great, though. Kudos on keeping it in the guide anyway.

Pascal
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 8, 2006 - 11:12am PT
I've found led-out slab climbing to be a great way for two climbers of different strengths and experience levels to both have an exciting day on the stone.

The stronger climber leads and the run-outs keep the action interesting, and yet the weaker climber isn't limited so much my strength and the runouts don't matter for them.

Worked for me in the past.

Peace

Karl




See, I said the whole thing while avoiding sexist concepts like "Girlfriend" Now I can't be flamed!
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Dec 8, 2006 - 02:44pm PT
Yea, the Green Monster is even a slab. I remember the one time we went down there and did a couple of the routes that the walk back out (by moonlight) was equal to leading "Leanie Meanie" at Arch Rock, old style, with big hexes. A real oxygen-debt high combined with stinging nettles in the creek bottom - a truly memorable descent and return trip. It must be even more "fun" now since the "Charlie Steps" have washed out after 10 years of rain.

I think I'm going to include it in the next guide, too, in a separate section titled "Areas-In-Doubt".

johnr9q

Sport climber
Sacramento, Ca
Dec 11, 2006 - 12:11pm PT
Roger: I really enjoyed your information on the history of runout face climbing. Could you discuss the effects that drugs had on the scene? You say the following are reasons for long runouts: ego, lack of money, dusting off lesser lights, fear of retribution, ‘Murdering the Impossible,’ and bolts not being a part of ‘clean climbing’. Shouldn't some reference be made to the influence that drugs had on the runout style? (I don't know what "dusting off lesser lights" is, maybe it's a code word for drugs? I didn't read this entire thread so maybe drugs have been discussed. If so I apologize. John Robinson
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2006 - 01:06pm PT
Hi John,

I don't think that drugs had much to do with long run outs. For sure some folks climbed stoned but every one pretty much followed the same style and I would guess the majority of all first ascents were climbed 'sober.' Other participants may have different opinions.

('Stoners Highway?’ They kept getting lost and it took forever to finish the route because team members would wander off and not return. Draw your own conclusions. Heehe.)

"Dusting off lesser lights" refers to running out the leads to keep less talented climbers off of the routes. This might have been a reason for run outs in some areas, but it does not fit with Yosemite, at least not in the early 70s. There were not many of us and we pretty much all knew each and climbed together.

I urge you to read through the whole thread--George Meyers, John Long, Kevin Worrall, Rick Accomazzo and Mark Chapman all comment on climbing BROS in the early 70s. Many other active climbers talk about climbing those routes in later years as well as newer routes that were done in the same general style.

Best, Roger
johnr9q

Sport climber
Sacramento, Ca
Dec 11, 2006 - 04:38pm PT
Roger: Thanks for the clarification. I guess I just assumed that with many drug related names of climbes and the knowledge that drugs were in some way a part of the climbing culture, runouts could have resulted. I spent a year in Vietnam in the late 60's and so everyone assumes drugs must have been a big part of my experience when in fact I saw probably fewer than 20% of the people I was associated with using it but I was in the Artillery not the Infantry or Marines. John Robinson
chappy

Social climber
ventura
Dec 12, 2006 - 11:13pm PT
John,
Drugs had little to zero to do with the climbing style of the day. Ego didn't have much to do with it either. It was simply the way things were done back then. The climbing community was very small at the time and as Roger said we were a tight group and at one time or another we all climbed together. There was alot of talent around back then and also a lot of mutual respect. There are many references to drugs because drugs were also part of the culture at that time. We were all young and learning about life and experimentation with drugs was just another learning experience. Fortunately for most of us it was a phase we went through. Of course the term Stone Master had the double meaning of refering not only to getting high but to one who had a mastery of the rock as well. I personaly never climbed anything hard or serious stoned. It would be a great way to hurt ones self...the climbing style demanded sobriety and respect.
Dimes

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Dec 13, 2006 - 10:23pm PT
An obscure route with a hugh runout (80+ feet)on 5.9/5.10 is the second pitch of Guardians of The Galaxy on Lamb Dome. You cast off from the second bolt and head up to an unseen belay. Waugh drags me up this one afternoon and I am shaking in the belay just watching. For sure the most runout route I have ever been on. Mad Dog, give us the story!
KEK

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Dec 14, 2006 - 12:50pm PT
Stone Mountain, NC, is scarier, in my humble opinion, then a lot of the West Coast slabs I have done. For example, Storm in a Teacup, 5.10 A or 5.9+, first picth 3 bolts 150', second pitch no-bolts to anchor, third pitch no-bolts. It is some of the best winter climbing ever!
Rocky5000

Trad climber
Falls CHurch, VA
Dec 16, 2006 - 12:44am PT
Amen, brother. I once wandered off-route on the Great White Way, thirty or forty feet out and nothing in sight, until my partner yelled up, and I saw the bolt twenty feet to my right; nothing but a sea of super-coarse sandpaper all around. I had no option but to traverse, with my mind gently frying the whole way. And the back side of Stone Mountain is worse - an 'easy' route like Teardrop has half-rope length runouts to ancient 1/4 inchers (unless they extended the bolt upgrade program around the back).

One reason for the boldness of these routes is the wonderful consistency of the index of friction there. Once you dial in your shoes after a few days, the grades seen to ease up, as long as you can quiet the restless mind, and a twenty-five foot runout seems almost reasonable.

One reason for the extra fear is that same texture. You would not be sliding or bouncing down nice glacier-polished granite if you fall; instead you're on a monster cheese grater. The Leader Must Not Fall!
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Dec 16, 2006 - 03:04pm PT
Hey, Dimes. With your “Mad Dog” reference, you must be referring to “Wild Jim” Wilson, who led the crux of Guardians of the Galaxy, on Lamb Dome. I recall a couple of things about it.

The top of the first pitch is level with the big ledge where Kamps and Higgins’ Old Goats Route starts. As I was leading the first pitch, I glanced over at the ledge to the left and if I could have wrenched one of the Tuolumne pebbles loose, I could have tossed it and hit Tom Higgins, who was watching me intently. I nodded to him, but tried to keep my concentration, since the climbing was easy but run out at this point. Any inkling about placing a bolt prior to the end of the pitch was banished when I saw Higgins. Higgins and Kamps were the undisputed masters of Tuolumne at that time and honor required that bolts be used sparingly, especially with a champion of Tuolumne face climbing literally looking over my shoulder. Jim Wilson led the start of the next pitch and I recall that he took a really long fall, 15-20 feet on a hard section at the start of the pitch. However, he got right back and waltzed up it the next time, the crux and key to the route. Jim, if you’re out there, chime in here; that was a marvelous lead.

I have a dim recollection of leading out some easier climbing up higher and it may have been the upper part of the second pitch that you are referring to. However, after the hard section that Wild Jim lead, everything else seemed pretty tame.
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Oct 2, 2008 - 05:50pm PT
bump for slabs
Jilli

Trad climber
SAnta cruz mtns, California
Oct 8, 2008 - 02:03pm PT
hey Roger

awesome to see you hangin around on the Apron... i was doing the crux pitch up Goodrich Pinnacle and was all shaky and run-out, and then i looked over and saw hyou swingin around on your rope, dancing across the slabs, singing to yourself and just havin a blast up there! it made me smile, and then i ended up making it! thankyou!!

i have a few photos of you. posted em on the following thread!:

FAcelift 2008 2nd post due to user error
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=685759

=)
Jillian

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 8, 2008 - 03:37pm PT
Jilli, I think you met Roger Brown, Roger Breedlove is another cool cat from BITD...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 8, 2008 - 03:54pm PT
Jilli,

I reposted your photos of Roger Brown and Glacier Point Apron on his "Bolt Replacement Glacier Point Apron" thread:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=659883&tn=20#msg693010
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 8, 2008 - 04:46pm PT
Hi Jili,

If you come to the Nose 50 reunion, I will introduce myself.

Roger (the other RB)
dogtown

climber
Where I once was,I think?
Oct 8, 2008 - 06:19pm PT
Roger;
I remember when I first came to the valley from So Cal in the late 70's and came across the mentioned Run-out style slab climbing. I was horrified!!! Until we adapted the (hey if you come off, just RUN like hell left or right style of falling) Which is how we handled it at Suicide. The only thing is on the valley slabs you had to run further and faster. After a bit we just got used to the idea that if a route was 5.10 and there was some pitches of 5.9 or lower on it they were going to be run out and that was just the way it is. So deal with it.

BD
Dr. Rock

Ice climber
Oct 8, 2008 - 09:31pm PT
Anybody have a video on running down the face of a cliff, I am a little unclear on the concept.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 8, 2008 - 10:01pm PT
Hey BD,

I personally had no experience with running while falling, at least not while climbing.

I do remember that some of you guys did have the presence of mind to run away from certain death on low angle slab falls. All I can say I would have proved gravity rules while you guys proved to be better negotiators.

TL, C

Roger
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 8, 2009 - 11:39pm PT
Sometimes a bump is all you get to work with!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 8, 2009 - 11:44pm PT
Why stop an' drill if you ain't gonna fall?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 8, 2009 - 11:48pm PT
Some of the jokes here just scrape by. They're a bit rough.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 7, 2009 - 01:59pm PT
slabbump.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Dec 7, 2009 - 03:45pm PT
Lordy lordy-where has this gem of a thread been hiding?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 7, 2009 - 04:21pm PT
Somewhere between the nuns and the mermaids...LOL
Lee Bow

Trad climber
wet island
Dec 7, 2009 - 04:56pm PT
You know, I've never figured out why run out slabs hit such a nerve with some peolple. By any fair standard,I'm a big coward. But I LOVE run out slabs. It's my big chance to delude myself into thinking I'm actually a real climber. So long as you don't start cart-wheeling or do the wrist slide (road rash!) the falls are actually slow motion comedy!
I've actually had CONVERSATIONS while falling. 120ft is my current record.
Not bad for a guy that cries at the thought of falling 5ft vertical.

Some of the best runouts have been butchered by rebolting or neighboring routes essentially erasing the orriginal line. Never ONCE have I accidentally stumbled onto a run out. They are not bears attacking your tent cuz you spilled stew all over your sleeping bag. If you don't WANT to climb run out slab DON'T. All the comments about ego, waste of rock or greed make me ill. How would it be if I put a chicken bolt ever five feet on the Salathe. The same logic aplies, but even more so. There are well protected slab route. I'm not aware of one wall route for wimp cowards like myself.
ß Î Ř T Ç H

climber
Aug 9, 2010 - 08:12pm PT
"Why stop an' drill if you ain't gonna fall?"
Genius .
bluering

Trad climber
CA
Aug 9, 2010 - 08:20pm PT
I LOVE slab climbing....
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Carson city Nev.
Aug 9, 2010 - 08:29pm PT
yeah baby!



Calveras dome area has some very fine run out slabs! as well as the rest of tahoe here and there. some have been sadly retrobolted into clip ups. Its a heady game with very nice rewards imo..Its NOT just about the bolts, its about the moves between.. I know of slab routes put up into the ninties still with that flavor although in more recent times they are bolted to sport specifics..and are rather boring. Kinda like what theve done to darth vadars revenge by adding a belay like seventy feet up. thats NOT darth vadars revenge...
Tattooed 1

Trad climber
Sebastopol, Ca
Aug 9, 2010 - 08:33pm PT
Beacons from Mars, oh ya baby!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Carson city Nev.
Aug 9, 2010 - 08:47pm PT
or set the controls, for the heart of the sun..Smith Crawford and crew were very considerate on keeping rack weights down.;-)
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Aug 9, 2010 - 09:34pm PT
'"Why stop an' drill if you ain't gonna fall?"
Genius .'

Actually, shouldn't it also be, "Why stop an' drill if it'll make you fall?"
I think that that was, and still is, more often the case...
RattyJ

Trad climber
Pine Grove
Aug 10, 2010 - 03:57am PT
Slab climbing is one of my favorite forms of climbing. It's where the crowds aren't.

Hey Ron, not everyone is into the sport bolted stuff these days. Don't believe me, ask salmanizer for the topos to eagle rock and bear river res. He along with some other tahoe regulars have been putting up some things that make Set the Controls look like an easy day of cragging.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Carson city Nev.
Aug 10, 2010 - 10:56am PT
good to know that stuff is getting done!!! Those domes deserve it fo sho! Especially if the new stuff is in flavor with the old!!! that area has always been like tuolumne gone ba-ad...
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Aug 10, 2010 - 08:15pm PT
Sup Rob, you back state side yet? Ran into your girlfriend a while back, she said you dumped her so you could spend the winter climbing in Mexico??

I thought it was funny... she didn't.


Anyway, I wouldn't call anything I've done a step up from Set the Controls. At the same standard maybe. You place bolts only where you need one and happen to be able to actually get one in at the same time. If you can't find a stance you either suck it up and go for it, or back off and sucker someone else into giving it a go.

I don't and I know Paul didn't set out to create dangerous runout routes. It's just the way it goes down from time to time is all. Ya know, "Climbing".
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Carson city Nev.
Aug 10, 2010 - 08:23pm PT
they are not dangerous so much as heady for belayer too! it WAS giving the rock a chance sort of thing, a respect for its features. Sure, they could have put the first bolt twenty up instead of fourty, but fourty was sporty..Its whats known as having some class in otherwords!
squatch

Boulder climber
santa cruz, CA
Feb 8, 2011 - 12:58pm PT
bumps are all i got to work with at the moment
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Feb 8, 2011 - 03:13pm PT
Sometimes run-outs were dictated by lack of stances, other times by the prevailing "ethos" of placing bolts only where "really necessary."

Certainly there were people in our "B-List" group that harangued each other to push on higher before drilling (which had the added benefit of saving time and effort).
philo

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Feb 9, 2011 - 12:29am PT
Climbing Bump
stormeh

climber
Dec 11, 2013 - 12:19am PT
Bump. For science.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Dec 11, 2013 - 01:11am PT
120ft is my current record.


Lee Bow, holy sheep dip. 120 on slab is a long way to go. story?
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 11, 2013 - 02:54am PT
Credit: mouse from merced
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Dec 11, 2013 - 09:52am PT
On any given day the 98...2 rule is apparent in the Valley. 98% of the climbers are on 2% of the routes...lthe climbs Roger describes are not among them.
Climber Joe

Trad climber
Dec 11, 2013 - 09:23pm PT
Crest Jewel kicked our butts earlier this year. Had to bail around pitch 6 or so, when I started getting cramps in my triceps (betrays my inexperience) and my partner refused to take over lead. Turns out the often side-ways retreat rap was more dangerous than continuing. Then we had the NDG to deal with.

The upper slab routes at Big Rock Lake Perris are great for my balance. But then they are not run-out at all.

doughnutnational

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
Dec 11, 2013 - 09:30pm PT
If you think Crest Jewel is runout you probably want to stay away from the arches apron.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Dec 11, 2013 - 09:32pm PT
^^^^
Yeah, no shit! That thing's practically an aid ladder.

I thought it was like any typical slab route and only brought 8 draws for the occasion. Ended up skipping like half the bolts and still hardly noticed.
Climber Joe

Trad climber
Dec 11, 2013 - 10:04pm PT
Good to know. My suspicions are confirmed.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Dec 12, 2013 - 12:04am PT
And how the hell does Big Rock get mentioned in such a fine example of a ST thread? Big Rock? Really?
ß Î Ř T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Dec 12, 2013 - 02:09am PT
Turns out the often side-ways retreat rap was more dangerous than continuing. Then we had the NDG to deal with.
Yosemite handing your ass to you is nothing new. Glad you lived to tell.
ruppell

climber
Dec 12, 2013 - 02:25am PT
karla
You bring balls. Then head space. Then skills.


After that it's truelly a crap shoot.
paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Dec 12, 2013 - 03:33am PT
What was the name of that route just to the right of the Grack Marginal sans bolts but long runout on a # 1 wired stopper? Seemed very scary to me, but then everthing seemed scary to me.
Climber Joe

Trad climber
Dec 12, 2013 - 11:57am PT
"1970s Bold protected run-out slab climbing" Well, Big Rock is all of those except run-out. But I see your point. My apologies, Mr. Muir.
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Dec 12, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Great slab...rarely done.  Superdome two weeks ago.....No crowds....ru...
Great slab...rarely done. Superdome two weeks ago.....No crowds....rusty Leepers to the sky.
Credit: wstmrnclmr
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Dec 14, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
What was the name of that route just to the right of the Grack Marginal sans bolts but long runout on a # 1 wired stopper? Seemed very scary to me, but then everthing seemed scary to me.


Misty Beethoven? Seems like I remember something funky about that one.

Marginal is 5.7 by todays standards IMO. Maybe not the little roof thingy, but the slab where the R factor comes in for sure is not 5.9.
pinckbrown

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe, CA
Dec 21, 2014 - 03:06pm PT
Slab climbing is my forte. We regulary climbed on Glacier Point Apron. Several times while climbing Marginal, the follower would stop using hands and just continue on feet alone! I also held a 100 footer on the Apron! His hands were in no shape to climb after that fall!
"look ma - no hands"

Bob Pinckney
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Dec 21, 2014 - 05:59pm PT
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
Green Dragon - goofing on the 'No Fear' photo of ?DanO ?
side lever on Blues Riff?
can any one I.D. ThisV V?V?V?V
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
??
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Dec 21, 2014 - 10:03pm PT
That is "footnote" on Stately Pleasure Dome.
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