TM Herbert appreciation

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Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 4, 2006 - 05:17pm PT
Ed Hartouni said, in the "Balls to Nuts" thread: "I did see TM Herbert complaining about a partner he had picked up at the base of Manure Pile. TM was hefting a rack of hexes and stoppers "look at this thing, it's older than I am, why couldn't this guy get some modern gear, this stuff is junk..."

Speaking of which, anyone seen TM around lately or have news of him? Usually I run into him in Tuolumne Meadows in the summer, or in the Valley on occassion, but I haven't seen him in about a year and a half...

Here's a photomontage of TM soloing p3 (and above) of After Six"

+++++

So I am reminded of my formative encounter with TM and want to share it. I believe that, just like Todd Skinner, TM has touched the lives of many climbers.

It was fall of '87, I was a newbie climber with my own small rack - probably some nuts and a few cams. We went to Lover's Leap for some real multi-pitch climbing (I'd done very little) and maybe my first lead. Sitting around the fire early Saturday morning, and this "older" guy (read: over 40) comes over to warm his hands. My buddy whispers "That's TM Herbert, nice guy, Yosemite legend."

The converstion turns to the day's plans, and eventually I mention wanting to climb The Line. I was unaware the TM was a first ascensionist. So TM asks me if I want to climb The Line with him, right now. Well, that's like Pamela Anderson asking if you want to make out. I said yes, trying to stay cool, and off we went. But we were thwarted by some 'tards having an epic on the first pitch, so we bailed over to Haystack Crack, which TM also put up.

So he takes my rack, looks at it and chuckles, and I ask if that's going to be enough gear. "Oh yeah" he says and starts climbing. "Uh, TM, you on belay?" TM: "Yeah, just watch me." And he proceeds to solo the first pitch. So of course I'm in awe, but also have that newbie feeling that, man, that was just plain suicidal and wrong. I climb up and join him at first belay.

Now, around the fire that morning, I'd also mentioned I was there to hopefully do my first lead, I even had some 5.3 picked out already. So we're at the first belay and TM hands me the rack and tells me to go for it. My sphincter tightens, and I ask if that's a good idea. "Sure, you just climbed that last pitch, you can do this next one no problem." Encouraged by his confidence in me, I go for it, and of course had no problems (I think pitch 2 is 5.5 or something). So TM ended up prodding me to my fist lead.

Thanks TM for being generous with your time and spirit. Although now I see you just wanted me for my fresh little rack.

    Bill
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Dec 4, 2006 - 05:21pm PT
Cool story, but pitch 2 of Haystack the 5.8 crux roof. Maybe you meant the last (third) pitch. Whatever, cool story though.
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 4, 2006 - 05:29pm PT
Yes, must have been the 3rd pitch. Thanks.
yo

climber
The Eye of the Snail
Dec 4, 2006 - 05:46pm PT
So my friend Rhino takes his girl up Great White Book. Tough Mother solos up behind in his kletter boots, and around.

"Holy!" Tough Mother exclaims. "How long is that rope?!"

Rhino says it's a 60 meter line.

"Sixty bleeping meters! What the--!"

Rags

Trad climber
Sierra foothills, CA
Dec 4, 2006 - 11:46pm PT
Around 98 I was in Tuolumne with a couple others. Time of year when T-storms were common, so we decide to do something that keeps us close to the ground. We end up on Quiet Desperation so we can TR the face climbs below us as it traverses the east end of SP dome.
So in the afternoon the boomers start going off right over our heads. I'm thinking there is no way I'm staying up here, it's a almost a full rope to the ground. So my partners decide to keep climbing and I rap one line.
I didn't know it at the time but TM and a couple other guys were watching us. Seeing me bail on one line, TM thinks we have only one rope and comes runnin up the talus with another. I met him at the bottom and he wants toknow if we need another rope. I explain I'm bailing the other two are climbing, but they have a second rope. "They're nuts", I said.
He didn't say a word, just looked at me, shook his head, and walked back to the road.
My partners lasted another three or four flashes and were down 15 minutes later.
That's my almost rescued by TM story.
Thanx TM ...
Mike.

climber
Dec 5, 2006 - 12:49am PT
"Hey, TM--Gatorade?"

"Naw. I've got some whisky in the car."
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 5, 2006 - 10:45am PT




Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 5, 2006 - 11:18am PT
I have the ultimate, personal allreciation for TM.

I posted this story a while ago on a close call thread:

I talked TM Herbert into following me over to DAFF dome to try a new line between Crescent Crack and West Crack. It must have been 1976. We both guided and would sneak in climbing when we could. I had lots of free time when I was in the Meadows since I mostly guided private clients or worked for Robbins, but TM was there with Jan and boys, so he had less time for non-work climbing.

I traversed up and left out onto the steep face between West Crack and Crescent Crack, skated around on loose micro-chips, dinked in a bolt for protection, and got to the straight in cracks. Except for the chip skating, the pitch was pretty good.

The next pitch had to pass an overhanging bulge. There looked to be cracks that would go, up and around to the left.

But, it was the Meadows, the summers were endless, so we bailed.

The next year, we decided to go back with Kauk. TM took the first pitch and then belayed me up. We ended on the giant horizontal groove, about 160 up--not a ledge, but low enough angle so that you can sit or stand on the giant knobs. TM kept the belay, and Ron started up.

I un-roped and climbed round the corner to scope the next pitch. I returned and stood next to TM on one leg on a giant knob, chatting. I could banter with TM all day long. Trying to make each other laugh, telling tale tales, mixed with a deep friendship. The weather was beautiful in that special Tuolumne way.

Also we knew that we were up for holding the the rope for Ron and he could get us up the steep next pitch. We were in the zone, so to speak. Hey, come on, what are friends for? Life was good.

Mid sentence, the knob I was standing on broke off at its base, and I was in the air.

I lunged for the loop of TM's tie in.

Just as my fingers grabbed the rope at close to full extension, TM's hand slammed around my wrist like some kind of a sprung trap. And I stopped abruptly, arm elongated, legs flapping in the breeze, and white all over.

He had caught me with one hand.

I knew that TM had a black belt in karate, but I had never seen it. With his speed, strength, and accuracy, I was a not-dead-yet, humbled, and very thankful guy.
Ron was mid-pitch. When he got the belay, we rapped off. I never went back. Ron and TM did the climb later. I think they named it Black Bart.

Roger
Gunkie

climber
East Coast US
Dec 5, 2006 - 04:11pm PT
I met him in 1989 while climbing with a YMS guide. Apparently he loves wrist locks, judging by the conversation that I was privy to.

I then met him again in May 1992 at the base of the Nose when he and his son were going to free climb up to Dolt Tower and rap off for a day climb. At the time, his son was a well publicized 5.13 climber. His son came up first, then TM. When he crested the top of that class 4 section I exclaimed rather loudly, "You're TM Herbert!" With that, it looked like he was going to tip backwards and go head over heels for 200 feet to the deck. Well he steadied himself and we talked about the Muir Wall, among other things. I recall him telling us that the Muir Wall was "weird up there" and "Yvon was was having a really difficult time." I didn't tell him that I read Chouinard's account of the ascent and he said TM was having a hard time up there :) All those guys are gods to me and I have a story that I almost iced TM at the base of the Nose with my over exuberance.

Cool cat.
maculated

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Dec 5, 2006 - 06:20pm PT
Well, that's a bummer. It wasn't TM Herbert in my little story, based on the photos. I wonder who it was.

It's after work in Tuolumne and I'm on my customary jog out to one of the High Sierra trails, this time Cathedral Peak, when I come across a guy with a jaunty hat, grey hair, and glasses. He's got a mountaineer's coil going on and is coming back from the peak with a burly long-haired guide I didn't know. The man takes off his hat and basically does a "howdy ma'am," and I was like, "Whoever that was, that was awesome." I am pretty sure I giggled girlishly.

I kept hearing about TM Herbert doing weird stuff all over the meadows so I assumed it was him, but not.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 5, 2006 - 06:53pm PT
Hey Mac, TM is a state of mind, with an infinite number of physical manifestations. Either that or its a hat style.

Buzz
Tony Puppo

climber
Bishop
Dec 5, 2006 - 08:44pm PT
My wife and I pull into the parking below South Crack and start getting the gear ready. TM strolls over having just come down from yet another solo of South Crack. "Hi Tony and Nan how you guys doing today, what are you up to?" South Crack we say and with that he tells us to get our gear together quick 'cause he knows the folks in the next car down have the same route in mind. "You guys get your stuff and head out I'll distract those other folks." With TM slowing them down we had the route to ourselves.

TM loved to keep his strapping young lad Tom in his place. In the Owens he was quite fond of walking beneath whatever route Tom was on and with his comical look and manner yell so all could hear, "My baby, that's my baby up there, come down right now before you hurt yourself."

I saw Tom just last week, he said his Pop is doing well in Reno, pounding nails and taking care of the grandkids.

Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Dec 5, 2006 - 10:27pm PT
Roger-
What a frightening story! Illustrates the advantage of venturing into the mountains with reliable and experienced partners. They can save your bacon when you least expect it.
To think that we have TM to thank for having Roger around here!
Thanks, TM.
Rick
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 01:11am PT
May 1976 and my partner, Jeff, and I are at the Cookie heading up Outer Limits. It must be 95 degrees and were in the sun. We have never seen the climb and all we have is a single set of hexes and stoppers. To top it off, Jeff has decreed that we will use no chalk on the climb!

Jeff is about halfway up the first pitch when TM emerges from some bushes. He sees us up on the climb and remarks that we must be nuts to be trying to climb Outer Limits in such weather. When I inform him that we are not going to use chalk, he saunters off down to the road muttering. "no chalk", "no chalk."

Bruce
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 6, 2006 - 01:35am PT
I think it was around summer of '76. I was only seventeen and had been bouldering and doing top ropes at Castle Rock for over a year. It was my first trip to Yosemite and I was alone, with my Pivetta Spiders and some chalk, moping around some Camp 4 boulders. These two old guys come up and are really friendly and start showing me some of the classics. They pretty much blew me away except on the mantles. I got an intro tour from who I later found out was TM Herbert and Bob Kamps. I still feel honored.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 07:59pm PT
it's good to hear TM's out and about in the world...

One of the first times I ran into him was at the base of Moby Dick where he was holding court with a number of climbers who had read the "Climbing Magazine" article on Yosemite Cracks... can't remember the edition...

"...Robbins used to solo Ahab and down climb Center..." which totally awed those in attendence, he was in high form that day.

Another time was on CPoF before the rap bolts went in to the east, with our rope stuck in the crack... Tommy was blasting up with TM, and they helped untangle our rope to the deeply stuck cam (of that day)... looking back into that crack is like seeing a climbing museum through a just cracked door... ropes, cams, nuts, everything is back there.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 3, 2007 - 02:00am PT
Decades ago, I was hanging out on the road below the Cookie waiting for Barb Eastman to eventually drive down from Foresta to pick me up and go climbing upriver. I had free soloed Anathema not long before and was about to go up and savor a peek at it when a group of three climbers came up the road and stopped next to me. I already knew Bev Johnson, immediately recognized the mystical Steve Wunsch and came at last to a distinguished fella in heavy corduroy knickers and a wide-brimmed hat. "T M Herbert," he said as he held out a strong hand, "where you headed?" "Anathema" I replied and T M launched into a mini-rave about what a great route it was as we all slowly gravitated that way. "Watch the poison oak,"I said and touched off a series of stories about rappel ropes gone bad and skin lesions out of T M.

I was in stitches by the time we roped up and I was leading the first pitch by lazy default. T M wanted the second pitch. A piece or two for show and I was at the ledge and belaying T M up. As I watched him power up the thin jamming, I noticed a small round object sticking out of his back pocket. By the time he drew near, it was clear that that gear was a beer! I had a good laugh and passed him the rack as he suggested that he lead the next pitch to keep the ledge uncrowded.

The hand jamming was more to T M's liking and he chugged right on up, bottle of beer and all, and disappeared over the lip. "Off belay," he yelled over the roar of the Merced and I heard a faint "psschist." "The pause that refreshes," I chuckled to myself,"belay off!"

I then had the pleasure of watching Steve Wunsch climb. Smooth and methodical on the thin stuff and a little more tentative on the wider bits. Bev climbed with her usual grace and power getting more comfortable the wider it got. I came up last after watching everybody else climb through. We all rappelled off sending the jolly T M first. "Watch the oak," I said as a joke and set him off again chattering on downward.

Once back on the road again, I stretched out in the sun and was treated to a spontaneous half stretch, half belly dance by a scantily clad Bev to top off a perfect afternoon. "Ain't this place grand," I thought to myself as Barb's VW Beetle pulled up.

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jan 3, 2007 - 08:53am PT
Nice story, Steve. Picture perfect of the times, the folks, and Valley cragging.

Anyone hear from Wunsch these days?

Happy New Year, Roger
Gunkie

climber
East Coast US
Jan 3, 2007 - 09:49am PT
Anyone hear from Wunsch these days?

http://www.stevewunsch.com/
http://www.businessweek.com/1997/09/b3516129.htm
http://newman.baruch.cuny.edu/DIGITAL/nasdaq/future.htm
http://www.sec.gov/rules/sros/pc0025/wunsch1.htm
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/new_york_stock_exchange/index.html?query=WUNSCH,%20STEVE&field=per&match=exact

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jan 3, 2007 - 10:54am PT
Hey Gunkie, the most recent of any of those links was September of 2002. I haven't heard any thing more recent and Steve has no responded to any e-mails that I have sent.
Gunkie

climber
East Coast US
Jan 3, 2007 - 11:07am PT
Hey Gunkie, the most recent of any of those links was September of 2002. I haven't heard any thing more recent and Steve has no responded to any e-mails that I have sent.

I didn't do anything deeper than a Google search. I did hear that he began climbing again, a few years ago. If you find anything let us know.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 8, 2009 - 11:34pm PT
Hey, that bump in his back pocket is a beer!
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Nov 8, 2009 - 11:59pm PT
I was on SE Buttress Cathedral Pk...must have been summer of 2004 or 2005, I can't remember now. We used to see TM in Tuolumne just about every summer from the late 1990s thru 2006 or so. I greeted TM as he came soloing up on my left. TM says..."Man how high are we right now, about 20,000 ft?" We both laughed and he soloed past me.

Whenever anyone mentioned a route 5.10a or harder, he would say "Don't give me any of that alphabet soup crap."
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 9, 2009 - 01:52am PT
I knew TM in Berkeley in his going- to- university and learning karate mode.

He had what seemed like a brilliant plan to finish university and get a teaching certificate so he would have summers off to go climbing and a decent income that would support a family. We figured that between his size and his sense of humor he could keep the most unruly kids under control.

And then he took up karate just in case. He always had a phenomenal amount of energy and not much time during those four years to drive to the Valley so karate sustained him.

If you think TM's funny climbing, you should have lived through his descriptions of beginning karate lessons. At one point early on, his nose got broken when his sparring partner didn't judge the distance properly and stop in time.There was some speculation that this might deter him, but no, he was back a day later with an enormous bandage on his nose.

He was also keen to see every samurai movie that was ever made and talk everyone else into seeing them. The Berkeley climbers religiously went to each one and then practiced some of the moves on each other whenever they met. Soon though, circuit training became the thing for most climbers and TM continued on alone with karate.
skychild

Trad climber
Birmingham, Alabama
Nov 9, 2009 - 10:25am PT
T.M is a terrific fellow, too bad niceness isn't passed on through genetics you figure out what I mean. Don
John Morton

climber
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:59am PT
TM was known for being able to do pull-ups while clinging to the underside of a 2x4.

John
Silver

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Nov 9, 2009 - 12:02pm PT
TM is without a doubt one of the nicest men around.
When my buddy and I decided to do the 30th anniversary climb of the Muir we went and saw TM and asked him about the climb.

His response to our question of what the climb was like was met with the response that "all I remember was it was cold and wet". That's Beta from the old school.

In fact it was cold and wet when he and Chouinard did the climb. To this day it is still one of my all time fav's. We did the route back in the early 90's and there were still very few belays with bolts and there was minimal pin scar's. The upper dihedral was some of the most atheistic climbing I have done.
TM I believe is still working at Patagonia in Reno. If you have never met this man and get the opportunity do not pass it up as he is a joy to meet. If you get the chance to climb with him you should and watch what a life of technique can do in your later days as I have seen him climb some things I could only hope to climb at his age.

3 cheers to TM


rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Nov 10, 2009 - 01:40am PT
i had the pleasure of doing carpentry with TM back in 92....TM's first day on the job and the boss asks me what TM stands for to which i reply , time and material....then i told the boss that TM was this famous bad-ass climber...i got to hear some great stories about don whillans and warren harding on our short lunch breaks .... ....by the end of the job TM and i had driven that poor contractor to tears and the edge of a nervous breakdown with our antics....ran into TM in bishop several years later and was introduced to him by lauria and puppo...not sure if he remembered me , i shook TM's hand and told him i worked with him a long time ago and that he got me fired ....TM raised his fist and in his unique drawl told me he was going to kill me....what a great sense of humor and what a great soul...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 11, 2009 - 01:45am PT
One of the most gratifying aspects of doing a hammerless twenty-fifth anniversary ascent the Muir Wall back in 1990 was the account that my friend Fig gave me of T M's response when he told him about it. T M stood steadily gesturing in fragmentary ascending reflection. "But how did they...what about that expanding...not the pitch off of...that was tied-off Arrows!




From The Vertical World of Yosemite.
KitKat

Trad climber
my van, CA or Mexico
Nov 11, 2009 - 04:45am PT
TM is BADASS! First time I met him was back in about 1996. It was my first trip to the valley and my first multi-pitch climb ever. I'm totally gripped and this old dude comes soloing up After Six- looks over and says to me "I'M SUPERMAN!"
Well TM sure is Superman! What an amazing lifetime of accomplishments.
Many years later I ran into him at the gym in Reno. He was waiting for Tom and needed a partner. He belayed me on a crack that was off- cupped -hands for me. Told me I was a "DAMN GOOD CRACK CLIMBER" for being able to work with that size. Made my day to say the least! (I think he was hittin on me!)
Another story- friend just learning to lead trad at the Leap. About to lead Surrealistic Pillar (5.7). TM walks up- "You know that thing has never gone free!"
LONG LIVE TM!!!!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 11, 2009 - 09:11am PT
Here is a really nice image taken by Joe McKeown (Guido here to us STers) of TM and I am thinking the oldest son, Tom, the one referred to above-thread. I just restored it:

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 11, 2009 - 10:12am PT
Nice picture of TM and Tommy (or Donny), Peter. Do you remember where that was taken?

In the summers I guided in Tuolumne, TM and Jan and the boys lived there also. It was my first real experience with being around young kids. They were really cute and Jan was always running around keeping up with them. And TM was struggling (I think Jan must have been also) with his impractical insistence on not doing "women's work."

I remember helping Tommy with understanding how place holders worked in adding numbers--he must have been in school the previous year. My Dad was a math teacher so I grew up learning all the methods of teaching math. When the light went off in Tommy's head that he understood how to add, he just lit up.

TM was a great guy to know during that time in my life. I haven't seen him in over 30 years.
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Nov 11, 2009 - 10:27am PT
I was once talking With Layton Kor about TM, and Layton said that he always thought TM was a bit different right from the start. When they were introduced at their first meeting TM just looked at him and said, "God is he ugly, is he ugly".
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Nov 11, 2009 - 11:23am PT
Roger

I took the photo in the Tetons, probably 1971 if that correlates with the "kids" age now. Most likely Guides Hill at the Exum School.

cheers

Joe
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 11, 2009 - 11:38am PT
Eventually, Tom grew up of course and became a terribly good climber. Fuzzywuzzy tells me that he convinced Tom to go to medical school way back then, which he did and so I understand that he is an MD now.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 11, 2009 - 11:38am PT
Hi Joe,

I didn't read the attribution carefully on Peter's post. Nice picture.

Dick, I was sitting in the YMS lodge building in with TM and a bunch of others including Bob Kamps. It was a quiet gathering around the firepalce. TM looked over at Kamps and said in even, forceful tones, "You don't just look old, you are old." I didn't know Bob very well at the time; I was a little shocked. But I knew Bob and TM were good friends, and Bob seemed to think it was somewhat funny.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Nov 11, 2009 - 08:10pm PT
First time I met TM was in the Lodge parking lot, brewing up morning coffee. I remember him being very funny and remembering that Robbins photo of TM that Steve Grossman posted earlier. Was about 1978 or so.

Fast forward to 1988 and I'm climbing Great White Book with my soon to be wife. Just belayed her up to the bolts out on the face at the end of the book. She looked down: "someone's walking up!" Sure enough in less than a minute TM and Tommy walk up the book in approach shoes, say "Hello" and go on up to the top of the dome. A Sunday afternoon Father-son talk.

About 10 years later I have a go at leading Darth Vader's Revenge. Dammit if I didn't get off route. Moved too far left before going over the bulge, then went up about 10 feet and thought "Ummmm...this is harder than I expected" and "that bolt sure looks hard to get to" and "uh ohhhhh....I'm off route...again". And then....deus ex machina.....TM walks across the ledge at the top and starts rapping my route! To make a long story shorter, he pointed out my route finding error, lowered a rope to me and belayed my downclimb back over the bulge. I wasn't going to let him lower me, I do have some pride! So I let my partner lead the real Darth Vader's Revenge and then followed it. TM graciously said something like "a lot of people make that mistake".

Not the only times I've run into TM but the two most memorable.
Fred
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Nov 11, 2009 - 09:03pm PT
TM at his best:

Soloing on his fav dome



Would you let this man direct traffic?


Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 14, 2009 - 01:56am PT
I once asked TM what he thought about having a kid that climbed 5.13. He looked at me agast and said "those guys can't LEAD anything, ya ever see those guys LEAD anything?!?" I knew that he meant much more than simply getting one end of the rope to the top. LOL

One of the best segments of Moving Over Stone features TM in Pratt's Crack and Tommy on the bolted arete to the right. Too funny!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 17, 2010 - 03:31pm PT
Tough Mother Bump!
MisterE

Social climber
Across Town From Easy Street
Jan 17, 2010 - 04:06pm PT
Ran into TM a couple of summers ago in Tuolumne and we got to chatting. I asked him at one point if he still climbed, to which he replied:

"At my age? Are you crazy? Way too dangerous!"

Hahaha, always the funny guy...
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 18, 2010 - 03:26pm PT
Don't get me started on TM stories - by free association I could go on for days.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 18, 2010 - 04:38pm PT
Hey Lauria start writing-we are anxiously standing by.

in the meantime some more photos.

Credit: guido
Ok, what's so funny Herbert? Tetons 1971


Credit: guido
Jan Herbert-Climbers Camp Tetons 1971











guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 18, 2010 - 04:49pm PT
And one of my favorites of TM



"America Climb it or Leave it"
oldguy

climber
Bronx, NY
Jan 18, 2010 - 11:21pm PT
People come, people go, but in 1957 there was more turnover in the California climbing community than any other year in the 1950's. Don Wilson went east after climbing the Totem Pole, and when he returned marriage and graduate studies precluded climbing in any big way. After the ascent of Half Dome, both Jerry Gallwas and Mike Sherrick went to the sidelines, content to do standard short climbs on free weekends while attending to marriage and college and work the rest of the time. It's noticeable when notable people leave a group. "Where's so and
so?" someone asks, and someone else is likely to know the answer. When new people come on the scene, however, their arrival is likely to be more significant to them than it is to the usual crowd.
At the first RCS practice climb of the season at Stoney Point, I corraled a covey of newcomers to teach them the basics of knot tying and belaying. I told the group about the rabbit jumping out of the hole and running around the tree and then back into the hole (the bowline
knot), but most of them didn't become climbers and don't remain in my memory. There were two, however, who stood out from the first moment. They were several years older than I, and no doubt to them I looked several years younger than I actually was. Those who possess knowledge can command a certain amount of respect, but we all know that the young can't know
all that much. So they laughed and joked around and pretended to be serious during key points of my instruction, but I didn=t mind because they were funny and having fun. Their names were Harry Daley and TM Herbert. Herbert looked like he could have descended from the Easter Island stone carvers. He had an elongated face and high cheekbones, and his features were composed of planes, facets, and angles, not rounded curves and dimples. In his most serious mood, usually a mock-serious mood, he looked like he could have been staring past the lens of Edward Curtis, so maybe there was an Apache or Comanche somewhere in his background. His
name argued for a southern lineage, but if so that was the only trace. "C'mon, TM, what does
TM stand for?"
"Tough motha'."
In contrast to TM, there was something of the elf in Harry Daley. His eyes frequently sparkled as if he were in possession of some riotous joke, but the joke was seldom forthcoming. Apparently, he just thought that life as it was normally lived was generally funny. The two had been in high school together and, looking for something to unbutton their lives, had pursued skin diving and varmint hunting. After they graduated, Harry went into the Navy for several years, and when he got out he got together with TM again. By this time TM was doing a lot of weight lifting and was also interested in astronomy. Looking for darker skies, they went over the Angeles Crest Highway to the desert around Lancaster (now a bedroom community, then next to nothing). During the day when the stars weren't out they climbed up a few small peaks and stumbled across a fifty-foot cliff that looked like fun. That was it. They spent four weekends looking for rocks to climb and finally contacted the Sierra Club and were told to call Chuck Wilts. Chuck told them about Stoney Point and Tahquitz and the club activities and where to get some equipment. They bought a two-hundred foot, one half-inch hemp rope, some soft pitons, a few steel carabiners, and Chuck's guide to Tahquitz and headed for Idyllwild. The easiest climbat Tahquitz is the Trough, 5.0, actually ascended solo in the early days by a local waitress who was looking for a way to the top of the rock. Harry leads, and when he gets to a ledge TM ties into the middle of the rope somehow. They hadn't received my instruction on knots yet, and, for that matter, had only the most rudimentary ideas about belaying. They finished the climb without
incident, but were scared by the exposure and thrilled with their accomplishment.
TM had a job delivering furniture six days a week, so they could only climb on Sundays. Harry was doing construction work. Both were in great physical shape, more so than the normal desk-bound college student. After they learned the rudiments of climbing that day at Stoney Point they went out on their own. Having been successful on the Trough, they decided to climb the next most difficult route, and then the one after that. Through the summer, one day a week, they worked their way through the guidebook in order of difficulty. By the end of the summer they were climbing 5.7s. This was a most logical approach to climbing, not only proceeding by easy
steps up the ladder of difficulty, but also managing to do all the climbs along the way. However, I never heard of anyone else who took that route. From time to time they met other climbers who asked what college they went to. At the time, even though Robbins, Powell, and Harding weren't
students, it seemed natural to assume that most climbers were.
TM=s stature in our group was based as much on his sense of humor as it was on his climbing ability. Herbert turned a practice common at the beginning of long climbs into a rite by giving it a name: the Piss of Fear. His face was unusually mobile, capable of achieving the exaggeration of key features that cartoonists are noted for, and this ability perfectly fitted his brand of humor, based as it was on emotional exaggeration. When the climbing got dicey, he would put on a gaze combining fear and awe similar to one of El Greco's upturned faces, and in stentorian tones he would proclaim, "I see the great, dark wings of the angel of death beating
above me." Then in a flash his visage would change to that of a child awaiting punishment with a voice to match. "Please, don't take me now. I'm just a baaaaaaaaby." Needless to say, after such a performance the climbing didn't seem so dicey after all. Or he would pontificate on how
he would overcome the difficulties, this time adopting something of a Charles Atlas pose.
"I'll just take that rock and crush it with my bare hands until it begs for mercy."
Or he would goad you into admitting the limits of your courage. "C'mon. Let's go climb Sentinel. We'll do it really fast. We won't bother with ropes and pitons and all that sh#t. Are you a man or a mouse?"
More flexing of his impressive muscles.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 18, 2010 - 11:31pm PT
Classic Joe, I take it this is an excerpt from your book?

Ok Lauria your turn.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Jan 19, 2010 - 02:48am PT
Really good! More, please?
oldguy

climber
Bronx, NY
Jan 19, 2010 - 07:52am PT
It is from the book. I should have mentioned that Bob Kamps, Dave Rearick, Yvon Choinard, Chuck Pratt, and Charlie Raymond also joined the California climbing community in 1957. Add to that the Totem Pole, Half Dome, and the start of the Nose route on El Cap and you have a pretty good year. I think it was also the first year that Powell camped out in the Valley a lot, turning bus boys into belayers. The rest of us, including Harding, were just weekenders. Also, Royal and I did the first two-day ascent of the Arrow Chimney and Spire over Labor Day.
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Jan 19, 2010 - 11:15am PT
Excellent writing Joe. You are whetting my appetite for your book.
John Morton

climber
Jan 19, 2010 - 11:33am PT
Thanks for posting that piece, Joe. It really worked on me, and every detail brought TM before my mind's eye. I appreciate the background on those folks, fascinating stuff I had never known until now.

So about the "piss of fear" ... once I heard Steck mutter something as he was pissing before tying in. I asked him, "What was that?" "Ah ... la miada del muedo, the piss of fear". It has a beautiful and ominous ring in Spanish.

John
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 19, 2010 - 02:52pm PT
Guido I'm working on it.

Joe, Tom Limp and I, without any knowledge of the Daley-Herbert method, also approached Tahquitz one step at a time. We started at the 5.6 level - did 'em all. Then the 5.7s - all of them. Never finished ALL the 5.8s, but by that time I was climbing with Mark and Beverly and was taking anyone interested up the Open Book.

Just finished a complementary, but not so complimentary story on Warren. TM is much more difficult to capture - too many cracks and crevices.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 19, 2010 - 03:06pm PT
The Harding story is posted under the "Wanted Warren Harding climbing stories". It's not a climbing story.
rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Jan 19, 2010 - 04:39pm PT
Lauria.....what about the TM - Don Whillans story?
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 19, 2010 - 06:36pm PT
I am on the verge of finishing a brief Herbert anecdote or series of anecdotes, but I do not remember the Whillans story to which you refer. Give me a hint.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 19, 2010 - 08:42pm PT
Where do you start with TM? Let’s start with his name. As related to me by TM himself, his parents never attached names to the initials. According to his version, his birth certificate has only initials on it. Now it’s not unusual for people to be called by nicknames – sometimes by their initials. My son Don was usually referred to as “DJ” by his immediate family, but Herbert took it further. He says his name is “TM” and he should never be referred to as T.M. Herbert because the T and the M don’t stand for names. Okay, we got it, but do we believe it? I always have taken him at his word, so I believe it.

Okay, that’s a start. Now to explore the character. Talk about characters! TM is The American Climbing Character. Anybody professing knowledge of American rock climbing history knows of TM Herbert.

TM is the guy who wore a swami belt of 1-inch tubular nylon for part or possibly all of a climbing season without realizing the webbing had a splice maintained by masking tape somewhere around mid length. TM is the person that wrote those outrageously funny notes to me in the 70s imploring me to climb with him - stories funny enough to be published and republished. How can one forget his description of his physical prowess: “… I now weigh 103½ lb. and can still lift the front end of a D-9 tractor. And also I can hold a full lever on the high bar with my wee-wee.”

I was climbing Nutcracker Suite with TM back in the 70s. Above the crux somewhere we caught up with a couple of young climbers who were obviously finding the climbing a tad difficult. They were intently watching TM. As Herbert approached them finishing a difficult pitch involving a little lie-backing, he began what I have always referred to as Herbertian whimpering. Gasping, agonizingly, “Watch me here! I’m losing it! Waaaaaatch me!!” The young climbers were beginning to anticipate a catastrophic fall and visibly trembling. TM began muttering, for their benefit as he moved cautiously upward, “Five-eight … five-eight … oh, oh, 5.9 … No only five-eight … Watch me here!”All of a sudden, with his arms flailing, TM leapt from the lie-back landing right in front of the frightened spectators and began strolling up the steep face toward them gleefully dragging the rope behind him. His hands outstretched toward them, he broke into a trot, throwing in a few of his patented fake stumbles, “Fourth class … fourth class .., I’m saved ... Thank the Lord, I’m saved.” When I got to the belay spot shared with the kids, one of them whispered, “Is that TM Herbert?” I answered, “You think?”

TM hates RVs, house trailers, and the people that drive them. He once got so irate while trapped behind an RV on the Tioga road out of Lee Vining that he started pounding on his windshield. He pounded one too many times and it cracked. He told me that he once over took a guy in a house trailer coming up to Yosemite on the road out of Fresno. It seems the guy had passed up one too many turnouts for Herbert. He reached into the guy’s window grabbed his keys and flung them far out into the brush and left him there with his mouth agape. These were the things that raised his ire.

Herbert can be and often is a very stubborn person. He has his way of doing things and it is near impossible to change his mind. He has his rituals and don’t try to modify them. I don’t know how many times he has insisted that I stop at the dwarf Cedar on the descent off of Stately Pleasure Dome. “You’ve got to look at this tree. It’s almost as wide as it is tall.” I have repeatedly told him as we approached the tree that I am aware of its aspect ratio and that he is merely repeating himself. To no avail, “You’ve got to look at this tree. It’s almost as wide as it is tall.”

For years TM refused to buy a down jacket. He believed, because Chouinard convinced him, that wool was the only thing for bivouacs. “Stays warm even if it gets wet!” For that reason he never slept on a bivouac because he was too cold. I’ve mentioned before how he became a convert on the first ascent of BHOS Dome, but I didn’t mention that the conversion was successful only because he forgot his wool sweater and was forced to accept the loan of a down jacket.

Just ask his former wife, Jan. Anything inside the house was “squaw work’. “Braves” chopped wood. Braves did manly things. None of that girly housework for this brave. In fact, to some extent, Herbert was drawn away from a promising teaching career because carpentry was a man’s job – none of that wishy-washy political maneuvering in the educational field for him.

Don’t expect Herbert to accept your hospitality. He has ingrained in his sculpted cranium that it is an imposition to eat at your dinner table or sleep on your sheets. He often has insisted that he be able to heat his can of Dinty Moore stew on your stove while you ate your separate dinner. If he accepted a bed to sleep on, he always spread his sleeping bag on it – never turned the covers. Rather than eat at your table he will insist on going out to dinner – on him. In the old days that meant taking you to Sizzler because, “They have a great salad bar”.

As a climber, he was as safe as any I’ve ever climbed with. He didn’t take chances with the weather. He always placed bombproof belay anchors and never trusted a single rappel anchor unless it was a tree or a new bolt. That’s not to say he ever rappelled off a questionable anchor. He did if he had to, but he still didn’t trust it.

TM’s ability as a climber relied heavily on his strength. For someone who never weighed more than 160 pounds he had incredible strength. I use the past tense because he has quit climbing and working in Patagonia’s shipping department is not like working out at the gym. He quit climbing when his eyes got so bad he had trouble focusing on the holds and climbing with glasses was out of the question. Last time I saw him I noticed his hearing aids and listened to his complaints of dwindling strength. If you’ve ever experienced the firm grasp of your wrist by an adamant TM Herbert, then you know how insistent he can be. I would guess that at his age he’s still relatively strong, but he’s not up to his old standards and that means he can’t do what he used to do – climb.

Discussion of his incredible strength brings to mind one of TMs few winter mountaineering excursions. It was 1969. Yvon Chouinard, Doug Tompkins, TM Herbert, Bill Lang, Eric Rayson, and I spent about a week in the Northern Selkirks of Canada. We did a little climbing, but before making any attempts we warmed up on easy terrain with some snow and ice practice. On a steep, firm snow slope, we practiced self arrests. TM had very little experience in this venture and on his first running start he flung himself at high speed down the slope. In a fruitless attempt at rolling onto his axe and plunging the pick into the snow, he gave up and while descending at breakneck speed, he rolled onto his back and with his right arm outstretched, ice axe gripped firmly, he plunged the spike of the shaft into the snow and came to an immediate arm wrenching stop. How anyone could have maintained a grip on the shaft under such circumstances still boggles my mind. But then I remember his firm grasp on my wrist and I understand.

Thank god TM doesn’t have a computer and probably never will (did I say he was stubborn?) Unless someone, maybe his eldest, shows him this stuff, he’ll get it all word-of-mouth, subject to the usual inaccuracies. So I’ll always be able to claim that it was not quite what I said or that I didn’t say it at all.

So to finish up this brief series, there’s the time I and Susie Condon went to Baja with the Herbert family. We were all packed into his Chevy Suburban or International Travelall or whatever - TM, with his crewcut, Susie with her very blond hair, Jan with her infant son in her arms, and clean-shaven me along with chaise lounges, coolers, boxes of food, water containers, camping stove, sleeping bags, and tents. We went as far south as San Felipe and had a wonderful trip. On the return, as we were passing through the border station out of Tijuana, the border guards, for God knows what reason pulled us over. If there was ever a more straight-laced looking group, I couldn’t imagine it. Herbert was flabbergasted. Why me? Look I’m an American, a veteran, a father, an upright citizen. Why me?

All to no avail, they took everything out of the car and then began taking the inside side panels off. They used mirrors under the fenders and the frame. In all we were delayed over an hour. When they finished looking they said, “Okay, you can put it all back together now.” Then it took us another half hour to put the panels back on and reload the car.

The entire 125 mile trip back to Los Angeles was a non-stop Herbert tirade. The language was colorful and descriptive. The adjectives flowed eloquently from TM’s lips. I had never heard the Border Patrol described in so many different ways – all derogatory. I had no idea Nixon’s parentage was so questionable. I learned that there was a conspiracy against all of us with its protagonists firmly entrenched in Washington, D.C. And finally, when we arrived in LA I was totally surprised to learn that the Border Patrol hadn’t found a pot stash some unknown friend had left in TM’s glove compartment - a remnant from a party at which TM was the designated driver.



neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jan 19, 2010 - 10:38pm PT
hey there say, to each and every one of you all, thanks for all these wonderful shares, that i may now know who this is...

wonderful things, shared here!! ...
much appreaciation for the shares about TM herbert, and appreaciation
OF HIM, too:
Credit: neebee

wow, thanks so very much for sharing about your friend...
god bless...
:)

rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Jan 19, 2010 - 11:13pm PT
Mr. Lauria....regarding the whillans story...correct me if i'm wrong as i'm recounting this ancedote from a story TM shared with me while under the duress of a high stress carpentry project , but TM is leading some crack climb ? Braille book? 5.8 ? and he's about to hammer an angle in on the lead and this toxic vibe floats up from the belayer , Whillans , who quips in a guilt inducing british accent ; you OT NOT be doing that...TM's imitation seemed pretty authentic and conveyed the fear that Whillans must have instilled in his partners...?
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Jan 20, 2010 - 12:22am PT
Great Stories!
rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Jan 20, 2010 - 01:01am PT
TM is in the big city , on the freeway , driving solo in the diamond lane....a cop pulls TM over to write him a citation and points out to TM that he is driving in the diamond lane....TM bewildered , looks at the cop and responds....... diamonds?
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jan 20, 2010 - 01:21am PT
TM told me a story about how he almost died, many times over.

He was having an especially active climbing season in Tuolumne back in the swami belt era, and at the end of a busy day he was sitting at a picnic table having a beer, as per usual, only this time he found himself absent mindedly picking at some tape on his 1 inch tubular swami.

He was horrified to find the damn thing was actually two separate pieces of webbing butted together beneath the tape. He reckoned he bought it off the roll like that, and had used it for a couple of months.

That was BITD when "the leader never falls", but TM's extra expressive face showed the astonishment he experienced when he told me the story. Too funny!

I'm glad he's still with us and look forward to seeing him again.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 20, 2010 - 01:34am PT
Okay Rotten John, I've don't remember that Whillans story. You ought not do that coming from Whillans would shake up most of us. Is there more to the story?
rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Jan 20, 2010 - 11:10am PT
Don...that's all there was to the whillans story....there were plenty of lunch time stories about southwest climbing trips and trucks stuck in the quicksand and TM's renditions of country western songs. TM's layed back personality, stories and humor annoyed the hell out of the overly serious boss. Finally TM had had enough of the guy who was now crying and on the verge of a breakdown..TM raised both of his hands and waved them towards the boss as if to say , " phooey " , then got in his beige toyota truck and drove off.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 17, 2010 - 12:45pm PT
Tough Mutha Bump!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 11, 2011 - 01:48am PT
For a wonderful and enlightening of portrayal of Mr Herbert Sir, written by Lauria, check out the winter 2010/2011 edition of The Backside of Beyond, the Bardini Newsletter. The winter edition was dedicated to John Fischer.

For that matter check out all the previous editions of the Bardini Newsletter!

http://bardini.org/Newsletters/Backside29.pdf
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jan 11, 2011 - 02:19am PT
TM and I climbed some route down below Reed's. I can't remember what i...
TM and I climbed some route down below Reed's. I can't remember what it was called, but about 5.10. We had done MidTerm earlier in the day, and TM kept moaning, as he led up into that dark deep squeeze chimney of Midterm, "Never again to see the light."
Credit: Patrick Oliver

Later, on that route below Reed's, TM was into Kor and at a hard move would say, "Ohh nyyyo, I'm coming off. We're both going to die."
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 13, 2011 - 09:12pm PT
Classic photo Pat! There's that amazing mug again...
mctwisted

Social climber
superslacker city
May 13, 2011 - 09:18pm PT
i just have to throw this pic of t.m. in!
i just have to throw this pic of t.m. in!
Credit: mctwisted
ya gotta love this guy!
Guck

Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
May 13, 2011 - 09:40pm PT
Two or three years ago (senile memory), while leading the second pitch of South Crack on Stately Pleasure Dome, I heard a gentle "Please excuse me for a minute." I just had time to turn around to see two shoes right by my nose, dancing up the rock. On the outside was written "TM Herbert." I did not even have time to see the face of this "old" man soloeing the crack! He gave me hope that in a short few years, when I reach the tender age of 70, I will be half as good as he was then. What an inspiration! TM, keep on dancing!
mctwisted

Social climber
superslacker city
May 14, 2011 - 08:00pm PT
karrine,sue and t.m. behind the mountaineering school in tuolumne
karrine,sue and t.m. behind the mountaineering school in tuolumne
Credit: mctwisted
mctwisted

Social climber
superslacker city
May 14, 2011 - 08:03pm PT
yms campfire
yms campfire
Credit: mctwisted
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 14, 2011 - 08:09pm PT
How is, Grampa these days?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 14, 2011 - 08:22pm PT
We are hoping that he is able to make it to the 50th anniversary gathering for the first ascent of the Salathe Wall this coming October 22 in Yosemite.

T.M. was involved in an attempt to do a continuous ascent with Royal and Tom Frost in 1962. Both Royal and T M caught a debilitating stomach bug after a couple of days up and they had to bail. Those classic Frost shots of him clowning around were taken on this attempt.

Later in the season Tom and Royal pulled it off in grand style going about as light as possible, sweaters and a bivi sack! They didn't even carry a camera!
mastadon

Trad climber
crack addict
May 14, 2011 - 09:09pm PT


Herbert in Tuolumne



TM and Ed Barry at a Camp 4 reunion



TM in his glory-with his grandkids

m_jones

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
May 15, 2011 - 01:12am PT
When I was about 13 my parents bought me a week long climbing class in Toulumne meadows (best birthday present ever!) I camped and every day would walk over to the climbing school for the days class. TM was our class instructor for the week. Showed us how much fun just climbing could be and was very entertaining. Pretty much set me on my path of having to be outside, enjoying the mountains and more importantly never feel like I had to have a real job - which I have never had.


And for that, I am forever thankful.

Cheers TM,

Max Jones
tom Carter

Social climber
May 15, 2011 - 06:12pm PT
Max, you and Ron both had TM for your first rock climbs - wow!

Here is a photo (I think it's Pinky's shot)

Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
May 15, 2011 - 06:23pm PT
Ran into lots of old friends
Ran into lots of old friends
Credit: Mike Bolte

August 2010

Dan - this is weird. I might have been there when you took those shots behind the gas station in the Mds. Fer sure one night Karrine, Sue and Herbert were sitting right there in that order and we talked about the expanding universe across the fire. He loves astronomy and knows a lot about it.
tom Carter

Social climber
May 16, 2011 - 05:24pm PT


Pinky's shot I think?

TC
tom Carter

Social climber
May 19, 2011 - 02:44pm PT
tom Carter

Social climber
May 20, 2011 - 04:03pm PT
Bump for Herbert!!!

Who once shouted up to me...

"You aree going to fall sooooo far you'll never hit the ground"!!!!!!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 19, 2012 - 12:50pm PT
T M for President in 2012!

Year of the Lighthorse Candidate! LOL
Silver

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Feb 19, 2012 - 12:58pm PT
I was just out at the Patagonia outlet and TM is still there working in the back.

When 426 and I did the 30 th anniversary accent of the Muir we went and saw TM. He told us the only thing he remembered was it was cold and wet.

TM gets my vote in 2012
Hankster

Social climber
Zakynthos
Feb 19, 2012 - 07:17pm PT
Back in the 90's I ended up in Tuolumne Meadows and wanted to do the Bachar/Yerian. The guidebook said almost nothing but "Bachar/Yerian 5.11c X, take a #4 friend". As info I thought this seemed sorta sparse but I ran into Tommy Herbert at the TM general store and borrowed a really old and crappy #4 friend from him. I thought since Tommy was famous and all his gear would be nicer but I took the friend and did the route wondering the whole time, where am I supposed to need a #4 friend on a 4 pitch face climb? When you show up to where you need the friend it is PAINFULLY obvious, and as I'm placing it I noticed TM Herbert is stamped on the stem of the friend and realized why this piece was so old and funky. It was his Fathers cam and I was giddy with even more excitement. Cornball story I know, but I was a Texas kid on the B/Y with a TM Herbert cam and I thought that was boss!!
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Feb 19, 2012 - 07:56pm PT
im big fan of his deviation,
Credit: Norwegian
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Feb 19, 2012 - 08:45pm PT
One of the funniest guys I ever climbed with.

He was quite comical and a very unique individual. I bet he really enjoys his grand-kids.
mctwisted

Trad climber
e.p.
Feb 19, 2012 - 10:12pm PT
TM for mayor of tuolumne, and president
Credit: hope
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
Feb 19, 2012 - 11:08pm PT
We used to run into TM in the Valley all the time in the 70's and 80's. At first he was leading Tommy up things but after a few years it was the other way around. Always the jokester. One time we were at Arch Rock and Kauk leads him up Leany Meanie and TM squeals the whole way up, although I might add that he followed it clean. Good times.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 19, 2012 - 11:14pm PT
1972 at my pad in the Santa Cruz mountains, standing in my "backyard" with Hennek and Herbert:

Herbert says" hey joe, have you ever seen a Cooper's Hawk around here?", I am just about ready to reply no, when in a flash and a crash, a Cooper's Hawk snatches a bird out of the hedge just in front of us. "Oh yeah TM, all the time!" Both TM and Hennek were avid birders.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Feb 19, 2012 - 11:17pm PT
TM gets pulled over on the freeway for driving solo in the diamond lane...The cop tells TM he needs another passenger if he is going to use the diamond lane...TM , perplexed , looks at the cop and says , diamonds..?
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Feb 19, 2012 - 11:28pm PT
TM and this other carpenter are on a roof standing on a piece of plywood-sheeting....The contractor informs TM that the sheet of plywood is off layout so TM reaches down and yanks the only nail holding the plywood to the rafters....Luckily the plywood didn't take off with TM and the other guy standing on it...
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Feb 20, 2012 - 01:29am PT
Nice shot Dan! Who are all these folks? I see Don R., Herbert, Joe D., Katie and a bunch of folks who I *know* I could remember their names with just a little nudge. Is that Mike Brown on the left?
426

climber
Feb 20, 2012 - 07:47pm PT
Lauria, Your "Letters from Herbert" absolutely should be scanned and put here! An all time favorite of climbing lit...

I have witnessed the wrath of TM when stuck behind land sharks on 120...didn't know about the "key" trick though, har har.


got some pics, let me fire up the four stroke scanner, brb...

edit: ought to change every chuck norris reference to TM
mctwisted

Trad climber
e.p.
Feb 20, 2012 - 08:14pm PT
mike
that big dude is bernie, super cool guy that runs the show up there in tuolumne (he does look like mike brown now that you mention it)
here's my best description with my ,less than good, memory
bernie/tm herbert/?/grant hiskes/?/chris echland/don reed.
?/joe denicola/?/doug nidiver/john shewchuk/holly/dan mcdevitt/dave lane
con severis/chad shepard/katie lambert/gorge ridgley/craig/hope wolf
hey is joe the guy to the right of tm? i should know the guy to the left of nidiver as he guides up there, but i spaced it. any help appreciated, (last names) thanks. ill update this list as i get more names
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 1, 2012 - 01:18pm PT
Tuff Mother Bump...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Apr 25, 2012 - 08:37pm PT
TM stories are usually worth reading. Letters, though, sounds like a gold mine, but there's no doubt some lurking fear in the shafts. It' probally ver' dark in dere.

But I dare you to do it if it's not that much effort.

I'm sure we can handle it.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 25, 2012 - 08:45pm PT
TM is a gold mine...full of weighty nuggets!

So is this thread!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Apr 26, 2012 - 02:03am PT
the first tm, Moby Dick Center: he strolled by the base as Mathis and I faffed (thanks, UJ) about on the change-over at the beginning of the second pitch. I don't remember his passing remark, but we laughed our asses off.

the second tm, the Pratt version of how to get to the summit of Fairview: my partner, Throwpie, and I bagged it because we just weren't gettin' it that aft, just too much difficulty for Bushmills drinkers, I guess. The man and his partner came down the last part of the walk-off and we asked where they had been and it was on Lucky Streaks (that old fart did Lucky Streaks and we can't do this?). tHE mASTER remarked a friendly remark, which is again forgotten in the mists of time.

the third tm, Mathis and I were waiting for Bardini to show up at his place in Bishoop: The Man lived next door to Alan. He came home from work and we had the nerve, the gall, the luck to have beer in quantity (by this time Mathis and TM were well-acquainted) and we coerced him into trying some. It turned into one of the best afternoons I ever spent. Again, I can't remember a single topic except women were discussed dispassionately and with respect, we may have even mentioned climbing. Ask TM next tm you see him.

Never a dull moment.

oh, my point? Same as in post #1. TM has his ego in his pocket. He gives everyone the encouragement they seek if they deserve it, and prolly it's because he was given the same by some qualified legend.

And he knows how to take a joke.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Apr 28, 2012 - 11:20am PT
Here, Bert. And Ernie. And Steve. Et al. From the boisterous boy himself:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=chouinard+yosemit&oq=chouinard&aq=f&aqi=&_l=youtube-psugges

N. Joy

tmm=tell me more, lots more.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 14, 2013 - 11:24pm PT
Cookie Monster Bump...
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 14, 2013 - 11:31pm PT
TM is one of my favorite people. He mentored me when i first arrived in Yosemite. Wonderful sense of humor and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. You would be hard pressed to find anyone, anywhere who had anything negative to say about TM.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 14, 2013 - 01:48pm PT
Somebody get TM to commit to come to the Oakdale Festival and talk about his awesome free climbing! Seriously...I wrote him a letter but he needs a poke in the ribs to come and have fun with us.

Reno folks- Give Mr. Herbert a prompting please.
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Sep 14, 2013 - 02:50pm PT
Herbert is delinquent for his weekly visit here in the Meadows, Steve, but I will ask him about your event in Oakdale when and if he shows.
Badges??? We don't need no stinking badges!!!
Badges??? We don't need no stinking badges!!!
Credit: Walleye
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Sep 14, 2013 - 03:46pm PT
Had the occasion to run into him climbing twice round Tahoe. Quick wit, and a gentleman of Obvious quality.. "wow,, that was TM HERBERT"....
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 17, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
Somebody go tug on TM's gear loops and get his attention!
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Sep 21, 2013 - 11:32pm PT
Fourth of July, 2013
Fourth of July, 2013
Credit: Walleye
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 2, 2013 - 02:29pm PT
Still trying to get TM on board for Oakdale.

Reno folks please give TM a poke in the ribs and get him to come and talk about his awesome free climbing.

I wrote him a letter and haven't heard back.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Oct 2, 2013 - 02:31pm PT
Stevie, I assume it will take an intervention. How about working on Dr Tommy first?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 2, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
Mimi and I have been discussing that angle.

I will give it a try.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Aug 19, 2014 - 09:00pm PT
TM Aug 17, 2014
TM Aug 17, 2014
Credit: Mike Bolte
Rankin

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
Aug 19, 2014 - 09:27pm PT
TM !!!! :D
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Aug 20, 2014 - 07:08am PT
TM, cantankerous and kind. Legend, master, and Dad.
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
Aug 20, 2014 - 07:28am PT
Another thing I remember about TM in the late 70's and 80's is you would often see him at the base of La Cosita with and array of young coeds. A different one each time. A lady's man it seemed!
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Aug 20, 2014 - 07:42am PT
Funny TM story.

I had broken my leg in the valley and was hitching back to Bishop to recoup in Round Valley. Deuce gave me a ride to the meadows and I was going to nab a ride from Dale and Bobbie from there to Bishop.

So I hit the store and buy a big jug of wine and other assorted goodies. The wine helped the Vicodan.

So I am on crutches, barely hanging onto this bag of booze and stuff, desperately trying not to drop it.

TM and sons walk by and he goes,

"Damnit Tommy! Look at that guy! Go give him a hand!"

So Tommy carried my booze back into the campground for me. He must have been 12 or so.
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Aug 20, 2014 - 03:11pm PT
The only time I've ever known TM to be rendered speechless was when he and I climbed the Dike Route on Piwiack Dome in Tuolumne in 1971. He was full of his usual good natured if sometimes biting banter until I inadvertently (stupidly? blindly? foggy-mindedly?) by-passed two bolts on an already run out lead and was looking at one of those long falls it's best not to think too much about. TM was completely silent for what seemed like an eternity to me, and, I assume, TM, until I clipped into the anchors with even more enjoyment than listening to one of TM's stories.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 27, 2014 - 12:19pm PT
Happy Turkey Day as this guy isn't one!
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Nov 27, 2014 - 05:24pm PT
He's the best.
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Nov 27, 2014 - 08:54pm PT
Thanks for starting this, Wild Bill! No one ever deserved an appreciation thread more - and I know he’d respond to that statement with a dry and incredibly hilarious one-liner.

When he was guiding in the meadows BITD he was so much fun and so absolutely solid that you knew that any clients that you sent out with him would be perfectly safe and come back smiling.

TM would have made an incredible standup comic. Hell, he WAS a standup comic, besides being one of the nicest guys I’ve met.

We were both on a great rescue on Clyde Minaret and TM was about to be lowered a long way handling the litter. (YOSAR History thread) I made some worried comment about loose rock and he said something like, “Hell, I’ll just catch ‘em and crush ‘em.)

Here’s to TM. One of the best. And thanks for posting all the great stories!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 27, 2014 - 09:05pm PT
Thanks, Wayne. You missed TM's family last year at OCF. Happy Turkey Day to you and Cindy, too!

MFM

Part of Clan Herbert.
Part of Clan Herbert.
Credit: mouse from merced
Masters of Stone.
Masters of Stone.
Credit: mouse from merced
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