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oldtopangalizard

Social climber
ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 15, 2006 - 05:37am PT
Last weekend the family went on a reunion trip to Disneyland. It was a great time, especially for the 3-6 year old first timers. While I was there I thought back to a day at Suicide many years ago.
In '78 or '79 after climbing Hernia, The Plague or one of the cracks in the area, I joined a group in conversation at the base of the rock. The crew included JL and 3 or 4 climbers I did not know. After partaking in a bit of chatter, I agreed to take off with one of the climbers to Clam Chowder.
I believe his name was Sean. On the climb he told me he had just quit his job as a Matterhorn Climber at Disneyland. He said it was fun for a day or two, but after 2 months couldn't take it any more. After the descent, I never saw him again.
Any Disneyland climbers out there with harrowing tales to tell?
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 15, 2006 - 08:18am PT
Worked at the Tragic Kingdom and climbed the "mighty Matterhorn" for a very short time in the early 70s. No harrowing tales (well, except tourist's acting in the typical manner of tourists).

The thing was filthy (smog, dust and bird poop), slightly vibrated (from ride operations), suffered from the constant noise of screams, recorded wind and other sounds, and had a large open area above the ride where you could actually shoot hoops. The lederhosen outfit with red turtlenecks was a bit funky. Nice to have tic'ed it as a "climbing area," but it either appealed as a job (or not).
Dapper Dan

climber
an 89' honda accord
Dec 15, 2006 - 08:22am PT
Yes i know the Sean you are talking about, he taught a climbing class at Fullerton Junior College. He told me about climbing the Matterhorn , he said it wasn't too bad , there are some 5.10 routes on one side of it, it was sport bolted and everything....
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Dec 15, 2006 - 08:33am PT
hey sketchy- most importantly-- did the job help you get laid?

i mean, tourist girls flock to mountain climbers, right?
ol one eye

Trad climber
south lake tahoe,ca
Dec 15, 2006 - 01:56pm PT
I worked there for mmm... six months in 73. Met Fred East there. We caused much mahem, actually had lots of fun there. Supposed first free ascent of the overhang, at 5.7? And when they closed the mountain for maintenance, we climbed the waterfall area at 5.9,5.10? did a three pitch circumnavigation of the mountain also. It's true, the holds are dirty, sometimes covered with bird sh#t, but I had to laugh -I was getting PAID to be there! You had to climb and rappel once an hour, but no one really kept track. So, we would go out in the park looking for mischief. Bouldered on Tom Sawyers Island, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, wandered over to New Orleans to listen to jazz. Much fun. In the mountain, above the ride, is a huge floor with a b-ball hoop, picnic table, and a wide staircase that gets you to the top( for Tinkerbell). One day, we took one of our old ropes, some sling, climbed to the top of the stairs, rigged an anchor , and hung the rope down the center of the staircase. Then ,with a LARGE knot in the rope about ten feet off the floor below , we clipped into the single strand with our rappel device- six-biner break at the time - put on our asbestos-lined gloves, and let go. I know from this that ropes really do stretch! and the fall was so cool. All in all, not a bad gig. And after six to eight raps a day, I got pretty comfy rapping off anything.
Indianclimber

climber
Las Vegas
Dec 15, 2006 - 02:43pm PT

Basketball court in the Matterhorn
Tahoe climber

climber
Texas to Tahoe
Dec 16, 2006 - 12:06pm PT
That dude rappelling is sporting some classic rappelling socks.
Awesome.
Are those Smartwool?
oldtopangalizard

Social climber
ca
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 17, 2006 - 05:43am PT
Mickey on belay, hidden hoops court. Great stuff, that's what I wanted to hear about.
Slabmonger

climber
Dec 17, 2006 - 04:50pm PT
Saw this Matterhorn basketball hoop shot on another forum that's kind of funny:

TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 17, 2006 - 05:07pm PT
Anybody know the whereabouts of Scott Little? An ex Materhornista.


Wonder

climber
WA
Dec 17, 2006 - 07:22pm PT
Hey ol one eye, is that you edgar? I wondered if someone from your group would should show up. wheres Fred?

Edit: tell about how you guys had to wear the costumes and Fred was Dopey.
Chaz

Trad climber
So. Cal.
Dec 17, 2006 - 07:33pm PT
This is bitchen.

If stuff like this thread showed up in ClimbingRock'n'IceMagazine I would still be a subscriber.
George

Ice climber
Los Alamos, NM
Dec 18, 2006 - 07:57am PT
If I remember correctly, Climbing or Rock and Ice published an article on the climbers who worked at Disney in the early to mid 90's. It even included a mini guide to the climbs.
Indianclimber

climber
Las Vegas
Dec 18, 2006 - 08:50am PT
Mickey at the crux
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p90sW7nmm7Q
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Dec 18, 2006 - 09:23am PT
I worked with a guy at Sport Chalet in La Canada back in 1986-1987, back when people who worked in the mountain shop actually climbed and used the equipment they sold and didn't tell people a dry rope was for climbing in the rain. Anyway his name was Patrick Stutzenacker or something like that. Anyone know him?

Those were fun times in the shop, never at a loss for people to climb with. Davis Lee Roth would come in and buy up the shop every once in awhile as well as Mike Hoover and his late wife Bev Johnson. Good memories.
ol one eye

Trad climber
south lake tahoe,ca
Dec 18, 2006 - 09:25am PT
Hey, Wonder. What's up? Yea, as "swiss alpinists",we were part of the character dept. So in the winter ,when they cut back climbing to weekends, we got into other costumes. I played Goofey(only shoes that fit),Brer Bear, and once Fred & I were Col. Hattie (elephant from jungle books for those unknowing few) in the parade. I took the front half.
Also spent a lot of time at Rob Muir's shop in Newport Beach. High speed, single strand rappels eight times a day fried the sheath, melted it. And the sheath stretched so much that we had to keep cutting off the end. Those ropes lasted only three weeks in the summer. So, we'd tell our boss we needed new gear, and he'd send us to the beach. And since the climbing store was SO close to pirates cove, we had to have a bit of bouldering.
Not a bad gig, looking back. Climb the Matterhorn during the week, and Tahquitz on weekends. Pay sucked though.
The Wretch

Trad climber
Forest Knolls, CA
Dec 18, 2006 - 11:23am PT
I was a Disneyland Matterhorn climber in 1962. More fun, though, were my stints as Practical Pig of the Three Little Pigs, Doc of the Seven Dwarfs, and Gideon the Cat from Pinocchio. I have since told many great stories around the campfire about these days.
RockDoctor

Trad climber
Bixby, OK
Dec 18, 2006 - 03:44pm PT
I'll join in on this one. I climbeed the Matterhorn from 1966-68. Fred Burri (the Disneyland yodler) was my gymnastic coach at MTSAC and knew I was a climber and asked if I be interested in a job climbing the Matterhorn. What a hoot; get paid and had a place to study. I free climb (unroped the overhang in 68, along with many ot the other routes. My climbing partners over the years include John Atherton, Scott Little (where are you), Lyle Shook and a few other I can't remember. Most of my climbing was at Big Rocks, Tahquitz, Yosemite, Bitterroots (Montana). I've also had the opportunity to boulder several time in Fontainbleau, France (mainly an excuse to work up a sweat so we could do wine and cheese).
JMC

climber
Tucson
Dec 18, 2006 - 06:54pm PT
Kevin,
I know (knew?) Pat Sturzenacker, haven't seen him for, shoot, 7 years or so. His folks probably still live in South Pasadena if you want to track him down. If you remember Pat, you probably know another occasional poster to this site, X15X15.

On an unrelated note, thanks for the Strawberry Peak topo and info you faxed me last spring - I had a blast dealing with the loose rock and unknown up there this summer. I didn't care for the biting gnats, however.

-John Canby
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Dec 18, 2006 - 07:04pm PT
Bump the great thread again! Thanks for sharing your stories!
Wonder

climber
WA
Dec 18, 2006 - 07:13pm PT
So you & I are still alive ...
wheres Greg & Fred?
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 18, 2006 - 07:54pm PT
I went to high school with Scott Little We were both on the wrestling team. He one of the stars. Me one of the supporting cast. He wrestled in two weight classes back to back most matches and was so fast that his primary tactic was to try an attack on an opponent and if it didn't imediately suceed run the sequence in reverse to the starting position and try something else. It was like watching a tape on rewind and start over. Most of his opponents were completely baffled by his speed.

I nearly killed him when I dislodged about a 8 ft long icicle on a little ice climbing adventure on the back side of Baldy up Lytle Creek. It plunked down not two feet from him.



Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Dec 18, 2006 - 08:46pm PT
John Canby,

Who is X15X15? The other guys I worked and climbed with were Tony Melichi and Chuck Blackwell. What was Pat up to the last time you saw him?

Strawberry Peak is a a real adventure climb. Did you find a yellow TCU up there?

Kevin Mokracek
JMC

climber
Tucson
Dec 18, 2006 - 10:50pm PT
Batrock,

I don't want to blow x15-times 2's cover, so I'll let your fire him an email. First name Phil, though.
Chuck Blackwell is a helluva guy, haven't seen him in a few years either.
Strawberry Peak - no yellow TCU, but we did strip off a dozen bail biners, and a near-perfect #2.5 friend. One our first trip there, we had a good time bushwacking up the center line, descending the gully to the east, then hiking out in July temperatures. We each lost 30 or 40 pounds from dehydration, and had so much fun, we decided to go back again, and again...

Oh, and back on track with the house of mouse,
The last time I saw Pat, he was pimping and hustling wine and spirits for some distributor (but I don't think he does that anymore). Married, living in Orange Country.
Wonder

climber
WA
Dec 19, 2006 - 08:58pm PT
Hey John Edgar, come back!!!!

Don't make me come up there!!!

I need to look up my friends Peter Minks & Nic 43.

do you know these guys?
peaks2paddles

Mountain climber
Avon, Co
Dec 19, 2006 - 09:42pm PT
Awsome thread!!!!!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 19, 2006 - 09:57pm PT
Wonderful world of Disney
Climbing 144, p48 (May 1 - June 15, 1994)
by Gary Arce

Think back for a moment to the late 1950s - Dwight Eisenhower occupied the White House, Alaska was in the process of becoming the 48th state, real climbers wielded mighty piton hammers and the top free climbing level was 5.9. Mountaineers from the U.S. and Italy celebrated their respective first ascents of the Karakoram giants Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum IV. Two young climbers from California, Royal Robbins and Warren Harding, were pushing the limits of big wall climbing. It was a time of adventure.

But while the elite climbers focused on grand projects in the great ranges of the world, a quiet revolution was underway in a very unlikely place. Among the orange groves of Anaheim, California, a small army of workers was constructing an immense mountain and a sprawling theme park. When completed, the artificial peak would become one of the first climbing walls in the world, built decades before the rock gyms of Snowbird or Emmeryville. The fantastic dream of Walt Disney, to build an innovative new roller-coaster within a huge man-made mountain, became a stunning success. The park is now known as Disneyland, and the mountain, of course, is the Matterhorn.

Rising 14 stories, Walt Disney's Matterhorn is a grand monument to engineering wizardry and artistic vision. A total of 2175 steel beams provide the internal framework for the hollow structure. Thousands of cubic yards of concrete were painstakingly molded over this 500-ton framework, to form the world-renowned landmark of the Magic Kingdom. The mountain and its roller coaster were officially opened on June 24, 1959.

The total construction cost was $1.5 million, a considerable sum back then, but Disney spared no expense. He wanted the mountain to be a spectacular and exact 1/100-scale model of its famous namesake in the Alps. "Walt had a special feeling for outdoor mountain sports such as skiing and mountaineering," explains Jimmie Payton, climbing supervisor at Disneyland. "So when he had the structure designed, he made sure that the engineers took the time to study the real Matterhorn to replicate it as closely as possible."

In addition, Disney envisioned having employees who were also climbers make regular forays up the mountain to entertain visitors. Although fewer than 50 people have ever made the unique ascent, a close-knit group of 13 Disneyland employees now climb the miniature mountain every year.

A surprisingly large number of routes have been put up. "We've got about 50 different routes," says Disney climber Steve VanVoorhis. "There's some low-angle stuff and good cracks, and some really cool overhanging jugs. And it's fairly slick because the upper part of the mountain is painted to look like snow. So there's a big difference between what you can friction on here, and what you can smear at Josh."

Established routes include Fear Again (5.4), the Italian (5.8), the Overhang Direct (5.9), Swiss Miss (5.9+), Levanthian (5.12a), and Stars and Stripes (5.12b). In addition, the vibrations caused by the roller coaster cars racing through the Matterhorn every 15 seconds add to the challenge of each climb, making the 5.12 dynos off micro holds a bit sketchy.

The most popular routes are those which reach the top of the structure. "I love doing those upper routes," says Ingrid Chlup, one of the two women climbers in the group. "You get a lot of people waving at you up there and cheering, especially on the Overhang."

The climbers use quick draws to clip huge steel bolts, originally used to support the construction scaffolding. How good are those bolts? "They've got to be three feet long," laughs VanVoorhis. "They go inside the mountain and are anchored to the beams. They're pretty bomber."

Two pairs of climbers typically climb the Matterhorn during the summer season. The two teams alternate by climbing for one hour and the resting one hour. Since this translates into about 80 ascents per month, a little imagination is needed to prevent boredom. VanVoorhis explains, "We try and think of different ways to make each day interesting. For example, one day we'll do a circuit of all the hard routes, trying to hit all the 5.11s and 5.12s, or we'll do easier routes without using certain holds. So that keeps it fun."

The Disneyland climbers' enthusiasm for the job is perhaps only equalled by their excitement for new routes. "When the ride goes down for 'rehab' [annual maintenance] that's when we on a big hunt for new stuff," says VanVoorhis. "It's a friendly competition. Sometimes we'll walk around the mountain during the breaks, scope different lines, and plan for the future."

The most obvious lines have already been done, so the routes of tomorrow will certainly be more tenuous and blank. One particular 5.12+ project has repelled the climbers' best efforts for the past six months, but they remain confident the moves will be worked out.
oldtopangalizard

Social climber
ca
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 20, 2006 - 03:42am PT
Good job digging that up Ed.
Anastasia

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Dec 20, 2006 - 06:04am PT
I've met a few "Disneyland climbers..." They are a great group who are wise enough to get paid for climbing on weekends.
Thanks Aaron for wearing a similar outfit for Halloween. I am still smiling...
AF

oldtopangalizard

Social climber
ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 19, 2007 - 04:55am PT
Who had the better jump shot, Mickey or Goofy?
Dynoho

Sport climber
Huntington Beach, CA
Jan 19, 2007 - 10:43am PT
Just out of curiosity....

Does anyone know the pay for this position? Also, what is the skill requirement? I've never paid attention, but I do not recall seeing a belay. I thought they were basically walking up some steps.
Norcalnick

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
Nov 27, 2007 - 02:38pm PT
Hey, those two pics up there are me! The one of me and goofy were taken of my myspace page. There is another close up on the over hang on there if anyone is interested http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=19484536
It was definitely the best job I have ever had. We had lots of fun. Climbing, naps... Well that is mostly what I remember really. I had a hammock up there. It was a great job if you like to party. You could go to work skip the climbers breakfast and catch up on some much needed zee's from the night before. But it wasnt all fun and games, in 2006 we had a really nasty termite infestation up there. You would be sleeping and then something would start crawling over your eyelid. It was nasty. Plus it was like 100 degrees. Hot weather and bugs can make one pretty irritable. The guy that teaches the climbing class is not named Sean, it is Steve. The job paid quite well towards the end. (Since there was hazzard pay) I was at the bottom of the pay scale since I was the newbie. I joined the group in 05. Some of us were making more than the people that managed us. The summer of 06 I was climbing everyday. Sometimes 6 days a week. I had no time to get out to Tahquitz. Neither did my buddy Andy, who also worked there. One day we had it. We decided to grab our climbing shoes from the mountain and run up to Tahqz after work. We drove the 2.5 hour drive and got to the parking lot of the mountain around 9 or so. Then we got the base at ten. We decided to climb the maiden. Short and easy. (We both had to work the next day) I think we climbed it and got back to the car around 1 or 2. Then we drove back to Anaheim and slept in the locker room until the shift started. (And then we clocked in, and slept a little more)
Norcalnick

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
Nov 27, 2007 - 02:40pm PT
First off, there were no steps on the outside of the mountain. It was always real climbing. Although sometimes it was quite easy. As for the skill requirements. You had to be a trad climber, climbing at least 5.9 outdoors. You also needed to have multipitch experience. And you need to be really easy to be with. Everyone up in the mountain was really laid back. If you dont mesh with the group, you usually didnt get hired. Or you didnt last long.
Biggred35

climber
OC, CA
Dec 13, 2007 - 02:59pm PT
My uncle was the first to climb the Matterhorn at Disneyland. He has a picture on the wall from the LA times back in the day. I will have to borrow it and see how it looks when scanned.
His name is Jim/James Crary.
Captain...or Skully

Trad climber
North of the Owyhees
Dec 30, 2008 - 09:11pm PT
Disney bump...
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
May 11, 2009 - 07:02pm PT
I was just at Disneyland yesterday and was thinking if anyone had climbed that beast, cool stuff.


Don't let go

Trad climber
Yorba Linda, CA
May 11, 2009 - 07:30pm PT
Is anyone still climbing there? I would really like to get an opprotunity to go up it. I am a Disney fan and would love to make that memory. Any insight on how to get to go up? I heard that they use to have try outs but have not heard any news of even that in the last few years. Thank you.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 12, 2009 - 11:25am PT
Back in 1985, I climbed it while finishing up as an undergrad at UCLA. First just on weekends then full-time in the summer. It was a blast.

At that time, the climbing program had been shelved for a good five years or more but was being resumed for the Park's 35th anniversary. The person who claimed they climbed it in '82 may want to recheck their dates. There were four of us initially: Debbiy Gilchrist, Pete Morgan, myself and Keith Wing, the only one hired from within the park. Over the summer, three more folks were hired: a tall skinny guy named Jeff, a quiet redhead girl named Jane and a quiet skinny kid named Mike who never returned after going up to Santa Cruz for school.

Since no one had climbed the thing for a while, it was covered in lichen and dark, so the first job was just cleaning the thing to make it more climbable. The eventually hand and foot traffic helped alot but it was pretty grungy for several months. The backboard for the basketball hoop was still there but no hoop. I rehung the hoop but I'm not sure when the key was painted on because there wasn't any evidence of one at the time.

I thought it was a blast, but you kind of had to get in the mood for it. If you took yourself too seriously as a climber, you were toast. By this time, I had already spent summers in the Valley, climbed Half Dome, Zodiac, etc., but I still found it entertaining, way more so than the usual grunts jobs you get at that age.

Down time was spent sunbathing on top of the peak or trying new routes. We tr'ed stuff up to easy .12. At the time, the only route that had a name was the route you "auditioned" on, was the Fueriggen (5.4), after the ridge on the real peak, which we named the "Fear Again" since you could do it one-handed, blindfolded, etc. You had to mix it up to make it interesting. The best thing about the job was that no matter how crowded and chaotic the Park got, we remained above it all. As long as we did our 8 routes a day--half hour on, half hour off--we could whatever we wanted with our off time.

I'm surprised that the first magazine article to appear was that '94 Climbing piece. Jeff had written an article with route overlays, etc., that he sent to Rock and Ice that was actually a good little piece but got dinked obviously.

Sadly, all good things come to an end. I was finishing my last two classes, had already walked, and was going to take a year off and roadtrip before grad school. The day I was going to give me two week notice, I sneaked some beers into the mountain and we downed a cold one between routes. A couple we stashed in the rafters inside the mountain.

Last climb of the day before I was going to walk over to give my two week notice, I'm doing some pendulums back and forth. In mid arc, I'm running full speed, my foot snags on a bump and I suddenly stop with my knee locked straight. I hear this grim tearing sound and my right knee blows out to the side. Though this was now 25 yrs. ago, that memory is as vivid as what I did this morning. I hang onto my line and hop off on my good leg while my other one is hanging out of joint. Long story short, my knee gets rebuilt twice over the following year and a half. Right when I'm getting to the point where I can start climbing again, I start law school and am tied up for the next three years.

Occasionally I get back there with the kids, who are 3 and 5. I tell them I used to climb that big mountain. Every time I look at it, I think "I gotta go back and get my beers."
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
May 12, 2009 - 11:47am PT
like that 'gotta go back for the beers'
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 12, 2009 - 12:00pm PT
this is an awesome thread I missed. Sounds like lots of memories.

cool stuff.
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
May 12, 2009 - 12:13pm PT
As a lurker, this is why I love this site. Such cool stories.
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
May 12, 2009 - 12:25pm PT




Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Nov 17, 2009 - 01:17pm PT
bump for crosslink to Dick Erb's Matterhorn story:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1004066&msg=1013238#msg1013238
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 17, 2009 - 04:29pm PT
There are many interesting bits of Disneyland Matterhorn history interwoven into American rockclimbing. This wild 147 foot tall feature opened in June 14,1959 within the first four years of the world famous amusement park is also a peculiar piece of Americana and in a crazy fun way, a site-specific somewhat interactive folk art installation. It straddles Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.

Notable facts:

(1) It was the first thrill ride in Disneyland.
(2) It was the world’s first tubular steel track roller coaster
(3) It was the first coaster with multiple cars on the same track by virtue of the new design of individual braking ones
(4) Until the sixties and seventies, it was the tallest structure in Orange County.

The seminal idea for the mountain was conceived by Walt himself during his visits to the on-site filming of THIRD MAN ON THE MOUNTAIN in Switzerland. It was also much needed to disguise a giant pylon supporting the Skyway and also to rid the park of a nuisance: the moat excavation for Sleeping Beauty Castle, an earlier feature, had caused a giant dirt pile to develop in this spot where teenagers were able to continue their activities unsupervised! It had become a “lover’s lane” and was known for awhile as Holiday Hill. It then went into planning on Walt’s return, with Bob Gurr being the principal designer. The structure was built by American Bridge, WED Imagineering, and Arrow Development later named Arrow Dynamics). The bolts on the surface of the structure were initially established for maintenance and painting but quickly became part of the climbing activities, using Chuck Wilts initially to establish them, anchoring them to the steel substructure.

The climbing activities served the very good purpose of entertaining the long lines of waiting patrons. Sometimes back then their waits could be 4 hours to ride the coasters.

The feature has had several remodels of various types, most notably finishing out the interior portions into “ice caves and tunnels” and the installation of an abominable snowman named Harold and a couple dioramas, most notably the “Wells expedition”, an homage to the late Frank Wells, the chief operating officer and President of Disney killed in that terrible helicopter crash of Ruby Mt Heliski that killed Bev Johnson, pilot Dave Walton and the guide Paul Scannell. The copter flamed out due to a design defect of that Bell model. Wells had been a Rhodes Scholar and nearly bagged the much-desired “Seven Summits” of the seven continents, a story that Ridgeway helped him write about. Clint Eastwood had left on an earlier helicopter that day and inadvertently escaped involvement.

The “mountain” has several doors that climbers use in the vicinity of the 5th story staging area: The Italian Door, Walts Ledge Door and the Iger Window named after Bob Iger a past Disney CEO.

An amazing internet site for more info is: http://davelandweb.com/matterhorn/
Another one is: http://www.yesterland.com/oldmatterhorn.html

Credit: Peter Haan
Credit: Peter Haan
Credit: Peter Haan
Credit: Peter Haan
Credit: Peter Haan

Credit: Peter Haan
Credit: Peter Haan

Credit: Peter Haan

And a shot of the fabled 5th floor staging area and the basketball hoop:

Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Nov 17, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
Very cool info and photos, Peter…

My Dad was a Disney Imagineer from ’58 until he retired in ’80. Hired by Walt, and rose very high in the company under Walt, then Roy’s tenure. Later he ran model shop in the 70’s and had to run herd over 100 + artists. As a kid, I got to check out rides-in-progress (Pirates, Haunted Mansion, etc), plus walked the scaffolding inside the Matterhorn. Free tickets = visits galore. So of course when I became a climber, I asked Dad to get me the gig climbing the Matterhorn. He did not want to pull rank, so it never came to pass...
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 17, 2009 - 05:14pm PT
Fun thread!

http://disney.go.com/disneycareers/disneyland/
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 17, 2009 - 05:20pm PT
Cool shots, Peter!

I wonder where Mickey Mouse got the BLACK Mickey Mouse Boots?!? LOL
TripL7

Trad climber
'dago
Nov 17, 2009 - 05:20pm PT
Sounds like a cool job, haven't read all the post...maybe someone already asked this question! Was anyone ever tempted, say on there last day, to take a big ole rip-in screamer? Sound effects and all(staged of course).
Rudder

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
Nov 17, 2009 - 07:13pm PT
Ah! Never saw this thread! I saw an ad in the paper for a job climbing the Matterhorn at Disneyland in, oh about, '90? I applied and got to "test" for the job... had to wear the outfit and everything. lol Lead up the 5.2 and the 5.9 (they called it) over the overhang. They liked me, asked me what I was used to making, I told them, never heard from them. lol

I had a head cold that day, and the noise inside the basketball/table area was giving me a raging headache... but I still managed to talk nice to all the character disney geeks, headache and all. :)
TripL7

Trad climber
'dago
Nov 17, 2009 - 08:04pm PT
Rudder!

When you were leading up the 5.2-5.9, didn't you get the impulse, just a slight, or maybe overwhelming desire to let out a gut curdling/heart wrenching "Falling Aaaaaaa......!! Just to shake things up a little??

Am I the only that is this sick or what??
Rudder

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
Nov 18, 2009 - 03:06am PT
Yeah, Trip, the thought did cross my mind. lol Especially with those big ol' anchors which they had me attach lockers to rather than standard biners. :O

L7? Is that for square? lol
crossman04

Trad climber
san diego, ca
Nov 18, 2009 - 03:49am PT
very cool thread. next time I go to Disneyland i'll look at the Matterhorn a little differently now.
Pate

Trad climber
The Lost Highway
Nov 18, 2009 - 06:15am PT
The Wretch seems to be the earliest Matterhorn climber at 1962. Is there any way that The Matterhorn could be considered the first "gym", a completely man made climbing spot (Fiberglas?)? '62 is a long long time ago to be "pulling plastic"!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 18, 2009 - 06:29am PT
Pate,

It is a steel substructure, plywood over that, wire-cage reinforced mortar concrete over that and then painted, making it slippery. Pretty much it was Chuck Wilts, Pate, that was the firs as he set the anchors, and Dick Erb and his sidekick Jim Crarey were the first hires for climbers.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Nov 18, 2009 - 07:20am PT
I did some climbing with Dick Erb at J Tree about 8 years ago. He told some Matterhorn stories. Here is one I remember:
Dick was up on the Matterhorn and he noticed some kid down below figured out that he could push over one of the seven dwarves and the dwarf would fall to the ground. The people in the dwarf outfits had their arms inside the costumes. So the kid progressed to pushing over all of the dwarves. A few minutes later the dwarves had surrounded the kid and were kicking him. Imagine getting mugged by a dwarf at Disneyland.
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Nov 18, 2009 - 08:14am PT
Hi Alan - You are stimulating my memories of those Disneyland Characters who wandered around all day in costumes adding atmosphere to the Magic Kingdom. I remember being in an employee break area on a hot summer day and seeing Porky the Pig walk in and pull off his big rubber head. He then unzipped the thickly padded outfit and I could see that wearing only shorts underneath he was sweating like a pig. He said that he drank water all day long by the gallon and never had to pee.
They hired a young blond woman, pretty as a movie star, to play Alice in Wonderland. She at least was able to wear comfortable clothes while wandering around with the Mad Hatter. The Hatter had another of those huge head costumes. At least half of the height of it was a huge hat with a little dark screen in front so that he could see where he was going. Once I was talking to the Mad Hatter and found that one of the things he liked to do was... uh let's see, how do you post porn on the taco. Any how while wandering around in Fantasyland with Alice, in the privacy of his over sized head he would watch Alice and manually zzzzzhp><><><><><***!!!
Pate

Trad climber
The Lost Highway
Nov 18, 2009 - 06:23pm PT
These are some classic stories. The seedy underbelly of the Magic Kingdom, dirtbag climbers and perverts in costumes getting way too close to kids.
TripL7

Trad climber
'dago
Nov 18, 2009 - 10:34pm PT
Rudder- "L7 is that for square"?

That is funny, four square, had to think about that one for a minute or two.Hahahaha!
I suppose so!lol
jfs

Trad climber
Upper Leftish
Nov 18, 2009 - 11:15pm PT
Podcast on the "Disneyland Climbers"...pretty entertaining.

http://media.libsyn.com/media/thedirtbag/Help_Wanted.mp3
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Nov 18, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
thot it was 777 tripl = triple, no?

I think it was Sean who would shop at REI Orange store in the late 80s. Anyways I chatted him up one day and talked about working there.

He said I would have to cut my hair, which I had just started to grow out to a respectable length.

Never did see him again.

Hair got down to the middle of my back. (and to be clear, as in from my head down)
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 14, 2011 - 09:02pm PT
I climbed it starting in the spring of 1985. There were only four of us initially (me, Pete Morgan, Debbiy Gilchrist and Keith Wing) but then they hired three more climbers for the summer.

Rudder, good thing you didn't take a whipper. The thing was so blocky and ledgy that you'd probably bust an ankle five times over. The only thing safe to fall on was the overhang to the left of the Fuerrigen. Fun stuff though.
utahman912

Social climber
SLC, UT
Mar 14, 2011 - 09:35pm PT
The late Bob Guisti climbed the Disneyhorn for a few months in 1975. Same time we were just getting into Idyllwild and Joshua Tree.

Reminds me of the food in the beard story...
tom Carter

Social climber
Mar 14, 2011 - 09:55pm PT
Didn't Mike Graber work / climb there too?
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Mar 14, 2011 - 09:58pm PT
killer thread!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 15, 2011 - 02:51pm PT
They hired a young blond woman, pretty as a movie star, to play Alice in Wonderland.

All the Alices and Mary Poppins were really hot. Most other characters they could bury in a costume, but those characters couldn't fake it.

One funny thing I remember was a gag that other employees would pull on Donald Duck. He was a little person with a foul temper so they would pull his time card and place it at the top of the rack where he could never reach it. He'd swear like a sailor and, only a few minutes later, be in costume acting all jovial. If people could only see behind the mask.
m diDonato

Mountain climber
Nwpt Bch , Ca
Sep 28, 2011 - 10:11am PT
Anyone hear about the current whereabouts of Debbiy Gilchrist?
Climbed with her and would like to touch base.
Spider/Brent

climber
Nov 23, 2011 - 08:49pm PT
By chance I found this site and am a new member. Back in the early to mid 90's is when I climbed the Matterhorn. In 1995 this was the roster of Matterhorn Mountain Climbers in alphabetical order: Doug Achtzehn, Erik Berg, Cooper Boggs, Mike Brown, Ingrid Chlup (before she married Jimmy Payton), Scott Gaerte, Brent Harder, Ben Kingsbury, Nicholas Kline, Todd Miller, Terri Petersen, Wes Schneider, Stu Smith, Steve VanVoorhis, Dave Woods, Steve Zenone. Since I'm a graphic designer, I made up Matterhorn climber T-shirts with everyone's names on it
The famous 5th floor where we all hung out when not climbing.
The famous 5th floor where we all hung out when not climbing.
Credit: Spider/Brent
. This was all before brain buckets (helmets) were required. All of us were real climbers on the outside and smiled each day that we got to climb the Matterhorn thinking thoughts like: "I can't believe they are actually paying us to do something that we love to do"!
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Nov 23, 2011 - 09:37pm PT
I was at Disneyland with my 2 kids all day Monday, 11-21-2011. We had a blast. 12 hrs+ at The Magic Kingdom.

I was hoping to see the climbers on "The Matterhorn." Nada. Zip.

I think it would have been a good day to do it.

Rained heavy the day before but dry all day Monday. Nice and clean and ready to go. But no climbers. I didn't see any. I kept looking throughout the day.


Q: Are they still climbing the Matterhorn now? Has anyone soloed the Disney Matterhorn?

I'm sure many of us climbers visiting the Magic Kingdom, want to give it a go. The original outdoor climbing gym. It would almost be worth it to get busted and climb it on sight. (Kidding of course)

Someone needs to do a massive girdle multi-pitch climb on the thing. It could be an all day climb. Downclimb and do it again. Repeat.




Nice video from the Disney Matterhorn, from a climbers perspective . . .



Disneyland’s Matterhorn still packed at 50
June 17th, 2009, 7:39 pm
http://ocresort.ocregister.com/2009/06/17/disneylands-matterhorn-still-packed-at-50/10265/


Mickey's Matterhorn Climb 50th
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlxsjr0EpnI
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
May 12, 2012 - 12:50pm PT
Cross-posting this link, Climbers return to Matterhorn-in the OC:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1823884/Climbers-return-to-Matterhorn-in-the-OC
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 12, 2012 - 01:39pm PT
We had a chance to do this as a family. My step-dad wouldn't do the lederhosen.

Credit: StahlBro
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
May 12, 2012 - 05:53pm PT
Peter,

Thanks for linking . . . cool . . . the climbers will be back in June.


Topic Author's Original Post - May 11, 2012 - 09:27pm PT
Not that interesting but thought it might generate some stories about climbers who had this gig BITD. Lederhosen anyone?

http://ocresort.ocregister.com/2012/05/11/climbers-return-to-disneylands-matterhorn-peak/112605/
jstan

climber
May 12, 2012 - 08:50pm PT
Note on disneyland's parking garage:

THEME PARKS -- Park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure. From the nearby freeways and access roads, follow the signs that say: "Theme Parks." This six-level facility is the second largest parking area in the world. (The largest is at Tokyo Disneyland.) There is tram service from the parking structure to the Disneyland Main Entrance Plaza. Restrooms and drinking fountains are located near the tram loading area under the escalators.

When under construction a train load of materials for the concrete came in daily, a batch plant was constructed on the site, and 48,000 yards were poured each day.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Aug 20, 2012 - 10:25am PT
from Shorpy.com
from Shorpy.com
Credit: Peter Haan
Indianclimber3

Trad climber
Jan 9, 2013 - 09:48am PT
JIM CRAREY REMEMBERS…JUNE 1959
“Dick Erb and I were climbing at Tahquitz Rock late spring of 1959, and both 15 at the time. Chuck Wilks, the Sierra Club member who was hired by Disney to place the “pitons” in the side of the mountain, was climbing that morning too. He asked if we wanted a summer job on the Matterhorn. Well duh...”

“The next issue to overcome was doing it. Our soon to be boss, Chuck Corson, told us “Boys, if you can climb it, the job is yours.” On a warm June afternoon, Dick and I reconnoitered for a route. We climbed over the fence erected to keep all out and were about 20' off the ground when accosted by the Disneyland police. We found out that no one told them what we were doing and that we were supposed to take the ride’s elevator to the inside platform and begin from there. Nice start to a summer job...”

“The purpose for us was to provide something to see for the folks waiting hours in line for the ride (sometimes the sign read 4 hours from this point). So 9 times a day, 6 days a week, all summer long and on the weekends between summer 1959 and summer 1960, we climbed the Matterhorn. Dick quit before the 1960 summer and was replaced by Jeff Winslow. I worked that summer and then retired too.”

“The only things I can remember of interest that I can put in print are the 4 hours hanging by rope waiting to repel for Nikita Khrushchev and a time I sprained my ankle and was carried to the infirmary by the Chip and Dale characters.”

In the photo at left from August 3, 1959, Jim is the climber at the top of the photo.
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Jan 9, 2013 - 11:52am PT
Cool thread and bump
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Jan 9, 2013 - 12:45pm PT
Yes, cool bump.

What I've been meaning to ask is who has gotten FAs on the new rock in the neighboring Disney California Adventure Park - specifically the Cars Land area? Somebody keeping secrets?? Lots of potential. The Matterhorn is just a beat out old crag these days. :)

I would think the desert rats, like Jeremy and Piton Ron would be all over this stuff:

classics await...
classics await...
Credit: Nate D

Credit: Nate D

highball bouldering on Willy's Butte?
highball bouldering on Willy's Butte?
Credit: Nate D

Credit: Nate D



And how about Grizzly Peak, which has been around quite a few years. Or is that only 4th class...

Somebody must know.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Jan 18, 2013 - 08:56am PT

Disneyland Hiring Again
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Jan 18, 2013 - 10:02am PT
How many Matterhorns? I can think of Anaheim, Sawtooth Ridge and Zermatt. Are there more? Has anyone climbed them all?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 18, 2013 - 10:06am PT
I just had a long conversation with a Disney climber and hopefully he will chime in!

Eric- We have one in Tucson too!
Truenorth

climber
Apr 14, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
Sometime in the late spring of 1963,Chuck Wilts asked (at a Sierra Club RCS meeting in east LA) if anyone wanted a job climbing on the Disneyland Matterhorn. He had overseen the engineering of the protection anchors on the mountain. Thus I wound up climbing on at Disneyland while one of the regulars was off for his military training for a month. I climbed with Jeff Winslow for the month and then got a job as the Mad Hatter along with Alice and the March Hare. Alice was a very beautiful young woman named Venita Wolfe and she was later on the cover of Playboy Magazine. Dick Erb has related elsewhere how the capacious Mad Hatter's head allowed me ample scope for enjoying privacy in the midst of the thronging crowds while gazing deeply into Venita's remarkable blue eyes through the little screen just above the brim of the hat. Cimbing, even on a peculiar replica mountain has its' charms; fresh air, distant, (sort of) vistas of Anaheim, and on the hottest days the possibility of a visiting swarm of flying red ants blanketing the top of the peak. By contrast the claustrophobic latex Mad Hatter costume with its attendant super hot sweat soaked enclosure more or less guaranteed an existential crisis several times a day. I sometimes just lay on the ground and sadly caused many small children to worry aloud regarding my well being. There was a pleasant spot by the wishing well that provided shade and also the some lilting melodies and birdsong that seemed to come from the depths of a forest glade -right there in smoggy Anaheim-and it was there in that little Eden where, while gazing at Alice's blue eyes ... well... of course earlier Alice and I had made the serious mistake of getting onto the Dumbo ride and I feel in retrospect that she may have saved my life by clinging to me else the unexpected centrifugal forces of Dear Dumbo would have sent me flying ...great bulbous nose green hat and green shoes ... to land with what disastrous consequence is awful to contemplate, as there was a very densely packed crowd marvelling at the sight of Alice and the Mad Hatter flying through the air in floppy eared Dumbo. So I perhaps wasn't entirely rational there by the wishing well. I recently came across my old pay-slips and I was making about $1.45 per hour I think. As Catullus said " The past is past, thou knowst it."
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Apr 15, 2013 - 02:17am PT
History-in-the-waking hours...
Surreal, Alice...do you know a 'Willie?'
Go back to sleep, Ralph.
John Butler

Social climber
SLC, Utah
Apr 15, 2013 - 07:28am PT
Venita Wolfe... on Star Trek

Credit: John Butler
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Oct 17, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
Oh how I wish you would all use your real names so I could see if our paths crossed....not that I'd remember, but hey there is the synapse chance that one of you would pop out of some inert crack in my old block. Cheers to you all who were there when the magic started for me, who was that Third Man on the Mountain?
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