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Port

Trad climber
San Diego
May 12, 2009 - 03:13pm PT
As a lurker, this is why I love this site. Such cool stories.
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
May 12, 2009 - 03:25pm PT




Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Nov 17, 2009 - 04:17pm 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 - 07:29pm 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 - 07:51pm 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 - 08:14pm PT
Fun thread!

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

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 17, 2009 - 08:20pm PT
Cool shots, Peter!

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

Trad climber
'dago
Nov 17, 2009 - 08:20pm 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 - 10:13pm 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 - 11:04pm 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 - 06:06am 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 - 06:49am 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 - 09:15am 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 - 09:29am 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 - 10:20am 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 - 11:14am 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 - 09:23pm 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 19, 2009 - 01:34am 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 19, 2009 - 02:15am 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 19, 2009 - 02:20am 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)
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