FAs on the Apes Wall (Malibu Creek)


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Big Wall climber
Feb 14, 2017 - 04:50pm PT

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 14, 2017 - 05:16pm PT

Time for a photo.....


right here, right now
Feb 14, 2017 - 07:08pm PT
Another great photo of Dave Stahl at the end of the previous page, looking more bricked than almost any past or present climber!
Maybe Fred Nicole tops him in that department ...

right here, right now
Feb 15, 2017 - 09:54am PT
Scans from:

Getting High in LA
A Rock Climber's Guide to the Santa Monica Mountains
By David Katz, second edition, 1992
Copyright 1990

FA data is not provided.
I have provided the FA data which I gathered from Michael Guardino a.k.a. Gargoyle.

He didn't take notes at the time, so there are probably flaws in terms of exact dates and personnel, but it's what we have to work with.

A route called Pick Pockets is not shown in the guidebook.
It's probably Finger Prints, route C.



Planet of the Apes 5.11C/D
FA sometime between 1980 and 1982, Michael Guardino, wearing EBs, with Jeff "Yeafer” Lieberman (sp) belaying.

Mike says he was pulling off 2 & 3 foot diameter plates of rock while climbing.
So there was no rappel inspection and cleaning, just a "clean as you go" top rope experience, FA completed on his second try.

Pick Pockets 5.11C/D (listed as Finger Prints on the topo)
FA Early 1980s, Steve Schneider, Matt Dancy, belayed by Brett Mauer, (who may or may not have climbed the route).
This route is left of Planet of the Apes, done on the same day as Birthday Boy.

Birthday Boy 5.11D
FA Early 1980s, Steve Schneider, Michael Guardino, belayed by Matt Dancy, (who may or may not have climbed the route)
This route is to the right of Planet of the Apes.

It was Steve Schneider's birthday, thus the name for the route.
Steve solved the route using a fist jam at a V-slot, and the route follows a seam.

Walking on the Moon 5.11C
FA mid-1980s, (roughly 5 years after Planet of the Apes, Pickpockets and Birthday Boy), Michael Guardino, belayed by Bob Bernholtz (sp)
Anchors for the TR were large eyebolts (probably the "double looped bars" referenced in the guide) which had been placed to anchor a bridge for the TV series Kung Fu, starring David Carradine.


Given that Guardino doesn't give specific dates, and that the Stahl brothers don't furnish specific dates, but that both parties claim to have climbed there at the same time (early 80s), it's a bit of a stalemate as to the correct FA attribution for some of the routes.

Though it appears that for the first route, the namesake Planet of the Apes, Guardino was probably first because he pulled off so much large loose debris.

The Stahl brothers concede they probably weren't the first to top rope Walking on the Moon.
Guardino does say that Walking on the Moon was done roughly 5 years after the 3 earliest routes, placing its FA in the mid-80s, as listed above.

So that leaves some question, perhaps, as to FA attribution, for Pick Pockets (listed as Finger Prints on the topo) and Birthday Boy, which Guardino said were done relatively soon after the original route, Planet of the Apes, placing those 2 FAs in the early 80s (when the Stahl brothers were also climbing there).

Regarding those two routes, perhaps this reportage will help: Guardino says that for Pick Pockets & Birthday Boy, there was a considerable amount of croissant size loose flakes which the rope itself would pull loose as the routes were being worked on TR.

The evolution of the name for Pick Pockets goes like this:
The first working name was Lady Fingers, so named because the wall was littered with flakes that were like pastries or cookies, then Finger Prints, because holds could almost be made just by pressing fingers into the rock, and lastly Pick Pockets, to indicate that just the right pockets in just the right sequence was the key to success.

The rock was friable and it was always changing!
Probably still is changing!

Anecdotally, The Woody Problem is named for Jonny Woodward, who used to solo up and down as high as he could to try to figure it out. But he did not do the FA.


 This post includes small corrections to the FA attributions listed on the previous page, furnished today by Michael Guardino.

Still need to hear from Matt Dancy.

Social climber
Wise Acres
Feb 15, 2017 - 06:55pm PT

right here, right now
Feb 16, 2017 - 07:39am PT
Yes, Little Europe.
I don't remember that name, but I was only there the one day.

Maybe that's a Dave Katz thing, but the obvious connection is a resemblance to pocketed European limestone, and places in southern France such as Céüse and Buoux.


And i-b-goB ... a.k.a. Matt Dancy, isn't saying much, but that nice picture he just posted is of himself on the Apes Wall, looking very Euro.

Good one Matt!

Trad climber
Feb 16, 2017 - 09:15am PT
At this point the routes really don't change much. The rock that is there is well worn and anything that could come off has come off.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 16, 2017 - 10:35am PT
I always remember hearing of it as Little Europe. Lived in OC at the time though, so never got a chance to check it out until much later. Well, I guess it wasn't that late (late 80s).
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