Some Mt Woodson Classics (TR)


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 121 - 140 of total 344 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2007 - 09:35am PT
Big Friction, Flakey Edges, Tooth Rock, Molar Rock, ...and Mt Woodson. You couldn't ask for a better place to grow up. The boulders in my back yard included several 5.11 mantels.

And let me tell you all, Bruce was probably the best climber of the Poway Mountain Boys (after Piggot).

(Bruce, check your ST email account)

Big Wall climber
Feb 8, 2007 - 09:57am PT
Great problems on the north facing hillside behind pomerado hospital. Also east side of espola after going down hill southbound there are some great boulders with cool friction problems, believe we had to get permission though as they're in a yard...but just off the road.
Seems the rocks around poway were inspiration for quite a few of us.

Mountain climber
San Diego
Feb 8, 2007 - 04:06pm PT
Greg, Bruce et al.,

Man you guys are stirring up memories:

'70/'71 3rd grade: The movie "SOLO" changed my life from team sports to outdoor adventure. Involved in Y-Indian Guides, Cub Scouts, and Wheeblos (sp?) while living in Pt. Loma.

'71/'72 4th grade: My family moved to Garden Road in Poway. Boulders galore on the South facing hillsides and up the canyon. I thought I was living in the wilderness. Poway changed my life. Started climbing those Boulders and even rappelling with a hemp rope using the through the legs and over the shoulder method (Dusseldorf tech.?). Burned my neck bad. The hillsides still are open and climbable although definately more homes in the area and now up the canyon.

'72/'73 5th grade: Moved to Midland Road area and joined Scout Troop 608. Many of the older scouts in the troop were into climbing. Troop 608 was very active; we went everywhere backpacking, hiking, and even bouldering. The summer of '73 I took the class "Geography of California" from my 5th grade teacher, and we backpacked up Mt. Whitney at the end of the class. Bouldered in the Alabama Hills with my dad. Near our house was "Butt Crack Rock" on the Eastside of Midland Road on the West face of the hill. Climbed on that a bunch. But the real gems were the boulders all over Twin Peaks Mountain, but mostly the Southside. Bouldered all over Twin Peaks Mtn. for the next 7 years, and my dogs would almost always go with me. Tooth Rock: got up there and looked at it a few times, and saw the fixed pins in it. Never climbed it though. About this time was the first time my dad and I went to Mt. Woodson and made it a family outing. Our church just off of Espola Road, "Pomerado Christian Church" we helped build it and even to this day it has these fine boulders on the East side of the church. I had a whole circuit worked out on them. To the North of the parking lot is a fine hilltop of boulders and good climbing. There is a cross erected there. This is just south of the Safeway boulders in RB. Climbed on them a little, but it was definately private property even then. To the North of Espola Road as you drive from RB back to Poway, there are a large group of boulders that was near one of my climbing partner's house, Tim Umstead. Climbed on those a few times. Then the boulders at the far East end of Lake Poway, on the western end of Mt. Woodson were pretty good also.

'73/'74: 6th grade at Twin Peaks Middle School. Scouts, backpacking, taking the Sierra Club's "Basic Mountaineering" course. I still have the little red "Bible" from that great course I took with my dad and older sister. Many trips up to Mt. Woodson, but it was always with my dad and sister. So I didn't get to go as often as I would have liked. The fashion at school, Vasque backpacking boots with red laces, levis, and my big puffy green down jacket on cold days. The backpack of the time was my A-16 "Hip Hugger." I still have my A-16 backpack including my dad's. Cigarettes were cheap down at the U-totem near TPMS.

'74 - '80: Eventually stopped scouts but the backpacking, skiing at Mammoth, and climbing were my life. I could only get up to Woodson as I could convince my dad to drive, or my other climbing partners' parents, but in '77 when I got my license we were up there nearly every weekend until I left Poway in 1980 for Beaverton, OR. My family moved in the middle of my Senior year at PHS. So my picture is in the yearbook, but I did not get my Phd. However, I did get to see Mt. St. Helens blow on May 18th, 1980. In fact, my climbing buddy and I were on the South face of Beacon Rock doing a route on 5-18-80. The PHS library was great with a good view of the Western ridgeline of Mt. Woodson out the windows in the back of the library. They had a very good mountaineering and climbing section. I think I checked out all the books multiple times. You guys were probably instrumental in PHS having such a good mountaineering section in the library - yes?

Growing up in Poway was awesome.


Mountain climber
San Diego
Feb 9, 2007 - 12:25pm PT
Got to kick this thread with another great link to the Stonemaster, Poway Mtn. Boys, and Scumbag history . . .

Reaching way back into SuperTaco history . . .

StoneMaster Stories (Part 4) continued onward farther


Social climber
Joshua Tree
Feb 9, 2007 - 03:46pm PT
bvb, give is the scoop on 10a on the outside, was that in tennis shoes or what's up with the Lie Detector-seemed pretty straightforward-perhaps 11b oh how about the "Emergency Broadcast System"?
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Feb 9, 2007 - 05:30pm PT
Welcome Bruce! Hope all is well. If you are serious about coming to Colorado, it would be great to get together.

For those who donít know him, besides being an original Poway Mountain Boy, Bruce was also a close friend and climbing partner of Tobin Sorenson. My memories include great times in Yosemite/Tuolumne in the early 70ís and Bruceís moving eulogy for Tobin at the funeral 1980.


Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 9, 2007 - 08:59pm PT
kp -- 5.10a on the outside -- woodson 5.11a

lie detector -- sheeit, once you get something so wired you huck laps on it, how the hell can you rate it?? woodson 5.11d?

emergency broadcast system -- got a new pair of anasazi velcros and 6" of too swole foam. going to woodson next weekend. SO SENT!!! i will prevail!! bringin' a chisel, by god!!!

but these days, i'm pimpin' on a different deep-water solo routes down by lake poway....


Trad climber
Golden, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2007 - 10:14pm PT
I worked at Lake Poway for two years just after it opened in 1973. Rainbow trout, large mouth bass, bluegill, and sharks (could be new management).

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 9, 2007 - 10:52pm PT
great whites, imported from NorCal. stocked 'em myself. keep it sporty, guys n' gals!!

Boulder climber
Redmond, OR
Feb 10, 2007 - 05:39pm PT

RICK...Is that really YOU!??!

Yes, I am hoping to get to Colorado at least before next winter. but next weekend I'm planning to go to Moab for the first time. Is it far for you and Greg? Don't know about the weather.

Yes, we have somehow survived our climbing exploits, marriage, career efforts, and raising kids. Yet we climb on! Viva Stonemasters and Poway Mountain Boys (also known as Poway Klimbers or Poway Mountaineers).

Rick and Greg--which of you is leading me up "Naked Edge?"

Klimmer...Helium Kudos to you for your Poway resume, especially the Scout Troop 608. Yes Tim Stelling (Friction King) and Frank Green (The Aid King) and I can take some credit for the PHS library climbing book stock. The librarian was the mother of our buddy, Kevin Dalby. Kevin Dalby has gone into the annals of Poway History for, among many other compelling reasons, executing the most noteworthy gasser in modern times. In Mr. Decanio's sixth grade basic ed class,ing he managed to sound sustained emissions of noxious, lethal quality for a full twenty- two seconds. This time lapse explosive caused the girl sitting behind Dalby to actually pass out and Mr. Decanio was forced to excuse class for the purpose of airing out the room. Yes... I agree with you all--Poway was the most ideal place to (possibly) grow up!

But Klimmer, speaking now in the Spirit...I have to break the news to you that it is tough to recognize your otherwise glowing credentials, seeings how there is now a revelation of deep shame. .. Of course, I'm referring to your admitted neglect of Tooth Rock summit.

Do you really expect the rest of the climbing world to take you seriously?

Get with the program! You will completely redeem yourself if you... ascend the famous "Lost Piton Traverse." It begins on the east side, traverses the aid crack past the Poway Mountaineers legendary original rurp placement at the Northwest corner. (fixed -the "lost piton"). Your belayer must take photos at that same corner, cropped to render el cap-like exposure. Consider the direct finish, another rurp placement on the west "headwall." Talk about your chances with hot highschool cheerleaders on the top, at least imagine rappelling the west face "dulfursitz" (not Dusseldorf that's where Satchmo blew his horn when he went to Europe) from a single blade piton driven in under the east overhand with a direct outward pull on its one inch pinch. This was the first ascent style of Dave Goeddel and Dennis Adams in 1966 or 67.

In this context, I wish to applaud Mooser, who summited without oxygen, Tooth Rock in corded knickers while reverencing Gaston in muted thoughts.

Rick I that really you!? Thanks for the ST welcome....I'm feelin it! Say, I remember hearing rumors of you climbing at Woodson in the late seventies when you were in law school. You are probably also feeling some remorse for neglecting Tooth rock. There is still time!

BVB! Whoever you are, you are this minute, my favorite artist.

Also bvb, about the chisel. It is traditional at Woodson to alter possible routes in order to make them impossible. I have done this personally many times and am long overdue for some credit.

Keep the love going BRO's! Also... we want to hear from KB, Duke # Wimbly.



Trad climber
Feb 10, 2007 - 08:59pm PT
"In this context, I wish to applaud Mooser, who summited without oxygen, Tooth Rock in corded knickers while reverencing Gaston in muted thoughts," BA.

Thank you, Bruce. It was, in fact, very difficult to summit w/o supplemental O2, and I've lived quietly for many years with the humble, near-secret knowledge of that achievement. Having resisted the temptation to toot my own horn...I am glad you tooted for me.

Boulder climber
Redmond, OR
Feb 11, 2007 - 01:11am PT

ALERT triple groaner ALERT

Mountain climber
San Diego
Feb 19, 2007 - 08:24am PT

Man where did this thread go? A few days off of ST and a great thread falls nearly to the archives . . . so a rescue is in order.

It is quite shamefull now that I think about it. I better get back up there to Tooth Rock and finally do her. I'm feeling very unworthy right about now as a result. You know, I always thought that Tooth Rock looked like a trundle just waiting to happen.

This is good stuff. I really enjoy getting to know the roots of the San Diego scene. Thanks to all you Poway Mtn. Boys for all those good reads when I went through PHS. I spent a lot of time in there lost to those pages.

Now, how about the Royal Robbins sandbag story on the now classic "Robbins Crack"? From a distant thread I believe Greg mentioned you must know what really happened? Soooo many different stories and versions have been told on that one over the years; it is high time noon and the REAL story should be re-affirmed.


Trad climber
Golden, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2007 - 09:41am PT
Klimmer, I think Bruce is climbing around Moab over this long weekend. He will certainly know the Robbins story. I think I'm out of good stories, more from having a bad memory about personal events than anything. I will say this about those days, being in the Poway Mountain Boys was mostly about having fun (commonly at each other's expense). We never took ourselves very seriously, at least up until, say, the late '70s. I can't imagine that any of us ever even went so far as doing pullups or otherwise working out for the benefit of our climbing (until later). Turns out, that there was alot of natural talent. But that was just gravy.

Bruce's brother Kinley (aka Whimp) , lurking here no doubt, was one of the funniest. It came seemingly at my expense more often than not, but funny is funny. I remember hanging out in the Humboldt parking lot below Tahquitz one time, probably 1971, when Mark Powell came strolling by. Kinley had said or done something stupid and everyone was chastizing him saying "Whimp!" Without missing a beat, just as Mark was passing him (and me), Kinley turns to me and says "Whimp!"

Boulder climber
Redmond, OR
Feb 22, 2007 - 01:20pm PT
Hi Klimmer and Eeyonkee and all Woodson devotees. Yea, I went to Moab and had a good time climbing my first desert tower (Castleton via the Kor route)!

Last year Royal Robbins showed up in Bend, Oregon, and gave a slide show and lecture to benefit an environmental cause here. After the show I visited Royal briefly and reminded him of when we first met at Mt. Woosdson, which I think was in 1969. He lit up immediately and told me that he "keeps hearing about a crack called the 'Robbins Crack', yet does not know or recall it." So after thirty- seven years I had to come clean and confess to him the truth of that moment...a sin of omission, yet bourne of respect and innocent shock.

You have to understand the mindset and stage of development of the Poway Mountaineers at that time. Our principle source of knowledge was "Summit" magazine, and in those days, Robbins was regularly submitting accounts of his mind-blowing big wall first ascents. Absolutely nothing in life could compete with our adoration. He and Chouinard and Pratt and Frost and the other Yosemite climbers were to us as Hercules and Odyssus and Apollo and Mickey Mantle. At this time I don't think any of us considered ourselves to be real climbers. It was all still a game of mainly imagination and desire. Yes, I had already climbed the Open Book at Tahquitz, but after all, real climbs had crevasses and Pendulum traverses and grade 6 nail-ups and
deadly hoar frost bivvys. Real climbers had things like ice daggers and fifi hooks, and were utterly fearless. Dave Goeddel's Dad had copies of the Rebuffat books with their spetacular alpine photography. Mt Woodson did not at all resemble those photos. We had heard of the theory of "jam" climbing and even saw pictures but it remainded elusive to us, something we thought was only possible if one was really extra muscular like those superhuman Yosemite climbers. When we bouldered, it really was like we were all play acting, hoping none of our family and friends would discover we were just like kids playing pirate.

Then I discovered that my freshman algebra teacher, Gary Hepler, had done some rockclimbing. We found out that he personally knew Royal Robbins from activities with the Rock Climbing Section (RCS) of the Sierra Club. He knew that Robbins was visiting San Diego to show his slides of Tissaack, so he called Royal and arranged for us to show him Mt. Woodson. Robbins was looking for places to serve as climbing lesson venues at that time.

Most of the Poway mountaineers were far too intimidated to actually meet Robbins. I can only recall Dave Goeddel and my brother Dennis and myself wating at Poway HIgh School for the rendezvoux, before going to Woodson. I think we must have been expecting superman to show up, only wearing the famous Robbins sport cap. We were utterly nervous and afraid he would laugh and spit after meeting us and seeing our silly little hill of boulders.

By and by a car pulled up and man dressed in casual business clothes walked over to us. We did not for one second realize that ordinary looking man was, in fact, Robbins. He asked us if we, by any chance, knew about a group of rockclimbers. Dave, suddenly realizing the inquisitor's identity, tried to talk. But out of his mouth, about ten octaves higher than his usual tone, came a shrill and paniced,

"You're Royal Robbins!!!???"

As he said this, he tried to remove his right hand from his own pocket but he was so excited his hand actually became stuck and he was using his other hand to try and help remove it.

That was, without question one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, but one one of the best. I'll wait and see if this thread is still alive before telling...

the REST OF THE STORY. I am traveling once again however and it will be a few days likely before I can return to the internet. -----BA


Mountain climber
San Diego
Feb 22, 2007 - 02:32pm PT

What? What??? After all these years hearing the rumors and so many versions of what really happened, and you are going to do that to me/us? Come on! Out with it!! Of course this thread is alive!!! I will kick it until the fat lady sings!!!

Tahoe climber

Trad climber
a dark-green forester out west
Feb 22, 2007 - 03:48pm PT
Cliffhanger here!
Please, please tell the rest!

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2007 - 05:03pm PT
Geez! Get a hold of yourselves Klimmer and Tahoe. So, uh, Bruce, I was almost certainly told this story at some time, but...uh, what DID happen next?

Mountain climber
San Diego
Feb 27, 2007 - 02:21am PT

I can't hold on forever. I'm slipping man. My strength is failing . . . catch me . . . I'm going for the long lonely leap . . . I'm starting to fffaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll!

This is beyond a cliff hanger.

Get er dun :-))

Boulder climber
Redmond, OR
Feb 28, 2007 - 02:14pm PT

Fear not Klimmer, I gotcha spotted!

I was thinkin' Klimmer, maybe I was too harsh, dishin' up crap at ya for not yet climbing Tooth Rock. Why don't you postpone your immediate plans for redemption and wait until I get down south and we can do it together. When a rare, lofty summit as Tooth Rock is concerned, historical continuity is of primo consideration. I have sensed myself becoming more and more continuously historical these days as I drink my Postum and gnaw at my Melba Toast and down my anti-schizophrenic pills.

After the awkward introductions with Royal, we separated into two vehicles at Poway High School for the drive to Woodson. Goeddel and I were in one vehicle and Denny and Robbins in the other. When we arrived at Woodson, Dave and Denny and I all at once excused ourselves to piss. With Robbins safely on the other side of a boulder changing into climbing clothes Dave and I anxiously asked Denny what happened on the drive to Woodson. Denny said he "showed Robbins Tooth Rock." (For non-locals benefit, the drive from Poway valley to Woodson lends a dramatic "helicopter view" of twenty-five foot Tooth Rock perched atop a steep hill). We felt humilitaed even further and upbraided him in hushed tones and demanded he tell us exactly what was said.

Denny proudly stated he had said "That's Tooth Rock, a Poway Classic!"

Dave and I almost started to cry, realizing any hope of recovering a pittance of dignity had now been punted into the bleachers.

"What did Robbins say," we demanded.

"He said nothing."

Dave and I squeaked out the word "shit" about three hundred times while shaking double clenched fists over our heads.

The pissing counsil did not end in a double suicide however when we ascertained that Denny had somehow managed not to reveal to Robbins that our Dad had climbed Tooth Rock and also our dog, POGO, via Yosemite Big Wall Hauling Techniques.

We walked up the Woodson road a ways and came to small friction boulder. Robbins did a few warm up moves on it and then calmly spoke:

"This rock reminds me of Yosemite!"

In his mercy, Robbins had with that one gracious sentance, supplied us with enough cause for positive self-esteem to see us through all personal testings of life for the duration of life. To this day, when I tell somebody here in Oregon about Woodson, I am careful always to say something like,

"The rock at Woodson bears a striking facsimili to some characteristics of glaciated and exfoliated Yosemite granite."

For our first real climb though, we made our way to Sickle Crack, the climb we felt had aesthetic appeal, but was not too showy. Still we were a bit anxious. Dave and Denny had done the climb before, but with the benefit of a top rope. I had not climbed it yet at all. Of course Denny and Dave insisted that I go first, obviously hoping that I would make them look good.

I still consider that one of my most psychologically demanding climbs and I still refer to it for confidence when I today try to trad the Smith Rock sport routes to an audience of famous-name international quick draw artists.

I liebacked and squimmied up the off- width as gracefully as I possibly could, definitely placing the requirement of style way ahead of safety, yet I really could not even see the rock. In my minds eye, I could only see Robbins behind me trying to contain facial expressions of alternating smirks and frowns.

At that time Goeddel rated Sickle 5.8. Almost everything we climbed we rated 5.8 if we never fell and 5.9 if we sometimes fell and 5.10 if it was impossible. Maybe that provides some understanding of Woodson grades.

When I mantled the top of Sickle, I recklessly skipped and jumped down the back as fast as I could, not wanting to miss seeing Robbins climb. I made it back just in time to see Robbins execute the final mantle. It probably took him at least thirty seconds.

After Dave climbed the route and Denny declined because it was obviously now too easy, we sauntered over to the boulder and crack now known the world over as:


Less known worldwide is that previous to this incident we referred to the crack as:


That's right, none of us for even one nano-second ever imagined that crack to be a potential free climb. Instead it beaconed to us as the perfect training climb for future Yosemite nail-ups. This was not long after we had saved our milk money and bought our first precious "chrome moly Chouinard pitons. Some of them were angle pitons, up to an inch and a half, much wider than our soft iron Swiss Rings. Heck, with Yosemite angle pitons and runners hooked together like rope ladders, we reasoned anything could be climbed...even inch and a half cracks, aid syle.

"That's the way it's done in Yosemite! That's how Robbins climbed Tissaack!"

In all fairness, remember, we had never seen jam crack climbing demonstrated. We could barely conceive how one could climb an inch an a half crack by jam or lieback and still be able to place and hammer and clip a piton. It went without saying this was an aid climb and we wanted to show it to Royal for his approval. And not wanting state the obvious, none of us mentioned it was our "aid climb."

I can still recall this moment just as precisely as if I had never smoked weed.

I can still recall this moment just as clearly as when Mary Jo Fisher kissed me behind Meadowbrook School in seventh grade.

I can still recall this moment just as profoundly as when I saw each of my children being birthed, red, and roped up and covered in juice of emancipation.

We had no intention of climbing the crack, we just wanted to show it to Robbins as if to say we were aid climbers too and had places to use chrome moly pitons.

Robbins walking toward the crack. He inserted his hand. We witnessed a rhythmic cadence of blurry, ascending, and silent motion wherein he tagged the summit and then rapidly downclimbed. Upon touching the ground he took a step, tilted his head, smiled, nodded, and in perfectly even breaths, calmly remarked,

"That's a good one."

We were unable and unwilling to say a word. We were in flabbergasted shock. We could not move. We avoided eye contact with Robbins and with each other. We were enveloped in a thick fog of shame. If Robbins found out that we aided free climbs, we knew we would one day be laughed out Yosemite before we could ask a ranger the location of Camp Four. It was an understandable case of the thin ice of human pride.

Finally, Goeddel suggested we go elsewhere!

Later Dave showed Robbins a face climb problem. It involved a reach and Dave was six feet four inches I believe. To our happy amazement, Robbins had to hesitate on that move. And then it was time to go.

Robbins had unknowingly opened the door to making our dreams a possibility. By 1973 Goeddel had climbed the Nose and Denny had climbed Half Dome and I had shimmied my way up a few routes myself. But Woodson was never the same again after the cracks began to speak aloud.

Over the years I have heard quite a few disparaging remarks and have observed some lofty attitudes and tones of judgement toward Royal Robbins. For me they are explained my the injustices of history when taken out of context. Like when I bouldered once with the great face climber, Bob Kamps, Royal Robbins will always be to me a personal, touchstone of greatness. I will never forget his kind, even respectful attitude toward we dufuses, and the inspiration of his climbing style. At the same time, I recall Robbins never actually stood atop the Robbins crack. What a frikken' poser, man!

Messages 121 - 140 of total 344 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta