BITD... Hidetaka Suzuki stories

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shylock

Social climber
mb
Feb 13, 2018 - 07:37pm PT
i can only tell you that it takes some serious lower body strength, among other things, to stem right there.
Gunkie

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Feb 14, 2018 - 04:59am PT
I hear he took up kiteboarding, never looked back

That guy probably only needs a 3m kite to get flying.
Rollover

climber
Gross Vegas
Feb 14, 2018 - 09:27am PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]

Skip to 24:10 for Hidetaka.
Rollover

climber
Gross Vegas
Feb 14, 2018 - 09:30am PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]

Skip to 11:15 for Hidetaka.
maldaly

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Feb 14, 2018 - 10:06am PT
I was guiding for Colorado Mountain School in Estes Park the years the Hidetaka and Michiko were there. I was always awesome to watch him climb but thatís not the point of this story. They were living in Komitoís basement and eating birdseed, rice cakes and wakame and whatever else it took to maintain his skeletor physique when we invited him to party with us at the mountain school. I donít remember exactly who was there but the cast of characters likely included Billy Westbay, Aaron Walters, Doug Snively, Harry Kent, Randy Joseph, Scott Kimball, Mike Caldwell, Mark Wilford and maybe Bill Wylie.

As you can imagine, it wasnít long before we decided that it was time for Hidetaka to get stoned. It worked and all I remember of that night is that we spent the next few hours trying to get him to say Rick Ridgway.

And so it goes.
VinylRhino

climber
Oakland, CA
Feb 14, 2018 - 10:41am PT
Heard this story once. When asked what he thought of the Tuolumne climb Grenade Launcher, his response was, "Green Egg Rancher. Very hard name!"
Gunkie

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Feb 14, 2018 - 10:49am PT
"...maybe I have a small brain?"

Yeah, me too.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Feb 14, 2018 - 10:54am PT

His climbing is very relaxed and confident. Even when he's pushing hard I can see his point about holding birds... He's walking the talk...
HandCrack

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal.
Feb 14, 2018 - 01:56pm PT
I met Suzuki long ago, maybe the late 1980's, in Joshua Tree. Though our climbing skills were worlds apart, we became friends due to my connection with Japan. Some times on his rest days we would climb together. After I would claw my way up some 5.8 or 5.9, he would tell me to just drop the rope. By the time I had done the descent and returned to the base of the climb, he would have coiled the rope, then soloed, cleaned and downclimbed the route, and be patiently waiting for me smoking a cigarette.

Brandt Allen
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 14, 2018 - 02:29pm PT
This is great. Keep 'em coming. Hidetaka is a class act, and whatever he is doing today must certainly fit that standard. A master.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Feb 14, 2018 - 06:25pm PT
His thinness is unrivaled... that is the operative of this story.

Hiddy was supposed to be filmed doing some climbing in Yosemite for a commercial that would show in Japan. I can't remember the product, but something like Fuji Film or something.

So, they send over a crew to do the filming and all that, but needed some local knowledge to get the job done. Enter J. Long and Tim Powell, myself, and few other hired hands. Somehow we all end up in Yosemite with rooms and an expense account.
For some reason, it is decided, late in the day, that Hiddy and someone should do the DNB... hahaha... sounds like an epic from the get go. We hoof it up to the base and somehow Tim Powell, who has not climbed a lick in years, is going to partner with Hiddy and go up the DNB with a Hi-8 camera to film the event. We will be on the ground getting long shots and "nate-yooor" shots in the meadow.

So we find the base and send them on their way. Nobody really thinks this is that great of and idea, but there is a language barrier making it happen anyway. We hang out and film while they do the first pitch or two, which were not done that efficiently! hahaha! We go down to the Valley floor to get the long shots and soon it is getting dark. We go to the bar... we are sorta worried, but they are grown men and all that. It gets really late and we ditch the bar to go to our rooms at the Lodge... around midnight someone is knocking on the door... It's Hiddy! He looks like sh#t and we are trying to get info out of him. Seems they topped out, in the dark, and then started working their way along the CatWalk. That did not go that well and Tim decides he can go no further... Hiddy decides to keep going and get back down to the Valley, and he did, around midnight.

And here is the punch line... we ask him about why he did not stay with Tim up on the Catwalk... he sorta motioned with his hands to take a look at his body, clad in shorts and a tshirt... and then says, "Bivy suit not so good..." hahahaha! That was it, and how right he was! There was not a calorie left in that carcass to burn for fuel! Then he headed off to his room and that was that.

As a funny aside... Tim showed up the next day and looked pretty rough too. The night out did not go well for him and after covering himself with brush and leaves, filmed an obituary speech on the High-8 camera... Never saw the footage but I hear it was beyond hilarious...
msiddens

Trad climber
Feb 15, 2018 - 05:25pm PT
I met him BITD as he came up quietly as my buddy and I flailed on Electric Africa on the back of Pywiack in the Meadows. I recall how quiet and very polite he was. So kind and also impressive as he hiked the route after we backed off.

Also- so skinny! His thighs couldnít have been larger than my arms!
jonnywoodward

climber
Feb 15, 2018 - 07:22pm PT
It seemed like Hidetaka was always at every crag you went to in the 80s. I can't believe there was only one of him. He was on a mission to do every climb of consequence in America and if Hidetaka was there it somehow validated the crag. Unlike most of the other Japanese climbers, who seemed to outnumber everyone else 2 to 1 back then, Hidetaka usually didn't spend too long on routes. He did however monopolize the John something special. Every morning he'd be in there for at least 45 minutes. God help you if you needed to go. Maybe that's why he was so thin - perhaps more came out than went in.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Feb 15, 2018 - 08:59pm PT
Gawd Russ that was a great story. So well told. And Johnny Woodward thanks for taking us into the very personal realm. Ah, the 80's.
Arne
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 16, 2018 - 10:55pm PT
Johnny that's f*cking hysterical.
bentelbow

climber
spud state
Feb 17, 2018 - 02:54pm PT
I remember when he was hanging out at the limestone at Riggins. He would take a dump before every burn. He had these little metal tubes with insence that he would rub on his forearms to depump. The guy wouldn't dyno for anything if he coudn't do it static it wouldn't go. Also super nice and low key. Very cool to watch him send.
Curt

climber
Gold Canyon, AZ
Feb 17, 2018 - 06:55pm PT
I definitely remember his typical breakfast being an orange and a couple of cigarettes.

Curt
AE

climber
Boulder, CO
Mar 16, 2018 - 12:26pm PT
I loved that iconic photo of Suzuki in the Grand Illusion roof dihedral, and thought about a new route homage to both, by way of a bad stereotypical accent mangler. If anyone should find an appropriately similar and difficult route, feel free to use it:
Gland Erosion
namaste

climber
Vegas
Mar 30, 2018 - 02:08pm PT
Enjoyed both climbing and conversing with San Hidetaka on the outskirts of Vegas. Soft spoken, smooth, methodical footwork and a classic sense of humor often made even more hilarious with his accent.

The picture that comes to me is him up at the Hood with a deep sense of peace on his face, sitting in a cave catching some sun to stay warm as he contemplated moves while cigarette smoke rose upwards to the heavens... perhaps as offerings. Whatever he was doing, it sure seemed to work!

Would love to catch up with him again someday and possibly get in some kiting also, which I'm sure he has also mastered. Arigatou San Hidetaka for the laughs, lessons and good times.
Bugle

Trad climber
San Diego
Apr 10, 2018 - 10:18pm PT
Okay Fish. I rarely ever read (let alone post) on this forum, but the Hidetaka DNB story needs a bit of a refresh. Here is what really went down... Yeah, hadn't climbed a lick in years, but wasn't worried about the bottom 15 pitches, just the 5 squeeze chimney pitches near the top. The client, Mr. Otani, said we needed to go all the way to the top for the story. We got the usual early start, about 10:30, with hideous heat. Fortunately, I was traveling light so that I could carry the camera and batteries, so I only brought a small bike bottle for water. Only 21 pitches in Yosemite heat... what could go wrong? Suzuki shows up with two or three funky stoppers and a rope, so there might have been a few (most) belay anchors where I was just standing there trying to get some shots, but otherwise we were getting some good stuff, even though it felt like simo-soloing much of the time. We cruised past the catwalk and the squeeze chimneys were like rotten, dirty, flaring vertical sewer pipes that were too small to get in. No wonder nobody ever does these pitches. I had long since given up on saving the camera, so it was just bashing back and forth. One pitch from the top, Suzuki tells me he wants to downclimb to the Catwalk, rather than finishing the route. It's almost dark and no headlamps, so I talk him into finishing the job, and the route. I haven't drunk a lick of water since probably 10:45am. We head over to the Cathedral Chimney and I am looking down a dirty, rotten, death chute in near darkness. I opt to bivvy in the notch. Suzuki opts to downclimb the chimney in the dark. I give him the rope, and tell him I will do the walk-off in the morning. I also tell him to let everyone know that I will be fine as there is a non-technical descent, just send someone to pick me up in the morning on the road below Middle. I find a comfy spot in the Middle/Higher notch, totally dehydrated, and looking at cascading falls across impassable slabs, envious of tons of water just out of reach. As I lay there, I start hallucinating that I can see a gallon jug of water in the darkness, down at me feet. I stare at it knowing it is just a mirage. After about 10 minutes, the temperature drops and it starts to get cold. As I am shivering, the water bottle mirage starts shaking too. What!? The sound of the water from the Bridalveil Cascade is deafening, but it might as well be a million miles away, and I'm dying of thirst. Finally, I can't stand it, I go to the mirage, grab it in desperation, and pull up a handful of dust. Sh#t, Then I get the idea of pulling down some pine tree branches and covering myself to stay warm. I snuggle into the new nest, and pass out. I wake up at dawn, laugh at how ridiculous I look and how nobody will believe this story, then get the idea to "re-create" the "nesting" scene with the so-called farewell message. Great stuff. I pull on my slippers, and set off on my quest to get back to the valley floor before you and Largo launch a full-scale rescue. A quick solo to the top of Higher, interrupted only by a cloud of millions of grasshoppers jumping on me, then a bit of easy downclimbing, then I'm on the "trail" down to the valley floor. As I come out of the woods at the road, Werner and Mary are there with Werner's car. Werner says (in that unique voice of his), "Oh Tim... we thought you were dead. We were coming up to the base to look for your body!" Of course, I apologized for the disappointing news that I am still alive, and Mary stuffed me full of water and muffins on the trip back to the lodge. When we got back, Suzuki was eating his usual two heads of lettuce for breakfast, Mr. Otani was relieved, and you and Largo were still making jokes about Suzuki's bivouac suit. All-in-all, a worthwhile epic.
Messages 21 - 40 of total 45 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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