I have no idea why or how but I never got to climb with either Max or Mark, despite us being in the Valley, on many of the same routes, at roughly the same time. My loss. I always respected how these guys always went for the hard stuff, even obscure stuff like Mother Earth. More heros . . .
Largo, Wow, thanks. I consider it to my advantage that I was taught to think for myself and not really care what other people thought about what I was doing. Max and I weren't out to make a name for ourselves, we were always amazed that we were doing what we were when we thought that there were other climbers who were much more talented than us around. We always thought "Why aren't these guys doing this stuff"?
I would love to hear about it Mark. You guys got the first repeat I imagine with as little traffic as that one received. The little bits of aid up high was enough to deter most folks.
Which one of you got the infamous "leap or 5.12" pitch?
Yeah well, I'm not really sure who started the can scam and recall
(Randy) that I turned you onto ti it on one of our first mutual trips from Sonora/Turlock to the Valley. I loved to ideas of re-recycling cans (being the good enviros we were) and getting paid for it.
Mark, you and I did some great routes together before you and Max got "hitched" such as Nabisco Wall, Orangutan Arch, 1096, Blotto, and lots of others. You and Base visited us at the folks house in southern Cal and we showed you all a good time at Josh and Tahquitz. I/we also made it to your wedding in Hood River (remember?).
Last time I saw Max, he and I were in a Mountain Bike race together in the early 90's. At the start of the race I looked over at him and said, "Max, we used to climb together, it's Spencer" his response was "are you Mark Hudon"? I just dropped back, Max won the race and I never got to chat with him afterwards. He was certainly quite focused!
We did do the 2nd ascent. I led the leap, but didn't leap and really didn't think it was too hard. We followed the free climbing and jugged only the aid. Max did the leap also.
Max and I had done the Mescalito, Zodiac and had been up on the PO (I dropped a rock on my finger and tore out the nail so we retreated) so aid wasn't foreign to us. We did it in two days with a few pitches fixed.
At one point, Max had some wide ranging, semi sketchy belay set up and I was climbing some pillar, maybe 5.10+, right above him when I thought I saw it move. If it had gone it would have killed us both. I freaked out, I yelled that this sucked and that we were going down and I don't give a F2#%K and we're out of there and all that. Anyway, I calmed down, continued on and we didn't die.
I have some photos but they're out in the garage.
I remember all that, Spencer! Max didn't say that did he? He didn't forget me? We've climbed together since. I've been down to Donner a few times, climbed at Cave Rock with him and he came up to Smith once. I tried to get him interested in a 30 year reunion one day ascent of the Nose but he didn't seem too interested. It's still on my list though.
Very few pictures of Mother Earth ever made it out to press. I bet your slide box is a treasure chest, Mark. How about kicking down a few doubloons for some hungry old pirates! You guys may be amazed to know that the entire route hasn't likely seen another ascent since yours! I never heard of another party doing it while I was keeping track especially once the Little Mother Earth exit traverse became popular as an all free outing.
Here is the complete topo from the Yellow Meyers' guide.
Any other recollections about the climbing up there? Did you guys think that the aid sections would go free in passing through?
I have a memory that Kauk climbed the "leap or 5.12" crux statically, with great difficulty, calling it the "hardest moves that he had done on rock," at the time. Nice job on the send. Did you guys warm up on any of the other Middle Rock testpieces beforehand?
The complete Mother Earth is probably the rarest jewel in the crown of MCR gems as far as repeats. Again, outstanding adventure to bite off back then!