Vintage climbers...your story


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Mountain climber
Boston, MA
Jun 4, 2018 - 02:02pm PT

But first: Homage to the earlier birds.

My life was changed forever in 1956:

And survived the Protection Revolution in the early seventies:

In 1957 an early adventure in the Tetons:
My then climbing partner, Phil Gribbon, was awarded the Polar Medal in 2014 by the Queen.

At 93; still a climber at heart.
The older you get, the better you were!

Berg Heil!
Bill Atkinson

Jun 4, 2018 - 02:27pm PT
At Rock Springs I changed to a bus for Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. My seatmate told me his name was Bill Buckingham

Bill, that same summer (1957) I took that same bus, piloted by a guy wearing a cowboy hat. There was a drunk cowpoke on board and I recall the bus stopping and the fellow booted off. The last time I visited the park that bus was permanently parked at Jackson Lake Lodge.

I started climbing in 1953, and in 1955 joined members of the Princeton Mountaineering Club for a climb of Teewinot. A very long day.

edit: Oh oh, it was 1956, not 1957, when I took that bus ride, going from Oregon to Rock Springs on a Greyhound first.

Mountain climber
Boston, MA
Jun 4, 2018 - 04:40pm PT
Thanks for reply.
All so long ago, but what memories.
Bill Atkinson
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 4, 2018 - 06:25pm PT
Good to read these accounts and to hear good voices, my dear friends John and Rich. Jody continues to send me his wonderful photos. I am not too active on Supertopo, but I check in now and then... My book that is nearly done is a vintage report on the golden age, so I won't add anything here. Those pages will be more than enough from me.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 4, 2018 - 06:59pm PT

Trad climber
Jun 4, 2018 - 09:09pm PT
Wow, thanks for sharing. This is the stuff that keeps me on here. Some very early JT stories would be great to hear about.

Trad climber
Jun 4, 2018 - 09:41pm PT
Thanks for posting. No need to respond.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jun 4, 2018 - 10:40pm PT
Thank you for the wonderful post, and starting an excellent thread.

Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Jun 5, 2018 - 07:52am PT
What a great thread! I am a runny-nosed little kid by comparison, having started in the mid-'60's. That being said, I remember my first rope, a goldline that would get twisted up like some evil snake. My first pro was a Stubai piton hammer, some soft steel pitons and steel carabiners. I remember rappelling using the "dulfersitz" method with the rope going between the legs and over the shoulder - sort of the butt-floss version of rappelling. Still climbing, but not as hard nor as often as back then.

Coeur d\\\\\\\'Alene
Jun 5, 2018 - 02:58pm PT
Jogill's club of climbers who can remember having hemp strands stuck in their shoulders from classic raps is very small and select.........partly because such members are in no hurry to keep up their membership creds.........

Social climber
Jun 5, 2018 - 03:20pm PT
Aces for sure Jim--I want to hear more. Lying about your age and then busting West on your thumb-that's about as good as it ever gets

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jun 5, 2018 - 03:27pm PT
My very first rapel was attempted from a pencil sketch of a rapel just like Jody's Dad with the rope over the shoulder. Mine ended in a 20ft grounder when the old rotten hemp rope borrowed from the hay barn broke....

Social climber
North Conway, NH
Jun 5, 2018 - 06:26pm PT
Gentlemen, thank you all for posting. I would love to hear more stories from you. Mr. Atkinson, please tell us some tales!

Trad climber
Jun 5, 2018 - 08:12pm PT
Dad utilizing the dulfersitz on Symmetry Spire BITD.

I did the dulfersitz once for practice. Once was enough, but it did work.
Mark Rodell

Trad climber
Jun 5, 2018 - 08:27pm PT
Early in my start I did an overhanging rappel using the dulfersitz in the Pinns. This was in 70 or 71. I also had this jive length of leather, like a hose cut lengthwise in half to protect from neck rope burn. It did not work and when I showed up at school the next Monday, I said I had my first hickey. Needless to say, not a single person believed that lie.

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Jun 6, 2018 - 12:49am PT

I want to know how you figured out the line of ascent for H&L Feather Canyon at Pinnacles National Monument. The 10-pitch route is very inobvious from below. Also, was there a tree or something at the start of the 4th pitch?

What a great Pinnacles adventure! What's the story?

Mountain climber
Boston, MA
Jun 6, 2018 - 08:00am PT
In answer to radair:
More of my not so ancient mountaineering at:
Menu tab: Mountaineering
You can explore around the site for other stuff: Astronomy, Design, Memoirs, etc.
Thanks so much for encouragement.
Bill Atkinson

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Jun 6, 2018 - 09:33am PT
A goldline dulfersitz story from a retreat off the Higher Spire in 1964:

There once was a climber named Boowie
Who kissed Russ's scab which was gooey
So great was the pleasure,
He dove for the treasure
And found the appendage quite chewie.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Jun 6, 2018 - 10:29am PT
My father was born just a year after you, and lied about his age to get into the infantry, serving in the Korean War as a BAR man.

In a squad in combat the BAR man had the most firepower. Therefore he was the enemy's prime target.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Jun 6, 2018 - 11:44am PT
BooDawg - made me gag.

Recently ran into old Bill Briggs of Teton fame. Still perky as ever. Hope to corner him again and pump for good stories to contribute.
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