Vintage climbers...your story

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L

climber
Just livin' the dream
Jun 10, 2018 - 08:45pm PT
Wowza! Those are some extraordinary photos, particularly the ice formations in the first ones.

I've slogged through waist deep water in Missouri's limestone caves, and hiked into an ice cave beneath Worthington Glacier in AK, but I've never climbed in an actual cave filled with ice formations. Gotta be hella fun!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So Jim, with all your love of climbing, have you ever done any slot canyons...like the ones in Zion?

Seems like it would be right up your alley.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Jun 11, 2018 - 08:25am PT
What a great thread! I am STILL a snot-nosed little kid compared to the honored grandfathers of the tribe posting here. I remember using a loop of white tubular nylon webbing twisted into a figure 8, stepped into and looped around my back to be clipped in the front to one steel biner as a rappel seat. Certainly more comfortable than the dulfersitz. Also looped the rope up between two carabiners with a third biner clipped under the rope as a brake bar - that was our rappel device. The Mountain Chalet in Colorado Sprigs sold purpose built aluminum breaker bars but we always just used another biner instead.

I fondly remember the klettershoes we used, called them "grey suede shoes", as opposed to blue suede shoes.

Although we had some pretty good protection in the form of sawed off Army angle pitons hammered into drilled holes in that soft sandstone of the Garden of the Gods (Permian Fountain Formation, dontchya know), we still climbed with the ethic "the leader does not fall".

Really a great way to grow up, although opinion varies on whether I actually ever grew up.
Happy Cowboy

Social climber
Boz MT
Jun 11, 2018 - 08:27am PT
Those are very nice photos of the Ice Cave.

I visited the Fossil Mtn Caves several times over the years. Knew them well.
Pics 1+3 appear to be the big mid chamber. The’re looking down into the lower chamber. A drop of near 100’. Most cavers of the day did not make this rap as there was not much ice in the lower area and a challenging jug back up!

Pic #2 is of the “Crystal Room”, the caves prime attraction. Pretty sure pic#7, the last, is emerging from said room’s entry. The crystal room disappeared in the 80’s when a troop of local boys scouts were within for quite a period using gas Coleman lanterns for light, and melted it out...I love Jim’s photo. Brings back great memories. We’d head to the caves when the August heat arrived, hiking up in 90’ degrees, then suit up for the cold and ice! Thanks
L

climber
Just livin' the dream
Jun 11, 2018 - 05:04pm PT
Ahhhhhhhh...there's something about Kodachrome...still love looking at.

Great photos from back in the day, Jim. And thanks for scanning and posting them, Jody.

That last photo of the women in scarves and knitted mittens...you know, I just had to laugh.

We've come a long way, baby!
riverxing

Mountain climber
Templeton, California
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 11, 2018 - 08:54pm 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?"


The climb wasn't planned. It just happened in stages. That's what made it an adventure. We got started on it never knowing where we would end up. I was doing some exploratory scrambling around H&L one day and looking down upon the jumbled mass of fractured rock on its eastern side, I could see daylight at the bottom of one the vertical fissures in the rock. Curious, I headed down Condor Gulch to the base of the whole outcropping and began examining each gap in the giant vertical slabs of rock for a possible opening. I climbed up 20-25 feet into one big notch, squeezed around a corner, and, presto, found myself gazing into an open passageway with a slit of sky high above. The crevice was narrow at the bottom (1-3 ft), but widened higher up. The floor of the crack rose gradually for some distance as I walked up it, but then dropped down into an open air grotto. At its apex I started to chimney upward on smooth walls until it got too wide to be safe.

A week or two later I went back up there with Doug Cardinal and Mike Finley, equiped with a rope, slings, carabiners and a bolt kit. That was the start of a seige spread out over several months in which we just followed the path of least resistance, ending up at the foot of H&L. The chief obstacle of the whole climb was the tight overhanging water course just above the fissure that we dubbed Feather Canyon. There was a stout, shrub-like tree there that got in the way. In fact, we used it for a rappel anchor. Maybe that's what you referred to. But at the start of the 4th pitch? To me that was only the 2nd roped pitch. I placed a bolt several feet below the tree for protection on the first ascent. Google Earth provides some excellent views of the H&L complex, but even using them I couldn't pencil in the route we took.

Doug and Mike left footprints in Feather Canyon that were not from ordinary people. Doug went on a few months later to Navy flight school and for two years tracked Russian nuclear subs from the Arctic Ice Cap to the Philippines. Then he became a medical doctor. Mike went on to become Superintendent at Everglades, Yosemite and Yellowstone, before quiting the park Servce to manage Ted Turner's and Jane Fonda's huge save-the-earth trust fund.
riverxing

Mountain climber
Templeton, California
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 12, 2018 - 08:18am PT
The 2 girls "L" referred to were school teachers from New York. Jenny Lake Ranger Station was a good place to meet pretty girls in the summer time. They were always interested in doing adventurous things. Another ranger and I took them to the ice caves one day. As we were leaving, 3-4 cowboy types from Driggs were climbing the hill to the cave. We got only as far as Wind Cave when one of them came running down yelling for help! One guy had fallen into the hole in the big frozen waterfall room. While this guy ran on down the trail to get rescue help, we all returned to the cave with my rope to help lower a guy down into the pit (75-80 ft). It was several hours before a sheriff's rescue team showed up while we hung around. The guy was OK except for two busted legs.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jun 12, 2018 - 11:31am PT
I've slogged through waist deep water in Missouri's limestone caves...

Such as Berome Moore by any chance? Tex Yocum took several us back to the siphon many years ago. It was hellacool.
BruceHildenbrand

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Jun 12, 2018 - 12:00pm PT
Jim,

thanks for posting the history of H&L. It is one of the true adventure climbs at Pinnacles National Mounument(it will always be a Monument to me!).
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jun 12, 2018 - 04:58pm PT
whoa! Jumped the oak tree to descend it? That is listed as a route in the original Hammack guide!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jun 12, 2018 - 05:09pm PT
yeah, I think that's right. Looking at the tree nowadays, I gotta wonder if there weren't a different branch somewhere!
L

climber
Just livin' the dream
Jun 12, 2018 - 05:53pm PT
Such as Berome Moore by any chance?


Gary, Berome Moore was hella cool. I've never seen so many stalactites and stalagmites.

But the waterworld cave I was talking about was Allie Spring Cave. Brrrrrrr! Still remember how cold I was after that adventure.
riverxing

Mountain climber
Templeton, California
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 13, 2018 - 06:26am PT
A little correction is in order here. First, having never been on the Monolith before, I was curious about the first pitch. Standing there looking at it, I decided to give it a try. Surprisingly I breezed right through it, but upon trying to down climb it, I spooked out. At that time a limb from the tree did overhang the rock. I just hooked an arm and leg over it and scooted out to the trunk. That's where it got scary. But once committed, I wrapped my arms and legs around the trunk and slid and scrapped down. The alternative was to have sent Jody down to get a rope.

Most of the Feather Canyon climb is third and fourth class stuff, but I did use an aid sling a couple times above the big crack to be super safe so Jody wouldn't have to hold a possible fall. There's no long runouts above the hard moves anywhere on that climb.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 13, 2018 - 08:07am PT
This thread is a treasure trove!
Between Jim Langford and Bill Atkinson we've got some real granddaddys of American climbing here.

(Not to mention John Gill, who's been spoiling us with his presence for some time now)

 How many young Americans are cognizant of the Korean War, in which Jim served?
(originally described by Truman as a police action and then, actual war having never been declared, simply as an armed conflict)

 How many veterans of World War II such as Bill Atkinson, are still with us?

The latter I looked up, and it appears to be about 3% of those involved:
Yielding to the inalterable process of aging, the men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their late 80s and 90s. They are dying quickly—according to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 558,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive in 2017.
https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/wwii-veteran-statistics

..................................................................

I urge everyone here to give the content of Bill Atkinson's website a good read through.
https://atkinsopht.wordpress.com/front-page/mountaineering/

Reading the second narrative on the Mountaineering tab of his website, I became aware of American climber, fitness advocate and innovator, Bonnie Prudden.
Now here's a woman most from our later generations of climbers have probably never heard of. From Wikipedia:

In 1936 she married Richard Hirschland, a mountaineer and skier.[10] Their honeymoon in Switzerland was marked by a climb on the Matterhorn following one day of training and the purchase of a new pair of boots.[11]

She first climbed in the Gunks in 1936 with her husband along with Fritz Wiessner and Hans Kraus.
...
In 1952, Prudden and Kraus attempted a new climbing route on the cliff known as The Trapps. After attempting the crux overhang, Kraus backed off, handing the lead to Prudden. She was able to find a piton placement that had eluded Hans at the crux, and went on to claim the first ascent of “Bonnie’s Roof”. Since then, she has stated that she and Kraus always climbed as equal partners, always swapping leads.[15]

Prudden bought an empty elementary school in White Plains, NY in 1954 and after renovating it opened The Institute for Physical Fitness.[20] It housed three gyms, two dance studios, a Finnish sauna, a medical unit, two massage rooms, lockers, showers and an office. Taking classes barefoot was a requirement. Equipment, painted in bright colors, was designed after curbs, boulders, fences, railroad tracks, and walls of a less mechanized day. Chinning bars were built in every doorway. Every child used the 42 stairs between basement and top floor for conditioning, discipline and special muscle building. Outside was an obstacle course, that included America’s first climbing wall, cargo nets, hurdles, parallel bars, ladders, ramps, balance maze, tightrope, slalom poles and a rappel roof.

Read more on Bonnie's Wikipedia page, chock-full of interesting facts about her impact on American fitness culture:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonnie_Prudden
Mark Rodell

Trad climber
Bangkok
Jun 13, 2018 - 01:48pm PT
This thread is a classic on this site and getting better.
riverxing

Mountain climber
Templeton, California
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 13, 2018 - 02:15pm PT
thanks for posting the history of H&L. It is one of the true adventure climbs at Pinnacles National Mounument(it will always be a Monument to me!).

Bruce, maybe you can pick out the route more precisely on these photos.

johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jun 13, 2018 - 02:22pm PT
Jenny Lake Ranger Station was a good place to meet pretty girls in the summer time. They were always interested in doing adventurous things.

Jim, given the photos Jody has posted on this forum I have no doubt you attracted pretty girls.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jun 13, 2018 - 02:23pm PT
Gary, Berome Moore was hella cool.

We were in a crawlway so tight, I got a quick flash of claustrophobia. Not cool so far down and so far from an entrance.

I was fortunate enough to get into Mystery Cave in Missouri as well. No show cave I have been in was as magnificent as that. I doubt they let anybody down there nowadays.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jun 13, 2018 - 02:27pm PT
How many young Americans are cognizant of the Korean War, in which Jim served?
(originally described by Truman as a police action and then, actual war having never been declared, simply as an armed conflict)

The Korean War was the subject of M*A*S*H*. One of my favorite TV programs ever.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 13, 2018 - 02:39pm PT
Just watched Robert Altman's original 1970 film version of M*A*S*H !
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jun 13, 2018 - 02:44pm PT
Just watched Robert Altman's original 1970 film version of M*A*S*H !

That was a great film! My dad served in the Korean War but fortunately was never deployed overseas; he served his duty at Fort Smith, AR
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