This thread has been absolutely fascinating. Thank you, Mr. Langford, for sharing your recollections, and Jody, for chiming in additional commentary with amazing photos!
Regarding the Korean War, my father in law got a Purple Heart, after they marched too far north and were chased back. He has a couple of bullets still in him (too dicey to remove), and is missing a good portion of his right leg. He'll be 89 in July. I've spent many hours asking him questions about his experiences, which were many. My wife has the telegram that was sent to his mother, informing her that he was "slightly injured" in combat. It was most definitely not "slight."
I think you nailed the route line of H&L Feather Canyon in the second photo.
When Clint and I went up to replace the old bolts we got to the top of pitch 5(the pitch above the water groove) when it started to get dark. It took a while to replace the bolts not to mention hauling all that gear up the climb.
Well, Clint and I have never done the climb before so we were a bit concerned trying to follow the circuitous route especially since the next few pitches didn't have any bolts to let us know if we were on route and the last pitches only had a couple of bolts. So, we bumbled upwards in the dark, replacing a few bolts along the way and finally got to the top of H&L about 3 hours after dark(that time of the year it was about 10pm). That was really fun, but a long, long day!
Man, this thread is the real deal, powerful stories. The talk of turning points and becoming smitten with the mountains triggered a visceral memory; I may be sitting in a cafe right now in Olympia WA but I swear I felt a warm waft of Ponderosa scented wind and tasted the tang of stream water drunk from a stainless steel sierra cup, leftover senses from a boy scout backpacking trip in the Sierra probably around 1970, a fork in the trail that has led to me to so many friends and places over the years. Thanks everyone.
Ha! My army surplus mountain pants were wiped out. I needed something in a hurry. Found those Swiss corduroy knickers on sale at the ski shop in Jackson. Those boogers turned out to be tough and comfortable. Better than Kilts!
No one was wearing neon lycra back in the fifties, were they, John? Only ballet dancers. Many years ago climbing the Half Dome cables I got caught behind several ladies in dresses and skirts. Had to risk my life going outside the cables to get ahead of them!