The "Cringe"


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Social climber
El Portal
Mar 8, 2007 - 12:16pm PT
OMG...UGH! I am such a Dummy!

Got sucked into a local fairy tale about the bolt on "The Cringe"

(-admittedly it really chapped my hide when the bolt went in due to an over inflated igo, plus it was my friend who placed it and I disagreed with her decision to do so at the time).

Yesterday I got this straight from the Horses Mouth..cuz we often climb together and are still good friends.

"Yes, she did replace the bolt, she did take a huge whipper" and "No, as far as she knew, it had not been re-chopped by "Mr.Way" nor did she (RE)-replace it"!

So that makes me "THE HORSES..A..!"

I apologize...especially to (Brian..a.k.a. Mr. Way)
Where is that guy he can kick me in the belly.



A tent in the redwoods
Mar 8, 2007 - 01:14pm PT
The rumor mill has this pegged as a "proud" yet achievable 5.12 onsight. The water level will be down and the route doable by summer. I have a pair of shoes in mind.

Nice J.B.

Trad climber
Mar 8, 2007 - 02:43pm PT
Yaniro's crack at Donner was "Crack of the Eighties". Stout, and on Snowshed right of Panic, left of Aerial. 12(c), I think.

Monument Manor
Mar 8, 2007 - 02:53pm PT
Hmmm....Carville(Tahoe Rock) credits Alan Watts with the FA on "Crack of the Eighties".

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Mar 8, 2007 - 02:54pm PT
that was Alan Watts as well iirc (C/80's). Still a bold lead on thin chit...

Youse guys might be thinking of some of the Dear John climbs Yaniro did at the leap. "ST's own" Mark Hudon and Max Jones did "The Babylon"

Gym climber
Mar 8, 2007 - 10:51pm PT
Gary's last name was Zaccor. His brother Scot was a very talented but not very dedicated climber who could climb the cringe in tennis shoes (not the sticky rubber approach shoes of today)without too much trouble. Anyone who had the pleasure of working with the Zaccor brothers could probably fill a few page with interesting stories. This group would include Randy Leavitt, Hugh Burton, John Barbella and Greg Child among many others.

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 8, 2007 - 11:58pm PT
"Gary's last name was Zaccor. His brother Scot was a very talented but not very dedicated climber who could climb the cringe in tennis shoes (not the sticky rubber approach shoes of today)without too much trouble."

That's just not fair . . .


A tent in the redwoods
Mar 9, 2007 - 12:10am PT
It's fair. Blessed with talent but lacking dedication, only makes 1/2 a climber.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Mar 9, 2007 - 12:59am PT
Thanks for the correction regard Gary's last name (i.e. Zaccor). Will change the name of his mantel to the "Zaccor Mantel" in the new edition of the Castle Rock guide, which is going to combine roped climbs and boulder problems. The mantel in question is just to the left of the "Spoon" at the main area and is rated about V4. Didn't know that so many people worked on Gary's crew.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 9, 2007 - 03:56am PT
I remember in the mid 70's Gary Z and Augie Klein hanging around such South Bay Area haunts as Castle Rock and Guadalupe Rock. They couldn't seem to get up anything. Luckily for them, they figured it all out(and pretty darn well, to boot)!


Truckee, CA
Mar 9, 2007 - 09:28am PT
Really bummed to hear about Gary Zaccor. He and I ran in the same crew for a few years (77-82), along with Augie Klein, Bill Price, Kathy Besio, Kurt Reider, Dave Deiglemann. They all had gone to the same high school in Redwood City. (Where Kauk also attended for a couple of years, I think, they had a great outdoor program.) He was a fun hyper madman, climbing hard and working hard growing a major tree removal operation that became a booming business in demolition and removal of stuff from toxic sites, specializing in the maritime docks etc. He spent some time battling Owl Roof, succeeding one day I am pretty sure. Gary and I did an early ascent of the Crucifix and were the first party to link Mary's Tears and free the pitches that Max and Mark had just freed at the top, he scampered the wide, and I did the thin.

The Cringe was an important piece of the "hard" circuit in those days that included the Calculator, Energy Crises, Red Zinger, and Fish Crack, to get in shape for Astroman. There were not too many people who could fire those pitches back then and as teenagers we were pulling early ascents of these classics, some good years. My first good go on the Cringe was in 78, 16 years old, I had one #2 friend to add to my 3 7 hexes. I f*cked myself with the cam, at the one spot near the top where it thins down to 1.25" where you have to pull two harder jams with a wicked pump, I stuck the friend as high as I could, then could not get the rope up to it with my melting arms, in desperation I gave one final effort getting a bight of rope to the biner, gate was flipped to top load, and I fell with stacks of rope in my hand, I vividly remember the instant relief in my body of letting go of the rock overcame my fear during a 45 foot arcing plunge. Came back a few months later (put the cam in waist height) and sent it with Dave Yerian following. I want to go for it this year, maybe I can make a 28 year anniversary ascent with Yerian, he is still quite fit.

Zaccor dying is good motivation to call up some of these old friends.

the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Mar 9, 2007 - 11:28am PT
Great post here. lot's of history and some ethics...
So i want to chime in now..
the cringe was the first 5.12 that i managed to on-sight. that was spring of 1984 and i did it with malcolm matheson aka HB...
i will always remember that day as i was nervous about trying it, i did not think i was strong enough, i borrow every # 2 friend i could get my hands on and sent it with the wicked pump going the whole way. i don't remember any bolts and i do remember the traverse at then end being a bit sporty.
I agree with John, that doing the route in 4 pitches is not an fa, and bolts next to cracks are not necessary, especially with todays modern gear.
with that note i want to open another can of worms..

i lead this route on all gear, ground up, full red point, no dogging and now it's a sport route! it has been chopped and replaced a few times. They never asked for my permission and i would have said no anyway....
now i know it is very popular, i just want to say i think it sucks and i fear for all the classics may go the way of the spineless...
if you want to step up to the game ad experience climbing at its best, then don't add bolts to existing routes.. just climb them or walk past them!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 10, 2007 - 11:23pm PT
Right on Kurt!

And now for a tale of bloody adventure from a time before climbing became "critically easy" to quote RR!

Team Teutonic arrived Friendless in the Valley one season. Their sole purpose and aim, to master the Crimson Cringe. “Wolfgang, Hans und Richard,” chirped Bulwinkle announcing the formidable German roster with relish at every opportunity. The team supreme had been assembled cleverly to fit the problem at hand.

Wolfgang was Wolfgang Gullich, unknown but talented and strong, to cover the middle of the size range.

Hans, who could have been a bouncer anywhere, had the large end filled in nicely towering above his compatriots.

Richard, gaunt and missing several teeth, defined thin, wiry and tenacious. He looked like a guy who had never missed an expedition in thirty years, tough as nails. In addition to scrappiness, I figured that he was along to contribute to the requisite masochism and nationalistic flagellation necessary to achieve victory lest youth should falter.

And so it was that the Crimsom Siege began. Day after day, the eager threesome threw themselves at its parallel universe only to return more bloodied and beaten. I was in the rescue site at the time and made friends with Wolfie early on. After the third or fourth round, I chided him for being fixated on such a short route with thousand meter walls all around as a canvas. He looked at me with the desperation of a condemned man and half-sighed, “you don’t understand, we MUST climb the Crimson Cringe.” Some mysterious ancient hierarchy clearly dictated suffering and would be unsatisfied with any fun.

Oddly enough, after their entire self-mutilation vacation came to an end, I can’t clearly recall whether the old gods smiled and were sated at the bloodletting allowing the lads passage or not. Once Friends could be had by one and all, the price of submission moved elsewhere leaving to the mists of time the hard sought gains of three brave men, Friendless in the embrace of the Crimson Cringe.

Trad climber
Mar 10, 2007 - 11:37pm PT
Great post Kurt - it is possible you had one or two of my #2's with you that day...

I agree this is way historical and interesting.

I know Augie and KB were good friends w/ Tami Knight.

A good friend of mine is her partner now - this cat Phil Holman - an awesome artist in his own right.

Trad climber
los arbor
Apr 23, 2010 - 07:01pm PT
There is some great footage of Kauk climbing this in "Return to Balance"

more eye candy from the web:


Trad climber
The Great North these days......
Apr 24, 2010 - 08:24pm PT
Both times I did the Cringe I belayed at the top of the crack, right before the undercling. Not for any reason other than I was dang pumped!

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Apr 24, 2010 - 09:13pm PT
Somewhere I have a bunch of pics of Bill Price leading the thing. Nice style for sure. However his belayer was unable/unwilling to follow so Bill rapped down cleaning pro as he went. I sat on the ground wondering, from a vector perspective, what was going to happen at the end. Well... Bill got to the last piece, his rope making about a 30-degree angle up to the rap point and hung on the piece realizing he was in a bit of a predicament. He swallowed, yanked the piece and swung left at gathering speed toward the dihedral that Free Press goes up. He hit that wall at max speed and I swear his legs compressed to a point where his knees were behind his head. I was sure something was going to crack and shatter.

Bill rapped to the ground, pulled his ropes and walked away.

Trad climber
June Lake, CA
Apr 24, 2010 - 09:29pm PT

The Cascade Falls routes are the best:
the Cringe and Fish Crack, and yes Walleye....the Free Press ! All good stuff,
wonder if I could even follow that stuff anymore.


Apr 24, 2010 - 09:46pm PT
The Cringe is probably one of the few hard Valley classics I was able to on sight so it means a lot to me. Did it all in one pitch back in 97? before the bolt was put back at the undercling. I stood on that ledge a long time looking at the corner down left thinking, "I don't want to blow this and it could really hurt if I do."

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Jan 17, 2011 - 07:30pm PT
Bump as interesting climbing tread and nice photos.
Where those routes "Silk Banana and "Diamond Dogs"- Levy mentioned above?
Levy wrote:I agree w/ BVB in that underclinging training like Silk Banana or even Diamond Dogs is helpful for the end which had a bolt added to the exit moves onto knobs. This section used to be runout and the site of spectacular 40-50 footers. Do it the old way and skip the cheater's bolt.
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