Big Rock - a little history

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DonC

climber
CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 3, 2007 - 10:52pm PT
In a recent thread I noticed a number of people mentioned doing their first lead at Big Rock. I recall reading in Climbing Free by Lynn Hill, that her first climbing was done at Big Rock.

I first started climbing at Big Rock in 1968 when I was a sophomore in high school. This was the era of 1” swami belts, gold line, Kronhoefers or Pivettas, hip belays, hand tied slings, and iron. If you used chalk, a small piece was kept in your shirt or pants pocket. Usually I just grabbed a handful of dust at the base of the climb and put it in my pocket. It was before the lake. A dirt road led almost to the base of the rock and on days when we had the place to ourselves we would play an 8 track of the Stones, belay from the bumper of our 1957 Chevy woody, and have a blast. An occasional ice chest would even make its way to the big ledge under the flakes. We had fun.

I was a “regular” for a few years and Doug Tilleskjor and Wilbur Greg were my frequent climbing partners. Doug was a dental tech in the Navy stationed down at Miramar. He did one tour in Vietnam, was very laid back, and a great slab climber. Wilbur was unlike anyone I had ever met. He was in his mid twenties, lived with a harem of beautiful girls, and helped people figure out ways to avoid the draft. I heard stories of him cutting off fingers and toes to keep people out. He was positive that his house was bugged by the FBI. Wilbur was not the strongest climber but he had the prettiest knickers and his RR’s were always clean and blue. For a naïve teenager, hanging out with these two guys was quite an experience.

For several years the 3 of us would meet nearly every weekend and climb at Big Rock, Tahquitz, Joshua Tree, etc. At Joshua Tree we did lots of cracks and slabs that later sprouted 3 – 5 bolts and first ascents claimed by others years later.

I remember meeting Paul and Phil Gleason. Phil Haney was an incredibly stronger boulderer, amazing us with his one arm dynos. Don O’Kelly and his son were frequently there and to this day I can visualize the gobies and blood that always seem to cover Don’s hands, elbows, and knees. I will never forget Keith Lehman’s flaming red hair and great style. Bernie McIlvoy and his partner Mike were also great friends. I went to high school with Terry Goodykuntz and John Mokri. John died during an early free ascent of the DNB, and an early edition of the Joshua Tree guide is dedicated to him. I can visualize the faces and hear the laughs of many others; I just don’t remember their names so many years later.

A number of us later worked at Alpenlite, a small backpacking equipment manufacturer. Alpenlight was owned by the same people who owned the Backpacker, a short-lived climbing shop in Upland. I dated the owner’s daughter and often hung out at the store. I remember one day a kid comes in and wanted to take some climbing lessons. He didn’t look like the thin and wiry climbers I hung out with. He was strong and muscular, but we signed John Long up anyway, sure that he had no future.

When I first visited Big Rock in 1968 most of the routes were already established. During the few years I frequented the area Cheap Thrills and Let it Bleed were added. Someone (Don O”Kelly?) drilled bat hook holes for Cheap Thrills and hooked his way up, and shortly thereafter Phil Haney plugged a few of the holes with bolts and did it free. In 1969, with sewing machine legs Doug and I climbed the face between the two flakes, putting in a few bolts, and established Let it Bleed. Edger Sanction, Pudnurtle, Hard Trough and a few others were put up long after I left the area.

We had done all the routes many times (actually I could seldom make the move on Giant Step until about 20 years later with better shoes), so we would make-up grand traverses trying to touch all the routes, or do all the routes in a day. But for many of us, our day at Big Rock was filled with bouldering. Unfortunately the lake buried great problems like The Rings, The Butcher, The Fin, and many many others. Doug, Phil, Don and I would work on a problem together all weekend encouraging each other, laughing, and having a blast. There were also a few other lead faces including Limp Dick and The Nose. The top of The Nose can still be seen sticking out of the water, near where the trail leaves the dam and ascends the hill.

I remember some great falls and with a hip belay the belayer would often scream as loud as the climber. Add all the iron jangling around and it was quite a scene. Other than battered foreheads, noses, chins, fingertips, elbows, and knees, from sliding 50 feet or more on the low angle rock, I don’t remember any serious injuries. Bernie did take a huge whipper, which I unfortunately missed, breaking his leg. A few weeks later he hitchhiked to Mt Whitney and made it up the mountaineers route, leg cast and all.

My most dangerous day at Big Rock occurred when my brother and I were on the face and some drunks drove-up and started shooting at the face, bullets hitting 10 feet or so from us. We rapped down; they confronted us, and took all our money. It wasn’t much, they left, and we had a great afternoon of bouldering.

Big Rock is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but I think it has meant something special to quite a few people. I’d like to hear other Big Rock stories.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 3, 2007 - 11:15pm PT
Nice story Don, I never made it out to Big Rock in my SoCal climbing career. I do remember Wilbur though, a memorable character with a huge heart. I don't suppose you have more stories about him. I lost all contact after leaving my short lived job at Alpenlite, but that was pretty cool for a 16 year old, quite an eye opener.

Big Rock was a beloved place at that time, and the creation of the lake seemed to change that scene significantly.

Watusi

Social climber
Joshua Tree, CA
May 3, 2007 - 11:32pm PT
Great thread!! A lot of my earliest routes were at BR... some fun we had in those days!! (early '70's)
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 3, 2007 - 11:38pm PT
I almost grew up at Big Rock and memories of the place are very fond. Terry G. and John M., as well as Bernie M., Don O'Kelly, the Gleason bros., Haney (an insane talent) and many others were very influential to our early lives. I can remember as though it were yesterday - driving out to BR with Richard and Ricky, Mot the Hoople on the 8 Track and rag week in the bowl, then onto the big slab for mega routes. We were a few years late for the Golden Age of BR activity and the Stonemasters were in fact a second wave of early California climbing action preceeded by Don C's group. That was a very interesting time and I wonder what happened to all of those guys.

I've always said that English Hanging Gardens was 5.12 and Haney did it around 1968 I think.

JL
Watusi

Social climber
Joshua Tree, CA
May 4, 2007 - 12:26am PT
You're right John, The English Hanging Gardens seemed a bit harsh for it's grade...
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
May 4, 2007 - 12:38am PT
I agree, JL and Watusi. Even climbing consistently solid 5.11, and occasional 12s, I never got EHG even once--not on lead, or on toprope. I figure its rating must date back to those days when the imagination didn't go as far as 5.12, so it had to be 11 at the most.

Big Rock is a great place--low angle, but great fun. My memory may be fuzzin' out on me, but JL, did I see you and Darrel Hensel out there shooting some footage for a face climbing instructional video several years back?
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 4, 2007 - 12:45am PT
That's a really nice story. Big Rock is OK. Would like to have been there pre-lake.

My first run out lead was Puppydog. I was really sweating bullets looking for a bolt! Also got the bejeezis scared out of me going for that first bolt on Africa Flake.

Ah, those were the days. Oh, wait, that was last month!

It's a nice place to climb, relax at the table and watch the action.
Koda

Sport climber
The South
May 4, 2007 - 01:04am PT
My first lead also was at Big Rock--the 5.5 "Trough" (I don't remeber if that is correct name, though). I was an undergrad at UCR and I recall doing the route thinking, "Damn, my first multi-pitch." Little did I know. We didn't have a rope long enough, so we had to belay from a bolt or two half-way up. I also remember being frightened out of my head on a 5.11 left of the "Trough." On a Saturday moring, ferociously hungover after a beer-fuled night of drinking in Riverside, I set out on the route--reachy at the beginning, then vertical to slab--and ran out of bolts...that is, bolts with hangers. I didn't have any stoppers to swag the bolt stems, so I ended up running the route out to the top. It felt like climbing on 50 feet of greasy muffins. Scared the sh*t out of me. After the adrenalin subsided, my head throbbed like a pulsating diesel engine. My climbing partner and I gathered our gear, hiked out to the generic campgound, and medicated our hangovers with left over Miller HighLifes. A memorable day for sure; I still remember it nearly 20 year later.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
May 4, 2007 - 02:03am PT
The 80s were when I started going out there. I would drag any poor slob I could find out there just so I could touch stone. Back in the day, post lake, you could still drive to the base occasionally, but later it was a walk.

The heat would sometimes drive ya batty, but you at least got to touch the rock after a nasty week with your teachers you simply couldn't fathom why you would draw little 'x's on your book cover.

Even later the gang-bangers that were escaping east LA and living in Riverside Co then, would vacation at Perris. Car break ins became common. What was worse the attendant would leave early and you parked outside the gate so you could climb past sunset. bad news.

Later I went back for a day of cragging solo and had my old man's nissan broken into. dipshits couldn't figure out how to pull the Alpine out. idiots.

I just remembered a time when Jack Wygal saved my ass (a high school bud and member of the climbing club I started with friends at Orange High), I thought I would be cool and solo The Trough on one of those early trips. Got to near the first belay and didn't have the stones for the stone. He dropped a rope, and I made my way off. easy climbing really. But jeebus that scared me. One of those experiences that trains the brain not to 'show off'.

The chickenhead features were the coolest out there. That and you could lead and climb with little gear, which back then, i had little of.

The first time I got the updated topo, I thought, 'wow, look at all the new routes i can go back and do' but never really did because about that time I started doing other things like bouldering at Rubidoux (closer) and later going to Owens, a trip to the Buttermilks, or other areas like bouldering at Corona Del Mar.



Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
May 4, 2007 - 12:24pm PT
Big Rock and Rubidoux figured large in my early climbing career as well. Climbed the Trough once in Mountaineering boots, clipping only one bolt, in preparation for the East Face of Mt. Whitney.

Bought my first climbing gear at Highland Outfitters: blind-gate eiger ovals and goldline rope. This wasn't the earliest days, mind you... Red P.A.s were new on the market. I remember getting there at 4 am one morning to be in line for their annual rental sale. Seems to me Largo and Tobin may have been a few places back, waiting for the goodies as well.

A month or so after this Roy Naasz took me up my first multi-pitch: Open Book at Tahquitz. All these decades later, I still can't believe I led the second pitch of that climb.

My most memorable evening at Big Rock was when Pat Brennan and I were driving out the afore-mentioned dirt road, and low and behold in the evening twilight we spotted a rope and rack laying in the middle of the road!

Left our names and phone numbers with the rangers, and the day after, we returned the gear to its rightful owners, who had arrived at Humber Park (the start of a road trip) before realizing they had set the gear on the roof of the car, and driven off without further thought.

Good times.

Brutus
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
May 4, 2007 - 12:55pm PT
Here's a couple of shots from the base of big rock circa 1977

BVB with the lake in the background

Part of Team Scumbag taking possession of the picnic table at the base of the rock


We made a number of forays up there, we all had a weakness for that slabbing stuff. I've got some grotty black and white butt shot slabbing action pics floating around somewhere, but I don't think they really capture the flavor of the place. It would have been grand to see it before the lake.
Bart Fay

Social climber
Redlands, CA
May 4, 2007 - 01:25pm PT
Plenty of great memories from Big Rock starting around ‘82.

There always seemed to be some kinda MoPed/Fat-Chick stigma about that place.
Sure it was fun, but we never talked about it when you were at JTree or Idyllwild.

Never could get English Hanging Gardens.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
May 4, 2007 - 03:16pm PT
Started out there too.

It was 70 and they had just baracaded the road but hadn't started construction on the dam yet. We just thought they'd crated our own personal motorcycle drag strip. When it was hot we'd climb for a while and then blast down to a roadside fruit stand a couple of miles back. Eat a mellon bare handed in front of the stand driping all over and then blast back down the closed road at 130mph+.

Got busted once when a CHP pulled up when I was almost up the overhanging side of the big bolder that was straight west of the main face. He demanded that I get down and I protested that the only way down was up. We got escorted out, but no ticket.

We almost always had the place to ourselves and the only time I remember running into anyone out there, one of the other party was leading with a swammi tied around a body cast. He'd broken his back in a fall not to long before.

anybody know who that was?

I never got EHG either.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
May 4, 2007 - 03:20pm PT
Ah yes, Big Rock (or as we would later derisively call it : Big Joke). My first foray to BR was with Dave Evans, Mike Raab and someone else (maybe Angione). They all had EBs whilst I was still climbing in my Red PAs. They danced up (or so it seemed) Let It Bleed and Cheep Thrills and I got to the top only with generous application of T&T (tension and toprope). I blamed the shoes -- still one of my favorite excuses.

Over the subsequent years climbed there with a host of others: Bernie MacIlvoy, Bud Bruce, Maria Cranor, Darryl Hensel, Kevin and Tim Powell to name a few. Great memories.
klinefelter

Boulder climber
Bishop, CA
May 4, 2007 - 03:35pm PT
Great thread. I started climbing there in the mid eighties, learned my ropework there, and found it a good place to go when I didn't have a partner. Soloing Rat Crack was a pivotal point in my early climbing daze.

Here's a shot of the formation, for those interested.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 4, 2007 - 03:39pm PT
From what I understand, we got there a year or so too late (1971??). The dam was being built and they had already destroyed many of the best rock formations including a famous one with a route called the Trapeze. Never seen pictures but have heard the stories. All that's let now is that one big slab but at one time there was much more, I am told.

Right before they flooded the place Tim Powell and I managed to sneak over and make the first free ascent of the Nose, which people had been trying for like 10 years. That was a 5.12 dime project now lost to the water. Best route I ever did there and the top (crux) is probably still climbable if you lowered down on a top rope or startd from a boat.

But I've oftn wondered about those routes that used to be but were destroyed before we ever saw them.

JL
durban

climber
May 4, 2007 - 03:43pm PT
My first lead was The Trough, too! I was probably only 12 or 13, and this was before I terribly misspent my high school years doing cross country and homework instead of taking advantage of Big Rock, Joshua Tree, and Tahquitz, all within 2.5 hours of where I grew up. Several very good memories from Big Rock, which along with the Ortega Falls cliff was where I first learned to climb. Also, anyone know who the guy with dark beard is who was soloing everything at BR every single time I went there?
rmuir

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
May 4, 2007 - 04:05pm PT
When I first came down to college at UC Riverside (1970), it was within a few weeks that I found the way to Big Rock. (I'm guessing that Paul Gleason, who was working at Highland Outfitters, told me about it first.)

As I recall, there was a single-page sheet that had the routes marked on the main face. Some of the other stuff ("Runny Nose" and the bouldering) had to be learned by word-of-mouth. I vividly remember driving that dirt road up the valley (now covered in water) and making a right turn into the little box canyon at the base of Big Rock. There was a nice grove of pepper trees and a few picnic tables. There was a fun 15' boulder--called "Circle Boulder", maybe? That thing is now almost totally buried, after that damned dam got built.

Bouldering there was OK, but never as concentrated or as intense as at Mt. Rubidoux.

How many of us would eventually sneek/hike back in to Big Rock, on the way back from Idyllwild? And when the blasting really got serious, that trespassing was pretty exciting.

One Saturday, I remember climbing with Paul and Phil Gleason. Paul and I had done a bunch of stuff, and Phil had just arrived from spending a month, solo, out in the desert near Granite Mountain (the one near Amboy). Now, the Gleason Bros. were always somewhat wild-looking, but Phil especially so with the wild mane of hair and the full beard. Phil spent the afternoon third-classing almost everything on the main face, shocking the rest of the parties who were tightly-lashed to all those fixed pins and bolts. High balling was deemed crazy by the RCSers, but once you'd climbed all those "routes" several hundred times that was the only way to up the Game.

English Hanging Gardens always had a serious rep. And leading that thing could be exceptionally serious. Clipping the first bolt didn't mean you were home free. I vaguely recall that one could still hit the deck on your way to the next clip. Didn't someone shatter their ankle falling on that thing? Quite a few opted for the toprope; but even then, it was quite an accomplishment to snag the moves. [Thanks for the photo, Klinefelter. EHG is the left black streak that crosses the low overhang.]

John Gill's website has a mention of Big Rock in a short piece written by Phil Gleason. Check out http://www128.pair.com/r3d4k7/Riverside.html.
Fletcher

Trad climber
Varied locales along the time and space continuum
May 4, 2007 - 04:06pm PT
Brutus wrote:

A month or so after this Roy Naasz took me up my first multi-pitch: Open Book at Tahquitz. All these decades later, I still can't believe I led the second pitch of that climb.

Hey Brutus, I climbed with Roy about five or six years ago a fair amount. He wanted to take me up the Open Book too, but we got to the start and his head wasn't there that day. So, I think we did Finger Trip instead; good fun.

What a character (Roy goes by a different name now). I learned a lot of good stuff from him on the rock. Off the rock was another story that's best left unsaid.

Fletch

Edit: now that I think of it, Roy once tried to talk me into going to Big Rock. I'd been at the lake on a weekend once and the whole scene was a big turnoff to me... maybe I should have gone with him. Would have been during the week, so maybe it would have been nicer.
rmuir

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
May 4, 2007 - 04:19pm PT
Ah... Roy Naasz, Fall of '70. First lead I ever did at Suicide was Serpentine with Roy, and a pair of Royal Robbins. Naasz had recently broken his foot, and was climbing in some STIFF shoes to lessen the pain.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
May 4, 2007 - 04:39pm PT
Naasz broke his foot the year before on the Lost Arrow and Andy Embick soloed out of the notch and ran down the trail to fetch a rescue. I did the Arrow in 72 and the big, at that time almost new eye bolts were reputedly placed to get Naasz off Salathe Ledge.



bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 4, 2007 - 04:40pm PT
I remember going to Big Rock with Largo, Mike Graham, and Tobin. The guard wouldn't let us through until we showed him our climbing gear. Largo had clipped a cooking spatula to our rack beforehand - we didn't know why. He proceeded to show the guard our climbing gear. The guard saw the spatula with webbing attached and asked what it was. Largo answered him like he was an ignoramus who didn't know anything about modern climbing gear - "Ho man, it's an 'inverted phoon detector' obviously", he said. Me, Mike and Tobin were cringing - for sure he was going to get pissed off and boot us. Just then the guard said, "Oh, of course!" and let us through the gate. We laughed our asses off!
TYeary

Mountain climber
Calif.
May 4, 2007 - 05:23pm PT
Seems like I always heard Big Rock slamed by most, yet it looms somewhat fondly in our memories. I remember Keith Lehman, the Gleasons and many others. Roy Naasz, there's ablast from the past. He does indeed go by a different name now. And he WAS a character! My first 5.10 lead was Cheap Thrills.
I also remember you, Don C, if you are the same Don I'm thinking of. At some point you were dating a gal, RM, that I worked with for a while. If you are, send me an e-mail, I'd like to chat with you sometime.
I too have never pulled EHG. No suprise there. I always thought one of the best lines was Raw Deal. Some one replaced the upsidedown pin with a bolt at the small overhange making the move over it abit less concerting.
Lots of history, non of it earth shaking, but a bookmark in all our climbing careers.
Tony
rmuir

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
May 4, 2007 - 05:37pm PT
Yeah. Once the place was legally open again after the construction of the dam, you had to check-in with the "ranger" in order to climb at Big Rock.

The first time we checked in, the Climbing Ranger came out to our rig to check our gear so that we could get approved. When it was clear that we weren't using Mom's old clothes line, he actually made us tie a "climber" knot. The guy had us tie a square knot, fer Christ's sake!

Thank gawd those yokels didn't do rescues!
WBraun

climber
May 4, 2007 - 05:46pm PT
Bachar, that story of largo with the spatula is so funny.

And speaking of knots.....

We were on that rock in the middle of the river and we threw the rope to the tourist on shore to tie to the tree so we could get across.

Remember John?

Then you asked what kind of knot he's tying? Since we couldn't tell you told me to go first.

Of course the guy had tied a perfect bowline when I reached the other side.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
May 4, 2007 - 05:59pm PT
If anyone has a current phone or other contact for Roy Naasz (aka DS), email me and let me know (or let him know). I've been trying to track him down about early Josh climbing history and would very much like to to talk to him.

Randy Vogel
Blowboarder

Boulder climber
Back in the mix
May 4, 2007 - 06:18pm PT
Phil Gleason lurks this board and posts occasionally as Phil G. He's still wild looking and climbing hard, although it seems tests aren't what he's best at passing lately.

Lehman lives in Western Washington, Tacoma maybe and comes climbing in EWash somewhat frequently. Builds sets for a theatre or some artsy fartsy sh#t that sounded like a sweet job.

Couple of really cool guys.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 4, 2007 - 06:33pm PT
TGT:
Naasz broke his foot the year before on the Lost Arrow and Andy Embick soloed out of the notch and ran down the trail to fetch a rescue. I did the Arrow in 72 and the big, at that time almost new eye bolts were reputedly placed to get Naasz off Salathe Ledge.

It's wild how this forum can connect things that flowed down seemingly unrelated streams a long time ago. If anybody recalls a 1969 photo of Andy Embick on a Tahquitz winter ascent that I posted a few threads back ... Roy Naasz was belaying Andy at the time.

Joe Herbst and I did the LA Direct in October 1971, I think that was a pretty early ascent. Can't recall whether Roy's mishap occurred before or after our climb, but the big bolts don't sound familiar.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 4, 2007 - 06:36pm PT
Fun thread which flushes out some memories to be sure.

In the mid/late '70's for those of us in the LA area, Big Rock was part of the mid-week circuit, along with Stony Point, Rubidoux, Baldy Boulders, and Corona.

I have a very clear memory of the feeling of my tight EB's biting into positive holds of Edger Sanction and the sound they made, squeeking onto the edges as pressure was applied just so.

Climbed at Big Rock probably no more than a handfull of times, with Lynn Hill & Kevin Powell on one occasion, ED Kaufer on another and a few others folks on days long lost to the memory banks. I used The Trough as an introductory route for a girl who I dated.

My buddy and I, Doug Munoz, met Don O'Kelley in Joshua Tree and climbed, of all things, O'Kelley Crack with him.

Thanks for taking the time to pen the Story Don C; I very much enjoyed the read.

-Roy

Fletcher

Trad climber
Varied locales along the time and space continuum
May 4, 2007 - 06:42pm PT
Funny these connections... I also climbed Serpentine with Roy. rmuir, brutus... I'm following in the footsteps of giants. I'm still a midget though!

Randy, I will send you what info I have on Roy.

Fletch
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 4, 2007 - 06:45pm PT
Oh, Ya,
Better chime in on the "Couldn't do English Hanging Gardens" list.
-But Lynnie could, duh.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
May 4, 2007 - 06:46pm PT
You couldn't have missed the bolts. They were about 1" forged lifting eyes and there were three of them. October would have been before.

My first partner was in the valley then. I guess the accident happened on what was a Claremont climbing club Easter trip. The Gov., (think it was Regan) showed up via chopper for a conference. He thought the crowd was there to see him, but they were all intently looking in the other direction, watching the rescue.

I've got a TR from the wayback machine about the only day I spent climbing with Andy, (Tahquitz).

Once I clean up the flow some I'll post it. It was quite a day.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 4, 2007 - 06:57pm PT
I guess the accident happened on what was a Claremont climbing club trip.

Andy was an undergrad at Pomona, one of the Claremont Colleges. Not sure if Roy was too? I kinda think his accident happened after our 10/71 ascent, because I don't recall fretting about it at the time. We did have some excitement on Harding's bathook leads, because we didn't have actual bathooks -- just a couple of Leeper/Logan hooks that were not too secure.

Funny too, the climb appealed to us in part because of its big ledges (our Robbins hammocks were a poor way to sleep!). I didn't think of them as possible dangers.

Andy, Roy and other Pomona friends climbed at Big Rock in those days, but I never got down there until decades later. My home crag at the time was Gibralter Rock.
sandsnow

Social climber
SoCal
May 4, 2007 - 11:09pm PT
Hi All
Smalltime poster, big time lurker. I thought the you guys would get a kick out of this old guide to Big Rock. according to this, EHG is only 5.10. Hold must have broke off? Hah, hah! I found this last year. I had forgotten I even had it.
I was a frequenter of the Backpacker in Santa Ana in the mid '70's. If I remember, there was a massage parlor next door, maybe that was later. I don't even remember going to Big Rock in the days this guide was created.

[url=http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y95/thelevoirs/Climbing/BigRock.jpg]{{img}}h~~p://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y95/thelevoirs/Climbing/th_BigRock.jpg[/img][/url]
Curt

Boulder climber
Gilbert, AZ
May 5, 2007 - 12:24am PT
When I lived in Joshua Tree full-time (1982-1986) I made several trips out to Big Rock with some of my climbing partners from the "inland empire." I did EHG each time I visited. IMO, it's by far the best route there. Naturally, a boulderer would think that, for obvious reasons.

Curt
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
May 6, 2007 - 08:36am PT
I have been reading with interest and enjoyment this thread on Big Rock. I too share many memories of that small area and would like too add to remembering its history. Just the mention of the name Big Rock and my fingertips begin to burn and my calf muscles tighten. I can feel the excitement that we used feel when driving up and first seeing its “huge” bald face. I can recall the wonderful, sweet-sage, desert-rock smell after a rain storm.
Perhaps for most of us climbers we hold a special memory bank for that area where we first practiced our craft. A place where we not only developed climbing skills, but also first tasted the addicting intoxicants of adventure, and first felt the warmth and support of climber camaraderie.
Because we started there, I think we somehow feel the place gave us the strength we quickly developed. Wandering around the place in a happy little band, “finding” boulder problems, working on them until first one and then the rest of the group unlocked the mystery not only added to arm and leg muscle, but also gave us the belief that effort is always rewarded.
Of my many memories, I agree with DonC that memories of watching Keith Leaman climb are among my favorite. Talented and gifted in many activities, Keith was a true “balance” climber, rarely used brute strength and would seemingly float up the rock.
Watching and belaying my brother Paul comes vividly to mind. I can still see him lead out from underneath “the roof” when he freed the Virgin. This, I believe, was among the early Southern Californian 5.10s. Paul also bouldered with a passion for the pain that I have rarely (if ever) seen equaled. Big Rock was where I developed a lasting friendship with John Gosling, another amazing climber. John showed us that climbing is not about bulging biceps, but about mental control. Gosling, by the way, did the first free ascent of The English Hanging Garden.
Phil Haney, Jack Snear, Jim Barker, I guess the names could go on and on. Perhaps because we were such a small group of climbers we were all famous to each other. In those days thrills were cheap, laughter came easily, and pleasure was as simple as the sun coming over that dome of rock and warming the chilled belayer.
Paul and I returned to Big Rock in the late 90’s. The Nose was virtually gone. The Ring climb was destroyed. The cliff that used to sport the wonderful little climb No Exit was in ruble. Sitting on the ledge at the top of the Trough, looking out across the man made lake, I felt that sad melancholy one feels when visiting places remembered that have changed. Although I know I can not replace those things lost by time, I take pleasure in knowing some young 14 year old is approaching Big Rock with sweaty palms, fearing yet wanting his first lead.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 6, 2007 - 11:01am PT
Hey, Phil, whatever happened to John Gosling and Phil Haney??

JL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 6, 2007 - 12:04pm PT
Cool history thread! Thanks for starting it DonC. Not many Big Rock shots in the old slide box butt this shot of Jim Haisley does show the rock quality nicely. Really fun place to slab around.

PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
May 6, 2007 - 12:19pm PT
Largo:
Phil Haney: I don't know about. I think he might of gone to Alaska with John Svenson, but I'm not sure. I'd love to run into him!
John Gosling I see on a regular bases. He's still climbing very well. We have plans of going to Static Point (wonderful slab climbing) in the near future.
10b4me

Trad climber
Hell A
May 6, 2007 - 01:54pm PT
I cut my teeth at Big Rock, and Stony Pt. back in the early eighties. Probably saw some of you out there. Basically learned to lead at BR.
lots of fun routes at BR; haven't been back for years though.
Re: Roy Naasz. last time I saw him was probably five years ago. lived in Riverside. picked him up at went to Josh with him where he promptly went into Nomads and bought some hand jammies.
he was on disability, and wasn't doing to well.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 7, 2007 - 07:55pm PT
Hey, is this English Hanging Gardens?
It's been way to long for me to say, but I think one of us said it was in fact.
Photo borrowed from Off White or BVB:

rmuir

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
May 8, 2007 - 03:32pm PT
Nope, Tar, I don't believe that is EHG.

(Nice of you, however, to give attribution. Check with sources. That route doesn't look familiar to me.)
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
May 8, 2007 - 03:40pm PT
Hey Roy: that's Frank Noble on The Wasp (5.11c or so) at Mission Gorge in San Diego. My shot, but BVB scanned it from the snapshot, so you're right on both counts I reckon. Galen may have even been the one who developed that roll at the community college, so it's a full on team effort.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
May 8, 2007 - 03:48pm PT
Thx Sand for posting the old OLD topo.
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
May 8, 2007 - 06:25pm PT
Fast forward the Wayback machine to about 6 years ago...

Took my mother (Then in her 80s and on oxygen) out in a canoe from the picnic area to the rock. She had been a huge canoe enthusiast in her youth and her eyes were sparkling like a pre-teen on a carnival ride.

Meanwhile, Nurse Ratchet and my daughter walked over to the rock with climbing gear.

Got my mom out of the canoe, and got her (and her oxygen) over to one of the picnic tables near the rock. From there she watched her granddaughter do her first ever lead, of the Trough.

That was the last time my mother ever got in a canoe, but she remembered it with great happiness right up to the end of her life.

Brutus

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
May 8, 2007 - 06:28pm PT
Very nice Brutus.
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
May 8, 2007 - 09:24pm PT
I've only climbed at Big Rock 2 times in the '90s. Great stories guys. I'll have to go back and do some more. Very interesting history :-))

Hilarious story by Bachar regarding Largo's spatula. Classic.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
May 8, 2007 - 11:36pm PT
Scrounged up a few old shots I took of my buddy, Dave Hersey, on a 70's vintage ascent of Let It Bleed (the blank face between the two squiggly, yet parallel dihedrals in the upper portion of the face). At the end of the day, it's all about good friends.

Here's the Big Rock itself...

Dave laces up his EB's real snug-like for Let It Bleed:

"Watch me here...even though I'm clipped with a couple o' 'biners into a solid 1/4 incher!"

And he's off...



A few years later, my little bro, seconding on (I think) Cheap Thrills:
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
May 9, 2007 - 02:27am PT

which one is this? I've forgotten. goes thru the roof, I think.
Chaz

Trad climber
So. Cal.
May 9, 2007 - 02:34am PT
I think it's just called "The Roof".
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
May 9, 2007 - 02:42am PT
thx chaz
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 9, 2007 - 12:54pm PT
I am pretty sure that English Hanging Gardens is one of those routes where it is a big advantage to be short. I have done if a few times with no issues and kind of felt it was 11c ish for my height. We spent some quality time there but I haven't been back in many years.

Back in the early 80s Mike Waugh and I were going to do OZ in TM. A friend of ours wanted to come along and thought he was qualified because he had done a 10d at Big Rock. He found out that Big Rock routes just didn't apply much to climbing in the real world and had to get lowered off the route when he couldn't do the 10d crux on OZ. Of course, the fact that Waugh wouldn't give him a back belay might have had something to do with his fear of failure.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
May 10, 2007 - 09:20am PT
Yeah, Riley...it's the black water streak/smudge right of the crack.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 17, 2007 - 02:33am PT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-3iXcz0tUo

don't know why they didn't use the Stones' song though...
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 17, 2007 - 02:56am PT
There's also a Big Rock near Calgary, a large glacial erratic sitting on the prairie. Of spiritual significance to the First People, of artistic and festive significance to local teens, and offering some bouldering.

It will be no surprise that there's a well known brand of Albertan beer called Big Rock.
HighGravity

climber
Da Boonies (Aka Nuevo), CA
Jun 17, 2007 - 10:43pm PT
Still a great place to climb, just 5 min from my front door. Edger Sanction is one of my favorite routes to do laps on. And great bouldering all over the hillside, just takes some walking. The bad thing is the state is "closing" it while the leaky dam is fixed. I woulder how many times I'll be stopped, only to tell the rangers "I didn't know it was closed."
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jun 17, 2007 - 10:47pm PT
spent a day climbing at Big Rock shortly after the earth cooled - led a couple slab/edge routes there both rated 10a, i think - did this w/ Brian Pottorf who I climbed with a bit off and on back then (he had week days off) and was a friend of Largos. The BR routes were cool and remember thinking it was a fun place.
My Name Is Drew

Big Wall climber
Dogtown, LosAngeles, CA.
Jun 17, 2007 - 11:33pm PT
Trouble with photographs taken from the ground at Big Rock is they always look even lower angle than they actually are already lol.
Saw John Long there many years ago. I was kinda green but he generously congratulated me on a fine lead.
On another occassion my partner and myself decided to practice aid at Big Rock by top roping a not so popular area where we could restrict ourselves to hooking; simply move the jug up with each move. Well nobody told me the hook moves were gonna take me far afield of my line of descent so when I pulled I went bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk.
DOH.
HighGravity

climber
Da Boonies (Aka Nuevo), CA
Jun 18, 2007 - 11:07am PT
Its not yet officially closed, but the plan is to start some time later this year. There is a huge renovation of Lake Perris underway and the road to Big Rock will be closed for contruction traffic. But, there are others ways in!
michaellane

climber
Spokane (spo-KAN), WA
Jun 19, 2007 - 01:28am PT
I remember Big Rock fondly, although it doesn't come immediately to mind when I think of climbing areas I've been to. It's an underrated area, really.

I had one of those climbing career highlights there. I onsighted Raw Deal and felt like a goddam hero. It was the hardest thing I'd ever flashed. I remember those old bolts were shite and I had to tighten the skinny nuts by hand as I climbed past them. I was really scared and super pissed about that, I recall. Now, though, I'm glad they were spinners. Makes the memory all the richer.

God bless Big Rock.

--ML
Floyd Hayes

Trad climber
Hidden Valley Lake, CA
Dec 3, 2007 - 03:56pm PT
Is Big Rock going to be accessible during the last 2 weeks of December?
Iron Mtn.

Trad climber
Corona, Ca.
Aug 5, 2009 - 09:50pm PT
*BUMP*
dogtown

climber
Cheyenne,Wyoming
Aug 6, 2009 - 03:27am PT
Largo wrote:

( I've always said that English Hanging Gardens was 5.12 and Haney did it around 1968 I think.) This always comes up when the subject of Big Rock is disgust. I have only seen it done once and the conclusion was at time it was the hardest mantle move in So. Cal. Period. 12+ and that was in the early 80’s. I grew up at Big Rock,Rubidoux and the beach also, didn’t everyone?

Bruce.
Burt

Trad climber
Las Vegas, Nv
Aug 6, 2009 - 04:49am PT
I was climbing in big rock on fine day in the beginning of my climbing career (i think I was 13) and I think it was the route between the 2 flake systems or the one to the right of them (forget the name or grade 5.10 or 5.11 I think) I lead up to the ledge brought my very inexperienced partner up and got all pumped to lead the "hardest pitch of my life" I was so excited I couldn't contain myself I launched up the wall smearing my way to the first bolt and reached back for a draw and noticed I hadn't grabbed any! It felt like I was 25 feet from the ledge (prob only 10 lol) no way was I going to down climb my test piece, so I slid my finger in the bolt and if my memory serves me right it was a 1/4 inch with a leeper style hanger so only one finger would fit. I pulled up some draws on the rope and soon found out the crux was letting go of my new found metallic mono to get the biner in it so I could clip the rope in! The feeling of pure terror discovering no biners, to the shear joy of living through a life or death experience (or just a small lob to the belay) is a feeling that I have spent chasing for many years now.

Kurt "Burt" Arend
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 6, 2009 - 08:13am PT
I used to climb there a lot... lived in Hemet for years. One of the funniest things I remember was watching this one guy try to lead the trough.

I had met this guy many times down at Corona Del Mar, and the guy could sail anything at the beach. I mean solid. I didn't know he ever led anything because whenever I saw him he was bouldering.

So, I was surprised to see this guy at Big Rock... seemed like a long ways from home for him.

Well, he starts leading the trough, and as you will remember, it is water-polished and a bit run out.

The guy is sketching past the second bolt. I mean he barely reaches the third bolt. Every part of his body is shaking, and the low moans of anguish and muttered curses still crack me up to this day.

He finally got to the third bolt, clipped a 'biner, lowered off, and pulled his rope though. He knew me, so asked if I would get his 'biner, so I hiked up to the bolt and tossed it down to him. By then he was finished packing. He clipped the 'biner to the outside of his pack, and he and his belayer walked out.

I only saw him at Corona after that.

Never forgot it... this 5.13 guy couldn't lead low-angled 5.4. Too many differences from what he was used to... totally out of his element.

Actually, I was afraid for the guy at one point. You can take a long, grinding fall on the trough, and it sure looked like he was going to do it.

Like Clint Eastwood says, "A man has got to know his limitations."
Cannon

Trad climber
Wildomar, CA
Aug 6, 2009 - 12:05pm PT
i had no idea there was stuff under the water. my soul is saddened a little bit. i like it at big rock. i pay the fee to park in the picnic/camp ground thing, get on my long board, push once, and cruz all the way to the base of the rock. i pay the fee as to not get my car broken into :)
Richard

climber
Bend, OR.
Aug 6, 2009 - 12:13pm PT
Edger Sanction:

30 feet of TERRIFIC climbing
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 6, 2009 - 02:17pm PT
Only been there in a rental car, that we left with the doors unlocked and nothing in it. Busted glass in the parking area (always nice to see). There was a polic cruiser up and down the road a few times, so, its a known problem. Bummer you can't drive in a park at the base, but, probably be an even bigger problem with litter, etc, if they allowed that. At least you could keep an eye on your vehicle, rather than hike around the corner where you're out of sight.

I got a sweet photo cop ticket out that way too. No traffic, late at night, stop light in the middle of nowhere that didn't change forever...ugh.

Fun climbing, though.

-Brian in SLC
Dimes

Social climber
Living in the past.
Aug 6, 2009 - 04:29pm PT
In regards to English Hanging Gardens, there is a little trick to doing it that Hensel and I figured out that made it seem like 5.11a. Could walk up and do it everytime after we knew the secret(even in the original Aspen tennis shoes. Last time I was there 15 years ago I couldn't remember the secret and as such walked away humbled by memory loss and skill degradation!!
ME Climb

Social climber
Behind the orange Curtain
Aug 6, 2009 - 05:59pm PT
Cannon, nice photo of the poison oak. Hardest part of puppy dog is getting past that.

E
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Aug 6, 2009 - 07:40pm PT
Paging Sir Hensel, what is the secret?
gunsmoke

Trad climber
Clackamas, Oregon
Aug 6, 2009 - 07:42pm PT
"i pay the fee as to not get my car broken into"

I read an article in the LA Times c.1990 that said that the local rangers staked out the area so notorious for car break-ins. Thieves showed up and in the confrontation, one was shot dead. It was the first occurrence of a CA park ranger killing someone they were trying to apprehend.

In all my visits to BR, I've never seen EHG done. The one person I knew who claimed to have done it happened to be on it one day as I arrived. He was hang-dogging.
TYeary

climber
Aug 6, 2009 - 09:20pm PT
I think Raw Deal, 5.11b, could be the best hard route on the rock.
My 2 cents.
Tony
henny

Social climber
The Past
Aug 6, 2009 - 11:04pm PT
Unfortunately, I don't remember our EHG sequence anymore either. (that was a lot of help, eh?) Maybe if I went out there and looked at it something would jog the memory, but without that, nada.

I haven't been to Big Rock in years now. Too bad, it was kind of a fun low key place. When the break-ins starting getting so bad it kind of put a damper on things though.

dogtown

climber
Cheyenne,Wyoming
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:25am PT
I remember the EHG sequence, It's a in your face very hard mantle and then you get the clip. I'm with largo on this one,it's a sandbag.

Bruce.
Curt

Boulder climber
Gilbert, AZ
Aug 8, 2009 - 03:38am PT
It wasn't a pure mantle, though--because I suck at those. There was a way to basically do a finger-tip mantle with both hands, and then get into a position to reach one hand up (I believe the right) to a crappy little edge. Then, you could sort of finish pressing out the mantle with the assistance of this crappy little edge. After doing that, the hand grabbing the crappy little edge could reach a higher and pretty decent crimp--and your feet could be moved up fairly easily.

Curt
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 9, 2009 - 07:42am PT
Tony, I'm gratified to hear your praise of Raw Deal. I did the FA of that one.

I don't understand the earlier description by another person, about the "skinny bolts" and "spinner hangers." I put it up ground up with 1/4 inch bolts, but a few days later came back and retro-bolted it with 3/8 inchers. So, the bolts and hangers were darn good when I was finished.

I didn't take a fall during the first ascent, but did fall now and then on it on subsequent ascents. It's pretty technical, and your feet have to be really dialed in, as you know.

Anyway, nice to hear that you liked it. Thanks.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 9, 2009 - 07:43am PT
Regarding EHG, I never could bag it, although I have done many things rated much harder. A sandbag indeed. Definitely a "trick" climb!
Iron Mtn.

Trad climber
Corona, Ca.
Aug 10, 2009 - 04:28am PT

PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Aug 17, 2009 - 12:47pm PT
For those who share an enjoyment in recalling Big Rock history, I scanned a couple of slides.

The first one is Paul Gleason leading the first ascent of "The Virgin" free. This was a bolt and RURP aid route that was an early (1965?) 5.10, and an important "break through" climb for us.


The second picture is Paul enjoying one of his favorite, painful boulders. Note the shoes reinforced with epoxy glue to make them stiffer.

Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Riverside, CA
Aug 17, 2009 - 05:26pm PT
Who put up "No Hope Without Rope?
Traverse touching the first bolt of each climb,
never saw it in a guide, Royce Carlson repeated it, but who put it up?
gunsmoke

Trad climber
Clackamas, Oregon
Aug 17, 2009 - 06:07pm PT
Phil,

I forgot about "The Virgin". Funny story: One afternoon we had done a bunch of routes and were ready to leave when someone suggested knocking off every route in a day (EHG excepted, since we couldn't do it clean). We finished as darkness was setting in. While packing up at the picnic table, our happiness collapsed at the realization that we forgot about The Virgin. ... I was groping about at the crux in almost total darkness when my foot happened upon an unseen and unseeable bolt hanger. I escaped to the summit at 5.9 A0.
dogtown

climber
Cheyenne,Wyoming
Aug 17, 2009 - 11:59pm PT
Ok, I’ll throw this photo in. 80’s something. Check out the hair. Shezzz!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Aug 18, 2009 - 12:46am PT
hey there say, sandsnow... not sure if your're still lurking here, but wow---great diagram of the big rock that you posted...

also, phil G, very nice slides...

say, the only thing i seemed to have missed, and most likely cause i have only so much time to read all this neat stuff, and some are very long, is this:

what is the damn that was built, that took away ?access or
?covered these rocks up, or ?whatever...

i saw that this was LA, or southern calif, unless i bungled that too....

was just curious... it looked like a great spot---i DID see the neat photo of it... well, thanks for some more detailed info, since my reading skills were set to "glean" tongiht...

god bless to all... :)
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Aug 18, 2009 - 01:15pm PT
Back in the day when we were young n00bs (as opposed my current status as an old n00b), my partner Bob and I were sitting on top of the rock getting loaded and eating oranges we poached from somebody's grove on San Timeteo road, when Bob says he can sink one in the trash can at the base (we had the place to ourselves that day).

I bet him he couldn't.

First orange he threw was all net. Dead-center, right in the can.

I bought the beer on the way home that day.
HighGravity

Trad climber
Southern California
Apr 13, 2010 - 06:55pm PT
Here's some photos from today. It was perfect weather!










EdBannister

Mountain climber
CA
Apr 13, 2010 - 07:18pm PT
still asking who put up no hope without rope???

And Richard, I saw you do that 30 feet, back in '78 I think?

My first lead was also at Big Rock, Africa Flake.

Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Apr 13, 2010 - 07:46pm PT
A big crowd was at the picnic tables Saturday. Lots of people. And what comes along but a 3 foot red diamondback. Crawls right through the crowd and under the tables. WTF was he thinking?

A ranger pumping toilets came along with a makeshift hook and got him into a trash bag. He was hooking this snake, and the snake was totally casual about it.

Much excitement.
EdBannister

Mountain climber
CA
Apr 13, 2010 - 07:53pm PT
I remember Rick Carlson loading Jeff Bosson onto his shoulders and slapping chalk high on boulders where no chalk han been before...

and, another new thread is due.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Apr 13, 2010 - 07:59pm PT
chalk sand bagging



evel
Cannon

Trad climber
Murrieta, CA
Apr 16, 2010 - 04:07pm PT
hey highgravity, that was me on that other team working on Left and Right Cracks, it was one of the other guys first trad lead and the other guy is pretty new too. thanks for not taking pictures of the cluster f that persued after they got the rope stuck while rapping. they worked it out ok. they will get there. it was a great day out there.


by the way does anyone know what the bolts between Boogaloo direct and Wedunett are? they arent a part of either route
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Apr 16, 2010 - 04:31pm PT
Made my second ever, and first in over 30 years, visit to Big Rock one beautiful afternoon in Feb. Hadn't done much friction in a while, so it was a bit of a relearning curve. Very pleasant place to spend a day. Glad there were no rattlers about, I'm a bit phobic!!! And, Gary, that snake was thinking, "WTF are these people doing in my territory?" I've heard, on here I believe, that the Mojave Greens are breeding with other rattler species, so we may be seeing more aggressively territorial (and more venemous) snakes in that area.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Apr 16, 2010 - 04:40pm PT
I don't think I've ever seen a rattler out there, but I saw a gopher snake tumble down the rock once. We were sitting at the picnic table tying our shoes when he came sliding and rolling down The Trough. He landed on his back, rolled over and slithered off toward Rat Crack.
HighGravity

Trad climber
Southern California
Apr 16, 2010 - 06:08pm PT
Cannon, we've all had those days, so no worries.

There's a good looking OW up the hill I may go check out this weekend.
NML81

Trad climber
N Lake Tahoe
Apr 16, 2010 - 06:56pm PT
I just climbed there on Sunday by chance, good fun. The bolts could of been placed a bit better on the routes I did, but then again I wasn't the driller.
MentalEnergy

Trad climber
Riverside, California
Apr 29, 2010 - 12:14pm PT
Hello Rock CLimbers

My name is Derek Starr ( AKA 'Roy Naasz' ).

SURVIVAL, on SuperTopo.com on "The Chick History Thread", where this message was first posted earlier, said:
"You need to start your own Climbing Recollections thread, and get off this chick history thread,,,, "
( Dated: Apr 21, 2010 )

I agreed with her, and deleted that message, on "The Chick History Thread", she was referring to.

So I am now posting that message, on this "Big Rock - a little history" SuperTopo.com Forum thread, because several climbers, who have posted messages on this thread, apparently knew both me and Andy Embick, at one time.

This has turned into a long message. Sorry! First, I just want to say something about Andy Embick, one of my earliest climbing partners, who died in a very, very suspicious way, in 2003! I just do not think Andy Embick committed Suicide at all! I am still not comfortable with the accounts of his 'Suicide'?! I think I will talk more about his 'Suicide'(?), in another message.

But now, onwards....

I met Andy Embick, while I was a student at UCLA, around 1968/1969. As everybody knows, Andy Embick did not attend UCLA. He was a premed student, at the Claremont colleges, in Pomona. I do not remember how I first met him at all, but we became climbing partners, quite quickly. We started climbing, at Tahquitz Rock, above Idyllwild, California.

We soon did a couple of Yosemite Valley Grade V's - "The South Face of the Washington Column" and the "Leaning Tower". I remember, I led the first pitch, an overhanging bolt ladder, of the "leaning Tower". It was sort of spooky, standing on a dead tree, at the very first bolt, over looking a 300 or 400 foot vertical drop, below me. But that "Leaning Tower" route, is definitely fun! Warren Harding, did an incredible job, putting in all the bolts, on that overhanging route! I later did the "Leaning Tower" again, when I was living in Yosemite Valley, in 1972/1973, with Sibylle Hechtel. I wonder if she remembers me! I have not seen her, or heard from her, in 35 years!

I learned a couple of things about Andy Embick, when I rock climbed with him. That guy never would waste a moment! When we traveled by car, from UCLA and Claremont Colleges, to Tahquitz Rock, he would always study his University textbooks in the car, while we were driving! I am very intelligent, but the last thing I wanted to do, was look at my UCLA mathematical textbooks, while we were driving to Tahquitz Rock!

Andy Embick, was also very physically fit. He participated in several different sports, including rock climbing, as well as water polo and running. I am not homosexual at all, but when I was in his college dorm room, one day, he took off his shirt. Andy Embick had ripples of muscles, all over his body! That guy was in shape! Only the famous rock climber, John Long, could match Andy Embick's muscle tone!

Andy Embick also worked in a University Chemical lab, while he was a undergraduate student at the Claremont colleges. He was also a very bright student! He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, upon his graduation from the Claremont colleges!

Everybody seems to already know this, but Andy Embick and I decided to climb the "Lost Arrow Direct" in Yosemite Valley, during his winter semester break, in January of 1970. UCLA was on the quarter system, but at that time, during the VietNam war period, I had decided to enlist in the U.S. Air Force. I was not attending UCLA, in January of 1970. I had passed some tests that a Los Angeles area, Air Force recruiter gave me, in December 1969, but the recruiter said I had to wait a few weeks, before I could actually join the U.S. Air Force. So I decided it was the perfect time to do the "Lost Arrow Direct", with Andy Embick, even though it was officially the Winter Season in Yosemite Valley ( If I remember that date correctly! ).

When we arrived in Yosemite Valley, to do the "Lost Arrow Direct", we started to scramble up Sunnyside bench, early in the morning,to get to the base of the "Lost Arrow" wall, to start the climb. We were soon roped up, and doing the aid climbing, necessary ( At that time anyway! ) to get ourselves up that "Lost Arrow" wall. Our first bivouac, was about halfway up the climb, on a fairly large ledge. Our second bivouac was right next to the "Lost Arrow" notch.

At that time, at the notch, at the end of our second day on the climb, we both noticed some fixed climbing ropes, coming down from the top of the granite rim wall, not from the "Lost Arrow" itself, at all! We both thought other climbers had fixed the ropes, and were planning to come back later, and do the "Lost Arrow Spire" from the notch where Andy and I were bivouaking.

Andy and I, had a little discussion the next morning, about whether to finish the climb, by going up the fixed ropes, or go up by aid directly to the Salathe Ledge above us, and actually finish our climb by standing on top of the "Lost Arrow Spire".

I definitely remember, Andy saying he wanted to finish our climbing efforts, by going up the fixed ropes to the rim. I remember telling Andy, that I wanted to climb, by aid, directly to the top of the "Lost Arrow Spire". To me, that seemed a classier, and more beautiful way, to finish our climb.

That morning was 40 years ago, but I seem to remember, that our discussion, was a little heated! Andy, did not seem to want go to the top of the "Lost Arrow Spire". But, I convinced him about the merits, of going directly up the Spire, and he gave into my request. I started leading off our ledge, by the notch, I climbed up a small pillar above our ledge, to a single bolt you could clip into, by standing on top of that pillar. That pillar climbing was easy. I did not know it at the time, but the crack I had to aid, above the bolt and pillar, was rated A4! And that crack was going to be difficult for me to place my large Chouinard angle pitons inside of that crack ( No camming devices available at that time! )

I started to aid that very difficult crack. The crack was bottle shaped, wider inside the crack, than on the outside of the crack. I started to put pitons in that crack. The first angle piton, was difficult to place in the crack, and so were the second and third piton placements. I simply did not trust any of those three piton placements, but I felt I had no choice, but to keep on aid climbing upwards. I was standing in my aid slings, on the third piton placement, and trying to place a 4th piton, when my whole body started shaking! To this day, I wonder why I was shaking, on that piton! Then the piton placement I was standing on, came out, and I started falling!

I distinctly remember, looking at the top of pillar I was falling towards, and desperately trying to figure out a way to avoiding hitting that pillar top! All my mental activities, were in hyper-warp drive! I remember every single split second of that fall! I raised my arms as I was falling, thinking I could push away from that pillar top ledge, just before I was going to hit that pillar top ledge.

Everyone knows, my efforts did not work! I hit that pillar top ledge hard! I broke my right leg femur and my right ankle. At the exact moment I hit that ledge, an intensive, white light flash came into my brain! Instantly, I knew I had broken my leg! I was in intense pain! The old bolt I had clipped into, above the pillar, did not break! That bolt stopped my fall! If that old bolt had broke, I would have fallen another 50 - 75 feet! With my broken leg!

I was hanging from the end of my climbing rope, desperately telling Andy, my belayer, that I had broken my leg! Andy, who was below me, on our belay ledge, started to lower me, to him! Somehow, I got turned upside down, as I was lowered, and my broken leg was above me! I was in incredible pain, as my broken femur bones, moved against each other, as I was lowered to Andy's ledge!

I finally was lowered to Andy's ledge, and Andy helped me sit on that ledge! I was tremendously lucky, that our belay ledge was big enough for me to sit on. I put my broken leg straight out in front of me, completely supported by that ledge! And incredibly, as soon as I was sitting on that ledge, my broken leg stopped hurting! It was 9:30 A.M., in the morning on the third day of our climb.

Andy, since he was a premed major, had some pain pills he gave me, right away! Then we both decided, that Andy had to solo aid the crack, I had just fallen out of, and get to the Salathe ledge! We both also decided, that Andy had to place bolts, to safely solo, up that A4 crack. We were carrying a bolt kit with us. Once Andy got to Salathe ledge, he could lower himself to the Lost Arrow Notch, and ascend those fixed ropes to the rim.

Everyone knows what happened to us next. Andy, solo aid climbed to the Salathe ledge, ascended the fixed ropes to the valley rim, and ran down the Yosemite Falls trail to get help.

I sat on that belay ledge all day, while I waited for a rescue helicopter to appear in the sky. I knew, once I saw that helicopter, rescue was on it's way to me. I kept looking at the Yosemite Valley floor, from my ledge. I saw the tourist cars far below. I could even see most of the Yosemite Falls trail, from my ledge. I think, I saw Andy running down that trail, in the middle of the day. And then in the late afternoon, I definitely saw a whole bunch of people running up the Yosemite Falls trail. And then, about the same time, I heard and saw a helicopter. I knew my rescue was happening!

People ask me if I prayed, while I was on that ledge all day, with a broken leg. No, not once! I did not even think of any God, at all! Even though I had just, severely broken my leg, I felt like I was just a part of the whole Yosemite Valley! I think, I did cry a few times, during the day, but mostly I just kept observing the Yosemite Beauty around me. In case, it is not obvious, I have always loved rock climbing. I do not think I have ever loved a girl, as much as I have loved rock climbing at Tahquitz, Suicide Rock, Joshua Tree and Yosemite. I feel very lucky that my parents moved to southern California, when I was 13 years old.

My rescue was underway. I had never met him before, but Wayne Merry, the head of the climbing school in Yosemite, rapelled down to my ledge, about night fall, and asked me if I wanted to be rescued right away. I told him, my leg was not hurting, as I sat on my ledge, and that I could wait until the morning, to be raised in a metal rescue stretcher, to the valley rim.

Wayne Merry, rapelled down to me, 2 more times, during the night. He gave me a shot of the pain killing drug, Demerol (?), and brought down food and water to my ledge. I definitely have good memories of Wayne Merry! Believe it or not, I actually worked for Wayne Merry, when I first arrived in Yosemite in 1972. I cleaned his class's XC skiis from their wax, at the old Curry Village mountain shop.

The morning of my 4th day on the rock, my rescue started! Wayne Merry rapelled down to me, and told me the Yosemite rangers and dozens of Yosemite rock climbers would be lowering a stretcher, and that two climbers would be with that strecher to help me get into it, and be with me as the stretcher was raised to the rim.

Then in a few minutes, I saw the stretcher coming down, with a person on each end. Guess who those climbers were at each end of that stretcher? I could not believe it! Jim Bridwell was at one end of the stretcher, and Kim Schmitz (?) was at the other end. I had only read about those two climbers! They were climbing super heros! I never thought I would ever meet them in person!

When that stretcher got to my ledge, those two, and Wayne Merry, helped me get into the stretcher. My broken leg, definitely caused me pain, when everybody helped me, sort of roll into that stretcher.

Then, the whole ranger/climber crew started raising the stretcher the valley rim. Jim Bridwell and Kim Schmit were fun to talk to, as I and my stretcher, were slowly raised up to the valley rim. As a beginning climber, those two guys were definitely my heros! They both had very nice personalities. Those two, and Wayne Merry, made my rescue esperience very pleasant and fun! And even though I do not know their names, I want to thank all the rangers and climbers, who helped in my rescue, that day!

When I and my stretcher arrived at the Valley Rim top, I saw all the climbers and rangers who were rescuing me. I felt like I was in another world at that moment! Again, I want to say how much I appreciated the help of each of those rangers and climbers! Then, they all helped me and my stretcher, get strapped to the outside of a helicopter rail.

All you guys think rock climbing is fun, but wait until you are carried by a helicopter to the Yosemite Valley floor, strapped to an outside rail! It is a very spectacular experience, to look at the beautiful Yosemite Valley floor and surrounding rock walls, as your helicopter spirals in circles, downward to it! Bev Johnson, that fantastic woman, died in a helicopter crash, but she knows exactly what I am talking about!

Then my helicopter arrived at a valley meadow, for landing. I could see dozens of people around me, when the helicopter was finally sitting on the grass. Then, Dr. Sturm (?) and the tremendous nurses, who worked at the small Yosemite Valley hospital, were there at the helicopter, to look at my broken leg and see that I got to their hospital safely.

I guess my rescue experience message is almost over. But I want to say a couple more things. All the nurses, and Dr. Sturm, at the Yosemite Valley hospital were great, in how they treated me. But I definitely remember a small nurse, nicknamed 'Mouse'. She was really fun to talk to, and very cute! And I appreciated the visits of the climbers, that came to my bedside to talk to me, while I was laying in bed, with my broken leg in a traction pulley system. And there is one visiting climber in my mind right now, I just can not remember his name. He had long curly hair, and was quite a character. I think he came to my bedside, half a dozen times. He was fun to talk with. Anybody know his name? 'Dennis' maybe.

This has been a very long message. I hope I have not bothered any rock climbers viewing this message! Please let me know if this message, does not belong on this SuperTopo Forum thread.

Good-By!

Derek Starr
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 29, 2010 - 01:10pm PT
Derek
I remember you! Although I remember you as 'Roy Naasz.'
I definitely remember the rescue. I believe it was the first rescue in Yosemite where the climbers got paid.
Your post is a great story, and very interesting climbing history. To answer your question it definitely belongs on Supertopo. I believe it would be better in a different thread 'cause it's not really about Big Rock (even though you and Andy were well known and respected Big Rock climbers). Your story really should be it's own thread because it would be of importance to those interested in early Yosemite rescue history.
Regardless, good to hear from you and know your doing well.
Phil Gleason
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 30, 2010 - 11:59pm PT
May I bump this back to the top for those who missed this historic YOSAR rescue story?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 1, 2010 - 12:03am PT
could it have been Roger Breedlove that visited you in the hospital?
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
May 1, 2010 - 12:08am PT
Ed,
I remember a "Dennis" strong climber from the Tetons.
I think he had curly hair, but who didn't back then?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 1, 2010 - 03:29am PT
Derek Starr, aka, Roy, great to hear from you. What are you up to these days and where are you?

John Long
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
May 1, 2010 - 05:08am PT
Yeah giving this another MayDay Bump...Late night, can't sleep, but enjoying this cool thread with quite the star-studded cast of contributors!!!
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
May 1, 2010 - 12:08pm PT
Roy,
Great to hear from you. What a gripping story. I seem to recall meeting you in JT after that incident, so it didn't cool your ardor for climbing, apparently.

Regards,

Rick
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 1, 2010 - 02:14pm PT
Hey Derek (Roy),

I think I was in the Valley when that happened. Hope all is well now. I posted this before, but here is my mom leading at BR. I think we hung out with you at JT a few times BITD.


My stepdad's (John Wolfe) friend Al caught a huge rattlesnake that day. He later released it a ways from the rock.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
May 1, 2010 - 02:28pm PT
Classic photo of your mom!!
MentalEnergy

Trad climber
Riverside, California
May 3, 2010 - 09:03pm PT
Hello to rock climbers,

I am very gratified that, so many of you who read my Yosemite Valley 'Lost Arrow Direct' rescue ( That occured in 1970. ) message ( Apr 29, 2010 - 09:14am PT ), found that SuperTopo message interesting!

I will tell you once more! I climbed with Andy Embick, a lot during 1968/1969/1970, and I just do not believe he committed 'Suicide'! Something else was happening, to Andy Embick. in Valdez, Alaska, in 2003!

But onwards ...

I am just posting this message, to let you know that, those of you posted messages, regarding my 'Lost Arrow Direct' accident message, that I am going to send all of you, individual emails, thru SuperTopo!

First, I want to say to 'StahlBro', I definitely, remember your stepdad - John Wolfe! He, and his friends, were really, the first rock climbers, I met in Joshua Tree National Monument - 1968/1969. I remember him as a really nice, friendly guy! I did a couple of rock climbs, with him and his friends, in Hidden Valley camp ground. I think he wrote the first Joshua Tree, rock climbing guide. I hope John Wolfe is doing well!

This message is not about 'Big Rock', so I am ending it. I will say more to each of you, in my SuperTopo email contacts, that I will be starting to send this evening.

Have fun, in what ever mountain activities, you are pursuing now! And always remember, to keep thinking and analyzing, about all those events that are happening in your life! You will be glad that made that effort!

Derek Starr ( AKA 'Roy Naasz' )
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
May 4, 2010 - 01:30am PT
It's always fun to read this thread. Thanks for all the great posts.
Cannon

Trad climber
Murrieta, CA
Feb 1, 2011 - 07:21am PT
been hearing some nasty rumors that big rock will be closing while they work on the dam. confirm/deny
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Feb 1, 2011 - 10:12am PT
Yes it will be closed, probably for a couple of years..

just like last time.
Iron Mtn.

Trad climber
Riverside, Ca.
Feb 2, 2011 - 03:47am PT
Fack! That's a drag.....
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Feb 2, 2011 - 04:48am PT
Yes, Big Rock is scheduled to be closed for 2 or 3 years.
See my info from July, 2010
I just sent an e-mail to get a more current update on the project timelines. Will post up when I receive the info.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1228843/Big-Rock-Lake-Perris-CA-will-be-Closed-to-Climbing-2011
Cannon

Trad climber
Murrieta, CA
Feb 2, 2011 - 11:08am PT
thanks for the info........i swear i searched the forum for this before i added it to this thread. i dont want it to close
Doug Tilleskjor

climber
Minnesota
Apr 14, 2011 - 09:41pm PT
Hi Don,

Here's my #952-681-9748. Send my your # as well.

On belay!

Doug
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Apr 17, 2011 - 06:30pm PT
2/11 Update on the pending closure:

Currently, DWR anticipates the Final EIR to be certified by summer, 2011. Following EIR certification, we anticipate completion of the dam remediation design in summer, 2012, and construction to begin in mid 2013. Completion of the dam remediation is expected before the end of 2015. All projects concerning Perris Dam are anticipated to be complete by 2016.

We are trying to keep our web-site (http://www.water.ca.gov/lakeperris/); updated with the most current schedule available.

Again, thank you for your interest in the Perris Dam Remediation Project.

David L. Panec, P.E.
Chief, Dam Safety Branch


This follow up e-mail added clarification:

Big Rock would likely remain open up until a few months prior to start of construction.
Truthdweller

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:55pm PT
Big Rock....cool memories here as well! Roger Barnes, my mentor from Poway, took me there back in '81 when I first started climbing. We made quite a few trips up there over the years.

I could never do the start to EHG either. I did hook the first move though and lead the rest...definitely not in good style (hang-dogging etc.), for it is still quite demanding and runout until the angle backed off, if my memory serves me correctly. That style of climbing seemed to be what we prepared ourselves for (by bouldering at Santee and Mt. Woodson, to name a few) down here in SoCal...friction, crimps, dimes, cracks, and runouts. Edgersanction, Rat Crack, Let it Bleed, Mad Dogs, The Roof, The Flake and all the others are classics in my book. The easy walk-in, the setting, right next to a lake, and taking a dip in the same on hotter afternoons, was always an attraction to me. Pretty cool to hear the earlier history about the place. Thanks!
neversummer

Trad climber
30 mins. from suicide USA
Jan 11, 2012 - 03:23pm PT
Bump...for history
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 11, 2012 - 11:58pm PT
Another interesting Big Rock thread here...

http://www.supertopo.com/inc/postreply.php?topic_id=759684&tn=80


An early G.Cobb guide to Big Rock with typography by J.Leisher no year listed.





Only one aid route left...

As Largo mentioned on the other Big Rock thread, it would be cool to see if we can fill in the FAers on the routes listed in the above miniguide. What do folks recall about those thrilling while drilling BITD?

Post your recollections here...

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1718701/Who-Did-The-First-Ascents-At-Big-Rock-A-Historical-Survey
adventurous one

Trad climber
Truckee Ca.
Feb 27, 2012 - 03:44pm PT
Bump
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 18, 2012 - 12:15pm PT
Big Bump...
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jul 4, 2012 - 06:02pm PT
Great thread! thanks to all for the history lesson.

Just got back from Big Rock, took a 20 year old gym climber out there for his first climb on real rock, he followed The Trough and after a crash course on how to set up an anchor he led Whodennit. He led past the rap anchors to finish at the bucket on the Trough, with 6 feet of rope to spare (50m rope) He readily admits that real rock is much harder than gym rock. He was stoked to climb trad rock, and is fired up to go to Tahquitz.

Great to watch another generation of climbers learning the craft.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 5, 2012 - 01:49am PT
The perfect stepping stone...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 18, 2012 - 04:16pm PT
Gathering bump...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 17, 2014 - 02:59pm PT
Big Bump for Big Rock...
Bugle

Trad climber
San Diege
Jan 28, 2017 - 12:44am PT
From my meager recollection:
Can't really tell just by looking at this map, but it was either Pudnurtle or Puppy Dog that was put up by Kevin Powell, Tim Powell, Dan Ahlborn and I think John Barbee. Gary Geraths might have had something to do with it, as well. It was originally called "Early Morning Frustration." I think it had three bolts, so that is why I am thinking it might be Puppy Dog.
Hard Trough was originally called "Amoeba." I believe it was put up by Kevin Powell and Dan Ahlborn.
The Headwall was originally called "Reflections." It was put up by Kevin Powell, Tim Powell, and Dan Ahlborn.
Edger Sanction was put up by Tom Polk.

Not 100% certain of the first ascent teams, but the original names are right. Not sure when they acquired different names.
Bugle

Trad climber
San Diege
Jan 28, 2017 - 01:05am PT
A note about the "Nose" or "Runny Nose." Here is how I remember the story. I was at Big Rock and there was a top rope on what we called "Long John Silver" (left of Mind Bender). A few people were greasing off the thing, then Largo did it like it was a walk in the park. I was climbing in Aspens (tennis shoes from a shoe store called Gallenkamp) and I was able to get up the thing in those, despite Largo's "hand" belay (not a hip belay). Largo suggested we go do a classic route that they just freed last week. We hiked over to the base of the Nose and long pulled out a rope. It had huge frays in it. He said it was left on El Cap and the rats had eaten it a bit, but it was "bomber." I didn't mind so much as he would be leading on it. Then he told me the plan. As he had already done it the week before, it was fitting that I should lead it. What!!! He thought it was about 10D, and there was a fixed pin near the bottom and a bolt protected the top. Since it was an old aid route, how bad could it be? I remember it being a bit sketchy at the bottom, and I was only able to put in a small wire to protect the crux. I somehow made it to the bolt at the base of the Nose section, but there was no bolt hanger. I tried fiddling a wire over the piece of old bolt sticking out of the rock as the moves past it seemed a bit sketchy. The wire whipped off the hanger as soon as I stepped up, but I was fully committed. Fortunately, the climbing got easier the higher up the Nose I went. Actually, the climbing was quite good, a good location and decent rock. I belayed in some weeds at the top. When Largo got up to the belay, he laughed and said that was the first free ascent! So began a long friendship as we ended up living fairly close to each other in L.A. and got into some filmmaking epics together. Largo, would love to hear your recollections on that climb. Memory is a little cloudy, so I hope I haven't been giving any "alternative facts." It really is/was one of the best in the area. I don't think we ever rated it, though. Good times.
john bald

climber
Jan 28, 2017 - 12:42pm PT

Back in the 1" swami days.....

Thanks to all who have posted up. Nice to relive those good times.

My shout out goes to Roy Naasz, Derek Starr.
Roy taught me the hip belay off the Beethoven Wall at Stoney Point.
Entertained me with tales from the Valley.
Led me up my first roped climb in Joshua Tree, The Orphan.

My eternal thanks to you Roy, for being an inspiring figure and showing me the ropes when I was a young runt!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 28, 2017 - 06:07pm PT
I have been in touch with Lee Harrel about the early history of climbing at Big Rock and I need to post about it in detail. Lee mentioned that he had done the Nose free before Largo and company claimed the FFA.

Funny that you should mention Roy Naasz as his name came up while I was interviewing Wayne Merry in connection with an early rescue from the outside face of the Lost Arrow where Roy was the victim.
DonC

climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2017 - 07:35pm PT
I'm the OP and happy to see this thread still alive about such a local but important area.

Bugle - do you recall the time frame of when you and Largo did the Nose free? I seem to recall doing it in the early 70's and I always assumed it was already an established free climb by then.
Bugle

Trad climber
San Diego
Jan 28, 2017 - 07:57pm PT
It had to have been mid-seventies. I wouldn't doubt that it had been freed before. It was a classic line and I can see why someone would have aid-climbed up to the "nose" just to get to the cool buttress climbing. I can also see that those who knew about it would have, at least, tried to free climb it. The bolt on the arete had been there awhile as it was rusted. The route seemed harder than much at Big Rock at the time, and the pro was a little bit sketchy, but if people were already doing English Hanging Gardens, there is no reason to believe they couldn't have done this years before. For me, it was cool to climb with someone everyone looked up to, and it was a good route, so who did it first wasn't as important. I'm just glad I didn't take a fall on that rope!

Tim.

p.s. DonC, did it have a rating?
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 28, 2017 - 09:16pm PT
I did my first "5.10" at Big Rock. I think it was called "Mad Dog." I was there with a Sierra Club RCS group. I pretty much waltzed it. It was the first time I was given a clue as to how totally sandbagged San Diego ratings were. Or how how soft Big Rock ratings were. In either event, it's a fine little crag for slabbin'!
DonC

climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2017 - 10:27pm PT
Bugle - I don't recall the rating at the time, so many years ago...

Steve - I lived in Riverside at the time and was a relative "local" from the late 60's through mid 70's. For all the time I spent there I don't recall Lee but my older brother knew him. A few days after he did the first ascent of the Serpentine at Suicide, he and my brother did the second ascent. If he did the first free ascent of the Nose it was likely in Kronhoefers, Robbins, EB's or some very early shoes - what an accomplishment at that time!
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
Jan 29, 2017 - 08:27am PT
I've loved this 10-yr old thread, and glad to see it bumped again.

Is Big Rock open again?
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Jan 29, 2017 - 09:13am PT
Agree with above comments: love to see this thread is alive and doing well.
Can't tell you how much I miss the place...
Steve, Keith might know who did the first free ascent of "the Nose." Most likely it was top roped free before someone lead it?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 29, 2017 - 09:27am PT
Lee was pretty clear about it and would have likely been climbing at that standard ahead of most folks climbing there at the time.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jan 29, 2017 - 05:33pm PT
http://www.water.ca.gov/lakeperris/embankment_remediation.cfm

Best I could find online, three year project started October 2014, looks like Big Rock is closed until next winter

Timeline

February 2014 - DWR completes design

April 2014 - construction contract advertised

June 2014 - contract awarded to Pulice Construction, San Diego CA

October 2014 - three-year construction begins

Construction Activities through Summer 2015

Vegetation clearing
Rock-blasting for materials and new road construction
Constructing cement deep soil mixing cells
Transporting and stockpiling materials around the dam and lakebed
Dewatering
DonC

climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2017 - 07:07pm PT
does all the nearby blasting/shaking do anything to the integrity of the bolts?

I wondered about this during the original construction too
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