Bachar-Yerrian????

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Clayman

Trad climber
CA, now Flagstaff
Topic Author's Original Post - May 8, 2007 - 02:41am PT
Ok so how is this thing? Is it super hard? How far apart are the bolts really? hows the climbing? I've heard 11c feels stiff.
Id be stoaked on any beta. been thinking about this line for a long time. Are the bolts on it good are are they the ones Bachar put in back in the day?

any words Bachar?

is it really X or R or even super R?

HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 8, 2007 - 04:38am PT
Scotty Burke always told me it was 12a (he's done it probably more than anyone else) though I think the most 'dangerous' moves (where you'd hit the ground and not just take an 80 footer) are 5.11.

From what I've seen of Bachar's comments he'll likely get on here and call it 5.10.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 8, 2007 - 10:31am PT
The hardest move is 5.11a at the first bolt, first pitch (bring a small loop of 4mm and 5mm cord to tie off a knob about 15 -20 feet up on the first pitch - as well as some second knuckle size cams to protect the layback flake). Second pitch is 10d continuous. Third is 10c - old school slab cruxes with inbetween 10a runouts. 5.9 crack and easy face to the summit.

All bolts have been replaced by me and Dave Shultz - bomber 3/8" Taper Bolts of course!

Piece o' cake, jb
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 8, 2007 - 11:31am PT
I'll belay and follow. I'm super solid on that stuff, just ask John.
Clayman

Trad climber
CA, now Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - May 8, 2007 - 12:45pm PT
Right on thanks guys! walk off or rap? Ive never climbed anyting on that dome.

G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 8, 2007 - 12:50pm PT
Walk off to the right. Spend some time at Lake of the Domes at the top on the way by.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 8, 2007 - 07:06pm PT
The first bolt is now up and left of the anchors on the top of pitch one. Originally they were slightly up and right because I thought the climb would naturally follow the black streak (like most Tuolumne "streak" routes do). As it turned out the holds were all left of the black streak. This caused a big problem for the belayer if the leader fell on his way to the second bolt (which is way up and left) because the leader would fall and then pendulum "through" the belayer.

When I replaced the bolts with Dave, I decided it would be safer to have the bolt out left at the same height as the original. (Alan Nelson had tried to establish a new anchor station to the right of the original - which I removed. The anchors are in the original spot on the ledge - the logical spot).
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
May 9, 2007 - 09:34am PT
now this route brings back some good and bad memories... ed barry and i went to do the 3rd ascent. i lead the first, he lead the second and starting down climbing right below the first real bolt on 2nd pitch, (45 above the belay). a knob broke and he fell, right for my head, i moved right and he hit my shoulder and went another 40 ft before i caught him. he got to the belay pasty white! "I'm not going back up there man" was all he could say.. we waited a little while for the adrenaline to subside and then i decided to give the second pitch a try because i did not want to come back and lead that first pitch again! ed snapped out of his funk and went and sent the pitch. I broke a hold 40 above a bolt on the 3rd but hung on and made it to the horizontial and the cam placement that i really was happy to get. Then there are two more pitches of funky scary climbing to the summit. Most people rap after the third and i say that's bull shit! you have to do the whole route to call it a send!
It is an amazing line, bolts are far away and the climbing is COMMITTING! LIKE CLIMBING USED TO BE!
so go for it and realize you are climbing more than just a route, you are climbing a vision of the past that required first ascentionist's to have guts to get the glory..!
enjoy and yes there are new bolts there so no more 1/4 bolts to get you puckered...
ks
Dragon with Matches

climber
Bamboo Grove
May 9, 2007 - 09:39am PT
This is better than porn.
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 9, 2007 - 10:05am PT
Great post there General. I always wondered about the 3rd ascent of the B&Y..........
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
May 9, 2007 - 12:13pm PT
yes it was quite a day...Schneider was at the base for moral support and saw the whipper! Ed really pulled out the send on the second go and it will always be one of my fondest memories of climbing thrills...
ks
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 9, 2007 - 01:19pm PT
Kurt-

Didn't you bust your foot on an attempt on the route?
James

climber
A tent in the redwoods
May 9, 2007 - 01:49pm PT
A little while ago Drew "The Iceman" Rollins, a Toulumne Search and Rescue hardman, went up to the Bachar Yerian. He'd trained for the route, running laps on Electric Africa, dancing up You Asked For It, getting his head together onsight soloing Solitary Confinement, and keeping his Miuras laced tight. On the second, or maybe third pitch, with the last bolt well below his feet, he fell and took the monster whip. He limped for a few days before he went back and fired the route. The Iceman said it's not that bad.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 9, 2007 - 02:19pm PT
Nice! Tuolumne SAR site representin. Mike Waugh told me some horror stories about You Asked For It.
handsome B

Gym climber
SL,UT
May 9, 2007 - 02:28pm PT
Thanks for the story Kurt!
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
May 9, 2007 - 02:35pm PT
1986 - Epperson photo shoot (Climbing Calendar shot) - Schultz had successfully negotiated the dreaded crossover above the belay and had clipped the second bolt. His dad had come up to watch the action and everything was going well until 50 ft. above the bolt when he called down to me that he couldn't find the third bolt - and he was gettin pumped!! After copious scanning he finally yells down that he found it - 15 feet down and right. The black Leeper hanger was well camoflaged in the black waterstreak . Too gassed to downclimb and clip he continued to the last bolt incurring a ball-shrivelling 80 ft. runout! Had he fallen it would have been the Mother of All Whippers as he would have attained terminal velocity rocketing past the belay and possibly hitting me in the all-out swandive. His dad was oblivious - telling him later that it looked like fun.
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
May 9, 2007 - 02:44pm PT
not sure if this pic was over on the Scotty Burke thread?

but here he is on the B-Y

Clayman

Trad climber
CA, now Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - May 9, 2007 - 03:02pm PT
That is a terrifying story aldude. i couldn't imagine. man that sounds burly.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 9, 2007 - 03:08pm PT
"His dad was oblivious - telling him later that it looked like fun. "


HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Great story Al!
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
May 9, 2007 - 03:20pm PT
Greg has an amazing series of photos showing the drama of the day. He had fixed a 600 ft line and had these cool spring loaded stilts to capture his famed "birdseye view ". Dang - can't find my old calendar ......maybe someone could dig it up and scan& post?!?
Dog

climber
May 9, 2007 - 04:27pm PT
....this has always been a route I wanted to do. Cannot hardly imagine doing it now. Still have the poster hanging in the shop taunting me.


Good Job to you who have pulled this one off!



Will
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 9, 2007 - 04:43pm PT
80 foot runout? That's nothing for the Iron Monkey. Bad bad bad!!!

Aldude: the photo of which you speaketh?


Photo: Greg Epperson

One of my very favorite climbing photos ever by virtue of friend, location, history, composition of body position and color.
Bad Fu#%*ng Ass!!!!
Anastasia

Trad climber
California
May 9, 2007 - 04:55pm PT
Beware...
If this climb is "easy" like Bachar claims, more people would be on it.
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 9, 2007 - 05:03pm PT
Well if there were bolts every 8 feet more people would be on it, that's for sure. Routes like this seprate the girls from the women. Also to note, I believe this was an EB route was it not? Now I wanna hear some stories about Body And Soul.. Aldude, were you belaying Dave went he went for the monster air on that?
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 9, 2007 - 05:05pm PT
I understand that this route sent Wolfgang Gullich packing after a huge fall, and if I'm
knott mistaken, he did a lot of early repeats of Yosemite testpieces, knott to mention
that on 4 different occasions in his life, he had the FA of the hardest route in the world.
Gotta be the most under-appreciated climber of all time, to be sure.

I would like to hear more about his B/Y attempt!
Bart Fay

Social climber
Redlands, CA
May 9, 2007 - 05:36pm PT
Howzabout the excellent story about Lynn, Woodward, & ??Clune?? on the B-Y. That was a hoot.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
May 9, 2007 - 05:41pm PT
Maybe add the Frenchman, Marc LeMenstrual too..... whipper?
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 9, 2007 - 05:48pm PT
I always wanted to do it and started training for it one year. I had the knob climbing down and was working on my head when I got on Tune Up on Dozier Dome. After the 3 40 foot runouts in a row on 10b second pitch I decided I would be happy if I never got 40 feet out again and kind of gave up on ever leading the thing.

Now days I think about rapping in and top roping each pitch working my way down. That way if I can't do the crux first pitch it won't matter as much.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 9, 2007 - 06:19pm PT
Wow, cool stories, Kurt and Al!

There's a great article in the 1984 AAJ, "The Path of the Master - Tuolumne" by Alan Nelson, where he and Rob Oravetz tried to get the second ascents of a couple of John Bachar testpieces. They did manage to get You Asked for It, but failed on the Bachar-Yerian. It includes a brief mention of the attempt by Wolfgang Gullich and Kurt Albert [Edit: not Kurt Albert, but Theirry Renault - see later posts](aka "european party").
Check it out:

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/AAJO/pdfs/1984/109_nelson_tuolumne_aaj1984.pdf
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 9, 2007 - 06:24pm PT
Jan/Gnome,

I have tried toproping the second pitch of the Bachar-Yerian twice, after doing Shambles and Shipoopi and rappelling diagonally to it. I think on my best try, I fell/hung 5 times. For fun, we calculated how far I would have gone if had been on lead. The minimum was 50 feet. Most of the time the bolts are out of sight, somewhere up above! There are not any technically very hard moves on this pitch, but it's steep so you have to be able to efficiently weight your feet and move along so you don't pump out in the middle of nowhere like I did.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 9, 2007 - 08:00pm PT
I always enjoyed the profile on Steve Schneider in Climbing from the mid-90's that included a detailed account of the 2nd ascent of the BnY.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 9, 2007 - 08:21pm PT
I have that issue, but don't remember a detailed account of the ascent, just that he did it.
jerr

climber
May 9, 2007 - 08:24pm PT
How were the bolts placed on BY? From stance? Hooks?
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 9, 2007 - 08:26pm PT
Both I think. A few hooks definitely, not sure about the stance part. Johnny rock can illuminate further.
CF

climber
May 9, 2007 - 08:42pm PT
Here are some shots of Burke on then BY. I zoomed in and could see maybe one bolt he has clipped in the photos. John Harpo belaying. You should have seen the pre climb ritual.



Burke flashing the peace sign.
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
May 9, 2007 - 10:02pm PT
Yes!!! Walleye!!

Belayed Schnieder on a Body and Soul attempt. He did it one week later with Barbella belaying. Another superb route!

Tierry Renault (fra.) took a 60 footer and broke ankles/wrist

John - you should tell the Moffat story.....

CF- nice shots!
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 9, 2007 - 10:28pm PT
Aw, poor little French guy.......

EDIT: Aw poor little German guy.... AW poor little British guy..

Any others?
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 9, 2007 - 10:37pm PT
Awesome photos, you guys. Thanks for posting!
yo

climber
The Eye of the Snail
May 9, 2007 - 10:43pm PT
Yeah. Crikey that thing is steeper than I thought.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 9, 2007 - 10:45pm PT
The 2nd photo looks slightly tilted (look at the trees), but still steep!
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 9, 2007 - 10:49pm PT
Hankster (and believe me with all due respect) How does the B&Y compare to the Southern Belle in terms of technical crux and runout?
10b4me

Trad climber
Hell A
May 10, 2007 - 12:11am PT
I always enjoyed the profile on Steve Schneider in Climbing from the mid-90's that included a detailed account of the 2nd ascent of the BnY.

isn't that the one where he talks about almost coming off about three times? it was a good read.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 10, 2007 - 12:17am PT


Thierry Renault (sp?) falling on the 2nd pitch. He ends up below the belayer (Wolfgang Gullich). They went home after that.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 10, 2007 - 01:01am PT
" Biographie at Ceuse, 14c and 90' tall, is commonly redpointed with only 4 bolts clipped. "


There are no doubt some badasses out there. I think what makes the BnY so special is that

1. you aren't skipping bolts to make the climb easier cause you have the moves dialed....you just don't have any other options.

2. The knobs on the route have often broken, and knob climbing in general is a little odd and insecure.

3. The bolts are lost in a sea of knobs and dark rock. You are lucky if you can find them and as illustrated in previous accounts, good climbers often climb past them.

4. The route finding is difficult. You aren't headed up an obvious face with limited holds. There is a sea of holds and most of them suck and its hard to know which combination will take you in the right direction.


This isn't a situation of Americans just being wimps. As was stated, Wolgang Gullich, an experienced mountain climber and 4 time holder of the hardest route ever done status got BOUTED. Its a testpiece.


And yeah man that article where Schneider talks about having knobs break and fully barn dooring out 3 times looking at 60 - 80 footers. My stomach was in my throat!!
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 10, 2007 - 01:03am PT
"The Gullich/Bombs Over Tokyo story would be a good one to hear JB's side of... "


I'd love to hear ALL sides of it. I've done the first pitch to that route tons of times. Love it. I've always been curious what the deal with the rest of it was.
Jingy

Social climber
Flatland, Ca
May 10, 2007 - 10:42am PT
Has this climb been chopped yet?
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 10, 2007 - 12:13pm PT
Hankster-

Would love to hear about your attempt back in the early 90's.
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 10, 2007 - 12:18pm PT
Gee Bacher, Thierry must have gotten all nervous and rattled knowing you were down there watching and taking photos.........:) Is that a fall on to the anchor or is there a bolt off of the anchor on the second pitch?
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 10, 2007 - 12:21pm PT
Please do knott tell me that was a factor-2 fall right onto the belay!

If so, no wonder they went home...
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 10, 2007 - 12:39pm PT
There's no mention of Bachar/Yerian in the Wolfgang Gullich biography (Tilmann Hepp,'93),
and I've read it cover-to-cover at least twice. Does anyone know if he ever climbed it?

caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
May 10, 2007 - 12:49pm PT
Wow, great thread! Especially enjoyed the Alan Nelson article, and the great photos. That fall photo really puckered me!

Any chance of getting someone to scan and post the Schneider article to this thread? HK? I'd love to read that.
Bart Fay

Social climber
Redlands, CA
May 10, 2007 - 12:54pm PT
Curiosity. How many time has John B. done it ?
I know Waugh, for a while there, was trying to do it once a summer, IIRC.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 10, 2007 - 12:54pm PT
Let me see if I can dig it up the Steve Schneider article in Climbing mag. BTW, I saw his
slide show a couple weeks ago, perhaps I should have asked him about it.
I'm pretty sure he bagged the 2nd ascent.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 10, 2007 - 01:08pm PT
I think Waugh has only done the B&Y twice, maybe 3 times. He has started up it with other people other times but had them bail. He did used to do You Asked for It every year until he biffed off it and cracked his noggin open when he took the giant whipper.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2007 - 01:39pm PT
photo caption (Wolfgang on p1) from High Life, Wolfgang Güllich and Heinz Zak, 1988, p.75 [for a scan of the photo see my post #90 below]:
---------


Wolfgang Güllich in der berüchtigten "Run-out"-Route "Bachar-Yerian" (5.11b).
Trotz der unvermutet brechenden Nobben betragen die Bohrhakenabstände bis zu zehn Meter.
Selbst Jerry Moffat legte hier einen Fünfzehn-Meter-Sturtz ein.

----------


Wolfgang Güllich on the notorious "run out" route "Bachar Yerian" (5.11b).
Despite the unexpectedly breaking nobs, the distances between bolts are up ten meters.
Even Jerry Moffat took a fifteen meter fall here.

(translated with help from babelfish)

I thought I read he was climbing with Kurt Albert, but of course since John was there and said it was Theirry Renault, he knows. I do recall reading that Wolfgang got pulled up into the rock/bolts holding the whipper and trashed his knuckles, so he couldn't give p2 a go at that time.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 10, 2007 - 02:02pm PT
"He did used to do You Asked for It every year until he biffed off it and cracked his noggin open when he took the giant whipper. "

As his (then) 10 year old told me: "My dad asked for it, and he got it."
thesiger

Trad climber
A desert kingdom
May 10, 2007 - 02:10pm PT
Pretty sure Gullich in fact did the B-Y, not surprising since he learned to climb in the Elbsandstein, where the only crack pro allowed was wedged rope knots between the odd widely spaced bolt.

You're confusing Gullich with Kurt Albert, I think. Gullich was a West German.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2007 - 02:46pm PT
I didn't find a profile article for Steve Schneider in Climbing, but I was just looking at the indice that go up through issue #219. In his "Sea of Domes" article about Tuolumne in Climbing #127 (1991), though, he has a nice long description of the first ascent. I could scan or type it in later [see later post below].

He doesn't describe his second ascent in that article, except in a brief mention at the end.

He did include a short description of the Gullich and Renault attempt:
-----

Germany's Wolfgang Gullich and Thierry Renault of France attempted the route in 1982 as well. Gullich fell on the big runout on pitch one but was saved from decking on the slab by a knob he had tied off. Renault's go-for-it attitude on the second pitch resulted in successive falls of 30, 40, and 50 feet. The two retreated.
-----


Nice 2-page pull-out poster shot of Bachar and Schultz on the B-Y by Chris Falkenstein to go with the article.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 10, 2007 - 03:19pm PT
Yeah thats the article. With the tied-off knob. Great story of the 2nd ascent.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 10, 2007 - 03:23pm PT
Clint wrote:

In his "Sea of Domes" article about Tuolumne in Climbing #127 (1991), though, he has a nice long description of the first ascent. I could scan or type it in later.


That would be killer if you could reproduce it for us!

Thanks for the info on Wolfgang Gullich and Thierry Renault.
That must have been a sight to see...
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 10, 2007 - 03:23pm PT
Alright, I am announcing a milestone of sorts. After reading this thread and studying the photos, I am officially taking the B-Y off my tick list. No offense intended, John.

Buzz
del cross

climber
Bay Area
May 10, 2007 - 03:27pm PT
Clint, it's in #168:


In 1983, Schneider's second ascent of the Bachar-Yerian cranked him up to what he calls "big-boy status." He was drawn to the Bachar-Yerian by its reputation as *the* mental route of America. Shooting straight up a knob-strewn water streak on the golden west face of Tuolumne's Medlicott Dome, the route had turned back all suitors since its first ascent two years before. John Bachar, America's strongest and boldest climber at the time, had stacked up six pitches of delicate, finger- and toe-pumping face climbing, pausing only a couple times per pitch to hand-drill a bolt. The climbing was sustained 5.11 (which, as an early '80s Bachar rating, meant more than it does today), with potential for 80-foot falls. Wild stories circulated about how Bachar only climbed on the small sloping knobs to avoid breaking off the bigger ones. On an attempted repeat, the famous German climber Wolfgang Gullich had taken a 50-footer, clobbered his belayer, and retreated. The route's aura kept most climbers away, but Steve's apprenticeship had taken him up through most of Bachar's other hard routes, and the Bachar-Yerian beckoned as the natural next step.

"Mentally, Bachar gave me that route," Schneider says. "He said it wouldn't be that bad -- to really stem my feet out and look for resting positions -- and that I could climb it. He was my hero at the time, and he gave me the confidence, the idea that I could do it. But I was still terrified."

Pitch one went fine. Clad in new Fires, Schneider polished off the technical crux and dealt quickly with the long runout to the belay. His partners, however, were so intimidated that they wouldn't follow. Then, as if on cue, Steve saw his pal Scott Frye, "the radical Indian Rock boulderer," walk out of the woods. Schneider talked Frye into tying in.

The "moaner" second pitch went well, too. Steve launched off into a sea of knobs, all of which looked the same from below and lacked any telltale chalk traces. The 120-foot pitch has four bolts, each one invisible until it's in your face. Schneider tiptoed around on the vertical wall, reading the Braille trail with his fingertips, meandering and downclimbing, staying in balance and ignoring the giant loop of rope between his harness and the last quarter-inch bolt 30 feet below. No problems on pitch two.

On pitch three, the plot thickened. Schneider was about 70 feet above Frye, almost hidden by the slightly decreasing angle of the slab, when he broke a hold. He let out a bloodcurdling scream. Frye heard the knob ping down the wall, and saw Schneider's leg swing out in a huge barndoor. Both men bellowed in pure fear, and Scott balled up at the belay, waiting to get pasted. But Steve swung back in, hyperventilating in huge gasps, and replaced his foot. "It was unbelievable," says Frye. "He just froze there for ages until he calmed down. Anyone else would have just gotten it over with and jumped."

At last, Schneider panted, "OK, man. I'm going to keep going." He reached up for the next knob.

And broke it off, too. Again his body lurched out of balance, his arm pinwheeling in the air. Again, Frye reflexively bunched into the fetal position. And again, Schneider reeled himself back in. Shouting unintelligibly at each other, they managed to calm down one more time.

Schneider finished the pitch, and took care of the next one. At the final belay, with one 5.9 pitch to go, the two had a heart-to-heart. Schneider was wasted and asked Scott to lead. But Scott was cunning, and quickly replied, "Come on, Steve, this is it! You've led every pitch and you haven't fallen yet! Don't you want all the glory? Don't you want a perfect ascent?" The ploy worked, and Steve got the second ascent -- leading all pitches -- of the Bachar-Yerian. "It was a good day," Schneider says quietly. "I had a lot of confidence in myself after that."
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
May 10, 2007 - 03:29pm PT
Knott a 'big send' story, but...


Peter Carrick from Santa Cruz once told me a story of him going up on the BY but not paying any attention to the weather. He gets up P.1, brings up his partner, then seemingly out of nowhere they get pummelled from a storm that'd brewed up Tenaya Canyon. They rap and literally crawl back to the road where it is raining so hard that they have to open the driver's side door just to find the lines on the road to navigate back to camp.

Fair warning, if the run-outs don't get you, hypothermia might.
burp

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
May 10, 2007 - 03:41pm PT
aldude wrote: "1986 - Epperson photo shoot (Climbing Calendar shot)"

Pulled that pic out of the calendar years and years ago and it has resided on my bedroom wall ever since. My wife knows it is the holy grail that is not to be moved.

That pic of the Bachar/Yerian and the pic of Kurt on Blackout (came out on the same calendar? or the following year?) made a huge impression upon my young mind in 1986/87. To this day, I still refer to these pics/routes when telling people why I climb. Will probably never climb either route, but it's the ideal to me.

Thanks John and Kurt!

burp
CF

climber
May 10, 2007 - 04:18pm PT
Bachar and Schultz 1991?


Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2007 - 05:49pm PT
Jim,

Thanks for finding the second ascent story and sharing it!

I don't think Bachar rated it sustained 5.11, at least not originally. The topo in Chris' (Reid & Falkenstein) 1983 guidebook has it as 5.10d, with p1 5.10d, p2 unrated, p3 5.10d, p4 5.8 and p5 unrated. In the 1986 edition, it's 5.11b with p1 5.11b, p2 5.10c, p3 5.10c, p4 5.8, p5 5.9. The individual moves on p2 are not harder than 5.10c, but a rating to include the pump/endurance factor is higher, depending on how well you can "rest" on that terrain! And I don't mean to ignore p1 - I just can't compare it myself because it has always been dark by the time I rap down to it!

Chris,

Thanks for sharing your awesome photo(s) of the climb.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 10, 2007 - 05:57pm PT
Chris, thanks for posting up another great photo. Have you been up the thing?

How's the new route you did on N. Wizz a couple years ago?
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 10, 2007 - 06:02pm PT
So what's the Schneider route just left of the B&Y? Has it had a second? I have done Shipoopi but the other route looks WAY harder. We watched a couple taking big whippers off it 2 years ago when we were working on Pretty in Pink Point and it turned out they thought they were on Shipoopi. They eventually gave up and came back the next day to get on the correct route.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
May 10, 2007 - 06:11pm PT
Del Cross - thanks for posting that up! My hands are fuçking sweating after reading that;
good thing I'm holding an ice-cold Full Sail Pale Ale to cool 'em down. Holy shit!

Another great photo, CF.

Damn, is this knott the best thread ever?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2007 - 06:25pm PT
from "Sea of Domes", by Steve Schneider, Climbing #127, 1991

A Pivotal Climb

Two climbers hung from a belay 150 feet off the ground, shivering in the morning shade cast by Medlicott Dome in Tuolumne Meadows. Seen from the road, they were barely visible specks on a formation 3000 feet long and 600 feet high. One of the two, who wore facial scars of a nasty hit-and-run bicycle accident, said "Man it is cold up here. What they hell are we doing?"

His partner was a lean youth, 22 years old. His long blond hair drifted up and down in the slight breeze. Clad only in shorts and a T-shirt, he replied, "Don't worry, the sun's about to hit us and then we'll warm up. Wait till you see the next pitch, it's totally awesome."

In a few minutes the sun came out of hiding, warming the climbers' bodies, and on the vertical wall above them a magical thing began to happen. One by one, hundreds of little knobs began to light up, standing out against the surrounding dark rock. These feldspar crystals had withstood the erosion of time, immue to the path of water that continually cascaded down during winter months. As the wall lit up like a Christmas tree, the second youth, John, reassured his friend, "See now, that's what we're here for. Isn't it the most beautiful line you've ever seen?"

Dave still had his doubts, for he had never been on such a steep, continuous face climb in his life. On the first pitch John had led a 5.11+ crux followed by a 30-foot runout to the belay, a slab below menacing him should he fall. But Dave's confidence in his partner quelled his fears, and he readied his belay.

John checked his gear one last time. With a hammer on his right side, skyhooks and a bolt kit on a sling, he stepped out into virgin territory. Smoothly and deliberately he ascended into the sea of knobs. He foound the climbing easier than expected and, feeling sure of his ability to downclimb, began to stretch the distance between himself and his belayer. He climbed up 20 feet, then 25, then 30. At almost 40 feet, he yelled down, "Hey, Dave, what do you think about this?"

Down at the belay, Dave was absolutely gripped. He had been begging John to put in a bolt for the last five minutes. While John had felt like responding, "Shut up, you chickensh#t, I'm trying to concentrate up here," he calmly said, "It's OK, Dave, don't worry about me."

But Dave remained anxious. If his friend fell, his flight path would pass directly over the belay. Envisioning another hideous hit-and-run, Dave pleaded, "Hey, John, why don't you come back down a bit?"

Looking down at the unprotected stretch he had climbed, John admitted to himself that maybe he was getting a little carried away. Slowly, surely, he reversed his last few moves. Searching the intricacies of the rock, he found what he was looking for. He took a skyhook off his rack, positioned it on a selected knob, clipped into his harness, and gingerly applied his weight. With his hands now free to grab the hammer and drill, John carefully began to drill a quarter-inch hole in the rock, aware that if his hook placement failed, he would plummet well over 60 feet, smash his belayer en route, and wind up with no one to arrest his fall. Time passed, perhaps 15 minutes, an eternity in limbo. John finished placing the bolt, and clipped in the rope. Secure for a moment, he pondered the route ahead. Then, climbing again into the unknown, he made another 30-foot runout before placing another bolt in the same manner. Dave could only be awed as his friend led the entire 120-foot pitch with only three bolts.

Returning another day to complete the climb, John re-led the first two pitches and established a third, as dangerous as both the others. At the top John Bachar and Dave Yerian joined a crack system, gained lower-angled rock, and soon arrived on top. The two climbers followed an old Yosemite tradition in naming the climb with their surnames, and the Bachar-Yerian was born.

It was 1981. Never in the history of American climbing had such a steep face been done with such long runouts. The route gained an instant reputation as Yerian told fireside accounts of the hugs spaces between bolts. In 1982, Alan Nelson whimpered his way up the first pitch. His partner Rob Oravetz made the first runout on the second pitch, but retreated when he could not see the next bolt anywhere. The Leeper hangers, which were black, blended in with the black water-stained rock.

Germany's Wolfgang Gullich and Thierry Renault of France attempted the route in 1982 as well. Gullich fell on the big runout on pitch one but was saved from decking on the slab by a knob he had tied off [with 5mm cord - he went 30 feet]. Renault's go-for-it attitude on the second pitch resulted in successive falls of 30 [and 60] feet. The two retreated [as Gullich's knuckles and face had been bloodied holding the longer fall]. [corrections from John Bachar's post below]

Seeing such great stars defeated, many climbers thought that the route might be unrepeatable.

Why did Bachar make such big runouts when he could have easily drilled more bolts? The answer is not simple, for it lies in the history of Tuolumne Meadows itself, the ethics of the time, and the forces that had shaped Bachar's climbing. For the first, let's turn to the person who can best be described as the grandfather of Tuolume Meadows climbing - Bob Kamps.

... [article continues with the climbs of Bob Kamps, Tom Higgins, Vern Clevenger, John Bachar, Kurt Smith, and Ron Kauk]
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2007 - 06:33pm PT
Jan,

Steve's route between Shipoopi and the Bachar-Yerian is Sliderbanger, 5.11c. It has 5 bolts. I'm sure it's in the recent editions of the Reid & Falkenstein guide.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0762734280?ie=UTF8&tag=tuolumnemeado-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0762734280

http://www.tuolumnemeadows.org/
Brian

climber
Cali
May 10, 2007 - 06:54pm PT
God, why can't we have more threads like this? My hands start sweating every time I read through.

I used to dream about getting solid enough for the BY and, though I've moved on to dreaming about (and sometimes even doing) other sorts of routes, this one remains iconic. I've spoken to Dave about the first ascent, walked up to it just to look, etc.

Though I don't really see myself getting on the BY anymore, I am so glad that routes like this exist, and so psyched to hear about climbers who do make this journey.

Let's hear, and see (photos), some more!

Brian
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 10, 2007 - 06:58pm PT
I just couldn't remember the name Clint. 'Slider Banger' is a very appropriate name. Has it had a second? I climb with some very strong climbers and none of them have ventured onto it. That second pitch looks quite hard. Shipoopi is more my standard with bolts every 10 feet or less and beautiful sustained 11b climbing.
WBraun

climber
May 10, 2007 - 07:03pm PT
Another Bachar fearsome route with a real bad fall potential was Moongerms. I was there with John on the first ascent as the belayer. I tried to follow his lead and ended up going nowhere fast.

I went with Steve Schneider to belay him on his second ascent bid. Steve took a horrendous fall out of the thing at the crux and broke an rp cable in half and a biner on another piece below that.

A number two friend saved him from sure death as Steve stopped 3 feet head first from the deck right next to the belay.

Steve was visibly shaken when finally sitting at the belay. True to Steve's awesome mental recovery he tells me he's going back up to try again. I was blown.

Up he goes and re leads the climb and finishes it in perfect style. I think this climb still only has 2 or 3 ascents. It is on the upper wall on Elephant Rock.

No one ever dares to go there .......
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 10, 2007 - 07:21pm PT
Werner
Didn't Wolfgang get an ascent of Moongerms??
WBraun

climber
May 10, 2007 - 07:25pm PT
I don't know Walter, we will have to wait till Bachar comes back from climbing in the gorge today to tell us? Or maybe Bachar is watching Jerry Springer?
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 10, 2007 - 07:33pm PT
I heard Lonnie was making John his belay bitch for the day.
Gene

climber
May 10, 2007 - 08:05pm PT
JB,

I’m curious about your motivation for putting up B-Y. If I remember “Defying Gravity” correctly, the author indicates that B-Y was your reaction to that (then) new and confounding thing called Sports Climbing. Is this right, or was B-Y just the next natural step for you. Or both?

The route obviously has a historical context. It’s an icon. What made you want to do it? Cuz you could? Or was it a “statement” route?

Thanks,

Gene
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2007 - 08:24pm PT
Walter,

There is a photo of Wolfgang leading Moongerms "5.12a/b" on p.40 of his book Sportklettern heute.

tr4

climber
Jah Meadows,ynp,ca
May 10, 2007 - 08:33pm PT
Hello, I went up on the B-Y with Drew the ICEMAN. What an awesome thing to be apart of. It was truly incredible to be up there with him and watch him float that thing. It is something that I will always remember. I was in pretty good shape then and fell seconding the second pitch. I was really glad to be on top rope. As James said, Drew trained on knobs all summer before he sent that thing.
Ted
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
May 10, 2007 - 09:50pm PT
I think it was 1984 or 85 and I had just hitch hiked cross country. I arrived in Tuolumne about a day or two after Christian Griffith and Tim Wagner tried it. I thought that they did the route and I don't recall any hair raising stories around the camp fire about it but it was a pretty long time ago. One thing I remember about that trip was Steve A. giving Tim sh#t and calling him smiley because of his intense personality
Are you guys out there- lets hear the story of how it went.

BTW this is about as good a set of stories as I've read here. tyhe sea of domes story was great.

murf
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2007 - 10:02pm PT
photo of Wolfgang Güllich on Bachar-Yerian p1, by Heinz Zak, from their book High Life
[Edit: this is just before he took the 30 foot fall on the the knob tied off with 5mm cord - see John Bachar's post below]



Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 10, 2007 - 11:15pm PT
I remember a photo in Tillman Hepps (sp) book that had Wolfgang on Moongerms but the caption said Moonshrimps.... Thanks for the post Clint.
nature

climber
Flagstaff, AZ
May 10, 2007 - 11:41pm PT
many posts ago someone mentioned this thread was better than porn. So true. My palms are sweating. AWESOME thread!
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 11, 2007 - 12:02am PT
Well, a wiser man than myself once said: "The stone is jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive"...

A climber better than myself once said: "If you want to follow in the Path of the Master, you must"

"Train Hard"



"Boulder Harder"



"Make sure your nails are well trimmed"



Good Luck.. You'll need it!
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 11, 2007 - 12:09am PT
Also, I see Moongerms is a nice crack with giant knobs. No wonder Werner couldn't follow it.
MisterE

Social climber
Across town from Easy Street
May 11, 2007 - 12:11am PT
Walleye, thank you. This thread just keeps getting better!

If this ain't inspiration for Clayman, I don't know what could be...
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 11, 2007 - 12:28am PT
Oh Yeah, and one more thing. The Master sez: "nailups and bivies are like working retail, they're for SUCKERS!! Especially if your stuck in a hammock with no spreader bars owned by a guy named Kauk".

Mimi

climber
May 11, 2007 - 01:01am PT
Yeehaw Walter!

Awesome thread! As Frank would say, this is certainly a Token of Their (My) Extreme.

Some people think
That if they go too far
They'll never get back
To where the rest of them are
I might be crazy
But there's one thing I know
You might be surprised
At what you find out when ya go!
Freddy Jones

climber
holland
May 11, 2007 - 09:30am PT
I've always been a proponent of tradition and ethics, especially in the "valley" setting. That being said, a hypothetical question popped into my head and I wondered what everyone thought......especially JB.

Would anyone (namely JB) think/want to add more bolts if someone died trying to do the route?? Ie. climber takes the big fall and slams into the wall, OR, has a gear failure from say the high factor fall, OR, worst case.......bolt failure.

Just wondering
scooter

climber
B loop site 15
May 11, 2007 - 09:55am PT
You guys are funny. I like the post where guys say it isn't hard. Look back to the posting about the "Iceman". Old Drew is one of the strongest climbers around. He whipped. .11a?. Also if you have never climbed a route on Medlicot. I don't think the B.Y. is a good intro to hard Tuolumne knob pullin'. Try to fire shipoopi. Then train harder. Slipstream, then train harder. Every route at East cottage and the peanut gallery, then train harder. Getting your eye for unlocking knob climbing takes some practice. Or just go for it. If you do that though post up day date and time you are gonna 'send' so I can come watch.

P-Dub
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 11, 2007 - 10:21am PT
Clint - Just saww that photo of Gullich on the first pitch - that was just before he took a thirty footer on a tied off knob. I remember telling him to bring a loop of 5 mm with him to tie off this tiny knob. I never thought it would hold a fall but it did! I don't think he ever went back to that route as far as I can remember....Tierry only took two falls on the second pitch - a thirty footer (came to belay to smoke a cigarette before trying a secoond time) and a sixty footer (when he rebounded he smashed Wolfgang into the wall and bloodied all his knuckles and his face a little - he was going for the third bolt (the first bolt is only four feet above the belay and is part of the belay as well - making it a three bolt anchor)....

Nice pics folks!
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 11, 2007 - 11:34am PT
Ok, I bouldered with Waugh last night and we talked about the B&Y. He has done it 5 times! Once with Linh Nguyen, once with Darrel Nakahira, twice with Jeff Moll, and once with someone else. He has started up it 3 more times only to have the other party freak out and quit. He says the second pitch is only 10c - forever.

So, is 'Drew the Iceman' the blond Drew that works in the Mountain shop in Mammoth some of the time and works SAR in the Meadows some of the time?
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 11, 2007 - 11:46am PT
Waugh is right - the second pitch is only 10c!

I watched Mike the first time he did the route. He walked it! He was talking to me all the way up the first two pitches - and I was way down there on the ledge!

Maybe the second pitch is 10d - Waugh's a little strict sometimes with his ratings...
James

climber
A tent in the redwoods
May 11, 2007 - 11:57am PT
If anyone is gonna do the BY this summer let me know. I'll head up there the next day. A few years ago Platinum Rob went up there in the beginning of the season and climbed the thing. There was no chalk and he had to dance around on those knobs. A day later Stanley went and did it, the holds throughly chalked and the path marked. And then I think another party did it and the route was a white path, relatively speaking.

G Gnome, you're thinking of the same Drew. He's lurking about Berkeley these days getting his doctorate. We went to Smith together not too long ago. That dude has an offensive amount of technigue. A master of the dime edges, that guy can make cents of the loose change, as Largo might say.
Walleye

climber
The Land of the Big Stone
May 11, 2007 - 12:04pm PT
I should say that I have wanted to photograph the B&Y for years. Almost did a couple of time with Schultz and Burke but no cigar. If anyone out there is a serious contender, let me know. I will set up the rigging and take the photos. You get a few hero shots on the proud test-piece and I get a climbing sequence for my slide show. You can e-mail me directly.
malabarista

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
May 11, 2007 - 12:11pm PT
Ironic that the visionary master Bachar could put up BY, pull off mind blowing soloing feats for years and then almost bite the dust in a car crash!

Don't fear the stone, just make sure to wear your seatbelt and pay attention to the road! :-)

Great thread.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 11, 2007 - 12:15pm PT
Cars are way more dangerous than climbing...
lucho

Gym climber
San Franpsycho
May 11, 2007 - 12:38pm PT
No sh#t B
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 11, 2007 - 12:49pm PT
John, Mike said he downclimbed the whole 2nd pitch once. He has been climbing a lot again and we are getting ready for a good run in the meadows this year. He is still too strong for his own good. It hurts so bad to boulder with him!
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 11, 2007 - 12:58pm PT
G_Gnome - Maybe the Great Waughzoo could lead us up the thing?
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
May 11, 2007 - 01:28pm PT
Hell John, I have been trying to get led up that thing since you put it up. I always manage to just miss my chance. I don't think either one of us can afford to fall that far any longer. It surely sucks getting older. I'd settle for getting hauled up You Asked for It instead.

Now, how many ascents has Guardians of the Galaxy had? 3? Mad Dog, Bachar, Waugh?
hazelwould

climber
expat, UK
May 11, 2007 - 01:40pm PT
Jeez Louis. I have been reading posts on this sh#t can of a website for several years, never have I posted and never has a post inspired me so much.

I'm now in the UK working in the auto industry, have climbed once in the last 10 months. After reading this post this week, I have decided to forsake all leisure to start seriously climbing again.

Thanks for all the great stories and thanks to Bachar / Yerrian for putting up a route that 20+ years later makes people shake in their boots just hearing about it. You all kick my ass.

rbc II
James

climber
A tent in the redwoods
May 11, 2007 - 01:45pm PT
Lucho's heading to Toulumne next week. He could fire the BY for all you original gangsters.
bob

climber
May 11, 2007 - 04:17pm PT
Nice James! Good idea to go after someone sends. I was lucky enough to be on Shipoopi when Leary was going for the chalked onsight. Jake and I were halfway up ship and got to just kick back and watch one of the more talented climbers I've ever hung with just friggin float. FLOAT Russ Mitrovich was belaying and loving the fact that he was getting the all time tr. I guess Sean went back a year or two later and took the big one. Or, one of the big ones. When i told him I was rebolting Shambles a couple years back(great route) his eyes widened and asked if we could use the ropes to set up a mini traction for it. Since I have no desire to lead the thing.....ever.....I agreed. I'm shameless and most likely worthless to some climbers for doing it this way, but now I can say to all of you who have done it on lead (no matter what prep) YOU HAVE GIFTED MINDS.
Nice job, to all of you.
And for those of you who are going to do it, Good luck, good skill, and don't wear slippers.
Damn, can't wait to get to the Meadows this summer.
Bob J.
jack herer

climber
veneta, or
May 12, 2007 - 02:49pm PT
to quote jdhedge

"Another example is Just Do It at Smith, from which you will take a 70' fall going to the anchors. "

mabey more like a 20 footer if one of the bolts broke. that thing is fully sport bolted.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 12, 2007 - 03:28pm PT
"Maybe the second pitch is 10d - Waugh's a little strict sometimes with his ratings... "


Hahaha!! Bachar complaining that someone else's ratings are stiff. I love it!
Clayman

Trad climber
CA, now Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2007 - 09:47pm PT
Palms are sweating boys....be up there either June or August. Thanks for all the stories and beta guys, well see what happens. climbing this route seems like a huge stepping stone in the "heros journey".
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 16, 2007 - 10:39am PT
I wanna try and do it again too....don't know if I'll be able to. Gotta get real comfy with the knob footwork stuff - that's the real key to feeling relaxed up there. Also gotta get good with the friction bump climbing and some serious dime edging for the third pitch....yikes!!!!!
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
May 16, 2007 - 11:23am PT
John, you'll be fine! I heard it's only 10d! :)
S.Leeper

Sport climber
Austin, Texas
May 16, 2007 - 11:55am PT
John B,
How many times have you done it?
Do you think anyone will ever solo it?
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 16, 2007 - 01:28pm PT
I think I've done it three times - once with Yerian, once with Moffatt, and once with Dave Shultz (only the first three pitches though with Dave - we replaced the bolts on that one).

I always wanted to solo it but the knobs can break too easily - even the solid looking ones go once in a while. No matter what, the friction climbing on the third pitch would be the hardest part of the solo - you'd have to have three testicles to do that!!!
Prod

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
May 16, 2007 - 01:47pm PT
True story, I have a buddy that has 3 testicles. Nickname, Triball. Girlfriends nick names all the way back to high school.... The Juggler 1, the Juggler 2, Juggler 3, and so on. But he couldn't solo the B-Y.

Prod
Tahoe climber

Trad climber
a dark-green forester out west
Aug 20, 2007 - 07:54pm PT
This thread is really bad-ass.
Bump for sheer palm sweating awesome-ness.
-Aaron
WBraun

climber
Aug 20, 2007 - 09:11pm PT
What's bad ass about it?

Your mother had to give your birth and raise you.

Now isn't that bad ass enough for ya ...........?
bob

climber
Aug 20, 2007 - 09:19pm PT
Nice Werner! I agree. I've also heard you have three testicles as well, no?
Bob J.
Walleye

climber
The back seat of my 69 Nark Avenger
Aug 21, 2007 - 02:54am PT
"I've also heard you have three testicles as well, no?"

That's why we call Werner ET the Extra Testicle..
James

climber
My twin brother's laundry room
Jun 24, 2009 - 02:25am PT
Bump
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 24, 2009 - 03:18am PT
John wrote

"I think I've done it three times - once with Yerian, once with Moffatt, and once with Dave Shultz (only the first three pitches though with Dave - we replaced the bolts on that one). "

John's always been forthright in saying he considered the route 5.11 A0. Somebody told me once that on the first ascent he used hooks to hang on in places besides the drill stances. (not saying that's wrong, right, factual or whatever)

Makes me wonder though, after all the (justified) hero worship about John and (maybe justified) hero worship about this route. Has John ever led the whole route with no hangs?

Me, I'm not worthy to even TR it.


Peace

Karl
That's Papajoto to you son!!!!!

Social climber
Oatmeal Arizona
Jun 24, 2009 - 09:25am PT
Great Post. My hands are sweating just reading it.
Glad to see the B-Y still stands the test of time.!!!!!!!

PJ
Dick_Lugar

Trad climber
Indiana (the other Mideast)
Jun 24, 2009 - 10:06am PT
I just "shat" myself...
Tahoe climber

Trad climber
a dark-green forester out west
Jun 24, 2009 - 11:55am PT
Wow. Beautiful thread.
Sweaty hands.

TC
socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
Jun 24, 2009 - 12:19pm PT
Amazing route.

For me, it has everything I want in a classic route:
1) Unique historical significance
2) Quality, sustained climbing
3) Limited enough protection options to keep things exciting and to engage my mind as well as my body
4) Enough of a reputation in the climbing community to give it a spot on most lifetime tick lists.

I held off for a while before climbing it. When I finally decided it was time, I spent a week in the Meadows climbing similar features to get myself feeling more than solid. When I finally got on the route, it didn't seem too bad at all. The runouts are there, sure, but the climbing is secure enough and there are enough features to where you probably would never fall as long as you were in the right mind set.

Is the route worthy of its reputation? I think so. JB went up and made a statement; one that probably needed to be made at the time. The resulting route has provided many climbers (myself included) something to strive towards; a trophy of sorts. The climbing itself is not a whole lot different than that found on the neighboring, better-protected routes, but in many ways this route seems far more rewarding in my opinion.
Walleye

climber
Duluth Bucko, you can get Tierra Del Fuego
Jun 24, 2009 - 01:47pm PT
History in the making....

Photos by Brenda Lugo Bachar via John via Merry and Werner.. I think I got that right, John. Let me know if I screwed it up.

I scanned and cropped up the originals a bit and cleaned em up. These are from the original in camera transparencies

John Bachar on the first ascent


Dave Yerian following on the first ascent


EDIT: The original slides were Kodachrome in case any of you photogs were wondering.
Closeup crop
Prod

Trad climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
Jun 24, 2009 - 02:09pm PT
How long have you had those Walley? What other gems have you been holding back from us? Man those are cool!

Prod.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 24, 2009 - 03:36pm PT
What a beautiful thread.

Always just out of my reach, head wise, pump wise, ballz wize...whatever.

What happened to this guys attempt to do it with just hooks and slung knobs??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wcg5arcKDCo

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 24, 2009 - 04:17pm PT
One of those rare climbs that doesn't depreciate with the years, kind of like a vintage car. Will give many "5.14" climbers pause.
midarockjock

climber
USA
Jun 24, 2009 - 04:40pm PT
Great photos.

Yes I watched world class climbers all pitch at
5.12(c)-(d) on the competitions artificial wall
with bolts a few feet apart.
Walleye

climber
Duluth Bucko, you can get Tierra Del Fuego
Jun 24, 2009 - 04:53pm PT
"Always just out of my reach, head wise, pump wise, ballz wize...whatever."

LOL.. Great, funny humility, Survival..
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jun 24, 2009 - 05:06pm PT
I went up on it once. I was so scared that I couldn't even get up the first pitch! I made a deal with Schnider that I'd pay him to take me up it! Never did though.
micronut

Trad climber
fresno, ca
Jun 24, 2009 - 05:20pm PT
The Bachar Yerian is like.......

The 13th hole at Augusta.....

The Corkscrew at Laguna Seca.....

The Green Monster at Fenway....

Jaws at Waimeia....

Mach 1 for the first time....

Many more I'm sure....add on here if you get my drift.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 24, 2009 - 06:02pm PT
Walter,


(copied from Walter's post so it's still visible on this page of the thread)

Wow - those FA photos!! Thanks to John and everyone involved for sharing those. With the lighting just as Steve described in his telling of the FA.

Karl,

> Makes me wonder though, after all the (justified) hero worship about John and (maybe justified) hero worship about this route. Has John ever led the whole route with no hangs?

Well, he has at least led the first 2 pitches with no hangs. As for the upper ones, most likely he has - he may not have needed the hooks to drill the bolts on those, plus he went back twice so I bet he led those free if he hadn't before. In Steve Schneider's detailed story of the FA which I transcribed on the second page of this thread, John and Dave did not complete the FA on the first day. They went back another day, and John reled p1 and p2 before establishing the upper pitches.

But this is rather trivial compared to the adventure of establishing the route ground up, not knowing if there would be good places to use those hooks.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 24, 2009 - 08:23pm PT
Just for the record - I've led the entire thing 3 times with no falls or hangs ( including the day I did the first ascent). Only 4 of the 13 bolts were placed with hooks.

survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 24, 2009 - 08:57pm PT
Hello?

Anybody got any idea about my previous question? John?


What happened to this guys attempt to do it with just hooks and slung knobs??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wcg5arcKDCo


bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 24, 2009 - 10:00pm PT
Survival,

Yes Georg Ullrich finally did it without the 2 bolts on the first and without the 3 bolts on the second and without the 1st bolt on the third. He clipped the last bolt on the third and used the two 3 bolt belay stations (not sure on that - he could have only used two bolts at the belay and not clipped the upper third bolt at each).

Nevertheless a bold effort even though he had previously done the route twice using all the bolts.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 24, 2009 - 11:10pm PT
John wrote

"Just for the record - I've led the entire thing 3 times with no falls or hangs ( including the day I did the first ascent). Only 4 of the 13 bolts were placed with hooks."

Thanks. I guess that means the drilling from hooks was all on the day before the first ascent. I had thought from your previous post that you hadn't done the entire route three times and I didn't know if Moffat or Shultz led any pitches. When you wrote

"I think I've done it three times - once with Yerian, once with Moffatt, and once with Dave Shultz (only the first three pitches though with Dave - we replaced the bolts on that one)."

Just so I can put my friend in his place, you're saying you didn't hang on hooks at any point except to drill right?

Peace

Karl
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 24, 2009 - 11:35pm PT
Thanks John,

I was sure you'd know. I guess I wasn't aware that he had done it before either.

Like you said, big job nonetheless!
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 25, 2009 - 12:30am PT
Jeepers Karl, just go up and climb the thing....

Or get a copy of Alpinist 26 and read all about it.

Edit: Yes Karl, I only did the first three with Shultz so to be clear I've only done the entire route twice. Hooks were only used to place those 4 bolts mentioned. Sorry for all the confusion. My article in Alpinist 26 describes in detail the first ascent - on the third day I redpointed the first two and on sight flashed the third and continued to the top.
Prod

Trad climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
Jun 25, 2009 - 08:53am PT
Oh yeah,

Great read in Alpinist 26 John. Thanks.

Prod.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 25, 2009 - 09:07am PT
I can't afford them daggum Alpinist magz....
Gotta stand down on the corner with my:

"Need money for Alpinist Magazine"
"God Bless"

sign......
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 25, 2009 - 02:47pm PT
John wrote

"Jeepers Karl, just go up and climb the thing.... "

What? And ruin the record I have of never falling on the route!?


;-)

Karl
anointed one

Gym climber
my mamma
Jun 25, 2009 - 03:07pm PT
Bachar, I've heard a story about you watching some young punks on that thing through binocs back in the 80's(?). Big fall followed by even bigger balls. Can you confirm or elaborate on the myth?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 25, 2009 - 03:55pm PT
You're on Fatty. It wouldn't be more far-fetched than when somebody wanted me to guide Cero Torre for em.

We'll start with the victory summit pictures on top, doing some rappelling, photographing and then photoshop to wind up the day.

;-)

Karl
midarockjock

climber
USA
Jun 29, 2009 - 12:49pm PT
What is the oldest age doing a free ascent of this route?
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Jun 29, 2009 - 08:51pm PT
I think the caption read, "the most important clip he'd ever made".

bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 29, 2009 - 09:05pm PT
Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh.......



coz - dude, I just found those slides of you the other day.... now I can't remember where I put them (I'll look).
Walleye

climber
Duluth Bucko, you can get Tierra Del Fuego
Jun 29, 2009 - 09:09pm PT
marty(r)

Who is that in the photo. I went to Simons site but couldn't find that photo.

EDIT: J.B. Disc going out in the mail tomorrow (Tuesday)
NYZoo

Trad climber
Gunks
Jun 30, 2009 - 08:15am PT
"Howzabout the excellent story about Lynn, Woodward, & ??Clune?? on the B-Y. That was a hoot. "

What is this story?? I have to hear it...
maxdacat

Trad climber
Sydney, Australia
Jun 30, 2009 - 10:25am PT
walleye - i can only guess that it might be one of the Cossie brothers from Oz, perhaps Ben who was tearing it up on the grit crags in the UK prior to heading back home via Yosemite.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 30, 2009 - 11:05am PT
Walleye - it's Gullich at the belay and Thiery Renault (sp?) taking some air time. He ends up about five feet below Gullich...
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Jun 30, 2009 - 12:12pm PT
Walleye--not quite sure who's the "talent" in that shot. It's in Simon's book, though. If you find that it'll have the climber's name.
Walleye

climber
Duluth Bucko, you can get Tierra Del Fuego
Jun 30, 2009 - 12:13pm PT
John, pay attention will you? I was talking about the photo posting above yours. I am well familiar with your photo of the Frenchman going for the gigantic whistler heh heh....
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 30, 2009 - 01:31pm PT
Sorry dude... these threads are so complicated.
mongrel

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 30, 2009 - 02:15pm PT
Bump for this incredibly inspiring landmark in US climbing history. Sure, doing the moves sounds pretty reasonable, but it's quite another to do the Climb. Imagine what would have been lost if the mad bolters had got hold of this magnificent piece of rock first; and how obvious it is that the lame "just don't clip them" is utter BS. The Climb would just not be there if it didn't REQUIRE the commitment and focus. Awesome. Maybe train up and do it someday, but even if I never do, it's fantastic just to walk past and admire it. We need some more of these to expand our climbing minds.
Euroford

Trad climber
chicago
Jun 30, 2009 - 03:22pm PT
if i didn't suck, i'd totally want to do that route! :p

G_Gnome

Trad climber
In the mountains... somewhere...
Jun 30, 2009 - 03:28pm PT
There is a nice route just left of the B&Y for those more timid souls. It's called Shipoopi and was put up by the person of the same name. While similar in difficulty the only risk is that you will run out of draws on the second pitch.

And it isn't quite as steep. Still, it is beautiful rock up there.
midarockjock

climber
USA
Jun 30, 2009 - 08:01pm PT
This is the section I was questioning in regards to distance.

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f340/johnbachar/B-Yfall-websize.jpg

He was 1 of the worlds best. Did a knob break?

Let me know I'm about 5 years younger than you and about
5 above the age you mentioned.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 30, 2009 - 08:17pm PT
Whooppeee! 170 posts and counting- deserves every one of them.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Jun 30, 2009 - 08:40pm PT
Probably, the BY saved my life. For a time, I did a fair amount of rope soloing, sometimes because I didn’t arrange for a partner as I was running to the mountains last minute after a full work week, sometimes just to be alone. Somewhere deep in the bowels of supertopo there’s a little piece on my self belay antics on the Owl Roof in Yosemite. I think eventually I did about a dozen rope solos, including the first ascent of Thy Will Be Done in Tuolumne. The ridiculous and dangerous part is I used a jumar as the self belay device, an item not designed for this purpose. I never fell on it, but came very close on a failed attempt of the BY.

Why I ever thought to try this run out route with my cumbersome and unsafe self belay system is incomprehensible to me now. I guess I thought I was climbing pretty well back then, maybe a year or two after the climb had been done, and that the technical challenge was not beyond me. As John says, there is a short 5.11 part on the first pitch, but between a tied off knob and cams for the layback, I felt OK. But the next pitch became more and more terrifying as I fiddled to move the jumar along, tired on sustained moves (seemed 5.10ish), and looked down periodically at the “system” wavering below. Between the second and third bolt, finally, finally I realized I would probably die twice if I fell, not only from just banging the rock but then rocketing into the woods when the jumar broke. Increasingly sane but rattled, I had to make a choice between down climbing to the last bolt or going for the third and retreating from there, though that bolt seemed about 20 or so feet away. Or was it? I thought I saw it, but couldn’t be sure I was seeing the dark hanger on just a dark spot in the rock. I did the worst thing of all - I continued on thinking going ahead was the safer option, then decided after several more moves I should retreat. Slowly, carefully but not calmly, I moved down, again fussing with rope slack and the jumar (sometimes using my teeth), hyperventilating, over gripping, mad and very scared. As I approached the last bolt and then the belay station, I felt a rush of thanks to the god I didn’t believe in. Blinking at the jumar, it looked more and more paltry, like something I picked up at a hardware store. I turned it a couple of times in my hand and knew my days of solo rope climbing had just ended.

As with many of our foolish antics and adventures, especially failures, we mostly keep them to ourselves. I never told anyone about this particular fiasco, though Vern Clevenger looked at me suspiciously one day and asked, face screwed up quizzically, “Did you do something stupid up there (pointing to Medlicott)?” I’m still not sure if he was referring to this incident or something else, as probably there was other foolishness of mine to remember on that dome. I took the easy way out. “No,” I said, and maybe there was truth in my lie – it wasn’t stupid, it was insane. Yet, thanks to the BY, I never again rope soloed or soloed in any way, and so live on to reflect back on all the good and ridiculous in my climbing days.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
S.Leeper

Sport climber
Austin, Texas
Jun 30, 2009 - 09:37pm PT
oh my god my palms are sweating.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 30, 2009 - 09:52pm PT
That Higgins post is one of the best I've ever seen....period.

Tom, you always did have a way with words.

I've been in so many shyte my pants moments, and you brought them all together there!

Trying to hold something with my mouth, my knee, trying to change hands, trying to get more weight on the right foot...no get it onto the left foot so I can grab the sling with my left hand...DAMN...can't let go with either hand..oh f8ck here it comes..I'm out of here....sh*t!!!

Thank you sir, for once again letting me know I'm not alone in this BIG ballgame....
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 30, 2009 - 09:55pm PT
Did you ever see that Higgins guy edge? I did, or did I? I couldn't see the edge.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 30, 2009 - 10:05pm PT
Yikes!!! Tom, that's wild. Thanks for sharing this epic and secret adventure from the past!

I'm glad to hear you got that reality check. As you probably know now, Jumars can easily sever the rope and are more likely to do that than to break, but breaking is definitely possible.

I recall Duane Raleigh severed the rope with a Jumar belay [Edit: not a Jumar problem - see del cross's correction below] on a desert tower - he wrote an article about it in Climbing some years ago. He was saved when his trail rope caught in a crack as he was plunging. I think Ed Webster survived a Jumar belayed fall, when solo aiding the FA of Primrose Dihedrals on Moses. I don't recall the exact details, but I think the rope sheath bunched up.

Would this have preceded Steve Scheider's second ascent? Too bad you didn't feel like recruiting a partner and gone right back to it. Or did you?
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Jun 30, 2009 - 10:22pm PT
what a thread. thanks john, thanks tom!
del cross

climber
Jun 30, 2009 - 10:26pm PT
Clint, not quite. It wasn't a jumar problem. He failed to thread the rope through his belay device before leaning back. Still it was an amazing tale. On par with this one from Tom.

Supertopo, despite the bullsh#t, is a great site.
fosburg

climber
Jun 30, 2009 - 11:03pm PT
Wow!
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jul 1, 2009 - 12:14am PT
Aww, what a thread...

Sir Hig, that got me. Thx. Same to the rest of y'all fer this.
Tahoe climber

Trad climber
a dark-green forester out west
Jul 1, 2009 - 12:34am PT
Holy sh#t.
Sweaty palms, higs!
I think I'm gonna puke.
This is why I keep coming back and sifting thru the drivel.

Thank you.

TC
midarockjock

climber
USA
Jul 1, 2009 - 05:04pm PT
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f340/johnbachar/B-Yfall-websize.jpg

I thought you said a while back the above was Wolgang falling?
Either swap a knob must have broke? 5.13->5.14 climbers not
wanting to free solo the thing.

Just let me know within a few days about the date mentioned.
maxdacat

Trad climber
Sydney, Australia
Jul 1, 2009 - 05:18pm PT
walleye here's your answer:

German climber Stefan Schiller calmly onsighting the infamous Bachar-Yerian (11c). (Photo by: Simon Carter)

from:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos/Featured/Simon_Carter/Bachar-Yerian_95744.html
midarockjock

climber
USA
Jul 1, 2009 - 05:31pm PT
Is the onsight a free solo?

How old is he?
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 1, 2009 - 05:35pm PT
Yikes, Tom!

Glad to still have you around.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Jul 1, 2009 - 07:47pm PT
Clint,

To answer your question, no I never did go back to do the route after my failed rope solo with the infamous jumar. At first, I was too rattled even to contemplate going back, given the burning memory. A bit later, I came to like the feel of my rattling experience as a kind of abject lesson in stupidly and hubris. I thought if I did go back and succeed, I might begin to pooh-pooh that lesson. And finally, as the years wore on, age and injuries took their toll and while I can still do an occasional 5.10 when healthy, I’m very happy now to do short, warm, safe classics with friends, have a beer and chew over the universe thereafter under trees and stars with no thoughts of horror shows the next day.

It seems time brings all remedies, including the ultimate one of course.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
Jul 1, 2009 - 09:19pm PT
where is the varian-yerrian route located?

oh wow...


Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 1, 2009 - 09:42pm PT
I was walkin' out to send that Bad Dog a few days ago to show that Slacker Bachar a thing or two....



But it looked wet from the trail.






and bugs were bitin' us.



;-)

Karl
yo

climber
a tied-off Tomahawk™
Jul 1, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
WHOA
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jul 2, 2009 - 03:42pm PT
Alright, I WILL speak to you again.

Tommy-H whatEVER got into you? I think you must have only got half of the memo. What were you thinking? While the rest of us were marching right along on our respective hedonic treadmills padding away in pride and comfort, you were out there slithering in the scrub brush, jumar in teeth, on a crazed dusty death march to casket choices eschewing all manner of companionship and dare I say, reason. (look that word up, maybe, it could help). Can we say "logic tight compartments" or what? Jumars do not turn into WonderWoman bracelets in loads above 500 pounds no matter how much you want them to! Why in a free society would one do this?

I had no idea. I thought that the Owl roof solos and falls were just an endearing cry for help and affection coming from the general direction of your psychic bedroom. I could have been a better parent and so could have Kamps. Rue the day. Never would one have suspected that after the Owl you would go starkly clinical and put yourself within God's reach, even though we don't believe in him but he nonetheless appears to have been slowly eating us one by one and we are not even on the menu!

"Higgins-Guy" (Donininini-speak), you see now what we had to put up with back then? Hmmm??? Normal people actually died shortly after merely talking to you. Whole villages perished when they received the latest issue of Ascent with another Higgins Prolegomena. The care and feeding of you was actually a harrowing and perilous national priority as it was in fact found that you had defied gravity, and could manage standing on nothing all the time and stuff---- a matter of military importance since those bitches stand on nothing as well. You obviously were studied heavily though from afar. Heisenberg and stuff, prevented us from influencing your habitat and your native moves lest we spoil our findings and come up with conclusions like, "it was all incut buckets up there, go see!". Otherwise we surely would have helped you and put a stop to it.

So the research films from back then (1968-1972) are not only alarming in regard to what has been known to be normal animal behavior but fundamentally indecipherable in their meaning. Strange incantations, much gnashing of large perfect incisors, beady-eyed mutterings and threats into apparently thin air. Endless chanting of "I'll show them how", reminiscent of "The Little Train That Could" but grunted. Also, "I am the One". Contortions that only work on paper not on rock. Sequences that involved invisible though heavily scented elements, all ending in an even more frightening stance, further and further from the last point of protection----some shamanic gut-wrapped bone-shape hammered magically into seemingly blank granite with still more of these on your hardware sling, some in the forms of known opponents. The sky darkened and crow-filled. A terrifying stillness in the air as if to wait for lightning.

As with all things, the furies die as well. They get tired kinda of being all the time furies, you see. It's hard work and the general experience is sure negative. We are all so fond of you now that you have assimilated and your recent needlepoint and macrame has everyone talking.
Walleye

climber
A hard right down Big Tujunga Canyon
Jul 2, 2009 - 04:16pm PT
"I wanna take you higher"! "HIGHER!"
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jul 2, 2009 - 05:09pm PT
Hi Tom,

When you first described your Jumar self belay set up on the Owl Roof (here on ST), I thought you were just pretending to have a self belay since there was no way that a Jumar could be expected to hold a fall and you were always a smart and thoughtful guy. I could live with the ‘pretending’ part rather than any other possible alternative explanations.

But then I read your B-Y account and-- may the gods strike me if I cause any offense--I morphed from interest, to concern, to anguish, to a smile (as you killed yourself twice), and then outright laughter as you found the cathartic energies of admitting to crimes against sense.

It wants me say, "welcome to ST", where we all seem to find the place in our memories where we can only shake our heads and repeat the mantra: "What was I thinking!"

I am so glad you lived to tell us the story.

LongAgo

Trad climber
Jul 2, 2009 - 09:12pm PT
Thanks and Thoughts

Thanks Roger and Peter for your most perceptive lines, including my “crimes against sense” and my “crazed dusty death march to casket choices eschewing all manner of companionship and dare I say, reason.” Both are apt descriptions, though I would take issue with the companionship part, at least as I began to grow an iota or two. And thanks too for the underlying sympathy and good cheer, the most important part of the whole shebang as we prattle and banter in cyberspace under graying heads.

I don’t wish to go on much more here given the thread is on the BY and that should remain the focus. However, there’s much food for thought in your post, Peter, not just about me and my motives, but the motives for any solo climbing. For instance, recall there is this thing called solo climbing without any belay system whatsoever! If rope solo with jumar is crazy, then what can one make of a true solo? Peek back at Stefan Schiller pictured on this very thread, sans rope if I read it right, standing there calmly in the middle of the BY, death only a broken knob away.

And yet, you will rightly counter, climbing with a flawed system takes a special kind of self delusion very distinct from the mentality of the no rope solo climber. In one case, the fool has fooled himself about possible consequences; in the other, presumably there is no self delusion as he/she knows sure death is the risk taken. But note the bit of craziness in this position too - we admire clear vision flirting with death but shake our heads at a jujitsu mental machination resulting in much the same risk.

In any case, I indeed had deluded myself, presuming the hefty looking jumar would hold some sort of fall and, what the heck, I wouldn’t fall anyhow and the thing was some sort of backup even if not perfect and … you can see the kind of self talk leading to my path. But here again, things are not simple. I think there are shades of my madness in the whole mental game of a first ascent. We all proceed with a bit of self delusion on bare Tuolumne granite, or is it love and hope, when making a hard - we think reversible - move some distance out from the little bolt below looking more paltry by the moment, committing a bit more toward what looks like the next bolt stance or is it too small or slick a depression to stand in and get the drill set and start to tap and ...

I sense we are moving to a new thread topic on solo mentality or maybe another on the first ascent mentality and motive. But staying with solo mentality, perhaps we could hear, Peter, about your self talk in soloing El Cap when the self belay system you used (was it a prussic?) got toward its safety limits, or what Bachar tells himself doing no rope solo at near his climbing limits, to argue against the broken hold beyond all his powers to control, and where is Croft or Gill on the same issue and the other true soloists. Perhaps we will find there too some specks of delusion by which we all proceeded and, I would argue, still proceed on and off the walls because some realities must be denied, at least sometimes.


Greg Barnes

climber
Jul 2, 2009 - 09:22pm PT
Schiller was roped, he's clipping a bolt in the picture.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jul 3, 2009 - 12:07am PT
To be serious here, Tom, your retelling of this is wonderful and shows how crazy, enthused and spiritualized some of us get while others are busy with other things. Thanks tons for the personal tale; it is huge. It is clear that others were watching too. By that point in history there was an amazing amount of surveillance going on both in the Valley and in the Meadows. And the B-y is not far from the highway.

Gentleman as always, scholar as well. Wholly unsupervised might I add. Funniest known man on rock, greatest friend possible to many. How long had this been going on, this soloing thing of yours? We all relish in the retelling of one Tom Higgins up on the B-y fighting his own good fight, fully curious and undaunted, Jumar in hand, a good thing. It is a moment in history. We are all honored to partake in the tale. Not unlike if Royal were at this point to divulge for most of his 60’s Muir solo he was untied because it seemed “ungainly” to be so tethered, foot slings were enough. Kind of frisky actually, you being up there with nothing better than a large roach clip between you and eternity, enormous runouts unavoidable.

Many of us have of course soloed. As in no rope, no equipment, just shoes and a self perhaps as well. This realm is beyond the purview here and really has no pretenses of being anything other than a private experience in extremis. As you suggest, we would need yet another thread on unroping things.

But as for self-belaying on the Salathe, for the record and as I describe in the AAC article of 1972, I had a hefty 8mm prussik that was tripled and worn in earlier a bit specially for the ascent and below it was a jumar. The system was thus double and if Mr Jumar might try to sever the rope it was below the triple large prussik so perhaps that knot might have done its job still. I was confident in the setup.

I tested this affair beforehand and actually had done a bunch of shorter routes this way solo. And while on the Salathe ascent I actually fell on the rig while trying to do a first free ascent of the Half Dollar. It worked just fine and I went onwards, albeit in slings at that spot. It was well known that Jumars weren’t capable of much more than 500 lbs. Now of course I would use a Solo-Aid or a Silent Partner, both of which I own.

I think the dithering between having a jumar device or any other scheme that isn’t competent and just climbing unroped altogether is not only interesting but also kooky because reality just states that the device isn’t capable so why have the Ritual No-Theater of yarding out the slack and managing the medieval process when the whole thing is mere rice paper and Caca? I think you answer all of this; it has been a good thread.






Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Jul 3, 2009 - 01:24am PT
this thread is great and the drifting part is truly wonderful to read. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Tom and Peter etc..a cyber campfire can be so much fun!
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Jul 3, 2009 - 01:38am PT
ST campfire tales. Rowdy Yates.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 3, 2009 - 01:43am PT
Peter, did you attempt, or climb, any long routes after the Salathe? Just curious.

I did a bit of aid soloing, usually with jumars as a belay, backed up by a knot. Probably OK for relatively low fall-factor falls. I wonder what system Robbins used on the Muir, and Porter and Dunn when they did solo new routes on El Cap in the early 1970s?
Geno

Trad climber
Reston, VA
Jul 3, 2009 - 06:27am PT
This is the best ST thread I have read. Thanks all.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jul 3, 2009 - 10:04am PT

I know what you mean, Tom, about the mental tricks of having a 'belay' in name only. I could often climb calmly high above my last protection on hard ground with full confidence, especially on first ascents. But I could not climb comfortably unroped even on moderate 5th class.

On my aborted West Face of El Cap solo, I travelled to the Bay Area and purchased sailing rope to use as a prussic. It was kernmantel construction but very supple and about 1/2 inch thick. This was on the advice of Charlie Porter, who said that it could be kept loose enough to move easily with one hand, but would catch with out risk of overheating if weighted. My back up was to short the rope with a figure eight knot and double biners on my swami. At every two-hands rest on free I would recalculate the short rope length. I sometimes had a second short rope loop to account for the uncertainty of the next two-hands rest, hoping that I could drop the first loop. I seem to remember a special knot that was supposed to reduce the failure due to the double pull against sharp bends, but I don’t recall if it was real or only a question mark.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jul 3, 2009 - 10:22am PT
Mighty Anders,

I went to do the second ascent (by solo) of Tis-sa-ack three weeks later, as driven as a sheep stampede. Got up to the Zebra, realized I had only one hammer (BITD August 1971) and had to descend. Plus I hated the process so much by this point---actually sick of it--- all that nonsense with the self-belay devices, the endless endless toil, the absurd loneliness. And it was about 95-100 degrees in the Valley so it was similarly hideous up there. That was the last aid solo climbing I ever did. I had finally gotten the memo! I was finally cured!! lol.

About a week later I did the fourth ascent of the West Face of El Cap with CJ Jackson, a great young climber from Connecticut, one bivy. And although there of course were issues between us, of which I write in one of my stories, I was nonetheless thrilled to have a friend with me finally.

I did plenty of unroped free climbing however for another 10 years. Some of it hard, some of it onsight. I still loved moving over stone with no impediments. And today although I still fantasize about some soloing I am mostly thinking about being on rock with friends.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Jul 3, 2009 - 04:21pm PT
All,

Greg, thanks for opening my eyes. which apparently are so poor I can't see the rope in the Schiller pic. But of course, now, I see his clipping posture, or else he's making a mighty strange move. Perhaps no one has free soloed the BY yet, but it's probably coming and plenty of equally hard stuff has been free soloed and so my points there still stand, or wobble here and there, as Peter reminds us. A bit kooky he rightly observes ...

Peter, so glad to hear you too had the dreaded jumar, but of course only as back up to the big sane prussic, and that you rationally "tested" the system, which I never did. Good too you moved on to devices actually designed for the rope solo logistical nightmare -- exactly the way I came to feel about it in time (did this stuff across 2-3 years), with all the necessary manipulations and need to climb things twice. To your other point, why use a system where the "reality" is it won't work, when the system is so onerous anyhow, well, as you can see from my self talk, I was in full denial, was madly in love with Tuolumne rock, partner or not, and of course still contend some of my denial is part of the whole leading game, all of which is not to justify my kind of denial going onto the BY. As I said in the telling, it was beyond stupidity.

Maybe, though, I should add that I did have the modicum of sense Mighty Hiker and Roger Breedlove describe by using a back up knot they discuss. I got pretty good doing the "recalculation" of rope length Roger discusses, though I had a couple of more funny than terrifying incidents miscalculating along the way, one on an old route I thought I knew well since I had done the FA, i.e. the Vision, though nothing ridiculous happened except some scary down climbing to regroup and rearrange the macramé Peter calls it perfectly. Of course, the problem with employing back up knots on the BY, as you can imagine, is I could get two hands free on the first pitch here and there, but had much trouble with it on the second and ... well, you saw the tale.

Sidebar: suggested new thread topics someday:

 the mentality, self talk, "vision-thing" of free soloing (but not sure any free soloists would weigh in)

 memorable retreats and failures, and lessons learned, and I don’t mean logistical lessons but soul lessons (maybe too confessional for some)

 and a big one: motivation for doing the newest and hardest and maybe most dangerous when young and dumb. As Peter suggests, maybe its quest for love and respect in the climbing community, competitive instinct for place and standing in the same community, a march against the giants gone before, a journey toward self formation generally (Scherer and I argued this one at length), or some combined tangle not unlike the self belay system.
Double D

climber
Jul 3, 2009 - 09:30pm PT
I've got sewing-machine legs and I need to chalk up after reading that.
Walleye

climber
A hard right down Big Tujunga Canyon
Jul 5, 2009 - 11:15pm PT
A bump for my friend and one of the few real heroes I've ever had.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 5, 2009 - 11:16pm PT
He did have a sack on him, that's for sure.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno
Jul 6, 2009 - 01:38am PT
John and I had talked a fair amount about the BY. He was psyched to get on the thing soon. I was super, super psyched about shooting images of him on it, but more than anything of seeing him do this and experiencing it with him, especially after what he'd been through physically with the accident. Such sad, sad news. John was such an inspiration.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Jul 8, 2009 - 07:34pm PT
I think my suggested new thread topics about motive in climbing, solo mentality and working the most dangerous edges should rest for quite some time. I have no words for the death of John, only immense sadness and, now, concern for his son especially and hope there will be a fund or other mechanism so we who stood in awe can take some small positive action in line with our admiration for John, though any such action will hardly stand against the dismay and grief.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
hooblie

climber
Jul 8, 2009 - 07:44pm PT
understood, tom. and that's an indication of the size of the man.

john had a way of stilling the cluckers who had doubts ready at hand about the propriety of such outlandish acts by incontrovertably establishing his bona fides at the helm of his own fate.

the grace and application at the center of a force field of confidence was contagious enough to turn our hearts into believers. he made it seem reasonable. there martha, that's what it's sposed to look like.

it was art, you knew that when you saw it, and we watched the emulation of it spread
midarockjock

climber
USA
Jul 8, 2009 - 07:52pm PT
Thank's, I can see that now.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 9, 2009 - 10:55pm PT
Other Bachar-Yerian threads, in case they weren't already indexed somewhere above:

Bachar-Yerian??? http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=375380

B Y Conditions? http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=434735
Walleye

climber
A hard right down Big Tujunga Canyon
Jul 10, 2009 - 12:57am PT
One of my cherished e-mails from John was in response to some questions I had for him about the two original first ascent photos that I posted on this thread. He actually asked me if I was there the day they did the route and if I took my own photos. I assured him I was still living in Milwaukee and totally oblivious to the shenanigans that were being performed on the beautiful granite of Tuolumne Meadows. John wrote back and said "hey, I can't remember who was around. I was too busy being scared shitless up there"
Walleye

climber
A hard right down Big Tujunga Canyon
Jul 10, 2009 - 09:15pm PT
Bump to keep John up at the top for now.
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
Dec 29, 2009 - 03:26am PT
i was so blonde i missed this thread until clint tuned me into it. it answers some of my questions about chronology, and scared the crap out of me...a second time. man, what was i thinking, going up to send that thing in 83. shipoopoi
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 29, 2009 - 03:37am PT
Dave Yerian...I love you brother, please contact me at:(541) 961-7970 Michael Paul...
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Dec 29, 2009 - 09:18am PT
Hey Mike, don't know if Daves on this site much, but I'll call him and send the messege along!
Peace
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Aug 9, 2010 - 12:16am PT
Platinum Rob bump!
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Aug 2, 2011 - 09:28pm PT
I came across this old poster in Mammoth this past weekend and thought I'd share. I had the same image hanging in my high school locker and it still gets me amped.



Hopefully John's really "one with the knob" on the other side.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Aug 2, 2011 - 09:36pm PT
Isn't that 30th anniversary ascent set for right about now?
Silver

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Aug 3, 2011 - 01:05am PT
Bump
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Aug 3, 2011 - 08:59pm PT
It's gonna happen SOON but not quite yet! Be lookin at the route later in the month.
Peace
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 27, 2011 - 11:31pm PT
Has it gone yet? I heard it might be this weekend. And a movie?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Aug 28, 2011 - 12:33am PT
While on the subject and perhaps this is a dumb question.. But has anyone ever free-soloed the B-Y?

Outside the perhaps questionable holds this seems like a reasonable thing for an exceptional climber (sure as hell not me lol) to contemplate considering the nature of the route.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Aug 28, 2011 - 12:43am PT
Yerian said around August 31st, or whenever Alex gets back from Squamish in BC. Film crews are attached to Alex I take it.
WBraun

climber
Aug 28, 2011 - 12:45am PT
If you want to make a big thing out of free soloing you can become a lizard in your next life.

Lizards free solo all the time.

It's much better learn why and who you are with a rope then waste ones time becoming a lizard ......
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Aug 28, 2011 - 12:50am PT
No big thing.. just something we all do. At whatever level we do it.


Right?


ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Aug 28, 2011 - 01:01am PT
Patients grasshoppers, patients. It's gonna go, but when all things are ready. Patients!
Peace
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Oct 12, 2011 - 03:41am PT
Bump for another awesome climbing thread!
wildone

climber
Troy, MT
Oct 12, 2011 - 08:30am PT
Patients? Patience?
Fletcher

Trad climber
Fumbling towards stone
Mar 27, 2012 - 03:16am PT
Yup! This is a classic thread. Worth the read!

Eric
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Jan 19, 2013 - 02:43am PT
Bump.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Jan 19, 2013 - 12:14pm PT
Great bump Ryan!! I've read it before, and I read it all again last night.

I hope Alex finds a new passion soon... It's so great to have Bachar's voice here, and it made me cry when I got to the day he died....
Cole

Trad climber
los angeles
Jan 19, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
Relevant plug. Check out my short film about the Bachar Yerian: https://vimeo.com/14878084
john hansen

climber
Aug 7, 2013 - 12:14am PT
Was looking at all the stuff on the first page and remembered this thread..
S.Leeper

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
Aug 7, 2013 - 12:41am PT

Here's what JB said about a freesolo of the BY


I always wanted to solo it but the knobs can break too easily - even the solid looking ones go once in a while. No matter what, the friction climbing on the third pitch would be the hardest part of the solo - you'd have to have three testicles to do that!!!
Johnny K.

climber
Aug 7, 2013 - 01:35am PT

JLP

Social climber
The internet
Aug 7, 2013 - 11:43am PT
Since this thing went up with hooks and a drill, who made the first free ascent from the ground - no previewing as someone's second nor using aid gear?
FTOR

Sport climber
CA
Aug 7, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
so why don't you go send it then post your clueless remarks.
dhayan

climber
los angeles, ca
Sep 3, 2015 - 09:56am PT
Bump for BY
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Sep 3, 2015 - 02:29pm PT
Credit: ron gomez
Doin' the B/Y in style and with RESPECT. Lonnie Kauk August 2014
Peace
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Sep 3, 2015 - 02:32pm PT
Wow, great shot Ron. Thanks for posting.
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Sep 3, 2015 - 03:19pm PT
Was incredible watching this ascent. Lonnie lead it with no hesitations, immaculate style, perfect technique. John's sporit was there, he was proud of his Brother and all he taught him. No one else was there, he did it for himself.
Peace
Friend

climber
Sep 3, 2015 - 03:50pm PT
Cool shot and great vibes Ron. Mucho respect to Kauk Jr and Sr. So cool.
Jon Clark

climber
philadelphia
Sep 5, 2015 - 04:14am PT
Great shot Ron, thanks.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Sep 5, 2015 - 08:48am PT
Ron - from where was that photo taken? Quadcopter? Spy satellite?
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Sep 5, 2015 - 08:54am PT
Pretty low tech shot and location. Terra firma with a point n shoot canon camera mounted on a $5.00 tripod sitting on a rock. Have a ton other shots but Lonnie had a camera up there and I wouldn't want to infringe on their effort unless Lonnie said cool. It was truely magical to watch, no one else was there, perfect lighting, quiet setting and Bachar's spirit!
Peace
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Mar 22, 2016 - 09:54pm PT
BumP


.
Burnin' Oil

Trad climber
CA
Sep 7, 2017 - 03:25pm PT
Bumpin' some solid ST gold.
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