The fashionable Ray Jardine on Separate Reality


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Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 11, 2014 - 11:20pm PT
Yes Warbler. For sure. This fact keeps coming up here on ST.

Feb 12, 2014 - 12:06am PT
I have found that the climbers who question the motives of those who do first ascents nearly always lack the experience of doing them themselves...


This thread just keeps on giving. Great posts Peter H & Kevin, really cool to hear reflections of these distant times from those that were there in the midst of it. Thanks.

Trad climber
Feb 12, 2014 - 12:32am PT
Thanks for the explanation Peter. I agree there is nothing to compare to being on unclimbed rock with friends who play the game by the same rules.
Many first ascents are not at all what remains as an established route, if you weren't there, you will never know what it was in its raw virgin form. That is for the original party.

We started climbing in the nuts only era, after pins and before cams. It took years for me to completely trust cams, I still want a nut on all my anchors, even though I am a cam addict today.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:23am PT
On the first ascent of El Cap, a primary difficulty was that most of the 'cracks' were actually just shallow grooves that wouldn't hold a proper piton. It was barely possible to hammer drill in a knife blade far enough to hold body weight. The aid ratings were 6.7, 6.8, and 6.9. This is where Chouinard and Frost came up with the RURP. Can you free climb those grooves without putting fingers in the pin scars?

I went a few pitches up the Nose with Mike Borghoff in between the second and third ascents. Most of the knife blade pin scars were already broken out, and we had to use tied-off nested bugaboos or Leeper Z-pins.

A bit later I went up to Sickle with Chris Fredricks, using a lot of tied-off short Leepers.

I was obsessed with soloing the Nose and made several attempts during the 60s. My major challenge was rigging strong enough anchors at stances to trust for hauling. From the ethics of the period and mentored by RR, it was unthinkable to consider placing additional bolts to replace the shaky POS placed by the first ascent team. I could hardly believe the bomb-proof anchor bolts at each stance when returning to climb it in the 1980s.

Does anyone still carry knife blades, RURPs, Leepers, and tie-off loops on the Nose? I see little discussion about how many finger-locks and cam placements are in old pin scars. Each one of those holes was drilled by the slow hard work of many strong blows of a hammer on chromolly 4130 steel pins.

What would be the status of modern 'clean' and 'free' climbing in Yosemite if people went up and filled in all the pin scars and restored all the cracks to their 1950s status!? I am not advocating that idea, just thinking we need to better recognize how things have progressed in the past six decades of repeating those climbs.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:36am PT
As others are pointing out upthread, the idea is snoringly simple, adapted from other nearly identical devices that had been around for a very long time and even already devised specifically by climbers like Lowe. It was hardly something Jardine should be seen as a genius for.

I have to either disagree with this statement, or else admit that I am not a genius; so choose to do neither in the spirit of self-preservation.

However my big historical gear bag still contains an array of 1960s camming yacht hardware that I struggled unsuccessfully to adapt for rope climbing and/or rock anchors, before finding Jumars in a Sporthaus Shuster catalog.

I never met Jardine, but was shocked when first introduced to Friends in the 1970s, and have properly thanked the Lowes for their genius.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 12, 2014 - 03:15pm PT
Well, Sacherer got there first on freeing the East Buttress...Royal and I did the second free ascent, with Liz along using aid slings at a few points

As one of our first climbs together, Sacherer and I climbed The Slack mostly free and talked about freeing the first pitch...which he did the following year...The Sacherer Crackerer.
Royal and I did the second free ascent...some other well known heroes were along with us and couldn't follow there's your measure about what we could do back then...

Sacherer and I made several ascents of the Moby Dick Bombay Chimney as training...we were just bottom feeders nibbling along the base of the wall by today's standards...Little John...La Cosita...Ahab...

Ament and I worked out on the start of the Slack Center route...but that's another story...

it was more than wild enough that Sacherer talked about freeing the stove legs cracks

at the time i am sure none of us imagined complete free ascents of El Cap routes, even in our wildest dreams


Sep 20, 2014 - 07:45pm PT
don't know how i didn't see this before [or how i ended up on it now...]

but this thread, especially the beginning, has some of the strongest and most thought provoking dialogic writing i've seen on this site...

thanks to Roger Breedlove, Peter Haan, JStan and Oli, to name a few, for sharing some very well considered and articulated thoughts...

Trad climber
Nov 10, 2015 - 04:56pm PT
This thread deserves to be bumped every year or so.

Some truly interesting history here.

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Nov 10, 2015 - 09:02pm PT
Serious history lessons here . . . thanks to all.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
Jan 3, 2017 - 03:30pm PT
or pictures of a young Survival#%^V
More history where the pictures are from:

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jan 3, 2017 - 04:03pm PT
Bump with a very insightful passage from Pat Ament early in the thread:
My parents had tons of integrity but mistakenly assumed I would naturally follow along. So there was, as I remember it, little instruction in that area, a serious oversight on their part. I had to develop integrity the hard way, and I did -- with the help of many examples, and also with the long suffering and patience of my friends and for their not focusing on my stupid moments. The greatest of the climbers I knew were the most forgiving and good souled. It seemed always the lesser climbers who had the meanest hearts. Somehow my perception of this world is that a life is a progression, at best. Each of us starts somewhere and hopefully grows, hopefully learns, hopefully transcends pride, ego, dishonesty, and all the rest. Not one of us is perfect. We start out (using the analogy of a piano) playing Mary Had A Little Lamb. We make mistakes all over the keyboard. If we stay at it, we refine our technique, get better, do better. Some will always hold to the view they had of you when you were floundering to find the notes. That we are in a progression, or that life is the opportunity for such, I am convinced, and thus it often is better to worry about the mote in one's own eye rather than spend precious energy judging others. Sure judgments can be made, and accurately, but are they helpful and constructive to the person to whom they are given, or are they extensions of our own sense of greatness, our own sense of elitism? I've gotten caught up in this bad kind of judgment and criticism. And of course some won't grow, or won't visibly grow, with any amount of help, and some will go the other way, and that's always sad. They might be the people who least need our condescensions, in view of possibly sending them deeper the wrong way. Who knows?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 21, 2018 - 07:03pm PT
best bump

Trad climber
Feb 17, 2019 - 03:42pm PT
The dark history of the Valley. In the 70s I bought into the hype. Sad to see there is a story of rock rape associated with most of the climbs that were hailed as exercises in purism. Funny to go to some parks and see signs about what will get you a twenty year sentence, yet in the Valley they are still wailing away on the rock like they have hard rock mining permits.

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 17, 2019 - 05:29pm PT
If you look at all the human waste, the money, the commercialism surrounding Everest climbing, we are fortunate that for the most part, the El Cap rock remains pristine. It is a testimony to Yosemite climbing ethics that for all the traffic on El Cap, it could be so much worse. Just the fact that Mr. Jardine would do a little chipping, and people care enough to talk about it this deeply, is a good thing.

Social climber
Feb 17, 2019 - 06:25pm PT
Bump, clarifying separate realities!
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