obscure history

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Crimpergirl

Social climber
Hell on earth wondering what I did to deserve it
May 31, 2007 - 08:48pm PT
What a sly fox...he has everyone begging, and climbing chicks are bumping him. We are his puppets!
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
May 31, 2007 - 09:00pm PT
What a twisted sense of humour Oli has.....grrrr. There's no possible way a person could fanagle a mastery in trolldom of this magnitude in 7 easy lessons.... He must have been practicing for a while....

Oli - if you're not trolling, let's get rolling!

"I'm hooked!"(as in "I'm hit!" like Kramer when he got a lugie lobbed on him at the Yankee game).

Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 31, 2007 - 09:06pm PT
Does Oli = LEB = A. Crowley = ??? Do we even want to go there?
Nohea

Trad climber
Aiea,Hi
May 31, 2007 - 09:08pm PT
Wasn't that Keith Hernandez and the magic lugey? That was a Mets game I believe. Remember I am from the Empire State, and the upstaters like the Yankees.

Aloha,
wil
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
May 31, 2007 - 09:10pm PT
oh...yeah, the Mets. Kieth Hernandez.

I'm not much of one when it comes to details in sports. I stand corrected. Thanks.
Gene

climber
May 31, 2007 - 09:45pm PT
Pat's been showing us the way for decades.

JDF watch out. The new Sheriff is in town.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 1, 2007 - 01:06am PT
Perhaps the idea is that the thread is, or will become, history. Ashes to ashes...
Anastasia

Trad climber
California
Jun 1, 2007 - 01:20am PT
Dust to dust...

Bump...
If we keep it going someone might tell the stories for him.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 1, 2007 - 03:30am PT
Please don't think I "troll." I'm just learning what it is, for heaven's sake. I have a simple mind. I was sick today so couldn't get back on the computer until now, or I would have written earlier. I wasn't playing a game of trying anyone's patience.

Let me tell you about three little climbs that all suffered a similar fate.

I was in good shape in 1967. I easily sight-led Ahab and the first free ascent of Limbo Ledge. Royal and Rearick and I did Crack of Despair, and I led the crux. Chuck Pratt and I did a number of routes together. He had me lead the 5.10 offwidth at the top of Reed Pinnacle, Right Side, and he led the offwidth on the Left Side. With Larry Dalke, I also did the first 5.11 in the Valley, the Center Route on the Slack. Kamps, Chouinard, Robbins, and others had tried the Slack and failed. I'm not completely sure but think Pratt tried it too. He told me the Slack would be the first 5.11, if done. I can't imagine how he would know that, without having tried it. My good friend Higgins also had tried the Slack and, as he wrote me recently, "flopped off of it." Tom calls it "a mighty little treasure." Most people don't now realize, however, that there was a block 15 or 20 feet up, and to pass that crux section, you had to crush fingertips into the two parallel thin cracks on either side of the block. I managed to lead the route first try, in good style. Well above the crux, standing on the thin edge formed by the top of the block, I hammered in a one-inch angle and clipped the rope in, ready to do the 5.5 remaining section. As I clipped in and started to move, the block suddenly shifted under my foot, causing my foot to slip off. I dropped about an inch, since the piton was right there at my face. I quicky put my foot back and finished the easy remainder of the route. Pratt congratulated me and told me it was indeed the first 5.11. Later, though, as I learned, someone apparently vandalized the climb by prying out the block. Now one could employ a bomber handjam instead of those really difficult fingertip jams. As Higgins has said, "No one will know how hard that route was." Some speculated that someone was jealous a Coloradan had done the first 5.11. A month later, Tom led Serenity, the second 5.11, and that too was altered by subsequent aid climbers, hacking into the rock bong-tip holes where there were knifeblade cracks.

Pratt was collecting info for Roper's guide, and Roper wrote the Slack up as the first 5.11. Later, though, in Roper's book Camp 4, Steve states simply that the climb was downrated, as though to imply I had not rated it correctly. Some were now calling it 5.10d. John Long wrote me, though, not long ago and said he felt it was still 5.11 after the block broke out. John is one of those more generous souls. I couldn't say what it should be rated, but I know it was much easier. Sigh.

Pratt also told me about the Left Side of the Remnant, speculating that it might be "a climb for another generation." Those were his words, although it didn't prove quite that difficult. Curious about what he'd said, I went up and took a look at the relatively short but fierce crack. I led right up the initial difficult chimney and didn't take long to do the 5.11 undercling left and up. I reached a stance about two body lengths from the top, with only a 5.6 move remaining. Happy to have done the route, I thoughtlessly slammed in a nice one-inch angle. It was then I realized I had placed the piton in the one and only finger hold, a bomber finger lock, for that final little 5.6 lieback. I didn't want to bash the piton back out and so tried to fit a finger on each side of it, above and below, with the intent of making the lieback move, pulling straight to the right against the crack, and not using the piton. It was hard not to rest the edge of my finger against the piton a little, but I did the move as cleanly as possible. It didn't matter I had made this little mistake, as the move was very easy, really, and I knew if I wanted to I could have hammered out the piton and done the move. My partner, Larry Dalke, had lots of trouble on the difficult climbing but easily whacked out the piton and made that final easy step with the solid finger lock. I felt I'd done the route free, but in the interest of total honesty I told people the story of the piton and that easy final move. Royal and Loyd Price went up and worked pretty hard at the route, managed to do it, and claimed the first free ascent. Sigh.

Kevin speaks about a boulder problem in Camp 4. I was doing some pretty intense bouldering with Gill in Colorado and put up a number of nice new routes in Camp 4. My friend Barry Bates told me I was the best boulderer he'd seen, and that really touched my heart because of his generosity and warm spirit. I will never forget those days bouldering with Barry. Some of you will know the route Ament's Arete, a moderate classic up an overhanging arete, over toward the start of the Falls trail. To the right of Ament's Arete is a steep, almost vertical slab facing west on a little separate block. I managed to do a difficult face climb up the center of this west-facing slab. No one could repeat it. Breashears tried it later. Wunsch worked on it and even had some special shoes mail ordered to him. My girl friend at the time took a slew of photos of me, though not revealing the secret technique I had used. Bachar, my friend, showed up at my home in Eldorado a few years later and saw those slides, telling me he knew now that it was indeed done. Some had wondered, and he told me it was now impossible because the single tiny key edge for the left foot broke off. Ron Kauk, though, found a way to sprint fast toward the face and, leaping upward, make a wild slap for the top. He managed finally to succeed at that grab, and since then the route has been called... the Kauk Face! Sigh.

As a small aside, Bridwell's girlfriend at the time, Lois, a sweet girl, made me one of those famous Bridwell psychedelic shirts, all wild hallucinogenic colors, green, yellow, and everything. I loved that shirt. I have a photo of the first ascent of Ament's Arete, wearing that shirt after a huge spaghetti dinner. Dick Dorworth, who had just set a world record in downhill speed skiing, was there to spot me...

I'm not doing any sort of polished writing here, just rambling as I tend to do, but maybe something will be fun to read?

Pat
Crimpergirl

Social climber
Hell on earth wondering what I did to deserve it
Jun 1, 2007 - 09:18am PT
Awesome - thanks for that. Hopefully there is a lot more. BTW, we are just joshing with you that you were teasing us. :)
scuffy b

climber
The town that Nature forgot to hate
Jun 1, 2007 - 11:15am PT
Thanks for the background of the "Kauk Face."
It was shown to me several years ago without the seemingly
important detail that it hadn't been done in its current state.
Anastasia

Trad climber
California
Jun 1, 2007 - 11:57am PT
PAT, "you" are not the troll... WE ARE! (Troll are the ones kidding around just to hear themselves talk. )
I LOVE your story!!! Keep posting whenever you feel well enough.
---------

I know "a little" about what you are going through.
During my chemo days for cancer, one of my funny memories is that I once fell asleep into my dinner plate. I woke up with it all on my face and didn't notice until I had to use the bathroom. When I caught myself in the mirror, I remember it being a significant point in my life where I had to decide between laughter or crying. (I really felt like crying.) It was a horrifying sight. I remember staring into that mirror like a deer in headlights, my feelings flooding all my senses until they just clicked it into the right gear. Now that I am looking back, I realize that this was when I made the choice between the sickness dominating me, or choosing to have my love of this life dominate my existence.
My roommate found me laughing so hard on the floor that she thought I was having a heart attack.

Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Jun 1, 2007 - 12:24pm PT
Good stories, Oli. That one where you were trying to not touch the pin on the easy lieback reminds me of a time long, long ago when I was climbing in Eldo with Breashears. You probably remember how in the mid-late 70's David could never find climbing shoes he liked. They always didn't fit right or something else was wrong with them. So for a long time he just climbed in some floppy old tennis shoes.

Well we decided to climb Guenese, which used to have that long runout above an upside-down fixed pin on the first pitch, leading up to the roof. David is leading the pitch in his tennies. He's completed the runout and moved up under the roof to where there's a fixed angle filling the only good hold. He's up there fiddling around, not clipping the pin for some reason and starting to sketch a little bit. I'm starting to get a little nervous as he's looking at a long fall onto the suspect pin. If the pin pulls, he'll deck out hard.

After a little while I find out what he's up to. Still not having clipped the pin, David looks down at me and in a voice dripping with apology says, "I'm sorry, Jeff, I blew it. My fingers touched the pin." What the hell? He's still looking at a possible groundfall and he's more concerned about letting me down because of a tiny, meaningless taint? "Breashears". I bellow up, "clip the damn piton!"

That boy was beyond pure, he was damn near angelic. Sometimes it seemed he was in a hurry to join the heavenly throng.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 1, 2007 - 12:40pm PT
I know that we all go soft and weepy eyed as we get older, Jeff, but I heard that you yanked the rope and pulled Breashears off when he touched the pin.

Buzz

"Without style we are nothing"
John Moosie

climber
Jun 1, 2007 - 12:55pm PT
Hey Oli and Jello,

Thanks for the great stories. I love the history of adventure. Man this is great.

Oli, You are well respected here and any joshing is just done in fun. Besides, it did start to look like a brilliant troll when it took you awhile to post. Some of us take a certain perverse pleasure in the brilliance of some types of trolls, at least the ones not meant to be mean spirited. I think most here are well aware that you are a man of your word. But we do like to tease.

Thanks again. Moosie
Anastasia

Trad climber
California
Jun 1, 2007 - 02:27pm PT
Thank you Oli and Jello!
I love this thread!

wiclimber

Trad climber
devil's lake, wi
Jun 1, 2007 - 02:51pm PT
Oli,

Now please tell us a story about the Supremacy Crack. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!

AK
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 1, 2007 - 03:28pm PT
Jeff, those floppy tennis shoes were Tretorns. Both David and I started actually climbing in them for a time, because they had fantastic friction. I remember the day Breashears told me he had a gift for me, and when he arrived at my house he was carrying a new pair of Tretorns, the best kind. He had ordered them especially from the east, for me. I wore those things out, even though I tried not to. I found I could climb all the hard routes I was able to do in Eldorado in those shoes. And yes David was pure in his style on rock. I'll tell you a story sometime about the huge fall he took in Yosemite, and how I miraculously stopped him...

Kevin, thanks for that affirmation about the Ament Face. I was really proud of that one, and it seemed to disappear before my eyes. Most of the Californians were very nice and welcoming to me, all people of integrity. Jim Bridwell and I were instant friends and bouldered a lot. I loved Barry Bates, and we spent hours laughing and bouldering. Even more obscure characters, such as Klemens, seemed to like me. I suppose I was incredibly immature for my age and overly sensitive, and the like.

Sometimes I said something I had no idea would offend someone. I had been climbing with Peter Haan, having a great time with that phenomenon, having lovely conversations, delving his brilliant mind. His only fault that I could detect was a slight tendency to be very critical of people. In a way, he seemed to have the credibility and authority to be so, and some of his observations, painful though they were, made a lot of sense. One day, though, I said something off hand to Peter in the restaurant, something intended to give him a small instant's feedback that I was uncomfortable with the criticism. The truth is I didn't want to be on the receiving end of such, and each time he said something it hurt, almost as though I could imagine it directed at me, so I said something to him like, "...And Peter knows everything about everyone." It wasn't well thought out. I honestly can't recall the exact words, but I had no idea what effect my words had on him. I've been told I speak with power sometimes, but mostly I don't know when such times occur. And sometimes people misinterpret tone. But he was affected by what I said, took it hard or something, and he bolted out of the room. I thought he was going off to use the restroom. When I finally went lookng for him in Camp 4, Bridwell asked me, "What did you say to Peter?" I couldn't even recall, but it was the last thing on my mind to offend him. Bridwell informed me that Peter had left the Valley. I was shocked, and Peter never spoke to me again. It seemed ironic that so strong a person, and one so observant of the imperfections of others, should have so little capacity for a mindless remark directed toward him. I have always deeply regretted ever opening my stupid mouth, because I think we would have gone on and done some fun climbs together. Some are fragile in delicate, artistic ways, I suppose. I think I am that way too. So anyway, not every relationship went how it should have gone. I'm sure Peter has an entirely different take on what went down there, and to him I was probably just really out of line perhaps... I have never lost one iota of respect for that man and have never and will never say a bad word about him. It's like an eternal penance.

Some, such as Chris Jones, the Brit, viewed me as a sniveling little Colorado creep, and described me as much in his "history" of North American climbing. Anyway, Higgins, Kamps, Robbins, Beck, Pratt, Bachar... they were all my friends. I loved climbing with Pratt almost more than anyone I could think of, just to watch his technique, the way he could turn an off-width into a work of art.

One day, by mistake, I sold Chris Vandiver's guitar. That's a funny story, in retrospect. Chris had to leave the Valley for a couple days, and a fellow approached me and asked for Chris. The fellow told me Chris had wanted to sell him that guitar. Being incredibly naive and gullible, I took the 50 dollas and gave the guy Chris's guitar. Well, Chris didn't come back for a few days, and I was out of money at the moment so assumed he wouldn't mind if I started spending some of the 50 until more was mailed to me. Not a good move. When he got back to the Valley he came storming up to me, "Where's my guitar?!!" He hadn't wanted to sell it but had simply spoken to the guy about the possibility. Oops. And I had no money to give him. That, again, was not one of my better moments. I have always been a bit retarded socially, backward or something, and I did a lot better when I simply focused on the rock and climbed.

Anastasia, that face plant story is amazing. I relate to it all too well, believe me.

More soon.

Pat
Anastasia

Trad climber
California
Jun 1, 2007 - 07:19pm PT
I agree with you that many climbers have personalities similar to artist and writers. I am constantly amazed how many are mentally strong and extremely emotionally sensitive. I think these traits is what drives them to go beyond and seek themselves on other paths.

Plus, I notice another commonly shared trait among climbers is that many of us don't edit our words into palatable forms. We have this childish faith that what we intend to mean " expressed raw and from the gut " will not be misunderstood.

I have said the wrong thing many times. I usually have no clue what I said despite the effects leaving me with the distinct taste of foot in mouth syndrome. Sadly I have lost a valuable friendship over it.

Yet one thing I learned once I recognized this trait in myself is; I learned to not be so deeply effected when I find myself on the receiver end. I am sure many climbers over the years also have come to this conclusion, regretting their words and building up more tolerance for others.
-------

Now how to confront my lost friend and ask if they can forgive and forget? How to mend what is broken... I am still working on that one. Still stumped over how to put words back into my mouth. I am still working on my ego; the need for approval, respect while still being humble.

My conclusion is that we are all flawed, wishing to be better, fumbling around and hoping no one will notice. We all have no clue what we are doing, but damn... Our thoughtless manners, impulses and feelings give us a wild ride.
AF
WBraun

climber
Jun 1, 2007 - 09:07pm PT
Pat said: "I thought he was going off to use the restaurant."

Hahahaha

Is the the story that became the climb "Peter Left" which is really the right side of Peter Pan?

Pat I remember that incident.
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