Old Geezers! (Yes you!) Write up your FA Stories and tidbits

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Messages 21 - 40 of total 89 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Jun 6, 2007 - 10:12am PT
Jeez, Kevin, that route sounds incredible!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 6, 2007 - 11:30am PT
Hey Kevin, did you guys hike down to the Mountain Room Bar every evening?

Buzz
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 6, 2007 - 11:49am PT
Yup, post up dudes even if it's a repost. Those who complain about lack of climbing threads on Supertopo need to pony up especially cause it doesn't get more on-topic than this.

My last FA was a route to the right of Upper Chilnualna Falls in Wawona, called "Why name it?" POS 5.7R with a lovely view.

The same day we TRed a much nicer route on the other side of the falls and gave it a hippie peace love name that I've forgotton, but still not worth hiking up there for it's own sake (except for pictures because of the waterfall to your right)

Peace

Karl
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Jun 6, 2007 - 12:16pm PT
I have always been content to follow and became famous for the decibel level of when I would ask for "tight" BUT once i did do a first
1982
We were looking for Blodgett Canyon and our directions were off by about 500 miles and so we came southern montana and Stillwater canyon.
We had travelled across the country in Petes Dodge-I can still smell it-but what glory to have packs lashed to the trunk and rolling town to town in search of something anything

The Canyon

There was a corner with about a 40 forty foot pillar dangling halfway up. This led to a 10-15 foot roof going right.
I lead up to the pillar and smack it with my hand-it vibrates with a musical tone that I deemed safe and so i begin to bear hug up it
At the top of a pilar I kick off a micro-wave sized block that just misses the crew.
Meyers Yosemite Climber has just come out and like Dave Diegelmann on Seperate Reality i start jamming the roof. Well Diegelmann must have been a real stud because with both feet and hands in the crack I get gassed immediately. I am about 20 feet over my last piece and I an so blown that I start to squeak.
I can't go down and I'm out of everything. I make it to the edge of the roof and sink a good jam. i pull out a 2.5 friend and try to plug it in but my hands aren't working very well.
I get the piece in but my hand tangles in the perlon. The biner is held rigid by my stuck hand and I am able to use my teeth to get the rope to clip in.
The best sound ever was the gate snapping shut and I fall onto the friend and am lowered to the ground
Bart goes up to second it and when he gets to the Friend he finds that only two of the cams were in
That is my only FA and a very big thank you to Ray Jardine
murf
WBraun

climber
Jun 7, 2007 - 01:36am PT
OK I tell first decent into the Camp four bathroom one late night in the cold late season.

It was cold and the Warbler was in there playing his guitar.

He said it had nice acoustics for his hearing. It was the wood. Many years fine aging process. Then he tells me out there in the night when the light from the east comes many new routes will reveal themselves.

I peak out the door into the darkness and see nothing but snowflakes falling. "Yes" I said, "maybe tomorrow?"

The Warbler was such a happy man back then in that bathroom sitting on the sh'itter playing a song ........
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 9, 2007 - 03:37am PT
There is a route on Boulder Canyon's Castle Rock called Athlete's Feat. The name was given by Robbins when he and I did the route all free (now rathed one pitch of 5.11 and four of 5.10, pretty stiff for 1964, no chalk, Spiders for shoes). Anyway the route had been mostly aided before but not named. The first pitch is an amazing, smooth, bulging wall. Robbins did a finger-tip undercling up and left, on vertical rock, with his fingers under a thin flake, then -- while holding with the right hand under the cling, reached up and right, above him, with his left hand, leaning backward, to get his left finger tips on a small hold at the upper lip of the bulge. The feet aren't on much. For protection he had only a scary-looking bugaboo piton hammered straight up under the thin flake. Below is a big spike of granite that might impale you if you fell. He pulls up on the left finger-tip hold and reaches above the bulge. There is mostly nothing up there but a steep smooth slab and a not-so-good hold to pinch for the right hand. To make a long story short, he does a wild, sloping mantel up onto that smooth, slanting surface, a really bold lead way above his pro, with a ground fall likely onto that spike probably if he failed. Years later I was strolling along the road, came around the corner, and saw a guy standing in aid on that section. He'd already placed a bolt and was drilling another one above that one, right where the master had carved with me such a beautiful Michelangelo of an ascent. I tried not to go crazy and simply said to the leader, "What are you doing?" He replied, "Puttng up a new route." I replied, "I hate to tell you, but that route goes all free. It has been led without protection." The answer came back to me, "Oh SURE it was, SURE it was done free." I realized I could do or say nothing, so walked away. A few days later the two climbers were spreading it all over town, "Ament was up at Castle Rock trying to tell everyone how to climb." Anyway, for a long time subsequent free climbers used those bolts for protection. I think the top bolt is still used, creating in essence a top-rope for the bold, crux move. Not many know what a brilliant lead that was back in the stone age...
Fred Flintstone
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 9, 2007 - 06:08pm PT
Great story Kevin- You haven't lost much at 12b! Very inspiring project.
Oli- Cool history. Not to chase you with pictures but here's three from Climb depicting Athlete'e Feat if not the first pitch. Tough act to follow for certain.
Godfrey and/or Chelton photos presumably.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jun 9, 2007 - 06:17pm PT
I 'climbed' athletes feat in the late seventies. Couldn't touch that first face pitch, the rest was the stuff of legends.
Country club went the same way.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 9, 2007 - 07:35pm PT
Steve, you are up on it with those photo posts, though remember CLIMB! has loads of errors in it. We all loved the photos and loved Godfrey and Chelton, but the writing was more or less a hodge-podge of falsehoods and near truths assembled from every climber, nonclimber, aspiring climber, with enemies painting ugly stories about others that were a fourth truth and jealous people (or want-to-be's) acting as amateur psychologists taking apart the character of those more famous than they... They even wrote that I had planned it in my mind, beforehand, to go up on (whatever) climb and cheat, so as to make my name. Ho hum. How wrong they were. I wasn't at all that sophisticated and not even half that evil... Just a bit inept at social interactions.
Rick L

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Jun 10, 2007 - 01:47am PT
I climbed Athlete's Feat on a fall day in 1973. My partner, Jeff hailed from Las Vegas. He was a quiet and gentle guy who reportedly got ahold of some "bad acid" and was still somewhat in the grip. He was a Tuolomne legend that summer as a result of strapping his German Shephard to a log and pouring Jack Daniels down his gullet before removing dozens of porcupine quills with a pair of pliers. Don't recall what possessed us to give the Feat a go - still had somewhat of a reputation- but I'm gald we did. It is a very special climb. The first pitch has this interesting undercling followed by a reach up to sloping hold and mantel maneuver very reminiscent of Camp IV boulders. Rumor has it that the little first pitch has repelled some visiting European climbing royalty. The second pitch depicted in the photos Steve posted is very cool. A lie-back into a thin jam. When we did it, there was an old "vertical" pin fixed in the horozontal crack. It was a classic "sucker" fixed pin. Some as#@&%e pounded it so deep that part of the eye was blocked. That little tidbit of information, however, was obscured by an optical illusion for the leader liebacking below. I recall screwing around in utter amazement over not being able to simply clip through the eye and get going. With very pumped arms, I finally got the hint, placed another piece of pro and finished the pitch. The upper pitches, like the lower ones are short but beautiful Truly a great climb on a sparkling fall afternoon. Hope Jeff is doing well.

I though I'd share the following story.

It was the summer of 1966 or 1967. I was a teen spending as much time as I could steal in Camp IV. Looking back on it, I am amazed that lowly neophytes could meet and even climb with the luminaries of the sport. I hope that is a tradition that has continued- but I doubt it. Anyway, the summer I am speaking of was the first time Bugs McKeith showed up in the Valley. For those of you who do not know of Bugs, he was a Scotish madman who brought with him a repertoire of climbs in the Brithsh Isles and in Europe. I think he might have even climbed the notorious Eiger and someting the Nepal. The guuy was a trip. He was a fairly serious drinker and it was his custom to don a down-filled high-altitude suit early in the evening before the serious drinking began so that he could "bivouac" where the mood or blood alcohol level inspired slumber. One of his other passtimes was to gulp a mouthful of kerosene or gasoline and the spray the fuel into a candle- producing spectacular results. That evening, Bugs was up to his tricks and came to the attention of Chuck Pratt. Previously, Bugs had suggested that we go to the base of El Cap the next morning. Chuck, apparently curious about Bugs, asked if he could join us. Unbelievable then and now.

The next morning we marched up to the base of Little John, Chuck having suggested the R side would be a good introduction to the Valley for Bugs. Unfortunately, Bugs was wearing mountaineering boots- a pair of LePhoque (sp?)Harlins I think. They had a fiberglass midsole and would be akin to climbing in ski boots. Bugs took off on the first pitch and had a desperate time on the slick granite and thin cracks. He literally ran in place, burning rubber before returning to the ground. He asked if there was any other approach. Chuck mentioned there was a vague face climing approach to the left. So, Bugs took off to my wide-eyed amazement. He skated and slipped, desperately gaining altitude with little of no protection. Chuck looked at me with a WTF? expression as we held out collective breath. Bugs eventually made it to the belay and cheated death. The rest of the climb was relatively uneventful for everone but me. At the time, I had no idea how to hand jam so the cracks proved a bit elusive. Climbing with Chuck was pretty special. I had absolutely know idea where the "hard parts" were because he climbed with a fluidity that I have not really seen since.

Bugs quickly got the hang of Yosemite granite and was on the Nose with Charlie Porter in short order. I saw Chuck off and on during my years at Berkeley. The last time I saw him, he, Tom Kaufman and I were the only white guys at a party in East Palo Alto. We were guests of "Grapes", a black Adonis who dabbled a bit in climbing. It was a trip to watch Chuck line dancing with a group of women to some Diana Ross and the Supremes songs. Chuck would talk of "figuring it out" (happiness, life or peace of mind, I guess). The last words he said to me at that party were "If you ever figure it out, let me know". I never did, of course. Tom and I took off because we heard the "Gypsey Jokers" were coming and that scared the Hell out of us. Chuck, ever curious, stayed. Both Bugs and Chuck are gone now and, in my view, the world is a lesser place. I wish I had spent more time with both but cherish the time I had with them. I guess in the end, we- young and old, active and "retired"- are very fortunate to be able to call ourselves climbers and to have had the experiences- on the rock and otherwise- that seem unique to our beloved sport.

Rick
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 10, 2007 - 02:20am PT
Thanks for posting Rick. Cool slice of life.
jstan

climber
Jun 10, 2007 - 04:02am PT
A few people I respect, some of whom are even respectable, have suggested I write something. Take my word for it, masochism will get you nowhere. I will tell the story of what it was like when I was a beginner.

While snowshoeing around in the Adirondaks it occurred to me I should learn how to get around on some of the steeper stuff. So in 1964 I drove down to the Gunks and sat beside the carriage road. Would you believe in four weekends I was not asked once whether I wanted to climb? Just my having a length of marine nylon rope with me should have made that obvious. Frankly it was so depressing I changed my strategy. There were climbers in the university’s outing club so I started hanging out with them. You know you can just never tell about people. They nearly killed me. John and Freda were into white water canoeing. They were really nice helpful people who treated everyone well. And John was into paramagnetic resonance so I thought, “How bad can he be?” I found myself sitting in a canoe on Fish Creek the day the ice had begun to break out. The water was so furious there were no haystacks, only solid bumps of water that caused the canoe to become nearly vertical when you went over one. I knew after less than 30 seconds in the water I would be unable to close my hands and there was probably deadfall across the creek downstream; as indeed there was to very bad effect. We did not capsize, I survived, made it to spring, and found myself sitting at the shale point during lunch watching Willie Crowther playing his lunch time game of Go. Have you ever had one of those crystalline moments when you see the truth? Well I did. Willie’s little daughter was playing around next to Willie as he studied the pieces intently. Furry Murray suddenly interjected, “Willie! Bonnie just ate one of the pieces.” Willie did not even look up, saying “We’ll get it back.” It was very clear. This was the guy who would teach me all I needed to know.

The game over, Willie stood up and asked the group, “Does anyone want to do a 5.8?” I was prepared. Knowing it had to come to this if I was ever actually to get on a climb, I had bought new laces for my sneakers. I immediately did an imitation of Eddie Murphy’s donkey in Shrek I, jumping up and down yelling, “Me!. Me! Take me!” From there, it was all downhill.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jun 10, 2007 - 10:37am PT
I think what John S is trying to say here would be illustrated as follows:

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 10, 2007 - 12:02pm PT
Ahh the humble beginnings. Great story Jstan. What was your favorite FA or FFA in the Gunks?
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Nov 13, 2008 - 09:17pm PT
Really having one VERY S....Y Day. Anders posted me some info I had asked for. This thread was one he included. Don't know if I can get this link to the Taco, I will try cause it is SUPER. Great stories etc. Wish tonight I could just drown myself in them. Or go take my tent and say goodbye world.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Nov 13, 2008 - 09:23pm PT
Ahhh, it worked ! Enjoy these super pics and stories ! Ed's not the only one that can pull up these great Thread's. Bwahahaha, just kidding. If I wasn't Bwahahahaing tonight, I'd be majorly crying.

Meanwhile, I'm off to an ice flo like the old Eskimos. No more worries. I'm out. Weak smile from Lynne
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Nov 13, 2008 - 09:33pm PT
Hey Lynne thanks for pulling this one up again
These are the best

Rick what a gas

murf
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 13, 2008 - 10:02pm PT
For Rick L

Bugs in the early 70's at my place in Santa Cruz. One scene I will never forget was when Bugs would "import" his mom over from Scotland in the summer. Many a days were spent by mom and son on the shores of Lake Tenaya. Bugs would arrange this elaborate fort to protect mom from the hordes of mosquitoes. Lovely man. Lucky mom.

Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Nov 13, 2008 - 10:24pm PT
Ah, now life gets back into prospective. Great photo. Not the Bugs from Alaska is it?

Give the great Thread credit to Anders (Mighty Hiker)who told me how to pull it up. Lynnie

More Photos...would be nice !
Rick L

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Nov 14, 2008 - 02:44am PT
Hey Joe-

What a great photo. Bugs had a wonderful, "I'm really crazy as Hell but alot of fun" gleam in his eyes.

Thanks

Rick
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