Half Dome Party with Yosemite Climbing Legends (June 30)

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 45 of total 45 in this topic
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 19, 2007 - 12:56pm PT
Legendary Climbers Plan Celebration of 50th Anniversary of
First Ascent of NW Face of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley at end of June

YOSEMITE, CALIFORNIA– 19 June 2007
An extraordinary gathering of Yosemite Climbing Pioneers will take place the last weekend of June in Yosemite Valley to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of the Northwest Face of Half Dome. The visionary Californian first ascentionists – Royal Robbins, Jerry Gallwas, and Mike Sherrick – will be joined there by families and friends to recall their landmark achievement and share stories about it with the public.

On Saturday June 30th, The American Alpine Club (AAC) will host a free special presentation 8:30-9:30pm at Yosemite Lodge Amphitheater featuring Robbins, Gallwas, and Sherrick recalling their life-shaping experiences scaling the unrelentingly vertical 2,000 ft. face of Half Dome, a year before El Capitan was attempted. Noted Yosemite climbing photographer Tom Evans will serve as Master of Ceremonies, weaving together memories from the first ascentionists with comments and perspectives from other Yosemite Climbing Pioneers and luminaries who will be in the audience. Film clips from the Yosemite climbing documentary “Vertical Frontier” will be used to highlight aspects of this climb, one of Yosemite’s first “big wall” ascents.

The first ascent of the NW face of Half Dome took five days, shattering doubts of whether a feasible way existed to scale the final overhanging sections. Yosemite Climbing Pioneer Glen Denny, who has authored books on climbing in Yosemite, explains the magnitude of the challenges Robbins and his friends faced:

“On Half Dome, the physical problems were huge, but I think the mental stress was even greater, because the route got more doubtful as they climbed higher. They didn't know whether it would be possible to find a way around the giant overhang at the top. On the last day, they threw off their hauling bag, hoping to reach the top in one day, if a traverse could be found. If not, they planned to rappel down the whole wall, an unprecedented feat that probably would have taken two days in itself."

The summit was finally reached on June 28th, 1957, where they were congratulated by fellow climber Warren Harding. Yosemite climbing guidebook author Chris McNamara lauds the high standards adhered to on this ascent, and the clever way the team kept warm during bivouacs: ”The Northwest Face ascent inspired the rest of us to climb giant walls fast and with just the basics: a few ropes, a modest rack (of climbing gear), and not quite enough bivy gear. It was noteworthy for many reasons. But one thing they don't get enough credit for is style: they bivied in flight suits, a fashion statement so visionary, few have repeated it.”

Ten years later, Royal Robbins repeated the route with his wife Liz, propelling her into climbing history as the first woman to climb the NW face of Half Dome. She will be among the Yosemite Climbing Pioneers who will be in Yosemite Valley for the special presentation and weekend of celebrations.

Sponsored by The AAC, this presentation is part of its Yosemite Climbers Interpretation programs. Now in their seventh year, these free programs are offered to the visiting public in Yosemite Valley from May to September to convey the rich and dramatic history of climbing in Yosemite, and its importance in the exploration, preservation, and cultural shaping of California and the American West. For example, some of the world’s most successful conservationists have been Yosemite climbers and AAC members, including John Muir, David Brower, and Yvon Chouinard. AAC member Theodore Roosevelt, inspired by a tour of Yosemite accompanied by Muir in 1903, worked to create numerous national forests, refuges, wildlife sanctuaries, and national parks, including Yosemite National Park.





The American Alpine Club is the premier national non-profit organization in the U.S. that has represented mountaineers and rock climbers for over a century. Since 1902, the AAC has been devoted to exploration and scientific study of high mountain elevations and polar regions of the world; conservation and preservation of mountain regions and other climbing areas; promotion and dissemination of knowledge about the mountains and mountaineering through its meetings, publications and libraries; and representation of the interests and concerns of the American climbing community.
Visit our website at: www.americanalpineclub.org


Contact: Linda McMillan, Yosemite Committee Chairman
The American Alpine Club (415) 309-7961
consultants@lindamcmillan.com
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 19, 2007 - 02:38pm PT
Sure wish I could be there. Wonder if they'd be willing to do a reprise at the Facelift in September?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jun 19, 2007 - 02:50pm PT
Might be a good occasion to chat up and do some planning around how to fund and push a real climbing Museum...
Tahoe climber

Trad climber
a dark-green forester out west
Jun 19, 2007 - 03:43pm PT
what a cool event
i'm going to try to get there
Standing Strong

Trad climber
look around look around, tell me what you've found
Jun 19, 2007 - 03:47pm PT
yea really! as it turns out, the company i'm working for sucks ... i'm gettin' a new job then i'm gonna quit this one... cuz i won't let anyone push me around... i'm gonna try to time it around this so i can make the - what comes before part b? - PARTAY!!!
up2top

Big Wall climber
Phoenix, AZ
Jun 19, 2007 - 04:00pm PT
I'll be there!
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 19, 2007 - 07:12pm PT
Chris, you say Tom Evans will be MC. Don't you mean Tom Frost? I was told it would be my friend Frost.

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 19, 2007 - 07:15pm PT
pretty sure it is our own elcap-pics that is mc... tom evans, you out there to confirm?
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 19, 2007 - 07:26pm PT
Ok, that's fine. I had just read elsewhere and heard it was Frost. So I'll have to check it out with Royal again.

Thanks.

Pat
elcap-pics

climber
Crestline CA
Jun 19, 2007 - 07:51pm PT
Yo... tom frost is not in the best of health to attend the event so I am taking up the slack... hope you come anyway
tom evans
wack-N-dangle

Gym climber
the ground up
Jun 20, 2007 - 01:53am PT
Any chance that it could be recorded and archived? Or distributed to raise cash and awareness. It would be nice to be in Yos. Valley, but not possible for me.

Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 20, 2007 - 03:12am PT
Thanks Tom, for the report, although that troubles me about Tom. When I was out there last to visit him and Royal and Higgins he didn't look good, too thin and losing muscle mass, coughing a lot. Any specifics? He is a beloved friend. I hope he can hang in there.

Pat
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 20, 2007 - 03:13am PT
Tom, I forgot to mention, but I wrote a piece about the original Half Dome ascent and fired it by email to Royal. You might ask him about it. All or some of it could be used, perhaps, if nothing else in some kind of "program notes?" Royal said it was a beautiful tribute...
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 20, 2007 - 03:31am PT
Just to look back at the first reports of this celebration, I see one I happened onto in May where I might have gotten the idea Tom Frost was MC:

"At Coffee Talk at Camp 4 on Sunday, I heard that on June 30 Royal Robbins, (and I believe Mike Sherrick, and Jerry Gallwas) will give a presentation on the FA of the North West Face of Half Dome for the 50th Anniversary!!

Tom Frost will MC.

I was reading over by Midnight Lightning and my ears perked up when I heard it. Don't know all the details, etc. But it's gonna be fantastic to hear first hand about a climb that changed the world."

It will be a good event no matter which Tom is there.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jun 20, 2007 - 02:18pm PT
Yo... tom frost is not in the best of health to attend the event so I am taking up the slack...

Sending energy to Mr. Frost, stay healthy and keep the spirit alive!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 21, 2007 - 11:25am PT
I just spoke with TF and he is on the mend and planning on attending the gathering. So am I!
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Jun 21, 2007 - 10:25pm PT
Bump.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 22, 2007 - 03:06am PT
So hard to imagine Tom not bursting with life. Glad he's mending.

Bump too

Karl
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Jun 25, 2007 - 11:53am PT
Bump.
wack-N-dangle

Gym climber
the ground up
Jun 25, 2007 - 02:26pm PT
Bump, and some positive words...

Some friends who unknowingly rented a place from Tom Frost in Colorado said they regret not being able to make it. I've only heard good things about him. Also, I'm glad that there are pictures and words to describe him in his prime climbing form. Sounds like quite a bit of history will be shared at the event.

Neat also to see Oli getting up to see his mentors/peers again. A different story, but it reminded me of how my uncle sounded when he talked about meeting some of his instructors from a little while back. Once a climbing mentor, always a climbing mentor.

Respectfully...
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 27, 2007 - 04:18am PT
The reason you've only heard good things about Tom Frost is that there are only good things to say about Tom. He is one of the best people I have ever known. He is the closest thing I ever had in this life to a true brother.
JesseM

Social climber
Yosemite
Jun 28, 2007 - 08:38pm PT
Bump.

We are all really psyched about this event here in Yosemite. I wanted to keep this up on the first page to remind everyone of the time and place.

I also will be serving coffee at Camp 4 on Sunday. Usually this time of year we brew it up in Tuolumne to beat the heat. But, I wanted to make sure everyone gets a good cup of coffee in the Valley to start up the next 50 years of Half Dome history! Hopefully we can convince the honorary Climbers to come hangout under Colombia boulder one more time.

See everyone this weekend,

Jesse McGahey
Yosemite Climbing Ranger
jesse_mcgahey@nps.gov
Strongerdog

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 28, 2007 - 09:04pm PT
It has aready been said, but is there any way to get this event taped and posted somehow for those who cannot make the trip?
james Colborn

Trad climber
Truckee, Ca
Jun 28, 2007 - 09:52pm PT
Really psyched for the weekend. Thanks to the organisers and all involved.
Mimi

climber
Jun 28, 2007 - 09:57pm PT
Pat, you'd better hop a plane to Fresno and make this one! No time like now.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jun 29, 2007 - 03:56am PT
I have wanted to be there, but it's not looking as though I will be able to. I've spoken with Royal, sent him my well wishes, given him a poetic piece I wrote detailing the history and commenting on the climb's significance. He's going to give copies to all those involved, he says, a small contribution from a distance at least. Best spirits to all,

Pat
LoveGrit

Trad climber
BurbiStan, UK
Jun 29, 2007 - 08:45am PT
+1 request for someone to record this event and post it up. must be 100s or 1000s of us around the world can't get to the valley this weekend who would listen in gobsmacked silence to ANY words from the lads on the FA of this amazing route. Oh, and from Liz on the FFemA too.
Strongerdog

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 30, 2007 - 01:27pm PT
BUMP...somebody...BUMP....bring a....BUMP....video camera...

Pretty Please!
JesseM

Social climber
Yosemite
Jun 30, 2007 - 05:22pm PT
For those concerned about the evnt being recorded/videoed.

I'm sure the AAC will be recording the event, and Ken Yager will probably be doing it as well to add to the Yosemite Climbing Associations Historic material library.

That being said, I don't know if/where they will be able to post it. I'll try to find out more after the event.

Its going to be fun!

Jesse M.

Chico

Trad climber
Mt. Shasta, CA
Jun 30, 2007 - 05:41pm PT
I'll do my gol-durndest to be there. Sounds really great.

Oh, wait...that's today....Sheeeez. Nevermind then.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jun 30, 2007 - 05:43pm PT
Holy frig! That's tonight! [I can barely type my fingers hurt so much]

I'll be there. Looking forward to meeting you-all.

Cheers and baaaaaaas,
Pete

P.S. Steve Grossman, please be sure to find me!
hossjulia

Trad climber
Eastside
Jul 1, 2007 - 11:43am PT
Another gal and I who are interested in climbing history, and who recongnizes the importance of this first ascent, made the trek over to the Valley from Tuolumne last night for this. It was nice, it was hard to hear, and I wish we had sat much closer to the front. It seems that the local DNC employees and some of the yonger Camp 4 inhabitants take these Saturday night shows as an excuse to party. The heckler behind us made sure we did not catch the technical explination of the route and the gear by Mike Sherrick. My petite companion had had enough of his mouth, and sweetly told him what she thought of his dis-respect. And what she'd do to him if he didn't shut up. Seemed to work, he left.

It was great to hear the story first hand, and amazing that all 3 of them are still around and able to get here and talk about it!

But if this is how the "locals" treat these Saturday night gigs, I won't be in a big hurry to come to another one.

Thanks Chris for posting about this.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 1, 2007 - 03:07pm PT
Thanks to everyone who put this on and to the presenters as well.

I'd have to agree with hossjulia that it's unfortunate that some fellow climbers wouldn't show some respect and listen when a fellow climber is giving back to the community in public. It's not even about elders and pioneers although it could be. I doubt you'd find Royal or even Warren drinking and spraying if the young bucks were up there giving a presentation of their speed ascent. (Well, Warren would be drinking quietly)

It was kinda hard to hear sometimes. Note to whoever is out there that might have to present something sometime, talk into and as close to the mike as necessary to make the sound full. It should sound a little TOO loud for you as you are right there near the speakers. Don't be shy, folks will like it less if they can barely hear you.

Thanks and Gratitude once more

peace

Karl
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Jul 1, 2007 - 06:54pm PT
A few photos.






Ken
Mimi

climber
Jul 1, 2007 - 06:57pm PT
Alright Ken! More, more pics!

How was the breakfast gathering?
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Jul 2, 2007 - 11:29am PT
I forgot my tripod, but shot some video from the front row. Won't be pro quality, but I'll post to Youtube one of these days, and put the link here. I don't think there'd be copyright/release issues, as it was in a public space.

The event was great, thanks to all who put it on.

Some great candid remarks about the animosity between Warren and Don, and about the competition to get the FA. They knew Warren would be up there every weekend until he got it done, and knew they had to get there first.

We talked a bit after the show. What a nice bunch of guys. Humble, friendly, supportive, and stoked on what other people are doing.
james Colborn

Trad climber
Truckee, Ca
Jul 2, 2007 - 09:11pm PT
The slide show was not spectacular, but to hear the story on the competition for the ascent and how Royal felt that they had one upted Harding and it left him no choice but to climb El Cap was priceless.

Karl, after the show we wondered if Harding and Robins would have shown more respect for Dick Leonard and other predecessors had they been giving a slide show.
Drunk is one thing, obnoxious is another.

I was fortunate enough to have my wife corner Glen Denny to sign his book, and Royal Robins. Thanks again to the organizers and all involved.
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Jul 2, 2007 - 10:03pm PT
Oh man, what a show. Robbins was deferential and tried to appease the young (drunk) guns in attendance, to no avail.

Lager louts, you guys suck (if any of you read).

The three first ascensionists were very mindful of their places in history. Including the apparent (but false) diminshment of the import of their efforts.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Jul 3, 2007 - 10:12am PT
Drunk young guns in the back.
They wanted to be there, they couldn't hear the speakers.

Then they can't stop focusing on their objectives / obsessions.

Warren would be proud! Really, he would (Robbins would not).
jenren

Trad climber
Sac, CA
Jul 3, 2007 - 11:05am PT
Y'all are being too hard on people..peace to all, it just wasn't that bad..don't take the joy out of it...events happen..when you bring together so many levels of climbers, experience and backgrounds not everyone is going to apply themselves in the same way..be kind to each other. History states there HAS been different groups and DIFFERENT personalities coming together at the rocks...embrace the diversity..stop picking on each other and remember the good times!!! Harding and Robbins are the perfect examples of it and it made for some of thier best achievements...SERIOUSLY STOP BAGGING ON EACH OTHER IT'S NOT GOOD FOR THE COMMUNITY WE SHARE!!
elcap-pics

climber
Crestline CA
Jul 3, 2007 - 11:26am PT
Yo... I was on the stage sidelines for most of the show, except for a few brief remarks I made, and we couldnt hear anything coming from the back of the crowd... it was unfortunate that they didnt have individual mics like the headset I had because the natural tendency is to gradually lower the mic as you talk and that makes it difficult for the people in the back to hear. Ed whittle was trying to make adjustments to the speakers so everyone could hear but it was difficult... plus only Royal had any real experience in giving shows so he could be heard... we presenters are sorry for the problems but did the best we could under the circumstances. The guys in the back are always roudy and that seems to be part of being young and undiciplined... comes with the age. Anyway Jerry, Mike, and Royal were real gentlemen and fun to hang out with before and after the show... they had a great time reliving the event and getting to hang out with the newer climbers..great examples for all of us... They were pretty current on the events and all knew about Dean Potter and Hans and all the speed stuff.. they loved it!! At the coffee Sunday morning I was talking to mike and I said something about Dean Potter who was a short distance away... Mike ask where he was and I pointed him out... Mike said.."Wow, so that's Dean Potter!!" We most likely will not see these three fine men together like this again so cherish the memories folks, cherish the memories......
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 3, 2007 - 11:43am PT
JenRen wrote

"Y'all are being too hard on people..peace to all, it just wasn't that bad..don't take the joy out of it...events happen..when you bring together so many levels of climbers, experience and backgrounds not everyone is going to apply themselves in the same way..be kind to each other. History states there HAS been different groups and DIFFERENT personalities coming together at the rocks...embrace the diversity..stop picking on each other and remember the good times!!! Harding and Robbins are the perfect examples of it and it made for some of thier best achievements...SERIOUSLY STOP BAGGING ON EACH OTHER IT'S NOT GOOD FOR THE COMMUNITY WE SHARE!!"

Yes, it IS good for our community. Basically, we're making the same point. Be Kind. If one of those guys were giving a presentation on freeing El Cap, it would not be kind of me to have a hula party in the back, even if I couldn't hear the speakers.

you're probably right that it wasn't THAT bad, but by whose standards? It wasn't elsewhere in the crowd that a glass bottle was broken. It was bad enough to bring negative attention to "The community that we share" This was a special event and folks from the NPS and other organizations were there. Why not set a better example when our community is putting on an event for everyone?

I can understand how the fact that it was hard to hear might make folks get into their own spray talk, but one of the reasons it was hard to hear was that those guys were partying and making it even harder to hear.

I'm not calling 'em satans or anything but if we're going to share community we need to respect each other and when something happens that disrespects community, we need to talk about it, cause there's always next time.

Peace

karl
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Jul 3, 2007 - 12:21pm PT
Well said Karl. It wasn't just one broken bottle - there were four or five bottle or pint glasses broken.

Is the above poster saying the lager louts have ADD, and since they couldn't hear the speakers they drifted back to spray mode? Hardly - if they had piped down they would have heard things.

It all boils down to history, as I alluded to in my post above. The lager louts see history as encompassing what happened last year. Fifty years ago? Ancient history. FA of HD took days and weeks? Well sure, look at how old those first ascensionists are - old people are slow! That seemed to be their mentality. I hope I was never that way!

Anyway, it was indeed lovely and an honor to get to listen to those guys. They had scanned some old slides and photos, some of which had never been published, and those were way cool.
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Jul 3, 2007 - 12:29pm PT
The Harding slide show (circa '95) was one of the finest I ever saw...



Warren cued up with "This next one is a rock we climbed..."

Boom, (click) the Cap in full gloray...
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jul 3, 2007 - 12:50pm PT
"Well sure, look at how old those first ascensionists are - old people are slow!"

Finally, we have a sensible reason why today's standards are so much higher.

Thanks, Wild Bill.

Buzz





Messages 1 - 45 of total 45 in this topic
Return to Forum List
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta