First Ascent of the Prow

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Messages 1 - 65 of total 65 in this topic
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 20, 2007 - 12:39am PT
In connection with the Glen Denny theme, the classic Prow went up in June 1969. This is the Summit account that hit the press in the July/August 1970 issue. RR was a contributing editor at the time. Superb and historic route.






WBraun

climber
Jun 20, 2007 - 12:49am PT
Yeah It was a beaut that article and the route back then.

I knew I had to do it.

Took pins and 24 lost arrows and some rurps when when we did it.

And a big ass Yo hammer too ......
Gene

climber
Jun 20, 2007 - 12:51am PT
Thanks for posting Steve.

Catch the reference to Anchorite Ledge?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jun 20, 2007 - 12:52am PT
I hate you for making me read that.

I love you for making me read that.


What's this? a way to avoid the crumbling rock?

:)
WBraun

climber
Jun 20, 2007 - 01:00am PT
Hey on second thoughts ......

Aren't ya all glad we pounded the sh'it out of it so the you can now claim all clean and stick those modern spring thingys in it now?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2007 - 01:34am PT
I had the touch when I did it. I hand placed them all into those well worn grooves!

In the mid seventies I climbed the Prow with Barb Eastman. We were carrying most of the recommended iron and I started up the third pitch loaded up with angles, big and small. I reached up off the belay and slid a big one snugly into a well worn groove. It was solid enough without hammering that I clipped directly into the eye and stepped gingerly on up. Second verse same as the first all the way up the pitch. I had the iron and left every hand placed piton behind. Once I got to the station and traded signals, I had a chance to look down and take in the situation. I grinned ear to ear and waited for Barb to leave the lower stance and start cleaning. "I ah, wouldn't lean back if I was you" I said innocently enough. Barb instantly got my drift and stayed smooth and flat to the wall while jugging lest the hardware come raining down in quantity and short order. She really did nothing to deserve the strange anxiety and peril but it persisted for the rest of my leads.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Jun 20, 2007 - 01:41am PT
I remember doing this route in the early 70s and realizing just how destrictive a climber could be with a hammer. We were going fast and I was slugging pins home even if they were the wrong size. I'd just blast them harder and move on. I was ruining the route. Not good. I got good with nuts none too soon. A route like the Prow, with a lot of thin cracks, gets beat out in no time.

Great location and great view of the Valley and th Dome.

JL

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jun 20, 2007 - 01:47am PT
I remember running out of gear and hammering in a couple pins to haul off of, as I was out of rope just before the belly crawl pitch.

Probably not crucial to any particular placement at that point, but there is something to be said for not hammering if it can be avoided.

Lambone

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Jun 20, 2007 - 02:41am PT
The Prow was a fun solo.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Jun 20, 2007 - 04:11am PT
Aren't ya all glad we pounded the sh'it out of it so the you can now claim all clean and stick those modern spring thingys in it now?

Yes.

Now, keep going back up, pounding it out some more, so we can claim all free, at 5.8, by next summer 8-)
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jun 20, 2007 - 09:40am PT
What ever happened to Mike Covington (Fantasy Ridge dude)?? Is he still around banging it out? Remember watching that guy put away filterless "American" cigarettes. Tough dude.
TwistedCrank

climber
a luxury Malibu rehabilitation treatment facility
Jun 20, 2007 - 10:18am PT
I recall a South African fellow in the early 80's who was all of about 5 feet tall refering to the belly crawl as the "squatting part".
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jun 20, 2007 - 10:27am PT
Thanks for posting that, Steve.

Inspired by Robbins' article, John Byrd and I chose the Prow in spring '71 as our first Yosemite wall. A grand adventure it was. Rurps, crack-tacks and hooks, stacked Leepers and tied-off blades, I think there were three or four A4 leads on our topo. We were slow, brought no hammocks, and climbed by headlamp two nights in a row to reach ledges. The third morning on Tapir Terrace a snowstorm hit at first light. We slogged on aiding snow-covered 5.6 pitches, finally reaching the rim about dusk. One more headlamp epic, grim I think but the memories have faded, to get our soggy worn-out selves and gear down through snow to the valley floor.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2007 - 10:54am PT
Great adventure Chiloe. Few people realize just how difficult or controversial that route was when it went up! Second to none on the Column overall even though a couple of other lines were technically very difficult. As Roper put it," several pitches on this route involve A4 nailing- hooks are often used" and the prophetic "this airy climb could become very popular."

Gene- knowing RR's love of puns, Anchorite ledge probably just had an all bolt belay or something scandalous like that. LOL
Scary Larry

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jun 20, 2007 - 12:59pm PT
Anybody recall an arcane piece of hardware known as a "Denny Arm?"
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2007 - 10:50am PT
Never heard of it. Do tell......
Gene

climber
Jun 21, 2007 - 11:12am PT
Isn't the Denny Arm a reference to Glen's height and reach?
Scary Larry

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jun 21, 2007 - 11:19am PT
Presumably an ancestor of the more mundanely-named "stick clip." The one I saw was a Cliff-Hanger with a foot or two length of webbing, taped onto a collapsible transistor radio antenna. It was very compact and gave enough extra reach for a short guy to clip a widely-spaced bolt. Denny was pretty tall (I think I recall 6'7"?) and in those days it was a point of honor to stretch things out as much as possible.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 21, 2007 - 03:07pm PT
Soloed it as my second Grade 5 in 1981. The nailiing was already lots of sawed-off and stacked stuff in places.

Had a Bat Tent but only had to use it for my legs since i didn't have to share ledges. It rained/snowed a bit when I was on Tapir Terrace and I heard Sirens responding to my bosses' boss's house burning down next to Ahwahnee Meadow.

Hauling the final bit sucked. I learned how to make the gutteral call that folks now call a monkey imitation by breaking down and just tying the haul-bag to my harness and jugging with it.

What about that proposed finish that Robbins wrote about. Is it a route?

Peace

Karl
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2007 - 09:24pm PT
A reach contest between Denny and Kor is still in the realm of possibility... First one to fifty feet with least number of holes on 85 degree rock. And they're off...

Usually skillful use of the hammer would accomplish the same thing as a Denny Arm if you have hangers to clip into. Don't have any idea about that finish Karl Baba.
My Name Is Drew

Big Wall climber
Dogtown, LosAngeles, CA.
Jun 21, 2007 - 10:16pm PT
Cheers indeed for posting that.
If we could see more of this kind of thing, scans of out of print classic magazine pieces I'm sure everyone would lap it up. Ta Steve.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 22, 2007 - 03:36am PT
Good Climbing related topic. thanks
Dragger

Mountain climber
Bay Area, CA
Jun 22, 2007 - 12:01pm PT
A tip of the hat to the FAs. What a great route!

Looking down the Strange Dihedral...


And later, on the top -- first wall.

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
May 14, 2008 - 02:08am PT
300' flake instead of the crap low angle stuff on top? someone enlighten me please.

thx

it means having to do the belly crawl pitch tho. ugh, been there done that. not necessary.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
May 14, 2008 - 11:26am PT
Thanks for the post
Double D

climber
May 14, 2008 - 11:45am PT
Chiloe that's a classic story...more pictures???

Bill Price and I did the Prow as our first "winter ascent" on a four day weekend when we were in high school. Armed with wool knicker's and long underwear, we encountered a heat wave with temps hovering around 85 degrees. Both of us got severely dehydrated but had the time of our lives.




James

climber
Santa Cruz
May 14, 2008 - 12:42pm PT
I wonder if this thing will go fully free. The bit from the third pitch to the strange dihedral haven't gone yet but there's features out right. Great route.
prunes

climber
May 14, 2008 - 02:39pm PT
This was one of my first walls which I did with Billy Russell.Upon waking up in the morning on Tapir Terrace I found a solid gold hoop earring in a shallow crack next to the wall.25 years later and I am still wearing it.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 14, 2008 - 03:50pm PT
That "Denny Arm" thing, ya know, was just a tribute to his reach. He has a foot on me, easy -- maybe more -- and that's just height. Hanging out with him again last summer, the old familiar crick in my neck returned.

Seemed like he had me by a yard in Ape Index, and that Denny Arm was responsible for my giving up aid climbing. Direct South Face of Rixons, '64 or '65, but definitely when I was humbly bumbly and couldn't make the reach to his placements in that first arching corner right off the ground. Neither could my taller partner, John Fischer. Shut right down by the long arm of the Denny. Even went back months later, in disbelief. Same result.

Later, went up the same wall, further left, with Kor. I'd hate to say which of those guys had the reach. Sheer relativity of my POV that makes speculation...well, mere speculation.

Gave up and settled for free climbing.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 14, 2008 - 08:19pm PT
Double D:
Chiloe that's a classic story...more pictures???

Just a few, wish I had more from that '71 ascent. Knickers and knotted etriers:



An old canvas duffle for a haul bag, catching the first flakes of snow as the storm hits on day 3:

Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Jun 3, 2008 - 10:22pm PT
A great first wall!!!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 3, 2008 - 11:09pm PT
I had so much fun in 77 with Scott Kimmet the sailor that I went back and did it again 2 years later with the Grinch. I was in love with that thing.

I watched in horror as my dry salami rolled off Tapir Terrace...my only expensive treat!!
Luckily, we had weed left, but no water..It's always something isn't it?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2008 - 11:47pm PT
A winter's bump!
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 31, 2008 - 01:05pm PT
The middle of the Prow has some excellent positioning and views of the Valley and the Dome. That was my second wall and brings back fond memories of dangling up there with Rick Accomazzo and Richard Harison. We felt like mountain climbers.

JL
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Dec 31, 2008 - 01:37pm PT
And another big thanks to Mr. Grossman for
posting some incredible history, and hearing
other's fun on the wall.
Great stuff!
Thorgon

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
Dec 31, 2008 - 11:49pm PT
Did it in Oct 2006 with John "Jedi" Fitzgerald, stellar route! The position is truely unique and you get to watch the sun come up over Half Dome every morning! A welcome sight if your cold!
You might bring a couple beaks for hooking blown heads or be prepared to replace them? If I remember correctly there were only a few, but I took a picture of the one with like three wires left that held 210 lbs + an aid rack!!
We spent the night in the dirt on top and watched a magnificent sunset over El Cap. The trail down was memorable too, like sorta brutal and sketchy in some spots!! The route is highly recommended and I REALLY appreciate the post of the original FA!!

There has been a lot of Golden Age sharing this year and I hope that all parties will continue!

Thanks and Happy New Year,
Thor
Danielle Winters

Trad climber
Alaska
Jan 1, 2009 - 08:56am PT
The Prow was a beautiful climb. I did it in 76 with John Yablonski . Like Chiloe the memories have faded a bit, but I do remember the bivy ledge was way too small and not level enough for a good nights sleep. I also remember John breaking out of the aiders several times, and free climbing some of the stuff that was suppose to be Aided at that time in history. But most of all I remember John throwing the Haul bag full of gear ( mostly my stuff ) off the top ( Against my advice ) .So we didn't have to carry it down . And never getting it back . And the long walk down in total silence. But I am sure I would do it all over again if it were possible.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 1, 2009 - 01:43pm PT
I had a chance to ask Covington about his involvement in the FA this summer. The perception about the route requiring excessive bolting for the standard of the day was still fresh in his mind as he commented with some relief about having begged out. Somewhat like avoiding an headon with a chicken truck! LOL

"Robbins, Robbins, not you, not you, man!"
Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Jan 1, 2009 - 04:08pm PT
Did it as my first valley aidroute in 1994.

photo: Magnus Nilsson
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 1, 2009 - 04:17pm PT
Schultz looks to be under the Spell of the Iron Monkey!

Nice fisheye shot Michael.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Feb 22, 2009 - 01:40pm PT
Did the 2nd ascent the following April. The valley was getting hit by continuous storms and I couldn't get anyone to go on a wall. I was young and impatient, so I decided to do the Prow solo. I'll never forget that experience! It was A4 at that time, and I remember zippering an entire pitch, when just a few feet from a bomber placement, I stupidly nailed a pin in an expanding flake. I must of fallen 80 feet. John Dill,( before he was involved with Yosar), was watching me thru a spotting scope, and told me later that I went completely out of his view when I fell. I went back up, not making the same mistake twice. I did the belly crawl, to a great bivy, under an overhang, just before a big storm hit. I was perfectly dry all night, and real happy, knowing I would be off next day. Got hit by another storm one pitch from the top. I remember the hail going down my sleeves into my armpits and hoping the lightning wouldn't zap me as I was freeing up the last pitch.
Later that summer, I was in the Tetons hanging out at the climbers ranch. I was talking to Ivon Chouinard and Royal Robbins
pulled up with his wife Liz. Robbins rolled down the window and the first words out of Chouinards mouth were, " Royal, your all washed up-this kid just soloed your route". Robbins got real pissed and pointed his finger at Ivon and fired back," you wait-youl see", and then he drove off. Many years later, I met a much more mellow Royal back East, who I'm sure forgot the incedent.
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Feb 22, 2009 - 04:12pm PT
this is a super classic line, regardless of the pin scars...

i did this route with my high school buddy and big wall partner, Rick Lovelace in 1986. This was the first wall that we had "done in a day" and it was a memorable experience to say the least!
We got on a big wall binge and ended up doing 5 walls in 6 weeks.

KS

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 8, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
Prow'd bump!
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Nov 9, 2009 - 06:04pm PT
1993
Jonny was "sick" so I got to lead every pitch except one!!
Matt took pics and cleaned all pitches. This is the only pic I got from the ascent.




Hmmm- I'm lookin' a bit squinty eyed.
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Nov 9, 2009 - 07:04pm PT
these are all great stories that tie us together!
I did the prow in a day on sight with rick lovelace. It was both of our first one day nail ups and got us on a 4 route el cap binge right after our send. that was 1986 and one of my best years of climbing and adventure..
kurt
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
Nov 9, 2009 - 08:23pm PT
I guided the climb during the summer of 2001. We jumped on it the morning after a series of thunderstorms, which cooled everything down for a couple of days. We had the route to ourselves. It was great.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 9, 2009 - 09:28pm PT
hey there gunkie... oh MY! i can well imagine, during thunderstorms... whewwww....

sure do appreaciate the beauty, after the fact...
thanks for the imaginative share... :)
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2010 - 12:32pm PT
Rainy Day Bump!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 21, 2012 - 12:29pm PT
Prow'd Bump...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2012 - 02:56pm PT
Emerald Solo Bump...
Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired to Appalachia
Feb 12, 2012 - 03:20pm PT
Winter ascent of the Prow between Christmas and New Years 1983 with Bill Crouse. There were a lot of fixed RURPs in place at the time. We had great weather.



The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
Feb 12, 2012 - 03:32pm PT
Great route. I did it back in '01 I think, with a Valley n00b.
It was his first wall.The plan was to swap leads, but after he
pulled the first A1 piece and decked I decided to lead and haul
all the pitches.

He dropped my swiss army knife but made up for it by opening
the cans with a hammer and modified hook. He clipped a piss
bottle on top of the haul bag with all the water which I
touched to my lips before realizing what it was. Lucky I
didn't take a chug.

Good memories.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
Yearly bump...
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Feb 10, 2013 - 05:10pm PT
i did the prow rope solo in 1998
just last year me and Dave katz climbed it.
felt good to see how much i forgot about the route. still is a badd ass wall route for it's size and location. me and dave took our time and had alot of fun on it smok'n and drink'n!
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Feb 10, 2013 - 07:36pm PT
Thanks for the bump! Prow was my first wall last year. That was a great read, funny and sad how much easier it is now.

pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Feb 13, 2013 - 11:54pm PT
this is the only thing i did'nt like about the prow.
the last haul set up on the prow.
[Click to View YouTube Video]
it would be nice to see those two pine tree's on the top live their life.
please set up ur haul on something else.
hopefully some yosemite local's put some bolts there.
super fun/spread out bivy!
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Feb 14, 2013 - 09:32pm PT
I remember the Prow as the one of the funnest walls I ever did (93). I got to lead all pitches except one and they were all exposed strait forward and sweet, almost all clean. What a great line, seams out in the middle of a blank arete. I remember all the hoopla surrounding the FA. I also remember the Graham/Sorenson epic during a period of way bad weather, also in the late '70's. Those of us on the valley floor were mega concerned (Easter?).

Way fun, and we didn't almost die on the descent like I almost did on my S. Face solo in the '70's.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 17, 2016 - 10:14am PT
Way overdue bump...
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
Jul 17, 2016 - 10:41am PT
Good bump. Great thread
splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
Mar 15, 2017 - 12:24pm PT
Royal bump
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Mar 15, 2017 - 01:53pm PT
Timely bump for Royal!!

The Prow was my second big wall climb in Yosemite. It was a great challenge and a real adventure in 1977.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 23, 2017 - 11:05am PT
Bump for Miles...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 23, 2017 - 03:46pm PT
SteveA's comment about Yvon razzing RR is priceless.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 23, 2017 - 04:33pm PT
So gross, man.
"He peered intently into the crack, a trick of perspective giving his head a tapir-like appearance
against the blue sky, peering with the intense concentration of a voyeur tapir."
originalpmac

Mountain climber
Timbers of Fennario
Nov 24, 2017 - 03:05pm PT
In answer to Steelmonkey, Mike lives around Ouray. Great man, he is. Gave me a ride out of the mountains once and asked me about a recent Yosemite trip I had. Told me I was doing the right thing. Made my day.
Messages 1 - 65 of total 65 in this topic
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