News about Mead Hargis

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Anne-Marie Rizzi

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 22, 2007 - 08:32pm PT

I am forwarding portions of a message I received today about Mead Hargis. Many of you probably remember him. The author of the below note is George Durkee. If you would like contact info for Mead and his wife Connie, please send me a private email.

Anne-Marie


Campers:

Some of you may have heard that Mead Hargis' health has not been
good. I'm writing to update those of you I've got addresses for on how he's doing. Please pass this on to others I may have missed.

A few years ago, Mead was having memory problems and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. For a couple of years, he was doing really well, though he had to retire from his Forest Service job. He was still active and involved with his kids and (now) grandkids. At the very early stages he and I took a couple of ski trips and there were few signs of memory problems. Last spring he and his wife, Connie, took a trip down the east side of the Sierra and through Yosemite so he could show her his former hangouts. It was a good trip for both of them.

Late last fall, Mead showed a marked and rapid decline in both his mental and physical abilities such that it was impossible for him to be home alone. Connie found a really nice care home in nearby Kamas, Utah. It has great views of the valley and mountains and a caring staff. Unfortunately, he was only there a few months before his continued decline forced another move to a home that could take better medical care of him. He's now in Salt Lake and under Hospice care.

Although there's little obvious recognition of friends or even,
sometimes, family at this point, there's indications that,
internally, he's reliving some of his past. Tina (aka Christina
Vojta), Heather and Laurel (aka George) have all been to visit
several times in the last few months. The whole thing is pretty grim but there's some comfort that he's in relative peace. Connie sees him every day and there's photos of his Yosemite days and family in his room.

So. So.... .

I was thinking that, if some of you have time, a short note to Connie with a shared memory of past times she could read to Mead would be a welcome. Connie didn't know Mead in his Yosemite days, so a few stories from then would be nice to fill in a past as well as maybe perk some memories for Mead, distant though he may be from the rest of us.

I'm sure the same would be appreciated by his daughters, Heather and Laurel, telling them what a fine person their father is and maybe a story about the grand old Yosemite days, which they were too young to remember.
WBraun

climber
Jun 22, 2007 - 10:53pm PT
Strange

He came walking through the yard with John Dill last winter while I was working on a vehicle and recognized me right away.

He did look very old at first from a distance. Bent body like high sierra tree.

I did not know he was ill.

I hope he gets better.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jun 22, 2007 - 10:55pm PT
yes, and Anne - I still have not run into Mort Hempel here in Boulder but have your contact info w/ me if I do.

-Ray
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 23, 2007 - 01:25am PT
I never met Mead, but my high school math teacher knew him from the late 60s from climbing in Washington state. And I remember his article in Summit magazine about doing an early ascent of the North American Wall. My math teacher speculated that he used such a fancy vocabulary to possibly suggest that he had gone to college? :-) No matter what, it was a pretty unique style of writing for climbing!
WBraun

climber
Jun 23, 2007 - 01:35am PT
Clint

I think that was fall of 71. I was on the Nose and Mead and Roskelly were over there on the NA smokin up that thing in 2 1/2 days with just pins. No cams, no copperheads no nuts except weird ones.

Every time I looked over there, their haul bag was moving up another pitch, while we were slugging it out with our shoulder bruising loads for pin racks.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 23, 2007 - 08:29am PT
Hey Werner, who was the guy who was Mead's main climbing partner? He was also from Washington. About the same height and skinny like Mead. I can picture him but cannot recall his name.

Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Jun 23, 2007 - 10:33am PT
Roger, would it be Dave Jenkins? He and Mead did some stuff around Eastern Oregon years ago. I talked to Dave about their routes when I was working on an article about climbing in da Blues some 20 years ago (that is the Blue Mtns of Eastern Oregon). I later worked with Mead on the climbing management plan for the City of Rocks.

Given that I am here in SLC, I have asked Anne-Marie to put me in touch with Mead's wife and I will see if I can not arrange a visit or two.

BTW another from that generation who is also starting to suffer from a similar fate is Pete Sinclair. Pete was a long time Teton Ranger and did the first ascent of the West Rib on Denali along with Breitenbach, Buckingham, and Corbet. Some Teton friends did a similar trip with Pete but instead of visiting Yosemite they headed up to Rainier.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Jun 23, 2007 - 12:46pm PT
Mead Hargis was a phenomenal talent. I'm deeply saddened but glad to hear he's in a peaceful place. He's seems very young to have this disease (which claimed my own mother). It's very hard to watch so my thoughts go out to his family and friends.

JL
Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 23, 2007 - 03:27pm PT
Thanks for the update Anne-Marie. Very sad, my thoughts go out to him and his family for which this must be so difficult. I was too young to know Mead in his climbing heyday but always enjoyed conversing with him during his ranger phase, and he regularly stopped by to visit us at YMS in Tuolumne when he lived in Mono City.

Peter
and partner

Trad climber
Leavenworth, WA
Jun 24, 2007 - 10:05am PT
I new Mead since high school, the skinny guy referred to above was Jim Langdon (still living in Sandpoint, Idaho). Mead's cousin Tom lives in Jackson Wy, now. Mead and John went up the NA wall after a failed attempt of John's and Andy Embick's (who used a lot of copperheads and took a couple big whippers). They teamed up, climbed Meatgrinder- then flashed up the NA. I was there. Pretty cool. Mead was a really great guy.. I was just thinking of him, as I was at Lower Town Wall aid climbing last week- he did a horrific A4 climb of the blasted part of the quarry there, years ago. The last I saw him, was when he really helped me, settling a fight between the local LEO's and the rescue service over who would haul me to the hospital from Tuolumne (I fell on Third Pillar, ripping out my calf muscle- two day crawl, then a fire patrol chopper saw me...another story). I was wasting away while these guys fought over the issues... he sent me straight to the Valley Hosp- then to Stanford Hosp. Mead was ALWAYS a good guy, and tremendously talented. Many of us from that era looked up to him, both literally and figuratively. He had vision, strength, humor, and gentleness toward others. ---this saddens me. Dave Dailey
mastadon

Trad climber
Tahoe
Jun 24, 2007 - 10:49am PT
Mead was the only person I ever knew that got out of the draft (Vietnam) because he was too skinny.

__
Anne-Marie Rizzi

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 2, 2007 - 11:28pm PT
Think it's time to bump this. Does anyone else have anything to say about Mead?

Anne-Marie
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 2, 2007 - 11:43pm PT
This is sad news, but thanks for passing it on.

I didn't know Mead, but knew of him, through too much reading of journals. I met him once, in Yosemite in June 1974, and he was quite kind.

At that time, Mead was a ranger, and lived in Camp 4, in a big tent. He was more or less responsible for Camp 4 - it had settled down a bit, and had become a walk in campground, but was still a bit of a zoo, especially in the summer, when schools got out. He had to ride herd on a bunch of orangutans, but seemed to do well at it.

There was a one week limit then, but you could get permission to stay longer if you asked. Somehow I think that climbers were more likely to get permission... Anyway, we eventually got up the nerve to talk with Mead, and he very kindly said OK.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 2, 2007 - 11:58pm PT
Yosemite Valley FA's of Mead Hargis

Chopper 5.10c Three Brothers Middle Brother Camp 4 Wall, Far Left FA 1971 Mead Hargis, Rick Sylvester
Cristina 5.11b Three Brothers Middle Brother Camp 4 Wall, Center FA 1971 Mead Hargis, Dave Davis FFA John Long
Peter Left 5.10c El Capitan West Buttress, Base FA 1971 Mead Hargis, Kim Schmitz

proud!
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jul 3, 2007 - 12:44am PT
jesus. oh well. tom and mead were local legends at my alma mater, the evergreen state college.

tonight, i spin the prayer wheel for him and all those who love him.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 3, 2007 - 04:07am PT
Mead Hargis is and was one of the good and grand souls of the Valley, a soul with whom I climbed more than once. He seemed so brilliant and fast on rock, so ready, so beautiful. Before I got into karate, he was studying a bit, and he showed me a side-thrust kick, right to my shin. Ouch. I had only the best thoughts about him. He told me he was from Washington, and that didn't matter, because actually he and I were from some other place of the soul from which people venture out into the world and then are destined to meet up. We climbed Meat Grinder together one day, and he fired up that steep endurance crux pitch with one or two points of protection, not even breaking a sweat. Somehow in the chaos of my own life I lost touch with this friend. Reading his story now, I find I am in shock. Bitter tears have been falling down like rain that sometimes falls in those sunlit realms of light one can only remember as Yosemite, that mystical place where Mead and I once got to know one another. To that place, to those times, to Mead, and forever...

Will someone post information for writing his wife and family?

Pat Ament
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Jul 3, 2007 - 09:18am PT
Kevin, I was with my high school climbing buddy Steve and two guys from SoCal in C4 (must have been early-mid 1974) with a similar story, Mead walked up and we had this small bong lit up and we freaked but he said something about being careful with fire and walked on.

I didn't know him well but he was a very nice guy.

Alzheimer's is a horrible disease and like John I lost my mother this January to it (and two aunts with a third not looking good from the disease).
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 7, 2007 - 02:55am PT
Life touches us only sometimes.
Sun will cast its strength on one's face and eyes.
A light in afternoon will shine across a rock.
A friend will be there.
A friend will not.
A year will be there.
A year will not.
Decades will pass, like starlight.
And then sun again will cast its strength
on that friend's face and eyes,
that soul's light still there
among the mysteries and beauty.
Stars follow,
and they pass.
Talbot Bielefeldt

Social climber
Eugene, OR
Sep 7, 2007 - 01:57pm PT
The "other skinny guy" from Washington would be Del Young, with whom I believe Mead set some speed records for walls in the valley. Del, Dave Jensen, Mead and I all guided for Lute Jerstad in Oregon in the mid-70's.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 1, 2007 - 12:21am PT
I finally tracked this one down. It should kick up a memory or two and one of my favorite Sheridan cartoons to boot.




Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Oct 1, 2007 - 01:12am PT
Before my time, but easily on the Legends list. Mead is hard.... all hail Mead!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 1, 2007 - 05:36am PT
Steve,

Thanks for scanning and posting that cool article by Mead. It is fun to see now that after the 5th paragraph, he was done torturing the reader with the 3 and even 4 syllable words and got back down to business with the stories! I bet he had a lot of fun throwing in those obstacles!

I had heard the story direct from Andy Embick, too, about going up with Roskelly and taking a long zipper/whipper on the 3rd. He said it was mostly 1/2" webbing tieoffs which broke, and the pieces of the tieoffs came floating down from above after Andy plunged.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 2, 2008 - 01:25am PT
Reflecting back on Mead and his place in the scheme of things as the calendar rolls over. I have been meaning to post this for awhile. It certainly clarifies in my mind why he chose to pursue a career with the Park Service. He had a lot on his mind. It appeared in the Feb 1974 Off Belay.





Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 4, 2008 - 12:00pm PT
Bump in memory....
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Jan 4, 2008 - 12:57pm PT
I said elsewhere that I would tell my Mead Hargis story and this is the place for it. This story is a bit, "one person removed" but if Mark/Blinny wants to chime in he can add the finishing touches.

Mark/Blinny, Bob Care and I were on the North Face of East Quarter Dome (V 5.9 A2 at the time.) We had decided that the best approach was not what the guidebook claimed (from Tenaya Canyon) but rather, from above walking past Half Dome and then down the 1/4-Dome gully. This was the site of the first epic. I stepped on a flat boulder the size of five surfboards and proceeded to ride a several ton granite wave for longer than I care to remember.

Once on the route things went well until the rain set in and we were swinging leads in a drizzle. Bob started up what is now a .10b flared chimney slot that was sufficiently lubricated. The slipping, swearing,struggle was both amusing and frightening to watch. Eventually the moist walls spat him out and he crunched down on his ankle producing a rapidly swelling joint. Decision time... rap seven pitches to rain-soaked slabs and cross-country walking through Tenaya Canyon or continue upward to a known descent past 1/2-dome? We pushed upward.

After topping out I took the pig while Mark helped Bob hobble down the trail. Did I mention it was now night. Had to be, right? Or else it does not qualify as epic! Being alone I scooted ahead using my night-vision until one of my dust-spreading footsteps produced a strange, yet distinct, rattling sound from somewhere nearby. I back-stepped rapidly until the weight of the pig landed me on my butt. Digging for a flashlight, I illuminated the vista with the dreaded belief an omnivorous rattler would be poised over me grinning at his catch. Alas, nothing appeared. Shutting off the light I was now completely blind in the dark. I had no choice but to turn it back on and use its narrow cone to illuminate the next few steps as I continued downward.

Mark and Bob struggled behind and I did not see them again until Happy Isles. But, and this is where Mead comes in (finally), they were having their own fun. They reached a point above Nevada Falls where a fairy tale tent cabin perched nearby. The smoke drifted from its chimney while lights flickered through the vinyl window. Knowing it would be a ranger cabin Mark and Bob sprint/dragged themselves over to it and pounded upon the door. The door creaked open and wonderful, odoriferous emotions poured forth. Mead and a lady friend were comfortably ensconced within; warmed by the blasting fire and happy as larks. But the coupe de gråce was the food upon their table: huge servings of strawberry shortcake piled high with whipped creme and toped with fresh berries. Not sure if he should just drop Bob and enjoy the bounty before him, Mark instead elected to be loyal and ask if there was help available for Bob. Mead examined the foot and said he could get a burro up in the morning to bring him down. Disappointedly, but with renewed energy from the smell of fresh food, Mark and Bob exited the dessert haven and continued on down the trail.

I remember Mead well. He was a grand man who brought law upon the land while maintaining a climber's love-for-life attitude. The only thing I will never understand is why he and Yabo did the second ascent of the Garbage Wall (AKA Firefall Wall.) Why would ANYONE want to repeat that!?
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Jan 4, 2008 - 02:10pm PT

The Black Dyke, Squamish Chief
5.8 A4
FA 1970 Al Givler Mead Hargis
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 4, 2008 - 11:57pm PT
Aw, cmon now. You know that Firefall face has a certain special attraction. Warren did it. And left the chair for the next guy.


Great ranger cabin, shortcake epic!!
WBraun

climber
Jan 5, 2008 - 12:30am PT
Firefall wall second ascent was Yabo and Ranger Dan Dillinger.

Not Mead.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Jan 5, 2008 - 02:45am PT
Sorry Werner, you are correct. I guess after all these years I just remember that Yabo did the route with a Ranger. Now that I see the name Dillinger it brings it back to me. Thanks for the correction.
survival

Big Wall climber
arlington, va
Jan 6, 2008 - 01:48am PT
I only met Mead a time or two and didn't get to know him at all, but I remember John Dill talking about him like he was near superhuman!
He climbed the NA and loved climbing and climbers.....good enough for me.
All my best to Mead and his family.
Bruce
WBraun

climber
Jan 6, 2008 - 01:55am PT
FYI

Mead was instrumental in making Camp 4 the way it is today.

Before Mead there were no real boundaries. He was responsible for reigning in the campground. Before Mead made the boundaries people bivied and camped everywhere back in the boulders.

He even lived in camp 4 for a while as the commandant while he was a ranger.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 6, 2008 - 12:42pm PT
Those were the days......Mead was the first climber/ranger that I can recall interacting with in the early seventies. He was kind of like an older brother in charge of the kids. Camp 4 was a great amoeboid of boundary stakes and the individual campsites were completely funky and homespun. The sites came together as climbers scavenged tables, coffins and the other various doodads necessary to a proper home on the range! Arizona Avenue, complete with the street sign, was my home away from home for several seasons. Up the draw, first boulders on the right heading into camp.

Mead came around to collect the camping fees every morning at about 8:30. Usually, the place was a ghost town with only newcomers and those too wasted for easy evacuation being forced to pay. Everybody else hung out for the sweep and came back to bed. If Mead saw you a couple of hours later there was never any friction or BS with respect to his position or authority. He simply did his job gracefully.

The offset to looking the other way while fee collecting was the ready help that the denizens of Camp 4 would provide in the event of a rescue. We were all willing to help out and repay the favor when somebody was in trouble. This graceful rapport between NPS and the climbers had everything to do with Mead and his way of conducting his business. He really cared about everyone involved and it showed. Yosar would be a very different outfit without Mead's groundwork.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 6, 2008 - 09:19pm PT
From Rob Barley's Squamish Commentary Mountain 64 Nov/Dec 1978.


The blackest of lines is obvious!!!

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 7, 2008 - 03:44pm PT

Now it's a rad free climb...

http://www.mattmaddaloni.com/Gallery%20folders/Black%20Dyke.htm

http://www.mattmaddaloni.com/Expeditions%20folders/Black%20Dyke%202002/Dyke%20article%20and%20pics.htm
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 7, 2008 - 07:05pm PT
Nice bender shot Clint!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 2, 2008 - 08:26pm PT
Bump for Kathy Green who probably knew Mead I bet.
Ferretlegger

Trad climber
san Jose, CA
Feb 2, 2008 - 09:54pm PT
Like many of those who stayed in Camp 4 in the 70's, I knew Mead by sight and reputation, but only casually to speak with. When he became the "Commandant" of Camp 4, they built a tent cabin and he and some woman (Tina? his wife? my memory fails me) were living there. One night my partner and I were sleeping about 20 yards from the cabin, and a climber and his female friend took up position only a few yards from the side of the cabin. The young man was desperately horney, and things started with humiliating pleas for sex. This went on for quite a while until he convinced her of his worth, eventually degenerating into disgusting slobbering noises, followed by long moans, panting, and thrashing noises. As time passed, they became so lost in passion that all sense of discretion had fled the scene. There were loud rhythmic thumping noises and gasping, followed by a lot of heavy grunting and exhortations to go "faster!faster!". This went on for quite a while, until Mead's wife opened the window of the tent cabin and stuck her head out, about 3 feet from the passionate couple and yelled in their ears at the top of her lungs "Damn it! I'm trying to sleep! Now either get off or go do it somewhere else!!!"

Given the circumstances, I thought she showed a lot of class.....
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 2, 2008 - 10:02pm PT
No doubt! A bucketful of cold water would have been my choice at about the point of first sniveling!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 1, 2008 - 07:58pm PT
I recently scored a copy of Gordon Smaill's superb 1975 Squamish Chief Guide.


Gordy really liked the Black Dyke and had this to say about the route.


The section about one Bricks Shannon soloing the top of the only recently free climbed top part of the route route on "motor responses " in 1974 absolutely begs for a story!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 1, 2008 - 08:36pm PT
A route to the right of the Black Dyke was done in 1982, and is described as "one of the great climbs at Squamish" in the 2004 guidebook. One of the climbers was the late great Daryl Hatten. In a fine example of climber wit, and political incorrectness, they named their climb "Negro Lesbian".

All the climbs in that area are in the peregrine falcon closure zone each spring. B.C. Parks publishes a list of the climbs that are closed or partly closed, on its website and on notice boards. They had to get an exemption from their webmaster to post information about "Negro Lesbian" - such words aren't otherwise permitted on the government website, and were only allowed because it is a proper noun. (Linguistically speaking, that is.)

The Black Dyke is an unusual feature - Chasing Rainbows, on the Malamute, is also part of it.
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Mar 1, 2008 - 09:05pm PT
what happened to Daryl Hatten? I climbed with him a fair bit in the valley. a wild man. I cant believe this about mead hargis, he was always such a great guy and seemed young for his age.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 1, 2008 - 09:27pm PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=192446
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 1, 2008 - 10:36pm PT
So what's all this about Ole Bricks then?!?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 26, 2008 - 10:44am PT
Mead Bump-----!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 28, 2009 - 11:18pm PT
Mead published these burly new route descriptions in the 1972 AAJ.


Of note is the apology to Peter Haan for nabbing Peter Left at the base of El Cap!

Peter- do you recall the events around this route? Should they have named it Peter's Bent? Do tell if you haven't already elsewhere.
Brunosafari

Boulder climber
Redmond, OR
Mar 28, 2009 - 11:48pm PT
we should pay you at least $4 each for your stories, Peter!

My first look at Chopper Flake seemed to say it all.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Mar 29, 2009 - 02:45am PT
This is so sad. I only met Mead a few times. I climbed quite a bit with Al Givler and he reverently put Mead on a pedestal which thereby endowed him with living icon status to us mortals.

Excerpt from Washington Rock (1982) by Brooks and Whitelaw:

"In 1966, Hargis and Madsen took their first trip to Yosemite, the place where granite techniques were being pushed, a fact not yet appreciated by the somewhat isolated Northwest climbers. Hargis stayed the longest and returned with a wondrous new technique for climbing cracks called jamming. He spent three hours on Castle rock's Damnation Crack demonstrating to an assembled group that cracks could be used for more than protection."
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 29, 2009 - 10:23am PT
A more recent parallel thread about Mead can be found at:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=621829&msg=724652#msg724652

I chose to post this older stuff here.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 29, 2009 - 01:50pm PT
Peter Left story bump!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 29, 2009 - 08:38pm PT
Yeah. The Peter Left story. Now here is a subject that gets me going (g). I can be rather ferocious, you know. I gather I am actually being baited by the evil sTeViE!! Mimi’s probably in on it too! (g). They just emailed me; I think "taunt" might be the right verb actually...(g). Ever since this couple got their scanner we all have been set on fire.



About a month before Schmitz and Meade accomplished the FA of the right side of Peter Pan and called it Peter Left in 1971, Schmitz and I had spent the day cleaning out the crack to bag the FA. It was just jammed with ferns, mud and pebbles for most of the last pitch---the really awesome looking part of this three pitch route. To do this we climbed Peter Pan by the incredibly beautiful regular route (once again) and rappelled off the top into the prominent but clogged up dihedral.

But I had run out of money and had to go work in Berkeley to keep myself going. I was living in my car back then, surviving on maybe less than $2000-$3000 a year. God don’t ask me how. Anyway, I was gone for a few weeks.

During that time, somehow these characters couldn’t come up with anything else to do but to go bag the climb without me. Hargis had had nothing to do with the preparatory work by the way, was an outsider down from the Pacific Northwest, and was, I felt, a particularly unfriendly, supercilious and unappealingly competitive character. I know that Meade certainly had his fans and friends, especially looking through this thread, but I simply shall differ. Meade probably matured too, in years further on. I also knew his brother, a very different sort of man than Meade. But I certainly did know Meade; he and I spent a day climbing the East Buttress of Lower Cathedral Rock---a day I found to be rather lacking on too many levels. Our interactions were shallow, unexciting and too much was unsaid for my taste, covert actually. And he had to hang on a pin in the short 5.10c crux. So I was not impressed either.

Everybody knew there were just heaps and heaps of unclimbed lines everywhere. It was no secret. So to focus on someone’s little project instead of finding your own prospects was insidious and almost a smutty invasion of privacy--- with perhaps more than a thousand routes still to come in the intervening years. As always the problem was “how creative can you be”, not just simply “how hard can you climb”---- all those thousands and thousands of feet of unclimbed rock just sitting there!! And of course a lot of it required cleaning out or what not. I am stunned just writing this now, to reflect on how incredibly lazy we really all were back then. In retrospect it is as if we were all on morphine.

Anyway I was amazed and unsettled by the curiously vampish nature to Hargis’ involvement and even more dismayed by Schmitz’s disloyalty to me. Kim and I had been main climbing partners for awhile by then. And this event along with some other issues arising between us ended our friendship, and even now, with Schmitz battling intestinal cancer and so forth, there is an uneasiness that just spoils everything.

So I do have to compliment the naming of the climb; it is witty as hell and in a way describes how Kim and Meade pictured their achievement. Further, the route of course is really an excellent route. The short offwidth on the pitch below the big final dihedral is fairly stout too. The grand and showboating final lead is incredible. You get up there and it turns out instead of being a huge enduro-fest, there are holds all over the main wall, much to your surprise. Quite a bit of that lead is less than 5.9. Protection is fine, the rock is as good as rock gets, the vantage point astounding. And you are kind of high up too, for such a shorty climb, El Cap swirling everywhere you look. An excellent climb to have claimed.

Anyway, that's the story. It is too sad that Meade has left us and also excruciating that Kim is fighting cancer.... God how the years have piled up. best to all, p.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Mar 29, 2009 - 09:13pm PT
Nice post, Peter.

Lots of us from back then know what you mean about the rip in our communal fabric when one of us took another’s project. That Kim was in on both ends hurts a little still.

I am glad you posted. Not that public soul-cleaning for the geriatric set is necessarily fun for everyone, mind you.

I am just glad that I can smile about the name in your presence.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 29, 2009 - 09:42pm PT
I remember Mead well. We never climbed together but had some enjoyable evenings around the campfire. His lifestyle (Yosemite early 70's) was a bit more conservative then mine, but Mead was a class act and we liked and respected each other. My best wishes go out to Mead and his family.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 29, 2009 - 09:43pm PT
No disrespect to anyone sought after here, I simply had a curious feeling that the situation hadn't been resolved after rising to such an odd level of formality.

Thanks for clarifying the history even if it means a little emotional wreck diving.
murcy

climber
San Fran Cisco
Mar 29, 2009 - 09:52pm PT
Thanks, Steve! You are a SuperTaco Premier Content Supplier. And Peter as well for the honesty and perspective.
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Mar 29, 2009 - 10:02pm PT
Interesting mix of time and emotion with this thread. I agree with Jim, Mead was a very class act. I believe we all share a deep love of the Valley and climbing, and we all share sadness when we lose one of this family.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Mar 29, 2009 - 10:07pm PT
Never hear much about Peter Left but it's a very good route and was pretty stout with the old Hexes and other trash used to try and protect the thing.

JL
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Mar 30, 2009 - 02:01am PT
When we're young we do stupid things, we're moody,
we don't know who we are, we're trying to find out,
we have days where sun burst from our souls, days when
an angelic integrity is our driving characteristic,
other days when we blunder along, and still other
days when darkness comes down on us as though we
were Leda and it the swan, or something, and we get
so self-important at times when we judge others, as
though we have some illusion that we ourselves
are perfect. If I threw away those
friends that did something selfish or had a day
they lacked thought or did something shallow
or a given day were weak on the rock, or a given
day they were weak in character, or a week of that
sort of garbage, or a month, or even a year,
come to think of it, I wouldn't
have a friend left with whom to enjoy this sacred
experience of life. Mead was a bit wierd at times.
I remember him saying he was studying karate, and I
was standing there kind dully that day in Camp 4 when suddenly
he threw a side thrust kick which landed right on my shin,
and it didn't feel good, and it seemed kind of stupid,
but, again, I saw every person in the Valley, even those
I loved most, such as Pratt, do far stupider things.
Life is a ghostly quick thing that flies by like a shadow
across the mind, and we can waste time on juding others
or try to find the reasons we might love those people. There
is plenty of good stuff to focus on. Do I want to focus
on the day Bridwell wanted to beat someone up because
they did a climb free he had been wanting to do? I'd
rather remember the laughs he and I had, moments
where he excelled as a climber, was the master, and not
the days he couldn't do boulder problems Bates or any
number of others were doing. Hell with that. It's easy
to find the bad stuff about anyone. It's harder, more of
a challenge, to be the measure of someone -- i.e, to
see the gifts they bring to the world. A girl friend of
mine once told me, some years back, "It is a spiritual
gift to be able to recognize the talents of others." That's
what I guess we, as a culture, could do a little better.

We have short memories about our own short-comings and
elephant memories for the imperfections of others. Any
climber I knew in the '60s could climb like a demented
fly a certain day and couldn't do much good another day.
Mead and I one day did Meat Grinder, when it was
scorching hot, dripping sweat hot,
and he fired up that long crux pitch
on lead, without a second to stop and breathe. He
simply floated it, put in about two or three points
of protection, and I became a believer at that moment,
and I had to work hard to try to save face and follow
in some kind of respectable way. He could be a hell
of a climber on certain days, maybe not so good on other
days. But who cares? What matters now is that Mead had
a life many of us, and I certainly, valued, the good
mixed in with the bad -- which is what makes up most
of us.
couchmaster

climber
Apr 3, 2009 - 11:15am PT
This thread has the whole package. Great climbers telling great tales of old, pictures, memories, poetry - the whole package....ahhhh.
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