News about Mead Hargis


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Trad climber
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
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.

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.

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:

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Messages 41 - 58 of total 58 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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