The First Ascent of the Needle's Eye

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Messages 21 - 40 of total 256 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jul 28, 2007 - 11:38am PT
Nice thread, Thanks y'all.
Zander
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Jul 28, 2007 - 02:11pm PT
That's a great story!

You really oughta submit it to a magazine or something.

Mamaric trance, what an expression. But I think it needs two "m"'s-- Mammaric Trance, yeah, that's it.



I had a girlfriend in the 70's with large perfect breasts, who was fond of tube tops. So was I. I guess I spent a lot of time in the thrall of magnificent mammories myself.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 28, 2007 - 03:01pm PT
In the Gold"stone" age, long before the Bachar-Yerian, there was the Needle's Eye...
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Jul 28, 2007 - 10:32pm PT
Rich, your writing is rich and true. What reckless fun you've enjoyed, and lived to tell about it. Thanks for openning the gates.

-Jello
Curt

Boulder climber
Gilbert, AZ
Jul 28, 2007 - 10:43pm PT
Nice story Rich--too bad you couldn't make it out to the Needles with us earlier this month. Oh well, there's always next year...

Curt
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jul 28, 2007 - 11:05pm PT
Per Jaybro's request, here's the large version of the Summitpost photo by Gary Schmidt I posted earlier on page 1.

The user formerly known as stzzo

Trad climber
SF bay area
Jul 28, 2007 - 11:29pm PT
Awesome TR. Thanks!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 29, 2007 - 12:07am PT
A marvellous story, and pictures. Thanks!

Someday I must climb at the Needles, and Devil's Tower.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 29, 2007 - 12:16am PT
Chiloe,

Cool picture. I've added the approximate locations of the belay flake and the piton crack. The face above the crack may be forshortened---at least it felt a lot longer than it looks now.

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 29, 2007 - 01:22am PT
I've done a few things in The Needles, but I sure didn't jump right up on that one, as it is cause for pause, looks pretty stretchy in the mental sense and is physically quite intimidating.

'Love the writing and the picture of the boys in/on the Scout is a gas!

Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Jul 29, 2007 - 11:49am PT
Really enjoyed the story, Rich. Would love to hear more from you and other Needles pioneers. That place has a magical quality, similar to the Meadows.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 29, 2007 - 11:08pm PT
Rich, you didn't mention Higgins above. Didn't you climb a bit with him in the Needles? He went out frequently with Kamps, and I know you met him and knew him (you and he and Kamps and I were together in Tuolumne in '68), but I wondered if you actually climbed with Tom in the Needles.
WBraun

climber
Jul 29, 2007 - 11:14pm PT
Yikes!

You guys ran it out all the way to that first piton placement?

I'll settle for a top rope only, thanks.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 29, 2007 - 11:50pm PT
Pat, I think I missed Tom in the Needles. I know he was there at least one of the years I was there, in late August 1966, when he made the first ascent of the Pooper Pin, which I remember having some scary 5.9 climbing. I should have been there around then, but I don't recall doing any Needles climbs with him.

Werner, I don't think I exaggerated the location of the belay flake in my diagram. I remember traversing around the corner and out to it at a point below where the eye opened up. I guess it is possible that the flake might be a little higher than I indicated, perhaps at the level of the lower-angle profile in the picture, but no higher than that. I'll look around the web and see if there is a picture of the Needle's Eye that shows the belay flake.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 30, 2007 - 01:53am PT
One of the funniest pieces of writing I've ever read is by Gill, in my Master of Rock, where he talks about the bus getting stuck in the Needle's Eye tunnel, and the Hell's Angels showing up just as he's climbing some nearby steep thing, and how one of them sits on the hood of a tourist's car, crushes a beer can in his hand, and throws it at another car, and how Dorothy drops the belay rope and runs off to the camp... We should post that story. Gill is an exceptional writer.

I also like his story about the girl seeing him climb and asking who he was, and his answer, John Gill, and her saying, "You're not nearly good enough to be John Gill."
LongAgo

Trad climber
Jul 31, 2007 - 06:01pm PT
My diary is pretty foggy on the Needles, with one exception. Scrawled pages agree with Rich about August '66 visit. Notes on first ascents indicate Pop Top, Stupor Pin (maybe now called Tiki) and Pooper Pin, but no details or ratings. Where the diary is clear is on a near death experience on Super Pin, unclimbed at that time. Kamps and I attempted it from the northeast corner. On one attempt, I got way up on the corner but couldn't stop to drill. I shakily down climbed from my high point and Bob and I decided to call it quits. Pete Cleveland climbed this pinnacle shortly thereafter with little or no protection, creating an incredible mind game which may not have been repeated (Barber?). My understanding (from some climbing magazine article way back) is his route has since been bolted sport style. Sigh.

Tom Higgins
Long Ago
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 31, 2007 - 08:34pm PT
Tom,

Super Pin definitely was repeated by Henry Barber, and making sure he did it in the same bold style Pete Cleveland demonstrated.

Pete did it in 1967, at 5.10d or possibly 5.11, totally unprotected. He didn't even try to place a bolt and had resolved to running it out, from the start. He said there were a few moves that were not reversible. Of course the story goes that he so scared his partner, Ron Cox, that Ron asked if he could give up the belay (which was not going to help anyway) and go up and watch from the road where he would be unable to see the results of a fall.

August 1977, Henry made the second ascent. He admits to following a slightly different route than Pete's, but he felt it was equally challenging. Henry had somewhat polished his Needles climbing and that kind of boldness by putting up his own masterpiece Quartz Jester (on King Pin, with Lee), about the same grade as Superpin, and having a 60 or 70-foot runout to the top. Henry had been doing some 5.12 routes in other locations around the country and was very fit. Chip Lee was his partner, along with Dennis Horning.

Dennis then led the third ascent. After this, a bolt was placed...

Pat
BadInfluence

Mountain climber
Dak side
Jul 31, 2007 - 08:55pm PT
Bravo Rich
wiclimber

Trad climber
devil's lake, wi
Jul 31, 2007 - 10:27pm PT
The Needles are a very special place to me for many reasons. The influence Wisconsin climbers had there is one of them.

This is living history that I've only glimpsed from Piana's guidebook and rare conversations at the crags themselves.

Thanks guys.

EDIT: Super Pin has not been bolted sport style thankfully.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 1, 2007 - 12:14am PT
"August 1977, Henry made the second ascent. He admits to following a slightly different route than Pete's, but he felt it was equally challenging. Henry had somewhat polished his Needles climbing and that kind of boldness by putting up his own masterpiece Quartz Jester (on King Pin, with Lee), about the same grade as Superpin, and having a 60 or 70-foot runout to the top. Henry had been doing some 5.12 routes in other locations around the country and was very fit. Chip Lee was his partner, along with Dennis Horning. Dennis then led the third ascent. After this, a bolt was placed...

Pat, John Bragg and I repeated both the Superpin and Hairy Pin Routes. These were early ascents, but after Horning, and, I think, a few others. I can't remember the year, but it could have been as late as 1980. There was no bolt when we did it. By 1983 when Paul's guidebook came out, the bolt had appeared.

Super Pin Henry's way was a "reasonable" X-rated lead. After a few feet, Henry moved left where Pete went right. Henry's route is lower angle and at least a grade, maybe as much as two grades, easier than Pete's route. Placing a bolt after several parties had already made the ascent Henry's way was a travesty.

Tom, Pop Top and Tiki are both 5.8.
Messages 21 - 40 of total 256 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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