Bob Locke Memorial Buttress, Mt. Watkins. Story?

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Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 4, 2007 - 12:03pm PT
I was eyeing this topo a while back, then the route came up in the Golden Age thread. Some big names on the FA list. What's the story on this route? Does it ever get repeated?
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 4, 2007 - 09:46pm PT
Bob Locke Memorial Buttress, Grade VI, 5.11b, A4, 1978, Jim Bridwell, Ron Kauk, John Long, Kim Schmitz

HEY Largo! What's the scoop on this sleeper route?
Brick

Social climber
SF, CA
Sep 4, 2007 - 09:50pm PT
LaRGO? Ran out of water in Sahara heat- was pissing black urine? Kidneys ached for a month? A tale worth re-telling....
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Sep 4, 2007 - 09:51pm PT
I believe Tucker soloed this route...I'll ask him tomorrow....
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 5, 2007 - 11:46am PT
Tucker solo'd it?
Now that would be something.

I recall there was some stout free as well as hard aid.
I've heard some of JL's first hand accounts, but I wouldn't even attempt to pry any of that loose...
Would love to hear it again.

Largo?
Anguish

Mountain climber
Jackson Hole Wyo.
Sep 5, 2007 - 02:07pm PT
Kim is around Jackson Hole. I talked to him a few weeks ago, a brief while about the Mt. Watkins route. Don't know if he reads supertaco.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 5, 2007 - 02:34pm PT
As an aside, maybe a year ago, someone here on the taco was making a concerted effort to find Kim.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=260628&msg=263733#msg263733
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Sep 5, 2007 - 04:51pm PT
Tucker did the Regular route (with Sue Harrington) and soloed the route Teneya Terror.......I think he brought some beer with him,.... but I'm not sure..............
Walleye

climber
The back seat of my 69 Nark Avenger
Sep 5, 2007 - 07:25pm PT
This route was just a tune up for Kauk and Kim before they traveled to a land far away to help establish the worlds first Grade VII..
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 5, 2007 - 08:07pm PT
Uli Biaho?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 5, 2007 - 08:18pm PT
This route was established in honor shortly after the tragic death of young Bob Locke on the regular route (I believe) of Mt Watkins. He fell on lead, hit his lead rope as it traversed laterally below him, broke it, and was eventually held by his HAUL line. Very large and powerful fall... He sustained fatal internal bleeding, and expired with Chris Falkenstein, his belayer, attending, there on route. Horrible!

He worked for me in Santa Cruz for about a year or so. (construction). He was known as the "bumbler", Tom Carter's affectionate nickname.

His blood alcohol (I was told) was actually high; Falkenstein had no explanation.

When we send his ashes off the Mt Dana shortly thereafter, at the very moment where the group of perhaps 75 men and women were prepared to let him go into the beautiful thin alpine air and heaven, his two brothers (I am remembering) whipped out yarmulkes, did a super-jiffy Jewish rite, and off his ashes went, down the ?-third couloir, of which he had done the first ski descent not long before. Even I had no idea Bob was of Jewish extraction. He had been with me many many days working.....and kept his more basic self secret.

There is much to this moment in history for me. And for really a lot of other climbers who thought they knew him or knew his friends.

WBraun

climber
Sep 5, 2007 - 08:28pm PT
Yeah, as I remember it

Dale releases the ashes over the Dana couloir and the updraft blew a lot of it back in our faces.

Yeah Tar (Roy), it was Uli Biaho.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Sep 5, 2007 - 09:29pm PT
Peter,
Thanks for your memories of Bob Locke, who I did not know.

A couple of minor corrections. Locke had climbed a vertical corner and traversed out of it at the top. He apparently fell back into the corner onto the lead rope as it ran through protection points. Somehow the rope broke, but there were no signs that the rope was cut. In fact, the rope seemed to have simply come apart. I will never forget that each strand at the break was slightly puffed, indicating that each one just pulled apart. Never heard a good explanation for it.

Also, Locke was alive when Chris left him to get help. That is why a rescue, led by John Dill, was attempted the night of the accident. However, Locke died before the Dale Bard reached him via a 1200 foot rappel at about 3:00 am the next morning. I also rappped down that night and Dale and I helped recover the body the next morning.
Rick
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 5, 2007 - 10:14pm PT
Hi Ricky! Awful subject over which to say hi again...

As Bobo died bleeding internally, he told Fall, "Say goodbye to everybody and tell them I love them", or in so many words. At least this is what Tom Carter told me.

If you fall and also hit with your swiftly falling body your lead rope stretching below you, there is a bunch of terrible physics that amplify the loads. In a nutshell, as you load the rope system, and then load it again by falling onto the system further down as it is stretching between protection points as a catenary ( the condition of the rope as it drapes between horizontally (more or less) points), a normal rope will break if the fall is large. The forces generated are hard to intuit, but quite massive.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2007 - 10:31pm PT
Thanks, Werner, Peter, Rick et al. I was in the Valley in autumn 1976. We arrived just after Bob Locke died - Camp 4 was a quite subdued place for a while.

Peter's point is well taken - if you fall on your own rope, the dynamics get complicated, and severe, quickly. Especially if the rope is already under tension. Three point loading. Shock loading. Force multipliers. You can fall from above onto your rope, perhaps on an interval between protection points, or perhaps diagonally.

Slack lining, and the people who do big jumps from the centre of ropes suspended across chasms, seem a similar situation.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Sep 6, 2007 - 05:55am PT
That was a very sad day in the valley.
Thanks for the explanation, Peter and Anders. The fall generated great force, to be sure. I remember that one or more carabiners shattered and there were pieces of broken carabiners scattered on a ledge.
Rick
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 6, 2007 - 06:09am PT
Hi Ricky,
It is raining lightly up here this morning and we had a red sunrise to the east and a rainbow to the west; just gorgeous.

Maybe we should both email JL & ask him to post up on this Watkins route? Mari & I counted it among our "dream routes".

-Roy
WBraun

climber
Sep 6, 2007 - 08:27am PT
What my speculation was ... is that when he hit the corner, his yo hammer being on that side of him on his hip, hit the rope and severed it.

Freak accident .....?
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Sep 6, 2007 - 09:13am PT
Werner,
Have you ever seen carabiners shatter from a leader fall? That seemed to me very bizarre.
Rick
WBraun

climber
Sep 6, 2007 - 09:52am PT
Never heard about it Rick. That is very bizarre especially on a climbing fall.

Maybe the hammer hit a biner also?
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