Bob Locke Memorial Buttress, Mt. Watkins. Story?


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Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Sep 15, 2007 - 10:06am PT
From John Moynier’s excellent Sierra backcountry skiing guidebook, which describes a 12,500 foot peak, near Mt. Humphreys:

“Mount Locke is not mentioned on any maps, but it has long been called Mount Locke in memory of Sierra skier and climber Bob Locke…In addition to fellow Yosemite climbers like Dale and Alan Bard, Chris Falkenstein, Werner Braun, and Walt Rosenthal, Bob-O made many daring first descents along the east side of the range.”

Would enjoy hearing any stories of Bob-O’s skiing exploits.
Jerry Dodrill

Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 12, 2007 - 05:59pm PT
Bump. STILL looking forward to Largo's story...


Trad climber
Humboldt, CA
Oct 18, 2007 - 09:32pm PT

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Oct 18, 2007 - 11:29pm PT
I'd like to write that story sometime soon but I'm backlogged right now with a book and two articles. But someday . . .

The first ascent was sort of epic because it was in August (hot!).

Jerry Dodrill

Sebastopol, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 23, 2009 - 02:14am PT
How are those projects coming Largo?

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 23, 2009 - 02:49am PT
On a recent posting by Haan, I saw a reference to my old friend Bob Locke who was tragically killed on Watkins years ago. Running down my list of slides I came across several shots of Bobo from the 70s when he was helping me build my house in Santa Cruz. It was a golden era in Santa Cruz, a gathering place for many fun hogs, misfits and the usual suspects.

I remember being on MT Hood with Chouinard at one of his ice climbing seminars. Bobo, Dale Bard and Jim Collins strolled by with a single pair of skis between them. One of the students from the NW asked what they were doing and Yvon responded,”they are going to ski one of your hardest climbing routes.” Bits of laughter, “yeah sure” comments and everyone got back to the ritual of the hour.

Several hours later, Bobo came flying down on skis. No questions asked!

Lovely lad.

Panther Beach, up the coast from Santa Cruz.

Watco, Thompsons Water Seal, Cerveza, you name it, Bobo could handle it.

Whoa man, that’s my dog. Don’t waste good Watco oil on him.


Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 23, 2009 - 02:57am PT
DR, that doesn't look like Panther. looks like a river outlet to the ocean of some sort. hrm, maybe just a weird perspective.

Mountain climber
Eastsound, Wa
Feb 23, 2009 - 03:34pm PT
Darrel Hatten and I were making an attempt on climbing the South Face of Mt. Watkins a couple of weeks after the fatal accident and found several sections of a very badly damaged rope hanging on the wall. We had only heard vague stories of the accident before we went but it was sobering to find these pieces of what was likely the severed rope.

We had to retreat from several pitches above the double pendulum as we managed to drop the hooks while handing off the rack.
Darrel had been forced to do a sky hook move using his Yo hammer on a previous EL Cap route and was understandably reluctant to do it again.

I kept a section of that rope for many years, using it to tie up my boat on many Alaskan voyages.

Darrel was an exceptionally gifted aid climber from Canada who was killed in a fall a few years ago while rescuing a cat out of a tree
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 04:38pm PT

Cool story.

There are some good threads here on Daryl Hatten:
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 05:14pm PT
Mungie, that's not DR, its Joe McKeown. And Joe/Guido, that is not Panther beach but that granite practice area south of Carmel on Hwy #1 that Bates liked to go to all the time BITD.

Thanks, JMcK for putting up the Bobbo photos. What a shame.

best ph.

Jan 31, 2010 - 12:28am PT
Peter you are correct. I think the top one is my photo of Bobo. Man we had a blast checking out the Big Sur coast for climbing. Otters floating around below etc. Thanks for posting Joe. Maya maya papaya in there too!!! Wow.

I have a great Gordon Wiltsie photo of Bob Skiing Dana's North face (now incorrectly called the Solstice Chute.

Will scan it someday and post.

Rick A. Thanks very much.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 2, 2010 - 06:17pm PT
Many were the times that I noticed Allan Bard sporting a stem of Pennyroyal blooms in his ever present white hat. One day, while hiking into our Third Lake camp, I asked him if there was any particular reason for always wearing that flower. He answered, “Yeah, it’s for Bobbo.” I had no idea what he meant.

I queried, “Bobbo? Who’s Bobbo?’

“My old friend Bob Locke” was his answer. I didn’t know Bob Locke. Allan explained that Bobbo died in a climbing accident and that Locke used to wear Pennyroyal in his hat. Allan wore Pennyroyal in his memory.

Since Allan’s death I have always picked a stem of Pennyroyal in the backcountry and worn it in my hat for Bobbo and Allan.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 2, 2010 - 06:26pm PT
Thx Peter. Not sure why I typed DR.??

neat looking in any event


Jul 23, 2010 - 12:05am PT
Hi guys. I'm not a climber, but this story/thread is about my cousin. I was born in 1975 so I never really had a chance to know him, but I've seen photos of him and have heard stories. Reading this thread has been a pretty emotional experience. Knowing he's remembered means a lot. Finding photos of him that neither I nor my family may have seen means even more.

If any of you have good photos of Bob (skiing, climbing, just being himself) that you're willing to post here or email to me, I'd really appreciate it. If there are stories to go along with them, even better.

Thank you. Really... thank you.

 Jeff Greenhouse

Jul 23, 2010 - 12:14am PT
Welcome Jeff. Always nice to see these kind of stories in this kind of thing. Bob sounded like a great guy.

In reading back Rick posted; "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.

That's the classic look of a rope that had been touched by sulferic acid, like from a car battery. Interesting, just yesterday I was musing to myself if perhaps Todd Skinners harness loop might have had this issue and if the Park Service had tested it.

Trad climber
san diego
Jul 23, 2010 - 02:28am PT
Peter, I vividly remember that memorial service for Bobo on top of Mt Dana that late Fall day('76). You may recall that it had more or less began with several of us sharing an early morning, er, breakfast of sorts in the TM, Dale, Yabo perhaps Chris, Fuzz, myself and others.

Millis gave the last rights. You might remember that he had brought a selection of Falcon feathers and distributed them to several of us to carry with us on the hike up to the Mt. Dana Plateau. We all sat there solemnly for quite some time, reflecting and meditating. What a beautiful place to say goodbye to a close friend and son(Bobo's mom and dad were there).

I remember Bob Finn making an especially poignant gesture. He soloed out onto this exposed pinnacle, and sat there with his back to everyone. Someone made the snide remark "OK Clint Eastwood!"(The Eiger Sanction was in all the theaters that summer). And i am sure it made more than a few people a little uncomfortable considering the occasion. Bob sat there for awhile and then carefully made his way back. He had left the falcon feather Millis had given him sticking up from the top of the exposed awesome gesture and token of respect in remembrance of Bobo.

Millis led the ceremony. He began with asking if we would like to contribute the remaining falcon feathers, and culminated with the ashes being tossed down the couloir which had been named 'Cocaine Chute' after Bobo and Dale Bard had skied it the previous Spring.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 23, 2010 - 03:26am PT
For those unaware, Allan Bard died in a climbing accident on the Grand back in 1997. His ashes were spread over those of Bobbo on the Dana crest. Years later, Dale and about twenty others took Moose's (Allan's chocolate lab) ashes to the same spot.

Dale lofting Moose's remains.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 23, 2010 - 03:29am PT
By the way, this is where Millis' ashes went, where my mother's and step-dad's went and where I intend for mine to go.

Don't hold your breath - I'm almost 78.

Trad climber
san diego
Jul 23, 2010 - 04:10am PT

I wasn't aware of this Don.

This is a very special place to me, even more so now.

Thanks for sharing...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 18, 2012 - 12:20pm PT
Memorial Bump...
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