Hot Henry changed climbing!

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bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 16, 2007 - 07:38pm PT
Amazing what he did, where he did it and how he did it.

One of the best free climbers ever..period!
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 16, 2007 - 07:42pm PT

Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Sep 16, 2007 - 07:47pm PT
He changed my world! made me realize that offwidth was something I wanted to pursue (also pointed me toward freesoloing, the jury is still out on that one ....) I gather that some of his other changes were less positive.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2007 - 08:08pm PT
Who remembers his solo of the Strand on American Sportsman.

He told me it was the closest he came to buying it.
the museum

Trad climber
Rapid City, SD
Sep 16, 2007 - 08:09pm PT
One of the closest fins in the picture is where the Henry Barber Route is located in the South Seas. The guide book says "follow the exposed corner between Duckbill and Cornflake. The rib takes you to the top and a fall takes you to the emergency room".


Photo taken today September 16, 2007. The big crag in the back is Mount Rushmore.




Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 16, 2007 - 09:02pm PT
RE:
" Who remembers his solo of the Strand on American Sportsman. "

never heard about that one, what's the story?
atchafalaya

climber
California
Sep 16, 2007 - 09:16pm PT
not much of a story to it. Good TV though. Did you get a copy of the dogfather dvd?



Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 17, 2007 - 11:20am PT
What kinda blew me away, was, watching him in the footage from climbing in England, and free soloing that route and seeing how high he could place his foot on a hold. Was almost like his feet were extra hands, and, I'll have to watch it again, but, seemed like he could high step up around face level, on vertical rock. Amazing!

He was hilarious in Uncommon Ground. "Joe who"?

-Brian in SLC
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Sep 17, 2007 - 11:46am PT
solo of the strand....
barber free soloed a sea-side route in the .10 range on camera for a tee-vee show. he states that his head wasn't there but he was pushed on by the pressure of the cameras rolling. i believe that he slipped at one point and barely scummed redemption. i'm recalling it from his biography by .... skip lee?
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Sep 17, 2007 - 04:58pm PT
I happened to catch that film, TV presentation, of Henry soloing in England. I believe in was on Wide World of Sports. That remains one of the best little films on the planet, for its really good spirit. So many films have a lot of production but lack something at the core. That film had all the beautiful essence -- in part because Henry is and was the real thing. No one could see him climb and not feel as though they were watching one of the genuinely great artists of all time. Henry has been my longtime friend, and I don't think there was a better climber on the planet, all things considered, when he was at the peak of his form. Sure, there were stronger people (I might have been a better boulderer, when I was in shape, or of course Gill), and of course there were phenomenal talents, such as Ron Kauk and John Bachar. But Ron and John climbed in Yosemite all the time. When you climb and train all the time you get good. If you also have talent, you become great. Henry didn't train like that and would only visit the Valley but put up (in flawless style) such routes as Butterballs or the Fish, or solo Sentinel in two and half hours... I was his belayer one day when he made a sight-lead of Pratt's Twilight Zone. Henry went up without a whimper. Absolute control and mastery. Henry and I did a lot of climbing around Boulder. He led Briggs' "Death and Transfiguration" (5.12) with only three or four points of protection and didn't stop to take even a moment's rest. It looked like a 5.4 climb, in Henry's hands. It was almost a miracle I could follow that, with a nice top rope.

I am one of the few people with whom Henry has shared some of the inside story of certain controversial events that seem to have cast him into a strange light on occasion in the past. He wasn't willing to defend himself against most of what was being said against him way back when, I presume because he felt it would make him look "defensive" and might only strengthen some of the falsehoods. He was never a perfect human being, anymore than any one of us is, but I know there were definitely two sides to the stories.

I only want to remember his greatness of character, which remain undiminished in my mind. I don't know of anyone with more of a sense of style, along with ability, in climbing.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:24pm PT

never met him, seen him around, I was always in awe.
JasonMLawson

Trad climber
Moscow, Idaho
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:30pm PT
Anyone read "On Edge: The Life and Climbs of Henry Barber"? I highly recommend it.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:47pm PT
The amazing thing about HB was he was never athletic but did the hardest climbs of the day. He might have had one of the greatest heads in the history of climbing. And man was that guy driven. I only got to climb with him a few times, unfortunately.

JL
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Sep 17, 2007 - 06:04pm PT
It's a testament to his influence and earned respect when a climber like Patrick Edlinger, after flashing a comp route at that really early Snowbird comp (the one Kauk took a huge whipper off of), lowers off and flashes Henry a thumbs up and says "for you."
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Sep 17, 2007 - 06:37pm PT
I know what you're saying John, and I agree somewhat, although athleticism has many faces. There is the football, run, jump, hit hard kind. There is the weight lifter kind. And there are the endurance, triathlete, marathon kind. And there is the gymnastic kind. Henry's athleticism was, as you accurately state, partly the effect of his great mind. But it also was physical. He has/had tremendous balance. He had tremendous coordination and kinesthetic awareness, all elements of the true athlete. He had a kind of martial arts mentality (I'm not speaking about all the phony mainstream martial arts, but the real stuff of hard work, awakening, and mind over matter). He had focus and creativity. He had remarkable footwork and finger strength and unbelievable technique. He could solve a problem at a glance. He wasn't some paragon of pure brute, animal strength. But he did have plenty of strength. To go up and solo sentinel in two and a half hours is a bit of a cardiovascular workout, I would think. I always thought of myself as an athlete, being a wrestler and sprinter in high school and a university gymnast, and then all the years of karate, but I pretty much was tired after doing Sentinel in 5 hours, with Pratt. I don't think Henry gym-trained even half as much as any other serious climber I know, but he developed his strength largely at climbing itself, the way Kor, Sacherer, and Kamps did. And that is a form of training. So, while not really disagreeing with you, my friend, in spirit, I would have to say Henry was indeed quite an athlete in his special ways.
jstan

climber
Sep 17, 2007 - 08:38pm PT
As usual I have not read any of the literature out there so I may be repeating something already written somewhere. If so my apologies.

My acquaintanceship with Henry came before the time when he became really well known. While he was supposed to be going to school in Philly he would come up to the Gunks on weekends full of stories about what he had learned by watching the apes in the zoo all that week. This went on for quite some time and he probably could have added very substantially to our knowledge of the body mechanics of the apes had he gotten a grant to do the study. As it was I suspect his findings were never published. Without being critical in any way I was sad he chose the career he did. Wharton would have given him an excellent start in the business world. With his intelligence and energy I thought at the time his career could have extended up to and gone beyond things like running Exxon Mobil. Had he been in that company things might have turned out much better for us.

I have a few stories but the one I think best captures the scene in the 70’s involved Stewart’s Ice Cream down in New Paltz. The story comes in two parts, the first setting the scene for the second. We usually had dinner at Slime’s, a restaurant that forty years previous had been called Emile’s..We, of course called it Slime’s. On this particular occasion I got to Stewart’s before everyone else. While waiting there in the parking lot I saw two locals, who would today be called homies, both sitting their cars( one behind the other )– with both engines running. Abruptly the car in the rear revved to perhaps 10,000 rpm and moved forward 20 feet with a great cloud of smoke, coming to rest passenger window next to driver’s window. Other than the engines which continued to run, I saw no evidence of a conversation. Then just as abruptly, and with comparable smoke their original positions were reassumed – both engines still running. I should have taken this as a clue to make my exit.

Shortly thereafter everyone else rolled in. In addition to Henry, Bragg, Mike Freeman, and Wunsch there was another person who will remain nameless but I will here call Ghand. It was indeed an unusual day and I could see the cashier’s face assuming a stern look as our festivities worked their way to a climax. Now Ghand had tried the gallon bottle of strawberry topping and had found it was about one full week rancid. Keeping this information close he decided to challenge Henry for the alpha dog slot then and there. In a loud voice he challenged Henry to mix the chocolate marsh mellow topping with the strawberry topping for a competition. The fat was in the fire. Never one to delay Henry grabbed both gallon bottles and raised them high overhead with those godawful long arms so everyone in the restaurant could see what was about to pour out of the containers. Thereupon he fired both triggers and the strawberry poured into the left( his left) side of his open mouth and the chocolate goo into the right. Had I been better read it would have been my job to chant, “We don’t need no stinkin ice cream.” Ghand was a true gentleman and signaled resolution by firing his straw wrapper over Henry’s head, as did the rest of us. Like one o’them military ceremonies with the swords.

Believe it or not, thereafter we were still permitted inside Stewart’s.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Sep 17, 2007 - 08:44pm PT
posted elsewhere... but Henry was working for Asolo shoes and knew his product... he took the time with a tard noob like me back then to know how to fit a shoe to a foot, and not a foot to a shoe. still sound insight.

thx
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2007 - 08:55pm PT
The only thing harder than following Henry up a climb was trying to keep up with him partying.

John...I will call Ghand...Greg Hand. Sound right??
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 17, 2007 - 09:36pm PT
Although the Strand solo film featuring Henry has been attributed to American Sportsmen, I'm with Ollie in that I remember it as an offering during Wide World of Sports. Perhaps American sportsmen followed the WWS. At any rate, I was just getting into climbing and knew for sure that was the real thing.

Henry is one of my heroes, and although I never climbed with him, boy did we party! After dinner and a few bottles of wine, he amazed those few of us at the dinner table with a most excellent parlor trick, which in itself was fitting to his career as a gutsy climber, because it contained some of those traits which we esteem in Hot Henry: boldness, commitment, and outlandish behavior.

I watched very carefully as he ate half a wine glass, chewing, shrewdly looking us in the eye throughout. I don't know how he accomplished, what must be some slight of hand, or tongue, but it sure looked real to me. He said it's all about commitment. (Of course). Henry said once you start with what you've chewed off, you gotta finish it! He said the trick is to chew it until the shards of glass return to a state of sand.

Then the others went to bed, and between the two of us, Henry and I polished about two thirds of a bottle of fine Armagnac. We talked about all kinds of great stuff; I remember not a bit of the rambling conversation, but hey, I partied with Hot Henry.
Bldrjac

Ice climber
Boulder
Sep 17, 2007 - 10:29pm PT
Hey, you guys are forgetting to mention the great sense of STYLE that Hot Henry brought to the climbing scene here. Those white pants. Plaid and rugby shirts. No one, with the exception of Royal Robbins, ever wore a white flat cap better than HH!

Jack
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 17, 2007 - 11:04pm PT
Breach Wall

Mount Kilimanjaro
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 17, 2007 - 11:09pm PT
How about those Fossen he climbed in Norway?
There was decent coverage of that when it happened and it looked pretty extreme for the times (still does). Skiing in through powder snow on fat Salewa skis, then clinging to huge systems of dangling pillars...
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 17, 2007 - 11:52pm PT
Glass-eating seems a rather odd feat, even for a climber. It would be interesting to know more.

I noticed that after Tar recounted Barber's exploit, he said "Then the others went to bed, and between the two of us, Henry and I polished (off) about two thirds of a bottle of fine Armagnac."

I hope they drank the wine before eating the bottle.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 18, 2007 - 12:00am PT
Neither.
As an homage to our host, we just polished the bottle to enhance its clarity.
hehehe.
Walleye

climber
The back seat of my 69 Nark Avenger
Sep 18, 2007 - 12:02am PT
Just watched Mr. barber solo the Strand on the Great White Horse. Major kudos to Henry. It seemed way dicier than soloing the same grade in Yosemite given the nature of the English Sea Cliffs ect..

Was he really only 23 at the time?? Outstanding!
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Sep 18, 2007 - 07:37pm PT
Henry truly is one of the all-time greats. We only climbed together a few times, but each time was special. I remember the first time at Gibraltar Rock in Santa Barbara in the early 70's. I was working that winter at GPIW, when Henry stopped by looking for a partner. We went up to the rock and I led the nice 5.10 crack as a warm-up. Then Henry made the first lead of the big overhanging hand crack, placing one hex in the middle. Looked like he was strolling, only upside down on the 5.11 pitch.

Another time he stopped by Eldo and rousted me out of my VW van that I was sleeping in in my brother's driveway. That time he was happy and encouraging to belay me and follow on the first ascent of what we called Black Wind, to the right of King's X. At the time many people though Henry to be aloof or even arrogant, but he went out of his way to compliment me on the lead, between bouts of jokes and puns. Of course Henry made the 5.11 moves look easy, like water flowing uphill (if the water had arms and legs!).

We climbed ice in Scotland together and made a film for ABC of climbing Bridalveil Falls. On frozen water Henry was also the ultimate style-meister. For a long time he even refused to use wrist loops on the old bamboo-shafted Chouinard piolets which were the favored tools of the era.

I was once asked by Rock & Ice mag to name the ten climbers who had done the most to influence American climbing. Henry was my choice for the early to mid-70's, followed in time by JB.

-TheJelloMeister

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 18, 2007 - 07:52pm PT
I always wondered what the deal was with Black Wind.
I've stood below and studied it a few times and the line looks hard to protect, spooky, maybe pumpy too.
(Not a lot for the feet as you move left through those arches and overlaps)
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Sep 19, 2007 - 08:02pm PT
A few slung hexes, stoppers ... and bare feet. Henry starts up the first pitch of Hallowed Eve (5.9+ R) in 1980.

jstan

climber
Sep 19, 2007 - 08:53pm PT
Have you ever been sitting in a campground when a weird wind came through? Your only thought is, "Wow! That was cool!"
atchafalaya

climber
California
Sep 19, 2007 - 10:06pm PT
I have a couple extra copies of the dogfather dvd; Barber/strand/dream of white horses, Bachar/JT/yos, and some other climbing clips from WWS. Anyone?
Rock!...oopsie.

Trad climber
pitch above you
Sep 19, 2007 - 10:35pm PT
atcha, check your email associated with your login. I'd dig one.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Sep 22, 2007 - 03:43pm PT
Henry in his prime was not only a spectacularly bold and brilliant climber, but great company. He’s got a million stories from his world-wide travels and never turns down a chance for a good time. Mike G. and I first met Henry when we took him to Suicide to see how the reigning rock star would fare on Valhalla. I climbed with him several times after that and each time I was duly impressed with his amazing talent. But the thing I remember most is that being around Henry is always amusing, often hilarious.

Like all the great climbers, Henry had an overwhelming drive to climb, even in less than ideal conditions. . I visited him once in New Hampshire, during a rainy spell. Henry was not deterred and suggested we could do something easy in the wet conditions. . This was an entirely new concept for me, but I agreed. We did a classic (when dry,), steep 5.9 finger crack that Henry led , placing only a couple of nuts on a long pitch. I found it very slippery indeed, and to my chagrin, I fell off on the top rope, with Henry smiling from the belay.

Maybe this thread will encourage Henry to tell a tale or two from his glory days here on ST. He has stories that would rank among the best found here.

A couple of “Hot” shots from my first trip to the East coast in the early 80’s when Henry showed me around Cathedral and Whitehorse.




Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 22, 2007 - 10:21pm PT
I don't think anyone in the history of climbing picked plums as well as Henry Barber even if a few were poached. Loads of striking aid lines yearning to be free and who was he to say no! Climb until you get shut down, whatever the protection, onsight on new ground. I learned to reach well inside while pioneering routes due to Henry's bold and exemplary approach. His exploits were totally enthralling, his ability an inspiration. Who can forget this covershot of the FA of True Grip (5.10) in the Gunks?



Or this one on Vertigo Direct Finish from Climb 1977.

bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2007 - 10:44pm PT
That"s not Henry on Vertigo.... I think it is R. Briggs
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 22, 2007 - 11:26pm PT
No climber named in the shot credit but the locals set him up for this one so I always assume that the hat and ease was his.
To quote the passage in Climb 1977, "Arriving in Boulder, Henry immediately wanted to know what the big remaining plums were. General opinion was that the direct finish to Vertigo was the climb to do. Barber lead the pitch and John Stannard , not relishing the prospect of being lowered one hundred and fifty feet if he came off, seconded the pitch on aid. The climb became noted for a combination of technical difficulty and aesthetically fine position. Barber also repeated a number of the established hard free climbs during this period."

Only Jstan can solve the mystery??????
COT

climber
Door Number 3
Sep 23, 2007 - 02:07am PT
Here is a link to a video clip of Henry Barber talking about how climbing influenced his life

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPATnqHMiaE
thedogfather

climber
Midwest
Sep 23, 2007 - 08:43am PT
For those interested. I can copy a few more dvd's for selected individuals. As before, I don't have a DVD copier but do them one at a time on a computer. But, it looks like some ST users that come in recently but know Henry may have missed out. The first attempt to free El Cap is also pretty fun to watch.
Here is my disclaimer. If you are interested send me an email with your ST name and real name and mailing address.

All the segments on the dogfather DVD were all taped off of TV shows when they first aired so you don’t have to worry that I copied an existing tape or dvd (copyright isses). This accounts for some of the poor quality of some segments and occasional snippets of commercials or other shows. The last segment even has a nice Kansas Tornado Warning on the screen during the taping. At some point, I copied some of them to one tape so that degraded the quality a little also. Viewing in a window on a computer seems gives the best quality.

Chapters:
1. Henry Barber, Pete Livsey, Al Harris in England with EB's and no cams!!
2. Bachar soloing in Yosemite
3. Bachar soloing in JT
4. Werner, Bev Johnson and Kauk attempt to free the Nose
5. Small part of Kauk and Moffet on Lost Arrow
6. Kauk and an English gal on Old Man of Hoy
7. Kurt Albert and Gullich in Yosemite
Gunkie

climber
East Coast US
Sep 23, 2007 - 05:12pm PT
My only 'real' encounter with Hot Henry:

We were toproping the crap out of the bottom 7 feet on Maria Direct in the Gunks [5.9], circa 1979. Up walks some dude with rock shoes already on his feet, a chalkbag around his waist, wearing a pair of skimpy running shorts [no short of course], and sporting one of those AM/FM headsets from the day in bright yellow with two antennas sticking out like TV rabbit ears.

He doesn't even look our way and steps up to Maria Redirect [5.11] and promptly solos it in about 15 seconds. I wonder what he was listening to.


Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 2, 2007 - 01:01pm PT
So Jstan, now that you are back from the Facelift please solve the mystery of the climber on Vertigo above. Is it Henry or a style imposter?
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Oct 2, 2007 - 01:59pm PT
I think Bob's correct, that looks like Roger on Vertigo Direct.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 2, 2007 - 02:46pm PT
I'm pretty sure it is Briggs, not that I'd know.
He's in other photos with the same get up, like on Bastille's NW Corner route.

Primarily, look how much lankier he is compared to Henry.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Oct 2, 2007 - 02:52pm PT
My 0.15 minutes of fame ... I was Roger's belayer on a few of Chelton's photo shoots for Climbing. If you squint real hard at the pictures ....
GOclimb

Trad climber
Boston, MA
Oct 2, 2007 - 04:43pm PT
Never met him, but this weekend, I did a climb of his in my neighborhood (near Boston), called Jane. I understand that in '72 when he freed it at 5.11, it was one of the hardest pitches in the country. Still feels hard today!

Oh, and I led it with just webbing wrapped around me. I hadn't set out to be "old school", I just accidentally forgot my harness - d'oh! Provided strong incentive not to fall!

GO
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Oct 2, 2007 - 08:03pm PT
Don't think I've posted this picture before ... Henry barefootin' (no those aren't shoes) up the 5.10 crux of Missing Link, 1980.

ghand

Sport climber
Golden,Colorado
Dec 29, 2007 - 10:03pm PT
I just read the story jstan told of Henry at Stewart's Ice Cream where he tells of a competition between Henry and a "person who will remain nameless but I will here call Ghand". While I would have liked to have been that person, John must be mistaken. I do not remember that episode at all. Plus, I have never eaten strawberry topping. I am a true chocolate/vanilla snob. Specifically home made, as I am sure John knows my first date with my wife (Aug 1973) was to make homemade ice cream. I just made some for Xmas and I am making some tomorrow for my granddaughter's first birthday party. (Hers is Dec 28 & mine is Dec 27).
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 30, 2007 - 06:04pm PT
As my father likes to say,"never let the truth get in the way of a good story."
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Dec 30, 2007 - 08:06pm PT


I like Henry's expression in this pic...
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 30, 2007 - 08:12pm PT
I'd have been worried too - look at all the innocent bystanders aka drinks. All at risk of being spilled, or filled with broken glass. Maybe not a challenge for Henry, but us mere mortals think differently.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Dec 30, 2007 - 08:22pm PT
Mighty, we were all so sh*tfaced that night, we probably wouldn't have noticed. Here's some more pics from that memorable evening (probably "memorable" thanks only to the photos that someone took):


Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 30, 2007 - 08:34pm PT
HH climbed a few years ago with my brother, in Squamish. He remarked "I'm climbing as well as I ever did. There's just more of me."
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 31, 2007 - 01:51am PT
Nice shots John! I went casting about for the old Australia article in Ascent but can't seem to find it.

Too funny Anders.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 31, 2007 - 11:07am PT
The guy in the blue shirt looks like Chris Bonnington.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Dec 31, 2007 - 11:17am PT
Yep, that's Mr. Bonnington himself. After the North Face debacle, I got involved with a internet startup (Xdogs.com) through a mutual friend of Henry and mine (Hans Figi). The plan was to import BergHaus equipment to the US. Chris (and Leo) were Berghaus reps, while Henry and I were working for the startup. We went to Britain to seal the deal, which we did, but then the whole Internet start-up scene crashed spectacularly and the business failed. My compensation, a gazillion dot.net dollars worth of stock options, were suddenly worthless!

I was really impressed with Henry's salesmanship. Having worked as a Patagonia Rep for so long, he really knew how to work the crowd and sell an idea, concept, or product. A true professional.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 01:20am PT
Henry on the solo of Strand

http://home.comcast.net/~ed_hartouni/vid/Barber_solos_Strand.mov

pretty gripping, actually
thedogfather

climber
Midwest
Feb 23, 2009 - 08:02am PT
funny, I'm pretty sure that was cut from the DVD I made of that entire show a couple of years ago for the Taco Stand. I taped that off the original on TV and fairly early on you will see the footage interrupted by part of a baseball game where I was trying to skip all the commercials. I think the rest of that segment with his interaction with Pete Livesey is classic in showing the strong competitiveness climbers have toward each other.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Feb 23, 2009 - 08:21am PT
Of course, there's the article in Climb! where Henry
goes up to solo Gorilla's Delight in Boulder Canyon--he get's up
to the crux which is a good long distance from the ground, which
has been described as 5.7 or so. . . ha! and the story says
'I probably would break a leg if I fell from here if I miss'. . .
or something to that effect. Those of us who've done that know
it'd be a mite more serious, sort of like 'you're gonna die'!
if you don't make that move. . .

Also, one of the prizes auctioned off at the AAC annual dinner was climbing in Britain with Hot Henry. . .but you'd have to
pick up his airfare over the pond. . .
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 09:53am PT
yes dogfather, the clips I've been posting up are from your video (I think I revived the "thans dogfather" thread recently...


hope you don't mind... thought it was time to get some of those great clips out there
thedogfather

climber
Midwest
Feb 23, 2009 - 10:41am PT
I certainly don't mind since they aren't "my" clips, I just taped them off of TV back in the day. I still think the entire segment with Henry and Pete going at it, the freak-out by Mr Harris on Dream of White Horses and the solo are some of the most compelling climbing footage I have seen.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Feb 23, 2009 - 12:18pm PT
Did a climb last Fall with Henry. He still uses only a swami belt and said he has never placed a cam unit to this day. He still has great footwork!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 21, 2012 - 12:44pm PT
Bump for Henry on ice...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 24, 2013 - 02:13pm PT
Meastro Bump...
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Mar 24, 2013 - 02:15pm PT


...

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 24, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
Severe Steve bump ahead!

Credit: mouse from merced

May result in tired damage!

Thanks on a Sunday morning, guy!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Mar 25, 2013 - 02:37am PT
Locker, thanks dude! That vid is awesome!
steve shea

climber
Mar 25, 2013 - 11:01am PT
That was a good vid. And Bob is right Henry changed climbing for me. In 76 or 77 Henry spent part of the summer climbing on Independence Pass in Co. I climbed with Henry a fair bit. We did a lot of the classic established routes. He was a great climber but the drinkups after were very memorable as well and part of his climbing day, just like brushing his teeth as he said in the vid. Henry and I tried Bicentennial Roof a few times, unclimbed at the time. On one attempt it was my turn to lead and I dislodged a huge chunk of rock directly toward Henry. It was part of a flake allowing a rest before getting on with the difficulties. Two other routes pass by the flake. I had been by it dozens of times over the years with no sign that it would come off. Well on that day it did and missed Henry by centimeters. We had both sufficiently soiled our britches and decided that was enough for that day. Retired to the bar early that day. There were a lot of old aid climbs around so one day we went up to try Dean's Day Off an old 1 pitch A2 crack. Henry led it barefoot. It thins out to a seam at the crux and he used #1 stoppers and crackn'ups for pro. He was up there a long time slowly but smoothly moving up and fiddling pro. We had been climbing lots of 5.11 and 5.10 and he looked no different on this. When he got up and set the anchors he said calmly that was solid 5.12 and it was hard. I went up next then Pat Adams. At the time there were very few claimed 5.12's around. I think John Long and Lynn Hill did one and that was it. Kind of a historical climb because it was an early .12 breaking into a new grade, barefoot, on sight, no falls, retreats or even concerned facial expressions. The pro was not very confidence building either. It was for me the most incredible display of rock climbing I had seen and quintessential Henry. I seem to remember he went barefoot most of the time to keep his feet tough. I tried barefooting after that summer with Henry. I was actually making good progress with it on climbs and going barefoot all the time to build up my feet. Then one day stepped on broken glass, got a massive cut. That was it, no more barefooting for me. Henry was very solid and calculated in his progess forward. Once he he moved up he stayed up. Not much up and down working out moves. He did that in his head then made the move and stayed there, barefoot.
jopay

climber
so.il
Mar 25, 2013 - 11:22am PT
I have a copy somewhere of the "Wide World of Sports" video and besides "The Strand", I thought he also soloed "Dreams of White Horses". I was a beginning climber at the time and was completely inspired by Henry.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Laramie
Mar 25, 2013 - 11:24am PT
yeah Steve Shea,

that was back in day when everyone rated their hard piece of work 5.12. And at this time Henry rated Mr. Clean solid 5.11 and used 3 pitches to cover 300 feet. Many of us then said no move was harder than 5.9 but some people insist on calling it 5.11-.

Nowdays not very many people put 5.15c on their hard piece of work.

Conclusion: If Henry was much better than you, you would idolize him to max. But Don Peterson said to me, "He's barely better if any than the rest of us." Having climbed with Henry I might add he was a publicity seeker and route stealer with little explorative skills to find his own projects.

steve shea

climber
Mar 25, 2013 - 11:35am PT
Hey Dingus thanks for the comments. I idolize no one, A. B, my comments are in the context of my time climbing with Henry that summer long ago. I do not know personally of a dark side with route stealing etc. Could've happened I do not know or care at this point. How's Vedauwoo warming up yet? -6F here in Jackson this am. Going to COR if it warms up spring is here in the Northern Rockies. BTW John long and Lynn Hill did Dean's Day Off not long after I think they agreed with the .12 rating, not sure. Also this was not the latter 70's. this was earlier. I don't know about the front range, we were provincial, but there were NO .12's in our neck of the woods. Wunsch, Erickson, John L, Lynn and many other top climbers of the day tried their hand on Independence and still no .12's but for Largo/Hill and Henry. But Henry was barefoot and different. I don't know much about rock standards after. I concentrated on alpine climbing and left for the mountains.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Laramie
Mar 25, 2013 - 11:53am PT
Steve,

From my perception during that time I feel very certain that Henry did not set the standards whatsoever in the latter seventies. Steve Hong clearly closed out the competition from any nibblers of this title.

Vedauwoo I suppose as normal is cold and windy. Seldom go there. I have been putting routes up at Guernsey State Park. Undisputably the warmest place in the state. We already had a 74F day and when you add 20F for sunny next to the rock with no wind then you have a place too hot--but it felt good. Here is the area we are working on:

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/maroon-towers-wall/107494202
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Mar 25, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
Whoa! he certainly inspired me. If he wasn't setting standards, he certainly was opening up peoples eyes by going to places all around the world that we'd never even heard of and knocking off most of their classic test pieces in amazing style.

I know there was some talk of him being a "trust funder", don't know if that's true or not, but in my eyes that didn't diminish his amazing list of hard climbs.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 25, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
In my view, Henry had more energy and perhaps financial resources than most everyone at the time. It is true what Dingus McGee and Don Peterson say about him above. But as we all know, a great deal of success is due to just being there, being productive. He was as competitive as a rugby player, openly so, and scornful too and even a little spacey. But he was very funny and I guess a good injection of new blood at the time.
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Mar 25, 2013 - 02:27pm PT
Tributes and praise! ... a paragon thread for the ST classics archive.

Any illumination pertaining to Henry's bodyweight in his most vital climbing years?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 25, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
HH climbed a few years ago with my brother, in Squamish. He remarked "I'm climbing as well as I ever did. There's just more of me.

I suspect there's a lot of us that can relate to that comment. The on-sight free-solo of Steck-Salathe, and swooping in to pick off Fish Crack particularly opened my eyes. Bob is right. He did, indeed, change climbing for me.


This thread started when I was incarcerated at Taft, so I missed it the first time. Thanks to those who bumped.

John
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 25, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
Dingus....I've climbed with both Don Peterson and Henry. To pararaphrse from a Presidential debat....Don, you're no Henry Barber- not even close.
Henry did rub a lot of people the wrong way, perhaps that's why some won't give him his due.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Laramie
Mar 25, 2013 - 03:24pm PT
donini,

it sounds like you were one of these people,

Conclusion: If Henry was much better than you, you would idolize him to max

And you could not see how good Don was??
steve shea

climber
Mar 25, 2013 - 03:32pm PT
Jennie, he was lean but as Largo said up thread not very athletic looking. They way he/we sucked down the suds it's a wonder anything got climbed. Henry reminds me of Greg Lowe. Greg was a very talented rock climber the best of the Lowes. Greg's and Henry's mental approach was similar. The rock had no chance, it was already climbed in their minds.
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Mar 25, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
I have to take exception with Dingus's comments---at least the undertone if not the specific facts.

As one who has known Henry since fairly early in his career and climbed with him during that period though was never a close friend, I think that I have some degree of perspective on his personaility and contributions.

While in the days of Henry's prime, as in most periods of climbing history, there were others of a similar level of ability who made major contributions, there are usually those, such as Henry, who's "total package" make them stand out from the others. While Steve Hong, and others, made major climbs and were undoubtedly comparably proficient on rock, most of their climbing tended to be localized to specific areas and or styles, while Henry made his "mark" not only across the country, but overseas as well, on ice and alpine routes as well as rock climbs, solo as well as roped. Yes, maybe because of his personality and "professionalism" he received more media exposure than some of his more "camera shy" peers, but this factor is in itself very significant in assessing his impact on the overall climbing community---as one won't have much of an overall impact if one's abilities and contributions are not known beyond a small circle of friends. During the same time frame similar comments can be made regarding Pete Livesey in the UK. So, yes Henry wasn't the only top climber in the '70s, far from it, but he was a, if not THE, standard setter.

As for Dingus's other comments--as I noted above, he was a publicity seeker, but so what, this aspect of his personality in no way undercuts his actual accomplishments.
As far as his being a "... route stealer with little explorative skills to find his own projects". Well, maybe he "stole" some routes on occasion (though that concept, especially in the days before large expenditures for bolting projects, is always quite questionable)but the lack of explorative skills part is just pure nonsense, as anyone familiar with his routes in the northeast can attest.

As Pat and others stated in the earlier incarnation of this thread, Henry is far from a perfect person, as all of us are, but this thread isn't suggesting that he be sainted, it is only about recognizing his impact as a climber on other climbers of his and subsequent generations. I've never "idolized" Henry, I haven't always agreed with him, but I have always acknowledged and admired his climbing prowess and the very real impact he has had upon our sport.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 25, 2013 - 03:55pm PT
What impresses me is when people try to do things that no one has ever tried to do, particularly when it's dangerous and psychologically intimidating. Henry Barber's one of the guys who pushed the envelope.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Laramie
Mar 25, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
Don Paul,

Henry did push some envelopes. Here is one example. It was 1975, upon my leaving I meet a guy heading to the Scab Boulder in the BH Needles. "Holy Sh#t, the man of the mags is here", my partner J Slitcher whispers. At this time I know nothing of H and have to ask for details.

After some beers in the Parking lot the newsboy hatted gentleman returns to the parking lot. Another friend of mine shows up and wants me to boulder with him. While at Scab he reads the latest entry into the Scab register, "These B1's are Bullshit", H. Barber. The following line was immediately added that read, "Then go try Thimble." Ah, Henry never pushed that envelope. Yes, he could talk the walk. And it seems you guys are more than willing to talk his walk.

The next day I was to boulder with John Gill. Can I keep a secret? Was I an authority on B1 ratings? Gill wanted to know what I though of the ratings. Gill ask what this fellow looked like and said he would like to have a chat with him. Henry apologizes? I felt like John was hedging when he said, "Sort of", to me.

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 25, 2013 - 05:33pm PT
I never met the guy. I know people rarely live up to the legends people create about them. I can forgive people for being egotists, or for chasing publicity. Maybe its because I was never in the game, just climbed for my own reasons and never needed to be the best. But that spirit, that just because no one else can do this, doesn't mean I can't - is a really inspiring idea.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Laramie
Mar 25, 2013 - 06:51pm PT
Don Paul,

inspiring. OK great & fine. Henry had a legend about using little gear and running it out. At some point he started saying upon being ask of that style, "Less is More." What a naive legend builder to have this naive self-view. Here is the contrary evidence from him about following that slogan with little meaning as to what he really did.

Upon seconding Henry on Quatz Jester I take some time to remove 3 almost body weighted # 9 hexes where the crack ends and there is no more protection until the anchors. Less is More?? Makes no sense to me why he would place 3 pieces if he believes less is more.

For the tight hands section in Direct SW I tell Henry that it is very hard to get the 5 hex secure. Henry spends a day there and finally gets the hex out of reach but secures a good tight placement with chalk everywhere. He leaves it there and does the climb the next day, but he tells us he has left it for us. Next day Mark Smedley eventually gets the piece out and leads past the tight spot now with no gear, at the finger ledge he cannot hang on. My turn comes up next and I get the second free ascent. Now if "Less is More" for Henry why so much time to place the #5 hex not to say the least of his boldness.

I totally disagree that Henry changed the way we climb. Not one iota of credit can go to him. But yes for Steve Hong.

slabbo

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Mar 25, 2013 - 07:30pm PT
Well dingus, that should get some



henry did really spook up the scene in OZ, i was there 10 years after and people still were talking about his visit.

Fish crack in the valley 12b, nuts 1975 ?

I will say he kinda went away from the NH scene when Jimmie Dunn took over around "76
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane ~:~
Mar 25, 2013 - 08:43pm PT
When I here the name Hot Henry Barber, this iconic image 1st comes to mind...
Henry Barber FFA Butterballs w. George Meyers ('73)
Henry Barber FFA Butterballs w. George Meyers ('73)
Credit: Jib Knight
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Mar 26, 2013 - 02:45am PT

Jennie, he was lean...


Thanks, Steve. Just curious about rock climbing aptitude relative to body type. It often appears the ultra slender climbers are the most exemplary in talent ...but then someone with a more mesomorphic anatomy appears and does as well.

I suppose it's problematic predicting proficiency by body type in a sport in which finger and toe strength are so crucial...along with mental faculties...
slabbo

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Mar 26, 2013 - 09:50am PT
Henry has said he used to hang around the zoos in Boston to learn how monkeys and other critters moved when they climbed. Things like straight am hangs and such.. interesting
Gilroy

Social climber
Bolderado
Mar 26, 2013 - 09:53am PT
This last weekend on Sweat at Enchanted Rock where I introduced him to Texas granite BITD. Bet he still maintains all the camming action required from gear is provided by Hexcentrics.

Henry at Enchanted Rock SNA, TX
Henry at Enchanted Rock SNA, TX
Credit: selfish man

Good to see Henri is still getting up and down in the climbing world though it appears he has progressed past mesomorph and his swami now requires a bit more 2'' webbing. His girth now matches the size of his heart. And grin, for a friend.

Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Mar 26, 2013 - 10:32am PT
Liked his old hats better.
selfish man

Gym climber
Austin, TX
Mar 26, 2013 - 10:42am PT
He was rope soloing and probably wearing that wrong hat as a disguise so we couldn't recognize him. But his references to ice climbing with Gilroy gave him away
Gilroy

Social climber
Bolderado
Mar 27, 2013 - 09:42am PT
He wasn't using one of those devices that has a CAM in it, was he?

The horror....
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Mar 27, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
Seems like he made a lot of ppl jealous. I appreciate his dedication to style, quite profound actually.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 27, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
I always think of Kor and Henry B sort of in the same way. They were both very terrific climbers, were outsiders, had way more energy than anyone else had, and upset the apple cart, so to speak, of established climbing. Henry was quite a bit less civil about his process however but he surely had his friends as well. There can be sort of a torpor that descends upon a climbing period, in this case the earlier seventies, and HB was an aggressive injection of new blood and vigor that basically did a lot of good and ended that laziness in many CA. climbers.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Mar 27, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
I met Henry at a small local crag near my home in New Hampshire. I was a 5.8 climber at the time. He gave me some advice and it changed my climbing and probably my life course.
jstan

climber
Mar 27, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
I can't speak for CA as that was a very long traverse from the East. In the sixties and seventies to a large degree the East had an inclusive feeling to it. Hans Fritz and Jim had a lot to do with that as did Dan Smiley in the Gunks. It was a very special atmosphere and we all could concentrate on enjoying the climbing - simply for the climbing. Besides his climbing what Henry brought with him was a powerful spontaneity. The minute he thought of something to do, he went out and did it. It was great.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Mar 27, 2013 - 01:46pm PT
After reading the Breach Wall by Rob Taylor(IIRC), it's hard to hold Henry in high regard...but you know, there are two sides to every story and I've never heard Barber's version of why he basically abandoned his critically injured partner in some third world shithole.
chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Mar 27, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
Mark, what did Henry say to you? I'd like to climb 5.13 too.
Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 27, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
First climbed with Henry in the mid-70's at Cochiti Lake...he led a new 5.11c thin crack with maybe 4 to 5 pieces in 75 feet He downed a couple beers earlier in the morning as we waited for the sun to hit the west facing wall. Still to this day one of the most impressive leads I had the pleasure to watch.



Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Mar 27, 2013 - 02:53pm PT
He said to keep climbing the 5.8 routes I was climbing at the time till I had them totally friggen wired and could do them effortlessly and make them look like a ballet. He said that once you could do that, you could climb 5.9. Repeat that technique on 5.9 and on and on. He told me to use my feet.

Ever since then I've been a "base builder". When I got back into climbing, after a five year hiatus, at Smith Rock, I climbed every 5.9 in the park, then every 5.10a, then every .10b, and on and on and on, until I climbed almost all of the .13b routes and a couple of the .13c routes.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:24pm PT
Henry has said he used to hang around the zoos in Boston to learn how monkeys and other critters moved when they climbed.


Awwww, shiitttt....he was just there stealin' their bananas :-)
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 27, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
I was taught to climb that way too, do all the 5.8s before moving on to the 5.9s. If you can't do a move, downclimb to a rest. Learning that way creates a kind of static climbing style that no one does anymore. (well, not NO ONE, but you know what I mean) Running it out when there are gear placements seems to make no sense, but after all isn't this sport supposed to be about confronting your fears and doing heroic things? Plus, when I fell on gear, it tended to come out anyway.
Boulderman

Boulder climber
St. Paul, MN
Jun 20, 2013 - 08:37pm PT
Henry's solo of Strand was part of a special 1 hour American Sportsman show on Easter Sunday, 1977. The first 15 minutes featured Red Foxx hunting. The last 45 minutes was Henry climbing in Great Britain.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Jun 20, 2013 - 08:56pm PT
I'd love to see that footage!! Anyone got a link??
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jun 20, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
I had never heard of the incident on Breach Wall, so I looked it up on WIKI:

"In early 1978, Henry and partner Rob Taylor attempted the first ascent of the Breach Wall on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Taylor fell while leading steep ice, and broke his ankle very badly. The details of what happened following the accident vary depending on which of the two parties is telling the story. Barber's party says that Barber helped Taylor descend; got him to a hospital; and then left to fly back to the United States to keep a speaking commitment. Taylor's party says that Barber abandoned him on the mountain, forcing him to climb down alone with his leg mangled. He somehow reached the rainforest at the base of the mountain and was rescued by local tribesman. Taylor nearly lost his leg at the hospital, and felt abandoned by his partner. After he recovered, Taylor wrote articles and a book painting Barber in a very unflattering light."

I was just wondering if anyone who was there could shed light on exactly what happened.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Jun 20, 2013 - 11:31pm PT
there was a long article by taylor and a quite different take on the situation by henry in an interview a year later.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Jun 21, 2013 - 08:29am PT
I am a friend of Henry and have climbed a bit with him over the years. He was an amazing climber in his prime. He could visit a new climbing area, do the very hardest climbs, then put up his own that were harder. He did that all over the world and I cannot think of anyone who can match that record. They are still talking about his visits to Britain where he impressed the top climbers there not only his climbing, but with his ability to match them pint for pint!

The top performers in any field will always draw criticism and Henry’s brash personality probably contributed to the amount he received. I always found him to be genuine, energetic,and and I had great fun climbing with him.


Kelly7873

Social climber
Honolulu
Jun 21, 2013 - 08:56am PT
I have the Rob Taylor article and the Henry Barber interview in 'Mirrors in the Cliffs' (1983). The wiki article is all BS. From Taylor's article titled 'A Breach of Faith' from Mountain 63 (1978), "It is undoubtedly true that I could never of managed to survive the descent on the face if it wasn't for Henry's physical assistance. For this I am immensely grateful." "And although from my point of view, the compassion and supportive insight I desperately needed from him was sorely lacking at this time, no one could have been more efficient in executing our retreat."
After getting Rob off the cliff Henry carried him on his back to a place of shelter, then ran for over 30 hours to get help. Henry said that it was a mistake that he left Rob in Africa but that he left only after he knew he was at the hospital.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Jun 21, 2013 - 09:46am PT
I have climbed with Henry occasionally for 40 years, and after reading Taylor's book, years ago, I concluded that Taylor did a great in-justice to Henry.

Henry realizes that it was a mistake not to return with the rescue team. Taylor did a greater injustice by writing a book, painting Henry as some kind of evil person.

Many of us have made mistakes in our lives which we regret. In the "Touching the Void" incident Yates cut Simpson's rope, and they are both friends to this day.

I have always viewed Taylor as a "cry baby" who in my opinion ought to have accepted the situation and got on with his life, instead of writing a one-sided account of a most unfortunate climbing accident.

Henry, in fact, saved Taylor's life, and I can only guess that Taylor regrets writing the book.

rurprider

Trad climber
Mt. Rubidoux
Jun 21, 2013 - 10:13am PT
aspendougy........the whole story of the Barber/Taylor incident on Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is detailed in Barber's book, "On Edge: The Life and Climbs of Henry Barber" by Chip Lee. The Breach Wall was described by Reinhold Messner, who did the FA subsequent to the Taylor incident, as the most dangerous mountaineering objective he ever climbed. Well, that's until he attempted the south face of Aconcogua. The story is that Taylor broke his ankle seriously, to the point that it was doubled over against his leg such that he looked down and saw the crampon points on the bottom of his boot pointing back up at him. Barber did a remarkable job of getting Taylor's injury reduced to where the leg was more or less aligned and off the Breach Wall, with great difficulty due to the traversing nature of the lower pitches and back to level ground (rainforest as you put it), at which point Barber ran to get help and arrange for Taylor's evacuation to a hospital. It's at this point that Barber returned to the US to keep a speaking engagement and Taylor begins his ordeal in the Nairobi Hospital, which was complicated by the open fracture, infection due to the open wound and time it took to get Taylor off the mountain and to the hospital, inadequate medical care, etc.. After Barber departs is where the controversy begins, as Barber didn't see Taylor after he left to get help and Taylor felt abandoned, and the two "parties" disagree on the events. The rub is that the two never spoke to one another again, but were the east & west coast sales reps for Chouinard Equipment, Inc. According to accounts by both men, Barber got Taylor down off the wall and Taylor wasn't left to do the Joe Simpson "death crawl," but Taylor felt abandoned all the same.
Incidentally, there were two climbers; Henry Barber and Rob Taylor, not the Barber party and a Taylor party.
All facts aside there are some great moral issues to debate here and more than enough skeletons to be uncovered, but it doesn't change the fact that "Hot Henry" Barber was a great climber and changed climbing forever..
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jun 21, 2013 - 10:33am PT
Steve A - I can't comment either way on Hot Henrys character, or for that matter Taylors motivations, but I do see a morality tale in here that we could all benefit from and to that extent its a benefit to us all that we know the story. Maybe in a perfect world, the two of them would have healed their wounds and wrote the book together, perhaps 10 or 20 years later after much introspection.

Hard to say. But either way I think it is a great cautionary tale of the pull and influence of the whole "professional climber" gig. You must admit, leaving a bro to navigate a not particularly first world hospital all by himself all because of some easily cancelled speaking engagement or slideshow or whatever is a bit suspect, to say the least.

I think we all have skeletons and I think we can all learn from them, if we are willing to share the story
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Jun 21, 2013 - 11:56am PT
I totally agree with SteveA's comments on this. I knew both Henry and Rob during that time period, and much of the picture that Rob paints in his Mountain article and subsequent book (The Breach) doesn't ring true. Both Rob and Henry were professional climbers at the time, not the "professional" Henry and "amateur" Rob as portrayed in the publications, and they both went to Kilimanjaro to further their "careers". Clearly the partnership that had been so successful the previous winter in Norway had deteriorated in Africa, and they were not seeing eye-to-eye on the climb. But there is no way that Henry "forced" Rob to lead the pitch where the accident occurred. I don't doubt that Rob had his doubt's about continuing while Henry wanted to go on, but Rob could have relinquished the lead, something many of us have done, I'm sure. Even Rob didn't deny the great physical efforts Henry expended in getting them off the mountain safely, his complaints were more about the lack of emotional support. That is likely true,and, if so, unfortunate, but under the pressures of the descent understandable. I think that once Henry got back to civilization and started the rescue, that under the circumstances he would have been a liability if he had returned with the rescue team. He gave them accurate directions to locate Rob, and this they did. Surely Henry should have remained in Africa and been available for Rob at the hospital---this Henry admits, but this failure does not deserve the public hatchet job that Rob gave him in the article and book.
DanaB

climber
CT
Jun 21, 2013 - 12:32pm PT
Rob Taylor wrote that at the time of the accident their relatiionship was utilitarian - based on how much they could help each other attain climbing goals - and there was no emotional connection. So complaining about lack of emotional support didn't make a lot of sense. His feelings are understandable , of course, because he was under a lot of stress and most of us in that type of situation would like to have a familiar face around, even if it was someone we didn't particulary like or feel close to. He should have waited a bit longer to write the book.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jun 21, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
His biography addresses The Breach in painful detail, buy and read the book.

I saw the footage of when he got in trouble free soloing that sea cliff in UK... for some TV show wasn't it? Anyway, its tense. That scene is also detailed in the biography.

Little bit of good friend / hero worship tone to the book but I liked it anyway, fascinating



DMT
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Nov 15, 2013 - 12:45pm PT
Anyone who hasn't heard Henry's enormocast interview which seems fairly recent should check it out.


Guy was living the dream for a long time. Inspiring stuff!


Henry Barber interview
jammer

climber
Nov 15, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
Thanks for the thread guys! Henry Barber is one of my favorite climbers to read about. It just sounds like he nearly outclassed all the world at rock climbing in his prime, as much or more so than any other individual. Reading about his ascents, many of them balls out, is like reading about a magic trick, but it's not magic. It's incredible and makes him almost mythical. Wasn't one of the only places he went that he didn't raise standards (if I remember the article I read) the Elbsandstein on the border of the Chezch Republic and Germany?

Also, I always figured most of the bad stuff said about the guy came down to jealousy. He didn't strike me as one of the 'cool kids'.
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Nov 15, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
Jammer, Henry was really impressed by the climbing standards in the UK at the time (as well as by the non-climbing aspects of the climbing "lifestyle" of the day). I don't believe that he ever advanced the top climbing standards there, and had alot of catching up to do in the "lifestyle" department---though he put his usual great effort into that as well. While he was very impressed with both the difficulty and boldness of the climbs in Dresden, he and his partners (Wunsch, Hatch) did in fact, help make a stylistic advance in the climbing there. Previously the locals tended to belay at each of the sparse "rings" on the climbs, breaking the routes into multiple short "pitches", while Henry and the others used the rings only as runners, on at least some of the routes they did, creating longer and more sustained pitches. I believe that this later practise has now been accepted as the norm in the area.
Mark Force

Trad climber
Cave Creek, AZ
Nov 15, 2013 - 07:42pm PT
Cool thread. Just for fun check out this video of Henry Barber stylin' up Waverly Wafer barefoot!

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YPATnqHMiaE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DYPATnqHMiaE
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 24, 2014 - 04:36pm PT
Nice!
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 25, 2014 - 07:35am PT
No one in their sane mind would have expected Henry to help in the carry out after his run through the jungle. leaveing your partner injured in a 3rd world country however to go do a slide show on how you heroicly rescued him is probobly not the best move. I have read both Taylors and Barbers books. There is no discrepency on weather or not Henry acted the A hole. He proves it by writeing that Taylor was a pussy who never should have been a climber. That and other language are typical bully tactics that do not show good charecter.
The biggest discrepency is undoubtably weather or not the screw held. Henry claims that the screw blew causeing Taylor to deck. Taylor recalls sitting on the ledge with a broken ankle looking up at the screw with the rope still running through it and that Henry dropped him. Henry published a photo in his book with a caption indicateing that it is Taylor moments before he fell. In the photo Taylor looks sketchy. Any expert ice climmber can see that he is moments from comming off. Having put my time in with manuel focus, manuel film advance SLR cameras I feel that it is doubtfull that one can give a good belay and run one of those things at the same time. Given the photo of Taylor sketching and the timeing of that photo taken by Henry I am inclined to believe Taylor that the screw held and he was dropped.
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