Hot Henry changed climbing!


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

Mount Kilimanjaro

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.

right here, right now
Sep 18, 2007 - 12:00am PT
As an homage to our host, we just polished the bottle to enhance its clarity.

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!

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.



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)

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.


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!"

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?

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

Boulder, Colorado
Sep 22, 2007 - 03:43pm PT
Henry in his prime was not only a spectacularly bold and brilliant climber, but great company. Hes 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 80s 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??????

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

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 dont 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.

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

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?

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