Hot Henry changed climbing!


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Dingus McGee

Social climber
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.


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

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 &#40;'73&#41;
Henry Barber FFA Butterballs w. George Meyers ('73)
Credit: Jib Knight

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...

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

Social climber
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.


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

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

The horror....

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.

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.

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.

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.

Social climber
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.

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.
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