Ancient Gold, a Suicide Rock TR


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 20 of total 95 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Social climber
Ventura, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 18, 2007 - 08:04pm PT
My oldest son Ian has developed a keen interest in experiencing climbs as I saw them back in the seventyís at Suicide and Tahquitz Rocks here in California. Over the past few years Iíve had the pleasure to relive the thrills of my old stomping grounds with a very eager young man determined to develop a strong head for leading.

Ian on Serpentine

Last month while doing Serpentine on the Suicide's Weeping Wall Ian spied the smooth expanse of rock to itís upper right. I told him it was the ďWindow PaneĒ on ďTen Carrot GoldĒ. He was impressed it was so flawless and lacked bolts, intrigued he asked if it was hard. My reply was, for the lead its not that itís hard but more an excursion into your own reasons you climb. Somewhat perplexed he was curious as to what I was really meaning to sayÖ I pointed out there also seemed to be a variation to the left of it that offered a few more bolts. This could be a good option to get a feel for the rock before you tackled the original route. He thought about it for a minute considering both options and says heíd like to do the original way up the Pane. So we put Ten Carrot on the list to do the next time, giving him the chance to bone up on some more slab skills.

Over the period of the next month he asks a lot about the climb. I tell him about the first ascent party, John Long, Rick Accomazzo both of whom Ian knew having recently surfed with Rick and Biked with John. But Ian hadnít ever met Richard Harrison. I told him that Richard had Painted all the hardware they were planning to use on the FA gold as a final detail to the route they had planed to establish. It amounted to a handful of bolt hangars and a couple Knife Blades. I went on to say itís been a long time since I did the route but I had remembered it being quite enjoyable and the hardware was still gold clad at the time. I reminded myself out loud the last time I did the route was with his mother a few years before he was born. Hearing all of this made him want to do it all the more.

We arrive at its base on Sunday afternoon at around 3:30 and even I am apprehensive about the climb. I offer to take the first pitch because of my concern of how far out the second bolt is above the first and besides he was so keen to do the Window Pane. As I throw the rack together Iím finding myself eager to put this to bed and asking myself in silence why I still climb? Itís been twenty nine years since the last time I did this route and would it still hold the same meaning for me? So off I go very quietly keeping to myself moving deliberately from hold to hold putting in the distance needed. The cool breeze and perfect conditions cleared all my stress and the thankfully very few problems I have in my life. A chance to truly concentrate on what was before meÖ I caught a sigh of relief from Ian as I clip the second bolt and pretty much assure myself safe passage to the top. Drifting a bit I comment about the unknown you experience on a first ascent and how a number of elements dictate where you might place the bolts and its not clear for everyone. I continue that we today have our path before us on established routes so itís not so unknown where our next piece of protection is going to be and we can take for granted the bolts we clip. We even know with todayís guide books what the difficulty is between each bolt so finding some unknown takes a little more effort. Yakking even more I say a fun exercise is to never grab the bolt and imagine standing there for the first time and placing it. Perhaps you can even conger up some inspiration as to what the first ascent party felt.

As I reach the top of the first pitch I find all the apprehension and maybe any doubt of my abilities flush away. I am once again reminded why I climb and I am feeling quite alive.

In a very focused state Ian follows the pitch with a slight shake of his head here and there as he looks back at the previous bolt. I know his mind must be turning inside out as to whatís in store for him on the second pitch. I can see he is getting a feel for keeping over his feet and mindful of his center. All the time knowing he will have to put all this to use on the Window Pane soon enough. I comment heís developing some good foot work but I donít think he heard me.

As he reaches the belay I mention itís nice the bolts have been improved over the years (maybe last ten or fifteen) although I do miss the touch of gold. The added strength at the belay is welcomed when you look out and see the next placement a good forty feet up and right. I tell him the missing old fixed Knife blade straight out right might actually be better gone for less rope drag but it didnít register with him I could see. A moment or so after his comment that he wants to gather himself mentally he grabs the two quick draws he needs for the only bolts on the pitch and a couple cams for the belay and heís off.

Shameful Advertisement for climbing Knickers

If there is a true crux of the route its right off the belay and Ian fusses with the sequence with a bad start but finds the correction quickly and heís off into his own unknown. He tries to joke about his bumbling the start then says his head isnít on right as he keeps going. I tell him if he thinks heís as solid as he looks to me, then he has nothing to worry about. With one move remaining he pauses, then steps up and quickly clips the bolt with a hoot of satisfaction. Having got the swing for the friction technique this section of the climb requires he continues to the top with a feeling what must have been like being on the home stretch.

As I come up I can only smile doing this for the first time in sticky shoes. The method of taking baby steps seemed to work the best to assure you stay well planted to make the best of the friction on a holdless face. As I top out I congratulate him on a job well done and the decent belay he had set up for his old Dad.

For more photos of this adventure please visit Ancient Gold, a Suicide TR at

Edit: Damm I finally figured out how to format these links. look out!

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Sep 18, 2007 - 08:09pm PT
f*#kin' a man, that was brilliant. it took me straight back to my first time up ten karot gold -- a climb that is less about your skills and more about your head.

thanks for the tr. made my day.
E.L. "One"

Big Wall climber
Lancaster, California
Sep 18, 2007 - 08:38pm PT
One of the all time classic climbs anywhere !!!! Those pics made my calves hurt again !! Thanks


Social climber
No Ut
Sep 18, 2007 - 08:39pm PT
Nice and poignant, Mike...

right here, right now
Sep 18, 2007 - 08:58pm PT
Good job Mike!
What a neat thing to do with your son.
Your writing is spare and clean too: very refreshing.

Trad climber
Sep 18, 2007 - 08:59pm PT

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Sep 18, 2007 - 09:12pm PT
Why is it called the "Window pane"?

I remember leading a second pitch after the first pitch my buddy did, and both were heady.

the critters had eaten a hole in my buddy's tie dye t-shirt that day. great tie dyes from that guy in Modesto. vibrant colors.

anyways, 10k was a way special route for us. still adventuresome for us, in that we didn't know if we had it in us to do it and keep our sh#t together. much thx for a great line.



Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Sep 18, 2007 - 09:35pm PT
Very nice Mike!
Makes me want to head right out there with a couple draws and some gold paint.

Ain't that one o' them "museum" climbs?

Mountain climber
Sep 18, 2007 - 10:25pm PT
Very nice Mike.
I remember the window pane pitch quite well although I haven't done it in 20 years.It's got to be a trip sharing those old adventures with your son now!
We had a poster of Robs' picture of Bartlet on that pitch hanging above the iron rack at the old Pack and Piton. Seems like a long time ago. Nice that you recalled us, the Pack and Piton Boys. We always felt like second string Stonemasters, but I wouldn't trade those days for anything. Thanks for the kind words.
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Sep 19, 2007 - 01:09am PT
Wow the pictures take me back. If I close my eyes I can feel the warmth radiating from the rock after the sun is off the face. The smells and feel all comes back.
Climbing with my daughter last weekend she scolded me for stopping climbing to Yak for ten years. I said it will not happen again and I hope to teach grand kids as well in the next twenty years.
Sure will be glad to see the pockets on the knickers. Also bringing white back, it is about time HB was not the only guy in white pants . RCS
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 19, 2007 - 01:37am PT
thanks for wonderful trip report. going back and doing climbs done long ago is so much fun, like meeting old friends and picking back up where you left off, but deepened by the experience of those missing years.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Sep 19, 2007 - 01:49am PT
need the white painter pants, thread bump.

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Sep 19, 2007 - 01:57am PT part many peeps catch the "windowpane" double entandre?

70's. maybe you just had to be there....
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 19, 2007 - 02:01am PT
you had to be there...

Social climber
The West
Sep 19, 2007 - 02:03am PT
"dual"? 'scuse me while I Kiss this guy.

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Sep 19, 2007 - 10:54am PT
Love these generation/return stories in general, and yours was written spare and smooth as the rock itself.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 19, 2007 - 11:01am PT
Great TR Mike! What fun and adventure you can have on those gleaming slabs. I especially like Harrison's gold paint on the hangers, nice touch. Great to see your son's youthful curiousity about the route so grounded in your own history. Very cool thing to be able to share. Get on up there and have a look around. Curiousity thrilled the cat and always will as long as these routes stay wild. Thanks for posting and good job Ian for mustering up the family composure!

Museum climbs, my ass!

The Eye of the Snail
Sep 19, 2007 - 11:08am PT
Yup, lets hear it for generational tales. Nice goatee as well.

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 19, 2007 - 12:18pm PT
such a nice thing to share Mike, how cool

Trad climber
In the mountains... somewhere...
Sep 19, 2007 - 12:31pm PT
Great writing Mike. It's such an enjoyable route and it's good to see the new generation getting as much fun out of it as we did.
Messages 1 - 20 of total 95 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta