First All Female Ascent and First Female Solo of El Cap

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Messages 1 - 58 of total 58 in this topic
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 30, 2007 - 02:15pm PT
Groundbreaking Yosemite history from Summit April 1974 and Oct/Nov 1978. Blowing the roof off thirty years back.









And just a short while later........





neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Sep 30, 2007 - 04:01pm PT
hey there... thanks for sharing this... this is great yosemite history... thanks for sharing this great job by climber-bev!
Raafie

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Sep 30, 2007 - 04:02pm PT
Is that an old Troll Whillans harness? Not known for it's comfort in a fall. . . but maybe worse for the men.

Great reading, great accomplishment.
Frank Sanders

Trad climber
Devils Tower. Wyoming
Sep 30, 2007 - 09:46pm PT
Oh Steve,
SUSAN HARRINGTON will always be the 1st True Female Solo of El Cap, by me. In impeccable style she hauled her own loads, fixed all the initial pitches totally by herself and continued to finish all other pitches ALONE. There wasn't even anyone to meet her at the top, so she descended the rappels, Solo. It was 1985. What a Woman !!!

Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Sep 30, 2007 - 11:33pm PT
Speaking of fine ladies, Barb Eastman is my neighbor. She and Molly Higgins did the first all female ascent of the Nose in 1977. A couple of years ago Barb found her slides of their ascent. Great fun seeing that history.

Here is an online article that profiles some that history and other female history in Yosemite:

http://mountaingazette.com/article/633
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 1, 2007 - 09:04am PT

This is a note that Robbins sent to Ken Wilson, editor of Mountain Magazine, on Bev's solo ascent of the Leaning Tower. Ken sent it to me to include in the climbing notes for Yosemite.



Reading an old note, politically incorrect, in handwriting, that traversed from California to England to California by mail, to be included as big news, makes it seem like a long time ago. The picture of Bev in the article that Steve posted makes it seem like yesterday.

hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
Yosemite, CA
Oct 1, 2007 - 01:53pm PT
I look up to Bev immensely and I loved reading that she also soloed the West Face of Leaning Tower. I have looked to her often for inspiration and feel sad that I never had the chance to meet her. She paved the way for so many and even now you read threads here about "all female teams" like it is some huge deal. Woman can send hard on El Cap, and Bev showed us to just do it. Third solo of El Cap period. Nice job Bev, and a great route to do it on.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 1, 2007 - 06:11pm PT
Isn't it somewhat condescending to say "first female" ANYTHING?

Haven't adventure sportswomen like Lynn Hill and Joy Ungritch shown us that that women are just as capable of outdoing men?
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Oct 1, 2007 - 06:22pm PT
No more sexist comments on the supertaco. Good climbers of all genders are celebrated equally
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Oct 1, 2007 - 10:37pm PT
"Isn't it somewhat condescending to say "first female" ANYTHING?"

It can be, but in this case, it's absolutely not. W/o first females like Bev and Lynn, I would never have thought that climbing was something that I could/should try.

"Haven't adventure sportswomen like Lynn Hill and Joy Ungritch shown us that that women are just as capable of outdoing men?

By being a first female, Lynn Hill showed me that women can outdo men. I'm motivated by additional examples too though.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Oct 1, 2007 - 11:21pm PT
looks like Bev was a hottie...
Mimi

climber
Oct 2, 2007 - 12:36am PT
Down Ray.

Roger, that is an awesome bit of history. Thanks for posting.
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Oct 2, 2007 - 12:57am PT
Google yielded this gem..

http://www.yorktownalums.org/hall_of_fame/inductees/johnson_b_65.html

and a good Bev thread on ST last year...

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=194665&msg=195783
graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Oct 2, 2007 - 11:21am PT
That is so cool, I didn’t know she wind surfed acrossed the Bering straight.

I really liked Bev she was a great person.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Oct 2, 2007 - 12:25pm PT
Knocked off the Captain solo in eight days, pretty darn fast!

Be sure to click on Sewellymon's link to the other Bev thread above. Ed copied a great homily by Jim Bridwell written for Climbing mag after Bev died in a helicopter crash in '94.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 2, 2007 - 12:29pm PT
Anybody have a copy of Yosemite Climber to post the classic photo of Bev and her yellow haulsack on the Dihedral Wall solo?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2007 - 12:53pm PT
Well, I finally had to go digging for the 74 AAJ account of Bev and Sibylle's ascent to round out this thread.














Uncertainty equals adventure and these two women had a grand one!
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Oct 16, 2007 - 12:56pm PT
Let's not forget Lynn and Mari's first all female ascent of the Sheild. Together they weigh about what I do. No silly Z hauling rigs, no futzing around, just went and knocked it out years ago.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Oct 16, 2007 - 10:04pm PT
I don't have the info any more, but I have this vague recollection from a bit of women's climbing history research that I did then lost that Ellie Hawkins was on the second ascent of the Sheild and did her share of crux leading. (Pls. correct me if I'm wrong.)

I don't understand why using mechanical advantage would be any kind of ding on your style (I'm not sure if that's what you're saying, although I've seen it said before by others), except that if you only weigh 90 pounds, to go w/o it, you have to pack a lot less than a big person?
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 17, 2007 - 12:19am PT
Here you go, Steve. Bev Johnson, from her solo ascent of the Dihedral Wall. From "Yosemite Climber", by George Meyers.


Mountain 44 reports that Hugh Burton was on the second ascent of the Shield, but it doesn't say with who. Chuck Pratt and Steve Sutton did the third ascent.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 17, 2007 - 12:40am PT
Melissa,

I saved that table from your research in '04 and modified it slightly to yield:

http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/yos/women.htm

You had Ellie Hawkins, Bruce Hawkins and Keith Nannery down in 1973 for an ascent of the Shield. I am pretty sure they did the North American Wall; there is a photo of her in Yosemite Climber on p.21 and a detailed caption on p.96. I don't know if they also did the Shield.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Oct 17, 2007 - 02:44am PT
Thanks, Clint. I've seen your abridgement, but I lost all of my files in the fire and had let the website laps, so I don't remember my source for that vague recollection.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 17, 2007 - 09:53am PT
Hey, Ellie, post up, willya? We want to hear about your early 70s ascents in the Valley.

Anne Marie can you talk some sense into her?

Best, Roger
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 17, 2007 - 10:28am PT
I'll get her on the phone today.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 17, 2008 - 11:34am PT
Bump and welcome to the awesome Sibylle!
sibylle

Trad climber
On the road again!
Jun 17, 2008 - 12:10pm PT
Gosh ... aw, shucks, ah thanks, guys!
And here I'd hoped to drift in to Tuolomne anonymously and do a few fun routes ... but had no climbing partner ...
Steve Roper edited an anthology, Ordeal by Piton, that has my story, Walls Without Balls (which was my original title but the AAJ board wouldn't accept it - they suggested 'Keeping Abreast on El Cap')! This version fixed some errors, which crept in to the barely legible version that I sent to Ad Carter after our climb.

I was hanging in the Valley on SAR many summers between 1995 - 2001. But in 2002 I got kicked off SAR (together with Micah Dash and Cedar Wright, so I guess I had good company!) and stayed in Tuolomne for a month that summer. In 2003, I was climbing in the Valley when my friend from Breckenridge, Chris Hampson, took a long fall and died three hours later. We were on Overhang Bypass, traversing to the top of Overhang Overpass, where he wanted to TR the 5.11 finger crack, about which we knew little.
I talked to him for three hours while he was hanging below me, dying (tho' I didn't know it at the time). I haven't been back to the Valley since then; may give it a try this year.
For now, I'll go to Tuolomne in July and hope to do a few routes there and some in the Sierra. Then Tristan and I are going to Squamish in August.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 13, 2008 - 11:12am PT
I finally got to meet Sibylle at the Nose event. What a treat after all these decades!
sibylle

Trad climber
On the road again!
Nov 13, 2008 - 07:02pm PT
Thanks, Steve.
I'm pretty excited to have met the Supertacoans at the event - I met Ed Hartouni, who introduced me to Lynne and Karl Baba, and I got to see his wonderful photos up close.
I'll try to make it to more events in the future, now that my son is out of school and I can travel more freely.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 13, 2008 - 07:21pm PT
it was fun to meet you too Sibylle, I now have a voice to put to the TRs on your web site...

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 13, 2008 - 07:41pm PT
This is a picture of Sibylle at the last weekend's Nose reunion. Great to see you Sibylle--it has been a long time.

scuffy b

climber
On the dock in the dark
Nov 13, 2008 - 08:42pm PT
Great stuff, but the 2nd article starts dubiously. 3rd solo
ascent? Robbins, Haan, Dunn, Porter...when did Mike Graham
climb Aquarian?
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 13, 2008 - 09:46pm PT
Great bump. I just reread Sybille's article in the Alpinist today.
murcy

climber
San Fran Cisco
Nov 13, 2008 - 10:50pm PT
props to you, sibylle. i think it's especially cool that your website and books are all about the fun, and that you wear your achievements so lightly.
sibylle

Trad climber
On the road again!
Nov 15, 2008 - 02:42pm PT
Hi Roger, et al.,
I wish I could have stayed longer and hung around on Sunday to chat more with everyone. I never even go to see Werner (Hi, Werner). I had to be in Moab on Monday to put my camper in the shop. But while it was getting worked on, Tristan and I got up a few more towers. I am having so much fun climbing towers with my son.
I was never a professional or full-time climber and actively resisted that option. Reinhold Messner, in about 1979, after I gave a slide show in Munich about my three El Cap ascents, invited me to climb with him and offered me a job in his guide school. I turned it down, because climbing is what I love most, and what is the most fun I ever have. I didn't want it to become work, or a job. Luckily I was getting a Ph.D. in grad school at the time, and eventually got a job in biology and then science writing, so I was able to keep climbing for fun and not for work.
With a child, It became even more so - I couldn't do hard or long climbs because I needed to take care of my son. That's why I wrote Fun Climbs Colorado: everyone who had kids, a beginner significant other, or a beginner relative, was asking me where to take their friends on easy routes with easy approaches.
Thanks, I'm glad you liked my story. My title was:"Bev's and My Grand Adventure".
I am having trouble with titles. First they won't let me use my original one; and now they won't let me use anything else!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 8, 2009 - 12:05pm PT
Gal Bump!
Paulina

Trad climber
Mar 8, 2009 - 12:16pm PT
Bump.

Happy international women's day!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 8, 2009 - 02:14pm PT
Scuff,

The First Five Solo ascents of El Cap BITD

Royal on the 2nd ascent of the Muir 1968
Tom Bauman on the Nose 1970?
Peter Haan 11th ascent of the Salathe 1971
Jimmy Dunn FA of Cosmos 1972
Charlie Porter FA Zodiac 1972
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 8, 2009 - 07:54pm PT
First use of word f*#k in Mountain magazine?!? From #32 Feb 74.



WBraun

climber
Mar 8, 2009 - 08:45pm PT
One huge big cheer for Ellie .....
#310

Social climber
Telluride, CO
Mar 9, 2009 - 12:12am PT
A bump for Bev, for "having to babysit" her industrial sewing machine on my back porch in the Valley, for Bev finding me in Punta Arenas when she & Mike were doing their Antarctica boat & gyrocopter trip. A bump for an incredible woman who never acted like she was super famous - just always a good friend. For being the first person with Rizzi on a fire crew to radio out for more tampons. To toast to Bev on international woman's day!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 9, 2009 - 10:57am PT
I hope that you are compiling a memoir, Kathy! You certainly have the material for a great one.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Mar 9, 2009 - 11:53am PT
I never met Bev but it sounds like she wouldn't mind sharing the limelight with Ellie about whom I have these tidbits to offer. I hope this isn't seen as thread drift.

That "30 foot solo fall" of Bruces's was quite the story. After he grounded he had to hike down this canyon about a mile if I recall and then I think he drove himself home! But wait, there's more! He sat around the house for a week in misery. Then a friend was going to Seattle so B & E decided to go along. Bruce made himself 'comfortable', all 6'-2" of him, in the back seat of a Bug for the drive from Taos to Seattle! Are your backs hurting now hearing this? In Seattle someone suggested he go to the Harborview Hospital (public). They took x-rays and wheeled him into the doctor's exam room. The doc flips the films up on the viewer, takes one look and says, "Don't move! Nurse, prep this patient for surgery!"

I think it was about 8 or 9 months later that we started climbing together in Leavenworth. To say Ellie was petite is a gross understatement. To say she floated up the rock is not. Oddly, when Bruce and I went on our tyro wall 'rampage' Ellie was, how to say this, 'countenanced' to jug a grade IV. I was not privy to the discussion but she did not accompany us on higher grades. When I saw them in the Valley the next summer you can imagine my surprise, but not shock, to learn of their NA Wall climb with her more than pulling her 90 pounds' worth. As many of you know she was also really fun to be around.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 14, 2009 - 10:20pm PT
I have only met Ellie in the last couple of years and liked her right away!
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Mar 16, 2009 - 04:32am PT
Where and up to what is Ellie these days?
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 16, 2009 - 04:46am PT
hey there ... very nice posts here... i learned a lot...

say, sibylle... very sad to hear the story about your friend dying, and you not knowing it, at the time...

but your voice may have done some kind of comfort, you just never know... very sad....

thanks for the share, all...
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Mar 19, 2009 - 06:37pm PT
"Bottom line is if people demand more climbing sh#t, they'll bump it."
bump
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2010 - 01:34pm PT
Right On Bump!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 12, 2011 - 03:19pm PT
Long Overdue Bump!
10b4me

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Jun 12, 2011 - 05:51pm PT
Does anyone know what Mike is up to these days?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 12, 2011 - 10:02pm PT
Mountain 44 reports that Hugh Burton was on the second ascent of the Shield,but didn't say who he did it with.
------


Jack Roberts. I got up there not too long after and you should have seen those leads back then, before the crack got beat out. I remember one pitch was ALL rurps and tied off blades, mostly bomber but weird to out over 100 feet on tipped-out pins.

JL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 18, 2013 - 05:52pm PT
Memorial Bump...
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 18, 2013 - 06:06pm PT
Thanks Steve....I was surprised it hadn't been "bumped" in so long. I guess because of some of the other Bev stories recently. And to the rest of the group! Awesome!

Susan
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Feb 18, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
I like this letter Of Bev's that was in some of the other links;

“October 18th, 1973

Dear Folks,

Hi. Writing you on the occasion of my giving up climbing for the 400th time I’ve gotten too paranoid and it doesn’t seem worth the risks.

Got down yesterday from another seven day bout on El Cap, this time a new route with Charlie. It was an interesting experience although the wall was rather blank and devoid of ledges, so all functions had to be performed while suspended and there was always the worry of dropping some crucial item and being stuck in the middle of El Cap without it.

I was still fairly strung out from the Triple Direct which I had finished five days before. My mind was still boggled and my wounds still open–an incredible set of blisters from my boots, chunk of meat still missing from my hands, my back raw from my waist loop. I couldn’t believe I was going back up. Extended climbs are at least as punishing mentally. Can’t relax. Seven days of trusting life to flimsy gadgets and fragile ropes. Got to stay alert. No mistakes–ran out of food and water and had to sprint from the summit, climbing most of the final night by headlamp and moonlight.

Walk out eight miles the next morning. Very tired but glad to be released from the clutches of El Capitan at last. Walking through the forest along the rim. The forest and the wall seem surreal by turns. It is impossible to hold them in the mind together. Ethereal forest. Cool, autumn shade for parched throat. Slender, white aspen with yellow leaves, gold grasses, dark conifers. Down a thousand switchbacks, feet protesting. Endless switchbacks. Finally Camp 4, home free.

…..The world has changed. Gerald Ford (Who’s he?) is on the cover of this magazine. The Jihad is in full swing in the Middle East. I feel like I’ve been to Mars.”

….Love to all of you. Very tired.

Good night.

Beverly”
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 10, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Bump for the Grape Race!

The only El Cap FA by a gal for a while.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 19, 2014 - 05:13pm PT
Friendly Takeover Bump...
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Apr 19, 2014 - 08:29pm PT
Bev Johnson made me a custom haul bag, back in 1971. I'll never use it again but hate to get rid of it for sentimental reasons.
MattB

Trad climber
Tucson
Apr 26, 2014 - 05:47pm PT
bump for great ladies

Sybile is very inspiring... living the dream

We flew up a few climbs a few years ago, she's way better than most 20something
dudes i've roped with.
ECF

Big Wall climber
So Far East I might as well be dead
Apr 26, 2014 - 11:06pm PT
Bev was a badass, yeah ok.
But Way said it best when he said, "Any words between 'First' and 'Ascent' are bullsh#t."
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