First All Female Ascent and First Female Solo of El Cap


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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!

Social climber
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
Mar 19, 2009 - 06:37pm PT
"Bottom line is if people demand more climbing sh#t, they'll bump it."
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!

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

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.

Steve Grossman

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

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!

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.

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...

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.

Trad climber
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.

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."
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jun 9, 2016 - 07:02am PT
Beauty bump.

With Grace and Speed it is easy to succeed, but which is which?At a Facelift slide show which she presented.

Not much speed involved here, you bet.

Non-climbing shots from the web of Bev.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 23, 2017 - 11:24am PT
Beverly Johnson bump. Sure wish she was still around.
Messages 41 - 58 of total 58 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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