First Ascent of the Heart Route 1970- Kroger and Davis

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 31, 2007 - 01:55am PT
I got a chance to hang out with Scott Davis while gathering signatures of El Cap FAers on Clay Wadman's excellent wallmaps to be auctioned off on Nov 9 at the third annual YCA art auction in Yosemite. He lives in Seattle and is still running strong. His mom gave him a copy of this classic article and he was kind enough to make me a copy while we let the ink dry.











Scott wrote and published a wonderful little book called Lost Arrow and Other True Stories. As a frontispiece, Steve Roper wrote the following words in praise, "Scott C. Davis hit the Yosemite Valley climbing scene like a whirlwind a quarter century ago,ascending El Capitan four times in one year These climbs, done in impeccable style, shook up the resident rock jocks, for Davis and his partner were outsiders, supposedly incapable of such feats. His Lost Arrow climb, described in this volume, is another epic adventure."

Scott publishes under the name of Cune, his own creation. Check it out.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Oct 31, 2007 - 02:04am PT
Nice Steve, thanks. It is great to learn more about the others that weren't documented as well. Look forward to seeing you soon.

Ken
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 31, 2007 - 02:15am PT
Thanks Steve - a sanitized version of the article appeared in the 1970 American Alpine Journal. I was given a copy soon after I started climbing, and perceived a lot of spirit in the Heart Route article.

Roper republished the article in "Ordeal by Piton", a fine collection of Valley stories.

What is the modern "take" on the Heart Route? Is it climbed often? Do people think it's worthwhile?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 31, 2007 - 05:26am PT
A fun cartoon version of this article appeared in the Vulgarian Digest.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 31, 2007 - 01:27pm PT
I remember that VD spoof, including the salacious method for keeping warm at the bivies!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 31, 2007 - 10:53pm PT
I just finished Lost Arrow and I can't say that I have ever read a better account of a rock climb. Truly well written, it captures the essence of adventure in a short story. Check it out folks.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Oct 31, 2007 - 10:57pm PT
Pray for Chuck, he's recently been diagnosed with cancer, and is undergoing chemotherapy.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Oct 31, 2007 - 11:11pm PT
Ha! Too funny! I always wondered why the called it the "A5 Traverse". I can tell you the sand is long gone from Heart Ledge and any other ledges nearby, but I doubt the dirt and grass are gone from the first cracks up The Heart.

P.S. While I am not surprised he misspelled "mantel", I am amazed he misspelled "cuneiform". Prayers for Chuck.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 31, 2007 - 11:48pm PT
My thoughts are also with Chuck.
I am planning to visit him in the company of Scott to interview the two of them as soon as I can manage it. Chuck did an early ascent of the Spring route on Baboquivari which was my first wall back in high school among his many ascents. When I asked Clay Wadman to send me ten of his El Cap wallmaps to be signed by El Cap FAers for the YCA auction by sheer luck Chuck was able to sign them locally. Just missed you John, apparently.

I have taken on the role of YCA oral historian and am currently set up for digital recording. My first project was an amazing ten hour interview with Tom Frost performed along with Ken at his house just after the 50th anniversary of the NW Face of Half Dome FA gathering. It required intensive research to properly encompass such a splendid career. After the interview I felt compelled to write a biography of Tom in return for the great service that he has given to the climbing community.

These in depth historical interviews are the service work that I have long been seeking and are going to become an integral part of the YCA's mission and vital to the living climbing history museum that will soon grace Yosemite Valley.
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Oct 31, 2007 - 11:59pm PT
Steve - any chance you're videotaping the interviews? Might be a good idea as well, if not. Gives the full 3D experience. Expect you could easily record both on audio and video at the same time with only a little effort. Just a suggestion.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 1, 2007 - 12:14am PT
Cune Press is at http://www.cunepress.net/, with a decent biography of Scott Davis at http://www.cunepress.com/authors/davis/bio/davisbio.htm

It seems an eclectic non-profit press. Interesting that the article about the Heart Route was written by Chuck Kroger, but Davis turned into quite a writer. And carpenter.

The Lost Arrow book combines essays on carpentry, the middle east, life in the Pacific Northwest, and climbing, and is orderable at http://www.cunepress.com/cunepress/ordering/nonfiction-literary/508-lostarrow.htm
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Nov 1, 2007 - 01:02am PT
I read the Lost Arrow book fw years ago when I was trying to imagine climbing Lost Arrow Chimney. I'm still working on imagining that but the book is really good.
Zander
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 1, 2007 - 01:10am PT
Steel- We have the full digital videotape of the interviews in mind. Calling myself an oral historian may be a little misleading in that regard. We are shooting for mini documentaries on individual climbers and routes as well as longer archival histories and discussion of events.

From Roper's green guide-
Lost Arrow- Exit from Notch
II,5.8 A3 Dave Calfee and Scott Davis 1966
This party emerged from the Arrow Chimney to find that their friends had neglected to place fixed ropes into the notch to facilitate a return to the rim. As a result, the following route was established; climb a dangerous, difficult crack system to the east of the rappel route. The climb involves aid, hard jamming and loose rock. Better to have trustworthy friends.

I wonder who the mysterious Mad Bolter was? I think it goes at 5.10d these days.
Walleye

climber
The back seat of my 69 Nark Avenger
Nov 1, 2007 - 01:57pm PT
I've always wondered why they chose the left side of the heart and not the right. The right side seems like a more obvious route.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 1, 2007 - 02:09pm PT
Steve,

> I wonder who the mysterious Mad Bolter was?

The original "Mad Bolter" is Tom Rohrer, who established many rappel routes in the Valley, most famously on the Nose and Apron, but also including one down from the Lost Arrow notch. He posts here occastionally:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=416237&msg=419836#msg419836
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 1, 2007 - 02:13pm PT
The continuity of the rest of the route was probably the issue although they initially had their sights set on the Dawn Wall area by Chuck's account and that part of the Captain is hardly riddled with good cracks. I doubt that they had much more than binoculars for inspection and had to go by the shadows and water streaks in choosing their route. I'll have to ask Scott how many bolts they carried because the drilling sounded horrid and I bet they were using straight three flute bits which suck.

Clint- I wonder if Tom was the man and if he remembers blowing Scott and Dave off on that famous occasion?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2007 - 09:41pm PT
I just talked to Scott and those guys climbed the West Buttress (3rd ascent), then the Dihedral Wall (4th ascent) followed by the NA (3rd or 4th) prior to putting up the Heart Route. All in one season as Roper noted. Chuck Kroger went on to repeat the Nose without Scott the following year as Scott went off to Stanford. Mighty imressive preparations for an FA!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 27, 2007 - 09:44pm PT
"Even a superb dinner of salami, squished cheese, and melted chocolate did not lift my spirits."

A masterly understatement!

Bump.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2007 - 05:54pm PT
Memorial bump....

Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Dec 31, 2007 - 01:39am PT
I've always wondered why they chose the left side of the heart and not the right. The right side seems like a more obvious route.


It gets kinda wide on the right (SOH) side.
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