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.
Kligfield

Mountain climber
Boulder, CO
Feb 2, 2008 - 03:29pm PT
I was fortunate to do the second ascent of the Heart Route in 1971 together with Jimmy Dunn and Andy Embick (deceased). Of course having Jimmy Dunn along more or less guaranteed our success on this early ascent of this route. I have always wondered why this route has not been the subject of free climbing attempts given modern standards!!??? The Hubers obviously realized the fantastic potential of the upper section. When we were on the "A5 Traverse", even in 1971, it was often harder to aid across it using hooks than hang from some of the holds! So even in that epoch we were open to the possibility that sometime in the future this would go free. In any case, the way I recall things, if some party were to attempt the lower half free, there would most likely be three areas to solve. The first would be the presumed face climbing on the first few pitches leading up to Heart Ledge. This was mostly aided by us (? and subsequent parties) using hooks and thin pitons in the occasional flakes and cracks. The second crux is likely to be exiting from the top of the Heart cracks to reach the exit roof on the left. In our era we crossed this area with a long pendulum to the left. The third crux is likely to be the Heart Roof itself, although I recall finger size cracks running right through the roof itself. Anyway--consider this a call to action across the generations. I would be interested to learn of any free climbing attempts on this lower portion of the Heart route. Have there been any? It surely must only be a matter of time before it comes to the attention of the current generation!
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 2, 2008 - 04:32pm PT
i've got that issue of climbing...classic stuff. the thing that was most impressive about those two guys is that they just rolled in, did the route in classic style, and rolled out. totally old-school class act. the article is so well-written and understated that i put it right up there with pratt's write-up of watkins.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 2, 2008 - 05:08pm PT
I can't resist any longer, after reading it again. Here is the "illustrated version", from Vulgarian Digest. (some minor censoring done to keep it somewhat family-friendly). I'm not sure who the actual illustrator was - anybody know? [Edit: see the post below by Chuck's wife, Kathy - the illustrator was Betsy Wauchope - thanks, Kathy!]




WBraun

climber
Feb 2, 2008 - 05:21pm PT
That cartoon is hilarious Clint, Hahahaha
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 2, 2008 - 07:04pm PT
Roy,

It's cool you got to do the second ascent with Jimmy and Andy. I climbed some with Andy in the late 70s / early 80s. First El Cap route where Royal Robbins didn't get the first or second ascent, right?

It looks very tough to free that starting section to Heart. Steep, very smooth and blank sections. But, hey, other free versions of routes have been started off the Free Blast or even way up on the Salathe'. The pendulum might not go, but the exit finger cracks could be spectacular....
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 2, 2008 - 07:18pm PT
That's a marvellous cartoon - thank you! And a good story, too. How many days did the second ascent take? Were there any pitches apart from the A5 Traverse that were particularly memorable, such as the No Reverse Traverse or Rainy Day Woman crack?

It appears that the lower part of the southwest side of El Cap tends to be fairly polished. Maybe because it's often less than vertical, and so gets hit by more falling ice and rock, and more grit-laden rainwater, maybe because it was exposed to more glaciation. The slabs on the Salathe up to Mammoth Terraces, and the rappel route from Heart Ledge (aka first few pitches of Heart Route) are like that, and it sounds like WoS is also.
#310

Social climber
Telluride, CO
Feb 2, 2008 - 07:19pm PT
I am Chuck Kroger's wife. The artist of the cartoon is Betsy Wauchope, Chuck's Stanford girlfriend. The other cartoons that I have of Betsy's are even less "family" friendly. Betsy is married to Dave Bainbridge and lives soemwhere near Riverside, CA the last I knew.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 2, 2008 - 07:29pm PT
Welcome Kathy and thanks for the good humored background on that classic cartoon! No VD in my home or I would have posted that up earlier. Thanks for the memories Clint.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 2, 2008 - 07:35pm PT
Thank you for identifying the creator of the cartoon for us.

There is a memorial thread for Chuck Kroger at http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=507036
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 2, 2008 - 07:57pm PT
Welcome Roy- I think the modern free climbing sort is put off by the everpresent growth and slime in the left side of the Heart recess. Screws up the photos when you end up looking like a muskrat for all your trouble!

You guys were a formidable team. Any photos to share of the adventure? I ran into Andy Embick fairly often over the years but never tied in with him. A shame that he didn't choose to stay around as I appreciated his wit and outlook on life.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 2, 2008 - 08:46pm PT
Hi Roy,
Long time since we've been in contact, from about 1978, if I recall. We should get together, now that we're both in Boulder. We have ST beer fests every couple of months and I'll let you know when the next one occurs.
Rick
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 6, 2008 - 01:09am PT
A while back, Roy sent me several photos to post from the second ascent in 1971 with Jimmy Dunn and the late Andy Embick.


Jimmy Dunn leading on hooks above the top of the Slack.


Jimmy extending himself on sucessive hook placements.


Jimmy leading two pitches below Heart Ledge.


One pitch below Heart Ledge, Roy Kligfield leading.


Jimmy Dunn leading the "No Reverse Traverse" exiting the Heart.


A smiling Jimmy Dunn arriving at the single bong belay atop Tower to the People.




Roy Klingfield leading the pitch approaching the White Tower.


Cool historical shots Roy! Thanks for making them available to the ST.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 6, 2008 - 04:05am PT
Great shots - thanks to Roy and Steve for sharing them!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 19, 2008 - 04:49pm PT
Hooked on a bump!
Captain...or Skully

Big Wall climber
Yonder
Jul 19, 2008 - 05:26pm PT
Those are killer........
Standing Strong

Trad climber
hopping on a moonshadow
Jul 19, 2008 - 05:58pm PT
this thread IS cool. thank you for posting.
Gunkie

climber
East Coast US
Jul 19, 2008 - 06:29pm PT
Those guys are men. My old climbing partner always thought that any half-dozen of those guys + Chuck Pratt could kick the snot out of an entire October weeknd crowd of Gunkies.

Kligfield

Mountain climber
Boulder, CO
Aug 1, 2008 - 10:57pm PT
Does anyone know who did the THIRD ascent of the Heart Route? During our second ascent in 1971, we discovered that there had been a huge rockfall between the first ascent (a year earlier by Scott Davis and Chuck Kroger) and our climb. The route was substantially changed and the "White Tower" feature on the original climb had simply disappeared! The entire 300 foot section of the Heart Route was dusty, full of loose rock, and brittle sections. I'd be interested in hearing from whomever climbed in subsequently whether they also encountered these loose section during their ascent.
Walleye

climber
Under the dwarf maples near The Same Mansion
Aug 2, 2008 - 11:16am PT
Bill Russell did the 3rd or 4th ascent in 1982. He told me it was quite dirty in places as he thought the "Tower to the People" had fallen off and created the mess.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 1, 2008 - 12:23am PT
Heart Route - El Capitan

CHARLES KROGER [url="http://www.americanalpineclub.org/AAJO/pdfs/1971/kroger_elcapita1971_275-278.pdf"]AAJ 1971 p275[/url]

SCOTT DAVIS and I drove into Yosemite early in April, planning to climb a new route on El Cap. Finding that two climbers were already trying the Morning Light Route on the North America Wall, we decided to try an unclimbed line through the Heart on the Salathe Wall. Chouinard, Herbert, and Robbins had already shown that fine alpine climbing style is possible on El Cap’s big walls. So, with nothing left to prove, we simply planned to have a good time.

We did not intend to amuse a thrill-seeking audience of tourists watching from the doorsteps of their mobile homes as they consumed Curry Company hot dogs and beer. Feeling that this “El Capitan Circus” idea is obscene, we avoided it by asking the rangers not to release our names or details of our climb. No worry, since they lost our sign-out cards anyhow. Only a few friends knew our plans. No ground support party of hanger-ons was recruited. We hoped to be completely alone and self-reliant for the duration of the climb.

We had already packed gear- for the Morning Light Route, so we simply dragged everything to the base of the Heart Route instead. Two hauling sacks and a rucksack carried nine gallons of water and seven dollars worth of food. A couple of pleasant afternoons were spent fixing ropes and hauling gear to the top of the Slack - a popular 300-foot climb at the base of El Cap. Finally, after a fruitless search for more drills (we had only eight), we were on the wall for good. Using many bolts, I led up and right across a steep slab. I used our bat-hook once, then decided that bolts are much safer and only a little harder to place. The pitch ended at two bolts, 100 feet out. By the time Scott arrived, it was late afternoon. He led across some difficult hook and piton placements, then came back at dark. Two bolts supported two home-made single suspension hammocks that night.

The second morning Scott finished bolting across to a vertical crack, nailed up, and belayed from bolts leading to the next crack. I nailed a few pins to the end of the crack, then bolted up across an endless blank section. With each bolt the drills got duller, the holes got shallower, and Scott got more impatient. Finally he screamed in agony, dragged me down, and went up to finish the bolt ladder himself. After a few more bolts, he placed a pin up under a flake. It held until he was in his top steps and had almost placed a cliffhanger. The rope stopped Scott, but the sky-hook kept falling. He placed a bolt to pass the bad flake. Then, using our other hook and a bent-over piton, he made a fantastic series of hook moves. One last bolt led to a hanging belay in a “C” shaped crack. One of the bolts fell out as I jumared - a problem for the second ascent party to worry about. I led a friction pitch to Heart Ledge. In the dark the haul-bags stuck, but finally we got everything up and settled into a pleasant bivouac on this spacious terrace. Watching the Sunday night traffic on the highway below reminded us of our drive to the Valley four days earlier. Scott summed it up: “I’d rather be here than on the Bayshore Freeway at 5:00.” Sleep came easily on the soft sand.

The next day we climbed unroped at the back of the Heart for a pitch, then began nailing up the dihedral formed by the left side of the Heart. The first pitch was only A3. But the belay was about A3, too. It was nice to be with someone as competent as Scott. He carefully divided the load between six pitons. Only one of them popped out as I jumared. Above, the climbing was easy and boltless for five pitches. The only other excitement that day came on a dirty pitch. Whole ecosystems of grass, bugs, and bushes plummeted a thousand feet to the base of El Cap as Scott cleared the crack. Finally a tied-off root led to cleaner climbing. We bivouacked in hammocks near the top of the Heart.

In the morning I led a pitch to the top of the Heart recess - roofs all around, Scott climbed and pendulumed left and then nailed out over the roofs at the left corner of the Heart. After this complicated pitch - the No Reverse Traverse - we were across a pendulum and 1500 overhanging feet above the ground. In the days before El Cap rescues were in fashion, we now would have been committed to finishing the route. I set up a hammock bivouac a pitch higher.

The next day I nailed and jammed up past a small ledge. Above, the climbing was hard. First thing I knew, a knifeblade pulled out and I was hanging below the ledge again, upside-down this time. I was in considerable pain - more mental than physical since I had only fallen thirty feet and only almost hit the ledge. I rationalized while belaying on the ledge, letting Scott lead the hard part. He encouraged me by taking a long time getting over the spot where I had fallen. More scarey nailing and free climbing took him to the top of Black Tower by late afternoon. A quick look in the failing light convinced him that Black Tower was up against a wall - a blank wall, that is. At least there was a large ledge fifty feet below him. We celebrated the ledge and the exceptionally tine weather by gorging on Hi-C, carroway cheese, and a cucumber.

The sixth day I led up a thin crack-system around the right side of Black Tower. Scott nailed a rotten, wet, overhanging, wide crack. Half-way up, a tiny tied-off root broke. He dropped our only four-inch bong as he fell. Two bolts got him back past the missing bush and on up to a hanging belay. I climbed an endless four-inch jam-crack without the protection of the four-inch bong. The sun set as I struggled. There was a stance but no anchor 150 feet up. Two bolts secured our fourth hammock bivouac, a bad one since my feet were in Scott’s mouth all night.

In the morning we both pretended to be asleep until long after the sun was up. Finally, when we could not fool ourselves any longer, we sat up and discussed the route. Scott’s pitch, to the top of a white tower, was obvious. We called it “Tower to the People”. But the pitch beyond seemed to have no cracks. The crack we had spotted from the ground, running right to a huge triangular roof, turned out to be a useless seam. Finally Scott decided that I could nail a series of flakes and roofs up and left to the start of a thin crack leading back right. I was not convinced, but tried anyhow. The first few pins were the worst. As I moved onto the second smashed aluminum block in a row, Scott quietly moved the belay to one side. Half a day later, after struggling with awkward, expanding, lefthanded nailing all the way, I placed two belay bolts 150 feet up. Scott placed our twenty-seventh bolt to reach a difficult-looking traverse crack; then we returned to Tower to the People for the night.

Taking advantage of the ledge, we emptied the haul-bags and checked our supplies. We had blown it. With only 500 feet to go, we had four gallons of water left over, plus a pound or two of food. We ate a pleasant meal and drank our fill, but played safe by not dumping the excess.

Up early, we planned to go for the summit. Scott led across the horrible traverse. Only A2, but we called it the “A5 Traverse” to make our route sound like the other El Cap routes. A pendulum from a smashie at the end of the traverse took him to a belay spot in the final gray dihedral. It was Fat City. Three pitches of easy mixed climbing followed. We were on the rim by late afternoon.

Then the real problems began. Since we had not advertised the climb, no one hiked up to meet us and help us carry everything down. We finished the food, packed the gear into the two huge haul bags, and trucked off into the sunset. We consoled ourselves by mumbling that the descent should really be a part of the climb anyhow. Soon we were lost in the dark. After a few hours of stumbling through streams, brush, and soft snow, we decided to bivouac again. We sat around a roaring fire drying our shoes. “Man, that was just like being dead for a week,” Scott remarked. Slowly our plans for the next few weeks materialized: Peanut butter and jelly in the Valley, a huge dinner at Scott’s Grandmother’s, camping trips, fun free climbs, and other delights best left to the imagination.

Summary of Statistics:

AREA: Yosemite Valley, California.
NEW ROUTE: Heart Route, Southwest Face of El Capitan, April 4 to 11, 1970. Charles Kroger, Scott Davis. NCCS VI, Fc), A4.

#310

Social climber
Telluride, CO
Feb 25, 2009 - 11:52am PT
Bump for Scott Davis and Chuck Kroger.

I miss Chuck everyday but Supertopo helps me feel connected to the world of climbing that Chuck so loved.

Kathy in Telluride
scuffy b

climber
just below the San Andreas
Feb 25, 2009 - 02:00pm PT
In my formative years, I thought the VD account of this climb
was sort of normal for climbing accounts.

Somehow over the years, though, I got a couple terms confused.
Maybe it was a term of Harding's...

Instead of Barbarians, I always think "Hairy Giants."

Many years later, I talked about this with Kim Schmitz.

Oh, No, they would never have acted in any knid of
threatening way...nothing but love for the "interlopers"
deeski

Trad climber
North Carolina
Feb 25, 2009 - 10:55pm PT
Kathy....I have not been back to Telluride in over a year. After I moved back to North Carolina I came back for Mountainfilm every spring but not this past one. My heart goes out to you for the loss of Chuck. I have only begun to appreciate and be thankful for Chuck's willingness to be on our Board of Directors for Faraway Adventure Programs. My high energy level was calmed by Chuck's calm presence at our meetings and I understand more and more the value of listening and being patient with giving time and thought to decisions being made. I had no idea at the time of his illness and I would give the moon and the stars to have him back for one conversation with him about HIS cutting edge adventures in Yosemite and not about how to run a non-profit organization. Take care Kathy and I hope to see you at Mountainfilm this spring!!!
deeski

Trad climber
North Carolina
Feb 28, 2009 - 09:34pm PT
Bump!!!!!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 28, 2009 - 10:10pm PT
Scuffy/Moyles, Doll, no, there were plenty of heavy attitudes just then from Jim and Kim. They did all they could to stop them.

Peterson and I were not part of that side of it since the first interest that Scott and Chuck had was in the Dawn wall thing that JB and Schmitz were farting around with. Realize this was before Harding's climb. When they (Soctt and Chuck) moved to the Heart Route (which Don P and I were already two days from starting) there was no interaction between us....they already were on it, surprise to us. Had ropes streaming down from the Slack. Thanks God. Imagine being up there for 8-10 days with Don.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Feb 28, 2009 - 10:39pm PT
This story could just as well belong in the Tahquitz thread, but the primary character is Andy.

I only tied in with him for one long day.

But what a day it was.



The adventure started before we even left. As we went thru the exercise of stuffing a rack, rope and other gear into my saddlebags, Andy realized he’d left his wallet and keys in his room. A quick ascent of the drainpipe to the third floor was followed by a long reach and step across to an open lobby window. He quickly appeared at the front door with wallet and keys in hand. I told him I’d been impressed. He demurred that he’d done it often. I wondered what I had myself in to.

We hit the 10 freeway and I was in my own element. The BMW hummed along thru the patchy pre dawn ground fog as if powered by a giant electric motor. By the time we passed the airport, I could tell I was hauling dead weight. Andy was slumped down, sound a sleep. The best part of traveling by motorcycle is that it is about as close to flying in an open cockpit aircraft that you can get without leaving the ground. We flew thru Colton and San Bernardino, and were soon climbing over the pass at Redlands. Then, that pass marked a true demarcation between urban and rural. Not much but open fields as the freeway undulated over several drainages stretching down from the San Bernardino Mountains to the north. Dropping down a reverse slope, pushing for 90 mph. in the dim dawning light I caught a flash of movement to my left and instinctively ducked. The intensity of the slam to the top of my helmet startled me. It took a second or so to realize that a dove had chosen my head for the location of its self-evisceration. There was a smoke ball of feathers rapidly receding, dissipating in the rear view mirror. Then the flash of panic, I was armored with a helmet, Andy only in a balaclava to ward off the chill. A quick glance back and I couldn’t help but grin. He was still sound asleep, unharmed, but his balaclava had been turned into a bizarre primitivist headdress decorated with feathers and bloody flesh.

As we dropped down the last down hill run to the long flat plain that extends from Beaumont to Whitewater, the bike gave a slight shake. The shake amplified into a violent wobble. The final outcome of a speed wobble is often a wrecked bike and a case of road rash at a minimum. The proper response is counter intuitive. Slowly close the throttle. Relax the grip on the handlebars. Keep the body relaxed. And, above all, stay off the brakes. Andy was now wide a wake and wild eyed. As our speed bled down, the oscillations dampened until, we got down to about 35 mph. At that point, the bike reached a new resonance and again began to lurch violently from side to side. We finally coasted to a stop on the shoulder and hoped off, feeling like dismounted bronco riders. The rear tire as flaccid as a drunken man.

Andy reached up to pull of his balaclava and felt something sticky and wet. As the hat slid off his face, his expression was one of confusion and shock. He reached for his head, feeling for a wound that wasn’t there. As I explained the earlier incident with the dove and how he’d slept through it, he relaxed. I got to work on getting the wheel off the bike. Andy began plucking pieces of bird from his hat.

I had the wheel on the ground and began to attack the task of removing the tire. The five-inch long tire irons that came with the toolkit were completely inadequate for the task. As I struggled to remove, the tire there was a reflection of flashing red lights in the high gloss black of the bikes rear fender. A CHP pulled up behind us. The nature of the situation was obvious and Andy had plucked his hat clean returning to his normal civilized appearance. The officer quickly insisted on giving the wheel and me a round trip to the nearest gas station. He opened the trunk, in went the wheel and I slid into the front seat. With the small talk on the ride he told me that he’d recently transferred to Beaumont, then, considered a plumb rural assignment. Close enough to the city for the conveniences, but far enough away to avoid most of the urban law enforcement problems. After a couple of miles, we pulled off the freeway and into the gas station. The officer tapped on the office window and woke the dozing attendant. He was visibly annoyed at being awoken that early, but the presence of the law inspired him to get on with the job. Ten minutes and five dollars later we were off down the freeway to the bike and Andy. On the way, back the cop got a radio call on an accident so it was a quick exit and a wave at the bike and he was off with lights flashing. The tire went back in place, the tools were packed back up, and the whole incident had cost us less than a half hour, still time for breakfast.

The Banning Denny’s was a regular stop. Both my regular climbing partner and I had only motorcycles and a chance to warm up before heading up the hill was always taken. Denny’s was really the only convenient place and was consistent. It didn’t mater what you ordered, no matter the time of day, it always had that tell tale hint of bacon grease. At least the coffee was hot and acceptable to our unrefined pallets. The earlier shot of adrenaline had my appetite up so a big breakfast was in order. Andy just ordered oatmeal and Postum, (weird?) and laid out his plan. He’d received a Rhodes scholarship and would be headed for Oxford in early summer, but had arranged to go for the second ascent of The Heart Route on El Cap during the spring break in a few weeks. Then, the second ascent of a big wall was only slightly less prestigious than a FA. There were only ten routes then that went to the top of El Cap. The gods of Yosemite had put all except The Heart up. Andy planed to get the free leads and wanted to get as much mileage in as possible beforehand. As midterms were still to come, this was going to be his last tune up day, and he wanted to make the most of it. He laid out his list. It was at least three times more climbing than I’d ever done in one day. I answered that I would do my best to keep up and hurried to finish eating. It was going to be a very long day.

We took off into the fog and were soon on our way up route 243. We climbed into the thickest parts of the marine layer and the fog became a light drizzle collecting on the bikes windshield, dripping off the trees by the side of the road. At Poppet Flats, we finally broke out into brilliant morning sunshine, the low clouds spreading to the horizon like a giant bowl of lumpy oatmeal, the wet smell of the fog replaced by the sharp scent of pine. We were late enough that there was no threat of icy spots on the road, so now out of the clouds, it was time to drop it down a peg and roll the left wrist forward.

In less than half an hour, we were pulling into Humber Park. It took a few minutes to reorganize the rack and the rope and store the jackets. I walked across the street and filled my bota bag from the tap fed from the spring. It was left running until late spring to prevent freezing and ran down from a holding tank that was higher up at the end of the road. We took off down the trail. Reaching the white post that marked the Riverside/San Bernardino county line made a left and started the hump up the hill. We soon reached a landmark I always detested on the way up and looked forward to on the way down. A log crossed the path and was recognizable in that both an oak and pine sapling grew directly through a split in its center. It meant you were almost down to the trail. It always seemed to take a long time to get to this point on the way up as it was about here the body warmed up to the effort and altitude. The second wind kicked in. It wasn’t long and we reached a more welcome landmark. We slid over a large slick log and Lunch rock was only yards away. We changed into Klettershuh and Andy quickly racked up. It was only a mater of flipping the gear and slings over the head and shoulders. I grabbed the rope and cinched the bota up tight under an armpit with an overhand knot in the string that passed for a shoulder strap. We headed around the Maiden Buttress to our first objective.

Andy pointed out or route, The Illegitimate. It certainly looked like it lived up to its name. From a large mountain mahogany, a crack that stood out as a green stripe of plant life shot diagonally up for 150 feet into a corner. The corner was caped by a large roof about 80 feet farther up. I couldn’t visualize at all how this obstacle was to be overcome. At this point, I was proceeding on pure faith. We scrambled up to the large tree and tied into the rope. Andy tied into his swami, threw a figure eight on a bight in the rope around the tree, and asked me if I’d like the first lead. Hubris overcame common sense as I enthusiastically answered, wrapped the end of the rope around my waist three times, tied in with a bowline on a coil, and grabbed the gear sling. Andy threw the rope around his hips and called. “On belay”. After about twenty feet, the crack narrowed and contained a large chock stone. A threaded a sling around the rock marked the beginning of the serious climbing. I swung out on to the face to begin the long hand traverse. The crack was filled with ferns, flowers, and moss but there were clean spots conveniently positioned to allow progress in graceful apelike swings. The Flora actually forced graceful efficient technique. The eye level view was of a miniature Tolkienesque landscape tilted to the vertical plane. When exposure brought back reality there was always a convenient foothold and place for a piton. To soon reaching the belay, this was the kind of pitch you wish went on forever, I had a problem. There was a large flake just to my left, the obvious anchor. I didn’t have enough rope to reach it, let alone tie off a big enough loop to sling it. What now? There was still the four-inch bong on the gear sling and I still had a double length sling over my shoulder. Looping the sling through the lightening eyes on the small end of the bong turned it into a four-inch nut. A couple of flips and it jammed behind the flake with a satisfying clack. Just enough slack remained to clip a carabineer through the loops of rope around my waist, not enough for a proper tie in knot. I called out, “off belay.”


Andy grinned when he saw the anchor and thought it ingenious. That made me feel a little better about its efficacy. He collected the rack and started up the crux pitch, a dihedral that led to a rather large overhang. Sixty or so feet and one piton later he was at the overhang driving a pair of Lost Arrows to the hilt. He then down climbed about fifteen or twenty feet and promptly disappeared out of sight around the corner of the dihedral. One more piton, and then the rope began to quickly run out.

Now it was my turn. The first piton protected the crux of the pitch and had been placed from a good stance. It was quickly retrieved. Soon I was at the headwall and the two
Lost Arrows. The stance was bad; both hands could not be free. Both pins were overdriven and the prospect of a fall with the rope now descending twenty or so feet and disappearing around the corner into the unknown, unthinkable. After what seemed like an eternity of crimping with one hand and pounding with the other, the rock released its hold on the last pin. Careful down climbing led to a quick move around the corner and another pin. Now another traverse and smooth friction, still not my forte, and certainly not then with stiff Vibram soled Kletershuh. The whining commenced and after a little encouragement from Andy I was across to easy ground, thankful that, the rope was finally going up and not sideways. The belay was a large comfortable ledge with a tree.

“Have you ever climbed moving in coils”? Andy asked shortly after my arrival. The answer was obvious without speaking just from the puzzled look. My answer was I’d read about it, but never done it. After a short refresher on the procedures, we both coiled about one third of the rope over our shoulders and I put Andy on belay on the abbreviated cord. It soon went taught and he told me to start climbing. He moved fast and occasionally had to pause to allow me to retrieve a sling around a tree or chockstone. There was only a piton or two placed in the next four hundred or so feet. In no time, at all, we were at the final exit moves of The White Maiden and I put him back on belay as he made short work of the last sixty-foot pitch. A quick hit of water from the Bota and we raced down the Friction Route to the next climb.

Didn’t take long and we were standing at the base of The Inominate. A ramp led to a steep dark and dead vertical, if not overhanging dihedral. Andy offered the first pitch, and once again, I accepted. Shortly, I had a good belay set up on a pedestal below the steep dihedral, this time two firmly driven pins. The bong sung as Andy drove it home, a quick couple of moves and he was moving fast over easier ground. One more easy short pitch and we were again headed down the Friction Route.

The south side of Tahquitz is marked by an unusual distinctive feature. Two parallel cracks about eight feet apart curve gracefully through an overhang and down a bucketed face, the appropriately named Ski Tracks. I’d led the left one the summer before. It was the obligatory next step after Angels Fright for the novice leader. The first pitch is dead vertical with the only real difficulty being an initial move to get established on the face that is so featured that it has been described as , “vertical third class”. The crux, at the end of the next pitch is a handhold-less committing step with huge exposure that still belies its lowly rating.

We were headed for the much more difficult Right Ski Track. The first pitch is pretty much the same as the left. The right crack continually thins and steepens until it disappears into the smooth face several yards from a flake that forms a bottomless chimney under the same platform that creates the step across of its easier sibling to the left. Once again, I drew first pitch duty and was off. It went quickly, familiar territory. Andy took off on the next pitch, occasionally swatting in a pin. At the end of the crack, he placed one final pin and with a call of, “watch me here” started the thin traverse across the face to the base of the chimney. Once he was in the chimney, it was clear that it wouldn’t accept any pro without an unreasonable amount of effort. The sounds of shoes rack and body parts dragging on rock mingled with the grunts of great physical effort. Finally, the sounds of a relieved leader gasping for air and the ring of the belay anchor going in. The crack itself was difficult, particularly cleaning the pitons with one hand and avoiding dropping them. The traverse and the chimney went much easier. With the security of the rope, the worst of the chimney could be bypassed with lieback moves. At the belay, we squeezed the little water that remained from the bota. A couple of more easy pitches and we were off down the Friction Route again.

As we rounded the corner under the Traitor Horn and past The Open Book Andy announced that he thought we had time for one more. Just past the start for Fingertrip was an ugly looking crack that slanted off to the left, The Slab. Not a slab climbs at all, but a short excursion up the left side of a slab. He polished it off in short order having done it before several times, the only climb of the day that wasn’t an onsight. A quick rappel and we were at lunch rock just in time to gather our gear and thoughts by the last of the suns’ rays.

We made a stop at The Charthouse for a beer. Well, at least Andy had a beer. I would not be able to buy one legally for another six months or so. The ride home was pleasantly warm for that time of year. Only an appreciated wakening chill when the road would dip through a canyon that funneled the cold air descending from Mt. San Gorgonio across our path.

I never climbed with Andy again. He went off to the valley, got The Heart, and left for Oxford. He became the town doctor and ice guru of Valdez Alaska and ended his own life with a shotgun in a strange effort to engineer his own disappearance. It’s solid city now all the way to Banning and the CHP aren't nearly as friendly. Riding a motorcycle in Southern California is now an equivalent risk to free soloing. Tahquitz has changed also, although not nearly as much as the encroaching city below. I do not remember seeing another party that entire day. It was a weekend, so there must have been others. The experience of having the place to your self is now reserved for those that can make it on a weekday.

There have been physical changes that remind me of the relentless advance of time now every time I’m there. The first pitch of The Illegitimate has been “gardened” to aseptic standards. The flake I slung is now dangerously unstable. The log that was the first landmark slowly disappeared over the years. The pine sapling died and the oak has now reached tree status. The trail now goes under the log we polished going over. You don’t even have to bend over very far to clear it even with a pack on. I doubt it will be there all that much longer.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Otto, NC
Feb 28, 2009 - 11:43pm PT
Wonderful, evocative and elegaic. Thanks TGT.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 1, 2009 - 01:18am PT
TGT, really good story. I love it. Start a new thread with it. It is likely to be buried in this thread.

Longing, lost youth, the mystery that our best friends still are in spite of it all, the anxiety of our modernizing world---consider expanding it too, it certainly will support broader description.

thanks ph
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Mar 1, 2009 - 01:27am PT
What Peter Haan Said!

-and thanks for that!
prunes

climber
Mar 1, 2009 - 01:39am PT
Some 20 years ago we climbed the Leaning tower.It was during a spring with some big earthquakes.So it was gripping to finish the route and rap down the chimney next to it because everything was complety loose. We finally made it to the road around midnight.After hours of hitching a ride we got a ride to Camp 4.It turned out to be Andy B..It was great to meet a well known climber that was really down to earth. He gave us food and beer and was really interested in our climb. And then 15 years later I was stuck in the Geneva,Switzerland airport with a cancelled flight trying to get a beer and feeling homesick.I was standing in a line pissed off and tired.I then looked at the person in line in front of me and scrawled on his Rucksac was Andy Embick Valdez Alaska.We talked for awhile and had a beer together.Sadly soon after he left this world but I will never forget him.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Mar 1, 2009 - 03:24am PT
TGT
Beautiful and vivid-more please!
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 1, 2009 - 09:32am PT
Thanks for the encouragement.

I must have dabbled with that one off and on for a couple of years.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 1, 2009 - 10:15am PT
TGT, (and others)

That you dabbled with it for a couple of years does not in any way mean that you should not write more nor develop this particular tale. The more you write, the faster it comes and the better it will be. Just like climbing. My left side of the Hourglass piece was in draft for about 6 years.... my Salathe wall solo article took 5 months with me working on it really hard to make the AAJ deadline. My senior thesis took 6 months.

Usually the best writing is from those who actually went through the experiences but felt they had to sort out their complex passions and quandries that developed during and after the pivotal adventure. Some just go through episodes and basically don’t feel there has to be an accounting for them; they just live them and move on.

The story’s hook of course partly is that sadly, Andy suicided later. But the other hook is your emotional investment here taken in retrospect, towards your youth, the longing for simpler self and simpler world, and the cool wanderlust of climbing and seat-of-the-pants traveling, and the fundamental unknown-ness of your close friend which would always be there even without his later demise.

I can easily imagine you could unfold this particular tale to considerable depth, heading towards 10 pages or more given time. Do not be afraid to get quite personal, maybe even squirm a bit. You will find that is where the real meat is.

best to you, ph
climber bob

Social climber
maine
Mar 1, 2009 - 12:03pm PT
sometime during the eighties i attended the a.a.c. annual get together in n.y.c where andy was to speak on some adventure..he began his presentation by stripping to his skivvies..unique to say the least..
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 1, 2009 - 11:39pm PT
I found a copy of Andy's topo from the 2nd ascent. Detailed and about 5 pages long.

Once I figure out where to host it, I'll post it.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 1, 2009 - 11:46pm PT
TGT: Send me a note if you need help with how to post photos.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 1, 2009 - 11:58pm PT
I just haven't decided which of the hosting sites to use now that we closed up our old little vanity site.
crøtch

climber
Mar 19, 2009 - 06:30pm PT
bump
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 21, 2009 - 02:40pm PT
Here's the promised topo.









Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 21, 2009 - 07:18pm PT
Great Embick story and historic topos, TGT!
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Mar 21, 2009 - 08:16pm PT
New thread is a good idea style bump.

Twenty years ago I thought Banning was a scary place, and I'm from the south side of Chicago.

I never got to climb with Dr Andy Embick, MD, but I did hang and shoot the sh#t with him. One time in camp 4,
I talked with him about my wife in Med School;
""you're in, man she can always be the expedition doctor," he said.
I laughed and asked "Do you pull that sh#t a lot to get on trips?"
he seemed genuinely hurt, and said, "I'm generally the expedition leader."
There was a rift between us after that.

A year or so earlier I was in a grad class, 'Stratigraphic paleontology' at the university of Wyoming, with his sister. It was the best class I have ever taken (I believe that Orion Skinner, the brother of the late Todd Skinner, and Father of Becca Skinner who posts here while her father only lurks, would concur) . The lab practical final gave us three minutes at each station where we had to identify the geologic period from the evidence presented. At one station, we were presented with some walnut sized fossils, a dinosaur skull and a slide under a low power, stereo microscope. Learning gets no cooler than that!

The teacher, Dee Dub Boyd believed in a strict curve for grading, though in the end, all of us (6 students) scored over 94%. the grades were 5 B's, and one C. Talk about a hard room! Mr Embick's sister is every bit as tough as him, it must be in their genes.

I climbed 'Stepping Out' with no problems after he had described it as 'the hardest climb in the universe'. Chick Holtcamp, or maybe Bob Yoho advised me to not mention that to Andy, and I never did.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 29, 2009 - 02:51am PT
Embick was the first guy I ever saw use chalk. It was at Stoney Point - late 60s I think. Anybody know anyone using chalk prior?
scuffy b

climber
Frigate Matilda
Apr 29, 2009 - 02:58pm PT
I got to climb once with Andy. He, Mike Graber and I
went up on the Central Pillar. We climbed six pitches then
rapped off, an uncommon combination.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
May 1, 2009 - 12:13pm PT
Bump for one of Mr. Grossman's great threads.
Tomcat

Trad climber
Chatham N.H.
Jan 6, 2012 - 07:54pm PT
Too good not to bump.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 6, 2012 - 08:34pm PT
Wendell, that was a great and well told story! Thanks!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 6, 2012 - 10:20pm PT
Holy frig, TGT - how the hell did Andy fall asleep on the back of your motorbike, and knott fall off? That's bloody amazing!
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 6, 2012 - 10:45pm PT
I had a Wixom touring setup and the back bag had a backrest. You couldn't slide off the back.

I just sold that bike in November. It had sat in the shed for fifteen years or so waiting for a restoration that I never got around to.

It found a good home with an enthusiast who is restoring it and calls me every couple of weeks with an update.

Got four times what I paid for it too.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jan 23, 2012 - 01:12am PT
bump for Heart Route coolness


and rip, Andy
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Jan 23, 2012 - 03:19am PT
Here is a short Chuck Kroger story....

A friend of mine lives in the Berkeley hills and Chuck used to make some cash as a house painter. He told me that Chuck also helped out a time or two rescuing local residents who had somehow locked themselves out of their houses by using his climbing skills to climb into their second floors.

This might have been told elsewhere....

Chuck Kroger was part of a prank while at Stanford where they rapped down the side of Hoover Tower while painting feet that made it look like somebody had walked up the outside of the Tower.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 23, 2012 - 11:05am PT
I worked with Scott in Seattle. To call him erudite does him a disservice.
He wrote a book about his time in Syria in the 70's that was very good.
I can't find it on amazon. He has reprised it though and I am sure it is
as good or better than his first one. It would be a timely read.

Apparently the former US Ambassador to Syria agrees:

"Meticulously observed. Davis went far off the beaten path—into side streets
and mountain villages— and saw a Syria that escapes nearly all Western travelers."

—Talcott Seelye,
Former U. S. Ambassador to Syria


The Road from Damascus: A Journey Through Syria



He also wrote an eclectic work on climbing and construction:

Lost Arrow and Other True Stories
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Apr 30, 2012 - 02:27am PT
I'm going to check that Syria book out for sure

two points: (1) that cartoon is hilarious; (2) those photos from Embick/Dunn are historically significant.

that's all.

oh, and the Kroger/Davis ascent is, in my opinion, a watershed moment in El Cap climbing history, on a number of levels.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 10, 2013 - 01:42pm PT
Bump for doing an FA right!
Gobi

Trad climber
Orange CA
Mar 10, 2013 - 03:32pm PT
I’ve spent a good bit of time on this route in the past few years. The roof pitch and the pitches after are all steep and spectacular. The Heart route would be well traveled classic if the lower half wasn’t so dirty. I wish I had photos to share...
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Mar 10, 2013 - 04:47pm PT
Does anyone know who did the THIRD ascent of the Heart Route? During our second ascent in 1971, we discovered that there had been a huge rockfall between the first ascent (a year earlier by Scott Davis and Chuck Kroger) and our climb. The route was substantially changed and the "White Tower" feature on the original climb had simply disappeared! The entire 300 foot section of the Heart Route was dusty, full of loose rock, and brittle sections. I'd be interested in hearing from whomever climbed in subsequently whether they also encountered these loose section during their ascent.

Me and a couple of friends went up to Sickle Ledge about the time of the rockfall mentioned above. On the way up, every tiny edge and ledge was covered with a fine dust, and whenever the wind came up, the find dust blew into our eyes. It was just a practice run up to Sickle and later that same day, we hiked around to the west side to climb on the short climbs there, and discovered where the dust came from. The trail and environs over there were devasted. It was like hiking through the loose moraine rubble left after a retreated glacier. For a long time aftertward there was unpredictable rockfall that came down on that side of El Cap. Surely others remember this. I'm pretty sure that the large devasted area of forest that can be seen when looking down from El Cap is from that rockfall, since there was quite a large number of splintered trees on the hike along the base. It would not surprise me if the rockfall had happened the night before. If it had happened during the day it may have been a highly reported event.

For whatever reason, I had a good helping of rockfall events and accounts when I was young. There were so many! I sure remember the stories of when Mike Dent was on Sickle Ledge ( cant remember if they were bivied), and I think I recall some photos, but the story was enough to create some nice images. Mike was lucky to be alive. I can't remember who rescued them, but his team's ropes were so cut up and pulverized and melted into the rock, that I'm pretty sure they had to be rescued (given assistence with ropes). I don't recall anyone being hurt - just mental hurt!

I forgot to say too, that the Davis and Kroger story is one of my all time favorites. El Cap was so big......and still is.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Mar 10, 2013 - 08:53pm PT
Hey Dan, I remember, as an impressionable youth, humping loads up to the base of el Cap for your solo and watching as huge slabs of ice broke away up high. They sailed down like a magic carpet unsure of their final destination. They final reached earth crashing into the trees all too close. I remember walking out keeping as close to the wall's base as possible!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 10, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
Chuck Kroger, near the end, in Telluride. From a prior post on Supertopo.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 11, 2013 - 10:34am PT
Shown here with the love of his life, Kathy Green. A very formidable team.
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