Owl Roof, Yosemite

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 83 of total 83 in this topic
poop_tube

Trad climber
Irvine, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 1, 2004 - 10:10pm PT
Has anyone climbed this? How hard is it? I don't think I'm nearly good enough to do this yet but I was wondering how cool of a route it is and what it takes to do it onsight. (I love offwidths)
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 1, 2004 - 11:31pm PT
P-T:

I definitely have not climbed this route. However, I was one of the first to try. Did not even get close. Solid low 5.11 was the top end of the Valley's numbers when I tried it.

That's not the story. It is real easy to get to the roof. It is right off the road and you can hike to the top and get on the route right under the roof to give it a go. Also, the wall beneath it is low angle--at least for a ways--so it is not hard to drop out of it.

Give it a go.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 1, 2004 - 11:59pm PT
Give Russ a buzz about about it. I think he did it back in his youth.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 2, 2004 - 12:44am PT
I'm another guy who hasn't done it, but it has a rep for being pretty badass. Hasn't had too many ascents. (I know Shipley did it)

The pictures you see of guys climbing it are mostly posed.

I've done the OwlRoof bypass route, which is cool although the crack is a little sharp. Checked out the roof. It looks miserable.

Peace

Karl
Russ Walling

Social climber
Bishop is DEAD, long live JT
Dec 2, 2004 - 01:03am PT
Say Karl, unless you were there to see it, I would have to guess that Shipley has not done the Owl. This thing never gets done, and many fine OW masters have failed on it... not me though...... I've never tried it. I've heard tales of funny business going on up there in the past, as in hanging on cams, legs over tubes, and all sorts of trickery and lies. Only guy I know with a shot is JayBro, the offwidth machine. Probably belayed Cilley on a failed attempt. oh Jay???????
James

Gym climber
City by the Bay
Dec 2, 2004 - 01:13am PT
Here's the intense beta second hand translated from Ivo's Bulgarian accent into Californian Climber. Ivo did redpoint the route this year? or maybe the year before. Beta-below







The route is essentially an off-fist boulder problem. Bring a few 3 camalots. You need to place one at the end of the roof to keep the rope from pushing the other two into the crack. Crank really hard deep in the roof and send. Sorry if you want more spray talk to Ivo. The route looks rad. I've always wanted to try it. Don't just hang like Diegelman for a picture as that is considered pretty light.
Ben Wah

Social climber
Dec 2, 2004 - 01:15am PT
The history of this route seems shrouded in mystery and confusion. The FA is listed as Ray Jardine and John Lakey, but it is whispered that they placed a chockstone at a crucial spot in the crux, thus negating their FA. Legend then has it that Kauk and Bard pulled out the chockstone and cast it down, almost hitting their vehicle in the process. It seems to be the concensus that Dale Bard then led it onsight for the true FA, and no one can tell of its ever having been flashed since. Kauk had to work it, as did Johny Dawes, who are the only two other people I've ever heard of having actually pulled the thing (which is a far cry from posing in the easy fist section for photos, which many people have done). The difficulty in pinning down who has really climbed it is exacerbated by the fact that a person attempting to lead it need only grab his pro, and only for a split second at that, to get past the one showstopping move on the climb. His belayer would never know, because the pro is out of sight of anyone not dangling from a rope directly above the lip of the roof. The temptation is great; a slightly dishonest climber with few scruples could easily cheat past and claim an ascent.
What it boils down to, then, is this: how many of the people who claim to have done it were honest? We may never know.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 2, 2004 - 01:29am PT
Hey Russ

Yeah, I was surprised to hear the Walt did it cause the rep was so fierce. Walt w could be pretty badass but not really that kind of badass.

Some mag once reported that Walt had finally done every climb pictured in "yosemite climber" and that would include Owl Roof.

But who really knows? Not me

karl
Spinmaster K-Rove

Trad climber
Stuck Under the Kor Roof
Dec 2, 2004 - 03:01am PT
"Kauk had to work it, as did Johny Dawes, who are the only two other people I've ever heard of having actually pulled the thing (which is a far cry from posing in the easy fist section for photos, which many people have done). "


I hadn't even heard that they had done it but I wouldn't doubt it. Rumor in the mid-late 90's was that nobody had ever acutally climbed it. I've never seen a picture of someone on it without a taught rope.
poop_tube

Trad climber
Irvine, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2004 - 04:07am PT
Wow! I had no idea this route had such a rich history. You guys got me psyced to do it. I'm not anywhere near good enough yet though.
Spinmaster K-Rove

Trad climber
Stuck Under the Kor Roof
Dec 2, 2004 - 04:15am PT
Good luck. I think the crux beta is to daisy into a #3 camalot while someone takes your picture.
Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Dec 2, 2004 - 09:33am PT
I went to try and aid the roof one day, we thought this to be a great idea. That morning was a hoot.
We parked in the small turn out below the roof and headed into the trees, way over loaded, after all we had all the large cams we could get our hands on. So the first thing we find just off the road is a sign that has been knocked over, this sign read "area closed".
So we hiked on, steep slippery slopes. To make a long morning short we had a hard time finding the approach pitch and never got off of the ground. Perhaps, for me, this is worth another try, especially sine I've got several more years of Valley climbing under my belt.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 2, 2004 - 10:25am PT
This is slighty off thread, but one of the funniest OW roof stories I ever heard was Russ's telling of his Pisanno Overhang epic. Care to share Russ? It's a classic.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Bishop is DEAD, long live JT
Dec 2, 2004 - 12:36pm PT
Karl writes: Some mag once reported that Walt had finally done every climb pictured in "yosemite climber" and that would include Owl Roof.

Those mags will print anything:
probably nots:
Dihedral Wall (better eye for a line)
Razors edge (too hard)
Separate Reality ( a maybe....but unlikely)
Tales of Power (too hard)
Bircheff Williams (a bit on the stemmy side for the less than flexible Walt)
Space Babble (not his cup of tea)
Excalibur (a bit wide? no large cams?)
Sea of Dreams (not that I heard of)

But.... out of the 500 or so routes that did not get in the book, Walt had done many of them, either FA or otherwise, and is still my hero.

Side note: doing all those routes in the book would be some kind of feat.... anyone close???? (Bard maybe???)
AlexC

climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 2, 2004 - 03:02pm PT
I'm one of those people interested in Owl Roof, so last spring I headed up there with my friend Dave to have a look at it.

The first pitch is straightforward, but a bit sharp.

Dave then aided the roof. This wasn't too bad except for pulling over the lip where it was hard to make progress due to gear being in the way and having no feet to counterbalance off.

I then tried to follow and it is indeed hard! It's mostly fists deep inside, except for the lip wich is a bit wider and flared. I didn't even come close to getting it. Once past that it's easy. Our guess was that it would be a one move wonder type of climb, with that one move being very awkward and strong.

Having been up there I have to say that I was a little disappointed. I was hoping it would be a bigger roof and more sustained climbing. No plans to go back :)

Alexander
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Dec 2, 2004 - 08:16pm PT
I did the Owl after many attempts spread over years. Never went there with Cilley, though he threatened often enough, kinda like that animal nickname guy.
The funniest attempt was a clusterf--- ca '84 with my (then) buddy Fred, Schneider, Cosgrovel and Werner-"Hot shot kid, show us how it's done." "I will, I am I'm goin' to the top,"-Cos. Um, he didn't, but the rope burn eventually healed and we became friends anyway.
Walt never mentioned being on it, though he did a lot of the weird ow's that no one does ( Stepin' out, Cream(?) Jam session etc.
The Beta? follow your feet and do the sittup from hell. It's short, accessible and easy to bail from, also VERY hard.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Dec 2, 2004 - 08:27pm PT
Oh yeah,
Gary Zachor sent it. I was driving by and did a double take apparently while he did so.
The long, tall, Rick Piggot has also climbed it. This one Cilley himself told me of, but Rick verified. Rick also climbed Elephant's Eliminate. I am jealous because I have not. That's the one to go try, similar but narrower, then more flared and harder than The Owl.
-Russ, I actually,DID belay Cilley on a failed attempt on that one.
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Dec 2, 2004 - 08:57pm PT
Great tales, especially the JayBro.

I took Dale my copy of _Yosemite Climber_ to sign a few years ago and he got all misty looking at that shot of him on the Owl Roof in the inset. Then he proudly said, "The FIRST and TRUE ascent."

I'd have thought that Peter Hahn might've tried it. Any word if he did, or succeeded?
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 2, 2004 - 09:18pm PT
Speaking of Yosemite Climbs... A few years afer it came out I was hanging in the Awahnee bar and ran into the Bird. After a few rounds and trips to the outback, I mentioned something about the pics and he said that the pics in the book are were the back up pics. Apparently the original selection of shots was stolen and Meyers had to use those. Don't know if it's true or not, but I always wondered, if it is true, what routes were in on the first choice shots that got jacked.

Levy

Big Wall climber
So Calif
Dec 3, 2004 - 02:17am PT
If I remeber right, the quote about Walt was that he had done all the routes in "Vertical World Of Yosemite", by the late Galen Rowell, not Meyers's "Yosemite climber".

I can't think of too many who claim an ascent of Owl Roof. Rick Riggot & Bard are the only ones I know or believe. Congrats to Jaybro, it looks rather rugged.
Donny Quijote

Boulder climber
Boulder F'n CO
Dec 3, 2004 - 12:27pm PT
Rick Riggot?...Piggot?

I thought it was Pickett. What the hell?
Scary Larry

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Dec 3, 2004 - 07:08pm PT
In the November 1973 issue of Mountain Magazine, Tom Higgins wrote a letter:

"I recently completed a first ascent in Yosemite which led me to discover something about newly emerging ethical standards. The climb involved surmounting a 10ft. roof on a formation called The Owl..."

He goes on to describe finding a chockstone and sling and carabiner at the lip. He says, "I thought it likely that I was doing a a second or third ascent, though later I found my ascent was the first. The chockstone had been placed on rappel by two climbers who were unable to get past it..."

Higgins continues on with some criticism of Yosemite routes that were climbed with a variety of ethical transgressions. He is strict even with himself. He concludes, "One can only hope climbs done in the best style will be admired and imitated in the future. Certainly my ascent of the Owl was no shining example. I should have removed the chockstone and then tried the ascent; or at least rated the climb in accordance with its artificial hold: 5.11 A1."

Apparently the Yosemite community was more appreciative of Higgins's effort. Two months later, in the January 1974 issue of Mountain, Jim Bridwell wrote an article about recent Yosemite free climbs. He called The Owl Roof one of the "two most formidable leads in American climbing." (The other was Butterballs by Henry Barber). Bridwell called the route free at 5.11 and said, "the Owl Roof, a 13ft. hand-and-fist crack in a horizontal ceiling was soloed, with jumars for belay, by Tom Higgins. This last achievement stands as a monument to the enlarging spectrum of free-climbing possibilities."

Bridwell's article includes a good photo of Mark Chapman climbing out to the lip (as well, BTW, as a couple of photos of the recently-departed Rick White on Outer Limits).

It seems unlikely that Jardine placed the chockstone at the lip, since his attempts were apparently in 1977, 4 years AFTER Higgins was there. (Of course, the could have been a second chockstone.)

Rich history indeed...

Scary Larry

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Dec 3, 2004 - 07:16pm PT
p.s. marty(r) Higgins mentions that in 1972, prior to his successful ascent, He had attempted the route with Peter Haan, but failed at the lip.
yo

climber
NOT Fresno
Dec 3, 2004 - 08:36pm PT
Damn good thread.


A second chockstone? Is there a grassy knoll involved at some point?
poop_tube

Trad climber
Irvine, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2004 - 09:53pm PT

his hands aren't even in the crack, there is no way you could look back in a poisition like that for a picture


...........ya right ;)
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Dec 3, 2004 - 11:04pm PT
I really don't understand or appreciate an effective chronology for what really happened over the history of this climb. Higgins published (somehwere, 'cause I read it)a piece that contained various ramblings about yosemite as recounted while he was driving up the Mineral King road to go skiing. Included in that was one that started, "Who, Who, first climbed the owl?" It talks of "pulling unethically on the unethical chalk stone", etc, but also about yarding on the rope after, 'a failed attempt?' With words to the effect of "It seemed ethical at the time.
Then I few years later (I think) I was in the valley and was introduced to a very young looking Dale Bard as the first guy to REALLY free climb the Owl.-early Meyers Green-top-ring-guide era.
Then came the Lakey/Jardine show. I really don't know what to make of any of this in a factual sense, but, I'd put my money on Bard.
I attempted it a couple of times with the late, Lynn "Wheels" Wheeler from SLC. I remember scabbing up the inside of my forearms because I was reaching so deep for the jams. I was a seasonal fixture in the valley then, but Wheels had a job in Mammoth and could only climb on his days off. "Get this sh#t ... taken care of! ...Next week, long free climbs!" he grunted as he adjusted his bent wire glasses frames then crawled into his bug for his commute after the last of our attempts. I showed him, the next week we compromised and did Blind Faith!
That second photo is especially imaginative!
WBraun

climber
Dec 7, 2004 - 09:46pm PT
Here is a climb where the ratings (ie, numbers) definately don't mean $hit! It's a pure technique climb.

Yep, Bardini was the first. I know, cause Kauk and him where both trying for a few days. Kauk did it also. Elephant's Eliminate by Rick Pickitt? Did he verify that. I've never heard anyone doing it, except Jardines declare. We never knew about Ray with all his hangdogging methods. I went there (Elephant's Eliminate) with Cosgrove and the late Gulick one day. Wolfagang took one look at it and said I'm going back to camp 4. Me and Cos battled it out for awhile only to fail miserably getting over the lip. Elephant's Eliminate a very impressive roof climb. Pickett is a master all round climber with an impressive tick list that he's acomplished over the years.

Werner
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Dec 8, 2004 - 12:39am PT
hhmmm
Cilley told me that Rick had done the owl and Elephant's Eliminate. A few months later I talked to Rick aobut this and I now we talked about the Owl, but as I write this, I can't say I'm positive that we even talked about EE, let alone whether he did it or not. I'll try to remember to ask him aobut it when I see him sometime.
When cilley and Dru Marquardt and I atempted EE it was not that long after you (Werner) & Cos ( I had forgotten the Gullich twist) had been there. Scott gave us all kinds of enthusiastic beta, stuff that would seem pretty logical and useful but, didn't end up helping us. I have my own ideas, but it was one attempt a looong time ago.
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Dec 8, 2004 - 09:14pm PT
Jay/Werner,

I want to say Rick Cashner has done the Elephant's Eliminate, but I'm not sure. I just remember being in the kitchen at the old Fish Factory one afternoon as Russ did the "so what's the best OW in the ditch?" routine, followed by Rick's mention of EE, and a lot of "I'm not worthy"-style bowing by Russ. Pretty funny.

The best story that has not yet been told (I think) is about Mike Paul, and others, attempting "Jaws." Someone needs to jump into the fray and re-tell that epic. And I'd in vote to hear Russ tell the "Paisano Overhang" story too.
yo

climber
NOT Fresno
Dec 8, 2004 - 09:55pm PT
Hearing Mike Paul and Jaws in one sentence keyed my tall tale memory. Russ writes:

"Place: Yosemite
Route: Jaws
Climber: the illustrious Mike Paul.
The Gobie: In one of the finest efforts I've ever seen, Mike is battling this upside down OW for what seemed like 45 minutes.... he is double fist stacking out near the end of the "roof" . The tops of this humbs are down to the bone, and you can hear the actual bone grinding on the inside of the crack. Then he gets the dryheaves and is still pimping in the thing, blood everywhere...... hanging upside down from foot stacks.... there was a bit of a rope management problem too as Werner (my hero) Braun did not have his ears on and was spectating too much and belaying too little. Anyway, Mike does the thing (BURLY) and then leaves the Valley with ZERO skin on the top of his thumbs all the way to the wrist. I think they did an "ass skin" graft to save him."




The whole thread is here:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?m=35687#msg35687

And it's a doozie. Goes all the way to a urethral evulsion.
WBraun

climber
Dec 8, 2004 - 10:04pm PT
Cashner, I know hasn't done the Elephant's Eliminate. The Mike Paul Jaws story I think is on the fish site, I remember that well cause I saw the whole thing. He did it after Bardini and me did it. Bachar was so grossed out that he didn't even wan't to try it after watching Mike. It was the bloodiest gobie mess I've ever seen.

Werner
Watusi

Social climber
Joshua Tree, CA
Jul 4, 2005 - 06:12pm PT
Yeah Werner! That was a rough one! I'm still scarred! I remember you did it with style however! Hope you are well! MP
LongAgo

Trad climber
Sep 27, 2005 - 10:42pm PT
Tom Higgins explains first ascent of Owl Roof, Yosemite:

Posts from around December, 2004 (e.g. Sewellymon, Scary Larry) speculate about my first ascent of the Owl roof. Jim Bridwell described the climb in the January, 1974 issue of Mountain, saying, "a 13ft. hand-and-fist crack in a horizontal ceiling was soloed, with jumars for belay, by Tom Higgins."

Jim may not know he is responsible in two ways for my ascent. First, after he dragged me (and Tom Gerughty) up the off-width burner, Crack of Despair, my embarrassment caused me to make and incessantly use an adjustable, wooden/rubber practice crack nailed to the outside of my home in LA. The crack machine helped me develop technique for Yosemite slots, including the wide part of the Owl. Second, Jim reportedly placed a chock stone in the off-width part of the Owl as part of an aborted attempt. The stone made my ascent feasible though very hard. I didn't know the stone was there or how it arrived as I came upon it in my second attempt in 1973. I also didn't know if the route already had been done. As I said in Summit Magazine, December 1973, the stone "magically appearing since last year ... when Peter Haan and I tried but failed on the route."

My climb went like so: using jumars for self belay, climbed first pitch to base of roof, set up belay and back rope, jammed out to the lip, unexpectedly found chock stone, clipped it, fell, lost glasses (just as in my attempt with Hahn), pulled into wall, lowered to get glasses and dislodged lens on ledge, tensioned back to rest point below the roof, taped glasses together and onto head. Set up again, climbed to the lip, got crux, flopped exhaustedly on top, undid cursed rope jumble but didn't remove stone not knowing if man or nature put it there. Chris Vandiver greeted me on the road and asked, aptly, "What the hell?"

After finding the history of the stone and my ascent was the first, I didn't report it as such because I used an artificially placed chock and tension around retrieving my glasses. Rules of the game at the time specified no altering the rock and free climbing to the high point after a fall. To this date, I still am uncertain who removed the stone and, thereafter, who did the first true ascent.

I did several routes with the solo self belay system, but abandoned it after experience on the Owl and Thy Will Be Done, Tuolumne. I did the latter by the rules, but eventually concluded the self belay technique was too complicated and dangerous. I am not up on latest self belay, but don't advise using jumars for this purpose (at least 1973 jumars).

Tom Higgins
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 27, 2005 - 10:57pm PT
This is why ST rules!!

thanks Tom
WBraun

climber
Sep 27, 2005 - 11:12pm PT
"I still am uncertain who removed the stone and, thereafter, who did the first true ascent."

Dale and Ron
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Sep 28, 2005 - 02:39am PT
Nice, Tom, Thanks!

What they said, we're always ready for more stories.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Sep 28, 2005 - 09:45am PT
I always thought it was Higgins too. but if Werner says Ronnie and Dale, well then...
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Sep 28, 2005 - 10:38am PT
I never heard Dale talk about the Owl, but he is an extremely modest guy. And he was WAY good. I lived at Doug R's house in Bishop for almost a year when I wasn't in the valley, and he and Bobbie B lived in Dale's bread van snuggled up to Doug's house for water and electricity. He would put in a tape and get on the crack machine and do laps back and forth. He would come down to change the tape over and get back on it until the tape was over. He was a climbing fool. He also built the first artificial wall I ever saw, with four overhanging cracks that were different sizes of evil off-fingers. He drafted me to help put it together, but I tried to avoid all work. This was just before sport climbing took off.

I don't think I ever heard him spray about anything, or talk crap on anyone.

Russ....didn't Walt do the first solo of Excalibur?
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Sep 28, 2005 - 08:56pm PT
Hey Russ and Bill,
That's right about Walt ticking The Vertical World... but not Yosemite Climber and almost certainly not Owl Roof (wouldn't we have heard the blow-by-blow?)
WBraun

climber
Sep 28, 2005 - 09:29pm PT
I talked to Kauk today at the deli and he told me Dale and him removed the chockstone from the roof. They both had to work it over a couple of days and Dale managed to lead it first, not an onsight flash like some want to believe.

I believe it was Rick Pigget as the first onsight flash of the owl roof? I could be wrong?

Walt soloing Excaliber ... no it was North American Wall and Tissack on the 1/2 dome.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 28, 2005 - 10:56pm PT
Hi Tom, welcome to ST land. Glad to hear you posting up and hope that you add more.

We talk about you knowing that you are still around but out of sight.

I hope all is going well.

All the best, Roger
Jedi

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Sep 29, 2005 - 02:01am PT
i HEARD the bulgarian
IVO NINOV did it last year.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Sep 29, 2005 - 02:38am PT
I don't think Ivo has done it, I know he said he had worked it. Didn't ask him about it at all this year tho.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 12, 2008 - 01:38am PT
bump
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Nov 12, 2008 - 01:58am PT
"my Then, friend Fred" gawd life is an adventure....
MisterE

Trad climber
My Inner Nut
Nov 12, 2008 - 01:59am PT
Great read. How many of these you got in your cache, Ed? LOL!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 12, 2008 - 08:43am PT
hey there scary larry.. say, not sure if your're still posting here, as i just read what you posted was 2004.... but say, quite by accident, looking for my brother mark's (chappy) name, i happened to find that aritcle... and the picture... or just the picture of mark on that ledge... man, oh, man, that was some picture:

good thing i was not there to watch... scary stuff, for a down-to-earth-dirt-stones-gal like me....

here is what you posted:
"Bridwell's article includes a good photo of Mark Chapman climbing out to the lip (as well, BTW, as a couple of photos of the recently-departed Rick White on Outer Limits). "


p.s.
(i did not know rick white, but my sincere condolences to his family---that must have been back in 2004, as well)



edit:
HEY THERE SAY:
i just found this link to an article and a great picture of mark:
http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/yos/brave.htm


say, if you scroll down, there are many more list of names and climbs... lot so info to check out...

*say, is there some other PICTURES, AND EVEN SOME IN COLOR, of some other climbers attempting and doing owl roof?

say, post up, that would very interesting, and i know, kind of scary~~~~ but i would still love to see their adventures..
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Nov 12, 2008 - 08:51am PT
i recall that Dean Potter free soloed this pitch??

on his way to Heaven.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Nov 12, 2008 - 12:18pm PT
I posted this story almost three years ago to the day. It centered around my only real attempt on the Owl (I did go up once before but it was a farce. Even more so than this one!)

I'll take the liberty of posting it again since it involves both the Owl and dear old Yabo.

><
The last climb I did with him was the Owl Roof in the valley. Don't even know if it's in the guides anymore, but this is a 90-degree roof with a nasty fist crack. Yabo took the sharp end while I hoped for a few points of pro to protect me from the nightmare of skull against granite. In true John fashion he made it within inches of the lip before lodging a hex. He couldn't turn the roof and lowered off. Now it was my turn. I managed to get horizontal before hearing the shouts of Kauk, Besio, Bard (as I remember) and others on the road below. Unable to duplicate Yabo's lead I relaxed and arced. My climbing may have lacked panache, but at least Yabo's lead gave me a great ride. This guy is smiling because he is still here. He gives each of us that little bit of craziness we need to push harder.
><

Miss ya, John.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Nov 12, 2008 - 12:43pm PT
I tried the Owl with Randy Levitt back in the late 70s and neither one of us could get ourselves over the lip. There's some trick sit-up move, possibly requiring getting your feet above you or some such thing. Man, that was a thrutch getting out there and thrashing around at the lip. I think I would have had to have gone back several times (or many times) to figure out what would have worked. The lip was too flared to fist jam, as I remember, so there must have been some kind of very weird and awkward flare move or something. I never felt like I was even close to getting it.

JL
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 12, 2008 - 06:57pm PT
hey there guys... say, this is really interesting... it would be neat to see a sketch of this and of all the various ways you all have tried to get-up-over... i have never heard anything like this before--though i do know that there are horizontal climbs... i did recently see a freaky picture of folks climbing horizontal (upside down, of course) in one the alpine mags that was sent my way---sadly, you all, i cannot remember the name of it... it is a very long ledge...

you all will know what i mean if you have seen the magzine...

well---back to the ol' drawing board...

IF:
some of you guys are so inspired, it would really be neat to see some sketches of this...

will check back and see if it comes to pass... very, very interesting, i do say---again...


you guys sure have a lot of "guts" and "stamina"... i admire you all...

:)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 13, 2008 - 02:21am PT
The Owl in the morning light...
how hard could that be?
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 13, 2008 - 08:35am PT
hey there ed... WOW.. say, thanks for the morning "wake-up"---well, for me, over.... i just got up...

say, that really STANDS out... i did not know it would look that easy to view from a distance... thought it was more hidden, or blened-in colorwise to the rocks...

that's a great view of it...

sure hope to see some sketches of how folks tried to get up over it...

once again, ed, thanks for posting this "impressive" (now that i know what the ledge is and where it stands) photo...
micronut

Trad climber
fresno, ca
Nov 13, 2008 - 01:06pm PT
I loved the Alpinist article on Bob Scarpelli entitled "Squat." Do any of you locals know if he has ever come out to the Valley for an extended period of time? That guy is an offwidth monster and is apparently still going hard. Somebody should try to get him on Owl Roof if he hasn't done it already.
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Nov 13, 2008 - 01:54pm PT
I did two trips to the valley with Bob in the mid/late seventies.

We reffered to them as the .10a OW tour (secret storm, Chingando Siberian, generator, doggies, and other stuff I can't remember), and then, the .10c OW tour (Chopper, Steppin'out, Edge of night, plumplinee, etc.) back home we were working through the oddub grades in Vedawuoo. We both got the right tube in maybe '81. Bob really took off in the early eighties, putting up Squat and a bunch of stuff, I can't begin to start to list.

I don't think Bob ever got on the Owl. Sometime in his heydey he climbed Paisano, I heard it was on his fortieth birthday, but that may be hyperbole, (he was born in 49)

He detached one of his Bicep attachments working on Belly Full of Bad Berries (his name!) @ Indian Creek. He kept on going back every other day in the June heat (mid late 90's) because he was confident his partner, Brad Jackson, would eventually get up it. And he did.

He put up more crazy ass Offwidth problems in and around Vedauwoo then you can imagine, it's only since about the turn of the century, that a new generation with the drive and skills evolved to catch up with him and expand the field.

But Russ claims he out arm wrestled him... heehee


edit
Bob had the first wooden, fists/stacking, roof crack I ever saw, in the front yard of his pad in West Laramie. I could hang in it, but not do any moves. that was either '82 or ''87.
micronut

Trad climber
fresno, ca
Nov 13, 2008 - 02:15pm PT
Awesome Jaybro. Thanks for the history lesson.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 13, 2008 - 03:02pm PT
Jaybro and Freddie and Cpt 'Merica and Dingus have a whole lotta history that's inside 'em...

...we need to midwife that stuff... breath Jaybro, breath! now push.... you can do it!
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Jan 21, 2009 - 12:29am PT
I had missed your post Ed, now that I've, kind of, settled comfortably into my new teaching gig, I'll get on it, and' light a fire'* under those guys...


* not original with him, but that used to be one of the Colonel's key phrases. Unless things have changed, he is probably not as psyched about today's events, as a lot of us. Frank looks like a hippy but is politically conservative, a life member of the Nra , etc...

-That, rambling, was a warm up for the history project. Also, paragraph a day is about to return, as well.
T H

climber
the ground up
Jan 21, 2009 - 12:55am PT
Was only gonna echo BASE104 cuz one day I saw Bard at Swan Slab with a bunch of hardcores just watching him swinging like a chimp all the way around a big square boulder there .
dogtown

climber
Cheyenne,Wyoming
Jan 21, 2009 - 03:23am PT
Let me pipe up a bit about Mr. Scarpelli and Jaybro they are both Legends at Vedauwoo. (If you didn't already know)

And between them they have put up some of the most impossible lines there.

I ran into Bob last year bouldering, working on a problem in the Crow Creek area called Process of Belief, 5.13 V7.And word has it he's working a new area by Granite lake that has problems even much harder.

Yeah, So I put Bob Scarpelli right at the top and I mean the top of the older hardcore dude list.

Bruce.


P.Kingsbury

Trad climber
the jeep
Jan 22, 2009 - 05:49pm PT
BUMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Feb 22, 2011 - 07:40pm PT
OW Bump!
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Feb 22, 2011 - 07:56pm PT
Nice newish bolted belay anchor at the top of P1 of the Bypass (8' or so below the old one with some sketchy mank) for you heroes making attempts on the roof. Take a tight hands piece for the bit up to the roof proper and a blue, gray, purple camalot for the roof itself with a optional 6" piece. Looks all wide, but tapers fast inside, you'll be climbing wide fists to a kick through, hard sit up move into a bar/wing. Nice crispy quartz edges/fins on the left side edge when facing it from below start about halfway out and can help a bit.

Have fun. The approach pitch is worth climbing in its own right, really good long 5.9, mostly hands to tight hands, slightly flaring, really pebbly inside.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Feb 22, 2011 - 08:56pm PT
Climbed it two weeks ago. I don't think that "new" anchor is that new.
I had two blue #3's and a #6 C4 and let me tell ya, the #6 will just get in your way. 3 #3's is the magic ticket, maybe a #4 at the lip.

BTW, I did not redpoint. Must recruit better belayer and bring tape.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Feb 22, 2011 - 10:09pm PT
Yeah, it ain't last week new, but it's nice 3/8"ers and spankin new compared to the fixed junk from the old anchor, I'd guess it was done within last 6-8yrs anyway. I used old 3, 3.5, 4 camalots...6 friend wasn't placed, but you could throw it in behind you before starting the pivot. Might be hard to see the placements if using only 3s once you're out past halfway since they'd be a little deep.

Only tried it that one day, two burns no send. Partner came as close to onsighting it as you could without actually doing it. He sat up, got the wing, patiently moved feet, was reaching to gaston or something with the other arm, basically upright and starting to sort of standup and started to oozed backwards then rifled out.

Real funky size just small enough where I can barely get a wide fist in certain places,and they feel super-marginal...like you really don't want to drop feet and kick through because you think they'll pop, in all but those couple of spots it's too wide for my fists. If I go back, I'll concede to using tick marks...hanging around dragging your fist back and forth looking for that one spot, while horizontal and hanging off another fist that feels like it could go any second is kind of tiring, and I've only got about 3 or 4 attempts on that thing in me during a session.
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Dec 17, 2012 - 06:27pm PT
I wonder about this crux "one move from sit-up"
Is this kind of inversion ?
Also think that building plywood prototype of ow roof can help for training to get ready for Owl.
So what is geometry of this roof?

correct me if I am wrong: deep fists before the lip. Than to the lip fists disappears and it turn out to be 6" ?
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Dec 17, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
Alexey, yes it's a situp from a kickthrough inversion. Before that it's wide fists, deep inside. You can reach about halfway out the roof before your feet ever leave the back wall. The crack is much wider at the lip than inside (tapers) and then gets slightly wider the further out the roof you go until it just flares open. Toward the end of the roof, it flares open wide enough to get your legs/hips in there.

So it is flaring in two directions with the flare getting wider toward the ground and toward the valley side. As you get about two moves out after getting your feet into the crack, just over halfway out the roof, you can drop your feet, hang off your fists, then swing your legs around and put your feet/legs back into the crack ahead of your body.

It's a standard "kick through". At that point, you can really bury your legs up in there and are hanging off your feet at the end of the roof. Then you do the big situp/pivot move, and can get an armbar or wing above the lip of the roof with your body in a mostly horizontal position. This is all pretty straightforward to this point, especially if you have large hands. The next bit is the technical crux, and requires many little small movements as you get your upper body over your feet.

My hands are probably average size for my height (~ 5'9") and it is REALLY difficult for me to find spots in the crack to get solid fists. The jams feel really marginal but there are enough spots there if you hunt for them. I kicked through much earlier than my partner and used the little edges on the lip of the crack to help from there, but he did an extra fist jam and skipped using those edges.

It's worth going up there even if you don't send. The approach pitch is worth the trouble. I think it's one of the best 5.9 crack pitches in the valley.
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Dec 17, 2012 - 07:47pm PT
Elcap, thanks for the Beta. I've climb this 5.9 pitch before and it is 5stars, but roof itself, and especially rating 5.12 and the fact that Salamanizer give up before- scare me to even to try it.
Do you think it possible to start roof with feet ahead of the hands ( like climbing reversing) and this will transfer smoothly to inversion without kick off the feet in the void ?
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 17, 2012 - 07:55pm PT
You're ready Alexei, go for it! It's safe and amazingly cool. Short approach too!
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Dec 17, 2012 - 07:57pm PT
I think it would be hard to start the roof that way because your feet won't be very deep at the beginning and it will make moving the fists much harder. On one attempt, I tried to reach out as far as possible, and then immediately kick through, but I had the problem I'm talking about.

Since you are moving toward your feet doing it that way, the move requires your hips/body to sag down (compared to going the normal way, where making the move causes your body to get closer to the plane of the roof). This sagging pulls your whole body away from the crack and makes it hard to get your fists deep enough for good jams.

Don't be intimidated. It is hard, but it's very short. It's also easy to bail.
WBraun

climber
Dec 17, 2012 - 08:11pm PT
Just throw a bunch of natural chock stones in the roof and it will go 5.9 .......
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Dec 17, 2012 - 08:16pm PT
Mark Chapman on Owl



Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 18, 2012 - 07:36am PT
Saw you posted on that Lucille thread too, Alexey. I rated Lucille (.13a) using The Owl, and Paisano both .12c as a yardstick. I'm pretty sure no one else has done all three. You are in a unique position to do that next! The owl is in your backyard, Vedauwoo is a straight shot down I-80, idylewild is more Involved to get to, but not that far all in all.
Meet you in Vedauwoo this summer?
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Dec 18, 2012 - 12:11pm PT
Yeah, Dale was the best crack climber that I ever saw. Now things have progressed, as they always have, and Honnold soloed Cosmic Debris and the Phoenix.

I wonder if he would solo Lucille or Owl Roof or any of the other heinous offwidths that take a thousand calories per inch.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Dec 18, 2012 - 01:23pm PT
I've always wondered about EE. Ivo showed me some smoking images of Dean at the lip of EE, said it was likely an FA ... Who knows.

This Owl Roof history, Rich!! Fun reading through the editions, but Lo, I am so the arm-chair reader here. Lol.
FTOR

Sport climber
CA
Dec 18, 2012 - 02:25pm PT
gone up there a few times with some strong ow climbers to no avail. think the last time was with wbraun and ccole. on an early attempt with daltman we spotted a line up the hill from the regular start that we came back later and climbed. can't even remember the name and doubt it's had many ascents if any, is it in the guide?

edit: stroke? that could be it... not too many cells left from that era.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
Dec 18, 2012 - 02:29pm PT
Wasn't that Stroke?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 1, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
Jaybro wrote (in 2004):
I was in the valley and was introduced to a very young looking Dale Bard as the first guy to REALLY free climb the Owl.-early Meyers Green-top-ring-guide era.
Then came the Lakey/Jardine show. I really don't know what to make of any of this in a factual sense, but, I'd put my money on Bard.

Werner wrote (in 2005):
I talked to Kauk today at the deli and he told me Dale and him removed the chockstone from the roof. They both had to work it over a couple of days and Dale managed to lead it first, not an onsight flash like some want to believe.

I asked Ray Jardine about this yesterday, and he was good friends with Dale and Ron in those days - they bouldered together, etc. He said the correct chronology starting with the chockstone removal is:
 Dale and Ron removed the chockstone and started working on it. They got up it, but not free at this time.
 1977-04-04 Ray Jardine and John Lakey started working on it
 Ray worked on it for 12 days (was also working on The Phoenix at that time); John worked on it for 10 days.
 1977-05-03 John led it free for the FFA
 1977-05-05 Ray led it for the 2nd free ascent
 1977-05-07 Dale led it for the 3rd free
 1977-05-07 Ron led it for the 4th free (date might be later; unclear)

The dates and discussion of timing are in Ray's climbing log:
http://www.rayjardine.com/adventures/Climbing/climbing_log/index.htm
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Oct 1, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
Ray is around the Bay Area?

This is one fabulous thread.
Evel

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Oct 1, 2013 - 10:24pm PT
I think Ive seen a picture of Barbara Devine climbing it. As mentioned it could be posed, but I would doubt it.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 1, 2013 - 10:52pm PT
Really? I'd love to see that? She wouldnt do wide in vedauwoo much when they lived there. But she woulda crushed if she turned her mind to it!
pb

Sport climber
Sonora Ca
Oct 1, 2013 - 11:18pm PT
the only time that i met tony yaniro was in the lodge parking lot probably late 70s. his hands were really tore up. said he had been on the owl roof.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 1, 2013 - 11:25pm PT
Mike,
Ray is around the Bay Area?
No, I think he's in Arizona. I asked via email.

P.S. Also check out this thread for more on Elephant's Eliminate, if you haven't already:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/58185/Elephants-eleminate
Messages 1 - 83 of total 83 in this topic
Return to Forum List
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta