El Gran Trono Blanco

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 307 of total 307 in this topic
Gabe

climber
San Clemente, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 10, 2007 - 05:44pm PT
I have been surfing the web for any info on this area and have only been able to piece together the driving directions. My partner and I are heading down on a recon mission for climbing the Grand Girraffe early next year and would like to climb somthing a little less comitting while we are there. Would the Pan Am route be a good choice? I don't know, I have not seen any topo for the routes. Is there a book on the area I should buy?? I have a map of Baja. Is this area still top secret? Will the banditos torch my car?? ;)
Any info is much appreciated as we are leaving first thing in the morning. Cheerz! Gabe
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Dec 10, 2007 - 06:25pm PT
Beta for "The Throne" is hard to come by. Hopefully you will run into locals at the parking/camping area. Do the "South Face" IV 5.10-, "Happy Hooker" IV 5.10- A? (one aid pitch), "La Jolla" IV 5.11-, or "The Pan Am Wall" IV or V 5.10 A2/3, all are good.
Banditos are super rare down there but anytime one travels in northern Mex robbery is a remote possibility. There have been maybe one or two incidences there in the last 25 years.
It is an awesome area and adventure is guaranteed. The first time I went down there we didn't even find the place.
Good luck.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Dec 10, 2007 - 06:40pm PT
some info here in the bigwalls.net wiki:
http://bigwalls.net/wallwiki/index.php?title=El_Trono_Blanco%2C_Baja_Mexico
Kristoffer

Big Wall climber
Blue Jay, California
Dec 10, 2007 - 06:48pm PT
Ohhh the joy of obscurity…
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Dec 10, 2007 - 06:49pm PT
Didn't Largo do the FA of the Giraffe? I thought I read a story he wrote about it, kind of an epic!
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Dec 10, 2007 - 06:57pm PT
What the heck, the San Diego boys will kill me (sorry Watusi), but it's such a good adventure, here ya go:

overall map:

my map, circa 1993, things probably will have changed:

the Y mentioned in the map above:

you've arrived! (at the top):

you've arrived! (at the bottom):

get climbing:
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 10, 2007 - 07:10pm PT
That's it Deuce!
You've blown the secret code.
Dispatching banditos to your location now...
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Dec 10, 2007 - 08:23pm PT
never forget the time I drove down there
in this van w/ three San Diego madmen...was Behay there?
anyway...
the driver is drunk,
rough washed out dirt roads nighttime driving too fast and...
the hole the van went in beached us good,ka bam!
next day we were hosed
these Ranchers show up,
no habla too much english either but
man, what super guys!
jeepers they get down in the mud w/
their clean rancher shirts and we
all dig, then pulled us w/ their 4x4

climbing down there might hold adventure
great place
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Dec 10, 2007 - 08:47pm PT
By the way, it's just Giraffe, not Grand Giraffe. I think there's a pretty good topo on Deuce's site.

P.S. Deuce, that last photo of the roof belay at the end of P3 on Giraffe is reversed.
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Dec 10, 2007 - 09:29pm PT
Raydog, I missed that one. The 'ol '69 VW Bus never got stuck, drunk or not. Neither did the '65 Le Mans I was sportin' on my first trips down there. Could it be the driver, perhaps? BH
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Dec 10, 2007 - 10:21pm PT
My first time down there forget about the banditos ! One of the posters above with another guide Book author told us we were on the wrong side of the mountain and that they were just backpackers.
Lucky one of the guy’s recognized MR Guide Book Author.
Still epic we missed a turn, HA yer lucky if you only miss one. We ended up axel deep and stuck in the mud.
We started out in two cars one truck, abandoning one car at the boarder and one after getting un stuck in the river bed.
If they look like climbers and say they are going to Laguna Hansen beware.
As for the map it probably only has half the forks marked besides another third you do not see till heading home.
Enjoy
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Dec 10, 2007 - 10:39pm PT
RE:
"Could it be the driver, perhaps? "

it was Dan Curley driving...and swilling with gusto!
Roch Horton was there...in the van when Curley hit that hole
and nearly rolled it, KA BAM...hahaha! true.


I'd just got a dbl set of friends,
tried em that trip.
T2

climber
Cardiff by the sea
Dec 10, 2007 - 10:41pm PT








Hey Gabe stop off at my place in Cardiff on your way down I will give you good topos for both the Girraffe and the Pan AM, also have one for an obscure route called Leaving on a jet plane. I literally live minuts off the freeway on your way down. Where in San Clemente do you live we are almost neighbors.

Best Regards
T2
Mtnmun

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
Dec 11, 2007 - 12:03am PT
Blast you for posting this, now I have to add another trip to my tic list. This looks way cool, what is the water/camping situation? My guess is remote, camp anywhere and bring water??
Gabe

climber
San Clemente, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2007 - 01:01am PT
hey guys big thanks to JM t2 and everyone else for the info on the GTB.cheers gabe
hossjulia

Trad climber
Eastside
Dec 11, 2007 - 01:19am PT
I would love to visit there again. Don't have any info other than that hand-drawn map looks about right. I have one stashed away that is similar. I was sworn to burn it after our trip, but heck no, I saved it and never told a soul, until now!

It was eerie creepy, no one around but us, the snakes and some big-ass sounding cat in the night. Found a couple of sport routes that were way hard not too far from camp. Where we camped, you hiked out to the wall and probably 3/4 of it fell away below you.
This is an 18 year old memory.

Really pretty place.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 11, 2007 - 01:47am PT
Gabe,
It just snowed there yesterday. It should melt quickly, and it should be good hiking weather for a recon.
The Pan American route would be just as committing as the Giraffe in terms of logistics. It would however, get you familiar with both the approach to the east face and the descent route. Plan on multi-day. Portaledge recommended.

While you are there, one of the routes on the South Face would be good if the wind is calm. I'd suggest the South Face grade IV, 5.10c, with the direct Baile del Sol .10b (R-rated) finish.
La Joya, IV, .11 a/b would also be a good choice. If you are fast (days are short in December), then El Milenio, IV, .11c, 15 pitches, offers mixed crack and friction.

No guidebook. No rescue protocol. Rescues are now in the hands of the Mexican government, and USA agencies will not assist w/o a formal request (after the Mexican authorities eventually admit they haven't the resources).

Bandidos have been increasingly hitting tourists in northern Baja, primarily on the Pacific coast. The last armed robbery in base camp was 1996. There were several car burglaries, but none known in the past 4 years. Vehicles were torched, probably by pot growers, in the lower canyons of the Sierra de Juarez; none known in the past few years. There have been some armed robbrtirs about 15 miles south, in the Parque Nacional. Don't panic if you are stopped by soldiers with M16s. They're the good guys. (Unless you are holding, which is felony-stupid in Mexico).

Let us know how your recon trip goes.
Buenas suerte,
John
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 02:05am PT
Happy adventures Gabe!

Me 'n "E", at the base of the Pan Am in '78 about ready to bail due to impending weather:




But it turned out OK:






It's a long way down:

Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 11, 2007 - 02:36am PT
My best to all that go to visit this wild place...I have a love for this area to be sure!!!
crøtch

climber
Dec 11, 2007 - 11:22am PT
Throne sunrise.

eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Dec 11, 2007 - 11:35am PT
Great shots! One of my big regrets is not doing anything on the throne (yet). Actually did my Master's thesis in geology on some tungsten deposits just a few miles away.
wbw

climber
'cross the great divide
Dec 11, 2007 - 04:01pm PT
I visited this area about 15 years ago. Pre-trip, I called one of the shops in San Diego asking for beta (A7 maybe???) The guy on the phone tells me, "No one in San Diego is going to give you information on Trono, man."

You CA guys have sure come a long way since then . . .

We found the spot using some sketchy hand-drawn map that some AZ climbers drew up for us. It's difficult to find, and worth the search. Good craggin' in addition to Trono.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Dec 11, 2007 - 04:40pm PT
We always carried our water in, but after one wet winter we found a lot of water flowing in the north gully approach. There is a stream in the bottom of the canyon, but it's a long way down, and a longer way back up with water for three or four days. It can be balmy warm in December, and too cold and windy to climb in Spring. It took Baxter and Karlstrom three or four tries to do Pan Am. Once they were turned back by falling ice! The title of their 1973 article in Climbing Magazine says it all: Poor Man's Patagonia.
Falling

Trad climber
Splat
Dec 11, 2007 - 05:33pm PT
Awesome place, one of all time favorites, especially exploring the 'caves' of the area. El Millena was a blast, we only did the first three pitches.

I think we were all super paranoid about the banditos when we went down there, I remember we all slept with 'weapons'. My partners brought a katana, a wazuki, 2 hatchets, a bowie knife, and a machete...

That road, that road out there was quite something, so were the directions, which my friend had written down on a napkin,really have no idea how he found this place... all I remember was to keep following Rocky the Raccoon signs, and look for the two red rocks, the abandoned derelict church... beer down there was cheap!

Have fun and stay warm, we went in late December as well 2 years ago.
mastadon

Trad climber
Tahoe
Dec 11, 2007 - 06:59pm PT

Some bouldering near the top of the Gran-early 70's.....








Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:10pm PT
E & Fred Zeal, atop the Pan Am in ‘78:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:11pm PT
Watusi getting essentials from a local:




One of the key turns, leaving the road toward La Ruma Rosa:



Note the t shirt, Kinnaloa's brilliant: "This Ain't No Weenie Roast", featuring Ray Charles.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:17pm PT
Some pics from the FA of Wall of Voodoo, on the Moonflower Buttress, across from Trono N Face, 1981:

Foreshortened, yes, but all 6 pitches in view:




Bob Gaines, starting up pitch 1:




Gaines, following the big corner on pitch 2:




Tarbuster, leaving the OW on pitch 3 and heading left, into the route’s crux finger crack:




Watusi following pitch 4:




Watusi heading to the OW on pitch 5:




Pitch 6, exiting left around the roofs:



Sloppy photoshop technique pants patch is a courtesy, trust me.
James

climber
A tent in the redwoods
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:20pm PT
That's some clean rock.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:28pm PT
...And it ain't seen many, if any repeats James, saddle up and git' on it.
Classic old skewl multi pitch jive, 5.9, 5.10+, 5.11+, 5.10+, 5,10, 5.10, summit, beer (we wished), pipeloads.

One 1/4" bolt on pitch 4, easily pulled and replaced on lead from the comfy stance.
A few FP's.
T2

climber
Cardiff by the sea
Dec 11, 2007 - 08:42pm PT
Great pictures Tarbuster !!
Blinny

Trad climber
NWMontana
Dec 11, 2007 - 08:52pm PT
That first shot E (sittin' there with Tar) is CLASSIC!

:-)

eKnottBlinny
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 09:01pm PT
I was self conscious about lackin' a kuhboy hat, so I went with the hair.

Luv you too, KathSweetThingBrockdadFromtheWayBack&CominAtchaNOWBabe.
Fluoride

Trad climber
Hollywood, CA
Dec 11, 2007 - 11:27pm PT
Great pics Tar!!

I've always been curious about the place but it's about as secret as the Fight Club in some climbing circles. Now that the cat's outta the bag, great to see the pics and stories coming out. I mean, it's no secret it exists and it's not going to be overrun by climbers all of the sudden.
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Dec 12, 2007 - 12:01am PT
I really don't get all the secrecy/conspiracy reputation. Dan Curly (many 1st's) and others are glad to share. People just resisted the full on formal guidebook treatment as it would very likely change the flavor of the place. True, it's tough if you don't happen to know the right people, but please don't think us a bunch of 'locals only' snots. I would share if I could, but I was mostly a tag-a-long with a bad memory! Brad
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 12, 2007 - 04:11am PT
BeeHay has it right. The area is not a secret and never has been.

In the mid 70s, the developers recognized that publishing would harm this wilderness and the unique opportunity for adventure which is so accessible to a large metropolitan area. We made a pact to keep it out of the mags and have a "no guidebook" policy. Dan C. and I kept notes for historical archives.

Every year, I receive several requests for beta. I'm happy to share just enough so that others will have a safe, yet adventurous, trip.
-John
tdoughty

Mountain climber
descanso, ca
Dec 12, 2007 - 10:18am PT
threats of violence and legal action have been used to squash any attempts at publishing a guidebook.
travelin_light

Trad climber
california
Dec 12, 2007 - 11:12am PT
The very few times I have been there the locals have always requested I don't post stuff over the internet, such as MAPS, topo's, etc. They are fine with people coming its is just that they would rather it be a word-of-mouth type thing. The more popularity the place receives the more likely you are to have crime, trash, etc.

bob

climber
Dec 12, 2007 - 11:21am PT
Travelin.... Are the locals you are talking about the people who actually live in that area, or are they the "locals" that cross an international border to climb there?
Just curious.
Bob J.
wbw

climber
'cross the great divide
Dec 12, 2007 - 12:18pm PT
In all fairness to those who favor keeping an area as magnificent as Trono a secret, I'm not sure that I would feel any different if I were in that position. Unfortunately, as more people visit a pristine area, the more the area changes. Fortunately, this is a difficult area to get to which provides some protection from the masses.

Not all of the rock is perfect at Trono. We did some cragging on some very grainy rock, similar to JTree; pull out a handjam and some grains of rock are stuck into the back of your hand. However, given the overall setting, I would describe the cragging as brilliant. Getting to the base of El Gran Trono Blanco is an adventure in and of itself.
travelin_light

Trad climber
california
Dec 12, 2007 - 01:46pm PT
Bob:

I speak of Mexican residents who reside in TJ, Ensenada, Mexicalli. Simply put, they don't want the place overrun. The feeling has got to be mutual with Americans who put up the routes, as well. You sure don't see the their topos, maps, etc. on the web. Based on my limited experience with the area it seems that anyone can enjoy it, you just have to ask for the info through the correct channels. IMO, a perfect way to keep things "low key".
bob

climber
Dec 12, 2007 - 03:17pm PT
Travelin, cool. That place sounds like it has all the goods for adventure from just getting info to, I'm sure, even getting home. Hopefully I'll get there sometime.
The only climbing I've done in Baja is up in the San Pedto Martir. Picacho del Diablo a couple of different ways. Noting the Pinnacle Ridge as an awsome adventure, especially if one likes to run around and scramble for miles in the high country. Where else does a person get to climb on splendid white granite all day while catching views of both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez? Mas sur en Las Lagunas?
Wish I had some pics to post of that traverse!
Bob J.
Falling

Trad climber
Splat
Dec 12, 2007 - 05:13pm PT
I think the best part about the experience down at El Gran Trono Blanco was the excitement of 'exploring'. I think not having the guide book added to the experience of:

"hey, that line looks great,I wonder what's it like? Lets hop on it"

It really did feel like we were adventuring up 'unexplored' routes. I think having a guide book would have taken that sense of adventurism / exploration away.

To be honest, it's one of the few places where I really felt like a kid, with all the exploring of the caves in the slot canyons, natural lines, and the seeing the view from the highest point the area, it's just wow.

Not having a guide book, shady hand drawn directions, word of mouth, rumours of the place adds to that sense to adventure, that lore, that excitment, and honestly, and I think others might agree, wouldn't want it any other way for such a spectacular place!

So I say keep the place an 'enigma'let others experience the same sense of adventure and excitment that previous goers have felt before.



deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Dec 12, 2007 - 06:35pm PT
Hey folks,

Let me know, if the consensus is to pull the maps I posted, I'll do so before the "Supertopo Edit Countdown" is up.

Watusi, I'd respect your opinion on this, since you're the coolest local I know down that way...

cheers
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Dec 12, 2007 - 08:19pm PT
The 'locals' I referred to are the Gringos who developed the routes. Curly, as mentioned, Werner L. comes to mind, probably pissin' people off already 'cause there are many others.

The only real reason for sparse web info is that those guys are
f#$kin dinosaurs!

Juan Maderita was a prolific archivist, I advise attaching you're lips firmly to his butt.

Once the camp is found, you could find lots of stuff just walking and looking for bolts and cracks. Like Josh, the rock changes greatly with different exposures.

Hey Mike, nice shorts, whatchya doin' later...?












Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 12, 2007 - 11:54pm PT
Hey Roy!! Those are some cool pics of us on the FA of "Wall of Voodoo" I had originally compiled hundreds of topos and even some great aerial shots courtesy of Brian Rennie, in hopes of publishing a guide in the late '80's...But for the sake of my SD compatriots elected not to. But I had given folks xerox or hand written topos for decades. John imho I think it's cool that you gave some beta, I think the place is great and people are gonna get there no matter how hard some try to prevent this. I really don't think it will ever be overrun due to it's remoteness...Peace, Michael Paul.

ps, Brad how 'bout those frikken' running shorts I used to wear in the early '80's? What a wank...
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Dec 13, 2007 - 12:11am PT
If ya got 'em, flaunt 'em. BH
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 13, 2007 - 01:52am PT
anyone remember the "disraeli gears" topos that were stashed in that cream album cover?

good times, back in the day.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 13, 2007 - 05:05am PT
deuce4,
My preference would be to pull the maps. I'm not overly concerned about what you posted, because much has changed over time. There would still be some adventure in finding base camp. Perhaps sharing that info, solely upon request, would be a more conservative option. What we put here is effectively published.

BeeHay,
Dan Curley had a good 17 year run. His "retirement" in '93(?) was almost the end of an era. We did about 150 FA's together. Chuck Berry dropped out around the same time. I kept on with numerous partners and sometimes solo for another ten years. Now I just do a couple new routes per year so I don't forget how to climb! Werner L. made a "comeback tour" with a few routes and hangs at his nearby rancho. Now and then we ride horses to base camp. Alex (Alejandro G.) grew up and got married, but still puts up a few routes for the Mexican flag.
Bob Ollerton made an appearance in recent years to replace the aging bolts on his FAs. John V. made an encore with a couple new routes.

Watusi,
Props for forgoing the publishing. As a result, there remains wild adventure to be had by those willing to explore.

bvb,
What's the story on the Disraeli Gears topos? I hope they weren't written on Zig Zags!

All vistors,
Please note that the area is on private property. Through the good graces of the landowners/ejido, we are allowed to visit and enjoy without restriction, fences or gates. We have been responsible stewards of the land and respectful toward the local ranchers. Let's keep it that way.
-John
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 13, 2007 - 08:05pm PT
Hey John S., Yeah I didn't want to create a bone of contention with all my SD mates. Plus any map is probably outdated...I'd give certain friends a map but on returning they said something had changed. Always does, I'm with you however on trying to keep that place as nice as possible. Maybe you're right about only giving info. personally? Cheers, MP.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Dec 13, 2007 - 08:15pm PT
Wow. I'm surprised that people are actually permitting this vault to be opened.

I had topos for Gran Giraffe and Pan Am that I copied from Rich Sims handwritten topos way way back, like 30 years ago. Some buddies, Bob Cox, Eric Held, Bob Critchfield, always intended to road trip down, but I'm not sure if we could've ever really used them since we never had a map of how to get there. I think they're still in my old room at my folks place in OC.

Still nice to know that places like that are still around.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 13, 2007 - 08:38pm PT
I remember going to the Throne a bunch of times and we kept looking for the gnarliest stretch of stone on the thing and when we did the Pan Am (with a conga line of Uplanders) we could look out left and I guessed there was a line out there. I got the best wall climber I could find who was in the area (Hugh Burton), and we tromped down there hoping to find a route on the bald face. Huge hiked way down below the wall to get a good look and when he came back to the base (I was trying to get sh#t organized and collect water) he said, "There's a line, but it's barely there and it don't look easy."

We fixed a few piches that day, went for it the next and spent the night in hammocks way up there, having done some actual A4 getting there. We were of early afternoon the next day. Hard route but easier than it looked (looks like an A5 horrorshow). Next ascent plunked in some bolts that removed the dangerous bits, especially the upper face climbing which originally had no bolts at all.

Who knows what the route is like now. A few strategic bolts can take the bit out of most anything, but the location is still prety good on the Giraffe. You're right out there on a mini Shield, and if something goes wrong it's gonna be a while before the TJ rescue team arrives.

Good stuff. On site it if you can. Higher thrills.

JL
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 13, 2007 - 09:03pm PT
Viva Largo!
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 13, 2007 - 09:21pm PT
Hey Largo,
I remember seeing you at base camp in the 70s with some big-ass, low slung, sedan. Leaking gasoline from a hole punched into the tank while on the dirt roads. Someone was putting chewing gum on the hole. IIRC, you were preparing to do a route on the Throne. I always wondered if you came back to an empty tank???
Always an adventure back in those days, especially when the road was not much more than a couple of faint tire tracks over the cow trails.
Is it true that the name "Giraffe" came from an analogy to sticking your necks a long way out?
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Dec 13, 2007 - 09:40pm PT
Has anyone had any problems with theft and/or local banditos while climbing at the Throne or Canyon de Tajo? I read in the LA Times sometime around 1999 that there was a real problem in the area around that time.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 13, 2007 - 10:17pm PT
eeyonkee,
Yes, an armed robbery in base camp 1996. Two San Diego climbers returned to VW van after a long day of climbing. Around dusk, two bandidos, armed with a rifle, took their money. A bullet was fired near their heads while they were prone on the ground.

There were other robberies at Laguna Hanson (Parque Nacuional, 15 miles south); one guy I had contact with was severely pistol whipped. A pre-runner for the Baja 1000 or 500 race was shot at in his vehicle and hit in the leg. There were car burglaries at base camp. Several vehicles were torched in the lower canyons (Tajo, Carrizo, maybe other canyons), probably by mota growers. Most of those incidents were in the 1990s. There were a couple known robberies on the dirt road between La Rumorosa and base camp this decade.

The Pacific coast, particularly between Tijuana and Ensenada, and some surf areas south of Ensenada are experiencing many recent and violent robberies. The moutains have been okay AFAIK.

The San Diego Union-Tribune is even publishing those recent accounts. They refused to publish the crimes which I reported to them in the 1990s. Speculation was that they didn't want to piss off Mexico as they wwere starting a Spanish language edition. A reporter for the Reader took my scoop and wrote a good article.
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Dec 13, 2007 - 10:52pm PT
BVB lives! Hey, you didn't find MY stash down there did ya'? It were'nt no topos but lots o' fun.
socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
Dec 14, 2007 - 12:02am PT
Made a dozen or so trips down there in the late 80's and early 90's. Seemed like a visit to the area was a rite of passage for So Cal climbers back then.

Met some great people down there, did a few new routes and climbed a ton of great 1 and 2 pitch routes right around the climbers' camp. Some of the dike routes down there rival those found in Tuolumne and elsewhere.

Wanted to climb the Throne on my first trip down and seriously underestimated the approach. Got all turned around in the gully systems leading down to the base. It took two more trips down before I forgot the misery enough to try again. That time we found our way to the base and had a great climb.

I also agree that the place should be kept as much of an "adventure" as possible by distributing just enough info for folks to maybe find their way. I had (what I thought) were decent directions my first trip down and I still had some problems initially finding the camp. Thinking back on that drive (especially when coupled with our epic in the gully) makes that first trip and those that followed all the more memorable.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 14, 2007 - 02:58am PT
I remember a few times with BVB down there, when we didn't want to bring certain items back across the border and left them...Nice to find on return visit!
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 14, 2007 - 03:21am PT
Years ago, while enjoying the crags, I watched a single engine plane circle just a few hundred yards from base camp. A duffel bag dropped out of the plane from just above the tree tops. Fairly certain that guns were present, I didn't have the cajones to try to retrieve it myself. Too bad, that would have supplied base camp indefinitely!

The Mexican Army digs trenches across flat meadows and likely landing strips. Then they cover the traps with brush in an attempt to wreck the planes or kill the narcotraficantes.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 14, 2007 - 03:24am PT
Whoa Juan...Yeah that could have been intense...
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 14, 2007 - 03:54am PT
Yeah, I'm sure it would have been in tents...
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Dec 14, 2007 - 11:55am PT
In the mid 80's I went down to solo the Giraffe. I carried my rack down and left it at the base intending to return the next weekend with agua and comidas. I returned as planned to find my entire big wall rack, two ropes etc. stolen. Man was I bummed. Never did find out who were the theives, gringos or Mex. Heard a rumour that Ep saw someone in nor cal with some nuts stamped DE a couple years later. Probably gringos did it. I hope karma took care of it.
It took years to rebuild my rack, pitons etc.
crøtch

climber
Dec 14, 2007 - 01:13pm PT
That's a crazy story, DE. It's such a long way to go to get to the base of the wall and such a pain in the ass to get back up the approach with a wall load. And you've got to assume they had their own wall loads with them, unless they were just scouting or knew your stuff was down there.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Dec 14, 2007 - 01:26pm PT
Largo said: “Next ascent plunked in some bolts that removed the dangerous bits, especially the upper face climbing which originally had no bolts at all.”

Partly true. You drew me a topo in Camp 4 in 1977, and I’m pretty sure Werner and I did the second ascent in March ‘78, after an attempt in February aborted due to cold. But the bolts we put in were all at belays except the two on the free arete on the pitch above the high roof (then P 9, now 10). So none of the hard aid (three A3, three A4) was compromised in any way. It's in my blurb in the '78 AAJ. We didn’t think twice about adding bolts to the marginal belays at the end of the pendulum on P5, top of P7, and top of P8. But we agonized over those last two because they were between belays. The only reason Werner drilled those was because the face was sheeting water (had been raining all night), and that pitch had a 100+ foot runout on a quartz dike. It would have been trivial if dry.

[Edited 12/17/07] Deuce's topo is essentially unchanged from yours. The aid cruxes are all there with no new bolts. P2 A3 hooks, P3 A2/3, P4 A3+, P5 A3, P6 A2/3, P7 A3+, P8 A3. The only major change is a new lower belay at the end of P3 with two bolts there that weren't there when we did it. It's down to the left of the big roof where you sited the belay.

A couple of years later we did a recon to the left and ran into a pair of Valley wall rats. They were backing off Giraffe after getting to the hooking on the upper half of pitch two. We told them it was A2 because that's what you guys rated it. IIRC it's about five flat Leepers in a row above a bolt with no hanger, and a fall would swing you into the little dihedral on the lower part of the pitch. One said: "If that's A2, I'd hate to see what the A4 is like." Deuce's topo shows this section as A3, and that's more like it.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 14, 2007 - 01:34pm PT
yeah big head, i'm still stumblin' down the rocky road of life. possibility i may be in sandy eggo for xmas, hittin' santee and roubidoux and woodson and rainbow while chillin' with the 'rents.

but back to canyon tajo epics...if i recall correctly, didn't guy andrew's vw bus catch on fire down there?
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Dec 14, 2007 - 01:47pm PT
John L., you should tell them the story about the wind and Hugh Burton's hammock.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 14, 2007 - 02:25pm PT
bvb,
Speaking of Guy Andrews, were you there for the "snake dance"?
After a day of cragging, a dozen of us were sitting around the campfire. The sun had set, and Guy was still not back in camp. We knew he would be back soon. Someone had killed a rattlesnake and brought it back to base camp. A plan was hatched: one empty seat around the fire, one cold cerveza at the ready, one coiled rattlesnake perfectly poised in striking position... you get the idea.

Sure enough, Guy arrives in the campsite, distracted by the conspirators with beer and conversation, and gladly accepting the designated seat. Straight faces all around. He sets the beer next to the chair without looking down. We're almost holding a collective breath to keep from laughing. Moments later, Guy reaches for the beer, sees the rattlesnake about to strike his hand, and flies straight up out of his seat! Dancing wildly, pointing, and shouting! We spilt some guts, howling with laughter. Too bad there weren't video cameras back then...

Every time I hear The Police "Roxanne" I think of Guy's encore dance to that around the fire. A few more beers and he was dancing, singing, and the life of the party. Sadly, his bright flame was extinguished by a storm near the summit of Aconcagua in 1980. Guy, may you RIP.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 14, 2007 - 03:16pm PT
ha! yeah, i was there but i had completely forgotten that story. back in the day, back in the day........
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 14, 2007 - 03:26pm PT
Hey DEEE,

That rack theft incident, sadly, (not to rub in the bad) didn't you also blow the engine on your hot rodded VW bus as an extension of that debacle?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 14, 2007 - 04:35pm PT
DEEEE, down at The Trono, some time ago:
(photo by Moony)

BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Dec 14, 2007 - 08:16pm PT
I was sittin' right next to Guy, a big box of Curly's Macadamia nuts 'tween us. Scared sh&t outta me too, you bastards owe me a couple of years of my life back. BH
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 15, 2007 - 03:07pm PT
Hey Dave, I do remember hearing about that incident...who the hell would want to climb with pilfered gear? You guys bring tears to my eyes when you mention Guy Andrews. He was a great friend and I still think of him!
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Dec 17, 2007 - 06:32pm PT
Dang Tar, the memories keep coming back. Yes I lost a rack AND a VW van. The van was a money pit. Before this episode I had blown my trick 1835 racing engine (that I had built in our living room)at Josh, so on this trip it was a measly 1600. It broke down and I had to leave it at the campsite after limping in. I returned a week later with parts, fixed it, enjoyed a weekend of climbing and headed home. On the way home I had another major mechanical and had to park it near La Rumerosa. Marge was escorting me back (after taking me down initially). I pulled all items of value and left it with no regrets. We saw it a couple of times after that and then it disappeared. To lose it was a blessing in disguise. That was the last VW I will ever own.

That Mooney shot is classic. That was the first time we did a route on The Throne. He and I went down with no beta in bad weather (at first). We were driving on a section of road in a wash and it was flooding, just a little. I missed where the road cut left out of the wash and then we were in trouble. The water was getting deeper and deeper and the van was starting to bog. It was too narrow to turn around and too soft to stop, I had to keep on the gas (as such is possible in a van). Just when we were starting to panic the canyon widened and there was enough room, I gunned it hard, bounced over a sandbar and pulled a u-turn just barely making it. We found the turn and made it to the camp.
The next day the weather was perfect. We headed in to do the E. Buttress, all we knew is that there was a route there somewhere and it was 5.10 and may or may not have had aid as well. We started swinging leads and found the climbing tricky (multiple 5.10 sections) and the route finding even more so. I did some aid on at least one pitch, we had no etriers or jumars. We saw no evidence of other ascents. Late in the day we found ourselves coming up under a huge triangular roof in a dihedral that stuck out 40 or 50 feet. It looked like a total dead end. We lucked out though and found a cave/chimney that tunneled through the roof and came out near the summit. We had done about 15 pitches.
It seemed like every time I went to do a big route there it was some kind of epic! Too much fun.
Yes Watusi, Guy Andrews was a bro. I haven't thought of him in a while.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 17, 2007 - 06:40pm PT
Excellent tale Dave!
Glad you ditched the Van, too bad about the rack, especially in those threadbare days.

Was Guy Andrews the guy who disappeared on the S Face of Aconcogua with Chuck Bloodworth (Lynnie's brother in law)?
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 17, 2007 - 11:22pm PT
"Was Guy Andrews the guy who disappeared on the S Face of Aconcogua with Chuck Bloodworth (Lynnie's brother in law)?"

Yes.
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Dec 17, 2007 - 11:54pm PT
Hey Dave E I heard that when you returned for the van, a family had moved in. Probably a blessing in disguise. There's a bunch of stories involving VW van epics down there.

The first time I went down there was with Jeff Elgar. His old VW van dropped the muffler going thruogh the dip about a mile from camp. Luckily we found some bailing wire (ubiquitous to Baja) at the nearby ranch ruins, a bit of flintstone engineering got the pieces back together. We did the Pan AM that trip with no topo.

Another time we were all sitiing around the campfire when Mugs Stumps and his significant other (I can't remember her name, Lora?) wandered into camp. They had fallen victim to bad directions and the "drive straight towards the crags" route finding technique. Their van was buried in the sand to the floorboards about a mile away. We all hiked over there and after unloading enough gear to climb El Cap, Everest and anything in between, we literaly picked up the van turned it around and with a collective shove Mugs drove out of the sand trap. They weren't the first to get stuck in that sand wash and I'm sure they weren't the last.

Late one Friday night as Tripper and I were hauling ass down the Rumerosa road, getting air in the gaint dips in the road, a pair of headlights come barreling around the corner. Barely avoiding a headon collision we watched a dirty VW Square Back lockin em up behind us. Recognizing John Freicks VW we punched it. He was lost and knew that his only hope was to follow us to camp. We knew that and did our best to lose him, the race was on. I knew the road really well and was able to drop him, but we felt bad and waited at the turn off for him to catch up. Love that place.

Dr. Fry, Jack Tripper, Jeff Elgar and I did the Gran a year or so before you an E did. Spring of 1984, I think. We went down there with a discription of the first pitch and pior experience from the Pan AM.

The way I remember it the crux aid pitch was low on the route. Jack led that pitch. Upon arriving at the belay bolt just below the famous roof, and just above a fair bit of hooking he gratfully clipped the bolt. Once on the bolt it promptly broke, dropping him onto a hook placement. Fortunatly the hook held the fall. Otherwise he would have gone for a pretty big fall! He was able to get up to the roof where a good crack provided sufficient anchors for a belay.

Then, it was my turn. I made the reach out the lip of the roof where a spinning bolt beckoned. After the scare Jack had, I jiggled the bolt just to check, it came out in my hand. This was the famous bolt that Hugh drilled while standing on Largos shoulders. At least thats how the ledgend goes. JL? Anyway I didn't have much choice but to tap the bolt back into the hole and get on it. We left it there for the next suckers.

The most memerable thing about that climb was the weather. It was like 30-40 degrees, the wind was blowing straight up the wall about 35-40 mile per hour. We didn't think we would ever be warm again. That night as we shivered on the Pancho Villes Bivy ledge (just enough room for two asses, and there was three of us) we watched a full moon come up over Laguna Salada Lake. Yes there was water in it back then. I have very vivid memories of the long reflection of moonlight stretching across the water.

The humorous bit was that the next morning, Jeff, in a bit of a stoner move, let the wind rip his sleeping bag out of his hands. It blew straight sideways some where into the south gully. Three weekd later when Jeff and I went down there to do the South East Butress, we found the missing bag! I think we did what DE E called the E butress. But thats another story.

I've been going down ther for 25 years, it's a really great place. Anybody that wants to go down there should. It's not that big a deal Just drive 23 miles south from La Rumerosa and look for the crags to the east. Wander around a bit (look out for the sand washes) and you'll find your way. In Baja the best technique for navigaiting is just look for roads going in the direction you need to go. Don't be afraid to drive in circles a bit.

But the cheater line, is to look on google earth and scope it out.

DW

Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:07am PT
Freakin DT. Lurks for the last 14 MONTHS, then posts up and hits it out of the park.

Man of few words, but means what he says.

Trivia time- that VW Square Back of Freriks? He bought it off Epperson.

DT- how long did you keep the Red VW Van you bought off the Hotties?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:30am PT
That thar is a real peach retrospective Mr Waverly Wonderly Dave Tapes Dude!
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:37am PT
Jeff I forgot to mention that I was driving the Crag Whore Van. Previously owned by the Leklinskies. I kmow I spelled that wrong. It was the famous red VW van with th porthole windows in the back.

The "Hotties" is what we, the lesser ones, called the socalled Stonemasters back then.

Actually I haven't been lurking just delinquent.

DW
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:48am PT
Roy, Baja and the Canyon Tahoe area is my favorite place. It's been a few years 4-5 since I actually climbed there, but I get down there several times a year.
Here's DE E in recent years at the Indian lookout Canyon Tahoe.






DW
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 18, 2007 - 01:36am PT
Hey DW, how the hell are ya? Haven't seen you at the base camp fiestas in a few years.
"Another time we were all sitiing around the campfire when Mugs Stumps and his significant other (I can't remember her name, Lora?) wandered into camp."
That was Laura O'Brien. I climbed Tajo with her in 1975-ish. The last time I ran into her at Tajo, she mentioned that she had taken Mugs there.
Cheers,
John S.


Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 18, 2007 - 02:00am PT
Awesome! DT! It's been a long time man!
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Dec 18, 2007 - 11:39am PT
Hey John I've been good. Your right I haven't made ony of the base camp parties, however I am always glad to hear about them. I just haven't been able to actually get to one in a while.

DW
AKDOG

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Dec 18, 2007 - 02:27pm PT
Love these Canyon Tajo tales, what a great place to climb, always an adventure. I remember the climb up the Throne with Dave E, we ran out of water and were so thirsty on the way back to camp we took a few drinks from some stagnant pools of water trapped in the rocks.
Frericks bought Epperson’s red Toyota truck, I not sure where he got the VW square back, it had dual carbs that he was always tinkering with it to get it to run right.

Started the Pan-Am route with Frericks and Todd (can’t remember his last name), Epperson took a photo of us bivied at the base and it made a Patagonia catalogue for our one and a half seconds of fame. Dave Evans lent me his homemade hammock for the route. Tardbuster drew us a topo from memory (wish I still had it, it was a piece of art, Roy could always draw real well). About three pitches up Frericks decides to bale and raps off leaving Todd and I to continue to the top. First and last time I slept in a hammock, the Maw bivy is slightly slopping and I remember being glad to start climbing the next day.

Patagonia used a few of the Canyon Tajo photos in their catalogues and magazine ads; there was one of Chouinard bouldering a roof crack that we searched for and finally found and there was the top-less photo of Marsha Collins leading Primal Scream.

Moon
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Dec 18, 2007 - 02:44pm PT
Doug is that you? Remember Eppy sandbagging us on some of those classic face route up top. I remember a couple of trips down there in your old Ranchero. That was when you and DE E were rooming together.

Another time Several of us were in Bruce Pottingers VW van driveing along the highway, as we crested a hill two busses were coming one passing the other. We had to bail onto the left shoulder of the road to escape certain death.

Anybody know where Bruce is these days?

DW

ps Doug thanks again for putting us up at your place in Anchorage last year. That really made the trip plan come together. Also don't forget the MT Bike ride we went on.

AKDOG

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Dec 18, 2007 - 04:28pm PT
Hi Dave, yep its me.
The Mexican Buses trying to pull the hills without letting another bus pass them always added a little excitement to the drive.
I don’t think Pottinger ever forgave Tripper Jack and I for “Borrowing” his VW bus from the camp 4 parking lot, so we could climb on Middle. I still have a couple of his T-shirts.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 18, 2007 - 04:41pm PT
Per Pottenger,
Man, I ran the full gauntlet trying to find him and get him to post up. Actually got his MOM on the phone and she said she wanted to hear from him too. I sent him a letter with a buck$ inside and asked him to call: it came back about 6 months later.

He's apparently in Bishop, still on Wild Rose, maybe...

It would be a coup to rest that slacker from his hideaway and get him to chime in.
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Dec 19, 2007 - 01:27am PT

Guy Andrews


Guy in action, down in CT I think.


BVB at the bivy ledge on Happy Hooker.


I think this must be one of those bandidos, giving a somewhat casual belay at the base of Caught Looking.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 19, 2007 - 01:30am PT
Dave Tapes...I guess you may not remember me now that you are famous...Michael Paul.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 19, 2007 - 03:22am PT
Off White,
Nice shot of Guy, thanks for sharing it.
That roof crack is almost certainly "Body Shop" .10a above Desperado. Guy and Tom Scott did the FA, October 1977. Dan C. and I had climbed up to the roof the previous month.

That's great to see that "Caught Lookin'" (.10a, 12/77) had at least a second ascent. Is that you belaying? I haven't heard of anyone cragging on that formation in the past 20 years!
John S.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 19, 2007 - 04:47am PT
Way cool shots Doug!!!!
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Dec 19, 2007 - 10:04am PT
Yes, Body Shop it is. I wasn't there for that, but somehow a scruffy 8x10 wound up in the legacy box of photos, Galen Kirkwood's work I presume. The second hand story has it that Werner Landry was behind getting Guy amped up to do that thing. I love the dangling rack of hexes.

Dan Curley took Bob and I down for a high speed bullet trip, a one day jaunt if I recall correctly, and toured us around, including pointing us at Caught Looking. I can't exactly place the date, well, even the year for that matter. That was a fun route, I wonder if that plastic McDonald's Hamburgermeister figurine is still tucked away in the crack?




Same day, BVB finds the no hands rest on Sh#t Or Go Blind

Since I'm in those pictures, I think Dan just picked up my camera and had his way with it.

John, can you ID this route? certainly I've lost track of that info.


Hey Mike, do you recall when Bob and I went down to do the Hooker? Our last stop was your mom's house in Mira Mesa where we mooched your small wireds for the aid pitch, and somehow left one of my EB's in your driveway. Are you in Newport for awhile?
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Dec 19, 2007 - 11:54am PT
Mike I most definatly remember you. All good of course. I love the picture of you by the Mexican road sign. As much as everything has changed in this country in the last 25 years, Baja while changing, is much the same as it was back then.

I can't speak to the amount of climbing going on at CT lately, but everytime I pass through there, no one is around.

For all you climbers out there that don't like waiting in line for routes CT is wide open. Not only that but there are thousands of crags untouched by climbers hands in the area. Any one wanting FAs need only explore a bit.

DW
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 19, 2007 - 01:46pm PT
Off White,
Nice photo of "Facial Expression".
That left leaning crack seems very familiar, yet I can't place it.
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Dec 19, 2007 - 01:59pm PT
I'd venture a guess that the left leaning crack is the first pitch of the Desperado Crack.

DW
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 19, 2007 - 02:37pm PT
It's not Desperado.
Curiousity getting the better of me, I pulled my notes. Is that left leaning crack "Caught Lookin'" .10a ?
My notes say that it is a left-leaning hand crack, looks 5.7, but turns out to be flaring and hard to protect. Second pitch is 5.0
The description matches the photo. Since another of your photos placed you there, I'd guess that's it.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 19, 2007 - 04:00pm PT
Here's Dan Curley on FA of "Airliner", on Airport Rock.

I e-mailed with hopes that he will drop in and say hello on this thread.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Dec 19, 2007 - 04:06pm PT
Speaking of Elgar...... The time I went before the trip with Mooney it was Jeff E. and I in his Dodge Lancer (?). It was a low slung road cruiser that he inherited from his grandfather. Jeff was driving and man was he possessed! He thought he was Walker Evans in that baby. For miles that car took high speed rock hits and bottomed out a thousand times. We got hopelessly lost in the dark and bivvied in the car, it was super cold out. In the morning we saw rocks on the horizon but I guess the enthusiasm was wearing out and we headed north. Maybe it was the newly developed oil leak we were worried about. Jeff had about 20 pre-rolled dubies and we had to consume them before the border, throwing them out was out of the question and crossing the border with them was verboten as well. We tried our best and arrived at the check station severely altered. The border crossing went without a hitch and we soon stopped to put more oil in. Jeff opened the trunk and lo and behold there were about 3 more dubies just rolling around in plain view! Whew! They too were gone before we arrived back in Orange County.
TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
Dec 19, 2007 - 04:06pm PT
This is a super inspiring thread!

Thanks to everyone for posting these stories and pics. This is the quality content I revel in. Hope I can make it down there someday...

Cheers!
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 19, 2007 - 05:34pm PT
Yeah Doug I sure do remember that...I sat looking at it all weekend wondering what you were going to do without it...Yep, Newport it is! I had to get 1000 miles from my ex. or I was afraid I was going to take her midnight mining...
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Dec 19, 2007 - 09:07pm PT
Watusi/Mike, you say you're in Newport. Is that Newport Beach CA? Seems a bit unlikely but if so It'd be great to connect since I live in Orange County.

DW
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 20, 2007 - 04:55am PT
Finally, I figured out how to scan a slide. So, here are two magnificent 5.9 cracks at Tajo. They have probably less than a dozen ascents, and none in recent years. That's Dan C.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 20, 2007 - 10:40am PT
hey john, those things look familiar. i think i've done the one dan is on, and we just looked at the other one and shuddered. where are they?

on another note, about 400 yards north of camp, when you were heading out to deserado dome and that area, you'd pass a huge boxcar-shaped boulder. anybody done any problems on that thing yet? it was still untouched as of my last climbing trip down there ('84? '85?)
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 20, 2007 - 03:08pm PT
Dave, I'm actually in Newport, OR. Though I'll be down to Josh in spring. It'd great to see you again!
scuffy b

climber
Stump with a backrest
Dec 20, 2007 - 06:36pm PT
Who's dragging me to the one on the right?
Bob, you were shuddering because, what, heartbreak
over not having enough time to do 'em both?
tdoughty

Mountain climber
descanso, ca
Dec 20, 2007 - 06:48pm PT
looking at the one on the right might make you shudder, but once you overcome your initial reluctance, the face to the left of the crack offers great edges and knobs to help you move along, and the exit is superb. just one of many, many crags offering great CT crack.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Dec 20, 2007 - 08:37pm PT
There was a feature article about the Giraffe in Climbing in the mid to late '90's. Eppi did the photos. The climbers were from Santa Barbara I think. Can anyone dig that up and give me the issue number? What did they say about the rating?
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Dec 20, 2007 - 10:27pm PT
pretty sure I've led the crack Dan is doing - Roch Horton and Dan and I went there and Dan (I think) let me lead it.
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Dec 21, 2007 - 12:23am PT
This thing is a blast!
Moon, remember the summer of 'free' camping in the Meadows, '84 perhaps? I was there for 2 months, camp host never found us. The 'Lechlinski's' rolled thru (post Crag Whore) Bob freakin Camps was there for awhile, Even the fabled Eppi made an appearance. (I got an autograph)

I told Curly about this thread,I work for him,(don't go there), but he'll never sit still long enough to read it. Slander away, I can assure impunity.

Doug, thanks for the photos, especially Guy. Gotta find time to scan someday...
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Dec 21, 2007 - 12:33am PT
Ah Man
Guy pops into my head at the oddest times.
Hendricks songs, VW Vans with small square pop top….
Last time I saw Guy he was cooking, pop top down jamming to Hendricks. Hidden Valley RIP
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Dec 21, 2007 - 12:50am PT
I remember sitting on top after doing the Hooker. Waiting for the full moon to come up and light the way. Then it’s coming up shinning across Laguna Salada.
Showing us the way back down to camp.
Again the following weekend watching the sun rise from my down bag.
What a colideascope, all the colors blazing across the lake. Then the beauty giving way to two primary thoughts, I will never go on a wall again with out a ledge and we did not bring enough water.
To who ever left that can of chicken noodle soup on top Thanks.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 21, 2007 - 01:41am PT
Days of the VW squareback as Baja vehicle. Dan Curley in 1978.


DanCo, Tom Scott, & Dale McCauley at base camp, 1979:


Left to Right: Tom Scott, Patti Watkins, Greg Epperson, Bob Ollerton.
Hacky Sack at base camp 1976.


Dan C. on our FA of "El Paseo Blanco" grade IV, .11+, south face of El Gran Trono Blanco (approx. 1990)

Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 21, 2007 - 02:12am PT
DanCo drilling the hard way on our FA of "Guts to Open" .10a, 1977.


Werner Landry & Fred Beckey on top of El Gran Trono Blanco.

Mimi

climber
Dec 23, 2007 - 05:07pm PT
All the way back to the roots. I did an ST search and was amazed this hadn't been posted on a previous Trono thread. This was a prized issue for us when we went down there in 1981. Did some great bouldering and exploring in blue sky weather only to be snowed out two days later on Thanksgiving day when we were due to go up. Future sushifest....?








Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 23, 2007 - 07:19pm PT
Thanks for the article Mimi. For those of you who don't recognize him, that last photo is our very own John Vawter.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 23, 2007 - 07:32pm PT
Cool Time Machine article! I remember doing it free but bypassing all the lower aid to get to the bivvy. Really wasn't the same route we thought afterwards as it took us hours instead of days.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Dec 23, 2007 - 11:37pm PT
classic pics everyone - great stuff.
matisse

climber
Dec 23, 2007 - 11:50pm PT
holy crap john, I did not recognize you at all.
(However, I would not have recognized Bob Ollerton either.)
Sue
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 24, 2007 - 01:28am PT
I also remember being down there at the time of the FA...Tender age of 15. How about you guys? Werner, Dick, or John?
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 24, 2007 - 01:47am PT
Gary Anderson on our FA of "El Milenio" (The Millennium) Grade IV, 5.11b, May 1999.
Pitch #6, a .10c move off the belay ledge.


Pitch #5, 5.11 friction:
Gabe

climber
San Clemente, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 24, 2007 - 11:59am PT
My partner Kevin and I headed down into Baja a couple weeks back and had a great time.
It was surprising to see all the snow still on the ground. It didn’t melt for the 4 days we were there. I thought we were in Mexico!?

The dome we were camped behind.

Around our campsite.

We started hiking down the canyon toward Canon Tajo. Look at those corners! They looked to be about 500’ to the top where they arch out. I’d have to think they’ve been climbed. I want to check them out a bit more next time.

Down the canyon. There were some cool pools through here.

And even icicles!
Wow! Still a long way to go.
Down in the palms we take a break.
Kevin is as hard as nails!
After all that hiking we only glimpsed the top of the throne(at least we think it was ;) still a ways away with the night coming fast we retreated back up the canyon for a burly bushwack through cactus, manzinita, and icy boulders.
We got back to camp just as the last bit of light receeded into the darkness.
Thanks for all of the great info people especially Deuce and T2!. Cheerz! Gabe


John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Dec 24, 2007 - 04:25pm PT
Yeah Mike, I remember you came down with us in Roger Wilson's Land Rover on that trip. I think that was November 1975. So I can say I knew you way back when. You were pretty wide eyed, and thin! Nobody goes the way we went anymore because the South Face-Baile del Sol link up is so good, and all free.

I wrote the first draft of that article and Werner didn't give me any credit. But the writing is so lame I didn't mind. However, I am claiming credit for the first, eighth and ninth photos. BTW, the last two photos are on Pan Am a month earlier, not the south face. The one above me is Kenny Cook on the pitch (8?) above the perfect ledge. The fourth one is actually low on Happy Hooker.

Gabe, good first trip! You guys found the north camp and went down a couple of waterfalls. Just north of that drainage is the start of the "Indian Trail" that goes down to the bottom. You were a little too far north to approach the Throne. There is some good cragging over there.
AKDOG

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Dec 24, 2007 - 08:08pm PT
“This thing is a blast!
Moon, remember the summer of 'free' camping in the Meadows, '84 perhaps? I was there for 2 months, camp host never found us. The 'Lechlinski's' rolled thru (post Crag Whore) Bob freakin Camps was there for awhile, Even the fabled Eppi made an appearance. (I got an autograph)”

Brad that was a great summer, I remember it well, fond memories. Tuolumne campground didn’t have the campsites numbered so the camping was free! You kept the vibe going with somehting you had been growing in your apartment!
Some favorite climbs of that summer was our solo of Matthes Crest and a climb called Mystery Achievement, I don’t know if you remember the climb, had vertical to slightly overhanging knobs with a nice run-out! Good times.


Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Dec 24, 2007 - 09:10pm PT
Doug, I'm trying to remember if it was you I did the happy Hooker with?

DW
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Dec 24, 2007 - 10:05pm PT
Thanx John for confirming this for me...I thought my memory might have been failing me...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 25, 2007 - 12:05pm PT
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Dec 25, 2007 - 09:21pm PT
Moon, the camping wasn't supposed to be free. I just hung a scrap of paper on the post, cause the old fart host didn't want to walk to the back of the loop to check. I can say 'old fart' as a peer now, so no disrespect to the geezer.

Mystery Acheivment, Hammer Dome, what a blast. We called it the 'poor man's Bachar/Yerian'. Shadow of a Doubt, Precious, there's a bunch out there. I know of a certain Professional Photographer/Lurker who has an archive of those days.

Don't remember nuthin' about nuthin' coming from my apartment.
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Jan 2, 2008 - 02:49pm PT
It wasn't me Dave, I did it in spring of 78 with BVB. Both of us were in a little over our heads, and it must have shown. As I recall someone came down the south gully to check on us, DanC or Senor Maderita maybe?

Great to see that old article again and get the background skinny. John, I thought that shot was the Hooker, the looming roof is a dead giveway. Did anyone ever scoot out right under that thing? Dim memory suggests a scary looking hand traverse was possible...


looking up from low down


part of the oh-so-charming south gully

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 6, 2008 - 11:47pm PT
Anybody have the late seventies issue of Climbing with The Mace on the cover? There is an excellent Trono survey in that one if I recall.
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jan 7, 2008 - 08:44am PT
Steve -
Winter '73 Issue. Article by Scott Baxter called "Poor Man's Patagonia"


Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 7, 2008 - 10:36am PT
Dat's da one.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Jan 8, 2008 - 04:12pm PT
Greg: If it's not too much trouble, could you scan in the Poor Man's Patagonia article too?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 8, 2008 - 06:19pm PT
Yeah, break stash dude........You're killing us here!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 24, 2008 - 12:04pm PT
Protracted and tortured small animal scream! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Jan 24, 2008 - 02:41pm PT
Reply to Steve's scream of stone (various published stuff):





























steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jan 24, 2008 - 03:01pm PT
Ooops...sorry...didn't know anyone was waiting on me.
Missed that somehow. Thanks for covering me John
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Jan 24, 2008 - 04:55pm PT
Nice! Thanks for posting the old article.

DW
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Jan 24, 2008 - 06:01pm PT
Cool John! Now that really takes me back...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 25, 2008 - 10:54am PT
Scream of Stone- best fictional climbing film ever!

Thanks for the spread John. Scott's article was an inspiration worth whining for. LOL

Never heard of the VW Route by TM and Lauria.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 27, 2008 - 09:22pm PT
Who would get credit for climbing the first fifth class route in the Trono area? No topropes.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jan 28, 2008 - 01:44am PT
Steve,
The VW Route is beyond obscure. I have a topo, but have never heard of anyone doing a subsequent ascent.

That's an interesting question as to who did the first 5th class climbing in the area.
My understanding is that Baxter, et al., were the first on the Throne, making the long approach up the canyon from the desert.
El Progresso ramp on the east face was likely the first technical climbing; 1971 or 1972.
Larry Gorbet and Isabelle & Henri Agresti were the first that I know of to discover access to the Throne from the western plateau of the Sierra de Juarez (1972). (Larry introduced me to the upper crags in 1973-74).
Werner Landry, et al., also explored from the plateau, and made FA's on the South Face.
Fred Beckey and John Long were also there in those early years.
The first Mexican climbers to visit were from Mexico City. In 1975, Sergio Fitch Watkins, Eduardo & Miguel Mosqueda, and Enrique Salazar traveled by bus and then walked the 20+ miles.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 28, 2008 - 01:55am PT
Thanks for the background, Juan.
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Jan 28, 2008 - 02:26am PT
Juan
I came to the conclusion; falsely I see the VW Route was a myth.
Late 70 something I met some Arizona climbers at camp who gave me a topo of the VW route after doing it. Directions to finding it were as sketchy as Werner’s directions to Laguna Hansen when we caught up with him and perhaps John V. in a VW van.
The same trip a hammer was dropped on a almost clean ascent of Pam Am and the Giraffe was climbed by two other climbers.

From tales of being chased by rattlers at camp, being stopped by the federalis (sp) on the way in , finding a rock-cave with pottery , driving as fast as possible yet not to fast with an injured climber in the back of my 74 Datusn pick up to Balboa Hospital then blowing back just making it across the border before it closes, Having my truck broken into only to return gear I loaned out, to all the great climbs and climbers even if the place is a myth.
Sims
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Jan 28, 2008 - 04:27pm PT
eees no meeeth...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 29, 2008 - 12:28am PT
Where is Senor Wences when you need him?!?
dr. death

climber
Mar 2, 2008 - 03:56pm PT
hey steve, by chance i just found a few pics of the trip that scott, carl, ross and i did there in april 73 scott and carl completed the first of the pan am and ross and i were on the executive 1st. if i can figure out how to post them i will. the blow up of carl in the "maw" is one of them. nice trip yelling back and forth on the routes, good weather, great time. we tried in march but got snowed out before we left the car.
apogee

climber
Mar 2, 2008 - 04:21pm PT
I did the PanAm in '96, returning to the vehicle just after dark. Was sitting in the dancing-bear decorated VW van of my partner Rob for no more than 10 minutes, about to quaff a Guinness, when a couple of rifles poke into the van, aimed by a couple of bandanna-faced banditos. They yelled us out of the van, had us lay face down/spread eagled on the ground, while Rob says 'Somos buena gente! Somos buena gente!' (We're good people!). Words to live by!

One bandito kept a rifle trained on us, while the other went through the van. They were obviously looking only for cash- the haul bag was of little interest- and asked where our wallets were. Rob points to the dash, while the bandito with the gun over us yelled 'Suelo! Suelo!' (Get down!), and punctuated his intent with a couple of shots into the ground about 2' from my head. Rob got down.

After finding all of about $20, they disabled the van by ripping the ingition wires off of the coil, and threw the keys out of the van. They then wandered off into the dark, leaving us sweating in the cold wind, wondering if we were gonna catch a cap in the head.

Eventually we got up, searched around and found the keys under the van, re-attached the ignition wires, and got the hell out of there. I haven't been back to Mexico since.

Great route, though!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 2, 2008 - 04:22pm PT
And a hearty Black Death to ya Mark! Any shots from that historic trip would be awesome especially of the "first-rate bivies indulged in" on the Executive Route FA. Tales of any sort equally appreciated so type away if you feel inclined!

I recall a slide of Scott's of Karl Karlstrom hiking with a giant water carbouy lashed onto a Kelty packframe! His comment at the slideshow "that load is well over a hundred pounds in case you don't think he's strong!"
meg - tp

Trad climber
tucson, az
Mar 4, 2008 - 01:29am PT
Partner wanted - Ive been obsessed with el gran trono blanco since hearing about it several months ago and wish to make a voyage there between March 15th and 22nd - hoping to bag as many routes as possible during that time.

Logistics:
While I dont have a high clearance vehicle, spanish speaking abilities, or prior knowledge of the area but ... I do have aid and long free climbing experience, with some self rescue / first aid experience.

Wish to climb: as much as possible - can follow ~5.11 and lead ~9's or 10's gear + C3. Ive never done a nail up, but have a pin rack and would be willing to give it a go.

 Let me know (mcurry@email.arizona.edu)
-Meghan
Mimi

climber
Mar 4, 2008 - 01:35am PT
Find some Tucson climbers that know some San Diego climbers and you're more than halfway there.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 4, 2008 - 04:05am PT
meg-tp / Meghan,
It looks like your trip plan is coming together, so I just e-mailed to you. As we had discussed a couple months ago, I will help with the beta.
-John S.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Mar 12, 2008 - 02:02pm PT
Based on my notes over the years, this thread, and the new AAJ searchable online database, here is a tentative Giraffe ascent list.

Giraffe ascents
FA Hugh Burton, John Long, Ray Ochoa 1975
Werner Landry, John Vawter, March 1978
Tom Scott, Adrian Almodovar, April, 1981
Dave Wonderly, Jack Tripper, Jeff Elgar, Spring 1984
Craig Fry, Erik Erickson, 1985
John Middendorf, Jeff Hollenbaugh, February 1993
Brendan Pegg, Tony Sartin, October 1996
Jean Marc Clerk, Lionel and Damien Daudet, February 1997
Steve Muse, Tommy Thompson, ??

I know that Werner repeated it with Mark Richards in the 1990's, and I think Mark repeated it with Alejandro Gastellum. but I don't have the dates. Alejandro knows a Mexican climber climber who soloed it.
museman

Big Wall climber
Poway, Ca
Mar 12, 2008 - 03:54pm PT
John Vawter,

I'm pretty sure there's more than that...especially in more recent time. I have done the Pan Am, Giraffe and Leaving on a Jet Plane with diferent partners and thought the place to be beautiful and a little wild. The south gully was brutal the first time down and thanks to Mark and Werner cutting the trail down the north side, the hike was way easier. I bet it's over grown now...
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 13, 2008 - 12:30am PT
There have been numerous other ascents. Based on the requests that I get for info, I'm guessing there are one or two attempts per year. I rarely get the subsequent trip report, and I'm guessing the failure rate is high. Many people give up on the approach or get lost when attempting Pan Am or Giraffe.
My info has it that Billy Westbay was in on the FA of Giraffe w/ Burton and Long. Can anyone confirm that?

Steve,
About 5 years ago, I led a crew to enhance the trail from the north for access to the east face. It's about due for a trim, but last I heard, still in good shape.
Enjoyed your pics from JTree. Highly inspirational.
John S.
museman

Big Wall climber
Poway, Ca
Mar 13, 2008 - 10:57am PT
John,
That's good news that the trail see's some gardening and that your still doing work down there...after all you are the park superintendent! Have you seen Mark or Werner lately? Have been climbing recently? I miss the place man! I might go down just to hang out...drink beer and drive round, just for old times. Keep in touch, ok?
Steve
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Mar 13, 2008 - 01:41pm PT
In response to various PMs. ugh Burton, Ray Ochoa and I did the 1st ascent of the Giraffe (named so because it felt like we were sticking our necks out) on Thanksgiving weekend, 1975. We drove in from San Diego, hiked down to the base and fixed two pitches, climbed most of the wall the next day (bivied in slings), topped out about noon the following day, hiked out and drove home. One bivouac at the base of the wall, and one on the wall. Finito.

JL
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Mar 13, 2008 - 05:08pm PT
Sorry Steve! I knew that, but spaced. So I added you guys to the list, but I don't have the date.

It's not supposed to be a complete list, just what we know. Might as well put it all down here because there's no better place. For example, I never knew Ray Ochoa was on the FA. I though it was just Hugh and John. You'll see some say that Billy Westbay was with them. I knew that wasn't right.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 4, 2009 - 12:15am PT
Straight from the Grand Giraffe's mouth!
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Mar 29, 2009 - 11:09pm PT
I just read most of this thread. What fantastic memories. Almost impossible to believe I was first there 36 years ago with Fred Becky, and did the Gran Giraffe 34 years ago.

Getting old, but man, did we have some great adventures. Is there a guide book for the Throne? Seems like every generation redoscovers the place for themselves.

And what hardcore SoCal climber doesn't have their own Throne story??

JL
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 30, 2009 - 01:07am PT
Hey Largo,
We have had a "no guidebook" policy since the 70's. I did have to write one though, in order to beat someone out who planned to publish for personal profit. The guy had never climbed there! There are two copies - in Mexico D.F. and Washington DC Library of Congress. My 357 pages of beta is copyrighted in the USA and Mexico. Feel free to e-mail if you want more info. You must have missed the brouhaha in 2004.

The absence of a guidebook means that there is still unspoiled adventure, not so different than when you first experienced it in the early 70's.

Beckey is still rockin' Baja with me. Here are some photos from last year:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=572033&msg=572033#msg572033
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Mar 31, 2009 - 05:00pm PT
I found this recent TR of Will Stanhope trying to free the Pan-Am Route minus the chopped Piana bolts. Sounds like it goes, albeit he took a fall and missed the onsight:

http://www.arcteryx.com/Article.aspx?article=Gran-Trono-Blanco-Trip-Report

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 31, 2009 - 10:28pm PT
Jive-ass retrobolt, IMO.
Anxious Melancholy

Mountain climber
Back of beyond
Mar 31, 2009 - 11:46pm PT
who's we? man, do we have to go thru this again? a minority. a dictator. a self appointed lord of the throne telling us what is to be? hasn't the debate about a guide v. no guide been hashed thru enough? haven't we seen the destruction relevant to both sides of the issue? why is information only restricted by a few and to "word of mouth" or via e-mail to those who these few individuals deem to be worthy? who do these individuals think they are in a positon to set the standards? why do we empower them? who elected them? have we not seen that the true power of the climbing community is in its inclusiveness?

sorry, but i guess you can tell this touches a nerve......

s**t!!!!
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Apr 1, 2009 - 02:43am PT
Anxious Melancholy, do you actually know something about the area? Or are you just trippin' over something that you know nothing about, but perhaps metaphorically relates to another venue?
It's laughable how some people think the beta should be open and freely distributed, yet know little about the history and have done nothing to contribute. Entitled, egocentric users who sound like whining babies.

Oplopanax, thanks for the TR link. Props to those guys who went without beta to do something adventurous. Grown men with huevos, and not snot-nosed whiny brats.

Some people actually find it refreshing that wilderness and adventure climbing remains to be found within such close proximity to the millions of people in SoCal and Tijuana.
Anxious Melancholy

Mountain climber
Back of beyond
Apr 2, 2009 - 12:01am PT
Yes, Mr Smallwood, I am familiar with the area, both as a climber and first ascensionist, and consider my input here as a positive contribution to a continuing dialog regarding the self designation of a few individuals who attempt to restrict access only to those whom they deem worthy. Time and time again we see this kind of action as being detrimental to the sport, as well as society at large. Embracing diversity leads to an empowerment of our humanity. If we seek, wilderness persists.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:21am PT
Anxious Melancholy,
Interesting. So, why hide behind a pseudonym? You got something to say to me, why don't you say it? My e-address is no secret. I only know of one person, who has done a couple FAs, and is in favor of publishing. Two others are on the fence over the issue.

Since you have at least climbed there and know something about the area, your previous questions deserve a serious response.

Q: "Who's we?"
A: All of the original developers who remained in contact thru the 70s & 80s, except for one or two who had maybe 1/2 dozen FAs on crags.

Q: "Do we have to go through this again?"
A: No. You are the one who has engaged a debate. I merely replied to Largo's question with some facts. That's some interesting projection going on.

Q: "A minority. A dictator. A self-appointed lord of the throne telling us what is to be?"
A: I certainly don't see myself representing a minority. Over 98% of climbers polled, and who have visited the area, are opposed to publishing. They articulate valid reasons for their position.
Self-appointed, yes. I volunteered to battle the threat of a published guidebook. It was not isolated, though I did most of the work and was the hub of communication in the binational effort. USA and Mexican attorney-climbers provided legal preparation and filing, and a Mexican climber translated to Spanish.
My role of steward to protect the area, has been continuous from 1974 to present. Usually that meant "janitor". Other times it was stopping illegal logging, bighorn poachers, and graffiti taggers. In 2003-04, my role was to stop the publication of a guidebook by one individual who narcissistically decided to profit, regardless of what the climbing community wanted or what was best for the preservation of the area.

Q: "Hasn't the debate about a guide vs. no guide been hashed through enough?"
A: I had thought so. You are the one who seems to want to renew a debate. I was done in 2004, after a year's tiring work. Dead issue as far as I'm concerned. The area won. Said individual was served with paperwork by uniformed Sheriff's deputy at his doorstep. I gave him the courtesy of a letter which outlined the penalties for copyright violations in the USA and Mexico. The penalties were also described, including the felony status in Mexico, (no bail on felonies there), and the possibility of extradition under the Berne Convention. Seems that said individual wisely decided not to publish.

Q: "Haven't we seen the destruction relevant to both sides of the issue?"
A: I must be missing something here. Sorry to answer a question with a question, but what is the "destruction" in not publishing a guidebook? That must be a stretch. The only destruction that I have observed is subsequent to publication, when a wilderness is impacted by increased traffic or the landowners lock climbers out.

Q: "Why is information only restricted by a few and to 'word of mouth' or via e-mail to those who these few individuals deem to be worthy?"
A: The short answer is that I have tirelessly collected detailed beta for 35 years. Over half the routes there are my FAs. Most of the bolts were paid for out of my hard earned money. I don't owe anyone anything; it's my choice to share beta or not. If someone doesn't like it he/she can be adventurous and explore for him/herself.
The long answer is that a large proportion who have climbed there found out about it either through me or indirectly (introduced by someone whom I had introduced). I have encouraged and promoted Mexican climbers to use their resource. I routinely answer requests for info via e-mail, approx. monthly, and spend considerable time customizing my response to their specific needs. I guide and give seminars, pro bono. Along with that info, I attempt to instill ethics toward taking care of the place. That strategy has worked well over the years. I can only think of one person in recent years to whom I have denied beta. A Euro rap-bolter who was audacious to announce that he was planning to bolt a new route on the Throne (without ever having been there).

Q: "Who do these individuals think they are in a position to set the standards?"
A: It seems that you mean me. For the most part, I didn't set the standards. I do, however, maintain them. Trad ethics. Ground-up. No dumping trash. I know who I am and what I've done to develop and take care of the place. Just what is your effort to earn a role in setting standards? If someone voluteers to clean up other's trash and fire pits for 35 years, do you blame him for being a "self-appointed" janitor?

Q: "Why do we empower them? Who elected them?"
A: You don't. You don't have the power to empower anyone. It's not an elected position. Positive contributions, leadership, work, and volunteering is what you are observing and calling a "dictatorship". As you said, your "positive contribution" is "a continuing dialog regarding the self designation of a few individuals...". Exactly how much does that contribute in the stewardship for the area? Seems like that's an exaggerated value of self-importance.

Q: "Have we not seen that the true power of the climbing community is in its inclusiveness?"
A: Huh? Inclusiveness of what? Reading between the lines, I'm wondering how you feel excluded. Please feel free to enlighten me. I've included hundreds of people. I'm guessing that you somehow don't go there any longer, having excluded yourself, and now seem to have unfinished business with the place. And using a bone to pick with me as your personal battleground. Somehow I doubt that I'm the issue, nor is the dead guidebook issue. I'd be willing to bet that either I, or my main FA partner, introduced you to the area. That would be ironic!
If there really is some personal business to finish, either with me or someone you perceive as aligned with me, then I suggest you set about doing it directly and honestly.
-John Smallwood
Ghoulwe

Trad climber
Spokane, WA
Apr 2, 2009 - 11:47am PT

As a Canon Tajo “regular” and occasional first-ascentionist from 1982 through 2002, I’d like to acknowledge that John has spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours of his time cleaning up and maintaining this beautiful area. I’ve spent my fair share too, but there were many times when I’d see him show up mid-day Sunday and put in a few hours cleaning up after other climbers and campers that left trash, burning embers, etc… and haul it all home in his own vehicle. He has also been at the front-end of route establishing since long before I moved to the area. I left San Diego in 2002 and turned over all of my route notes to him as I knew that he’d be the best keeper of the info.

Everyone that I knew and climbed with down there, pretty much found and explored the area just fine. The adventures were grand and the lack of a guidebook didn’t dissuade anyone as much as the fear of going to Mexico itself. I think if you are interested in going down there to climb, just do it. You’ll probably run into John and he’ll share route information with you!

Eric Barrett
Spokane, WA
wtfd

climber
Apr 2, 2009 - 12:24pm PT
ill third the honerable mention of the steward of the throne, leave it as it is, its a unique area that deserves what work has been put into it to preserve its beauty.
f*#k a guide book.
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Apr 2, 2009 - 01:05pm PT
Generally, I'm an "information wants to be free" kind of guy, and I love guidebooks to boot. The conversation back in 2004 though won me over to the no guidebook camp, and I honestly believe that a guidebook to Canon Tajo will do nothing to make the world a better place. It's a great place to climb, but you won't much be able to plan your trip from your armchair, you'll have to get out there and make it up on the fly. It's a rare thing to have an area that's rather developed yet maintains a degree of the kind of mystery and adventure that finding a new area can deliver. Exploration with training wheels. I suppose this sort of thing constitutes the "dialogue" that Mr. Melancholy wants to continue, but really, the debate is over until some future generation. Another thumbs up for John Smallwood's devotion.

Doug "Off" White

F10

Trad climber
e350
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:01pm PT
I had some great times in the seventies and eighties down there!

Just let it be, nothing wrong with a little adventure,

Folks complain about getting lost, must not have picked up enough tequilla at the border!!
apogee

climber
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:57pm PT
John, I posted my experience at Canon Tajo a few months ago on this thread- did the Pan Am, and was robbed at gunpoint (and shot at) at the trailhead.

Having spent decades in San Diego, I have heard occasional tales about robberies and violence in and around Canon Tajo over the years. What has been your experience with this? Are there any common threads that seem to link the incidents?

By the way, thank you for your dedicated time and effort in preserving this area.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Apr 2, 2009 - 07:56pm PT
Apogee,
There were several incidents in the Sierra de Juarez in the mid-90s. Yours was the most serious at basecamp. There were a couple robberies on the dirt road, an armed robbery carjacking w/ pistol whipping at Laguna Hanson. An offroad racer was shot in the leg while prerunning. Several vehicles were torched by mota growers in the palm canyons below the sierra.
Several car burglaries at base camp until 2002 or so. Haven't heard of any problems since then.
I'm down there frequently, but purposely stay away from Tijuana and the Pacific campsites.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Apr 2, 2009 - 08:06pm PT
Anxious Melancholy,
May I suggest that you start a new thread, something like "Guidebooks to wilderness areas, pros & cons"?
This has been a cool thread to feel good and see stories and photos of the adventure that Tajo has to offer.
Maybe post up a TR or photos.
Got the Baja van packed and I'm outta here...
apogee

climber
Apr 2, 2009 - 08:24pm PT
Before you head out...

About the time of our incident, I had heard that there was a lot of local resentment towards the 'gringos' in the area, in particular the baja xc motorcycle races that would cross private ranchos and tear the sh*t out of them. Supposedly, this resentment was the source of much vandalism and violence.

Any truth to that? Have there been other consistent 'themes' in the incidents over the years?
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Apr 2, 2009 - 11:40pm PT
Guidebooks make authors money and make areas crowded. Other than that what good are they?
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Apr 3, 2009 - 01:03am PT
Guidebooks tell interested people what has & hasn't been climbed yet, and make accessible the full historical record. There's plenty of cool routes at Red Rocks I would never have found or climbed without the guidebooks, and plenty more that I have never done that I want to do because I've read about them in the guidebook and been thereby motivated.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 12, 2009 - 11:56pm PT
The obscure "mythical" VW Route topo as I drew it in 1973.

Guess what "VW" stood for - not Volkswagen. It was something Tom Condon and TM kept bringing up on our drive towards Tijuana in Herbert's Travelall - virgin wh_res!

Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Apr 14, 2009 - 03:31am PT
I'd given out a few topos in my day but am still glad that I didn't go against the grain publishing and possibly spoiling this perfect place, I can return with dignity one day...
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Apr 14, 2009 - 08:55am PT
"Guidebooks make authors money"

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Whew. That's a good one.
Made my morning.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 30, 2009 - 03:21pm PT
Trono Bump!
guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Oct 30, 2009 - 05:11pm PT
good bump.

Lots of adventures down there.

Watching E eat the worm was the hi-light.

tiney

Sport climber
CA
Nov 24, 2009 - 01:17am PT
is the climbing there bolted?????

Slabby D

Trad climber
B'ham WA
Nov 24, 2009 - 01:41am PT
How do you legally prevent someone from writing a guidebook to an area?
ß Î Ø T Ç H

climber
. . . not !
Nov 24, 2009 - 03:57am PT
Is this in the San Pedro Martir area ?
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Nov 24, 2009 - 04:26am PT
tiney,
The friction routes are bolted or partially bolted. 100% trad style from the ground up, on lead. Spacing between bolts leans toward the adventurous.

Slabby D,
Are you asking about this area, or in general? The answer is different in Mexico than for the USA. See previous page.

ß Î Ø T Ç H,
No, it is not in the Sierra San Pedro Mártir.
powderdan

Social climber
mammoth lakes
Nov 24, 2009 - 06:55pm PT
insane thread!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 24, 2009 - 07:01pm PT
Don't laugh, Mnkey. I myself got a $101 semi annual royality check just the other day, hog heaven, Phat city!
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Nov 24, 2009 - 09:17pm PT
J-Bro said:
"I myself got a $101 semi annual royality check just the other day, hog heaven, Phat city!"

Sweet! Livin' large!!! Now you can hook up with some razor blades!! :-)

(just kiddin')
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Nov 24, 2009 - 10:47pm PT
Mr. Keesee, I'd give my right *** to have a shot of our "E" swallowing the Mescal Worm...
socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
Nov 29, 2009 - 10:57pm PT
Came across this thread again, having posted much earlier on in it.

I've enjoyed many a trip down there and have more than a few handfuls of FA's (bolted and otherwise) there. I've been lucky enough to have some limited info on my trips down there, but always far less than I would have normally liked to have had. To be 100% honest, that lack of detailed info has more than magnified my experiences down there.

I watched from the sidelines when the whole guidebook drama was going down a few years back, and am very happy that it ended the way it did. JS did the (Mexican and American) climbing community a real service in my mind by acting as he did and preventing what I'm sure would have been a piss-poor guidebook to an area that has always been fine without one.

Not sure when or if I'll find my truck headed that way again, but if I do - I'll be fine with driving in circles a little bit as I try to follow the ever-changing roads. Likewise, I'll enjoy climbing whatever routes I stumble across and the cold cervezas that always make the campfires so special down there.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 29, 2009 - 11:00pm PT
Make the effort to get there and you will be rewarded. Some areas should remain adventure climbing. This thread provides plenty of information on the older routes otherwise trust your judgment.
Brian

climber
California
Nov 29, 2009 - 11:25pm PT
Juan,

Total tangent: how do guidebook copyrights work? I would have assumed that anyone can write a guidebook to an area as long as they independently collect the information, just like anyone (I assume) can publish a map. It seems like you are just reporting, rather than creating, information, no?

Full disclosure: I've only been down there once, when I climbed the Pan/Am back in the mid to late 90's. However, insofar as I have a horse in the race, I'm glad that no guidebook has been published for the area, and happy to have it retain some of its obscure and adventurous character.

Brian
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Nov 30, 2009 - 12:19am PT
Brian,
In México, as in the USA, the prose (text) can be copyrighted, as a literary creation, as well as the photos and graphic illustrations. In México, the route itself can be copyrighted as an "architectural" creation. I have done about 50% of the FA's down there, and obtained written consent to copyright many of the remainder.
 John S.
Scott Cole

Trad climber
Jackson, WY^
Nov 30, 2009 - 08:35pm PT
Watusi

I just found the topos you gave me twenty years ago. I can't wait to get back down there ( I'll leave the topos behind).

Scole
hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Nov 30, 2009 - 09:07pm PT
whats the time of year to climb here?


It would seem winter time is where its at, due to geographical location. Similar to Joshua Tree, ie fall/winter/spring, but winter can have its storms and its good days?


Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Nov 30, 2009 - 09:14pm PT
hoipolloi,
The best time of year is in spring when the days are long. March, April, and into May. Mid-September through October is next best. June through August can get hot. Winter is hit and miss. At 5,000' elev. the weather can get serious, and the wind funnels over the escarpment. It snowed there on Saturday!
Scott Cole

Trad climber
Jackson, WY^
Dec 5, 2009 - 08:50am PT
Watusi

You can show up with dignity at any climbing area in the world! Remember doing Cosmos together when we first met?

Renting the old "fish Tank" with you and Bonger in the 80's was a great time. Lots of people came through that house.

I'll be living in San Diego starting in Dec. Look me up when you come through.

Scole
C_man

Trad climber
Salt Lake, Utah
Dec 11, 2009 - 05:08pm PT
Hello,

Heading down to El Trono in a few days. Any idea of how I might find topos for routes on the South and East faces? Are there other routes in Canyon Tajo besides on the throne?
middle joe

Trad climber
oc
Dec 11, 2009 - 11:24pm PT
EM Juan Maderita
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 11, 2009 - 11:52pm PT
C_man
E-mail to ClimbBaja(at)aol(dot)com
Just got home from Tajo. Had to engage the 4WD in my E350 van. Time to hit the coin-op car wash with my muddy rig. More snow last Tuesday, but mostly melted now. I cleared a few downed trees off the road, and it is passable.
More storms are on in the forecast. You sure that you want to be climbing at 5,000' in December? Well, it is possible to get lucky and have some decent days...
-John S.
C_man

Trad climber
Salt Lake, Utah
Dec 12, 2009 - 03:30pm PT
Thanks very much. I'll send you an e-mail. Hope that its not too crazy to climb there in December. Figured that S. face routes might be warm- what do you think?
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 12, 2009 - 03:52pm PT
Got your e-mail and responded.
Daylight lasts about 10 hours now. The approach is 1-1/2 hours, the tricky descent is 1 hr, and that is if you have it dialed-in. Wind and cold make 5.11 friction and the run outs between bolts unnerving. Someone who knows the routes might find a good weather window and successfully make a go of it. Anyone else is probably asking for an unplanned bivy on these Grade III / IV routes.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 28, 2009 - 02:08am PT
Found this old photo. Matte finish doesn't scan very well. Hope to find the original slide for better resolution.

Cañón del Tajo base camp.

L to R: Dan Curley, Will_?, Dale McCauley, Tom Scott, Paul Dowdy, Kelly Davenport, Werner Landry, Galen Kirkwood, unk female, John Vawter, Guy Andrews (front right). Sometime around 1977-1878.
Acer

Big Wall climber
AZ
Jan 10, 2010 - 02:04pm PT
I need to get back down there soon. Unfinished business.

I am sure there are some good gatherings in the spring.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 12, 2010 - 10:58pm PT
Great shot, Juan!
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Jan 12, 2010 - 11:03pm PT
Yeah super classic group shot John with our pal Guy in there, RIP.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jan 26, 2010 - 12:56am PT
The title of Baxter's early 70's article was "Poor Man's Patagonia".
This photo was shot on Saturday.
Pate

Trad climber
Mar 17, 2010 - 03:28pm PT
hardcore desert climbing bump
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 19, 2010 - 05:42am PT
News updates:

Last weekend was windy, though temperatures are warming. Prime season for the Throne is from now through early May.

Looks like "La Joya" (Grade III/IV, 5.11b) on the south face will get new bolts. I'm gathering the hardware: 63 protection bolts, 3/8" x 3" stainless steel with Fixe hangers. The belay anchors were upgraded about 10 years ago. Thanks in advance to Alex G. and Guillermo A., who have volunteered to do the labor. Pulling the Rawl 5/16" buttonheads is certain to be a laborious chore. After 22 years, those bolts are due for replacement.

Sadly, the last of the big, proud pines in the center of base camp has succumbed to drought/bark beetles. Thanks to Mark R. for sawing it down before it killed some unlucky campers. Perhaps we will get back over there with the chainsaw to make a memorial picnic table.

Despite Mexico's full-on drug war (20,000 reportedly killed to date), and numerous bodies dumped along Mex Highway 2 by narcotraficantes, there have not been any serious crime incidents reported in the wilderness. At least, none that I'm aware of, in the past few years.

Officially, passports are now required for travel in Mexico. Perhaps that should be re-worded: "Passports are required if you want to return to the USA."

The newest, biggest concern is the Rumorosa Wind Project. An expansive wind farm is planned for the escarpment. The first few wind generators are already up and running near La Rumorosa. On Sunday,"President Felipe Calderón inaugurated a 10-megawatt wind farm in Baja California that will provide public lighting for the state capital, Mexicali. The Rumorosa project is a $27 million federal-state venture.", according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

What they don't report is that US energy corporations are exploiting Mexico's resources, once again. Environmental restrictions delay/halt construction north of the border, so Sempra (SDG&E)and Cannon Power are looking south of the border. It is unknown how far the towering wind generators will encroach into the wilderness. Ranchers 25 miles south of La Rumorosa are already talking about how to share the "windfall", should generators be erected on their land. There is big money behind this project, and it is a Presidential "pet project." Climbers know how damned windy it can be at Canyon Tajo. That combination foretells trouble ahead for wilderness of the Sierra de Juárez and Cañón del Tajo.

guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Mar 19, 2010 - 10:41am PT
I bet those 5/16 bolts are in pretty good shape.

Have fun changing them out.

To bad about the wind farms. In the quest for "Green Energy" we are willing to toss the baby out with the bath water.

When I started going down to GTB it was more wild than Patagonia, just a faint dirt track to follow and almost zero beta about the climbs, all 4 of them.

To bad about the Drug War.... time to just legalize all and every "drug" - Just to remove the huge incentive of big profits.

Heck, how about some pictures of the place. Any historical stuff by "the syndico granitio" (sp?) boyz from AZ?


Anxious Melancholy

Mountain climber
Between the Depths of Despair & Heights of Folly
Mar 19, 2010 - 12:56pm PT
JM

unk female = riley davenport (kelly’s sister, Vawters wife now?)

TD
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Mar 19, 2010 - 04:39pm PT
That's my girlfriend Sheari, from UCR. I didn't meet Riley for another two years or so.
Pate

Trad climber
May 13, 2010 - 08:38pm PT
bump.
hossjulia

Social climber
Eastside
May 13, 2010 - 09:19pm PT
oh man I wish I was there now, did not get to climb enough the last time.....another life ago it seems.


just_one

Mountain climber
CA
May 14, 2010 - 02:28am PT
man, i'd love to get back down there some day. i think it was 2002 when al currano and i went down for a week in december and froze our butts off on what i think was the 2nd ascent of el milenio. i still remember that insane roof crack... i had to prusik up on an 8 mil rope, only to discover that the belay was al wedged in the crack with one or two tiny nuts. yikes! finished in the dark in howling winds and bivied in a crevice on the summit. such a wild place. i sure hope they don't ruin it with the wind farm...
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
May 14, 2010 - 03:17am PT
Have to bump for this! Haven't been there for some time but mi corazon es en baja!! Hope you are well John S.
edit: Just have to add that one of my first big walls...Before El Cap in '79 was Pan Am with Adrien Almodovar in like maybe '77?
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 14, 2010 - 03:18am PT
Hey Justin!
Good to hear from you. Your climb was almost certainly the 2nd ascent of "El Milenio" (The Millennium). It was in December 2000, not 2002, according to my notes. We had completed the route only 6 months prior to that, in June 1999.

What happened above the roof? All of the belay stations can be reached with a 50m rope, and each station has a minimum of two 3/8" x 4" SS bolts with Fixe "Ring Anchors" (hanger + rap ring). Perhaps you overshot an anchor with a longer rope? There is a semi-hanging belay station about 15' below the roof.

Nevermind, I just found your trip report on my PC, with the answer:
"Apparently, he had ran out of gear and steam right there so he just decided to stop and bring me up. Which meant that there was still 30 ft. or so of the chimney left to climb."
You should post your trip report here; it's good adventure reading.

It's surprising how many parties have been benighted at the top of the south face routes. If unfamiliar with the descent, it is nearly impossible to navigate in the dark.

Hope you make it back down there. The weather should be good for an ascent of "La Joya" or "El Paseo Blanco" through May.
-John S.
just_one

Mountain climber
CA
May 14, 2010 - 03:23am PT
hey john!

wow, i guess you're right, it was 2000.. man how time flies. could you send me that trip report? i must have lost it because i don't even remember writing one haha.

thanks again for all of your helpful info back then by the way. it was a great adventure that i'll never forget.

-justin
just_one

Mountain climber
CA
Jun 21, 2010 - 08:44pm PT
Here is my TR: http://www.supertopo.com/tr/El-Milenio-Second-Ascent-12-2000/t10666n.html
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jun 24, 2010 - 03:09am PT
Hey Justin,
Thanks for posting your trip report. I enjoyed reading about your adventure. It makes me want to get back in shape and do a repeat of the route!
For those who seek a Baja adventure, El Milenio is really a fun and relatively safe route, despite the heinous description in the TR.
Of course, YMMV. The approach and descent are often more of a problem than the actual climbing.
-John S.
Mtnmun

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
Dec 28, 2010 - 09:58pm PT
Bump for one cool thread.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 7, 2011 - 04:24pm PT
High time for a Trono bump!
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 7, 2011 - 09:58pm PT
Last weekend was picture-perfect. Two climbers made the journey from Mexico City to La Rumorosa, where I met them at the bus stop.
Their agenda for the week's stay included the "VW Route" or "El Milenio" on the Throne, plus many shorter routes on the domes.

Alejandro "Alex" G. and Samuel O. came from Tijuana, and Pepe from Mexicali to climb and camp. Alex brought his telescope for the clear and moonless night. Viewing Saturn and its moons was a trip!

The numerous stops and searches of my van were annoying:
1. Crossing into Tecate - not Customs (I got the green light upon crossing), but Army soldiers with automatic rifles. Brief search.
2. On the cuota (toll road), Army, automatic weapons pointed from 3 directions.
3. La Rumorosa, Municpal Police decided to visit. Perhaps because I was parked in front of El Emporio restaurant for a couple hours, waiting for the bus to arrive. They seemed to be far more interested in what was under the van than what was in it. (4WD, lifted, winch, air tank, etc.)
4. Guard shack and gate (La Rumorosa Wind Project) on the dirt road. Waved me through the usual license plate/ID check. They recognize my van.
5. On the dirt road. Army roadblock. Several automatic weapons leveled at the van. Noted two in sniper positions. Thorough search.
6. Leaving Tecate, 75' from the USA. Army soldiers briefly searched. Automatics pointed at the ground. Got a chance to stretch after a 2 hour border wait.
7. Entering the USA. US CBP (Customs and Border Protection). Officer asked lots of questions during an inspection of several minutes. Was glad to move gear around to expedite the process and to avoid being sent to "secondary."
8. Tecate, USA. Got directed into a line of vehicles for an additional inspection. Occupants ordered to stand nearby, while hi-tech truck drives past the parked vehicles. X-ray or electronic scanning?
9. Hwy 94, Dulzura. Border Patrol checkpoint. A few questions and a visual check for undocumented occupants.

Expect these delays and hassles if you travel to and from Mexico. The Army soldiers are generally polite, though nervous when they make a stop. Don't make any sudden movements. During a search, I prefer to have my wallet and passport on my person rather than in the vehicle for the taking.

The La Rumorosa wind project is expected to expand soon. There are 5 wind turbines operating as a test/demo project. Plans call for hundreds more in the Sierra de Juárez. There is a temporary steel tower installed about 1 mile from base camp for measuring wind speeds. Change is coming, and it will be destructive to the wilderness.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/apr/19/sdge-buying-power-from-mexican-wind-farm/
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
May 7, 2011 - 10:24pm PT
jesus john. have times changed that much? going to canon tajo used to be an escape from the madness. i guess the 70's really are over.
Ghoulwe

Trad climber
Spokane, WA
May 7, 2011 - 11:28pm PT
Juan:

Thanks for the report. It was getting a bit tedious with the stops/searches when I was last going down there in '02. It's a long way from where I live in Spokane now, but I'll be back there again on a future visit - I'll just need to figure in the extra time. Yes, times have changed, haven't they...

Eric Barrett
Spokane WA
gonamok

climber
dont make me come over there
May 8, 2011 - 12:40am PT
Credit: gonamok
Left to right: Greg scott, Ron Amick, Michael Paul sitting on Greg's 62 Falcon, circa 1975, on our way to do the Happy Hooker.
Acer

Big Wall climber
AZ
May 8, 2011 - 01:05am PT
My official border and army encounters on my 2005 Baja climbing trip were about the same.

I am going back sometime soon I hope. I liked the Tecate crossings.

Biggest think when encountering the Mexican Army or Policia were to be polite, try your spanish, be helpful with the search if it happens and I left out the porn and cigs on the seat. I like to read and smoke when I drive (wink).
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 8, 2011 - 01:09pm PT
Even back in the day, the trick to just gliding through is having someone who speaks Spanish. Really speaks it, not just schoolboy shite. Answer all questions directly and you're good to go.

JL
domngo

climber
Canada
Oct 14, 2011 - 12:05am PT
adventure climbing bump. Awesome stories in this motha
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Oct 14, 2011 - 01:27am PT
I hope it's okay to disclose this info:
Fred Beckey has a new book coming out, supposedly in November/December. Beckey plans to include a route on El Gran Trono Blanco. I won't be more specific, as Fred has not yet responded to my e-mail asking permission to release some teaser info. And yes, it's a high-quality route!

Titled:Beckey's Black Book: Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs
Even WalMart and Amazon are taking preorders:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/16466371
http://www.amazon.com/Beckeys-Black-Book-Favorite-American/dp/0980122716/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318568831&sr=1-8
Signed copies from Chessler Books:
http://www.chesslerbooks.com/item/11510-beckeys-black-book-fred-beckeys-100-favorite-north-american-climbs-signed-by-fred-beckey-due-fall-2011.asp

With the masses gravitating toward tick lists these days, I suspect that more than a few people will want to go "conquer" the route. Will it be like Roper & Steck's Fifty Classic Climbs of North America evolution into a tick list for obsessive climbers? Time will tell...

Some adventure will still be required to find the route. The deal we struck years ago is that publishing the route beta is fine - sans map/driving directions.
That, and with the flood of negative media attention to the drug war killings in Mexico, I don't expect hoardes of climbers to line up for the route.
Gabe

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2011 - 06:11am PT
I still think the Banditos will torch my car.



I Guess......



I'M GONNA DIE!!!
F10

Trad climber
e350 / Bishop
Oct 31, 2011 - 03:01pm PT
John, good news on Beckey's new book. I have his Mountains of North America book and will be looking forward to his new book, should be great.

James
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Oct 31, 2011 - 11:48pm PT
Base camp fiesta over the weekend with climbers from Tijuana, Mexicali, and San Diego.
Cooking up a feast of tacos de mantaraya. Yes, that's right, manta ray! I was a little reluctant until the first bite. Gourmet tacos for sure.
Tacos de mantaraya. Cañón del Tajo.
Tacos de mantaraya. Cañón del Tajo.
Credit: Juan Maderita
L to R: Jeanette, Werner L, Allison, Enrique M (chef).
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Nov 1, 2011 - 01:25am PT
Good to see Werner is still out and about! His Father-In-Law Bill was the leader of my Boy Scout Explorer post and took me and Off White on our first trip into the Sierra Juarez way the hell bitd.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 2, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
Warm and sunny Bump...
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Jan 3, 2012 - 03:26am PT
Beckey's new book, Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs has been released (see my 10/13/11 post, above).
Fred devotes 5 pages to the original South Face Route and the direct finish, "Baile del Sol." Fred mentions "La Joya" and "El Paseo Blanco", also on the south face.

There will still be plenty of adventure for those wanting to tick Baile del Sol off their list. There is no driving map or topographic map to find the route, and the verbal directions are vague. Once the route is found, climbers will discover that the topo is not particularly accurate. Fred warns that it is run out and "daring." I will add to the warning that there have been injuries due to leader falls, including broken ankles. The South Face Route 5.10c and Baile del Sol 5.10b should be attempted only by those comfortable with leading 5.11 friction. That said, it is a fine and enjoyable route in a remarkable setting.

Fred will be 89 years young this month. He is hoping to travel to Mexico City for a climb of Iztaccihuatl 17,160'. He also looks forward to another Baja trip. He wrote on the Jan. 1st, "Have a good New Year and beware of bandidos."
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 3, 2012 - 04:19am PT
People have broken bones on the South Face? Yikes, talk about a worst case scenario. Did they self-rescue or wait a couple of days for help?

Scary to think Watusi and I did that thing 35 years ago this Spring. God, where have all the years gone?
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
Jan 3, 2012 - 08:52pm PT
Memories of my sole trip to Trono Blanco in 1976 make we realize how lucky I have been at times. I should have died ... but for the benevolent indifference of a universe that isn't out to get me (or anyone else on any specific day).

I had read a story about Scott Baxter and members of the Syndicato Granitica (?spelling?) climbing Trono Blanco. I talked over the phone with Ross Hardwick and got vague beta and the encouragement that the route Mariah was "mostly 5.6" with a 5.8 crux.

I went with Stan Mish, a totally reliable partner, hoping to climb with him. But Stan - due to youthful enthusiasm unencumbered by the thought process - had brought along three other neophyte climbers. I recall zero border hassles. By some miracle, we actually got to the trailhead without a hitch (though the oil leaks from our ancient vehicle gave cause for concern).

The approach down Canon Tajo lived up to its reputation. During day one, as a leaderless band of five, our group descended the canyon, ascended the mostly 5.0+ lower pitches up a large chimney system in the center of Trono and reached a traverse ledge where the "real climbing" began.

We had brought a stove, water and gear to spend the night out. We heard two loud-mouth climbers bivouacked above us right at the base of the first pitch.

The next morning, two of the newbies decided to bail and Stan was the logical volunteer to lead them back out and up the way we had come.

This left me and the third newbie as partners by default. This individual was a muscle-bound, macho Chicano by the name of "Mando." Mando seemed strong enough and I had seen him climb one pitch at Granite Mountain so I thought he knew what he was doing, so we pressed onward.

Mando led pitch one; when I got to the stance and saw Mando's technique, I was dismayed. Mando had no harness and tied into the rope with a bowline on a coil. When he got to the stance, he constructed an anchor by untying from the end of the rope, only to retie the rope around a chockstone. But this placement was out of position to belay pitch two, so when I got to the stance, Mando proceeded to again untie the end of the rope from the chockstones (at which point he is tied into nothing at all) so we could construct another anchor for the lead!

I pointed out the problems with his technique on a long climb and suggested he not repeat this manuever at the next belay. Mando took my comments poorly and let me know he had no interest in my opinions how to climb, assuring me he knew how to climb.

Bad news, but we had seven pitches to go.

I led pitches my way; Mando did his pitches his way and I kept my mouth shut until an opportune moment. As Mando led the crux (5th pitch, I think), I pulled straight out on the single hexentric he had placed for the anchor. I came out with about 5 pounds of force. "Hey Mando, should I put this hex back into the crack for you" I asked sarcastically, the hex danglng in my hands. Mando allowed that would be OK with him.

When we finished this pitch, we caught up with the "loud mouth" climbers we'd heard the night before: two climbers from San Diego, Steve Bennett and Bob Pippin. They'd heard Mando and I fighting all the way up the climb and now suggested they would split up and separate Mando and I. Mando agreed immediately. In fact, we climbed the rest of the way (two pitches as I recall) as a party of four. We reached the summit area as darkness fell and slept the night on top. After the climb, Mando told me he didn't want to climb with me again because we didn't "groove together." Fine by me!

I never saw or heard of Mando again.

I became good friends and did more climbs with Bennett and Pippin. I remain in touch with Pippin to this day. Stan Mish became Phoenix's acknowledged hard man extraordinaire and the head of the Banditos. Still friends with Stan too.



dave

climber
Earth
Jan 3, 2012 - 09:08pm PT
Nice story. Wheres Mando?
gonamok

climber
dont make me come over there
Jan 4, 2012 - 05:47am PT
wow akdog...doug moonie!? Loooong time no see bro, hope youre doing well. Still in SD (poway actually) same phone number as bitd, if youre ever in town be sure to call me.

Me, watusi and greg scott went down to do the hooker in about 75. The one piece of advice we got several times was that once you get to the base of the route the only way out is up the wall, the south gully is irreversible.

So we get on the route, greg drops an EB and rappels into the gully and actually finds it, the ropes get stuck and we screw around until night falls as michael is in the middle of leading the face traverse. Mike rigs a dicey retreat back to the belay and we all rap down to the ledge at the base, where we trample a giant yucca to make barely enough room for 3 of us to sleep. We wake up to 90 degree heat, drink the rest of our water and spend about 8 hours grappling our way up the gully.

It was fully desperate, climbing giant rounded, grainy, house sized boulders with wall gear and ropes. Countless bombay shredder flares where boulders touch, jumps to super insecure stances over death falls, the full array of bald mantles above bottomless pits, with spiny flesh ripper bushes everywhere. We got to camp sunburned, shredded and dying of thirst. After chugging all the water we could find we high tailled it out of there, stopping only for a case of that good tecate beer at the border.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jan 4, 2012 - 12:06pm PT
Can't believe anyone actually reversed that gully. Christ, that had to be horrific.

JL
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 4, 2012 - 03:31pm PT
Yes, any adventure involving Ron and Mike is bound to be horrific.
gonamok

climber
dont make me come over there
Jan 5, 2012 - 07:59pm PT
we are horrific men
R.B.

Trad climber
47N 122W
Jan 5, 2012 - 08:10pm PT
I am a member of the "reclimb the south gulley" club. In fact I have done it twice (edit: thrice see below). The first time I got scared on pitch 3 of the Executive Route and my partner & I bailed. The second time, on the descent down to the base, I grabbed a "yucca" when I lost my balance from the heavy pack at the top of the "large chimney downclimb" ... the cactus shredded my hand. By the time We reached the base of the Pan Am route, I was feeling nauseous, light headed and weak. Bailed again! Got back up the gulley to base camp and had a 105 fever for 12 hours til next morning.

Mi gusta Trono!
gonamok

climber
dont make me come over there
Jan 5, 2012 - 08:16pm PT
holy cow, twice!? You are president of the "reclimb south gully" club
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Jan 5, 2012 - 08:18pm PT
Been up that S. gulley a couple of times ferrying. My dog Washoe as well, although he was badass. He did make a miraculous save in a fall on a rainy day going down. It didn't phase him.
Truthdweller

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jan 5, 2012 - 08:27pm PT
105 fever for 12 hours....awesome!
R.B.

Trad climber
47N 122W
Jan 5, 2012 - 08:37pm PT
I went with Stan Mish, a totally reliable partner, hoping to climb with him.

Being a former Flagstaffarian, I know Stan too.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Jan 5, 2012 - 11:43pm PT
R.B.,
Are you sure that you are discussing the "south gully?" That is the approach directly from basecamp to the south face routes. Executive and Pan Am are both on the east face. The only sane way to approach the east face is from the north. The south gully gets really difficult below the south face routes. Some climbers might do it unroped, but I'd say there's a 4th class section. Dropping further in elevation and around the toe of the SE buttress and back up to the base of the east face is long and difficult. It can be done, but the approach from the north is less than half the effort.

There are so many adventurous stories about how badazz Canyon Tajo is. Any good trip report makes mention of rattlesnakes, cacti, extreme weather, death defying runouts, bandidos, getting lost, stuck/broken vehicles, or other dangers. But the approach from basecamp to the south face routes is almost trivial. Class 2, 1-1/4 hrs. if you have it dialed in. From "the notch" and descending the gully toward the desert, go about 400 yards to a place where the gully steepens. Then stay to the right (south) side of the gully. Cross back left, at a steep sloping bedrock dry waterfall, just before reaching the South Face Route. Sticky rubber approach shoes definitely recommended; much boulder hopping involved.

I've made the climb back up the south gully a dozen times, after working on the lower pitches of La Joya, El Paseo Blanco, and El Milenio. Dan Curley and I were drilling with a Bosch Bulldog and two factory NiCad battery packs back in 1988. On Saturday, we put up a couple new pitches, rapped off, and hiked back up the gully at the end of the day. Then drove to restaurante El Emporio in La Rumorosa, and ate tacos while the batteries were charging. After a few hours of sleep at basecamp, the process was repeated on Sunday.
A year or two later, we got smart and brought a big SLA (aka: "gel cell") battery pack for bolting El Paseo Blanco.
rich sims

Social climber
co
Jan 5, 2012 - 11:44pm PT
Not a bad place to hang out. OK never in a hammock again <br/>
Drove down ...
Not a bad place to hang out. OK never in a hammock again
Drove down once and everything was frozen so we hiked down to the start of Happy hooker to kill sometime.
Credit: rich sims
jack herer

Big Wall climber
Veneta, Oregon
Jan 5, 2012 - 11:56pm PT
Any google earth style images of Canyon Tajo? I'd love to get a better idea of the layout of the place. It would be awesome to make it there someday if I could find someone else whos willing and able!
R.B.

Trad climber
47N 122W
Jan 6, 2012 - 12:00am PT
Juan ... yes it was the south gulley. I've actually had three attempts on the white throne. One of them was trying to do the southeast buttress?? It started at the bottom of the gulley before you traverse the girdle north along the base to Pan Am. Got about a full rope length up on 5.8ish rattly unpro armbar dirty offwidth. Got scared and bailed on that one too!! So actually, I have "3rd classed" back up gulley with full big wall gear three times. BITD I was such a dum a$$ but it was before there was a guidebook (mid '80's)

I still love Trono though, and the "south gulley" was way rad. Nothing like bushwacking under house sized boulders, through mouse holes, squirm and wiggle with a full big wall pack.

The story above about the cactus grab ... it had two possible outcomes:
Grab the cactus and live or fall over backwards down the "wide" gulley with a full pack about 50 feet. Wasn't too hard to make the grab and bear through it. All in good fun, but the toxins on the agave is what whipped me into the fever later after bailing.

EDIT: Rumor of a guidebook??? BITD it was "the San Diego Climbers have a pending guidebook" Not sure if anything ever was published. Edit edit: See above for Beckey's book?
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 6, 2012 - 12:16am PT
it was before there was a guidebook (mid '80's)

Guidebook?
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Jan 6, 2012 - 01:28am PT
RB,
You had some gnarly experiences. Yes, the lower part of the south gulley has a couple frightening moves if you are unroped with a heavy pack (been there, done that)! If it's any consolation, you're not the only person to have been skewered by an agave in the south gully. Dale McCauley had one go all the way through his hand. Also heard of another climber with an identical mishap.

Guidebook (quoting myself from page 2):
"In the mid 70s, the developers recognized that publishing would harm this wilderness and the unique opportunity for adventure which is so accessible to a large metropolitan area. We made a pact to keep it out of the mags and have a "no guidebook" policy. Dan C. and I kept notes for historical archives. Every year, I receive several requests for beta. I'm happy to share just enough so that others will have a safe, yet adventurous, trip."

Jack Herer,
It's best to keep Google Maps out of this. Those who really want to find the place will make the effort. E-mail or PM if you need more info when you get around to planning a trip. I can provide the current info on logistics.
R.B.

Trad climber
47N 122W
Jan 6, 2012 - 02:09am PT
Juan,

I completely understand the "no publish" thing.

FYI - I drew a map of El Cap, Yosemite, back in the late '80's - mid '90's. Called "El Cap Map" -- It was a full wall-sized poster. 36"x72". At one time I had several distributors and I gave away and sold many copies.

I came to the same epithany. I did not want to feel responsible for the exploitation of the resource ... and SO ... I took it off the market and no longer publish it (since '95), and even though it sits in my closet, it is history, I am proud of it; but I feel no need to profit off of it.

So, I do appreciate keeping the "cards close to the vest."

I will keep you in mind for future trips; a little concerned with the wind farm exploitation.

PS. I have a few FA's near the main south camp if your interested in knowing where.

RB
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Jan 6, 2012 - 04:29am PT
RB,
Yes, I'd like to know where your routes are and archive your FA's. e-mail: ClimbBaja{at}aol[dot]com

Did you use homemade mild steel hangers, cut from angle stock, painted with gray primer on 3/8" carbon steel wedge anchors? Power drilled. There are perhaps 6 routes so equipped, circa early 1990s. Does anyone have info on these routes?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jan 6, 2012 - 12:17pm PT
Alex Honnold and friends have been asking me about free climbing potential for The Giraffe, and I told them to go for the gold. It's all there. Maybe. But you'd have to retro bolt a bunch of it because the pros sh#t unless holes have been added since the FA 1,500 years ago.

That hammock bivy, looking down on Laguna Salada at night is impressive. That's a magical place to be at sundown. Feels like the end of the earth.

JL
gonamok

climber
dont make me come over there
Jan 7, 2012 - 12:47am PT
I could see the south gully being manageable once you find the right line and stick to it. There are many options (pick your poison) as to which way to go back up, its basically a maze, and unless you know the right path you are in for a rough, dangerous hike, especially laden with gear.

I think we chose whatever way kept us farthest from the edge, which meant tunnels, chimneys and those godawful flares that occur when two rounded rocks abut. Even then we were forced to traverse the grainy faces of rounded boulders way too many times, where a slip meant going over the edge(which looked to be a 10,000 foot fall to us at the time).

My overriding memory of our hike out is of fear, abrasions and a powerful thirst. But I love that place, cosmic doesnt begin to describe it.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Jan 27, 2012 - 02:31am PT
Last time someone added bolts to a route on the East Face to accommodate free climbing, they were summarily removed. Pan Am is essentially as it was when Baxter and Karlstrom climbed it.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 27, 2012 - 03:20am PT
Piana's Folly.
Burr

climber
UT
Feb 2, 2012 - 01:33am PT
Credit: Burr

*** El Giraffe Libre 5.13 (Honnold + Stanhope - Jan.2012). 4 rusty aid bolts replaced, 3 anchor bolts replaced, and 4 lead bolts added for the free variations. NO additional bolts added to the historic aid line. Also, lots of fixed aid funk, otherwise expect tricky placements.
*** Pan American 5.12+ (Honnold, Stanhope, & McSorely - Jan.2012) (not sure if this has been freed since the brown corner was chopped? anyone? looked like maybe 10-12 bolt holes?) i personally added 2 anchor bolts for 'the better finish' left variation (its probably been aided before, but we didn't know and had no information about the wall expect for this thread, so chop away)...
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 2, 2012 - 01:53am PT
Wow! That's really cool, to see those routes get freed in an honorable style. I'm smiling right now.
dave

climber
Earth
Feb 2, 2012 - 11:28am PT
Nice work guys. It appears no 'wall route' is safe any more! Thats rad!
James

climber
My twin brother's laundry room
Feb 2, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
Honnold should learn how to bolt so that people can repeat these routes.
dave

climber
Earth
Feb 2, 2012 - 06:18pm PT
ya or at least leave his stash of boulder pads for us
The Alpine

Big Wall climber
Feb 2, 2012 - 06:38pm PT
Wow, can't wait to see the photos Andrew.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 2, 2012 - 11:19pm PT
Alex called me today and gave me the lowdown. I talked with Stanhope and told him to start from the top and they had a shot on the Giraffe. Sounds like a great adventure, and Alex was impressed by the remoteness and wildness of the area.

JL
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 2, 2012 - 11:38pm PT
A Throne route appears in the new Becky book, and then Honnold and posse do a first "fair means" free ascent of the Pan-Am and a free ascent of The Giraffe, of all things. That's more Trono action/publicity than Canon Tajo has seen in, like, forever. The internet is strangely devoid of much reference to any of this. Seems the lid is still on tight.
rich sims

Social climber
co
Feb 3, 2012 - 01:06am PT
That hammock bivy, looking down on Laguna Salada at night is impressive. That's a magical place to be at sundown. Feels like the end of the earth.
JL
Thanks JL
Dibbs and I did your TT from the maw I snagged a #2 Friend hammered the goldline knot into the crack to do the TT. Two pitches later pushing the cams back and forth in the decomposing sand crack was exciting.
At the bottom of the Brown dihedral Dibbs wanted to jug a old line hanging about fifteen feet to the right.
When I got to the top of the pitch I saw it was loosely tangled in some loose rocks on a sloping ledge. I remember hearing something about a line being tossed from higher up.

John Mc Mannis (SP) I still have your nut with blue tape hanging on the office wall.
That two- three month trip to Colorado is still lingering on 1990 to present. Finally sold the SD Casa in 03 as I figured I would not be back for another decade or so.
bmacd

Mountain climber
100% Canadian
Feb 3, 2012 - 01:15am PT
Crongrats again boys ! Inspirational ...
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 3, 2012 - 01:26am PT
Ah, John McManus. There's a name I haven't heard in awhile. We did a lot of climbing together in the 70's. Good guy. His younger brother was a character. Can't remember his name but I recall his face...
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Feb 3, 2012 - 11:15pm PT
Wow! Leave it to Alex to find a way to free the Giraffe by fair means. Hats off to him and Stanhope. Pan Am looks great too. As we predicted many years ago, the time would come when someone would come along and do it properly. The Brown Dihedral done free with one bolt!
Ghoulwe

Trad climber
Spokane, WA
Feb 4, 2012 - 10:51am PT
An awesome piece of stone in an awesome position. Nice work guys!

Eric Barrett
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Feb 13, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
Story at Climbing Mag
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
May 10, 2012 - 04:56am PT
News update: "Construction Expected Soon at Sempra’s Baja Wind Farm"

Currently there are only 5 wind turbines, which are near the highway. I was hoping the project was abandoned. No such luck. Many more will encroach into the wilderness.

http://www.sdbj.com/news/2012/may/10/construction-expected-soon-sempras-baja-wind-farm/

Text from the article:
By Julie Gallant
Thursday, May 10, 2012
San Diego-based Sempra Energy expects to begin construction of the 156-megawatt Energia Sierra Juarez wind project in Baja California, Mexico, as early as this year.

Located 70 miles east of San Diego and just south of the U.S.-Mexico border, the 52-turbine wind facility will produce enough clean electricity to power about 65,000 average homes when fully completed in 2014.

Sempra subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric Co. plans to purchase renewable power supplied from the first phase of the project under a 20-year contract recently approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, said Sempra spokesman Scott Crider. Expanding Energia Sierra Juarez depends on the ability to get additional power contracts, he said. At full build-out, the complex could produce up to 1,200 megawatts of wind power, according to Sempra.

“This project will provide a significant amount of renewable wind power to SDG&E customers in the San Diego area and is an example of the types of renewable resources that have been identified in the region,” Matt Burkhart, vice president of electric and fuel procurement for SDG&E, said in a statement.

Sempra subsidiary Sempra Generation is developing the project and is finalizing a joint venture with BP Wind Energy. Both are already co-owners of the 200-megawatt Fowler Ridge II wind farm in Indiana and the 250-megawatt Cedar Creek II wind farm in Colorado as well as wind farms in Kansas and Pennsylvania that are under construction.

Energia Sierra Juarez permits still pending from Mexican agencies, the county of San Diego and the U.S. Department of Energy are expected by mid-2012, Crider said.

Energia Sierra Juarez will connect to the existing California electric grid at SDG&E’s proposed ECO substation in eastern San Diego County via a cross-border transmission line.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
May 10, 2012 - 10:33am PT
Trono Bump. Anyone been down there for the Spring climbing season? Is it true you need a passport to get through Tecate these days?

Tell me a story, I need some vicarious adventure to go with my coffee.
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Aug 18, 2012 - 11:53am PT
climbing bump since the front page is filled with drivel..
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Aug 18, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
Swelly....
Thanks for the bump.

EGTB always brings back good memories of exotic trips.

Not being born rich, and working at jobs to survive, I never had enouf $$$$ to go to the Alps or South America.

Goiing to Mexico, driving the Land Rover and crossing borders, get hassled by uniformed military police and cops, makes it a real adventue.

One time we were returning via San Diego, we were running late and missed the cut off time at Techate (SP?) so we were really late.
Anyway... we get to the window and the man asks: "Anything to declare?"

From the back of the van, Bulwinklle mumbles: " If we did, do you think we would tell you"

Go straight to INSPECTION.....

Tore the van apart, at like 1:30 am...

Good times



hellcyon

climber
Sep 25, 2012 - 03:11am PT
Credit: hellcyon
Guangzhou

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Sep 25, 2012 - 05:42am PT
So many places I want to climb, so little time I'll have to see them all.

I remember reading about these routes in the 80s and wanted to go there then. Now I want to see them even more.

TomR

Trad climber
Colorado
Jan 22, 2013 - 08:56pm PT
I've been planning a trip down to el trono for some time. Anyone care to share a topo of a good 5.8 or 5.9? Just looking for a climb to get to know the area before we go exploring!
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 28, 2013 - 01:54am PT
Baja Bump. Coming into prime climbing season.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Feb 28, 2013 - 03:04am PT
Sent TomR plenty of camping and route beta, immediately after his post in January.

bvb,
Yes, prime time is soon. Should be another 3 - 4 weeks.
Last weekend probably saw a few inches of snow.
Don't just post about it, get on down there!

For those worried about travel to Mexico, there have been zero known problems in that area during the past decade.

If anyone is looking to tick one of Beckey's "100 Favorite North American Climbs" (from his newest book), hit me up for more info. He describes The South Face Route with the "Baile del Sol" (Sundance) direct finish. Prime climbing season for the south face routes is mid-March thru mid-May.

Those steep friction routes need some action. Grade IV, 10 to 15 pitches, 5.10c to 5.11+. South Face Route + "Baile del Sol", "La Joya" (The Jewel), "El Paseo Blanco" (The White Path, named for it's steep dikes, and "El Milenio" (The Millennium).
Generally 1.5 hrs. approach time, 5-9 hrs. climbing time, 1 hr. third class descent.

The routes are on exceptional granite in an awesome setting, and they aren't getting climbed. Geez, who would think that bold climbers would be scared off by a little drug war? Seriously, the biggest problem is the border wait time when returning to the USA.
hossjulia

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Feb 28, 2013 - 09:24am PT
My heart is there. Every Feb., it dreams of Baja and El Gran Trono Blanco, or the hot springs at the head of that canyon.

No lie :-




^^^go through Tecate, way better than TJ.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 28, 2013 - 10:19am PT
Ah yes, the Canon Guadalupe hot springs? Prolly pretty civilized now, much debauchery 40 years ago.
F10

Trad climber
Bishop
Jul 22, 2013 - 10:45pm PT
South Face El Gran Trono Blanco 85'





Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 23, 2013 - 01:22am PT
F10; THANK YOU!

Those are some of the best, especially the last one with the long distance background.

I've never climbed there but have wanted to since, .... ... well around 84 after Matt told me Luke had climbed there. Before that, when I surfed way south in Baja, I wish I had paid more attention to the climbing.
rmsusa

Trad climber
Boulder
Sep 24, 2013 - 06:36pm PT
Cañon Tajo is finally in a guidebook.

You can buy it here: http://www.rockclimbing-mexico.com/

Hardcopy or pdf.

Check out this foto topo of desperado dome:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=523324854408246&set=a.352306924843374.81229.351053841635349&type=1&theater
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Sep 24, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
From Guy.

"Swelly....
Thanks for the bump.

EGTB always brings back good memories of exotic trips.

Not being born rich, and working at jobs to survive, I never had enouf $$$$ to go to the Alps or South America.

Goiing to Mexico, driving the Land Rover and crossing borders, get hassled by uniformed military police and cops, makes it a real adventue.

One time we were returning via San Diego, we were running late and missed the cut off time at Techate (SP?) so we were really late.
Anyway... we get to the window and the man asks: "Anything to declare?"

From the back of the van, Bulwinklle mumbles: " If we did, do you think we would tell you"

Go straight to INSPECTION.....

Tore the van apart, at like 1:30 am...

Good times"

"Most Classic" bump.
Also "what not to say" if you are smarter than....some American's.
Anxious Melancholy

Mountain climber
Between the Depths of Despair & Heights of Folly
Sep 25, 2013 - 01:06am PT
Finally CT breaks free of the 1%.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Sep 25, 2013 - 02:59am PT
Cañon Tajo is finally in a guidebook.
rmsusa,
Well, yes and no. There are 2 or 3 pages in that guide on Tajo/Trono Blanco. They contain numerous factual errors in the text.
The author, Oriol Anglada, was admonished to avoid violating copyrights held in the USA and Mexico, hence the limited info. Cañón del Tajo has been in a guidebook since 2004. There is a copy in Mexico City Distrito Federal and another in Washington DC, Library of Congress if you wish to view it.
The topo on Facebook was published in violation of the copyrights.

rmsusa, I ask you to please remove the link to FB, in respect for intellectual property and for preserving the wilderness/adventure at Tajo.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Sep 25, 2013 - 03:22am PT
F10,
Cool photos from BITD. I'd almost forgotten what Laguna Salada looked like with water in it. If you ever get back there for a repeat, the "Baile de Sol" direct finish to the South Face Route is superb. No zigzagging on cracks; it goes straight up on steep friction for several pitches.

dee ee,
Great story about the Tecate crossing!
Similar outcome as the time a US Customs agent was rifling through my climbing pack at Tecate. "What's in here?", he demanded, holding up my chalkbag. Being young and way to full of zest for life, I sang in my best Eric Clapton-esque voice, "CO-caine." He jumped back, unholstering his pistol. He either missed the humor of it, or didn't like the song...
bajaandy

climber
Escondido, CA
Nov 3, 2013 - 08:54pm PT
Baja bump, because, well, just because!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 1, 2014 - 11:54am PT
Bump por la primavera...
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Jun 5, 2014 - 07:38am PT
bump
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 7, 2014 - 01:18pm PT
Bump for the best granite in Mexico.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Sep 7, 2014 - 03:12pm PT
Nothing new to report, so I haven't responded to bumps this year.
In this case, no news is good news. No new robberies or vehicle break-ins that I'm aware of. The Rumorosa Wind Project seems to have stalled since the initial 5 wind generators were installed near La Rumorosa a few years ago. Plans are for hundreds more to be built along the escarpment.

A Tijuana hiking club constructed and installed a huge 300 lb. steel fireplace/BBQ with legs set in concrete. It might have been appropriate to the beach in San Felipe, but certainly not Tajo's basecamp. It "disappeared" the following weekend.

Very few estadounidenses (proper for "gringos") are climbing there. Most of the climbers from Tijuana, Mexicali, and Ensenada are too busy working and rearing children. 4 million people living within 100 miles, yet the routes sit idle and waiting in this unspoiled wilderness.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Oct 23, 2014 - 07:50pm PT
Did I jinx it? Three weeks after the last report (above) there were another dozen wind generators erected in La Rumorosa.

Ranchers to the south, near Canyon Tajo, are anticipating construction to begin soon. Rents for the wind generator sites are being negotiated and money is already changing hands. The nearest ranch owner does not believe there will be installations near the crags at Canyon Tajo. However, the plateau is relatively flat with an unobstructed view. The visual pollution will alter the sense of remote wilderness.

There is also a new rumor of paving the 40 miles of dirt road between La Rumorosa and Laguna Hanson (Parque Nacional). The addition of paved roads creates rapid change and development, as seen all over Baja. Plans have been made in decades past and then dropped. Mexico has a habit of announcing grandiose public works projects and then dropping the project a few years later. Each presidential administration is one 6-year term with no re-election. Mexico is full of pet projects abandoned in various stages of design or completion. Let's hope that a paved road is one of them.

The Rumorosa Wind Project is a private enterprise. Backed by big money, incl. Sempra Energy. I'm afraid they are not going away; elections won't interfere with the outcome.

If you have thought about visiting and climbing there, make it happen soon, while it is still relatively pristine.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Oct 23, 2014 - 09:38pm PT
Jesus John, that's f*#ked up.
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Oct 23, 2014 - 10:11pm PT
Hi John,
hoping to come in early December. Gri-Gri said he's up in Tajo. Give him my best.

Tony
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Oct 24, 2014 - 06:10am PT
Fak. A wind farm. You have got to be kidding me. Unfortunately the area is so flat, close to a paying customer, and gets good winds. Really sucks though as it is one of the last relatively untouched areas nearby. :(
rfshore

Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Oct 24, 2014 - 08:38am PT
Credit: rfshore

Erik Harz leading the unprotected P9 traverse on the South Face (IV 5.10cR 1,400') of El Gran Trono Blanco, R Shore belaying. Photo by TJ local Alejandro.
couchmaster

climber
Oct 24, 2014 - 03:51pm PT


Big stuff, you have to blow the shot up (click on it) to see the climber up there. Sweet sweet granite.

Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Oct 24, 2014 - 05:23pm PT
Hopefully they will keep the windmills a little further away. I would think the wind would swirl undesirably near the domes.
Killer K

Boulder climber
Sacramento, CA
Oct 24, 2014 - 07:07pm PT
This is easily one of the coolest threads on this forum. I've spent most of the day pouring through it and is some of the most inspiring rock climbing adventure stories I've heard. Thanks for sharing.
Rol

Trad climber
Ensenada
Nov 11, 2014 - 12:20pm PT
wstmrnclmr



Oct 23, 2014 - 10:11pm PT
Hi John,
hoping to come in early December. Gri-Gri said he's up in Tajo. Give him my best.

Tony

Hi Tony i was in cañon tajo this last 18-20 oct , with gregory (grigri) it was fun to se him again , it was is birtday the 20 , i will go back the last weekand of nov. ore the firt weekand on dic. i say hi for you

Rolando
Messages 1 - 307 of total 307 in this topic
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews