Earl Wiggins-Master of the Craft

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Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Dec 14, 2007 - 11:44pm PT
I meet Earl in Moab in the Early 80's....when there were only a handful of desert sandstone climbers....I was climbing with Cyndie Bransford, Dave Evans, and Margie Floyd....he was really psyched to meet other desert climbers, and already knew us by name and what we had climbed in the SW.....it was cool to meet him.....we were bush league compared to the rad stuff Earl had done.....it was way cool to meet him, and we crossed paths a few more times over the years.



One of Piton Ron's many F A's
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Dec 14, 2007 - 11:59pm PT
Looks vaguely familiar,... (30th anniversary in February).


Hard to see that the big rock to the left is actually two rocks with the closer one being the Bulbous Head, another Kyle Copeland route.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Dec 15, 2007 - 05:05am PT
Kyle Copeland



I think this is what Ron is talking about......
Chippychopperone

Social climber
SLC, UT
Dec 15, 2007 - 11:12am PT
Hey Duece,

We climbed up the smack middle of the cliff via a 7 0r 8 pitch (I can't remember the exact amount of pitches) with drill with us. The route is called the Falcon and is 5.9 R. Pretty fun and adventurous. The bike is still there. I was going to come back with tools and get the hardware off of it, be never did. Another route to the left named Cozmos was climbed at 6 pitches with no bolts. We found that huge chunks of tie-off webbing can be used to hitch multiple patinas and provide great protection. Other than those new routes, there wasn't anything going up at the time. Todd Goss drilled a huge all bolt route around the corner. It was a long fixed project at the time and I never heard the outcome. There was a ban on new bolts in the late 90's, thus the reason we didn't bring a drill.
There still is a ton of great moderate potential waiting for the right person with the right permit from the Snow Canyon Climbing Council.

TDA
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Dec 15, 2007 - 12:17pm PT
Ha!!

I got my permit right here.




Nice shots Todd. The clouds add a lot. I didn't know anybody ever repeated the Bulbous Head (speaking of permits). Kyle was pissed off I didn't have a hand drill, but drilling one handed with the Bosch allowed me to space out the bolts which probably translated to two fewer holes/bolts.

Kyle turns 50 on May 7 (actually I thought it was last year, but his mom set me straight) I hope he lives to see it, but then again his quality of life right now is very sad.
When it came to the three of us, I found the lines, Charlie was the consistant performer, but Kyle had flashes of brilliance where he could outclimb me and Charlie put together.

permits

yeah, times change for sure.
Moof

Big Wall climber
A cube at my soul sucking job in Oregon
Dec 15, 2007 - 12:21pm PT
Hey, that looks like Kenai Air helicopter!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 24, 2007 - 08:22pm PT
I first met Earl in Tucson back in the eighties while he and Katy Cassidy were winter climbing in the Cochise Stronghold. After some small talk he sheepishly wondered aloud whether or not he and Katy were climbing up to the local standard of boldness while establishing some new routes. After a good long laugh, I informed him that as the local standard bearer he had nothing to worry about.
Katy and Earl wrote an excellent book on desert climbing history called Canyon Country Climbs. It is chock full of superb photos and stories and should adorn every soft rock lover's bookshelf. Check it out.


A back and forth on Ancient Art including a shot of Earl himself.


sdouce

Trad climber
colorado springs, co
Jan 13, 2008 - 10:50pm PT
Thanks for posting those pictures. Earl was my Step-Dad, and those pics remind me of when he had set up a wenched chair than ran through the woods up on Gold Camp Road. He took me out of Elementary school to be his test rider. I, of coarse, loved the job.
In response to the questions regarding his death, Earl suffered from being bipolar for nearly all of his life. It played a role in his bold climbing, and it obviously played a role in his suicide.
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
May 30, 2008 - 10:07pm PT
I was in Moab this Spring and we were drinking beer at The Cirque of the Climbables-very steep tall cliffs I was wondering if anyone does it anymore? Silence more silence and then my friend says "Earl Wiggins"
Says it all

Murf
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
May 31, 2008 - 05:32pm PT


"The Cruise" with J.Dunn.
Mythical achievement in it's day.
Chief

climber
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:51am PT
Bump for JM's thread.
Wish I'd found it and put his letter here instead of a new post.
Nice to see photos of Earl, Bego, The Sniveler, Kauk and JM himself.

PB
Chippychopperone

Social climber
SLC, UT
Apr 4, 2010 - 11:25am PT
I was leading a new route in Snow Canyon in the late ninetees when I climbed up to a mangled bike hundreds of feet off deck. We were really confused how this bike got there. I heard stories about some movie/t.v. work being done here before. This explains it all. I also found a house rug rolled up and stuffed in a crack about 500' off deck in a route next to this. I figured this buttress in Snow Canyon, the largest in the area, is home to wierd junk high off the ground.

-TDA
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Apr 18, 2013 - 05:22pm PT
bump
crunch

Social climber
CO
Apr 18, 2013 - 05:47pm PT
Shortly before Earl died, he left a load of slides with Climbing. Years later, Matt Samet asked me if I could do something about these. I talked to Art and, on his suggestion, delivered them to Earl's widow, Dawn.

No idea who took this, or when or where:

jabbas

Trad climber
New River, AZ
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:04pm PT
Man - anytime we were wimpering and crying about ballbearing foot smears or manky pins in wobbly holes we would say " Earl help me " and the immediate fear would sorta be vanquished, sorta !! The scaredyest I ever been is on Sedona sandstone face. One brave Amigo on the soft Earl was.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
I have always been VERY inspired by Earl,

I heard he was hit by lightening not too long before he passed?
They have been publishing some research about profound depression and personality changes after lightening strikes.

Thanks for a great thread y'all!!!!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:27pm PT
Classic thread and bad ass DUDE bump!
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:30pm PT
Those first few shots... #'s 4,5 and 6

They look like they could be at the lip of the roof of a route in Red Rock known today as Sandstone Over cast ?

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/sandstone-overcast/105732764

(Which is immediately left/west of the fourth pitch of Johnny Vegas in Oak Creek on Solar Slab, lower wall)
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jun 5, 2013 - 05:13pm PT
Bump!
steve shea

climber
Jun 5, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
I climbed with Earl when he lived in Jackson. Really good guy and talented climber. Probably most saw him as a great rock climber. He was a very good alpinist as well. We once did the Black Ice Couloir in January in under five hrs round trip saddle to saddle. Earl was very fast and solid on mixed and ice. When we descended from the lower saddle that day we saw Harry Frishman on his way up to the Middle Teton. Sadly Harry died the next day in a fall on the NW Couloir on Middle. Earl had a hard time with that. We were the last to see him.
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