Eric Zschiesche Appreciation Thread

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Geno

Trad climber
Reston, VA
Jan 23, 2008 - 03:40am PT
I never met Eric, but he was a legend amongst Climbers in the South back in the early 80s. Somewhere I have a zerox copy of a drawing he made of the Wonder Wall at Jamestown, AL. I'll post it when I find it. It really was our first reference. It was a nice topo and and for me it was an inspiration to get out of the house and go climbing.

I climbed quite a lot in Alabama 82-86. Eric had done a short crack at Jamestown that was something of a test piece for us. Only by word of mouth did we know he did. Rob Robinson told me about it: "Zschiesche did that crack-it's hard." We called it 5.12a but that was a sand bag.

Jamestown was closed for nearly 20 years. But The Southern Climber's Coalition worked out access recently. Here is the description from The Dixie Cragger's Atlas that was published by Chris Watford in 2005:

"WHITE LIGHTNING 12a/b
FA Eric Zschiesche and Tim Mcmillan, 1983 [I am pretty sure it was earlier]
Originally worked on by Shannon Stegg, this line begins near the right edge of the steep wall of the dihedral. A shallow crack and corner system leads to a beautiful crack-too wide for fingers, too narrow for hands. Horrendously hard."




Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 23, 2008 - 08:44pm PT
Eric put up a 5.12 called The Mule on Ripple Rock in Tucson. He couchflashed it the second time that he was on the route after being rained off initially.

When I asked the obvious question about the name, he grinned and said "when I got off that thing, I felt like I had been kicked by a Mule!" all in glorious drawl y'all.
J. Werlin

climber
Cedaredge
Jan 24, 2008 - 07:13am PT
bump for more Zschiesche stories.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 24, 2008 - 07:21am PT
Zeesh on Jtree's now defunct Loose Lips.
Bowline on a coil, EB's, pajama shorts, & all the lovely goofiness.





Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 24, 2008 - 08:31am PT
Nice shots of the philosopher, Roy!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 24, 2008 - 08:37am PT
Thanks Steve; 'wish I had more.
Next to Eric are:
Swiss Michi, Mike Paul (Watusi), unknown hashish smuggler, and belayer John Mallery.
Circa 1984.
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jan 24, 2008 - 10:00am PT
Tarbuster:
John Mallory (sp?)
The hang dog specialist from New Hampshire ?


I have been waiting for this thread ;)
About time, zieche got some press.

I met Eric with a group of N.C climbers, in the valley. I think it was 1980.
He was with Bob Rotert and a couple other guys that season.

One quote and one story, both I will never forget.
quote:
"smooth climbers, they are a dime a dozen and no fun to watch. I love watching the guy with a huge ego, a small rack and even smaller huevos, go up on something he has no business being on. Now that's entertainment"

Story:
Can't fully be relayed, however picture Zieche doing a full animated account of approaching the base of the crag (somewhere in N.C) to hear cursing and grumbling. Looking up he sees Bob Rotert following some 5.11 overhanging offwidth, about 2- 3 weeks after Bob's accident or should I say his brother's.
Bob was accidentally shot in the checst by his brother (frigg'n redknecks) and faired quite well considering.
So here's Zieche, in the parking lot, contorting, wincing and laughing his arse off as he is reproducing the toungue lashing that Rotert gave his partner, for convincing him to go up on some nasty offwidth while he still he still had bandages around his chest.
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jan 24, 2008 - 10:15am PT
Wow what other stories can do for the memory.

I just remembered that the one time I ever tried 'Butterballs'...
I went down there real late one afternoon with Zieche and Dave Altman.

It was still pretty hot and we were avoiding the heat by going up there really late in the day.
I had never been on the 'Nabisco' before and felt completely honored to be 'towed' up this thing by those two.

Altman lead, Zieche followed and I ... well...
In the car riding back to camp, I asked the rating and said "wow I climbed a 5.11 finger crack today."

Zieche turned around and smiled at me and said something like:
"way'elll Jaaaahn, I'd say your ascent was a little on the continental side."
I gave him a funny look and said "continental?"
He said:
"Yeah it was getting dark on us so Altman and I gave you a healthy proportion of 'French free' in the belay, but that's ok, you got further on it than we expected."

I asked what he was thinking? Why would they bring me along if they thought I was going to totally 'thrash and dangle'?

Zieche said:
"Remember what I told you as good entertainment, watching climbers, climb?
Well we just didn't have the time to enjoy the show before dark so we turned on the winch"
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Jan 24, 2008 - 10:32am PT
Quick one:
We go to Fresno from the Valley to watch movies, me, Walt and Eric. Digital watches had just really come out (damn!) and I had one that Bachar was all hot on for some reason, the Casio J50. I think it would count down time and beep at intervals, so JB was all over it for his hangs and stuff... anyway.... Eric decides he is going to get some beer before the movie while me and Walt eat at some hideous buffet. He asks for my watch. I figure it is to make it to the movie on time. Anyway, Eric is AWOL by the time the movie starts so me and Walt go in..... Eric shows up way late in the theatre, and is ripped. Seemed he was using the J50 to time how fast he could guzzle a 40 bottle! I guess he had 2 of them, funnel style, before the movie. He spent the rest of the movie dancing in the aisle, literally, and laughing like a nutcase while talking to the actors on screen.

With Cilley in Hueco:
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 24, 2008 - 11:33am PT
Yes Trundlebum; that John Mal.
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jan 24, 2008 - 11:52am PT

I have a pic of Mallory 'dogg'n the 3rd or so (5.8 corner crack) of Diedre on Cathedral (summer '79)

Mallory was way ahead of his time. I think he invented sport climbing and the fine art of 'take' before the term existed.

And what a salesman, I have never known anyone who could so persuasively convince people to go out and 'dog' stuff way over their limit.

Sorry off topic ;)
J. Werlin

climber
Cedaredge
Jan 24, 2008 - 02:04pm PT
A 2.5 minute video of Eric having fun at the Creek. Nothing earth shattering here, but his character shines though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XjRl6oCi-g

When I first met Eric at Hueco he redefined minimalist car camping: a loaf of Orowheat wheat berry bread, Huarache sandals, a sleeping bag, and a Buick sedan (the back seat for sleeping, the trunk full of his art).

We made a thrift store run to bolster his gear cache: 1 spoon for the occasional yogurt, a tea cup for coffee (he'd hit me up for hot water each AM), a glass for his Foster's, and, of course, some sweet house slippers that had caught his eye.

Ten years later I caught up with Z. at the Creek and the tables had turned. Still driving a nice sedan, but set up with a two burner stove with table legs, a tent, pads, pots, plates, the whole works.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 24, 2008 - 02:08pm PT
"Zschiesche"

A challenge to spell. How is it pronounced?
J. Werlin

climber
Cedaredge
Jan 24, 2008 - 02:14pm PT
zee-shee

36 seconds of tower-stoke from Zee.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7-ZuoCTJrY
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 24, 2008 - 06:26pm PT
Thanks Werlin' -those were fun!
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Jan 24, 2008 - 06:36pm PT
Yeah those are some chestnuts of Eric to be sure!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 24, 2008 - 07:31pm PT
Eric's last name is rare and singular as the man himself!

Lots of great tales! Here's my favorite.

Shortly after he took to shaving his head regularly to add that special something to his maniacal demeanor, Eric came to a Beanfest. John Steiger was the first repeat Beanmaster and was afire with the Beanzeal that got the whole beaning and tequila ritual off the ground in the first place! Eric was sitting by himself at an empty picnic table quietly reading a book in the midst of bedlam.

John strolled over with the Beanpot under his arm and a gleam in his eye and rather than dispense the customary cross on the forehead reached deep into the pot and plopped a generous, steaming handful right on the top of Eric's monkish head! John and the rest of his drunken entourage checked up for a response. Eric exercised the utmost in restraint to not crack up and deftly grabbed a corn tortilla to carefully pat into level atop the heap of beans. The crowd went wild with a "Hear! Hear!" and Eric had a slash of cactus spirits. The throng pulsed onward seeking the as yet Unbeaned.

The merriment that night was so infectious that several groups of hunters camping nearby put in a request for John's services!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 27, 2008 - 06:57pm PT
Z-bump!
Bovine

Trad climber
USA
Jan 27, 2008 - 09:15pm PT
I never knew that Eric had such a history, but I do remember meeting him once. What a character! I was but a lad and we were in St. Louis of all places. Eric was ther for whatever reason but there was a climbing comp at the local gym. I am thinking back in the mid 90's. He was wearing an interesting get-up...maybe a sports jacket and short shorts? Climbed in some older model rock shoes with tube socks. He was very interesteng to watch. It was like he had never been on plastic before and was enjoying himself. The thing I most remember and have reflected on quite often was this strange realxation technique he used; he would gently feel around on each hold as he progressed up the wall and talk to himself out load " nice hold, yes, very nice, ohh, like it here, very nice", as he flowed up the wall. Thanks for all of the storeis, Never knoew he was so traveled!
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 16, 2008 - 05:48pm PT
Original Eric cartoon:





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