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Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 24, 2011 - 02:30pm PT
This discussion reminds me a lot of the speculations on explorers web and everest.com about what route Mallory and Irvine climbed on their last fateful day. Happily for Frank and Tom it was not their last climb.

Meanwhile rereading Tom's account on Frank's thread and looking at the topos here, it does seem to me more likely that they were in the Galactic hitchhiker area rather than Hinterland.

I do hope Tom can go back up there someday and figure it out.

Meanwhile thanks to guido for unearthing the summit register to put to rest the speculations of those who doubted that the climb had ever taken place.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Jun 12, 2011 - 01:43pm PT
"Chris was a great slab climber, but I think he was obsessed with the HOM and did not recognize the fact that he never freed the moves."

 Scott Cole

Well, thinking back last night (and Urmas is correct about memories playing tricks on you), I seem to remember that the one time I went up on the Hall of Mirrors above the Hang with Chris that he did indeed do a 'sort of' free ascent of the "Unfinished Ninth" pitch (5.12c friction). It went something like this: CC climbed up to the double bolts (where Zappa, Chris and I had met defeat in 1978) and clipped them. When he tried to go left across the 5.12c friction traverse he did fall off and weight the pro. However, CC then lowered to the small scoop down about ten feet below the traverse until he was standing there without weighting the rope. From that stance, Chris climbed up to the traverse without pulling up on the pro and executed the 5.12 traverse over and left to the anchors at the top of the "Unfinished Ninth".

True, Chris did not lower back down to the belay ledge, pull the rope, and climb up re-clipping the pro and then sending the crux. But from the point where he was standing, until he reached the anchors at the very end of the pitch, Chris did free every move without weighting the pro. He certainly was capable of freeing the 5.10d mantle at the start of the sequence no problem. At the time, he did claim that he had freed the pitch in one push earlier, but of course I wasn't there to witness that. All I can say for certain is that each of the moves on the "Unfinished Ninth" did go free without yarding up on the bolts at the crux.

Not a perfect free ascent by today's standards, but certainly pretty close to it back then. I remember a highly apropos quote by Vern Clevenger: "Well, at least every move went free!"

That CC rated the infamous "Thirteenth" pitch 5.13 and Johnny Woodward down-rated it to 5.12 makes you stop and wonder whether the Contact shoe was great on the friction crux of the "Unfinished Ninth" but was really crappy micro-edging on the "Thirteenth"? Someone has to find an old pair of Contacts and do a test run on the Hall of Mirrors next fall after the spring run-off has subsided.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Jun 13, 2011 - 05:02pm PT
the The HOM was a very controversial route in its day, repercussions were to be mirrored, so to speak, in many Valley guidebook slab climb ratings to the present day.
Even though I’d only been climbing a few years, my partner Carter and I went to take a look at Misty Beethoven soon after Morris’ article saw publication in Mountain, ending up ascending the first 2 pitches a couple of times in the late ‘70’s. By providence, I happened to make Burk’s acquaintance near this point in time – Morris’ “Cracking the Mirrors” in Mountain had just hit the stands when I was to meet a 17 year old Scott working in the Gerry Mountaineering Shop, off of Union Square, while taking my lunch break from my nearby office. In the years to come, I was fortunate enough to be the beneficiary of Scott’s mentorship…although, in retrospect, getting hauled up 5.11+ when I could barely lead 5.8 kinda held me back.
The route’s completion was greeted by quite a few skeptics within the rank and file of the Valley Ethics Police - # of bolts, tactics, style. And, if the climber’s claims were to be believes, then the HOM was the first 5.13 in the Valley!
Since this route was established in thirds, above Misty, to my knowledge the SA was likely the first continuous ascent. Scott led me up to the top of the 4th or the 5th pitch in a halfhearted, early ‘80’s effort; this marked the first time he had covered this ground. Interesting side note – the third pitch is only 10a…but only has one bolt. Somehow, Scott managed to take a fall on it; we used hip belays before any hdwr was on the scene, and I was reeling in slack as quickly as I could. Or, at least, I thought I was!
“S t e e e v e” he yelled as he swept by the belay. See, the angle was so low, and he was sliding so slowly, that I was actually paying out slack!
Naturally, no one had actually gone up there to prove the first ascentionists claims otherwise, but Burk was pretty sensitive about the popular opinion, and his reaction was to go out a put up a boatload of routes – including some rather lengthy ones on Middle Cathedral (Pieces of Eight)and Fairview(Hemispheres) – which were uniformly undergraded and runnout.
An earlier post referred to the futuristic slabs awaiting on the South Face of Half Dome – but Burk was there in 1984 to begin The Fast Lane (racing to complete it before the competition on adjacent Autobahn). Like many, I was conscripted as both porter and belay slave, hauling about 5 gallons of water up the xc approach gully between Liberty Cap and Mt. Broderick (+ rack and pack for a several night’s bivi) for however many 1,000’s of feet…only to have him clip on another 3 gallons onto both our packs at the base of the final 4th class slabs leading up to the base of the route.
The FA of “The Token,” a one-pitch thin slab on The Apron between Chiropodist’s Shop and Ephemeral Clog Dance, gives voice to the “take no prisoners” ethic Scott developed after the HOM. The flushset 2 inch wide lavender crystals drop in a fall line from the Chiropodist’s Shop stance, but merely indicate the general line, rather than offering much more than a useable feature or two; this we confirmed from the top, having just ascending Chiropodist’s in the early dusk of an otherwise scorching July day. Before we called it a day, Scott managed a few moves up the dike, and drilled the first bolt.
The next morning offered something less than optimal friction conditions; temps were well over 100, and the reflected glare from the sun demoralizing. I was never to get credit in the holy guidebook for this FA, and that’s probably because I couldn’t quite send the 5.12 move. But someone was actually holding the end of the rope, or Scott might not have made it either.
Without any warning Scott came off. He was about ¾’s of the way up; about 80 feet above his last bolt. I took off running down the talus with my hip belay (a “running belay?”) –caught him about a body length above the deck. Scott would have taken a 120 foot crater…as my wife was there to witness.
Needless to say, Scott completed the lead, placing the last bolt at this high point…I think the pitch sports only 3 or 4 bolts, each hand drilled in the midst of 5.11 sequences in a 30 minute display of Old World craftsmanship.
Did I say 5.12?
On the spot Scott decreed that “there’s no such thing as 5.12 slab!” And this is why the subsequent guidebook editions downgraded all of the Apron 5.12’s to 11d…11d to 11b, etc. But, it also bears mention that these grades are really only appropriate for slab specialists who are on their game every day. Much higher numbers are now posted on contemporary crack and high angle face, and these type climbs generally offer a fair bit of protection. When the protection is out of the picture, well, then, it’s really not about climbing numbers at all…

aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Jun 14, 2011 - 02:30pm PT
Bruce - sounds like a pendulum followed by off route toprope to the belay............AO TR
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 14, 2011 - 02:42pm PT
Got a chance to watch Bercaw climb hard 5.11 slab in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Smooth. Made it look like 5.5.

There's a few 5.12ish slab type things out there. I can't even fathom friction climbing near that level of difficulty...
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Jun 14, 2011 - 03:28pm PT
If you want to see what 5.13 slab looks like, without a long hike or any committment, simply walk on the path through the boulders behind Camp 4. About 10' from the Ament Arete, literally right next to the trail is a golden-tan slab boulder problem called the Kauk Slab. Rated around V8. Absolutely ridiculous. And while I've never seen anyone else do it, there is video of Kauk floating it like it's 5.10.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 15, 2011 - 01:10pm PT
KabalaArch,

Thanks for the cool Scott Burke stories!

About The Fast Lane: the guidebook shows it as completed in 6/86, vs. Autobahn in 5/85, so apparently the race to finish first was won by the Autobahn folks?
I believe John Middendorf has shared the story on here about being recruited to lead the headwall pitch on Autobahn!
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jun 15, 2011 - 01:44pm PT
Before we called it a day, Scott managed a few moves up the dike [on the Token], and drilled the first bolt.

A couple of moves, eh? Dang, he climbed way past where I would have drilled the first bolt, adding a 2nd crux on what would be high-ball height on a boulder. That is one hell of a route.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Jun 16, 2011 - 12:00pm PT
"Bruce - sounds like a pendulum followed by off route toprope to the belay............AO TR"

 Al Dude

If only you could top-rope the 5.12c move and get to the belay! Unfortunately, you have to go up (above the last two bolts) and left 25 feet. The TR part is about 1 foot long, but the climb to the belay part is a long, long way up and left.

Kinda coulda, woulda 'free' if you coulda woulda. If we could have pendulum-tension traversed and got the sucker back in 1978, we sure would have gotten to the belay ledge. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we were defeated by the nature of the crux itself, which is, as you'll find if you go up there, uncompromising. IOWs: Johnny Woodward freed that crux twice and Cantwell may have 'once'. This isn't talking about the style of the FA of course. In 1978, when Zappa Dave, me and CC met defeat at this point, we just doubled up the bolts at our high point and rapped down to the base. EOM.

I'd say it's more like CC fell, weighted the rope, and then did the crux up and left. Hard to apply ground up on sight ethics to a route that had been abandoned at a high point for three years.
jonnywoodward

climber
Aug 19, 2011 - 10:26pm PT
one bad thing about the current standard of acceptability for a free ascent - you know, the one about going belay to belay without falling - it really takes all the fun out of trying to justify that pesky little grey area.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 19, 2011 - 10:45pm PT
Welcome, Jonny W! Funny, we (Perry) were just talking about you the other day.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1580186

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/219262/Difficulty-of-Slab-Climbs
LongAgo

Trad climber
Aug 21, 2011 - 02:04pm PT
Way back on this thread, Karl said:

"I have a perverse desire to do the Hinterland, after doing Galactic Hitchhiker just about every year."

Given all the discussion on the thread of the exact way it might go, I'd be curious if Karl or others went up this summer and gave it a go. Do you Karl or others have any news to report?

Tom Higgins
LongAgo

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 21, 2011 - 02:38pm PT
I had way too much fun breaking my arm on Zodiac so I'm just getting back on the stone these days

Maybe next year!

Peace

Karl
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Aug 21, 2011 - 04:00pm PT
Higgins on Coonyard, June 15, 1969
Coonyard register
Coonyard register
Credit: guido
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 21, 2011 - 04:32pm PT
P. Gleason on that page, too.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Aug 25, 2011 - 10:08pm PT
Karl, hope it was a clean break away from any joint, in which case you are good to go in no time.

Guido, thanks for Coonyard journal info. Looks like I was moaning about getting lost, but can't read it very well. Me wonders where all these registers reside - in attics I guess. Who cares really, though nice to have scans of them on supertopo to bring back old days and enter the cyberspace record forever, or as long as servers last. Thanks again.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Aug 26, 2011 - 08:22am PT
Tom- There exists a vast collection of Registers almost in your own backyard at the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, Mountain Record Collection. Here is a short summary I put up from our 50th anniv climb on Coonyard last fall:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1497580/Coonyard-Pinnacle-50-Years-Later

Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2011 - 06:37pm PT
MIghty-climbed it 4-5 times over the years, two were ascents to the Oasis. Soon after the first ascent, Chouninard, Hempel, Moi and I think Amborn went up and climbed two pitches above Coonyard, Oasis bound. Later Amborn and Foott got within a pitch or two of the Oasis and as you know Kor and Chouinard finished it off. Nice thing about Yvon is he included Foott and Amborn as being on the first ascent when he wrote it up. Bad thing about Yvon is he placed a bolt on the Coonyard route and Amborn later chopped it.

Reilly-See the first ascent Post to get the origin of Coonyard.

bvd-whoa, solo on Coonyard, that is pretty friggin awesome. I was far too much of a lightweight to try any solo games on hard friction. I know Simon soloed Marginal and even that is difficult for me to imagine. The thing about friction is once you start to slide it is difficult after the momentum has built up to stop.

Roger-That is most of the Register I believe. There were some loose pages if I remember and they were not included in the batch. I think the Register was lost for a while and someone put it back up.

Register- The largest collection of Registers of Cal climbs and peaks is part of the Mountain Record Section at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. Last summer Kali and I spent an afternoon going through some choice boxes. Almost got kicked out because we were oohing and ahing too loud and the serious head librarian was not impressed. Serious place with high security and slow response but on the whole very accommodating people. I had the library copy via stat the Coonyard Register plus Rixons's Pinnacle, Phantom Pinnacle, El Cap, Glacier Point Apron, Fairview Dome, Lost Arrow Tip and the Royal Arches. It took months to get this completed and they provided the stats on microfilm. Fortunately UC Santa Cruz has a brand new scanner that will scan direct from the microfilm to disk for free! IThe copying at the Bancroft was not cheap, something like $275 ............

I had to spend 3-4 hours on the Coonyard Register with Photoshop to make it presentable and readable. Somebody like maestro Haan could turn it into an art piece.

I am convinced the way to handle this reproduction would be to film a Register. You can set it up so you can do the photo work yourself at the Library. Film would maintain the mood of the paper and give a more realistic presentation of the actual writing. Filming would also be less damaging to the handling of the Registers. Some of these are very very delicate and they had go go to the Restoration Dept before they would copy them. Copying is more traumatic than filming.

Wouldn't it be fantastic to have all of the Bancroft Register Collection on film. This would be a massive job but certainly doable. Then everyone would have access to these historical gems. Ken could have all the data on DVD for the future Yosemite Collection and they could even be made available online.

The AAC also has a significant collection of Registers.

Perhaps we should put together a project to raise enough dinero to have this accomplished? Maybe Ed or someone else in the area wold be interested. Some of these Registers go back to the turn of the century! Not a small project but an immensely worthy one.

I'm in.

As a side note Bonnie Kamps offered to assist in this endeavor but since I am in NZ most of the year it would be impossible for me to contribute much time.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Aug 26, 2011 - 10:28pm PT
Guido,

Having gone to CAL, I knew about the B. Library and remember reading the Breen Donner Party diary there (under glass) years ago. Had no idea they had registers. So let me get this straight. You say, "I had the library copy via stat the Coonyard Register plus Rixons's Pinnacle, Phantom Pinnacle..." So they go to microfilm for a fee, then you can go to digital from microfilm, in your case for free from UC Santa Cruz. Guess any commercial outfit could do transfer too, e.g. Kinkos. Several issues:

 Sounds like B. Library is OK with copying project and may do the whole batch upon request and with proper fee, but don't they need to know it is a public interest project, not commercial enterprise or do they care?

 Seems a perfect project for AAC so the digital registers could wind up in their library and on line. While I'm a member, I have no particular connections or clout (well, someone might answer my e-mail remembering me from way back when). In any case, someone there should be approached, and if they agree, next step would be setting up a donation fund to help out, I would think. I'd sure donate. AAC seem right for the lead? Know anyone there to approach?

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Aug 27, 2011 - 10:02am PT
Tom


"So they go to microfilm for a fee, then you can go to digital from microfilm, in your case for free from UC Santa Cruz. Guess any commercial outfit could do transfer too, e.g. Kinkos. Several issues:"

Yes except the proper way to maintain realistic visual would be to film them and that is ok with the BL under their guidelines which are not too strict in that manner. In other words, an individual from outside the library can come in and set up to photograph the Registers.Would be prohibitively expensive to have the BL perform this task. Photostatting robs them of the archival mood of the time.


"Sounds like B. Library is OK with copying project and may do the whole batch upon request and with proper fee, but don't they need to know it is a public interest project, not commercial enterprise or do they care?"

Correct as the BL has strict guidelines on their use and is quite territorial over the Registers, not rightly so I believe. Most of the Registers came from the Sierra Club and few from continuing donations. There they sit in boxes in the basement.

"Seems a perfect project for AAC so the digital registers could wind up in their library and be available online. While I'm a member, I have no particular connections or clout (well, someone might answer my e-mail remembering me from way back when). In any case, someone there should be approached, and if they agree, next step would be setting up a donation fund to help out, I would think. I'd sure donate. AAC seem right for the lead? Know anyone there to approach?"

Seems like a logical idea to me at this point. AAC has a great website, has the heritage and political clout that the BL would respect and is well established. The transfer would be expensive but not outrageous and a Donation Fund seems to be the logical mode to accomplish this. Donini would be the one to recc someone in the AAC to contact on this.

Probably best we start another Topic Thread so we don't rob Hall of Mirrros too much of all the fun input on this site.








klk

Trad climber
cali
Aug 27, 2011 - 10:24am PT
@guido and tom:

the reproduction of material of any sort that is in The Bancroft is subject to the restrictions in both copyright law (for relevant material) and the terms of the donation. with many large collections, the donor-- and not the library --retains copyright/permissions control over the donated material.

what the library and its users can do with the registers and any repros of their contents, will be governed first by the terms of that agreement. the library typically tries to negotiate donations with the broadest possible terms of use, but many collections typically limit the creation (and thus potential circulation) of reproductions. others will charge by image, not just for the labor involved in copying, but also for each use. and the agreements can vary widely in terms of use.

i have worked in the sierra club collection, but as i havent yet used any of the images in publications, i'm not familiar with the terms of that agreement. you can ask the librarians and they can tell you.

for images not bound by donor/collection agreements, the standard rule of the thumb (at the bancroft and other archives) is to label or credit each image: "Courtesy of The Bancroft Library."

The B has done a series of extensive (and in some cases, pioneering) digitization projects and is always hoping to do more. but that depends on funding. if folks wanted the registers digitized and on the web, the first thing is to find out if the current terms of the donation allow for that sort of reproduction. the next step would be to organize the fundraising. it's way more expensive than you might think. the sort of let's-get-drunk-and-scan-some-of-our-old-slides-on-this-random-deal-i-bought-on-the-web crowd sourcing that we do here all the time isn't going to happen at a serious research library.

i've written a bit about the issue here:
http://alpinehistory.com/2010/04/yosemites-first/


and yes, guido, the easiest way to copy things like those summit registers is simply to photograph them, assuming the donation's terms of use allow that. the industry standard for those sort of images, btw, is TIFF rather than JPEG.

The B already has stacks of stuff digitized, by the way. Most of the finding aids are online, and there are large collections of digital images on various topics already up, including (iirc), parts of the SC Collection. That Collection includes not only summit registers but correspondence, meeting memoranda, and a related series of transcribed oral interviews with many of the principals.

The Bancroft, for what it's worth, has a reputation for being not only one of the best archival libraries in North America, but also for being one of the friendliest and most accessible. Just try doing a similar excursion at The Huntington LIbrary or even SPecial Collections at UCLA and see what that experience is like, heh.
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