hall of mirrors

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 136 of total 136 in this topic
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 31, 2008 - 08:53pm PT
now here is a topic that must have been hashed over a million times.....however once again I am new here. I never did this route or even climbed anything much on the apron but I remember there was controversy over the route when it was put up. "did they really free it" etc. I for one didn't follow the outcome. Anyone on this site have the story? Just curious
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 31, 2008 - 09:16pm PT
from my web page:

Hall of Mirrors - 5.12c *** (16p: 7 5.11, 5 5.12)
Free Ascents
 FA - Chris Cantwell, Scott Burke, 9/80
added the final pitches 13-16
5 days on continuous ascent
a couple of short sections of p13 were toproped, instead of led. In these sections, the bolts were placed as aid ladders, then the leader lowered to free the moves, but left the rope clipped in from the aid high point.
 2nd FA - Jonny Woodward, John Bercaw, 10/92
1 day on continuous ascent
Preparation (10/92): 2 days, mostly for bolt replacement (p13-16)
Preparation (5/92): 4 days, including establishing the "Springtime Dry Variation", Jonny Woodward and Darrell Hensel.
 Climbing #141, AAJ '82 [Edit: , Mountain #69]
 Early pitches freed
p9-12, started p13 - 5.12c - Chris Cantwell, Scott Cole, 1979
p3-8.5 - 5.12b - Dave Austin, Chris Cantwell, Bruce Morris, 1978
p1-2 - 5.11a - Mark Wilford, 1975
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2008 - 09:29pm PT
clint, that gives me the details but wasn't it first called 13 and wasnt there some dirt on the whole thing? just wondering.
henny

Social climber
The Past
Jan 31, 2008 - 11:02pm PT
Hall of Mirrors was originally rated 5.13, in fact three pitches were given 5.13 on older topos (p13,15,16). Woodward and Bercaw didn't feel that any of those pitches were 5.13, in fact at least one of them was only 5.11 per JW. I don't remember the specifics but Jonny did talk to Chris about the rating discrepancy.

On the initial SA probe with JW we found that every hanger had been removed from pitch 13 by the FA party. That posed a problem we hadn't accounted for by bringing a bunch of 1/4" hangers with us. The bolts were threaded but we were unable to make wires work behind some of the nuts (and we didn't have enough small wires anyway). JW later went back with Bercaw and re-equiped the remaining pitches so he could then do a clean one push ascent. Guaranteed, JW did all pitches clean on the SA.

In fairness, bear in mind that during the timeframe in which the FA was done there were some people who were removing hangers from free climbs so they could reuse them ($$$ considerations - not that I think that makes it ok to do).

If you're really interested - Jonny did write an article for Climbing magazine after doing the SA, Cracking the Mirror, if I remember correctly. I don't remember the exact date/issue (likely sometime in 93), perhaps someone else remembers. The article is worth reading for some insight regarding the route.
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2008 - 11:47pm PT
thank you. Chris was a local Modesto climber, the son of a big time judge in town. I was a little older and took him up on some cracks but we never really climbed together. When the controversy happened I think was in university and not really close to it. I always wondered what the deal was.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 31, 2008 - 11:59pm PT
I think Bruce Morris wrote an article about it after his time on it with Zappa Dave and Chris Cantwell. Maybe in Mountain?

I could try to find it, but I don't have a scanner right now. Maybe SG has it at his fingertips?

D
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:11am PT
Here is Bruce Morris' article in the 1982 AAJ:

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/AAJO/pdfs/1982/41_morris_yosemite_aaj1982.pdf

The article "Smoke and Mirrors", by Jonny Woodward, was in Climbing #141.

[Edit: here is a scan of it, or see the text in my later post:]
http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/yos/smjw93.htm
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:57am PT
Clint - thanks for providing correct info regarding the Woodward article.

martygarrison - the Morris link does a good job of commenting on the controversies rergarding the route. Read that, and possibly Woodwards article, and you'll have the scoop.

My upstream comment on missing hangers wasn't meant to "explain" any controversy. Missing hangers starting 13 pitches up on a face route, and starting with the first supposed 5.13 pitch. Very annoying.
Greg Barnes

climber
Feb 1, 2008 - 01:10am PT
Cantwell on the FA - so, I bet that not only were the hangers missing, the bolts were 1/4" stud bolts that break as soon as you start trying to pull them. And some of the hangers that were there were Leeper and SMC hangers drilled out to form keyhole hangers or hangers with the bolt hole big enough to go around the nut without unscrewing it.

VERY annoying, I hate having to drill a new hole.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Feb 1, 2008 - 01:13am PT
Clint - I think Bruce Morris also wrote an article in Mountain. But thanks for posting the AAJ piece. I hadn't seen it before

D
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 1, 2008 - 01:24am PT
Yeah, I seem to recall a photo of the guys at "The Hang" bivouac in a magazine article. Hopefully Bruce will post up and fill us in. I don't have an index to Mountain magazine, or a collection of them, so I can't look it up easily.
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 1, 2008 - 01:29am PT
thank you folks for the education.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 1, 2008 - 01:38am PT
There is a four page article by Bruce Morris in Mountain 69, page 44. It includes two arty (mirrored) photos, two ordinary photos (one of The Hang), and a topo.

I'll try to find time to scan and post it this weekend.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Feb 1, 2008 - 03:20am PT
I remember that article in Mountain with the pics of Zappa Dave. Too funny!
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Feb 1, 2008 - 03:35am PT
As I am partial to the slabs let me just say Hall of Mirrors is the Super Bowl of slabs!! IMHO this route is more compelling than all those god dam (to borrow a quote from Werner) generic crack routes that make route finding moot! The future of Yosemite is on the blank !! The backside of Half Dome and WOS slab will be the hardest free routes of the next generation.

Had a frank conversation with Woodward @ the Stonemasters Reunion about HOM. I asked that since he burned up a pair of shoes and 30+ falls trying to free the crux "unfinished ninth" pitch and had done similiarly difficult slab pitches rated 5.13 in much less time and turmoil that maybe he just might have sandbagged the rating? He thought a moment and said... " yeah,13a ". You were there henny - right from the horses mouth!!
mcreel

climber
Barcelona, Spain
Feb 1, 2008 - 04:33am PT
What options were there other than 1/4" rawl stud bolts, back in 1980? It seems to me that that was standard equipment, up to at least 1987 or so.
Matt M

Trad climber
Tacoma, WA (Temp in San Antonio)
Feb 1, 2008 - 11:51am PT
Awesome - Always wanted to know more about the route since I was a kid and read the article in Climbing. I think it's the reason I like slabs to this day. A buddy of mine said he did an early ascent (5th or 6th was his best guess). Said it was a "career climb" for him. And this guy had done a lot. When asked about it he only said - "Back then, slabs were the hardest thing going. You were seeing guys really pushing the cracks but a lot of times, the hardest MOVES were slabs and mantles. You don't see that much any more. To climb routes like HOM you have to become a connoisseur of shoes and rubber. I owned A LOT of shoes and wore a different one on each foot at the crux. It was so tenuous that I couldn't stop. I had to flow across the moves because if I stopped I slipped off."
Inspired I went out the next weekend and climbed some scary slab on Daff Dome. 20 feet out, scared out of my mind I clipped a draw and yelled "TAKE!" in my best quivering-man voice. It was 10c something, I'd never done a 10. I failed that day but was hooked.
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:07pm PT
mcreel - It's not surprising that 1/4" rawl bolts were used in 1980 (or even post 80 - yeah, probably till around 87).

What isn't cool is to strip the hangers from the entire pitch, and then not warn anybody. You don't exactly send someone down from pitch 13 to grab some hangers so you can continue. And unless you have enough of the keyhole hangers alluded to by Greg you'll be faced with trying to get hangers on while trying to do an onsight. Which on HOM's 13th would be very difficult since several of the bolts were drilled on aid (and the nuts had become rusted on). The FA party (of p13) made a bad decision, and adversly affected the quality of the route they left behind in this regard.

Mighty Hiker (or someone with a scanner) - A scanned copy of the Morris article/topo would be great reference. It might also be nice to see a scan of the revised JW topo, which despite aldude's comments about JW sandbagging, is likely to be much more accurate, especially with regards to pitches 13-16 which for the most part is where the rating contention seems to lie.

The lower pitches (8-12) were already called 5.12 (old Meyers&Reid guide), the SA just added letters. But 5.13 that ended up being 11b (p15) and 11c (p16)? There's too much of a difference there to even consider a (revised) sandbag of that magnitude.

Edit: Interesting, the scan shows pitch 8 rated 5.11. There's a sandbag.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:16pm PT
Here is the Mountain Magazine article. As I recall, and I think it is mentioned in here, much of the controversy was around using fixed ropes on a free climb. That was big wall/aid/siege stuff and not the sort of thing one did on long free routes. Sure, ropes were/are hung on projects but that was typically a pitch or perhaps two. Anyway, old news now.

Article copyright Mountain Magazine, Bruce Morris, blah, blah, blah...

Interesting that the same issue of MM has a lengthy interview with Ray Jardine and a profile on Friends.

Four pages so this may be a bit big for some of you Luddites.




[/url]
Darryl Cramer

Social climber
Feb 1, 2008 - 12:44pm PT
The Misty Beethoven start by itself is an excellent route. Do that and tack on a few of the HOM pitches and mere mortals can have a good time. The rock is so polished that old EBs would literally make squeaking noises.
Nick

climber
portland, Oregon
Feb 1, 2008 - 08:48pm PT
Thought this obscure guide book page might entertain.





Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 1, 2008 - 10:46pm PT
Has the HOM even had a second ascent?

Your shoes DO squeak. I used to love climbing up as high as I could get on that thing but wasn't good enough to get into the 5.12 on pitch 8.

Even the first 7 are real mind benders. You can be 15 or 20 feet over your last bolt and the climbing is still cruxy as hell before you make the next clip. You fall slow, so slow you're tempted to grab the sling on the last bolt on your way down (which I've done, tweaked my finger once but got away with it several times) Problem is, you think "Now I have to make all those dicey, super continuous moves all over again just to get back to where I left off." Costs rubber too.

The few easier pitches are scary too. Pitch three is pretty long, 10a, and has only one or two bolts. Don't get lost!

I might be TOFTS (too old for that shit) For similar wussies, you can climb two pitches above Goodrich and rap right to the Hang (top of 7) and preview some pitches via top rope to see if you've got the stuff for it. The first time I did pitch 7 I fell a number of time before finally linking the 11b sequences, only to find the bolt at the end of the long runout was a spinner half-way out of the rock and the climbing stayed stiff. You just have to live with your calves feeling on fire but climb like they aren't

Of course, slab climbing is a lot like aid climbing, Not as strenuous but very mental and you don't quite know when you're going to fall until it happens.

There's micro stuff on that thing, it's so low angle. I remember a hold on pitch 2 that was like 1/4 of a toothpick. It seemed like a jug and I mantled it before a traverse left.

If the crux of this route is only 12c then the Nose is 13b. So much sandbagging in the valley.

When the route went up, it did have sort of a "Wings of Steel" like of controversy about it. Perhaps the players weren't golden boys playing by all the righteous rules, but it took years for a second ascent and even sticky rubber hasn't made it easy enough for folks to revisit to my knowledge.

I've replaced a little webbing on some anchors but expect to find disrepair if you head up there. The pro bolts are rusty 1/4 inchers on all but the "Spring dry variation" Fortunately, falls don't generate much force up there

Peace

Karl
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 1, 2008 - 11:57pm PT
Very cool article by Bruce from Mountain! Thanks for scanning and posting that!

"The young man stepped into the Hall of Mirrors, where he discovered the reflection of himself.
Even the greatest stars discover themselves in the looking glass.

Sometimes he saw his real face, and sometimes a stranger in his place.

He fell in love with the image of himself, and suddenly the picture was distorted...."

- from Hall of Mirrors, Trans-Europe Express, Kraftwerk, 1977.

[maybe not the source of the route name; just a guess...]
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Feb 2, 2008 - 12:05am PT
My Facebook site has a few more Hall of Mirrors shots in a photo album:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620652541

Thought the "Hall of Mirrors" was a room at Versailles that you had to walk through on the way to Louis XIV's throne.

Looking at that old Mountain article makes me realize just how bombastic my style was back then. The Cantwellian "line of strength". Ugh!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 2, 2008 - 12:12am PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=219262
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 2, 2008 - 12:14am PT
Karl,

I think you meant "Has Hall of Mirrors had a *third* ascent."

Regarding the skeptical rumors (like Wings of Steel), here's a highlighted quote at the top of the first page of Jonny Woodward's 1993 article:

"In Camp Four [1982] the route was always on somebody's lips, whether it was foreigners wanting to repeat the first seven pitches to the Hang, or locals proclaiming from a safe distance that the route had never actually been done. Despite all the talk, I couldn't find anyone who had done more than the first couple of pitches."

Hey, it was probably the same people complaining about Wings of Steel *and* Hall of Mirrors! :-)

Woodward's article did a great job of cleaning up the rumors, by doing the second ascent, and explaining about how the couple of toproped sections had contributed to the rumors about whether it had been freed or not. He also stated in his concluding paragraph:

"The Hall of Mirrors deserves to be recognized as one of the world's super-classic long free climbs. ... The quality of the pitches, the difficulty of the climbing, and the historical notoreity ensure its status as America's archetypal slab. It is a fitting tribute to its creators that even after the passing of so many years, the Hall of Mirrors still has no equal."
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 2, 2008 - 12:50am PT
Bruce,

I think there is a more complicated URL you can give to the Hall of Mirrors photo album, for "public link". Otherwise people need to be registered on facebook, and add you as a friend to see it. The "public link" URL will look something like this example: http://stanford.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2066093&l=ae0e4&id=216472

Here is a direct link to the first photo in the album:


Following the Glass Menagerie (5.12b) pitch on the Hall of Mirrors. Hand drilled, ground up. In this photo: Bruce Morris
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 2, 2008 - 12:57am PT
Yeah, I meant third ascent.

I can't believe we were getting on that thing with EBs. Back then, they were the only choice. Then there was this rumor that "contacts" were the shoes for the climb. I got a pair cause I liked slab climbing but found their negatives offset the positives.

Woodward did some experimentation and concluded that a somewhat stiffer shoe that could edge tiny stuff worked better for the route than the slippers most folks thought would have the best friction. The stiffer shoe would still smear but the wimpy shoes couldn't edge the tiny stuff.

The last time I did Misty B I had sticky rubber but the negatives of not being in my 20s anymore probably offset the positives of the rubber. Still, the good climbers I took on it got spanked cause slab climbing is an art.

Scott Burke told me about some trick he had off applying flame to the soles of his shoes before hard slab climbs but never tried it.

Peace

Karl
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 2, 2008 - 01:04am PT
Two of my friends (Hal Tompkins and Brian Cox) once went up on it in the early fall (early 80s, I think) after a cleansing rainstorm. Hal led the "Unfinished 9th" in EBs - they were squeaking the whole way on the traverse. I don't think they went much higher. He was pleased when Woodward later declared that pitch to be the crux!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 2, 2008 - 01:10am PT
I did Hoppy's Favourite once, and got the squeaky EB thing too. Amazing we could smear at all in them - they're as stiff as boards.

I wonder what Hall of Mirrors would be like in a dry cool November?

On slabs, "ground up" may be an unwitting double entendre.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Feb 2, 2008 - 01:20am PT
Yeah Bruce, weren't those the Galibier Contacts you're wearing in that shot? I remember about that time getting a pair myself...Not too bad for the time...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 2, 2008 - 03:58am PT
Here's an adapted version of Bruce Morris's 1981 topo, with Jonny Woodward's ratings inserted.

Matt M

Trad climber
Tacoma, WA (Temp in San Antonio)
Feb 3, 2008 - 04:55pm PT
Anyone have a scan on the Climbing Mag article? My copy seems to be MIA after my latest move. Sad - I've had that since I was like 12.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 3, 2008 - 05:19pm PT
So these topos say "follow Coonyard to the rim" Anybody done that? I've done Coonyard to the Oasis but never heard of it going the rim unless they are talking about the Hinterland.

Anybody done Hinterland? Galactic Hitchhiker is a great way to rim out but I'm always up for a new adventure (partial lie)

peace

karl
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 3, 2008 - 08:55pm PT
Matt,

I scanned/OCRed the 1993 article "Smoke and Mirrors", from Climbing, by Jonny Woodward.

Link to the formatted version:

http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/yos/smjw93.htm

and here's the text:
------------

Smoke and Mirrors

On a glinting wall of glass lies a bizzare, long-ignored classic.
Jonny Woodward reflects on the second ascent of Hall of Mirrors,
an all-free Grade VI on Yosemite Valley's Glacier Point Apron.

Darrell Hensel and I sat at The Hang, high on Yosemite's Glacier Point Apron, vacantly watching the thunderheads build above Tenaya Canyon. We had managed seven pitches of delicate, runout slab climbing to reach the day's goal, and could now pause to rest our shattered nerves. Darrell had acquired a few more grey hairs during the long lead out on the Steel Wall, and I had spent a worrying half hour stepping up and down on small, slick edges far above pro, my shoes slowly rolling, trying to gain the third bolt on the Hall of Mirrors. "In my mind's eye, I will always see Chris [Cantwell] flying down the glistening Hall of Mirrors pitch and stopping just a few feet above my head." Bruce Morris' words had threatened to turn into a sickening personal experience. But now, on a comfortable ledge, looking at the route ahead with its more closely spaced bolts, the first chapter of the Hall of Mirrors was over, and we could look forward without fear to the business above.
For almost 20 years, Yosemite Valley ruled as the world's number one destination for serious rock climbers, who flocked from all corners of the globe to throw themselves at the huge, polished walls. The locals became heroes, at least in their own minds, and in 1980, at the twilight of Yosemite's reign, its hardest free climb was completed. Chris Cantwell, Dave Austin, and Bruce Morris, the masterminds behind the Hall of Mirrors, did not become Yosemite heroes, but they had a dream as magnificent as any of those who did - to establish an all-free Grade VI on one of Yosemite's big walls. No grade VI in Yosemite had ever been established all free as a first ascent.

Despite the completion of the route by Cantwell and Scott Burke in 1980, the route attracted only criticism and disparagement. Why? The wall they chose was the Glacier Point Apron, the lowest-angle rock face in the Valley, shunned by many. The climb was done by a fringe group who kept to themselves and climbed predominantly on slabs. Two articles on the route were penned by Bruce Morris, whose bombastic writing style inspired many a chuckle at his expense. Finally, and perhaps most pointedly, the team rated three of the route's pitches 5.13, at a time when Yosemite had only one other climb of that grade - Ray Jardine's overhanging, one-pitch crack climb, The Phoenix. In many ways Cantwell and Jardine were similar characters: both scoured the Valley for hard new climbs, both were more interested in the ends than the means, and typical of pioneers who bend the rules, both were criticized mercilessly for their efforts.

When the Hall of Mirrors was climbed, I was 18 years old and living in Britain's Peak District, obsessed by climbing, and yearning to visit that Californian climbing Mecca. Mountain magazine provided constant information on Yosemite, and like all naive young enthusiasts, I would hang on every word. Valley granite was of particular interest to a Brit because of its monolithic smoothness, almost unimaginable to a climber brought up on a diet of the scruffy little hold-spattered crags of Britain. I was awed by the scale and sweep of Yosemite's slabs, for climbing them represented the conquest of the featureless. The Hall of Mirrors was the ultimate slab.

Two years later I visited the United States, with the famous Valley routes on my agenda. The idea of multi-day big walls, with all the accompanying logistical problems and guaranteed epics have kept me, to this day, from embarking on one. At the time, the newly established Hall of Mirrors, with its Grade VI commitment, remained a distant dream.

But in Camp Four the route was always on somebody's lips, whether it was foreigners wanting to repeat the first seven pitches to the Hang, or locals proclaiming from a safe distance that the route had never actually been done. Despite all the talk, I could't find anyone who had done more than the first couple of pitches.

Scott Burke, who had been on the final push with Cantwell, became quite a good acquaintance, but even he was vague about the route, no doubt tired of people looking for the opportunity to criticize any slight deviation from the path of complete purity. The intrigue grew, with mystery and slander feeding it to the point where I had to know the truth. It was 10 years before I felt good enough to find out.

May 1992. The deserts of northern Utah and Nevada have none of the appeal of those to the south, so the drive from Salt Lake City was long and tedious. I entertained myself by imagining what my tapes would sound like if the old, abused player ran at the correct speed. In Carson City, Nevada, I cursed under my breath when I found Tioga Pass still closed for the season. Darkness fell during the three-hour detour, and I finally reached Foresta, California - or rather, the ashes of Foresta - base-camp for this Valley trip. The fire of a few years before spared little, and the charred, branchless trunks stretched skyward into the evening gloom. I thought of a friend who had lost all his possessions to the blaze the day before his house was to have been sold, and wondered for the thousandth time whether bad luck of such magnitude comes randomly, or whether one accumulates it from misdeeds of the past to be dealt in one enormous crushing blow. Sleep came before the answer.

I met Darrell the next morning in the Apron parking lot. We had one week, which we figured was enough time to complete an unknown venture such as this. I had a veritable quiver of shoes, hoping that one pair would prove perfect for hard Apron glass. We packed several extra ropes for fixing, since neither of us was enamored of the prospect of spending the night on the slab and hauling all the associated baggage.

The first two days' attempts ended in thunderstorms at the Glass Menagerie. I did, at least, discover which boots would work: the glassy, textureless friction crux of the seventh pitch, originally done in E.B.s, proved just too much for some of today's popular wonder rubbers. The weather didn't improve for three more days, and we realized disappointedly that we'd lost too much time, momentum, and motivation to succeed that week. When the first clear day arrived, we spent it establishing a two-pitch variation left of the drainage streak on the lower section, allowing the route to be climbed in its entirety during the spring when the days are longest but the original line suffers from runoff.

It was our last day in the Valley. We felt robbed by the weather, and it was difficult to get motivated. Finally, we decided to go for the highest point we could - free or otherwise - to reconnoiter the upper pitches for an attempt in the fall. We reached the Hang quickly, avoiding a repeat of the first day's horror show by batmanning our fixed rope, and with a quick pull on a bolt, Darrell soon reached the belay at the end of the eighth.

The slings at belays had become increasingly tatty, and we began to think we were the first people up there in a very long time. One of the perks of being high on an old, forgotten route is finding relics from the past, and on the doubled bolts halfway up the Unfinished Ninth hung such a memento - a rappel sling, white with age, shredded and severed by wind action during its years of abandonment.

I pocketed the sling and looked in earnest at the next section of slab, a 20-foot unprotected traverse to a belay on a sloping ledge. It was the blankest section of climbed rock I had ever seen, desperate and untaintable. I tried everything I could think of to avoid climbing it.

My attempts to pendulum upward to the ledge proved futile, though the angle was low enough that I tried repeatedly. Standing on the highest bolt and running ended in equally comic failure. I eventually resigned myself to climbing the moves, and studied the surface for minute flaws, moving from one nick to another in a series of weight transitions so tenuous that they had to be executed in a single flowing motion. Over and over I took the swing of failure, each time picking off the shredded rubber from the edges of my soles. A friend of mine once wore out two pairs of shoes on a single move, much to the hilarity of the rest of us. Before I joined the two-shoes-a-route club, I finally made it to the ledge.

Pitches 10 and 11 passed quickly with the help of a couple of "chrome-moly monos," but the runout to the 12th belay was reminiscent of the ninth and caused almost as much trouble. So at last, there we were: at the famous 13th with its 13 protection bolts and 5.13 crux. I ventured out from the belay and stared open-mouthed at a sight that all my research had failed to prepare me for - a line of hangerless studs leading up the glassy wall above. How could Cantwell have inflicted this fate on such a climb? How could he so willfully disgrace his own achievement? Without the gear to continue, we fixed a rope from our high point and retreated.

October 1992. Darrell's job prevented him from accompanying me on the next attempt. Funny how jobs do that; it just reinforces my conviction never to get a real one. John Bercaw was keen to go, and we struck up a deal - I do Astro Man with him if he does the Hall of Mirrors with me. Feeling like I just pulled a fast one, I briefly entertained the thought of going into the real estate business, or maybe even law.

With the supposed crux pitch lacking bolt hangers, the route was not set up for a one-day free attempt. Armed with a bunch of wired Stoppers and multiple ropes, we hoped to get to the top of the route that day, fix lines, re-bolt the last pitches another day, strip the route of our gear and ropes, then return a third day for a clean one-day push.

Starting late, we made it to the top of the 13th and bailed as planned, leaving all our lines fixed. From my experience in the spring, I was convinced that the route's full-body-weight edgy smearing was not possible in flexible shoes, but despite my best derisive comments, John had stubbornly pulled out a pair of his favorite floppies and proceeded to fire past every crux with little apparent effort. Christ, I hope he never tries his edging boots. Best to compliment his choice of footwear and keep him handicapped.

Day two - a day of toil, best forgotten, when we had to climb and haul 13 pitches before even starting the real work. As we had feared, the remaining three pitches of the route were also hangerless, save for the belays where the first ascent party had been kind enough to leave a hanger or two. John got the only laughs of the day, at my expense, when the frequent sight of me jumping up and down on a crowbar 1500 feet off the deck triggered his sense of the ridiculous.

In the end, we had enough power to replace every stud but three, and those were non-critical. We had now, at last, seen every pitch. Though we didn't say so for risk of comeuppance, what we saw did't look 5.13. I, at least, needed this shot in the arm to balance my doubts: we were down to our last day, a late October day which was more darkness than light; we had to re-lead all the mind-frying lower pitches again; we had to reclimb the hideous Ninth, which more than anything else could bring us to a skidding halt, a barrier as impassable as Tioga in winter; and we had yet to free the re-bolted upper pitches. The thought of driving back to Salt Lake again with this albatross of a climb still unfinished after so much effort was unbearable, though I did think about it - all night.

Our day arrived and we succeeded. The Hall of Mirrors turned out to be far more reasonable than the multiple 5.13 pitches shown on the old topo would suggest, but a one-day ascent by climbers unfamiliar with the route remains to be done, and would be one of the most impressive feats yet accomplished on rock. There is no 5.13 - 5.12c is more like it - but on the 13th, 1500 feet off the Valley floor, we were rewarded by one of the best hard slab pitches to be found anywhere. In fact, every pitch on the route is memorable. We completed the last rappel in the dark, stumbled down the talus, and with weary satisfaction, drove east.

I left the Valley with enormous respect for the route and all who had contributed to its establishment. Despite the inflated original grade, this climb still stood, unrecognized, as Yosemite's all-around hardest until the freeing of the Salathe' a full decade later. The Hall of Mirrors is a story of a few climbers' visions, of endurance and force of will spanning many years, and of the ultimate creation of one of the world's truly remarkable rock routes. Mark Wilford had started the ball rolling in 1975 by climbing a harrowing, two-pitch route named Misty Beethoven. Acres of impeccable white granite soared upward, steepening imperceptibly, in an unbroken wave ending at the foot of a U-shaped bowl 2000 feet above the ground.

This sweep of perfect slab, glistening in the sunlight, captured the imagination of Dave Austin, who, three years later, with Cantwell and Morris, continued the line of Misty Beethoven, pushing the route to the crux of the ninth pitch. Here they were stopped, supposedly by the limitations of E.B. rubber. The following year, with a prototype pair of Galibier Contacts, Cantwell and Scott Cole squeaked past the previous sliding point and reached the 13th pitch before winter set in.

It is difficult to imagine the perseverance, courage, and passion these climbers displayed in pushing the dream toward fruition. The sheer length of the project, the huge number of bolts that needed to be drilled, many from hair-raising stances, and the amount of horrendously difficult climbing, were just a few reasons to quit. Imagine Cantwell at the ninth belay, having completed a stretch of climbing he had thought impossible the year before. Imagine his elation at this immediate success, and the daunting enormity of the task above - 800 more feet of steeper and presumably harder climbing. Below him lay one of the most aesthetic swaths of rock in the Valley, pure white, curving away in a gentle arc like an enormous petrified wave.

Finally, in the fall of 1980, the last difficult pitches to the U-shaped bowl were completed by Cantwell and Scott Burke.

Regardless of our success (though I would be far less inclined to write about the experience without it), one of the forces that drove me up the climb was the desire simply to find out what the Hall of Mirrors was all about, and so unravel one of American free climbing's long-standing mysteries. Many questions still burned. Why had Cantwell left the last pitches hangerless after equipping the lower 80 percent of the route? Why had three pitches been given the unprecedented 5.13 grade when we had found them to be much easier, much more than could be explained away by modern rubber? Several of the hardest sections were clearly uncheatable, so why were there such widespread rumors that the route had never been freed? I sought out Cantwell himself to supply the answers.

I was nervous as I waited for Cantwell to answer my telephone call. What if he wouldn't talk about his ascent? What if my penchant for occasional tactlessness pissed him off?

Cantwell, in fact, was genuinely happy to hear of our repeat of his "only great accomplishment in climbing." He had invested three years of his life adding pitch after pitch until the Hall of Mirrors was finally complete, and saw it as his own version of the Winchester Mystery House. (The Winchester house, in San Jose, was the home of Mrs. Winchester, as in Winchester rifles. She believed that if she kept adding rooms to the house, she would never die.) This is particularly apt, since shortly after the route's completion, Cantwell gave up serious climbing. In recalling his ascent, he regretted only one thing: he, like us, had rappelled from the U-shaped bowl rather than summiting Glacier Point.

To train for the specific difficulties of the Hall of Mirrors, Cantwell and Morris went on a first-ascent binge, establishing practically all the Apron's short testpieces on the steeper north side. These routes, available as they were to public scrutiny, were responsible for Cantwell's reputation for "cheating." Cantwell reasoned that since the ground-up, free-bolt-stance ethic put a burden on the first ascent party not encountered on any subsequent ascent, ultimate technical difficulty could never be reached by these means. At that time, most Valley climbers adhered to the stricter ethic that ultimate difficulty should be sacrificed in favor of purity of style.

On his north-side testpieces, Cantwell pre-protected the routes prior to free climbing. Upon encountering a particularly long blank section with either horrifying or simply impossible drill stances, he would install a bolt ladder to within range of the next "reasonable" stance, return to the belay, then free climb the ladder and the ensuing run-out.

On pitch 13 of the Hall of Mirrors, Cantwell took this idea one dubious step further, electing not to pull the rope after installing the bolt ladder, and thereby accepting an ascent which included a couple of short sections which, although free, were not led. This may have been the source of the locals' contention that the route was never freed, though they had made claims that more flagrant aid was used. Although it is a shame that Cantwell's style lapsed so close to the top, few such ground-breaking routes are accomplished without some compromise. It is worth laying the facts on the table and letting the routes magnificence stand for itself.

The 13th had other peculiarities: the numerological coincidence that the 13th pitch had 13 protection bolts and a 5.13 crux proved just too much to be true. When Darrell and I came upon the pitch in May we were speechless; leaving hangerless bolts for protection on free climbs was a tactic employed only by fools, paupers, or Australians. Cantwell is American. He was, at the time, penniless. But in my conversation with Cantwell I never did understand his reasoning for leaving the bolts hangerless; I prefer to think he couldn't afford hangers.

Above The 13th were yet two more pitches graded 5.13. Cantwell maintains that the grades reflected the difficulty as he found it, and were not used to induce awe. He despised deliberate under-grading, common among top climbers, and tended to the opposite extreme by grading on the high side, allowing the rating to settle down to a consensus, with nobody getting nasty surprises in the process. The grades of pitches 15 and 16 not only settled, but sunk without trace - to perhaps mid-5.11. We had to assume that the cumulative effect of five days' mental and physical fatigue had taken its toll.

It is easy to dwell on such oddities, but to do so would be unfair to both Cantwell and the route. The Hall of Mirrors deserves to be recognized as one of the world's super-classic long free climbs. Now that the route has come out of the closet, with the final pitches re-equipped, there will probably be a few more takers. If you are one of them, and not one of those for whom slab climbing has become the hip thing to despise, you're in for a treat. The quality of the pitches, the difficulty of the climbing, and the historical notoriety ensure its status as America's archetypal slab. It is a fitting tribute to its creators that even after the passing of so many years, the Hall of Mirrors still has no equal.

Jonny Woodward, 31, has been climbing since the age of 10. He moved from Britain to the United States in 1982 in search of sunny climes after discovering moss growing in his hair one drizzly day in Chee Dale. He currently lives in Salt Lake City.

Photos from the article:

p.97-98: Glacier Point Apron from the east, with Hall of Mirrors in profile, by Greg Epperson
p.101 (inset):

"Bruce Morris and David Austin at The Hang during an early attempt on the route in 1978", by Chris Cantwell
p.102: "Climbers low on Hall of Mirrors in 1983", by Bob Gaines
3 inset photos, of EBs, gear, and a rusty bolt clipped with 2 biners, by Greg Epperson.
DECEMBER 1993/JANUARY 1994 - CLIMBING #141
nick d

Trad climber
nm
Feb 3, 2008 - 08:59pm PT
Thanks Clint! That was really a lot of work. Many gracias!
Matt M

Trad climber
Tacoma, WA (Temp in San Antonio)
Feb 3, 2008 - 11:01pm PT
Thanks Clint! Putting it in my printed Supertopo Archive!

I emailed my buddy re: His ascent of Hall of Mirrors - I'll post anything I hear.

M
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Feb 4, 2008 - 12:52am PT
Great thread.
Thank you for putting it together.

I managed to snivel, peddle and 'squeek' my way up to 'the hang' in EB's ;)
I've dreamed of getting back up on that route many a time.
One day...
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 4, 2008 - 02:30am PT
The pro bolts are rusty 1/4 inchers on all but the "Spring dry variation"

As noted in JW's acrticle, this is not the case. Overall, more than 75% of the bolts on the entire route have been replaced, and from the Hang on, almost 100% of them (stainless - with hangers). The quality of the bolts shouldn't be a factor when considering doing the route.

Topo correction: Pitch 13 now has only 10 bolts on it, instead of 13. This is due to all of the replacement bolts being put where they can be clipped from natural stances, as opposed to following the original aid bolts.

The climbing I saw up to the end of p12 was absolutely superb. The controversy that seemed to swirl about the route in its earlier years is really nothing more than interesting historical footnotes at this point. What has endured is a brilliant, challenging, and beautiful climb (if you like slabs). HOM should be, and deserves to be, recognized and acknowledged for the great route it is. Dis the route based on controversies in the past, and you'll miss a great climb in the present. To paraphrase both aldude and JW, it is the Superbowl of slabs, America's archetypal slab with no equal.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 4, 2008 - 04:07am PT
I wrote
"The pro bolts are rusty 1/4 inchers on all but the "Spring dry variation"

Henny wrote

"As noted in JW's acrticle, this is not the case. Overall, more than 75% of the bolts on the entire route have been replaced, and from the Hang on, almost 100% of them (stainless - with hangers). The quality of the bolts shouldn't be a factor when considering doing the route."

The quote is out of context, I was writing about the first 7 pitches. The Vast majority of the pro bolts leading to the hang (except the dry variation) are old and rusty and often have water running over them except in the summer/fall. It's possible to take up to a 40-80 foot falls on some of them if you screw up badly.

That said, it's hard to imagine pulling a bolt on the first 7 cause if you fall and don't tumble, it's usually a slow, low-force event.

I might have been wrong that all the rusty bolts were 1/4 inch (but most are) but I have looked at the first 7 as recently as last fall and I can testify almost all look rusty. I'd agree that bolt quality still isn't a deal killer at this point but the route needs work sooner or later (unless you are a 5.12 ++ slab climber and don't stress about 5.11 thinnest of all climbing)

and when I cut up my cordalettes to safely rappel the route, the webbing was all old, faded, dirty and crusty. Many folks still won't like the webbing on the anchors as I didn't have enough cord to make everything "up to snuff" just safe to rap.

Indeed it's a unique classic route, a mind bender (the pitches I've done that is) but I can testify that, even the easier pitches in the beginning, folks have been doing at all or rarely for a number of years now

Peace

Karl
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 4, 2008 - 04:34am PT
Darrell,

> Topo correction: Pitch 13 now has only 10 bolts on it, instead of 13. This is due to all of the replacement bolts being put where they can be clipped from natural stances, as opposed to following the original aid bolts.

Cool - thanks for explaining about the cleanup on p13; I added a note on the topo. I'm sure other climbers will appreciate not having to aid up the ladder to be able to clip the bolts, like on the FA. I think this needs to be treated as a new (helpful) variation, though. The second paragraph on p.46 of Bruce's AAJ article notes carefully that the FA team split after a controversy on that pitch - Cantwell wanted to go straight up a harder/contrived "line of strength", while Austin wanted to take a more natural line of least resistance to the right. So if the new bolts are off to the right, that matches up with this dispute. It could also explain the downrating from 5.13 on the FA to 5.12b via the new variation. [Edit: see Darrell's further explanation below - not a variation, just different heights for the bolts so they are more reachable from footholds.]

Here's the paragraph from the 1982 AAJ:
---------

However, when Austin accompanied Cantwell up the fixed lines to
this new high point, there was disagreement. Austin believed that following
a ramp a few feet to the right would have eliminated the need
for a ladder. Drilling could have been accomplished from all-natural
stances, Austin argued. But in order to make the line harder for the
sake of difficulty as an end in itself, Cantwell had refused to compromise
with the natural rock environment and, instead, had deliberately
chosen to construct a pre-placed "free ladder" up what he referred to as
the "line of strength." Feeling such tactics were unconscionable, Austin
elected to drop out. Still, Cantwell persevered. After freeing the 13th,
at a tentative 5.13 standard, he went on to add two more hard pitches
before intercepting the Coonyard to Rim route. On this final push, in
September 1980, Scott Burk was his partner.
---------


I suppose having a disgruntled ex-partner may have also stirred up negative feelings from other sympathetic resident climbers.

Karl,

Roger and I will be up there this summer, using your beta on approaching via just above Goodrich. We'll clean up those bolts and belay/rappel anchors on the first 7 pitches.

Matt,

> I emailed my buddy re: His ascent of Hall of Mirrors - I'll post anything I hear.

Sounds interesting! I'll definitely stay tuned....
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 4, 2008 - 04:58am PT
Clint

Thanks to you and Roger for the public service. Wait until at least mid-summer cause there will be will be water flowing down the route in the spring into early summer depending on what kind of winter we have.

BTW, the two pitches above Goodrich link barely with a 60 meter rope. Use a cordalette to use the belay anchor on the first pitch for pro to avoid rope drag.

Peace

Karl
henny

Social climber
The Past
Feb 4, 2008 - 05:56am PT
Karl - Sorry, it seemed your comment regarding the old bolts was directed at the entire route and I was simply trying to make it clear that bolts have been replaced. Perhaps I didn't need to quote you to make the point. I'll take your word regarding the condition of the lower pitches, as I really don't remember what existing bolts we did or did not replace while we were establishing the variation.

Clint - Yes, the line of strength vs weakness debate was with regard to p13. No, the bolts JW placed were not on the right hand line of weakness. His bolts follow the *original* Cantwell & Burke line. He simply rearranged their locations so they can be clipped from free stances, without resorting to aid just to clip bolts drilled on aid. JW has stated that there were edges the bolts could have been drilled free from, but instead aid bolts were drilled, for whatever the reason. While correcting that problem, the bolt count was reduced from 13 to 10. But it is the same line of strength that the FA party took. It is interesting/ironic that pitch 13 - the line of strength - is per JW possibly the best face pitch he has done.

Regarding the rating differences of the upper pitches, I discussed that very subject with JW earlier today. Perhaps tomorrow something will get posted relative to that.

Yeah, fix those lower pitches! Cool.

Too bad people don't do that climbing much anymore. Good stuff.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 4, 2008 - 06:12am PT
Darrell,

Thanks for the additional explanation on rebolting p13. It's cool that the "line of strength" was such good climbing (as Chris had no doubt hoped)!
Matt M

Trad climber
Tacoma, WA (Temp in San Antonio)
Feb 4, 2008 - 10:36am PT
If Roger and Clint restore the bolts on the lower 7 pitches, I will be forced to go and check HOM out. It's been highlighted in my book since I was a teen. "What the heck is this HUGE, HARD route with three stars?!? I've never EVER seen mention of it." About a year later the Climbing Mag Article appeared and HOM went into my climbs of myth.

I figure you can go "warm up" on the Roger/Clint work from last summer over near the Arches, then start the game on the Apron.
ghostfromthepast

Social climber
oakhurst ca
Jul 24, 2008 - 07:20pm PT
I know what really happened. should I set the record straight? why the hangerless bolts, the overrating, the controversy, the bazar behavior. Part of me would like to leave things as they, are a mystery. Vote your opinion
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, Ca
Jul 24, 2008 - 07:26pm PT
Inquiring minds need to know...

yes, please.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 24, 2008 - 08:05pm PT
mythical vote
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Jul 24, 2008 - 09:08pm PT
Ghostfromthepast,

Is that you, Chris? How are you?

Ken
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Jul 25, 2008 - 09:00am PT
Bump
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 25, 2008 - 10:28am PT
The truth will not set it free......until the next party came along.
ghostfromthepast

Social climber
oakhurst ca
Jul 25, 2008 - 07:08pm PT
there will be blood !
I am remembering why I don't post on forums anymore. I always get in a big fight with someone. Maybe we should alert the web master as precaution. The last time was on the AWANA site. A program for teaching the bible to kids, this seems a lot more volatile than " is page 52 meant to be a individual or group activity"
The years have been kind to me and people here are saying such nice things about me, if I shut up and don't say anything nasty will I be a saint in another 28 years?

CC
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Jul 25, 2008 - 07:46pm PT
If there is one thing I've learned on the net from a variety of forums related to my many hobbies/interests, it's stay well away from the religious forums.

As a youngster who loves to hear stories about back in the day climbs, another vote for please do tell.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 25, 2008 - 08:07pm PT
We need more pics of this route...anybody???
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Jul 25, 2008 - 08:24pm PT
Hey Chris - posts like the one you are about to write out are getting pretty few and far between on this Board. But they are the magic ones. Get going and forget all the noise.
ghostfromthepast

Social climber
oakhurst ca
Jul 25, 2008 - 11:01pm PT
the hangerless bolts;

1. they never had hangers thus none were removed.

2. there was a bad batch of hangers going around at the time that had made some climbs unsafe.

3. these were taper bolts, a new discovery to climbers at the time, they came with a 3/4" washer behind the nut.

4. we used wired stoppers behind the washers and they were quite secure. thus the wired stoppers on the origional gear list, though there is only one placement on the route a #2 friend kind of off route and unnecessary, 3rd pitch I think.

5. 1980 was before the sport climbing days and it was, I think, reasonable to assume that any slab climber would bring a long a number of these.

What we didn't know but eventually discovered;

1. snow and ice had a tendency to remove the washer and nut from the studs.

2. climbers found this "very annoying" perhaps "very very annoying"
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jul 25, 2008 - 11:04pm PT
Hey, I remember when that thing was going up. I was right out of high school. Yep, there was the usual slander going on, but if you walk by a group of five climbers, you will probably get slandered anyway. I thought it was cool when Woodward repeated it and cleared the air.

Now, I didn't know you guys, but didn't Bruce M wear neck ties as headbands? He seemed to be wearing one whenever I saw him.

And I heard the wild stories, or myths, or whatever, about squirting lighter fluid on Contacts.

I really liked the Apron. You can go there and knock off a bunch of really fun stuff without your arms going to putty.
ghostfromthepast

Social climber
oakhurst ca
Jul 25, 2008 - 11:42pm PT
The overrating;

or should I say over and underrating. I originally rated the ninth traverse 12b Woodward rerrated it 12c, in Hubers book it is rated 12d, now I hear on this forum a rating of 13a. can I buy some of this stock, looks like a solid uptrend to me.
the mysterious part, why the last two pitches went from 13 to 11:
The Contacts shoes really did make a huge difference, it felt like a full grade, thus the ninth felt like 11+ was really 12+. The last two pitches felt like 12 thus I rated them 13 . In reality the steeper upper pitches required edging more that smearing. The contacts performed more like a grade lower on this steeper rock. thus the 11 felt like 12 which we rated 13. We also underestimated the toll five days on the rock was taking us.
on the whole rating thing, I did despise deliberate underrating. rating a face climb 5.13 when there was still an active debate over whether 5.12 face climbing was possible was an outrageous action intended to provoke a response. I did not want Hall of Mirrors to be ignored. I wanted to get someone to do a second ascent and many were itching to prove that idiot Cantwell wrong. What I had not anticipated was how long that would take. I had worked for three years on the route and thought it to be possibly the hardest free wall in the world, but assumed that once repeated it would be rerated 5.11d like every other 5.12 face climb I had put up in Yosemite. When Jonny Woodward called me and said he thought the route to be 12c I was kind of blown away.

ghostfromthepast

Social climber
oakhurst ca
Jul 26, 2008 - 01:25am PT
ethics and the Star Trek syndrome.

" to boldly go where no man has gone before" I grew up with that idea, climbing was a way to do it. I was addicted to the sharp end of the rope and loved the adventure of breaking new ground. The ethics of the day said that all bolts be placed on lead from stances. More than two or three bolts per pitch was frowned upon. When I put up the well protected climbs on the lower Apron the most common objection was the number of bolts since the method of placement was within this ethical frame work. These routes were extremely popular and started what I saw as a class warfare between the elite climbers of the day and the rest of us. You did not have to risk your life to do a face climb and the flood gates were open. all of the sudden you had these geeks doing 5.11 face climbs.
the confession part:
It,s all a bit hazy and 28 years ago. years of rationalization,anger, denial, guilt and self-loathing but this is the best of my recollection
I see the words bolt ladder and I cringe, I never set out to drill a bolt ladder and have a hard time admitting that there are two on HOM. I started out drilling on stances until the 13th headwall, a long continuos slab with no drill stances for sixty to eighty feet, so I went up to where my feet were at the last bolt drilled on a stance I,ll place one here, I start drilling and the foot just kind of slides over to the bolt maybe I could stand here and drill from the smears but the bolt sure is easier to stand on. The next bolt I go to the foot on the bolt sooner... what the heck I turn it over to Scott Burke and he drills some more until we are within 20 to 30 feet of a real drill stance. The rules we did follow were that forward progress be made free and bolts were to be clipable. That the second ascent found them not to be so is puzzling, perhaps because we smeared and they edged ? Why did I not pull the rope through and relead? I certainly in hindsight should have, I knew the ethical implications but was so focused on the lead ,the new ground to be broken that I did not. I knew I could have relead it and did not need to prove this to myself. unfortunately others did need me to prove it to them. I did owe this to the climbing community and was not as forthcoming about these facts as I should have been.
Others did not follow my logic that if you could lead a section of face and then stand take both hands off the rock and drill for 45 minutes lower off and rest then reclimb toproped to your high point and take off into the unknown again that you could easily have climbed the pitch straight through with the bolts in place.

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 26, 2008 - 02:07am PT
kewl bit of insights from the way back machine





interesting that this below quote hasn't caught on as fully acceptable... FA vs. FFA?

in some instances this is actually harder...

"Others did not follow my logic that if you could lead a section of face and then stand take both hands off the rock and drill for 45 minutes lower off and rest then reclimb toproped to your high point and take off into the unknown again that you could easily have climbed the pitch straight through with the bolts in place."

but in others, it is easier.

anyone else have stories of doing their routes where the drilling was the harder part, rather than an anticlimatic lead thru? I've had that experience on a moderate face route, nothing hard like HOM, but the sensation of just being able to make upward progress against the odds, is more enticing than climbing thru. not having been there before is the key element.



Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 26, 2008 - 02:22am PT
Chris,

Thanks for explaining all those old mysteries! ("bolt ladder", over/underrating via the Galibier Contact shoes).

Thanks also for describing the break from the older style of at most 2-3 bolts per pitch.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Jul 26, 2008 - 01:34pm PT
hey cc -

great entries into these history logs. I remember a lot of pretty serious slander going around about the route, about you and about bruce. When Jonny's article came out, it set to rest (I thought) all the "never climbed it" and "worthless slab route" talk, but the hangerless bolts always seemed hard to figure.

thanks

edit: this has me remembering those days. You guys (CC&BM) were putting up some nice stuff over there on the Apron and it was hard. You must have been really dialed into that kind of climbing. I got completely shut down on green dragon (is that the right name?) and your other routes around there were rated even harder.
Russ S.

climber
Jul 26, 2008 - 03:58pm PT
Chris, Back is the early 80's I was an occasional visitor to the valley - frankly, with the history et.al. I was pretty intimidated by the place.

Anyway, on one brief trip we did the first pitch of Misty B, Anchors Away, Apron Jam, Mr Natural and Greendragon. I've never bothered to look up who put those route up (or long forgotten), but from this thread see that you put up the last two.

Great work man, thanks for those memories!
ghostfromthepast

Social climber
oakhurst ca
Aug 6, 2008 - 06:44pm PT
Excuse my blog manners! I didn't say HI to everyone. It's really cool to hear from so many old friends, do we use our monikers or real names ?
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Aug 7, 2008 - 12:04am PT
Hello Chris,

Really nice to hear some of the details of that fascinating climb and to hear a little bit about yourself. We never roped together, other than top roping probably, but some of my fondest memories of the valley are from the early '80s, hanging with you and Sue, Larry and Becky, having supper together, swimming and trying to keep up with you guys. Larry still drags me out occasionally. Leaves me thrashed as bad as ever, maybe worse than ever. But it is good spending time with him.

Thanks for posting up.
Roger Brown

climber
Oceano, California
Oct 26, 2008 - 12:37pm PT
All bolts from the top of pitch five down were replaced this season. Dry Variation not worked on.
Roger Brown
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Oct 26, 2008 - 01:30pm PT
Thanks all!
drljefe

climber
Old Pueblo, AZ
Mar 13, 2009 - 01:56am PT
BUMP

Must...fight...the....wideness
scuffy b

climber
just below the San Andreas
Mar 13, 2009 - 12:28pm PT
The wideness and the slabness are perfect complements
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Nov 26, 2009 - 12:04pm PT
When I was a budding climber of 14 in 1981 I dreamed of one day doing this route. Did any of the route get destroyed by rockfall in the last 10 years?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 26, 2009 - 10:30pm PT
> Did any of the route get destroyed by rockfall in the last 10 years?

4 posts up, Roger explained that he replaced the bolts on the lowest 5 pitches in summer 2008.
The big rockfalls since the second ascent in 1992 missed Hall of Mirrors.
1996 "Happy Isles" (L of The Cow) was too far left
1998-99 "Curry Village" (Punch Bowl) were too far right

However, there was a smaller rockfall in May 2009 which impacted some of the lower pitches and may have done some damage.
I don't know exactly how much damage.
I observed a pulverized ledge when rapping down from The Mouth this summer.
And Ron Skelton noticed a damaged bolt on Flakey Foont (p2?).
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 27, 2009 - 04:06am PT
The route looks OK from rockfall in the first 8 pitches anyway.

One exception. A big flake fell down and came to rest on "the Hang" ledge on top of pitch 7.

It's in the way of some bolted anchor but there's another set of bolts on the left edge of the ledge. The flake looks like rope could get hung on it when you pull your rap lines but we got lucky

Peace

Karl
Pate

Trad climber
The Lost Highway
Nov 27, 2009 - 09:46pm PT
This thread reads like a work of art in progress.
Jingy

Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Nov 27, 2009 - 09:54pm PT
The "Zappa" dude.. in that photo.....


Classic pose!!!

I can't tell... does it look to you like he os picking his nose? or smokin' a "j"?



Clarification please?


Locker?
What say you?

Matt M

Trad climber
Alamo City
Aug 26, 2010 - 03:58pm PT
Reviving this old but great thread to see if anyone has ventured on up for a 3rd ascent?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Aug 26, 2010 - 04:51pm PT
I miss Burke....

What an amazing thread!
Scott Cole

Trad climber
Sunny California
Aug 27, 2010 - 01:50pm PT
There is a lot of confusion and missinformation about HOM.I was involved with establishing HOM for two years and can guarantee that the route was never freed before Woodward's ascent.

I was there when the traverse on the "unfinished 9th" was "freed": With one move of aid off the double bolts! I was also there when the ladder on the 13th was established. The sequence was step on bolt and drill, toprope with tension, aid up on bolt, stand on bolt and drill, toprope with tension, aid up on bolt, etc. The 13th was never freed on the supposed F.F.A.!

Cantwell and I had a falling out over the definition of "free climbing" and descended, leaving the ropes fixed. When Cantwell and Burke went to complete the route they used the fixed lines to reach the high point, therefore the route was not done free.

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.I'm glad to hear that bolts have been replaced, and that the route has seen some traffic.

As has been previously mentioned, there are obvious possibilities for a varition to the right which would avoid the ladders. Both Austin and I repeatedly suggested moving right where the climbing was easier, but Cantwell insisted on the "line of strength" I have always thought that the natural line was to the right, and the ladders an unnecessary deviation.
Zappa

Big Wall climber
Nov 17, 2010 - 12:27am PT
Talk about a stealth post. No one will read this because the thread is so old. So, here is some history of the route.

It used to be called Misty Beetohoven, two pithes, but information was sketchy. I climbed the first two. Insane glass. Someone had told me there was a third pitch, so I kept going. 130 feet later I found a crack and put in a belay. Not so hard, every move was 10A, but the run out was kind of nuts. Back in Camp 4 I caught major flack from some of the Stonemasters for the run-out (Go figure!).

Anyway, I had just done the FA on the third pitch. To avenge the runout, I went back veered right on to the sheet of glass, drilled a couple holes and got to a nice spot to drill anchors. Above was glass. Every move 10D and no place to stop, abosolutely no holds whatsoever, just glass and friction. I backed off in fear.

A week later I climbed higher on other routes to look down for a place to stop and drill. A white dike looked perfect.

So, I went up with Chris Cantwell and ran for the dike, 70 feet off the belay. Boy was I a sucker. There was nothing, just some white rock and a 10C "rest". I couldn't even reach for the damn drill. But the fear was pure and electric. There was no way I was going to take that dump. Feet on glass, drill in one hand, hammer in other, barely there at all. Tap. Tap. Tap. Once it was in 1/4 inch things got better. Then the bolt was in. I finished the pitch inwardly transformed.

Chris was jazzed. Bruce Morris signed on. We took helacious falls one after another. The comedy was lots of - tap, tap, WHOOSH! We developed team belaying techniques to suck in coils and coils of rope before the falls stopped. Wild.

We stopped up high when the climbing got too hard or we were too fried or both. Can't really remember. The next year I went up with Chris on his upper pitches. His vision was not mine. I left it to him. I had El Cap routes to do.

By the way, we were almost killed on this route. On a high ledge, the inner voice screamed DANGER. I looked up to see an executioner rock slicing our way. I gull-winged my arms and slammed all three of us flat agains the glass as the stone whizzed through where we were standing a split second before. Chris and Bruce were shocked at the rough treatment, but happy to avoid decapitation. They never saw it. So much of climbing is like that.

The strange thing about this route was the raw fear it generated in so many. The Stonemasters flatly refused to go up on it. We weren't so tough or talented, really. Certainly not in Kauk's or Bachar's league. Far, far from it. The route scared the hell out of us, but the beauty was so intense that we lived with it to have our amazing experience. For pitches there was simply nothing to grab; no dime, no crimper. That is why the route got a rep; nothing for big arms to do. Plus all the odd things done after pitch 9 added to the mystery.

So, if anyone reads this stealth posting, here are some memories to flesh it out a bit.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 17, 2010 - 12:36am PT
Thanks for the lowdown, Dave and Scott!

P.S. Dave, if you want to comment on another route you did where the history may have faded a bit, here's an article/thread that includes the "Austin-Cantwell" on the east face of Mt. Watkins:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1276383/A-New-Golden-Dawn-Mt-Watkins-Bruce-Morris-Mountain-1984
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Nov 17, 2010 - 12:44am PT
Great post Mr. Zappa!

I remember you from BITD, but wouldn't know how to tell you to remember me...Remember the Oregon Bong Team?
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Nov 17, 2010 - 03:48am PT
This whole thread is an amazing bit of valley history.
Thanks for the honesty from all sides and the story behind the climb.
Living in the valley back in those days...it was quite the topic at times.

Cool how time seems to move things on though and "polish mirrors".

Cheers,
DD
BG

Trad climber
JTree & Idyllwild
Nov 17, 2010 - 01:48pm PT
Credit: BG
Urmas

Social climber
Sierra Eastside
Nov 17, 2010 - 09:00pm PT
Hi to Scott Cole and Zappa Dave! Good to hear from you after so long.

The "line of strength" issue in slab climbing is interesting. Bolting a line that is more direct, but harder than an other, more circuitous line nearby would be considered contrived by some. I believe that part of the art to establishing a classic long slab route is in discerning the "line of weakness" from among many possibilities. Forcing a straight line, rather than reading the weaknesses in the rock seems to me to be motivated by the desire to establish a monument to oneself. Finding the weakness on the other hand, is the more crafty approach. One of the joys of putting up face climbs is in discovering the subtly lower angled or more featured path that makes a section amazingly easier than one expected. One can leave the more direct variation for a later ascent.

This is in no way intended as a critcism of Ghostfromthepast, or anyone else. I'm really just articulating debates I've had with myself and partners in similar circumstances.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Nov 17, 2010 - 09:23pm PT
Maybe the controversy adds to the legend. Maybe it's all good now. Too bad slab climbing isn't cool anymore, if it ever was.

sweet thread. Glad to see it revived by Zappa Dave, whom I think I went to college with?
BG

Trad climber
JTree & Idyllwild
Nov 17, 2010 - 09:43pm PT
Credit: BG
Matt M

Trad climber
Alamo City
Apr 15, 2011 - 04:51pm PT
Bump for for inspiration in the new Spring Season.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 15, 2011 - 06:08pm PT
Love the route up to the "hang" (pitch 7)

although I'm feeling a little old and wise to lead that stuff again. God protect me from thinking otherwise!

peace

karl
LongAgo

Trad climber
Apr 16, 2011 - 05:44pm PT
Ghostfromthepast: It’s no news to readers of the thread that Mirrors and several other climbs of the day were the focus of much controversy. But just for the record, my old Tricksters and Traditionalist article (can hardly believe it was 1984 Ascent) named it among others in the introduction, as per: “At the other end of the Valley, on Glacier Point Apron, a string of aid bolts is placed to protect free climbing on Hall of Mirrors. Reportedly, protection without aid was possible, but on a less direct line. The route is then touted as one of the greatest new free climbs in Yosemite.”

“Reportedly” was a key word because as with other bolt ladders placed by standing on some or all of the bolts, it was unclear exactly what did happen – as you call it, “mystery.” First ascent parties were understandably reluctant to do what you did on this thread in your “confession,” given the anger, self righteousness and divisions roaring on all sides. You have done a great thing for all who understand the history of a route enriches our experience of it and climbing more generally. You also have given a very personal and forthcoming insight into style transitions of the time, also valuable to those interested in how and why we climb as much as what we climb. And, I suspect, you have done something good for yourself too in coming from such honesty. Bravo.

As I look back, I see now the period of changing styles in the 70’s and 80’s first went through a phase of using aid with trepidation to protect free climbing, feelings sometimes mixed with guilt and anger. Then, others made the complete break and, in effect, said screw the old guard on how to protect. We will not pretend or obfuscate or hesitate, nor push the limits of standing on nothing and drilling and instead simply rap bolt, so there. And so, sport climbing was born. I think now the sport climbing transition was a good thing compared to the fuming, bolt chopping and even physical fights preceding it because it brought the style issues into the open and to a head. Climbers then could get on with fiery disagreements and defenses on both sides without near armed warfare. One camp didn’t have to feel inferior, just different, and the other could disagree but now could see righteousness, threats and intimidation were not only ineffective but ripping apart the climbing community. In some places, the result was some grudging, unstated compromise as to which cliffs would be sport and which trad, or full on open agreements on a particular style for an area, as ground up only in Pinnacles. Not to say the controversy doesn’t rise from time to time, with flashes of trepidation or anger, but all feels more healthy and settled than in the transition period.

Karl: You ask about Hinterland. Now and then I got the urge to do cruddy big climbs in Yosemite because, well, they were there and went up the big walls and got you high up into areas less traveled, often with stellar views too. Have to say, Hinterland is an adventure all right, but pretty awful overall. Not only is it dirty but felt a bit dangerous too. I don’t remember it too well, but recall some moderate climbing through a jungle above Coonyard, over an arch, then left into an arch system to the Oasis. From there, after searching around, we went almost a rope length to the left until finding a trough, then up it, over an overhang, then more left leading climbing to a hard and not too clear part: a traverse left to a big ledge area. From there, it’s a short way to the big bowl above. The climbing goes out of the right side of the bowl, I remember, but from there it’s pretty vague, but moderate slabs and a little final cliff band. It’s pretty fine to come out at the Glacier Point railings for one of the all time views.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Apr 16, 2011 - 09:49pm PT
Here is a shot of the topo of that "cruddy big climb," aka, The Hinterland from when Kamps and I did the first ascent. I rather enjoyed the adventure and don't recall any problems with the Oasis. It is what it is, to some a sanctuary and to others an obstacle to fight thru. But then again I am quite fond of trees and plants.
Topo-Hinterland first ascent.
Topo-Hinterland first ascent.
Credit: guido

Oh, and on rare occasions there is the opportunity to encounter an Island Girl, just hanging out, soaking up the sun and fauna of the Oasis.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#198369



TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Apr 17, 2011 - 02:05am PT
still trying to figure out how my epic day with Sacherer on GPA fits with all the other stories and accomplishments in that area and era

obviously there was much more going on than i ever had any idea about until recently

and seriously wishing Frank was still around...

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 05:13am PT
I have a perverse desire to do the hinterland, after doing Galactic Hitchhiker just about every year

Why not? Is it that bad?

PEace

Karl
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Apr 17, 2011 - 03:45pm PT
Tom

You might have missed this as I posted it on the Sacherer Thread a while back. Maybe this will jolt your memory cells? Appears here, you were going to climb the established route from Coonyard to the Oasis and up?

"Funny, how several pages from the old Coonyard Register can tie-in a list of personalities, eras, sagas and tales.

We have Cochrane's epic with Sacherer, Chela as part of his early climbing career and Boo who was rejected by Frank for an early Apron ascent. Good to see Qamar, Raymond, Kamps, Rowell and frequent Coonyard aficionado Beck in the picture to boot.

Register courtesy of the Mountain Record Collection of the Bancroft Library UC Berkeley."
Coonyard Register-courtesy Bancroft Library Mountain Record Section, U...
Coonyard Register-courtesy Bancroft Library Mountain Record Section, UC Berkeley
Credit: guido
LongAgo

Trad climber
Apr 17, 2011 - 09:41pm PT
Guido, If you look at my verbal description of the Hinterland and compare it to the topo, the two seem pretty close. However, your topo seems to imply going DOWN from a fixed pin before a big traversing area. Did I read that right? I don't recall fixed pro or down climbing to get on with the traverse leading to the pitch to the bowl. Maybe I forgot, but I do remember the traverse was pretty hard and pretty out there. Hmm, maybe I was off route..

Karl, There was loose rock on the climb when we did it, and dirt and lots of growth of one sort or another. Dangerous? Probably not very if careful.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo

guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:26pm PT
Here is my orignal write-up on the Hinterland, maybe it will clarify things a bit?
Credit: guido
Hinterland
Hinterland
Credit: guido






guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:42pm PT
This might be more readable?
Hinterland
Hinterland
Credit: guido
LongAgo

Trad climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 06:39pm PT
Guido,
Very interesting. Seems you did an aid pendulum on the FA of Hinterland which Bob followed free, with a fixed piton up high to protect the traverse, which you then pulled the rope through after the traverse. Interesting how the history of routes gets deeper and more exact with delving. Brings to mind another climb Bob followed free where leader used a bit of aid, if I read your description right. Same thing happened on Fairview Dome regular route, where Mort Hemple used a point of aid and Bob followed free, the first all free ascent of the route though the record books show Roper and Powell doing the first free in 1962, presumably because both did all moves free.

At any rate, the traverse is coming back to me. I found no fixed pin, but do remember climbing down some (didn't seem 30 feet but maybe) then left across tricky face wondering about falling and swinging back. The second following this area also has to wonder about swinging. High protection and pull through probably would be a good idea, but I don't think we did so because we left nothing behind. So there's a point for others to ponder if they don't find a fixed piton - maybe bring something to leave.


Tom Higgins
LongAgo
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Apr 18, 2011 - 07:30pm PT
Cool, Tom-makes sense after all these years, (yikes almost 50), have to go with the written history. I remember writing this while sitting thru a mechanical draw class lecture in high school. Teacher was an avid sailor and got me interested in sailing for the first time. C'est la vie.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Apr 18, 2011 - 09:11pm PT
Thanks very much, Guido; I did see that Coonyard summit log when you posted it earlier, and was very surprised to see it. I would not have guessed that there was any evidence left of our climb other than my memories of line itself with no bolts or fixed pins.

Sacherer told me we were doing an entirely new route once we got above Coonyard; something other than the Coonyard to Oasis route or Hinterland. Our route seriously needed some bolts, at least for belays. We were run out to the max for about three pitches with no real pro, and we didn't carry a bolt kit.

High up, I led a pitch with no pro except a very sketchy belay; Sacherer led the next to a death stance with no viable anchor; and I led the next with no pro to a well protected belay on an area of broken ledges that I'm guessing was well to the left of the Oasis.

I'd never go back there without knowing there were bolts or a way to place them. I would have felt a lot more comfortable with Kamps and/or Higgins and a bolt kit.

I don't recall ever going to something like the Oasis. I'd still like to go back up there with someone who knows all the routes, and try to figure out where Frank and I went. I clearly remember some of the pitches. Last summer I did find the starting pitches that we did that day, but my partner was not up for going higher.

Edit: Possibly Frank had intended to follow the previously established lines; but he indicated otherwise to me at the time; and it was all news to me. I was not familiar with those routes then or now; just the one line we took that day. I do find it hard to believe that what we were climbing above Coonyard had been done before; if only because of the lack of protection; not even a bolt for a belay stance. Does someone know whether the previously climbed Coonyard to Oasis and Hinterland routes had any bolts at the time?
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Apr 18, 2011 - 09:30pm PT
"Sea of Friction"-prior to GPS, we all had to rely on dead reckoning.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 18, 2011 - 11:24pm PT
The other route that goes to the rim is Galactic Hitchhiker.

A fine route (could use an extra bolt or two that the FA Party admitted they meant to go back and place but didn't get around to it on pitch 18, 19 and 20 of the topo, otherwise well protected) Almost all the fixed angles of the route have fallen out by now too and some belay pins too!

Topo is here

http://www.yosemiteclimber.com/Galactic_HitchhikerTopo.html

Trip report here

http://www.yosemiteclimber.com/Galactic_Hitchhiker.html

This route would have been controversial too but nobody gave a crap about Apron heroics by the time they did it

peace

karl
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:16am PT
So my big confusion about the Hinterland is where it traverses out from the overhang above the oasis. Anybody want to guess where the hinterland traverse is compared to where GH climbs a slab to a ledge to a corner and over the corner on pitch 17 and 18 below?

LongAgo

Trad climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 02:04am PT
Karl,

How fantastic to have such a fine route not traveled much, and right there in busy Yosemite climbing center with short approach and shuttle or car down. Always have loved doing routes with scanty info or lost in history, only there for those digging a bit deep. I once wrote a tribute to so called beta-mins. It's on my website:

http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=20

Wow, can't guess the answer to your question about where Hinterland goes off left. I'm thinking one way to get a grip might be to work from a good hi res picture of the general area in the right glancing light, then use Guido topo on this thread and work backwards from the prominent bowl by both features and feet in the topo. Then "map" that over your detailed topo and distances and features of GH. The result might be wrong but enough to get you up there on an exploration mission.

So fun to go by hook or crook versus detailed and correct info and strings of bolts like a path, seems to me. Who knows, you might even find the old Kamps/McKeown piton worth a million history bucks to some of us, but of course worthless to the world at large. Be sure to report back!

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Apr 20, 2011 - 02:15am PT
I'm in. Tell me when we go.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Apr 20, 2011 - 02:36am PT
Early summer, lets go.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Apr 20, 2011 - 03:01am PT
I'm in.

Hinterland it is.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 20, 2011 - 03:50am PT
Here's my best guess from about 1 year ago:
Glacier Point Apron - Left, from east of Happy Isles. <br/>
Oasis, The Hin...
Glacier Point Apron - Left, from east of Happy Isles.
Oasis, The Hinterland, Galactic Hitchhiker. U = U-shaped bowl
(exact line of Hinterland traverse is a guess; it may be slightly higher)
Credit: Clint Cummins
And above the U, guido's topo shows it going up the right line, not the left line.

Glacier Point Apron, Oasis, Hinterland, Galactic Hitchhiker, <br/>
xRez vi...
Glacier Point Apron, Oasis, Hinterland, Galactic Hitchhiker,
xRez view from top of Half Dome
Credit: xRez/CC
Here's a second guess, with the traverse at a slightly higher level.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 20, 2011 - 04:06am PT
Great Job Clint!

The thing that confuses me is where the Hinterland traverses left where Galactic goes up. When GH crosses the big corner left onto the face, there's a poorly protected 5.10 traverse over to a loose block and up and back to the belay. Alternately, you could climb poor pro 5.10 even harder straight up the face. I could never seem to see an easier way that would get you off to the left (but had somewhat tunnel vision cause i hate walk-the-plank face pitches where you got not much to hang onto with your hands

Peace

Karl

Edit: Sorta doubt your second Guess as it ascend territory right of GH that has lots of 5.10 and stuff off the the right is not obvious and not likely 5.9 or easier. The lowest horizontal band might be the most likely weak spot for traversing
LongAgo

Trad climber
Apr 22, 2011 - 01:23am PT

For what my memory is worth, I vote for pic 1 not 2 for the traverse, across what looks like a ledge systems, but then there is the drop down (still don't think it is 30' but will defer to the old scrawled Guido topo looking like a Pirate's map) and hard traverse and mysterous lost piton and ... adventure to come for a party.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 22, 2011 - 02:04am PT
There is a Hinterland topo in the 1974 Nichol, Livesey and Nannery topo guide, too.
Full guidebook on Ed's site:
http://home.comcast.net/%7Ee.hartouni/climbing/RCiY/RCiY.html
http://home.comcast.net/%7Ee.hartouni/climbing/RCiY/page_34.pdf "Apron to Rim"
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 24, 2011 - 05:30pm 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 - 04:43pm 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 - 08:02pm 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 - 05:30pm 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 - 05:42pm 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 - 06:28pm 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 - 04:10pm 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 - 04:44pm 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 - 03:00pm 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 20, 2011 - 01:26am 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 20, 2011 - 01:45am 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 - 05:04pm 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 - 05:38pm 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 - 07:00pm PT
Higgins on Coonyard, June 15, 1969
Coonyard register
Coonyard register
Credit: guido
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 21, 2011 - 07:32pm PT
P. Gleason on that page, too.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Aug 26, 2011 - 01:08am 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 - 11:22am 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 27, 2011 - 01:28am 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 - 01:02pm 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 - 01:24pm 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.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Aug 27, 2011 - 05:18pm PT
OK, I started a thread on "digitizing summit registers" as the subject seems to deserve discussion separate from this thread. See:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1592918/Digitizing-Summit-Registers-For-Web-Access

Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Aug 27, 2011 - 05:56pm PT
"The rock is so polished that old EBs would literally make squeaking noises.:









So did the old Sportivas. That was always disconcerting to me.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Aug 27, 2011 - 06:31pm PT
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.

did the token in '87 with the ex. felt like 12a to me. I thought it was a Bob Gaines route?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 29, 2011 - 12:32pm PT
Karl, hope it was a clean break away from any joint, in which case you are good to go in no time.

Good news, Away from the joint

Bad news, Plate and 8 screws nailing it all together.

Cast is off and I'm leading 5.8 or so, low angle!

Peace

Karl
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 21, 2011 - 05:16pm PT
Info on the 3rd ascent, by Alex Honnold:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1641757/Hall-of-Mirrors
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Jan 2, 2014 - 11:46pm PT
Slab bump

Evel

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Jan 3, 2014 - 01:34am PT
I'm fairly certain that Woodward and my pal the Late Chris Purnell did the FA of the complete route to the rim. Late 80s/early 90s.
Messages 1 - 136 of total 136 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