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Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Apr 17, 2008 - 08:44pm PT
Any chance of seeing the topo before the 2000th post?

Apr 17, 2008 - 08:52pm PT
It won't go to 2000. You guys don't have the stamina nor the stomach to go that far.

Only God can climb The South Face of Half Dome perfectly.

Who here's God?

Not you not me.

Time to to do just your best, good luck.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 17, 2008 - 09:20pm PT
Thanks, Werner

You blow me away.

Somehow you figured out how to be sarcastic in a kind way(not this post)

Can I have lessons?

And then there's Sean.

Having him post up here after days away is like introducing my new cool friend to my tight circle. Okay, this is a way loose circle -- but don't you love the energy of that guy, just blowing the doors offa things, then blasting out to take 7-year-olds climbing?

Apr 17, 2008 - 09:31pm PT
All glories to Doug Robinson our kind and gentle teacher.

Big Wall climber
San F*#kincisco
Apr 17, 2008 - 10:02pm PT

I finally read (skimmed through) your R&I piece and it left me wondering. Now I've never sought any attention in print or film for the FA's I've done, but your in your article you attempt to describe the history of climbing on SFHD yet fail to even mention the 3 unrepeated first ascents on the cliff I've done, "Lost Again" "Cataclysmic Megashear" and "Road Rage".

Was this omission intentional or merely ignorance?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 17, 2008 - 10:22pm PT
Hi Klaus,

Intentional. I was looking at the history of free climbing on the South Face. Lost Again, as I recall, is mostly aid. Cataclysmic Megashaer (spelling? It was "-eer" on the topo I saw) has four pitches of aid, big ladders of holes.

And I don't believe I ever saw any info on Road Rage. Please tell me about that one -- I'd love to hear.

Some inconsistency in that I wrote about Karma, which has some aid, but I believe much less than any of yours.

I was really tempted, still am, by Cataclysmic because the photos of the free climbing are so mouthwatering, and it goes up an interesting part of the wall. I'd love to hear more about it, too. More photos? Upper pitches? Shoot, we'd even settle for more of "Miss Kalus 2000."

And tell us about Lost Again too. Even though it seems to be the most aided climb of the lot, it takes a part of the wall that you, alone, have ever seen.

Under the dwarf maples near The Same Mansion
Apr 17, 2008 - 10:26pm PT
Just when I think I'm out!! They pull me back in!

Big Wall climber
San F*#kincisco
Apr 17, 2008 - 10:30pm PT
Isn't Sean's route then also techically an AID route since it's rated A0 and has a bolt ladder? Let's see a topo.

Karma is also an aid route and Lost Again has WAY more free-climbing than Harding's route.

CM has many very difficult free pitches that I stance drilled on lead.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 17, 2008 - 10:30pm PT

Does Road Rage fit on the photo overlay below?
[Edit: OK, I see by searching that Road Rage is 6 pitches, between Autobahn and Cataclysmic Megasheer (shear?), so it wouldn't be very clear on the photo overlay below]

I know you had a photo overlay for Lost Again posted on supertopo sometime in the past, but it seems to be gone? Could you resurrect it?

The line above arch for Lost Again is a guess.

I have also since found better photos for making an overlay - here is a piece of one:

The original is at:

and more info is at:

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Apr 17, 2008 - 10:34pm PT
DR said:
"All due respect to John Bachar and others who want to define this differently so they can underscore their -- not our -- view that this was, somehow, not a FA. You, John, brought hook drilling into the Park. Could be considered a taint from the venerable perspective of drilling on stance. I'm fine with it, it's now accepted, and I consider the Bachar-Yerian one of the great leaps forward in Yosemite climbing. A worthy follow on to your first free ascent of Astroman. "

With all due respect, the BY was still an "ascent" (5.11, A1). I started at the bottom and got to the top. On "Growing Up", the party couldn't make it to the top - i.e. they couldn't ascend it. They went to the top and lowered a ladder down. Then they "ascended" the ladder.

The Emperor's New Top Rope! You can't see it but it's still there....

I'm not saying that's good or bad. It is what it is but the party failed to ascend the face. They did ascend the face with a ladder lowered from above. That's all.

peace, jb

Social climber
The West
Apr 17, 2008 - 11:16pm PT
"Did Pianna (sic) and Skinner not go back and do the Salathe in total after they worked the parts?"

Now there's a question, albeit in a bait and switch format...

BTW, Cheers Scuffy, you took the words ( thst I was trying to form) out of my mouth...
The Warbler

the edge of America
Apr 18, 2008 - 12:23am PT
"On "Growing Up", the party couldn't make it to the top - i.e. they couldn't ascend it. They went to the top and lowered a ladder down. Then they "ascended" the ladder."

With all due respect, John, I think we can take Sean and Doug at their word - they deliberated about how to deal with the wall above the point where aid became mandatory, and came up with a controversial solution. They could have ascended it using bolt ladders for aid all the way up the wall, it's been done before by Harding and Rowell, but that's not what they wanted to do. They wanted to insure their bolt ladder led them to the most freeclimbable weakness on the upper slab, and they chose to preview it to guarantee that.

It's not as simple as they "couldn't make it to the top - i.e. they couldn't ascend it." Any climber capable of doing 5.13a while placing pro should have no problem with aiding a bolt ladder to 11.d face. It's not that they couldn't ascend it IMO, they just wouldn't, without inspecting it first. That was their chosen method or style of establishing the route.

As far as going to the top and lowering a ladder down, if your talking about aid from a rap rope to place bolts, you could argue that using aid from the ground up to place bolts is like using a ladder raised up from the ground. Not really a whole lot different, in a way. More challenging, sure, but also more likely to involve a lot of extra holes, and a product THEY DECIDED would likely be inferior.

Arguing that routes using bolts placed on rappel have never been climbed is a pretty radical perspective at this point in time. It would follow that those routes basically are not routes, don't exist, and the climbers that spend time on them are...???

It seems that a better (however flawed) argument to support the idea that the route has never been climbed, is the fact they fixed the lower part to enable their ascent. Another decision made, with style being compromised, to "climb" the route "successfully".

Like Coz and Schultz did on SB.

I'll say it again. Rather than taking them away, I like to think routes like this leave endless challenges for the future, even if not on virgin stone. Climbers can now aspire to do these routes in the best style possible, and as fast as possible.

Guys can warm up simulclimbing GU in the morning and send SB after lunch. And then there are the freesolo possibilities...

Peace (not the route),



Apr 18, 2008 - 12:51am PT
Sean Jones

Apr 18, 2008 - 01:45am PT
Again, Do you really think I wasn't capable of climbing the upper wall ? Shall we go climbing together sometime ? Not to sound like a hotshot becauase I'm not and don't really care to be.

I heard stories of $10,000 being offered in the past if someone could follow you around in the past. Shall we go that route ?

Hey, if I'm sounding pissed, I'm not. I already got pissed before and regret that. I really do respect the the achievements of all the baddasses in the past. And the badasses now for that matter. John, Scott, and everyone else.

The sh#t you guys did is nothing short of amazing. That doesn't mean that everyone has to do things the way you did. That doesn't mean you make all the rules for the rest of the world. Period.

More poeople climb my routes now and more people will always climb my routes. That's what I want to happen on my routes. That's always what I've wanted on all my routes.

I could write on and on....... I'm not going to change anyone and don't want to. Noone's going to change me either. I'm not running around the valley grid bolting and niether is anyone else. Nor will I or anyone else.

Instead of rambling on and on, I guess I'll go make a topo tonight. I can't find the one that I Know I do have. That will probly give people a bunch more to complain about and surely drive this thread up and over 2,000.

CARRY ON !!!!!


Sean Jones

Apr 18, 2008 - 01:54am PT
Hey Scott,

I never wrote back and said thanks for the invite on dinner and beer. THANKS !!!

I've thought long and hard about this. I have no intention to go and argue or try to convince you of anything. You are you and I am me. I'm very open to hearing your thoughts about anything.

You've been in this game for a long time and I'm sure I'll learn alot by listening and would love to do just that.
Again, Thanks for the offer !

My schedule is stupidly busy right now but somewhere in the somewhat near future I do need to go to L.A. I'll let you know when that is.


Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 18, 2008 - 02:28am PT
On the version of this thread, Aaron posted this reply and I thought it was a perspective that weighs in for what it's worth.

"Isn't it ironic that a sport that prides its self as being an outlet of counterculture, should demand such a level of conformity of its players.

I receive a great deal of satisfaction knowing that the routes I've developed, have been and will be enjoyed by many. Going to the crag and seeing people on my routes having a good time is reward enough for me to keep on developing quality routes.

Personally, I don't see the appeal or justification of the old school way of route development. Sure I could have developed more of my routes on lead, and it would have been a great adventure for me, and ONLY me, sadly the finished product would have been crap and the adventure and the quality would have been robbed for any repeat assentionist. For me, this practice is selfish, and the routes would stand as being nothing more then a shrine to my ego.

Perhaps what we're seeing in the development of this route on half-dome is a shift of thinking away from the old school way of thinking. A way of thinking that was fundamentally rooted in naivity of their sports development and future. In the past route developers put up routes with the understanding that they would be the first and last accentionist of their line. Isn't it amazing to think that when asked if the Norse would ever be repeated Warren Harding said that he wouldn't believe that anyone would go through all that effort for the second accent.

Unlike their forefathers, the developers of this route recognized that they are not alone it the climbing world and they put up a route that is a reflection of this.

For that I respect them.

Aaron. "

I have to admit, I respect that attitude. Good routes often get climbed by thousands of people and that counts for something. Their adventure, their experience. It counts. Climbing can be a selfish sport but it doesn't always have to be about Me, Me, Me



Trad climber
Apr 18, 2008 - 02:54am PT
Posting in a thread that is being reported as journalism in a climbing mag.

Also, climbing is not a sport.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 18, 2008 - 03:32am PT
"Also, climbing is not a sport."

Golf is a sport, that's why they make the big bucks.

You could lose your mind playing Golf, very dangerous.

Climbing on the other hand, is pathological,

a disease of increasing internal feedback loop addiction, monkeys with monkeys on their backs....

Hmmm. maybe that's going too far..


Trad climber
Apr 18, 2008 - 04:12am PT
This risk of losing your mind from golf comes from boredom.

And chemical poisoning.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 18, 2008 - 07:17am PT
Aaron's perspective is one of someone who only knows doing FA's of bolted routes. He sounds as if he's never looked for a natural crack line in his life. Bolted climbs are the place that can leave a climb of such and such a perfectly crafted "product" for all these climbers coming later who love a well crafted clip up.
Traditional free climbers developed a sense of not pounding the rock into submission because of all the great natural weaknesses there were to follow. Climbers who come later can have as much adventure as they like or they can in many cases pour in as much protection as they like, to the point of flaming out or running out of gear. (I fully understand that the upper half of SFHD is not such a place)It is a natural progression for such free climbers to carry this thinking to the places where cracks ran out, don't pound the stone into submission, keep it brave, test myself, AND those that follow me.

The counterculture aspect of climbing is still quite strong. No one demands "such" a level of conformity, but rather a loose set of guiding principles. It is silly for anyone from this "new wave" to think that there isn't plenty of opportunity for abuse with these tactics, as there have been with other climbing tactics over the years.

I can come to your favorite crag and fix a rope, whack and dangle around on my favorite 10d for a few days, and then rap in from above and place a few more bolts on it. We're in a new age right? There are no rules, and I'm only thinking of craftsmanship and having a better product for all the climbers who come after us. You couldn't tell me not to do that because it wasn't the "first" ascent. Hey, I have a better feel for my caliber and climbers of my caliber in the future will appreciate the added bolts. There are no rules. Your argument that I have to follow what the first ascent guys did would hold no water, because there are NO rules.

It's arrogant to suppose that climbers of the past have no sense of their sports development and future! WTF? Modern gym climbers have a better sense of our sports "development" and future? Also very very few climbers of the past ever thought that theirs would be the only ascent, forever, of their route. That's just not a true statement. So Warren Harding said that, so what? He doesn't speak for all climbers from the past.

In climbing routes put up in traditional style, I never felt that the FA guys had lessened my experience by not placing a bolt where I might have liked one.
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