Barry Bates and Mark Klemens--Valley free climbing

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Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 14, 2008 - 03:34pm PT
Why are Barry Bates and Mark Klemens not on everyone’s short list of the most important Valley free climbers?

The thread from Ihateplastic on his frustration with not getting a favorable response about his planned article on Barry Bates got me to thinking about why Barry is not better known. I am also spurred on by the apparent interest amongst ST campers.

Most of us know about climbing history and who did what from a mosaic of information that includes longevity, difficulty of ascents, and personality traits all disclosed in publications of one sort or another. Based on this, if climbers were to list the most important Valley free climbers from 1960 to 1975, you might not see Barry Bates or Mark Klemens on most lists. They did their best climbing after Steve Roper stopped writing about the Valley, they were only active in the Valley for a short time, and they were gone before the mid-1970s Stonemasters craze.

However, on the basis of an objectively driven and relatively simple counts of first ascents on the cutting edge--first ascents that mattered to other climbers thinking about what would go free--Barry and Mark would be on everyone’s short list. They, along with Bridwell and Peter Haan, started the 70s free climbing boom.

My counting is based on my assessment of which climbs pushed the envelope, including difficulty, type, and location. The goal is to include climbs that caused other climbers to try new routes all free, routes that allowed other climbers to push the standards.

This requires a closeness to the climbers and their thinking, both as individuals and as a group, during a specific time—it is granular. While my goal is objective criteria, it is open to different interpretations: aside from flat out mistakes on my part (Oh, I forgot about that!) a route that I take off the list and assign to backfilling may be very popular and may even be the specific genius of a particular climber's further efforts (I mean no offense in my selections). Alternatively, there are some routes on my list that probably have seen very few ascents—Peter Haan’s Hourglass is a good example--and there are almost certainly very hard routes that I excluded because they just never had any impact on what anyone else was thinking or doing--the FFA of The Turret by Jim Donini and John Bragg is in this category: big, huge, loose death block is all I remember, and 5.11 at that.

This allows that some thoughtful people would expand my list. Nevertheless, I think there would not be much variation in the list of the climbers who contributed the most to Valley free climbing because the arguments would be incidental to the conclusions at the top end of the list—the real standouts would be on everyone’s list.

The surprising bit is why Barry and Mark seem to have been left off the common perception of who made the most contributions. When grounded in the period from 1960 to 1975—from the first 5.10s to the first 5.12s—their contributions stand out.

In the period from 1960, when Robbins and Pratt did the first 5.10s in the Valley, to 1965, when Chuck climbed Twilight Zone, the 5.10 standard was set in the Valley, covering short and long routes, different width cracks, and steep face climbing. I count 17 routes, either FAs or FFAs that mattered, with Royal taking only one, Chuck taking five, and Frank Sacherer taking eleven. The surprising part is that Royal contributed little to furthering his establishment of 5.10 in the Valley—this fell to Chuck and Sacherer. However, by the time they were through, 5.10 was no longer trick climbing but instead was firmly established with associated techniques.

The specific routes I include in calendar sequence are Rixon's Pinnacle-East Chimney and Crack of Doom, the first 5.10s by Royal and Chuck, respectively, in 1960. Following those are Reed's Pinnacle-Left Side, Worst Error-Right Side, Moby Dick, Lost Arrow Chimney, Sacherer Cracker, Salathe Route, Midterm, Ahab, The Hourglass-Right Side, Chingando, Middle Cathedral Rock-Direct North Buttress and East Buttress, and ending with Chuck’s Twilight Zone.

As that name implies, somehow, there did not seem to be much room to push the standards without moving into another realm. (Or maybe it was just a ripped off TV-show name.) This idea of another realm would be pushed a little further in naming conventions by Bridwell, but quickly died out when it became apparent that there might not be a limit to the difficulty. Naming routes after TV-shows was still common.

The next four years, 1966 through 1969, were a lull in Valley climbing. Important free climbs include Chris Fredericks’ English Breakfast crack in 1966; Ament's The Slack in 1967, Higgins’ Serenity Crack in 1967; and Royal’s Meat Grinder in 1967. (The Slack and Serenity were quickly robbed of their original difficulty--a block falling out and pin scarring, respectively--and no one could use them as benchmarks. English Breakfast and The Meat Grinder remain hard, iconic climbs still.) Nobody climbed much of anything new in 1969.

There were good climbers in the Valley in the late 60s but they either were not quite ready to come in to their own, or they were drifting away, or they were focused on big walls. But in 1970 and 1971 two climbers stand out in bold relief--Mark Klemens on wide cracks and Barry Bates on thin cracks. I think that there is a common misperception that they were simply Jim's climbing partners. Jim did partner with both, but I think the truth of the matter is that they spurred Jim’s imagination and got him productive, as did Peter Haan. Jim had been in the Valley in the lull and had only had an interest in big walls first ascents. Lead by Barry, Mark, Jim and Peter, the next two years set the foundation for the 70s free climbing boom.

In this two year period, plus one climb in 1972, I include 16 climbs (one twice) and assign the responsibilities this way: Jim instigated seven, Barry six, Mark two, and Peter one. They include New Dimensions (5.11 A0), Waverly Wafer, Gripper, Outer Limits, Wheat Thin, Catchy, Butterfingers, Abstract Corner, Independence Pinnacle Center, Lunatic Fringe, Supplication, Five and Dime, Vanishing Point, Stepping Out, Cream, The Hourglass-Left Side, and finally in 1972 the FFA of New Dimensions with Steve Wunsch. Jim and Mark first climbed New Dimensions in 1970, but Mark finished the crux pitch with a short pendulum to an easier crack. Barry and Steve climbed through all free and firmly established the 5.11 standard for the Valley.

In 1972, a larger group of Valley climbers, using the climbs listed above as starting points, pushed the boundaries of free climbing further, ending in the first 5.12s and the first Big Wall free climbs in 1975. This period also saw the rise to the Stonemasters. The standout climbers include Bridwell, Kauk, Bachar, Chapman, Long, Worrall, Barber, Dale Bard, Wunsch, Donini, Graham, Carrington, and the British Livesy and Faucett. (I count seven of these who post on ST.)

The climbs in this period include new routes on Middle-—Paradise Lost, Freewheeling, and Stoners Highway; harder still crack climbs--Leanie Meanie, Butterballs, Little Wing, Catchy Corner, Crack-a-Go-Go, Pinky Paralysis, Short Circuit, Hotline all free, and Fish Crack; and the first big wall free climbs-—The Good Book, Free Blast, Geek Towers, and Astroman.

It is easy to see that the period 1972 onward eclipsing the short period in 1970 and 1971—the period of the strong foundations built by Bridwell, Bates, Klemens, and Haan—on purely objective grounds since the longer, later routes are more spectacular. But I think the reason that 1970 and 1971 seem to be just a blind spot is for three non-climbing reasons: Mark and Barry did not participate in any of the burgeoning climbing publicity (it was still early days for this), Bridwell’s name increasingly dominated all 70s climbing and the Stonemaster’s mystic has become associated with all 70s climbing. Jim has always been generous and careful to include all of the contributions of other climbers, but history has casually assigned him overarching responsibility for any climb he was on. Neither Mark nor Barry was ever considered a Stonemaster. They were mostly gone by the time the first of the Stonemasters arrived in the Valley. However, the total dominance of the Stonemaster’s overarching achievements starting in the middle 70s also overshadows the early 70s. (None of this overshawdowing was ever fostered by any Stonemaster.)

Given this it is no surprise that Ihateplastic received a cold reception at the climbing magazines and that several ST campers admitted that they don’t why Barry’s name means so much to those of us who were around in the early 1970s.

I hope he keeps after it and succeeds.

RB

Edited
billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Aug 14, 2008 - 03:40pm PT
Barry's always been held in high regard in my mind. When I was around him in the 90's, he was still impressively strong. His lock-off strength is among the best I've ever seen.
Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Aug 14, 2008 - 03:49pm PT
Roger,

Thanks for the great history recap and clear analysis. You guys inhabited such a rich period in Valley contributions. I can only imagine the fun it would have been to be the first on such a list of classic cracks.

Peter
Bart Fay

Social climber
Redlands, CA
Aug 14, 2008 - 03:54pm PT
Peter Haan has posted on The Taco AND he's on all the lists.
I'm just saying...
Amanda Bircheff

climber
CA
Aug 14, 2008 - 03:55pm PT
hello regor this is dave b. my daughter got me hooked up on this, hope i can duplicate this without help sometime.dave.

p.s. In response to your first sentence, BLACK MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!
Phil - adios
Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Aug 14, 2008 - 04:00pm PT
Yo Dave B. Welcome to the virtual campfire!

Its been a long time, hope all is great with you.

Peter Mayfield
graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Aug 14, 2008 - 04:14pm PT
Barry and Mark have always been on my list for the valley. At the top

Dave good to see on board!

Mike
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 14, 2008 - 04:14pm PT
Hi Dave, Hi Phil,

Welcome to ST. I have a picture of Dave taken at the base of "Smee's Come-on" that I was going to post for Amanda. Do you remember that climb? I will get it posted.

What was black magic was watching them climb. And I have an old picture of Phil, drawn by Sheridan, given that he is sort of pre-history, as in no cameras existed. I posted it here [url]http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=652239&msg=652441#msg652441[/url].

Peter, it was pretty cool to just walk around with binoculars and pick some new line to try. There were so many choices that we were both picky and sort of lazy--if it didn't look perfect or had any extra work, we just passed. I had to talk Bridwell into going to do CPoF--it didn't take long, but even so, have you seen a more prominent crack? He wanted to know what we were going to do above what turned out to be the eight pitch. I told him we were going to rap off. Nobody even climbs that far nowadays.

Mark’s criterion for any new route was that he had to get his knee in. Barry’s criterion seemed to be tips only.

Best, Roger
klk

Trad climber
cali
Aug 14, 2008 - 04:16pm PT
Roger-- Your hypothesis for Bates's obscurity seems credible to me. The one additional factor is that American histories of bouldering have been (understandably) Colorado-centric and Bates was perhaps even more remarkable as a boulderer.

California typically doesn't come up (aside from perhaps an obligatory gesture toward Robbins then Kamps at Stoney Point) until Midnight Lightning.

Pat's Wizards of Rock has a number of Barry Bates references and (if I remember correctly) described him as the best period boulderer in California.
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Aug 14, 2008 - 04:28pm PT
Wow, wow, wow...

This is so rich !
Thank you so much for that recap Mr. Breedlove.

This thread has made me think seriously about the importance of oral tradition/history.

As modern people we rely almost entirely on published writings for stories of color and history. Yet even though the publications can open our awareness of important people and events, nothing compares to an oration from the people that 'lived it'.

ps.
I can foresee 'supertopo' hard copy publications potentially exploring a seeming void in contemporary climbing publications.

attn - Chris McNamara:
Ihateplastic and others are experiencing difficulty in finding climbing mags/periodicals to publish articles rich in history, be they memorable musings or detailed factual biographies.
HINT
HINT ;)
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Aug 14, 2008 - 04:46pm PT
Since Ed isn't here, I'll take a schwag at this... my database probably isn't as updates as his, so bear with me:

Barry Bates First Ascents:

Anathema(5.10b), 1972
Application(5.9), 1971
Bongs Away, Center(5.10a), 1970
Chocolate Dihedral(5.9), 1970
Degnan Diagonals(5.9), 1970
Dromedary - The Hump(unknown), 1971
Dromedary Direct(5.10c), 1971
Five and Dime(5.10d), 1971
Independence Pinnacle, Center Route(5.10d), 1970
Koko Ledge, Far Right(5.10a), 1970
Last Resort Pinnacle, The, Center(5.10a), 1972
Lunatic Fringe(5.10c), 1971
Pink Dream(5.10a), 1971
Supplication(5.10c), 1971
Vanishing Point(5.10d), 1971
Waverly Wafer(5.10c), 1970
Yoghurt Dihedral(5.9), 1970

Bates First Free Ascents:

Lost Brother, Northwest Face(5.7), 1963
New Dimensions(5.11a), 1970


Mark Klemens First Ascents:

10.96(5.10d), 1972
Absolutely Free, Center Route(5.9), 1970
Absolutely Free, Left Side(5.9), 1970
Absolutely Free, Right Side(5.10a), 1970
Base Pinnacle(5.9), 1972
Bongs Away, Center(5.10a), 1970
Cartwheel(5.10a), 1971
Catchy(5.10d), 1971
Chosen Few, The(5.9), 1971
Cid's Embrace(5.8), 1970
Cream(5.11a), 1971
Final Exam(5.10d), 1971
Flake Off(unknown), 1975
Forbidden Pinnacle(5.10a), 1972
Geek Towers, Right Side(5.10a), 1971
Gripper(5.10b), 1970
Henley Quits(5.10a), 1970
Independent Route(5.10b), 1970
Jam Session(5.10b), 1971
Klemens' Escape(5.9), 1970
Klemens' Variation(5.10c), 1970
Lancelot(5.9), 1970
Narrow Escape(5.10c), 1971
New Dimensions(5.11a), 1970
Quickie Quizzes(5.10b), 1970
Rixon's Pinnacle, East Chimney, Klemens Variation(5.10c), 1970
Steppin' Out(5.10d), 1971

Klemens First Free Ascents:

Basket Case(5.11b), 1972
Kor-Beck(5.9), 1963


p.s. Thanks for posting that, Roger!
scuffy b

climber
Zeno's Paradise
Aug 14, 2008 - 05:44pm PT
Roger, quite the thought-provoking piece.
I'm trying to remember what Roper wrote in Ascent while this
was going on.
No Yosemite Notes in the 71, because they went into the green
guidebook.
In the 72, he included this raft of new climbs with some
editorializing. As I recall, he seemed genuinely surprised at
the trend toward short free climbs: many of the new climbs
are only a single pitch, and often a short one at that.

(gross paraphrase, please forgive me)
I think he also touched upon the increased likelihood of the
Dreaded Groundfall.

thanks,
sm
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Aug 14, 2008 - 06:23pm PT
agreed, those two guys were pivotal figures; i've always regarded them as such.

and it's not just what they climbed -- even more striking was their idea of what might be possible.

i devoured all things climbing as a youngster; this quote from my early bible, bridwell's 1973 article "brave new world", certainly gave those guys the proper props:

"1969 saw few new hard free routes, but many of the existing hard problems were repeated. Beginning in 1970 the big boom of volcanic free-climbing erupted in the Valley. Several young stars started to shine: Mark Klemens, Barry Bates, Peter Haan, Jim Bridwell and Mead Hargis were among those shining most brightly. Mark Klemens returned to the Valley after a two year lay-off and like a lightning bolt became the main motivating force of the year. The fact that he began completely out of shape didn't seem to affect his smooth, controlled style. As an opener, he pioneered Absolutely Free, a respectable route with 5.10 fist and off-width jamming. New routes were his 'bag', and he sacked New Dimensions as his next prize. The climb is very sustained and consistently thin, a real test of finger strength and technique. In the same season, Klemens mounted two more virgin crack systems on Absolutely Free, plus routes such as Gripper, Independence Pinnacle, and Henley Quits. All of these were aesthetic as well as difficult. Barry Bates was also developing quickly in 1970. After three years, his route on the Centre of Independence will still send a thrill even through those experienced at thin hand cracks."


mark chapman attempting owl roof. contemporary with klemens and bates. the idea that in '72 people understood that this would go free speaks volumes about the mindset of the time. all bets were off; everything in valley freeclimbing that has happened since then was really only a matter of time.

Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Aug 14, 2008 - 10:47pm PT
Damn Roger! That was, as my relatives would say, "Spot On!" And I love the comment, " Mark’s criterion for any new route was that he had to get his knee in. Barry’s criterion seemed to be tips only." Any of us that have done a selection from either climber can easily agree.

I just went back and looked at your list...

Waverly Wafer
Gripper
Outer Limits
Wheat Thin
Catchy
Butterfingers
Abstract Corner
Independence Pinnacle Center
Lunatic Fringe
Supplication
Five and Dime
Vanishing Point
Stepping Out
Cream
The Hourglass-Left Side
FFA of New Dimensions

Then I scoured Steelmnkey's list and my palms got sweaty. These may not be the current testpieces enjoyed by today's hotshots, but many, many of them are absolute f*king C L A S S I C S !!!!!

Now, add to that the fact that some (many?... all?) of them were done with pins on the lead in PA's or (far worse) RD's or even some other hard 'n' slick footwear and it really puts these climbs in perspective.

I am far from a sycophant, but Barry and Mark deserve respect.

Final thought, (keeping in mind I only had occasional glimpses of Mark late in his career) while both of these men performed magic on the vertical they were polar opposites in personality. Barry was quiet, kind, polite and accommodating to all, whereas Mark did not suffer fools gladly. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong in this assessment.


Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Aug 14, 2008 - 11:25pm PT
I was never so stoked as when I bagged the Bates Big Four: Vanishing Point, Five and Dive, Lunatic Fringe, and Independence Center (which is far harder than 5.10d). Those are all-time classics, as are Cream and Steppin' Out (Klemens).

JL
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Aug 14, 2008 - 11:28pm PT
JL, that is a classic typo... "Five and Dive".
That's about what I did on that thing.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 14, 2008 - 11:45pm PT
Thanks for that one Roger!
You linked it all up quite well -affording us a succinct, informative, and pleasurable read.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 15, 2008 - 01:10am PT
Thanks for posting this Roger.

Both on my short list, no doubt. Bagged New Dimensions without the nick and the Escape too!
Steppin' out with a slingload of nuggets at the upper end of the YDS in solid style. No matter how wide! Say no more!

I met Mark back in the mid-eighties when he came wandering into the rescue site to say hello. He had his beautiful daughter with him and hung out while Charles Cole and I quizzed him in the name of story telling. Those guys cleaned up whatever Pratt had left undone it seems. Amazing.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Aug 15, 2008 - 01:59am PT
Thanks, Roger, for your excellent work, but there were a couple of other early ones that may be overlooked: I'm thinking particularly of Dave Rearick's lead of the Split Pinnacle lieback, and Kor's free lead of the last pitch of La Escuela. The Split Pinnacle lieback, in particular, was a very fearsome matter to me in the days when we swung hammers and never heard of quick draws.

I went back in 1973 with just nuts and crude quick draws, but still chickened out.

John
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Aug 15, 2008 - 03:20am PT
Roger,
I've told you before I respect you, so you know I do. And all due respects, even though I say you make a few errors. I won't go round and round with you again, since you've made it clear you're not that receptive to feeback that disagrees with your own experience and perceptions, but let me make a few points at least. I could list many more if I had the time.

Your basic points, though, are good, that Barry Bates and Klemens deserve a lot more credit and recognition. We need to remember these grand special spirits.

You will see I did the first extensive interview with him in an issue of the Climbing Art, years ago, and in my History of Free Climbing I give Bates a lot of credit, as well as Klemens. I knew them both, though I knew and climbed a lot more with Barry. He actually phoned me a few years back and told me I was the best boulderer he had ever seen, back when he was doing his best bouldering. He is a wonderful and generous person, and every climb we did was simply two friends having a great time together. I did many of his difficult roped pitches, led Vanishing Point and Five & Dime, just as two examples, and also bouldered a lot with him. He was already doing very good boulder problems in 1967 (I think anyone who knows would tell you he and I were at top of the Yosemite bouldering standard in 1968 and '69), in my case partly because I was doing so much bouldering with Gill, and some of that was rubbing off, but he was just naturally gifted. He could do a one-finger pull-up with his middle finger through a tie-off loop tied to a tree limb, as far back as 1968.

The time we spent together bouldering had more to do, however, with the good feelings we had as partners.

Yes we all know Sacherer was bold and innovative and did some wonderful first ascents and free ascents. He was a little crazy, as well, at times. We all know Pratt was the master of off-widths. But one cannot short-change Royal, as you repeatedly seem to want to do, by lining up lists of first ascents, and placing some sort of value on such. Royal led several of the first 5.11 routes in the country, outside of Yosemite, a few years before 5.11 was done in Yosemite. Pratt was a great admirer of Royal's ability, and I spoke with Sacherer a few times who thought very highly of Royal. Royal contributed more to the 5.10 era, I believe, than to the 5.11, and that was just as significant in its time, but his very attitude and presence were inspiration to most.

You and I have established that you don't even like to mention the Center Slack, but Higgins will tell you he, Kamps, Pratt, Robbins, Bridwell, and others tried it, in 1967, before the block broke out (creating several bomber handjams), and none of those best of the best could do it. They all had decided it would be 5.11 if done. Pratt was the one who rated it, when I led the free ascent in '67. No one will know how much easier it got when the block broke out. No matter, I can agree that it was a small climb and does not sit atop three other 5.10 pitches, as does Serenity. But when I led New Dimensions (often called the first 5.11 in Yosemite, but in fact led free by Bates in 1972, not '70, as you say), I found it to be substantially easier than the original Center Slack. By April 1972, even John Long had begun to do such tough testpieces as Paisano Overhang at Tahquiz, rated 5.12c.

You list several climbers, such as Haan, etc., who started the 1970s free climbing revolution. I hope you were speaking of the YOSEMITE free climbing revolution, because there were remarkable climbers all over the country. Greg Lowe, for example, was leading 5.12 in Utah about the time 5.11 arrived in the Valley (or earlier). And guys such as Stannard in the East were remarkable masters. Gill, of course... Pete Cleveland... And Eldorado was well into high-level 5.11 from the later '60s on... The people you mention I agree were phenomenal champions, not a doubt about that, but it's only fair to keep things in good context.

What I like about you most, I think, Roger, is that you DO care, it seems, about history, whereas so many these days have no sense of their heritage. To some, nothing could matter less. I have met kids who don't even know the name Layton Kor... other than maybe having seen it in some guide. I think it's great to mention all the significant players, to praise them and remember them, but some of the comparisons and quibbling over numbers of firsts, or whatever, don't contribute much to our sense of the real greatness of these individuals. Bates would just be a name but for the beautiful sunlight that always radiated from those big eternal eyes, and the warmth that flowed from his constant smile. Same for Higgins, and of course Kamps, who were as influential as any... when it comes to almost any free climbing era anywhere in the vicinity of the golden age...

All the best,

Pat Ament
Wack

climber
Dazevue
Aug 15, 2008 - 09:36am PT
Barry resoled (great work) my Friction Loafers back when he was running the REI wall in Cupertino. Barry was a humble guy, easy going and friendly. The climbing was important to him not the fame. After a rain storm I found the left hold of the start to the "Bates Eliminator" laying on the ground, torn off by a chump who couldn't wait for things to dry out. I kept it, thinking to bolt/glue it back on but ultimately decided that's not what he would have done.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 15, 2008 - 10:49am PT
John Long captures exactly the intent of my post when he stated up-thread: “I was never so stoked as when I bagged the Bates Big Four: Vanishing Point, Five and Dive, Lunatic Fringe, and Independence Center (which is far harder than 5.10d). Those are all-time classics, as are Cream and Steppin' Out (Klemens).”

If you could climb Barry’s routes and Mark’s routes, you could take the next step in thin and wide cracks. They were fearsome, desperate affairs.

The only true, unadorned whimpering for me was on a Bates route. I watched my hexs rattle out below me and my hands ooze out above me—and the whimpering bits in between stuck in a special new kind of Purgatory where retrograde motion was allowed. As Jim has said many times: “I didn’t like cimbing with Barry; he was too strong.”

Getting up a Bates route was an end point for me. But, when new guys like John came to the Valley, the Bate’s and Klemens’ routes were not the standard to aspire to, they were the starting point. The aspirations lay much further up the scale.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 15, 2008 - 12:06pm PT
Roger said:
“But, when new guys like John came to the Valley, the Bate’s and Klemens’ routes were not the standard to aspire to, they were the starting point.”

Yes Roger, by the time I started working through the Yosemite standards, 1977, those routes were the entry point to hard climbing, the key stepping stones, and they formed the foundation of the “must do” classics. For those of us then intrigued by the popular goals (Klemen's routes somewhat less popular, with thin cracks being more accessible), the Bates routes in particular comprised, for various reasons well elucidated in your OP (and still do I imagine), a “What’s What”, rather than a "Who’s Who" within the Valley canon.

Already by the later 70s, notwithstanding general knowledge of things like the Bate’s problem, it was the route list more than the man that was celebrated; apparently, to some substantial degree, the climbs overshadowed the man.

Perhaps to have one’s deeds outshine any particular force of personality isn’t such a bad thing?
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Aug 15, 2008 - 12:46pm PT
Pat --

Roger began his original post with this: "Why are Barry Bates and Mark Klemens not on everyone’s short list of the most important Valley free climbers?"

I don't believe we need to interpret an explicitly regional discussion of landmark climbs and landmark climbers as any kind of a slight towards the visionaries of other areas, or even other historical periods.

Books such as Chris Jones' "Climbing In North America", and your own "Master Of Rock", have ensured many of us are keenly aware of the broad national scope in the March of Standards. Limits are certainly being pushed all over the world, all the time, by all sorts of people. And lord knows the slack is right in there with the other standard-setters of the time.

But, to underscore Roger's point in all this -- while your acheivements have been exhaustively documented by historians far and near, how much do we hear about Bates and Klemens?
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 15, 2008 - 01:28pm PT
Hey Kevin,

You raise a good point about extending the story into the late seventies. I don’t think I am qualified, but I can you tell you my thoughts. I have started a new thread so that any responses don’t detract from the purpose of this thread.

Sorting out late 70's Valley free climbing


scuffy b

climber
Elmertown
Aug 15, 2008 - 02:26pm PT
Oli, Roger is not trying to elevate Bates and Klemens to a
level higher than, say, Greg Lowe or Pete Cleveland or you.
The subject seems to be the importance of Bates and Klemens to
the explosion of free climbing in the early 70s IN YOSEMITE.

When I started climbing in Yosemite in 1972, do you think the
fact that Greg Lowe had climbed 5.12 in the 60s informed my
attitudes? Of course not. I'd never heard of him. Most people
climbing in the Valley at that time hadn't, and you've got to
remember that he was calling everything 5.9 or 5.10 anyway.
People might say "Utah 5.9 is super hard" or something like
that. Vanishing Point, Cream, Steppin Out, climbs like that are
what fired the imagination of young, new Valley climbers.

At this point, we all know that Robbins did hard free climbing
in Colorado in the 60s. Those accomplishments were simply not
part of our inspiration, in some part due to the fact that
very few people were aware of them.

Personally, I was more inspired by your freeing Rixon's Pinnacle
than by your freeing the Slack. I think that is because of the
timing. For aspiring Yosemite climbers of 1972-74, the climbs
established in 1970 and 1971 seemd more influential than ones
done in 1966 or 67. No value attached, that's just the way it
was.

Surely, you can't be trying to minimize the importance of Haan,
Bates and Klemens as influences for Valley climbers of
the early 70s, just for the sake of bringing up regional
rivalries.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Aug 15, 2008 - 02:34pm PT
Roger,

One other correction:

"Important free climbs include Chris Fredericks’ English Breakfast crack in 1966; ..."

This was not freed by Fredericks. It was freed later, by Bridwell. This has been posted elsewhere in this forum, but has not made it correctly into the guidebooks so far.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Aug 15, 2008 - 02:49pm PT
One thing to remember about the climbs Roger mentions - these are fantastic routes, absolutely stellar lines with classic climbing, not just off-the-cuff lines with a few super hard moves. That had a great influence on all the Stonemasters: to go after the big classic lines, the stuff that you would look at and imagine wonderful things.

If you want to just go on pure dificulty, as I've mentiond before, the hardest thing done back in the day was by none other than Bridwell - Abstract Corner (5.12b in my book).

Also, there were a lot of routes (like the center and right side of Absolutly Free, Twilight Zone, Doom, etc.) where a leader couldn't afford to fall, at all, and these represented other kinds of challenges beyond just pure difficulty.

JL

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 15, 2008 - 02:57pm PT
Hi Clint,

I am not sure that I would want to wade into that. Although I have heard things about this before, Jim is on record as ascribing that free route to Chris and I have not seen what you are referring to.

RB
scuffy b

climber
Elmertown
Aug 15, 2008 - 03:04pm PT
Kim told me, almost apologetically, that they had used aid
on English Breakfast (decades after the FA)
I don't think it was a secret, it just got into Roper's guide
without any FA/FFA discussion.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 21, 2008 - 11:38am PT
I certainly seem to be following Klemens around the Valley these days, the harder wide-circuit seems almost defined by his routes, take Cream for instance, you can't look at that without wanting to climb it.

And Bates' Five and Dime is sort of the final for 5.10d in the Valley, a very sought after climb.

But who will write this history?
Who will publish the follow on to Climbing in North America?

There is a lot more history out there, beyond the Valley, that needs to be captured that isn't anywhere written down yet.

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 21, 2008 - 11:49am PT
Ament's "A History of Free Climbing in America" does catalogue quite a broad spectrum of historical event and in chronological sequence. A must have really.

But to focus on Bates/Klemens forward, as a Yosemite specific retrospective, and done as a story... We'll see what the Stonemaster book does for us and then re-asess?

Perhaps Largo will establish those guys as the baseline, or rather as an essential segmental leaping-off point for Stonemaster era achievement.

It is hard to believe Ali-O was unaware of Bates, as she was well travelled by the end of the 70's.
Bldrjac

Ice climber
Boulder
Aug 21, 2008 - 12:16pm PT
Roger,

Thanks so much for bringing this topic up. Bates and Klemens wer the two "under-appreciated" climbers in C4 back in the 70s. Not that their peers or the climbers who struggled up their routes could not or did not appreciate their talents but many others just did not know them by their climbs. I did some climbing with Mark back then and it always seemed to me he just wanted to keep a low-profile, which was sort of in keeping with the general philosophy at the time. Let your deeds speak for themselves and don't spray. Barry was pretty much the same. I was in awe of him one day following him around like a wide-eyed groupie, trying to succeed on some of his C4 bouldering circuit problems. He was so f#%king good and smooth. Klemens just intuitively knew how to slide upwards, like mercury flowing skyward, on hard 5.11 wide cracks. My fondest memory of him though is when he took a rest day in C4 and just sat in a chair with his BB gun, shooting squirrels.
That was the only time I saw him smile or heard him chuckle!!!
Both of those guys left a huge impact on us mortals..........

Jack
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 21, 2008 - 12:42pm PT
From the Introduction to Yosemite Climbs
George Meyers and Don Reid
Chockstone Press
1987

CLIMBING HISTORY

The following history section, covering the years from 1870 to World War II, was written by Richard Leonard, David Brower and William Dunmire and appeared in Steve Roper's guide book A Climber's Guide to Yosemite Valley, published by the Sierra Club in 1971.

...Even in those prehistoric days before the discovery of the incomparable Valley, there were legendary rock climbing exploits. Such was the first descent to the base of the Lost Arrow. The Indian maiden Tee-hee-neh rappelled on lodgepole saplings joined together with deer thongs to recover the lifeless body of her lover, Kos-soo-kah. By means of thongs and the strong arms of the other members of the tribe, they were brought back to the rim of the Valley, where Tee-hee-neh perished in grief. This legend is reported by many different sources: Hutchings, in 1886, stated the height of the rappel to be 203 feet, a truly remarkable rock climbing achievement.

It was not until 1833 that the white man is known to have seen Yosemite Valley. From reports published long before the later and widely publicized discovery of the Valley, we learn that Joseph Redderford Walker and party came from the vicinity of Bridgeport, perhaps over Virginia Pass and along the divide between the Tuolumne and the Merced rivers, to the Valley rim. There they marveled at waterfalls over "lofty precipices... more than a mile high." The first rock climbing attempt by white man was soon stopped by difficulty, for "on making several attempts we found it utterly impossible for man to descend."

In 1851, however, Yosemite Valley was really made known to the world, when the Mariposa Battalion, organized by harassed settlers of the foothills, trailed Indians to their stronghold in Ahwahnee - "deep grass valley."

Yosemite soon became a source of attraction for tourists from all over the world. One of the earliest to arrive was James M. Hutchings, who first came to the Valley in 1855. Throughout the early history of the Valley he was interested in attempting to climb every point around the Valley.

John Muir first came to the Sierra in 1868. Through him more than any other man has the beauty of the region been made known to the entire world. His climbs in Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra, many of them the earliest of which we have knowledge, place him among the pioneers of California mountaineering. His Sunnyside Bench, east of the lip of Lower Yosemite Fall, is still one of the untrammeled beauty spots of the Valley. His early exploration of the Tenaya Canyon let to route finding in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. He made first ascents of Cathedral Peak and Mount Ritter, and was the first to traverse under the Lost Arrow along Fern Ledge, beneath the crashing power of the Upper Yosemite Fall.

In early October of 1864 Clarence King , assisted by Richard Cotter, fresh from a victory over Mount Tyndall, made the first serious topographical and geological reconnaissance of the Yosemite Valley. On this survey they climbed practically every summit on a circuit of the rim of the Valley. This circuit included only the easier points, such as El Capitan, Eagle Peak, Yosemite Point, North Dome, Basket Dome, Mount Watkins, Sentinel Dome, and the Cathedral Rocks. Any summits which were much beyond this standard of difficulty seemed to them completely beyond the range of human ability. In 1865 the California Geological Survey wrote concerning Half Dome, Mount Starr King and Mount Broderick, "Their summits are absolutely inaccessible."

Spurred by this challenge James M. Hutchings and two others made the first recored attempt on Half Dome in 1869, but were stopped at a saddle east of the Dome. After at least two intervening attempts the Scotch carpenter and trail builder, George G. Anderson, finally engineered his way to the top on October 12, 1875.

Inspired by the success on Half Dome, adventurous climbers turned their attention to Mount Starr King, the "extremely steep, bare, inaccessible cone of granite" referred to by Whitney in the Yosemite Guide Book. George B. Bayley and E. S. Schuyler made the ascent in August 1876, somewhat to the dismay of Anderson, Hutchings and J. B. Lambert, who, using a different route, a year later found the summit monuments built by the first party. Bayley was one of the most remarkable climbers of the time. In 1876 Muir recorded that "Mount Shasta, Whitney, Lyell, Dana, and the Obelisk (Mount Clark) already have felt his foot, and years ago he made desperate efforts to ascend the South Dome (Half Dome), eager for the first honors." Later he was distinguished by an early ascent of Cathedral Peak, and an ascent of Mount Rainier during which he was seriously injured by a fall into a crevasse, recovering only to be killed in a city elevator.

After the great ascents of the "inaccessible" summits of Yosemite, there was a period of quiet in the climbing history, for everything seemed to have been done. Hutchings had claimed the ascent of all Yosemite points, except Grizzly Peak and the Cathedral Spires, and a climber of another generation came forward in 1885 to make the ascent of Grizzly Peak. He was Charles A. Bailey, who later became an enthusiastic member of the Sierra Club, locating, climbing and naming Sierra Point for the Club.

Since it now appeared that all the major summits in the Yosemite region had been climbed, there was a long gap in the climbing history, broken only by the exploratory routes of a few outstanding climbers of the period. Those whose climbs are best known are S. L. Foster, Joseph N. LeConte, Charles and Earl Michael, William Kat and Ralph S. Griswold. Foster was best known for his canyoneering in the Merced and Tenaya canyons beginning in 1909. LeConte has been remembered through the description of his ascent of the gully on Grizzly Peak, which permits a route to the Diving Board on Half Dome. He also wrote of several other "scrambles about Yosemite" of nearly three decades ago. It has been said of the Michaels that they climbed everything that did not require pitons. The same description might apply to Kat and Griswold. All have been so modest that it is possible we may never know the true history of the interesting routes which they had pioneered.

Again it seemed that nothing more could be done. However, in the early thirties, a new phase of rock climbing was growing, based on the development of modern technique in Europe, in the summer of 1931. Robert L. M. Underhill, the leading American exponent of the use and management of the rope in rock work, interested Californians in this phase of climbing. It has been mentioned that some very remarkable climbing was done without the knowledge of this safety technique; but the early climber who have discussed the matter agree that their climbing frequently involved unjustifiable hazard. Moreover, it was clear to them that they could not attempt routes of very high angle and small holds. Thus the introduction of a new type of climbing, combined with the protection of pitoncraft, again opened a new field.

It was not until September 2, 1933 that the first rock climbing section of the Sierra Club felt competent to make organized attempts upon the spectacular unclimbed faces and spires of Yosemite. Although as long ago as 1886 Hutchings, in reporting the relatively easy ascent of Grizzly Peak, claimed that the last "unclimbed summit" of Yosemite had been ascended, nevertheless the Cathedral Spires, the Church Tower, the Arrowhead, Split Pinnacle, Pulpit Rock, Watkins Pinnacles and the Lost Arrow still stood forth without even an attempt ever having been recorded against them. In addition to these summits there was a field, practically unexplored, of route finding on faces, arętes, gullies and chimneys. Among these may be mentioned Washington Column, Royal Arches, Panorama Cliff, Glacier Point, Yosemite Point Couloir, Cathedral Chimney and the aręte of the Lower Brother. Ropes, pitons and trained experience in their use were the keys to these ascents, which were later to become so popular. Climbers, profiting by the achievements of their predecessors, added still more ascents to the growing list of Yosemite routes...

The following section, covering the years from 1941 to Chuck Pratt's climb of the Crack of Doom in 1961, was written by Steve Roper and appeared in his 1971 book. The remainder of the history section, covering the years from 1962 to the present, was compiled by George Meyers.

During the eight years between the 1933 trip and the entry of this country in World War II, about forty first ascents were made. The most active climbers of this period were Kenneth Adam, David Brower, Jules Eichorn, Morgan Harris, Richard Leonard, L. Burce Meyer and Hervey Voge. Brower made eighteen first ascents, twelve of them with Harris. Perhaps the most continually popular routes of this era were the regular routes on both the Cathedral Spires, and the Royal Arches Route.

During World War II there was a climbing hiatus, but when the war ended a new generation of climbers quickly appeared. Few of the climbers active in the 1930's were to establish new routes in the post-war era. In 1945, a Swiss blacksmith named John Salathe came to Yosemite to hike, climb and live with nature. He became a vegetarian as a result of a fleeting conversation with "angels" - these same apparitions later pointed out to him three great Valley routes: the Lost Arrow, the southwest face of Half Dome and the north face of Sentinel Rock. All had been attempted in the 1930's and all were considered great prizes. Two factors allowed Salathe to become a legendary climber: his determination and his development of the world's finest pitons. It had long been known and accepted that traditional soft iron pitons couldn't be forced into bad cracks, they would buckle and bend. Employing the skills of his life work, Salathe was able to fashion extremely stiff and durable pitons from Model A Ford axles. Using such iron, he was able to climb, with Anton Nelson, the southwest face of Half Dome without bolts. It is safe to guess that many bolts would have been necessary had conventional pitons been used. Thus, it can be seen that the invention of hardened steel alloy pitons opened up an almost limitless number of first ascent possibilities. Other climbers were not quick to accept the new pitons and the corresponding new standards; Salathe was the great pioneer of the late 1940's. His solo escapades on the Lost Arrow will be remembered far longer than the first "ascent," members of which threw ropes over the summit and prusiked. His notable five-day ascent of the Lost Arrow Chimney, also climbed with Nelson, was the first Grade V climb done in the country.

Although Salathe was the finest aid man of his day, he was not known as a good free climber. He often remarked, "Enough of this hiking, let us get on to the climbing," the hiking referring to free climbing. And yet, at times, he was bold on free climbing; a climb called the Hand, in Pinnacles National Monument, was led by Salathe, using four pitons for protection. Although only 5.6 in difficulty, the Hand is fearsomely exposed and the route is devious. Bolds have now replaced his pitons and it is impossible to see how he managed to place them. One assumes that they were used to reassure the belayer, who was out of sight around a corner.

After climbing Sentienl in 1950, Salathe began to fade from the scene; he had done his three climbs, there were marital problems and he was over fifty years old. He soon left for his native land. Returning to America in 1962, he occasionally visited the Valley, where he would be surrounded by idolators. Surreptitious tape recordings and photographs were made as John Salathe sat oblivious, cooking the grasses from a nearby meadow. A healthy glow was ever-present in his blue eyes; he could chastise Allen Steck, his climbing partner on Sentinel; "You see, Al, if only you had eaten as I did you would have felt better on the wall." Then Allen would say, "You know John, they have done our route in three hours now." And the serene reply, "But not the same route, Al - they could not do our routes that fast. Oh, now that the bolts are in, perhaps... three days?" Then he would shake his head.

Steck was the leader of the post-Salathe generation; in a period of three years he climbed not only Sentinel's north face, but also two of the classic buttress routes in the Valley: Yosemite Point Buttress and the East Buttress of El Capitan.

Most of the noteworthy climbers in Yosemite from 1933 to 1955 came from the San Francisco area. Los Angeles, the other great population center of California, developed good climbers during that period, but their efforts were largely confined to a local cliff, Tahquitz Rock. An exception was the venerable Chuck Wilts, who had vied with Salathe for the price of the Lost Arrow Chimney. Wilts and his wife, Ellen, made the first ascent of Rixon's Pinnacle, at that time one of the hardest short routes.

In 1954 a pudgy beginner named Mark Powell was taken up the Lower Cathedral Spire, and of the resulting fiasco his partner could only say, "That fellow Powell just doesn't have it." But he did, and the mid-1950's can only be thought of the Powell Era. With climbing partners of the caliber of Wally Reed, Bill Feuerer and Warren Harding, Powell established nineteen new routes. In one active ten-month period, he put up ten routes, including such classics as the Arrowhead Arete, the South Face of North Dome, and the Powell-Reed Route on Middle Cathedral Rock. A serious ankle injury in September 1957 put an abrupt end to his productive efforts. Of Powell's three main climbing partners, all went on to achieve various degrees of notoriety. Reed was without question the most unheralded climber ever to come out of the Valley; few knew of his amazing control on 5.9 routes. In the early 60's, before he "retired" to go back to school, he made many first ascents. Feuerer became known as the "Dolt" for some of his infamous blunders, and in the 60's he began making beautiful and ultra-expensive climbing equipment. While Reed and Dolt went on to other activities, Harding was just beginning to make a name for himself.

He started climbing in 1952 and was a weak member of a Grand Teton ascent, causing someone to remark on his lack of endurance. This could well be an apocryphal story, for Harding became known as the iron man of Yosemite climbing, the man who could drill bolt holes all night. His perseverance on the Nose of El Capitan is well-known by now; the first El Cap is his testimonial to his drive and vision. Pleased by his success, he turned to other intimidating walls, overcoming with bolts and siege tactics cliffs which no one had yet dreamed possible. It has been suggested that Harding was ahead of his time, that his 110-bolt ascent of the Leaning Tower would certainly be done someday, so why not in 1961. However, at the time, Harding was criticized for an apparent predilection for security. (Perhaps the question is reopened by the 1986 27-bolt ascent of a line that parallels the Harding route.) His 1970 ascent of the Wall of the Early Morning Light strained most climbers' perception of the justifiable use of bolts, and in the years that followed, Harding only occasionally climbed in the Valley, establishing a few routes up obscure and somewhat ugly walls.

Before Powell and Harding even began climbing, Royal Robbins was putting up America's first 5.9 climbs on Tahquitz Rock. During the 1950's he made few trips to the Valley, but among his early accomplishments were the second and third ascents of the north face of Sentinel and the fourth ascent of the Arrow Chimney. Of his three first ascents in the fifties, the major one was the first Grade VI in the country: the great face of Half Dome, climbed in 1957 with Jerry Galwas and Mike Sherrick. Five days were spent on the wall. During his 1958-59 incarceration in the Army, Robbins heard stories of what was going on in the Valley: Powell had just put up his great routes and a young Bay Area upstart, Chuck Pratt, was responsible for some of the best climbs of 1958 and 1959.

Pratt had immediately shown a great interest in free climbing and seemed to possess a supernatural ability. An early free lead on Phantom Pinnacle and a great crack lead midway up the north face of Middle Cathedral Rock were among his climbs. As the productive decade of the 60's dawned, Pratt and Robbins, totally committed to climbing, were the dominant figures. These two, accompanied by Tom Frost and Joe Fitschen, made the second ascent of the Nose in six and a half days. This convinced them that even the greatest Valley walls were possible without fixing ropes from bottom to top. Robbins made first ascents of seven Grade VI's in a three-year period. Pratt, meanwhile, was quietly climbing big walls and leading the most difficult crack climbs yet established; his Crack of Doom, climbed in 1961, was for many years the hardest crack climb in the Valley. Later, his strenuous and difficult-to-protect Twilight Zone left a route still well respected.
In this same period, attention turned to the monolithic El Capitan. The year 1961 saw Robbins, Pratt and Frost put together a circuitous route up the broad southwest face of El Capitan that required only 13 bolts and had much free climbing. The Salathe Wall was as much an effort to reduce the number of bolts need to climb El Cap (the Nose had required 125) as it was a progression toward less reliance on fixed ropes. With El Cap's first route behind them, Robbins and company started to look at the style in which the next routes would be established.

The next major route on El Cap, the 1962 ascent of the Dihedral Wall, by Ed Cooper, Jim Baldwin and Glenn Denny, was novel in two ways: it involved individuals from the periphery of the regular Yosemite community; it also seemed somewhat retrograde of the stylistic standards that Robbins had adopted on the Salathe. Fixed ropes were used to 1, 900 feet and about 100 bolts were placed. Other walls were climbed on El Cap and elsewhere in the Valley over the next few years. The development of aid climbing during the early 60's was in large part due to the efforts and energies of Robbins, who climbed most of the major rock formations. His 1963 solo ascent of the Harding route on the Leaning Tower was the first solo ascent of a major Yosemite wall. The culmination of the aid techniques of this period was the 1964 ascent of the North American Wall, the first route to venture onto the compact, steep, and "unretreatable" southeast face of El Cap. Four of the strongest climbers Yosemite had trained, Robbins, Frost, Pratt and Yvon Chouinard, teamed up to create what was clearly the hardest wall climber ever done anywhere. From sieged, fixed rope routes, on to semi-fixed, to reconnoitered (as was the NA Wall, climbed previously by Frost and Robbins to half height), the natural progression of wall development was for a two-man team to manage a big new route on their own. Chouinard and TM Herbert accomplished this in 1965. Robbins culminated his Yosemite career three years later by making the second ascent of the Muir Wall, the first time El Cap was soloed.

The 60's saw the first of the climbing bums, when the hard-core activist had left the lifestyles of the "outer world" largely behind them for a total commitment to the pursuit of climbing cliffs. Perhaps ten to twenty climbers were in full-season residence during the early 60's. This number was to double by the middle of the decade, and by 1970 perhaps double again.

The walls were not the sole magnet for young climbers of the 60's. Soon after Chuck Pratt plied the shorter cracks in search of difficult testpieces. Frank Sacherer arrived on the scene and used a driven approach in his free climbing to consolidate the standards that Pratt had earlier established. In a period of two years, 1964-65, he put up many free climbs and succeeded in eliminating aid from many of the older aid routes. These included such fifties classics as the East Buttresses of El Capitan and Middle Cathedral Rock, the Lost Arrow Chimney, and the Direct North Buttress of Middle. His remarkable shorter efforts included dispensing with aid on the Dihardral, Bridalveil East, and the right side of the Hourglass. These later routes pushed the free climbing standards up a notch to around 5.10c. Other climbers were also active during this period: Ken Boche, Yvon Chouniard, Glenn Denny, TM Herbert, Bob Kamps, Layton Kor, Jim Madsen, Steve Roper, Galen Rowell, and Kim Schmitz. Sacherer left the Valley scene in 1966 to pursue a physics career (though he died in the Alps in the late 70's) and it was left to Pratt, Chris Fredericks, and particulary to newcomer Jim Bridwell to lead the way to higher free climbing standards.

Bridwell first climbed in the Valley in 1962, and after some tutelage under the likes of Pratt, Layton Kor, and Sacherer, he started to repeat many of the harder wall climbs of the Robbins era, including (sometimes last known) ascents of walls such as Arches Direct, East Face of Higher Cathedral Rock and the Direct Northwest Face of Half Dome. Bridwell, together with Kim Schmitz and Jim Madsen, among others, represented the new generation of wall climbers. These wall climbers of the late 60's, while somewhat slow to establish new wall routes, made quick ascents of the existing ones.

Since the thirties, when the routes followed major chimney and crack systems, new routes had followed progressively thinner crack systems. In the 70's this trend saw routes that included long successive pitches of knifeblades and rurps, and the free climbing of finger cracks, something unheard of in the 60's.

While A5 was introduced by Robbins in the 60's, using pitons and rurps, oftentimes in piton stacks (perhaps most notoriously on the 10-hour A5 pitch on Arches Direct), the years following the consolidation of the late 60's saw A5 expressed by more and more technical means. Routes impossible using 60's technology were later climbed using mashable copperheads (and tiny aluminum heads) and an impressive array of skyhooks. The technology of the 60's aid climbing was also used more often and in a more sustained fashion. The use of rurps saw new light with Charlie Porter's ascent of the Shield in 1972, where he placed 35 in a row. Porter, a former auto mechanic and metallurgist, was the most notable of a new imaginative generation of aid climbers. In addition to his many El Cap routes, Porter produced slider nuts (refined from Bridwell's designs of 1965) and camming nuts that foresaw the future e in free climbing protection. After the introduction of Friends in 1978, the previously scary nemesis of the wall climber, expanding flakes, became slightly less scary, and some routes on Hlaf Dome in particular, saw ascents that had intimidated earlier generations of climbers.

The huge area of El Cap to the right of the North American Wall, referred to by Robbins at one point as "rotten," was opened up in the early 70's. This was done first, ironically, by Robbins himself, in an unsuccessful bid for the first solo first ascent of an El Cap route, and most significantly, by Charlie Porter. In quick succession Porter climbed the Zodiac and Tangerine Trip, now seen as some of the best aid climbing on the cliff, and certainly among the steepest.

While Porter opened many eyes to the possibilities of expanded hard aid, connecting the thinnest of flake systems to create routes up inobvious walls, it was Jim Bridwell who leaped upon the idea with characteristic energy. First he pushed a major new route up the wall to the left of the North American Wall, the Pacific Ocean Wall, with Coloradan Billy Westbay in 1975, and then over the years progressively harder and more tenuous lines: Sea of Dreams, Bushido, and Zenyatta Mondatta. One technique that was first seen with the Bridwell routes was the use of a chisel to clean loose rock from small slots in which to mash copperheads. (Later climbers have expanded this chisel use to the plain manufacture of copperhead slots in blank corners.) Also, Bridwell borrowed from Kim Schmitz and Jim Madsen the timesaving use of dowels, and from Harding, drilled hook placements.

Much of the relatively slow pace at which El Cap routes were being established was due to the plainly formidable appearance of such a huge cliff. But the aura of intimidation that surrounded the big aid routes was shaken when outsiders Chuck Kroger and Scott Davis drove into the Valley and up to El Cap in 1970, and without fanfare, established the Heart Route in impeccable style. El Cap's image suffered considerably further when Steve Sutton and Hugh Burton, teenagers from Squamish Cliff, came to the Valley in 1972 and climbed a good new route on the cliff, capping their accomplishment with a bit of irreverence by naming it the Magic Mushroom, as much a defiance of the self-serious attitudes of the Robbins era as it was a celebration of the drugs they quaffed enroute.

Others were active in establishing big aid routes. During the 70's Nose veteran and crag rat Warren Harding was occasionally active on the walls, climbing big, steep, obscure and often blank routes that have not seen second ascents and that are now largely ignored. Most notable was his ascent of the Wall of the Early Morning Light with Dean Caldwell in 1970, a route that stirred such controversy (because of the 300 holes drilled) that Robbins felt compelled to chop the route. Impressed with the standard of the climbing, he abandoned his bolt removal efforts about halfway up the route. Rick Sylvester, most known for his ski/parachute leaps off El Cap, was one of the first of the 70's residents to establish a new route up El Cap - The Heart Woute - and he furthered his reputation for weird boldness by establishing a route up the path if Upper Yosemite Fall, climbing with Bugs McKeith during a period when the fall had temporarily dried up. In the decade of the 70's the number of El Cap routes alone rose from ten to 38, primarily due to the efforts of Dale Bard, Hugh Burton, Mark Chapman, Bruce Hawkins, Ron Kauk, Bill Price, Steve Sutton and others, who, partnered with Porter, Bridwell or among themselves, established numerous routes on El Cap and Half Dome. The El Cap route tally now stands at 60; the first six years of the 80's has seen activity by John Barbella, Charles Cole, Jay Smith, Mike Corbett, Steve Grossman, Steve Schneider and others including old hand Jim Bridwell. Corbett, incidentally, notably holds a record 30 trips up El Cap, via 24 different routes. Unfortunately, the Harding Dawn Wall debate over justifiable bolting reemerged wit the ascent of Wings of Steel where close to 145 drilled holes were placed over 1,200 feet. In the 70's, foreign ascents of classic El Cap routes became commonplace, even exceptional (the second ascent of the difficult Pacific Ocean Wall was done by Australians). By the 80's four new routes were established on El Cap by foreigners, two by the Spanish Gallegos brothers, and two that included Australian Greg Child.

Since Royal Robbins first soloed El Cap in 1968, perhaps half of the El Cap routes have seen solo ascents. Jim Dunn was the first to solo a new route, Cosmos, in 1972. Later that year, Charlie Porter soloed two new routes. In the last ten years another four solo routes have been established.

While the walls were being assailed and as the available store of big, blank rock in need of a route was running out, free climbing underwent the same development of standards seen elsewhere in the country during the period. With the move toward thinner crack systems that accompanied the search for virgin territory, standards were forced to rise. The tentative acceptance of gym chalk, tincture of benzoin, and protection nuts helped crystallize the common perception that rock climbing was not as much in search of a summit as it was a gymnastic activity. In the early 70's in the "granite gymnasium," this attitude presented hundreds of opportunities. Supple, smooth-soled shoes allowed better use of thin cracks, and their superior smearing capabilities were a boon to the developing face climbs. But development of nut protection probably did more for the rise in free climbing standards than any other technological advance. With nuts, and particularly nuts that would work in Yosemite's parallel sided cracks, protection could be placed quickly, non-violently, and with one hand. At first, the use of nuts and the climbing of First All-Nut Ascents, was an event in itself, with a "Nutbook" recording all these events; practically all the classic walls of the 60's received first (and sometimes last) all nut ascents. The climbs on the Nuts Only Wall date from this period. The development of more sophisticated crack protection has paralleled the increasing standards of the sport. Ray Jardine's Friends, introduced in 1978, were matched perhaps in their impact on the climbing scene only by the Chouinard stoppers of 1972 and Polycentrics a couple years later. The 1980's see many alternative devices for use in parallel-sided cracks of Yosemite.

Coincidental to the late 60's and early 70's development of the 5.10 standard was the change from the clunky klitterschuhe to the supple E.B. For the next dozen years this shoe was standard footware for all Yosemite free climbing. The development in the last five years of newer "sticky rubber" climbing shoes has had perhaps the biggest effect on the Valley's face climbs. Some Apron routes are significantly easier with the new shoes, perhaps an improvement equal to the break made in about 1970 from edging the apron climbs to frictioning them.

Jim Bridwell was by the 1970 the moving force on the free-climbing scene. While he had always demonstrated an extraordinary ability during his apprenticeship under Pratt and Sacherer in the 60's, by 1970 he had moved out on his own, cleaning massive amounts of dirt and vegetation from routes that have since become classic, including Gripper, New Dimensions, Butterfingers and Outer Limits. Other climbers got into the act and pushed the standards, most notably Barry Bates on Lunatic Fringe, Center of Independence, Vanishing Point and Five and Dime, and Rik Rieder on Paradise Lost, Chain Reaction and A Mother's Lament. Bridwell's partner on many of his early 70's free climbs was Mark Klemens, whose talent for offwidth cracks led to Steppin' Out, Cream and ultimately Basket Case. Peter Haan combined technical difficulty with bold climbing when he free climbed the Left Side of the Hourglass, a route well respected even today. Under the wing of Bridwell, younger aspiring climbers were encouraged to push themselves up harder and harder routes. One of the earliest and most talented partners Bridwell brought out was Mark Chapman, who lead his way up some of the hardest climbs of the early 70's, including Hotline, the coveted first ascent of the Nabisco Wall, and the freeing of La Escuela, the first Yosemite climb with two 5.11 pitches. Bridwell's "Brave New World," as he titled a 1973 article, involved climbers beyond just the resident Yosemite community. Easterner Steve Wunsch was active over many years on routes such as Orangutan Arches, and with Barry Bates, on New Dimensions. The visit by Henry Barber in 1973 shook up the somewhat tight-knit Yosemite community with his firey ascent of Butterballs (creating Yosemite's hardest testpiece), an unroped and rapid climb of the Steck-Salathe, and his energetic stacking of such classics as New Dimensions, Nabisco Wall, and Midterm into a single day. Jim Donini pushed standards to a new high in 1974 with his multi-fall effort on Overhang Overpass, a route made all the more remarkable considering the parallel-sided crack and the crude nuts of the day. Barber returned in 1975 to produce a new standard with the Fish Crack, a route difficult to protect even today, and still well respected at 5.12b. More frequently, visitors to the Valley were climbing well enough to contribute routes of a good standard. England's Pete Livesey was particularly active, with first free ascents of Crack-a-Go-Go, in 1974 and Moratorium, in 1975.

By 1974 Bridwell presided loosely over a spontaneous group of young California climbers. Known as the Stonemasters, this group was the mainspring behind much of the incredible new route activity that followed over the next five years. Amid the talents of John Bachar, Dale Bard, Mark Chapman, Mike Graham, Ron Kauk, John Long, Tobin Sorensen, Kevin Worrall, John Yablonski, and others, Bridwell was no longer the top dog; he went from the sharp end of the rope to a role of director, but as such was instrumental in the establishment of some of the best routes of the time: Hot Line, the right side of the Folly, Geek Towers, and Crucifix. Even Bridwell's ten-year experience with the changing scene did not prepare him for the speed with which new routes were evolving. After the first ascent of Hot Line in 1973, Bridwell predicted with some force that the 15 feet of aid would last at least ten years; two years later Ron Kauk and John Bachar climbed the route totally free as one of the first 5.12 routes. The Stonemasters did much throughout the mid 1970's to solidify the 5.11 grade and to develop what are now hailed as classic routes. Ron Kauk emerged as perhaps the dominant figure on the free-climbing scene for the next ten years; his flash ascent of Butterballs and climbs like Blind Faith and Kauk-ulator solidified hard climbing in an uncomplicated style. While not climbing at the extreme level of Kauk or Bachar, Chapman and Kevin Worrall unearthed a host of obscure yet classic routes, including Windfall and Beggar's Buttress. Many others were also active up through the mid-70's: Vern Cleavenger, Chris Falkenstein, Ed Barry, Werner Braun and Rick Sylvester.

In 1976 and 1977 Ray Jardine made quite an impact on the free-climbing scene, though with controversial methods. Unlike the style that had evolved with most other climbers in Yosemite, where the falling leader would lower (yo-yo) to the last no-hands rest between attempts, Jardine would openly rest on protection to work out the moves. He distinguished between a "flash" ascent (climbing on sight from the bottom to top without resort to any form of aid - either resting or falling on protection) and a "free" ascent (where the climb was lead from the bottom to top - albeit after much rehearsal- without falls or resting on protection). He searched out extreme problems to work on, and over the course of many days he would get in shape, rest on protection, and get a little bit higher each time. Eventually, he would be able to lead the climb from bottom to top without resorting to a rest - his "free" ascent. Throughout this time Jardine was fortunate to have many Friends along - the world's supply of these protection devices was solely and secretly his - and they were of immeasurable help on his characteristically long endurance problems. In fact, on Elephant's Eliminate, the flared crack was unprotectable without the devices. Jardine's most difficult routes, Hangdog Flyer, Crimson Cringe, Rostrum Roof, Elephant's Eliminate, and Phoenix were among the hardest routes done at the time. Phoenix, climbed in 1977 at 5.13, remains one of the hardest Yosemite testpieces. As belayer for many of Jardine's efforts, John Lakey got in a good bit of climbing on these extreme routes himself, and in a curious twist of fate, was the first to manage the 5.12 Owl Roof when the team gave that longstanding problem a try in 1977. Jardine's style of climbing on these routes was perhaps not as close to his "flash" ideal as other leading climbers might have done (John Bachar flashed the second ascent of the Cringe, without Friends, soon after the first ascent), but it can be said that he simply altered in degree the means by which many of the most difficult ascents of the last 15 years were done, the main difference was his wiring of the moves by continuing to climb after resting on protection, in preparation for the final "free" ascent. It should be noted that during the period of these difficult ascents Jardine was prolifically making excellent new routes of a lower standard - "flashed," or at least climbed with only minimal compromising of that standard - throughout the Valley, from the base of Washington Column, the Ribbon Falls amphitheatre, to Elephant's Rock. After the remarkable free ascent with Bill Price up the West Face of El Cap in 1979, he turned his attention to free climbing the Nose, and through misguided and inexcusable action chiseled face holds in several spots to enable him to climb to Camp Four. It was later apparent that some "hold hacking" had been done on some of his earlier routes.

Other climbers were active at pushing the 5.12 standard with more conventional tactics. As mentioned elsewhere, Henry Barber was the first to introduce 5.12 to the Valley, in 1975. Ron Kauk climbed the intimidating Tales of Power in 1977, the dramatic Separate Reality in 1978, as well as more recent contributions, such as Back to the Future, in 1986. Many other climbers were active at the top levels, including John Bachar, Dale Bard, Bill Price and Tony Yaniro. By 1980 Price had established a solid 5.13 with Cosmic Debris. During the last five years many of world's best climbers have come through Yosemite, but most active establishing high-standard routes have been Dmitri Barton, Werner Braun, Rick Cashner, Scott Cosgrove, Peter Croft, Ron Kauk, Steve Schneider and Jonny Woodward. Unquestionably it has been left to local John Bachar to push the standards on the free climbing scene. Bachar has sought to counter the extreme hangdogging that has characterized much of the hardest climbing elsewhere (styles further removed from Jardine's old "flash" ascents than Jardine's himself!) by establishing difficult routes in unpreviewed fashion and doing bold routes that do not allow compromises of style. The Believer, at 5.12, steep and runout, is characteristic of his best routes. The 5.13 Phantom, climbed in 1986, is as much a testpiece because of its move difficulty as the traditional style in which it was first ascended.

Many others have been prolifically establishing quality routes over the last five years, including Ken Ariza, Scott Burke, Dave Hatchett, Grant Hiskes, Bruce Morris, Don Reid, Walt Shipley, Dave Schultz, Kurt Smith.

Third classing of difficult routes is a theme that has accompanied the history of Yosemite climbing. Since the late 60's, when Royal Robbins showcased his boldness with solo ascents of contemporary testpieces such as Reed's Direct, various climbers have occasionally sought out difficult routes to free solo. Mark Klemens first soloed the Left Side of Reed's; Peter Haan followed with Crack of Despair. Henry Barber's on-sight solo of the Steck-Salathe in 1973 clearly set a new standard in unroped climbing. This was followed by Earl Wiggins up the two pitches of Outer Limits in1974, and probably the boldest solo of the 1970's Charlie Fowler, in a remarkable on-sight solo of a circuitous route, the Direct North Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock in 1974. John Bachar climbed the familiar but 5.11 New Dimensions in 1976, and later that year cruised up more familiar territory on the Nabisco Wall via Butterballs. In 1980, Bachar made the hardest climb in Yosemite yet soloed on sight, the 5.11b Moratorium. Peter Croft has been active, soloing many of the 60's classics in remarkable bursts of energy; on a more ambitious day he soloed the North Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock, the Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock, Steck-Salathe, Royal Arches, North Dome, and Arrowhead Arete. In 1986, German Wolfgang Gullich free soloed Separate Reality. In the 80's, many of the classic 5.10 testpieces of 15 to 20 years ago serve as training ground for Valley regulars and as medium for gaining a lot of ground fast, as if doing laps in a pool.

Another recurrent theme that has expressed itself sporadically throughout the last 20 years of Yosemite climbing has centered around speed ascents of the big walls. Eric Beck and Frank Sacherer stunned the 1965 Yosemite community with their one-day climb of the West Face of Sentinel, the first time a Grade VI had seen a one-day ascent, and this without Jumars. This was followed a year later when Steve Roper and Jeff Fott climbed the Northwest Face of Half Dome in a day. Since the late 60's, when Kim Schmitz and Jim Madsen were halving the standard times on the classic 60's walls, climbing the Nose in a day had been an unspoken goal: Bridwell teamed up with John Long and Billy Westbay in 1975 to do just that. Since then many of the walls have seen very quick ascents, culminating in an extraordinary day in 1986 when John Bachar and Peter Croft climbed both the Nose and the Northwest Face of Half Dome in 18 hours and 3 minutes.

The mid-70's saw a concentrated effort to reduce or eliminate aid from the big walls. The super-clean East Face of Washington Column was a natural target of free-climbing efforts. While it saw several attempts by 1974, the route went totally free to John Long, Ron Kauk, and John Bachar in 1975. A year later Kauk returned, leading all the pitches in a no-falls ascent, a feat repeated by Bachar a short time later. Astro Man, as the line was renamed, provided the most sustained free climb yet produced in Yosemite, and even today remains as one of the very best free climbs in the world. While the beauty of Astro Man directed many to the resource of big aid routes that lined the Valley, it was clear that free climbing on the walls demanded an incredible energy: Astro Man had produced twice as many hard pitches as any other route at the time.

While free climbers had attacked various parts of the Nose of El Cap over the years (Jim Bridwell and Jim Stanton had freed the Stovelegs as early as 1968, leaving a climb popular in itself for a few years), it was ripe in 1975 for a team to climb the route with free climbing as a primary objective. John Bachar, Ron Kauk and Dale Bard succeeded in freeing all but 400 feet of the 3,000 foot wall. In efforts ranging over a period of several years, Coloradans Jim Erickson and Art Higbee finally free climbed the classic Northwest Face of Half Dome in 1976.

By 1979, with free climbing being the preferred mode of ascent throughout the continent (Colorado's walls were falling fast to the free climbers), El Cap finally saw a totally free ascent with Bill Price and Ray Jardine's climb of the West Face. This was particularly remarkable in that the free route turned out to be surprisingly moderate compared to the standard of the time.

The North Face of the Rostrum saw much development and several free routes. John Long and various partners freed the classic Chouinard-Herbert route up Sentinel Rock, and John Bachar and Mike Lechlinski free climbed all but six aid moves of the West Face. Max Jones and Mark Hudson were particularly active by the late 70's; the pair completely freed the classic North Face Route on East Quarter Dome, at 5.12, producing Pegasus, and soon after freed all but seven aid moves on the South Face of Mt. Watkins, also at 5.12.

Similar to the Nose as an attractive free prospect, much of the remaining aid on the Salathe Wall had been eliminated over the years, starting with a free connection from the first pitch of the Nose to the Salathe's Half Dollar by Kevin Worrall and Mike Graham, during which Graham showed some audacity and created a controversy by chopping the original Robbins bolt ladder. Later, John Long freed the third-pitch roof and with a gang Stonemaster effort the route was freed to Mammoth Terrace creating the Free Blast. Five years later Max Jones and Mark Hudon continued the theme higher on the wall and except for the Hollow Flake pendulum, pushed the route free all the way to two pitches above El Cap Spire. The trend to free climb on the walls continued with the 1982 free ascent (aside from a short bolt ladder) of the Gold Wall going to Rick Cashner and Werner Braun (the free variation renamed Silent Line), and in 1986 the freeing by Braun and Scott Cosgrove of the Ribbon Falls West Portal and the Northeast Corner of Higher Cathedral Rock.

As the free-climbing revolution developed in the 70's, it became clearer that the potential for difficult new routes was not limited to crack climbs. With some minor exceptions (the Snake Dike and Peanut, among others), face and slab climbing had traditionally been the domain of Glacier Point Apron, where since the 1960's bolts had been placed to protect the wandering slab climbing. The 70's saw incredible development on the Apron, in large part due to the advent of friction shoes. The main participants in the early 70's included Mike Breidenbach, Vern Cleavenger, Tom Harrison, and Rik Reider (who with Rabb Carrington produced in 1972 the most difficult and serious face route for the next seven or eight years - A Mother's Lament). By the late 70's, Bruce Morris and Chris Cantwell were attacking the right side of the Apron, producing many short but worthwhile routes. Unfortunately, many of the leading aficionados of Apron climbing have elected a boldless use of the bolt. In search of another route to the top of Glacier Point, in 1980 Cantwell, Morris, Scott Burke and Dave Austin completed work on a line that accomplished just that. Called the Hall of Mirrors, it involved several bolt ladders that have doubtfully been as free as reported. The 1980's have seen further route development, but with the introduction of the new high-friction shoes, any routes of significance in the future must show far greater boldness.

While face climbing has always been a means to reaching otherwise inaccessible crack routes, the early 70's saw a burgeoning interest in face routes, somewhat a result of so many local climbers with active pasts at Tahquitz and Suicide Rocks, in Southern California. Routes up the slabs of the Royal Arches, while tentatively explored as early as 1958, with the freeing of Arches Terrace, were climbed seriously in 1973 with Shakey Flakes, followed the next year with Greasy But Groovy, by Tahquitz veterans John Long, Rick Accomazzo and Richard Harrison. Other routes have been added subsequently, most notably Friday the 13th, a serious route put up in 1985 by Dmitri Barton and Scott Burke. The early 70's face revolution was fueled in large part by the legacy Frank Sacherer left with his 1960's climbs on the incredibly free climbable Cathedral Rocks: East Buttress, DNB and Sacherer-Fredricks. Ray Jardine and Rik Reider were among the first to see the possibilities with their 1972 route, Paradise Lost. They were followed quickly by a small group that included John Long, George Meyers and Kevin Worrall, who were primarily responsible for major face routes that often had a seriousness not found on the hand crack climbs. Stoner's Highway, Black Primo, Quicksilver, and the freeing of the Bircheff-Williams were products of this time. Ron Kauk and Kevin Worrall teamed up in 1977 to create the excellent and serious Space Babble. The 18-pitch Mother Earth, climbed in 1976, showed the possible quality and length of Middle Rock free climbing, a potential that was realized again in 1984 with the Smith-Crawford. In 1976 enthusiasm for the steep face poured over onto Lower Cathedral Rock, where Richard Harrison, Rick Accomazzo, and John Yablonski established serious routes that ten years later have yet to see second ascents.

Face climbing is found throughout the Valley, and the last ten years have seen short testpieces show up on practically every cliff. Scott Burke, Bruce Morris, Steve Schneider, and others have been active in establishing good face routes. North Dome and, particularly, Half Dome have rewarded many face climbers of the last few years with excellent routes that are long, clean and difficult. Several routes have been done on the face near the classic 1965 Snake Dike. Most impressive is the 12-pitch Autobahn, done by Charles Cole, Rusty Reno and John Middendorf in 1985, and next to it, the Fast Lane. But the most striking of the 1980's face lines is Karma, a 13-pitch route that weaves a difficult course up the broad south face of Half Dome to the right of the Harding/Rowell aid line. First climbed in 1986 by Dave Schultz, Ken Yager, and Jim Campbell, its 74 bolts protect 5.11+ face climbing up a series of steep dikes, connected with only short sections of aid.

As the most difficult new crack lines have gotten thinner, it is perhaps somewhat inevitable that they share many of the characteristics of steep face climbing, but with the more visible line and protection that crack provides. Since on many of the modern testpieces natural protection is supplemented and sometimes completely replaced by bolts, they require an inordinate amount of energy to establish, and the style in which protection is arranged has become the subject of debate.

With many climbers in year-round residence, climbing activity has occurred year round. In 1974 some of the temporary frozen waterfalls saw ascents by those to impoverished to travel. The first to receive an ascent was the upper part of Sentinel Falls, a four pitch, sometimes vertical ice route, climbed by Mark Chapman, Kevin Worrall, and Jim Orey in late 1974. With Worrall's first ice experience behind him, and Chapman's inexperience bettered, the following February they launched up the frozen Widow's Tears, which luckily remained frozen long enough for the 11-pitch ascent. Other ascents of Sentinel Falls have followed off and on over the years, but the Widow's Tears has seen fewer climbers, due as much to the infrequent buildup of ice as tot he seriousness of the route. In 1976, ice build up enough to allow Chapman, Worrall, and Pete Minks an ascent of the Silver Strand, a smooth sheet of ice that occasionally flows around the wall west of the Widow's Tears. Charlie Porter climbed a couple of chutes and gullies in the Valley in 1973, and a few minor routes have been done by others. In 1987 an ascent was made of the lower Sentinel Falls. The 80's now see many parties primed to take advantage of the proper conditions of cold and wetness which can produce incredible possibilities.

The lifestyle and state of the committed resident climber of Yosemite is no better exemplified than by Werner Braun. Braun has repeated many of the harder climbs over and over, refining his technique and flow with a driven furvor. By 1987, he had climbed Astro Man 27 times, the last nine times in an eight-month period. Short routes like Outer Limits, Meat Grinder, Lunatic Fringe, and Five and Dime he has climbed 50 times or more, often times third class, clearly demonstrating in near perfect, efficient motion the closest match of rock and the climbing man. Braun also exemplifies a clean style of climbing that is Yosemite's heritage. He disdains hanging on protection, yet is active in the exploration of hidden gems that seem to be a constant resource of Yosemite. This is a man who simply loves the motion of rock climbing in a beautiful place.

Perhaps no other route demonstrates the progression of Yosemite climbing better than the Steck-Salathe. After the frustrations of numerous parties and finally a 5-day ordeal, Allen Steck and John Salathe earned the summit of Sentinel Rock on a July day in 1950; their climb became a classic. Robbins made the second ascent in three days, and during the course of the 60's the route was whittled down to a totally free, three-hour climb. In 1973 Henry Barber stepped into a new realm of commitment by climbing the Steck-Salathe on sight and unroped (though with the aid of a 25-foot sling a the crux moves). Today, on-sight free-solo ascents of this 5.9 route by committed climbers are not uncommon. Similar episodes echo throughout the Valley on routes like the Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock, Yosemite Point Buttress, and the East Buttress of El Cap. The North Face of the Rostrum, first aid climbed over a period of days, next climbed clean, then free climbed at 5.11, was free soloed after rehearsal by Peter Croft in a couple of hours.

Different stages of evolution exist for different routes. There are climbs yet unseen by the climber's eye. Who will free-solo the East Face of Washington Column? Can an all-free way be found up the sweeping South Buttress of El Capitan (the Nose) or Salathe without rock desecration? The West Face of Sentinel was climbed in a day long ago, climbed clean a dozen years ago, yet a segment on the fifth pitch is barred a host of top free climbing talent form an all-free ascent. Aside from simply technical prowess, the best of Yosemite climbing has always involved some degree of audacity and daring; the early explorations of Anderson and Bayley, the 1934 ascents of the Cathedral Spires, Salathe on the Lost Arrow and Sentinel, Harding's vision on the Nose, the adventurous first ascent of the Salathe Wall, and the bold efforts of Pratt and Sacherer. These events were followed by Jim Dunn on Cosmos, Barber alone on the Steck-Salathe, the winter climb of the Widow's Tears, the audacious routefinding of Karma and the remarkable free solos of John Bachar. Will the future development of climbing standards depend on these traditions of stylistic boldness?

Climbers have always accompanied their outreach to higher standards and newer climbs with a bending of the commonly accepted rules of the game. Even as early as the ascent of the Nose, older climbers had disdain for the number of bolts that were used in that ascent. In 1961 Robbins (who had always preached that bolts would or could destroy climbing by overuse or thoughtless use) used 13 bolts on the Salathe Wall. By 1969 he had put up a route two-thirds the size (Tis-sa-ack) with 110 bolts. He justified it by saying that it was a "route worth bolting for" - and one that would eventually be climbed. (If Robbins had been told in 1961 that he would someday do a 20-pitch route with 110 bolts he would surely have denied any such thing.) In the 70's Bridwell and others innovated aid climbing with the use of the chisel and copperhead. Robbins never would have considered this, having once said that he felt that 20 routes on El Cap would be about right. Now, thanks to new, non-"traditional" techniques, there are three times that number. Jardine used extreme hangdogging so he could climb above his ability and accomplish his climbing goals. Bachar began using aid to place bolts on free climbs (in Tuolumne), an unheard-of tactic, that Bob Kamps and Tom Higgins (who themselves had bent earlier rules a bit by their use of bolts) never used, but which opened up much otherwise unprotectable rock. (Bachar now eschewed that technique as too compromised.)

Now we are left to wonder just how far the free climbers of tomorrow will bend the rules to accomplish their goals. In most other areas hangdogging is the most popular means of getting up extreme climbs. More and more bolts are being placed on rappel. How will the Yosemite climber deal with these new ethical dilemmas? Is there a chance that the inevitable evolution will result not only in higher standards of technical difficulty, but in higher standards of boldness and imagination as well, a tradition that has its routes with the earliest Yosemite pioneers?

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 21, 2008 - 05:05pm PT
Hey Kevin and Mike,

Can you post your comments and questions on the Sorting out late 70s Valley climbing.

Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 22, 2008 - 03:22pm PT
I was just disappointed these two cat's
didn't seem to be around
when I drifted in about '77.

They were cult legends then, and now.

One look at Cream, and you'll know why :)
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Sep 1, 2008 - 12:46pm PT
bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmppppp
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Sep 1, 2008 - 01:10pm PT
bump
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Sep 1, 2008 - 01:23pm PT
this is really interesting, lois, you should read it.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Sep 3, 2008 - 01:25am PT
hey there bvb... say.. where did you find the neat picture of my brother mark (chappy) climbing owl roof???

say, where is owl roof... (i know i can do a yahoo search) but since i am here, now.. :)

really "whewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww-eeee" kind of a pic.. .man, oh, man...

mark has a lot of pics to share, but i never got to see them all... went to texas... sure missed out... hope someday i get a chance to get over there to see some of his pics and hear stories..

thanks for sharing that really neat pic... god bless...
Garcia

Big Wall climber
Nov 16, 2008 - 12:14am PT
Barry, if you are out there reading this, it is me Phyllis. Have you been down to Granite Creek lately? I have had polynesian paralysis for 20 years. I have been in Bend for the last four. Write if you are out there.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 7, 2009 - 12:39pm PT
Bump for a great thread.

I just went swoooshing back through time! I think there's a portal in here.....
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Apr 7, 2009 - 01:45pm PT
wasn't there a "10d" thread or must do "10s" thread awhile back where we were talking about the likes of


Vanishing Point
Manana
The Thief

etc.

Largo's post reminded me about that discussion.
MisterE

Trad climber
One Step Beyond!
Apr 8, 2009 - 11:34am PT
bump for history and climbing
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 9, 2009 - 12:11pm PT
bump
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 9, 2009 - 01:20pm PT
How about the Bates eliminate at Castle?

Is there a climber from the bay area that has not felt at least a degree of frustration trying that thing?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Apr 9, 2009 - 01:21pm PT
can't find it, hrm
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2009 - 01:50pm PT
I just caught up with Jim Donini's telling of the first ascent of "Overhang Overpass" bar dips and a hangover and realize that it didn't really get included in the quintessential early 70s free-climbing routes. It is mentioned in the history that George Meyers included in his guide and I mention Jim as amongst the drivers of hard free. Given all that, in the general discussion posts from folks climbing then, we forgot about "Overhang Overpass." Maybe it was too hard, too early and didn't get climbed until the late 70s when it was an established if not often done route.

Any way, here's to amends.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 30, 2009 - 02:57pm PT
Valley history bump!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 10, 2010 - 11:38am PT
Mark Klemens- Enter and sign in please!!!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jul 10, 2010 - 02:39pm PT
Stevie, we don't even know if he is lurking.. it would be great to hear from him.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 10, 2010 - 03:35pm PT
He would have fun here on the ST so consider it a hopeful shout out/bump ploy.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Jul 10, 2010 - 04:01pm PT
I always lament that there are not more pics of these two. I have some of Barry bouldering and perhaps one or two of Mark in camp but where are all the ones from BITD. Come on! SOMEBODY had a camera!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Jul 10, 2010 - 08:15pm PT
One of ST's greatest threads, thanks to so many for such good contributions here. Trundlebum's got it right: C-Mac should be all over getting a colorful history published, stat.

Looking through this thread makes me super fired up for those 5.10 classics named here. I've gotten some of them, but the ones that burn brightest in my memory (and as a result are at the top of my rematch list) are the ones that shut me down: Five and Dime (three attempts and counting) and Vanishing Point (had to pull on gear through the orange Alien section past the roof. Loved this climb though - beautiful and quiet corner of the Valley; the slammer hands after the business go on forever, as good as Silent Line or Gripper's epic hand sections imo.)

How could any 5.10 scrub like me not be enticed by JL's gem, "the Bates Big Four: Vanishing Point, Five and Dive, Lunatic Fringe, and Independence Center"

Fall 2010, Season of the Bates Big Four.

mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Apr 28, 2012 - 10:23pm PT
So Roger Bree, said Mousie Bee:

Is the K still active? Are his whereabouts known? And the burning question no one touched on


did anyone bother to teach him how to play something other than Louie, Louie?
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Apr 28, 2012 - 11:07pm PT
Peter or Steve,
any news of Klemens since your last posts here?

For the record, in the late seventies, Millis tried to tell me he had become a pharmacist in the inland empire in SoCal.

I saw BB climb and he was as smooth and sure as anyone I ever watched. He had such control when he reached for something, there wasn't much else moving in the rest of his body. You watched him, you were in for a clinic.

I can't remember watching Klemens climb, but frankly, if sass were class, I would think more of him. He did me wrong one day and I might not have ended up in the Yosemite jail that night. It was my fault (worst thing I have ever done in the Valley kind of thing), but it might have been avoided had he been a little more kindly, a little less of a sass-box. That's the word, exactly. Sass-box. And the same old guitar riff. I think he used Louie Louie as an irritant and attention-getter. I take nothing away from him as a climber of exceptional ability and daring. It took a lot to keep up with JB.

So why is Geek Towers not mentioned? I thought it was a pretty darn good days work. Was it just not so difficult as the rest of the climbs or did I miss it up-post? (I have no guides recenter than the green of '71, so I only can guess it was "easy" 5.10). Also, name abuse question, What did they finally settle on, Tower of Geek, Leaning Towers of Geek, Geek Towers, Fawlty Geek, Faulty Greek? Lord knows JB and K used the word more than any four other guys!
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Apr 29, 2012 - 12:04am PT
Barry Bates getting set to boulder at Castle Rock State Park sometime in the late 70s:


Note: EBs!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 29, 2012 - 03:03am PT
Mouse, Toad, and Bruce, ck out this great thread on Klemens

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=947267&msg=1236853#msg1236853
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Apr 29, 2012 - 03:42am PT
Just now catching this thread and have only read the first entry.
Roger, some good thoughts. Lots I would talk about, had I the
energy at the moment.
One fine point, in your early paragraph about who started the '70s
free climbing boom. You might want to add "in Yosemite." There were
fantastic and very difficult climbs being done elsewhere and equal
to the hardest climbs anywhere.

I wrote a pretty nice piece on Barry, with an interview of him and
some photos, in the Climbing Art, back when I was editor. In Wizards of
Rock, of course, I mention him all over the place. I knew
Barry and continue to know him well. He was my main
bouldering partner in the late '60s, in Yosemite.
He visited me in Colorado, where we climbed.

People don't respond to his name, as we would wish, because they simply
are not up on their history and don't probably recognize the name.
Barry was so humble, as well, he probably half hid himself from the
accolades of the public.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 29, 2012 - 08:27am PT
Klemens has a very bad back that precludes physical activity and lives near LAX. Bates lives in Austin Texas, I ran into him a year or so ago in Indian Creek.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Apr 29, 2012 - 05:49pm PT
Thanks, Jim.
It's good to know Barry's well.
Not so good about "Billy Goat Gruff" and his back.

Mark's Back.
Peter Left.
Kinda sounds like LAX terminal!

How did you like the Captain Beefheart video, if you have viewed it? I liked Born in the Desert the second I started listening to it.

Klemens that good on his sassy box? I swear to Bhudda I never heard him play anything else except that f*#king Louie Louie!
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 29, 2012 - 06:33pm PT
If I may be allowed to contribute to this thread:
After fifty years a rock climber, among my most vivid memories is how graceful Barry looked climbing difficult cracks.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 29, 2012 - 06:47pm PT
Phil,

There was this time when Royal finally met and got to see Barry boulder. It was funny for me hearing stern and serious "old" Royal relate the experience. He put it in nearly sexual terms, that Barry's climbing was so esthetic, even sensuous, to watch that he had been mildly shocked even, his first time watching. It was in Camp Four boulders somewhere. Royal was admiring this of course but was also a little blow out.
selfish man

Gym climber
Austin, TX
Apr 29, 2012 - 09:24pm PT
a few of recent photos of Barry climbing. Will post a couple more but I need to find them


selfish man

Gym climber
Austin, TX
Apr 29, 2012 - 09:32pm PT
a few more

richross

Trad climber
Apr 29, 2012 - 11:14pm PT
Barry on Guenese, Eldorado Canyon 1977.

Gilroy

Social climber
Boulderado
Apr 29, 2012 - 11:21pm PT
TFPU Selfish Man. Love the pic of those two old-timers reminiscing about how they used to climb. NOT. Actually look like two impish troublemakers about to make something happen. My heroes and contemporaries.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Apr 30, 2012 - 12:12am PT
Nice to see neither Barry's ability nor his lunacy have lessened much over the years. Climbing hard at great age is kinda what I expected of him long time ago. Still looney after all these years.

And let's vote to ban the phrase I have come to despise:

BACKINTHEDAY
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Apr 30, 2012 - 02:15am PT
He climbed "Lunatic Fringe," but Barry was/is in fact a very
calm, sane individual, no lunacy about him at all. We spent many
hours together on the boulders, and each time it was the most
serene experience. No egoes, just two friends who enjoyed the beauty
of climbing on every new route we could find to place our hands
and feet....
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Apr 30, 2012 - 03:08am PT
Pat, you know I don't believe he's nutso; not at all. People who do things like climbing rocks are perceived to be crazed by many in the general population and I just wanted to poke the guy.

I shall do as you suggested and will get back.

Here are some tidbits about the Goat from the Warbler from six years ago:

Warbler--"...speaking of singing the name I post under was given to me by Mark Klemens, a guitarist with the blues down deep in his soul. He would never sing and used to make fun of me every time I did!

Blinny--"Don't feel bad, Kevin, Klemens made fun of EVERYBODY!"
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 30, 2012 - 03:37am PT
Great thread for a great guy! Bruce Morris's pic from Castle is how I remember him. I learned so much from bouldering with him at Castle. Those recent pics show me that he is indeed aging with grace. Cheers, Barry, and all those who made the thread real.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 30, 2012 - 09:00am PT
Selfish man...can you e-mail me a copy of that photo of me and Barry in IC.

Back in the 70´s Barry was the smoothest climber in the Valley...he made it look soooo easy. Oh, and by the way, I always kept my girl friends away from him, smooth works in many ways.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 30, 2012 - 10:44am PT
Good thread:
Barry the master of smooth

Mark the master of wide

and....
neither one got the recognition they deserved

but....

neither one craved it.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 30, 2012 - 11:30am PT
Berry was in the first group of route setters at Pacific Edge here in Santa Cruz. What a stand-up gent.

Gym route setting was still coming of age at that time, and harder just meant thinner, for the most part. Berry got the thin holds right, but he had a real flair for putting passion to plastic.

Most tradsters hold up their noses at the thought of a gym route being 'classic,' but what can you do. It's a medium, and Berry was an artist.

Climbing his list of routes in the Valley will put a real smile on your face. Hoist!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Apr 30, 2012 - 11:47am PT
Barry Bates and Bev Johnson lived next to me in "the refrigerator" during Easter week of 1970 (I forget which numbered campground it was or it may have been Yellow Pineapple); they shared a tent and that's all I am going to say. Discretion. Silence. Respect for Bev, one of the greatest ladies ever to grace our picnic tables, not to mention the fact BB is a married man.

I do wish some people around the Taco would remember the words of Thumper's dad. Life in the Taco forest might be more...
civil, that's the word.

This doesn't apply to Werner. No rules apply to Werner.

Except for maxims. One is never bound by them as one is by rules.

With the exception of Merry, Werner rules. This is the "maximum maxim."

He is at liberty to express himself. :)

No comments, please. Go elsewhere if you wanna talk sh#t. See how easy civility can be?
euro-brief-guy

Boulder climber
Auburn, ca
Apr 30, 2012 - 11:50am PT
^^^^^^^^^^^^

I was one of the first members of Pacific Edge.

Agreed, Barry's routes stood out in quality.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2012 - 07:34pm PT
Barry just recently started (a couple of years ago) reclimbing. He moved to a pretty place near Boerne, a suburb in the hills east of San Antonio when his wife landed a dream position at a university there. He lost weight, started climbing at Enchanted rock--about one hour from his home. He still moves the same way he did 40 years ago. I think he climbs most days.

Here is a photo pictorial of my reentry into the world of lead climbing.


What is this gizmo and how does it work?


Oh, I got it, it's boy jewelry! Stand proud, man.


What? Oh, yeah, the rope.


It goes how? And this is easier than hip belays?


Like this?



Hey Barry, by the time you get your shoes tied, I will have forgotten how to belay.


Good thing I learned how to belay the leader. Like you need a belay! Just like old times.


I-I-I-I'll be tough. J-j-j-j-just as soon as I take my nap.


You have to have really long arms to climb in Texas.
WBraun

climber
Apr 30, 2012 - 07:56pm PT
You guys rock !!!!

For your information Klemens is all fuked up with his back.

He's been that way since the late 70's.

He used to come up here to the Valley every so often and hang out for a few days and we'd talk sh!t.

The last time he came in late fall a few years ago some bear ate thru the front seat of his car.

LOL he was so pissed off. He had no food nothing at all in that car.

Cussing and swearing he said he'd kill that fuking bear, hahaha

The spring from the seat was sticking up out of the upholstery right where your ass sits.

He drove all the way back to LA with that seat spring up his ass he was so pissed .....
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 30, 2012 - 08:01pm PT
Mark is an ornery bastard, guess that´s why I like him.

Rainy day in Rio.
selfish man

Gym climber
Austin, TX
Apr 30, 2012 - 09:21pm PT
Barry just recently started (a couple of years ago) reclimbing. He moved to a pretty place near Boerne, a suburb in the hills east of San Antonio when his wife landed a dream position at a university there. He lost weight, started climbing at Enchanted rock--about one hour from his home. He still moves the same way he did 40 years ago. I think he climbs most days.

Here is a photo pictorial of my reentry into the world of lead climbing.

Roger, I suspect the only reason you and Barry climbed Sweat roped was to use those shiny gizmos. It doesn't look like Barry placed any gear anyway

Were you visiting erock on the day of the 2010 Granite Gripper?
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
I don't climb unroped, but I think that Barry solos easy stuff that he has wired. Keyt worries about it.

We were at the 2010 Granite Gripper. I was hoping for a aged category that would allow me to take first place just for knowing the difference between the rock and the boulders. No such luck. I met some of Barry's new climbing friends at the end-of-day festivities. They had been to Yosemite, so we talked a bit about Valley routes.

Why is the Enchanted Rock so slick? It is highly textured but slippery.
selfish man

Gym climber
Austin, TX
Apr 30, 2012 - 10:12pm PT
I guess we've almost met then. That is, I saw you there but I didn't get to meet and climb with Barry until a couple of weeks later.

Why is the Enchanted Rock so slick? It is highly textured but slippery.

I think Yosemite is slicker! Erock slab is just polished, especially if you were in the Sweat area, which is extremely popular with guide services and sport climbers looking for bolts. Some of the less traveled routes have decent friction. Gilroy's Knuckleduster, for example... perfect friction and features where you need them but the longish runout of easy climbing and need for some gear keep the bolt clipping crowd away.
WBraun

climber
Apr 30, 2012 - 10:19pm PT
Mark is an ornery bastard,

Jim you'd be surprised what a pleasant personality Klemens has become.

He's truly wonderful.

Nothing at all like he was in the very early years ......
richross

Trad climber
Apr 30, 2012 - 11:43pm PT
Mr. Bates

powderdan

Social climber
mammoth lakes
Apr 30, 2012 - 11:47pm PT
awesome piece!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 1, 2012 - 02:10am PT
"You have to have really long arms to climb in Texas."
Every Texan I have ever met claimed to own at least a shotgun or a rifle.

You all remember the theme song from Hugh O'Brian's western, Wyatt Earp?

Sing this when you are run-out and there's no place to hide and the whole town is a-watchin'--

Bar-ry Bates, Bar-ry Bates, brave, courageous and bold,
Long live his fame and long live his glory,
And long may his story be told.



And remember Matt "Dillon" Donahoe? He threatened me with castration if I ever called him that again.


Matt Dillon is kicked back in the marshal's office and Chester hustles in.

"Marshal, you better git yer ass over to the Long Branch!"

Matt smiles and says to Chester, "Hell, Chester, that's where I've been getting it for years."
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
May 1, 2012 - 11:59am PT
It doesn't look like Barry placed any gear anyway


Yeah, selfish man, last May when we were climbing up at the PSOM slab at Pine Creek, Barry took the rack and started up one of Tai Devore's newer routes (so had not had much traffic yet). Plenty of opportunity for gear but he didnt place anything as the climbing was easy and secure. Got about 50 feet up, about 5 feet from a bolt, hesitated for a minute, and threw a cam in. Then made the next move and popped off when a flakey foothold and handhold crumbled off at the same time. Cam held.

He looked pretty sheepish when I got up to the belay and scolded him "You're carrying the whole damn rack- just place some fu&*ing gear once in a while. That's what it's for!"
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
May 1, 2012 - 12:25pm PT
Great thread, nuff said.
selfish man

Gym climber
Austin, TX
May 1, 2012 - 09:39pm PT
Great story, phylp.

But have you ever seen Barry wear a helmet? He owns one, here's a proof


mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 2, 2012 - 12:52am PT
"Brave, courageous, and bold like Wyatt, yet not so stupid as some."
sined Royal. T.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 2, 2012 - 05:50am PT
Phylp-

It was wildly shocking to me to be-friend another Phyllis this week!!
She is a HS classmate from '66 who came to my notice on Facebook (not the climbing magazine Face Book). We lettered in swimming at good old Merced.
I think it's pretty worthy of the y-files: y me?

"...anything more than one shitty nut was overkill!!!"


http://wwww.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=27778&msg=27804#msg27804

You have to wonder how this Jo biz turned out.
This was Barry-ed in the past. But worth the dig.
Over and out and over again with bolts?

edit- the link failed so go to the topic British translations please?
please.
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
May 2, 2012 - 09:34am PT
Bump for me to remember to come back and read the whole thing. Good one Mr. Breedlove.
chappy

Social climber
ventura
May 2, 2012 - 12:28pm PT
chappy

Social climber
ventura
May 2, 2012 - 01:03pm PT
About the previously posted photo of Barry: It is from around 19seventy2 (sorry my "seven" key isn't working). I ran into Barry quite a bit back then. Barry is climbing on the Monolith in Pinnacles. We were top roping this short very overhanging wall. No one climbed things like this at that time in the Pinnacles. There is a bolted route there now which I believe is rated 11c. My friend Blair and I were messing around on it. I'm not sure why...I believe it was where our rappel line hung. Barry happened by and gave it a whirl. (It was right above the main trail)Two things stand out: How absurd it seemed to my sensibilities at the time that one could climb on a wall so steep--the holds were amazing. There was this one spike like knob about an inch in diameter that protruded so far you would actually grab it like a spike (it eventually broke) and the other was that on such an absurdly overhanging wall Barry tied in with a single bowline around his waist. I always liked Barry. He was quite and humble. One would never guess that he was such an accomplished climber. Of course back then I aspired to one day clcimb as well as him.
selfish man

Gym climber
Austin, TX
May 2, 2012 - 07:39pm PT
would love to see some of these stories in print...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 3, 2012 - 12:45pm PT
For the luvva GOD, don't! My story goes to print, next thing you know I'll be livin' in a VAN down by the RIVER! Again. And eating at the mission. I could be libel. So, just the real cool stuff.

I would like make that love to hear about the FA of Lunatic Fringe. That whole area at Reeds seems to have attracted a great deal of attention in the early seventies. Luke Freeman loved the Fringe but he probably learned that from Werner "no prob" Braun. I saw them playing on it one day.
Double D

climber
May 3, 2012 - 01:40pm PT
Man the things Barry climbed in PA's at Castle Rock are beyond inspiring. Truly the master of smooth.
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
May 3, 2012 - 03:52pm PT
Chappy is that feed the beast at pinnacles?
chappy

Social climber
ventura
May 3, 2012 - 04:27pm PT
Marty,
I'm not sure what the name of this route is. I did it once many years ago and seem to remember it having 4 bolts or so now. It is right above the trail and to the right of the regular Monolith route
Chappy
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 3, 2012 - 06:34pm PT
Barry was an inspitation Mark. Coming to see you next Fall, get some crunches in.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
May 12, 2012 - 05:59am PT
hey there say, mark/chappy...

thanks for the nice share about pinnacles....

:)


and also, as to your aspirations, wayyyyyyyyyy back then, :)
nice to read your posts! :)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 6, 2012 - 12:08am PT
bump
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 28, 2014 - 10:31pm PT
Just a bump. If Klemens ever spends time here; I hope you're doing well.
Oh, and Kevin's quote from the first page:


Aug 14, 2008 - 10:55pm PT
Klemens was a big softy once you got to know him.
But I'll never forget the cold, dark eyed stare he first greeted me with when I arrived in Camp for the '72 Fall season.
two-shoes

Trad climber
Auberry, CA
Oct 29, 2014 - 05:03pm PT
Does anyone know if Barry Bates worked as a climbing shoe cobbler when he was at the Pacific Edge gym in Santa Cruz during the early Nineties?
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 29, 2014 - 06:38pm PT
It was really cool to see Barry again at the Oakdale fest last year. When I was just learning to climb I would cut school and hitch-hike up to Castle Rock just to boulder by myself. I would often run into Barry or Yabo up there bouldering by themselves. They were so much better than I was, gradually I became proficient enough to actually do some of the problems they seem to have wired. They were really good and I learned a lot from the both of them but I never realized how good they really were until I started going to Yosemite and hearing the stories and learning the history. Now, I feel honored and humbled and grateful to have shared that experience with them. Yabo is gone but Barry is still around and as gracious as ever. Love you, brother.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Oct 29, 2014 - 09:06pm PT
two-shoes, yes!
two-shoes

Trad climber
Auberry, CA
Oct 30, 2014 - 04:45pm PT
Thank you for confirming that, Mike.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Sep 2, 2015 - 06:08pm PT
Another really important history thread for us Yosemite junkies.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 28, 2016 - 09:03am PT
bump-worthy
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 28, 2016 - 09:46am PT
Thanks Ed....Mark and Barry were special.
LongAgo

Trad climber
Nov 30, 2016 - 09:22pm PT
Respect to Mark and Barry. Good memories. Live on.
Tom Higgins
LongAgo
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Nov 30, 2016 - 09:44pm PT
So Tut... are you saying that Klemens did the FA of Cream as a FreeSolo? Where are you getting this tidbit?

And they had pro on Basketcase too... maybe it stunk, but it was pro.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 30, 2016 - 09:53pm PT
1) Klemens did the first ascent of Cream with me and he did a great lead but I can assure you it was not a free solo.

2) I did the first ascent of Basketcase with TM Herbert and had to resort to a single move of aid because I did not have adequate gear. I returned to the Valley and ran into Mark and Bridwell and foolishly told gave them the correct beta. They went out the next day equipped with the right gear and did the crux with no aid. I can assure you that if I had been so equipped I would have freed that pitch.

My oh my how history changes.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Nov 30, 2016 - 09:58pm PT
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado

Nov 30, 2016 - 09:53pm PT
1) Klemens did the first ascent of Cream with me and he did a great lead but I can assure you it was not a free solo.

2) I did the first ascent of Basketcase with TM Herbert and had to resort to a single move of aid because I did not have adequate gear. I returned to the Valley and ran into Mark and Bridwell and foolishly told gave them the correct beta. They went out the next day equipped with the right gear and did the crux with no aid. I can assure you that if I had been so equipped I would have freed that pitch.

My oh my how history changes.

And there you have it.

Tut, even with all the forum faults and low points, it is still to some degree a historical record. Between here on SuperTopo and some of your posts on Mountain Project, it seems you are just making stuff up.
Please try harder. It *is* important to have an accurate record for these things.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Dec 1, 2016 - 08:07am PT
How about less "IIRC" and more actual facts?

Start here:

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 20, 2017 - 02:05pm PT
Bump for classic Valley climbs...
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