Barry Bates and Mark Klemens--Valley free climbing


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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.

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.....

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
The Thief


Largo's post reminded me about that discussion.

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

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

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

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.

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!

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
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.

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.
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