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Trad climber
Sep 8, 2008 - 03:13pm PT
I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the photos.

Here are a few pictures of the Grand Wall in December, 1971. Don’t ask me what possessed us to go up there in December. We got what we deserved. It rained the whole time. The truly amazing thing was that there were two people in front of us. Another Seattleite, John Stebbins and I met a young Canadian from Vancouver Island who wanted, in the worst way, to climb the Grand Wall. We allowed him to tag along. He was a great guy and a great addition to our group. A few months later I got a letter from his father saying he had taken his life but had raved about his adventure with us.

Pat Timson and I had done the Grand Wall the previous June in flawless weather. We started out at noon and flopped on to Bellygood ledge after dark. We didn’t take a single nut and nailed every inch of the climb. We woke up the next morning after a miserable, sleepless night and saw the beautiful cabin with 4” foam sleeping pads that had just been built that neither of us knew about. We were the first people to visit. That whole weekend was stellar-beautiful dry rock, warm temps. There wasn’t a single other person climbing in the whole Squamish area. We finished by climbing the Roman Chimneys.

Back to December, 1971…

More December, 1971

June, 1972 Doug McCarty and I set off to climb Tantalus Wall. Of course it rained the whole time and being of semi-quick wit, I backed off the dreaded offwith since I had nothing that would fit it and my nut-sack was too small.

We rapped off in a downpour

and ended up partying in the cave…

A couple weekends later Bruce Albert and I went back to Squam. Here’s a shot of Steve Sutton and Richie Doorish on Ten Years After

Here’s a picture of Bruce on the road in front of the caves (when you used to be able to drive there) watching Steve and Richie

Around this time there was a weird local guy that used to hang out in town in full climbing uniform. We used to see him in The Chieftan wearing climbing shoes, harness, hammer, and racks of hardware over his shoulder. Never could quite get a handle on this person. About the same time there was a rash of vehicle break-ins with climbing stuff being stolen. It was my understanding that Sinclair and a few others caught this guy stealing stuff and dumping it into Shannon Falls. He was dealt with in a Canadian manner.

Sinclair was another story altogether. After the first serious sandbagging we (yanks) got from him, we took everything he said with a grain of salt.

August 1972 Tom Nephew and Ed Gibson and I did University Wall. I made the mistake of bringing my under-age girlfriend along on the trip and we were met on our descent by the RCMP’s where I was hustled off to the Squamish jail. That was where I learned what the Mann Act was.

Ed Gibson jugging somewhere low on the route

The obligatory cool shot in the dihedral

Tom Nephew jugging up high

Don Brooks on the Grand Wall 1973

Doug McCarty on the Grand Wall 1973

An interesting piece of hardware we found set on the ledge at the top of the Split Pillar

The cabin

My last trip up the Grand in the 70’s was with a group of Seattle hoodlums in 1977…

Lenny Peoples

Kit Lewis

The group in front of the caves
From right to left: Kit Lewis, Rob Harris, Lenny Peoples, and Dickhead

I tried to edit my post and resize all the pictures but it didn't work. What you see is what you get.


Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Sep 8, 2008 - 03:29pm PT
Another opportunity to repost this.....

It was 1978, and I was living in the state of Washington with my college buddy and his girlfriend. Chehalis, Washington. We escaped there after finishing college in California.
Typical college grads with no direction, no jobs in our fields, and no real interest in our fields even if jobs existed. So, we fled to the state of Washington where my friend knew some people who owned a small farm. We lived in the barn and did odd jobs in the community for money, until I landed a job working with delinquent youth in a group home. In our spare time we climbed Raineer and St. Helens (before it blew). We did some routes in the North Cascades, Index Town Wall, and the great climbing areas around Leavenworth. My college buddy was the one who introduced me to climbing in the late 60’s, and who also introduced me to steelhead fishing. Washington had plenty of both, and if it wasn’t for the damn rain I might still be living there today. I stayed in Washington for another year, and then decided to head back to So Cal via a long climbing trip through Canada and the Western United States. I loaded up my VW Van with all my possessions and headed north for Squamish.

I picked up a hitch hiker North of Vancouver who had done some climbing, and knew how to get to Squamish Chief. After dropping him off in a small town South of Squamish I quickly made my way up the old road at the base of the Chief and pulled into what could only be described as a “squatters” campground. I saw people bivied under the big rock cave, and out onto the old road. I pulled off to the side of the old road, got out and was greeted by a dozen climbers who noticed my California plates. They welcomed me to the circle where everyone was cooking or drinking beer and talking about routes in the area. A sandy haired blonde kid was talking about how classic the Grand Wall was, and then invited me to join him on a short crack climb called The Exasperator. He fired up the thing in the time it took me to get a harness on, and then watched me labor up it encouraging me the whole way. That evening, he shared with the group, his fascination with the DNB in Yosemite Valley, and how much he wanted to travel to Yosemite and do all the classic routes. He finally introduced himself as Peter Croft. Next to him was a very friendly Canadian by the name of Perry Beckman, and there was also an older guy by the name of Walt Dembisky who was with the U.S. Navy stationed in Alaska and on leave. He claimed to have climbed with Chouinard back in the day, and we made plans to climb some routes on the Slab just North of The Chief. Hearing this, Croft immediately recommended a climb called Diedre, and went on for twenty minutes about how classic the route was and how much we would enjoy it. Meanwhile, Perry Beckman invited me to join him on the Grand Wall the next morning after hearing how fascinated I was with this route. I reluctantly agreed to join him the next morning after unsuccessfully arguing that I wasn’t up to the grade. The next morning, I followed Perry up to the base, and listened to him describe, in great detail, all the features of the Grand Wall. We ended up doing four or five pitches that resulted in my balls ending up lodged in my throat, and then hung out at a belay checking out the upper pitches of Grand Wall which were really spectacular. We then rapped off, and I found Walt and headed for Diedre.

I spent a week at Squamish Chief and it is one of my best climbing memories. Since then, I have climbed in many areas throughout the Western United States, Great Britian and Europe, and have never come across a friendlier, more supportive group of climbers.

Big Wall climber
Sep 8, 2008 - 03:45pm PT

Hey Anders, this looks like the seam and overlap between Dream On and Unfinished Symphony. The Dream Symphony traverse pitch (10b) gains the overlap (to the right of the photo) and then moves left on slab to the first of the 10d Unfinished Symphony corners.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 8, 2008 - 04:16pm PT
Thanks, everyone - we seem to be gathering some momentum. Thanks especially to Don for those amazing photos.

Hopefully eeyonkee will tell us about the first free ascent of Pipeline, in 1979. I have a story about the first ascent, but that was in 1966, so maybe a bit early for the thread. (The photo of the Foodeater was a bit late - he may not have appeared at Squamish until the 1980s.) Maybe Grug even has a bit of aluminum pipe? My father would be pleased to have it back. The first recorded use of tube chocks.

We were honoured to have Wayne, Dave Y, and another come all the way to Squamish from California for Daryl's memorial. We're a bit lucky in that those who were active in our climbing community up until about 1985 are not a large group, and most are still around. We had (and have) our squabbles, which the Morals & Ethics Committee™®© used to sort out on Wednesday evenings at the Ivanhoe. But we mostly get along, and share the important things.

Don's pictures are amazing. Probably more true-to-Squamish than mine - I don't have many in which it's raining! Attempting the Grand Wall in December 1971 - you must have been nuts! A cold snowy month, too. How did you get across Bellygood? Many get a cheap thrill on it at the best of times - it's a horizontal ledge/almost chimney, that traverses the wall. Class 3/4, but exposed! (Even more fun with a haulbag.) There are two sections where you just shuffle along in a sort of undercling. The timid can belly crawl (hence the name), at least one person has done it facing outward, and Dick Culbert did it while carrying a segment of the Pardoe Hut. Which, coincidentally, was designed by a distant cousin, Byron Olson. Perry and friends removed the hut in the early 1990s (?), as it was severely damaged by falling ice.

Thieves were an occasional problem then, and a more common one now. Before my time, but the story was that the hard core (Sutton, Burton, Smaill, Bennett et al) caught the guy, tied him to a tree, and either threatened to stone him, or actually did.

Yes, the aid climb is the first part of what is now called Anxiety State. Terry R. and I did it in 1975, and nailed it. We called it Trivia, and it was even written up somewhere. It's surprising how many climbs we did during the 1970s, some of which had even been done previously, that were later climbed by others and renamed, or given a name. Black Bug's Blood is one, the climbs on the so-called "Bog Wall" at Murrin Park another. A sociologist friend once explained that much climber behaviour can be explained in terms of adolescent males. Territory being one of the traits, and renaming a manifestation of it. Kind of lame, and luckily it's never really caught on - although some guidebook writers could work on their historicity.

As the Taco turns....
The Edge of Taco...

More pictures and stories later.

A long way from where I started
Sep 8, 2008 - 04:35pm PT
As has been mentioned, Daryl Hatton was a major influence on Squamish climbing. Here's my memory of our first meeting...

Sometime in the seventies, I don't remember exactly when, Daryl and I were sitting in the dirty drinking hole known as the Chieftain. I don't know who either of us had been climbing with that day, or how we came to be sharing a table that night. We didn't know each other, and I don't remember what we talked about. Climbs we planned to do, probably. I do remember being surprised to find that he wasn't what I had expected from the stories that I'd heard. Rough around the edges, sure. But mostly quiet and friendly -- hardly the wildman I'd been expecting.

Then, without warning, he jumped to his feet, and confronted two strangers who had just entered the bar. It was clear they were his friends, but his way of greeting one of them was pretty strange. He said something like, "Whhhoaa! Man." Then hit him. Hard -- really hard -- in the shoulder.

"Heeyyy! Man." The other guy responded, and pounded Daryl just as hard.

They must have taken three or four shots at each other, any of which would have collapsed me to the floor in pain. The other visitor sat down and introduced himself as Bill Price, and said Daryl's good friend was Big Wally. I think his real name was Mike, but even though I climbed with him the next day, I never did find out for sure.

Eventually Daryl and Wally stopped pounding each other and sat down, and we were joined by a few other climbers. But where Daryl had been relatively quiet earlier, he now switched into another mode. Loud and uncouth probably sums it up best. And where the conversation had earlier been mostly about climbs, for Daryl and Wally it quickly turned into a macho fest. Starting with, "I can outdrink you, easy."

Boat races followed. The two seemed evenly matched, both able to swallow a glass of beer faster than I¹d ever seen it done before. I don't remember what other tests they gave each other, but eventually it boiled down to something along the lines of "None of that sh#t matters. I'm just plain harder than you."

At which point Daryl pushed up a sleeve and slammed one of his forearms down on the table. I guess Wally didn't know Daryl as well as he thought, because he went for it. He pushed up his own sleeve and laid his bare forearm on the table, tight against Daryl's.

I didn't know what macho ritual I was about to witness, but what I saw was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Daryl picked up his cigarette, drew hard on it till the end was glowing bright red, then laid it down in the groove of their matched forearms.

Wally was tough, I guess. He had to be, not to jerk his arm away right away. He held on longer than I, and probably any of you could have. Hair burned, then flesh burned, then finally Wally gave up. And throughout it all, Daryl not only didn't flinch, he laughed.

Many of you knew Daryl better than I did. I was certainly never a close friend, but I ran into him regularly enough after that. Sometimes he was the quiet guy I'd been having a beer with at the beginning of that first evening, and sometimes he was the outrageous wildman he turned into toward its end. I often wondered which was the "real" Daryl, not realizing what most of his friends had probably figured out long ago, that he was both, and both were him.

That night, all I could think was how amazing it was that all the punches he took, and the burning flesh, didn't hurt. These decades later I know they did hurt. Daryl could just take it better than anyone else.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 8, 2008 - 05:04pm PT
Mike Boris. 1978.

Daryl did like to drink and go to bars, and indulge in male rituals like arm wrestling and fighting. We could easily turn this into another Daryl thread, though we might have to put "R" if not "X" with the title. His fall on the attempted second ascent of Zorro's Last Ride, in 1978 (?), was one of the longest ever at Squamish. Above the big roof, he did some hard nailing, then some rivets, then got to a bolt. Which he clipped, weighted, and broke. I believe he went over 25 metres, maybe more. Several of us were down on the old highway by Cacademon Rock, but given that aid climbing isn't exactly a spectator sport, weren't paying attention. Naturally we looked when we first heard Daryl squawk as the bolt broke, but that was several seconds after it happened, given the intervening distance. So we didn't actually see him fall, but it was a LONG way.

Daryl also had endearing habits intended to fortify his friends, including his epithets "lightweight" and "little baby...(insert name)".

Psyche Ledge, as it's sometimes called, was actually part of the original highway. Rerouted in 1969. We camped and partied there, and in the nearby boulders, through to the early 1990s. To the extent that we had a camp/social/bullshit scene, as in places like Camp 4, that was it. Probably the last climber event that will ever happen there was the memorial bonfire for Daryl.

Once Eric and Dave N. were on University Wall. Several of us were watching, and bored. They'd left Eric's little Fiat there - quite a crappy car, though we did go to the Bugaboos in it. Anyway, we decided to rock Eric's car, and by bouncing it up and down, and moving it sideways at the high point of the bounces, rotated it 180 degrees. Eric and Dave were hooting and hollering, thinking someone was vandalizing or stealing it, and totally unable to do anything about it.

When we were very young...

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 8, 2008 - 05:23pm PT
When I did Half Dome with Daryl I asked him what he did when he wasn't climbing. "Drinkin', f*ckin', and fightin". I laughed, he was serious. He never mentioned the tree topping. A few times he would yell out these outrageous expletives that I couldn't repeat here. As for strength, I would be rigging a haul on 9 mil and he would just start hand over handing and then go, "here hold this while I light a smoke". After I almost let go, I got the lightweight bit. Coming from him, it didn't bother me at all. He was right.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 8, 2008 - 10:22pm PT
Trees and shrubs are to be found everywhere at Squamish, except on rock that is vertical or steeper, or that was only recently exposed. Pictures of the Chief from early in the 20th century show much less foliage on the cliffs than at present. There are two theories for this. One is that winters from the 17th - 19th century were fairly severe, which in Squamish means a lot of freeze/thaw, lots of snow, and lots of falling ice. Which isn't good for trees - the damage to the Pardoe Hut, which was a bit more exposed, graphically showed this. In the 1970s, the winter accumulation of snow and ice at the base of the wall was often ten metres or more, and it didn't disappear until April. The other theory is that in the mid-19th century there was a giant fire during a dry, windy summer, which raged north from what is now Murrin Park, burning everything in the way.

Probably both theories have some merit. Either way, in a general sense the trees at Squamish are winning, and especially at the base of cliffs sometimes need active management. Alders can grow several metres/year. Removing trees and shrubs on routes is generally unnecessary, and tends to destabilize tree ledges - usually it's loose gravel and rocks underneath, ready to go. As Erik apparently found.

There have been some minor modern fires at Squamish, including one on the Apron in 1973, and in the Little Smoke Bluffs in the 1980s. The Chief itself and Murrin Park were never logged, but most of the surrounding areas have been, and they were often burnt over after, that being the prevailing silvicultural technique then. There have been two fire-hazard closures at Squamish, first in July 1985, then September 2003. Climbers were partially exempted from the latter, on basis of providing an active patrol program to ensure everyone was behaving. (One boulderer, insistent that he had a 'right' to smoke regardless, was physically escorted out.)

The last significant earthquake was in the late 1940s, and the last really big one in 1700. Vancouver and Squamish are somewhat east of the main plate boundaries, but we're overdue for something, and it will rearrange our little world. As a granitic pluton, there are lots of exfoliation flakes, and they get detached by freeze-thaw action, root action from trees, and sometimes earthquakes. As can be told by the giant boulders below all the larger cliffs.

Some believe that a climb at Squamish isn't a climb unless at some point you must depend on use of vegetation for progress, or least a belay. And the vegetation does often provide helpful holds and anchors. A little knowledge of tree species can be very helpful - cedars are usually far better rooted and stronger than firs and pines, let alone alder, salal, and huckleberry bushes.

One fellow spent a lot of time, money and energy over the last few years cleaning a route called Crap Crags. More or less a gully and low angle corner, facing northwest and wet most of the year. A classic adventure in dry conditions, involving all sorts of antics with trees. Anyway, he did a lot of work digging, trundling, and sawing, more or less on the same line. It's part of the routine here, but the difficulty with Crap Crags is that the falcon closure area is right in the middle of the route. You can never climb it between April and July, leaving at most two months of decent weather to do it. The fellow also gave his variation/'new' route another name, although it may not catch on.

More on thin cracks, cleaning, slabs, and the Little Smoke Bluffs to follow.

Trad climber
Butte, America
Sep 8, 2008 - 10:56pm PT
MH, is that Doug McCarty the Dougal McCarty from Montana (and of Dirty Sox fame) ?

Just wondering

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Sep 9, 2008 - 01:09am PT
Wayne I am happy you and Dave came to Daryl's memorial. Telling Daryl stories was great solace to our heavy hearts. Sending his ashes to follow his soul into the autumn winds was our small gesture to his memory.

Great pic of Foodeater. Greg F. started climbing at Squish around '79 . He also had a bad buildering accident around this time in which he squashed 2 vertebrae. Pressed against the ambulance window as he was headin' to hosptial was the face of his mum. "Who might be in there" she might have been wondering.

Around 1980 or so Peter C. bicycled from his home in Nanaimo to Victoria to visit Greg. It might have been around the time Greg was recovering from the accident. It's about 75 mi one way. On the return trip home - on the same day mind you - Peter's butt became so red & sore he had to stop ( just north of Duncan ) and call his Mum to come and fetch him. Duly, his Mum ( a most wonderful woman who, in her youth , bore strong likeness to Inrid Bergman - of Casablanca fame ) drove the 30 miles or so to find her red-bummed son just north of Duncan.

mastondon - We had many a campfire rite where Bruce is lyin' on the road oglin' the wall. By the time I arrived in Squish ( summer ' 77 ) the road was in relative disrepair with potholes and broken asphalt. I drove a 1975 Vega tunacan of a car that had 4" of ground clearance. With some experience I learned to slalom and surf those holes and not put a hole in my oil pan.

Keeper of Oz Mt - Many thanks for your kind words about my first two tomes. WHich, I hasten to add, would not have been possible without the scintillating graphic-design brilliance of the real-life personage who posts here as Ghost. David did the lay up and got me skookum deals on the printing. There were only 300 copies of Vol 1. published. About 500 copies of Vol 2 exist. No chance of reprints; those babies are done & gone. What is possible, however, is a 30 yr retrospective if I can get my ass in gear to fekkin' deal with it.

And, oh, my , a pic of a sober Kit Lewis. He did the first winter ascent of the NE buttress of Mt. Slesse - a formidable objective in summertime nevermind with theshit a wet coast winter can toss yer way. It was early in the '80's when he did this & , at that time, the John Howe Annual Slideshow was still happening. Kit gave a not-so-sober and wildly rambling story and slides of the Slesse winter adventure.
It was the second best show of slides I've ever seen. The first ? Donini's show in the pub in Leavenworth, WA ( not Kansas ;-D ) circa 1979 after he was on Cerro Torre. I was sitting under a table with my friend Jean. We were both underage & beer were being passed to us from above ( we got kicked out twice sitting above ground - finally when we sat beneath the table we remained unnoticed enough to see the slides ) ( and have beer )

And to Ghost - I think I was in the bar that nite that Bill Price & Mike Boriss ( big wally ) showed up from Californicate. Bill did the second free ascent of Sentry Box on that same trip. At that time it was reputed to be 5.12. Woo! Bill would have been about 18 y/o at the time. He was a phenomenal climber. Never got "famous" as others like Bacher and Kauk but I daresay those chaps would say Bill Price was every bit the climbers they were. He just chose a different path in life. Much like Hamish F. here in Squamish - who was as strong a climber as Peter Croft was but who settled into life a more workin-class life then one of an itinerant climber.

And lastly ? Cracko ? It's Perry Beckham. Not Beckman. Small difference but a difference all the same. Perry was a strong free climber and a powerhouse on big walls BITD. Did the FA ( with others ) of Hockey Night in Canada on El Cap. Perry now works as a well-regarded rigger in the film industry.

Ooooh, this post is long enuff. Time to hit PtR.

Anders ? More ! Whutta good trip!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 9, 2008 - 01:26am PT
Now where were we? Ah, yes, BITGOD – back in the good old days. After some digressions, and quite unnecessary natural history and editorials, back to talking about climbing in Squamish as of about 1975. Although it will be necessary to drag Tami back in bounds to do so. As mentioned, all stories and photos copyright © Me (that is, MH), 2008. Except those taken or told by others, of course.

By then we had something like a critical mass, of perhaps a dozen regular climbers, most of whom had a year or two experience or more, and a reasonable amount of gear. There were another dozen or more who were around, but less active, plus many who came and went. Some people had by then made the long trip to the Valley, in a few cases hitchhiking, which provided a lot of experience. We’d also done many of the established free climbs, and knew there must be more to do. We’d read about all sorts of things happening in the Valley – it was the summer of what was advertised as the first 5.12, Hot Line.

Another very helpful thing was Gordie Smaill’s new guidebook, mentioned above.

It had about 140 routes, as compared to the 40 or so in Glenn’s, and even had radical stuff like pictures. Many liked the style in which it was written, plus it had some nice drawings, I believe by Gordie’s brother. Here’s one, for Ghost:

We had also climbed most everything there was on the Apron, often repeatedly. Slab climbing is very good for learning about climbing, as it forces you to focus on footwork and mental control. Strength isn’t much help. The Apron is the fan-shaped area in the lower left of this photo:

There were then perhaps a dozen free routes on the Apron that anyone ever climbed – Slab Alley, Pineapple Peel, Banana Peel, Sparrow, Sickle, White Lightning, Diedre, Snake, Vector, Saint Vitus’ Dance, and Vector. Most of the aid routes had bits of free climbing, but the only other entirely free routes that got much traffic (apart from Murrin Park and such) were Apron Strings, Mercy Me, The Phew!, Missled, the first pitch of Exasperator (all at the base of the Grand Wall), the first pitch of Mushroom, and the Sunshine Chimneys area. None considered harder than 5.9 then. Tantalus Crack on Yosemite Pinnacle and Crescent Crack at the Malamute were not for mortals.

Here’s one more photo of the early Apron climbs, Slab Alley. It was the first route on the Apron, in 1961, climbed by Jim Baldwin and Tony Cousins. Sadly, Tony died a few weeks ago. (John A.)

It shows Apron climbing reasonably well. There are glacially polished sections, but it generally involves a bit more use of crystals and little dishes, rather than pure friction.

The Apron had quite a lot more lichen and moss on it then, and the shrubberies were in better shape. 30 years of climbing, new routes, cleaning, and simply ropes brushing over every bit of rock, do a lot of cleaning. Then, routefinding could be a real challenge, especially pre-guidebook, and given that Leeper bolt hangars (on the few bolts) looked a lot like a bit of lichen. Sometimes you just had to set out, knowing there was a route, and roughly where it went. None of the routes mentioned were harder than 5.9, and at the time we thought White Lightning was 5.9 also. There was one harder route, Grim Reaper, which Gordie and Neil had done in Robbins shoes in 1969. It was actually thought to be 5.10, had not had a second ascent, and was known to have only one or two bolts/pitch. Neil described it as “marbles in oil”. An obvious thing to try.

One route was a rather visionary climb at the base of the Grand Wall, called the Phew! Jim S. and Jeannine C. had done it – a mostly bolted three pitch climb that linked up little corners and dikes and things, on fairly steep rock, with some aid. We didn’t have many climbs like that – Jim may have scoped it out when they were filming the Vertical Desert in 1973, about the Grand Wall. (Steve M.)

ps I’m not sure who Doug McCarty (sp?) is – someone else mentioned him.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 9, 2008 - 03:01am PT
There’s little doubt that the leaders of our community were Eric and Daryl. They were more committed, Daryl to aid and walls, Eric to free climbing, and put more time and effort into it. By spring 1975 both had been to the Valley, and done things like the Nose and Triple Direct, as well as many free climbs in the 5.10 range. Eric and I did what was probably his first first ascent at Squamish in 1974, when we freed Papoose One, on the Papoose. I actually led the crux. Last time I ever did that with Eric.

In 1975, Dave Loeks and Bill Putnam from Colorado visited, and a bit of a competition started. Eric and Daryl beat them to the first free ascent of the Pillar, and probably Perspective, but Dave and Bill got Brunser Overhang first, and also bagged Angel’s Crest. The spring trip to Yosemite and the visitors seemed to stimulate Eric, as he did a bunch of 5.10 cracks, including Caboose, Rainy Day Dream Away, and A Pitch in Time, and started working on things like Sentry Box. That summer, Daryl and Eric also did Up From the Skies, on the scary expanding flakes to the right of Grand Wall, and Daryl and Dave N. did Drifter’s Escape. Dave was working in a mill, fiendishly strong, and liked wide cracks. In late summer he led Hypertension (Les Fleurs de Mal) by Nightmare Rock, after many tries, and much fiddling to try and get a reasonable tube chock at the crux roof. Australian Nic Taylor made a lightning visit late in the summer, and with compatriot Peter Peart freed the left side of the Pillar – probably then the hardest free climb in Canada, still considered 5.12a. For years few believed it - we didn't really even have any 5.11s then.

The Apron did allow scope for wandering around, not possible on cracks and walls. It was lower-angle, and you could explore, especially on a top rope, without too much anguish. "I'll just try that bulge over there, instead of following the route - it looks like there are some holds." So suddenly, over the next few years, we did a bunch of new things on the Apron, some up to mid-5.11. Always on lead, never inspected or cleaned. Eric and Gordie did a climb on the upper Apron in 1975, called Eric’s Route, and that autumn Carl A. and I explored what became the start of Bloodlust Direct, on a very wet day. The next spring Carl, Scott F., and maybe others finished its two pitches, both now 5.11, the first slabs of that grade at Squamish. Here is an early ascent, in 1976. (Dave L.)

There are five protection bolts in about 90 metres of climbing.

This is the third (crux) pitch of White Lightning. (Dave L.)

It was the testpiece for human beings on the Apron, pre-1976. I did it in September 1975, with Joe T., another of our veterans. It was thought 5.9 (now 5.10b, perhaps), and the first pitch, although only a true 5.9, has only one bolt. There are three bolts on each of the second and third pitches – as always, slab climbing mostly happens upstairs.

Dave L. was an energetic teenager who appeared in early 1976, and did some amazing stuff. Another photo of him, following the second pitch of White Lightning in June 1976. He may be channeling TM Herbert. In the background, Scott F. and Perry B. do battle with Bloodlust.

Eric naturally lusted after the second ascent of the dreaded Grim Reaper, and tried it several times in 1975, usually with Carl A., who was preternaturally good at slabs. The third pitch is the first of two hard ones – you climb a moderate crack, place protection, downclimb quite a way, then climb way out and left. The hardest part (now 5.10b or c, but then also more lichened) is right before the belay, perhaps 20 metres straight left of the protection. Eric came off several times there, as he reached for the shrub, and ended up penduluming at high speed all the way across to and past Unfinished Symphony. The peanut gallery was highly entertained, and cheered him on with supportive remarks such as “Eric, you’re going to die!”. We had some growing to do.

Yup, I have more slides scanned, and nope, you don’t get to see them until tomorrow at earliest. Life calls.

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Sep 9, 2008 - 11:35am PT
An interesting constant at Squamish has to be noted : Jim Sinclair. Jim was around when the glaciers receeded.

Jim did an early - second? or was that at attempt? - of Grand Wall in the 'sixties. By the time I met him , in '78, he was the Squamish version of Yoda ( albeit much better lookin' ) Jim, it was written climbed with a coffee cup.
Jim was always great with us younger, stupider climbers. I think he got a kick out of seeing just what he could put us up to.
Jim gave Peter C & I a massive haul of his old iron - nuts & pegs some of them I swear were from the old stone age. The gear effectively quadrupled the size of our rack & added some much needed tiny stuff to do thin cracks - which Peter was very keen on. It meant we didn't mind welding blades or babies into cracks to give the route at least minimal protection. This was before RPs or anything but the very slim #1 Chouinard stopper which , even in a good placement, looked A3.
As ANders notes, bolts were used in scarcity on Apron climbs but that wasn't for any reason but all the routes were done ground-up. Nobody thought of rappelling down to ogle the route and put in bolts. When doing new routes on the Apron, you followed the line of crystals & rugosities that made the climb possible. Bolts were put in on stances that you could hang onto for 20 - 40 minutes depending on how long it took to drill the hole
Hugh B. told me they'd "cheated" on White Lightening when they did it. On the tiny stance they had, they drilled a small divot & put in a bathook & an etrier and hung from that to drill the hole to put in the bolt.
If you ever do White Lightening remember this was done wearing the "blue suede boots" that preceeded the Super-Gratton EBs.
Cheating? Not what I'd call cheating !

Yes the runouts were long and the fall potential .......insane.......but the falls were, generally speaking safe. A number of 100' falls have been taken on the Apron with only bruised knees and egos. Eric wsn't the only poor climber to suffer the "YER GONNA DIE!!!" shouted from the parkin' lot. That comment, incidentally, was a Darylism. ( In addition to BEER LOADS PIPE LOADS ANY KIND OF LOADS AT ALL )

Squamish didn't suffer a fatal climbing accident until the summer of 1991. But I'm getting ahead of ANders..........
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 9, 2008 - 12:03pm PT
Jaybro & Freddie, you guys reading and digging this thread?

Trad climber
Sep 9, 2008 - 12:31pm PT
I didn't get to Squamish until 1980 or '81 so I won't be posting any pix but I do remember the blue down jacket.

Sleeping on psyche ledge. Drinkin with the Chieftains. Grovelling in the rain.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 9, 2008 - 03:29pm PT
Thank you, everyone! Keeps those cards and letters coming!

Let me rephrase that. Please send A card or letter, or at least a post.

Yes, Jim S. has been a fixture at Squamish since the early 1960s, as has been Fred B. Jim does like his coffee and a cigarette, and tells very good stories, some of which may be true. He provided some continuity during the 1970s - he was around, and sometimes provided information or inspiration, although I don't remember him climbing much.

The winter ascent of the Northeast Buttress of Slesse was in 1985 or 1986. Given the times, Kit and partner named one of the pitches the "Dead Lycra Faggots" pitch.

Next, maybe some pictures from crack climbing, new slab routes, in 1976 - 78. Perhaps not until Wednesday. It looks like the thread may not get to 1978 and beyond until after the FaceLift, which will leave Tami on tenterhooks, wondering which stories and pictures of her I may have. Nyuk, nyuk!

A long way from where I started
Sep 9, 2008 - 03:53pm PT
Given the times, Kit and partner named one of the pitches the "Dead Lycra Faggots" pitch.

His partner was Jim Nelson (who owns/runs Pro Mountain Sports in Seattle). I suspect the pitch name came from Kit.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 9, 2008 - 04:50pm PT
Upthread, Don reported on an ascent of the Grand Wall in December 1971. The Environment Canada website says that the mean temperature in Vancouver that month was 0.7 C, with 80 cm of snow. It would have been colder, and snowier, in Squamish. (No weather station there then.) You guys must have snuck in on the few rainy days between snowstorms that month. Nuts!

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 9, 2008 - 06:23pm PT
Bump again. Gawd, Anders and Tami, I'm loving your posts. I also like that pic of "Foodeater" (that's funny), and his smile, somewhere between a cherubic smile and a sh#t-eating grin. The pics of the Seattlites are a nice addition. Goad some of comrades to post up. Keep up the good work.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 10, 2008 - 03:25am PT
A summary of the Squamish cast of characters, as of 1976.

Those who'd been climbing for 3, 4 or even 5 years: Eric W., Daryl H., Steve M., Len S., John A., Dave N., Dave V., me.

Those who'd been climbing for perhaps two years: Carl A., Scott F., Dick M., John Bryan (who sadly died in a helicopter crash in 1977), Simon T.

Started 1976 or so: Dave L., Perry B., Peder O. All very keen.

There were a few others who were less active, but around, or who'd just started climbing, and whose names escape me. And of course our precedessors - the hard core (Hugh B., Steve S., Gordie S., Neil B., Paul P., Greg S., etc), Jim S., Frank B., Robin B., Joe T., Bill M., and others. Some still active, all sometimes around. Robin B., an ex-Brit, was quite active. And visitors, mostly from Seattle.

In 1976, nine of us went to the Valley for the autumn. Daryl, John A., my brother and I went in John's van. Eric came down on his own, later. John B. also. Scott, Dave L., and Perry took the bus. The first time they got to the border, the amused immigration people asked for a permission letter from Dave's mother. He was then 15. Of course they had to go back to get one. When they got back to the border, there was yet more amusement amongst the guards. Not something they saw every day.

They staggered into Camp 4 a few afternoons later, as I think they'd ended up on the milk run. As Scott said, "It went better when we got to Portland, and a guy got us some beer, which we sat in the back drinking".

In other developments, Steve S. and Hugh B. popped up in summer 1975, and finished the Breakfast Run line on Tantalus Wall. I saw Steve lead Tantalus Crack in about ten minutes, and was very impressed.

More tomorrow or Thursday - climbing on the Apron, cracks, new routes, and walls from 1976 on.
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