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Messages 21 - 40 of total 901 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Sep 4, 2008 - 09:44pm PT
Hats off to Anders - a wonderful series of posts. Thanks.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 4, 2008 - 10:29pm PT
Now where were we? Yes, that’s it – the ladybug thread. It’s at http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=655919 You can fly over there any time, for more in a different vein.

Anyway, here is some of Squamish, and the Little Smoke Bluffs, seen from above much later. The cliffs in the Bluffs range from 10 – 100 m high, but are largely surrounded and concealed by the forest. The Squamish River is in the upper left corner.

There are several stories as to how they acquired that name, but one plausible one is that they were relatively smoke-free in the afternoons, once Woodfibre started spewing. They were first given the name in print in Gordie’s 1975 guide. Later I’ll have more stories and photos from there, but climbing didn’t really get going in the Bluffs until 1978.

Naturally, being energetic and young, we climbed other things when we couldn’t get to Squamish. Such as Dave N., here at Capilano College.


But almost every year, at October (Thanksgiving) and Easter, we went to Leavenworth (Lemmingworth), for a break from rain. It’s on the dry side of the mountains east of Seattle, and has a fair variety of climbing. Some is granitic, such as Castle Rock:


Quite a pretty spot, especially in autumn. At that time, the ersatz Bavarian village was just getting started, and camping wasn't too difficult. Here’s Angel Crack, on Castle Rock (Carl A.).


The Peshastin Pinnacles are nearby, as are Snow Creek Wall, Midnight Rock, and other delicacies. Peshastin was always good in October, as the orchard owner let us take the apples that were lying on the ground. Note shift to ‘modern’ climbing uniform. (Photo by Len S.)


Climbing at Peshastin is a bit unusual – I suppose somewhat like desert climbing. The whole place seems a bit temporary, and indeed one of the pinnacles, Trigger Finger, fell over in 1978. (Photo by Len S.)


It was part of our annual calendar, the migration to Leavenworth. One attraction was a tacky bar where you could buy a galvanized five gallon bucket of beer for something like $5. Sadly, the legal age there was 21, and many of us were under. Under age, that is – not under the influence.

Once Eric, Dave N., and their friend Andy went for a night in the bar. On the way back to Eight Mile campground, they got stopped. Eric, who was driving, did a truly comical act, attempting to walk straight on the centre line, swaying back and forth. Dave still tells it memorably.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 4, 2008 - 10:43pm PT
Here is another shot of the world-renowned Mushroom. The lower crack is now a nice 5.9, but the remainder of the wall remains an aid climb. Tommy may have freed that imitation in Yosemite, but the original is still waiting for him.


Earlier, a Ghost appeared on the thread, but unlike most manifestations of ectoplasm, here he is in the flesh. Taking guidebook photos, in 1980. This is at the top of what became the Burgers & Fries cliff, long before development.

Photo taken shortly after we attempted to kill ourselves in a small airplane.

And, if you will permit me a small digression, here is a picture of a cliff in Norway, north of Oslo. It is called Andersnatten, which as you all know, means “Anders’ Cliff”. Anders was a farmer there, who was being chased by a troll. There are many trolls in Norway, and they are (if possible) fiercer than those on SuperTopo. Anyway, our hero ended up at the top of the cliff, and the only way he could escape was by skiing down the face – as is well known, trolls can’t do that kind of stuff. His skiis left the white stripe down the middle, which is imaginatively called “Den Hvita Stripa” – the White Stripe. I have climbed it, a nice six pitch 6a, maybe hard 5.10.

Werner will be pleased that there are some cows in the picture.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Sep 4, 2008 - 11:05pm PT
Damn. I wish I still had that camera.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 4, 2008 - 11:08pm PT
So around this time, things started to slowly change. Little by little, there were more climbers. People like Carl A., Scott F., Dick M., and John B., who all went to Prince of Wales High School. My good friend John A. was recruited by Steve M. at an Outward Bound alumni social. Definitely a keeper - he was a bit older, had a real job, and wheels! Which meant we could finally plan to get out every good weekend, and knew we'd get there. John was also nice about getting gear which the rest couldn't afford, and as a bricklayer knew a thing or two about using a hammer.

Daryl Hatten appeared in 1974, and made an immediate impact. He came from quite a different background than many of us, but we all got along fine. A loyal if at times troubled friend, and a great climber. (Photo Stewart W.)

Daryl is standing in front of the Black Dike, a giant basalt intrusion that goes from the Malemute, across the highway, up the wall, and beyond. Years later, he and others did a scary hard route just to its right, which they irreverently named "Negro Lesbian". Much later, the Chief became a provincial park. Every year they publicize the peregrine falcon closure, naming the various routes that are off limits. The list is published on the government website, and they had to get special dispensation to have such a politically incorrect thing there.

Others started to get out climbing then, often from university outdoor clubs, and some stuck. Those of us who were students usually helped at introductory climbing schools that were 'organized', and of course thereby also trawled the class for likely young lady climbers. Some were persuaded to climb, and at times more.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 4, 2008 - 11:30pm PT
Another rite of passage was to climb one of the longer aid 'walls', after Grand Wall. Either University Wall or Tantalus Wall. Again, neither is more than about 12 pitches, but the use of the "W" word (NO, NOT THAT ONE!) seems to have crept in from Yosemite. Daryl called me in September 1974, to try to persuade me to climb "U" Wall. I was busy getting registered for first year and other responsible stuff of the sort that has always distracted me from climbing, and couldn't go. But two years later I did it, with Jay P.

There are one or two ugly lower corner pitches, that most bypass by some ledges. Here's the first real pitch, which we did on a rainy May morning.

It wasn't getting any drier, so we left a rope, and came back later. This meant we were REAL CLIMBERS - we had fixed a rope!
(Around here in the saga, some of the pictures are actually of me, and the quantity if not quality of my photos maybe improved. I won't say which one I was - we all had big hair then.)

A few days later it dried up. We returned, and jumared up our rope. (Photo Jay P.)

All of the first six pitches are a left facing, leaning, mostly overhanging corner. It's pretty awkward and steep.

Partway up the second pitch. (Photo Jay P.)

In 1982 the route, with significant variations, was done free. (It was originally 5.8, A3, Old Skool.) This pitch, and one higher up, weren't. Peter returned in 1988 and freed them. Somewhat confusingly, he attempted to rename those two pitches as "The Shadow". The whole route is said to be comparable to Astroman, although harder, but we never really figured out the renaming thing.

Looking down the second pitch. I take pride that my nailing made it possible for this route to be freed.

I did manage to fall twice on the route, which was not considered a sensible thing at the time.

Third pitch:


One more awkward pitch with a bit of free, and we were at the bivouac tree - a nice cedar sitting at the bottom of a little chimney.


Here one of us is channelling Mick Jagger, or perhaps a young lady who is coming to the FaceLift. (Photo Jay P.)

I'm still sorry that I lost that hat long ago, but not sorry that I stopped letting my mother choose my glasses.

Above the tree, it eases back a bit:


You can see Mt. Garibaldi in the background here, near to which many ladybugs can be found - it was lovely weather. Note accoutrements. (Photo Jay P.)


The last two pitches to Dance Platform diagonal up and right, and are a bit more broken.
(Photo Jay P.)


Thus we arrived at the Dance Platform. At that time, there was a tiny cabin there, the Errol Pardoe Memorial Hut. It could hold four to six people. However, despite our painfully slow nailing - two days for eight awkward pitches - we were in time to traverse off Bellygood Ledge, which is an extension of the Dance Platform, leading off into the forest. The upper parts of both Grand and University Walls converge into four pitches above Dance, called the Roman Chimneys, but we didn't have the time.

So we scuttled off, and tried to hitchhike home. No joy, so we ended up sleeping in the boulders yet again. At that time, people either crashed in the area where the campground is now - no one minded - or sometimes in the big rocks at Cacadomenon Cave. As the boulders were not then overrun and trampled by the pad people, we had a quiet evening. Three days later I left for six weeks climbing and hostelling in Wales and England.

University Wall was first climbed in 1966. Of the four climbers, all university students, only one passed that year.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2008 - 12:08am PT
Here's one last one for tonight. A page from Glenn Woodsworth's "A Climber's Guide to the Squamish Chief", published in 1967. Drawings by Tim Auger.


By the early 1970s, copies were impossible to find - I was lucky to get one directly from Glenn, who knew my father. But even if you did have a copy, it wasn't current, or detailed, and there were no photos.

This page is the sketch and description for Diedre - I'll add a story about that route later, one that DR will like. Note that it is graded 5.4 - although some B.C. climbers got to Yosemite in the 1960s, such as Jim Baldwin and Hamish Mutch, there was more than a bit of a misunderstanding about grading. So such free routes as we had in the 1960s and early 1970s were graded three or four letter grades 'easier' than they actually were. This helps explain the derisory way in which Daryl used to dismiss 5.10s in the Valley as "Squamish 5.7". It also partly explains why were slow to pick up on free climbing. It didn't help when you read about the 5.9s and even 5.10s being done elsewhere, when we were doing what seemed hardish routes that were graded "5.6". So it took a year or two before we figured out that 5.8 was a respectable climb, and that 5.9 and 5.10 required effort, but could be done by mortals.

The pendulum has now swung the other way, and a fair number of Squamish grades are thought by many to be a bit soft.

I've always thought that Glenn's title was just right, and pilfered it for the guide in 1980. It's surprising, and grammatically incorrect, that some guides are now titled "The" climber's guide to - as though it's the only guide that ever has or will be published to an area.
Shaft

Boulder climber
SL,UT
Sep 5, 2008 - 12:17am PT
Great thread, can't wait to hear the Diedre story.

Thanks.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 5, 2008 - 07:33am PT
Anders wrote:
"Many trip reports take some effort on the part of the poster, but fall off the front page all too quickly. Perhaps little refreshers every few days (sometimes longer) will avoid that, and keep up some interest."

and
"Or maybe every 100 posts or so – if we get that far – I’ll start a new thread."


Jeepers, you think those strategies will really fly?
Sheet howdy, you got the tiger by the tail now 'ole boy!!!

Hang on tight and let 'er rip...
WE crave this action, dude.
Outstanding!!!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2008 - 06:38pm PT
Found in the wild depths of page 3?! Cough cough. Ahem. I'm pretty sure that Tarbuster, anyway, hasn't been contributing to the bumpalicious political clutter around here.

Having got started, I'll now to pace things out a bit - the death of 100, if not 1,000, posts. Plus it takes a lot of time to do the scanning and writing, competing with life.

I've just gone back and done some editing and rearranging, and hope to add something tonight.
Ezra

Trad climber
WA, NC
Sep 5, 2008 - 07:54pm PT
you Rock Anders! You just made my day after a very rough day at work. Thanks for the pick me up. If your ever comming to city of Rocks Ideehooooo, and need a pardner, look me up
best
-e
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 5, 2008 - 08:15pm PT
Great stuff, Anders!

Here are scans of a few pages from my xerox copy of my high school math teacher's copy of the Glenn Woodsworth guide. I darkened some of the topo lines back in the day (1975), but otherwise the stuff is original.


before price inflation!


sentimental markup by my math teacher, Ron L., from his ascent with his partner Larry back in his college days at the U.W.






enlargement of one of Tim Auger's line drawings
The route lines were originally dotted, but I overdrew them with colored pencil back in high school, so I can't reproduce the original very well.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 5, 2008 - 08:34pm PT
really great stuff Anders,
very enjoyable reading and
some pretty awesome pics too.
Tami

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Sep 5, 2008 - 08:48pm PT
Thirty four posts and Anders has only got to circa 1975. Wow. Go Anders.
Tim's line drawings are superb ( tho' outdone by Glen Boles but EVERYONE is outdone by Glen Boles ). I wish Tim had drawn cartoons in addition to these sketches; he would have a lot to say. Tim was, for many years, The Undertaker ( head of SAR ) for Banff Nat'l Park ( sad for The Coast, he moved to The Rotties ) . He called climbing accidents "wrecks" and said there are two types of wrecks, those in which he doesn't know the people and those in which he knows the people. He didn't need to elaborate.

C'mon Anders, you can scan faster then that. You used to do triathlons. This tri is scan-post-write.

More, more , more !
Cheers,
Tami
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Sep 5, 2008 - 08:57pm PT
Tami sez: Tim's line drawings are superb

True enough, but what about the ink washes in Gordie Smaill's guide? The Squamish guide that followed Woodsworth's. Done by his brother, I think.

For me, they are close to the best climbing art ever done. If my scanner weren't fuct, I'd scan some and post them. Once I get a new scanner, I'll definitely do that

D
Tami

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Sep 5, 2008 - 09:01pm PT
Patience David, patience. Anders is gittin' to it. He's movin' slow & steady. Wait till he gets to the ".......washes and strokes squeezed in amid a schedule of breakfast runs to Paris, evolving big money schemes in the Marble Arch and bus trips to Oblivion, Saskatchewan".
Dorn Juan couldn't have written that better, eh?
I know you agree.
huggies and depends ;-D
T
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 5, 2008 - 11:25pm PT
Thanks everyone – especially Clint for the nice scans. Maybe Glenn can be persuaded to visit the thread, and offer his two cents – he lives only a few blocks away, so I’ll ask. The tales, as Tolkien put it, will hopefully grow in the telling.

The top of the Chief looks like this in mid-winter, perhaps 5% of the time. We’re on the south summit, which most hikers go to, and which is the “top” of the Grand Wall. The middle but not north summits can also be seen.


Now about that Diedre climb. Diedre is a French word which means corner - not to be confused with the English name Dierdre. In the 1960s, guidebook writers, especially for granitic climbing areas, looked far and wide for synonyms for “corner”, which got a little tiresome. Some of the alternatives include diedre, dihedral, and open book. It was natural for Canadians to use diedre. (A Norwegian synonym for corner is “diederet”.) As you might guess, Diedre is a climb that mostly follows a corner. The first pitch and a half ambles around on moderate slabs and cracks, to the base of a low angle corner, which leads in four or five pitches to Broadway. Climbs on the Apron are mostly 4 – 7 pitches long, and end at Broadway, although it is possible to continue up things like Boomstick Crack (logging term), or the Squamish Buttress. Anyway, Broadway is a ledge system, some treed, which traverses off to the right into the forest that comes up between the Apron and the Grand Wall. Some is class 3 – 4, but it’s not too scary.

Anyway, here’s a photo of the middle part of Diedre, from 1976. It then had a reasonable number of shrubs and things, including some nice cedars. (Does anyone know if ladybugs like cedars?) The climbers are Dave L., Scott F., and Perry B. None are actually doing Diedre, which is just to right of the climber with the pink shirt, but other routes come and go nearby. Later I’ll say more about them and what they’re up to.


Higher up, Diedre gets fairly low angle, and is water worn. (Photo from 1975.) Glenn graded it 5.4, but in modern grades it’s 5.7, with a move or two of 5.8, including a little step right at the end.


Diedre is perhaps comparable to Nutcracker, in terms of the nature of the climbing, and who climbs it. IMHO, it’s somewhat tedious – essentially, a five pitch moderate lieback. Several other nearby routes on the Apron are similarly graded, but have much more variety, and a bit more adventure. I’ve only done it a few times, first in 1974. But many others seem to like it. (It’s even been sort of done as an ice climb, as Tami will tell us.)

I mentioned that we got started at about the time of the ‘clean climbing’ revolution. In about 1973, when hexcentrics and stoppers appeared, and made it all believable, two quite experienced climbers thought about it, and DR’s essay. One theme of the essay was that it was sometimes better to place a bolt or two, instead of repeated hammering of pitons. So what they did was climb Diedre, and place a single bolt at each belay. The idea was that then climbers would be comfortable setting off up the route with just nuts, knowing that at each belay a reliable (1/4” x 1 ½” Rawl compression!) bolt was available, to combine with nuts to make a secure belay.

This was naturally a scandal – unnecessary bolts placed anywhere, let alone on such a moderate climb, with a good crack. So not long after, the bolts were chopped. For some years they weren’t there, but sometime (I think) in the 1980s they were replaced with double bolts at each belay. This may have been related to the appearance of commercial climbing, motorized drills, and reliable bolts. And some modern Canadian climbers are a little less ideological about these things. The result has been that the route has ever since been overrun, and is the scene of the most horrifying clusterf***s you can imagine.

Diedre is, in modern portentous parlance, a “MULTI-PITCH”. (Definitely not a lower-case noun, given the way people pronounce it.) It’s not just a climb, like any other – it’s a “MULTI-PITCH”. A BHD (BIG HAIRY DEAL), possibly a BFD. Although a 20 m fall is usually as lethal as a 200 m fall. The fixed anchors at each belay lure the innocent, the ignorant, the insecure, and the plain unprepared into trouble. It’s a classic example of convenience bolting rebounding, and having the opposite effect from that intended. It’s supposedly convenient, or speeds up climbers, to have fixed belays. But it would be difficult to safely climb Diedre, and place protection, without the ability to create reasonable belays. One bolt at each belay, perhaps, for the “just in case” scenarios.

IMHO, there is an excess of convenience bolting at Squamish, and its full implications aren’t always thought through. For one thing, climbing by definition can never be convenient, or safe.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 6, 2008 - 12:11am PT
We did do a lot of aid climbing in those days, and it was one way to get quite good at placing gear, and judging how good it was. Still strongly recommended – if you’re learning how to place gear, go out on a rainy day, ‘lead’ up moderate cracks with a loose toprope, and experiment. At the very beginning we had 120' ropes, although I mostly missed the goldline phase. 150' ropes appeared a year or two later, then 50 m ropes, which for a long time were the standard. They were generally 11 mm, but once Edelrid sold 11.5 mm ropes, which naturally were marketed as being more robust. You could barely get a jumar around them. Daryl bought one, for use on El Cap, but had an exciting time on Never Never Land or Dihedral Wall, when the sheath slipped a bunch while he was jugging.

So here are some shots of aid climbing, mostly 3 - 5 pitch routes on subsidiary cliffs.

Hallucination on the Papoose, 1975 (Steve M.)

It really did overhang, though not quite as much as it appears.

Hallucination, looking down at climber turning the roof. (Photo Steve M.)


Not sure.


Unfinished Symphony, 1977. (Len S.)


Now a free route, with some nice pin pockets. There was never enough traffic at Squamish for there to be grotesque problems, but it doesn’t take much nailing to significantly improve shallow or narrow cracks.

Add: I note that Dr. Hartouni is in fact several years older.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 6, 2008 - 12:37am PT
I'm so old I can't remember how old I am... how do you deal with that sort of thing jstan?
duncan

Trad climber
London, UK
Sep 6, 2008 - 05:52am PT
Excellent stuff Mr. Hiker.

"Here one of us is channelling Mick Jagger..."

I wont dilute the great photos with an example, but don't you mean Austin Powers?
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