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Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Sep 6, 2008 - 03:06pm PT
As Anders noted, I was part of a threesome that did ice climb Diedre. It would have been around 1980. The other two chaps - who led the pitches IIRC - were Craig T. & Peter C.
We weren't the first people to climb Diedre in iced up conditions. I think we were the third.

It was sketchy. The ice was a narrow plastered thin veneer overtop of the granite slab about two meters out from the diedre corner. This distance varied but the first pitch was pretty much unprotected.

The crack of Diedre afforded some protection but in places it was choked with ice so we placed baby angles or larger pegs for pro.

I was third to follow the second-to-last pitch so I had to clean the belay - which consisted of a couple of pegs and a nut. As I had been at the station for a while , I was wearing Peter's extra-larged sized red double-quilted down jacket.

This story is best told from Peter & Craig's perspective above. Peter shouted on belay so I could unclip from the station and start whackin' out the pegs. It's important to note they couldn't see me as I was hidden below a small roof.

I was using my old Rupal hammer-headed ice tool for the job. Peter said he heard ting ting ting of my hammer and then shitshitshit as I banged and banged on the baby angle back and forth trying to get it to shift . No way. It was welded. tingting ting ting shitshit ting tingtingting shitshit and then a massive cloud of fluff and feathers erupted from beneath the corner. It was like Diedre had projectile vomited......down.

As I whacked at the welded piton , the pick of my ice tool had laid waste to the opposite sleeve of the massive jacket. I gave up on the peg ( it might be still there ) and started up the pitch. As I moved I wheezed more down from the torn jacket; the smaller particals of down following me, lofting curiously before drifting away to the neverland of lost feathers.

And Peter wept for his mangled jacket . ( I sewed the hole back up ;-D )
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 6, 2008 - 07:39pm PT
Austin Powers had not been invented in the 1970s, so it would have been difficult to channel him.

Perhaps later, or Sunday, I'll get some more stories and photos up. As mentioned, all stories and photos copyright © Me (that is, MH), 2008. Except those taken by others, of course.

My field is in part history, but I wouldn't claim that what I'm posting is history. Just stories and pictures, detritus from the past. One climber's perspectives on people, a place, and a time. Other have their own stories, and may even disagree at times - to which I can only say that they may be right, and I hope they post their two cents. And undoubtedly people have things to correct, and add. And maybe questions?

We did occasionally have visitors from the US (not just Washington), and it would be interesting to hear what they thought of it all. Most found the rain a bit oppressive - we had some rainy summers, especially 1975 and 1976, at a time when there were fewer things to do.

Some random thoughts, or at least reminders to myself. I have some slides of ice climbing at Squamish (really!) which might be a fun time out somewhere. No one took dogs (child-substitutes) climbing in the 1970s, although I'm sure some climbers' families had them. We did climb at Cheakamus Canyon then - the belay/rock photo is from there. It was obvious that there was lots of rock there to climb, especially as the area had been logged and burnt over in the 1960s. But we had other priorities. I won't comment on popular culture in the 1970s, and its results - clothing styles speak for themselves.

One thing to emphasize is that lead falls were then considered something that tended to happen occasionally, but not part of the routine. Falling was a fairly high risk thing to do, what with nuts pulling, less than reliable bolts, and so on. Although belayers may if anything have been more reliable than now, given the way in which they were trained - even given hip belays. Falling while slab climbing was thought a bit safer - some control was possible for the agile and quick. And if you never fell at all, it suggested you were a bit too careful. I went about 20 metres once, on the Apron, to loud cheering from the peanut gallery in the parking lot.

We did also boulder a bit, although the idea of cleaning and then climbing the boulders in the forest beneath the Grand Wall had not occurred to anyone. We camped amongst and under them, especially the giant ones at Cacodemon, and even explored the tunnels beneath them. We also nailed some of them - one popular winter route, called RURP Riot (overhangs 45 degrees), was later freed, and in that version is called Dream Catcher. (Not likely to be confused with Dream On and Dream Weaver, other routes at Squamish - both slab climbs.)

Naturally being climbers, we liked jargon. Nothing very imaginative, and mostly borrowed from the US or England. All the shoes were known by their initials - RRs (Robbins' tight blue wall shoes), PAs (Pierre Allain - not sure we ever had them), RDs (Rene Desmaison), and in 1974 the EB (E. Bordignon), which dominated the shoe market from then until the early 1980s. A classic example of abuse of a monopoly.

Sometime around 1974 or 1975, things began to quicken. There was no one cause, but slowly there were more climbers, and standards rose. We had a little bit more experience, a little bit more and better equipment, a bit more exposure to more mature climbing cultures, and a lot of fire. Maybe a bit more money, too, as people got older, and had real jobs, or were students. We got to a critical mass, and things suddenly started to happen. Which, with the usual digressions, is where we'll go next.

The other thing that helped is the discovery then that it was possible to aid climbs, or rappel down them, and clean out the dirt, shrubs, moss, and lichens, making it possible to free them. Squamish is in a near-rain forest, and most cracks that are less than vertical are full of dirt and green things. Which very much limited what was possible, given that the options were slab climbing, or crack climbing. The latter only possible if you could get your hands and nuts into them. People had been cleaning cracks at Squamish since the 1960s, at least to some extent - Fred and friends took a Swede saw on Tantalus Wall, for tree removal. But in 1974 or 1975, people suddenly started 'cleaning' climbs.

I'm fairly sure that Greg F. has been custodian of Peter's mangled jacket, since 1985. Collateral.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 6, 2008 - 08:10pm PT
Nice video of Chris Sharma freeing RURP Riot, aka Dreamcatcher:
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 7, 2008 - 02:48am PT
There was probably nothing particularly distinctive about the evolution of climbing at Squamish through the 1970s. (It definitely wasn’t intelligently designed.) Energetic young people, working things out as they went along, with all the usual challenges and adolescent behaviour that goes with it. And we did have fun.

We’ll now digress again. I blame Tami. Committed rock climbers may want to avert their eyes. Some of you may think that Squamish is a summer-only climbing area. You would be wrong. It isn’t quite the Rubblies, which in winter are covered in ice and snow which, even if it sometimes avalanches, at least covers up all the ‘rock’. But we do from time to time get cold clear weather, when Arctic air spills out from the interior. Usually between late November and early February. Often three to five day outbreaks, sometimes 7 – 14 days, and occasionally longer. Usually beginning or ending in heavy snow.

I see from Environment Canada’s website that the mean temperature in Vancouver in January 1993 was -0.4 degrees. The coldest night was -14.1, and for the first eighteen days of the month it barely got above freezing. Colder in Squamish, and windier – the outflow winds at the onset of an Arctic front are chilling. For January 1969, the mean temperature in Vancouver was -2.9, and the coldest day -16.1, with 65 cm of snow that month. (We had 122 cm in January 1971.) For January 1950, the coldest month on record, the mean was -6.3. (Ask if you want the URL.)

You get the picture. Cold, snowy weather isn’t unusual in Vancouver, or Squamish. It’s not consistent or reliable, as elsewhere in Canada, and it’s less usual than it was. But it does happen. And when it does, we go ice climbing. Sometimes even up in the local mountains.

We started with pretty basic stuff – single leather boots, Salewa ice screws (not slotted), hinged crampons, Salewa ice hammers, wart hogs, etc. No Marwa killer screws, thankfully. And we just kind of figured it out. This is from Mt. Seymour, just above Vancouver, January 1976.

Another ice climb in the local mountains is at the Baker ski area:

I got a bad case of the screaming barfies on this climb – toes and/or fingers chilled to the point that it hurts like hell when circulation returns, but not quite to the point of frostbite.

We had a good winter in 1978 – 79, with a big cold front that arrived in mid-December, got very cold after the 25th, and lasted through mid-January. With advances in ice climbing, we all had our eyes on Shannon Falls, and it firmed up by late December. Everybody climbed it. It’s grade 2 – 3, but rather a novelty climb.

4 – 5 pitches, but you can continue behind what’s visible, up fun steps.

(Ross B. in all three.) Shannon Falls freezes hard enough to be safely climbable every 5 – 10 years. When it does, it’s now crowded with a full on clusterf**ck, even worse than Diedre. A terrifying bowling alley for ice boulders.

This is a short climb just left of Shannon Falls. One advantage of Squamish is that there’s lots of water around, so when it does freeze, there’s lots of things to do.

(Natty attire, eh?)

There are even some nice climbs in and around the Little Smoke Bluffs. (Jay P.)

As we seem to be on a novelty theme, one of the classic and first climbs at Squamish is North Gully, done in 1958. Class 3 – 4, mostly scrambling under, around, and through house-sized chockstones. Not a “cool” climb, but still lots of fun.

(Both Steve G.) Steve is someone I did a lot of backcountry skiing and mountaineering with, who never quite understood that despite the appearances, backcountry skiing is far more dangerous than rock climbing. I’ve had too many friends killed in avalanches. Still, when the real rock climbers couldn’t be bothered with a mere gully, he was willing to give it a try. Possibly the only route he ever climbed at Squamish – a distinction he shares with my father.

I will say no more about the possible fates of other people’s down jackets.

Trad climber
A desert kingdom
Sep 7, 2008 - 03:02am PT
Outstanding thread. Thanks Anders.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 7, 2008 - 02:17pm PT
Just thought I'de give this thread a bump to keep it up there. I like your writing, Anders and Tami's sense of humor. It would be really great to hear some of the others you've mentioned chime in. I have some observations about my trip to Daryl's Memorial with Dave Y. and Rich A. that I'de like to share on this thread if it's O.K. with you.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Sep 7, 2008 - 02:29pm PT
Great stuff Anders...keep them coming.

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Sep 7, 2008 - 04:25pm PT
Squamish as an ice-climbing destination ? Oooooohh.... One evening we were ice-bouldering next to the highway and an RC stopped his car, put aside the coffee & doughnut , poked his head outside to say " Huh? " in good old fashioned English-Canadian. Told us to move along. Said we could get hit by a car.
Yah, that's bloody likely c'os weer heer on this roadside ice smear. If we get hit by a car that'd hit the Weekly World News "CAR KILLS WEIRDO CLINGING TO ICE".
It would make better yootoob then the Arab boys doin' their drifting ( have you SEEN that ???? ) . I digress.

As for Peter's beaten-to-death fluffy down jacket. I think the one that Greg has could be the big blue one Peter got for the Langtang trip ( /84 ) . Now THAT was a fancy down jacket ( esp after we picked off all the silly logos ). Collateral ? Doubtful. Peter wasn't part of Island Alpine. But he did work for John's Tree Service. Hmmmm.....I'll have to think about this one.

Best that Anders get back to more pix, that Ghost post c'os he said he would and let's hear Wayno's version of that sad cold day atop the Chief when we let Daryl go to the sou'easter.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 7, 2008 - 05:30pm PT
The more I think about it, this thread is probably not the best place for my comments. I think what I have to say might cause somewhat of a shitstorm among the yanks, so with respect for Anders, I'm going to work up a seperate trip report. Cheers. gotta get to work. Anders, you too,more stuff.

A long way from where I started
Sep 7, 2008 - 06:01pm PT
The more I think about it, this thread is probably not the best place for my comments. I think what I have to say might cause somewhat of a shitstorm among the yanks

Wayno, I really don't know how anything you say could cause more of a shitstorm among the yanks than what they already yell at each other in every second post in every second thread on this forum.

Daryl was part of Squamish climbing in the 70s, and this thread is about Squamish climbing in the 70s. Perfect place for stories about him.

I'm on a very tight deadline right now (which is why I'm working on a beautiful Sunday instead of climbing at Index with Mari), but I've got a Daryl story that I'll try to dig out and post to this thread tomorrow. It even involves a "Who's-the-manliest-man contest" between Daryl and a yankee. Which the yankee lost. Of course.

Trad climber
East Van
Sep 7, 2008 - 11:58pm PT
I was thinking about this thread while I was climbing Mushroom today. Keep'em come'n.

Social climber
My Inner Nut
Sep 8, 2008 - 12:07am PT
Hey, MH, I took my first BIG whipper on you route "Seasoned In the Sun" back in '82. That last rattly hands bit to the good ledge that happened to be sandy early in the season. Thanks.

Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Sep 8, 2008 - 02:50am PT
Hi, I’m back! I went to Squamish today, and after visiting family, hiked up all the summits of the Chief, collecting a big bag of garbage en route – FaceLift training. I bet none of YOU climbed three summits today! I found three plastic bottles, so earned $0.30 for my efforts. I considered blueberry picking, but maybe next weekend. I may be able to post some photos later – the next subject will probably be slab climbing. But first some editorial.

All posts having to do with climbing at Squamish in the 1970s, or the dramatis personae, are all welcome. Especially from those who were there, or knew the people. Questions or comments, too. There probably wasn’t anything really different about us or what we were doing, but we had a flavour of our own.

The thread about Daryl is at There are many stories that could be told about Daryl, and indeed others who were around then, but may not need to be told here.

Daryl was quite a character. We used to get pestered by the people at the border, en route to Leavenworth or Yosemite. Sometimes to the point of strip searches. I’ve always tried to keep a low public profile when it came to authority figures – picking fights with bureaucrats, let alone cops, is rarely wise. Once we crossed, on the way to the Valley. Daryl was asked what he did, and he replied “I’m a topper”. He was quite proud of it, as it’s specialized and dangerous work – a topper is the guy who goes up a long way up a big tree and cuts off the tip, to reduce splitting of the main trunk when it falls down. (The “tip” can be 10 m long, 1 m thick, and weigh hundreds of kilos.) Daryl wasn’t just a logger, he was a topper. It was fun hearing him explain this to the border guy.

Eventually Daryl morphed into urban tree work, and in a sense that’s how he died. But in his glory days, he was handy with a chain saw – that is, one with a 36” or longer bar. One for real men. In some climbing areas, it’s a “rite of passage” to buy a power drill. In Squamish, it may instead be buying a chain saw – lots of climbers own, and think they know how to safely use, them. Scary stuff. But none of them has what Daryl would have considered a “real” chain saw.

I am astounded that Erik W. took a long fall on Seasoned in the Sun – it’s an eminently protectable climb. Although soon after the first ascent, a guy from Victoria “went for it” on the upper half, and took a 30 m+ fall, for which he earned the nickname “Death Fall Steve”. He just missed cratering. As Eric mentions, there’s a ledge above the climb, with the usual gravel and rocks. When we first did the route, a well-rooted stump had to be left in the middle. Some years later, we went back, and spent several enjoyable hours trundling boulders off the ledge. Eventually, we scored the desired direct hit on the stump, and knocked it ass over teakettle into the forest.

Anyway, it was a nice walk today. Some now claim that the Chief has four summits – they are separated by the imaginatively named North North, North, South, and South South Gullies. (Shades of “Left Side of”, “Centre Route” and “Right Side of” XYZ Pinnacle!) The summits areas are generally rougher rock, perhaps because the receding glacier exposed them first, and they’ve had longer to erode. And it is a lovely walk. There are little sub-loops that lengthen it. Plus a swimming pool size pothole right at the north summit, which is filled with water year round. The only pothole I know of at Squamish.

Another fun climb is Sunshine Chimneys, which is directly behind what is now the campground. Quite a variety of stuff, including tunneling between two giant blocks for quite a way, then popping out onto a steep wall at treetop height. Nominally 5.6 or so. I did it with Eric on a rainy day in May 1973, and am still not quite sure how he got up the slab at the end. He always was gifted. Later that day, I took a good fall out of the top of Big Daddy Overhang, trying to get over to Sentry Box and off.

As far as clothing, hair styles, music, and popular culture go, perhaps the less said the better. The first wave boomers (1946 – 55) had, as always, left devastation in their wake. I will never forgive them for disco or polyester, just for starters. Luckily, few of us were much concerned with fashion, except with respect to music, and perhaps as exhibited by members of the opposite sex.

The town of Squamish and its popular lumberjack mayor, Pat Brennan, provided a lot of support to Baldwin and Cooper in 1961. Their climb of the Grand Wall got Squamish a lot of attention, right after the highway opened. By the early 1970s, climbing had mostly fallen off the radar there. We went into town to patronize the low budget restaurants, such as the Tastee Freeze and the Lotus Gardens (“Chinese-Canadian Cuisine”), but that was about it. Most of us weren’t of legal age for a few more years, and usually couldn’t get into the bars. Eric and Daryl, and then John A., were a bit older, and able to get beer for others who wanted. Once we got cars, even if borrowed from our parents, we would sometimes drive the 3 km into town, and see what mischief could be managed – there were a few confrontations with the adolescent males of Squamish, but nothing too scary.

Knowing the characters involved, it is much more likely that the collateral down jacket that Tami refers to was the Langtang one, not the exploded one. The timing is just right.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 8, 2008 - 03:04am PT
My thoughts were more about the Memorial than Daryl himself. Maybe I'll post up tomorrow, I'm going to sleep on it.
Keeper of Australia Mt

Trad climber
Whitehorse, Yukon , Canada
Sep 8, 2008 - 04:23am PT
Yup. the Mighty Hiker is on a roll with this one - sweet stuff.
In 1970 I was hunkered down for three months amidst the monsoon deposits on the Queen Charlotte Islands digging prehistoric curios from the bowels of the earth -totally oblivous to the mayhem and heinous activity to the far southeast. Pretty much oblivious to climbing totally - no intersection at all in my youth other than a a wildly inept affair of a small unit of Boy Scouts practicing "rapping" down a steep gravel bank of the Klondike River (using some wild Euro body wrap technique - against all odds we survived). But climbin was in the air and I recall my Charolotte's boss mentioning Baldwin because there is a prehistoric time period in the Fraser Canyon named after him. He was a student of the germanic father of B.C. archaeology - Charles Borden out at UBC. In any case, after falling into this late life passion in 2001, and having absorbed some intro stuff here, in Canmore and in Jtree (under the tutelage of Clark Jacobs - I finally foraged north from Van to Sqauamish - linking up with Bourdon and Morehead. That would have been 2002 and somewhere in there Anders showed up - don't recall precisely whether it was at the crag, Climb On , or the Starbucks early am launch pad. Maybe all three! Or maybe as celestial vision late one night at the Brew Pub! Obviously, still waters run deep - the Mighty Hiker has a mighty history! He is also psychic - here I am wrapping plans for another foray into Squamish in a couple of weeks time and he comes out with this little enticing thread! To hell with Harper and his gang's election - why don't we just install Anders as Governor of Squamish, Howe Sound and related ancillary aspects of the Coast Range and save a few gazillion dollars. And this will reserve him for the land of the Maple Leaf as he has been wandering way too far south to the valley and might just end up with the remainder of our donations to lower 48 culture - Gretz, Celine Dion, Paul Anka, Steve Nash, Captain Kirk, Mike Myers, Leslie Nielsen,John Candy etc. :) Don't even think about it! Like Tami, bolster yourself against the lure of Hollywood and the big bucks. Great renderings of the early guides but they only tell half the tale - I happen to have clipped onto a couple of Squamish heirlooms - one being the spicey little rendering " Vicious Lies an' Heinous Slander Vol.2 - from a Supremely demented little corner of the Coast Range!!!)! Circa 1989 - when I finally dug that little gem out of the dusty antique store I was overcome by a feeling not unlike the chaps who found the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Chapter "How to Climb Offwidths" provided, no doubt, sublimbinal motivation to getting up Agamemnon at Araps . Forget Indian Jones and his quest for freaking holy grails,crystal cups, saucers, whatever - he needs to focus on the important stuff we are all interested in: Vol. 1 of Vicious Lies an' Heinous Slander - from a supremely demented Little Corner of the Coast Range". The younger generations and even some ancient ones are seriously deprived/depraved if our garage sale scouring can not come up with this little beauty. It should be reprinted, with appropriate attribution as an appendix in the next " The Climbers Guide to Squamish" - that way the cake has some icing.

Keep it going MH - and work some magic with the early October weather at Squamish - it would not be that great to see a repeat of Oct 2003 and the tsunami's careening off the apron and having to bail for Skaha. Not that that was a bad deal but time is of the essence on this one.
You should visit your sister here and do it in the summer when we can go do a few routes out at White Mountain or Golden Canyon! And I can point the way to the Bugaboo's like granitic spires lying to the south of us but beyond the reach of the BC border.



Trad climber
Golden, CO
Sep 8, 2008 - 09:44am PT
Great thread, Anders. These are well told stories. I visited Squamish three times in the late '70s. It became part of my climbing circle's yearly circuit. The circuit was basically the Valley in the Spring, Tuolumne in the early summer, work a bit in the summer in San Diego, and then go to Squamish (and/or the Bugaboos) in the Fall. The others is the group were Tom Gibson, George Manson, Rob Rohn, and Mike Tschipper.

On almost every trip it rained at least a bit, but we always managed to get in some exceptionally good climbs. I feel honored to have got to hang out with the likes of Perry Beckham, Dave Lane, Ward ?, Daryl Hatten, and even Tami on one or two occasions. Pretty sure I met Gordon Smail on one trip, and got to climb with Peter Croft on another.

Our group ended up doing a few first ascents, the best one being Freeway on the Tantalus Wall by Tom Gibson and Rob Rohn, in 1979. We did these with the best wishes of some of the locals, who happened to be some of our best friends. It was a casual, friendly atmosphere in that regard. I can't think of a Squamish climber I've met that I didn't like.

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Sep 8, 2008 - 12:37pm PT
Ward Robinson. Strong big wall & ice climber and alpinist. Almost Ate It on the Rupal Face with Twight and Bubba. A crazed tale of retreat if there is one.
He lives in the Rotties.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Sep 8, 2008 - 01:40pm PT
Yep, that's the guy, Tami. Thanks. I actually knew him more from the Valley, where we hung out a little. He made a real impression on me.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 8, 2008 - 01:57pm PT
I wanted to talk to Yerian before I posted up and viola, he called me this morning. He's in total agreement with what I have to say.
We were touched by the welcome and hospitality we received from all you folks in Squamish. I didn't realize it at the time but it was the who's who of Squamish climbing in the seventies. Never in Yosemite had I experienced the comradeship and sense of community that you folks showed, and I think it shows on this forum. With some rare exceptions my experiences in Yosemite reek too much of elitism, aloofness and plain old back stabbing. I would say some of that has changed, but not much. From all the good words I've read here from yanks about Daryl, I kinda expected more of us to show up. I realize there are travel constraints and some people don't do well at memorials but how often in life do you get to know a guy like Daryl. Dave and I want thank all of you for making such a sad day one of the most memorable experiences we've had. Dave is coming up here in a month or two and we really want to come up to Squamish and say thanx.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Sep 8, 2008 - 02:18pm PT

Greg F. during a Santa Cruz visit in maybe 1989. I think Island Alpine closed doors just before then.
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