Luke - Anders' guide mentions Nic Taylor and P. Peart but with 1975 having a question mark. I have a note in both my old Smaill guide and Anders' guides that Bill Price led the L Side free in the summer of 1978. He rated it 5.11d. Bill would have been 17 yrs old at the time. He came to Canada to visit with Mike Boris - a friend of Daryl.
Bill was a really great guy - still is from what I hear :-). He'd be about fifty now......... grin.
The FA of Commando Crack was by Peter Peart and IIRC Brian Thompson, in 1972. The FFA was by Perry and Tim Holwill - the select guide is a bit hard to read.
Peter was an Australian who came here in about 1970. I knew him through the BCMC, and later we were in classes together at UBC. (He became an engineer.) Anyway, Peter was well connected to the Australian climbing scene, and in 1972 Chris Baxter came and climbed here as part of a tour. In 1975, Nic Taylor was here for a few days, and they did the left side of the Pillar, plus Split Beaver. There has been some skepticism regarding this, but then or soon after Nic was one of Australia's leading climbers. Anyway, something I'll talk with Peter about - maybe he even has photos.
This is a rehash of ancient history.
Re Commando Crack
I think Smaill was referring to this climb when he described an enjoyable climb "if you like cream with your manure." I didn't know what it was called when I freed it as the first pitch of what would become Movin' to Montana in 80-81? with Tim Holwill.
If TCU's were around then, I didn't have any and I'm not sure if they'd fit anyways.
After a couple tries I led it clean with a fistful of green and blue RPs and thought it was hard 5.11 at the time.
It's a great pitch during the few weeks of the year that it's dry.
The Select Guide doesn't accurately reflect this pitch as part of Movin' to Montana.
Re The Left Side
Nic gets credit for the FFA, presumably from the hanging belay under the roof.
Although the veracity of this claim has been questioned, I don't think it was beyond Nic as that was the same year he freed Country Road (24/25) at Buffalo. He was all over The Valley's hardest cracks of the time.
The start of the Left Side was choked with dirt and grass when Daryl and Mike Boris cleaned it out so Bill could lead it free in 77.
(Credit for reaching the Left Side free from Merci Me at 11a/b goes to some tall skinny guy in 79/80.)
Thanks, Perry! It will be interesting to learn how Tim and Dick (1972), and then Nic and Peter (1975) got to the start of the left side. Dick was involved in Ten Years After, which is the first half of the Mercy Me to Grand Wall linkup. I wonder?
No climb from Squamish was included in "Fifty Classic Climbs of North America", published in 1979. It was a book somewhat oriented toward long alpine, and alpine rock, climbing, and to the USA. Still, it contains a number of rock routes. At least a few existing routes at Squamish as of say 1977/78 were of comparable quality to some of those included in the book, such as University Wall.
There is somewhat more about Squamish in "Climbing in North America", published in 1976, although mostly relating to the Grand Wall, and climbing up to 1970.
It's an interesting sidelight as to how Squamish was seen by some at that time.