Son Of Heart - T.R.

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Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 23, 2008 - 11:36am PT
The first dozen routes up El Capitan followed mostly obvious crack systems up the towering monolith. Son Of Heart, established by Rick Sylvester in 1971 is no exception. The route follows the inside right lobe of the heart formation before punching thru the roofs above to a stunning series of left facing corners that shoot upwards towards the summit. These corners have some wide cracks & chimneys that have always intrigued me so it was with much anticipation that I decided to get myself up there to experience them firsthand.

Looking up from Heart Ledge



Starting up the bolts & old rivets on pitch # 5. A few placements lead to a long stretch of funky old dowels & just enough modern bolts to keep it casual.



This pitch leads to a steep leaning corner that took a bunch of Lost Arrows & offset cams & leads to the roof capping the Heart feature.





Next was the roof, Heartbreak Hotel. Some fixed pins & 1 bolt lead over the roof & up a leaning crack to a poor ledge above, the Heartbreak Hotel.







This is pitch 9. a corner that needed lots of cleaning to unearth the placements. Maybe A2, though the topo called it A3.





This is pitch #12, an unrated pitch on some topos. Supertopo says it's 5.11. I found it to be 5.10 & A1 at the very end, like the Reid/Meyers guide. The inside edge of this 6 to 7" lieback is pretty positive but rounds out as you get to apoint where you need to slip inside & wriggle for awhile. The aid part comes way up high on the 150' pitch where a steepening corner gets thin.



This leads to the ominous chimneys, so prominent from the ground. Here's Erik leading the Kierkegaard Chimney. A bombay slot that flares downwards, making protection more difficult. Big cams were key here! A very physical pitch. Erik got rug burns on his knees through long pants with kneepads on top.




Looking down the Nietzche Chimney. Another physical tormentor of a pitch in which big cams were essential.



These pitches are part of Alex Huber's free route El Corazon. Alex called Kierkegaard Chimney 5.12 B, Chris Mac's topo says 5.10B, go figure!!


A look out to show the bombay nature of the Kierkegaard Chimney. This is an amazing place to be!!


Here's a nice view looking down from up high. You can see Hollow Flake on the Salathe, far below.



Here's a view of the Calcite deposits that are found on El Cap where water runs much of the year. You find these formations on the Coral Sea Pitch on Native Son, & on the coral Corner on Aquarian Wall. These sharp little pihrahna teeth just grind your skin unless you're very careful. chickenwinging up the Nietche Chimney against this stuff almost burgered(buggered?) my arm. I recommend long sleeves for this section.



This is a 5.13 A pitch that goes at C2 with cams & wires. El Corazon then goes left, undercling a roof to reach the Golden Desert section of the Heart Route which then leads to the A5 traverse, another 5.13 pitch for that route. I was kind of wondering what is holding the block on the right in place? It seems detached on all sides & sits like a pestle right above the belay. It seemed solid when I got to it but you never know. It kind of hangs there like a big bomb waiting to go off.







This is pitch # 17, a fine headwall with amazing rock & the biggest view you could ever imagine. One more pitch leads to the Fat City corners which lead to the top.



This is a flake system that I saw back in 1994 when I did Sunkist. I always wanted to get back up there & climb it but the Huber Brothers beat me to it & then drilled holes in the edge of the flake for threaded runners. Kind of lame, if you're gonna drill a hole, fill it with metal I say! Now the flake has aging webbing slings that will no doubt need replacing sometime soon.

Soon enough we topped out & returned to the sublime valley floor for some R&R .



Edited insert part 2


Tonsilectomy Traverse ~ rated A3+ but more like A2. Very stimulating location here.




Throwing off a big-ass dirt hummock from the start of pitch #8, A1 hooks(what's that?) off Heartbreak Hotel. There was a ton of grass & weeds that needed to be cleaned to see where the hook edges were.



Another view of the struggle in the Kierkegaard Chimney.










Dirka

Trad climber
SF
Sep 23, 2008 - 11:46am PT
A fine TR!!!
graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Sep 23, 2008 - 11:48am PT
Cool, thanks for the shots Levy.

I wish we had big cams back in 77 when Dale Bard and I did it. It was like going to war with a few Bongs.

One of my best times for sure!

Mike
snakefoot

climber
cali
Sep 23, 2008 - 11:55am PT
bump, nice lighting..and route.
Gene

climber
Sep 23, 2008 - 11:58am PT
Beautiful.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Upper Fupa, North Dakota
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:02pm PT
Way to go guys! You and the "E" rock.
TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:14pm PT
Really nice TR, looks cool
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:22pm PT
Good Lord, that's gnarly.....

well done.
Gagner

climber
Boulder
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:32pm PT
Hey Bill - Nice TR. One of the cooler routes that I've done, and I always thought that this is one of the most compelling lines on El Cap.

Paul
Prod

Big Wall climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:32pm PT
Cool. Very nice TR and Photos.

Prod.
Blakeb

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Oregon
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:47pm PT
Very nice TR and sick photos. Chimney looked cool. Glad to hear you guys sent.
Blake
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Sep 23, 2008 - 01:34pm PT
great photos! i added a link to this page

http://www.supertopo.com/rockclimbing/route.html?r=ybelsono
crusher

climber
Santa Monica, CA
Sep 23, 2008 - 01:54pm PT
Another awesome TR - Thanks Bill and E...cool shots!!!
Ammon

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Sep 23, 2008 - 02:18pm PT

Awesome! Thanks for sharing
yo

climber
I drink your milkshake!
Sep 23, 2008 - 02:33pm PT
Thanks Levy.
hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
Yosemite, CA
Sep 23, 2008 - 03:31pm PT
Nice job guys! Thanks for the pics! Where are E's pics of Bill???
piquaclimber

Trad climber
Durango
Sep 23, 2008 - 03:51pm PT
Nice TR Levy!

Good Stuff.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Sep 23, 2008 - 04:02pm PT
Always was curious about that route.

Sounds like a good time. Thanks for sharing and transporting me from my desk if only for a few minutes.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 23, 2008 - 04:17pm PT
spectacular!
Walleye

climber
The back seat of my 69 Nark Avenger
Sep 23, 2008 - 04:27pm PT
Great post. My greatest wall adventure ever was on the Son of Heart. How about that Tonsillectomy Traverse? We did the 8th ascent in 1990. I'd be suprised if it's had more than 20 at this point.
msiddens

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Sep 23, 2008 - 05:12pm PT
I love it when a TR makes my palms sweat.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Sep 23, 2008 - 05:19pm PT
Sweet. I always wanted to go there. I've been on both sides of it, but the wide always kind of spooks me....
Great TR!
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 23, 2008 - 07:48pm PT
Thanks for the positive commentary! I'll post up some more pics later this evening after I get home from work. I did a quickie job on this T.R. but I need to upload more pics to my photobucket account before I post any more images.

I'll post pics of Tonsilectomy & more in the next batch.

Bill
noshoesnoshirt

climber
Sep 23, 2008 - 08:00pm PT
beautiful
Walleye

climber
The back seat of my 69 Nark Avenger
Sep 23, 2008 - 08:01pm PT
The bolt on the roof pitch was always there but it was a 1/4 incher back in the day...
CAMNOTCLIMB

Trad climber
novato ca
Sep 23, 2008 - 10:09pm PT
nice....
T2

climber
Cardiff by the sea
Sep 23, 2008 - 10:27pm PT
Nice one you guys!!
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Sep 23, 2008 - 11:16pm PT
Always wondered about that route, thanks for posting up the pics.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Sep 24, 2008 - 12:12am PT

Sweet!

.12b, .10b. Six of one half dozen of the other.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 24, 2008 - 12:27am PT
Hi Bill....

You and E are the real deal. Keep it up!!
dogtown

climber
Where I once was,I think?
Sep 24, 2008 - 12:30am PT
Beautiful Golden rock, Nice TR too.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Sep 24, 2008 - 12:43am PT
It's amazing that you and E can keep the psyche going to keep doing those big nail ups. Now I can only look at those TRs and dream.

Thanks, Bill.

JL
hungry man

Trad climber
around
Sep 24, 2008 - 12:54am PT
wow! thanks.
Loomis

climber
(>_
Sep 24, 2008 - 12:56am PT
Bill and E, fůck yea, that's out there!
Now I know why I could not get ahold of you.
Jessica and I send you a big congratulations!
By the way, she started to climb and is motivated more by seeing the
beautiful pictures you post. Scott
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Sep 24, 2008 - 01:06am PT
Good to hear you made it safe and sound.

Emma and I just check out your pix. very excited for you and E.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Sep 24, 2008 - 07:11am PT
Great pictures and good commentary. "A" for your TR.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 24, 2008 - 11:44am PT
Sweet!
Say, is Ole' E handlin' a piton on that roof shot at the bolt, or is he fixin' to hit the pipe?

Dick_Lugar

Trad climber
Indiana (the other Mideast)
Sep 24, 2008 - 11:54am PT
Awesome T.R...thnx. for the momentary escape from my reality!
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 24, 2008 - 01:10pm PT
E needs an appreciation thread

edit: This is in no way a slight against Levy as he's one badazz mofo himself

E abides
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 24, 2008 - 01:33pm PT
RE:
"E needs an appreciation thread "

no doubt...
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 24, 2008 - 02:01pm PT
An E appreciation.

One of the best ways to improve as a climber is to climb with those who are better at it than you are. I have been lucky enough to climb with E a few times; at the Needles, The Rincon, Idyllwild, Josh and Yosemite.

A highlight was Astroman. We swung leads, and the way it shook out I did the last pitch. I was in a state of bliss as E topped out. The fact that our ascent was not perfect was the furthest thing from my mind as we began the decent. E’s question: “Can you come back and try it again next week?” hit me like a gunshot. I did not answer fast enough, and he followed up with “Well, you’re not satisfied, are you??”

We came back two weeks later and did it squeaky clean. I knew, of course, there was no doubt E would climb clean. The pressure was on me, since I knew that if I dangled even once, even while following, the entire event would be spoiled. My only option in this case would be some form of suicide.

We sent it, this was a real highlight for me, and I take the lessons of that ascent with me every time I go climbing. That was about 15 years ago.

Thanks, E…
hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
Yosemite, CA
Sep 24, 2008 - 02:05pm PT
Thanks for the new pics Bill!!
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Redlands
Sep 24, 2008 - 02:16pm PT
Man, you guys are heroes.

Also, nice story Kris.
Gene

climber
Sep 24, 2008 - 02:23pm PT

Unbelievable. Just stunning!
WBraun

climber
Sep 24, 2008 - 02:26pm PT
Yikes!

Don't fall. "Son Of Heart" me and Shipley 5th ascent.

Thanks Levy, "E" and Gene for the great photos ......
Gene

climber
Sep 24, 2008 - 02:38pm PT
Werner,

Levy posted new pics at the beginning of the thread. I just copied his. What a wild shot!

GM
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Sep 24, 2008 - 02:39pm PT
Fanstastic.

Beautiful pics.
Walleye

climber
The back seat of my 69 Nark Avenger
Sep 24, 2008 - 03:26pm PT
It's so cool to see these photos as it brings back great memories. Thanks Levy for taking the time to post up.. So what are YOU guys rating the Kierkegaard Chimney????????

Having the time of my life in April 1990

Photo: Dave Schultz
E

Social climber
Tujunga CA.
Sep 24, 2008 - 04:04pm PT
the rating of the bombay chimney pitch is 5.8 chimney to 10b hands- just like what mac says in the topo. I guess I need to brush up on the free skills cause I hung on the gear some. I was out so far at one point that I think that I would have probably gone 100' if I whipped.

Erik

Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 24, 2008 - 07:19pm PT
Yeah, what he said....

I thought Nietzche Chimney was 5.10 & A1/A3+. The reason for the A1/A3+ rating is that although I had a cam close-by, the crack was so downwards flaring that the cams would sometimes fail to hold when weighted. At one point I had 2 biggies clipped together equalized onto my aider & the other large cam I placed overhead & it skated when I pulled down on it. I took a short daisy whipper onto the other two whid held but if they had ripped, I would have been pachinko balled down the slot & been thrashed or injured. That is why I am declaring it A1/A3+.

Erik's lead looked fierce too but with a bigger fall potential. I'm declaring it 5.10 & A-something. Go experience it for yourself!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 24, 2008 - 07:40pm PT
Thanks. Great TR with fine shots.

How do you go to the bathroom up there?

;-)

Karl
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Sep 24, 2008 - 08:42pm PT
My favorite E shot:

The Pirate, Suicide [Epperson image from an old BD catalog.]
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 24, 2008 - 09:07pm PT
RE:
" At one point I had 2 biggies clipped together equalized onto my aider & the other large cam I placed overhead & it skated when I pulled down on it."

gulp...

first time I saw E, he don't remember it;
'77, coming down from Suicide rock w/ Brent Hoffman,
Brent stopped and asked E a couple questions;

I knew it then:
dude's a Real Climber.
Walleye

climber
The back seat of my 69 Nark Avenger
Sep 24, 2008 - 09:31pm PT
I know a guy who is sort of named after a famous German Rocket Scientist who said "Oh mahn we bivied right below that chimney and I knew I had to lead it the next day. I was so scared I didn't sleep at all"

Also: What did Rick Sylvester say? Something about hanging off of those arm bars in that chimney with all that exposure? "A piece of my mind exfoliated away". LOL.......
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Sep 24, 2008 - 09:51pm PT
Walt encouraged me to get on this one, and I never did, yet
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 25, 2008 - 10:52am PT
bump for E, Levy and some great pics
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 25, 2008 - 11:53am PT
Fabulous TR guys! Don't get to see much of this route as it has enough mandatory free climbing to keep the crowds at bay. The philosopher's chimneys just ain't sling jockey territory! LOL
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Sep 26, 2008 - 11:55pm PT
Nice TR!,
Jaybro, that Kierkegaard chimney has your name on it.
Zander
Double D

climber
Sep 27, 2008 - 12:35am PT
Great photos! Thanks for sharing em.
pc

climber
East of Seattle
Sep 27, 2008 - 12:48am PT
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
Terry

climber
Spokane
Sep 27, 2008 - 11:10am PT
Great TR. Thanks for the motivation.

Deserved bump!
guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 27, 2008 - 01:27pm PT
Good time. Thanks for posting it, something fun to look at. Keeps me motivated, so now I'll go do my PT, extra hard.
Mike.

climber
Sep 30, 2008 - 04:46pm PT
Good stuff, Bill. Nice job on the route and the TR.
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sep 30, 2008 - 06:02pm PT
bottom of the first page bump
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
Oct 4, 2008 - 08:46pm PT
Tom and I climbed Son Of Heart a few years ago, and sadly I believe it may have been my least favourite El Cap route. I just didn't like the chimneys and had a real tussle in some of them. Neither of us is a "real" climber - we cheated our way up with Tom's Valley Giant 9" and 12" cams. Even so, a real struggle. Particularly memorable were the "poorly protected California wetlands".

So I was pleasantly surprised to recall a few good memories when looking at Bill's superb photos! The colours are amazing, and in spite of some nastiness there is some good climbing on the route. I guess Son of Heart is kinda like Chongo - either you get it, or you don't. And I don't see the attraction. {blech} But I respect those who enjoyed climbing the route.

There are a few really good bits, though, like the traverse and the headwall above Sunkist. I was sorry the ASCA types repeated the first ascensionists' error in the placement of the penji anchor bolt above the slick arete - were you to lean only a couple feet out from the last natural placement, and use a left-handed driller, you could place the bolt far enough left to avoid twenty feet of vertical jungle bashing.

Thanks for the pix, Bill.

Cheers,
Pete
lars johansen

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 4, 2008 - 09:29pm PT
Beautiful photos and excellent TR

Thanks

lars
Crimpergirl

Social climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Oct 4, 2008 - 09:48pm PT
Really amazing - the photos the story, all of it. Thanks so much for putting it out there.

BTW, Brass Nuts says he has rump pucker syndrome (RPS) just looking at this trip report!
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 4, 2008 - 10:27pm PT
Hi Pete!

Nice job on Kaos! I had my mind warped by that route. I did it in '97 and at the time it was the hardest route I had been on. I was almost brought to tears by some of the reaches & such on some of the pitches.

On Son Of Heart, on the pendulum on pitch 10, I tensioned off left & got a skatey hook right on the arete, got on that & hooked down & way out left again, to a 3/8" wide edge that I hooked on & made the transition into the other crack with a minimal loss of elevation. It seemed much better than going way down & battling more shrubbery to get back to the same spot.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Oct 5, 2008 - 01:32am PT
Missed this fine TR the first time round, so I'm glad someone bumped it. Amazing climbing.

D
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
Oct 5, 2008 - 02:27pm PT
Hey Bill,

I'm sitting here laughing in my coffee at your comments on KAOS! Yeah, it's still Pretty Darn Hard up there. Huge reaches, dangerous leads, horrifying runouts, tears and fears ... great stuff. I think. It seems more fun now that I'm off of it.

Sounds like you found the Better Way to beat that twenty feet of vertical jungle bashing after the penji bolt on SOH. I still think the bolt should have been placed farther left!

When I think back on Son Of Heart, maybe it wasn't so bad after all. For there is no such thing as a bad route on El Cap! I just remember being absolutely miserable getting jammed up into those chimneys, trying to move cams and get some sort of upward progress. At one point, Tom shouted at me, "you haven't bloody moved in half an hour!" Because I couldn't - I was so stuck!

Tom later did a masterful job on the Tonsillectomy Traverse, placing all these crazy-ass pin-stacks with Leeper Zeds and sawed-offs and the like.

You write above that "big cams" were the key. What did your big cam arsenal consist of?

Cheers,
Pete
BriGuy

Trad climber
SL,UT
Oct 12, 2008 - 01:03pm PT
Bump for the stunning photos. Nice job guys. I saw you at the ledges raps (partner Erik and I just finished TTrip).

Great TR and thanks for posting!

Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Oct 12, 2008 - 03:11pm PT
Super Duper guys!
bubble boy

Big Wall climber
T100
Oct 12, 2008 - 04:53pm PT
Thanks for the beautiful TR. Lots of psych!!! I want it!!! Salad? You out there? What do you think?

Yum
Mike.

climber
Oct 13, 2008 - 01:57pm PT
btw, what's that thing stuck on the headwall in "nice view looking down"?
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Otto, NC
Oct 14, 2008 - 01:44pm PT
Fantastic!

Uh, dunno if I really want to have part of my mind exfoliate...
Jim E

climber
Oct 15, 2008 - 11:53am PT
Sports Racer bump of awesomeness.
lilolehs

climber
Oct 18, 2008 - 06:46pm PT
Beautiful photos, William!

Susan
sempervirens

Trad climber
Trinity County
Oct 18, 2008 - 07:44pm PT
Levy, (and everybody)

Great photos, awesome route. Everybody has said so and I agree.

What about the dirt hummock? "... grass and weeds that needed to be cleaned". Should we be doing that? How long did it take for that hummock to get to that size? Hey, what species of grass was that?

What do you all think?

Throwing off a big-ass dirt hummock from the start of pitch #8, A1 hooks(what's that?) off Heartbreak Hotel. There was a ton of grass & weeds that needed to be cleaned to see where the hook edges were.
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 18, 2008 - 10:08pm PT
Sempervirens wrote:
What about the dirt hummock? "... grass and weeds that needed to be cleaned". Should we be doing that? How long did it take for that hummock to get to that size? Hey, what species of grass was that?

What do you all think?

In my experience, routes that receive little traffic, often have grassy sections that need to be cleared out to find the placements hidden beneath. Trade routes are cleaned constantly with every ascent. Routes that see few ascents get filled with grass & flowers, especially when there's a source of water dripping nearby.

If you have the cajones to fire a hook into the grass/mud & get on it without seeing what it's hooked on, you are a brave individual indeed. That hummock in the pictures was small compared to the one I hucked off a minute before. I yelled "Rock" a bunch of times just as it was peeling away from the rock to alert any climbers below. It must have been the size of a wheelbarrow & weighed at least 40 lbs.!

Bottom line: if you are gonna climb rock, you are gonna have to clean the placements out from time to time.

I have no idea what kind of grasses are up there but I've seen many flowers.
sempervirens

Trad climber
Trinity County
Oct 18, 2008 - 10:31pm PT
uh-huh, but what if you did find out what species it was. wouldn't that be something.

And yeah, climbing rock might necessitate cleaning rock. Flushing a toilet pollutes water, starting my car puts carbon in the atmosphere, etc. You get the idea.

We still choose to do what we do. So, if you choose to launch a dirt hummock, wouldn't it be wise to consider that action a bit more. Or to define "weed" when you pull one out. Maybe find out what it is. What if it were a very rare plant. Could be an unknown species, not likely but ya never know. Species unknown to western science are found every year in California.

What kind of flowers did you see up there? Monkey flowers, willow herb, maybe. Selaginella, (that's not a flower).
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Oct 19, 2008 - 11:39am PT
Guidebook descreption of sections of Son Of Heart:

"Poorly protected California wetlands"
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 20, 2008 - 02:15am PT
Hey Pete,

"Poorly protected California wetlands"

How about the A1 rating on the wetlands section? It seemed more difficult than the "A3+" hooks above, eh?
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 20, 2008 - 09:10am PT
Awesome report and pix, guys.
WOW WOW WOW!!!!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Oct 20, 2008 - 10:33am PT
It's a little known aid climbing fact, Bill, that on the SW Face of El Cap, if you equalize 37 weeds, they will hold body weight. Start with 37 3mm water bottle neck loops, and get creative with couple hundred metres of 1/2" webbing. Complete the placement with a Scream-Aid for full UIAA certification.
Gene

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 10:44am PT
Big Wall TR Bump!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Jan 28, 2010 - 06:59pm PT
BUMP to go with the "Son of Hart" post, This line always inspired me. Fearsome, leaning and leering.

In the dark at a camp fire, people were talking various Yosemite routes. To no one in particular Hugh Burton said; "Son of Heart, the chimneys,5.10 jumaring, ha ha". Didn't need much imagination after hearing that from him!
Ricardo Cabeza

climber
All Over.
Jan 29, 2010 - 12:04am PT
BUMP.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Jan 29, 2010 - 12:39am PT
The Culprit

"Hmmm, I wonder where the Grey Poupon is?"




Samarkand market
(check out the chic bellbottoms!)
TripL7

Trad climber
san diego
Jan 29, 2010 - 02:07am PT
Thanks so much for putting in the time and effort for this TR. SOH has always held a certain place in my life. I had planned to do it with a friend of mine in the Spring of '75. I got really sick and ended up in the hospital by the first of June, and missed out. I wish I could relive that Spring/Summer.

My friend, Dave Stutzman(with Maurice from Norway)went ahead and attempted the second ascent. Got within less than a pitch from the top.

He gave me pitch by pitch account. What I recall vividly is his discription of the back to back wide pitches. Kirkegaard and Nietzsche. He led them both with zero pro. Belay to belay. No aid, no bongs, and of course their were no Cams BITD.

Dave Stutzman was a bad azz...RIP Dave!
Plumbbob

Mountain climber
Juneau, AK
Jan 29, 2010 - 02:52am PT
Just a note, I climbed with Dave in 1977 and his stories of the Son of Heart route were entertaining and educational. I think I have some of his origional slides from his attempt in with some of our other climbing pictures. I'll try to get those scanned and then add them to this thread.
BP
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 29, 2010 - 07:21am PT
TripL7 - how the heck can someone get within a pitch of the top, and not complete the second ascent? Whether you count the "top" the beginning of the slab, or the very top, none of those pitches up there is hard. I don't get it.

Did they rap the whole route? Get stormed on? Did someone drop them a toprope?
TripL7

Trad climber
san diego
Jan 29, 2010 - 08:41am PT
PtPP!

They ran out of water. Dave said he didn't have the energy to high-step his aiders on the overhanging wall(not technically difficult). They were suffering from dehydration. He went up several times but couldn't step up high enough to place a pin. The next pitch(Fat City??)eases off and they would have been home free.

They laid there for about 3-4 days, at which time Chapman and Orey wrapped down to the ledge(Thanksgiving??)and dropped them a line. Dave was hoping someone would lower down a couple liters of water. He felt that he would be able to finish the last(steep)pitch and complete the route. But Mark and Jim had not brought much water(half quart).

That's why Dave was upset in regards to the rescue. He felt that if it was one of there friends they would have brought sufficient water for them to finish the route. They had plenty of food, but they couldn't swallow it without water. He didn't want to be rescued.

Plumbbob! Looking forward to seeing those pics. Thanks!

Trip~

EDIT: Regardless, they were rescued and should have shown more appreciation.

Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Jan 29, 2010 - 10:56am PT
What, no love for my portrait of The Culprit?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 29, 2010 - 03:32pm PT
Reilly,

Obviously none of us has the slightest idea who The Culprit is. How about a name?

TripL7, that is an amazing story! What a terrible way to fail. That would never happen nowadays with cell phones and two-way radios. SOH finishes right of Thanksgiving coming onto the edge of a two-pitch long slab, which is a nasty low-angle drag-fest finish now shared with Sunkist.
Jingy

Social climber
Nowhere
Jan 29, 2010 - 03:35pm PT
great TR guys...

Bump!!!

Cheers
TripL7

Trad climber
san diego
Jan 29, 2010 - 07:21pm PT
PtPP!

Yea, they were about 75 ft below the slab pitches on the overhanging wall! Dave felt as though they could have finished it, or at least made it to the top and left the haul bag until later. If they could have got up to the lower angled pitches.

So it goes.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Jan 29, 2010 - 07:53pm PT
PTPP
The culprit looks remarkably like Rick Sylvester.......
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Jan 29, 2010 - 08:07pm PT
Pete,
I assumed (I know) that everybody already knew
what Sylvester looked like, without his Asgard skis on, that is.
I guess I also assumed y'all would make the deduction
based on the thread title; my bad!

ps
posted simultaneously with Jim B
skywalker

climber
Jan 30, 2010 - 08:53pm PT
bump...
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 19, 2010 - 01:35am PT
If one was climbing Son of Heart, and fell, would it be considered a Freudian slip? Would a pinnacle have to be part of the scenario?

Bump.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Apr 19, 2010 - 10:42am PT
perfect Monday morning find! Thanks for the share
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 19, 2010 - 11:26am PT
If several parties get all bunched up and retreat off of this one, does it qualify as congestive heart failure?!? LOL
hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Apr 19, 2010 - 02:09pm PT
bump for awesome.
Double D

climber
Apr 19, 2010 - 04:11pm PT
Great TR Tony.
Gabe

climber
Apr 21, 2010 - 01:50am PT
Some of the best photos I've seen of these pitches! Charging Hard! Thanks.
Rick Sylvester

Trad climber
Squaw Valley, California
May 8, 2011 - 07:32am PT
A few words from "The Culprit" (I should be asleep now like all decent people but I've never been decent)....Wow. wow. wow -- what a discovery! Thanks so much! Those great photos are the first time I've been able to revisit the route not to mention the chimneys -- of course no decent person would want to -- since I was up there in '71 or whenever it was (camera trouble resulted in no photos past the Heart). I have no memory of unusual or excessive vegetation on the route. That doesn't mean it wasn't there, just, as stated, that I have no memory (I could write volumes of the things of which I have no memory,if only I could remember what they were so I could write). Likewise, I have no idea of what's being referred to by the wrongly placed anchor bolt above an arete. Not many anchor belts were placed...I think. The only one I can recall placing was one at the end of the Tonsillectomy Traverse because I was having severe problems due to horrible rope drag. Some time later, years?, I realized a way I could have avoided the rope drag, so I accept blame. Life's tough enough even without being stupid. But I don't think this is the bolt being referred to.
But I can explain about the bolt under the Heart roof. I do indeed have very definite memories, perhaps even correct ones, on this subject. Not to mention some guilt still to this day. I had the guilt right from when I was placing it -- and yes, of course it was a quarter incher. I knew that better climbers or more daring climbers or more ethical climbers or some combination thereof would not have placed it. My reason -- rationalization? -- for so doing was that if I zippered the roof and smacked into the wall, a la Mike Hoover's staged zipper fall on "Bishop's Balcony" in his Academy Award short subject nominated film "Solo", I risked getting injured, perhaps badly. Aside from the normal problems with an injury in such a situation there was an additional one. My partner, Claude Wreford-Brown, was inexperienced at big wall climbing. He'd been one of the two best and most avid students I'd taught/guided the summer of '69 at the ISMM -- there were two Ms then; the deleted one stood for "Modern" -- climbing school in Leysin, Switzerland, run by Dougal Haston following founder John Harlin's 4000' plunge off the Eiger Direct Route. Claude did an amazing job on the route, especially considering his inexperience. Save for placing around half a dozen bolts and dowels on one pitch he did no leading but essentially belayed me for 10 days, all the while dealing with the exposure, fear and fatigue, the heat of midsummer -- my understanding was and is that it was the first time an El Cap big wall was first ascended in the height of summer -- and running out of food and more important water the final two and a half days. His achievement and contribution were nothing to scoff at. In addition, all his belaying, all ten days of it, was in a sit harness, the original Whillans sit harness (the first roped climb of my life was with Don Whillans at the ISMM school in '66, 3 months after Harlin's fateful accident). He had no belay seat and virtually every belay was a sling belay on the virtually ledgeless route. You should have seen the welts on the sides of his thighs he revealed to me on the summit! Anyway, my feeling was that due to Claude's inexperience at that type of climbing in that situation I had an unusual responsibility and a large part of that meant not getting incapacitated in any way. Of course retreat from high up on any climb can be epic even in perfect conditions with all team members fully functioning. Recently attempting to write an account of this climb after all the passage of time, it struck me, looking back with all the great perspective based on my great age (that, by the way, is not meant to imply any great or even average amount of maturity; after all, I still climb) that Son of Heart was the climb of my life. And this wasn't due just to the route's nature but to my role of responsibility. It was tough but a grand grand adventure and I've long really regretted that I never went for another El Cap first; there were certainly possibilities. After all, many other climbers achieved multiple El Cap big wall ascents. True, I got busy with the El Cap skiBASE jumps and other stuff. But still. The Upper Yosemite Wall route was the only thing sort of in the same vein, six days in length, but it still didn't compare. I was with a qualified, perhaps even more so aid-wise than I, partner (Chauncey Parker). A related side note to all this which I've never revealed before. Claude had a much better hammock than I, a state-of-the-art single anchor point one vs. my lousy fishnet-ish two point one. His worked properly from just about any place it was hung; mine, only if the two anchor points were properly spaced. When the climb started becoming epic-like -- the running out of food and water, the heat, etc. -- I wanted to insist that we switch hammocks under the perfect logic that since I was doing all the leading it was essential that I be able to function as well as possible, ie.get as good a night's sleep as possible. I obsessed about this for days, about requesting we trade hammocks. But despite the impeccable sound logic it of course appeared outrageous -- I'd never heard of it having ever occurred before in the annals of mountaineering -- and I lacked the courage to ever effect the request. Anyway, that's the story of the roof bolt. Soon after drilling it it the upward driven knifeblade placements appeared to seem sounder and due to the weird nature of the roof I wasn't just totally dangling but my knees were in contact with rock. So of course the doubts that I'd chickened out entered my, yes, partially exfoliated brain -- probably more from that roof than the chimneys -- and are surely still lodged there. And I have no real hopes that the matter won't come up for review when I'm at the Pearly Gates. And if this -- believe me, there's a lot of other stuff -- is what makes the difference of my not getting in -- well, I understand. I surely deserve my fate. All logic and reasons aside, I wasn't tough enough. I chickened out.
And Reilly, that was your photo, which I've never seen before, in Samarkand during our '78 AAC/Soviet Mountaineering Federation exchange expedition. Amazing. And your name, after all this time, came up just a month or so ago from Carlos Buhler on his way to Nepal. He sent me notice of our fellow team member Steve Hackett who recently suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 65 -- way too early -- whilst skiing in Wyoming. I'm sure you know that Chuck Kroger, just a unique person, one in a billion (and he did the third ascent of the N.A. Wall when it still had the reputation as "the world's hardest rock climb" passed away a couple of years ago, cancer. on Christmas Day. A third of our team is gone; it's getting a bit lonely and scary. Carlos, ever the considerate person he is, wrote that he didn't know how to contact you. And I replied that you lived in Seattle, obviously oblivious to the fact that things like addresses could change in 33 years. And it appears you're another of the 37 million like me residing in the Golden State. How about that! I love the photo. It's a more pleasant memory than those of the chimneys. I was young once! Unreal, although a bit disconcerting. I'd love to get in touch with you. I get to Southern California occasionally.
Oh, it was also nice to get some explanation of the calcite growths after all this time. As if the chimneys weren't bad enough without them.

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 8, 2011 - 02:10pm PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/507036/Chuck-Kroger

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/474787/First-Ascent-of-the-Heart-Route-1970-Kroger-and-Davis

As you asked. There are all sorts of gems hidden away in the archives, which sometimes can be found using the search function.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 8, 2011 - 04:40pm PT
Thanks for sharing the cool stories, Rick.
Rick Sylvester

Trad climber
Squaw Valley, California
May 16, 2011 - 03:32am PT
Thanks for the kind words. All of you have done amazing things -- some obvious, some more subtle -- of which I stand in total awe.

Now got to go out and shovel even though it's mid May, but another of those winters that don't end. Amgen first stage bicycle rce cancelled yesterday. Wonder if the Squaw stage 2 will get off tomorrow. Would rather get in some climbing; the shoveling, even occasional skiing, was good for the first several months. Now it's just getting a bit old. More of it and I'll even prefer getting back on SoH -- sure.
Old timer

Trad climber
Jul 29, 2011 - 01:22pm PT
Rick, my dear old chum:

40 years ago you dragged this timid climbing rabbit up El Cap. I still have nightmares about some of pendulums following you. I was pretty much resigned to the fact that we were both going to die when you ran out the whole 50 meters on the bomb bay chimney without placing any pro. I actually negotiated a deal with god that if he got me out alive I would go back to England and open an Antique store in Brighton. Still on my bucket list, I guess.

Anytime you are up in the top left hand corner you are welcome to my hammock/ bed/ bunk. This time we'll have enough water. Likely something stronger

You going to the Vagabond reunion in September? I am going to be lecturing in Sydney, Aus so will miss it.

I'm still out there on my telemarks every winter. Off this morning to go climbing with my daughter on Mt Erie, an amusing pimple that looks out through the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Then we are sailing down to Deception Pass to catch the sunset.

Beauregards old pal. Nice to hear you're still alive and kicking...Claude..Seattle

PS Thanks Levy, the pictures nailed it. The flame burns in you, mate
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 29, 2011 - 01:39pm PT
Rick,
That is shocking about Steve. I was fondly thinking of him a day or two ago.
At least he went doing what he loved and quickly I hope. Well, I'm off for
my age-related colonoscopy - Woo Hoo!

ps
Here's one from your dental procedure in Dushanbe...

Credit: Reilly
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Jul 29, 2011 - 07:35pm PT
Claude Wreford Brown lives! Outstanding!!!!!
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 29, 2011 - 07:58pm PT
How cool is it that he posted up on here!

Absolutely f-ing amazing.

Welcome to ST Claude!!
fosburg

climber
Jul 29, 2011 - 09:21pm PT
Very cool to hear from the first ascent team! Always curious what was up with the philosophers. The Keirkegaard pitch is by far the most proud but Nietzsche is held in such comparatively high regard as a thinker it seems. I'm a huge fan of SK however and am so glad such an amazing pitch bears his name. Well done on one of the truly classic lines on El Cap.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Jul 29, 2011 - 09:32pm PT
Stellar photography!!!!! I'm not worthy!!!
-e
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 30, 2011 - 11:34am PT
A thread that just keeps on ticking.
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Jun 16, 2012 - 08:59pm PT
A bump for a great trip report that's close to my heart and also because I have been working on the first 15-or-so documented ascents of Son of Heart. Here is my list. Please feel free to add info, or comment. I am sure the years will need some slight correction

1. Sylvester/Brown 1971
2. Graham/Bard 1977
3. Kauk/Burton 1978?
4. Karl/Muhe/Heinl 1980?
5. Braun/Shipley 1985?
6. Barbella/Tichman 1986??
7. Gagner/Thunen 1986?
8. Schultz/Flint April, 1990
9. Fosburg/Cosgrove June, 1993
10. Florine/Coward/Schneider / Sept, 1993 First one push ascent 29:24
11. Ben Wa/Amy?
12. Zabrock/?
13. Leventhal/Erickson Sept, 2008
14. ?
15. ?
RP3

Big Wall climber
El Portal/Chapel Hill
Jan 23, 2013 - 04:33pm PT
Bump for the glory! Next season, this route is goin down!
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Jan 23, 2013 - 10:07pm PT
Bump for getting out there and getting it done!
Spanky

Social climber
boulder co
Jan 23, 2013 - 10:22pm PT
Bump for climbing content, Awesome pictures of a seldom done route killer TR!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 23, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
Walleye - I remember watching Ben Wah from well above, when I was on some other route. I am knott sure he finished, however.

You should have seen the look on Ben Wah's face when I told him what his nickname *really* meant - he had no idea.

I think Nanook might have been up there before me and Tom.
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Jan 23, 2013 - 11:34pm PT
Better than boobs bump!
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane ~:~
Jan 23, 2013 - 11:34pm PT
Walleye,

In all fairness to Dave Stutzman & his partner Maurice (don't recall his last name) they should be included on that list. They basically climbed the whole route. Dave did the second lead/ascent of those back to back chimneys (Kierkgard & Nietche). They climbed the whole damn route, except for around 1/2-2/3rds of the very last pitch. They, technically, did the 2nd ascent of the whole route (in good style) except for the final overhanging pitch (ran out of water). They should get some credit for doing that. That was the Spring of 1975!

edit: Walleye - Thanks bro!!

Epic indeed. It was both of their's 1st El Cap route (YIKES) and they gave it thier best shot (100+ %) turned out to be an all time epic & memorable, for sure... definately deserves a footnote (at least) in the annals of El Cap history regarding this route. I know DS (RIP) would have definitely appreciated it. thnx again!!
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Jan 23, 2013 - 11:43pm PT
Yeah, Splitter you are right. I should amend that list to include their ascent with a small caveat. Their ascent was as epic as Sylvesters first, for sure.

The Ironic Monkey, racked and loaded for the Son of Heart on April 12, 1990
Credit: Walleye
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Feb 1, 2013 - 12:12pm PT
RP3, holler if you need a pard for this one!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Aug 26, 2013 - 03:08pm PT
Fifteen or less ascents? Really?

Cool!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Aug 26, 2013 - 03:13pm PT
Those esoteric chimneys are tough to drag large ball sacs up through.
rollingstone

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 26, 2013 - 06:59pm PT
Walleye- My friend Avary Tichenor did the route with John Barbella in 1986 if I remember correctly. Avary passed away in 1988, R.I.P. He is sorely missed
Gagner

climber
Boulder
Aug 26, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
Gary and I did SoH in '86. Barbella and Avery did it a few years before we did - I believe it was '84-ish because I thought they did the 4th ascent. I'll ask John and report back...

Paul
Gagner

climber
Boulder
Aug 29, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
Talked to Barbella - he said he and Avary did SoH in 80 or 81, 4th or 5th ascent he thinks...
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Apr 14, 2014 - 03:39pm PT
A "I led my first pitch in the Heart 24 years ago today" bump
Credit: Dave Schultz
Credit: Walleye

EDIT: Revised ascent list to the best of my knowledge
1. Sylvester/Brown. 1971
2. Stutzman/Maurice. 1975 (jugged a line out on last pitch due to dehydration)
3. Graham/Bard. 1977
4. Kauk/Burton. 1978?
5. Karl/Muhe/Heinl. 1980
6. Barbella/Tichenor. 1981
7. Braun/Shipley. 1985
8. Gagner/Thunen. 1986
9. Schultz/Flint. April, 1990
10. Fosburg/Cosgrove. June, 1993
11. Florine/Coward/Schneider. / Sept, 1993 First one push ascent 29:24
12. Ben Wa/Amy.?
13. Sloan/Rivera/Selvidge 2003
14. Zabrock/?
15. Leventhal/Erickson Sept, 2008
Messages 1 - 131 of total 131 in this topic
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