Son Of Heart - T.R.


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 101 - 120 of total 139 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

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

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

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

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

Vancouver, B.C.
May 8, 2011 - 02:10pm PT

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

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 29, 2011 - 01:39pm PT
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!

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

Credit: Reilly

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

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!!

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!!!
Mighty Hiker

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

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. ?

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

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

Social climber
boulder co
Jan 23, 2013 - 10:22pm PT
Bump for climbing content, Awesome pictures of a seldom done route killer TR!
Messages 101 - 120 of total 139 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews