muir wall


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Jan 3, 2009 - 03:02pm PT

One thing we did was climb from the bottom to the top, no rappeling from the top to rehearse, people just do what ever it takes now. Kurt and I had the stone master as mentors, we respected the adventure, what's happening in the Valley now seems like a big ego trip, where the stone is beat down, until she gives it up.

Max and Mark would have easily been the first to archive the first free ascent (ground up, with EBs and old sh#t for gear), had they accepted just any style. I think one of the Skinner/Pianna criticisms was the style they chose was to get it done no matter what the tactics were and then get it published so as to make a buck on it. Since Jones and Hudon had kicked ass earlier and refused to lower their style despite being so close, I think bystanders and other climbers saw the Skinner/Pianna thing as a freak show of compromise and falsehoods when they looked at what some real ballsy dudes had earlier done. Todd Skinner was a great guy, fantastic human being, so it may sound like a criticism...but it's just laying it the way it is and is the truth.

Mark and Max kicked serious ass, and with even the new Fires as a new addition would have probably cranked it out.

BTW, F* that drilling criticism, no one ever thought you ever overdrilled anything Kurt, and it's real sh#t when within viewing distance the hypocritical Park service is running earthmoving equipment and paving the sh#t out of the place (new pullout by Nutcracker for instance). You guys are pretty amazing and everyone knows it. Of course, think of this: had powerdrilling been legal, Todd and Paul would have had many more "free" routes up there (I think that disturbed Galen Rowell when they went up to the Cirque and did exactly that with a powerdrill in a very remote area)! :-)

Appreciate the extra pics! Eppi shoots serious good stuff.....damn.

right here, right now
Jan 3, 2009 - 03:49pm PT
I fairly well agree with all that couchmaster.

Everybody gets criticized.
Even Max and Mark were sometimes criticized for doing short pitches.

Stay with us here COZ.
We really do want to have your input into the history of this stuff.

*Yes let's hope we don't get into a bolting dustup and lose sight of some good historical reportage*

As well Coz, not to say your views don't matter, they DO, but maybe if you lighten up just a teeny weeny little bit on the current generation's doings, this thread won't get gunked up by lots of rabble.
(After all, the new kids are gonnah do what they're to do)

Ice climber
canyon country,CA
Jan 3, 2009 - 03:49pm PT
"F%ck that drilling criticism"

How about just "F%ck that criticism" ? It seems everyone wants to criticize everyone elses style and hold their own as the "True" way it should be done. It's not valid if you rehearsed the crux, fixed lines, rapped in, blah, blah, blah. The point is why knock others when your game has holes in it. I know mine does. But I did it without a power drill.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jan 3, 2009 - 03:53pm PT
Truth is Coz did plenty without a powerdrill too.
An overwhelming respect for the stone throughout the majority of his climbing, I think.

right here, right now
Jan 3, 2009 - 04:14pm PT
Absolutely Scott’s record is by and large very clean.

But this is just human nature; when someone stands too tall (or is perceived to), a certain number of onlookers will take offense and respond by looking for chinks in the armor.

Also, it is ART.
And there's plenty of room, and need, for constructive & critical appraisal.

I mentioned this to Kurt in another thread and I think he gets it.
(not that I’m the grand poobah of decorum or anything)
A little humility goes a long way to maintaining an even keel in all this reportage.

Stay with us COZ.
Stay with us COZ.
Stay with us COZ.


Cardiff by the sea
Jan 3, 2009 - 04:24pm PT
Roy you are the Grand Poobah in my book.

When I asked earlier to keep this thread alive I sure didn't think it would head in this direction. Lets get back to some pictures and tales about the challenges of the climb.

We had one of those outback ovens when we went into Proboscis. What a killer unit to cook with. I wish my scanner wasn't broken I got pizza pictures too.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jan 3, 2009 - 04:34pm PT
Indeed PIX!! Love it.

Tar, you are certainly one of the grand poobahs..just with a couple chips like the rest of us. I always enjoy your commentary, well thought and written without coming off all judge-like.

right here, right now
Jan 3, 2009 - 04:46pm PT
CHIPS ???!!!???
I ain't got no chips homie.

Oh right, you meant THOSE kind, the little round plastic ones, like for poker.
Let 'em fall where they may...

But wait...

[Let the Chips Fall Where They May. Never mind the consequences: speak your mind or do what you think must be done. You can see where the idea came from in a 14th-century proverb: "Hew not too high lest the chips fall in thine eye."]

[let the chips fall where they may:
No matter what the consequences, as in "I'm going to tell the truth about what happened, and let the chips fall where they may." This metaphoric term alludes to chopping wood and is usually joined to a statement that one should do what is right (that is, the woodcutter should pay attention to the main task of cutting logs and not worry about small chips). [Late 1800s]]

So....... anyhow

More pictures please.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jan 3, 2009 - 05:01pm PT
"I'd have to say I'd like to see one of these modern yahoo's pull off the first ground up FFA ascent of The Captain; what we old guys tried 14 years ago. "

It's been done hasn't it?

You guys were and are studs, but quit yur whining about the new generation. There are bold and talented folks that have matched and exceeded you standard. You can credit showing the way but you sound like geezers whining about "kids these days" and things going down hill. How about the free solo of Half Dome, the bold free climbs on the falls wall and the FA of an El Cap route in a push onsight and free over on the right side?

You don't have to slander the present to honor the past



right here, right now
Jan 3, 2009 - 05:19pm PT
”like geezers whining about "kids these days"
 That’s what they are Karl. And so are we (geezers at least)

” You don't have to slander the present to honor the past”
 It achieves just the opposite…

And we're all still kids too: “no you said it first” …”she started it” ….

More pictures please!

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jan 3, 2009 - 05:43pm PT
"Mom..she's reaching onto my side of the car again!"

Chips: As in chips off the old stone, or a fine antique rocker with a couple chips in it....

The current generation are a fine, hardpulling group of guys and gals. But, just like we did, they sometimes evolve to the side or even a step back as they're trying to move forward.
The generation that came before sometimes slandered us and tried to get us back on the "right" track, thus we do it to those that come after us. Newness is not always the best just because it's new. Oldness is not always superior just because it came first.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jan 3, 2009 - 05:44pm PT
Thanks, but don't attribute too much ethical clarity to Max and me. We did rap down to the cave on the Rostrum to work the Headwall before attempting to free climb the whole route. That sort seems to me to be much like Tommy rapping down to work that .13d pitch on the Muir/Shaft and then going back and starting from the bottom. I don't see how one is okay and the other is not.
I can't really see ragging on Skinner and Pian for their ascent of the Salathe. Am I mistaken or hasn't Coz ever been sport climbing? Isn't one a larger version of the other?

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Jan 3, 2009 - 06:01pm PT
What kind of drill did you have?

Ahh just joking.

Proud effort man.

If you have any other pics of the climb, post 'em. Some of us would really enjoy a chance to see them.

Jan 3, 2009 - 06:05pm PT
Nice topic...thanks KS and Coz for the photos and explanations.

This to me underscores a great aspect of climbing: That each climber is basically free to define her own version of it.

You guys seemed to be after much more than a route when you left the ground--you were in it for the pure elixir. That was a good reminder to all of us to look at the process and its details, which to my mind, is really the essence of rock climbing.


Trad climber
Jan 3, 2009 - 06:11pm PT
Different styles for different generations. Each conforms to the preceps of the day, and pushs the envelope as they see it, opening the path for the next crew. Myself, I'm waiting for a sport route up Fitzroy, just me and my grigri. :)
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 3, 2009 - 06:19pm PT
Great thread and photos - let's see more.

So you guys used a power drill. Why didn't you hand drill? Also, how many bolts did you place in total? Did you replace any old bolts with new as we do today, or were they all new? Any anchor bolts, or only lead bolts? Did you put in any completely new bolts? Were they in new areas of the rock, or on the existing route?

What year were you up there? I was on the Muir in May 2001, and we were climbing slowly and running pretty dry. I spotted, swung over and scarfed three two-litre bottles of water tied to a bolt that wasn't on Muir Wall, and figured they were about three years old, though I can't remember why. I seem to recall it was to the right of the big dihedral near the top, maybe six or eight pitches from the summit. Wasn't somebody up there in around '98? Can't remember...


right here, right now
Jan 3, 2009 - 06:27pm PT

The word chip has several meanings; the one that we are concerned with here is the earliest known of these, namely 'a small piece of wood, as might be chopped, or chipped, from a larger block'.

The phrase 'a chip on one's shoulder' is reported as originating with the nineteenth century U.S. practice of spoiling for a fight by carrying a chip of wood on one's shoulder, daring others to knock it off.

This suggested derivation has more than the whiff of folk-etymology about it. Anyone who might be inclined to doubt that origin can take heart from an alternative theory. This relates to working practices in the British Royal Dockyards in the 18th century. In Day and Lunn's The History of Work and Labour Relations in the Royal Dockyards, 1999, the authors report that the standing orders of the [Royal] Navy Board for August 1739 included this ruling:

"Shipwrights to be allowed to bring [chips] on their shoulders near to the dock gates, there to be inspected by officers".

The permission to remove surplus timber for firewood or building material was a substantial perk of the job for the dock workers. A subsequent standing order, in May 1753, ruled that only chips that could be carried under one arm were allowed to be removed. This limited the amount of timber that could be taken and the shipwrights were not best pleased about the revoking of their previous benefit.

Hattendorf, Knight et al., in British Naval Documents, 1204 - 1960, record a letter which was sent by Chatham Dockyard officers to the Navy Board, relating to the 1756 dockyard workers' strike at Chatham. The letter records a comment made by a shipwright who was stopped at the yard's gates:

"Are not the chips mine? I will not lower them."

In 1830 the New York newspaper The Long Island Telegraph printed this:
"When two churlish boys were determined to fight, a chip would be placed on the shoulder of one, and the other demanded to knock it off at his peril."

More pictures please!!!
Flag'em, Scan'em, Post'em Kurt!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jan 3, 2009 - 07:44pm PT
Coz wrote

" so in other words, what's being done now is worlds harder than what we could have even dream of. We just never thought of adopting the current tactics being used. "

My point just being, that plenty of folks are doing WAY hard in GREAT style these days, and plenty aren't.

Same as it ever was.

Meet the new climbers, same as as the old climbers, cept more of them.

BITD Skinner and Jardine did things different than Bachar and Croft. Often, different things.

Harding and Robbins climbed different.

Same today.

You guys had your own list of sins but many, many proud sends. You say you're not dissing the current generation of climbers but the words read differently. If you say you mistyped, that's another thing.


Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jan 3, 2009 - 07:49pm PT
So, Coz, if you had gone back, ground up, a second time, and done the .13d part. Would your second ascent, the first free ascent, have been less satisfying to you?
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
Jan 3, 2009 - 08:08pm PT
Awesome pics and story. Thanks a ton! It's a route I have yet to do, but I do see it in my future. Not free though and just the original.


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