Roots of the Boulder Free Climbing Renaissance- Briggs 73

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2009 - 02:09am PT
Kloeberdanz!!!!! From Climbing #43 July-August 1977.





healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 22, 2009 - 06:05am PT
I got back from Vietnam to SI in January '74 and started climbing within a couple of months. Made it to Eldo in early '75, and being hicks from lowland hollers we were astounded to just be in Eldo. And coming from a place with little climbing history or culture it was especially curious to see what an elaborate established culture and 'society' there was in Boulder around climbing. Ditto for the Gunks once we hit there to visit Hardy Truesdale after hanging with him and Charlie Fowler in Eldo. My partner and I already didn't have much of a sense of what we couldn't do at the time, but all in all, it was definitely climbing in Eldo that so inspired and lit us off at home. Not sure how many times I hitched the I-70 beeline from SI to Boulder, but we had it pretty well down to a ride to St. Louis for a party on a friday night, step onto I-70 about noon, and be in Eldo bright and early Sunday morning loving it...

P.S. Didn't meet Kevin Donald until '87 in Hood River - he was the realtor who sold me the town's old Luthern church which, for a time, was affectionately known as the Wind Chapel. He was part of an early wave of Boulderites who hit HR for the windsurfing.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2009 - 10:54pm PT
More roots in the bedrock from Mountain 54 March April 1977.










Pat and Royal battle for Supremacy........meanwhile Whillans had lost interest in the proceedings, and had wandered off to sunbathe! LMFAO!!!
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Mar 3, 2009 - 10:56pm PT
Yeah, but he was a cookbook author...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 14, 2009 - 05:00pm PT
If it takes off I may be able to get Wunsch to join in though he claims to remember very little. LOL
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Mar 14, 2009 - 05:59pm PT
Steve,

Talk Wunsch into posting. He has lots of old friends here.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 14, 2009 - 06:36pm PT
I climbed with him once back in the day and re-connected at the Gunks gathering last fall.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 17, 2009 - 05:50pm PT
What ever became of the controversial bolt on the XM traverse? Still gone, I hope!
Bldrjac

Ice climber
Boulder
Mar 17, 2009 - 09:57pm PT
Steve,

The bolt on the XM traverse has remained gone. If one is crafty with HPs it can be adequately protected with two of those.

jack
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Mar 18, 2009 - 12:56am PT
I guess I should keep quiet. But I have to say
it saddens me to see those articles again, most so
poorly worded, wrong emphasis, wrong focus, just not
good reflections of how things really were, and each loaded
with factual errors. I loved Godfrey, but he was
caught up in that Brit-tabloid kind of writing,
sensationalizing things, exaggerating, coloring up stuff,
and worst of all printing not quite whatever any yokel
handed him, even total lies and fabrications, in and
around some good things. Briggs is one of my dearest
friends and one I continue to love, but his piece
is loaded with much subtler errors. He doesn't pay
proper homage to the shoulders upon whom he stood heavily,
as did Breashears who always admired and honored those
who went before him. David had no illusions really of
surpassing his forerunners, even though in the strictest
literal sense he certainly did. And on down the
list. The various guidebooks had so much wrong I stopped
caring, really. I respect Jim, of course, and Rich, but
in Jim's little Rocky Heights book he makes these
valuations of style. His enormous whipper, nearly to the
ground, off Black Walk was called "After one attempt." My
grabbing a carabiner casually to rest, on a 5.7 move, after
leading the 5.11 section of Vertigo first try in mountain
boots, is called "Dubious style." Jim and I did a lot of
chuckling over those definitions. I guess one can try to hold onto the positive stuff, the happiness, the friendships
that have remained. I have good memories of being with Jim
on the rock. I remember, though, people telling
me the standards had risen beyond my comprehension. I
had no idea what they were talking about. But I did go
up to check some of these routes out. I led Kloeberdanz
solidly and that first pitch of Jules Verne, always
in the evening, it seemed. I found the Jules Verne first pitch
easier than the fist pitch of T-2. Not too long after the
Edge was done free, someone told me how difficult the first pitch was. I went up one evening as the sun was setting,
and I was shocked by how straightforward it was. I thought it
had maybe one or two moves of medium 5.10. I did that
straight up final exit of C'est La Vie and thought it was
really easy, but really airy. More difficult was the dihedral below, that Bob Williams did free, as I recall. I found it to
be 5.11c, or so, one solid tricky move or two. I did a number
of 5.12 routes Christian and a few others put up, and when
Steve Wunsch was doing his hard climbs in Eldorado he and I bouldered a fair bit. He would tell you I was still, at that time, the most dedicated boulderer. On a comic note, I once
bet Steve a hundred bucks I could do Smith Overhang with a sack over my head. He wouldn't take the bet. I bouldered a lot with
Erickson, and he was really good at finding those routes to do
free, you know, the longer routes in Eldorado that the old timers had hurried up and used aid here or there, so that he could focus on those few points and bag the free ascents. He had Popeye forearms, strong at endurance, but
a weak boulderer. He couldn't do the easiest B1. Each of us had his or her strengths and weaknesses, I guess is one of my points, while the write-ups always tend to lump us into some kind of easily understood (and conveniently reduced) categories, thereby never really understanding any of us
in any real way. I remember doing XM free right after Dalke did it, because in fact I knew it would go, but then I saw where Erickson was credited with the second ascent. Who knows? Most of the climbs in Eldorado, up to a certain time period, were used as training for the longer climbs we envisioned doing in Yosemite or the Black Canyon. It often disappointed us when something went easily free and we had been looking for something to aid. Then Rearick came along, and we started more and more to focus simply on free climbing. I stepped out of the limelight but found I could sneak in at times and do many of the hard new routes, though I would read how the new generation had left us in the dust... Not too long ago I went climbing with Richard Smith, with whom I did the first free ascent of Super Slab in 1967 and who is author of Smith Overhang on Flagstaff. He lives in Idaho now, and he was climbing solid 5.13, one of the old timers who was left in the dust... a very quiet fellow who was the example of humility. For some, it seems to be necessary to the development of their sense of identity to feel they have risen above their predecessors. And of course some do rise above. But I have always felt my whole experience largely relies upon what I learned from those who went before, who set the example, who put in their own important rung on the ladder of progression, without which I would have fumbled helplessly, people I continue to love and admire and to whom I remain deeply grateful, whatever grade level they stopped at and that I may have surpassed...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2009 - 01:28pm PT
Climbing history is eminently subjective, Pat. Yours is an opinion on the topic and is, with all due respect, neither necessary or sufficient in and of itself.

When you are looking up, you are at your best. When looking down, your worst. You cannot help but swing wildly with the axe of judgment as long as your blood isn't spilled.

Nobody really gives a damn about the scorecard that you seem to need to keep with the rest of the world, Pat. Clear enough?!? Nor do I need you telling me what to post or whom to listen to. "I write what I like," Biko once said, and you should really have more respect for the rest of us in your almost entirely self-centered, critical intellectual internal world.

"People that I continue to love and admire and to whom I remain deeply grateful, whatever grade level they stopped at or that I may have surpassed."

Pull your head out into the light, my friend. The numbers and grades are meaningless, the experience and commonality of climbing is what matters.

This is your work- please do it.
o-man

Trad climber
Paia,Maui,HI
Mar 18, 2009 - 04:36pm PT
The wind is light, and the waves have disapeared for a while but there is always "the tako". I lived this thread and every one mentioned in it and posted on it were and remain my inspiration an heros.Thanks!
Olaf Mitchell
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Mar 29, 2009 - 07:29pm PT
Bump it.
Climb hi!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2009 - 06:46pm PT
Another groundbreaking early free ascent of the Diamond ala Briggs and Candelaria!






Bob D'A

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Aug 16, 2009 - 07:27pm PT
Brick wrote: Oh now I get it. Of course.

If you re-read the Briggs article, he does not mention Ament. Not even once. Bet that was no accident.

Hence, the bent feathers 35 years later...



Well anyone who know the history of free climbing in the Boulder area and then not mention Pat seems a little strange to say the least. Not matter what you may think about Pat he was way ahead of his time when it came to free climbing and his vision of what could be climbed.

Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Aug 17, 2009 - 03:02am PT
Didn't Bachar and Harrison make the first free ascent of the Diamond??


JL
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Aug 17, 2009 - 03:59am PT
> If you re-read the Briggs article, he does not mention Ament. > Not even once. Bet that was no accident.
>
> Hence, the bent feathers 35 years later...

No, that is not Pat's point. Roger Briggs' article was about "Recent developments", in 1972/73. Roger was not saying that nothing important was done before then. He was just focusing on recent stuff.

Pat's objection is to the inaccuracies in Godfrey article, and subsequent book.
Pat has his own book, Wizards of Rock: A History of Free Climbing in America (2002), which should correct the mistakes in the Godfrey/Chelton book.
I don't think Pat is telling Steve what not to post, just commenting on its accuracy.
I welcome Pat's comments and his examples of what happened and how they were described in print.

I don't agree that "Climbing history is eminently subjective".
Or, at least it shouldn't be, and does not need to be.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Aug 17, 2009 - 04:05am PT
> Didn't Bachar and Harrison make the first free ascent of the Diamond??

No, Goss and Logan did the FFA of the Diamond in 1975, via a combination of D.7 and other routes.
Bachar and Harrison did the FFA of the complete D.7 route on the Diamond in 1977.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Aug 17, 2009 - 10:12am PT
Great thread, as always, Steve. Anybody who has done any of those Eldorado climbs must wince when they see those old ratings. I started climbing in 1970 and was climbing in Yosemite by 1973. I don't remember Yosemite climbs being later uprated to the same degree as those at Eldorado. The first time I climbed in Eldorado, in 1977, I was climbing a full 2 letter grades below what I regularly climbed in Yosemite. I STILL find the older, upgraded 5.11s harder than 5.11s just about anywhere else. Briggs, Erickson, Wunsch, Ament and the rest of the guys who were putting up that stuff in the early '70s (even earlier for Ament)...amazing.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 20, 2009 - 10:13am PT
Diamond Bump!
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