Don Jensen


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right here, right now
Mar 11, 2015 - 11:00am PT
Howard C Runyon

Mountain climber
Lake Placid, NY
Mar 11, 2015 - 07:33pm PT
That's a great idea. The pack (some example) should be in design museums. But if it happens at a place as visible as the Cooper-Hewitt, Eric Hardee prolly will start getting more orders than he wants, and then someone with an MBA will make a plan to set up production in a factory overseas.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 11, 2015 - 10:08pm PT
Not to be a nit-picker, Fritz, but how could the E and N ridges be directly opposite each other?
I was thinking the same thing, especially since the face on Fritz's photo in between these 2 ridges is called the North Face.
Looking on google maps,+Alaska/@63.6355217,-147.2403979,4268m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x56ccaab443e60fcd:0x9ae2b7ec3913c5b1?hl=en
You can see:
 the ridge on the left side of Fritz's photo ("East Ridge") should really be called SE Ridge. It starts as ESE and the main (difficult) part is SE. Attempted by Don Jensen and David Roberts, it was eventually climbed by Dave Cheesmond, Carl Tobin, Roger Mear, John Barry and Rob Collister in 1983.
 the skyline ridge on the right side ("North Ridge") should really be called the NW Ridge. It can be reached from a true lower North Ridge (which connects from the subpeak on the right of Fritz's photo), or from the West Ridge.
 the buttress in the middle (shade/sun line) is a NE Buttress
 the face between the 2 ridges and right of the NE Buttress ("North Face") should be called the NE Face. This face was climbed in 1977 by Dakers Gowans and Charles Macquarrie, after attempts by many parties.

right here, right now
Apr 10, 2015 - 11:22am PT
Don Jensen Palisades First Ascents Timeline
(from The Climber's Guide to the High Sierra, Steve Roper)

 Clyde Peak, Twilight Pillar, III, 5.8, Don Jensen, Frank Sarnquist, July 1966
 Palisade Crest, Central pinnacles, Stu Dole, Don Jensen, 1967
 Temple Crag, Moon Goddess ArÍte, III, 5.6, lower part, Don Jensen, J Connors, July 1969
 Temple Crag, Sun Ribbon ArÍte, IV 5.8, lower part, Don Jensen, W Miller, R Schwartz, July 1969
 Mount Robinson, The Lichen ArÍte, II, 5.7, Don Jensen, D Kennedy, R Davis August 1969
 Temple Crag, Venusian Blind ArÍte, III, 5.6, Don Jensen, S Petroff, A Walker, August 1969
 Temple Crag, Sun Ribbon ArÍte, IV 5.8, upper part, Don Jensen, John Fisher, September 1969
 Temple-Gayley Traverse, class 4-5, Don Jensen & friend, 1969
 Temple Crag, The Surgical, 5.7, Don Jensen, Joan Jensen, 1969
 Palisade Crest, Northwestern pinnacles, Don Jensen, Rex Post, Joan Jensen, 1969
 Temple Crag, 26th Of July ArÍte, III, 5.8, Don Jensen, Chuck Kroger, July 1970
 Temple Crag, Pillar of the Redeye, III, 5.9, Don Jensen, Chuck Kroger, August 1970
 Mount Jepson, Grade III, 5.8, Doug Robinson, Don Jensen, August 1970
 Temple Crag, Dark Star, V, 5.7, A3, lower part, Don Jensen, John Fisher, September 1970
 Temple Crag, Dark Star, V, 5.7, A3, upper part, Don Jensen, Keith Brueckner, July 1971
 Two Eagle Peak, Grade II 5.6, Don Jensen, Grant Hoag, July 1972
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 11, 2015 - 10:37am PT
Don was a Templar Exemplar- Nine routes on one formation! Lots of time on the job to spend looking, I guess.

I wonder if he kept a journal so that some details of these climbs can still be found.
26 July

Mountain climber
British Columbia
May 5, 2015 - 02:14pm PT
Just looked through some old papers of Don's. There two sets of notes on routes: one devoted to Temple Crag and the other covering the rest of the Palisades. Any suggestions as to what I should do with them?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 5, 2015 - 02:39pm PT
Joan- Do you have access to a scanner or a friend with one?

I would be happy to scan and post your material but I am always hesitant to put historic material in the mail lest it get lost.

Check your email as I just sent you one.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Topic Author's Reply - May 9, 2015 - 11:37am PT

Here's the photo of the down jacket Don made for Joan (with her in it!)


Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 9, 2015 - 05:51pm PT
Looks like a prototype of a fairly modern technical down jacket . . . checkout the trim torso and ample length arms; even the hood/collar looks good.

Don Jensen is obviously one of those rare, advanced, extremely talented and motivated individuals evolving the art of climbing and living . . . not unlike Royal Robbins and Jim Bridwell. Praises to Don.

Thanks Doug R. for one of the finest ST has to offer.

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 9, 2015 - 05:55pm PT
Quote HereThis has been a wonderful thread to read and enjoy. Takes me back to my years of growing up in Bishop. When we moved there my father was a schoolteacher. Teachers around the east side often have interesting summer jobs and my Pop was no exception. He became for the next few summers the ranger at Big Pine Creek. I would hear tales from him about rattlesnakes in the campgrounds, cleaning outhouses, and stories long forgotten by me now about the Mountaineering Guide Service and Larry Williams. I believe I was twelve when I met Larry, his wife, and their daughters at the base camp near First Falls. Shortly after I was asked to help at camp and fill in as a cook's helper at Sam Mack Meadow. I could barely cook popcorn or heat soup but I said yes and gave it a go. Larry's daughter Gail and I trailed and coaxed a burro they had (Jingles?) up to Sam Mack with a load of supplies. After unloading and packing stuff away in metal cans, I was wiped out. I'd never been at altitude before. Gail took the burro back down below and returned again that same day. She was 12 as well but not tired at all. The next person I remember meeting was Don Jensen. He came up the next day carrying a huge pack loaded with dog food. Within an hour he was headed for the upper camp on the shoulder overlooking Palisade Glacier and I was prodded to go along and help. This didn't work out too well. While I was inspired and overwhelmed by the landscape (feelings that inspire me to this day) I got a real bad case of altitude sickness and had the worst crippling headache of my life. Had to just lay down in the tent at high camp while Don went about his chores. Useless kid I was. Over the rest of the week I watched Don, Frank Sarnquist, Larry, and I think Bob Swift train clients and take them on outings. It was a journey of a lifetime for most everyone. What did I bring back? A lifetime of memories from that week. A small understanding of mountaineering. Memory of a group glissading and yodeling into Sam Mack from above after a day attempting a peak. I developed respect for the guides, especially Don. He did have that fat lip thing going that summer, which I thought was a curious look to have. All the guides sacrificed themselves. Mosquito bites, sunburn, blisters and callouses. Later I learned that Don was designing packs and tents. That seemed fitting. That the company was called Rivendell struck me as being silly and romantic. Even though I had read the Hobbit by then and was caught up in the psychedelic lifestyle I just didn't always share the same romance. I'm glad to have memories of Don Jensen, following his burly legs as they carried him easily to Palisades High camp. I was very sad when I learned that he had died. And while I'm at it, R.I.P. Larry Williams.

Greg Beardslee

What an awesome story of another time's forgotten space. Thanks for the special memoir Greg.

Sep 9, 2017 - 05:25am PT
I still have my Yak Pak. Haven't used it in decades. It was especially great for cross country skiing. There is one currently on ebay. Apparently there have been some on Etsy.
I also have a Yak Works sleeping bag with contoured thermarest and zipoff top. I only have the light top.
Vlad Pricker

Mountain climber
The cliffs of insanity, inconceivable
Sep 10, 2017 - 05:40am PT
Not a post about Don Jensen but Doug and Steve posted up above about the Dead. Saw them play in the early days (it must be have been around 1967 or so) at the (then) Holy Ghost Hall on Boulevard Way in Saranap (Walnut Creek), when they used to travel in that huge van they had.

As for Mr Jensen, I am not sure if I ever met him at PSOM when I went there in 1971, met Doug and climbed with John Fischer and Chris Fredricks, Swiss ArÍte, Mt Sill.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Apr 6, 2018 - 11:54am PT
"larryhorton sent me."

good to know yer still dickin' around with the climbin' scene, Rivendell boy.

come visit on The Flames in Middle Earth.


PS--larryhorton gave me my first rock climbing boots, a pair of RRs with a delaminated rand on one toe and also squired myself and the Reverend Mathis up HCS, my first 5.8 lead in 1970. (mentioned this earlier here)
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Apr 6, 2018 - 12:47pm PT
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