Overhang Overpass- bar dips and a hangover

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donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 3, 2009 - 07:34pm PT
Overhang Overpass- bar dips and a hangover

In 1974 Charlie Porter saw that I was coping with an excess of unfocused energy so he told me about this beautiful, super clean corner high up on Lower Cathedral Rock that he had just tried. He and Mark Chapman had climbed the short 5.9 (old school) first pitch but had been stymied by a bulge in the corner itself.

John Bragg, equally restless, decided to go up with me and have a look. With blessings from Charlie, John and I soloed the initial few hundred feet of Overhang Bypass, which served as the approach to the corner. After a bit of a thrutch over the overhang on the first pitch we came face to face with the corner. Wow! Porter hadnít exaggerated. The corner was a beauty, clean and elegant something we could really sink our teeth into. Unfortunately, we had bitten off more than we could chew. We struggled up past a fixed piton (courtesy of Charlie and Mark) and came to a screeching halt at a 2- inch bong they had placed just below the bulge. We couldnít get high enough above the bong to take what would qualify as a fall. The ignominy of it all, thoroughly chastened we limped back to the Valley just in time for our usual session at the Mountain Room Bar.

I had never before had what I would call a project but I couldnít get that corner out of mind. What was I lacking? Not gear, I was fully equipped with E.Bís, swami belt, chalk bag and the best pitons and nuts that money could buy. I know, Iím too frigin weak. Luckily, the idea of training was just beginning to emerge and Camp 4 was now fully equipped with parallel bars and a pull up bar- the slack line would arrive a few months latter. I found bar dips easier than pull ups so I attacked the parallel bars with a vengeance. In a short period of time I was doing 60 rep sets.

Suddenly, I felt ready. A friend of mine, Bill Putnam had just arrived from Boulder and was eager to have a look. Our pre climb session at the bar that night took on a life of itís own and the next morning I was greeted with a hangover that pushed back the adventure a day. Good thing, my body was able to rest after all of those dips.

The next day, head clear, we began the approach, but not before Bill told me that, since he was out of shape, he wanted to assume belay slave status. The first pitch out of the way, I once again confronted the corner. Based on my first encounter I assumed that if I got over the bulge I would be home free- WRONG! I was suffering from an optical illusion; the corner above the bulge appeared to kick back to less than vertical.

Bulging with new muscle (thanks to the bar dips) I climbed to the fixed bong and surmounted the bulge with something approximating ease only to encounter the REAL problem. There I was 10 feet above the bong staring up at a seemingly endless, parallel sided, vertical, off fingers crack. Was I bold- no, dumb- yes, but not so much so that I didnít immediately realize that there was no way I could possibly hold on with rattly fingers and at the same time manipulate a nut into a useful placement in a parallel sided crack. Where were the cams I needed? Oh, I remember, about five years in the future.

The wuss factor won out, and unwilling to do the gentlemanly thing and jump off 10 feet above my gear, I launched on up, desperately hoping to find easy ground QUICKLY. Not so, adrenalin and fear propelled me for a full 30 feet before I found a couple of opposing footholds that allowed a thank god stem. My heart sounded like Buddy Rich beating drums on my chest as I placed a bomber stopper.

As far as I know the climb didnít get a second ascent until the development of cams a few years later allowed for more casual protection options. Thatís the nice thing about first ascents- ignorance is bliss.






scuffy b

climber
Frigate Matilda
Apr 3, 2009 - 09:34pm PT
Whoah, this is a good tale.
Even with the good goods, this doesn't get done so much.

I'd like to do the climb, but I can't handle hangovers nearly
so well as all the other climbers seem to.

Thanks, Jim. Every little bit helps (that is, keep telling us
stories).
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:09pm PT
First hand accounts, of first ascents, of thrilling and seldom attempted climbs.
I'm fading from this venue but I'll come back for stuff like this...
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:19pm PT
You're a terrific writer, Jim. Very engaging stuff! I love the line: "Where were the cams I needed? Oh, I remember, about five years in the future."

Keep posting stuff like this, please!!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:45pm PT
Great stuff. As I recall, it was the first 5.11d in the Valley. Downgraded in the most recent edition of the guide to 5.11c, I guess because it's easier to plug in cams than face the potential 60' whipper?
Hoots

climber
Tacoma, Toyota
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:47pm PT
this is why supertopo kicks ass. great post.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:48pm PT
WOW!!!!!!
WBraun

climber
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:56pm PT
Dale Bard took the big whipper on it. Couldn't get anything in and went for it. Took the rope between his legs and got his vitals.

He came back to C4 bleeding from his balls.

When in doubt run it out .......
ct

climber
CO
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:59pm PT
Jim, your recent posts are gold. Thanks for sharing these slices of history. Would love to hear the story of the Enema sometime...
Russ Walling

Social climber
Upper Fupa, North Dakota
Apr 3, 2009 - 11:01pm PT
I've got a minor chubby.....

Great stuff!
noshoesnoshirt

climber
dangling off a wind turbine in a town near you
Apr 3, 2009 - 11:08pm PT
Dang.

That's all, just


Dang
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Apr 4, 2009 - 12:48am PT
Great story Jim! I did this route 2 years ago & found it full value. The crack is rather smooth inside and is harder than it looks. Jim's story really adds to my impressions of how it must have gone down, back in the day.

My pics are not great but...
Looking up from down below, on the approach pitches.


The 5.9 roof undercling that approaches the corner.

Amazing rock, amazing views, up near the top.

Ŗ ő ō T « H

Boulder climber
the greasewood ghetto
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:36am PT
Whoa ... don't let the sporties see that - they'll have it grid-bolted faster than you can say PINKPOINT .
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Apr 4, 2009 - 03:20am PT
It's a walk...the wall is safe.
Lasti

Trad climber
Budapest
Apr 4, 2009 - 03:47am PT
ST at its best. As Tarbuster wrote:

"First hand accounts, of first ascents, of thrilling and seldom attempted climbs."

Jim, your post just reinforced my view that you are one of the most gifted writers of the vertical. Your article, "A climber's life" in Alpinist #2 was probably one of the best, most well-rounded articles I've read.

And one of the funniest ST posts ever also hail from your keyboard:

"At the catholic high school I went to in Philadelphia in the late 50's- dry tooling was what guy's did when they couldn't get dates."

Jim, you definitely ROCK!

Lasti
martygarrison

Trad climber
The Great North these days......
Apr 4, 2009 - 10:34am PT
Thank you! Keep them coming!
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 4, 2009 - 12:55pm PT
Another great story, Jim. Hopefully your working on a book?

p.s.
I'm doing well, I'm still getting out. My son still takes me rock climbing as long as I wear adult diapers!

Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 4, 2009 - 01:05pm PT
Thanks!
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Apr 4, 2009 - 01:07pm PT
I remember doing an early repeat with Kauk. Really hard to place hexes. Very parallel crack and smooth as glass. It may have been the second ascent, I don't know but it was right after Dale took the big ripper and we definitely used hexes ( #5 or #6 size?).

We thought it was solid 5.11d if you jam it. It might have been easier to layback but you wouldn't be getting any hexes in if you tried to lead it that way.

I hear they rate it 11c now days?

Seems more like easy 12a if I remember correctly.

Thanks for the memories Jimmy!
chappy

Social climber
ventura
Apr 4, 2009 - 06:32pm PT
Great story Jim. I remember looking up from that bong I placed and thinking that looks stout up there. Hard to protect as well. Better save it for another day! After hearing about what happened to Dale maybe its better I never got another crack at it!
Chappy
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 4, 2009 - 11:23pm PT
JB nice to hear you did it the old fashioned way. Knowing you, I'm surprised you used a rope. Chappy, did you ever retrieve your bong?
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Apr 5, 2009 - 04:38am PT
Jim,
It's always good to get the story from the
horse's mouth, so to speak. That was one of those
inspired moments.

I've always been impressed with John Bachar
and his generosity, how he didn't hesitate to
acknowledge you, Jim, for that accomplishment,
whereas some of the California boys weren't so
happy with an outsider doing something good.
John has always seemed to have that vital
generosity, which is another form of courage...

Just a little correction, for your write-up.
Training had been well into its own by 1967 and
earlier. I was training as a gymnast, bouldering
regularly with Gill, and Bates and I bouldered
in 1968 like mad fiends, doing endless pull-ups
and finger pull-ups on tree limbs. I remember
doing the 125 finger-tip pull-ups in five
minutes, followed by the 125 deep dips on the
parallel bars in the next five minutes, and we
thought that would be easy enough to improve on
if we wanted, but it seemed a good basic training.
I even think Bill Putname did that routine with me
once in the Boulder C.U. fieldhouse workout room...

Bates and I were playing at one-finger and two-
finger pull-ups with finger/fingers in a sling
on a tree limb... I brought the slack chain to
Yosemite in the late 1960's, so that was around
well before '74...

Keep those stories coming.

Pat
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 5, 2009 - 09:35am PT
Pat, I used a little poetic license. It was when I saw the benefits of doing a pull up or two. I also remember you bringing the first slackline to the Valley. A lot of todays climbers think the slackline is of recent vintage.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Apr 5, 2009 - 11:52am PT
That thing has to be the first 12a in Yosemite.... or am I just hallucinating?
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Apr 5, 2009 - 01:04pm PT
12a in 74 now that's prideful!
Thank you for an engaging romp in history.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Apr 7, 2009 - 01:57am PT
John,
I call it the first 5.12 in the Valley, in my
history. Both you and Jim speak about it, as such, in that
write-up. I wonder if it's easier with Friends to
slip in. Supremacy Crack, for example, is about two
grades harder trying to hammer pitons, as opposed to
now a quick friend thrown in pretty much anywhere at
anytime... Or is it too tricky to let go, in that lieback?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 7, 2009 - 02:11am PT
Kevin,

Werner posted the story of Dale Bard's fall on the first page of this thread (post #9).
nutjob

Stoked OW climber
San Jose, CA
Apr 7, 2009 - 02:30am PT
I felt happy just looking at that thing up close on an adventure traversing Lower brother from Bridalveil to top of Overhang Bypass... not in the same league to try climbing that beauty of a crack though!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 7, 2009 - 09:44am PT
Couldn't help looking at that thing, even as a rattly 5.9 early Sixties climber.

Night in the bar -- check.

Hangover -- check.

So the sun is already hot by the time Chuck Ostin's Mercedes diesel-rattles into camp. (Where did that guy sleep?) And I mean right into Camp 4, the old entrance that splits to go around Columbia Boulder then drives vaguely up the hill.

Chuck gets out in a fresh white shirt. Not pressed but definitely clean with a certain trademark bagginess, and he suggests a mass assault. You'd never peg the guy's demeanor as camp counselor, but that's kind of what he did, sweeping up all the slackers and the under-motivated in camp and leading us off to... often it was the Royal Arches, but today it's Overhang Bypass.

Shade -- check. OK, I'm in.

We never thought of it as much of an approach, certainly not anything that would one day bar sport climbers from working the outside corner of the Overpass. No, we didn't think much at all; that would only aggravate the pounding in the head.

But even through internal fog the sheer force of that corner sliced as clean as a laser shot. It shone there like the future, and then we ducked under the roof to amble off the other way.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 8, 2009 - 03:21am PT
The thing looked so innocent when soloing past on the Bypass, but I hear differently

Seems like a lot of folks mentioned the Overpass as one of their first sort-of 5.12s (BITD before bolted sport climbing)

Thanks

Karl
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 8, 2009 - 12:39pm PT
bump it again for Mr. Donini! Hooray for Jim!
I hope I'll be climbing as hard as he is one day!
WBraun

climber
Apr 8, 2009 - 12:46pm PT
"Overhang Overpass" is really a great Valley sleeper. Take the rating of it and throw it out the door. Don't carry any preconceived ideas about how hard it is up there with you.

Just go do it, and it will be a lot easier to complete and enjoy.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 9, 2009 - 12:03pm PT
Bump for Bumpin'
mark

climber
san diego, ca
Apr 9, 2009 - 02:26pm PT
Man, that is a great corner. Got on it a few years ago having not been up there before, it was hard to resist the climb from the lot, it just looks sooo good. 11c was within reach at the time and getting on this corner was certainly not. My buddy and I reflected at the top of the corner;; "I'm toast, whoaa baby", "that was no 11, yeah, more like 12"
rodermck

Social climber
san jose ca.
Apr 10, 2009 - 01:28am PT
DR thanks for the post on chuck ostin who i have known for a long time spent time with him at his apt oakland been taken out to dinner many times always wearing his white dress shirt his trademark and endless cups of coffie some times in different resturants but was always the mysteryman it was years before i found out he was from a farm in the valley he took me and some other climbers needing a leader on overhang by pass got off late in the dark we desended being belayed off the top of decent route boulder talis with no flashlight sitting trying to feel with your foot reaching the valley he looked at his watch i think we can make the four seasons jumping in to his mercedies we were off with a needed dinner and talking about the climb and decent in the dark he picked up the check like he did many times over the years calling him many times hard to get a hold of him for long periods we thought he worked for the cia or something myseterious generious died in his apt he is missed by the people who knew him
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Apr 10, 2009 - 06:25am PT
Great vignette Jim (or should that be anecdote?). Sounds hard. I think I will take a pass on the overhang overpass.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 10, 2009 - 09:20am PT
rodermck,

Thanks for adding to the legend and the mystery of Chuck Ostin. You knew him in the flatlands and saw his roots on the farm; that means a lot and adds dimension.

Glad you mentioned the night descents. They were so typical too, what with all the coffee hang time and leisurely starts and big party mass assaults.

Never a light in the whole party. It was like he was teaching us to epic, too, not freak out but just -- as got said for us in Apollo 13 -- "work the problem, gentlemen."

That's some of the darkest talus anywhere, that side of the Valley. Rock dark to begin with, add darker lichen and once you get out of the gullies where it might get easier you're on a north slope further shaded by oaks and the blocks get bigger and all you can do is crab walk feet first feeling for the dropoffs. Sometimes it would be way, way too late for the Four Seasons.

North Dome Gully was far easier with whiter sand and bleached slabs reflecting starlight and somehow the long slides possible down there were mercifully obscured.

Chuck was like a minor angel, maybe lonely but also full of self-sufficiency and kindness and showed a lot of us parts of the way toward being climbers.
pc

climber
East of Seattle
Apr 10, 2009 - 11:05am PT
Excellent! To the best of the Taco.

Cheers,
pc
GOclimb

Trad climber
Boston, MA
Apr 10, 2009 - 11:22am PT
Nice story, Jim, thanks for that!

GO
hossjulia

Trad climber
Eastside
Apr 10, 2009 - 05:38pm PT
this read got my hands sweating, even though that climb will likely never see me, I got to go look at it now, with these stories swiming in my head.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, all.
Ŗ ő ō T « H

Boulder climber
the greasewood ghetto
Apr 17, 2009 - 08:32pm PT
Were you L-sitting the bar dips ?
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Feb 8, 2010 - 05:20pm PT
Bump for great climbing tail.
Jim, any story to tell us about FA of Leanie Meanie and Anticipation on Arch Rock with Mark?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
Bump for Coz.
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
Jan 31, 2013 - 08:13pm PT
Thanks Jim. I missed this one the first time around too. Great story, great comments.
MH2

climber
Jan 31, 2013 - 08:29pm PT
GUD bump
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Jan 31, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
This thread has it all. Could use a few more photos, someone shake Phil Bard awake and then it will be complete. Wow, good stuff.
old toad

Trad climber
yosemite, Ca.
Jan 31, 2013 - 09:33pm PT
Great post! And a climbing post!! I went up to do this with Don Reid in the early 80's. I led the first pitch (5.9 not) with some effort and Don proceeded to fire the 5.11d second with what looked like ease. I thought just like you that after the bulge it went back into a high angle ramp. Boy was I mistaken, dead vertical and off fingers as well! I just made the belay totally pumped. I don't think I could have climbed another two feet. Never forget that day with Don, the master of the thin crack.
Ron
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2014 - 10:27am PT
Old geezer story as per instructed. Hell, nobody would climb if they couldn't talk about. I may revisit this puppy this spring fully armed with cams.

Reminds me of Charlie.
overwatch

climber
Mar 22, 2014 - 11:03am PT
Great story Mr. Donini. Thats the stuff keeps me coming back.

Per Mr. Aments' post:
I knew Dr. F back in the 70's and saw him do multiple one finger one arms off of webbing with both arms after I asked him to show me. He had complete control and I have never seen anything like it since. I don't know how many he did, I couldn't fathom it. He dropped down and asked me "is that enough?" Blew me away.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Mar 22, 2014 - 01:12pm PT
Thanks for bumping this Jim. If never seen it, what a great thread. So many awesome testimonials here. Great vision & I was laughing at this paragraph for sure:


Bulging with new muscle (thanks to the bar dips) I climbed to the fixed bong and surmounted the bulge with something approximating ease only to encounter the REAL problem. There I was 10 feet above the bong staring up at a seemingly endless, parallel sided, vertical, off fingers crack. Was I bold- no, dumb- yes, but not so much so that I didnít immediately realize that there was no way I could possibly hold on with rattly fingers and at the same time manipulate a nut into a useful placement in a parallel sided crack. Where were the cams I needed? Oh, I remember, about five years in the future.

Solid gold.
socialclimber

Trad climber
CA
Mar 22, 2014 - 01:13pm PT
Great thread, so many voices creating a collective memory! Walter, great photo.

Charles
Bad Climber

climber
Mar 23, 2014 - 09:25am PT
Let's keep this one floating a bit. Does, however, shock me a bit to see one of these older thread surface and see a Bachar post.

Way to go, Jim.


BAd
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 23, 2014 - 10:49am PT
This thread is real family fun, isn't it?

Enforced clean climbing, gotta love it.

And DR's accurate description of late-starting parties who pay the price, that's priceless.

Nice photo, Walleye.

Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
Mar 23, 2014 - 03:26pm PT
You said you had the right equipment, but it was '74 so you must have been missing the belay (a blue camalot!!!!)

Great story.

Cheers,
Doug
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 23, 2014 - 07:06pm PT
Bumpo-pumpo.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2153428&msg=2153428#msg2153428
Sonic

Trad climber
Boulder, Co
Apr 10, 2014 - 04:34pm PT
Bump for Valley stoke
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Oct 1, 2014 - 04:40pm PT
I may revisit this puppy this spring fully armed with cams.
Bump with question to Donini,
Jim did you revisit this climb and if yes - what is better: 30 years old with nuts, or 70 years old with cams?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 1, 2014 - 05:03pm PT
Alexey, you caught me on a rainy day in Ouray. No, I didn't get back on it, but my best guess is that.....
climbing it at 30 with nuts AND "balls"
is better than at
70 with cams AND no "balls."
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Oct 1, 2014 - 05:22pm PT
Great story and what a great looking climb. It would be cool to see a close up of the crack above the roof.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 2, 2014 - 02:30pm PT
Thanks to all who bumped this, and for all the great stories. I remember looking at the climb up close in 1976. Fear got the better of me, though. Dale had told me about his misadverntures there, and all I could think about was the consequences of being de-manned when I was just starting law school. I ended up meekly traversing over to the Hog Trough.

John
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Oct 2, 2014 - 02:47pm PT
Missed this one 1st time around.

Jim- What a great tale!

I would of loved to have seen that D. Bard screamer, as well.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 2, 2014 - 03:18pm PT
I remember doing an early repeat of Crimsome Cringe (5.12a) and Ron F. saying, "Good route, but way easier than Overhang Bypass which is rated 5.11."

Must be stout. I never got on it.

JL
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
Mar 22, 2016 - 09:22am PT
Having always lusted after yet never got up on the Overpass I'm curious. Is it a straight in off fingers crack in the corner or do you lieback the thing?
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Apr 1, 2016 - 07:46am PT
BUMP - (BBST-B3D )
Almost pure! !, and so few comments ? Was it 'cause of the timing of the post? ('09)
This bump detracts,
bump


Silly comment:
may be with 70 cams at fifty, with no balls, with no qualms for style, pulling on whatever?
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Apr 1, 2016 - 08:08am PT
it is so few comments because few still heavy drink , do dips and climb Overhang Overpass.
Original story written so well, that you want to climb the route to see what is all about with personal experience. Same as "Up Rope , I am not moving!"
Donini, can you write some more please!
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2016 - 08:15am PT
Is it a straight in off fingers crack in the corner or do you lieback the thing?


It all depends on how good your thin hand crack skills are.

The jams at the top portion are technical.

I straight jammed it.

Some people end up liebacking .......
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Apr 1, 2016 - 08:45am PT
At the same time as a no pic trip report on 'wet Jesus'? Or some thing on Leaning Tower,
What's fun every time, feels like, Been there, done That when compared to this. . .
This grabs you - sucks you in & yes makes you have to, to?
Go to look up a route, to see, the real deal and dream. . .
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 12, 2016 - 06:42am PT
Bump for the Overpass with the Bypass already here.
Rollover

climber
Gross Vegas
May 6, 2018 - 01:12pm PT
Bump for Dale Bard.
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