The history of New Dimensions?


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Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Oct 11, 2012 - 01:18pm PT
This is a fascinating thread. I have read every word. I admit that this post is a bit off topic, but please bear with me.

And further down I want to show my appreciation to several climbers.

I never climbed New Dimensions, probably every other pre-1977 climb at Arch Rock, but ND was on my tick list. Still is but… (And I cannot imagine doing ND or any of the climbs mentioned in my old blue RRs.)

I was never a strong 5.11 leader. Good follower, but I have lead some nice/good 5.11s, primarily in Yo Valley, The Meadows and here in Ireland (5c/6a E3/e4).

After I did a summer on fishing boats in Alaska, I went back to my second love soccer, (climbing is always my first) and played at college, university a couple of semi-pro teams.

So I went to Europe at 26, stupid and foolish enough to thinks that I could break in when most football players start apprentices at 14-16, or even younger.

But I figured why not, I could always climb in my 30s and off-season (football).

Well, at the expense of my climbing, I tried several years on teams in England, France and Ireland. Never became a pro.

I write this for two reasons, firstly, while never a super gifted climber I had some talent, but I some ways never a natural like some people.

Secondly, one of the people I climbed with and hung out with back in the mid-1970s was David Yerian.

Dave recently started a Werner appreciation thread. I only climbed with Werner (and Bridwell) once, Lunatic Fringe. Bridwell led, Werner followed and I was up fourth while the Bird and Werner were rapping off.

I was never in their crowd or at their level.

But there are three people I would like to show my appreciation to, actually more, but Ron Kauk, Rik Rieder and Kevin Worral. These three were at the top of the game but never talked down to me (like some did) when around C4 or Degnans, the lodge cafeteria etc) when I would mention I managed to lead a middling 5.10 that these guys could cruise up.

Ron, Rik and Kevin were always gentlemen to me. I partied some with them but never climbed. (I actually did do a climb with Rik, and for the life of me I can’t recall what it was, imagine that, you’d think I would, something over by the Arches).

So my hat is is off to these three. Genuine people. Also Roger Breedlove, George Myers, Ed Barry, Donny Reid, Dave Hitchcock, Charlie Porter, Lou Dawson and a number of others… they were always willing to chat with me and give me the time of day, some I even climbed with.

And of course Peter Barton, a lovely bloke, who I was going to do the West Face of El Cap with until Dale stepped in (I don't fault Peter for switching to Dale, as he was a far more experienced climber than I was, I would have probably done the same). I remember talking with Dale in C4 parking lot after, he was choking through his tears. Very sad and a tragedy. RIP Peter.

I write this because there were several mentions on the thread about Rik being a gentleman. I heartily agree.

And Pat, I still have yet to win the Irish or EuroMillions Lotteries, but if I do (fingers crossed but not holding my breath) I’ll get you over here on the lecture circuit as we talked about several years back.

In the meantime, I climb a bit in Ireland but being a full-time carer is not easy, but had I not taken the football dream, and stayed focused on climbing, I never would have met Jennie, and her doctors agree that she probably would have died from drink if I did not come in to her life.

And she is very well worth my time.

Happy climbing folks.

Now if I could just be a solid 5.11 leader.


I did not mean to hijack this thread.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Oct 12, 2012 - 06:59pm PT
Thanks Patrick. You mentioned some great names, great people,
and I would add/include all of them, in my own rambling list of people
who in some way or another touched my life. I gave the merest few

My friend Bruce has pointed out to me how I talk so much about the
Slack, and of course he's right. When I don't chime in on certain
subjects people want me to, and then other times they wish I said
less. I think one could easily determine
that I am obsessed with myself. I hope I can say that's not in fact the
case. Why I write so much. First of all, I am a writer. We tend to
be profuse, even when we're not submitting polished writing. I
personally like long entries, if they are halfway intelligible, such
as Roger Breedlove's. He is a good writer, and though Roger
and I have a few disagreements I like the way he thinks and writes,
the way he is always respectful, and what he says means something.
Roger is like me, in that it feels there is a lot to say on
certain subjects, even subjects that are not terribly important
in the big spectrum of things. The Slack is about the smallest
subject on the planet, really, and it only has significance as a
historical detail, something about which I am able to speak
because I did the free ascent at a rather important time in our
humble history. I would be last to hang my reputation on the Slack
or think it would prove anything about my ability. Over and over again,
people tell me they like what I write, they like the history, the
detail I am able to provide at times. I'm not always right, but I get
pretty close a lot of the time, with the help of those who also
participate in such discussions. I do not write about the Slack because
I insist on it as some momentous event or to draw attention to
myself. That would be pretty silly, since it's such a tiny climb.
It's a pretty osbscure detail of that history. Much more important was
Higgins' Serenity Crack.

I was a guidebook editor/writer for years and more or less conditioned
myself to look at the finer details of climbs, to visualize rock and
remember. A climb might be likened to a Shakespeare play. There are
scenes and discourse and many characters, and if one later gets into
a discussion about the play it's important to have a reasonable
memory of all those things. Of course as time goes by, the memory
of such things weakens, unless one continues to talk about such
things and keep them at the forefront of memory. That's a tool of
mine. I write about and talk about all these things over and over,
and the memories stay pretty fresh. One can take the "play" analogy
into smaller climbs as well, even boulder problems, and the
very minutia of a piece of lichen, even if it's no longer there.
It was, once. Strangely sometimes I entirely forget an experience.
People have reminded me of some climb we did, and I have no
recollection of it at all. Most of the time I can tell you far more
than you would ever want to know about even the most obscure and
seemingly meaningless piece of stone. I remember facial expressions
and moods. Maybe that's why I am a decent historian. I even
remember what people tell me about their own experiences. As I age,
and with these illnesses, I find that sharpness, that clarity, of
memory is under pretty severe attack.

Royal and others often send me their writing, because I am pretty good
at checking the facts. Royal tells me he forgets much about most of
his climbs, and so do other friends say that. It scares me to think
that will happen, and it WILL happen, to me soon enough, I'm sure.
But I keep at it. I apologize for being profuse, but as long as
people say they appreciate what I have to offer, and there aren't
too many who just find my words annoying, I will continue, when I
feel like it, to write....

Trad climber
Oct 15, 2012 - 04:49pm PT
Weeg asked for a personal account of falling off of NewD.

Nothing too crazy here...I went up there and sent the route up till the last 20 ft or so...then fell off. My belayer fed out slack thinking I was gonna clip and thus I just kept falling for a while.

A great climb that I havent been on since that first time. Those 5.10 pitches were classic and lots of fun.

I think it should be rated 11a as ratings are too soft nowadays and egos inflated.


Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Oct 15, 2012 - 09:02pm PT
i think it should be rated 11a...

the 1st pitch could possibly be rated 11a if ya avoid the chipped toe hold. the chipped hold (for your left foot) comes right after you switch cracks and is the crux move (along with the hand/ fingertips jam that compliments it), imo! there is another small natural hold for your left foot just a bit above it. like i previously stated, i did them both ways several times and neither one seemed much harder than the other to me at the time. but you do have to look a little harder for the natural hold since it is not as evident/obvious as the chipped hold! try it that way some time and report back!

May 21, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
New Dimensions bump!

Trad climber
May 22, 2013 - 06:02am PT
I didn't see when the chipping I blind?

Also was it chipped prior to Bachar soloing it?

Oakland, CA
Jan 30, 2014 - 01:31pm PT
Bump for one badass route.

Things I couldn't find on New D, now after three goes on it:

-A chiseled hold on p1. There is that one smooth, flat edge off the blunt right side of the crack, tiny, useful, but part of a larger horizontal imperfection there, doesn't look like it was crafted from scratch.

-A chiseled hold on p4. That bending, helix-like corner is so clean it hurts.

-Any way to get the p4, pre-crux tight hands climbing to feel 5.10. Bodylength "crux" fingerlocks up top are cake comparatively. How the hell do you climb that long rattly section @ 5.10, from where the decent hands end to where the good fingers begin? Felt desperate and I dogged it all three times I was up there. The .11a pulls up top come as a relief...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 11, 2014 - 09:51pm PT
New D was my first 5.11 lead in Yosemite and it took everything that I had to not butterfinger right off the final jugs.

The crux pitch on a rack of nuts was pretty interesting with one fixed angle in place when I was there. I was beyond impressed when JB free soloed it because it is a bad size for everyone in the last corner.

Still the standard for 5.11a after all these years.
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