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Gym climber
above the play park
May 18, 2009 - 01:40pm PT
My logic kinda works the other way...after all, those blocks will never, ever fall off that route again.

I did get a bit of a minor shelling underneath somebody else when they cut their bag loose...and there was that XL Samsonite-sized thing that crunched out when I put a cam behind it in the dark...OK, it's a deathtrap, people, stay the fuk away!

beneath the valley of ultravegans
May 18, 2009 - 02:49pm PT
Is Don Peterson really wearing a Boy Scout uniform?

What kind of merit badge does Tis-Sa-Ack earn you?
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 18, 2009 - 11:12pm PT

An excellent point. Maybe it is time to revisit that issue.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 20, 2009 - 10:57am PT
The classic Roper route description.

HEAVY on the big angles!!! And only one 4" bong?

May 20, 2009 - 11:02am PT
4" bong end wise = 6"

I remember stacking a 4" bong with another size at the very end of the Zebra exiting.

It was cool stacking pins and bongs. That was my favorite thing with aid, stacking pins or with anything else that would do the trick.

Gym climber
above the play park
May 20, 2009 - 12:54pm PT
Werner, I heard you guys were so honed back then that the maiden started crying again and the black streaks came alive...any truth to this?
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2009 - 01:06pm PT
BITD, some of these would have helped:

Longware bongs, up to 6". The largest ever made, but only in the early to mid 1960s.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
May 20, 2009 - 01:14pm PT
When Rick and I were sitting at the base with our backs to the wall after fixing we had a scare. It was right at sunset. We heard the horrendous sound of the air being ripped apart, the sound of rockfall. Looking up we realized it wasn't rockfall but two base jumpers launching from the top. As we watched them one of the chutes opened pretty quickly but the other one didn't, it was tangled up. It seemed like forever and we thought he was dead for sure. Finally as the jumper went past us the chute opened after he was below us! We both heaved huge sighs of relief! They called to each other and it turned out the one in peril was a woman. They landed safely out near Mirror "Lake."

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 20, 2009 - 02:12pm PT
Hey, Dee De,

Isn't it amazing how LOUD those base jumpers are as they rip through the air at terminal velocity.

I remember vividly, mid-70s, Mike Lechlinski and I are bivouaced on the Shield, below the Groove, and just past dawn we hear that horrific ripping sound and I'm sure it's rock fall and I'm equally sure we're just about to die. Suddenly two BASE jumpers go tearing past and Mike and I snap up in our hammocks and say, "Did you see that!?"

The view of BASE jumpers off the Dome must be one of the best. Jumping off the Visor above Tis-Sa-Ack looks safer than jumping off El Cap to my uneducatd eyes.

dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
May 20, 2009 - 03:09pm PT
Yes LOUD! Scared the crap out of us, I had to self medicate immediately after.

May 20, 2009 - 04:24pm PT
2 of my buddies where doing there first wall, which was the reg route on the nw face.And 2 guys jumped(I think they where from Japan).Well the jumpers screwed up big time so they watched the 2 base jumpers bounce down the wall to there certain demise.They where very shook up after watching it. They did stick with it and finish the route.This was in the early 80's.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 20, 2009 - 04:35pm PT
DE's story sounds similar to the one where "Dead Steve" Morrell got his nickname.


Half Dome
Steve went to jump the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, which required a lot of coordination, not just because of the danger, but because the jump is illegal. Steve had to hike to the jump spot, no small problem in itself. There was an issue with his assistant who did his job with dispatch, yet found that he had not brought enough water. Of course Steve didn't care, because he was not hiking back down... More important than the jump hike, there was the coordination of the landing site, a field some distance from the base. As in Steve' s days of urban building jumping, a good getaway van and nerves-of-steel driver were essential. You had to have a reliable person at the site to spirit you away before the authorities arrived. Unlike the building jumps, there was a much longer time between the time Steve and his team split up and time when they had to be back together to make their escape. In this case, Steve relied on an unidentified female who, to her credit, was in the right spot, ready to pick him up. The nerves-of-steel part is in question.
The jump at the Half Dome is one of the most spectacular BASE jumps there is (probably explaining why Steve had to do it), allowing one of the maximum free fall times of any cliff in the world. Steve used most of it. When he dumped his pilot chute, he had a spinning malfunction. The dome is so high that it is one of the few BASE jumps where it makes sense to carry a reserve chute. Steve saw the rock pile coming up quickly cut his main and dumped his reserve.
Steve did not have time to prepare for a landing among a pile of boulders, and cracked some ribs and twisted an ankle pretty badly. Some rock climbers helped carry him down. Unfortunately, the getaway driver was so far away, she could not see Steve once he fell among the rocks and she flipped out. This was in the Days of Yore, before cell phones, so she had no way to communicate with Steve or the hike team. She went to a pay phone and called the park rangers to tell them that a Captain Steve Morrell had been killed on the Half Dome. She even gave them Steve's home phone number, though exactly why they would require the phone number of a "dead" man is unclear. No nerves-of-steel, perhaps, but no fool either, she apparently fled.
In what was to foreshadow the infamous hike out of the desert in Saudi Arabia (more on that later), it took six hours for Steve to reach the pick up site, where he found no ride home. How exactly he got home is one of the many Mysteries of Steve, but when he arrived, there was a message on his answering machine (the Days of Yore did include answering machines) from the park service, which was quite eager to talk to an actual dead man, having tramped all over the rock pile looking for his body. Finally the rock climbers informed them that he was, in fact, alive. They proceeded to charge him, with "Unauthorized aerial delivery of a person without a permit" . A felony would have gotten Steve dismissed from the Air Force. As Steve, the eternal optimist, said later, "If you throw enough money at something, it will go away," and the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. Time has obscured exactly how this was done. The lawyer cost many thousands of dollars, but "throwing money" at the problem meant that Steve could stay in the Air Force. One version has the charges being reduced to not with jumping off the cliff, but to "disturbing Kestrel nests". Event though Kestrels routinely dive past their nests at over 150 mph, the Federal government believes that baby Kestrels would be disturbed by seeing a human go by at a paltry 120 mph. Another version of the story says this was what the original charge was, there being no real law against jumping off cliffs. As for the Park Service, Steve joked, "We'll have no gravity in this park, young man!" However the Air Force knew about the entire affair because the Park Service had contacted them from the start, and the AF decided Steve needed his "wings clipped,' so to speak.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 20, 2009 - 04:39pm PT
My first El Cap route, Zodiac, in '83, same kind of thing. It's dusk and a really loud noise, way louder than you'd think, and we kind of duck and look around at the same time. We see this guy open a black canopy that gets tangled up and he spirals into the talus near the base of Mescalito and doesn't move. There were some other climbers on nearby routes and starts screaming for help. My partner's brother, who's watching in the Meadow, was one of the first two to arrive and he and the other guy stash his chute and gear before the rangers arrive. The guy was pretty messed up but ended up being OK after some R & R.
Ian Parsons

Sep 2, 2009 - 03:32pm PT

Unless he had more than one attempt at it, Denz must have climbed Tis-sa-ack before our ascent (Roger Mear, Robin Pearce and me) in October 1978. I remember leading out of the top of The Zebra with some trepidation, expecting to encounter an A5 expando flake (old-wave grade!), and being somewhat relieved to find that it had disappeared and been replaced with a couple of rivets. We subsequently learned - Bill was around at the time - that he and it had simultaneously parted company with the rest of Half Dome. My understanding at the time was that he had placed the rivets and continued, though I suppose it's possible that he retired injured and returned to the route at a later date, and that the rivets were either placed by him, or in the meantime by somebody else.

For the record, three other Brits - John Fleming, Dennis Carr and Richard Hazko (John and Dennis were the first Brits to do The Shield and The Trip, respectively) - got to about half-height a month or so before our ascent. I also recall Roger mentioning at a later date that he had by chance encountered a French climber who had done the route sometime before we did, though I can't shed any more light on this.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 2, 2009 - 10:07pm PT
Sack Bump!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Nov 3, 2009 - 12:01am PT

That comment about Max not being interested in the bar made me laugh! That fits him perfectly!

Big Wall climber
Mar 21, 2010 - 08:31pm PT
Tis-sa-sack! 09/ 01'
when I first cruised into Yosemite &#40;winter of 95' or $6 dollars in...
when I first cruised into Yosemite (winter of 95' or $6 dollars into the park) half Dome was the real trophy!
Credit: pyro
Eddie Aloe, Steve Kessemen, and Pete Zabroc celebrating!
Thank's Pete Tis- sa- Sack was a good choice.  Steve is one of my best...
Thank's Pete Tis- sa- Sack was a good choice. Steve is one of my best friends thanks for introducing me to him.
Credit: pyro
Sack rack!
thats me in the bottom left i'm holding the loaded "apple pipe" and th...
thats me in the bottom left i'm holding the loaded "apple pipe" and that's Steve Kessmen in the red w/green cap getting hungry for some wall climbing. we are both 23 years old at the time
Credit: pyro
4days of hauling via slabs and fixing to pitch#4 we drink and smoke!
Credit: mark Mcgoveney
The stoke got us through too (for me i didn't want to go to college because half dome was way better!) pitch#7.
Look behind me the Dome is all lit up! <br/>
Pitch #4 is the first decompo...
Look behind me the Dome is all lit up!
Pitch #4 is the first decomposing granite pitch.
Credit: pyro
Steve "O" leading out on pitch #9 he linked to "Sunset". hey!..... "Pete the width of the crack is large Black D green cam size".
just look at that wall! look at the colors! great routes. Tis-sa-sack ...
just look at that wall! look at the colors! great routes. Tis-sa-sack 10/2001
Credit: pyro 2001
after 7 days of vertical wall climbing Steve and I summit!
me swinging in the "Alpine glow" after a day's worth of work. pitch#19...
me swinging in the "Alpine glow" after a day's worth of work. pitch#19. ...from here we had one more day!
Credit: pyro
we did'nt bring a bolt kit however we did have a 4"bud and a bottle of vodka.
Tis-sa sack is as good as i feel!
good times!

Big Wall climber
Jul 16, 2011 - 01:26am PT
love this pic from the book "the vertical world of yosemite".
1974 by Galen Rowell
1974 by Galen Rowell
Credit: pyro


Trad climber
Imperial Beach California
Jul 16, 2011 - 01:32am PT
haha! freaking bad ass...so cool!
Captain...or Skully

or some such
Jul 16, 2011 - 01:50am PT
It's Tis Sa Ack. Right up the Middle of The Stone.
I can dig it. And I do.
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