The First Ascent ot 'Hoodwink'

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pud

climber
Sportbikeville
Aug 11, 2005 - 03:15pm PT
"I had run into Jim (like everyone does eventually)"

i went to a slideshow Bridwell was doing a few years back at nomad venture's in Joshua Tree.
after a very great show he was fielding a few question when a kid that looked about 12 years old asked him. what's the harriest thing you ever did on the walls beside those big falls?
Jim's reply went something like this:
"i once had to rap down a f*#king 8mm fixed cord that looked like it had been there for f*#king ever. the sheath had some nasty sh#t on it and the f*#king cords were showing in half the goddamn thing. scared the sh#t out of me, i thought i was gonna f*#king die!"

the kid was in awe.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2005 - 03:25pm PT

Werner, I think I know what you mean. My own goal is to not have a personal view that keeps me from being able to see the world around me, while still being able to think and act decisively.

My experience with reporting on Ray Jardine's climbing style still reminds me, 30 odd years later, that sometimes the future shows up in disguise--someone breaking all of my cherished rules. I am constantly reminded of how easy it is to get stuck in one's own personal view.

When I look back on the way we used to climb and compare it with the way people feel about it now, I don't feel like our way is more absolutely right than any other way. But as Dingus points out, Tom's absolutist standards, laid out in the idyllic of the 60's climbing world, probably did more to maintain 'good' standards than more balanced views like the ones I held.

Roger
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 11, 2005 - 04:20pm PT
what an amazing thread!

My point was perhaps not well stated, planning is important and proper preparation (steeping yourself in ethics?) may also be part of that... but once you get on a climb it is a different world. You can look and scope and study photos, and all that, but at some point you go up and climb it. At that point reality intervenes.

The response to the reality is what it is all about, at least for me. It's not like I went up on Hoodwink unaware of all that has been written... but being on the climb is a whole lot different than speculating about it... in fact, everytime I go up on any climb it is different then any other time I've done it. The experience is in the moment.

On first ascents there is the uncertainty about what you will find, and it is exciting and hugely rewarding to pick your way through the puzzle. Read the account of the Angel Glacier route up Mt. Edith Cavell and then go sit on the east buttress of that mountain and watch the sh#t fall down that face... the written account pales in the vision of that reality.

Funny thing, we all say at the end of these discussions: go climb! it is what it's all about.

And the Meadows is a special place because the community that developed it had very high standards at a time when commitment was an important character of climbing. I wouldn't want it anyother way, it should be preserved, I am happy it has been. Who would want to miss it?!
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Aug 11, 2005 - 04:50pm PT
Roger, thanks for the interesting and stimulating posts. There is a natural tendency to ascribe the purest of motives and "ethics" to our own actions of self restaint and critique those who do not seem bound by these self imposed "rules."

But often, we confuse "style" and "ethics." I like to think of Style as a matter personal to the climber and which does not affect subsequent parties of climbers. Ethics concerns matters that are less ephemeral and have a lasting impact and thus the power to affect future generations of climbers and/or the rock itself.

By this criteria, pre-inspection, hang dogging or pulling past a hard move is a mere stylistic matter. By the same reasoning, how a bolt got placed (rap, lead) is not particularly relevant. However, the actual physical presence of a bolt or alteration of the rock is an ethical concern.

PS: I'll email you George's telephone #.
Degaine

climber
Aug 11, 2005 - 07:19pm PT
Great posts, Roger, and great route. I have climbed Hoodwink twice and thoroughly enjoyed both outings.

Perhaps a little off topic, but do you (or does anyone) know the history of "Table of Contents" on Stately Pleasure Dome? I think it is a Clevenger route, but not sure. I have climbed, excuse me, flailed on it twice. Am I correct in assuming the bolts were put up on lead? From stances?

Thanks.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 28, 2007 - 04:38pm PT
a favorite
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 12, 2008 - 01:26am PT
bump
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Nov 12, 2008 - 01:52am PT
very nice. just added a link to this story on the Route Page for Hoodwink

http://www.supertopo.com/rockclimbing/route.html?r=tuhahood
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
Nov 12, 2008 - 02:24am PT
Derek Larson and I replaced the bolts on that last pitch in the summer of 98 or 99. We had a lot of fun though one of the bolts broke off completely and we had to drill a new one. I'm glad to now know they history because it always terrified me to think of someone actually placing those bolts on lead. It makes much more sense now.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Nov 12, 2008 - 08:34pm PT
Hi Ed,
The picture you posted that spawned this thread is now gone. Can you post it here? It would be cool.
Zander
jbar

Mountain climber
Inside my head
Nov 13, 2008 - 02:46am PT
I'd like to see the pic too.

Thank you Rodger for posting up the story. Maybe it's just me but I tend to put myself in the place of climbers in stories like yours. I can imagine standing on the ledge with the wind, looking back at the drop to the slab and fighting that feeling that you just shouldn't be there and dreading getting stuck or climbng back down. Your account puts the climb in a very real light. One that many people can relate to.
Lapse in ethics? Nah. I think a lapse in ethics is when you're doing something you know you shouldn't to push a route. Something on half dome comes to mind. Call it a mistake if you will but I don't think those two climbers were considering ethics when the bolt was drilled.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 13, 2008 - 04:01am PT
look here:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=88165
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 13, 2008 - 10:47am PT
It was a pleasure to meet you at last, Roger! You are certainly no trickster in my book although the sentence passed down by the hanging judge on the Buzzwell default drill mode still makes me laugh upon rereading your fine tale. Thanks again for posting it! Hoodwink is at the top of my TM list even after all these years and I think most parties have an adventure onsighting it ---- sentence commuted!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 13, 2008 - 11:05am PT
Thanks Steve. I enjoyed meeting you and Mimi. It would be great to spend more time getting to know one another.

Hanging out in the Valley for a few days got my juices going again, at least for free climbing. (Looking up at El Cap for the first time in 22 years, all I could think is that there is no way I ever climbed that. Werner told me that the longer you stare at it the smaller it becomes, but if you leave and then return it gets bigger. Seems apt.)

But looking at the Cookie and Middle made me want to climb, to feel the moves, to recapture that pleasure jolt of jamming and counter pressure. I am sure I would want to re-climb Hoodwink if I ever get back to Tuolumne. (I would probably also want to pull the bolts and replace them on lead--atonement.)

All the best, Roger
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 13, 2008 - 11:30am PT
I have been dreaming on the lower half of Mother Earth myself and some other unfinished business on Middle Rock. Funny how the feeling lingers even if the contact power is fleeting.
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Nov 13, 2008 - 12:09pm PT
I only discovered this thread once it was revived a few days ago, I guess 3 years late is better than never!!! Anyway I thought I'd add a little footnote to the Hoodwink story.

A July evening, 1972. Most of the climbers foolish enough to still be in the Valley in July are hanging out in the Lodge dining area. A group of mostly east-coast based climbers are lingering at one table, while Bridwell is holding forth to a rapt audience at a nearby table. The easterners notice that Bridwell, instead of the normal Valley pantomime of jamming sequences, appears to be leaning back and reaching over an overhang searching for and finding a hold over the lip. One of us yells across, something to the effect of "Hey, Bridwell, you're in the wrong climbing area for that move, this isn't the Gunks". In response Bridwell starts raving about this new route he'd just done in the Meadows, telling us that we "had" to go right up and do it,just the climb for Gunkies, we'd love it, etc, etc. Well a day or 2 later a group of us took the bait, and armed with a rough sketch headed up to the Meadows--I remember Jim Donini, John Dill, myself, I think Peter Barton was along, maybe someone else. I remember a fair amount of east coast chauvinism en route---"Californian's don't know how to climb overhangs, it'll be easy....". Well, they did know how amd it wasn"t!!!!!, but after a bit more of a fight than we'd expected we succeeded and east coast honor was saved----though it was Donini who eventually led us up the route, and he'd spent the previous 2 years climbing out west. We knew nothing of the "ethical taints" that Roger describes, we were just stoked to have climbed such an excellent route, back when 5.10 really meant something---at least to us. Maybe the second ascent.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 13, 2008 - 12:51pm PT
Hi Alan,

Great story. I can imagine Jim leaning back in his chair, arms outstretched, pantomiming the pull over. For sure we didn't have many roofs to climb in the 1972.

How are you doing? I missed seeing that you have posted before. You still climbing limestone and clipping bolts?

All the best, Roger
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Nov 13, 2008 - 01:08pm PT
Hi Roger, I'm mostly climbing close to home, but get a road---or really, a "fly"--trip or 2 a year to clip bolts on sunny limestone--just was in Turkey last month--but stopped for a taste of the grit en route. Hope you are staying well. Alan
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 13, 2008 - 10:19pm PT
And pulling off 5.10+ in the Gunks I might add....
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 14, 2008 - 10:09am PT
And I would add that many here have in fact never met Higgins. But I am sure had they, they would have really liked him tremendously. Despite his stiff opposition to some of the new game rules, this man is most likely the funniest biped to have ever set kletterschuhe to rock. I mean it. An incredible delight to climb with. A true barrel of laughs. And phenomenal individualist.

Perhaps one of the most courageous leaders ever---and well-known for it too---he also was under-rated.

Who in their right mind could have made themselves solo the Owl roof first ascent with jumars (more or less) when the chockstone was there and even take a fall? I mean really. And he was not a crack climber by reputation. And long before that ascent he and I tried the silly thing (Owl) and he even was taking falls upside down on his back onto the slab, losing his glasses that time as well. As far as I was concerned the 50 degree slab right under the roof turned the whole climb into a hideous and semi-crazy deathtrap. This was back in the piton era too.

This is a totally unique and incredibly fierce climber and being. In fact a paragon and even though many of us want to bushwhack around his gigantic disapproval of taking first ascent tactics to a cheesy new level in comparison to historically accepted straightforward ground-up climbing, he does at least contribute his “call of the wild” for us and does constitute part of the group dynamic that, yeah, really helped keep the Meadows pretty much clean and real and in general promotes climbing as adventure.

But I have to add that he was quite vociferous and unfortunately became viewed as an annoying and crazed housekeeper by many who usually didn’t know him. His views even marginalized him somewhat. In recent years he has been trying to mitigate his beliefs (I think his wife bought him a chew toy) and I think he has also realized that western civilization did not end after all when previewing, pre-protecting etc etc started being part of the new super-hard ascents.

Really we are all on the same side of the meta-issues and the details that seemed so damned important three decades ago don’t appear so crucial today. And we are all being rewarded by the incredible accomplishments of our modern vanguard. I mean, 14 El Cap routes are now free, we have some guys climbing at 5.15b, women are climbing the Nose free and so forth. Werner was right 3 years ago on this thread, essentially saying what RR used to say, “it is insane to expect things to stay the same”. (just loved his dicta).
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