John Bachar timeline 1957-2009


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Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 8, 2009 - 09:47pm PT
John Bachar timeline (emphasis on his climbing achievements)

1957 - born
1971 - started climbing - Stoney Point - age 14 - bouldered with Bob Kamps - he could do 2 pullups at this point
1973 - first climb at Joshua Tree - Mike's Books 5.6 - w/ high school pole vaulting teammate Mike Ransom - age 16 - he could do 27 pullups at this point
1974 - FFA of Black Harlot's Layaway 5.11d w/ Tobin Sorenson - Tahquitz
1974 - FA of Short But Thin 5.11b w/ Tobin Sorenson
1974 - FFA of Rixon's Pinnacle South Face 5.11d w/ Tobin Sorenson
1975? - set record for his high school in the pole vault
1975 - FFA of Free Blast 5.11b w/ Kauk, Bridwell, Long, Worrall and Graham
1975/5 - FFA of Astroman 5.11c w/ Ron Kauk and John Long
1975 - FFA(except for start) of Tips 5.11d A0 w/ Ron Kauk
1975 - FFA of Hotline 5.12a w/ Ron Kauk - first recognized 5.12 in Yosemite. John said recently that he thought Overhang Overpass might have been the first 5.12 in Yosemite.
1975 - free solo New Dimensions 5.11a
1970s - 5th or 6th ascent of The Shield; 3rd ascent of Tangerine Trip
1975? - free solo of Double Cross 5.8 w/ John Long - Joshua Tree
1975? - 3rd ascent of Naked Edge 5.11b w/ Tobin Sorenson w/ some falls
1976 - dropped out of UCLA after one year - wanted to become the best climber in the world
1976 - FA of Gait of Power 5.11d w/ Ron Kauk
1976? - Colorado bouldering tour with John Long and John Gill
1976 - elbow tendinitis - unable to climb as hard as before (probably recurred in later years)
1977 - Yosemite plane crash scavenging - bought a car
1977+ - guided in Estes Park CO for Fantasy Ridge
1977 - FFA of D7 on the Diamond onsight w/ Richard Harrison
1978/3 - FFA(TR) of Leave It To Beaver 5.11d - Joshua Tree
1978/5 - FFA(TR) of Equinox 5.12d - Joshua Tree
1978 - FA of Caliente 5.12b - Suicide - possibly the hardest pure face climb in CA at that time
1978 - second ascent of Midnight Lightning, after working with Kauk on the FA
1978 - FFA of D1 on the Diamond w/ Bill Westbay
1978 - FFA of The Wisdom 5.11d - Eldorado
1978 - FFA of West Owl Direct aka Silly Putty 5.11+ R - Estes Park
1978 - Nose speed record - 15 hours w/ Mike Lechlinski
1979 - FL of Leave It To Beaver 5.11d - Joshua Tree
1979 - solo groundfall from Clever Lever 5.12a - swung further out than expected without rope drag
1979 - free solo Nabisco Wall - Waverley Wafer 5.10c - Butterballs 5.11c - Butterfingers 5.11a
1980/3 - FA(TR) of Baby Apes 5.12b - Joshua Tree
1980 - close call during onsight free solo of The Moratorium 5.11b - (was rated 5.10d) - wanted to downclimb but unable - gave up onsight 5.11 solos after this
1980 - started playing saxaphone - self-taught
1980? - 7-Up commercial with Bridwell - $30k
1980? - featured on "That's Incredible" (TV show) - clip:
1980? - competed in "Survival of the Fittest" competition on NBC "Sports World", which took place partly in Yosemite and included several Yosemite climbers and other athletes. Mike Hoover was involved in producing this.
1980? - Nose speed record - 12 hours w/ Mike Lechlinski (not listed on Hans' site - maybe check climbing magazines?)
1981 - FA of Chasin' The Trane; Frankenjura - thought to be the first 5.13 in Germany at the time, but now rated 5.12d (7c), during International Free-Climbing Meet
1981/6 - FA of Black Magic 5.11c R - Tuolumne w/ Alan Bartlett
1981/7 - FA of Goldfinger 5.12a - Tuolumne
1981/7 - FA of Body and Soul 5.12 R - Tuolumne w/ Mike Lechlinski
1981/8 - FA of Bachar-Yerian 5.11c R - Tuolumne w/ Dave Yerian
1981 - issued $10,000 challenge for anyone to follow him on a day of soloing in Tuolumne Meadows - no takers
1982 - Miguel Angel Gallego gave him a pair Boreal (Spain) Fire shoes
1982 - formed Sole Survivor with Mike Graham - distributed Boreal climbing shoes - $65k/year
1982 - FA of Movement in Camouflage 5.10d R - Tuolumne
1982? - FFA of Bombs Over Tokyo 5.12b/d? R - Tuolumne
1982 - FA of Tunnel Vision 5.12d
1982 - FA of Moongerms 5.11d w/ Werner Braun
1982 - FA(TR) of Acid Crack 5.12d - Joshua Tree
1982 - free soloing in Joshua Tree - Hot Rocks, Spider Line, Leave it to Beaver, More Monkey than Funkey, Baby Apes
1982 - FL (free solo) of Baby Apes 5.12b - Joshua Tree
1982 - married Brenda Lugo
1983 - FA(TR) of Moonbeam Crack 5.12d - Joshua Tree
1983 - FL of Acid Crack 5.12d - Joshua Tree
1983 - Rolling Stone article (28 April) - "Valley boys" by Trip Gabriel - transcription:
1983 - Gillette shaving commercial - $38k
1983 - FA of The Promise 5.11b R w/ Dale Bard
1984 - FA of The Believer 5.12a
1984 - Life Magazine article (September) - "The ultimate dare - solo rock climbers in Yosemite, John Bachar, Ron Kauk"
1985 - FAs of The Kid 5.11b R, The Pinhead 5.10c R, and Here's Johnny 5.10d R - Tuolumne w/ Kurt Smith
1985 - free solo Father Figure 5.13a - Joshua Tree
1986 - FA of The Phantom 5.13a R
1986 - Nose speed record - 10:05 w/ Peter Croft
1986 - linked The Nose and Half Dome NW Face in 14 hours w/ Peter Croft
1988 - punch incident at Camp 4 parking lot after Cottage Dome project was rap bolted and bolt hangers flattened on Arch Rock
1990 - separated from Brenda Lugo
1990 - Foresta house burned down in forest fire - after building permit hassles, sold land and moved to Mammoth Lakes
1991 - free solo The Gift 5.12c - Red Rocks
1996 - son Tyrus Bachar born with Val
2000 - stopped working for Sole Survivor/Boreal
2003 - formed Acopa International LLC with Dario Piana and Steve Karafa
2006 - car accident where Steve Karafa died (was not wearing seat belt). Bachar was driving and fractured 5 neck vertebrae; had intermittent weakness in one hand/arm. Anastasia Frangos survived this obviously traumatic accident.
2009 - died in soloing fall near Mammoth Lakes; CA

Single best source: Duane Raleigh's "Being Bachar", Rock and Ice #166
Another useful source was his radio interview in Boulder, April 2009.

I constructed this because I felt the obituaries which have appeared so far have focused on his free soloing, to the neglect of his many other climbing achievements.
This probably contains some errors and omissions. Thanks to everyone who posted in this thread with corrections and additions. [last edited: 5/04/2012].

Mike Graham's memorial thread for John Bachar:

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 8, 2009 - 09:55pm PT
Thanks Clint, earlier today i was thinking that we needed something like this.
Probably a few corrections to come, like the 1984 Life magazine article. Prolly more, but they are just details.

Really nice work, Clint!

Trad climber
Jul 8, 2009 - 09:59pm PT
It's so nuts what he was doing after clmibing only 4 years. Amazing.

Boulder climber
the ground up
Jul 8, 2009 - 10:08pm PT
Didn't he have more FAs after '90 ? (Owens Gorge, Clark Canyon etc) I'd like to see more climbing details for those last years in the timeline .

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 8, 2009 - 10:09pm PT
he wasn't like the rest of us...

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jul 8, 2009 - 10:14pm PT
That's awesome Clint. I was thinking something like that would be cool to see. What a run!!!

Four years... have to figure he gloriously found what he was meant to do on this earth.
We should all be so lucky.
rick d

tucson, az
Jul 8, 2009 - 10:33pm PT
clint- the essence of shaving commercial, that's incredible, and all the rest of the pop culture stuff too!

Jul 8, 2009 - 10:35pm PT
You should insert that on Jan 2007, he met me in Joshua Tree, and we chatted. Influenced me, for sure.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 8, 2009 - 10:40pm PT
He put up some great routes on the Eastside too. There's one up at Dexter Canyon that I've always been interested in. The usual Bachar stuff, a few bolts and likely sandbagged.

right here, right now
Jul 8, 2009 - 11:11pm PT
I always thought Moongerms, Love Supreme, Body & Soul were among the coolest looking Bachar routes.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 8, 2009 - 11:13pm PT
What about the 7-up commercial?

Social climber
chicago ill
Jul 8, 2009 - 11:15pm PT
Sandbagging yes, but Bachar knew how to grade routes, an art that is being mistreated these days.

right here, right now
Jul 8, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
"Before I climb 10,000 feeties, I ALWAYS eat my Wheaties!"

Social climber
chicago ill
Jul 8, 2009 - 11:28pm PT
I had you pegged as a Wheaties man! Would look good on the box too.

right here, right now
Jul 8, 2009 - 11:41pm PT
But they gave the commercial to Bachar.
WHY ???

I was in the try outs, along with a host of gay guys wearing woodsman like costumes, but like with corduroy short shorts & flannel, trying to look like climbers.

Largo must've been doing the screening, cuz he tells me later:
"Ho man, you should lay off the PIPE before auditions."

I had Pink Eye, for real.
No way to cover that up.

So they gave it to BACHAR fer chrissakes.
(prolly a good call)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 8, 2009 - 11:46pm PT
a more complete Yosemite FA and FFA list?

Short but Thin 5.11b FA 1974 Tobin Sorenson, John Bachar
Rixon's Pinnacle, South Face 5.8 A2 FA 1948 Chuck Wilts, Ellen Wilts; 5.11d FFA 1974 Tobin Sorenson, John Bachar
Pinky Paralysis 5.11c FA 1975 John Bachar, Jim Bridwell
Preface 5.11b FA 1975 John Bachar, Tobin Sorenson
Tips FA 1975 John Bachar, Ron Kauk; 5.12a FFA 1985 Jonny Woodward, Ron Kauk
Short but Thick 5.11a FA 1975 Kevin Worrall, John Bachar, Ed Barry
Free Blast 5.11b FA 1975 Jim Bridwell, John Long, Kevin Worrall, Mike Graham, John Bachar, Ron Kauk
Washington Column, East Face (Astroman) 5.9 A3 FA 1959 Warren Harding, Glen Denny, Chuck Pratt; 5.11c FFA 1975 John Bachar, John Long, Ron Kauk
Hotline FA 1973 Jim Bridwell, Mark Chapman; 5.12a FFA 1975 Ron Kauk, John Bachar
Gait of Power 5.11d FA 1976 Ron Kauk, John Bachar
666 5.12c FA 1980 Dave Schultz, John Bachar
Le Bachar 5.11b FA 1982 John Bachar, Mike Lichlinski, Mari Gingery
Moongerms 5.11d FA 1982 John Bachar, Werner Braun
Tunnel Vision 5.12d FA 1982 John Bachar
Isotope 5.11d FA 1983 John Bachar, Dimitri Barton, Ron Kauk, Werner Braun
Omakara 5.12b FA 1983 John Bachar
The Promise 5.11b FA 1983 John Bachar, Dimitri Barton
The Believer 5.12a FA 1984 John Bachar
Inchworm 5.11b FA 1984 John Bachar, Rick Cashner
Nightmare Continuation 5.11d FA 1984 John Bachar, Rick Cashner
Fasten Your Seat Belts 5.10d FA 1985 John Bachar, Rick Cashner
Free Ride 5.10a FA 1985 John Bachar, Rick Cashner
Headhunter 5.10- FA 1985 John Bachar, Rick Cashner
Opposition 5.11d FA 1985 John Bachar, Werner Braun
Dale's Pin Job 5.13 FA 1986 John Bachar
Phantom 5.13a FA 1986 John Bachar
The Remnant, Center Route 5.12a FA 1986 John Bachar
John's Ring Job (Bachar's Ring Job) 5.11d FA 1989 John Bachar, Ron Kauk

Jul 9, 2009 - 12:08am PT
Tips First ascent was Charlie Porter on aid solo.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 9, 2009 - 12:21am PT
early JT FAs

Candelabra F10 1972, John Bachar, Oliver Moon
Left Ski Track Direct F12 1973, John Long, John Bachar
That F11 1974, Mike Graham, John Bachar
Deep Throat F9 1975, John Bachar, Tobin Sorenson, Bill Antel, Craig Parsley
Spiderman F10 1975, John Long, John Bachar
Hands Down F12 1976, John Bachar
Sympathy to the Devil F10 1976, John Bachar
Desert Song F12 1977, John Bachar
Goldenbush Corner F12 1977, John Bachar

Only 1 Suicide FA?

Flakes of Wrath, 5.10+, 1975, John Bachar, Gib Lewis, Wilson, John Long, Eriksson, Tobin Sorenson
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 9, 2009 - 12:25am PT
Jaybro's got my Tuolumne Guide, so I don't have a way of listing those FAs right now.

Social climber
Jul 9, 2009 - 12:26am PT
hey there say, clint... this will especially nice for his son...

very nice...
say, thanks for sharing here...
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