Cooke Booke Trip Report 7/12/09


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Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 20, 2009 - 01:52am PT
Thank you for a great TR, Zander. Every time I think of this route, I think of Bruce Cooke, for whom it was named. I have very fond memories of Bruce, as, I'm sure do all of us active at Indian Rock in the 60's and early 70's.


Berkeley, CA
Jul 20, 2009 - 02:26am PT
Nice one! You're on fire this season!
scuffy b

Sinatra to Singapore
Jul 20, 2009 - 11:25am PT
Way to go, Zander and David.

I've done the climb twice, after putting it off for many, many
I found the first pitch (standard) enjoyable. You have to pay
attention to rope drag, but good climbing.

The scary step down is scary whether leading or following.

I thought the pitch below the crux was one of the funnest romps
I've ever led.

When I started the crux, I was taken back 25-27 years, to Indian
Rock, listening to Mike Irwin describe the moves. He had climbed
it with Tom Higgins. Tom, Mike and Bruce Cooke climbed quite a
lot with each other for a few years back then.

On the summit, we talked about building a small ceremonial
juniper fire to honor Bruce when we got back to the ground, and
a suitable site.

One of a nearby party overheard this, and wondered who the hell
would be up there who knew Bruce. After a while, it was (like)
"Is that you, scuffy"

(Tom Carter; we hadn't seen each other in nearly 20 years)

Good route: 4 pitches and change, 3 of them fun, all of them

Social climber
mammoth lakes
Jul 22, 2009 - 10:34pm PT
always bring a sweater on that route.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 23, 2009 - 01:53am PT
Wow, scuffy. Now you're really bringing back memories. I never climbed with Tom or Mike, but I sure bouldered with them in the early 70's. One day I showed up at Indian Rock to discover that the two of them had named an obscure overhang after me (but misspelled/mispronounced the name, i.e. "Alizarian's Overhang" rather than "Eleazarian's Overhang." Just when I was feeling good, I discovered that they'd named the route under it the "Persian Perversion." Oh well, fame is fleeting!

scuffy b

Sinatra to Singapore
Jul 23, 2009 - 10:34am PT
Persian I can't remember who the Persian was.
We used to do that problem all the time.
It probably hasn't been done in 25 years now.

I did the Green Depression a couple months ago, though.
One of Bruce's favorites.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 23, 2009 - 12:36pm PT

I don't remember his name, just his face. I remember when Higgins told me about the problem, he turned to the naming inspiration and said "You're Iranian, right?"

Although I only visit Indian Rock once every few years, I still love the place.

scuffy b

Sinatra to Singapore
Jul 24, 2009 - 04:15pm PT
Do you still get up into Far Left and wave at the out-of-reach
knob for minutes at a time?

I can't even do the start anymore.

Some problems, the handholds I used to reach from the ground
are about a foot out of reach.
That Darn French Guy

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Jul 30, 2009 - 12:19am PT
We climbed this last week-end. The regular start is fun and long IMHO, with a few offwidth techniques. I enjoyed it.

For the unusual down-and-up we did the following which doesn't take too much time:

1- I stopped at the webbing belay and brought my partner up.
2- I lowered her and she led to the next belay ledge.
3- I rapped down on the rings with the portion of the rope I had.
4- At the flake, tied-in short and followed her.
5- At the belay ledge, bring the leftover rope, and re-tie in.

This method is safe IMHO, as there's no dangerous stuff involved.
It's also pretty fast as there's not too much rope manipulations.

The down climb as a free-solo or the 10c unprotected traverse are both a little sketchy for a 10a climber and not neessary.

The 2nd/3rd pitch can be done on the leftmost corner at like an uneventful 5.8 until the 10a crux single awkward move, instead of going straight up the corner with the crack that thins out. The 5.4 is just a long exit pitch.

Trad climber
Jul 30, 2009 - 05:33pm PT
Good to hear voices of today and yesteryear finding this old climb enjoyable. I especially like the interspersion of travel log and reflection, not always apparent on route threads. Iíve always believed climbing is 9/10 mental, and I donít mean just figuring out moves.

Bob Kamps and I found it a pleasant first ascent, though cold as some note. Looks like there are a couple of ways to start it and something about maybe down climbing (long lost in my memory banks), but what the heck, make it your own with whatever combo of route and moves works. That's the fun part of climbing.

As for Bruce Cooke, how super some memory banks still have him. Quite the stoic but funny character, so loyal and respectful, in spite of a gruff exterior. He once gave away his big old house in Oakland to a relative, and his car too, and moved into a small room hotel-like place, with his bike, bed and some dishes. Said he didn't need the stuff and they did, just like that. No preaching, chest pounding, just caring principled action with minimal talk. Wife Nancy and I visited him in his small Oakland place after he moved (he moved again later to a little bigger one in Richmond) and always had good laughs and some philosophy talks. He, blacksmith by trade, would call up some poetry excerpt from memory at points in the conversations. I remember he had nasty, painful cancer at the end and Nancy said to him, trying to express her hurt, "I'm sorry you are going to die." Bruce shot back with a tiny smile, "Well, so are you!" Of course he was appreciative of the sentiment, but liked to be blunt and real about all things in life, including the inevitability of death. Pure Bruce. There's another story about his death I won't tell here which epitomized how he lived and died by his word. At any rate, Bob and I easily agreed on top to name the big open book after this wonderful man. Turns out, climbing is also about remembering and honoring good ghosts, as Scruffy shows with thoughts of a ceremonial fire for Bruce. I bow before that fire.

Tom Higgins

Trad climber
Jul 31, 2009 - 06:12pm PT
I just told Kev I did this route last weekend, and he mentioned this thread. Damn, I wish I checked here would have been cool to get some of the lore of the route!

My buddy Kredo and I roped up at the "alternate start" thinking the corner/face combo looked like a nice way to avoid the 10c step-over traverse. But near the bottom, I got lured away from the lichen covered corner by fixed pin on the face and went straight up the face to the blocks! very little pro, and a frighteningly scant holds. Another team was working up the standard start and asked me how my variation was. I said it was scary and crappy, but when I looked down I was quite pleased to have come straight up from the ground. Kredo continued the style and, after moving through the brief 5.7 section above the blocks, continued up to the optional 2nd belay VIA THE FACE, all run out, which seemed ballsy to me. (I highly recommend the optional 2nd Belay...the way we did it, all the serious climbing is done in 3 very direct pitches...and then that pitch of loose blocks at the end).

Kredo owed me for having gotten P's 2 and 4 of Crescent Arch. So I got to do the money pitch, combining the second half of P3 with all of P4. Totally great climb. I was wishing I had my camera!

North Carolina
Jul 31, 2009 - 07:57pm PT
I always thought Cooke Book was a pretty line. I remember the wide part at the beginning and the traverse (isn't it a down climb as well?). I got the short end of the stick on the day, because I got the two rather uncomfortable belay stances, while my partner, Mike, got the good stances. I also had to work like a mofo to clean a #1.5 friend on pitch 4. All things considered I still had a good day. Great TR.
J. Werlin

Jul 31, 2009 - 10:09pm PT
NIce go Z-man. Think I climbed it in '87?

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jul 31, 2009 - 10:42pm PT
Great report, Zander.
Super pictures and commentary!

Mountain climber
Aug 2, 2010 - 02:57pm PT
West Crack = train
Cooke Book = our original plan, empty and fantastic. What an excellent climb.
Opted to do the standard p1, it was strenuous and awesome. We stopped on the massive ledge at the end of p2 and ate lunch in the sun. My rope gun linked 3 & 4 which made for the longest, most incredible pitch of liebacking yet.
What a top out.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2010 - 07:50pm PT
Bergbryce, yeah it is a nice route. I did it again a few weeks ago.
So fun.

Trad climber
Ford Pickup Truck, North America
Aug 2, 2010 - 08:16pm PT
I think we were one of the first parties to do that thing this year... bootied a slider nut out of the crux. that crux move is great, in fact, both those pitches are really spectacular. There was a pack rat at the top of the 5.9 section above the crux. He was actively living in crack and dropping lovely poop nuggets out of it on top of me as i was climbing. I didn't get hanta though.

Jul 27, 2017 - 02:12pm PT
Is there any way to get these pictures back for this trip report? Thanks.
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