Free Stone - Geek Towers


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Chad Umbel

Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 7, 2009 - 11:36pm PT
Anyone climbed this one? Heard it's a nice obscure classic. Thanx.

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:04am PT
Not that obscure. The route got a bad name because one of the corners up high was pinned out al a Phonix to allow fingertips. But there's some outstanding climbing on this one and a fantastic location.

And check for "GEEK" chipped onto wall aside the anchor at the top.

Ryan Tetz

Trad climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:12am PT
I would love to do that route. On the list of cool bad ass lines to get up on!

Aug 8, 2009 - 12:44am PT
Did it many times.

Once 2 parties of 2. Me and Merry, and Conrad and Muggs.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:47am PT
Really cool route.
Bring a face gun.
Do it today!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:59am PT
I wanna know about the center route, which sounds more mortal. Particularly like to know about the Wyde Bit.



Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Aug 8, 2009 - 02:03am PT
Looking up at it is about as far as I've ever got.

It's on top of my tick list and about time it moves to the sent file.

Who's with me?

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Aug 8, 2009 - 03:47am PT
The face climbing stuff down low was first led by John Bachar during an early attempt. The off width up high fell to Dale B.

Boulder climber
the ground up
Aug 8, 2009 - 03:49am PT
Warbler is so chill (no link to the fotos ? *) . Purebred cali rock dog - thru and thru .
* haha

right here, right now
Aug 8, 2009 - 10:02am PT
Probably pretty photogenic: would love to see those pictures Kevin.

Here's a thread where we shared a bunch of climbing writings:

Below is an excerpt about Freestone from some noodlings I put together in that thread called Escape to the Granite Chalice.

Geek Towers, Freestone:

Dan and Sue are married now. I've always maintained he married well as she will lead him up the many routes on his wish list. It is true: little Sue is small at 5 ft. tall; but she talks about little matters and climbs like nobody's business. Three days away from the crack laced, arm bustin towers of the desert and my left forearm still holds a knot the size of an avocado pit. Sue and I scamper for an hour across gravelly ledges and up mossy, warped third class granite. We rope up next to the roar of Yosemite Falls and run vertically; trading leads, Sue and I ascend big, difficult crack split slabs. Sue punches it out with a near vertical shallow crack that has little protection and fewer holds. She shakes out an arm and declares, "This is bad ass!". I belay from below, observe and sing, "Wake up little Susie, wake up". We race through the sun up into the upper reaches of myth and shade of Free Stone. It is a long free climbed touted for arm wrenching finger, fist, and offwidth cracks. The route rears out the double overhung left side of Geek Towers.

Above me on overhanging, greasy, and insecure thin cracks, Sue stems and frets, This is hard man stuff ". She is simply correct and livin' it on lead. Higher along, I stuff a black Lycra knee into a brilliant peach colored fat crack. I pause and gander beneath me; our turquoise trail line hangs free from my waist and floats in the breeze. Tucked into a corner 50 ft. below is 5 ft. of plutonium girl. 500 ft. below her lie the chalk laden vertical slabs we fried up for breakfast. Dangling from fists engorged by the granite crack I look down upon the slabs. Our lower route resembles a gigantic Sanskrit tablet inscribed with the language of chalky fingertip travel. Stabbing in a wild turkey sized protection device, I jump into layback and bellow a war cry. My shout is met by a faint echo: an Indian screamed when he put the arrow in Custer's crotch.

My partner wears an aqua halter top and sports knee length Lycra. She has long pony tailed hair the color of oiled coal. With the polished aplomb of a Yosemite veteran, little Sue stacks both feet together and wiggles on up the orange fat crack above my hanging stance. The climb is named Freestone after freestone peaches; the tower is named "geek" after the chiseled inscription on its spiked summit. The sun of crashes down upon us and the fall's crash aside even harder. Six rappels later we are geeks and loving it.

Aug 8, 2009 - 10:59am PT
The summit "Geek" was in reference to "Loco Ono and the Geeky Nerfs".

Jim Pettigrew named these 3 goofball hippies, "Loco Ono and the geeky Nerfs", that were hanging out in Camp 4 BITD.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Aug 8, 2009 - 11:17am PT
I remember when these routes went, the right one first of course as it was easier although I guess way less interesting. Then the center route. The snooping around had begun; it was all about the left side you see.

The left side was no surprise, it was clearly quite hard and real thin at the crux. As Largo says, a pinning out of that crux on the left side took place much to the horror of Kauk, maybe no so much of Dale. I remember Ron telling me about that moment the next day. And it went thereafter; they raved about the route too and it has become a great classic in an insane location.

The "Geek" engraving was done by Klemens (in July 1971) on the first ascent of the pinnnace via that rt side route. He was so thrilled to have hammered it in. He loved being kind of a bete noir you see, maybe impish looking back at it. It was supposed to be a sort of graffitti and iconoclastic towards the older generation and the heffalump seriousness that often took control still in the Valley. The guy was such a gas.

Hobart, Australia
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:42pm PT
I climbed it twice, swinging leads each time, 'cuz I wanted to lead every pitch. I think I did it with Werner first, or was it Cosgrove?, then with Chuck Wheeler(?) the second time. Maybe I even climbed it three times. WIsh I kept better journals back then.

Classic. Brilliant route. Freestone, Beggar's Buttress, and of course Astroman are some of the finest steep and long 5.11 routes in the Valley.

Mar 11, 2010 - 12:13pm PT
David Wilson

Dec 25, 2012 - 12:39pm PT
Christmas bump. Come on Kevin, let's see those pics !

Social climber
Tujunga CA.
Dec 25, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
did this one with shipley in about 92 i guess.
I led the face down low which i remeber had to be done before the sun hit it. Walt did the offwidth which is a 4incher ( 10c )
Upon reaching the ground walt handed me a small piece of funny paper and said " this is your reward..take it immediatly"
Stayed up all nite laughing our asses off.....................
Sure miss that guy
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Dec 25, 2012 - 01:25pm PT
Awesome route! I climbed it with Augie Klien back in 76. I've always said that success on Astroman doesn't guarantee success on Freestone.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 25, 2012 - 01:41pm PT
TARBUSTER--Awesome words, worthy of the climb.

This is one thread which is worth something, even w/o forty-year-old pictures. Who wants to see stuff like that? They're probably garbage anyway, over-exposed, double-exposed, out of focus.

Hey, the four-year-old is the best excuse ever invented, next to the three-year-old, Warbler. I don't believe you needed the other excuses. But when you get time....

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Dec 25, 2012 - 01:52pm PT
This was the last of the long free routes I did in the Valley - 1981, with Rob Rohn. I remember it was the day after I had attempted to solo NE Buttress of Higher but ended up down-climbing 9 pitches after being unwilling to do 3 feet of insecure face-climbing. My girlfriend was coming to visit me in Yosemite for the first time, and I remember thinking what a drag it would be if, you know, I died soloing before she got there.

Rob what at his best that day. We had complementary skills and each led the pitches that best fit our skill set. It's a climb that you can sit in the lodge lounge and watch with binoculars.

The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Dec 26, 2012 - 03:18am PT
Sometime in the mid eighties I hiked up to the base with Tarbuster and bivied with plans to climb it next day.
We froze our asses off all night and ran away from falling ice next morning.
Returned in the fall of 95 with the late John Rosholt and had an epic good day.
The 11a face climbing start was a bitch in the early cold with the climb looming above.
I remember sewing up a supposedly poorly protected 10b then watching The Gambler lose his cool doing a runout move off a loose flake getting into the main corner.
He ended up with the pin scarred stemmer and I got the offwidth which was supposed to be his lead.
I have a lasting memory of surprising myself through the crux, climbing for miles above looking for a legendary ledge and arriving at a 12" wide perfect stance, out of rope with a red and gold Camalot leftover for the anchor. Perfect!
We posed for photos with the Geek inscription and made it down without getting our ropes stuck.

Turned out that was the best trip to the Valley ever.

With The Gambler;
Blind Faith

With Coz;
El Cap West Face
Started The Wazoo

With Sutton;
Central Pillar to KB
FA of The Grand Wazoo

On sighted the Cringe to finish the trip.
Blew my elbow in Josh (Satanic Mechanic off the couch) a year later and bye bye hard free climbing, forever.
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