Pyro, thanks for stirring fond memories. I spent a lot of time there in the 60's with my buddies, my dear old mom would take us boys out before we could drive ourselves and wait in he car with her rosery beads......the road where you park wasn't there, it looks a lot cleaner now.....oh how time flies and things change with B1 & balance rock still there and my old friend Roy long gone. Savor your time with friends in the sun, thanks again berg heil.
I live in Burbank but have not climbed at Stoney in at least 10 years. In the early 80's thru mid 90's I climbed there at least 4 days a week if not more. I remember lots of faces but few names except for Kamps of course, Waugh and a couple who's names I cant remember but they climbed there everyday, he had a fused ankle but it did little to slow him down and his wife climbed at a level that was seldom equaled by women back then. They were the best bouldering companions. I think their names were Jim and Laura, Jim had a kind of salt and pepper fro going on and was big into the Greatfull Dead. It is the relationships that I miss most.
I have young kids now and need to get out there and introduce them to the place like my dad did.
All us climbers should be thanking YOU Ed Bannister. That shop was awesome. I took my first climbing class through your shop with Alan Bard. Took a wilderness first aide course which led me to become an EMT and wound up as a Trauma RN taking care of Yosemite climbers from time to time. The slide shows from people like Peter Hacket and one of the Lowe brothers (I can't remember which one) were inspiring. Bought my first stopper from you. When you think of the likes of Robbins and Chouinard to all who climbed at Stoney, it (and your shop) spawned a lot of great climbers.
I used to boulder there on the way home from Ventura. I was making trips
to Bend a lot then, due to some work I was doing at Metolius. I always liked getting a climber who would be a rider for the long trip. It made me happy to do this because a lot of times people can't afford the trip and they would be going to a really great area. In this case, meet the Metolius crew, too.
Met a kid named Jay Decker there one day and told him where I was going and if he wanted to ride up, and could leave the next day, he was welcome to come along (Smith Rock). He did. We were there a week and he climbed his first 5.10, 5.11 that week. We came home and he quit his job, packed up and moved to Bend. It was so great to see that happen for him. All because of Stoney Point. The End.
Nice pictures. I haven't been back in quite awhile. One of the last times I was there I fell on Rock One when holds snapped and I broke both my wrists.
Ruined a trip to Alaska for both Nick Badirka and I..........
I might just have to go back one of these tuesdays when I'm in town.
Thanks for the TR - I've seen pictures of people climbing/bouldering at Stony (Stoney?) Point, and knew about its place in history, but never seen area and panorama photos of it. So even though JDF's photo is annoyingly wide, it does provide a nice perspective on the place.
To illustrate, somehow I always thought it was on the ocean. Apparently not.
annoyingly wide? it takes like 52 seconds for my arrow button to find the next page, for what, some rubble next to an overpass?
i mean which pixel was supposed to put me over the edge? i'll tell you. it was the 1280th
you better hide your chihuahua young man, i'm beyond the age of reason
edit: okay, i overreached re: the dog. it worked for the wicked witch, but sheez, if you can't paint a picture with a thousand pixels....
I would know about the Ape's wall considered I live 4 min away! getting to the wall on a rainy day suck's!
Hot Tuna is a dry place, however I'd rather go to Boulderdash indoor rock climbing gym. That way I can socialize and climb at the same time.
*say, not being a climber, i really LIKED the rainy day pics, as well...
bldrjc (jack)(hope i got that right)---say, breaking both wrist was sure a "limiting event" for the ol' body... wow... i broke only one, once, but i could do near about anything except braid my hair---i just used the arm to manuever around somehow to help the well hand, even used my toes, so i cold knit... :O
thanks for the share...
hope they never ache and give you trouble..
hope you got to see alaska...
lastly, hhhhmm...forgot what else i was going to say... now... oh my...
great stuff here, though...
*edit: oh i know what it was..
say, juan, if your out on the ol' "sandstone" as you said, for friday,
well happy climb to you... and best wishes for it all...
edit: see the pic, now, wow--fantastic picture juan, good ol' calif...
i've heard that spray paint story before. funny stuff!
yeah it's kinda comforting to know that the Stoney crew drives up and down Topanga throughout the day watching and regulating climbers and their activity!
I'll post more pic's when the time comes!
hey there say, juan... wow, so now they got the best garden scenery in town, i'd reckon.... ;)
as to your quote:
I broke off the big flake on the front of Turlock in 86
Its sitting in my Parents Backyard.
say, do you have a picture? how large is it...
lynda had a neat boulder in yard in el portal---though it was not broken off from a climb---it did it's own "planting"... rocks in yards are wonderful... sure love them rocks...
So cool to see pics of where I cut my climbing teeth. Haven't been there in probably 13 years.
Such fond memories of bouldering with Kamps, Wilson, Guy, Forrest and Dimitry, amongst others. Bob showed me so many crazy ass traverses with some seriously contrived and contorted body positions.
What's with all the pads? Didn't have that stuff BITD. Every body should have the full experience of pitching off onto the hard dirt below Endo Boy, Yobo mantle or the like!
Also, I love how Stoney just used the B scale. So much easier to figure out ratings. If it was 5.11 or under, it could be done. If it was B1 or B1+, it would take a lot of work, but it could be done. If it was B2 or B3, it most likely was impossible :) Then again, the vibe was more like three classes of problems. I can do it, I might be able to do it, or no F-ing way I can do it.
I love people that come out to Stoney and then complain about having to do 'Eliminates'. I have been climbing there for 37 years! How in the hell am I supposed to keep things interesting unless we start eliminating the easy holds. Bouldering is a game best played with a tightly structured set of rules.
guyman becoming keeper of the stone would be quite the honor! Bob was the keeper of the stone. give me twenty some years then i'll take you up on that. besides I like taking pictures too share online it's rich culture of climbing.
Pumping the Three Pigs! If I could Just pump that out I could climb 5.10. That was my thinking long ago. I remember many days in the summer after work we would boulder at Stoney, Lots of history. It was a dump then and still today. I guess that’s what makes it Cool.
I noticed that a key hold to the left of three pigs is now gone. Was that done during the water blasting. I used to be able to crank up and avoid using the first three holes. If it was water blasting who the f*#k did it?
Guy- my armchair mtn'eer brain recalls Ray Gorin being the one-legged climber? BBA?
Also like the extra grubby clothes on the future Patagonia CEO. A late 50's way of saying "f*K the man!" versus 60's version of long hair, 90's tattoos, '00's piercings. maybe also the result of making pitons on a forge...
and da'fuca shout out to 3 little PIGS. i used to run a dozen laps to simulate climbing a full pitch of .10a. now i'd be lucky to struggle up it w a TR geeebus.
sweeeeeeeeeet!!! great thread. can't believe i now long for stoney. last time there was exactly 10 years ago with an ol' buddy. and afterwards we went and watched his chick strip at one of the many spots... damn, that was one wierd evening after that!
but, until this thread, i did not miss the place. i'm going home soon.
I thought hard about posting these pictures, but decided it would be ok.
It was a sad but very special day when climbers and friends came to Stoney Point from all over the place to remember their friend, mentor, The Master, Bob Kamps.
A Stoney Point master, Jeff Johnson. Jeff just crushed the place.
Credit: Kris Solem
Paul Anderson. Another super strong climber with about +6 ape index too.
Credit: Kris Solem
Jan in front, Pete crankin'
Credit: Kris Solem
Credit: Kris Solem
A bizzarre moment. Keesee, Rachel McCollum, Laeger, Yoho and Eve Laeger
Credit: Kris Solem
The back row, left to right, Dave Rearick, Vern Clevenger, Mark Powell, Don Lauria, TM Herbert, Mike Sherrick and Andy Lichtman. In front are Beverly Woolsey (formerly Mrs Powell) and the former Mrs. Rearick., Judith Chase.
Yes, I remember that bird. Came through right at the end - a very beautiful flight.
I know we're all in the same boat: still can't go to Stoney Point without having fond memories of Bob Kamps. He was there when I made my first visit in January 1992 I think. He saw a new face and gave us the tour. I made the mistake of telling him I climbed in the Gunks, so he saved Hot Tuna for last.
Few things in climbing measure up to being artfully sandbagged by the best.
Guyman - The one legged climber was Gorin, first name either Ray or Roy. He was always a surprise to see when he attacked the rock. I didn't take the shots, I believe a friend named Dave Harvey did. I'm to the right between Yvon and Harry "Latex" Daley who also called himself "the Mace" because he was a Sierra Clubber. TM Herbert is on the left.
In looking at the air view of the area, the biggest change is that the old road was two lanes and was at the same level as Boulder #1
on tuesday some kid decided to pull out his chisel and hammer. I was walking back from Turlock and I thought he was pounding in a Pin. right at the start of the downclimb you'll notice like five new chisel marks. we ousted that kid and his friends immediately from the point. His excuse was that he could'nt get up to the top somehow and making a good foot hold was going to help! the funny thing about all that crazy scene is that he had a crash pad but no climbing shoes!
P.S. If that same kid is reading my posting then listen. Go gets some rock boots then get over to Stoney Point. we'll teach you how to rock climb!
does anyone remember the sword guy from around 88. apparently he rode his bike from ohio(i think) to hollywood to make swords and break into show business. he lived in the bushes behind pink floyd for a few months.
one day i was bouldering alone in front when out of the corner of my eye i noticed a young fellow, butt naked, peering at me from the bushes(those darn bushes again). i bailed.
seriously thats where it all began for me so that place will always be special. man did my fingers hurt so good as i drove home on the 118 each day.
Largonaut, Powerglide and Ummagumma all went up around 1975, and all seemed roughly about the same difficulty. Also the Yabo mantle on Rock 1 and the stuff on Pink Floyd or whatever you call it. All good stuff and stiff 35 years ago sans pads. Don't fall.
This is in the section of stoney that borders the 118, between canoga and topanga. The land used to be private, but was annexed onto the park sometime in the last 10 years (at least that's the story I got). My buddy Sparky and I have found 50+ lines on the boulders back there. you can see the freeway cracks in the background. Lemme know if anyone wants to go, I'd be happy to show ya around. The climbs are more spread out than stoney proper, and probably need some cleaning.
I drove through Santa Susanna pass yesterday, and wondered (again) who owns the land on the north side of 118, on both sides of the pass? I've never gotten out of the car and walked it, but there is a lot more 'stone' (using the word loosely) there than at SP. Is is private land? State? City?
I used to climb at an area between the freeway and the RXR tracks. You could drive a road just before the 118 East bound on ramp on Topanga, take the road a hundered yards or so and there was a fun crack and OW dihedral thay we used to lead. Anyone still climb over there?
The land north at Rocky Peak Rd, is park land. But, not LA Park land. Some part of Santa Susana Park ?. Here's some information on the history. At one time a group that included Bob Hope owned the land and then lease it to Getty Oil. At that time we could drive up the road, now trail. I believe they did a land swap for it to become a park. For the right info on this check out Santa Susana Park Association.
On the other side of the 118 fwy. It is a mix of private owners, including The Church at Rocky Peak. I went climbing around the area across from the church and was asked to leave. I do believe that land is marked for homes. Even though the owner who was the one who kicked us off said "No Homes"
Here is some old school funk for y'all. No hands boulder problems circa 1961. Roger Brown (who filmed Sentinel- The West Face) did a little film with a star studded cast! I have never seen the film. Has anyone else seen it? From Summit June 1961.
Seen the article before but didn't remember there was a movie... would love to see it.
I remember folks going up and down that route with no hands but never thought of it as particularly good training, though I also remember Kamps seemed compulsive about doing it as a kind of warm up. Wish people would post up more old photos of the place... very nostalgic... thanks.
Guido just wrote me and is quite sure that the Chouinard catalog shot in post #84 is Dennis Henneck not Don Lauria. Hopefully, some more historical photos will surface. Is the flake in the photo still around?
Mr. E .... you will need to show up, and show all of US just how/where those "NEW" problems are........ the judges are tough at that place.
It's really common to have young studs show up, fire "something new"....
Then we try to produce photograph evidence of prior accents......
Over by "PowerGlide", these kids cleared out some brush and "discovered" new stuff.... a quick review of the historical photos ( several thousand ) clearly showed a very young John Bachar, red headband and all on the said new problem. Further discussions with Jim Wilson reviled the fact that maybe, Dan McHale of Fred Beckey did it in 66. McHale confirmed that "It wasen't new" when he did it, he thought it was Royal, Royal confirmed that "Glen and his brother did it in 38..... so there you go. We value accuracy
at the old point and like to keep everything truthful.
So come on down and break some wind with the boys,you can do your new ones,
we can try em. OK.
So far as "new" stuff, this same scenario gets played out at Roubidoux every decade or so. Photos are lacking, but there are a few of us who still remember Phil Haney, Paul Gleason, Ben Borson and others sending some pretty grim shite (up to around V8) a way back there, when we were still early on in high school. Slab climbing hasn't really gotten any harder in 30 years.
Sunny skies,with cool temps were the order of the day.
A climber from Budapest, Martin is his name, was blasting through town and he "Just had to come and see this place" We showed him some of the more classic stuff and then moved on to "hard problems." He spoke enthusiastically about the local bouldering back in Budapest. "Boulders in the forest" he said.Sounds nice.
I always like the international flavor you can sometimes find there.
Personally, I was able to hit some harder problems that I have not been able to do in about 6 years due to injuries. So I was very happy.
As long as there is no more rain and the temps stay cool the friction should be picking up some in the next few weeks.
Part of the flake in the photo was gone by the early 70s. We used to call that particular series of moves "crowed pleaser traverse." It ended up on the nob below the infamous "rock #2 overhang." The traverse looked great but really wasn't very difficult 5.8 perhaps before the flake began to go and the ground below eroded a bit. I'm sure it's much more difficult now. I remember as holds were pulled off by 76 or so it seemed much more difficult.
Pual Rohel..... I believe you are correct,The flake made the traverse 5.8....that was the last time I was able to do it.
Yesterday, 12/22/09 was cold and clear. The point, as usual, had some out of state visitors. If anybody Knows "Kieth" from Boulder,driving a outback, loaded with gear.....he says hi to all back in snowy Colorado, his next stop is "The Tree".
Anyway, a two year quest by the Topos own "matty" ended yesterday. Matt was able to finely send "Yabos Mantle" on rock one.
So we had something to celebrate.... and we broke out the frozen beers at sunset. (like we needed a reason)
Here is demeets matching on the mantle, where the real business starts. Jeff Johnson says he knows of at least 17 variations to this problem. He is the only person I know that has down climbed it, though I've seen Aaron come close. The way I did it is knott the usual way, but then again I am knott a usual person. Next I will have to try Yabo arete, and I think there may be a yabo dyno up top to complete the trifecta. I'm coming home tomorrow boys. See ya tuesday
last nite the national weather report claimed no rain for the weekend:) If it stays dry till saturday then climbing on the sunnyside stuff could hold up!
keep in mind this is the wet season for stoney so practice caution when crank'n on those !!!
I went to the stoney point this morning and would like to say that the sandstone rock in shady locations is still wet, however the sunny stuff is super sticky!
cleaned by the rain..... and super sticky!
i'll smoke one for ya!!!
love this thread PYRO!
I first visited Stoney with unknown friends as a young pre-teen in the late 50's. Growing up in Canoga Park, it was a place to cruise & scramble around just for the fun of it. I remember once seeing some climbers, probably the Sierra Club RCS (Rock Climbing Section), with ropes and commenting to a friend that they would certainly be killed doing that kind of climbing. Little did I know what was to come.
I used to go bowling with my brother, Philip, and mom, Marjorie, fairly regularly on Sundays at the local bowling alley. One day during the winter of 1960-1961, my dad, Robert, showed up unnannounced and announced that the RCS was having a practice climb at Stoney and that my brother and I were going with him. We had been spending the previous two family summer vacations camping in Yosemite. In 1959, my dad, brother and I hiked up the cable route on Half Dome. The following summer, we three hike up Mt. Dana. It was Dad's ambition to climb Mts. Lyell and Ritter the next summer (which we did) and he felt that we needed roped climbing skills and equipment to do it safely. So we went with him to Stoney Point, and a whole new world opened up to me. The rest is history, so to speak. I never asked Mom how she felt about that day because we never went bowling with her again.
I've known Dennis Hennek since 8th grade (1958), by 1961 we were in high school (Canoga Park HS) together, and about then we began going to Stoney Point every Saturday and Sunday and sometimes even after school. One day in the hall at my locker, Dennis and I were talking about climbing whild I was holding "A Climber's Guide to the High Sierra" in my hand. An unknown student, Russ McLean overheard our conversation and stopped to introduce himself. I guess we were a little stand-offish, and Russ felt rejected, but soon we met him again at Stoney, and others in our high school class joined us three on our weekend forays to Stoney.
We three graduated from high school in 1963, and that summer, in addition to a climbing trip to the Tetons with my father and brother, I did a hike into Bullfrog Lake over Kearsarge Pass from Independence, CA. From that lake, there's a lovely view of Mt. Brewer in the distance, and I greatly admired its nearly 1000' unclimbed face, and I set my sights on it. I'd never climbed anywhere but Stoney Point until then, so Russ and I took a quick trip to Tahquitz where we did two moderate climbs but were able to practice swinging leads on a real multi-pitch climbs. Late in the summer, carrying ropes and hardward we hiked (in our "kettershoes")to Bullfrog Lake where we found, by sheer coincidence, Dennis and his brothers fishing by the lake. After a short visit with them, Russ and I continued on and eventually set up a camp near the base of the Mt. Brewer's NE face. That's a story for another time. But after our successful ascent, the summit photos (not scanned yet!) show both Russ and I wearing our high school senior sweaters. Go Thorians [CPHS Class of S'63]! LOL!
I'm still organizing what I can see will be a massive scanning project; so far the only two pix from Stoney Point that I've done are of Don Lauria. One, dated 1965, shows him doing what I think was the second ascent of the "Boche Death Route." Is that route even done any more? The other, dated 1968, shows Don practicing aid on what we called in those days, "The Ski Tracks," two parallel cracks on the walls of one of the gullies on Stoney's backside.
Somewhere I have slides of a "Traffic Diversion" that the UCLA Bruin Mountaineers did to the traffic one Friday afternoon during the construction of the new Freeway that now goes by Stoney. That, also, will be for another time.
The Boche Death Route went from right to left up and across the blank west face (the "Front Wall" as tagged in the Stoney Point Guide 1982) of Stoney Point. The photo of Pyro's at the top of this page shows the Front Wall quite clearly - it's directly above the left edge of the oak tree behind Slant Rock.
it's gotta be that stuff on the jesus wall...? right of the non-exist bolt ladder:you start on the 5.7 crack then clip a (chopped or missing) bolt and traverse left in the pinscars then straight up?
BooDawg...... very nice. Please keep adding shots and names. We are trying to get the whole history of the Point written down. So many climbers have stories similar to yours. One day they went to Stoney and their life changed forever..... mine did for sure.
Almost visible in the first photo is that Old Topanga Canyon Blvd used to make a large S-Turn as it passed by Stoney Point and over a railroad tunnel before heading west over the pass to Simi Valley. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the cars on the inside of the bend are all bunched up, creating a break in the traffic. This event took place around April Fool’s Day, 1969 when Team #1 the UCLA Bruin Mountaineers (who frequented Stoney for climbing practice) brought 5 of their cars and some “borrowed” orange highway cones plus a detour sign to the area.
Lower part of S-Turn directly below summit of Stoney Point.
Above the S-Turn, where a small road led off into a maze of roads where there were widely scattered houses, Team #2 was waiting with the cones and detour sign for the break in the traffic to arrive.
Team #2 lurking by the road, waiting for the break in the traffic.
When the break arrived, they quickly set up the sign and the cones to block the highway and divert the afternoon commuter traffic into the maze of roads which had only one obscure outlet.
Team #2 lays out the cones and detour sign.
When the sign & cones were in place, the Team #1 drivers of the 5 cars led the commuter traffic up into the maze. Knowing the obscure route out, the drivers drove out around the back side of Stoney Point and walked up the back side to join Team #2 who had walked up there after setting up the sign and cones. For more than an hour, the maze of roads was a horrific traffic jam. The highway department came and opened up the road, scratching their head all the while.
The UCLA cars lead the traffic back into the maze of roads.
We knew that these were futile efforts at resisting "progress," but it was sure fun to organize resistance anyway...
My name, as if it wasn't obvious from my screen name, is Cole Gibson and I've been working on a documentary about the history of climbing at Stoney Point for the last year and half, tentatively titled "Stoney Point: Portrait of an American Crag." So far we've interviewed almost 20 people ranging from Glen Dawson, who first climbed at the Point in 1927, to young kids pushing the limits in the present time.
About a year before graduating from film school at USC, I found what would become my life's passion out at Stoney Point. Like so many others before me, I fell in love with climbing at Stoney and haven't looked back since. Early on I met long time climbers like Guy Keesee, Mike Flood and Jan McCollum who became mentors and are to this day very good friends. Over the years I've met some of my best friends out at the Point and the place has truly become something special to me.
The history of climbing at Stoney Point over the last hundred years is richer than cheesecake and, as a filmmaker, it was a no brainer that this needed to be my first real project outside of school. Today, the film is about 75% complete, from a shooting standpoint, and I've amassed an amazing collection of historical photos and video assets. The Sierra Club, Glen Dawson, Brooks Ayola and many others have been HUGELY instrumental in the gathering of this collection and the project wouldn't be where it is without their help. Thanks guys!!! Climbing magazine will be publishing an article I wrote on the subject this coming Fall and the movie will be finished concurrently.
As a long time lurker here on the Taco I've held off on writing a post like this but, for better or worse, the time has come. While I already have enough assets to make a very complete documentary I can always use more. So if anyone has photos or stories or anything that they'd like to donate to or share with the documentary please let me know, either here on Supertopo, or by shooting me an email at - email@example.com
While I don't have many more interviews to do, I do have a couple people I'd like to get a hold of. Chief of whom are Mark Powell and TM Herbert. If anyone has contact info for these guys could you please send it to me so that I can reach out to them about the project? The 60's era is a little thin right now and I think these two legends would flesh it out nicely, to say the least!
Anyway, if it calls for it, I'll be posting on here regularly but for now please enjoy the following pictures. I'd love to post more but in terms of the article and the movie I don't think it's a good idea.
Glen Dawson canyon jumping in the early 30's
Credit: Glen Dawson/Sierra Club
Glen and brother Muir Dawson on boulder 1
Credit: Glen Dawson/Sierra Club
Credit: Sierra Club
Royal Robbins leading at Stoney, pulled this one off the net so if anyone knows who took the pic or has a high quality version please let me know.
B-dawg you are rad!
the traffic pic's made me think "what the hell are those students doing"? anyway, i like the pic of the S- turn with the train cruising on by!
ken Boche nice to meet ya!
when top-rope season is active we'll post some pic's of the gang climbing the "boche death route"..
tarbuster~thanks for check'n the Stoney thread. the fish is my favorite..
cole~your constant questioning stoney's history has inspired this thread...so get what you can out of it, because the world should always come climb at Stoney.
Stephanie you should get out more because i know your super strong!
Rincon i had to go to the gym today because of the rain..
More important, as you recall, were are frequent and intense trips to Stoney and then moving beyond… Have you checked out the Stoney Point thread in the last day or so? A film maker, Cole Gibson is making a documentary on Stoney. He says the 60’s is a bit thin. Did he interview you? If not, I’m thinking he may be missing an important piece of Stoney’s influence, considering the intensity with which we climbed there and the places that we went later.
Someone else on the Stoney thread, I think, was asking me for Kamps stories. You, LongAgo, of course, are probably the best one for those…
The smell of Stoney after a rain, climbing the big face on some pothole route in the rain with Bud (Ivan) Couch both wearing plastic bags with head holes because, well, we were trying to become mountaineers or Herman Buhl or something, meeting Bob Kamps who took me under his wing and tuned my lust for the game into safe and sane climbing practice, and bantered with me and challenged me and me him on flake after flake, boulder after boulder, then back to his house for a sumptuous meal from Bonnie, and on and on to Tahquitz, Yosemite, Tuolumne with Bob, now a brain full of walls, pinnacles, domes, routes and campfires and starry nights, Bob and our times still deep within me and why, in most measure, all of climbing now rests with me like a great lasting love.
Here's a small memory of Bob at Stoney, written a couple of years ago for a Stoney guidebook which may or may not ever come out. What better place for it than this thread, this bit of cyberspace where we connect full of exuberance and heart for the big lumps of sandstone called Stoney Point:
I vaguely remember a charred, skeletal car body at Stoney Point the first time I visited there. The place looked crummy and felt dusty and hot. The air was brown with smog. There were no climbers visible as I looked around Rock 1 (now called “Boulder 1”), just a few walkers, pooping dogs on the loose and some kids yelling, running and jumping around small boulders. Some of the boulders and higher cliffs were painted with names and hearts and four letter words. I think it was summer 1962.
I had come there to meet Bob Kamps. I had phoned him on a ruse, asking about the best rope to buy. I didn’t care about ropes. I had heard he was good. I wanted to learn about climbing and maybe get to climb real walls with him. All I had climbed at that point was the outside of my house with friend and neighbor Bud (Ivan) Couch. We had salivated over the book Freedom of the Hills, bought a few steel carabiners, a hemp rope and soft iron pitons, but never been on rock. So I steered my phone talk with Bob toward meeting at Stoney. He agreed.
After walking around some, I found Bob topping out on Rock 2 (now “Turlock” or Boulder 2). He wore a T-shirt, shorts and a light hiking boots, probably Cortinas. His hair was short, army-like. He was a little sunburned, wiry, knobby, veined and strong, matter of fact, but flashing a wry smile as we talked about how I liebacked wood siding on my house. It was the smile that told me I had a chance with him. The first thing he showed me was to use my feet, to look for edges and undulations in the rock for friction. We did some no-handed routes on a smaller rock near Rock 1. Bob moved as if walking up a stairway. I got the picture about feet. Later, we did a top-roped climb on a pothole wall at the back (east side) of the area. As I struggled up nearing a crux, he called out, “man or mouse?” My blood zoomed, and up I went.
I remember now the little circuit of Stoney routes we often did as Bob and I became lifelong climbing partners. I remember the smell of the gritty sandstone after a rain. I can feel the soft, grassy paths of the Spring, remember our bantering and competition bouldering. Bob could mantle anything. I was good at small hold endurance traverses. Over those years, Stoney and Bob built in me: wiring in a trust of tiny flakes, how to edge, hop step, step through, reach, match, smear, mantle, yell, laugh, curse and think anything was possible – all the essentials for the walls I came to do.
I remember sitting in the dirt with Bob near Rock 1 decades after our first encounter. We were spent, our arms pumped and gone, sipping a beer. I then lived in the Bay Area and was visiting for Thanksgiving (we alternated Thanksgivings visits for 30 years). Bob was eyeing a young climber, probably thinking, “no, put your foot there, not there.” By then, Bob had bouldered at Stoney about twice a week for nearly 40 years. Every flake, ledge, crack, hole and ledge was in his brain. I asked him if he remembered the first time I contacted him and he said, still looking at the climber but smiling, “Yeah, about the rope.” We laughed.
In 2005, about 200 people came to Stoney to honor Bob after his death. How fitting to hold a memorial for him there, but Bob is not gone from Stoney. He is there anytime I visit, stand still and close my eyes. Next time I go, he’ll be topping out on Rock 2 again, in his cut-off shorts, grinning.
I spent a lot of time at Stony when I was at UCLA between 1966-71, but always had to get a "visitors pass" since I was a Northern Cal boy from the Indian Rock Gang. Boche and the gang will never let you forget you are in S.Cal turf. Kamps was always fun and generous with his time and his beer.
Here is an interesting letter from Bitchen Bill Amborn, aka BBA, that portrays a day at Stony in 1962 and various other activities going on back then with some of the key players. It wasn't all climbing.
this picture exhibit exactly how bob looked like when sitting in between sessions at the "Pot holes traverse" at Stoney ( he sure was fun to hang with and for sure my ultimate hero).
Tom wrote: "The first thing he showed me was to use my feet, to look for edges and undulations in the rock for friction. We did some no-handed routes on a smaller rock near Rock 1."
~those no hand rests got challenged by a couple of gym rats the other day and non of em' could crank them out because the lack of foot technique! we showed them how bob showed us and then they got it.
thanks for the story Tom.
WOW!! Tom, thanks SO MUCH for your moving and eloquent posting about your meeting Kamps and the relationship that you and he had over SO many years. Although my dad first took me to Stoney and to the Sierra, Cascades, Tetons, and Canadian Rockies, he really couldn't mentor me the way Kamps mentored you. We were all awed by, probably somewhat envious of, the two of you over the years. Sometimes I feel like nearly all climbers develop extraordinary bonds with those whom they have really connected. But I know that you and he had a special bond and love that not every climber is blessed with such bonding. Fred Becky, for all his genius and drive, may have missed some REALLY important life lesson that I KNOW you and Bob shared. So do Guido, Hennek, and Lauria. I feel honored to have known and climbed with all of you.
Sheesh, Guido, you really do amaze me, more than ever, with your knowledge and experience around this craft we call climbing. Thanks for your insightful comments which seem to be sprouting up everywhere like wildflowers in the spring.
Ken, yes, I now realize my relation with Bob was especially formative and deep, launching me not just in climbing but shaping how I approached a host of life's pursuits. As Guido says, "It wasn't all climbing." Indeed.
As I look back these past few years, everything and nothing spins around climbing. I know I am largely who I am because of climbing. We all are who we are in large part because of climbing, so how could it not be vital? And yet, suppose my "game" had been tennis or surfing or cycling or skiing and I had met the equivalent Bob Kamps there and formed a resulting lifelong friendship and felt fulfilled, then what do we say?
Maybe we come to this: the most vital thing from the standpoint of feeling satisfied and whole in life (not to imply I always have that feeling, but by and large I do) is not so much the rock and our game on it, nor our particular climbing accomplishments which mostly will be hazy or forgotten with time, but how we go about whatever we go about. With what passion we invest ourselves in any life game, how we honor and respect those we meet, how we internalize what we come to value in others we love and admire and, then, how true we are to all we have learned and hold dear. Again, not to say that’s the path I’ve seen all along or, once seen, to which I’ve held. Far from it. It’s only in the past few years I’ve even had such thoughts. And how strange a thought, I realize, that climbing may not be the point, especially to put forth on a climbing site. But there it is: rock as mere "geography," -- stunning, superb geography, but only that compared to our inner geography, the growing and carving of our lives, which gives all things the only meaning they have.
We salute Stoney as we have on this thread. We salute times there and friends there and on all the walls. But, finally, we also must hope to salute ... ourselves.
"A strong camaraderie existed among the more habitual climbers, the regulars, and he found strength in this relationship. There was, again, a sense of separation and special-ness among them. They were separated from society by their unusual passion and their willingness to pay an extreme price. Most were woefully poor but had the hubris to take pride in their indigence -- one young man actually bragging about his ability to live on six hundred dollars a year. Many saw poverty as a rejection, an act of holy indifference. But others were simply students. They’d discovered a rather engaging, even consuming hobby and the powerful redolence of rebellion and danger. Their goal was a strange mixture of physical hardness, psychological control and emotional sensitivity in the celebration of natural beauty.
And Stony Point was their place of embarkation; it was safe and comfortable, yet it offered a sense of waiting adventure. Like so much in L.A. offering possibilities, it teased, cajoled and sometimes repelled one into pursuing further excitement."
I got an email from Don Lauria who said that he didn’t remember any bolts from the F.A.
On thinking about the F.A., I don’t remember placing bolts anywhere at Stoney. Furthermore, I didn’t name the route, “Boche Death Route.” As I recall, the name was created by my friends to describe the consequence of taking a fall from high up on the route, so I think the original route never had any bolts in it.
If I had placed any bolts, they’d have been ¼” X 1” Rawl Drives with Leeper hangers such as shown in the pic below.
1/4" X 1” Rawl Drive bolts with Leeper hangers commonly used in the 60's.
Even if the bolts are removed, if they are used for aid, the climb could still be done if the holes are usable with “hooks” such as the custom ones pictured below that were made by Dennis Hennek.
Bolt hole "hooks" made by Dennis Hennek which could be tapped into bolt holes and used for aid when attached to aid slings.
Bo.... so let me get this straight. TBDR was done originally on tied off pins?
friggen wild. Two of my friends, Hank Lavene and Fred Lytle (sp?) nailed that sucker in 1973 in preparation for the second accent of "Moses" in Utah. Scared the heck out of them... that ratty rock at Stoney.
One time we were hanging out at the "Oliver Moon Hotel", around midnight, somebody suggested we go and do the bolt ladder at SP by moonlight. We gathered the gear and in no time we were at the start of the climb. After a hanging party at the belay bolts, I was given the task of leading the last part.... when I hit the summit and went to go clip the anchors I interrupted a loving couple who were sharing a private moment at the time. "Sorry, excuse me, I need to clip those bolts so my friends can get up here" ..... she had nice ones too. :>)
So much has gone down at Stoney, it's quite a place to climb at.
I've been wondering about a couple of wino characters that frequented SP during the early sixties: One's name was Phil Mesch (sp?); I can't remember the other's. They were actually pretty good climbers on their favorite routes, and they always drank cheap Ripple wine and bragged about how much better their climbing got as an afternoon and their drunkeness progressed. Have there been any postings about them? They always added a lot of color and laughter to our "more serious" approach to climbing. VERY entertaining! Anyone have any pix of them?
i've already started to annotate my guide books as the "boche death route". i've pondered about nailing that thing for some time, but it goes free! my next question is do we keep a bolt to protect the next victim....i'll start by top roping it first.
Boche death route..from the left.
looking to the right.
just right of the black hole is a 1/4" screwtop w/out hanger...
you said "Hank Lavene and Fred Lytle (sp?) nailed that sucker in 1973".
how bad azz!
Occasionally bored and dumb can lead to a good time. Or, if nothing else, a few good yuks.
I lived in the canyon for years, so it was a good 30+ minute drive to get to Stoney. So one lazy Saturday, probably late 1977, during a torrential rainstorm we decided to put down ours beers and hit the rock. We were not too motivated, so we decided to bring more beer than gear. So my fellow droog and I loaded up the beer, the gear, and other whatnots and at the last minute decided to throw in the etriers.
By the time we got to Stoney, our excitement had diminished to the point of complete dereliction. The rain had increased quite a bit, so that didn't help. Not wanting to waste the aforementioned beer we figured we best work up a plan. Like I said, we were a lazy lot, so we hit the Jesus Wall and pulled out the trees. We aided our way half way up, parked it on one of the bolts and pulled out the beer. Thinking back, I hope we would have clipped a few of those old rusty dogs.
We hung there drinking beer for a least an hour, I have no idea what the commuters must have thought. What I don't remember is how we left. Did we go up, did we go down? I have no idea. Surprisingly, no one bothered us or even stopped at the park. I imagine today the cops would be all over that.
Ah to be young, dumb and bored.
Sometime if I get time I'll have to describe my early adventures out at Stoney with two fierce, late, great rock warriors - Billy Westbay, and John Bachar, circa 1975, when both guys were at their peak. Some incredible stuff, and scary.
Stoney has more history than just about any place I can imagine. If those boulders could talk!
PS: Per folks back channeling me about the pic below, I believe it's from around 1978, when Yabo and I first worked out the moves on Yabo Arete and a bunch of other stuff during that time - there was intense bouldering activity there for a few years, a sort of jump up in intensity that Stoney goes through here and there.
I think this Yabo Aret pic was around the time I got my first pair of Fires, by driving up to Ventura and paying cash to Bachar. Bachar and Graham imported the boots for a while in the late 70s, early 80s.
This is weird, but true. Some joker pulled all the old bolts, on Rap, and redrilled "new" holes in completely different spots! Then he disappeared for a while. New hardware appeared in the "new drilled holes" but it's NOT CLIMBING GEAR.... it looks like really crappy Hardware from Home Depot glued in. The new "Shuts" at the 1/2 way point look like the stuff you screw into the 2x4's in the garage to hang bikes from. Very mankey.
Pyro went out and pulled all that sh#t down, thank god, and is replacing new bolts in the original 1/4 inch locations.
We are sort of concerned with the slack liners setting up on regular 3/8 bolts placed for the few Top Ropes that have bolted anchors. We are finding loose bolts with fractures in the stone.
Anybody know the math on the amount of force required to pull a line really tight? I bet it exceeds the recommended load rating for 3/8 climbing bolts, hangers. By a TON.
Thread brings back many good memories of climbing Tues/Thurs evenings back in the mid 80s-mid 90s with Bob Kamps, Herb Laeger, Guy Keesee, Kris Solem, Jan and Owen Fordham, Chris Hsu, Judy and Mark Powell, Mark Frumkin, Jan McCollum and my partner at the time, Karen Brotter. I dug up a few old photos to add to the mix.
Rex Pieper on route next to Power Glide, Stoney Point, CA circa 1988
Credit: Rex Pieper collection
Rex Pieper climbing Beethoven's Wall, Stoney Point, CA 1985
Credit: Rex Pieper collection
Rex Pieper setting up toprope on Beethoven's Wall, Stoney Point, CA 1985
Credit: Rex Pieper Collection
Karen Brotter traversing Boulder One, Stoney Point, CA circa 1987
Credit: Rex Pieper
Karen Brotter at start of Boulder One Traverse, Stoney Point, CA circa 1987
Karen Brotter on Boulder One Traverse, Stoney Point, CA circa 1987
Karen Brotter on Boulder One Traverse, Stoney Point, CA circa 1987
Karen Brotter on Pin Scars 5.9, Stoney Point, CA circa 1988
Credit: Rex Pieper
Joe Weber rappelling off of Jesus Wall, Stoney Point CA circa 1988
The slackliners question reminds me of some other good times at Stoney. We always thought we would end up on the Lost Arrow, we never did, so we set up a tyrolean traverse at Stoney to practice our style. By the way, I'm sure our style was terrible. We set it up above and beyond the top of the Jesus Wall, I don't think it was longer than 80'. Someday I'll pull out those old slides and figure out how to post on this site. I've got a lot of old slides from Stoney, Suicide and Socal that somebody may enjoy. Maybe some of you old dogs could be lurking in the background.
I did put some of that to use on the Sun Ribbon, so it wasn't all for not.
Of course what I remember most about Stoney from the 70's was the broken glass everywhere. You couldn't walk barefoot anywhere. It's been decades, is it still that bad?
Actually the glass is much better than it used to be. They closed Stoney after dark so the lowlifes can't drink there all night and break bottles. Much of the glass has been crushed into invisibility or washed away and the place looks pretty good. The graffiti is way down too although we still get an occassional tagger work the place over. Jim Wilson cleans a lot of that mess up.
just remember that rock climbing is dangerous.
"sandstone rock is estimated 800psi then it'll fail".
top anchor pulled then replaced.
old-aid line 2nd belay station replaced.
work'n on the first belay station.
Credit: mark Frumkin
Guyman that person pulled,patched, drilled and drilled then placed a lag screw.
dusted from the blow tube! 22bolts replaced on this Glen dawson "old-aid line".
Credit: Mark Frumkin
Credit: Mark frumkin
STRANGE!....white spot is the original bolt hole which has epoxy patch. a drilled hole to the right. about a foot below original rivet line is another hole followed w/the lag screw. i placed a 3/8"x10mm just one good finger length from original.
the sierra nevada will point you to the correct climbing hardware. the two pieces of hardware outside of the 3/8"x10mm w/hanger are what I found at the belay station? they should never be used.
Pyro, is that "new" belay one you placed? Those new bolts look a bit too close to the old holes for my liking. Rule of thumb has always been a minimum of 10 bolt diameters from another hole, crack, fissure, etc. Even more if it's a deep bolt.
Great thread. I used to spend some fun afternoons out there late 80's. Anyone remember the asian kid named Kwan? I always thought he was one of the most naturally talented climbers I'd seen...and Art of Climbing! Loved that place. It was the first indoor wall I ever touched, and the whole place smelled like gear.
I should have more memories than I do, but it's not called Stoney for nothing!
Hey Guy...I'm doing good. Trying to get back into it. Have had a bunch of back problems that have really slowed me down. That's on top of the weight I put on over the last 8 yrs or so while I've been "on the couch." Dropped a bunch of it, now just working to stretch and strengthen the lower back. Probably start seeing me and my 11 yr old daughter out there again, especially once daylight savings kicks in. Hard for us to get out there before 6 unless I'm bringing my "hell on wheels" 4 yr old boy too. Not sure how conducive that would be to actually climbing, haha.
BruceAnderson, I remember Kwan. Agree, he was a natural. So freakin' light I could throw him to the top of Turlock myself. LOL. I probably climbed with you during those years too.
Pyro, thanks for Marks number. I haven't had a chance to connect yet, but I will!
The whole crew decided it was dry enuf to go around back and hit up the Yabo Boulder.
Aaron Sandlow was up first.
A long reach, ya fall if ya don't get your feet just so.
Credit: M. Frumkin
It's not over, till you bust out a 5.10 mantle.
Stoney is starting to bloom
Some old dude on a V1.... crank it out.
Next up, De-Meat-fritz, tackles the Largonaught.
D. Fritz making it look ez
So these two classics are now chalked up.
We then turned our attention to a problem to the right of the Yabo Arete, named "Ready for takeoff" first done by some "Brit" in the 80's (Thaw or J. Woodward) Ryan Murphy was able to do the second around the late 90's to put it back on the map.
A.Rock "Prepared for Launch"
Well it didn't go down today, maybe next time.
Toprope tuesdays are going to start up next Tuesday, so bring your harness, we set up some classic TR's and all are welcome to come out and play. (n00bs are always welcome, esp cute girls)
Guy - The only time I ever met Yabo he was workin on that problem to the right of the arete, in the area pictured at the end of your last set of photos there. I think this was an evening in '88. Zulim & Phuvel were there too. He said he had done it once and was trying to get it again. He called the problem "Boy Elroy." (Jetsons Boulder) Anyhow, he was working it and pulled this critical crimper hold off. I have this hold now in my personal collection. Someday when human cloning is permitted I've this sample with skin cells on it we can use to make a Yabo clone. ;-)
I think this trend is great. Having climbed at Stoney for 20 years. I now read some of the same discussions that have been going on at Stoney for years. Things like bolting, that NEW problem that hasn't ever been done before, and the all time favorite "DON'T CLIMB HERE AFTER THE RAIN".
Just remember, there will always be someone bolting out there thinking that they are doing a good service. The new problem, isn't new, and they will always be that someone who can't wait for dry rock.
Great pictures of the wildlife and wild flowers at Stoney in the spring. Here's one of my own from back in the day.
Wildflowers at Stoney.
Please tell more about Top-Rope Tuesdays. What time would it typically begin and end. Russ McLean lives nearby and would like to stop at Stoney after work. But he doesn't have a computer system that allows him to visit the Taco. And what other days are there "regulars" out there?
Yes, on the front wall in at least one spot. Was just there. Those two guys in that photo were there. Hang dogging their pathetic asses up some "new 5.12" line. They never did get it, buncha blowhards-
A turon was stuck up around the base of the climb named "Pink Drips".
SPSAR (Stoney Point Search and Rescue) was called out and they responded magnificently, reaching the base in under 10 min. SPSAR removed the victim without incident or further injury. Drugs and Alcohol were definitely involved.
The rescue team was made up of "Mike" and "Gary" (pictured above).
A ways' back, I posted the story with pictures of the "Traffic Diversion" that was instigated by the UCLA Bruin Mountaineers. Here's a B&W pic of the diversion in full operation taken from the top of Stoney.
Traffic Diversion near Stoney Point that took the old highway (Topanga Canyon Bl.) off-route and into a maze of residences and small farms. April Fools! Taken from top of Stoney.
Boodawg: is there a traffic light at that spot today? (Santa Susana rd and Topanga cyn.). i've been told that Topanga rd wasn't a two lane road as it is now and that the city had to add lots of dirt to raise it up.
did the city have to remove tose boulders?
Pyro: In the bottom, right corner of the B&W photo, one can see the very top of the concrete buttress that forms the west end of the train tunnel. I spoke with Hennek about it, and he said that the traffic light is farther up the hill than what this pic shows. Hope this helps.
you posted a pic a couple of months ago of sculpters crack being aid climbed by dennis. my question is did you guys also climb the faint crescent shaped aid line to the left of "sculpters crack" ?if not maybe you could identify it for us locals
the crack is named "sculpters" but look closely to the left is a dozen pinscars with one stardrivin just a foot below the last pin scar! what is this?
this is the start of the unknown aid line. sawed of pins are all that i think could work.
Damn i was hoping for another "Boche death route" account. "after 1974" is a start. i'll keep asking around. one of these days i'll toprope that thing to see what it's all about. have a good weekend and i'll update this thread as always on tue or wed nite!
I think that one is known as "Carpenter's Crack". BITD (1968) Russ Mclean did it on aid and then established a TR. LAter on I seem to remember Rich Lake getting on it and sending.
Waugh might have a better memory. I think the name came from a local back in the late 60s with the name of Jim Carpenter who did the FA.
MARK - BO was great, his memory will live on, I always enjoyed him.
Here are some shots of Aaron and Andrew sending "Sudden Impact" from a few weeks ago. Sudden Impact started as aid practice, hence the pin scars. Originally it was free climbed with a toprope, then soloed. I'm not sure who the first person to "boulder" the climb was (without a roped ascent first).
These first two show Aaron. Sudden Impact is STEEP, just like the hillside it sits on. If you peel from the top without a spot, you might find yourself rolling 30ft down the hill into the poison oak patch where stoney rattlesnakes are known to frequent.
Aaron starting on Sudden Impact
Aaron, Sudden Impact
Andrew sent next, it was his first time, GO ANDREW!!!
Sort of crazy that Matty wrote about the very route I was talking about this weekend out at Roubidoux, which also has some highball stuff.
To my knowledge, Sudden Impact was first bouldered by Bachar in the early to mid 1980s (no crash pads). There used to be a ton of bushes and poison oak around the area so you had to be very careful. I did the climb once, with no rope, and found the top to be pretty sketchy. And the lower pockets were full of grain and grit. It was probably an aid climb in the 1960s. Bachar's rating for the climb was 5.12-. I hope this has cleaned up because the moves are classic, the route had a great heritage, but it used to be pretty crappy, quality wise.
If you look careful in the last pic. You will see our FA. Yes, inside the tunnel. During a cold and rainy day. We aided up the inside & wanted to aid down the other. But, the trains wouldn't stop coming.
Coincidences abound... About six years ago, I was in the market for a Mini Cooper--preferably used. ...looked all over, was willing to fly as far as Seattle to drive one home, even had a car head-hunter on the look out for one. No luck. No used Minis to be found for love or money back then.
Eventually, on cars.com or summat, I found one that exactly fit my requirements. It turned out that the owner lived on the the frontage road just west of Stoney Point. In Pyro's photo, you can just see the trees south of the house near that open field.