Paul Preuss, Our Founding Father Of Style.

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survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 2, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
**Coz's comment about doing some looking beyond the current media darlings made me laugh, since I was just reading about Preuss. (Thanks Coz, we're on the same page!) I had read about Preuss as a youngster and was inspired by his free solo feats.

He was the John Bachar/Royal Robbins of his day.
Many young pups of today have no idea who he was. But this guy had a serious resume, topped only by his serious BALLZ!**

Paul Preuss (19 August 1886 – 3 October 1913) was an Austrian climber who achieved recognition for his bold solo ascents and for the purity of his climbing style. Born in Altaussee, he attended Gymnasium in Vienna and, later, studied at the University of Vienna and Munich University, where he was awarded a Dr.Phil. degree in 1912. His major subject was the physiology of plants, but soon after gaining his degree he turned to empirical philosophy, hoping to become a university lecturer in that academic specialty.

As a child he was very weak, but grew into slender, well-developed athlete, proficient in chess, tennis, fencing, and, of course, climbing. Still a boy, he became fascinated with a particular climb that had been done on the Trisselwand near Aussee. After several weeks of studying the route, he soloed it – his first adventure on the heights.

Working his way up the ladder of difficulty, he made a solitary ascent of the west face of Todtenkirchl in 1911, taking only 2¾ hours, including a new variation in the upper section.

He climbed more than 1,200 routes in the Eastern Alps, including the northeast face of Crozzon di Brenta and the east summit face of Guglia di Brenta. He also did a cross traverse of the Kleine Zinne, doing all four routes that existed at that time, in a period of one day.

In the summers of 1912 and 1913 he journeyed to the Western Alps, where – under the tutelage of the English climber, Oscar Eckenstein - he learned the skills of ice climbing. Once he felt confident, he began a series of climbs around Mont Blanc, including the direct ascent of that peak via its Brenva flank. He did several noteworthy traverses, including one of the Grandes Jorasses by its Hirondelles ridge.

Preuss published several papers on climbing a year before his death. In one of these – "Künstliche Hilfsmittel auf Hochturen" – he delineates his philosophy of climbing in six "theorems", starting with the axiomatic assumption that a climber should only attempt climbs that are below his highest level of competence. The following are paraphrased versions of his rules:

**1. One should be more than equal to the demands of the proposed climb.
2. One should ascend only those climbs that one can downclimb safely.
3. Artificial aids are justified only in sudden dangerous situations.
4. Pitons should be used only for emergencies, never as a basis of mountaineering.
5. The rope is to be used to facilitate a climb, but never as the sole means for making a climb possible.
6. The principle of safety derives from a reasonable estimate of what one is capable of, not from the use of artificial aids.
Geoffrey Winthrop Young, the great British climber, echoed these sentiments years after Preuss was gone.**


Paul Preuss was said to be amiable and good-natured, and to be a faithful comrade in the most demanding of circumstances.


He died of a thousand foot fall in October 1913 while making a solo attempt of the north face of the Mandlwand.

survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2009 - 01:02pm PT
Here is a picture of Paul Preuss.





Why can't I remember the name of the guy he was in the "piton" war with?
It was a real Harding/Robbins thing!
Dang, I know it will come to me.....
klk

Trad climber
cali
Nov 2, 2009 - 01:03pm PT
Preuss was one of the most important climbers of the early 20th century.

He represented the purist side in the great Mauerhakenstreit, the battle over the use of pitons and the precursor of all the ethics battles of later years.

The ideal Preuss route was climbed on-sight, no falls, no protection, and then down-climbed with no lowering or rapping.

In Preussian terms, almost no one, today, free climbs anything.

That's one of the reasons he was read out of the mountaineering canon in the German-speaking world and then, later, in the others. That and the fact that he hwas half-Jewish and thus unacceptable to the German-Austrian alpine club, which was dominated by Nazis and Nazi supporters after the late 1920s.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2009 - 01:11pm PT
Thanks klk,

Here's a picture of the Trisselwand. I believe his first big solo was right up the main buttress. (If I recall correctly from an old mountaineering book.)


**Can you say bad *ss?** Freekin' turn of the century?
How many of you would sans rope that thing in modern sticky??
WBraun

climber
Nov 2, 2009 - 01:15pm PT
How many of you would sans rope that thing in modern sticky??


Most likely not, because .....

He died of a thousand foot fall in October 1913 while making a solo attempt of the north face of the Mandlwand.

:-)
klk

Trad climber
cali
Nov 2, 2009 - 01:20pm PT
survival--

The Mauerhakenstreit is often described with Preuss on one side and Hans Duelfer, one of his acquaintances, on the other side, because Duelfer was known for his inventive use of the new technology, i.e., his invention of the pendulum.

But the guy who actually wrote the most compelling anti-Preussian critique was the Ladin guide, Tita Piaz.

Piaz's defense of pitons and rappelling hit all the points we still hear today: The purist approach is needlessly dangerous; the purist approach is elitest and would keep the vast majority of folks out of the mountains; the purist approach would mean that professional guides and SAR folks would be constantly putting their lives in the hands of their incompetent clients, etc.

Btw, if we were compiling a list of most significant rock climbs of the 20th century (and in the earlier 20th c, rock climbs / alpine climbs wouldn't be sharply distinguished), then a number of Dulfer, Piaz, and Preuss's climbs would have to be included.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2009 - 01:21pm PT
Werner, yeah I know.....Lots of great climbers have died in falls....
:O(
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2009 - 01:32pm PT
Todtenkirchl means Deaths Chapel.

Nothing like an inviting name for old Paul, eh?





The West Face of Todtenkirchl, 2 3/4 hrs, in what ever funky shoes/boots he had on at the time.



Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 2, 2009 - 01:56pm PT
A fair chance he may not have lived through WWI to be discriminated against.

Don't know the figures for Austrian WWI soldiers of jewish descent (a group that included a decorated corporal named Adolph Hitler, son of half jewish and illegitimate Alois Schiklegruber), but 20,000 German jews died in the ranks.
mrtropy

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Nov 2, 2009 - 02:14pm PT
Where is the best place to read up on him? Any books or good articles?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Nov 2, 2009 - 02:20pm PT
mrtropy-- not much in english. i published a piece on the mauerhakenstreit, but it's in an austrian scholarly journal, it's not online and i'm not allowed to reproduce it here. good thing, too, 'cuz the piece has two really embarrassing typos that'll get corrected when i finish the book.

frison-roche and jouty's history of mountain climbing has a brief bit on preuss. the english wiki article has some problems.



meanwhile, how's yr deutsch?

http://www.buchfreund.de/productListing.php?productId=42759556&used=1

it's also available in a french translation.
mrtropy

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Nov 2, 2009 - 02:26pm PT
nicht gut
hb81

climber
Nov 2, 2009 - 02:40pm PT
Messner wrote a book about him, but it seems to be out of print. Also it has probably not been translated into English, guess you're outta luck there :(
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Nov 2, 2009 - 02:53pm PT
Doug Robinson published a two-part article -- can't remember the title -- in Mountain back in the 70's that went on at some length about Preuss.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2009 - 03:33pm PT
Maybe Doug will post it up for us?

klk, dude where did you get all scholarly and interested in Preuss?
What all is going to be in your book? When can I get my flippers on it?

You sound like the real deal, history wise. I'm just the guy who was hiding an old climbing book inside of the math book I was supposed to be looking at in the high school library.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 2, 2009 - 03:38pm PT
It sounds like he was pretty skilled, and interested in style (and also what me might now call "ethics" since piton use can affect the experiences of other climbers).
Died at age 27 soloing - apparently the cumulative risks caught up with him.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Nov 2, 2009 - 03:56pm PT
survival-- took a wrong turn, ended up in grad school, hung out with a bad crowd, etc. now i'm a professional historian.

i'm writing a cultural history of climbing in europe and north america. i'm about half-way done. but scholarly histories take forever-- seven to ten years is pretty common --so it'll probably be two more years before it's out.



bvb-- tx. i dont recall doug's piece. if you look it up tonight, give us the cite if you have a chance, eh? i don't have anything like a full run.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 2, 2009 - 04:06pm PT
There's a two-part article by Doug Scott in Mountains 33 and 34 (March and April 1974), entitled The Great Pioneers of the Eastern Alps. 21 pages in all, including many period photos. Roughly the period 1900 - 1940. It seems to have some stuff about Preuss, but I don't have time to scan and post it now. Maybe later.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2009 - 04:11pm PT
klk, wow......once again I am humbled by my friends on ST. I'm such a nobody.
Sure hope I get to see that book!!

Anders, awesome! Would you pleeeez scan and post for us?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Nov 2, 2009 - 04:12pm PT
MH: There's a two-part article by Doug Scott in Mountains 33 and 34

Ah, mystery solved, Scott not Robinson.

He used those for the chapters in his Big Wall Climbing (1974). That's not hard to find used, and it's cheaper than the Frison-Roche & Jouty.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2009 - 04:19pm PT
Cheaper than......what do you guess $ on those 2 books?




Crozzon Di Brenta



klk

Trad climber
cali
Nov 2, 2009 - 04:21pm PT
the shipping probably costs more than the book:

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=scott%2C+doug&sts=t&tn=big+wall+climbing&x=0&y=0

it's still a standard.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Nov 2, 2009 - 04:48pm PT
If I remember correctly, there's a section in Doug Scott's "Big Wall Climbing" book on Preuss.

I'll try to scan that bit when I get home tonight (if nobody thinks that's too horrible an infringement on Doug's copyright).

Really good book. One of the more important ones in my view, because of the massive amount of history included.

D
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Nov 2, 2009 - 05:02pm PT
Pruess was undoubtedly one of THE greats in our sport. Though, as mentioned earlier, he and Dulfer were often described as rivals and protagonists of different "schools" of climbing ethics, they were in fact friends and climbed together on occasion. Dulfer's use of aid tactics was still very limited compared to what came later. Perhaps the most classic example of Preuss "walking the walk" was his first ascent(in 1908, I think) (solo)of his epynomous route on the spectacularly exposed headwall of the Campinale di Basso in the Brenta, Dolomites which he then immediately downclimbed. The route is today rated "V"--about 5.7/8--and protected by a number of fixed pitons.The Doug Scott articles in Mountain mentioned earlier were excerpted from his book, Big Wall Climbing, which still might be available, at least on the web, and contains alot of additional facinating historical information. Messner published a book, unfortunately only in German, entitled Vertikal which goes into even greater depth on this material. I'd surely love more in English--or to improve my linguistic skills!!! But as others have noted, Preuss's early death did have a (perhaps appropriate)negative impact on the acceptance of at least the more extreme of his theories, while the imminence of the First World War (which cost Dulfer's life amongst many others)and his Jewish heritage did also serve to limit his impact on future generations.
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Idaho, also. Sorta, kinda mostly, Yeah.
Nov 2, 2009 - 05:36pm PT
That Preuss was pretty badass, huh?
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Nov 2, 2009 - 05:38pm PT
did i say doug robinson? my bad. i meant doug scott, the brit.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 2, 2009 - 05:39pm PT
Al Rubin knows, he was there!
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Nov 2, 2009 - 06:28pm PT
Uh, thanks Jim, but I do believe that you are a bit more ancient than I!!!!By the way, check out the Hoodwink thread--remember that day? Alan
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2009 - 08:13pm PT
Ghost, scan away!

Thanks Alan!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Nov 2, 2009 - 08:43pm PT
There's a bit about Paul Preuss in Bonnington's book, maybe just named "The Climbers" or something like that, based on a BBC TV series.

I'm pretty sure it identifies his main opponent, or another in addition to Dulfer (and an equally prominent figure in our eyes; if not just the Eastern Europeans), concerning the Style Wars of the day.

Or to be more accurate I think it was, in addition to and following the Dulfer rivalry, a short treatise on the old-school/new school changing of the guard struggles. I've been mentioning this guy Preuss in that context lately.

Better get back down to the library, check it out and post up.
This is a very poignant thread: and way overdue.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2009 - 11:35pm PT
Thanks Tarbuster, I was hoping to see you post here.



Guglia Di Brenta


Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 2, 2009 - 11:51pm PT
At last the scent of incense wafted into the heavens, where the great god SCANNER, looking benevolently down upon his pitiful pleading peons, deemed it fit to grace them with yet more SCANS. From Doug Scott's The Great Pioneers of the Eastern Alps, Mountain 33, 1974.
[Photos removed - will try again.]

When I scanned the above, the file size was about 800 KB per picture, and they were quite readable. When downsizing them to SuperTopo size, they ended up about 120 - 150 KB, and at least to me aren't always readable. Suggestions? I can rescan/post, if given instructions. Plus there are another eleven pages.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Nov 3, 2009 - 01:16am PT
Just load them to photo bucket.
Sized as you like.
Old School.

Like I still do.
Purist tactics & stuff.
Heh.






......700 pixels wide & a minimum of 235 kb per page for text*
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2009 - 01:48am PT
heh....

"Like I still do.
Purist tactics & stuff.
Heh."



So very Tarbusterish!
Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Nov 3, 2009 - 10:28am PT
great thread,
thank you.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2009 - 02:35am PT
North Face of Mandlwand, scene of Preuss' death.

He apparently broke rule number one, and number six.



Anyone have any idea from an old book where he actually was on this thing?

Were there any witnesses to the event? A thousand feet is such a long way, must have been awful.

It doesn't look particularly daunting compared to other things he was on, but it's hard to tell. There is a tower on the left center that looks like it could be plenty evil.
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Nov 4, 2009 - 08:56am PT
Survival, I don't have any idea where he was in that collection of pinnacles and faces. I did read an account that stated that he was last seen approaching the face and that his body was later found by searchers after he didn't return, so apparantly there were no witnesses.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2009 - 09:31am PT
Thanks Alan, then I wonder how they came up with a number like 1,000ft.?
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Nov 4, 2009 - 09:44am PT
Also guys, don't forget, there is a nice section about him in Alpinist 14 with an awesome photo of Brenta. It's in the Alex Huber article about free soloing.

Arne
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2009 - 09:23pm PT
ionlyski,
Scan and post pleeez?

I don't have Alpinist 14.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 5, 2009 - 01:49am PT
OK, at Roy's suggestion, and by request from Jim H, who apparently loves the old photos.
Tar: note natty hat.



Yikes! - Another natty hat.

The first page specifically on Preuss.

The man himself, lower right.

Dulfer, being Dulfery.




So if this is readable, maybe I'll do the other 11 pages in a few days.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2009 - 09:44am PT
COOL! Thanks Anders, yes, that is definitely more readable.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2009 - 11:40am PT
What the hell is up with Dulfer's snazzy outfit and that KILLER mohawk?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 5, 2009 - 09:52pm PT
I'll try to get the rest up in the next few days. Takes time. Busy.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Nov 6, 2009 - 06:26pm PT
Here are some pages from Doug Scott's book Big Wall Climbing that feature either comments about Paul Preuss, or provide relevant background. The book itself is terrific. Its instructional sections may be long out of date now, but the history... Wow. You want the historical context for big wall climbing, this is where you can get it.

Since I've never tried to post scanned book pages to ST before, I'm not sure how well these will work. If they're too hard to read, I can always pull them and try again.

First, here's the man himself. This was taken in (I think) 1991 -- I was in England because my novel Vortex had been shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker prize and I wound up rambling around the country with Ken Wilson. We climbed with Doug at the sea cliffs of Swanage. He'd have been around 50 then.

Okay, now for the pages from the book













Okay, there it is. Let me know if these pages are readable.

David
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 6, 2009 - 11:43pm PT
Wow, this is too fun.
Thanks for posting those David. Yes, they're readable enough. Funny how everyone used the same picture of Preuss and Dulfer. Just didn't have the same "image" potential that everyone has now. We're nobodys, and we all have tons of pix of ourselves.....
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 7, 2009 - 12:51am PT
And you saved me the trouble of digging up that cartoon of Hermann von Barth! Thanks!
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 7, 2009 - 12:52am PT
Do I still need to post the second half from Mountain? I haven't actually read it, and but believe it was more or less an excerpt from the book.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2009 - 11:06am PT
Anders, you bet, bring it on if you like.

Campanile Basso
Preuss first ascent, grade V, unroped, 1911
is route H

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 18, 2009 - 10:40pm PT
Finally back at it. I wonder how much of an audience there is?

From Mountain 34, April 1974. This time I scanned at fairly high resolution, then loaded them directly to SuperTopo, and let it decide the resolution/file size. Seems readable, though a bit smaller than doing it via PhotoBucket.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 18, 2009 - 10:47pm PT
Wow, I like that!
Now there's a guy I never knew as much about. I read a fair amount about him about a bazillion years ago, but have forgotten it all....
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Nov 19, 2009 - 12:56am PT
looks to me like Herr Dulfer doesn't know how to do a proper Dulfersitz rappel.
aguacaliente

climber
Nov 19, 2009 - 02:04pm PT
Is Dulfer doing a traverse in that picture? That's what I thought the caption meant, but it could also be a staged pic.

This is great stuff. I made a brief trip through the Dolomites region a little while ago and hiked to within sight of the Zsigmondy-Comici hut,
http://www.zsigmondyhuette.com/ , though we had to turn back for darkness. It is cool to read about the pioneers it was named for. Even just for hiking, the scenery is amazing.


The hut is on the right skyline just where it intersects the Zwolfer Kofel in the background.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 29, 2009 - 10:57pm PT
Anders- Since I know that you have the 1972 Ascent that I can't locate at the moment. Please post the Comici article Alone on Cima Grande. Totally classic! This thread is a keeper.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 29, 2009 - 11:15pm PT
OK, but first, here's the second half of the article from Mountain 34 - the second part of Scott's opus. Although no one asked about it. It appears that what was in Mountain and what was in Big Walls was much the same if not identical.

It's definitely faster to scan things at higher resolution (~ 1 MB file size), then use the SuperTopo photouploader - though it takes a while to resize things. The trouble being that you lose some resolution as compared to downsizing the files to ~ 100/200 KB, getting them on PhotoBucket, then posting the hotlinks.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 30, 2009 - 02:17am PT
And here is the article by Emilio Comici, from Ascent 1972.

Alone on the Cima Grande (di Lavaredo)

And a biography of Comici, interspersed with bios of longhairs with long sideburns.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2009 - 02:19am PT
Randisi, Thanks so much!
I will digest this a bit more later...
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Dec 9, 2009 - 10:20am PT
Thanks alot Randisi, great stuff--keep it coming if you can.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 9, 2009 - 12:15pm PT
Anders sets the stage and Randisi delivers!

This is the whole show in a nutshell:

"...rather that primary security, which with every climber should be based in the correct estimation of his ability in relation to his desire."


Keep up with the details all; fond and fascinating stuff.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 10, 2009 - 12:15pm PT
Wow, what a cool story. Thanks again Randisi.

I ain't even gonna think about doing pull ups on inverted glasses.
That sounds like a good way to get my fahtahhss cut!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 12, 2009 - 10:34pm PT
Primo historical material Randisi! Thanks for posting this stuff up!
jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 13, 2009 - 12:47am PT
Terrific, randisi! Many thanks for your efforts. I always found it interesting that Preuss learned his ice work largely from Britain's finest boulderer!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 13, 2009 - 01:49am PT
Wow Randisi, You are totally making this thread. I just started out with some of the standard about one of my earliest heroes, and here you are bringing the real goods out!!

I could care less about the perfection of your translation, since my German is non-existant!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 13, 2009 - 01:56am PT
John- Your website has some really fascinating history on Eckenstein! He sure liked getting climbers together for the betterment of the sport.
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Top of the 5.2-5.12 Boulder
Dec 13, 2009 - 02:12am PT
Whoa. That's some good stuff on Preuss.
Thanks for throwin' that out there.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 13, 2009 - 02:32am PT
Good stuff Randisi!

I understand neither the value of the feelings nor the value of the achievement, if one swindles oneself thus up a face.

If one cannot also make a section of climbing without protection – from the alpinistic and sporting point of view, – one ought then not to make it at all.

A significant role should fall to the roped belay of the leader, yet daring everything and carrying out everything through trusting in roped belays and pitons is imprudent, unjustified and without style.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 13, 2009 - 11:43am PT
randisi:

Doubtless by "ideality" he means the "beauty," the aesthetics of the line. The aesthetics of the alpine lines are prized by the alpinist, whereas the mere rock-climbing lines are "anything but ideal” – or at least not as concerned with the beauty of the line. No doubt he'd admit rock-climbing is also concerned with the beauty of the line. Thus aesthetics and difficulty would play a similar role in both, with this difference: alpinism values aesthetics over difficulty and rock-climbing values difficulty over aesthetics, hence the roles are played in contrary senses.

Yes, that's on the money, and no, you aren't reading too much into it. It's just the German grammar that makes it a bit murky, that and the distance between us and Preuss. He was a biologist by training, not a philosopher or an essayist, so neither his writing nor his philosophical work approached his ability in the mountains. And "idealism" here, is not the ordinary American meaning, but rather a gesture toward technical idealism, although Preuss's philosophy is pretty amateurish.

Two caveats. First, it is easy-- but misleading --for us to read "artificial aids" as a denunciation of aid climbing. Then we can feel warm and fuzzy so long as we're not whipping out the aiders. But our distinction between "aid" and "free" climbing didn't exist yet.

Preuss's critique applied to all placements of gear-- each bolt, each cam, each and every rappel point, and even each and every time you descend by any route other than the one which you just ascended --you are straying from the path. Bachar-Yerian? Into the flames!

Second, Messner's return to Preuss is meant to bolster Messner's own polemics about clean climbing, but it also grows out of a different politics.

Had he not died when he did, Preuss would've been in trouble. By the mid-1920s, the German-Austrian Alpine Club had become a staging ground for right-wing thugs and terrorists, political anti-Semitites, and, quickly, Nazis. Preuss was half-Jewish. Had he lived, he would've had to flee or else he'd have gone to the ovens. After the 1930s, he was read out of the German mountaineering canon.

Messner went to the EU as a member of the Green Party, even though he was elected from a notoriously conservative region. His return to Preuss, then, is partly a polemic against the remaining right-wing tendencies in his home region and the German and Austrian Alpine Clubs, and a shot at those remaining "stars" like Harrer, who refused to renounce or even acknowledge their Nazi pasts.

It'd be nice if we could have a good selection of period pieces in translation. For those of you who read the German, there's stacks of the period journals in the reading room at the AAC Library.

Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Dec 13, 2009 - 11:59am PT
Thanks everyone for this thread. It is remarkable how the ethics themes repeat themselves over 100 years.

Preuss reminded me of a passage from Patey in his 1960's classic, The Art of Climbing Down Gracefully. This is from Ploy number 14, quoting Patey's character, "The Old Man of the Mountains".

"Play up and play the game--but learn the rules first. Ignore the rules and the game is not worth playing. Present-day rock acrobats don't accept exposure as part of the game. They protect themselves every yard of the way with ridiculous little gadgets of all shapes and sizes...Gone are the days of Kirkus and Edwards, when a leader had sufficient moral conviction to run out 150 feet of lightweight hemp before taking a hitch...My race may be run, but never let it be said that I helped beget a generation of Cream-Puff climbers."

No cream puff, Preuss, and "moral conviction" in spades. Here is a picture of his 1911 route on the Cima Piccolissima. It is the obvious chimney line facing the camera. At the time, we heard it was about 5.8. If anyone has done it, it would be good to hear about it.


klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 13, 2009 - 12:28pm PT
Is there anyway to access your essay? I have university acess privileges to many periodicals. I promise to ignore spelling errors! Interesting point of view on Messner's motivations. Why do you suppose he left Eckenstein's influence on Preuss out of the work?

Randi-- check yr email.

The article I did on the Mauerhakenstreit appeared in an Austrian journal that isn't easily available in the US. I'm writing a longer piece for the J. of Historical Sociology that will appear online through the usual range of library subscriptions. I can't post articles here because of copyright issues. But I am going to start up an alpine history blog as part of a book I'm writing on the history of alpinism.

So far as Eckenstein is concerned, I've seen little evidence that he really was a serious influence on the continent, outside of his role in creating 12-point crampons. He simply didn't have the vita of big first ascents behind him. But he was one of the very few period Alpine Clubbers of German descent, and that would've made him visible to German, Austrian and Swiss climbers anxious to highlight the ways that Germans were taking over from the Brits as the cutting edge of alpinism.

By 1912 the German-speaking Alps and alpinists had really taken over from the Brits and the French Alps as the avant garde. Preuss, Dulfer and Piaz were part of that shift.


klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 13, 2009 - 01:15pm PT
So then whoever Survival was quoting in that first post is mistaken. I suppose that is what you meant when you wrote that the Wikipedia article "has some problems." JoGill will be disappointed.

No, John's doing yeoman's work.

History is handcraft, and like any other handcraft, it has imperfections and small mistakes. Some of those involve translation or place names or other minor factual details. We have to trust that other historians will follow us, catch those errors, and correct them. Just a normal part of the process.

I'm spending my day editing an earlier draft of my own work to try and account for comments and criticisms from colleagues who caught either errors or obscurities. Then the editor will go through it, then the copy editor. Finally, it will appear. And the damn thing will still have some mistakes!

Preuss's time and place are really difficult, especially for North American English speakers. The German journals were a witches brew of amateur idealism, jingoism, neo-Paganism, Aryan occultism, Catholic mysticism, political Anti-Semitism, and German nationalisms of all kinds. Even the simplest word choice could imply all sorts of weird politics, many of them truly ugly.

One of the things we do with folks like Preuss is try to make them relevant to us, or even to try and imagine that they were really just like us: That they climbed for the same reasons, experienced the same feelings, shared the same basic sentiments and psychology as us. And we like to believe that climbing is universal, apolitical, and transcendent.

But they didn't, and it isn't.


Bob D'A

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Dec 13, 2009 - 02:07pm PT
Waste of young life. Quite sad when you think about it.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 13, 2009 - 02:32pm PT
Klk, very interesting points.
The whole social situation in Germany was the furthest thing from my mind.
I just dredged up some material that seemed to jive with what I had read in the past.

Too bad that he carried his ethic to the bitter end. I mean, I appreciate it, but it would have been cool if he would've lived to be an old scholar of the game too. My ideas have definitely softened as my middle has....
I agree with purity, until I get too gripped. The my desire to live to climb another day gets the better of me. Ding, ding diNG, DING!!!!
klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 14, 2009 - 01:17pm PT
I don't recall him making this specific claim. Isn't his position a little, albeit not much, less extreme, viz. that you should be able to downclimb the route ascended and as comfortably as you ascended it, not that you actually have to each and every time.

Preuss had a pretty rigid set of principles for the ideal. Even he seldom met all of the criteria and was known to compromise. But the ideal was fairly stark. He and Piaz did climb together at least once (with at least one piton, as i recall), and one of Preuss's friends, Hans Dulfer, was probably the most famous proponent of pitons and even aid climbing. Dulfer popularized tension traverses and pendulums and the Dulfersitz rappel, along with new free technique . (Dulfer is still a word for layback.)

Eugen Guido Lammer belonged to an earlier generation of Viennese alpinists, and he was one of those who popularized guideless climbing and soloing, thereby making Preuss's style possible. He saw the mountains as a refuge from the political warfare emerging in Vienna. In retrospect, that vision was fairly naive, but to his credit, he was one of the few who, in 1924, spoke out against the expulsion of the Jewish Donauland Sektion from the Alpenverein.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 14, 2009 - 09:08pm PT
Regarding Oscar Eckenstein's possible influence on Preuss, (in addition to Preuss mentioning Eckenstein's inventions: 12 point crampons and short ice axe),from the obituary of Preuss in the Alpine Journal (1914), Dr Gunther Freiherr Von Saar has this to say:

"In the last two summers he [Preuss] went to the western alps, where under Eckenstein's tuition he learnt modern ice craft, and then devoted his attention, with enthusiasm, to the great problems of the 4,000 meter peaks in the Mont Blanc range."

Eckenstein probably didn't have a significant impact in the alps apart from his introduction of new equipment and ice climbing techniques. He was not known for leading bold first ascents, even in the British Isles. But he did have a considerable reputation in England as a boulderer . . . possibly the first documented true master of the sport. Remarks from his colleagues imply he introduced "balance climbing" as we know it now.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 14, 2009 - 09:26pm PT
Interesting history on who is credited with inventing front points between Eckenstein and Laurent Grivel. They worked together and I wonder if they jointly came up with the notion of horizontal front points?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 15, 2009 - 12:07am PT
Piaz reply is very informative. I must admit to agreeing with most of it.

I want to be bold, but not dead. Some days that line is a little further this way, some days a little further that way.

Preuss ego almost had to be huge after some of those routes. People calling him nuts, and yet pulling off some huge significant things that were hard to argue with. Right up until he didn't pull it off....
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 15, 2009 - 12:19pm PT
I don't know...what's an Oscareckensteinstreit???

Interesting about a pin on Trisselwand, I didn't know that.

I WANT to climb in the best style possible, but I also WANT a bit of courage in my rucksack.

Once I have surrendered to the idea of needing a few pins on a route, I see no dilemma with having a good selection of them. There is one of the pitfalls. But I am still driven by my admiration for people like Preuss, and it keeps the techno-welding down to a dull roar on most routes.

Yin and Yang...light and dark?

Bravery vs chicken?

Life vs death???

klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 15, 2009 - 12:51pm PT
No Oskarstreit.

Eckenstein probably deserves credit, as John says, for what we think of as friction climbing. Before Eckenstein began leaning back over his feet, and trusting to friction, everyone used to climb slabs by grovelling on their bellies. And he is usually credited with introducing 12-pt crampons.

But he never turned these technical innovations into major first ascents, which in those days, were the criterion by which all innovations were measured. It took decades for 12pt crampons to become the norm. Anderl Heckmair wore a pair on the Eigerwand, and that showed, once and for all, that 12pts were the real deal.

Eckenstein, though, was one of the last remaining social links between the English Alpine Club and the Alpenverein. The English, along with the French and msot of the Swiss guides, closed ranks against pitons and pitoncraft. And the rise of German nationalism and political Anti-Semitism meant that the Brits and French had reasons to be suspicious of other German innovations. Even before WW1, the relations between the AC and the DOAV were fraying. And WW1 fairly drew the boundary lines.

And of course, Eckenstein's Jewish connections didn't improve his standing in either Club.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 15, 2009 - 09:01pm PT
Although continental European climbers may have associated the British Eckenstein with the venerable Alpine Club, he may not have been a member of an organization he detested. I could be wrong, but I've come across several references that O.E. was loath to associate with the aging Victorian mountaineers, who, themselves, would certainly think twice about associating with a East End Jew. He was, of course, a friend of G. W. Young and several "modern" alpinists who may have been members of the AC at the time.


In the May,1900, issue of Sandow's Magazine of Physical Culture there appeared an article written by Eckenstein entitled "Hints to Young Climbers". It concludes . . . "By the time you are yourself expert you will have acquired a large circle of devoted enemies. Every weapon that falsehood, scandal, and misrepresentation can forge will be raised against you. The 'Authorities' will refuse to recognize any new climbs you have made; and the Alpine Club will have none of you. All this will amuse you."

From O. E.'s friend Aleister Crowley's Confessions:

"My other climbing friends, with hardly an exception, came to me and warned me to 'have nothing to do with that scoundrel Eckenstein'. 'Who is he anyhow? A dirty East End Jew.' (I quote Mr Morley Roberts, the cobbler of trashy novelettes, who said this to me at Zermatt.)"

"He hated self-advertising quacks like the principal members of the Alpine Club with an intensity which, legitimate as it was, was almost overdone. His detestation of every kind of humbug and false pretence was an overmastering passion. I have never met any man who upheld the highest moral ideals with such unflinching candour."
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 15, 2009 - 11:48pm PT
Randisi, WOW!
That one will take me a moment to digest.

jogill, how many of these guys were you hip to and reading about before you started pushing your envelope so far? Were you a history buff before, or did your interest in those pioneers develop over time?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 16, 2009 - 12:26pm PT
John: Although continental European climbers may have associated the British Eckenstein with the venerable Alpine Club, he may not have been a member of an organization he detested. . .. He was, of course, a friend of G. W. Young and several "modern" alpinists who may have been members of the AC at the time.

Hi John. Yes, I think that's right. I've always presumed that Eckenstein was never a member of the AC, if only because most other British private Clubs didn't admit Jews or even half-Jews. I don't know if he was a member of the Alpenverein. But after the turn of the century, he was one of the few folks associated with both Clubs whose name turns up in both the English and German literature.

To tie this back to the rest of the thread, so other folks can understand why John and I care so much about an obscure figure like Eckenstein, I should point out that there had been a strong German-English connection in the 19th century, but by century's end,, most of the AC crew and the French and Swiss guides had formed a phalanx against the Alpenverein, its politics, and its pitoncraft.

By the Mauerhakenstreit, few Brits even understood what was happening in the Eastern Alps, and the German journals seemed uninterested in the Brits, save for the Himalayan explorations and an occasional mention of Mummery.

WW1 made the break complete-- the Brits denounced all of the German innovations. Preuss and Dulfer were dead, and the Dolomites dripped blood and iron. When pitons came to the western alpinists, it was urban working-class guys like Pierre Allain (and later, Brown and Whillans), who pushed them.

But British histories of mountaineering typically told stories of the British invention of mountaineering, and then the British inventions of rock climbing in the Lakes and Wales, then Everest, and then leapt straight to Brown and Whillans without much knowledgeable mention of the Eastern Alps. The German and Tirolian tradition pretty much dropped out of the story.

It wasn't until the Cold War and NATO had made Germany and Austria part of a big, happy European family that a younger generation of British alpinists could again think of climbing as apolitical, and thus go back and reclaim the older German generation of technicians as personal heroes. Thus we finally get the Doug Scott book, and a few others, which have remained by and large the only English-language accounts.

And so American climbers, few of whom read let alone speak a second language, grew up largely innocent of any acquaintance with the sort of names familiar to any European climber: Barth, Winkler, Purtscheller, Zsigmondy, Enzensperger, Fichtl, Preuss, Dulfer, Piaz, Dibona, the Dimais, and on and on. These were the names that fairly dominated alpinism in the 1st half of the century and created the technical tradition that the Sierra Club imported and built on for Yosemite.

Make no mistake, the RCS folks who pioneered all the early Valley routes were direct descendants of Dulfer and Piaz, and not of Preuss.

The climbing world of Salathe, Harding, and Robbins was Preuss's worst nightmare.

jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 16, 2009 - 11:46pm PT
"jogill, how many of these guys were you hip to and reading about before you started pushing your envelope so far? Were you a history buff before, or did your interest in those pioneers develop over time?"

I started bouldering on my own in the early-mid 1950s, not knowing what I was engaged in, thinking of climbing as a form of gymnastics. When Yvon told me I was "bouldering" in the Tetons, I assumed the Stoney Point guys had coined the expression. A few years later I learned that some Europeans were doing similar things at Fontainebleau, but I never pursued it. After I was fully retired from the college in 2000, I started researching the history of my sport - that's when I began to hear of these wonderful characters! For us old guys, this is a delightful way to wile away our golden years . . . many thanks to Kerwin (klk) for pointing me in the right direction from time to time . . . but I remain purely an amateur without the skills and depth of knowledge of an historian.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 17, 2009 - 01:11pm PT
John's stories about beginning climbing, and reading the Encyclopedia entries for mountaineering or stepping up to read the AAC Journal-- or Robbins talking about reading Ullman's The High Tower-- are really cool.

US climbing was really isolated and provincial, and I think that actually helped the sport here, in the 1950s. There had been earlier German influences-- the Stettners, especially, who had come out of the Munich scene a generation behind Dulfer and Preuss-- and Fritz Wiessner, and Wolf Bauer and even Conrad Kain, a generation earlier.

But unlike skiing, where the prestige and dollar value of the sport led to a wholesale migration of top European skiiers, skills, and equipment in the 1930s, climbing remained localized. The AAC elites didn't push-- most of them went to the Alps to get dragged up 19th c trade routes in 19th century style. They never fully trusted Wiessner.

Even the famous episode in which Robt. Underhill introduced "modern ropework" to the Sierras was a bit strange. Read Underwood's article-- no pitons or running belays. His technique was twenty years behind. When the RCS finally climbed the Cathedral Spires (33/34) they had to order their pitons from Sporthaus Schuster in Munich, because they didn't know anyone in California who could make them.

US climbing was desperately and joyously backward, compared with that in Europe. Not until the late '50s and early '60s, with John and Batso and Robbins, did North American climbers actually match and even surpass European technical levels.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 17, 2009 - 07:09pm PT
jogill, unbelieveable that it only took you 45 years to start reading about climbing history!!

That is NOT the answer I would've expected at all.

You were too busy out there making history......
klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 19, 2009 - 06:16pm PT
Sicherheit/Sicherung is a play on words. Sicherheit usually implies security but also certainty, confidence and even competence. Sicherung is more like safeguard, and is the key part of Versicherung or insurance, like life insurance or fire insurance or something else you buy from someone else to protect from random chance. So he's suggesting a competence/incompetence contrast-- incompetents buy insurance (pitons, rappels) because they're likely to be victims of random chance.

He's also possibly implying a Wagnerian reference; Gotterdaemmerung, in Wagner's famous operatic cycle, refers to the apocalyptic end of the world.

"In der Beschraenkung zeigt sich erst der Meister"-- in his limits, the Master shows himself, or mastery shows itself in limitations-- is from Goethe's Sonnet, "Natur und Kunst," which is one of his famous engagements with the problems of the modern world.

http://www.teachsam.de/deutsch/d_literatur/d_aut/goe/goe_lyr/son/goe_natur_u_kunst_txt.htm

Here's a usable English translation:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/wednesday-poem-nature-and-art-by-j-w-von-goethe-translated-by-david-luke-1114712.html

The reference is on point to Preuss's fight with Piaz et al. It's also relevant to his occasional contrasting of "alpinist" and "climber." You can already see folks struggling to define a conflict between "real climbers" and "sport climbers."


Early 20th-c climbing culture was a good deal more intellectual than what we get on old ST.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 19, 2009 - 09:39pm PT
Is anyone else out there still following all this besides Survival, Jogill, and Klk?

Cheez, I hope so! This is a wonderful dialogue, thanks to the expertise and efforts of Randy and Kerwin. It would make the core of a small book in itself! I wish one or the other of these scholars would spend a few minutes cleaning up the short Wikipedia entry on Preuss. Fabulous, reading of these letters form the early 20th century, where "the past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Dec 20, 2009 - 12:00am PT
Is anyone else out there still following all this besides Survival, Jogill, and Klk?

Yes! Though "still following" is claiming a lot, when the truth is more like struggling to follow. What a rarefied and beautiful world a century ago, already wrestling with the quite absolute limits of soloing, and the moral turpitude implied by better footwear. That past is not just a "foreign country" but nearly a foreign language.

John is probably following better than I, and has certainly been one of the great beacons of purity in climbing during the last half of Preuss' century, yet even he once said something to the effect of (apologies for not having your exact words at hand): "It is important to remember that cheating is not counter to virtue."

Was that completely tongue-in-cheek John, or...?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 20, 2009 - 12:34am PT
Randy-- My guess about the Wagner is based on my vague memory that someone in this debate-- before Preuss really entered in--invoked a Wagner cite. The nationalist and aryan wingnuts usually played a Wagner card, and their critics frequently would play a Goethe card in response. but i can't pull the cite right now, hence my "possibly" qualifier. or as largo says, a weasel word. (btw, tait keller and lee holt both have good recent dissertations on the doav in this period.)

John-- Nice Lowenthal quote!

DR: What a rarefied and beautiful world a century ago . . ..

nice to see you reading and I wish I had time to right something readable and smart. the only reason I can sample this thread at all is that i'm under deadline on a related topic hence my abbreviated exchanges w. randy and john.


the world of the mauerhakenstreit was at once rarefied and beautiful and unbelievably nasty. if you step back just a bit, it's hard to miss the ways that the clubs-- and this fight -- were launchpads for the world wars and the battles over fascism and nazism.

for us, raised on the sense of climbing as an escape from the rough-and-tumble of politics, it's tough to think of the german-austrian, italian, and french clubs as venues for serious political battle. but they were. the past really was a foreign country.

the other tough thing is that you can't cleanly map white and black hats onto the sides in the mauerhakenstreit. it'd be easy if one side turned out to be the nazis and the other the good guys. (just as it'd be nice if here, we could map conservatives and progressives onto one side of the other of the sfhd fight.)

but it doesn't work like that. in retrospect, both preuss and piaz, on opposite sides here, look pretty good when compared with the politics of the 1920s. piaz, a socialist/anarchist, and preuss, a half-jewish intellectual, would've ended up on the same side of the 1920s fights over nazism and fascism. while someone like schmidkunz (mentioned by randy as one of preuss's partners) ended up a nazi ideologue and propagandist.

in the mauerhakenstreit, we're looking at a world about to explode. for real. wagner, goethe, buddhism, purity, idealism, pitons, soloing, moral virtue-- the whole thing reeks of cordite and blood and sulfur.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 20, 2009 - 01:00am PT
Though "still following" is claiming a lot, when the truth is more like struggling to follow.


HA! Thank you DR, whew, I thought it was just me...
But I'm having a ball trying to keep up. We've just gotten waaay past my ability to ummm....
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Top of the 5.2-5.12 Boulder
Dec 20, 2009 - 09:34pm PT
I'm reading along, Randisi.....
I appreciate getting to look into part of climbing's history that I hadn't heard about....thanks!
jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 20, 2009 - 09:51pm PT
There was at least one prelude to the unfortunate employment of climbing societies to prepare for war, albeit not the sort of climbing we're discussing: The Turner movement in the early part of the 19th century, after Napolean's conquests and the disarray of German society. Freidrich Jahn - the father of modern gymnastics - organized youthful athletes into gymnastic competitions, including rope and cable climbs up wooden scaffolds 40 to 50 feet high. When one sees the images of these contraptions there can be no doubt that courage, as well as strength, were prerequisites for their enjoyment. A splendid environment in which to prepare for martial activities. Here is an excerpt from an American Turner website:

//At this time there lived in Berlin in the Kingdom of Prussia a German schoolmaster by the name of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn who deplored the conditions of his country and whose strong nationalistic spirit urged him to do something to liberate his country from the French occupation. He wrote a book 'Deutsches Volksthum' (German Nationality) which called for the unity of Germany. He introduced gymnastic exercises among his students and infused them with a patriotic love of freedom to make them capable of bearing arms for their oppressed country and to prepare them for the imminent war of liberation.

In 1811 Jahn opened the first public playground at the Hasenheide in Berlin. Five hundred young men answered his call and indulged in gymnastic exercises under his direction. In a few months Turner societies spread to every city and town in the country.

Jahn and his Turners were the first to respond to the call to arms issued in 1813 by the King of Prussia. They served with distinction in the liberation of their country and Jahn became sort of a national hero and was rewarded with an annual pension for his services by a grateful government.//
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 21, 2009 - 01:02am PT
Randisi,
I'm digging back a few posts, because I'm trying to read more carefully this time of night.
Just random thoughts.
Make no mistake, the RCS folks who pioneered all the early Valley routes were direct descendants of Dulfer and Piaz, and not of Preuss.

The climbing world of Salathe, Harding, and Robbins was Preuss's worst nightmare.

I think you are quite right, but Preuss would have found some serious limitations in his ethic in Yosemite!!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 21, 2009 - 01:45am PT
Mr. Preuss wants to strive for an ideal, I quite believe him, but it is a cold, rigid, frosty ideal.

Randisi, did these guys do some writing after the cold, rigid, frosty ideal claimed Pruess for good?

I'm sure it was all very serious, but they couldn't help their "I told you so" I'm sure.....
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 22, 2009 - 04:43am PT
Dude, you're making my head hurt......HA!
This is great.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 22, 2009 - 01:05pm PT
Preuss's climbing ideals would lead to serious limitations everywhere, not just in Yosemite. He might just reply: It is in limitations that the master shows himself. But I think you are right that during the '60s Preuss would have stood with Robbins (perhaps writing essays very like our own DR!) and the '80s Bachar – let's not forget Bonatti in the '50s and early '60s.

hmmmm. well, people do sometimes have conversion experiences. kauk became a sport climber.

yosemite climbing in the '50s and '60s was the type of technical climbing, on a bigger scale, that preuss was denouncing. duelfer's best routes defined the style: pick a crack system, climb it with pins for both aid and pro until the crack runs out. tension traverse or pendulum over to the next crack system. repeat as necessary.

had he lived, preuss might've reconciled himself to the new technology and approaches. but then he'd have been a lot less interesting.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 22, 2009 - 05:01pm PT
John is probably following better than I, . . . yet even he once said something to the effect of (apologies for not having your exact words at hand): "It is important to remember that cheating is not counter to virtue." Was that completely tongue-in-cheek John, or...?

Pole vaulters moving up from bamboo to fiberglass or aluminum poles; golfers using new, improved club technology; tennis players using bigger, lighter racquets; climbers adopting sticky rubber soles and chalk; etc. That's what I meant.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 23, 2009 - 11:34pm PT
It's truly impossible to replicate the past. You can wear nailed boots and rope up with natural fiber rope, but you can't replicate the spirit of the time, the mindset, the social environment, and so many other aspects of a past period. Once again, "The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."

But it's fun to try . . .
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 25, 2009 - 04:39pm PT
Yeah Randisi, I was beginning to wonder about the quality of your translation........Bwa ha hahahahaaahahahahaa!!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 25, 2009 - 04:52pm PT
Actually, you're right, it has morphed a bit.

I will still always admire his fire for his ideal, but now I find myself wondering more about some of the things behind it.

The crux of my change though is that I have lived long enough and fought my way through enough desperate situations, that I KNOW I would rather pull out a bit of technology than lose my life.

I mean climbing to the upper end of my ethic is still important to me, but not always, forever and ever til death do us part.

I've got a wife and kids, friends I want to climb with, etc.
Gimme that dang piton!!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 25, 2009 - 05:47pm PT
Of course you know, I'm completely joking.
I would have absolutely no clue if you had missed something.
mike b

Trad climber
Ottawa
Dec 27, 2009 - 10:13pm PT

This is one of the coolest threads I've read on Supertopo. Thanks guys for the awesome translations and the very interesting discussions.

mike
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2009 - 10:08am PT
Randisi,
I think it would be awesome if someone would use your translations in a publication.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be enough of us interested in what was up with that guy. There are too many bottomless trash talking arguments to have...

My hat's off to you anyway man!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2010 - 11:40pm PT
Wow Randisi, I haven't even seen those last couple posts.

I've got some reading to do.

I see you've been at it again!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2010 - 12:28pm PT
Randisi,
Why? Has Largo shown an interest in that particular period?
Or German translations?
HA!
I'm just glad that jogill got on here.
Broken

climber
Texas
Feb 13, 2010 - 01:00pm PT
I'd also like to thank the contributors to this thread. Wonderful stuff.

Thank you.

-VM
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
شقوق واس
Feb 13, 2010 - 04:31pm PT
Glad to see this thread re-appear.
Thanks, Randisi!
jogill

climber
Colorado
Feb 15, 2010 - 04:17pm PT
Wonderful work, Randy! This will be valuable for future references and research. For those of us having an ongoing interest in the origins of our demanding sport, I thank you!

Incidentally, why don't you take a few moments and make the Preuss site on Wikipedia a bit more accurate? The six rules need to be upgraded, etc.
Chief

climber
May 11, 2010 - 11:10am PT
Ausgezeichnet! Prima! Naturlich! Danke!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 11, 2010 - 11:16am PT
That is some trenchant writing! Thanks, Randisi!
I really liked:

"The love of danger is a fine and manly thing; the tasting of a danger is, once survived, a great treat that I would not like to miss; but exposing oneself to an all too obviously threatening danger is extravagant; it's a criminal game of chance with the best goods we have."

I can see why Reinhold likes Preuss:

" But correcting your own insecurity by tying yourself into pitons at every opportunity and then calling this procedure cultivating security is a great error. Its principle is not security, but securing.(1) With artificial aids just about anything can be accomplished!..."


I'm glad I didn't adhere to this gem of Preuss' or I would not have gotten beyond 4th class:

"Prospective climbers are to be instructed the keep their abilities within the bounds of their ambition,
to stand just as high in their intellectual as in their technological education, no higher and no lower."
klk

Trad climber
cali
May 11, 2010 - 12:20pm PT
As we've seen Preuss criticized the use of rappelling for all but emergencies. But what was meant by rappelling at that time? Hand over hand descent of the rope? One website credits Jean Esteril Charlet with inventing rappelling in 1879 for a descent of the Petit Dru, but gives no indication as to how this was done.

Had the Dülfersitz been adopted by that time (1911)? Perhaps this new technique, making such naughty reliance on the rope even easier, partly spurred Preuss into writing his denunciation of such "artificial aids"?

Preuss opposed the use of the rope for descents, since that allowed climbers to retreat over ground they could never have actually climbed or down-climbed. He saw each rappel as a point of aid. The technique would not have mattered--

So far as technique, folks began fixing and batmanning descent ropes quite early, in the French and Swiss Alps. The Tirolians appear to have developed the doubled-rope technique, which allowed climbers to retrieve the rope after. Abseils were also popular situations for placing pitons. By 1911, when Preuss was writing, mguides like Piaz had installed fixed rappel stations on some of the most popular peaks in the Dolomites.

So no, by Preuss's ethic, climbing means climbing. It doesn't mean climbing and rappelling, or climb with just a little bit of tension, or climbing and hanging only at the belays-- it means, climbing, period.

By Preuss's lights, each and every single one of you who ploaces a piece of pro, ties into an anchor, yards a fixed line or does a single rappel, is a frickin aid climber.

heh.

That's why Huber's solo of the Swiss Route-- up and down --was an homage to Preuss.
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
May 11, 2010 - 01:24pm PT
And that's why Preuss isn't really the founding father of "our" style (at least for the vast majority of us)as much as we'd like to think that he is.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 3, 2010 - 09:10pm PT
Excellent, Randy. This will be one of the better climbing bios on Wikipedia.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 4, 2010 - 03:11pm PT
Randisi,

You rock bro. That's it.

I'll have to read those big posts later, as I'm off for errands.

I love the way you have stuck with this. You have faaar outpaced any expectation I had.
Thanks,
B
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jun 4, 2010 - 03:28pm PT
my guiding light through all mountaineering controversy:

bergsteiger sind eigenwillig und hartnäckig. jeder ist ein scharfumriße, kantige persönlichkeit.

--heinrich harrer

so you get used to being one yourself and try to get along with others.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jun 4, 2010 - 10:22pm PT
good translation, randisi.

please don't get preussy over the jewish-nazi thing. even if you subscribe to the standard version, you ought to know that harrer underwent some real changes in his own life and attitudes during his seven years in tibet.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jun 5, 2010 - 01:28am PT
you're talking to a fellow who knows a little too much about world war 2. but whatever your take on that, don't project the troubles of that time back on a guy who died in 1913.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jun 5, 2010 - 08:13am PT
those who admire mountaineers don't know them real well. you'll find that, up close, each is willful and stubborn, a sharply defined, angular personality. kinda like fred becky out there--he'll steal your climbs, he'll steal your women, don't let him steal your crazy creek chair!
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jun 6, 2010 - 11:43am PT
too much for me to read, randi. when royal robbins tried to become the pope of climbing out here, people started ignoring him.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jun 6, 2010 - 01:22pm PT
that's interesting. the english are always teddibly civilized, except at their soccer games, and when dealing with the irish, of course.

i picked up the poems of christina rosetti about a week ago--was always curious about her. i'm half american of english descent and half italian fireball (it's why i know too much about world war 2), and i figured christina's poetry might have some resonance. she was 3/4 italian but totally english, always being tugged towards her sanguine roots, fighting it all the way. to a visiting italian friend she wrote:

"... if she found us like our sea,
"of aspect colorless and chill,
"rock-girt; like it, she found us still
"deep at our deepest, strong and free."

it's impossible to resist the temptation to feel superior, especially if you live on an island.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jun 9, 2010 - 09:33am PT
i'm saving that stuff for a quiet morning at the old climber's home. nice work though, really. if you're looking for a publisher, consider the madness of self-publishing.

also appreciated the dolomite views earlier in this thread and the early 20th century climbers, german, austrian, italian. i climbed in the dolos a few years back. great place, great memories.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 9, 2010 - 10:29pm PT
Thanks for posting this dialog!!!

Classic ethical arm wrestling match between a couple of rascals when the questions are mostly ones of style! Great stuff$$$

Interestingly, the same step backwards that Preuss advocated would become necessary to allow the clean climbing movement to happen. In the early Summit article Save South Crack, Robbins presented a very clear case for radically resetting the technological basis of our approach to overcoming climbing problems in order to preserve challenge and the stone itself.

He opened his argument with a lengthy description of some gripped fool making a shambles out of South Crack with full hammered orchestration and falls aplenty. Royal asks the simple question of whether the route in question and climbing itself can withstand more degradation in the name of ready access.

Had Preuss's detractors been able to suddenly see the excesses of the modern era, they might have seen more content in his position.

survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 9, 2010 - 11:09pm PT
Randisi,

Seriously bro.....seriously.....


Have you ever been checked for OCD?



Yer blowin' me away, I LOVE IT!!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 10, 2010 - 09:47am PT
Sports climbing evolved because there was so much climbable rock that didn't lend itself normal protection techniques. Once started, lo and behold, a lot of climbers found they could climb harder with a big fat bolt nearby.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 12, 2010 - 05:36pm PT
Sports climbing evolved because there was so much climbable rock that didn't lend itself normal protection techniques.

And traditional climbers in the US found themselves losing ground to the Euros in the race to greater difficulty.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 12, 2010 - 05:52pm PT
Difficulty is hard to quantify. Which is more difficult a 5:13 C R/X trad lead or a 5:14 B sport climb? I think there are more climbers capable of doing the later.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 15, 2010 - 11:24pm PT
Difficulty is hard to quantify. Which is more difficult a 5:13 C R/X trad lead or a 5:14 B sport climb? I think there are more climbers capable of doing the later.

Yep.



Randy, you need to put all of this into book form and at the very least give a copy to the AAC library. I did that with my Origins of Bouldering on my website, through blurb.com. You download free software and easily put such material into book format, and this outfit does a really professional product (I'm sure there are other online publishers as well who do excellent work).As for a book that could be sold at stores, ask Largo and others about the possibilities. Not sure the market is there.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jun 16, 2010 - 12:37pm PT
thanks for all the work randy.

hate to ask, but could you also give the complete citaiton for each article as you post? that way anyone who can't get their hands on the german journals can at least cite to the original as well as your translation.

i'll be at the dav archiv next week. they've digitized tons of their stuff, but due to budget cuts, they're now open only one day per week.

survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 16, 2010 - 01:52pm PT
Randy, you are a monster.

I can't thank you enough for taking what I thought was going to be just an average obscure thread and turning it into a real work of serious quality.


You DA MAN!
jstan

climber
Jun 18, 2010 - 08:03pm PT
Randy;
Thank you.

Around 1970 when were doing our best to no longer drive pins and no good nuts had as yet been invented I was of the opinion people in the Shawangunks were in fact ready and able to accept a reduction in the apparent difficulty of our climbing. While it would have been a great achievement psychologically I was very pleased when Tom Frost's wonderful inventions showed up. We were headed onto possibly dangerous ground.

One never wants to see one's friends in danger.
TMO

Trad climber
Puyallup, WA
Oct 16, 2010 - 05:38pm PT
Stellar work and interesting discussion gentlemen. I have enjoyed this thread immensely.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2010 - 09:26pm PT
Randisi,
I love that picture! You're right, it's immensely better.

I'm still swimming through some of your great work here. I had a ton of fun on this thread, but you are the workhorse...sheesh!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 17, 2010 - 03:39pm PT
Randisi,
That wiki article is wonderful. Very well put together. Every time I think I'm a Preuss veteren, you show me something new!

How sad that they tried to erase him from memory, and thank god they weren't able to do it eh?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 17, 2010 - 04:27pm PT
hey randy, sorry, i'd missed yr summer post:

Where in these does Preuss claim, imply or even hint that you have to climb down the same route you climbed up? That would be inane. It would render traversing a mountain cheating, impure, of little “ethical worth,” and Preuss liked to traverse mountains.

I don't believe Preuss scorned traverses-- indeed he did a lot of them, like the great Alleinganger, Herman von Barth, before him. But then traverses were routes in themselves. And the early 20th century was the last period in which it had been possible (in the eastern Alps), to still do first ascents on downclimbs. Josef Enzensberger's FA of Schiefe Risse-- as part of his downclimb --was one of the region's most famous climbs.

My understanding of the Preussian "ideal" is based on the context that his written essays could reference. Up and down under yr own power without use of pitons or weighting a rope is simple (and stark) enough. And the period ideal of that sort of ascent was pretty visible-- up under yr own power without pitons or weighting a rope and down via the same route or one of equivalent difficulty had already been established as the purest and toughest of the available options.

If Preuss had intended a retreat from that ideal, I doubt that we'd have had a Mauerhakenstreit. Or perhaps I should say, had Preuss been understood by his contemporaries as intending something less than that as the ideal, I doubt we'd have had a Mauerhakenstreit. Certainly that reading is consistent not only with period practice and the vehemence of the responses, it's also consistent with my best guess as to the sort of (amateurish) species of idealism that Preuss seems to have been familiar with and that was current at the time.

Fixing what Preuss actually said, much less what he intended at any given moment, is of course impossible at this distance, given that most of the debate was verbal and physical rather than written. Not that it matters much. I'm certainly not writing a Preuss bio and I don't even know if there's enough material available to make one possible. It'd be a really expensive undertaking for an American, in any event.

So far as Huber on Grand Capucin, the first reports I read in German (one of the magazines? it's been awhile) and then comments from various German-speaking climbers that talked to me about it all referenced the Preussian ideal. It may be that Huber had something else in mind, but he's certainly chosen Preuss as one of his predecessors. I honestly haven't read Free Solo yet.

And I hadn't seen any references to Preuss in the Italian literature, aside from Piaz's account in his post-war memoir. So far as I knew, Preuss was recuperated by the generation of 1968 as part of their battle with the conservative politics and climbing style of the previous generation. Messner, of course, was the most prominent of those folks. (Good thing he's not an American-- he'd be endlessly vilified on Supertopo if he were.)

Great climbing with you this summer-- hope stuff's going well. Really happy to hear you've got an article in the works. Drop me a line if you're in the area this fall-- I may get another day trip to the granite at some point.


klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 17, 2010 - 06:12pm PT
cool. drop me a line before you get here. my schedule is pretty bad this fall, but maybe we can at least grab a soda pop.

i really doubt anyone has taken a chisel to the ramp. that stuff is just choss. if you were going to chisel anything on that wall, i can think of several edges/crystals that would've been comfortized years ago.

the key foothold under the bulge is going to go any day. sometimes i just wish that entire cliff would get quarried so i didnt have to climb on it anymore. heh.

re preuss-- it'd be nice to see someone do a more complete study of "jewish" climbers from the period. folks have sort of chipped at the edges of the topic, but there's been more done on political anti-semitism in the clubs than has been done on actual climbers. not that preuss was "jewish" in a strong sense, but certainly enough to get read out of the canon by the right-wingers.

lots of ironies in preuss's disappearance and rediscovery, on both sides of the atlantic.

do you have mailaender's im zeichen des edelweiss? idk if the aac library has it, but they ought to.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 17, 2010 - 06:53pm PT
that photo looks right to me-- the second line in the first photo, the central line in the 2nd one. i know folks frequently climb up to that 2nd terrace and then walk off or else rap.

but i haven't climbed on the totenkirchl-- i had one week in the wilder kaiser, and it was gorgeous the evening i arrived-- great views, cool looking climbs. then it rained sideways for an entire week and i never even frickin saw the cliffs again.

there's good reasons to climb in the dolomites, aside from the food and the generally good rock-- usually better weather south of the brenner.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 18, 2010 - 04:14pm PT
wait, so is second terrace on the top of that route or is it where it begins?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 18, 2010 - 06:37pm PT
thanks for the correction on 2nd terrace and linking the stadler guidebook, as i dont have one.

totenkirchl is an interesting place-- you can't really see it until you've hiked in and get this dramatic frame. usually clouds, fog, maybe some rain, very gothic. or at least it was when i was there.

re the rappel technique: the two hands above the bend deal shows up a lot in the early pix. i believe it's because folks had been accustomed to simply climbing down hand over hand. those laid hemp deals were a lot easier to grip-- they were just thinner versions of the ones folks climbed in gyms, and lowering with a leg wrap (and hands above) was common enough there.

the Sitz added additional security on low-angle stuff, and then became the principle brake on free rappels.

the DAV also has several pix of PReuss on various big peaks-- the Wetterhorn, I think. i don't have them on speed dial, though.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 18, 2010 - 09:13pm PT
i know that name, but can't remember why or where. jacobi isn't indexed in amstaedter or zebhauser and the dav isn't online for some reason.

but maybe we should talk shop offline rather than cluttering the thread? just email me
jogill

climber
Colorado
Oct 19, 2010 - 08:56pm PT
. . . busy testing my short Grivel ice axe

I bet that's the one Eckenstein designed. You have found some excellent images, Randy!

survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 19, 2010 - 09:16pm PT
Holy Shizz Randy, bring it on!!

You are able to dig deeper than I ever did, THANKS!
jogill

climber
Colorado
Oct 20, 2010 - 10:10pm PT
RIP, Dr. Preuss. You are not forgotten.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 20, 2010 - 10:36pm PT
Hey Randy, do you know where the original print is for that vallepiana shot? Who took it?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 23, 2010 - 06:56pm PT
wow, randy, what a lot of work. nice thing to have-- i'd love a pdf.

"Monaco" is the Italianization of "Muenchen." So yeah, it's Preuss's apartment in Munich.

The article says it's excerpted from Vallepiana's Erinnerungen, but I've never heard of it. The cite makes it look like a book, but i've not seen it. Have you come across it? Maybe it's simply an article. I'd have thought that he'd have published his later stuff in Italian (he was later President of the CAI), but maybe not. I've not seen that Vallepiana piece, so thanks for posting that deal.

lustiger bua, btw, the Bavarian/Tirolian dialect and the title of a popular drinking song.

And I wouldn't sweat the caption mix-up. History is hand work, and like all artisan stuff, there's lots of small imperfections. If you're lucky (as in this case), the small mistakes don't have any real consequences. None of us is lucky all the time!

ps-- do you have that vallepiana article scanned as a pdf? if so, could i have a copy? i can't read it if i zoom it on my screen.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 23, 2010 - 08:00pm PT
Thanks Randy.

Yeah, my first trip to Italy I got a bit confused when folks asked me what I'd been up to in "Monaco." My Italian sucks.

I found a bibliographic reference to Vallepiana's book, but it's in Italian. There may've been a limited German translation that is just tough to find now, or it may be that the editors of the journal just translated the title.

There's a brief bio of Vallepiana here:

http://www.frontedolomitico.it/Uomini/Schede/FronteDolomiticoSchedaVallepianaUgo.htm

That article looks like early 1970s. Probably just one of the major German journals. I've done most of my reading in the pre-war stuff, so I don't know the fonts/design of the seventies ones well enough to id it by sight alone.

But someone else on ST probably could.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Oct 24, 2010 - 02:01pm PT
If you already have the French, you can read any of the other romance languages with a bit of work.

I'm really slow in Italian, and for anything other than meatball work i have to use a dictionary, but it's not really that daunting. Almost half the importantt lit onn the dolomites is in Italian, so its worth taking a bit of time. Not like you need to be a specialist, although i can imagine you might want to read a bit of croce or gentile in the original.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 28, 2010 - 02:37am PT
"He climbed more than 1,200 routes in the Eastern Alps . . . "

Remarkable. What a life.

JL
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2010 - 08:59am PT
Amazing how many photos of Preuss you have found.

I had no idea that so many pix had been taken of him!!

That last one.....Preuss on top with babes.

He had groupies!!!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 4, 2010 - 06:11pm PT
Damn it Randy, you remind me that I haven't finished those! Now I'll have to go digging, or get you to resend.

Thanks for all your great work on this thread. You far exceeded any hopes that I had in the beginning.

You are my new hero of style!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 9, 2011 - 02:19pm PT
Outstanding work Randisi!

Good threads are a resource that live on with the click of a mouse.

ST history magic!
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jan 14, 2011 - 08:07pm PT
Randy, I hope you put these together into some sort of compendium. You have done yeoman's work on this project and the climbing community should be in your debt!
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Aug 26, 2011 - 08:00am PT
Thanks KlK, John, Randy, and all... I've been lurking the whole way
and decided not to make any comments, since most of you know the
material better than I, and it has traveled its course
nicely. I too have lots of thought and lots of opinions... and think of
other climbers who might fit into this overall story. Perry-Smith
or Albert Kunze... come to mind.... Enough, from me.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Aug 26, 2011 - 01:59pm PT
thanks for bumping this randy.

how's china?
astrange

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Sep 7, 2011 - 09:47am PT
Im going bumb this thread as well. I had the pleasure of climbing the Comici route on the north face of Cima Grande during the weekend. I took some photos and did a small write-up on my blog:

http://frontpoint-sport.com/?p=794

I thought you might enjoy it!

/Anders
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 7, 2011 - 12:07pm PT
Nice blog entry there Anders!!

Really good pix. So glad you got it done.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 9, 2012 - 12:01pm PT
Still great work you put in here Randisi!
Evel

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Sep 9, 2012 - 12:59pm PT
DUDE
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 26, 2013 - 10:01am PT
Randisi, I authored this thread, but you are the master of it.

I love it!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 5, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
WHO HERE HAS CLIMBED A PREUSS ROUTE?

Unfortunately for me, I never have had the pleasure.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Oct 1, 2013 - 12:54pm PT
Damn, what a cool thread.
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Oct 3, 2013 - 06:35am PT
WHO HERE HAS CLIMBED A PREUSS ROUTE?

Unfortunately for me, I never have had the pleasure.


Me, probably several over the years - they are hard to avoid.

One that comes immediatly to mind is the Preuss Relly on the Cima Piccolissima. Mostly a chimney, but there's a wall pitch low down that gains the chimney line. That wall is steep, very exposed and solid 5.7.

The chimney is seriously deep and is largely bridged, there's a couple of narow sections, but they aren't a huge deal.

The ususal descent is down a deep, loose and usually damp gully, by absiel. I cannot imagine downclimbing it. Even less so the route!

Steve
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 16, 2013 - 02:06pm PT
That would be saying very little...LOL

I haven't had a chance to do a Preuss route yet but the day will certainly come.

Quite the Grand Stage for the Last Act.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 16, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
klk, did the book come out? :o)

So I don't have to read every post of this thread again?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Nov 16, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
klk, did the book come out?

i wish.

ive been slammed. im close to having a finished draft, but that would still be at least a year and probably more away from having shelf copies.

and i'm home again this weekend working, but not on the manuscript, unfortunately.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Nov 16, 2013 - 05:01pm PT
Geeez, Kerwin . . . I was hoping I would still be alive when it comes out!

Work faster.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 16, 2013 - 12:20am PT
Geeez, Kerwin . . . I was hoping I would still be alive when it comes out!

Work faster.


BWA HA HA hahahahaaa!!!

Yeah Kerwin, let's have it! I have about five old bros I'd like to buy it for.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Dec 18, 2013 - 09:43am PT

Randisi

A good place for Piaz to be to get away from the fascists of his day...

... and a beautiful rifugio - melting into the mountain world...
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Dec 18, 2013 - 10:55am PT
So,

Wile not wanting to encourage thread drift..... (I'm sure Marlow won't mind)

Mention of Piaz Hut above (and Punta Emma behined with the Piaz Crack visible) is an opportunity for a timely link to a TR of mine,

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Punta-Emma-The-Piaz-Crack-Lee-Harvey-Oswald-and-the-Kennedy-Assassination/t11418n.html

Steve
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Dec 19, 2013 - 12:07pm PT
The Preuss Refugio is 100 meters lower than my house in elevation....steeper terrain in the back yard however.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Dec 19, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
Geeez, Kerwin . . . I was hoping I would still be alive when it comes out!

Work faster.

you sound like my department chair. heh

im hoping to have a chapter draft to send you pretty soon. although i prolly jinxed by writing that in a public forum.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Topic Author's Reply - May 12, 2014 - 01:21pm PT
you sound like my department chair. heh

An anxious public is a good thing, no?

Before long we'll be linking you with Licky and the 77 dope plane book!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 20, 2018 - 07:21pm PT
Back to the roots bump...
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jan 20, 2018 - 09:11pm PT
It appears that Kerwin is Professor Emeritus at Berkeley. I've lost touch with him. Anyone?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 20, 2018 - 09:40pm PT
I can send you an email address from 2014 when I hear back from you.
Cheers
rolo

climber
Mar 25, 2019 - 08:08am PT
This thread is about to become very relevant...
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Mar 25, 2019 - 10:54am PT
Rolo--could you elaborate on your comment, as I , for one, am totally mystified about what you are referring to?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Mar 25, 2019 - 12:37pm PT
An English-language biography of Preuss should appear soon.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Mar 25, 2019 - 12:38pm PT
If Kerwin reads this, I hope you're still working on the world history of mountaineering. No one could do it better.


A reminder, Preuss died free soloing at the age of 27. Over the last few years his Wikipedia page has been expanded and improved considerably.

Thanks mostly to Randisi and KLK, this is a marvelous historical thread, and would easily form the basis for a book.
rolo

climber
Mar 25, 2019 - 02:19pm PT
My comment does not relate to a biography of Preuss or to his wikipedia page, on which Randy, and others have done an amazing job, but rather to three ascents that just happened. Hopefully the person involved will be keen to share the news soon.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Mar 25, 2019 - 03:16pm PT

I was in Chamonix in 2017 and the town had banners up honoring famous climbers.

The one about Preuss was interesting in that it mentioned that he was Jewish.

He was an outsider in Austrian society in several ways. I wonder if this contributed to his life as a soloist, since the banner indicates he was excluded from the Austrian Alpine Club.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Mar 25, 2019 - 09:56pm PT
C'mon Rolando spill the beans.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Mar 26, 2019 - 07:42am PT
Kelly Cordes?
rolo

climber
Mar 29, 2019 - 08:22am PT
Finally the news is out. Paul Preuss reloaded....

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/2019/03/climber-jim-reynolds-free-solos-fitz-roy/
rolo

climber
Mar 29, 2019 - 08:25am PT
Who would have thought that someone one day would climb Cerro Fitz Roy up and down free solo... Unreal. Very impressive from Jim. It's been a treat to get to know him the last few days, on top of a bad ass climber he is a very decent human being.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
May 31, 2019 - 02:28pm PT
David Smart: My book, "Paul Preuss, Lord of the Abyss, Life and Death at the Birth of Free Climbing" is coming out from Rocky Mountain Books this fall. I think many people will be drawn into the amazing story of the genesis of climbing as we know it and the complex and driven life of its greatest practitioner.

"On the one side the cowardly, the soft, the hysterical, the effeminate, the cry-babies, the mommy's babies; on the other the strong, the aware, the idealists, the mystics of danger, those who triumph over fear and those who are courageous by nature, the hot-blooded heroes and the heroes of the will." - Mario Carli

https://rmbooks.com/book/paul-preuss-lord-of-the-abyss/
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