Trip Report
Cooke Booke Trip Report 7/12/09
Saturday July 18, 2009 2:51pm

Cooke Booke Trip Report 7/12/09
Davidji and I headed up on Saturday night. Amazingly we found a legal campsite at Porcupine Flat. We did our part to stimulate the economy by paying the ten bucks. We got up at the rather leisurely hour of 6:30 and made our way over to the climb by 8:00. The standard start goes up the book on the right. If you go this way supertopo has two starts to P2, either a tricky 10c which is bad for the follower or a 40 foot rappel. Neither of these appealed to me. There is a climbing traverse between these options, which I believe is the original route.
The original route and the alternate start we took are marked on the pic below.

The first pitch has a reputation for tricky pro but I thought it was there if you go up towards the pin on the topo. If you go right directly to the corner it looks like fun but maybe the pro is scarce. However you go, the climbing backs off pretty quickly as you move up the corner
Here is a pic looking down the pitch from the belay.

Hereís a pic looking up P2.

You climb the cool flakes in the pic and then move from face into the main book. A fun pitch. The topo says you can combine pitches 2, 3 and 4 into two pitches but we used the standard belays, which are generally comfortable.

Hereís a pic looking up P3.
Looking up it seems there are a lot of features on this pitch but it proves to be surprisingly tenuous climbing. Pro is good though.

Hereís a pic looking down at the top of the pitch.

I had started the route in my t-shirt, still warm from the walk in. I was shivering in the wind by the time I finished belaying P2 and put on my fleece shirt. Several times I considered putting on my shell. This is a cold climb. Just more adventure to be savored!

Hereís a pic looking up P4, the crux pitch.

We were using double ropes, which was not really needed the way we went. This is the second time Iíve used this technique and you can see in the pic I had trouble feeding it out right and the ropes got twisted. The crux is right above the block. Tons of pro. It is a little daunting for the leader because you will hit the block if you pop. The moves are more balance than power. I was pretty happy to get it clean while following. The pitch is sustained in difficulty after that but with occasional good rests and pro. Pitches 3 and 4 are both excellent and we were completely stoked to have climbed them. We were also now in the sun, oh yeah.

P5 is kinda scrappy.
We finished up at about 12:30.

Summit Views- Fairview Dome

Mt. Conness

On the way out we still had a little gas in the tank so, since no one was on it, we did the first pitch of West Crack, which is a lot of fun.

See ya out on the rocks,

  Trip Report Views: 1,050
About the Author
Zander is a trad climber from Berkeley.

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Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jul 18, 2009 - 02:54pm PT
Nice! Z-bro.

Social climber
  Jul 18, 2009 - 03:09pm PT
hey there say, zander... this is really neat... nice rock pics, too... not all have downloaded yet, so i am stepping in a tad early....

but very nice report, too....

say, did you take a "cook book" along to make some spectacular o l' trail-meal, to celebrate after-the-fact...

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jul 18, 2009 - 03:09pm PT
I really liked that route...
nice TR Zander... you're an inspiration! keep that mojo rising!

Trad climber
  Jul 18, 2009 - 03:15pm PT
A great route indeed. Did it over a decade and found it great. A nice one to do if you like Crescent Arch!
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Jul 18, 2009 - 03:18pm PT
Hey Hey!!!! Say there hey.....!

Good job!
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Jul 18, 2009 - 03:24pm PT
That thing looks like GREAT fun.
Great TR, man.
It's like Mike. was sayin', someplace else, just when you think
the tick list is getting shorter, it grows again.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
  Jul 18, 2009 - 03:38pm PT
Nice TR! Thanks! I did this in, I'm guessing, '94, so my memory is a little fuzzy. We started in the small group of trees at the base of the main dihedral. The SuperTopo description doesn't sound right. I don't remember any .10c on the second pitch, but I marked my book (the '92 edition) "scary step down" where it shows 5.8 about 2/3 up the pitch. I followed that pitch and there was no rapping involved. The crux was definitely the lieback on P 4. Great "blue collar" climbing, as Byrnes would say.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Jul 18, 2009 - 04:27pm PT
i did the standard start and i thought it was weird and wide, oh yeah, and hard.

Trad climber
  Jul 18, 2009 - 04:57pm PT
That was always such a weird weird climb. I always liked doing it but it was weird.

Random Nobody
  Jul 18, 2009 - 05:12pm PT
Thanks Zander...

Great TR, great photos

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 18, 2009 - 05:13pm PT
Nicely done fellows.
Good pix too.
Thanks for taking me up!

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
  Jul 19, 2009 - 01:42am PT
Yeah, we froze our a$$es off too! in a fully hot spell, no less. The sun kept creeping, creeping around, but if you do this climb in the morning, you remain in the shadow of the corner the whole time, with the nice warm sun just a few tantalizing feet away, and it is damn cold. At the end of the 4th I put a directional and traversed a good 20 or so feet directly sideways to belay just sitting somewhere with crap or no anchors, just to be in the sun. Wished it had been a good bit harder though, lots of huge stemming scoops and large blobs to stand on all the way up the corner pitch.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jul 19, 2009 - 10:19am PT
Geez, another one I've never done....

looks pretty sweet!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 19, 2009 - 10:45am PT
Nice photos and story. Did yas drive down to the Mobil Station afterwards for mango margaritas?
the Fet

  Jul 19, 2009 - 11:10am PT
TRs Rule!

  Jul 19, 2009 - 11:21am PT
Hard core ! :)
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Jul 19, 2009 - 12:38pm PT
great trip report. i added a link here

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jul 20, 2009 - 01:24am PT
Funny, I just did this route today for the first time.

We started the route at the left side of the bushes between the standard start and alternative start in your photograph. I don't recommend this start. I guess we took a harder variation on p3, the upper book above the big ledge.
Anyway, I thought the crux pitch was the only real fun pitch on this climb. The rest was alright.

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jul 20, 2009 - 01:34am PT
Nice work! I never see a TR for this climb (it has been on the back burner simmering for quite some time. This may be the season). Was in the meadows this weekend, maybe I will see you the next. Thanks again.

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


Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jul 20, 2009 - 02:26am PT
Nice one! You're on fire this season!
scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
  Jul 20, 2009 - 11:25am PT
Way to go, Zander and David.

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

The scary step down is scary whether leading or following.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

scuffy b

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

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

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

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

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

scuffy b

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

I can't even do the start anymore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Higgins

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

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

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

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

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

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