Trip Report
Freewheeling: La Direttissima per Ora Dove, in b/w, Oct 1973
Tuesday March 1, 2011 5:52pm
George Meyers and Kevin Worrall near nowhere on the 1st ascent of Free...
George Meyers and Kevin Worrall near nowhere on the 1st ascent of Freewheeling Oct 1973 (43)
Credit: Roger Breedlove

In 1973, those of us climbing in the Valley had three seasons of the 70’s freeclimbing boom behind us. Lots of climbers were putting up lots of great new routes. The graph I prepared a few years ago shows what happened to climbing in 1970.
Credit: Roger Breedlove

George Meyers, Kevin Worrall, and I were in the thick of the new wave of climbing and had just started to focus on first ascents. We had done many of the established routes in the Cathedrals but Middle held a special appeal. Earlier in the year I had climbed the first ascent of the Central Pillar with Bridwell and Dale Bard; George and Kevin had (mostly) free climbed the Bircheff-Williams. We decided to look for something new to do.

We drove down to Middle and started walking from near the CPoF towards the West. We walked all the way over to the beginning of the Gunsight. I had done “The Flakes," and I think that George had climbed the first pitch, or part of the first pitch, of what would become “Mother Earth” (he didn’t have a concept of the route going beyond that point at the time.)

After we had walked along the whole face, we decided to try a new route on the as yet unclimbed North Face Apron. The upper North Face of Middle is the gloomiest face in the Valley, while the Apron is colorful and pretty in the sunlight. However, there are not many features to hang a route on. But this is also true of the Northeast Face, so we just figured we would give it a try.

As we all know, the first thing you do before you start a climb is study the Topo.
Middle Cathedral Rock Apron.  First Topo, 1973
Middle Cathedral Rock Apron. First Topo, 1973
Credit: Roger Breedlove

In this case, it wasn’t much help.

I gauged the distances from left and right and declared the starting point of our attempt: La Direttissima per Ora Dove .
Middle Cathedral Rock North Face Apron.  First Topo, 1973
Middle Cathedral Rock North Face Apron. First Topo, 1973
Credit: Roger Breedlove

George asked me why I didn’t start up the obvious little corner about 100 feet to the left. My response: “That is too obvious a place to start a route.” That corner became the start of the second route on the Apron, “Quicksilver,” which Kevin and George and Vern Clevenger (as Kevin points out in the comments below) put up later in the year.

The first pitch is long and not so hard (5.7 in the guide). There is no place for natural gear, and I didn’t put in any bolts. (One has been added, fortunately.) When George asked me about putting something in, I told him it was easy climbing and kept going. He responded by silently letting the belay rope drop from both hands and fall to the ground. (The drama of this gesture is only apparent with hip belays.)

Since the first pitch was an approach pitch, I also took the second.

Freewheeling FW 2
Freewheeling FW 2
Credit: Roger Breedlove

Here I am assessing how to get up into those small corners. I am standing in a hole, both literally and figuratively, about here.

2a
2a
Credit: Roger Breedlove


I climbed back to the belay, and started from the left, placing a bolt a bit above the ledge to protect the belay.
Freewheeling 1973 3
Freewheeling 1973 3
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 4
Freewheeling 1973 4
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 5
Freewheeling 1973 5
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 6
Freewheeling 1973 6
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 7
Freewheeling 1973 7
Credit: Roger Breedlove

We were on our way, on our way to nowhere, by the direct route, on a north face, no less.

In this series of pictures, I have kept it GP13. While bolts for protection and belays are shown, there are no pictures of anyone drilling or pictures with drilling paraphernalia hanging from a sling. There are however a few shots of packs, but since they are not being carried by the lead climber, there is no reason to think that they are full of courage.

George took the next pitch up through a steep but not-so-hard (5.8) band of crystals with some natual protection.

Freewheeling 1973 8
Freewheeling 1973 8
Credit: Roger Breedlove

He is about here:
Freewheeling 1973 8a
Freewheeling 1973 8a
Credit: Roger Breedlove


In the picture above George is moving up and away from the belay. As almost always happends on first ascents of slab routes, you get a bit higher and realize that there is a better line somewhere where you are not. In the following pictures, George has apparently backed down to the belay and moved right before climbing up into the crystal band.

Freewheeling 1973 9
Freewheeling 1973 9
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 10
Freewheeling 1973 10
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 11
Freewheeling 1973 11
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling FW 12
Freewheeling FW 12
Credit: Roger Breedlove

Above the crystals, there is a cool traverse back to the Direttissima. But you, dear reader, will have to wait for another day of pictures to see it.


For the fourth pitch, Kevin climbed up and left to a long corner but it was steep, hold-less, and offered no protection. I razzed him too much and had to apologize. Kevin downclimbed and we rapped off. (In the comments below, Kevin indicates that he finished the pitch. Then we rapped off.)
Freewheeling 1973 12a
Freewheeling 1973 12a
Credit: Roger Breedlove


We returned a day or two later,
Freewheeling 1973 12b
Freewheeling 1973 12b
Credit: Roger Breedlove

George climbed the first pitch (I am sure that I kept him on belay the whole time),
Freewheeling 1973 12c
Freewheeling 1973 12c
Credit: Roger Breedlove

Kevin followed; then I climbed far to the left, off route, with a wiggle to the direttissima: il percorso dimenare sinistra.
Freewheeling 1973 13
Freewheeling 1973 13
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 13a
Freewheeling 1973 13a
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 14
Freewheeling 1973 14
Credit: Roger Breedlove

George led the second pitch.
Freewheeling 1973 15
Freewheeling 1973 15
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 16
Freewheeling 1973 16
Credit: Roger Breedlove


Kevin followed. Here he is just before the belay.
Freewheeling 1973 17
Freewheeling 1973 17
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 18
Freewheeling 1973 18
Credit: Roger Breedlove

At the top of the second pitch, I told a really funny story.
Freewheeling 1973 19
Freewheeling 1973 19
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 20
Freewheeling 1973 20
Credit: Roger Breedlove
I think Kevin is embarrassed.


Here is the top of the third pitch, with its cool, bolt protected traverse. It is rated 5.10b. This sequence has been pictured in George's Yosemite Climber after color pictures were invented. It is about here:
Freewheeling 1973 21a
Freewheeling 1973 21a
Credit: Roger Breedlove


Freewheeling 1973 21
Freewheeling 1973 21
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 22
Freewheeling 1973 22
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 23
Freewheeling 1973 23
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 24
Freewheeling 1973 24
Credit: Roger Breedlove

The picture below was used in "Yosemite Climber." It is the only picture of George in his book: he writes the book to announce the best of modern Yosemite climbing and he only includes a black and white picture of him following a North Apron slab!!!! So much for ego driven Valley Boys. I think it is on page 25. (When he asked, I offered him some very cool and exciting pictures of me climbing to put into his book. He then got to practice the delicate task of turning me down.)

Freewheeling 1973 25 (This is the picture of George--the only one-...
Freewheeling 1973 25 (This is the picture of George--the only one--in his book "Yosemite Climber," page 25.)
Credit: Roger Breedlove

Freewheeling 1973 26
Freewheeling 1973 26
Credit: Roger Breedlove

My memory is not good on what happened next. I know I exchanged film and, apparently, we climbed the next pitch.
Freewheeling 1973 26a
Freewheeling 1973 26a
Credit: Roger Breedlove


I do not remember leading it and the pictures show George followed, so it must have been Kevin’s lead. This makes sense since Kevin had been shut down trying to go up to the corners above and left of the belay on the previous attempt. This is George climbing up to the next belay, which I think must be the top of the 4th pitch. (This has been edited since I realized that I had inadvertently wrote 5th instead of 4th.)
Freewheeling 1973 28
Freewheeling 1973 28
Credit: Roger Breedlove

You can see a bolt that he had unclipped in the first picture, left of (below in the picture) his left hand near the edge of the frame. If this is the 4th pitch (edited), then this section is rated 5.10b. This is my favorite picture series of all time. Partly it is the texture of the rock and George's body positions filling more of each frame, but mostly it is the finish, with George standing on the small, scalloped ledge, relaxed and smiling.
Freewheeling 1973 27
Freewheeling 1973 27
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 27a
Freewheeling 1973 27a
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 29
Freewheeling 1973 29
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 30
Freewheeling 1973 30
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 31
Freewheeling 1973 31
Credit: Roger Breedlove


George takes the lead but stops to snap a picture of Kevin and me, sitting in butt bags, freezing.
Freewheeling 1973 32
Freewheeling 1973 32
Credit: Roger Breedlove

George starts left, points right, then continues up above his protection bolt.
Freewheeling 1973 33
Freewheeling 1973 33
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 34
Freewheeling 1973 34
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 35
Freewheeling 1973 35
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 36
Freewheeling 1973 36
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 37
Freewheeling 1973 37
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 38
Freewheeling 1973 38
Credit: Roger Breedlove


As I leave the belay, I snap a couple of pictures of the most forlorn climber in all of Valley Hardman lore.
Freewheeling 1973 39
Freewheeling 1973 39
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 39a
Freewheeling 1973 39a
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Here is Kevin, again, anxiously awaiting for the ‘on belay.’ Soon he joined us.
Freewheeling 1973 40
Freewheeling 1973 40
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 41
Freewheeling 1973 41
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Freewheeling 1973 42
Freewheeling 1973 42
Credit: Roger Breedlove

It was very cold. (But don't they look all Eruo and hard on our Direttissima North Face?)
George Meyers and Kevin Worrall near nowhere on the 1st ascent of Free...
George Meyers and Kevin Worrall near nowhere on the 1st ascent of Freewheeling Oct 1973 (43)
Credit: Roger Breedlove
We took in the view
Freewheeling 1973 43
Freewheeling 1973 43
Credit: Roger Breedlove
and then rapped off.

There was a third day, in which the three of us started back up to the base of the Apron. I, however, was distracted. I cannot remember her name, or what the circumstances were, but this picture probably says it well enough.
Distraction
Distraction
Credit: Roger Breedlove


About 200 yards into the forest on our direct approach to the base, I bailed, insisting that George and Kevin go ahead and find ‘nowhere’ higher on the Apron.

I had to be somewhere.


As you can see, I left the world of our cold, dark direttissima and joined the warmth of color, bare shoulders, and silken legs.


It was a cool climb and as the first climb on the Apron of Middle Cathedral Rock, it helped to establish our young generation. Some of these pictures ended up in my Middle Cathedral Rock climbing history article published in Mountain in 1976. Middle Cathedral Commentary

Special thanks to Ed Hartouni for scanning the negatives.


  Trip Report Views: 2,659
Roger Breedlove
About the Author
Roger Breedlove is a former Yosemite climber from California who lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He lives there as the result of a carefully constructed "Life Plan," that was tattered by faulty execution and accidental outcomes. He may be the only Valley climber who quit climbing accidentally; not as the result of an accident: he just sort of wandered off and never came back. Cleveland--actually all of Ohio--has no vertical dimension to its charms. The hill Roger lives on to the east of the city is, geologically speaking, the last hill before you get to the Mississippi River, 560 miles away. However, because of the shallow scoops holding the Great Lakes, water tossed out my front door will eventually flow to the Atlantic. Across the street and a bit to the south, it is all downhill to New Orleans. Take your pick: it is a lot of work to get to back to California. Unless of course you use the proxy climbing features on SuperTopo and long-forgotten photos for transport.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Mar 1, 2011 - 06:00pm PT
very cool to see the story put together...
Kevin looks like he was about 11 years old...

that's probably when he earned his nickname "Kevin eleven"
ya, something like that...
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
  Mar 1, 2011 - 06:40pm PT
It's ages since I have been on this climb, but I did it a number of times and always loved it.
In the Spring of 1974, after I had been violently rejected by Sacherer
Cracker, Bob Harrington took me to see the Topo binder. I think it may even have been my first look at a topo.
For some reason Quicksilver and Freewheeling appealed to us, and I
think Bob had heard some rumors, so off we went.
We climbed Quicksilver first, then returned for Freewheeling either
the next day or the next weekend.
squatch

Boulder climber
santa cruz, CA
  Mar 1, 2011 - 07:41pm PT
Awesome TR!

This climb made a pretty big impression on me last year. A buddy who i'd never roped up with and I went to try and escape the mosquitoes somewhere. Randomly flipping through the guidebook i picked this climb, mostly for the grade and the stars.

After nearly getting sucked dry on the valley floor and the approach by mosquitoes (this was last june or so when the valley was super flooded and they were everywhere) i was eager to get started. From the moment we left the ground the climbing held my attention, with the runouts and Cathedrals-specific slab style that i had never really done. I led all the pitches and luckily didn't fall.

At the end we watched our friends climb the Groove and the Triple cracks on the Shield, and for a few minutes, soaked in the unusual satifaction this route had created.

I don't get the same satisfaction from very many climbs, This one really tested my mental game and physical technique. I don't think i would have felt this way had there been bolts every ten feet, So thanks goes to you guys for keeping the adventure in the game!
skywalker

climber
  Mar 1, 2011 - 08:03pm PT
Sweet!

Bump! Thanks for posting.

Cheers!!!

S...
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Mar 1, 2011 - 08:08pm PT
excellent report roger! thanks!!
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
  Mar 1, 2011 - 09:31pm PT
great images and fun idea to see the evolving topo for context!

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Mar 1, 2011 - 09:56pm PT
Whoa!

Blast from the past!

Thanks for putting that together, Roger - those were the days!

I remember fairly well what happened up there, I was so young and impressionable...

Roger and George had already done the first pitch, and had invited me along to continue. Roger led the second pitch, doing a nice little runout off the bolt above the mini left facing corners.

George cast off on the third pitch, which is one of the most beautiful on the North Face Apron - giant angular crystalline holds on the finest rock imaginable, followed by a grey slab dotted with orange and black knobs, and a traverse to a belay at the base of a right facing corner which rises to an arch some sixty feet above.

I led up the right facing corner, using its crack for protection, all the way to the roof at its top. Straight up was not an option, but I was able to traverse right and downclimb a few moves to the ramp which exits the right side of the arch. The last time I was up there, which was about 25 years ago, but 15 years after I placed it, the Lost Arrow I drove up under the roof for protection on the traverse was still there.

All following ascents have avoided that corner by climbing up and right across the face from the belay at the base of the right facing corner on generous incut holds. The weakness is invisible from the belay, but after I did the arch and traverse, it was plain to see from above.

From the top of the ramp at the end of the traverse I placed a single bolt, and after many false starts, I found a sequence which led to easier ground and a ledge where I placed a two bolt belay. I think the photos looking down on George above the single bolt are of the end of that pitch, the fourth.

I just gotta say that rock is simply amazing up there - I was the least forlorn climber in Yosemite, or perhaps the world after that lead!

I believe we might have been out of time and descended after that pitch that day.

I remember being up there with George, possibly the next time we were up there, when he led pitch 4 up that face off the belay for the first time. He gained the left facing corner, and put in a couple of nuts, climbed up the ramp to the bolt I placed the day before, moved up past it, but fell on the bolt.

Well, when the rope came taught from my belay, both of his nuts popped right out of that corner, as the rope was arching up to him. When they lifted out of the crack it added
another 10 or 15 ft to his fall, making it a good 25 footer, and the only thing between him and me was the one quarter inch buttonhead.

Had it pulled or broken, he would have gone another 100 ft, easy, directly onto the belay.

Anyway, I led the next pitch also, possibly the day of George's fall and perhaps the day Roger was waylaid by the siren.

Up off the belay past small corners with marginal hexes to a traverse left, and then the weakness leads directly up a shallow corner to the biggest little roof in the area. Later, Quicksilver would traverse in from the left to join Freewheelin' here.


I stretched to my max to place a bolt right on its lip, both to better protect the moves over it, and to be easily seen for subsequent ascents when finding the route. Above the roof the angle eased, and the rock became more climbable. I set up a belay which is where most parties end the climb. Roger has no photos of that pitch, further evidence it was probably done the day he opted out. We possibly descended after adding that fifth pitch that day.

The photos looking up at George leading off a single bolt on uniform grey stone are of the final, sixth pitch, I believe, one that rarely gets done.

That is one fine face route - I hope everyone here on ST gets a chance to do it!



nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Mar 1, 2011 - 10:36pm PT
BOOM! Another bit of solid gold here on the taco. Damn, this is making me sweaty but also more anxious to get back up there with the right mindset.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 1, 2011 - 10:37pm PT
Awesome Tr and Pictures, love the black and White!
So what happened with the Girl?.....:)
thanks
-ezra
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Mar 2, 2011 - 12:21am PT
Great stuff!

Freewheelin' and Quicksilver have prominent places in Yosemite Climber, but these days you hardly ever hear of anyone climbing them. Why is that? Do they knott get climbed very often?
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Mar 2, 2011 - 01:04am PT
I had to rescue Kauk on the first pitch! That was when the first pitch had no protection.

He clammed up about 50 ft off the ground, and I had to solo past him and drop him a rope from the first belay.

The only time I ever outclimbed Ronnie - he more than got back at me after that!


Maybe that's why Pete.


Freewheelin' averages less than 2 bolts per pitch, for 6 pitches. It's got less protection bolts than your typical short sportclimb...

The last time I was in the neighborhood, some folks were on it though...
yo

climber
Mudcat Spire
  Mar 2, 2011 - 01:49am PT
Love it.

Thanks, Buzz.

Oh, what do you use to draw your topos? They're great!


PS: Maybe five years back I was whimpering about on a slab pitch I was trying to put up. Bailed, scurried to my computer, and fired off an email to Breedlove begging for insta-hardman advice. He wrote back (or had his personal assistant Brandi do it, not sure) and said:

Drill a good hole, fill it with life-affirming metal, and move up. If it eases, you can drill again.


Pfft, no biggie.
WBraun

climber
  Mar 2, 2011 - 02:40am PT
Kevin which one is the scary one 2 pitch I think it was where the crux you climb over a small roof .... way run out.

I thought I was going to die for sure. Fuking unholy!!!

I'm going back to that thing and putting a hundred new bolts on that pitch .....
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
  Mar 3, 2011 - 06:39am PT
glad to see the details of this odyssey so nicely documented. i can truly say i came off of this route a different climber. started out as a guy who could jack his way up a crack and wind up where it led to.

it was an awakening to find myself in a new world with my head on a swivel searching out sequences of sculpted subtleties. what an exquisite place to learn that the way forward isn't always straight ahead, and thanks to your measure of sparseness, neither is it to drive from bolt to far off bolt without thorough in(tro)spection along the way

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1001383&msg=1001383#msg1001383
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Mar 2, 2011 - 10:22am PT
I think you're talking about the fourth pitch Werner.

Sorry about the scarce bolts - we were saving money to buy a big bag of potatoes.










Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
  Mar 2, 2011 - 10:39am PT
um, it's spelled "direttissima". grazie e prego.
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
  Mar 2, 2011 - 11:20am PT
Hi Roger, thanks for sharing these for free, instead of making me buy some coffee table book!

My favorite shots would be #31 and #41, because they really transmit the feeling.
klk

Trad climber
cali
  Mar 2, 2011 - 11:38am PT
Great TR. Freewheelin and Quicksilver are some of my favorite memories from the Valley.

Nice sequences of shots, too.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Mar 2, 2011 - 12:12pm PT
Yeah, Rik, George's expression in # 31 pretty much sums it up.

And the rock under his hands...
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Mar 2, 2011 - 01:44pm PT
Awesome. I love that route, though the only time I've done it was almost thirty years ago now that I think of it. I was probably 18 and lead every pitch. I remember the moves on the second pitch (photos 5 and 15 I think) being far trickier than anticipated.

What a great report. More please.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Mar 2, 2011 - 02:43pm PT
Great stuff, Roger - thanks for sharing.

Here's Kevin's cool bolt on the lip of the roof, since Roger was not there to get photos that day:
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Author's Reply  Mar 2, 2011 - 10:21pm PT
Glad you all liked the TR. Thanks again to Ed.

Thanks Tony. Is the rest of my nonsense Italian correct?

There are more stories about climbing on the Apron at Welcome to Kevin Worrall in which Kevin, George Meyers, John Long, Rick Accomazzo, Mike Graham, Bob Van Bell, Werner Braun, Mark Chapman, Jeff Lowe, Ed Hartouni, Clint Cummins, Melissa, Bruce Morris, Robs Muir, Ryan Frost, Kath Brockman, Steve Grossman, Mimi deGraville, Walter Flint, Roy McClenahan, Patrick Sawyer, Ken Yager, Anders Ourom, Tom Carter, Steve Moles, Karl Babovic all posted.

There was a good exchange on the 1970s Bolt Protect Run-Out Slab Climbing, covering the perspectives of how bolted routes are put up.

Hi Rik, Come on man, send me a cashier's checkl. How are you doing these days?


Hi Ryan,
Good to hear from you. I hope all is well in your life and neck of the woods. Any climbing plans coming up?

I have an app to draw topos. It is really easy to use. There are a series of drop down menus that takes you through all the steps, in the proper sequence, so everything works out.
From each category pick the category that best suits your desire for fame and fortune.
1st pick a cliff type: Yosemite crack, Yosemite face, Yosemite aid (pick only one)
Number of pitches: 1, 6, 23, 33 (limited choices on phone apps)
Degree of risk: R, X (everything is always R or X)
Total number of bolts: 0, 1, 9, 227 (pick one)
Grade: 5.7, 5.10a, 5.10c, 5.11c, 5.12, 5.14 (pick three)
That’s all you have to do. It takes this information and draws a perfect topo. Once you find a matching climb, you can add a name for authenticity. In double blind tests, these topos were as effective as Chris'



Kevin,
All of the pictures I posted in my trip report are in the order they were taken on two different days. These are printed from the numbered negatives that Ed helped me sort out. I think that we both agree that the cool pictures of George leading up to the ledge with the bolt visible to his left (27, 27a, 29, 30, 31) is the top of pitch 4. But what is not so clear based on your post and my pictures is what George is leading in the next series. George snaps our picture in the butt bags, then hands the camera back, I take pictures of him leading, then snap a picture of you at the belay and then of you following the pitch. Finally there is a picture of you and George on the ledges. I wrote that this must be at the top of the 5th pitch, but, if I understand your comment correctly, you think that these pictures are on one of the upper pitches, above the 5th pitch, but I wasn’t with you guys on that day.

I don’t remember the details of the climbing; I have compared the numbered negatives to the topo but maybe the topo is wrong. Here is a copy from George’s guide.
North Face Apron Topos
North Face Apron Topos
Credit: Roger Breedlove

Hi Ezra,

The girl in the picture went on to have a great career that allowed her to never have to talk to a rockclimber again. She is rich, gets to wear pretty dresses and hangout with movie stars. She does not post on or read climbing sites. She hangs out with a Duke of Hazzard.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Mar 2, 2011 - 02:49pm PT
Thank you!
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
  Mar 2, 2011 - 03:08pm PT
The first time I led the 4th pitch, I went high as described by Kevin.
On later visits I traversed much lower.
The first pitch that I led on Freewheeling was the 5th pitch of the
climb. Here's how that worked: Bob and I climbed Quicksilver to the
top, and our rope got stuck while rappelling, in such a way that
leading p5 of Freewheeling was the only option.

Another thing: when we climbed it, Bob led the first pitch up & left
over a sort of bulging black section. On a later visit, I was really
surprised to see the bolt out right, pretty far up. I went that way.
The left variation seemed very necky. It was after we had climbed
Quicksilver, though, which is probably scarier than Freewheeling.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
  Mar 2, 2011 - 03:07pm PT
Roger, Thanks for this absolutely great post. It was probably 1976/7 when I did this (and other Middle Apron routes) with Maria Cranor and Nancy Henderson. The Apron seemed cold, scary and loads of fun. Fun because Maria and Nancy were always joking, making fun of me, and most importantly were face climbing aces. It was this route that got us all hooked on Middle face climbing.

A side note: It was a Summer of "The Valley Grunge" (a flu that swept through Camp 4) and I was just starting to feel poorly. After we rapped off, I shared my water bottle with my partners. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of days before they too were stricken. I still feel bad about this and, fittingly, fully apologize (again).
Double D

climber
  Mar 2, 2011 - 05:51pm PT
Ahh Roger, Kevin and George... thank you for such fine routes on Middle! Everyone who's a 5.10 face climber should do both Freewheeling and Quicksilver, two of the finest face routes in the valley. If you're worried about the runouts just spend a couple of days traversing along the base to get "dialed in" to the unique rock there and you'll be fine. Also big thanks to those who spent the time and effort replacing the bolts and preserving the middle cathedral climbing heritage.

Nice TR Roger!
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Mar 2, 2011 - 11:58pm PT
Wonderful. If I get the energy I'll post about doing the 2nd ascent with Ed Drummond and Jim Wilson. Those were exciting days, and Roger, Kev and George got one of the real gems in Quicksilver, and I aways bummed I didn't beg my way onto the FA. Roger got another plum on the FA of Central Pillar.

JL
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Mar 3, 2011 - 12:48am PT
Roger,

Again thanks for putting this report together. I had fond memories of those adventures flowing thru my head all day. I lingered in the coffee shop this afternoon and they were playing the Workingman's Dead album - fit right in with my mood and that era!

You wrote:

"I think that we both agree that the cool pictures of George leading up to the ledge with the bolt visible to his left (27, 27a, 29, 30, 31) is the top of pitch 4."

That is the top of pitch 4 for sure, but George isn't leading. After thinking about the sequence of events a bit more, I think it's possible that I led up the arch starting pitch 4 on my first day up there, the day you took all the early photos, but didn't complete the pitch for whatever reason. That agrees with your recollection of that day.

In that case, possibly George and I returned next without you, and I led up past the bolt in those (#s 27, 27a, 29 30, 31) photos. I absolutely remember drilling that hole and placing the bolt, only I can't recall if it was the end of our first day with you, or the beginning of the next effort without you. I also distinctly remember leading past it for the first time, whether it was day 1 or 2, I don't recall.

The fall I described George taking may have been well after our first ascent effort.

You might have shot those photos of George following the day you returned with us later, as we had to climb up to our high point.

It would make sense that he and I did the 5th pitch also that day, which I remember leading for sure. We could have descended thinking that there was more to do up there, and returned to do one more pitch, the 6th, with you.

Then you wrote:

"But what is not so clear based on your post and my pictures is what George is leading in the next series. George snaps our picture in the butt bags, then hands the camera back, I take pictures of him leading, then snap a picture of you at the belay and then of you following the pitch. Finally there is a picture of you and George on the ledges. I wrote that this must be at the top of the 5th pitch, but, if I understand your comment correctly, you think that these pictures are on one of the upper pitches, above the 5th pitch, but I wasn’t with you guys on that day."

There was only one pitch above the fifth pitch, the sixth, and those pictures of George leading are the 6th. You can see the proximity of the long steep right facing ramp/corner in the background, particularly in photo 35 above George's head, which is above the big ledge where Jigsaw and Black Primo top out. I climbed that corner with Middendorf and Chappy many years later. The shot of us together on the ledge looks to be taken from the first bolt by George.

You may not have taken any pictures of the fifth pitch because it goes straight up off the belay and only offers a butt shot, I don't know.



You must've had your mind on a different butt shot - women always complicate things, eh mate?!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Author's Reply  Mar 9, 2011 - 05:11pm PT
Hi Kevin,

I have been mulling over how to reconcile your recollections, my recollections and, most importantly, the photos. Whatever it is we remember, it has to match the pictures since they were shot in the sequence I posted them. (By the way the final pictures in the second roll shows you leading the first ascent of “Ugly Duckling.”)

The photos show us all climbing to the high point over two days. George changed his shirt and I changed my pants. I know I didn’t climb above the high point because I have never been back to “Freewheeling,” and no one fell on the two days we all climbed together. The third day, you and George climbed and I bailed.

So I looked at the pictures of George climbing left and then up above the belay where you and I are sitting in butt bags. Then I looked at the pictures of you following. The uncropped photo of you following shows the belay bolt at the top of the 4th and the bolt that is visible in the pictures of George leading, but no more until you reach the belay. (Speaking of bolts and belays, it looks as if we only had one bolt in the belay at the top of the 4th pitch and one in final belay. Maybe there was natural gear backing it up, but it is not obvious in these photos. Yikes. I have blocked that from my memory.)

This has to be the 5th pitch, but it is not the whole pitch: it is too short, and the belay is to the right of where you are climbing, so it cannot match your description of moving left to the roof and the bolt you placed at the top of the 5th pitch. The topo agrees with the pictures of George leading left (past a bolt) and then up
Credit: Roger Breedlove
and it shows a ledge about where we all ended up where I snapped the picture of you and George.
Credit: Roger Breedlove
Here is the location of the bolt you placed on the 5th pitch after the traverse.
Credit: Roger Breedlove


So, I think the pictures of George leading and you following are the bottom of the 5th pitch. When you and George returned (and I bailed), you led the pitch and finished with the bolt above the roof. This also matches a comment George made to me when I asked him about the third day you and he were up there. He said that there was a little bit more hard climbing and the then an easy pitch.


Most importantly, this scenario matches the photos, which are more certain than my memories after 37 years. It also seems to match the most important bits and pieces what we both remember.


By the way, how old were you in October 1973? I was 23.

John, I hope you find some energy to tell us about climbing on the Apron, especially with Drummond. Ed and I were pals in SF in the late 70s and climbed "Golden Bough" on the Gold Wall in 1979. We all seemed to have fond memories of climbing on Middle. (Just so no one gets it wrong, Kevin and George climbed the FA of “Quicksilver” after the three of us climbed “Freewheeling.”)

Dave and Steve, I hope that other climbers take your comments to heart and give the North Apron routes a try. Roger Brown has replaced all of the bolts. I hope you get back up there nutjob (I read your account of climbing "Quicksilver." That route has a fearsome reputation.).
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Mar 4, 2011 - 11:20pm PT
Your reconstruction sounds good to me Roger - it is hard to remember that far back with much certainty.

Don't forget that Vern Clevenger was on the Quicksilver FA, and did a fine job of leading the last half of pitch 2.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Mar 4, 2011 - 11:26pm PT
Ah...the E.B's, the black and white photos and the unlined faces framed by mops of unkempt hair- I'm nearly drunk with nostalgia.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Mar 4, 2011 - 11:48pm PT
Hah Jim, that's funny - don't get behind the wheel after viewing a Breedlove blast from the past!

Roger - Ugly Duckling? I'm not seeing photos... are you sure they're in there?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Mar 5, 2011 - 12:18am PT
Thank you, Roger and Kevin - very nice. I love these 'historical' photos and stories, especially when there's some context. And all threads about 'slab' climbing are good ones.

Isn't every Odysseus waylaid by a siren? RTFM, eh!

When we (Kevin, at least) were very young...

Now if only George could post up - we haven't heard from him for a while.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Mar 5, 2011 - 01:13am PT
Just a bump. This happened after I left the Valley, but I heard about y'all. Nice photos, and there are lots of them.

Darwin
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Author's Reply  Mar 5, 2011 - 11:16am PT
Kevin, I’ll clean up the photos of you climbing “Ugly Duckling” and post them.

Anders, I didn’t know it at the time, but here is my Penelope in a recent photo.
M dancing with pro in Dancing with the stars benefit
M dancing with pro in Dancing with the stars benefit
Credit: Roger Breedlove
I met her in 1975. She is a “Star” in a dancing-with-the-stars benefit for Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio; she is the executive director.

Hey Jim, this is what 37 years has done to me.
Roger pledging a preagreed amount of money to YANEO
Roger pledging a preagreed amount of money to YANEO
Credit: Roger Breedlove
I am pledging some preagreed amount of money to the benefit.

George and Merrill live in Cozumel, Mexico in the winter. He tried ST a few years ago and then decided that that was then and now is now and ner the twain shall meet.

Hi Darwin. It has been a long time.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 5, 2011 - 11:38am PT
Rodger, you look like you are still in good shape!
Sounds like the girl was very lucky!!! :)
Thanks for a great thread!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Author's Reply  Mar 7, 2011 - 07:43am PT
Ezra, it is the other way around: I am the lucky one, I married up and have hung on for dear life. If you think about the picture of M dancing, imagine how hard I have to work to stay in the same room. The man she is dancing with is probably 40 years younger than she is.

Last year I returned to the Valley to climb for the first time in 30 years. I should post a trip report titled, "Time warpage, unreliable muscle memory, and overcoming public humiliation: a life remember through the looking glass." I was with Rik: he still knows how to climb.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Mar 5, 2011 - 12:36pm PT
here's the photo-documentation...
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1187021

and I'm sure Breedlove should be happy with any woman who would have him... he was the subject of a torrid love triangle in which Yosemite Valley tried to steal him back, see this thread:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1178456

all's well that ends well...

Then Athena assumed the form and voice of Mentor, and presently made a covenant of peace between the two contending parties.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
  Mar 5, 2011 - 01:09pm PT
To be the first to explore that amazing piece of rock! What a priceless experience that must have been, Roger, George and Kevin. Thanks for documenting it here.
Rick
chappy

Social climber
ventura
  Mar 5, 2011 - 03:37pm PT
Great stuff Roger. Those photos of George are just how I remember him. One of my first Middle experiences was doing Rik's route Paradise Lost with you. I believe Kev introduced me to the North Face "Apron". I always felt so lucky that he and George got me involved in Jigsaw and Mother Earth. I take that back...there were a few times on some of those run out leads that I didn't feel so lucky!
Chappy
cragnshag

Social climber
san joser
  Mar 6, 2011 - 01:05am PT
Saturday evening campfire story bump. Thanks RB for the TR.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Author's Reply  Mar 7, 2011 - 07:45am PT
Hi Mark,

Here is a picture of George taken the next year, after he had taken up photography seriously.
Credit: Roger Breedlove
We spent a few days in Southern Yosemite. I visited George and Merrill in Colorado a few years ago, and George and I catch up on the phone every so often. After a few minutes, 35 years melted away.

I remember climbing "Paradise Lost." It is a very nice route--not too hard, great rock, and, as I recall, reasonably well protected. I remember that Kauk had climbed the DNB and was rapping down with us. He was about 15, I think.

Congratulations on your Academy Award; the second isn't it?. Cool. I hope J, A, and B are well. How is A’s PhD coming along.
Mimi

climber
  Mar 6, 2011 - 10:03pm PT
Wow, Roger! What a chronicle. Got a taste on the first two pitches. Classic Valley climbing.
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Mar 6, 2011 - 10:23pm PT
Awesome stuff, that.
Puckery routes, both, I thought. Ya gotta work it.
Thanks for the perspective. TFPU!!!
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Mar 6, 2011 - 10:29pm PT
The modern-day Buzz, about to do battle with the stone of Yosemite. Or be waylaid by sirens.
Credit: Mighty Hiker
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Mar 6, 2011 - 11:38pm PT
Roger,

I noticed a detail in photo 40 which affirms your reconstruction of the climb. To my right as I look up the rock in that shot you can clearly see the ramp on which a smiling George Meyers is standing in photo 31.

So for whatever reason we did a short, maybe 40 ft pitch for the 5th pitch that day, as you suggested, which George led, and then I must have completed the lead later while you were way laid.
chappy

Social climber
ventura
  Mar 7, 2011 - 12:42am PT
Roger,
What a great little trip back down memory lane. I have great memories of hanging out in George's camper when he was working on the first topo guide. I was such a dummy I didn't even know what a topo was. The first time I did Gripper it was with George. Met Largo at the base. Also did the Left Side of Independence with George. We finished on that killer straight in final pitch of the Center Route. His hands were pretty bloody! I can't believe I didn't get more involved earlier with you guys on Middle. Like I said I feel lucky to have been on the routes I participated on. The fall of 73 was a somewhat unique time. As I recall most of the established heavyweights, Bridwell,Donini, Wunsch et al were not there. It was up to the young guns to forge ahead. You guys certainly were doing that on Middle.
Things are good with Jamie and I on the home front. Just trying to find some time to smell the roses. Anji doing post doc stuff in Athens Georgia. Blake is working at CableCam. Kev I keep meaning to call. Hope we all can hook up again sometime soon!
Chappy
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Mar 23, 2011 - 01:27pm PT
WAY WAY WAY WAAAAAY better than anything wow,really? has to offer.

What a great adventure.

Thanks guys!!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Mar 23, 2011 - 01:48pm PT
Very cool stuff, Roger!!!
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Mar 25, 2011 - 12:15pm PT
Bump for an awesome tale. Thank You for posting up!
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
  Jan 23, 2013 - 09:10pm PT
Another bump for a great story.
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