Trip Report
Great Googley Boogley Tioga Pass - ablegabel & Ed Hartouni - July 9, 2011
Wednesday April 30, 2014 2:03am
July 9, 2011
Great Googley Boogley
The Sphinx, Tioga Pass
ablegabel
Ed Hartouni


ablegabel called me up early in the week and asks if I’m up for an adventure on the weekend,
“sure” I reply…

“what are you up for?” he asks again

“I’m up for anything” I reply

”anything?” he asks again, checking my resolve

“anything!” I resolve and so we are committed to a weekend trip to Tuolumne Meadows to attempt to tick another project off a long list of projects. Friday evening the Blue Van arrives and I load my stuff in and we’re off.

“Where are we going?” I ask, but there is no answer, “you are up for anything, aren’t you?” ablegabel asks/reminds me, and I confirm that yes, it is true, I’m up for anything.

Sunrise at Ellery Lake
Sunrise at Ellery Lake
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Saturday morning arrives early for me, sunrise above Ellery Lake, it’s wonderful and I’m sitting watching the ducks. The door swings open, a cup of hot coffee is handed off and after a few moments we’re driving down the road.

Turns out you’ve all been by The Sphinx, those who have driven from Tioga Pass down to Lee Vining. It’s a huge out crop of block granite. Here’s a map to orient you. Lots of activity on the down hill side of the road, but I haven’t heard a lot about the uphill side.

Satellite overview of The Sphinx, Tioga Pass
Satellite overview of The Sphinx, Tioga Pass
Credit: Ed Hartouni

So we get organized, have breakfast and get ready to hike up to the start of our day’s work.

Sorting gear and getting ready, The Sphinx watching unconcerned.
Sorting gear and getting ready, The Sphinx watching unconcerned.
Credit: Ed Hartouni

The start in an alcove is interesting, wildly steep, and the surface of the rock is friable. Lots of care. Someplace a voice above me says “gee, I’m not sure I’m up for this today” the sound accompanying a shower of peebles rubbed off the surface of the rock. Eric finds the resolve to push through the uncertainty. The rock is good. He ends up doing a series of moves up to a traversing roof and then under it with just enough feet to keep it sane.

Stemming up the first pitch.
Stemming up the first pitch.
Credit: Ed Hartouni



At the end of the first pitch we were indeed, Spellbound.

(even if you don’t watch the whole video, jump to 8:20 to get a perspective of the route from the first belay).

The next pitch was even wilder… up and around some stacked blocks, then to a traversing horizontal crack, with no feet really, but once again just enough to get you by the exposed piece, then more jamming up steep corners to the next belay ledge, which wasn’t much more than the top of a block just big enough for your feet.

At the second belay ledge.
At the second belay ledge.
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Not too much loose rock on this climb, most of it has fallen off. The loose stuff that hasn’t is stacked neatly in vertical piles, so careful movement seems to be a very good thing to strive for.

The third pitch starts out steep again, finds a roof, traverses out and left, once again with enough for the feet to make it possible. Getting to the belay was a tremendous relief. At some point ablegabel is warning me about a loose block. I get most of the way through the pitch thinking “that wasn’t so bad” and reach over to a blocky hold with chalk on it and it moves, very easily. I totally freak out, but somehow avoid tipping the block onto my lap and finish the stout moves to the belay.

Looking down to the car from the third pitch belay.
Looking down to the car from the third pitch belay.
Credit: Ed Hartouni

The last pitch is a lowish angle and probably 5.7 to get to the summit. Sort of a let down considering the first three pitches had absolutely wonderful 5.10 moves.

Great Googley Boogley, 5.10, The Sphinx, Tioga Pass FA 7/9/2011 Eric G...
Great Googley Boogley, 5.10, The Sphinx, Tioga Pass FA 7/9/2011 Eric Gabel & Ed Hartouni
Credit: Ed Hartouni

On top, the summit register put there in 1938 with the report of 12 ascents the last one before our’s being 2007. Of those 12 parties there are many who have returned multiple times. There are a few routes on The Sphinx, and now one more. Descending is 4th class with some rappells to make it go faster.

What a great day.

A summit register!
A summit register!
Credit: Ed Hartouni
FA 73 years before...
FA 73 years before...
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Pete Hoss, Ned English
Pete Hoss, Ned English
Credit: Ed Hartouni
Irene Wechselberg and Wally Reed, 1962
Irene Wechselberg and Wally Reed, 1962
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Rod Kennec, Jerry Rupert, James Clay Pearson, 1977
Rod Kennec, Jerry Rupert, James Clay Pearson, 1977
Credit: Ed Hartouni
Wayne Wallace and Fletcher Wilson, FA S. Face Route 1984 and the SA by...
Wayne Wallace and Fletcher Wilson, FA S. Face Route 1984 and the SA by Wayne Wallace and Paul "Wally" Teare in 1985
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Todd Worsfold and Paul Teare, 1987
Todd Worsfold and Paul Teare, 1987
Credit: Ed Hartouni
Paul Linaweaver and Mike Strassman, 1987
Paul Linaweaver and Mike Strassman, 1987
Credit: Ed Hartouni

John Ellsworth, 1988
John Ellsworth, 1988
Credit: Ed Hartouni
Paul Linaweaver and Mike Strassman FA Bighorn
Paul Linaweaver and Mike Strassman FA Bighorn
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Sibylle Hechtel and Paul Teare, 2007
Sibylle Hechtel and Paul Teare, 2007
Credit: Ed Hartouni

  Trip Report Views: 2,431
Ed Hartouni
About the Author
Ed Hartouni is a trad climber from Livermore, CA.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Apr 30, 2014 - 02:12am PT
Ed thanks for posting up. So very cool you guys put up a sweet new line.
Great imagery and a fun read. Looks like a beautiful wall.
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  Apr 30, 2014 - 02:18am PT
Top notch! Looks like a fun adventure, and dug the register pics.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Apr 30, 2014 - 02:33am PT
Right on Ed!
A big tip of the hat for adventure!

Cool to see ESU a couple times in the register.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Apr 30, 2014 - 03:16am PT
That's a cool place to visit! Thanks for sharing it with us.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Apr 30, 2014 - 03:50am PT
Cool - thanks for sharing.
I've looked at that thing while driving by, but never got any closer.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Apr 30, 2014 - 07:04am PT
hey there say, ed... wow, this is great! and i can see the video now, ... sounds stall, at times, but wow, i can see it...

say, also, i always look at this type of rock, and almost picture it 'falling apart in chuncks' it looks SO 'PIECED TOGETHER' like those
blocks are all really just holding each other, into one huge mass...

whewww, of course, good to know that rock this slip out, oh my...

great share!


oh, i like reading all the notes as to the 'who was here' climbs...
:)
eKat

Trad climber
  Apr 30, 2014 - 08:08am PT
Nice one, DrHeartMan!

Good to see "east side underground" and TheStressPuppet (Linaweaver and Strassman, may he rest in peace.) in the summit register.

TFPU!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Apr 30, 2014 - 08:36am PT
Thanks for the climbing content Ed!
Tad
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Apr 30, 2014 - 08:37am PT
Thanks for the climbing content Ed!
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Apr 30, 2014 - 10:31am PT
Thank you for sharing, gotta love the stoke for The Meadows!
ablegabel

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Apr 30, 2014 - 11:53am PT
Thanks Ed,
I forgot about a lot of the details of that adventure. Didn't know you were videoing me on the FA. Very cool route. Always good to tie in with you.
Topo of Great Googley Boogley 5.10
Topo of Great Googley Boogley 5.10
Credit: ablegabel
That was a fantastic day. A rope, a rack and the shirts on our back. Doesn't get much better.

 Eric Gabel
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Apr 30, 2014 - 12:11pm PT
Nice Ed!

Always fun to read old Registers and names from the past.
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
  Apr 30, 2014 - 06:31pm PT
Ed, I'm jealous - Ablegable didn't throw any rocks at you!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Apr 30, 2014 - 02:10pm PT
Wow. Your trip reports are works to savor and always inspire me, besides. Thanks, Ed.
susu

Trad climber
East Bay, CA
  Apr 30, 2014 - 02:10pm PT
Wonderful trip report! Great climbing! Whoop!
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Apr 30, 2014 - 02:19pm PT
Love the shots of pages from the summit register, too!
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  Apr 30, 2014 - 02:20pm PT
fantastic! thanks for the share.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Apr 30, 2014 - 06:00pm PT
Awesome summit register!!!
Thanks ED!!!!
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
  May 1, 2014 - 02:27am PT
So others besides you two have actually climbed that POS? I've stared up at it of course driving up to the Pass, but never gave it a second thought of actually walking up to the base. Bravo for your tour de force.

However, what about a new route up one of the long aretes on the north-facing side of Lee Vining Canyon leading to the summit of Ellery Peak east of Ellery Bowl? All you need to do is walk about a mile due east from the Ellery Dam Spillway, find the arete, and surge up it to the summit. Kinda committing, but I have faith in your native route finding abilities. Enjoy!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  May 1, 2014 - 02:53am PT
Well done. Well done.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  May 1, 2014 - 03:22am PT
Nice!


Great job on the route, fine style!


Love those summit register photos too.


Edit- How did the name for this line come about ?!?!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Author's Reply  May 1, 2014 - 10:46am PT
Bruce- although The Sphinx looks loose the rock is quite good.

As for the scramble you suggest, I've 4th classed one line with ablegabel up there, but he's done a lot more.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  May 1, 2014 - 11:11am PT

it ups one's core score when they are "up for anything"


Nice route!!!
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
  May 1, 2014 - 11:18am PT
Im proud of you boys Ed. Unlike most of your californian compatriots you even do the ugly.
ablegabel

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  May 2, 2014 - 07:50pm PT
Bruce,
The arêtes you are talking about are quite good. I've done 4 of them, including the 2 main ones that go on for ever (best viewed from the green bridge area). The furthest one east tops out next to Third Pillar of Dana. They are all quite good and about 5.6. I'll try to post a picture when I get a chance.

-Eric Gabel
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
  May 1, 2014 - 11:44am PT
Nice stuff!! You people put the A in adventure on that one.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
  May 1, 2014 - 01:06pm PT
However, what about a new route up one of the long aretes on the north-facing side of Lee Vining Canyon leading to the summit of Ellery Peak east of Ellery Bowl? All you need to do is walk about a mile due east from the Ellery Dam Spillway, find the arete, and surge up it to the summit.

Eric: So someone else not only thought about those long aretes on Ellery Peak, but actually did them as well! They do look to be excellent adventures. Obviously, that whole Lee Vining Canyon-Ellery Bowl area needs a comprehensive guide, maybe included in an East Side book? I remember that Yerian, Marc Hill and I did a two-pitch crack route (5.10a?) right above the Pump House down near Aspen Campground on the north side of Lee Vining Canyon below Tioga Road. It was alright, pretty good even. Must be a whole lot of other obscure routes scattered around Lee Vining Canyon too that no one knows very much about.

You sure sound like you know that area and its obscurities. You ought to go out and do "Squealer" crack (5.10b) sometime. Great little secret crag.
zBrown

Ice climber
Brujò de la Playa
  May 1, 2014 - 01:39pm PT
Great document doc. Informative and entertaining both.

feralfae

Boulder climber
in the midst of a metaphysical mystery
  May 1, 2014 - 01:55pm PT
Great trip report and video, thank you for making it all entertaining and inspiring. I smiled through the entire video, felt the rock in the sun against my skin. Loved it!

Thank you!
feralfae
sullly

Gym climber
  May 1, 2014 - 05:31pm PT
Good going Ed. Hope your recently injured partners heal up as well as Rob did.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Author's Reply  May 2, 2014 - 02:21am PT
Great Googley Boogley...

spelling is uncertain, probably a variant of Great Googly Moogly?


at 2:10

or maybe (later)

at the end
eKat

Trad climber
  Jun 23, 2014 - 06:58pm PT
Glad to see this, again!

BBST!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jun 23, 2014 - 08:44pm PT
Cool adventure seeking behavior!

Yeah, when I read that I wondered if it was supposed to be "Moogly" or if that was some sort of deliberate pun, I didn't get...
Walt Shipleyput up a "Great googley moogley in the fishers or somewhere....
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 23, 2014 - 09:18pm PT
Loved the report. I thought there were routes on that thing, but didn't know there are about 4! How do you guys know you were not climbing some other routes that someone else climbed before?
I wish all the routes had that sweet overlay like yours!! I might be dumb enough to climb it someday, looks like a fun day out. Congrats on another one!
Brock

Trad climber
RENO, NV
  Jun 23, 2014 - 09:55pm PT
I think it was Albert King, great blues guitarist, that used to say "great googles moogely," but I'm sure he wasn't the only one.
Obscure but cool route

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 23, 2014 - 10:06pm PT
great thread bump
ablegabel

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jun 24, 2014 - 05:08pm PT
Hi Vitaliy,
You asked how we knew we were on a new route? Well, I had been on top of the Sphinx two other times, by two other routes, so I had an idea of what had been done. It really didn't matter if it had been done before, as we were just looking for a fun adventure. Since we only brought a rack and one rope (no hammer, pins, or bolts), there wasn't much chance of doing to much damage and we were kind of committed to topping out. We had a great day. Couldn't ask for much more.

 Eric Gabel
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