Serenity Crack 5.10d

 
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Royal Arches Area


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Preserving The Cracks! Tom Frost Makes His Case AAJ 1972
Monday May 4, 2009 11:13pm
Most climbers are familiar with the 1972 Chouinard Equipment catalog but Tom's 72 AAJ thoughtful survey article really develops the case for climbing clean.

First, the problem...






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Steve Grossman
About the Author
Steve Grossman is a trad climber from Seattle, WA.

Comments
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OfBlinkingThings

Boulder climber
Los Angeles
  May 4, 2009 - 11:17pm PT
Good article. That picture of serenity crack is heartbreaking
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  May 4, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
I clicked on this, saw the first photo and Knew it was Serenity, how iconic is that?
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  May 4, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
Steve
Another great posting. I hope the readers notice the amount
Jstan contributed to the article. Both were very
involved at pioneering the art of 'clean climbing,' as were
many others. But I certainly was influenced by Jstan, since
I was lucky enough to be around DC while he was working there.



Edit
Kind of goes nicely with Donini's "are the ends worth the means'
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  May 4, 2009 - 11:22pm PT
Cherchez les fissures!

Here are all three of the usual suspects, together for the first time at the FaceLift in 2007.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
  May 4, 2009 - 11:49pm PT
Truly classic and poignant stuff there Steve!
jstan

climber
  May 5, 2009 - 01:36pm PT
Nature’s way is strange indeed. Each of us carries within the power and the key to all that is desired, along with the fatal flaw that leads to nothingness. All is choice. We have an inspiring thing of great beauty, yet have to choose whether to protect it or to destroy it. All the while, knowing it is beyond our power to destroy the flaw itself. We are inseparably wedded to the flaw. To destroy the flaw is to destroy oneself. How is it the right choice is ever made?

The Company.

When the future first made itself known to me I had no choice. Dan Smiley had welcomed us for our strengths with the same good will with which he had accepted us for our weaknesses. I had a debt outstanding. Leaving that trust unearned was not an option. When I needed optimism and good sense I went to Goldstone. When I needed context and good humor I went to McCarthy. When I got too full of myself I went to Greg and Mel. When I made mistakes I got gentle correction from all sides.

For the first few months I thought the east was just floating along by itself. Marooned. Then exactly when it was most needed the piton displays in all of the stores moved from the front counter and were placed in drawers. Magically. Without a single sound. The big surfer’s hand had appeared above the table. Tom Frost and Royal Robbins had long been providing the kind of inspiration so unique to them. And Doug Robinson then gave us the formula.

We will always have choices. When discouraged we need to heed what Tolkien wrote. We were meant to have choices. Is that not reason enough to take heart?

To see how important the Company is one need only visit ST. The Company was the path that brought us here. It remains in front of us even now. Fully prepared for our journey.

GRJ

climber
Juneau AK
  May 5, 2009 - 02:16pm PT
Man I love the upper pitches of serenity/sons. I've been up there half a dozen times, but I have turned around at the base because of that first pitch! It is gross scarred up and munches my toes. But I guess I have swung a hammer a few times too. Hmm, I think I either need to get stronger or smoke enough dope that I lose interest in the awesome places aid brings you!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  May 5, 2009 - 08:24pm PT
Jstan, them just ain't ordinary hobbits! With a sterling example from the Brits and Scots, you guys were the exception that became the rule in the most astounding way!

You really don't understand a power or priviledge until you have to relinquish it voluntarily. The hammer was a tough habit to break! Style ultimately rests in balancing the swirling mix of power, desire and restraint.

J. Robert Oppenheimer certainly found himself in the nexus bigtime and had this to say.

"It is style which complements affirmation with limitation and with humility; it is style which makes it possible to act effectively, but not absolutely; it is style which enables us to find harmony between the pursuit of ends essential to us, and the regard for the views, the sensibilities, the aspirations of others; it is style which is the deference that action pays to uncertainty; it is above all style through which power defers to reason."

You guys had the will and purity of intent to carry the day and save the stone by example.

I like to do what I can to make sure the continuity of spirit remains clear and strong in the community. Downplay as you must, your small group had a massive and immediate conservation effect. Those ugly piton holes and snapped off flakes would be much more common on free climbs if you hadn't cared enough to act.

Thanks!!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  May 7, 2009 - 09:34am PT
Frost Bump!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  May 9, 2009 - 06:58pm PT
Hard to beat the aesthetics of the Hexentric!



The revolution wouldn't have passed a smolder without the tools to pull it off. Tom again......widget and photo!
F10

Trad climber
Bishop
  May 9, 2009 - 07:05pm PT
Steve, thanks for this post, missed it earlier. I have people laugh at me for always carrying some hexes on my rack, they don't know what they are missing. Nothing like taking a closer look at the crack and working it out that perfect slot.
yo

climber
Mudcat Spire
  May 9, 2009 - 08:26pm PT
Wow, never read this one before. It really brings out the sense that a whole community was mobilizing on this.

Thanks Steve.


as#@&%e edit: Check the curves on these babies!

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  May 10, 2009 - 10:19am PT
Nice design, nasty consequences.....
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  May 20, 2009 - 10:31am PT
Nice clean bump!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  May 20, 2009 - 10:37am PT
Hell people on ST must love pitons, they are forever posting on the wonderful attributes of Serenity Crack- the World's poster child for what chromolly can due to granite.
yo

climber
Mudcat Spire
  May 20, 2009 - 11:19am PT
Travel light, respect the creation, and face yourself.
jstan

climber
  May 20, 2009 - 02:28pm PT
"face yourself"

That's about it.

If you look on the surface at where our minds spend most of their time you see
"I don't need anybody
I never fail"

The truth is that is the functional equivalent of sitting on a couch watching TV all day. Hard to feel good about 70 or 80 years spent watching TV. Might as well not be born.

The 60's-70's gave us the best of times and the worst of times. Failure was everywhere and no one could agree on anything. What came out of it? A success, entirely unexpected, and a place like ST where almost forty years later you can still see something is going on between the people.

Cave Rock and its like is the Serenity Crack of today.

Be interesting to see what we do this time.

Will we walk away?

Or will we dig in, lift ourselves up, and be strong?

Go to the Steele Crag thread to see what it is like.







Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  Jun 27, 2009 - 12:39am PT
Frost bump!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jun 27, 2009 - 01:35am PT
Bravo! The historian is back. Those first photos of Serenity Crack say it all, hopefully we won't see anymore posts on ST asking for beta on that monstrosity.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Jun 27, 2009 - 02:39pm PT
Hopefully adding to Steve's history, here's what
JStan was doing many moons ago. . .
I finally found these in my archives. . .





Sorry about the size--I've been having problems with my
photobucket stuff. . .
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Jun 27, 2009 - 04:49pm PT
At Steve and Mimi's wedding I got handed a copy of the classic '73 Chouinard catalog to sign my clean climbing article. Happens often enough; always an honor. This time I hesitated awhile, though.

Didn't go for the usual:

Climb hard
Climb clean
Go for it
And stay mindful.



Instead, I started thinking about the clean climbing revolution and why it worked:

This revolution succeeded not because of the moral imperative to save the rock,
But because the challenge it presented was intriguing,
And just plain fun.

What's next?


That feels like an important clue about how to frame any future revolution, and we need a few, right now.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  Jun 28, 2009 - 03:00pm PT
Velvet Revolutions are the exception, arising as they do from a desire for peace, freedom and a better world rather than from anger.

The clean climbing version was successful because of the way that it was framed intellectually. The arguments for it could not easily be countered with any real strength or conviction, only personal weakness and indulgence.

Save South Crack by RR set the table for the future by forcing a step back to examine the gains and losses involved in climbing by force. Piton damage and the grim legacy of a hammered future were there for all to see on every free climb.

Serenity Crack and its history of being loved to death is the darkest of poetry. I wonder if Les Wilson had any premonition?

Once the fix was in, there was no turning back.


Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Jun 28, 2009 - 08:09pm PT
I mean, I have never even gone up there in these 46 years; Serenity Crack has been a frightfully embarassing thing since the late sixties. Ever since John Stannard, that well known Mass Conquistador of the Useless wrecked it with his big Choice Hammer.

It is so bad that we need to epoxy-and-stone-dust it all back up and then saw in a new one. (g).

God, people loved the RURP and knifeblade back then. Especially young climbers starting out. It was clearly fetishistic. Like women trying on size 3 shoes or Tarbaby making a huge batch of tiny rabbit-pelt musettes for no one in particular! Another kooky example was Center of Little John; it was pinned out to about 1-1/8" wide x 1-1/8 tall x 1" deep by 1965. Everyone wanted the 5.9 A4 rating!!! lol. The pressures you normally have to develop with those tiny pins meant of course that the rock got excavated from placement # one, bigtime.
jstan

climber
  Jul 4, 2009 - 04:12pm PT
Today's challenges are just as large as those faced forty years ago. In the late
sixties, during the early stages, we were making the same mistakes in framing
the issues as are being made today. Almost identical mistakes. The turning
point I saw came during the climbers' meeting called by the Mohonk Preserve.
There was no anger. There was no outrage. The problem was allowed to take
center stage. It just simply was not about us. Neither individually nor
collectively.

Being able to separate oneself from a problem is a critical first step on the path
to a solution. It ceased being a personal issue.

Seen appropriately, today's issues are no more about we here today than rock
damage was about us back in the seventies. What were the issues then and
what are the issues today?

What kind of world shall we leave to our grandchildren?

Will they have a chance to be excited and challenged? Will they have a chance
to explore and to seek adventure in a natural world?

Can we, whose lives have been so blessed by these incredible gifts, leave any
less to those who follow?


Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  Jul 4, 2009 - 04:19pm PT
Thou shalt not trash the place...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  Jul 5, 2009 - 01:02pm PT
Do what is best for climbing, as Bob Kamps would say, and demand your own best effort.


Black Diamond catalog 2002.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Jul 5, 2009 - 03:30pm PT


Sheridan Anderson, of course. The last page of his classic Baron von Mabel's Backpacking. Followed by this Sheridan rundown, also pretty classic:

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Author's Reply  Jul 5, 2009 - 05:31pm PT
Great cartoon, Doug! I had lost track of the source of that hilarious line. Thanks for posting the long version.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jan 23, 2014 - 03:37am PT
Clean climbing bump!


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Royal Arches Area - Serenity Crack 5.10d - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
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