Wheat Thin 5.10c

 
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The Cookie Cliff


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
The Birth of Wheat Thin
Sunday September 24, 2006 7:05pm
The Birth of Wheat Thin

After a fairly big season, summer wearing on, Bridwell and I went up to the Meadows to climb with Robbins and Jeff Dozier for the day. RR had just arrived for a quick trip with Jeff and his idea for an outing with the four of us, was Rawl Drive on Lembert Dome Appropriately the only real pitch followed a line of widely spaced bolts up the handsome west face of Lembert, after negotiating a rib lower down after the first belay. With RR leading off over the horizon in fabulous blue skies, and Jeff then also disappearing, Bridwell and I, being the youngsters of the group and certainly the self-styled bad boys, were left alone briefly to hone our skills of abject ridicule. You see, by this point, August 1971, we both knew RR and Jeff were just grand old men and had had to give up their reins to us squirts who certainly would know how to finally kick the horse in the flanks.

So toward this end, Bridwell performs, entirely for my benefit at our smidgeon of belay spot, and realize, very close at hand since he was tied to Jeff’s trailing line and anchored at our belay, a hilarious mocking of RR’s showboating style of face climbing. Lots of stepthroughs with uncanny hops, operated at a frequency far beyond what RR had performed but indicative of the wasteful and exhibitionistic quality they had had, say maybe ten stepthrough hops within 25 seconds, reminiscent of Irish clog dancing. He went on to add for me, several very “alert” memorable and classic RR facial profiles requiring he also flare the hell out of his nostrils and do RR eyes, as if to signify that in the beautiful alpine scene below us he as RR had sensed the Larger Picture from our aerie. As he actually began to follow the pitch, he continued this comedic routine with other Stony Point maneuvers, with lots of complicated back stepping, and a pronounced butt-outward posture to technically diminish the effect of the rock’s angle and add the last possible bits of fun to our skit. We had seen it all, and now we were having fun. It was one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed Bridwell do. It was somewhat born of affection for Royal but it also was to call a spade a shovel, I have to think. Anyway our shenanigans ended, RR never knew and thus would never be hurt by it and there went a couple of hours in the Meadows.

But Jim and I weren’t done. We salvaged what was left of our productive day and roared back down to the Cookie area 50 miles away leaving the old farts with their memories, rappelled the soon-to-be Wheat Thin, and checked out this phenomenal formation. We were roped on and over the edge within an hour and half of leaving the Meadows.

Wheat Thin, on the Nabisco Wall, was not thought of as something a climber from Good Society would have bothered with. The silly thing is about 1” thick mostly, a flake so thin that in its expanse has many actual weathered through-and-through holes in its face as it stands mostly detached about 100 ft high above the actual Cookie top. And when I had been over in this area climbing, I of course had seen it, as everyone else had, and it did not even occur to me that it was a possible climb. What it looked like was mere ugliness and non-being---Nonclimbing, really, which can fill many climbing areas, especially 35 years ago.

But Bridwell, in his March to the Sea, had noticed it and had decided we were going to make this thing happen somehow, so that other climbers could not have it. Kind of how Richard Pryor says, “Women, they’re weird, they buy shoes so that other women can’t have them”. And so over we go, bolts and hangers at the ready, and place a few really ugly, hideously protruding 1/4” compression units in the vertical cliff wall just to the left of this piece of granite paper shuddering on the wall, while taking out a few razor-edged flakes staked in the crack here and there. Bridwell did most of this as I hung out above him.

I am looking at him, he is wonderfully garbed in his all-white full-sleeved shirt and pants, but he is not happy. He is hammering away at the drill, but way fast, and doesn’t seem to be enjoying anything anymore. We had been having such fun. The drill in those days was not carbide and would narrow out and bind quickly. The bolts are bottoming out too soon. I don’t know. With him it could be anything. But eventually he clues me in. And then I see some blood, it’s near his crotch, let’s me know his hemorrhoids are killing him. And he is in white.

So in the spirit of our raucous day that had begun in the Meadows, I take a motherly tone with him hanging 50 feet below me, trying to soothe him, advising my daughter about how this kind of thing happens to young ladies around this age, that it would become a regular thing, and that he should not be afraid it is just the weeping of the disappointed uterus. And he enjoys this new riff, jugs up, and I finished the last messed up bolt and we are out of there. So in a matter of an afternoon, Wheat Thin became the first rap-bolted climb in the Valley, only because it was such a fragile wildly expanding structure, and ironically authored by extreme trad climbers.

We instantly went back the next day I recall, and started to climb our monstrosity. Since it was Jim’s idea, as we stand on top of the Cookie, he leads off way to the right on a flake ledge to access the incipient crack that runs up to the actual defined left facing 1”-4” thick lieback flake. He has hammered the sh#t out of a Long Dong trying to get it into the meager bottoming crack; there is nothing between him and I besides this and he tries to develop the moves above this A3-quality placement to reach our fancy flake.

He hates it; the situation is unexpected because the day before we had just looked at the flake higher up and not how to get into it. After about 30 minutes he actually backs off, gives me the lead. I am sure he was not at par either with his hemorrhoids. My advantage of course was that I did not drive the one and only point of protection between us, so I did not understand how it probably would not have held a real fall. I beat it a little, didn’t love it but went ahead anyway. So bold and ignorant, I established these fairly hard 5.10c barn-door moves to the flake, thinking that they were gross, inconvenient, and just in the way of our special-assed flake rather than the actual beef of the whole route. Climbing onwards to the top of Butterballs for the belay, I encountered nothing as difficult as this technical start I had just done and had actually kind of gotten bored tippy-toeing around this dangerous thin feature for a hundred feet. Jim swarmed up the route, and we were off.

It turned out during subsequent ascents years later, a couple serious falls took place at the beginning, and that although it was to become a unique airy three-star route, the thing was nobody’s little plaything. It was just put up by clowns.

previous posted image of a climber years later on the crux: Jared Brown:
]

previous posted image of a climber years later on the lieback/jam section above:





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Peter Haan
About the Author
Peter Haan is a trad climber from San Francisco, CA.

Comments
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Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Sep 24, 2006 - 07:53pm PT
Great story, Peter. For shame that Jim in the flesh and you in the next century should mock Royal so. The truth always comes out, in all its senses.

I do recall that that was about the time that Jim was learning to deal with the mantel that he inherited from Royal. I don't think it was easy for either of them.

Funny tale.

Best, Roger
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Sep 24, 2006 - 08:31pm PT
this is a great story!

The day-to-day flow of climbing has always been missed in the various bits and pieces of writing from the past. I think it's because space was so limited and precious that the focus needed to be on the "important" aspects in a story. This story sort of ambles, like climbing does in the Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. I always have a fun day when I climb in both places, much fun, even the quick drive getting from one place to the other.

Rawl Drive is a 5.10a R/X climb, probably doesn't see a lot of traffic these days. (It's on my list, but I need to find a partner willing to go up there, there are a lot of other climbs to do, good climbs, that are more mildly protected).

Then to go down and work on the Wheat Thin FA, so casual... taking time out to climb with the old dads, then back to work on the next generation of climbs. All in a day...
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Sep 24, 2006 - 08:33pm PT
Very fun! After having climbed this super fun route just last week, it was an especially interesting read. Thanks -
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Sep 24, 2006 - 08:36pm PT
Well Peter, when I suffered from a similar malady on Experimental Earth with Jim he was hardly motherly.
Instead he insisted that I was going to need a medical procedure akin to passing 3 miles of barbed wire. As usual he could be prone to hyperbole. In this case it was barely a half a ropelength.
Then again, the surgeon was a climbing partner and the tools have vastly improved since the good old days so maybe he was speaking from experience.

In any case he said that after it enabled him to succeed on the PO.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
  Sep 24, 2006 - 09:01pm PT
Peter,

Thank you for all of your wonderful stories. They are getting better and better. Keep them coming.

Ken
pc

climber
  Sep 24, 2006 - 09:22pm PT
Great story Peter. Thanks. The Taco is gaining quite a climbing memory.

And for the "soon to be old dads" here-about, so that you might avoid a similar fate...

Hemorrhoids: Introduction
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hemorrhoids/DS00096

Hemorrhoids: Prevention
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hemorrhoids/DS00096/DSECTION=6

pc
WBraun

climber
  Sep 24, 2006 - 09:46pm PT
Nice history writing Peter.

We were watching you and Jim place the bolts on the wheat thin.

So then Jim's hemorrhoids become too inflamed. The warbler and I said we go get the Bird some preparation H for the relief, at the lodge gift shop. Warbler says he'll buy, so I go to magazine rack to look at some dumb magazine. Back then the magazine rack was by the window looking into the lodge mezzanine. While leafing through the magazine waiting for the warbler I suddenly see the warbler outside the window running while dragging this 260 pound female curry company security guard through the bushes as she's hanging on to his T-shirt.

Hahaha like WTF is this. He shook her loose after a ways. He escaped into the woods with the preparation H. The Bird must be saved at no cost, I guess.

A few days later, with the Bird feeling better we eat ice cream at the lodge ice cream shoppe. There we were the usual crew slurping away when low and behold big Bertha security guard shows up. She immediately gives me the big harry eyeball. She leaves and returns a few minutes later with reinforcements.

"That's him" she points to me. "He's the guy with the preparation H who escaped a few days ago" she tells her crew. Huh? Me? Oh man, now how the fuk did this happen? Mistaken of the identity or memory loss for sure.

But she was 100% sure it was me. The cops (ranger) show, and wants my ID. I left it in C4. He tells the Bird that someone has to get it for me, as I might take the flight. Bardini gets dispatched for the ID by the Bird. Meanwhile the cops chastise me for no ID and that if I fell off the rock how would anyone know who I am.

Yes, pretty stupid all in all. They had to let me go as there was insufficient evidence and I'm the wrong man.

The next day the sun still rose in the east ........
chappy

Social climber
ventura
  Sep 24, 2006 - 09:55pm PT
Hey Peter,
Great story...I love the hearing about how all these classics came to be. Us young guys that followed in your footsteps had a little more sympathy for the Bird's roid problem. One night I was hanging out at the Lodge when the Warbler came out of the gift shop. Some guy came out and grabbed him by the arm. It was a under cover security guard. Turns out Kev had liberated some preperation H for the Bird's problem. Kev ripped his arm free and took off a runnin into the night towards Swan Slab. It was a clean get away! At least that is how I remember it. Kev help me out here. Jim finanly got the problem taken care of in Tahoe summer of 74 I believe. I seem to remember he had a little donut type pillow to sit on after the operation. Wheat Thin and the whole Nabisco Wall had kind of a rep there for a while. Hard to believe now as it is has become sort of a trade route. How times change. People had trouble with the thin little barn doory section before the first bolt. The first time I climbed it was with Jim when we did the first complete ascent of the Nabisco Wall. It was May of 73. We started at 6am to beat the heat. We actually started by climbing the left side of the Cookie. I led that pitch then Jim led Waverly Wafer. I had already done the Wafer back in March. I was the first person to do it that year and the first to climb it with chocks. I remember the previous fall watching John Stannard of Gunks fame struggle on it. He placed an inch and a quarter angle in the final lieback section. That pin was still in place when I did my earlier ascent. I liebacked up to his pin clipped it and it promptly fell out. I hastily stuck a seven stopper in and took off for the anchors. The upper lieback was wet but I made it. Anyway here I was facing your Wheat Thin a couple months later. Having no pins I placed two opposing nuts at the base and liebacked up a few moves and placed a stopper and then down climbed back to the base. I gathered myself and then climbed up through the crux, reached the main flake and clipped Jim's first manky spinner quarter inch bolt. As you said the upper part was pretty straight forward. I believe Jim did a little creative work on the flake that made things easier for future generations climbers. The birth of the Thank Bridwell Hold! I belayed Jim up, he complemented me on my measured approach to the pitch. I completed the ascent by leading Butterfingers. I remember getting an atta boy from you Roger back in Camp 4.
Chappy
KP Ariza

climber
SCC
  Sep 24, 2006 - 10:02pm PT
Great story! These are threads(Yosemite Climbing) that keep me checkin' in on the ST forum. I first met The Bird in Tahoe City at a superbowl party in 1982, felt like a kid getting an autograph from Willie Mays. I remember asking him about what it was like in those days, bagging the classic fa's of the lower canyon and beyond. You guy's had it made. This forum needs more legends-and their old school stories, keep em comin'.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Sep 24, 2006 - 10:09pm PT
You deserved an attaboy, Mark. How old were you then, 17 or 18?
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
  Sep 24, 2006 - 10:10pm PT
I always felt sorry for Bob Bartlett because LEO thought he was the Warbler and would get harassed every time he showed up.

Ken
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Sep 24, 2006 - 10:12pm PT
Yes!
More great stuff to read; thanks boys.

Then, there is/was the "Robbins Hop!" (as recalled by Peter), a maneuver infrequently relied upon and for years I thought I was missing out because it was so rarely prompted by necessity...
chappy

Social climber
ventura
  Sep 24, 2006 - 10:19pm PT
A couple more Wheat Thin stories. This was the first place I saw Bachar climb. It was the following spring and he and Tobin were up there. Tobin was having a time of it on the Wafer. I believe he took a fall on the final lieback. I thought if these guys were having problems here they were in for it higher up. John led through and cruised up Wheat Thin in the cool and in control manner that he would become famous for. I remember being impressed. I believe they completed their ascent. About some of those long falls... I think it was the same year. A group of us were hanging out down on the road. It was great back then because you could actually drive up the old road and park. Bridwell was there. Perhaps Kevin and Dale?? I can't really recall. Some one was just starting up Wheat Thin. He traversed out placed a nut and headed up towards the crux. He placed a few more pieces and neared the first bolt. The next thing we saw was his first piece lift out and slide down the rope. He had failed to place opposing gear after the traverse! So he's up there and we see a second piece lift out slide down the rope. Tension was mounting! Finally his last piece lifted out and he had no gear between himself and the anchor at the base of Butterballs! He was right there at the first bolt but couldn't keep it together, He started shaking. His belayer clipped the rope through the anchors and he was off. It was a nasty looking fall. He plummeted down until the rope came tight and he was then whipped in an arc coming to rest in the Wafer dihedral. Fortunately he wasn't seriously hurt. It was quite a show. Of course Cams have made things much safer here and made clever nut placement a thing of the past.
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Peenemunde
  Sep 24, 2006 - 11:49pm PT
Bump
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 25, 2006 - 12:28am PT
Thanks tremendously buds! I have much fun writing these vignettes, pulling out the details during an hour or two, and then your adding to the tale so much! This forum makes a kind of community that has never been possible before, frankly. Maybe the guys before me would have been more interactive had they been able to communicate so readily, richly and so widely.

It’s true, the Nabisco Wall was badass for awhile. Probably Wheat Thin being the only part of it that was actually dangerous, everything else being harder but safer. And the Wall had two early 5.11 pitches in it. Every year or so in the Valley there would be an area or section that was endowed with special bad boogie powers, only to eventually be towed back into the realm of the possible and even the delightful. We would chat these things to death, scare ourselves, and try to figure out when to do them. Kind of like kids scaring themselves telling ghost stories during their first overnight outing.

Waverly Wafer was a real sandbag at 5.10c. It probably has to be called harder since it is so continuous and to be in comparison with other routes of that grade. It is actually a bit sophisticated too. I guess I should have added I was climbing in the 70’s in PA’s (Pierre Allain shoes) up until about 1975. Jim was in early EB’s.on Wheat Thin.

I didn’t know that Stannard had labored on Waverly, interesting. He was having a hard time though in general in the Valley then. He was used to the Gunks.

The problems with the rangers never ended and I have to think that they must have begun at the latest, in the early sixties. I remember them question me wearing a swami belt (early handtied harness) back in 1964 as I tried to fill water bottles up at the Lodge water fountain in view of tourists in the restaurant. They thought I might be some kind of deviate, with this thing on. My friend and I had been nailing the Swan Slab route; I was 16. Fortunately I didn’t have much more trouble with them, although nearly everybody has some hideous tale encountering their absurdity and misplaced hatred. They were almost another species.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Sep 25, 2006 - 12:45am PT
Well, criminy Peter, it wasn’t the swami belt that tipped them off, it was you. Hee he.

Why were you still wearing PAs? I switched immediately. I didn't like my PAs--too skiddy.

It really is amazing how telling stories on the internet is a major step up from the old single line approach. I wonder how many tubes of Preparation H Kev stole for Jim?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Sep 25, 2006 - 12:45am PT
We need Ouch to create a picture of Big Bertha going around tacking up posters of Werner saying "WANTED for Ointment Theft".
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Sep 25, 2006 - 12:52am PT
Great stories!

Peter, not to detract from the history of Wheat Thin being one of the first rapbolted Valley routes, but I think the honor goes to Dave Rearick on the Split Pinnacle lieback pitch (5.10c) (as mentioned in the '71 Roper guide). Pretty good lead for that era in hard-soled shoes. Rearick was a CO climber best known for doing the first ascent of the Diamond with Bob Kamps.
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Peenemunde
  Sep 25, 2006 - 01:00am PT
Peter,

Have you been approached by any of the publishers?


You seem to have enough material for more than one book.

JDF
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Sep 25, 2006 - 10:52am PT
Great writing Peter. Loved it.

DMT
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
  Sep 25, 2006 - 11:03am PT
Great story. Thanks.

Ron, I actually was afraid to open this thinking that ouch would have posted a gruesome pic of birthing this route....
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 25, 2006 - 11:04am PT
Thanks for the many compliments! Come to think of it, SteveG, yes, the overhanging Split Pinnacle Lieback bolt was not placed on a free lead; it would not be possible to bolt even today without hooking or other tension. In the 60’s the decision not to put pitons in it was smart; it is too fragile.

It has been about 34 years since I was up there on the excellent East Arete route, but I guess you could use modern camming stuff in the lieback now. Wasn’t that Mort Hempel’s lead? I can’t find my two old Roper guides at the moment. That short little pitch is really intimidating though obvious and straightforward. The ledge under it and the leader is no fun. It would have helped if it weren’t kind of crumbly and the flake not clearly expansive. It’s odd what climbers would focus on, with the whole Valley nearly unclimbed at the time. But considering the thing is maybe 25-30 feet long, has but one bolt in it, I was thinking that it was hardly a route, rather a practice curiosity, but technically you are right. I guess it was the thinnest edge of the coming wedge . But to repeat, the idea was the first rapbolting (such as our Wheat Thin and Split Lieback) was done on freak formations that weren’t able to take our pitons without collapsing dangerously. Protecting on lead on sound rock was carried to extreme difficulty even in the fifties or earlier.

Juan, it’s true, there is a lot to tell, and I guess I have done about 10 stories so far here and previously, with maybe 40 more to go---I have this list of topics I am ticking. No publishers beating the doors down since Roper put my 1971 Salathe solo article in his “Ordeal by Piton” book, by Stanford recently. But the mere act of writing brings me not only consolidating happiness but also a lot of great friendliness from all of you characters! It’s been 43 years now, this climbing thing, all starting on a YMCA teenagers’ ten-day cross-country Yosemite high country hike lead by the climber Les Wilson. We even did a first ascent on Mt Lyell then. It was if I had found the secret of life, at least for some years afterwards. I was as awestruck in the sixties as Roger B was in the seventies! Deer in the headlights, really.
chollapete

Trad climber
tucson, az
  Sep 25, 2006 - 11:47am PT
I check in on ST for the history lessons, such as this thread, as I'm not in California. Awesome stuff, especially for a new climber like myself.

Here's my question: Are threads archived indefinitely on the SuperTopo server or are they automatically deleted after a year or so? I would hate to lose this history.

About a book: There's a new movement in publishing about one-off book publishing. Anyone can publish these days: it's a matter of submitting files on a website and maybe paying a modest one-time charge. After that, anyone can order a copy and it will be printed on demand.

'Course, this brings money into the equation, and human nature being what it is.... I love having these stories free, but I'm sure that others would also love having these stories collected into a bound book. Um, if anyone is interested in this, let me know and we'll see what we can do.

Mark T.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
  Sep 25, 2006 - 11:51am PT
Nice story, Peter. I remember the first time I went up there.
After Waverly Wafer, it was my lead. Wheat Thin was so spooky
looking I decided to try Butterballs instead.
Not my first mistake, or my last, by far.
sm
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 25, 2006 - 12:12pm PT
Hi Steve (scuffyB)! Wheat Thin really IS spooky. Fortunately it is not what climbing is about mostly! If it was I wouldn't be a climber! I did as little liebacking as I could on it, for fear of tearing off huge plates of it. If you hit it with your hand, it rang way too freely…. I kept jamming and combination climbing it as much as possible but this was awkward, freakish and not fun. I did lieback it some though, and worried so much. After all I was the first human on the thing, and a big one at that. I would have chosen gorgeous Butterballs too. Thank god Bridwell wanted to do the route; I never would have dared to mount a FA on it. Bridwell was such a great productive influence on us sometimes. I visited with him a few years ago; it was if we hadn't seen each for a few hours, just wonderful.

Chollapete, yeah I am roughly aware of one-off publishing. That is what I might end up having to do, probably. Do you know sites etc?

Best P.
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
  Sep 25, 2006 - 12:58pm PT
Man, taking a screamer before the bolt rings a bell. My first trip to the Valley I dropped straight down, caught the backs of my legs on the traversing line, flipped upside down and clanged my melon about ten feet below the ledge. I think the rack I had on softened the blow. No blood, though I was immediately of numerous bleed-out deaths from exactly that spot (not sure if that's true.) I still have no hair behind my knees!

Can someone scan and post that shot of Yabo leading out? Or that rad black and white Epperson shot in RockPrints ("little Sue"?)
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
  Sep 25, 2006 - 01:47pm PT
Excellent writing about a really historical FA on an important bit of climbing real estate (i.e. the Nabisco Wall).

Wondering though Peter if you ever heard about Barry Bates and Bev Johnson up on that same ledge with Bridwell? Barry told me one afternoon at Castle Rock SP about the time he and Jim and Bev were up there having a great time throwing carpets of munge off the ledge at the top of Waverly Waffer to improve it for hanging out. Did you ever hear anything about that?

Just wondering . . . Did JB just keep returning again and again to the Nab Wall until he'd picked all the plums to the top?
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Sep 25, 2006 - 02:29pm PT
Hey Peter, I still have that deer-in-the-headlights look. Only now my antlers are way bigger.

Your stories and those that you cause others to remember are great. Unlike the heroic stuff that we all read and some of us have written (collectively speaking), the stuff on ST feels more like the real thing of climbing in Yosemite. Getting up, getting coffeed, getting going, spotting interesting projects that were under our noses for years, and then deciding to give it a go. My climbs were never so near to the cutting edge, but that is how Allen and I free climbed "Beverley’s Tower," right there on the low-cal, healthy, meat and potatoes wall, below the desert wall that you and Jim started climbing on. And, how I decided that "Crack-a-go-go" wasn't really "Crack-a-no-go" and spent the time to clean it out. I do know that for me it was always easier to work on my own first ascents than psych myself up for someone's else burn off. Never did get up the Nabisco Wall. It's a desert thing.

I'll post some ideas on a new thread about about how we might work collectively to capture some the first person accounts and repartee in a more robust and long-lived way. Think wikipedea.

Best, Roger
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Sep 25, 2006 - 03:04pm PT
Nice yarn, PH.

Per Waverly Wafer, pulling yourself out of that wide section on the thin lyback is made all the more difficult because the wall is so smooth and there's no footholds. For those crazy enough to just run it out it might be 5.10c but if you stop in the middle and slot a nut it has to be harder.

I remember doing (with Kevin W.) the 3rd ascent of the Nabisco, right after Chapman and The Bird, and belaying Kevin on Wheat Thin with the rope running straight right about 20 feet then straight up and thinking if he fell the rope drag would pop that dinky wire out and KW would plunge down and smack the top of the Cookie Pinnacle. I don't think we understood about directionals at that time--but Kevin cruised it. He and Mark C. were really talented back then, espcially with bunk pro. Mark (who has small fists) led Goldrush off the worst hexes imaginable. That route was solid 5.11 for me and my fists fit it perfectly. I still don't quite know how he led that thing.

RE: Split Pinnacle. I think the lyback on the Dihardral was a little trickier (but was done what, 10 years later)? But hey, that so-called 5.9 variation on Higer Spire (with a big string of ancient fixed pins) was harder than both of those routes. Always wondered if I was off route on that one, but apparently not. I could climb 5.12 back then (72??) and I barely made it.
Someone made the first free in hiking boots--sure don't know how.

For pure technical difficulty--as I mentiond earlier--I thought the hardest Valley climb (in terms of moves) up to around 1970 was Abstract Corner. I think I remember hearing that Peter H. did the second ascent of that one as well.

These are great stories. Wonder what folks would think about these routes if they too had the pro we had back then and the shoes (I also climbed in red PAs till '73).

Peter, you might talk about how poorly protected some of those off widths were back in the day. I recall routes like the Left and Center of Absoltely Free (with nuts), Crack of Doom (at least the crux), Edge of Night (one bolt), Left Side of the Slack, Right Side of The Hourglass, Leverage, and many others as having almost no pro, at least where you wanted it. I think those off sized cracks were about the only kind of routes where being big was an advantage.

JL
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
  Sep 25, 2006 - 03:11pm PT
Roger wrote "I'll post some ideas on a new thread about about how we might work collectively to capture some the first person accounts and repartee in a more robust and long-lived way. Think wikipedea. "

These remembrances also deserve a place in the Yosemite Climbing Museum- which will also have a virtual/ web presence (right, Ken?- -- I am sure there are dozens here who can help you set up a web page….).

One of the things I would like to contribute- --- if possible- are Mark Powell’s stories and recollections. Tarbustier and I were chatting recently about how Powell is the original Stonemaster. That prompted me to email Bonny Kamps asking her to ask Mark if I can perhaps do some manner of interview. He initially said no, but Bonny asked again recently and Mark changed his mind and said “OK”.

I’ll be moving back to CA in a few days., and once the dust settles I’ll write him and pay a visit. If he is jiggy with the idea, perhaps me and a couple other people could sit down over tea and beers and spend some time with a tape recorder. His experiences merit being recorded for posterity and the Yosemite Climbing Museum.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Sep 25, 2006 - 03:39pm PT
Peter, thanks for sharing the stories! I always feel "cautious" (scared) hanging on to place the cams in that lower crux. Very glad to have cams there and not just nuts or pins.

The photo of the climber in red is Jared Brown, leading it in March 2005. http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/rep/053wheat.jpg

Here are some of Chris Chan following it in May 2006:









http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/rep/06520/
Jorge

climber
  Sep 25, 2006 - 04:03pm PT
Peter, Mark, this has been great to hear about. It seems the Nabisco Wall was indeed one of those places that intimidated all in some fashion. Mark, you were so strong and solid to have cranked up Waverly Wafer as you did. I know I took a pretty good whipper the first time up.
Butterballs was one of those routes that held off a lot of folks, talented climbers who could certainly have climbed the thing but for the intimidation/reputation factor. Steve Wunsch is one of those who comes to mind, particularly. I went up there with Henry Barber, a guy never to let a reputation intimidate him, to finally do the route. Well, of course it was all him. There were three of us, Henry, myself, and a kid I only met that time, but we were all three alumns of the Appalachian Mountain Club --we were AMCrs-- since we were all from Massachusetts originally. I remember we all thought that there was some irony in cranking a hard Yosemite route by a bunch of geeky Eastern yahoos. I don't remember how we got to the base--probably the Wafer. I do know that Henry cruised up to a nut on Butterballs where all previous suitors had retreated, then for some reason we lowered him off. While we awaited what I assumed certainly would be his heading back up again, I tied in and pretty much floated the pitch to that point, which brought the comment that "ya shoulda taken some pro." from below. Of course the lie to that was clear when I followed the pitch after Henry's second and successful attempt; I didn't float anything, now convinced that this was a hard climb. Barely made it as I recall. The younger AMCr took a picture of us that made it in to some magazine or something.
I should say that I knew Henry a bit from back east, from about 1966 or 67. I was a climbing instructor with an AMC trip to Joe English Hill in southern New Hampshire (all of 15 or 16) and Henry was there as a student. An eventful day as it turned out: he caught me on my first leader winger as I barndoored off a steep little headwall. A sunk lost arrow down 10 feet was the pro. I remember that I was "just making up the route" as I went along, not really thinking about "new route" or such, but regardless, too tough for me and my RObbins boots and Henry got me with the goldline. Shaken a bit, I continued up another easier way and when we got down one of the other instructors --Geoff Edmonds, a schoolteacher I think-- had fallen off the 5.2 traverse on some route --as impossible as that sounds now (heck it seemed unlikely then) and broken his leg. I and others climbed up to Geoff from below while Henry ran around and rappelled down to him from above. Don't remember much beyond that. It was quite the surprise to me when years later I first started hearing about Hot Henry. I suppose with his penchance for renaming unclimbed routes to his liking, we are lucky Butterballs didn't become Appalachia or some such...
Standing Strong

Trad climber
snowshoe thompson history trail
  Sep 25, 2006 - 04:25pm PT
That's awesome Peter Haan. I super enjoyed reading your tale. Thank you for taking the time to write that out for us. :)
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Sep 25, 2006 - 04:26pm PT
Vis a vis thank-bird holds, dare I ask, what is the history of crack "enlargement" on the Nabisco?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 25, 2006 - 05:25pm PT
Roger I think you mean, “dessert” thing, not desert thing, don’t you? I never did Beverly’s Tower but I remember Al was proud of it. It looked fun too.

Crack-a-Go-Go is truly one of the finest early 5.11’s ever. Vandiver and I did the second free ascent of it, right after Livsey and Fawcett. Unbelievably continuous and a very engaging, tricky crux low down that is a bitch to protect with confidence. Incredibly classy lead! It might be harder than 5.11c too. I could hardly stand this route mentally it was so intense even after the crux. The Brits were really proud of it too. To me this was one of the opening salvos for really modern Yosemite climbing. And of course it had to be the Brits that showed us.

Thanks Bruce, Rog, Johno, Clint et al. Stoked that this stuff works for you guys; your complements and encouragement are fantastic.

That’s right John, I did the second ascent of Abstract Corner and it was absolutely at my limit, 5.12. And friable too. Really hard and powerful. Unfortunately for how damn hard it is, it’s not a spectacular thing, honestly. And ditto on your comments re. Waverly Wafer. I actually did it with pins the first time, and what a race with time that was for a 5.10c rating. Very cool route, especially coming out over the roofette thing and having to confront the last section. In the beginning it was supposed to be a huge deal, really significant and so forth. We got used to it though.

Yes, Johno, I think I should write some stuff on this wide-crack protection thing. It is hard to believe nowadays, isn’t it, how bad-ass it was. The climbs you quote are all pretty much significant runouts of varying degrees of severity, none trivial, some very scary. And mostly I bet they are hardly ever done now. We just did not have squat to protect them and just climbed the bastards anyway. It is not that I disliked protection (as Vandiver did), it’s that we did not really have any and we had trained ourselves to proceed without it as Pratt had. Very hungry in those days. And yeah, being 195 lbs and super strong then, was actually an advantage over being really lanky and light. Inez Drixelius and Brutus o'Wyde used to call this, "blue collar climbing" .

Sewellymon, your Powell project is really important. This has to happen for you. Much praise to you for coming up with this! Powell was our boldest, best free climber for awhile. He was gone by the time I came along though so filling the picture would be important to three generations or more, now. Test out Al Steck for your get-together with Powell btw. You might prepare Powell et all with kind of an outline plus some example questions, so he/they have time to conjure up all that stuff so long ago.

Clint, love your immense wealth of info and photos! I guess if Bridwell and I had been real rapbolters then, we would have had to have established triple anchors right at the base of Wheat Thin rather than using the old station way over to the left 20 ft which makes it so much ickier. When we began the FA, we had no clue that the first 20 feet were important at all. We were so lamely into the kooky thin flake. The flake was kind of a circus-trick, while getting to it was tough old-school Yosemite.

Bruce, your story about Bridwell, Beverly and Bates nest-making on top of Waverly is incredibly funny. They had to have been stoned. Considering that through time Bev was partnered to each of them consecutively, this is real fun to hear. God I miss her. Our very own climbing Carly Simon. And a wonderful ribald laugh too. I saw Bates a few years back, he is not really healthy now, and is living in Santa Cruz County.

Ron, crack enlargement on the Nabisco definitely happened. The targets were Butterfingers, and a little bit, Butterballs (which rightfully Henry bagged out from under our noses). I can’t remember Lady Fingers. I was not involved in this but yes there was some activity where pins were driven in and taken out a whole bunch of times in a row to develop some slots, and I think up on Butterfingers there might be a foothold or two that got “enhanced” too but I am not sure, its been 33-35 years since I was up there. Some of us were scandalized for sure. It is a wonderful little pitch regardless with this great distinct top edge. This also happened to Gripper and Freestone. Bridwell took a couple of swats at stuff on Wheat Thin but it didn’t end up making much difference. He just couldn't help it. The crux at the beginning was not toyed with at all; we thought it would be casual. Except for his widening activities, often the rest of his manufacturing was kind of off-based or delusional, if I may say so myself. Gripper crux doesn’t need his stuff either. It’s a mellow climb either way. It would be easy to exaggerate JB’s activities, but in my view, it ended up not being too bad. At one point during this period, RR said, "I think Briddy is slipping". RR was trying to sound literary and English, always styling you know. No one called Jim "Briddy". The real villain was Jardine on the Nose, outright cutting it up as if it were an ice climb. And with Ray hiding his "friends" devices in his shirts for many years too, wow, and even hanging on them secretly. What a guy. But that is another and very much covered subject.

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Sep 25, 2006 - 06:33pm PT
Ladyfingers was not pinned out, but it wasn't as thin as Butterfingers to the left, but was somewhat harder because it was wide fingers and the crack is shallow. Mike Gramham and I just climbed up there and did it-no top roping or pining out the crack or any such jive. It seemed like the probable finish to Wheat Thin instad of traversing left to Butterfingers and then traversing right to the thin crack to the top.

Another crack that got away from us was Haard, just left of Crack-a-go-go. It has a really good thin crack on the first pitch and a nice technical second pitch as well.

Peter, I'd like to hear your stories on leading some of those old ofwidths. I remember on the left side of Absolutely Free only getting two nuts in the whole lead--and thinking that was enough because you could stay plugged into it all the way. But coming out of the flare on the center route was really sketchy on the old hexes--looking at a fifty footer if not more. My hands sweat thinking about it now.

JL
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Sep 25, 2006 - 06:36pm PT
I remember meeting a bloody scruffy Jardine on the Column in the '70s and him covering up his rack in a way that made me suspect he stole it!
lol

NOW I understand.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Sep 25, 2006 - 07:05pm PT
Hi Peter: I think it is a "spelling thing." Sheese.

'Beverly's Tower' was just sitting there. We were all climbing the all free cracks on the Cookie and nobody thought to climb "Beverly's Tower free. I was snapping pictures one day and climbed up to get a good shot of Jim Pettigrew leading "The Meat Grinder." I got a great shot that Roper used in Ascent and then as the lead picture in his collection, "Ordeal by Piton." (Steve gave me a badly needed $50 for Ascent and we shared a bottle of wine of the “Ordeal by Piton.” Maybe more than one.)

After taking the picture, I turned around and saw "Beverly's Tower," not as an old, boring aid climb, but as a new, free route. Allen and I were climbing together then and I roped him in--he was always game. The route was a non-event, mostly. We roped up, I climbed up a ways, had to clean some dirt out the crack to get pro and my fingers in, and led to the top. I have a vague recollection that there are some neat moves getting into a chimney. Does that sound right?

I remember Allen busting my chops because I did not come all the way back to the ground and pull the ropes after hanging on a low nut to whack at the dirt. I was standing on big edges, at a rest spot, so I ignored him. It was a fun, no angst climb.

On the other hand, "Crack-a-go-go" was one of my biggest disappoints. We all knew it was there--it was a stupid aid climb on the Cookie cliff. We walked past it to get to anything left of the Cookie itself, particularly "Outer Limits" (I have some nice slides of "Outer Limits" that I am having scanned.)

But "Crack-a-no-go" had lots of vegetation and dirt. After spending time at the base of "Outer Limits" in the standard group assaults that we cooked up, I decided that it was worth some effort to clean it out. I spent the better part of two days--on rappel--getting the dirt out. The first day was for major cleaning. After the remaining dirt dried, I went back and brushed it off. I thought it was going to be stellar.

I started up it in the company of Ericson and Higbee, and I think Bragg and Wunsch, as they waited for “Outer Limits” or one of the other climbs in the area. Each of us gave the lower section a go, until we felt comfortable enough to move up into new territory, and get to new protection point. The pro was sketchy, so the up and down was geared to getting something in. I spent the better part of the day, working on it.

Unfortunately for me, I had to start the summer guiding season the next day or so. I told everyone that I finish it the fall. I actually worked on tuning myself to that sort of thin crack/faced climbing while working at RockCraft that summer.

When I returned to the Valley, with "Crack-a-no-go" and other projects in my sights, Mark Chapman told me that Livsey had been told about the efforts on "Crack-a-go-go" and had done the route. I was sort of shocked. It is an incredibly obvious line—you walk right by it—and one that no one paid attention to. So it is not like someone can say, "Oh, I discover this new line." It was easy pickings for Pete because it was clean and had been pointed out.

Bummed me out.

Roger
Ouch!

climber
  Sep 25, 2006 - 07:20pm PT
chappy

Social climber
ventura
  Sep 25, 2006 - 10:35pm PT
I love to hear the history of our sport...especially, of course, Yosemite. When I was one of the new generation of young climbers there in the early seventies our only real link to the earlier generations was Bridwell. Its nice to hear your persective Peter...I would love to hear from others such as Klemens or Barry Bates. I loved that early 70's style of swami belt and chocks clean climbing that my generation pioneered. Don't get me wrong I love cams and sport climbing (all climbing for that matter)but it was so much cleaner and simpler back then. Its funny to hear todays climbers describe non sport climbing as "trad" climbing. Its really sport crack climbing...again nothing wrong with it but its just not the same. The mental side of the sport has been so simplified. Falling is viewed in a completely different light..Again its all good...every style change helped make modern free climbing the mind boggling sport it is today. We can't live or lives in the past but it is nice to revisit it...fondly. More to come.
Chappy
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Sep 25, 2006 - 10:43pm PT
Sport crack climbing?
Whatever THAT is trad is more.
chappy

Social climber
ventura
  Sep 25, 2006 - 11:23pm PT
Ron, did I strike a nerve? Sorry if I did. Actually, I hate those labels--Sport climber, Trad climber. To me there is just climbing. To have to define ones self in such terms seems to invoke a sense of stylistic bigotry into a sport which I feel should trancend such a schism. The climbers I grew up with were simply climbers and enjoyed all the various disciplines of the sport. They could climb walls, wide cracks, thin cracks, bolted face routes, mountains and ice. Steep bolted face routes are just one more unique facet to an all around wonderful game. How does one define a Lynn Hill? Or an Alex Huber? Tommy Caldwell?? They are simply climbers. Very very good climbers. In part because they could transcend definition and stylistic bigotry in our sport.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Sep 26, 2006 - 12:10am PT
Sport climbing is a misnomer. The real sport is in trad.

I really have no idea what sport crack climbing is.
Standing Strong

Trad climber
snowshoe thompson history trail
  Sep 26, 2006 - 01:11am PT
I just read this a second time. Thanks again.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
  Sep 26, 2006 - 03:27am PT
Yes, Peter, your surmise about the state of Bev, Barry and Jim is very much correct: Bates described how they were laughing and giggling as they ripped up huge mats of munge off the ledge and hurled them down on the top of the Cookie. Sounds like there was quite a pile of the stuff up there orginally.
426

climber
  Sep 26, 2006 - 07:53am PT
Thanks Mr. Haan, always appreciated.

Does this story end the long standing notion that the Bird was "the consumate trad"?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Sep 26, 2006 - 07:56am PT
Where has this notion been standing so long?
426

climber
  Sep 26, 2006 - 08:08am PT
I dunno, PR, everyone I talk to tends to forget (or not know) about the jizzlin on WW and "other nefarious activities" done via hook or crook (i.e. rap lines).
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Sep 26, 2006 - 01:23pm PT
While this could lead to another lengthy descent onto an ethical dogpile, I recommend we don't go there and say we did; not to skirt the matter, but it is what it is (was).
Although perhaps not well known by a younger generation, these are not secrets.

Sure, while that enhancement/rapping stuff can be run down, (given the inscrutable ethics of some of the protagonists of various era) and I wouldn't support those chiseling/pinning activities per se, Bridwell likewise dispensed an inestimable legacy of achievement, mentorship, and vision to the evolution of our activity.

Jim's constitution embodies a lot of characteristics:
Adventurer, athlete, innovator, aid climber, free climber, alpinist, irreverent instigator.
He ain't and wasn't pure as the driven snow.

Let's continue to foster and enjoy the free flow of historical reportage,
(and perhaps move the collateral discourse up to another thread).
Cheers,
Roy.
chappy

Social climber
ventura
  Sep 26, 2006 - 03:32pm PT
I agree whole heartedly Roy. Largo and I used to refer to Jim as the Saint because he certainly wasn't a purest but the term was used in a light hearted manner and not meant as any type of slur. Jim was an innovator, an outside the box sort of the thinker, and as such pushed the envelope of what techniques would or wouldn't be accepted by future generations. The thing was we didn't always know what was "right" or "wrong" we made it up as we went along. As such the sport developed and found its own way. It was a fun journey and the history of that journey is what we should be enjoying. Jim was a great mentor to myself, Largo, Kevin--indeed our whole generation. He turned us on to so many great routes, shared in so many unforgettable experiences. Bravo Jim!
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Sep 26, 2006 - 04:29pm PT
Jim was very aware of the "Top Dog" standing of Americans in the world rock clmbing arena of the early 70s. Excepting a few Brits and a Frenchie and two Germans, most all the other climbers of every nation would come to Yosemite and flail like crazy, or be so specialized that they climbed within very narrow margins. The Bird was the leading dude on making sure the Americans continued marching point in this regard--and he made sure he dragged along whoever was willing. We all were young enough that he seemed to know everything--an attitude we slowly grew out of but by that time we'd adopted his approach to go after the biggest, baddest thing out there every time, so far as we could.

The rest of the world quickly caught us but while it lasted it sure was an experience to ride the cutting edge and to be so young in the process. There were a lot of epics and even more friendships forged from the adventures of that era and many of us came to know each other through The Bird, who was a sort of Mr. Chips of Camp Four back in the day . . .

If you're looking for perfection, look elsewhere; if you want to see a died-in-the-wool adventurer, you need look no farther than The Bird.

JL
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 26, 2006 - 07:35pm PT
At this point, I'd like to refer some of you to previous Bridwell stories I wrote here recently. Use the ST search function, you will find them. They are really fun. Largo,
Chappy, myself, and perhaps another hundred climbers, love this man. HIs leadership was incomparable. And what a relief from the prior "church ladies" we had in the sixties.

"Driving Miss Bridwell"

and

"A Brief Walk with Bridwell"

and here is a photo I took of him at an odd moment,


enjoy & best, P.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Sep 26, 2006 - 08:19pm PT
Those are great stories, Peter. Thanks.

Here are a couple of my you-got-to-love-the guy-stories to add [url="http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=68084&msg=68126#msg68126"]Bridwell’s new shoes[/url]

And [url="http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=88565&msg=88565#msg88565"]The first ascent of ‘Hoodwink’ or Bridwell’s ‘recreation’ day[/url]

Best, Roger
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Sep 30, 2006 - 01:40am PT
More wonderful stories - thanks, Peter and all.

I did Nabisco Wall in spring 1977 with Rick LeDuc. Quite the adventure. He led Wheat Thin, using opposed nuts as a directional, and I still remember being surprised at how delicate the lower layback was, and how relatively easy the flake was.

Have the bolts on Wheat Thin ever been replaced? The original bolts must have held a few long, but fairly low impact, falls.

As the thread has sometimes wavered (he he) toward Butterballs, here are some photos from Mountain of early ascents.

Does anyone know about the origins of white painter pants for climbing?

Anders



Mountain 31 - January 1974. From Jim Bridwell's article "Brave New World", about what was happening in the Valley. The caption in part says "The final link in the chain of pitches comprising the Nabisco Wall was added by Henry Barber in 1973. Belayed by George Myers, he is seen (right) starting the vicious finger-jamming crack called Butterballs that leads directly up from the Waverly Wafer to Butterfingers." (credit Jib Knight)

The article has lots of other classic photos, which might be scanned.



Mountain 36 - June 1974. This picture may be of Dale Bard. Caption "Butterballs on the Nabisco Wall in Yosemite Valley." (credit Gene Foley)
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Sep 30, 2006 - 02:56am PT
I can scan and post the article, but am not sure if that is acceptable. Copyright and such. Mountain went out of business in 1991 (?), but those who wrote the articles and took the pictures may still care, and someone may still hold the rights to Mountain.

There's lots and lots of things that could be scanned and posted, if permissible. Comments, anyone?

Anders
426

climber
  Sep 30, 2006 - 12:30pm PT
continue to foster and enjoy the free flow of historical reportage

I agree wholeheartedly Tarby...I just can't bear to hear T-Warriors time and time again use the Bird as a giant trad strawman when the man himself was bleedin' out rap bolting...superalpinist and "viZionAreee" sport climber seem mutually exclusive to some but a few like Brid and Gullich seem to have crossed beyond "mere labels"

Can they handle "the truth" Tar?



Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Sep 30, 2006 - 12:37pm PT
Maybe they can't handle the truth but having the chutzpah to do it in the early 70s still shows that he pushed the envelope.
426

climber
  Sep 30, 2006 - 12:41pm PT
In more ways than one
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Sep 30, 2006 - 01:32pm PT
Would you, perchance, be refering to candor?
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
  Sep 30, 2006 - 05:57pm PT
"Does anyone know about the origins of white painter pants for climbing?"

According to what I heard once, Royal Robbins used to paint houses in the off-season for his wife's father in Modesto. RR just kept the white painter's paints and hat on when he went back to the Big Ditch.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Oct 1, 2006 - 12:15am PT
426 & Ron,
Man I'm good with all that.

'Nice painters pants history Bruce.

Hey whutabout Peter Haans upthread reference to "Church Ladies" as Bridwell's Predecessors!
Haan: "His leadership was incomparable. And what a relief from the prior "church ladies" we had in the sixties."

Bwahahaha.
I just love to laugh and that was way too funny...
Wonder

climber
WA
  Oct 1, 2006 - 02:51am PT
I say "Postem if you gottem" MightyHiker how about a scan&post of the Mountain cover shot of the SM's before they left for the nose in a day. Thats a tell-tell shot. It made us all think twice.

BTW, Jim told me BITD when we were living in little calcutta that when he got back from cerro toro (please correct my spelling) his roids were so bad that they hung down so far that he had to stuff them back up. This might be just a Bird story but I doubt it.

sorry my posts are so late but my keyboard died and I had to pull out my I-Book and learn how to use it.

rw-edit - and remember all my passwords. cheers.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Oct 3, 2006 - 08:58pm PT
*bump with photo*

A modern Bridwell:
Blinny

Trad climber
  Oct 3, 2006 - 09:40pm PT
My white pant thing started out with 50 cent pairs of Navy uniform pants. . . you know. . . the straight waisted, bellbottoms that were flared from the hip down. . . they were THE BEST! I used to drive to a place in Long Beach, CA called the "QuarterMaster Supply" that dealt Navy unis to Navy dads and I would buy as many pair as I possibly could and take them back to camp and give them to whom ever they fit. . . for the most part, they were 32s so you had to be pretty slim to make 'em work.

Then. . . it seems like we comsumed all the old Navy white pants the world had created and we ended up having to go for painter's pants.

Ain't it rotten for the world!

I can remember sitting around camp (with no fire, mind you. . . we were all WAY too lazy to build them!) making up climbing words to old songs. . . and one CrosbyStillsAndWhomEver song was retagged with the following. . . .

If you climb with me
I will understand
Cause that is something
Everybody
Everywhere
Does
In the Ssssssaaaaaaaammmmmmmeeeeeeee
White Pants!

:-)

WARNING. . . I'd better stop now or the WayBackMachine might get fired up to the point of no return!

Keep THAT magic alive!

Love and hope to you all!

eKatOldDadBrockWomanTheUnBlinny
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Oct 5, 2006 - 04:11pm PT
...and the Bird brought along the purple berries?
john hansen

climber
  Jan 9, 2007 - 11:16pm PT
A bump so A Crowley can learn about how to post..
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
  Jan 10, 2007 - 12:48am PT
I'm laughing too much! Hemmoroids are funny! I know from experience! It only hurts when I laugh.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
  Jan 10, 2007 - 03:20am PT
Just a little point. Steve, Rearick was a California climber from the beginning, climbed with Royal at Tahquitz, etc. He later moved to Colorado, when he took a job teaching math at C.U. His ascent of the Diamond on Longs was while he was still a Californian.

Werner, you are really a good writer. Very imaginative and poetic.

Pat
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
  Jan 10, 2007 - 03:30am PT
I'm not sure, but Eric Beck and Frank Sacherer might have been the first to use the white painter paints. I'm probably wrong, but I can't think of anyone before that. Kor had a pair, I know, when I was climbing with him in the Black Canyon and elsewhere in the earl 1960s. Beck was wearing them when he and I climbed together in Estes, in the mid-1960s...

Pat
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Jan 10, 2007 - 08:41am PT
I also have a rusty memory of Eric being an instigator for painter's pants. But it is based on comments he made rather than any direct experience. I don't ever remember Royal in white pants but I knew him in the 70s, when he was a bit older and settled (and an upright member of the community). He did wear a white cap.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jan 10, 2007 - 10:19am PT
"GEEK"

a quote, not an evaluation.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
  Jan 10, 2007 - 10:30am PT
BTW - those white pants in the photos are sailor pants - we all used to get them at the army-navy surplus stores for $1 to $2 a pair. They were lightweight and cheap and caught on quick.

"Wheat Thin" is too fragile for bouldering...
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
  Jan 10, 2007 - 11:13pm PT
Just some musings:

An earlier question by Peter, about the Split Pinnacle lieback. Dave Rearick did that lead on June 29, 1961. Mort Hempel was his partner. Rearick aided part way up and placed the bolt at what he felt was the only place where a leader could get one hand free to clip it. He then descended, removing all the pitons except the bottom one, to back up the bolt. He then led the pitch. It was, as he years later surmised, the first "sport route" in Yosemite.

John Bachar, but these white pants of which people are speaking came before your time. Maybe they were the same painter paints to which you refer. Who knows?

John Long. I'm not sure I know what you're talking about, when you seem to suggest that no outsiders could climb all that well in Yosemite, except a couple of Brits, and a few others (I forgot how you worded it exactly, and I'm sorry because I probably butchered it..., but...). I think quite a few people have come to the Valley and done perfectly fine, you know Layton Kor, Henry Barber... I could name others, such as Madsen and Schmitz. I recall having a great time and doing some hard climbs, pretty much, I think, near the top of the grade for the time. I loved climbing with Higgins and Kamps and Robbins and Pratt and Bridwell. We had lots of good times and good laughs, also bouldering, with my good friend Barry Bates. He actually published it somewhere that I was the best boulderer he'd seen. I was simply focusing a little harder maybe at that moment than others. I loved bouldering with him, though, and with Bridwell. But you have to realize what a tremendous inspiration Yosemite itself is, and how one so benefits from living there or spending lots of time there and what an advantage that is. One can't help but get better and better, just in the presence of those incredible rocks. We are all blessed with our own areas. I've seen the best from Yosemite struggle on Eldorado rock, because it was foreign to them and they weren't used to it, and likewise the best in any other area find the Gunks difficult for the strenuous, steep climbs, and then turning it back again even the best climbers from any area will usually be overwhelmed at the first sight of a Yosemite offwidth. Each area has its masters, and always outsiders will be at a disadvantage, and yet those masters all were equally worthy in their own ways, I think, in the fairest light.

Pat
john hansen

climber
  Jan 10, 2007 - 11:19pm PT
Oli.. Looks like your Gall bladder is doing fine,, Just joking man.. Keep those stories coming. Got to keep those young guys in line.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
  Jan 10, 2007 - 11:38pm PT
Well I wasn't trying to put anyone in line. Just throwing out a few thoughts. I have only respect and appreciation for the people this thread has been talking about. I was thinking also that maybe Roper was one of the early white pants guys. I seem to recall they believed the white would reflect the hot sun on the big walls and keep them cooler.

Mind you I wasn't any great genius climber, but I tried pretty hard in my hey-day. If anyone else had tried as hard as I did they would have been ten times as good as I was.

Pat
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
  Jan 10, 2007 - 11:57pm PT
Oli - maybe you're right. Those pants that Henry has and the ones Dale have sure look like sailor pants to me - could be wrong. I know a lot of people wore painter pants as well, but I remember them coming after the sailor pants started getting scarce....

Where's Henry when we really need him?
john hansen

climber
  Jan 11, 2007 - 12:14am PT
Mr Bacher,,, is Henry Barber still alive?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Jan 11, 2007 - 01:26am PT
It's beginning to sound like we may need a "who first wore baggy white cotton trousers for climbing" thread.

Is there any substantive difference between painter pants and sailor pants? Apart from who allegedly wears them, that is?

ps I don't know him, but saw Henry Barber at the Outdoor Retailer last summer.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
  Jan 11, 2007 - 03:54pm PT
My point isn't to question whether they were sailer or painter pants, as that doesn't seem important really, nor does this whole question seem all that important, but I tend to be interested in historical tidbits. My point is more to wonder where the trend began. Someone had mentioned it might have begun in the later 1970s, or thereabouts, and my mind then began to flood with memories of friends of mine wearing white pants. I have no idea what kind they were. Layton wore white pants when he and I climbed in the Black Canyon and in Eldorado and Twin Owls in the early 1960s. In 1962 on Standing Rock, Kor wore white pants -- as did Huntley Ingalls. I think one reason was because they were planning an article and taking photos. They wanted the climbers to stand out against the rock, but also somewhere in Yosemite Beck or Roper or Kor, who knows, started wearing them to be cooler on the big walls. The old knicker pants were usually a thicker material (corduroy, often), which got pretty hot. There is an interesting set of photos on page 144 of Beyond the Vertical (Kor's bio). They are both taken by Steve Roper, of Kor, on the West Buttress of El Cap (first ascent). In the top photo, Kor is wearing some kind of dark knicker pants. In the lower photo he appears to have white pants. I never knew of anyone to do a change of pants during a climb. Perhaps these photos represent two different attemtps?

More back to the subject of this thread, Peter is not only a great climber but a fine writer -- as you're seeing in his notes here. I very much enjoyed climbing with him one year in Yosemite, just after his solo of the Salathe. He roared up Ahab, as though it were 5.4, and I could only pretend to try to be as relaxed as he. On a couple other similar climbs farther up along the base of El Cap, Peter Pan maybe one of those, if I remember right, he had absolutely no trouble. He was the first climber I had ever met with the ferocity and power and speed of Layton Kor, but with a real Yosemite master's flair for all the nuances of technique. We even shared a tent, and during the late hour conversations I was amazed at how insightful he was about Yosemite and its individuals, each person's styles and quirks. Then later when I was broke in a San Francisco airport he came to the rescue with a few dollars and shared a number of great thoughts about me and Higgins some of which I incorporated into my last section (the airport section) of Tom's and my Nerve Wrack Point article. Peter has been an inspiration on many levels.

Pat
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
  Jan 11, 2007 - 08:15pm PT
John hansen - yes, Henry lives and still climbs hard.

Peter Haan too...I saw him recently - guess what, he was wearing these cool white pants...couldn't tell what kind they were however.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
  Jan 11, 2007 - 11:00pm PT
I always preferred black, for some reason, long before Johnny Cash got the idea.

Pat
Rags

Trad climber
Sierra foothills, CA
  Jan 12, 2007 - 12:26am PT
Maybe one of you elder :) statesman can tell me what this quote from the caption in Mountain refers to -

"Bridwell's hands are bound and chalked and treated with chemicals
in order to resist wear on the jamming..."

My uncle used to box in 1920's. He said they used to soak their hands in brine to toughen them up. What chemicals was Bridwell and others using. NOOOO, I'm not refering to the psychoactive kind....
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Dec 2, 2008 - 10:51pm PT
Seems like a good time to give this one a hefty bump.
Mimi

climber
  Dec 2, 2008 - 11:19pm PT
Thanks Anders. Another rich thread.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
  Mar 22, 2009 - 08:23pm PT
a good vintage
Fuzzywuzzy

climber
suspendedhappynation
  Jul 21, 2009 - 08:33pm PT
Right on Peter.

Keep them coming.

You were probably around when Klemens and Matt Donahoe took those big falls out of the Grinder?

Terrific history.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
  Jul 21, 2009 - 09:13pm PT
Well heck, I'll just clutter things up with some talk about
pants. Not worthwhile stuff like Who Was First but rather more
nerdly geekish faux tech talk.
I apologize if I've already "said" these things; I only went
back a page or so to "check."

Mighty H, the sailor pants referred to by eeKat are the Navy
surplus with about a dozen buttons in the front. A couple
held the trou together in the middle, then there was like a drop
seat flap (but in the front, not the back). They were
bell-bottoms. Easy to roll up if you wanted to do cool things
like swab deck on a ship, but for face climbing, some visual
obstruction was in the mix.
They had great lines (no pockets on the rear) and tended to fit climbers well.

The painter pants are no doubt more familiar to you these days:
generally straight cut, less flattering, more cluttered, with
a loop that is good for nothing but snagging on branches and a
strange pocket on the side that is good for holding a thin
paint brush or a bunch of dirt and live oak leaves.

MilkMan pants were the way to go for at least some of the
cognioscenti. Not as busy as the painter pants, and only one
button and a zipper, instead of 13 buttons (in certain circ#m-
stances, this could be a major consideration).

I believe a little digression is in order here. The Navy 13-
button units came in either white cotton or black wool.
The woolies were just wonderful, especially for ice skating,
perhaps especially on someone you were watching skate.

Now, to touch on the subject of climbing knickers and their
tendency to be a bit too warm for most conditions: a couple
friends of mine were climbing the Salathe Wall, and, yes, it
was back in the day.
When they got to El Cap Spire, Friend 1 (climbing in those
cord knickers made for Chouinard by Clark's, the really heavy
ones with a double seat and double knees) was so...what?...
distracted? outraged? demented? Well, he was so very something
or other from the heat that he converted his irreplaceable
Chouinard Cord Knickers (wouldn't you like a pair now?)
into SHORTS!!! By pounding on them with his hammer!!!
(maybe you wondered about some of the scarring there, maybe it
is not noticeable)
And I know what you're thinking, you're wondering why he didn't
just use a knife, aren't you?
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Jul 21, 2009 - 10:30pm PT
Thanks everyone, but especially Peter. It's great reading history written by people younger than me!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Mar 15, 2012 - 01:39am PT
Classic
moosedrool

climber
lost, far away from Poland
  Dec 26, 2012 - 04:07pm PT
Looke what I found. A gem!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Dec 26, 2012 - 04:30pm PT
a thread fit for a BOOK CHAPTER!!! no doubt..


The stories , the times, are all but alive here,, WELL DONE ALL!
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
  Dec 26, 2012 - 05:04pm PT
What a great thread! Great well written story by Peter, then good comment from Werner, then it just kept going. Nice going, all! This kind of thing really needs to be captured and kept.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
  Dec 26, 2012 - 06:26pm PT
Chris Mac needs to find himself a good editor/archivist for all the amazing first person history that his site holds. This thread is pure gold. Bravo to my heros
10b4me

climber
  Jan 1, 2013 - 02:00am PT
Always enjoy the history threads/trip reports
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
  Jan 1, 2013 - 10:42am PT
I want to hear the Warblers account of the great escape from the Hemmarhoid Heist
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Jan 1, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
And people say there's no climbing content here. Just another example of taco gold!
crunch

Social climber
CO
  Jan 1, 2013 - 07:15pm PT
Great story, Peter. A fun read and some cool history. Thanks!
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
  Jan 22, 2013 - 09:48am PT
bump
Johnny K.

climber
  Jul 16, 2013 - 07:23pm PT
upforthecookie
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jan 27, 2014 - 03:25am PT
quality
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
  Jan 27, 2014 - 09:37am PT
"the thing was nobody’s little plaything. It was just put up by clowns."

Humorous last line. Love your writing, Peter.
Bad Climber

climber
  Jan 27, 2014 - 10:20am PT
Mr. Haan:

Please write book! Largo can edit. I hear he knows a little about cranking out climbing lit.

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