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Zion climbing history
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lambone


Jan 27, 2005, 11:04 PM
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uhhh...I just wan't to say for the record...that I have nothing to do with this recent shoot out.

dangle, I think your stories are great...wether they are true or not.

cheers


mr_dirt


Jan 27, 2005, 11:12 PM
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Hi, I got to say this is a great thread! I havenít heard some of these names since I lived in Kanab tending sheep and driving a bus between Zion from Vegas. I cant believe all this was going on while I was in the area, neat. Hope I donít kill this thing.


epic_ed


Jan 28, 2005, 8:14 AM
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My vote is for another tirade. Mix in a nut-kicking contest, too.

Actually, Iron Messiah would be the next logical progression since we had a couple of requests for that last week.

Ed


bandycoot


Jan 28, 2005, 8:44 AM
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What a great thread... :lol: The stories are very entertaining as is the flamefest. It's got the best of both worlds!


dmckj


Jan 28, 2005, 9:03 AM
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As many of you are reading this thread for some interesting tales, I'll throw in one....

This falls into the category of 'stupid climber tricks'.

We've all heard of incredibly stupid tourists falling off the waterfalls in Zion....right?....read on....

Several years ago I invited my good friends from Washington state, Phil (father) and Jon (son) Gleason to come visit Zion. I had a few good routes picked out...

My first goal was to knock off a another new line on the Watchman. About half way up the cliff, right of center, is an unmatched splitter that had been beckoning me for years. So up we went. In my typical I-prefer-to-fix-high-give-the-route-a-chance-get-the-adrenalin-rush-of-going-for-it-and-be-back-drinking-beers-at-night-rather-than-bivy style, we fixed several pitches with the intent of simply pushing off and going for the top. As we descended, several peregrines darted in and out of the cliffs above us....

We took a rest day the next day and wandered into the visitor's center where....to my shock and feelings of ultimate stupidity....I saw the BIG information board with the statement that the Watchman was CLOSED to climbing for peregrine nesting. Geez.... What to do now? Go for it, or bail. Sheepishly, we went up and pulled out ropes. (aside: In part this was because a few years before Conrad Anker and I had set off fireworks from the midway ledge bivy on the first complete ascent of 'The Vigil'. As it turns out, the tourists in the campgrounds thought we were signaling for a rescue, as did the numbnuts in the Park, until finally Brad Quinn told them it was 'O.K.'. Upon our descent we found out about the commotion and did the honorable thing: turned ourselves in to the Park. Instead of rewarding our honesty they threw the ticket book at us and we each paid about $100 plus worth of fines -- hence the name I gave to VIOLATION LEDGE on The Vigil).

Anway, because of the Peregrine incident I had the perfect name for the route-to-be on the Watchman.....'Hue and Cry'. I later completed that route with Glen Rink (aka one of the banditos) from Flagstaff.

Back to the storyline....... So now the Gleasons and I were without a route. Per chance we found a good line on the right side of Red Arch Mountain. All free but about 5 feet on the first ascent we named it 'Bits and Pieces'. Brad Quinn freed those remaining 5 feet on the 2nd ascent. Good route, and virtually unknown.

Resting up from our little adventure, I went off alone to my favorite swimming hole, maybe hoping to run into a few nubile cuties along the way (it happens!). Found the swimming hole, but, alas, no cuties. After soaking for a while in the refreshingly cool waters I decided I had had enough, being too A-type to really hang loose for too long. Now this particular swimming hole is acesssed by a steep move up or down some shaley beds just above the pool. Going up, I noticed the beds were really deteriorating from repeated access. I put my sandal up on the lip of these beds and recall thinking 'you know, this lip might just break at some point'. But that was O.K. because it would send me splashing back into the pool. So I mantled up and, sure enough, the lip under my foot failed and sent me falling back into the pool. As I fell I was half-chuckling at myself, but wasn't concerned because at worst I would just go for a second bath. I wish!! Instead, by virtue of the small arc of my fall I landed on the OUTER lip of the swimming hole which was a slimey slippery algae coated slope. The problem was that this slope points AWAY from the swimming hole down at.......A WATERFALL. Upon landing, I still didn't 'get it', but noticed I started to imperceptibly slide the WRONG WAY. Once I realized what was going on I lurched out for something to hold onto but the slope was smooth as a baby's ass. It then hit me that I was GOING TO GO OVER THE WATERFALL! This bothered me just a tad. Thankfully, as I went over the lip I had the presence of mind to swing my feet around to see where the hell I was going to land. Luckily for me, there was a pool at the base of the waterfall (about 25 vertical feet), and as I went into the vertical drop I pushed off ever so gently so as to land squarely in it. As I flew through space I thought 'I did it!'. Well, almost. in the last split second of my descent my head hit HARD on a rock behind me. Ouch!

Incredibly, I landed feet up in the pool, hitting the sand bottom and remaining standing. But I didn't have a clue as to where I was. I knew I had fallen and hit my head, but that was it. I put my hand to my head, felt an open wound, and the profuse amount of blood coming out of it. But I didn't know where to go. I had enough of a concussion that I had lost sense (not that I had that much to begin with). All I needed to do was walk downstream about 3 minutes, but in my dazed state I literally started climbing the steep side walls to get out of the canyon. Confused! I finally staggered onto the road and about 3 cars slammed on there brakes when they saw me, like I was some creature from the black lagoon. A guy got out of his car and asked 'are you O.K.?', to which I responded 'well...yeah, I think so..why?'. I then looked down at my T-shirt to see that it was soaked with blood. Hmmm, I thought, this isn't good.

Anyway, they took me to the local clinic, and then by ambulance to the hospital in St. George. I recall explaining what had happened and pleadingly hoping the cute nurse wouldn't concluded I was another-stupid-tourist-who-fell-off-a-waterfall. Didn't work, she clearly put me into the loser-who-deserves-it category. Bummer.

So, after my CAT scan in St. George, my buddies came down and picked me up. Phil Gleason (the one of Yosemite photo fame climbing the offwidth '96D' or whatever it is) is a nurse, and this was lucky for me because the doctors said I had to be woken up several times a night to be sure I wasn't going to go into a bleeding induced coma or further trauma. I didn't.

But, hey, I was in Zion to climb, not fall off waterfalls. On my only recovery day the Gleasons went off to climb Shunes Buttress. Meanwhile, the next day I bumped into yet another guy from Washington and recruited him to put up the first ascent of 'Fourplay', a 5-star crack along the north wall of the Grotto. I led the first pitch and felt NAUSEATED. Started leading the second pitch and felt even more nausea. Funny thing about them head wounds! Geoff Scherer finished the second pitch.

Still feeling 'weird' I nevertheless didn't want to waste any more time. Geoff and I started up 'Rites of Passage' a new line just left of Shune's. It is an imposing and difficult line, but I was climbing really well at the time. Feeling spaced out most of the way, we nevertheless persevered. Most of the time I felt like I was drugged, and at times thought to myself 'what the f%&k are you doing up here with a concussion you idiot!!!'. After working through some cruxy sections I found myself face-to-face on the lead with a long run-out face on friable edges. With some hooks I managed to drill about 3-4 bolts in row on lead and then lower down and free-climb through each section. Exhausted (mentally and physically as we were going for the top and were running out of time), I finally got to a small dish ledge with NO good pro for a belay. I slapped a big friend in at my feet (essentially worthless), stood up, and drilled one last bolt for the belay. We were in a hurry, and I had no energy or time for another bolt. Geoff came to the ledge. His turn to lead. I admonished him 'Geoff, whatever you do, don't fall, because I've only got one bolt in and this piece at my feet is bogus'. As luck would have it, the start off of the next pitch was a 25 foot diagonal up to the right with NO PRO and very steep. It was obviously only about 5.8 at most, but airy and scary and, well....in Zion.

Geoff lead off from the belay, slowly, steadily, and got most of the way across the face to the 'thank God' cracks. Then, it happened. A hold broke and he wasn't stable enough to hang on and took a screaming WHIPPER pendulum across the entire face and ending up below me about 20 feet from the belay. I was FREAKED!! He fell directly onto the belay. One bolt between us and two dead climbers.

Geoff was badly shaken and I was the walking wounded. Shit! With the reality of 'now or never' I took over the lead. It is amazing how when one has to do something it provides lots of energy and focus. The pitch was fairly long and sustained, but I recall it flowed as if I had done it before. This was only because i HAD TO do it. Several unusual and spectacular pitches later we topped out and rappeled Shunes.

Before that, I had never really thought of myself as a crazy, or maybe crazed, climber. Looking back, maybe the only reason we got up that route was because of my head injury and not in spite of it.

End of Tale.


flamer


Jan 28, 2005, 10:04 AM
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In reply to:
Several years ago I invited my good friends from Washington state, Phil (father) and Jon (son) Gleason to come visit Zion.

Phil and Jon are both very good friends of mine. They have talked about this trip....but being the humble guys they are didn't include all the you details...it's cool to hear your tale. I'll have to give them a call...and tell them to check this out. I remember Jon telling me about some burly wide cracks you guys climbed??

Oh and the picture of Phil you're talking about is the route 10:96 and it was taken by Galen Rowell. I always get a big kick out of it...it seems to turn up every few years in a mag. and the best part is....Phil is falling!!! He catch's all kinds of hell for it..."Hey Phil, saw that full page pic. of you in climbing, too bad you were falling!!".
A side note on that climb, Phil was actually trying for the first ascent when that photo was taken....he then made the mistake of telling a prolific Yose. climber about it...who then "stole" the route from him...anybody know who that guy was????

josh


epic_ed


Jan 28, 2005, 11:11 AM
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Nice bit of info, Dave. It would be great if I had some orientation about where these routes are actually located in Zion. I'll have to spend some time with the topo book next time I'm up there.

Flamer -- I guessing the Fish?

Ed


dmckj


Jan 28, 2005, 11:37 AM
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Route locations???

Easy...

Bits and Pieces: Start at right base of Red Arch Mountain. Rap anchors are all fixed and the descent is much easier than Shunes. Find topo in Park book...if not there...get in touch with me.

The Vigil: Left third of the Watchman, starting up beautiful white faces. See the recent photo spread on this in Climbing from a little over a year ago. Outstanding free route. One of the best. Rappel route.

Hue and Cry: Right-center of Watchman, maybe 100 yards to right from Silmaril start. Look for outrageous splitter (visible from the Mean Bean) about mid-cliff. This is a 155 foot 5.11a thin hands crack. Descend back side.

Rites of Passage: Start about 200 feet left of Shune's at vertical right-facing shallow corners with wide cracks right off deck (Biggish pine tree just below base). Don't let the wide cracks freak you, as the climbing is outstanding. Descend Shunes.


iamthewallress


Jan 28, 2005, 11:46 AM
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Bridwell...Do I win a beer? :wink:


flamer


Jan 28, 2005, 12:07 PM
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In reply to:
Bridwell...Do I win a beer? :wink:

That's the guy! Did you look it up???

I'll be in the valley this spring for a quick week...you can collect your beer then.

josh


dmckj


Jan 28, 2005, 12:18 PM
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Great to hear of the history of Phil Gleason. He is a great guy. I remember that photo of him in the offwidth, and when I actually met 'the guy in the photo' I felt I was in the presence of greatness (hee hee, then I got to know him). In my book, that may be the best single Yosemite climbing photo ever. I mean you can taste the suffering...

Off-theme, if you talk to Phil get him to recount the tale of when we climbed the North Ridge of Slesse in a full-on white-out snowstorm for the last 5 pitches. Had a memorable bivy at the base of the descent (and, no I don't mean memorable in that sense...after all I'm still a virgin and Phil is a married man...and come to think of it, so am I!).

ZION AID CLIMBING (o.k. with that I've kept this thread pertinent)


flamer


Jan 28, 2005, 12:25 PM
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In reply to:
Off-theme, if you talk to Phil get him to recount the tale of when we climbed the North Ridge of Slesse in a full-on white-out snowstorm for the last 5 pitches. Had a memorable bivy at the base of the descent (and, no I don't mean memorable in that sense...after all I'm still a virgin and Phil is a married man...and come to think of it, so am I!).


Will do!! One more quick side note.....Phil and Jon are the brother and nephew of The late great Paul Gleason. Paul was the subject of John Long's recent article in climbing titled "The Real Deal"....The Gleason's are an amazing family climbing and otherwise. If you got plucked off something in the valley last year(or do this year) chance's are very good that Jon was/will be the guy getting lowered in to save your sorry ass!

Ok back on topic......ZION!!!!!!!

josh


dmckj


Jan 28, 2005, 12:29 PM
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Hey...how did you know my ass was 'sorry'. Oh, yeah, Phil must have told you..

truth hurts!


iamthewallress


Jan 28, 2005, 12:38 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Bridwell...Do I win a beer? :wink:

That's the guy! Did you look it up???

Sadly...no. Sometimes at night on trips when the only diversion around is the guidebook we play, "Who was the FA?" or "Which formation is this route on?" Good times. I'm getting ready for the Yosemite edition of Win Ben Stein's Money.

I'll look for you in the spring!

And to the brawling duo...I'm enjoying your stories. If I'm not commenting, it's that I'm just enjoying the reads.


rockprodigy


Jan 28, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Could someone tell me the story behind the "Escher Memorial Crack" on Golden Years.


rockprodigy


Jan 28, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Could someone tell me the story behind the "Escher Memorial Crack" on Golden Years.


rockprodigy


Jan 28, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Could someone tell me the story behind the "Escher Memorial Crack" on Golden Years.


rockprodigy


Jan 28, 2005, 12:51 PM
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Could someone tell me the story behind the "Escher Memorial Crack" on Golden Years.


rockprodigy


Jan 28, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Could someone tell me the story behind the "Escher Memorial Crack" on Golden Years.


dmckj


Jan 28, 2005, 1:37 PM
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Escher memorial crack on Golden Years.....

From the belay below it, looking up at that curving crack pitch gave me a bizarre sense of a twisted 3-D. It just didn't look 'right' somehow, like something out of an M.C. Escher pen sketch. Hence the name.....


rockprodigy


Jan 28, 2005, 2:31 PM
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Aha...that's a much better story than I hypothesized. I figured it was a memorial to a fallen comrade...the true story is much happier.


dangle


Jan 28, 2005, 2:37 PM
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Ah yes, Zion aid.

Since there is little dispute at this point that even "clean" climbing causes degradation what can we agree on about the preservation of such routes for future generations? This is a history thread, but history is our only guide.


the_dude


Jan 28, 2005, 11:15 PM
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I'd like to hear a little about Archangel. I've seen the vague picture of it in the bjornstad guide. How many ascents has that route even seen? To me it sounds like a cool line up the wall.
cheers


dmckj


Jan 29, 2005, 9:57 AM
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Dangle posits a conflicted question: How does one preserve the popular routes?

Answer: One doesn't.

I do a lot of caving, and caves are, for the most part, a lot more fragile than climbs. How do you preserve caves??? You don't tell anyone about them. That keeps people out. The cave is preserved. Simple stuff, this.

If one 'constructs' or 'dumbs down' (Prodial Son being case-in-point) a route to make it accessible to the masses....well, what the heck do you expect? The masses will come. One reaches the ridiculous point where, as in Vietnam, 'we had to destroy the route to save it'. Sure, bolt ladders protect cracks, but then what's the point of climbing?

Hard routes, ones that aren't dumbed down, protect themselves. For example, Empty Pages on Angels Landing or Wages of Sin on the Forbidden Wall are not prone to being destroyed because most folks are rightfully afraid of going up on them. That's great!

No one is 'owed' the right to do a climb, nor to have the climb dumbed-down to their level. This promotes stupid climbing and gives many folks the delusion that they are big-wall capable when, in fact, they really aren't. At least not in Zion.

This point of view isn't, as is commonly implied, elitist. To quote Bob Dylan...'things are what they are, and ain't what they ain't'. Let's leave what is the way it is and minimize the efforts to destroy a route to 'save it'.

Some dumbed-down routes are fine. (God knows we have enough sport climbs of this nature.) But some is more than enough. The challenge of the remaining routes serves as their own best protection.

D


rocknroll


Jan 29, 2005, 7:13 PM
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Ron Olevesky and Dave Jones on the same forum? Wow! It's been 21 years since I, known as Devo in the 1982 Climbing Magazine Zion article by Gary Gray, last saw Ron Olevesky and Dave Jones in the same campsite. I had come up from Tucson with Dave and quickly found Ron and hung out with him for a few days. At that time, Ron lived in a cinder-block bunker in Washington whose only windows were slits big enough to stick a rifle out, And Ron had plenty of rifles, handguns, dynamite and other tools of the trade of a self-proclaimed survivalist. After tiring of Ron's incessant babbling (he can speak intelligently on just about any subject) I asked him to drive me to Zion to meet Dave. That was like pulling teeth as he bantered me and called me names for not offering to pay for gas. We got almost to Springdale and Ron pulled up onto the Rockville bench, pulled his portable TV out and declared we weren't going any further that night. I think we might have done Organasm the following day. We went looking for Jonesy in the Park and saw him climbing The Fang. Ron produced a .45 from the glovebox and aimed it directly at Dave leading a pitch. His fingers quivered as he tightened them around the trigger. "Ron!" I yelled, "No!" Ron dropped the gun with a sigh of frustration. "I had my eyes on that line!" Ron whined and slumped into the car, He stuffed himself a bowl of weed and he wouldn't even share; he wanted me to pay for that, too. Later that night we went to the campground to look for Jonesy.

As Ron entered the campsite, Jonesy made it clear to Ron that he was not welcomed. I never really knew what their beef was, but I guessed it had to do more with Ron's attention getting behaivior than a single event. Dave made it clear to me that if I was going to hang out with Ron, I would not be welcomed in the campsite either. I quickly grapped my gear from Ron's Bronco and huddled next to the fire. "Well, Ron..." asked Jonsey, "are you leaving.'

"This is federal property and I have every right to be here." countered Ron

"It may be federal property Ron, but I rented it from the government for the night so I am telling you to leave!"

"I'm not going."Ron said, "I have a fiscal matter to discuss with you."

"Do I have to call the ranger, Offenseky?" asked Dave.

"Remeber last winter when you called me collect to see what the skiing conditions were like at Brianhead?"

'Yeah. What about it--No, you aren't asking me to pay you back for that call, are you? How much could it be a couple of bucks?" Dave asked.

Ron reaches into his breast pocket and whips out his phone bill. "It was exactly five dollars and twenty-eight cents. See?"

"No. No, Ron. I'm not paying your phone bill, I'm not even talking to you." Dave became heated, a rarety for this calm and cool climber. "Get out of this campsite! George, go get the Ranger." Dave began to walk towards Ron.

"Now, Dave...you better stop right there. Are you telling me you will not pay this bill?'

Dave started yelling so loudly the echo bounced off the Watchmen AND the West Temple. " I'M NOT PAYING FOR THE CALL!!!!! NOW GET THE F___ OUT OF HERE BEFORE I HAVE YOU ARRESTED."

And Ron, the bane of the Park Service Law Enforcement in Zion, hopped in his Bronco and drove away.

The next day, Dave and I went to climb Headache crack up by the tunnels. As we climbed a Washington County Sheriff cruiser parked in the pullout and watched us. When we arrived back at the cars it was very evident he wanted to talk to Dave.

"Dave Jones? You are bering served a civil suit on behalf of Mr. Ronald Olevsky and are expected to appear in coutrt at 9am on Wednesday."

"What?' Dave grabbed the summons and thumbed through the pages. "It's for the phone call!"

Will Ron win the suit? Will he take Justice into his own hands? Or will Dave counter sue for emotional turmoil? Stay Tuned to this thread as Devo and Ron go to climb Timbertop Mesa during the court date.


(You can publish those pictures of Organasm now Ron)

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