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dmckj


Feb 3, 2005, 9:43 AM
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To Ron_Jeremy,

Please...stop... you're making me blush.....

Omak Crack (Phil Gleasons original name for it incidently) is, I think, one of the 5-star rotes in Washington.

I was putting up all of those Omak routes in a complete void, because the local guys weren't yet putting up routes at that level, and it is always disconcerting to rate stuff without confirmation. So, sorry if Omak appears to be a sandbag.

Good luck on Gravitons....another fine, fine one pitcher. If you're going for an onsight, be SURE to rest and shake out at the locker one handed hand jam just before the cruxy finish. If you don't you are SUNK.

I am pleased as punch that someone is climbing those routes. They are really nice!


dmckj


Feb 3, 2005, 9:46 AM
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To Ron_Jeremy,

Please...stop... you're making me blush.....

Omak Crack (Phil Gleasons original name for it incidently) is, I think, one of the 5-star rotes in Washington.

I was putting up all of those Omak routes in a complete void, because the local guys weren't yet putting up routes at that level, and it is always disconcerting to rate stuff without confirmation. So, sorry if Omak appears to be a sandbag.

Good luck on Gravitons....another fine, fine one pitcher. If you're going for an onsight, be SURE to rest and shake out at the locker one handed hand jam just before the cruxy finish. If you don't you are SUNK.

I am pleased as punch that someone is climbing those routes. They are really nice!


dmckj


Feb 3, 2005, 9:58 AM
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correction.....make that 'comuppance'

sorry for the mutliple posts...the web site freezes up on postings


dmckj


Feb 3, 2005, 4:05 PM
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"The Courtship of Rhan" - A sordid tale of Legal Intrigue

When: Long ago and far away, but, wait, that couldn't be accurate because my only purpose in life is to write people out of Zion climbing history and lie about my first ascents. That being said....let's set this in the early-mid 80's.

Where: From the hallowed canyon's of Zion to the cold hard impersonal concrete steps of the Washington County Courthouse.

Why: I'm still trying to figure that one out.

It began, as do most sordid tales, innocently enough. The early winter shadows were settling in across Zion's steepest and deepest faces, and I was about to abandon my Quixotic quest of finding a partner for one last wall. Springdale, far from the being the new hotspot of the politically-correct-on-a-sandstone-vacation, was shutting down for a long winter's slow-spell.

Rhan and I found ourselves parked at the Bit and Spur, nursing our 3.2 beer, and talking about not much in particular. I was ready to push off back to Tucson.....but Rhan had an idea

"The snow should be great at Brian Head after this storm blows through. Why don't we go skiiing?" said Rhan, pouring himself another.
"Good idea Rhan. Would be great to hit some fresh powder."
"O.K., let's talk tomorrow, give me a call." said Ron.
"Don't have a credit card or a place to dial direct Ron." (these being the pre-phone card days) said I.
"No problem, call me collect for just a minute and we'll pick the place and time to meet." said Rhan magnaminously..............

The storm had already started pushing through the Kolob and was descending into the main canyon. The boys had a plan and Dave would make that fateful phone call..........

(cheezy organ music building to a closing crescendo....)

stay tuned for the next installment...


bsmoot


Feb 3, 2005, 6:32 PM
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Zion in the late 70’s…The Wild Wild West

Terry and I were psyched. It was spring break and we couldn’t stop thinking about this climb. It had a single splitter that ran almost the entire distance of this wall in Zion. It was 1979. The year earlier had been a successful one for me in the Valley and in Zion…we were ready.

No sooner had we arrived in Zion, at the base of the splitter, than this climber mysteriously appeared and announced that we couldn’t do the climb we were drooling over. “I'LL SHOOT YOUR ROPES IF YOU START FIXING!”. Suddenly, our spirits sank. “Stay off MY route”, he said. Geez, we had come to a National Park, paid our fee, the weather was perfect, and now we couldn’t do our climb. Being two scared teenagers, we obliged. I think if we had shown up at 3:00 in the morning, this climber would have found us…it was kind of spooky.

Walking around depressed, a guy named Rhan came by and suggested we try a quality new route he’d just put up near the Temple of Sinawava. With nothing better to do, we took a look. “Wow! That does look good.” There was even a perfect splitter that bypassed an off-width crack. Rhan said we had to climb this route with him because we didn’t have enough large pins…this was the pre-friend era. Although we seriously questioned this guy, somehow, insanity took over and we decided to all climb it together.

The night before the climb, it was quiet at the near-empty Watchman Campground. In the 70’s, the town of Springdale was dead. There were no lights and no places to go. Unlike Yosemite, there was no climbing scene in Zion. You were lucky to even see another climber.

Then the silence was broken...“WHO SPILLED WATER ON MY SLEEPING BAG?" Terry’s older brother quickly fessed up. Rhan exploded with a deluge of profanity “you dumb #%*#,” getting right up into his face. "I'm sorry, I know I'm a dumb #%*#". As the tantrum got louder and louder, so did the apologies. Rhan wouldn't let it go...it went on and on. Something bad was gonna happen. Terry’s brother was bigger & stronger than little Rhan. He could have drop-kicked him out of the campground. Suddenly, one of us said “you can borrow my sleeping bag tonight." Things quickly calmed down after this was said…whew!

The next day, without helmets, we climbed up a beautiful, dark corner. The rock was hard--in fact so hard that I broke the heads off of several pitons while cleaning. They were welded. I yelled up to Rhan “why did you overdrive these pins!” “Come on! This is the Desert”, he shouted. Higher up, from our sling belay, Terry free climbed a long section of the vertical crack, running it out because of the difficulty of placing a pin…great lead. Next, as I was leading a perfect 1" crack, I suddenly got some sand under my contact lens. Yelling for tention, I slithered down to fix the problem. Rhan yelled up "Solo climbers don't ask for tention". As we climbed, Rhan critiqued us. We returned the favor as he climbed.


We reached a cool bivy ledge that night. Rhan, being the shortest, picked the best part of the ledge. Later that night, after smoking some of “the good stuff,” he grabbed my brand new 35mm camera and threatened to throw it off into space. I pleaded with him not too, and finally he handed it over. I slept well that night, but who doesn’t sleep soundly when you’re young! In the morning, after cleaning the sand out of my eyes, I started up the last pitch. The regular route to the right looked contrived, with some aid, so I free climbed left up a more natural crack line. Grunting up a typical Zion off-width/squeeze, I wearily pulled over the top.

Before we left the summit, we heaved all of our pins off the rim. The thought of rapping the route was almost unheard of in those days, so we continued up thru brush, deep snow, cactus and unprotected, loose, soft rock for another 1,300 feet to the top of the East Rim. The view was magnificent. Rhan wanted to take the short hike out to Observation Point. When we declined to accompany him, he went ballistic... We bolted to escape the wrath of Rhan. He continued out to the point alone to smoke more of the “the good stuff.” On the descent,
Terry and I reflected on our adventure…the good and bad rock, the splitters, the off-widths, runnouts, the sand, the solitude… guns, arguments, heavy pin racks, our own insanity and most importantly, the incredible beauty…Ah yes, the wild west.

(This post was edited by bsmoot on May 2, 2009, 7:19 AM)


dmckj


Feb 3, 2005, 8:46 PM
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Serious interlude...

This message is primarily to Devo or to anyone else who knows George Allen (including Dangle).

George is in the advanced stages of terminal colon cancer and there is no good prognosis.

To those who care to give a call of support and friendship his number is:

303-730-8900 Room 709


dmckj


Feb 3, 2005, 9:13 PM
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........cheezy subdued, but inviting, organ music.......


We last left our duo on the verge of an impending snowstorm.....well, it hit hard, and this was the time to get some fresh tracks...

Ring, ring....
'Yes maam, I'd like to make a collect phone call. To whom?.....mmm... tell him it's Warren Harding".

(historical fact: during what in the future may be referred to as Dangle and Dave's 'friendship years', these two would typically identify themselves as either Don Whillans or Warren Harding. This was code for the fact that it was one of us)

'Sir, I have a collect call from a Warren Harding....do you accept the charges' said the operator, not having ANY realization whatsoever what she was in the thick of (LOUD organ music to set the tension of the moment)
'Yes, I do.' said Rhan.
'So Rhan, looks great for skiing tomorrow. Where and when shall we meet?' said I
'O.K., I'll meet you at the interstate junction at 8 a.m., park my truck, and we'll take yours'.
'Done. See ya tomorrow.' said I ..................................


rocknroll


Feb 3, 2005, 11:52 PM
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Excellent posts Dave and bsmoot. You have all behaved honorably in the face of Rhan's Us and Them attitude.

Call me a masochist, but some how, I still like the guy.

What a character! So entertaining...


ammon


Feb 4, 2005, 2:51 AM
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WoW!! Great material....

Wish you guys had some pics... especially when Devo swooped down with his cape-a-flowin...

Funny shit!!!


bsmoot


Feb 4, 2005, 7:45 AM
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A few more Zion stories possibly upcoming:

"It was a Dark & Stormy Night...A close Encounter"

or

"5.11 granite slab climbers storm Zion"


bsmoot


Feb 4, 2005, 8:40 AM
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A few more thoughts possibly upcoming:

"It was a Dark & Stormy Night...A close Encounter"

or

"5.11 granite slab climbers storm Zion"


iamthewallress


Feb 4, 2005, 8:59 AM
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Someone wanted to hear about Amanda Tarr's FA Leaving Llamaland.

Here's her trip report from rec.climbing


dmckj


Feb 4, 2005, 9:06 AM
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'The Courtship of Rhan'

Mini-installment III: 'Making Tracks'


(light-hearted musical intro, blithely detached from the impending morasse of falling dominos in play....)

Rhan and Dave bumped northwards along the dark frozen highway, the ruddy cliffs of the Kolob just barely rising above the fronting ridge. Heck, it was warm, we were relaxed, and we were going skiing. This was more fun than climbing. No stress.

Dave's 4WD came in handy as they skidded across the Brian Head parking lot. Rhan was already to get down to the 'herbal essence', and it wasn't even quite yet 10 a.m.

Ticket's bought, our two protagonists were treated to a day of outrageous powder and no crowds. Nothing like skiing during the weekdays. Dave worked on his nascient tele-technique (hey, this was the early 80's), taking numerous face and body plants. Rhan worked on his patented point-the-skis-down-the-hill-and-go bomber technique. Between Dave's falls and Rhan's herbal moments, they usually made it down the slope at about the same time.

Hey, thought Dave, skiing with Rhan is a hoot. None of this B.S. climbing stuff to get in the way of having some fun!

Later that afternoon they stopped to visit their old friend George Harttlemeyer in his ski shop at Brian Head, to regale them with tales of the ascent of K2 (or whatever) that almost was, but wasn't quite...

(Overdub: Contented, enjoying the fresh air and champagne powder, it could of ended on this fine note for our two friends...Rhan could have converted to fundamentalist Mormonism, corralled 3 wives from Cedar City, and moved onto the Arizona strip where he could prosper as a small gun salesman with 'experience'. Dave could have met a lonely early-middle-aged real-estate matron from Malibu who was only looking for a 'good man', or, in Dave's case, maybe just an 'O.K.' man, to shower her wealth of material and bodily pleasures on..... This could have been but, sadly, was not to be..............)

Dave's blue Toyota glided off the interstate exit into the growing darkness of the snow shrouded juniper's, crunching across the cold snow to a stop in front of Rhan's rig.

'Hey Rhan, what a great day of skiing!'
'Couldn't have been much much better'
'So I'll be headng back to Tucson, and we'll see you in the spring sometime, o.k.?'
'Maybe before then, but by then for sure.' said Rhan

So...the fateful collect phone call paid off in a day of pleasure for the boys. Dave had burned a good two-thirds of a tank of gas, about $18.00 or so. Dave didn't care, Rhan didn't mention it.

Net balance: Dave 18.00 on gas, Rhan 3.25 (or so) on a collect phone call.

.....Fast forward many months to a prime Zion climbing season in the following year (don't recall if it was spring of fall, but Devo has the court papers) ....

Dave has brought his climbing buddy George Allen from Tucson along to do some new routes, and I have this vague recollection Sherman the Vermin was with us for a short early spell as well (he had the sense to clear out early). Anyway, the birds were singing, sky blue, rock warm and gritty to the touch as ever, etc, etc, etc....... Dave was anticipating, at some point, the arrival of more members of the San Remo climbing team. He was not to be disappointed.... for off in the distance the unmistakeable camo brown of Rhans 4x4 sports rig came rolling into view....

'Hey Rhan, how's it going? Hi Devo!, good to see you.' said I.

Pleasantries exchanged, Rhan off-loaded Devo into our little group.....

At this point I swear I heard a thunderclap from the heavens as the personification of cruel and immovable fate sought to smite our happy little clan with a chalk-encrusted accusatory finger ..........A Greek tragedy was in the making........

Rhan heard the thunderclap as well and thought 'what the f'%&$?, doesn't look like rain...'

(stay tuned.....)


dmckj


Feb 4, 2005, 9:45 AM
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Gentle thread reader,

An enormous amount of deep spiritual creative talent goes into the production of each mini-installment of 'The Courtship of Rhan'. We'd like to think of it as a modern-day thread reincarnation of Citizen Kane, but perhaps this is merely the hubris of the first morning coffee jolt.

Upon finishing each segment, Mr. dmckj is left physically, emotionally, (yes, and sexually) drained to the point that he must sequester himself into a dark room because of his extreme emotional vulnerability after peak moments of creativity.

Accordingly, we are attempting to mix things up a bit and continue with some more upbeat and never-before-revealed 'Tall Tales from Timbertop'. Our creative producers are at this moment in negotiations with Mr. Devo on this matter.

We apologize in advance for any untimely delays....and hope this will not affect your decision to keep paying your monthly service fees...


dmckj


Feb 4, 2005, 6:25 PM
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.......man....no one is taking up the slack....

..to those of you waiting for the next installment of 'The Courting of Rhan'...you'll have to wait a little longer...

meanwhile, some historical filler material to keep this thread on theme..

Origin of Zion route names (for starters)....

Moonlight Buttress: I don't know, go ask Jeff Lowe or Mike Weiss

Spaceshot: It was Dangle's lead off of Earth Orbit Ledge. He went to the edge, looked down, and said 'whoahh!!' Hence Dangle's name Spaceshot, because that is what you get when you look down between your legs on that pitch. If you read his account of our climbing this, he comments on me sending a bolt of electric energy through the rope when he looked back at me and said something like 'I'm gonna have to drill this. Looks might we might have to settle here for another night....'. He's right, I sure as heck was going to get off the climb THAT day. We did, and had a luxurious bivy with fire in the upper bowl.

Empty Pages (on Angel's Landing): Traffic is one of my favorite groups and Empty Pages (John Barlecorn Must Die) one of my favorite tunes, partial lyrics as follows....

'Found someone who can comfort me, but there are always exceptions
And she's good at appearing sane, but I just want you to know

She's the one makes me feel so good when everything is against me
Picks me up when I'm feeling down, so I've got something to show

Staring at empty pages, centered 'round the same plot
Staring at empty pages, flowing along in the ages'

In the middle of this climb, one certainly feels as if one is staring at Empty Pages of sandstone.

Lovelace a.k.a. Fang Wall (East Temple, Pine Creek): I believe Dangle named the spire up Pine Creek 'The Fang'. Somewhat ironically he, and others, tried to apply that name to the climb I did with Gary Grey. Sorry....the name is 'Lovelace', love it or leave it. Why....well, as Gary Grey explained in the '84 article, the widish crack at the top of the route (part of which Dangle named the Cavity, a good name which I accept) sort of hovers above the Fang Spire which sort of looks like a large penis. Lovelace....penis...you get the picture (maybe most of you aren't even old enough to know about the movie 'Deep Throat', god forbid). But all of my route names have several meanings, so you can take the sweet and nice one if you wish.

Golden Years (Kolob): Steve Chardon and I did the second ascent of Catharsis and the first ascent of this route (better than Catharsis and, for that matter, just about any other route I know of) in a five-day push from car-to-car. While putting up this climb it was apparent to me that if we were able to simply walk up and knock off a classic like this, then surely these were the 'Golden Years' of Zion climbing. An outstanding route that will go all free and sees ZERO traffic.

more later......


ron_jeremy


Feb 5, 2005, 5:13 AM
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I'm the proud owner of a "I CHOKED LINDA LOVELACE!" t-shirt.

Not a Zion first ascent, but hey, we're all good at something, right?

Continue, please.


dmckj


Feb 5, 2005, 7:07 AM
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Finally!!....

A thoughtful and timely response from one of the upstanding and virtuous members of the thread...

Wear that shirt with PRIDE, as I know I would!

O.K...here's another quick one...

Route Name Origins.....

I was visiting John Middendorff back when he lived in Hurricane, Utah (ultimately a little too sleepy for John me thinketh). Our plan was to bag a few new lines I had picked out. One, in the Kolob, particularly intrigued me since having climbed Catharsis and Golden Years long before. I had made the mistake of telling Rhan about this one, and he had later made the mistake of 'prevaricating' and telling me the Smoot brothers had later knocked it off (not true).

Anyway, I had some bagels I wanted to heat up and John, living the spartan life, didn't have a toaster. So, I fired up the broiler on his gas stove and jumped into the shower, asking John to watch the bagels. Upon leaving the shower I noticed this really, truly awful smell, sort of like someone had just pissed all over the inside of John's house. Not wanting to be the ungracious visitor I said nothing, thinking just maybe something had died somewhere during the night.

John had extracted the bagels and schmeared them with something resembling cream cheese and jelly. They were really good. Just as I was chewing literally my last bite, John looked at me a said 'did you notice that funny smell?'. Relieved I could now talk about it I said 'yeah, what the heck IS that?'. 'Well, there were mouse turds in the oven.........so, would you have eaten that bagel if I had told you that before??' I just about gagged.

Anyway, I told John that this was a truly inspirational name for a route, and, it being summer and fairly hot, we applied it to our new route on what we named, appropriately, 'Mouse Tower' in the Kolob between Shuntavi and Timbertop. 'Mouse Turds in the Oven' we were indeed Grade V, 5.11, A2

stay tuned....


epic_ed


Feb 5, 2005, 9:07 AM
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Oh, dear lord -- that's revolting. And funny as hell.

Ed


skinner


Feb 5, 2005, 1:36 PM
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This thread has really peaked my interest in Zion, while reading some beta I came across this; Here's a few snippets that I found pretty funny.

In reply to:
Beta for Moonlight Buttress, Zion
Pitch 5: Roof/Chimney. First continue up crack, pass roof (#8 hex used here) to awkward chimney. Pass this one to your partner!

    Easy walk off...follow trail to the right until you reach a paved trail. Go left to saddle junction where Angel's landing trail gets technical. Turn right and follow trail for 45 minutes to ground. It's great to stash some water here for use while you either wait for your partner to walk to the Angel's Landing parking lot to get the car or until you can convince a tourist to give your smelly corpse a lift.

      Go to Bit and Spur in Springdale and buy yourself a beer


      rockprodigy


      Feb 5, 2005, 6:55 PM
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      No! Dave, you just crushed me...I was sure "Golden Years" was named for the classic David Bowie song which, of course, was written for Elvis Presley shortly before he died mysteriously.

      Say what you want, but I'm going to stick with my story, which I like better (hmmm...seems like there's a lot of that going on around here).


      dmckj


      Feb 5, 2005, 10:14 PM
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      You're right, I like your 'Golden Years' story better.....

      But, I might add, Elvis didn't die...and word is the song Golden Years was beamed to David Bowie (whose real name is actually David Jones...do, do, do, do) by Elvis from the spaceship that took him to 'the next level'.

      I suppose next I'm going to crush your theory as to where the name 'Hello Mary Lou' (Oak Creek, Angelino Wall) came from.

      Boy, I hate to shatter illusions....


      dmckj


      Feb 6, 2005, 9:01 AM
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      .......next installment coming soon......

      Meanwhile, more route name origins...

      'Wrath of Rhan' (Temple of Sinawava): This represents a mispelling of the 'Wrath of Khan' or....it could mean something else? I'll let thread readers decide. This route is located in the magnificent Temple of Sinawava, on the buttress immediately to the right of the ephemeral waterfall, and is in such a spectacular location that it is well worth doing. It is a little dirty in the middle cracks, but this will clean up with some more ascents. The last pitch to the summit is a full on fun 5.9 hand crack. Walk off via the West Rim (Angel's Landing) trail, a mere 15 minutes from the top of the route.

      'Silmaril' (Watchman): I can still recall walking the base of this route and looking up to see a surreal looking perfect crack in a never-ending dihedral about half way up the cliff. Little could I believe that this would go all free on the first ascent as perfect hands. This crack is the center and best of 3 cracks. 'Silmaril' is from Tolkien lore, and represents THE ultimate jewel of, I think, 3 jewels. This route is a jewel.

      whassup Devo???


      bsmoot


      Feb 6, 2005, 12:10 PM
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      5.11 granite slab climbers storm Zion

      It was a hot spring day in Zion. Les Ellison was on the sharp end, carefully nailing his way up a thin blade crack. It was 1980, and this was to be the first ascent of Magic Carpet Ride – IV 5.9 A3+, a steep route up-canyon from Touchstone. Suddenly, PING! PING! Whoosh. Clank! He had just taken a short plunge. As Les gathered his wits, wiping the sweat off of his forehead, he heard shrieks of laughter drift up from below. It was Dangle, floating down the Virgin River in his rubber raft. He was naked, shouting up all kinds of taunts to Les up baking on the wall…he was splashing in the cool water, generally giving his friend a hard time.

      At the time, Les and I were working on a guidebook to Little Cottonwood Canyon, in Utah. Most of the quality granite climbing was slab stuff. Several years later, two of our friends who had climbed a lot of hard granite face and slab routes announced to me one day that they were going to Zion to climb Cerberus (now called Touchstone). Knowing these guys quite well, I was taken back. “You haven’t done any aid have you?” They replied, ”No, but it’s supposed to be easy aid.” Hmm, my mind reeled. Here I had done LOTS of pitches of aid on short crags for practice, paid my dues…before attempting my first wall, and these guys were just going to run up Cerberus!

      Somehow, I happened to be in Zion at the same time these friends of mine were going to storm Zion. It was now morning and I was all beat to hell after a typical wall thrashing. We were enjoying a post-climb relaxation day. We were curious to see our friends on Cerberus. In fact, you rarely saw another climber on a wall in those days. When you did, they were usually quite worthy…most had spent time on the big stone. Dangle, for example, had done the second solo ascent of the Shield.

      Tourists weren’t familiar with climbers like they now are, and likely thought, “What are these poor wretches doing here??” As Warren Harding said, “They thought we were poorly dressed fisherman”.

      Stopping by, we noticed they were about 20 feet up the first pitch. They weren’t moving. After a while, we left to take a short hike and scope new routes. “Wow this place has lots of cracks!” Four hours later these climbers were only a little higher. The other was now leading. Dangle was present with his patented bull horn, shouting up instructions: “You need to place the nut BEFORE you clip your aider to it!... Use a #4 stopper there…You need to step higher…it’s only A1.” Ignoring Dangle, contemplating the exposure, I heard one of them say, “This nut just sank an inch! Whoa! Oh no, the one below me just fell out! WATCH ME!” Near the end of the day, they finally made it to the top of the first pitch. Dangle was still there…"DO YOU NEED A RESCUE? DO YOU KNOW HOW TO GET DOWN??” Being safely on the ground, I was enjoying the harassment.

      The next day, with their tails between their legs, they abandoned the climb. Although thoroughly schooled, my friends would later go on to climb big walls…though mostly granite.


      epic_ed


      Feb 6, 2005, 5:38 PM
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      Registered: Jun 17, 2002
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      Re: Zion climbing history [In reply to]
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      Brian -- great tale. Damn, guys. I'm blow away by how many routes exits in Zion that I've never even heard of. Dave, what does "Wrath of Rhan" go at? How many pitches? Sounds like a stellar route -- one of many in the canyon.

      Ed


      dmckj


      Feb 6, 2005, 6:59 PM
      Post #175 of 667 (65653 views)
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      Registered: May 6, 2004
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      Re: Zion climbing history [In reply to]
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      Wrath of Rhan V 5.10 A2+/3 Paul Turecki and I (have to check my topo for date)

      I met Paul Turecki while trolling for a partner in the Zion campground. Had never met him from Adam. He was hanging with his girlfriend at the time (Nancy Pfeiffer??). I guess I didn't alienate him from that first ascent because he later came back and climbed 'The Tao of Light' with Middendorff.

      For a total rush I would suggest doing Wrath of Rhan during a good strong snowmelt so that the waterfall is going strong. Might be sort of like climbing the Misty Wall in The Big Valley. I suggest looking for a better start than the one I chose. It was certainly the easiest, but there might be a more quality way up to the bench.

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