Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
gmknight

Most influential american climber

Recommended Posts

Everyone has a favorite old fart that they think has done the most for american climbing. I am thinking Yvon Chounard but there are plenty of possibilities: John Gill, John Salathe, etc. Lets here yours and why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John Muir - One of the first Americans to climb technically difficult routes for the thrill of climbing itself and experiencing the majesty of the mountains. One of John Muir's TRs

 

Zebulon Pike - One of the first gapers yellaf.gif

 

Warren Harding - He was a heretic (bolt ladders!), but he sure was a visionary and very influential.

 

John Bachar - first person (that I know of) to do technically hard free soloing.

 

From the new school:

Lynn Hill - Maybe the most talented all-around rock climber ever! And, she's a woman! cool.gif

 

Dean Potter - Soloing hard new mixed routes in patagonia!

 

Chris Sharma & Tommy Caldwell - 5.15

 

 

 

I don't have a great depth of knowledge of climbing history like a lot of people on this website and I look forward to reading ya'll's responses! Good topic! thumbs_up.gif

Edited by Alpinfox

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John Muir - One of the first Americans to climb technically difficult routes for the thrill of climbing itself and experiencing the majesty of the mountains.

 

I am totalling kicking myself for not thinking of Muir. Well done!! thumbs_up.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

fritz wiessner: he did it all. highlights: discovered the gunks, did first ascent of waddington in 1936, devil's tower in 37, and almost summitted k2 (800' short) in 1939

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me...its Alan Watts...

 

he was the boy prophet from smith... thumbs_up.gif

Edited by RuMR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright -obvious one - Royal Robbins, especially for visionary aid routes, as well as being an early proponent of clean climbing.

 

But how about Ray Jardine for making a toy that allowed us gapers to climb cracks grades harder than we may attempt with just Hexes and nuts - look at it this way - we may appreciate Gill's focus, Croft's solos, anyone's big numbers or audacious ascents, but every one of us who climbs any iota of trad carries derivatives of those funky camming devices on our harnesses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me its gotta be Chouinard--rock, big walls, ice, gear design and innovation for it all, author too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fred and fritz american???????!!!!!!!maybe you haven't noticed the birthplace- germany!!!!

Chouinard's Canadian by birth. All 3 have lived a vast majority of their lives in America, hence American.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall, I would say John Gill, but let's not forget our freak engineer "friend":

 

jardine.jpg

 

He revolutionized free climbing thumbs_up.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your subject line - "most influential", and your opening post - "has done the most for" are at odds.

 

I'd probably agree with RuMR that "most influential" is Watts. Look at what the sport climbing revolution has wrought.

 

On the other hand, "done the most for" - you could argue for many.

 

However, Jardine is not one of them. If you think cams are that important fine, but give credit where it's due..to LOWE the originator of the concept of using camming devices as climbing pro. Chipping the Nose was then, and will always be, bullshit.

 

Salathe had the vision and a revolution in equipment. So did Chouinard. Robbins had vision and so did Harding, Pratt, Frost.

 

My choice? Jim Bridwell, easily. Crack master in the 60s, big wall visionary in the 70s rivaled only by Porter, took the skills to the hills in the 70s, 80s, 90s and was a big mentor to the Cali crew that produced such fine talent as Bard, Kauk, Long, Bachar, Hill, etc etc. And JB has was still putting up hard ass shit in the 90s.

 

For perspective, here's what John Long had to say about him:

"When I started climbing seriously in the early 70's, Jim Bridwell was the biggest name in rock climbing. From Yosemite to Crag Dru, from Patagonia, to the Canadian Rockies, Bridwell was the man. Now, over twenty years later, he is even more the man. He redefined the sport. He's done more than anyone else. He's been everywhere. And somehow he is still alive. But then, Jim Bridwell is the man. The rest of us are just climbers."

 

With over 100 First Ascents to Jim's credit in the Valley, it's easy to see that Yosemite National Park was his training ground. His "wild man" reputation went hand-in-hand with his accomplishments. He founded Yosemite National Park's Rescue Team, and spearheaded many famous rescues that became textbook for Search and Resue operations. He was a leading force in the changing techniques of climbing and an innovator/inventor of widely used and copied climbing gear.

 

1962

Yosemite: Higher Cathedral Spire

 

1963

Yosemite: Higher Cathedral Rock, N.E. Buttress

 

1964

Yosemite: Middle Cathedral Rock, First Free Ascent Grade V

Yosemite: Washington Column, E.Face Grade VI

Yosemite: Washington Column, South Face Grade V

Numerous First Ascents in Yosemite National Park and Pinnacles National Monument

 

1965

Yosemite: Higher Cathedral Spire, N.W.Face-Grade VI (Third Ascent)

Yosemite: Half Dome: Regular Route

Numerous first Ascents in Yosemite National Park and Pinnacles National Monument

 

1966

Yosemite: Direct Route on Half Dome (Second Ascent)

Sierras: The Yawn, High Sierra, California (First Free Ascent)

 

1967

Yosemite: Higher Cathedral Rock, East Face (First Ascent) Grade VI

Yosemite: Quarter Dome, First one day ascent, Grade V

Yosemite: Leaning Tower (Second one-day ascent) Grade VI

Yosemite: Washington Column, South Central (First Ascent) Grade V

 

1968

Yosemite: El Captain, The Nose (First free ascent of stove leg cracks) first 2-day ascent, Grade VI

 

1969

Yosemite: El Captain, Intragral (First Ascent) Grade VI

Yosemite: El Captain, Salathe Wall (First Three day ascent)

 

1970

Numerous first ascents of difficult free climbs including:

Yosemite: New Dimensions: the first climb of 5.11 rating.

Yosemite: Ribbon Falls, Vain Hope (First Ascent) Grade VI

 

1971

Yosemite: El Captain, Aquarian Wall (First Ascent) Grade VI

Numerous First Ascents of difficult free climbs

 

1972

Yosemite: First major El Captain rescue, 2500 ft. lowering with litter

Numerous First Ascents of hard free climbs including "The Nabisco Wall"

 

1973

Numerous First Ascents of difficult free climbs

 

1974

Yosemite: Yosemite Falls, Geek Towers-Grade V, 5.11+

Many other First Ascents of free climbs

 

1975

Yosemite: El Captain, The Nose (First one day ascent of El Captain, 15 hours)

Yosemite: El Captain, Pacific Ocean Wall (First Ascent) Grade VI, most difficult technical climb in the world at the time

 

1976

Yosemite: Ribbon Falls, Gold Ribbon - Grade VI

Yosemite: El Captain, Mirage (First Ascent) Grade VI

Patagonia, Argenina: El Mocho (First Ascent) Grade V

Patagonia, Argentina: Mojon Rojo (First Ascent) Grade V

 

1977

Boliva: Huana Potosi (First Ascent) 20,000 feet

Yosemite: Half Dome, Bushido (First Ascent) Grade VI

 

1978

Yosemite: El Captain, Sea of Dreams (First Ascent) Grade VI

Yosemite: Half Dome, Zenith (First Ascent) Grade VI

Yosemite: Mount Watkins, Bob Locke Memorial Buttress (First Ascent) Grade VI

 

1979

Patagonia, Argentina: Cerro Torre Southeast Ridge (First Ascent)Grade VI

Alaska: Kichatna Spire Northwest Face (First Ascent) Grade VI

 

1980

Chamonix, France: Shroud (Grade VI)

Chamonix, France: Pitet Capacine - Grade V

 

1981

Alaska: Mooses Tooth, East Face (First Ascent) First winter Grade VI in Alaska

Yosemite: El Captain, Zenyatta Mondatta (First Ascent) Grade VI

 

 

1982

Himalayas, Nepal: Pumori South Face, 23,448 feet (First Ascent)

First American Ascent and First Winter Ascent

Himalayas, Nepal: Khangsi III, 22,723 feet (First Ascent)

 

1983

Borneo Camel Expedition: Trans Borneo Crossing

First coast to coast crossing of the island of Indonesia

 

1984

Nepal: Tawache East Face, Kumbu Himal, Nepal (Unsuccessful)

Numerous ice climbs in Canada, Colorado, and California

 

1985

Everest: West Ridge Direct, Kumbu Himal, Nepal (Unsuccessful) 800 ft from the summit

 

1986

Numerous free climbs in California and Nevada

 

1987

Yosemite: Half Dome, Big Chill (First Ascent) Grade VI

Alaska: Mooses Tooth, West Ridge

 

1988

Cerro Stanhardt (First Ascent) Grade VI

Patagonia, Argentina: Des Mochada (First Ascent) Grade VI

 

1989

Yosemite: El Captain, West Face (Free Ascent) Grade VI - 5.11+

Yosemite: El Captain, The Nose (Guided Ascent) Grade VI

 

1991

Yosemite: Half Dome, Shadows (First Ascent) Grade VI

 

1996

New Foundland: 4 First Ascents 1,200 feet, WI6

 

1997

Yosemite: El Capitan, Wyoming Sheep Ranch Grade VI 5,10 A5+

 

1998

Yosemite: El Captain, Plastic Surgery Disaster - 5.9, A5 Grade VI

Yosemite: El Captain, Heavy Metal and Tinkertoys (First Ascent) VI, 5.10, A5

 

1999

Alaska: Bear Tooth (First Ascent) Grade VII - 5.9+, A4, WI4+

France: Grand Capusan (First Ascent) Grade VI - 5.4, A4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah. Jim Bridwell. The guy who wanted to bolt holds on El Cap, so everyone could climb it with a set of draws. rolleyes.gif

 

He did do some amazing stuff, for sure. thumbs_up.gif

 

I merely said Jardine revolutionized free climbing, not climbing. Big difference, to me. And, yeah, the lowe tri-cams were also revolutionary.

 

bigdrink.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MisterE, not tri-cams...the original SLCD design was by Lowe, not Jardine. Greg Lowe invented the first SLCD...he patented it. He showed it to Jardine, who ripped off the idea, tweaked it (substantially, by adding the trigger among other refinements) and sold it to Wild Country. Lowe sued, and they settled out of court.

 

Ref: "Wizards of Rock"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right on, Will. As I was going down through this thread, I was wondering if/when I would see the name of Jim Bridwell as "most influential" and "done the most for American climbing." Many others named here deserve credit, including those you mention, but for vision, style, ethics across the broad range of climbing as we know it today, Bird is indeed the most influential, and THE MAN. thumbs_up.gif

 

And, yeah, that WC catalog/brochure about the invention of cams sure is hype and distortion of actual history. While Jardine might have made his contribution to cam design, chippers be damned!

 

Now E-Rock, I haven't exactly been living in a hole, but this is the first I've heard of this: what's the source of this accusation of the Bird wanting to bolt holds on El Cap? If somewhat credible, musta been some line or story made and heard by a fire in a smoky haze...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What, is this masturbate to "Goldline" week?

 

Yeah, yeah, Chweenard, Jardine, Bridwell, Watts, Ament, Becky: undeniable masters, progressive thinkers that created new boundaries, yeah, yeah. But...

 

Kurt Smith. (Free your mind.)

Lynn Hill. (Free everything.)

Alex Lowe. ("Bringing Alex is cheating!")

Mark Twight. (The recent impossible.)

Chris Sharma. (New number grade. Won't claim it. Damn.)

Dean Potter & Steve House. (The new impossible.)

 

These are the names that I associate most with influencing the progression of American climbing over the last 12 years, climbers pushing the realm of what was thought acceptable, probable or possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think some of the people above have had a huge influence on high end climbing, but what about the average every day climber...

 

My vote is for Paul Petzoldt.

 

Petzoldt did the fourth ascent of the Grand, the first winter ascent and the first ascent of the Grand's north face. He got extremely high on K2 and probably would have summitted if the expedition had been better organized...

 

From an influential perspective, Petzoldt developed rope signals (on belay, climbing, slack etc.) and was the first to do this in the U.S.. He co-started Exum mountain guides and was the driving force behind NOLS. He testified in favor of the 1964 wilderness act, developed the early leave no trace ethic, started the Wilderness Education Association, and the Paul Petzoldt Leadership School.

 

Oh yeah, he taught cold weather survival skills to over 12,000 10th mountain division soldiers and tried to climb the Grand on the 70th anniversary of his 1924 ascent...

 

From the way we dress, to how we communicate, to how we act in the mountains, to the way we treat the backcountry environment, I would say Petzoldt had a lot of influence on the way most climbers do things...

 

Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info, Will. I was unaware that Jardine stole the cam idea.

 

Pindude: When I was working for EntrePrise, I spent 3 days with Bridwell showing him how to set up a imprint wall for "Gym Bridwell". He told me he had that idea, and it wasn't very popular. yellaf.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MisterE, not tri-cams...the original SLCD design was by Lowe, not Jardine. Greg Lowe invented the first SLCD...he patented it. He showed it to Jardine, who ripped off the idea, tweaked it (substantially, by adding the trigger among other refinements) and sold it to Wild Country. Lowe sued, and they settled out of court.

 

Ref: "Wizards of Rock"

 

 

Only partly true. Lowe had used a spring loaded cam in a climbing devise (early 70s). Jardine admits to using Lowe's concept. BUT concept only. Jardine's devise was far more refined that Lowe's, that's why it was copied by everyone else and is still with use today.

Lowe did sue. But it was ruled that he could not patent the cam portion of the devise. Cams have been around to long. Jardine's devise was different enough, in other ways, to win the case. He got the patent.

Every other cam manufacturer has used basically the same concept as Jardine's. He could not sue Chouinard for the Camalot design even though only the double-axle was new.

Give credit where credit is due.

 

 

chris

 

(sorry for the subject drift)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think your subject line - "most influential", and your opening post - "has done the most for" are at odds.

 

good point will. i am sure sport climbing could be considered progression by some but that is questionable. I think it is interesting that you vote for the bird though. He is definitely one of the most prolific hard men but i doubt that american climbing would be in a different place had he never decided to tie in.

I do agree that many of the people we are nominating would place a vote for Mugs Stump. He quietly revolutionized the way modern alpinists climb big mountains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

beck weathers. you know: the frostbit fuck who wouldnt die. that dude has had a bigger influence on americans attitudes about climbers than anyone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i dont think one person is more influential then any other. as all have made worthwhile contributions, to attempt to keyhole people into a list of most important follows christain rhetoric. worry more about yourself then other is my mantra. and celebrate your personal friends contributions then people whom you most likely dont know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×