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ScottP

First Roped Climb?

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This is mine (the dihedral, not the thin cracks)...

267564.jpg

Paid $32.00 for a day of instruction. Eddie Joe was the instructor. He called me "Spider Man" because of my tendency to downclimb stuff facing out.

Kernville Slabs, Southern Sierra, 1978

 

 

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There was a sign-up on a bulletin board at school for rock-climbing. I thought we were going to put on sneakers and hike up what today I'd call a talus. But they tied a rope around my waist and had me climb what I then thought was straight up.

 

That was 40 years ago. No picture but I might produce the MIT guide to Quincy Quarries from that era. The first climb was Friction Face, 5.0, but by the end of the day I awed the trip leaders by doing a 5.5

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I got stoked in Zion by my trail crew leader John Gangemi's tales...went home, bought a bunch of books and self learned knots and belay basics. Bought a small rack of stoppers and hexes from Basecamp supply and a rope and a harness from some dude at my High School...I recruited a stoner friend to drive up to Index and I led GNS onsight with pro every foot or so. What a rush. my only previous experience was learning the basics at spire rock from the locals, including some strange old guy soloing around in tennis shoes and black socks..

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Woah, your first day out was under the wing of the legendary EC Joe?

 

I think my first roped climbing experience was using piece of hemp rope pilfered from a construction site and a scrap railroad spike to chop steps up a 50 degree mud/rock/dirt embankment in San Diego in pursuit of bands of crystals, circa 1970. Sometime a little later we also engaged in dulfersitz rappels off two story concrete tilt up walls on construction sites.

 

The real deal didn't commence until Thanksgiving weekend 1972, in Joshua Tree with some Sierra Club Rock Climbing Section outing, headed by my friend Alan Nelson's dad. First climb was on some rotten pile out in the desert on the way there, but we spent several days in Indian Cove on things I'm sure I'd no longer recognize. Goldline ropes and Lowa Scout boots, yee haw.

 

Guess this is my 35th anniversary coming up.

 

 

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First roped climb:

Something at Garden of the Gods, CO. Might be this one:

Byron%20on%20White%20Spire.preview.JPG

 

 

First roped alpine climb:

Vestal Peak, CO. Wham Ridge, 5.4ish It's the peak on the left in this picture:

grenadiersReflection.jpg

 

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Broughtons, the first climb that you come to on Hanging Gardens wall. (circa '75)

I bummed my way up somebodies rope. A giant magic hook grabbed me from the sky.

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Spring of 1986, my senior year at the UW. After climbing campus buildings and bouldering obsessively at the UW rock for a year, I went home to Yakima for spring break. I ran into some high school friends who'd gotten into climbing and they took me on my first trip to the Royal Columns, lending me a harness. Back then, there was no guidebook. Everything was in the style of a first ascent: you simply picked a crack and climbed it. We chose the wide crack now called "Rattler" (5.7...in Royal Columns ratings). My friend led about halfway up, then bailed and offered me the sharp end. He tied my knot for me, gave me the rack, and sent me on my way. I got up to his high point, then with no idea how to place gear, I simply ran it out the last 30' to the top. Once I got there, I had no idea what to do. My friends shouted up instructions from the base, explaining how to stick these weird things called "hexes" into the cracks and attach myself to them, then how to belay up a second. It's amazing we all didn't get killed.

 

A week or so later, Jeff Smoot (yes, the guidebook author) took me to Peshastin and taught me to lead a little more safely. By the end of the day, I was the king of Sunset Slab!

 

Endnote: Despite many, many, many trips to the Royal Columns since that first day, I've never climbed "Rattler" again.

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with freedom of the hills in hand, we were off to pawtuckaway state park in new hampshire. With our new rope, TR setups and one pair of rock shoes for the both of us, we managed to find a good little climb in 2 hours, set up a TR in under 3 hours, climb it twice in another 3 hours and then break it all down in another hour. On the way out, my buddy fell off during a short down climb, crashed into me and we both went tumbling down a wooded hillside. We had a big day and thought we got alot done. gumby!

 

On the way out, a local hardguy was telling us how to climb a overhanging corner we were looking at, spewing all this lingo. Something about layback, stem, undercling, blah, blah and more blah. We were impressed but thought he was insane. I was hooked.

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With alpine as my first love, and solo exploration my lifelong mode of operation, I had gotten into some very precarious situations down-climbing class five in the dark (Fremont Peak) in vibram-soled Redwings. Prudence interceding, as usual shortly before death makes its claim, I started asking around in an attempt to find a mentor. I found a guy who'd just come away from a month-long NOLS course out of Lander.

 

In my twenties, single, and a working stiff, I had a decent stash of cash to draw from. So, I asked Jack to help me spend it on the stuff I'd need to progress in the exploration of the vertical world. I dropped over four hundred bucks at Teton Mountaineering on hexes, stoppers, carabiners, perlon with which to sling all the little bits of aluminum, 1" webbing for runners, a Whillans (sewn from what looked like white seatbelt webbing), and a colorful 150" rope. Most of the expensive shit had a label on it of "Great Pacific Iron Works" or an insignia of a diamond with a little "c" in the center.

 

We marched up Garnet Canyon where Jack lead a few pitches explaining chock placement technique, the importance of the webbing runners to allow the rope to remain fairly straight minimizing the pull and displacement of pieces, belay technique using my new Sticht plate, belay anchor construction with three pieces and equalizing webbing, and how to construct a rappel device from my oval biners. I led a few pitches that same afternoon, in the summer of '77.

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the "ultra-classic" railroad dihedral at larrabee state park, about 7 years ago. hooked from day one, completely self taught from books. can't beleive i started leading that one regularly a few months later; the sketchy years, glad i survived. use to lead the grey wall too, scary.

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my mentor, mr. Stephen Schrader put me on MR. Clean for my first roped climb!! My first lead was again under his supervision on sideshow 10d. I whipped a few times and got scared shitless. He told me to keep going because I was rocking... Effin psycho!!

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1987 in the Sandia Mountains. I was 11 and my dad taught me. I loved the climbing part, hated the rappelling - some things never change.

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Ya and I'm tied in while belaying too!

Belaying with the ass belay too. Maybe I was the last person ever to learn to belay with an ass belay. The next time I went out the guy I went cragging with took pity on me and loaned me a Sticht plate.

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Ya and I'm tied in while belaying too!

Belaying with the ass belay too. Maybe I was the last person ever to learn to belay with an ass belay. The next time I went out the guy I went cragging with took pity on me and loaned me a Sticht plate.

 

Just maybe, his generosity was fueled by concern for his own ass.

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My wife and I took the mountaineers basic climbing course in 77. I think the first time we were roped was on a field trip to Spire Rock where I met raindawg, who, if memory serves, ran out of the woods stark naked and soloed the overhang, causing mass hysteria amongst the tightly wound hardies.

 

First outdoor climb was the south face of the tooth.

 

First lead climb was with Will Greenough (also a friend of raindawg). At the end of the basic class, we took our metal framed hiking backpacks filled with tents, sleeping bags, stoves, extra clothes and pads up a 3 pitch 5.4 above eight mile campground. We bivied in a spot where the crack opened up into a 6 foot wide gully. I can still remember the campers shining their headlamps up at our headlamps on the cliff and shouting at us while we cooked dinner. We imagined that was how Warren Harding must have felt.

 

There were no cams back then. The pictures I have from those years show lots of hexes and stoppers. I'm thinking it might be fun to try to lead midway (castle rock) without any cams, just for old times sake.

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Ralph Stover State Park, PA, some ramdom TR on the "Practice Face", 1988 with Derek Hedstrom. I climbed in Vasque Sundowners and some crappy harness, but I had a chalk bag!!! (in fact, the same one I still climb with today!)

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