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Beacon Rock Stories

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chris jensen the tweaker

 

ah yes, while spinning beacon yarns, we might as well throw out the cool monikers of beacon climbers - chris jensen the tweaker might be the best so far!

 

old larry

sketchy todd

 

...come to mind right off the bat...

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I have one for later.

 

BTW, "Old" Larry's correct moniker is "Big" Larry. (alt names Clif and Lash, for Lash Larou isn't it?) Cause Small Larry is Larry Harpe.

 

I saw Larry Harpe's pic on the back of Urban Climber mag this month in a Mad rock ad. He's on a miniature bike, with like 5" wheels, and he's got a cowboy hat on, a cig dangling from the lip, and a Mad rock pad strapped to his back somewhere @ Moab. :lmao:

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Finally talked my new-girlfriend (now-wife) into summitting Beacon, just a few months into our relationship and the start of her climbing career (both events starting at the same time, as our first date was disguised as a "trip to the rock gym" heh heh heh, anyone else tried that maneuver?)

 

The climb takes longer than expected - go figure - and of course I had to take her the scenic route via the Ledge. So it's dark by the time I start Uprising, but I am wearing a headlamp and have convinced her we're still "safe" because I can see just fine. I get up to that hincky/slopey little "move" (you all know just the one I mean) about 20-30 feet off the belay, no pro in so far, and lightly bump my head against the dark wall. The headlamp flies off and sails down to the belay.

 

She managers to trap it under her foot but it has fatal injuries. So I'm perched up there blindly, leading a pitch in the dark that I've only led a few times before at this point, afraid to tug on the pro I have blindly slotted (and which we all know is marginal even in the daylight). I hold my breath through hose moves, fumble my way to the top, step left onto the trail and build an anchor in the dark, and listen to her curse my name all the way up.

 

The headlamp incident definitely ruined my carefully projected presentation that climbing was a safe "sport" where nothing ever goes wrong.

 

on the plus side, she now believes every "epic" yarn i come home with every time i come home late, which is just about every time (our rope got stuck, mark left his wallet/camera/phone up there, someone stole the rap hangers!/my headlamp died!/and on and on...)

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kevbone,

what about your ken story where he told you to suck it up and rope solo with your atc.

 

 

So I get out there one day without a partner about 9 years ago. Jim and Ken were racking up to climb the corner….I thought “great someone to climb with”. I asked if I could hop on their party. Jim said yes. Ken said no. I was like what do you mean no? Ken decided to be an asshole that day…..he said (in a grovely, deep voice) “I have been climbing in parties of three all summer and now I get to climb with only one other person and you want to fuck that up, try rope soloing the corner and we will meet you on the ledge for a bowl”. “If you can’t get there on your own, then you suck”.

 

 

I proceed to get pissed off at him, but realized even thought Ken is smaller than me…..he would fuck me up.

 

I roped soloed the SE corner with a pack on. Climbed ever pitch twice and learned how to do that. I am now glad Ken said what he said so I could learn something new.

 

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the north face of beacon rock open in 98' thanks to the efforts of jim opdyke and mike jackson. the week it opened jim and i were standing at the base armed with gardening tools, pins, a full rack and i big bag of matlock. the face was so covered in moss you couln't even see the rock. we chose a line thirty feet right of the water tap. the first piece i placed was a #1 lost arrow which is now a sweet #1 rock placement. i started pullin down moss and uncovering sweet hand hold after sweet hand hold. i was like a little kid on christmas morning opening up gifts. the holds were all there. the gear was sufficient enough to protect. the whole time on lead i could smell the matlock which i was pretty used to at that point. it ended up being a great line on great rock and very unique for a beacon rock climb.i was really lucky to get that one. i went back the next day and freed it. scott woolums showed up right after i rapped down and he went for a go on it. that was the first time i ever met met him and was stoked he was the first to climb my route. i end up calling it "smoke signals" for obvious reasons. jim loved indian names because of the history of beacon and the fact that looking up at the route ,it looks like smoke rising into the air. it just fit.

 

 

DSCN0524.JPG

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About 10 years ago. Pink (Andrew), The Toe (little Larry), Lash (old Larry), Jim, Arnet, Rad Brad Jarrett and myself all climbed Young warriors together.

 

Later in the day, Brad decided to try to onsite Freeforsome (up to the upper anchor). I belayed him, while all the others listed above watched in ah! Brad, being the bad ass climber he is, sent it, all the way to the upper anchor first go. He thought the on site grade was 11c/d.

 

Brad was climbing super strong due to just getting back from putting up a FA on The Nameless Tower in Pakastan.

 

I will never forget that moment. Nobody else was around except our group. Oh yeah…..and matlock.

 

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damn...awesome stories you guys. nothing momentous here, but i'll see if i can contribute a few laughs...

 

 

My first trip to Beacon was a humbling one...

I went out with two friends who will remain nameless - let's just call them Leader and Follower1 - and I'll be playing the roll of Follower2. None of us were exactly what I'd call "very experienced" at this point. Neither Follower1 nor I had ever placed a piece of gear before, so we were ready to faithfully follow our leader whereever he was going to take us. Leader had the rack & double-ropes, and was also the only one to have been to Beacon before (like once, maybe - and he'd never been up the SE corner before).

 

Our objective was to head up the SE corner. This was also one of my earliest multi-pitch excursions. I had been up a couple 2-3 pitch things at Smith probably, but the SE corner would've been the longest route by far.

 

So we arrived at the rock at around noon or 1:00 on a beautiful late autumn Saturday, and headed down the trail only to find a couple other pairs of people starting up the corner, or waiting to start up the corner. So we knew we had some time to kill. We headed down to Free for All and played on that one a bit - taking our sweet time to let the other parties all get off the ground.

 

When we headed back to the base of Cruisin', the coast was clear, so we started heading up. At some point before leaving the ground, we checked the time - it was about 4:00pm, but we didn't really pay any attention to it since Leader had assured us that there were really only about 3-4 pitches of climbing, then a bunch of easy walking/scrambling to the top.

 

Everything was going fairly smoothly for the first couple pitches up to Snag ledge - but with a group of 3 relative tenderfoots, we weren't exactly setting any speed records. But did I mention that it was autumn, and that the sun was going down by 7:00pm or so?

By the time we were up on the grassy ledges, the sun was starting to go down.

Now would also be a good time to mention that we didn't have a book or topo and, as mentioned earlier, none of us had been up the route before - so we were working from Leader's memory of the route topo/description: "After grassy ledges, it's just like 1-2 pitches of really easy climbing/scrambling to the trail at the top...."

 

I'll never be 100% sure of where we took a wrong turn - but nowadays my best guess is that after the short chimney section above grassy ledges, we kept heading straight up instead of taking the nice easy ramp up to the right. We did a couple of short pitches in the twilight, with the last one ending with the three of us huddled under a tree and it being pitch black.

 

At this point we got to thinking (or admitting to ourselves) that we might be off route. Leader informed us that "we've climbed like 5 pitches already - so we must be really close - the trail has got to be only another 50-100 feet above us." Surely, it would be easier to just head up to the trail than to try and rap all the way down in the dark. :crazy:

 

So now would be a good time to also mention that we didn't have any headlamps or warm clothes. It was a nice sunny day when we'd left the car, so why would we need them?

 

This little adventure took place back when most cellular phones were analog, and pretty bulky units with crappy back-lighting. But I was trying to be a bit of a technophile at the time, and I had bought one of the first phones to come out with a full color display. Taking it out of my pocket to check the time again (and curse a bit under my breath), I noticed that it lit up our little belay station pretty well. It was this shiny cell phone display that turned out to be our only consistent light source now that the sun had gone down. So, we handed it to Leader and let him try to keep on leading upward.

 

Of course, as one might imagine, it's kind of a pain to try to climb while having to constantly push buttons on a cell phone to keep the backlight from going off.

Thus, despite the best efforts of our valiant cellular savior (and the occasional temporary respite when a passing train would gloriously light up the rock), our Leader wasn't able to get much more than 15 feet above the belay. It was slow going when trying to use the phone to find each hold, and it was certainly harder climbing than we'd been expecting at this point.

 

So finally it was time to admit defeat. It was time for Leader to come back down and for us to figure out how the hell to get off the rock. It was a first time bailing for any of us (as I mentioned, we weren't exactly well-travelled climbers at this point)

We started rapping. It turns out that rappelling down a completely unknown rock in the dark, with only cell phone light to look for another anchor spot, isn't a whole lot easier than climbing in the dark. We were slow and cautious.

1 rap off a tree, then a second rap set up off some slung horns, and then while Leader was heading down, out of sight on rap #2, we heard a girlish squeal of joy come up from the darkness. "I FOUND BOLTS!" he yelled. Signs of civilization! and surely a sign that we were at least back onto an established route, if not close enough to be on the ground soon.

 

Now, another added bit of excitement was that during all these raps, the phone started to ring. It was my then girlfriend (now wife), calling irately because she thought that I'd gone out to a bar with my friends without inviting her along. I didn't answer any of the calls - the last thing I wanted to do was to answer and have to explain "Honey, I'm cold and lost in the dark, halfway up some god-foresaken rock". So, at least I didn't make her worry - instead she was just really pissed.

 

Anyway, by the time we got down to the bolted rap station, we'd remarkly only had to leave behind a couple slings and biners. And luckily enough, that third rap got us to the ground (having double ropes sure did feel good at that point).

After tucking our tails safely between our legs, we stumbled back up the trail (still by cell-phone-light) to our car and were pleased to find nothing other than a friendly reminder on our windshield from the park ranger noting that the park closes at dark.

 

Time check: 12:15 AM.

Holy crap - just get me home so that I can begin to endure the wrath of the significant other that I knew was coming when I explained where I was. At least the flogging would probably warm me up.

 

 

Post-script: It was a couple years before I would visit that rock again. Fortunately, in the meantime, I had started leading trad and had some more experience under my belt. My next time to Beacon, armed with a photocopied topo & route description, I headed up with 2 other friends (this time it was me doing all the leading), and cruised up the SE corner without any issues or mishaps (except for me unwittingly climbing one of the direct variations to the Slab pitch - the one that goes up the dihedral just below the snag ledge tree - instead of the easy way up). I've been back a number of times since, but Beacon definitely still holds a certain stigma in my mind...There's no place like Beacon to give you that good, reliable reality-check to put you in place if you start thinking you're hot stuff.

 

 

 

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I have one for later.

 

BTW, "Old" Larry's correct moniker is "Big" Larry. (alt names Clif and Lash, for Lash Larou isn't it?) Cause Small Larry is Larry Harpe.

 

I saw Larry Harpes pic on the back of Urban Climber mag this month in a Mad rock ad. He's on a miniture bike, with like 9" wheels, and he's got a cowboy hat on, a cig dangling from the lip, and a Mad rock pad strapped to his back somewhere @ Moab. :lmao:

54193-medium_67537.jpg

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Mark,

 

What was your first Beacon FA?

 

windwalker. it was the first fa i did anywhere.

 

cc.jpg

 

 

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climbed jensen's ridge this fall, felt like the first person on the route in a long, long time. encountered a totally dead, blackened, shriveled plant in the crack below the "mind-bending off-width" - ripped the whole thing out w/ my bare hands, getting dust n' shit all over my face, only to notice the tiniest sprig of bright green poison oak growing out of its roots, way in the back - spent the next week on the 'roids, feel'n groovy, itch'n on the inside, that special soul-scratch ya can't make
We were on Jensens a few days before you and bailed... our excuse was all the poison oak but we were having a hell of a time getting up that finger crack... be sure to take the marking tape off the booty gear so I don't snag them as mine next time...

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Mark,

 

What was your first Beacon FA?

 

windwalker. it was the first fa i did anywhere.

 

cc.jpg

 

 

 

i love that picture. nice find, right under everyones nose or over everyone nose.

Edited by pink

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damn...awesome stories you guys. nothing momentous here, but i'll see if i can contribute a few laughs...

 

 

My first trip to Beacon was a humbling one...

I went out with two friends who will remain nameless - let's just call them Leader and Follower1 - and I'll be playing the roll of Follower2. None of us were exactly what I'd call "very experienced" at this point. Neither Follower1 nor I had ever placed a piece of gear before, so we were ready to faithfully follow our leader whereever he was going to take us. Leader had the rack & double-ropes, and was also the only one to have been to Beacon before (like once, maybe - and he'd never been up the SE corner before).

 

Our objective was to head up the SE corner. This was also one of my earliest multi-pitch excursions. I had been up a couple 2-3 pitch things at Smith probably, but the SE corner would've been the longest route by far.

 

So we arrived at the rock at around noon or 1:00 on a beautiful late autumn Saturday, and headed down the trail only to find a couple other pairs of people starting up the corner, or waiting to start up the corner. So we knew we had some time to kill. We headed down to Free for All and played on that one a bit - taking our sweet time to let the other parties all get off the ground.

 

When we headed back to the base of Cruisin', the coast was clear, so we started heading up. At some point before leaving the ground, we checked the time - it was about 4:00pm, but we didn't really pay any attention to it since Leader had assured us that there were really only about 3-4 pitches of climbing, then a bunch of easy walking/scrambling to the top.

 

Everything was going fairly smoothly for the first couple pitches up to Snag ledge - but with a group of 3 relative tenderfoots, we weren't exactly setting any speed records. But did I mention that it was autumn, and that the sun was going down by 7:00pm or so?

By the time we were up on the grassy ledges, the sun was starting to go down.

Now would also be a good time to mention that we didn't have a book or topo and, as mentioned earlier, none of us had been up the route before - so we were working from Leader's memory of the route topo/description: "After grassy ledges, it's just like 1-2 pitches of really easy climbing/scrambling to the trail at the top...."

 

I'll never be 100% sure of where we took a wrong turn - but nowadays my best guess is that after the short chimney section above grassy ledges, we kept heading straight up instead of taking the nice easy ramp up to the right. We did a couple of short pitches in the twilight, with the last one ending with the three of us huddled under a tree and it being pitch black.

 

At this point we got to thinking (or admitting to ourselves) that we might be off route. Leader informed us that "we've climbed like 5 pitches already - so we must be really close - the trail has got to be only another 50-100 feet above us." Surely, it would be easier to just head up to the trail than to try and rap all the way down in the dark. :crazy:

 

So now would be a good time to also mention that we didn't have any headlamps or warm clothes. It was a nice sunny day when we'd left the car, so why would we need them?

 

This little adventure took place back when most cellular phones were analog, and pretty bulky units with crappy back-lighting. But I was trying to be a bit of a technophile at the time, and I had bought one of the first phones to come out with a full color display. Taking it out of my pocket to check the time again (and curse a bit under my breath), I noticed that it lit up our little belay station pretty well. It was this shiny cell phone display that turned out to be our only consistent light source now that the sun had gone down. So, we handed it to Leader and let him try to keep on leading upward.

 

Of course, as one might imagine, it's kind of a pain to try to climb while having to constantly push buttons on a cell phone to keep the backlight from going off.

Thus, despite the best efforts of our valiant cellular savior (and the occasional temporary respite when a passing train would gloriously light up the rock), our Leader wasn't able to get much more than 15 feet above the belay. It was slow going when trying to use the phone to find each hold, and it was certainly harder climbing than we'd been expecting at this point.

 

So finally it was time to admit defeat. It was time for Leader to come back down and for us to figure out how the hell to get off the rock. It was a first time bailing for any of us (as I mentioned, we weren't exactly well-travelled climbers at this point)

We started rapping. It turns out that rappelling down a completely unknown rock in the dark, with only cell phone light to look for another anchor spot, isn't a whole lot easier than climbing in the dark. We were slow and cautious.

1 rap off a tree, then a second rap set up off some slung horns, and then while Leader was heading down, out of sight on rap #2, we heard a girlish squeal of joy come up from the darkness. "I FOUND BOLTS!" he yelled. Signs of civilization! and surely a sign that we were at least back onto an established route, if not close enough to be on the ground soon.

 

Now, another added bit of excitement was that during all these raps, the phone started to ring. It was my then girlfriend (now wife), calling irately because she thought that I'd gone out to a bar with my friends without inviting her along. I didn't answer any of the calls - the last thing I wanted to do was to answer and have to explain "Honey, I'm cold and lost in the dark, halfway up some god-foresaken rock". So, at least I didn't make her worry - instead she was just really pissed.

 

Anyway, by the time we got down to the bolted rap station, we'd remarkly only had to leave behind a couple slings and biners. And luckily enough, that third rap got us to the ground (having double ropes sure did feel good at that point).

After tucking our tails safely between our legs, we stumbled back up the trail (still by cell-phone-light) to our car and were pleased to find nothing other than a friendly reminder on our windshield from the park ranger noting that the park closes at dark.

 

Time check: 12:15 AM.

Holy crap - just get me home so that I can begin to endure the wrath of the significant other that I knew was coming when I explained where I was. At least the flogging would probably warm me up.

 

 

Post-script: It was a couple years before I would visit that rock again. Fortunately, in the meantime, I had started leading trad and had some more experience under my belt. My next time to Beacon, armed with a photocopied topo & route description, I headed up with 2 other friends (this time it was me doing all the leading), and cruised up the SE corner without any issues or mishaps (except for me unwittingly climbing one of the direct variations to the Slab pitch - the one that goes up the dihedral just below the snag ledge tree - instead of the easy way up). I've been back a number of times since, but Beacon definitely still holds a certain stigma in my mind...There's no place like Beacon to give you that good, reliable reality-check to put you in place if you start thinking you're hot stuff.

 

 

 

Thanks for sharing this well told story... you guys are lucky :)

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okay, I'll bite!* I have a Beacon Story, but.... I need some time to write it down and gather the facts.

 

Kevbone: I think you know this story with Bob G. What climb was it? Above 'Jills Thrill'?

 

To Be Continued.......

 

Here is my Beacon Rock short-story contribution…kind of long, sorry, not as cool as climbing in the pitch dark, but good for time wasting amusement.

 

About 3 years ago I headed out to Beacon Rock with this boy I had a crush on, and of course, wanted to impress. I’d been to Beacon a handful of times and knew enough of the rock and area to feel comfortable following lead. I did see Jim Opdyke that morning which to me was/is a good omen. I had never placed gear before in my life, always playing follow the leader. At the time, I was leading 5.11 only on sport. Whatever inspired me that day to place gear for the first time still boggles my mind. I’ll leave this open for speculation.

 

My climbing partner Bob was the lead dog and knew enough about Beacon’s routes to be dangerous. We wanted to climb multi-pitch and later that day found ourselves at the beginning of P3 of I believe Jill’s Thrill. Bob was convinced that this was an easy 5.6, short and sweet and that I should place gear and take my first gear lead. Feeling like a hot-shot that day and wanting to impress Bobby from the Block, I took the rack with an ego driven confidence, almost falling over from the heavy weight of Bob’s super sized rack, and started my way up. After very slowly and carefully placing 3-4 pieces I came to what is known as the crux of Jills Thrill, I believe rated at 5.9. This section offers slim pickens as you need to place your fingers in a small crack to move past the crux before you can place another piece. I was already 10-15 feet passed my last piece, blue #2 or 3 I think. I must have struggled (and I use the term lightly) at the crux for over 15 minutes before my body started to shake uncontrolably (otherwise known as 'the Elvis') and weaken from the vertical wrestling match. Right in the heart of the fight, here comes the infamous train blaring its horn blocking communication with my partner who was praying and talking me into *not* shitting my pants. I was about to peel off and knew a fall was going to be BIG. Did I trust my gear? How well did I place all the pieces? Were they going to rip out of the rock as I would meet my partner at eye level waving good-bye? Would the fall catch? Should I not let-go or let-do? The anticiation of what to do next lingered heavily in the air. Too many conversasions between Bob, me, myself and I, it was time to make a move. I was stuck. Unable to down climb I said a silent prayer and told Bob my body was giving out, that I had nothing left, and I am going to let-go. Later Bob tells me he was about to shit a twinkie. So here comes the big fall, I let go, take about a 15-20 foot ride, and hit a hard stop which was my dedicated belay partner Bobby. All my pieces held! Bob tells me later that the blue #3 was forever my lucky piece. After the epic event, my body was sore for days from the stressful fight with the glorious champion “Beacon Rock”. I walked away hanging my head and dragging my feet, but not without a newfound respect as we drove off into the sunset looking like wild-eyed mountain men.

 

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Surely, it would be easier to just head up to the trail than to try and rap all the way down in the dark. :crazy:

1 of the very, very few things i've figured out that i haven't noticed everyone else was already doing regards climbing w/ headlamps n' helmets - most headlamps can actually go UNDER your helmet, instead of around it - wearing it that way prevents such disastrous losses and resulting epics. check it out!

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Let me first say, I know I was wrong but one night we had a party on the ledge. One of the party goers had never been there and didn't arrive until 10p. We had ran out of beer and he was bringing some growlers from Walking Man. I decided to jumar up and meet him in the lot to show the way.

 

Well, we met the ranger near the trail head and, at the time, I didn't know what we were doing was legal, thanks Jim. Anyhow, he asked me what I was doing and I told him I was just hiking around. I forgot my helmet, harness and gear was hanging off me. So then I told him we were just going to collect up our stuff.

 

He let us go but as soon as we got to the rap he was on the boat ramp flashing his headlights and roof lights. We didn't want him to think we needed assistance so we turned off the lights and sat still for ten minutes. That didn't work so we just rapped down and he finally went away.

 

There was no sign of him in the morning and I think the whole situtaion was explained to said ranger with apologies, thanks again Jim.

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On another camping trip to Beacon I was sitting on the ledge above the first pitch of Jill's drinking a beer and waiting for my brother to drop me a rope. It was dark and two guys rapped down to the ledge where I was and then down to the next. They pulled their rope but left a big knot in the end.

 

Not sure how they would have got down if I hadn't been hanging out there to untie it.

 

 

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Surely, it would be easier to just head up to the trail than to try and rap all the way down in the dark. :crazy:

1 of the very, very few things i've figured out that i haven't noticed everyone else was already doing regards climbing w/ headlamps n' helmets - most headlamps can actually go UNDER your helmet, instead of around it - wearing it that way prevents such disastrous losses and resulting epics. check it out!

Yeah, that's a good one. A lot of these stories sound so similar...

anyway, if i had even thought to bring a headlamp along in the first place, then hopefully we would've been better off. actually, when i know i'll need a headlamp, i'm in the habit of taking two....not so much because i'm worried about dropping the whole headlamp, but because my old one was a Petzl Tikka that enjoyed opening up randomly and spilling its batteries out...

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It was 1974 and I was so fascinated with climbing but hadnt even met one yet. I was trucking down the trail after a family outing when my great grandmother reset the summit-age record at 90 years old. A short way down is where I ran into Jeff Thomas and Tim Miller. It was hard to talk to them because Jeff wanted to free it, but couldnt pull it clean. I must have asked them 20 questions until I knew they were annoyed with me. That same year I found a way to climb for myself and havent looked back. Except for oct-may, there is not much else to do but reminisce.

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