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By bsmoot
Sep 23, 2006
Me in the 70's
I was thinking a Wasatch history discussion would be a good idea now. It's beneficial for those of us of all ages to know what went on before.

I'd like to welcome George Lowe here and invite your participation! Love to hear about the Dorsal Fin. Who picked out the line? What kind of shoes were you wearing? Can you tell us about Mark McQuarrie? Who did the leading? Thanks!

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By James Garrett
Sep 23, 2006
Hollow Point in the middle of the photo. Route cli...
I concur. Love to eat up the history. I was just today climbing up in Altered States. At the very top of the climb, we gandered over to the Thumb and I pondered what it must have been like when George Lowe climbed the Thumb and West Wind Buttress. Expecting snow, I had approached in a pair of mountain boots with vibram soles and a younger climber up there asked me what shoes I started climbing in. I answered, "well, in boots not too unlike these". She seemed almost shocked by my answer. And then I explained that I was first turned onto EB's by a British rock climber I had met in Snell's Field in Chamonix. Before doing a 14 pitch limestone route in the Engelhorner in the Bernese Oberland, he looked at my boots and said, "maybe you want to try these as he lent me a pair of high top EBs that had seen much better days (I duct taped them on, the canvas was so ripped up!) and were so big it felt like I was wearing clown shoes. I responded, "they don't even have soles?" "No worries lad, they'll grow on you", I recall him saying, and I guess I have been hooked on "real" rock climbing shoes ever since.
George, you didn't harm the rock. I've probably done the S Crack 20 times....No damage done. Your routes remain the quintessential Wasatch classics and will be so for all of time.

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By glen kaplan
From Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 24, 2006
phew...nerves rattled, mojo gone... way up in the ...
yah, it's very interesting...and mind blowing!
I can't imagine some of the experience out there and what has already moved on...

The few old guys I know that remember climbing in the 60's have amazing stories. I was in fact hanging out with a gentleman I know who is 78 and he tells climbing stories and war stories all in the same vein...he was actually one of the last groups to get sent over to Pearl Harbor (right after the attack) and he tells stories of the rebuilding and recovering of stuff from the bottom of the harbor.

He didn't climb profusely but it must have been hard not to be somewhat involved growing up here in Salt Lake during the heyday. He knows quite a bit for not having climbed much!

The Dorsal certainly is one of the proudest lines in the canyon to this day!

I'd like to know how 'crazy' these guys were? George, did you have it all together? Were there alot of unnecessary risk takers? Did a more familiar sense of mortality (due to the wars and what not) provide a better lead head? How often did they actually fall? How much aid/siege tactics were used when establishing lines like that?

I also am interested in the next era of climbing, the 70's into the 80's...the first-hand stories I've heard of the good ole' days in Yosemite certainly involve alot of 'mind altering' substances. I mean, I guess it makes sense...

Has anyone seen that old black and white footage of the Nose? Was that Harding and Robbins? I remember most of the footage was just dark (night) and you could just hear what was going on. You would hear all the huffing and puffing and cursing, ping, ping, ping, then...you'd hear someone (Harding?) basically tripping out...yelling "how the hell did my knot come undone? where am I? what's going on?"..."got to get..." and then a huge whipper with gear ripping out and the belayers just basically in the dark, not even knowing what is going on...

crazy....


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By Gary Olsen
Sep 25, 2006
I would post some old photos here but dont know if I can do that in these threads. I wold love to hear from G Lowe and others.

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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Sep 25, 2006
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me?...
You can add photos to your account page, and then display them in forums...

See this for info:
mountainproject.com/v/mountain...

Even better, if you can add them to the proper route or area, and then display then in the forum the same way.

Hope this helps
Amdy

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By glen kaplan
From Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 25, 2006
phew...nerves rattled, mojo gone... way up in the ...
A better shot of Mikey at the end of the traverse....
A better shot of Mikey at the end of the traverse...I know a few folks who have fallen from here and swung back into the flake/crack...resulting in hurt ankles, etc. I think its because they tried to place gear before moving all the way into the crack.


Michael making it look like a bit of history... :)
except for all the fancy colored, clanking thingies

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By Gary Olsen
Oct 5, 2006
Nice shot! Wheels on Fire?

I tried to download some shots and it didnt work out.

If you havent visited utahclimbers.com yet, you can find some stories some of us wrote there.

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By Tea
Oct 5, 2006
just Jong it!
I think that was a movie maybe by glenn Denny, or Lito Tejas Flores...has that crazy scene where he's hopping around trying to get his feet in teh haulsack to sleep, and someone's like...

"Hey, your unclipped"..followed by a bunch of nervous laughter. crazy indeed......

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By bsmoot
Dec 3, 2006
Me in the 70's
For those of you interested, utahclimbers.com/Salt Lake-Routes/Wasatch History has a history thread going.

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By d.reed
Dec 12, 2006
Gary Olsen wrote:
I would post some old photos here but dont know if I can do that in these threads. I wold love to hear from G Lowe and others.


Gary..you remember the time Merrill and I soloed the white ice

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By bsmoot
Dec 12, 2006
Me in the 70's
Was that Merrill that fell? Whoa!

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By d.reed
Dec 14, 2006
is it ok to join in ? NOT first ascents, but rather maybe first DESCENTS !!!!!!!!!!!! hahahahaha.........

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By d.reed
Dec 14, 2006
d.reed wrote:
is it OK to join in ? NOT first ascents, but rather maybe first DESCENTS !!!!!!!!!!!! hahahahaha.........

at least some of the fastest, descents.....for sure

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By Paul Anderson
Jan 1, 2007
I just came across this site and thought I might be able to add a smile in time. Let me introduce myself, I am Paul Anderson. I climbed in the area from 1961 through the fall of 66 when I was drafted into the Viet Nam war and served with the 1st Infantry with a ranger recon outfit. Being wounded it put an end to my climbing.
Mark McQuarrie and I started climbing together in the early 60s. We were interested in doing a winter assent of the West Slab of Mt Olympus. The climb took place just after the Christmas of 63. The face had just avalanched and had good ice at the time. Our equipment consisted of twelve point crampons, ice screws, wooden shaft ice axes, 11mm rope and a ¼” goldline as a hall line. We had packed for a bivy night. Mark had read an article that some guys in Europe were using two axes to climb with so we thought we would try it. One would lead with both axes until the belay was set and then send down the axes on the goldline so the other could follow. We made good time and could have finished the face that day but decided to make a bivy about one pitch below the ridge. We axed out a ledge so both could sit while tied in. We went about melting water with a Svea stove, priming it in the usual way several times that evening while enjoying the Christmas lights down in the Cove. The next morning we woke to what we thought was voices below. In those days you pretty much new all of the climbers in the valley and knew that know one would be out our way. Not thinking much more about it we packed up our gear and finished the climb. As we were coming down we ran into the Sheriff Rescue and they asked if we had heard a plane crash as one had gone missing that evening. They had gotten numerous calls of flashes of light on the face of Mt Olympus. They had tried to climb up from below but were unable so they decided to attempt a rescue from above. As the conversation went along everyone concluded that it was our priming of our stove that had caused all the concern. We were scolded and everyone went about their way down the ridge. In those days there wasn’t much in the way of mountain rescue as we relied more on the local climbing community to give support.

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By bsmoot
Jan 1, 2007
Me in the 70's
Paul:

Thanks for posting up. Love to hear more stories. Noticed you also climbed with Bill Conrod. Do you remember much about him?

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By d.reed
Jan 3, 2007
bsmoot wrote:
Was that Merrill that fell? Whoa!


Brian,
Im not sure Merrill would appreciate me telling the story about him peeling....I like to share, but......

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By Paul Anderson
Jan 3, 2007
i51.photobucket.com/albums/f38...
i51.photobucket.com/albums/f38...

Brian.... Bill and I have stayed in contact all these years and still go on the occasional backpacking together. I have posted an article from the local paper describing Marks accident. Might put a face to the name. Looking at some of the photos on this site it amazes me as to what has been put up in the canyon and also what really hasn’t changed at all. New faces but still the same love and enthusiasm for the sport.

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By Tea
Jan 4, 2007
just Jong it!
Paul,
thanks for posting those articles. So...was it ever determined what happened to the rope? I think I read somewhere (Maybe the Ruckman Guide?) that a fall across and edge was the culprit? Whats the full story? A promising career cut short, no doubt.

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By Paul Anderson
Jan 4, 2007
Tea.... As I remember Mark had placed a pin under an outcropping, then placed another pin further up and back in towards the wall. He was trying to free a roof above the placements. When the fall happened the rope was pulled taunt and dragged over this bulge with an edge, cutting the rope. They also had a smaller rope than normally use in those days. The standard size was 11mm and as I vaguely remember they had something like a 9mm. Mark was short and stocky with powerful strength. The kind of guy that does one arm pullups and always eager to push the route. Next time I talk to Bill Conrod I will ask if he would reply as to what he remembers. He and George went back and finished the route later on. He would probably remember more as he had first hand experience.

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By bsmoot
Jan 4, 2007
Me in the 70's
Paul:

I noticed that you climbed up at the Pawn back in the 60's What did you climb way up there?

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By Paul Anderson
Jan 5, 2007
Brian.... All that happen there was Ron Perla had pointed out to me that there was good rock on the Pawn and I should check it out. I talked LaVell Burnham "Burney" in going up there just to look at it and then come back later on with intent. While there we scrambled up some 5.6 stuff on the side and summited. What I remember was great rock and some nice routes with overhangs that could be done. Other than the approach it's a good area but no worse than the Lone Peaks approach. Never did get a chance to go back. My last climb in the canyon was with George Lowe when we did the first free assent of Pentapich back in the fall of 1966 before I went over seas and of course George did the leading and I cleaned up behind him. It was a fun day.

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By Brian in SLC
Jan 5, 2007
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Great history, Paul.

Thanks!

Anyone ever know if Court Richards is still around? Met him a few years ago on the way to the Tetons...

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By tenesmus
Jan 5, 2007
that's cool. what a classic route to be in on the FA of.


Brian,
Maybe you could give us more of a feel about the history of the Pawn and maybe a glimpse of what's up there. I've heard stories about the rock being fantastic but more often about crumble-fests.

With that hike I doubt it'll ever get crowded up there

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By Paul Anderson
Jan 7, 2007
Since on one else has jumped in..... I might as well through out some trivia, BS and since it happened so long ago the truth some were at the bottom.

I started climbing in BCC with a 1/2x120' lay rope, heavy boots, European soft pins and surplus leftover biners. My purchases were mainly out of REI and later on from Steve Ellsworth's climbing shop, the Mountaineer, up near the U that had quality equipment. Alpenbock members also sold equipment out of their homes from time to time. BCC was the popular area to climb in at the time and there was very little done over in LCC. Robin and Chouinard were a huge influence on me when they came to town with their climbing workshops in the early 60s. I had the opportunity of attending Robin's at Pete's Rock and Chouinard's in LCC. I came away with a new understanding of style and techniques. I remember how exciting it was to learn how to mantel and make new stirrups out of webbing from Chouinard. You got to remember this was new for the SL climbers. Things changed for me overnight from a lay to a 150' braided rope and heavy boots to kletter shoes. Chouinard also introduced his new line of equipment and how to use it (marketing). For those of you who weren't around in the sixties; soft pins gained their strength from bending and conforming into the crack, eventually fatiguing and being discarded or so over beaten unable to be pulled. Chouinard's pins could be driven over and over again. A big savings to me. The first time I purchased Chouinard stuff was when I went over to Riavo Prusemp house where Chouinard was staying for the weekend and he had boxes of handmade cormolly on the floor for sale. I walked away with my first D biners, lost arrows, and angles. Soon after the workshops there was a migration over to LCC with a feeding frenzy of new routes. I think that the workshops had a huge influence not only bumping up routes but energize the sport in SLC. Many thanks to both these guys!


& Brian.... Court must be old by now. Smiles.

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By bsmoot
Jan 7, 2007
Me in the 70's
Paul:

Do you know if you and Mark were the first to climb the West Slabs of Olympus in winter? Also, did you boulder much? Are you familar with the Standard Overhang at the Gate area? Do you know who did that first? Did you ever climb in Bells or Lone Peak?


Clay: Here is a copy from an old post with some additional comments.


Other than Paul, Steve Ellsworth and Lynn Wheeler, I don't know anyone else who has climbed up at the Pawn. Except for my topos, and what Mike Tea did, I'm not aware of any other defined route locations. We first climbed there in 1990. I've done 2 routes up there, both were about 9 to 10 pitches long. The area is bigger than it looks. It's beautiful up there, you're at 8000' in the pines and you can see Thunder Mt. etc. The first route we did was the obvious natural crack system (some offwidths) cleaving the left side of the Pawn, South Face. (IV 5.10 C1). Lynn Wheeler may have climbed this route too.

The other climb we did went to the right (East). Although it has some aid bolts on it, this is a personal favorite...I've climbed it 3 times. (IV 5.10 R C1/2). We decided not to report any of our adventures at the Pawn. In his first Guidebook, Stuart Ruckman had been, in my opinion overly critical of some of my routes, so I decided not to report this one and a few others. We also wanted to keep it more of a novelty to future climbers.

The hike is just under 2 hours, going up the East side of the Gate, you've gotta be honed.
The setting is outstanding and the climbing is challenging and memorable. The summit ridge of the Pawn is kinda gritty but the lower flanks are quite solid. Rock quality for me has not been a problem. The setting & solitude more than make up for it...you're looking waaay down on the Thumb!


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By tenesmus
Jan 8, 2007
always dependable. thanks Brian.

thanksgiving morning I went to the top of the east gate just to scope it out and that seemed to be about halfway, steep and loose. its pretty cool looking up there.

Maybe this summer...

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