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Rock Climbing Photo: Almost to the top.
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By Allan W Gardner
Nov 6, 2010
-Myself and 3 other climbers made the first ascent of "Heirloom" on March 13th, 1988. We were hoping that someone else would complete this climb after we put the first couple of bolts up back in 1982, but nobody really seemed interested (although someone placed another bolt above our high-point after we gave up on it for a couple of years.)

-Eventually, we completed the climb and made a VHS recording of the first ascent. Later on in '88 two of us made the second ascent of this route (May 7th.)

-I also know that Bill Smith and two others made a climb on the 'Java Wall' back in the early 1980's which may have been it's first visit by serious climbers.
By ryan mattock
From: calabasas Ca
May 11, 2011
allan this is some Kool stuff your talking about.

thank-you for bringing your F.A to the table.
By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Jun 12, 2011
Allan, it seems unjust that Kevin Daniels gets credit for the FA when you and your three companions did the actual 1st ascent in 1988. Must be the FFA?
Alexander... claims the route is falling apart(MP)
bioject...says stay away (
steple...says don't trust the rock, don't trust the bolts(
tecais...says Trust Nothing (, and I really can't disagree. Why didn't the four of you do some cleaning? The bolt line really resembles an aid climb (bolt ladder). Did the FA go up the left of the arete (as the bolts do) or where did your line go?
By Allan W Gardner
Jun 28, 2011
-The original line 'was' the bolt ladder. We believed that 'cleaning' i.e. removing the abundant loose material on this particular climb, wasn't cool. Some of the rock did fall right off when pulled on when we tried to traverse over rightwards, so eventually that angle was abandoned in favor of the more direct aid on some rock that might be there in 50 years. The very nature of the rotten volcanic rock here simply makes this climb hard to protect adequately.

I don't know who Kevin Daniels is, but he certainly did not make the first ascent of the rock. We filmed our ascent, as it occurred, in 1988 and have multiple witnesses. Mr Daniels was not in the area at that time as far as any of us knew.

On the second ascent, two months later, nobody had disturbed any of our hardware - so, I know for certain that we made the first two ascents by May of 1988 - and we have everything on film so I don't think anyone can dispute the authenticity of our ascents.
By Tristan Burnham
From: La Crescenta, CA
Jun 29, 2011
It says Kevin Daniels in the Santa Monica guide book. Did you guys free it on the 2nd ascent or just aid it again? Did anyone in your group free it on a TR while cleaning it? You should post the video if you can! That'd be rad to see.
By Allan W Gardner
Jul 12, 2011
On the first ascent the first two climbers used mostly aid - with a couple of free moves, but the last two climbers on the first ascent mostly freed the climb and went way out westwards on the northern face of the rock before ending up at the summit. On the second climb we tried to free as much of the climb as we could as there was protection already in place. Once the bolts were there an almost totally free climbable route began to take shape.

I was informed of Mr Daniels' claim some time ago, but I have lived on the east coast for many years since the ascent and my California climbing friends really didn't see any urgency in taking him to task. Actually, I think they felt it was sort of amusing.

However, more recently, they have been feeling a bit offended that a single person says that they 'solo'ed the first ascent'. Seems like a sketchy claim on it's face.

The first ascent video is being transcribed onto DVD so that we can post it soon for all to see.
By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Jan 2, 2012
Allan....."Thank You" so much for the clarification and the historical prespective on the FA of Balanced Rock. I tip my hat to you and your companions for a very bold ground up adventure considering the wildly loose volcanic conglomerate/Brecchia that Balanced Rock & Echo Cliffs consists of.
By Kevin Daniels aka KD
Jun 19, 2012

On my first trip to echo with a few others to see what
Louie and jack were up to the formation was
The most interesting thing I saw. I walked up
With my friends and climbed it on sight. It was
A great chose pile. Not as good as the sun devil chimney
Or mt Morrison but good. I figured someone had
Climbed it and never made any claims other
Than it was fun. The guide book author made
Statements based on his knowledge not my

Nice line fellas

Kevin daniels
By Fertical Fertig
Mar 9, 2017
Louie and I are working on a 3rd edition to the guidebook. I will make sure the FA is edited.
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Almost to the top.

Submitted By: Tristan Burnham on Oct 13, 2009
On this route:
Heirloom (5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R )
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Photo Of: Tristan Burnham

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