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Rock Climbing Photo: Bruce Holthouse on the first pitch of Gemstone. He...
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By Gary Lee Hicks
Jun 7, 2015
Hey Bruce!!!

Long Time No See :o)

Good to see you on one of my favorite free-solos! My record was 58 seconds on the first pitch and 3 minutes 50 seconds for the REAL Gemstone [ as done on the 1st ascent w Jim Fuge June 8th, 1974... 41 yr-s go :oP ]

Before I die I hope to give as much info as I can on these Great Mtns ( the Sandias ) as I can remember. I nearly died from viral pneumonia several yr-s ago and I just found "Mtn Project" on Memorial Day weekend this yr. It's been great to read accounts of climbers doing repeats of OUR climbs from so long ago... but also sad to hear of anyone being hurt; unfortunately, those were the chances we took at the time and we were trying to protect the "Wilderness Experience" of a "First Ascent". As I recall... you broke your leg on " The Happy Gnome" attempting the straight-up variation on the 2nd pitch. I also tried that but backed down and went 'left' as per Rico and Pato's eventual successful ascent [ I was w Rico n Pato on their 2nd attempt to complete the Yataghan SW Face ... a beautiful horror story where I had to prusik up 150 ft to recover my rope but not knowing how good the anchor actually was. I was alone as I recovered that rope :o| Those anchors are probably ALL BOLTED now... like the rest of all the climbs WE were trying to keep as " a first ascent experience".
Back in the '70's there was a bumper-sticker that said,,," Don't Californicate New Mexico!!!"
On that issue I personally would say... "Either read "THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG" or do NOT climb anywhere ever!!!!!!! ''

Couple of things here, Buddy;;;
... I had just come down from soloing "the Prow" one day and I met a cute little gal as I was just about back at my car at the base of Piedra Lisa Spring Trail. Her name was "Annie" and she was 17 yr-s old and she had just come back from an all women's ascent of Annapurna . Two members of her party didn't make it back from their expedition.
My point here is just to state how humbled I was to discover over the years the story of this sweet young lady that I would later have great times hanging out with and climbing with!!! What a Sweetie!!! n what a good friend she was (and I pray she still is for little ole me).

The 2nd thing Bruce,
,,,,,in the pic of you on Gemstone as you're traversing beneath "MarkingStone" (5.10d by my ratings)... there is a notable SEAM that goes all the way to the ground. From the ground up is the actual route for "Drunken Master". This is a whole 'nother story in n of itself and I hope to soon give as much history of climbing in the Sandias as I can ,,, when "the Lights of Albuquerque" were like a diamond glowing in the dark back in the 1970-s .

Mercury "stations Direct" June 11th and Neptune retrogade on the 12th :oP God help us !!!

Keep an eye as Venus and Jupiter get closer over the next month. They're the bright stars in the west after sunset ! A great way to see our planet rotate around the SUN.

HICKS
By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Jun 7, 2015
Gary: There aren't any new bolted anchors on Yataghan. Thanks for the stories, hope you'll add more.
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Bruce Holthouse on the first pitch of Gemstone. He was climbing the route with his son. October 2009.

Submitted By: Jason Halladay on Oct 27, 2009
On this route:
Gemstone (5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c )
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