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Dec 21, 2007
10 Memorable Climbs: From a "MODERATE CLIMBER"

BAXTERS PINNACLE (5.6) Grand Teton National Park
Very Early in my climbing career. Made memorable with Yosemite "Golden Ager" Chuck Pratt on lead. Chuck put on a show that day. "To Rest is Not to Conquer".

GRANITE PEAK (East Ridge 5.4)
At 12799 Ft. Granite is the "Roof of Montana". An arduous overnight approach in the remote Beartooths combined with tricky route finding made this a real adventure. We were true Mountaineers on this one.

GILL's NOSE (5.11c) Devils Lake Wisconsin
A glorious line on bullet hard purple Baraboo Quarzite. The "hardest" climb I've ever done. Took damn near an entire summer to work out this gem put up by the legend John Gill.

UPSIDE DOWN SURPRISE (5.10) Snake Butte Montana
Will never forget the setting. An escarpment made up of rock columns that resemble Devils Tower with bison grazing on the High Plains.
If you can find find it, DO IT.

DURANCE (5.6) Devils Tower Wyoming
My 1st significant multi pitch. The scramble over the shoulder before sunrise to get to the Leaning Column was epic. Some call this one a grunt but I had a blast on it.

BEARPAW BALDY (3rd Class Scramble)
Baldy at 6916 Ft is the High Point of this Northern Montana "island" mountain range. Pat, Mikey, and I climbed the North Face (of course)and at the summit observed native American prayer flags. From the summit you can see other isolated Montana Relief like the Sweet Grass Hills, the Little Rockies, and Square Butte. Spectacular!
You know the best part about climbing in Montana? It's MONTANA!!!

NOAH VALE (5.8) Devils Lake Wisconsin
Put up by my pal Pat a number of years back. One of those deal where you make the mistake of pointing out the line when your partner is already tied in. Anyway the line has some fun yet tricky footwork and a pumping little roof. Pat did it in fine style and I had to settle for the 2nd ascent. Named after a late 1970's Baraboo Garage Band.

STAR DANCER (5.8) Rushmore Needles South Dakota
One Word......STELLAR!!!

WATERMARKS DIRECT (5.10a/b) Devils Lake Wisconsin
A variation on the DL Classic, Watermarks. My 1st 5.10. (Devils Lake 5.10 MIND YOU!!) Will never forget words spoken by partner Terry after I got by the 5.10 crux. "Now all you have to do is climb the stuff you've climbed a hundred times before." Jinxed? No. I sent it.
Felt studly. Drank a number of Adult Beverages at days end.

TURKS HEAD RIDGE (5.8) Devils Lake Wisconsin
Free Solo. Almost 300 feet of 4th and 5th class climbing in the upper midwest. Can make it as hard or easy as you want. Some great training for the mountains. Recall climbing it more than 10 years ago
when an incredible storm blew in. Freaking Lightning strikes all around. Epic. Was I climbing in Wisconsin or the Rockies?
Peter Arndt
Joined Feb 19, 2006
765 points
Dec 26, 2007
Here are a few that stand out:

1. NE Ridge of Bugaboo - A 19 hour day of great climbing, postholing with rock shoes in the chimney pitches, a time-consuming descent, finishing the technical downclimbing as it got truly dark, and my first (and hopefully only) glissade by headlamp after we passed the bergshrund. All I could see was the rooster tails of snow in my headlamp. We capped the night off by having soup at 1:30 a.m. in the Kain hut while watching the mouse olympics in the kitchen.

2. Sneaking up Mt Meeker via the Loft one winter on a rare windless and sunny day. It felt like we getting away with something.

3. A particularly bad day at the R of Right at Firehouse. Hopefully my low point leading ice, the day showcased me dropping three ice screws (don't ask). Elvis made a cameo appearance as well.

4. Pretty much any long rock or ice route to me is memorable. N Ridge of Spearhead, SE Ridge of Sharkstooth, Keiners, the Petit, Culp Bossier, Stairway to Heaven, those all bring back great memories of good partners and fun climbs.
Brice W
Joined Jul 31, 2001
5 points
Dec 26, 2007
Here's a few that come to mind -

DIEDRE, SQUAMISH, B.C. - One of my very first multi-pitch routes, and I think I talked my good friend and long-time partner ben kenobi into letting me lead a few pitches. All around good day, and I've been in love with Squamish ever since (and learned a little French along the way). I'll be back to this one for sure.

BIRD OF FIRE, J-TREE - Capped off my first two weeks ever in J-Tree on my first real road trip with what I thought at the time was my first 10a gear lead. A hand-me-down copy of Vogel's guide book later informed me that HEART (Hey! That looks cool!) AND SOLE was the first. It's amazing what complete ignorance and/or massive amounts of enthusiasm will get you up, eh? I think that was my first John Long route, too.

SOLAR SLAB GULLY to SOLAR SLAB, RED ROCK - Some times you just want to go up, and after 3 long months holed up in a University of Chicago research library, a couple thousand feet of beautiful 5.6 cracks and slabs with Ben and a haul-bag full of down clothing is one of my favorite memories. Granted, it was way below freezing (things weren't too "solar" that day) and we only had 8 hours of daylight to work with, but we managed to hit that soft red dirt at the bottom of that god-forsaken descent gully just in time to dig out the headlamps. A sweet Grade IV if there ever was one.

NORTH WEST FACE OF LIBERTY BELL, WASHINGTON PASS, NORTH CASCADES - Well around the corner from the classic (warm, well protected, heavily traveled and very familiar) BECKEY ROUTE, the N.W. FACE felt like the dark side of the moon to a couple of trad-happy craggers making the transition to the mountains and a whole new set of objective hazards: namely, 50 year-old rivets and "Becky 5.9."

3 MYSTERY PITCHES AND A SIMUL-CLIMB OF WHITE WHALE. IN THE DARK. IN THE SNOW. LUMPY RIDGE, CO - After a 36 hour blast to Estes Park (fresh from sea level - Just drink lots of water, dude!) my buddy Dave got off work and we hauled ass for my first, and fondest, Lumpy experience. We didn't get to climb together as much as we would have liked that trip, me being a bum, and he actually having a job, but that still made the trip for me.

RUTH MOUNTAIN, NORTH CASCADES, WA - I had a wooden-shafted Camp ice axe circa early "Dad" slung with 8 feet of bright orange 2" webbing and this beautiful, humble bump across the Nooksack cirque from Mt. Shuksan all to myself. All I really remember is waking up in the dark, brewing black tea and wolfing down some fudge, then ascending the curving cornice to the top, straddling the edge of day and night. To the east, the rising sun brought Challenger and Whatcom peaks into sharp relief, to the west (my right) the ice-field fell sharply away into the frigid, dark, forbidding cirque. I've come a long way in experience, equipment, and ability since then, but its a trip I repeat as often as possible.

CLASSIC THIN CRACK, ECHO COVE, J-TREE - Found this boulder problem exploring under a full moon one night (found the nearby sign pointing right at this boulder problem the next morning, too. Clever monkey.) ben kenobi and I, like the dirty, pad-less trad-fiends we are, simply piled our down jackets underneath the top-out (I think I tossed my wool hat down there, too), laced up and punched it out just as the sun went down. Has to be five or six of the funnest moves at the grade out there, and the perfect way to end a trip.

So, here's to the fond memories, the sweaty-palm memories, the foggy memories (and the selective memories that keep coming back for more!). Climb safe, climb hard, climb free. We only get on shot on this dust-ball.
Alpine Carl
Joined Oct 1, 2006
150 points
Dec 27, 2007
Carl, your list is impeccable. Here's a few of mine.

1) Diedre (Squamish) - I hate to be a copycat and all, but this climb sealed the deal for me and climbing. Each pitch is engrained in my mind to such ridiculous detail that I have actually dreamt most of the route.

2) Bird of Fire (J-Tree) - okay, really, this isn't fair because carl and i climb together and, well, we have similar taste. But this route was my first .10a gear lead, and made me realize that 5.10 was actually feasible for a guy like me.

3) Right Chimney, the Penguins (Arches NP) - i learned a lot here, namely that offwidths can envelop the largest of egos. there's nothing like an inverted 25 footer to crush one's pride and teach one a lesson. and yet i came back from this experience wanting only to climb more. oh, and i also learned that a complete desert rack really does include #4 and #5 camalots.

4) Southwest Rib of South Early Winter Spire (Washington Pass, Cascades) - Fun, solid climbing, with the spicy slab runouts one comes to expect from WA Pass moderates. This was a great introduction to the mountains.

5) Mt. Adams, South Spur (Cascades) - okay, so this is really a snow slog more than anything else...but find me a view more beautiful than sunset from Lunch Counter or sunrise from the false summit. and you can't beat a 2000 foot glissade.
Joined Apr 16, 2007
365 points
Dec 28, 2007
I was so entertained by your (Tony Bubb) story of the Beenstalker that I felt compelled to add my own: It was 1999 and I had been climbing sport routes for about one whole year but all I really wanted to climb were the beautiful/steep corners of the Red River Gorge. At that point I had led a handful of eights and nines and taken some major whipers (like a twenty footer onto a blue alien on Where Lizards Dare). Most of my sport-climbing friends thought I was crazy and I'm not sure that they were wrong.

It was a cool crisp fall afternoon in the Red (perfect) and on this particular day I was in the company of two individuals that, at the time, I considered legends - John Lahr and Eric Bass. We had decided to go to military wall due to the large quantity of easy sport routes mixed with a couple of easier trad lines. At the top of the long angling approach trail, a long overhanging corner struck me. Wanting to impress my legendary companions I decided to lead this majestic line - I figured the worst that would happen is I would reach out right and clip one of the bolts on a nearby sport route (man was I an idiot).

So without even warming up I enlisted the heaviest belayer I could find and set out to tackle the overhanging start. I was surprised that the initial moves really didn't feel that hard. I moved out right past the overhang and swam into the right-leaning corner that had initially sparked my attention. At start of the corner the face is very featured but as you continue the features begin to disappear and the face becomes very smooth greasy. As I entered the crux section my legs began to shake violently and I struggled to place a purple tcu; I finally worked in the cam an upset with the way it looked backed off and climbed back to my last piece. As I stood there in my comfortable stance contemplating clipping a piece that I didn't even feel comfortable hanging my hat on, I got progressively more nervous. I decided that my best bet was to bail out right on the sport route.

I worked my way about fifteen feet right to one of the big shiny bolts of Thirsting Skull. I managed to attach a quick draw to the bolt but at just that moment my feet gave way and I came crashing back towards the crack. Due to the awkward position I was in when I fell I was unable to get my feet in front of me and both knees came crashing into the sculpted face. My jeans were ripped and blood was gushing instantly. I lowered to the ground to inspect my wounds.

When I started to feel a little better I began to wonder how I was going to retrieve all the gear I had left in the rock. I walked up to John (the best climber I knew at the time and still probably one of the smoothest climbers I've ever seen in action) and asked him if he would be willing to clean up my mess; being the nice guy he is he of course said yes.

Instead of leading from my high point John racked up and lead from the ground up ( I thought that was soooo cool). John moved up with great ease and to my surprise he clipped the piece that I was so afraid of! He them placed one more piece before making his way to the anchor, but when he got to the anchor he began to have a little trouble (I guess because ten years earlier Tony removed the foot that was there). John started to shake and next thing I know he's flying through the air. The last piece he placed popped and to my surprise the piece that I didn't trust held!

John ended up badly spraining and ankle and I felt bad so I bought him a sixer of Ale 8 one. From this I learned that my pieces were better than I thought!

Well I guess that's at least one of the most memorable.
david Adkins
Joined Jan 1, 2007
45 points
Dec 28, 2007
Pillar of Pain, South Fork of the Soshone River, Cody WY Jan '06.

Up to that point, the hardest thing I had OS'd. It taught me some respect for the thinking part of climbing steep ice, planning one's protection and rest points. The ice was solid, protection was good, the mind overcame the weakness of the body. The next day was a "rest" day, while I photographed my friends and partners climbing The Moratorium.

Maple Syrup, which I had TR'd a couple seasons prior, but this was my go at it. The vibration of the pillar as the tools go into it will always be remembered, as well as the technique of utilizing the rock adjacent to the climb itself.

Stairway to Heaven
In particular the '05-'06 season, when the farming effort turned out such a gem. After having climbed the two routes above earlier that season, I was itching to get on the P7 pillar if it would only touch down! I ended up hooking up with someone on RC.n00b, and as luck would have it, the pillar was finally in. Patience is nearly always the key to climbing ice.

The following season (this past new year '07), a photographer friend of mine gave me a jingle looking for some talent to shoot on a climb he'd always wanted to shoot Seth on. The initial
results left a little to be desired, but prepped my head for the next climb on my list. When we returned to the falls in February, I was comfortable soloing around on it for his lens. Plus, the light was better.

At the '07 Ice Fest, The Talisman
was pretty fat, and my friends did an ascent of it while I dinked around on The Ribbon.
The following day, I was talked into going up the thing as a party of three. I didn't realize till we were involved in the approach that I would get to lead the entire thing, as one of my partners was off his lead game at the time, and the other was yet to lead the steep stuff. The mixed stuff turned out to be less scary than the final pitch, but probably because I wasn't nearly as tired at this point. I learned on that climb there are definite benefits to climbing as a three-some... there's always someone free to operate the camera!;)
Joined Aug 16, 2006
985 points
Aug 15, 2011
You have improved more lives than one can aspire to move. Please retire and give me your shoes. Thanks pal!! Nick Patrick
Joined Jun 12, 2011
0 points
Aug 16, 2011
The Bastille Crack I got fired from my job for ditching work to do that climb on Bastille Day and it solidified my lifelong commitment to climbing and adventure in general.

The Naked Edge in the early 80's proved to me that I was truly a rock climber.

Mississippi Half step
Primrose Dehedrals
The Cruise
Air Voyage
Bad Ju Ju
Yellow Wall
Casual Route
Outer Limits
Mister Mantle
Whunsch's Dihedral
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Aug 16, 2011
ERECT DIRECTION (5.10) - Shawangunks, NY
When I started climbing at the Gunks, the picture of Julie & Mike Lillis on this route in Dick Williams' guidebook horrified and excited me. 4 years later, I couldn't believe it was me up there. One of my finest moments at a cliff I came to know so well.

COMPLETE EXUM (5.7) - Tetons, WY
Climbed with my long-time lady. An unexpected all-day rain came in, so we hunkered down at Lower Saddle & bummed food off people heading out. The next day had perfect weather...until it started hailing atop the second pitch. She put her head down and started re-stacking the rope for the next lead. Any sensible woman would set up a rappel. We continued up, and within 15 minutes everything was lovely again. After that, I knew we should probably get married.

FIGURES ON A LANDSCAPE (5.10) - Joshua Tree, CA
Bolted climbing never felt so bold. Steeped in mystique and history, onsighting this made me feel like I was "there" - wherever that is.

MT. HUBRIS (5.6) - Castle Crags, CA
Fresh out of college and with a great job as a seasonal ranger at Crater Lake. This was my first rock climb: 2 hour approach through what seemed to me to be an utterly rugged and surreal place. 6 pitches, guided by an old friend who took me out because he loved climbing and lived at a place with very few climbers.

PRIMROSE DIHEDRALS (5.11) - Cantonlands, UT
My first tower. We did Castleton's North Face later that week. Now that I have a career (re: don't climb 200 days a year) I'm not sure I'll ever climb this well again. Following the footsteps of New England and New York legends like Webster and Hong filled me with trepidation. It was a whole lot of fun.

TOUGH SHIFT (5.10) - Shawangunks, NY
I took a 46-footer (kink in my rope at 23') blowing the last 5.8 move before getting gear on a rising leftward traverse. Onsighting. Scared. Pumped. Humidity. Heat. 5 months later, I went back and finished the climb - it was spectacular. I can't believe I blew that move...but I'm kind of glad I did.

Zebra/Zion (5.10) - Smith Rock, OR
This was the first "big" (4-pitches, at the hardest grade I led back then) climb that I did without the fella who showed me the ropes. Woke at 4am to get on this before morning sun got too hot, this felt like an expedition.

My wife and I did this together with the proverbial "rope, rack, and shirts on our backs." This was the first, and best climb we did on an 8-day trip at the Cirque and Deep Lake. After hiking in over Jackass Pass the day before, I promised her a rest day. We woke at dawn, and she said something like "let's just do this stupid climb." Armed with 6 cams, 8 nuts, 5 tricams, and a half rope, we were 8-10ish pitches up when a two hour hail and lightning storm pinned us. CPR works well for lightning victims, but teaching it to my wife (then fiancee) in this conditions was tough. I still love looking at the picture of her on the summit, looking so tired and wobbly that she might just fall over.

EL MATADOR (5.10) - Devil's Tower, WY
A pitch worth basing a trip on, and the best of dozens we climbed on our honeymoon. My wife cursed all 29 of the pieces I placed going up the iconic stem box. I still don't know how she (or I) made it up this thing. We got on this early to get some shade, and by mid-afternoon were back at Frank's ranch sipping stouts and enjoying another brilliant day in the scablands.

NORTH RIDGE, MT. STUART (5.9) - Enchantments, WA
Climbed this with the same guy I did Zebra/Zion with. Back then he was a pretty good sport climber thrilled to be more than 100 feet off the ground with me. Years passed, and I taught him to trad climb as a wedding present. We climbed my 100th route at the Gunks together (Never Never Land, which was also my first onsight of the grade at that cliff), he started a great life on a ranch in the central Washington Hills, and we were reunited on this route. The climbing itself is excellent, but the scenery, the camping, and a celebratory bottle of red wine is what I remember most.
From Stone Ridge, NY
Joined Apr 1, 2009
175 points
Aug 16, 2011
1. Anarchitect in CCC: because I had to do it so many times to get it right. Dreamt about it and everything...

2. Pretty Hate Machine in Rifle, same reason.

3. Sucking My Will to Live in CCC, same reason.

4. Maestro in CCC: because there was a 12+ dyno to handjam, crazy...

5. Hospital Corner at Lover's Leap. Because the stone is so perfect! You have to do it to know what I mean.

6. Friday the 13th at Vedauwoo. Same reason.

7. Happiness in Slavery at Tensleep. Because I kept falling at the chains, too pumped to clip...

8. Granite Rodeo at Devil's Head. Because it seemed a bit like uncovering a lost treasure.

9. Genesis in Eldo. Because I remember standing at the top of the first pitch, filled with wonder, amazed to be there at all...

10. Prince of Darkness at Red Rocks, because you don't forget a route you do hungover with all that stripper perfume still in your nostrils...
richard magill
Joined Jan 1, 2001
2,425 points
Aug 16, 2011
In no particular order:

1. The Book on Cliff Drive in Missouri. After learning how to lead in New England I was visiting my parents. Decided to push my abilities too quickly. Dropped my stoppers. Rapped off a tree about the size of my arm. Girlfriend belay, whole thing had me shaking in my boots.

2. Epinephrine in Red Rocks. First route longer than grade III. Started out at 7 am, got back to the car at 9 pm. Partner was totally destroyed but I was raring to go some more.

3. Masterpiece in Rumney. Climbed this with some random people I met in the camping area across the street. They really pushed me to go for it and after falling I realized it wasn't a big deal and I could really go for it. Also learned that weekend that people made a living working in the outdoor industry which has probably been the biggest impact on my life.

4. Full Exum Ridge on Grand. Nothing beats mostly simul-climbing such an awesome route. The whole place is just amazing. One of my first really big alpine routes. Got to the summit with light clouds funneling around us, totally an amazing feeling.

5. N. Face of Nez Perce. We must of been off route. This is the only route to give me nightmares. The kind of nightmares where I woke up sweating, choking, and wondering if I was still alive. Several hundred feet of moderate climbing/simul-climbing came to us switching leads. Things took a turn for the frightening as I ran out a whole pitch with one piece of gear (no anchor, it was supposed to be 5.6) to a horrifyingly loose and difficult crux (5.9+/10-). Nothing like a 200ft. factor 2 fall to make you wimper like a baby.

6. Static Cling on Wall St. My first 5.11 after a whole winter of not climbing. Opened up my eyes again to what was possible.

7. The Gatekeeper in Estes Park. My first 5.12, just recently, once again opening up my eyes that what I think is possible is the limits of possibility.

8. New Era in Garden of the Gods. My first free solo. Just such a good route. My favorite route in the area. Such a huge mental battle going on at first and once I got started everything just cleared out and I cruised.

9 N. Ridge of Montezuma's Tower in Garden of the Gods. Great route, took my dad up there for Father's Day. I think that's when he started to get more into climbing.

10. Still to be determined. I have some big goals this year so I'm leaving this open for one of those. Gotta keep pushing, keeping reaching beyond my current grasp.
From Colorado Springs, CO
Joined Jul 30, 2008
130 points
Aug 16, 2011
The Nose: Best rock climb in the world. My first big wall.

Pingora: Great route and had an old friend as a partner. Near perfect day on the rock in an incredible location.

Petit Grepon: Awesome summit.

Grand Wall, Squamish: One of the best lines up the biggest face around there. Some really excellent pitches. Started at 11:30 in september and still finished by dark.

Exasperator, Squamish: Perfect thin crack line.

What's My Line, Cochise: Can't really think of a better adventure day at the grade than this. Very memorable in many ways.

Absinthe of Mallet, Cochise: Led the whole thing. This is when I knew I was a competent 5.9+ climber.

Red Dihedral, Incredible Hulk: This is Sierra climbing.

Fine Jade, The Rectory: This is desert tower sandstone climbing.

Scarface, Indian Creek: My first clean "5.11" lead.
Joined Sep 15, 2010
0 points
Aug 16, 2011
Wow, a post started on 07 comes back to haunt 4 years later.
It's "Night of the Living Thread."
Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 1, 2001
21,695 points
Aug 16, 2011
Great thread (in 2007 or 2011)!

1. The Pillow at Devil's Lake. My first climb. A harrowing TR of a 5.6. I still remember the trust and commitment it took to lean back on the rope so I could be lowered.

2. Steck-Salathe in Yosemite. Climbed this with one of my best buds Matt S. I cracked a rib on the first pitch, but forged ahead and topped out. We got lost, benighted, and bitten by ants on the descent. A memorable experience.

3. Lotus Flower Tower. Climbed with Yan. Solid 24 hr day from camp to camp. We got lost on the rappels (I'm sensing a pattern here) and ended up reclimbing pitches. I remember being worked and staring up at the northern lights, wondering if they were really there.

4. All the Way at Devil's Lake. I tried so hard to lead this, but the crux for me was mental. I just couldn't stick the opening boulder problem because I knew I'd have to commit to the upper part. Finally, I did the dyno, and climbed the upper bit with full commitment. Very rewarding.

5. Sprayathon at Rifle. I didn't send, despite repeated 6am attempts to do so. Learned a lot about failure and why I actually climb. The success is secondary to what you learn. I learned that Rifle is hot in the summer.

6. Cold War, Rumney. My hardest sport route to date. I surprised myself and actually sent before it got mental. A rarity for me.

7. Liquid Sky, Cathedral Ledge. I honestly never thought I'd be climbing such an historic route, in such a dramatic setting, with a crux above a tied off pin.

8. Durrance Route at Devil's Tower. I climbed it three times previously, but climbing it with Kayte, and enjoying a beautiful summit together, was perfect.

9. The Yellow Wall, Gunks. Such history, such exposure. I'll never forget the right heel hook and the dyno to a crimp. Good thing that crimp was good, or I would have been off.

10. I'll reserve this for my next climb...
Jay Knower
From Campton, NH
Joined Jul 1, 2001
5,118 points
Aug 16, 2011
how did i miss this thread years ago!! nice one tony.
good read john, mike, jay, and many others...
Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Dec 12, 2002
2,810 points
Aug 16, 2011
10. Fat Hippos in Rock Canyon - my one and only 5.12 lead (a 40 ft chick climb)
9. U-Notch on N Palisade - first alpine ice route
8. Bear's Reach at Lover's Leap - first multipitch climb
7. the Warrior - climb which most kicked my ass while following (10d dihedral pitch)
6. Epinephrine - the climb on which I learned to embrace chimneys
5. Snake Dike - first 'big' Yosemite climb and major headtrip
4. Kor Ingalls on Castleton Tower - first desert tower
3. Matthes Crest traverse - nothing like it; still amazes me 15 years later
2. Thunderbolt to Sill traverse - realization I could do 'bigger' Sierra traverses car-to-car
1. Evolution traverse - my 3 year obsession & true test of my alpine endurance
From leeds, ut
Joined Apr 30, 2006
12,086 points
Aug 16, 2011
1) Matterhorn, Hornli Ridge, Solo -- When I started climbing, I thought it would be awesome if I could ever climb this thing, even guided. Seven years later, I soloed it easily. I'll remember this one forever.

2) Alpamayo, Basque-French Route -- Waited out 4 days of bad weather at high camp and waded through thigh deep snow to get this one done. First climb with moderately high technical difficulty at altitude.

3) Mt Tasman, North Shoulder -- The culmination of a massive alpine season in NZ. We were the kings of the NZ alpine scene that year, climbing 6 major alpine routes in a place notorious for horrible weather.

4) El Capitan, East Buttress -- A long, memorable free route on an iconic piece of rock. Now I just need to improve my aid game.

5) Crimson Chrysalis, Red Rocks -- The first big climb I did with my wife (then girlfriend).

6) High Exposure, Gunks -- The definitive climb at the place where I learned the art of trad.

7) Elephant's Perch, Regular Route -- Amazing climb, with a not-so-amazing botched descent.

8) Grand Teton, Upper Exum -- First big car-to-car alpine day.

9) Yellow Spur, Eldorado Canyon -- The start of an epic 3-month road trip with my wife (then girlfriend).

10) Mt Rainier, DC -- The one that started it all.
Tom Fralich
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Nov 12, 2006
0 points
Aug 18, 2011
here are a few:

E. Butt Middle Cathedral - Yos, w/ Matt. Fun, long, and classic and we had the route to ourselves. Many good memories in Yosemite with my old friend Matt. Though he was my trad mentor early in my climbing career, we climbed this route like partners and buddies.

Yellow Spur - Eldo, w/ Russ. Great line with a fun partner. I remember being so proud of myself committing to the difficult direct start as well as the crux. Russ’ encouragement and excitement was so empowering.

Lowe/Weis Route (Moonlight) - Zion, w/ Casey. With a nice 2-day ascent pace, this was my first real intro to wall style climbing, and first time sleeping in a portaledge on a wall. Perfectly still night, 70 degrees, and with full moon. I look forward to going back some day and climbing it as a free route.

Lightning Bolt crack - Indian Creek, w/ Steve. Classic desert tower route with a great friend that I haven’t seen for a long time. Somehow we stretched the climb out to last ALL day. Not because we were climbing slow, but because we hung out at the base, every belay, and at the summit to chat and catch up. We watched the sunset from the top and then we realized “I guess it’s time to get movin”.

Turnkorner - Lumpy, w/ John. Perfect Lumpy weather day and awesome route. One of those top outs that I felt like I didn’t want to come down from.

Naked Kill - CCC, w/ Adam. Really my first taste at hard trad on a rediscovered yet obscure route. Not only did Adam so kindly trudge up the hill with me practically every time I tried it, but he also believed in me and inspired much confidence. One day while I was working the route, Craig was above me shooting photos. After I placed a piece of gear above the crux, he told me to remove it and do the crux sequence again. “What?!” Not wanting to take the whip again, I instinctively down-climbed. With a grin, Craig said, “Alright Darren, you just down-climbed through the crux, I think you’re ready.” I sent the following week.

Brennivin - CCC, w/ Dave. This route inspired me for as long as I can remember being in that Canyon and one of the first routes Dave and I worked on together. Possibly the first repeat. I won’t forget the falls we took at the crux pin, ripping the screamer out, swinging so close to the Black Death flake. It was doubly special that we both sent the same evening.

Cheap Date via Loose Ends - Lumpy, w/ Casey. Another Lumpy perfect weather day on a mega classic linkup with one of my favorite partners.

Big Bro’s Watchin’ - CCC, w/ Derek. A special ascent with Derek, and memorable for too many reasons to write (besides being our personal memorial for Craig Luebben).

Jah Man - Castle Valley, w/ Casey. One of the last routes I climbed with Casey before I moved away from CO. Picture perfect side-ways light and super fun climb. Was also special because it wasn’t too long before that trip that Casey found out he was a father.

Double Stout - CCC, w/ Dave. Whether I want to admit it or not, every inch of this route is etched into my soul. I think I learned more about myself not sending this route than sending it.

Engagement - Oak Creek Canyon, AZ, w/ Angela. My first new route in AZ. I started the first few pitches with my new friends Phil and Chris, over the course of many days in the spring of 2011 (maybe only 0.5-1 pitch per day progress). I finished the adventure solo. Sedona climbing teaches you something about perseverance and commitment! I came back with Angela for the FFA on Memorial Day weekend and surprised her with a Proposal and a ring at the top of the Serial Pillar. Needless to say it was a powerful and special day.
Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Dec 12, 2002
2,810 points
Aug 18, 2011
Good thread... Here are a few for me:

1) Working 'wake of the flood' over and over.

Rock Climbing Photo: crux

2) Castleton in November

Rock Climbing Photo: rappin'

3) Halloween in Eldo (spooky)

Rock Climbing Photo: Bastille Crack
Bastille Crack

4) Aiding Wunsche's in a blizzard

Rock Climbing Photo: Back at the bottom
Back at the bottom

5) Spending a few nights on LA spire

Rock Climbing Photo: Bivi

Climbing the Diamond a few years back was an important one too.

Climbing is so fun. It is important to do it (for me) just because I can. It is all about learning, growth, friends, and most importantly challenge.

Send it!
From Front Range, CO.
Joined Mar 9, 2008
563 points
Aug 18, 2011
Awesome thread. Here's mine in chronological order:

1) That 20 ft portable wall on the soccer field: I decided to get on it to battle my fear of height/falling. Fear may have won the day, but it cemented my desire to rock climb (thought I didn't start climbing for a few years to come).

2) Bullet the Blue Sky, Penitente. As an aspiring sport climber I saw the line and couldn't take my eyes off it. Even though I could barely lead 12a, with some self emotional encouragement, I gave it my all. My effort inspired another climber to give a red point attempt. Neither of us got to the anchor that day, but it didn't matter.

3) Vertigo, Eldo. I knew I wanted to learn gear placement to open up what I can climb. It was my third day leading on gear ever and I took a fall on a fixed cam pitch 4. I skimped learning 5.9/5.10 gear leads and actually got to enjoy trad climbing for the movement. This route was the stepping stone for fast track.

4) Broken Hearts (at least I think that's the route), Cody. A partner and a friend you can always count on is hard to find. After me bitching and moaning in -15 weather on the approach, we finally had to bail off the 5th (or 6th) pitch due to exhaustion. On the descent I slipped and slid for 30 ft on ice, breaking a crampon. At this point I might as well be a cripple. My partner had to rap me a whole bunch on not very steep frozen ground so we can get back to the car.

5) Stoned Oven, Black Canyon. If I quite climbing now, at least I have a mini-epic to tell. Barely leading 11+ single pitch trad. My partner and I, in preparation for a trip to climb Astroman, decided to practice a grade V locally first. It ended with an unfortunate fall that broke my partner's ankle, but we got ourselves out. The month long road trip, however, ended before it started.

6) The Evictor, Eldo. It's a hard gear route red point, yes. But the other reason I'll keep secret.

7) Moonlight Buttress, Zion. Absolutely brilliant route. Although I didn't come close to an onsight, I didn't struggle mightily either. It reminds me what a decision on the whim can become. On the darker side, it was also the last significant trad route I've been on (almost 3 yrs now). I'm hoping it's just a long hiatus.

8) Milk Bone, Flatirons. Like almost any climber worth his/her salt, there's always one route that has been worked on to death before the send. Perseverance is a rare virtue.

I'm hoping there are at least that many memorable routes left in the future.
Joined Jul 17, 2006
50 points
Aug 18, 2011
Top 10 from a moderate climber in chronological order (I think):

1) Ok, this one's cheating because it's actually 3 separate climbs, my first toprope, sport lead, and trad lead:
• Standard, Livesey Rock, Philadelphia, PA: My first climb ever as a high school kid taken out by his English teacher back in the mid 90s. A toprope complete with hip belay and Van's skate shoes. The bug was caught immediately, but with being in Philly with no means to get elsewhere, it would have to marinate for a few more years until I made it to college in upstate NY.
• Neon Sunset, Red Rocks, NV: First sport lead. A great way to do it, with mentors and other first time leaders around to cheer me on.
• Horseman, Gunks, NY: First trad lead. Right after getting back from our trip to RR, we started hitting up the Gunks with regularity. Too poor to afford cams, we led on a rack of nuts, hexes, and tricams. My partner started up Horseman only to back off because he realized he was stitching it up too much and wouldn't have enough gear to top out. I ran it out for the first 30 feet or so and placed good gear from there on out.

Now on to the good stuff:

2) High Exposure, Gunks, NY: Not sure if this was my first multipitch lead, but was at least one of the first. Lead with the same rack as I used for Horseman, so no protecting The Move. Brilliant!

3) Crimson Chrysalis, Red Rocks, NV: On my return trip to RR, I was a 2 years more experienced, borrowed some cams (but not the #4 useful for the bottom pitches), met a guy who never trad lead in his life in the campground, and talked him into letting me lead him up this stellar climb.

4) Loose Lady, J-Tree, CA: My first intro to J-tree slabs (and J-tree in general). A good one too, since it's not too scary or run out. Though I was stupid enough to think that climbing in J-tree in July would be fun. This would pave the way for a series of horror shows I put myself in throughout the park over the years, and continue to do so.

5) Wide is Love, Verdon Gorge, France: My first foray into the international scene, I was visiting a friend studying abroad there, and an epic one at that. Part of one of my favorite stories to tell "The Longest Day There Ever Was, Ever," this climb ended with me having to race a Smart Car (this was in 2000, before we saw these go-carts here in the US) into town, and convince a French guide who spoke no English (and I no French) to come help my partner who was stuck in the gorge. Went back to climb it properly the next day and had a blast!

6) Kachoong, Mt Arapiles, Australia & Scorpion, same place: Ok, so I'm cheating again. Sue me. Did these 2 climbs in the same day during my own "studying" abroad experience. Kachoong is one of the best single pitches I've ever done, made spicier after I saw my partner get a heal stuck and flip upside-down, rack splaying out all around him, when he came off the lip. The roof is just phenomenal and the headwall leading up to it is amazing too. Scorpion was one of the scariest pitches I've ever done. A leap of faith first move gets you into the overhanging flaring chimney that goes into OW as you squirm your way to the top, with about 5 pitches of dead air straight below your butt should you skid out of that crack. Some snake oil salesman talked me into leading that one so he could follow. I appreciate what I he did for me, but still haven't forgiven him.

7) Rave, Bishop, CA: While other boulder problems I've done at Bishop are more aesthetic, harder, and fun, Rave holds a special place in my heart. Each trip to the Happies, I would warm up in that area, and end up trying Rave a few times, unsuccessfully, before heading deeper into the canyon. Finally, I up and did it straight through from the sit. It was a monkey off my back, and my first V7.

8) Hijacked, Echo Cliffs, CA: Echo is a pretty crappy crag, compared to the other locations I've listed, but Hijacked was the only sport climb I've seriously projected. I had to go back there 4 or 5 weekends before finally clipping the anchors, and it was the hardest roped climb I'd done at that point. I might also be the last one to climb it in it's original 5.12b condition, since the next weekend, my belay partner went to try it and broke off the jug below the 3rd bolt that you used to clip from.

9) Cathedral and Tenaya Peaks, Tuolumne Meadows, CA: Cathedral was my first alpine peak requiring technical rock to really get to the top. And Tenaya was my first, and only, free solo of anything near that magnitude. I learned why soloing can be addicting, but also that it's not really for me. But the High Sierras definitely are, and Temple Crag is calling my name.

10) Inti Watana into Resolution Arete, Mt Wilson, Red Rocks, NV: I was tempted to put Levitation 29 here, but IW and RA on the Aeolian Wall definitely takes the cake for the last climb on this list. An epic 23 hour car to car trip due to my partner and I getting stuck behind parties, and then topping out on the summit after dark. We couldn't find the walk off and I was convinced that we were going to have an unplanned, cold, and hungry night on the top. Finally found a rap station way back almost at the end of First Creek Canyon. We topped out at 8 pm, and didn't get back to the car until 4am. Well after BJ's Brewery closes. So much for our victory beers and pizookie...

In the end, though, my partners and the friendships that I've forged and solidified with them through climbing is always what it's been all about for me. Guess that's why soloing isn't my cup of tea.

Get out there and have fun!!!
SS Wasko
Joined Apr 11, 2011
0 points
Aug 19, 2011
jmeizis wrote:
In no particular order: 1. The Book on Cliff Drive in Missouri.

Ha! One of my first leads in 1989 or 90 . . . funny seeing it here. If anyone hasn't been (I know, who hasn't?!), Cliff Drive is in a park adjacent/connected to the projects of KC. It's an area initially designed in a way that one could not leave legally without a car (highway on one side, a bluff and train tracks, plus a river surround the area). A pedestrian bridge was installed well before my time (I hope well before . . . ). This was about the time when Truman Lake was in early development - which features much better rock and 30+ more feet of climbing per pitch.
John Maurer
From Denver, CO
Joined Jun 3, 2008
60 points
Aug 19, 2011
Here's 5 more... Since the thread is called '10 climbs in your past' after all.

6) The Casual Route!

Rock Climbing Photo: El Diamond
El Diamond

7) Climbing Out East With Luke

Rock Climbing Photo: Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge

8) Getting limestoned

Rock Climbing Photo: 10d

9) Skywalker

Rock Climbing Photo: Props to Nick Montelli for taking sick pics!
Props to Nick Montelli for taking sick pics!

10) Finally getting to climb 'Days of Heaven'

Rock Climbing Photo: Splitter!
From Front Range, CO.
Joined Mar 9, 2008
563 points
Aug 21, 2011
This thread is so good it should be on Supertopo. Great idea with addinf pictures. Keep 'em coming.

From Stone Ridge, NY
Joined Apr 1, 2009
175 points
Aug 21, 2011
1. Great Arch (5.5) Stone Mountain, NC, 4 pitches.
This was my 1st multi pitch climb and my 1st lead on "gear". All I had was slings for the trees (1 per pitch) and 1 blue tricam that I only placed on the last pitch.

2.Great white way (5.9), Stone Mountain, NC
This was one of my early leads. One pitch to the tree ledge and then 3 amazing pitches up a steep, featureless, water groove, slab. The 1st off the ledge (crux) was super steep and pretty well protected (bolts). The next pitch was a little easier but still steep. No rests because there are no features or divots or foot scoops… nothing but pure friction. This pitch climbs the groove for about 60ft before coming to the 1st bolt. Heady! Then it runs to the anchor, located 110ft above the belay. When I was 5 ft below the anchor I had a foot slip out from under me but was able to keep friction under my other foot. I wanted to just freeze up but I knew I just had to make a couple more “steps”.
Rock Climbing Photo: 110 ft and only 1 bolt and no natural pro! Second ...
110 ft and only 1 bolt and no natural pro! Second time leading it I had to ask myself why do I do this to myself! Then when I was done...I remembered.

3. Zoo View, Moores Wall, NC
I had been up a couple moderate pitches at Moores Wall and seen people thrashing on this route and could not believe it was only a 7. I was back a couple weeks later to surprise myself and led it in good style… well, except for using my knee to get over the roof. I still can’t believe a 7 can be that steep and exposed. Best route at that grade anywhere. Highly recommended.

4. Kor’s Flake, Lumpy Ridge (5.7R)
Epic climb. I was supposed to climb the 2nd pitch but instead of stopping when I was supposed to, I climbed past the belay. In my mind I kept thinking I would find some gear to place. I didn’t even have the #4 with me b/c I wasn’t supposed to get into the wide stuff. In retrospect, I should have downclimbed to the belay but I kept thinking, “there has GOT to be gear up here somewhere”. I ran it out a loooong way before finding a small, shallow, micro stopper placement on the bulging ramp. If anyone has done this pitch... I climbed out on the ramp, stemming with the main wall and face climbing (which felt like at least a hard 8 or a 9) instead of having the security of climbing with a leg in the crack. Talk about exposed and sketch! After that micro (which would not hold a fall) I ran it out to a #3 near the top of the pitch. So gripped, I opted for a hanging belay just to have the climbing over with. I guess I was looking at over a 100 footer on a steep slab below. I used that as a learning experience, to say the least.
Rock Climbing Photo: Can be climbed using the offwidth or the stemming ...
Can be climbed using the offwidth or the stemming face (exposed).

5. Spearhead, RMNP
1st alpine route

6. Petit Grepon, RMNP
It was the best summit and alpine route I’ve ever done. Had the whole rock to ourselves on a late(ish) season ascent. 1st route I climbed with my wife where she led the crux pitch. Props. View of Sky Pond from the Petit

7. Friday the 13’Th, Vedauwoo, WY
First 5.10 trad. When I got to those chains I was so pumped but clipped them clean and I new I was ready for the Indian Creek trip I had coming up. Cant go to the Creek without leading tens! Friday the 13th!

8. Generic Crack, Indian Creek
Nine #2’s! Enough said.

9. Dark Holler, Glen Comfort Crag, Highway 34, CO
This is still my hardest redpoint and also my proudest FA. I found this line less than a 5-minute walk out my backdoor in the national forest near Estes Park. Fun route, climbs better than it looks.

Too many others but Dopey Duck at Shortoff Mountain in Linville was pretty amazing.
Rock Climbing Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus following the steep Dopey Duck
Elizabeth Paashaus following the steep Dopey Duck

Adam Paashaus
From Greensboro, North Carolina
Joined May 20, 2007
578 points

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