Important Call To Action!!!
From our Friends at Devil’s Tower Lodge has informed us of something going on at Black Canyon that could become a threat to guiding access in ALL of our country’s National Parks.
Comments DUE Thursday, 10/27
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park wants to completely ban guided climbing, which has a 50-year history in this unique climbing venue. This proposed ban does not only impact this incredible Park in Colorado. If you care about guided climbing access at Devils Tower, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Rocky Mountain National Park, New River Gorge and other Parks, please read on.
The Black Canyon Backcountry Management Plan wants to ban guiding because “guided climbing does not support the goal for the inner canyon zone of providing a visitor experience that is challenging, self-reliant, and adventurous.” The NPS is making an uncanny argument for why guided climbing is no longer necessary in the Parks !! ALL of us Need to submit comments to the Park. We have been told that the Park has already heard from guides, and what they really need are comments from the general public and clients.
What can YOU do now?
1.Email Your friends and fellow climbers Today, urging them to submit a comment before Oct. 27th. Use Facebook, Your website, blog and any other communication vehicles to get the word out to EVERYONE.
2. See below for a sample email. It’s in ALL of our interests to take action, and raise awareness, on this important issue.
Send an email to Ken_Stahlnecker@nps.gov today using the talking points below. Our goal is to have 500 people (who are not guides) contact Ken Stahlnecker opposing the Park’s plan to ban guided climbing in the Black Canyon and urging the Park to preserve guiding climbing access in this unique venue.
Chief, Resource Stewardship and Science
National Park Service
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
I am writing to urge you to keep guided climbing
access available to the American public. Devils Tower National Monument, along
with Yosemite National Park, Red Rocks National Conservation Area, and the
Black Canyon are some of only a few climbing venues in Our Country offering big
wall climbing opportunities. There is often a scarcity of willing and adequate
climbing partners to tackle the bold and remote terrain of the Black Canyon.
Because climbing requires a team of two unless one is soloing, my options for
experiencing this unique wilderness area will be substantially reduced or
eliminated altogether if guided climbing is banned in the Inner Canyon Zone.
Having the option to climb with a professional
guide is necessary for me to be able to experience the vertical wilderness in
the Black Canyon. Partnering with a professional guide will enhance my
opportunity for an experience of adventure, challenge and self-reliance, while
providing a higher degree of Safety! I see no difference between climbing with a
professional guide and climbing with a non-guide partner who happens to be
stronger or more experienced than me. It is not uncommon for climbing partners
to be of varying levels of experience. Climbing successfully in the Black
always requires the self-reliance, commitment and personal fortitude of both
climbing partners regardless of their varying experience levels.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide my opinion
on this important matter.
I do request that You keep me informed as to the
progress of this issue, by return e-mail.
CONTRAST: One thing that is strikingly dissimilar to another
This past week-end, I had a moment that one would assume would be moment of complete contrast.
I was climbing at my home crag, Smith Rock, and was reminded by a climbing friend about a party with a band, food and music that he was having that evening. I tend not to entertain invitations like this because most often I am too tired from a day of climbing and I live forty-five minutes away in Bend.
However, this time was different. I had only climbed a half day and I had another engagement that kept me nearby. So going to at least the start of the party would not require much effort. So I decided to go.
Now, the engagement I attended prior to the party was an alumni dinner of the college where I received Biblical training for the various ministry positions I have served in during the past 25 years. At dinner, I bumped into Christian friends from all across Central Oregon, found community as we sang songs of worship to God and listened to the president of the college give a devotional (which is a talk given by a Christian on spiritual topics from the Bible).
Immediately after that I headed to the party. Then there was an open bar being used by with gusto by the guests. Music was rocking. It was your typical adult party scene.
Classic contrast? Well, on the surface one could say that.
But at the party, I did bump into climbing friends from all across Oregon, did find community as three guests competed in a life-size version of Jenga and listened as climbers gave their progress reports on their projects (which is a climb on which they are working out the moves so that one day they will be able to climb it without falling on the rope).
The funny thing was I felt at ease at both events.
Why? Because I care for all people in all the circles of my life. And the most important part of their lives that I care about is their love for Jesus and encouraging them to live in that
Trip Report – Yosemite: East Buttress of El Cap, Nabisco Wall of The Cookie Cliff and Astroman on Washington Column
Classic! What makes a route one? When it was first done. Difficulty or lack of it. Popularity. Movement. Rock quality. Accessibility.
Recently, a couple of (almost) 50 year olds were spouting off to me that they would be doing the Fifty Classic Climbs Of North America (Roper and Steck, 1979) during their fiftieth year. When I informed them that one of the climbs, the Hummingbird Ridge of Mount Logan, has never been repeated, their definition of classic was altered.
In September 2011, I climbed again in the treasure chest of classics – Yosemite Valley while I was there for a week for a Solid Rock – Climbers for Christ gathering. Because of the rich history, stunning setting and crucible reputation that the Valley has, a climb
would need to be really average not to at least get honorable mention on any classic’s list. With that in mind, I propose everything that is written-up here in this trip report is classic.
Like almost all long routes in the Valley, the first pitch was the obligatory chimney of the route. It was the chimney and wide stemming that starts off the East Buttress of El Cap and goes at 5.9. The second pitch is the route’s crux, 5.10b, and it is classic…and not for its climbing. It involved making some insecure moves on pin scars, getting a bad jam and then some more insecure moves before getting to the first real solid piece of gear. You would be 15 feet up and 10 feet to the right of your belay with no gear in between you and nasty corner where your partner was holding the rope. I got most of the way through that, then chickened out and in a moment of indecision my feet skated causing me to slam into the corner. All the while, in classic Yosemite snooty-style, a hole in the granite that once held a bolt sits there in your face. I screamed, rather I grumbled, “It would be so much better if the bolt was there” and then I figured out a way to cheat around this section on tricky aid.
The pitches above provided many classic climbing moments. The exposed, run-out and moderate arête climbing on the third pitch is spectacular and photo-op worthy. That pitch was followed by a vying of topos for your direction to proceed which left us with a classic moment of indecision. My 1987 Meyers and Reid guidebook shows two simple 5.7 and 5.8 pitches. But the current versions, one being Chris McNamara’s Supertopo and the other being Fish Products topo found online, varied a lot. We followed the Supertopo gully option to the left and my partner, a relative new comer to climbing, Jason Graves (and author of “anchoredman”), stepped up and led a 5.8 with an overhang in great fashion.
Then comes the money pitches – back to back sweet 5.9s. On both, (we didn’t run them together like some topos and write-ups suggest), I found many cool and interesting moves which required tons of thought – very classic. The only remaining pitch I found classic was the one the that Timmy O’Neil (interestingly enough we bumped in to him on the East Ledges Descent) made famous by free soloing it. The pitch is not nearly as run-out as McNamara’s classical build-up of tagging it the “psychological crux of the route.”
After knowing Jason and I had the climb in bag, with an easy return to the Valley floor before dark (we had started approaching at 5:30 am), we slowed our pace and enjoyed ourselves. It was then my mind first started to set the style for the next time I do the route, “I will free the crux and use the Moratorium start. Hmmm, maybe a classic.”
The middle of my week in the Valley was punctuated by a visit to The Cookie Cliff with super-strong climber, Doug Englekirk. The classic Nabisco Wall was our late afternoon adventure and Doug led the “hardest 5.10c” in the Valley called Waverly Wafer. With a rating by Supertopo of 5.11a, I was able to follow it clean with a lot of huffing and puffing. Having already done Manure Pile Buttress that day, the steepness of the Cookie was a jolt to the system and caused me to doubt my success on Wheat Thin. So to give me time to recover and get psyched, Doug led Butterballs (11c) with only enough small cams to safely do it by back-cleaning most of the way. So be warned: not bringing enough gear is Doug’s classical method when it comes to putting together a rack.
After I lowered him back to the belay (the starts of Butterballs and Wheat Thin share a ledge), Doug handed me the sharp end and I got to work on Wheat Thin. Such a classic pitch! Gradually harder finger locks are enjoyed until you clip the first bolt of four that protect the 50 feet of lay-backing up a super thin flake. I thought the hardest move was right there, moving from the crack to the flake. Fighting the over-all pump, I soon had reached the chains of a classic pitch I have wanted to do since first climbing in the Valley in the early 80’s.Doug followed and then led the last pitch of Nabisco Wall, choosing the right variation named Ladyfingers (11a). With it looking difficult for him, I tried the left, Butterfingers (11a). With forearms flamed, I didn’t make much progress. I then tried a different path on Ladyfingers then Doug and I thought it would go. But my hopes of “freeing” the wall slipped away as multiple attempts ended slightly short of easier ground.
The day after Wheat Thin, I had a great time while volunteering with the Yosemite Facelift. The project that I and a group of Solid Rockers did was pulling asphalt out of dirt to clean-up an old construction site. So when the next day came, I was ready for some rest as the following day was going to be my biggest of the trip. But when an opportunity to climb with legendary climbing guide, Doug Nidever, presented itself, I couldn’t resist. It wasn’t because it was going to challenge my climbing skills – we did do something easy on Manure Pile Buttress – but because in January, Nidever had a stroke and heart-attack and lay on his kitchen floor for 10 hours before being found. By all accounts he should be dead. So it was such a pleasure to see him romp up the granite, swinging leads, as if he had never skipped a beat. In almost all ways, he has recovered yet your prayers for him continue to be in order as he works towards getting all is reading skills back.
My biggest day of the trip began real early…leaving the car at 10:30 a.m. I needed to give a Sunday morning message and wrap things up with the Solid Rock – Climbers for Christ gathering. So with a rather late start, we quickly approached the classic entry level “bad-ass” route in all of climbing – Astroman. With a couple of 5.11+ pitches and the Harding slot, I doubted if I was prepared enough. It was great that I was with Englekirk, the best rope-gun in the world.
Combining the first two pitches (5.7 and 5.10), I led them without much trouble. Then Doug combined the next two pitches, the Boulder Problem and Enduro Corner, into one monster pitch. He gracefully sent it which shouldn’t be too surprising as he on-sighted both pitches many years ago. Then it was my turn with 200 feet in between me and the top of the pitch. The Boulder Problem pitch is just that and my lack of bouldering strength quickly became evident. So, when I popped off after a couple moves it wasn’t a surprise. But the fact that I fell 15 feet before the rope stretched enough to stop my fall was. Without the benefit of a tight top-rope, my eventual sending of that section was well earned. But the fun had just begun; the 120 feet of the business of the classic Enduro Corner still awaited me. After catching my breath on the ledge, I launched up it. I tried to climb with smooth, energy-saving technique. That didn’t last long and with the stemming sapping my core strength and my forearms getting pumped from the lay-backing and thin-hands jamming. So, I needed to hang on the rope several times to get up this pitch. The good news is that the moves were not unreasonable; I would just need to have better fitness to send it on a future attempt.
The next two pitches were quickly dispatched swapping leads and that brought us to the start of the notorious Harding Slot. Doug struggled a bit and it looked tight for him, a man who is five inches shorter and quite a few pounds smaller than me. But I still expected to get through it with hangs. Much to my surprise, I couldn’t get established into the bomb-bay chimney. Even with pulling on gear I couldn’t make progress. So since I really didn’t like idea of doing the squeeze chimney anyway, I grabbed the edge and lay-backed up my way to the belay. Not proud of that method but there are times when groveling is classic.
The rest of the route is amazing where the climbing for me was very doable. My only remaining falls were when I had to take at a couple spots on the last pitch to figure it out with a bit of trickery. Although my ascent of the route is far from classic, I felt privileged to have treaded where so many other climbers with greater skill and ability had battled and mastered a classic by every climber’s definition of classic.
Before I sign-off, I will admit that I probably over-used the word “classic” and perhaps everything I labeled as classic is not really so. But since this is the first article of my blog entitled “Nothing But Classics,” I felt compelled to use it a lot.
PS – If you want any further beta on any of the routes mentioned, don’t hesitate to email me at calvin @ srcfc.org.
See more images from this trip report and other images of Yosemite climbing at http://www.srcfc.org/Images/Yosemite/
Hi! My name is Calvin Landrus, I was born in 1961 and have been climbing since 1978. I have been married to my wife, Jan, since 1985 and we have had three children: Jessica, Hanna, and Jaxson.
I started climbing by attending a Spokane Mountaineers Climbing School and have been an active climber ever since. When I started, if you could climb 5.10, you were badass. With that view of hardness, it wasn’t until I was 44 that I climbed my first 5.12 (the classic Heinous Cling at Smith Rock). Since then I have sent, about 30 pitches at the 5.12 level with my current hardest redpointb being 5.12b. I have done a few big walls including the Nose on El Captain and freeing Rainbow Wall, Red Rocks (Grade V, 5.12a).
As climber who is a Christ follower, the most important thing to me in climbing is that I glorify God as I climb and be a witness for Him. Therefore, I am awesomely blessed by being able to help other climbers do that as well by being the National Director of Solid Rock Climbers for Christ.