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Supertopo post, September 2007

Piece de Resistance Clint, Roger, others:

Feelings About Passing Climbing Days

It's no news to any older climbers that feelings of passing days in climbing are bittersweet. Bob and I were very satisfied to have had our days in the Meadows, but of course sad too that life, age, younger generations and altered styles all were washing over the glory days. The feelings didn't center just on Fairview or the Meadows, but around all the areas where we did first ascents. While we grumped about these changes from time to time, I don't think we fell into resentment and certainly didn't lash out at anyone about staying off of "our dome" or cliff. Nor did we ever leave fix ropes or put up ribbon to reserve works in progress. Our approach was to take our shot and leave the undone to whoever might want to try. We also increasingly  took to a new game - repeating some of our own classics and trying some of the newest things too, testing our old ways against the new. Bob, as all know, climbed right up to his hardest standard in his preferred style until his death. I tapered off climbing altogether as other things in the big mix of life came along: building a consulting company, having and enjoying a great kid and eventually undergoing a nasty back surgery. Cest la veie (sp ?).

As for my interactions with Clevenger on Fairview, yes we had some heated discussions about style issues and I knew he and Harrington used some aid on the Resistance headwall which had turned back Bob and I in an early attempt of the route. Here's how I characterized my teaming with Vern to do the complete FFA in the Ascent article (75/76 article), Away, where I start the article with an imaginary letter to Kamps:

"Now, he and I are going to try to complete the west face route you and I started in 1968, the direct line in the center of the face. We've been to the high point where you and I retreated, though by three more clean and direct pitches than those you and I originally did. Since then, impatient soul that he is, Clevenger recruited Bob Harrington and together they climbed the sixty-foot smooth headwall above our 1968 highpoint. They took all day, trading leads on ten-foot sections to get the bolts in. Neither Vern nor Bob (Harrington) made all the moves, and at one point a bolt served as aid to get another in. So, we'll see if it all goes free."

It did all go free and that too was bittersweet as I knew I was passing at least one bolt put in while Vern or Bob stood on another. But I didn't harp on it with Vern and he and I enjoyed the route and day and have stayed friends ever since, especially now that he is facing his own bigger than climbing challenges with a business, kids and health issues.

It takes time, but slowly we learn there's even more to life than climbing.

 
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