Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yosemite Valley: 1982-83

Mike Fisher, Rex Hong, Ken Driese.  Yosemite 1983 imitating the famous photo of John Long, Jim Bridwell and Billy Westbay.  I'm almost certain we didn't stuff anything into our pants.  I mean, why would we??
(Click photo to make larger if you dare)

Yesterday was my birthday and as I related on Facebook, 30-years ago, in 1982, I spent April 25th on Dinner Ledge, Washington Column, Yosemite, with a bunch of good friends who jumared up there to celebrate.  We had cake (a little worse for the hauling), beer, and a nocturnal visit from a ringtail cat who enjoyed some cake.  The next morning, Rex Hong and I jumared our ropes over the notorious rope-cutting Kor Roof and continued to the summit of the Column. 

During that same spring, Rex and I climbed the Salathe Wall on El Cap.  It was our first trip the big stone, and I was scared, truth be told, but after a while you are so committed that it doesn't matter anymore.  We did a lot of aid, and we took a long time--at least 4 nights on the wall.  Now, of course, it is done in less than a day.  As I recall, Todd Skinner and Paul Piana were working on the free ascent then, and there was chalk in unlikely places.  I took my two longest lead falls on that route--both caused by inexperience and leapfrogging aid gear while hurrying to beat darkness to a bivy.  

Here are a few old photos that I scanned this morning.  In 1982 I was much more interested in climbing than in taking good pictures.  

Me, following Rex's lead up Adrenaline.  I learned a lot from trying to survive as Rex's partner.  His abilities were considerably more advanced than mine.

Rex Hong at the top of the South Face, Washington's Column.  April 26, 1982.

Jim Olson (left) and Les Hutchinson (right) photographing Rusty Hardin with a damaged cig.  I wish Rusty was still around.

Rex, Salathe Wall.  1982.  Aiding off of El Cap Spire.

Rex.  2nd headwall pitch, top of the Salathe Wall.  1982.

Neil Starret (blue), Jim Doss (brown), Greg Marin (in bag).  Dinner Ledge.  1982.

Rex.  El Cap Spire.  Salathe Wall.  

Rusty Hardin.  Dinner Ledge.  April 1982.

Hauling the pig.  Salathe Wall.  1982.


  1. I think I must have met you just after this...or started climbing with you then anyway. I must have been quite a relief after Rex!

  2. Ken! OMG! I'm so glad I stumbled upon this blog post! This is Jim Doss. I climbed the South Face of Washington Column with Fish, right behind you and Rex. In fact, in the photo of the gang (with Neil and Greg in the sleeping bag), that is, in fact, me (in the brown Patagonia and scarf). Let's talk!

    1. Jim! Shoot me an e-mail ( Good to hear from you!