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jmlangford


May 2, 2002, 5:48 PM
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Just wondering what you think is the greatest mountaineering feat by an American?

My first choice to get the ball rolling is the traverse of Everest by my dad's old climbing partner Willi Unsoeld and Dr. Thomas Hornbein in 1963. The second choice would be the ascent of the Kangshung face of Everest by Ed Webster and others in 1988.

There are others but these were the first two that popped into my mind.

[ This Message was edited by: jmlangford on 2002-05-02 19:24 ]


apollodorus


May 2, 2002, 6:36 PM
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How about Jim Bridwell's 300+ foot fall on Half Dome (Zenith, I think)?


sizzlechest


May 2, 2002, 8:17 PM
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George Lowe's North Face of North Twin in the Canadian Rockies is still a legendary feat, not exactly mountaineering but still really impressive !!


Partner polarwid


May 2, 2002, 9:21 PM
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Kennedy and George Lowe's Infinite Spur on Foraker, right after they completed the Kennedy-Lowe Route on Hunter, in which Jeff broke his ankle and they rescued him and reclimbed the route. What a month of climbing!!!


onbelay_osu


May 7, 2002, 3:40 PM
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I think it is the 1930s attempt @ K2 with paul petzholdt, though they did not make the summit they discovered new things and possibley revolutionized mountaineering read the book savage mountain


jmlangford


May 7, 2002, 6:58 PM
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Yeh...On belay may just be right. I'm looking at Savage Mtn. on my bookshelf right now. Considering what kind of gear and clothing they had back then...that was a pretty amazing feat!


Partner polarwid


May 10, 2002, 4:25 PM
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I don't know how many people have heard of John Mallon Waterman, but his first ascent of the SOUTHEAST SPUR of MOUNT HUNTER in July of 1978 must rank as one of the all-time greatest efforts in mountaineering history. Read about his ascent in HIGH ALASKA by Jonathan Waterman (no relation).
To summarize his ascent, he made the first solo of Mount Hunter, by a new route (rated ALASKA GRADE 6), and also completed the first traverse of the mountain. It took him 145 DAYS!!! He carried about 1,000 pounds of equipment and ferried his own loads on the mountain, so he climbed it dozens of times. In 1977, several of the best climbers of the day could not pass a 350 foot overhanging section, in 1978, he cracked it solo in three days.
He was considered eccentric, but this feat must rank up there with the greatest of all time, not just by an AMERICAN!!!

[ This Message was edited by: polarwid on 2002-05-10 16:26 ]


jmlangford


May 10, 2002, 4:50 PM
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Wasn't he Guy and Laura Waterman's son?


Partner polarwid


May 10, 2002, 5:14 PM
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I neglected to mention that fact, yes he was the son of GUY and LAURA. He apparently died in 1981, when he decided to solo a new route on DENALI. He was last seen hiking up the NORTHWEST FORK of the RUTH GLACIER, with only a day pack. Despite extensive searches, his body was never recovered.


jmlangford


May 10, 2002, 5:17 PM
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Some say he committed suicide on that trip, just like his father did years later. Makes you wonder what kind of torment bothered them. Regardless, what a great mountaineering family.


graniteboy


May 10, 2002, 6:24 PM
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John waterman was crazy, & Tough were those Lowes,
And Ed Webster lost just a few of his toes.
Though Willi And Hornbein climbed hard for their day; the sherpas still make their climb look like kid's play.
Johnny Muir climbed in hobnails and slept in a coat, a hundred years sooner, he climbed like a goat.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.


jmlangford


May 10, 2002, 8:21 PM
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Chris...did you write that yourself?


Partner polarwid


May 21, 2002, 2:58 PM
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GRANITEBOY---you need to submit some of that OUTSTANDING poetry to the CLIMBING ART section...ROTFLMAO!!!


climber1


May 22, 2002, 12:45 PM
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Mugs Stump and Jim Bridwell's ascent of the Moose's Tooth's east face.
or Alex Lowe's traverse of the Tetons. too many.


kaptk


Jun 2, 2002, 5:56 AM
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I will admit that I don't know much about mountaineering, but Messner's (sp?) being the first to climb all of the 8,000+ meter peaks should maybe be considered.


Partner polarwid


Jun 5, 2002, 11:20 AM
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Sorry KAPTK...
Last time I checked, Messner was NOT American, check out the Greatest All Around Climber thread, though...


elvislegs


Jun 5, 2002, 12:31 PM
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I don't remember the three climbers names, I'm sure someone else will. I read a sort of essay / trip report a while back, about a certain speed ascent of the Czec Direct route on Denali. After looking at the route, the speed, and manner in which they climbed, I would say that it is a competitor in this little contest.
Also, coincidentally, the essay was mainly based on the thesis of (and I paraphrase) 'American climbers are lazy and scared so they don't push the limits like their European counterparts' Don't know if I agree completely given Ed Viesters Exploits etc. but I felt it had some merit, especially coming from an American climber.

[ This Message was edited by: elvislegs on 2002-06-05 12:53 ]


feelio


Jun 5, 2002, 12:45 PM
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it's gotta be "THE catch", by pete Schoening on K2. When was the last time a single dude, caught and held that many falling climbers?????


jmlangford


Jun 5, 2002, 5:43 PM
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Yes, Pete Schoenig had a great moment, I'll give you that. The more I think about it, the Sourdough's ascent of Mt. McKinley is right there at the top. Amazing feat!


jmlangford


Jun 5, 2002, 5:52 PM
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elvislegs...The three climbers you are referring to were Steve House, Mark Twight, and Scott Backes. They climbed Czech Direct in 60 hours, alpine style. The FA team took 11 days with fixed ropes.


biggernhell


Jun 10, 2002, 1:23 PM
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OOOOH! This is tough. Alex Lowes Teton traverse, Czeck Direct in 60, The Catch, How does a person decide? How about anything by Mugs Stump?


elvislegs


Jun 10, 2002, 1:35 PM
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Just to throw one more out there. . .
The previously mentioned Ed Viesters is slowly ticking off all the 8,000 M's with no Oxygen. What is it now, one left? (Again I am bad with the details.) But that's a pretty big feat!


rollingstone


Aug 2, 2002, 2:17 PM
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In re: John Waterman, Laura and Guy's son; I am finishing Jonathon Waterman's book In the Shadow of Denali, and he gives a very good insight into the character and personality of Johnny Waterman. I think most people don't know about him, and his personal torments kept him from much, but I agree his ascent of Hunter is absolutely astounding. Many younger (<35) may not even recognize his name, but check out the info from sources of the time period, and few will argue that his ascent is incredible!!!


jmlangford


Aug 3, 2002, 6:38 PM
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Elvislegs...all Viesturs has left is Annapurna and Nanga Parbat. Since he is very cautious and doesn't take unnecessary chances, he might not ever do Annapurna. That mountain requires excessive risk taking just because of the avalanche danger. I also have to give a vote to Lowe and Kennedy on the Infinite Spur.


chadplusplus


Aug 6, 2002, 2:17 PM
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I thought Viesturs was on Annapurna right now... Microsoft was the expedition sponsor, and that was his last 8000er.

I'll do some further research...

Ok, after some research, Ed made an unsucessful attept at Annapurna back in May. So he still needs to climb Annapurna and Nanga Parbat.

Check out the expedition site.

[ This Message was edited by: chadplusplus on 2002-08-06 14:33 ]


elvislegs


Aug 6, 2002, 2:34 PM
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Go ED!


wildtrail


Aug 6, 2002, 3:00 PM
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I'll go with photon on this one.

However, as greatest feat, I'll chose anyone that was doing it before the application of "nylon".

Steve


marcel


Aug 8, 2002, 10:42 AM
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If you look at what Bradford Washburn did over his life time, he'd be hard to beat. All his early climbs in Alaska, to mapping the Grand Canyon, and his work on Everest. Bradford gets my vote.


jbone


Aug 8, 2002, 11:22 AM
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Ed V. for his oxegenless ascents of the 8000 meter peaks. And because he had the guts to be in the Verticle limit movie with such a crappy plot line.

J-Bone


jmlangford


Aug 9, 2002, 9:24 AM
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I have to agree with you elcap. That is amazing! Where can I find more info on that? Hey, how about more info in your profile, like, where are you from?


bigwalling


Aug 9, 2002, 11:10 PM
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We talked about Cedar's Baffin thing on this site. Cedar even signed up for and account and talked about the climb.


bigwalling


Aug 9, 2002, 11:20 PM
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I found it.Baffin Speed Climbing


jmlangford


Aug 9, 2002, 11:50 PM
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Thanks for that link. Cool story.


bbevans039


Sep 13, 2002, 8:21 PM
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The first American expedetions to K2 and big wall exploration in remote Himalaya,


mainline


Oct 29, 2002, 6:13 PM
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How about Jeff Lowe for introducing the world to extreme mixed climbing. Or Jeff Lowe and John Roskelly's ascent of the Tawoche wall.


mshore


Oct 29, 2002, 6:40 PM
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Anything Dean Potter has done in the last year. Incredible


andy_lemon


Oct 30, 2002, 9:56 AM
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I would say the first Americans to "SUMMIT" K2. Hence the movie "K2".


JHypers


May 8, 2011, 1:03 AM
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Despite this thread being inordinately old, I noticed that there was only one legitimate guess at what the greatest mountain feat by an American was. That guess was John Waterman's 145-day solo traverse of Mount Hunter. This is the answer to that question, however I present another possibility which is deserving of consideration.

Range: Canadian Rockies
Peak: White Pyramid
Route: The Reality Bath (VII WI6+ X, 600 m)
Climbers: Mark Twight, Randy Radcliff (1988)

Read Twight's book Kiss or Kill: Confessions of a Serial Climber for a discussion of this route. The Reality Bath was the first grade VII ice climb. It is considered by all rational climbing authorities to be a death route, and as such has never been repeated.

As far as I'm concerned, in order to qualify for a 'greatest feat' you have to do something which is considered to be impossible by all rational assessments. The trick with these 'greatest feats' is that they tend to get overtaken every generation.


rtwilli4


May 8, 2011, 4:47 AM
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Nice first post JH.

And while not a single feat, and incomparable to the achievements mentioned above, I think the lifetime of Fred Becky is worth mentioning.


rangerrob


Jun 15, 2011, 7:07 PM
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John Waterman solo on Hunter

Schoenig's miracle belay on K2 in 1950's

Bridwell and Stump onthe FA of Dance of the Woo Li Masters on the east face of the Mooses Tooth


kachoong


Jun 15, 2011, 8:15 PM
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Twight is a machine! I'd go with him or something done by Kennedy, perhaps his ascent of Wall of Shadows with Greg Child? Or the unsuccessful attempt on north ridge of Latok I with Donini and Lowes?


Partner camhead


Sep 22, 2011, 4:00 AM
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Hate to bump the Frankenthread, but one of the most impressive feats, although not from the "golden age" of mountaineering, would definitely be Josh Wharton's lead of the final pitch of a new route on Trango Tower. Can't recall the details, but it involved him onsighting 5.10x slab at nearly 20,000 feet after five days of dehydration.


buffalord


Sep 22, 2011, 6:42 AM
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Steve House and Vince Anderson...Nanga Parbat...game, set, match...


kachoong


Sep 22, 2011, 9:19 AM
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camhead wrote:
Hate to bump the Frankenthread, but one of the most impressive feats, although not from the "golden age" of mountaineering, would definitely be Josh Wharton's lead of the final pitch of a new route on Trango Tower. Can't recall the details, but it involved him onsighting 5.10x slab at nearly 20,000 feet after five days of dehydration.

Don't impose your fear of runout slabs on the mountaineering community! I'm sure it tickled his taint to see that slab at the end of his ordeal.


skiclimb


Sep 22, 2011, 10:13 PM
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N Ridge Latok 1

Lowe, Lowe, Donini and Kennedy. 20+ attempts later and still no one has done better.

Seems like a good entry.

Honnold Free solo of HD Reg NW Face. Pretty decent.

Johnny Waterman? Hmm hard to say.. certainly the craziest ascent I've ever heard of in mountaineering.

WTH throw it in for good measure.


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Sep 22, 2011, 10:29 PM)


potreroed


Sep 30, 2011, 8:22 PM
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Though technically a Brit (born in Rhodesia), Rusty Baillie has lived in the USA since 1967.

He and a partner are the only ones, ever, to have climbed Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro in a day!


areyoumydude


Oct 3, 2011, 1:25 PM
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One of them has to be Hummingbird Ridge on Mt Logan by Dick Long, Allen Steck, Jim Wilson, John Evans, Paul Bacon, and Frank Coale. It still hasn't seen a second ascent.

Or Jason "Singer" Smith soloing the second ascent of the Midgard Serpent (A5) on Mt Thor in Baffin Island.


maldaly


Oct 3, 2011, 3:02 PM
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I guess that when someone asks me what the "greatest" was I look for events that changed the paradigm. The fastest will always get faster, the gnarliest will get more gnar and the most dangerous will always be the luck of the draw.

When I look at climbing as a whole, the stand-outs to me are Chouinard, Robinson and Frost's adoption of and promotion of clean climbing, Batso's ascent of El Cap, Jeff Lowe's climb of Bridalveil and Long, Bacher and Westbay's 1-day ascewnt of the Nose. The changed changed the world of climbing in unique and enduring ways. When Messner and Habler climbed an 8,000M peak without oxygen the shook the world. So did the first party to climb a mountain by the most difficult route or cleanest line rather than by a route which would deliver them the summit. Perhaps when Croft soloed Astroman, the world changed. Or maybe that was Bachar, who was the first to solo hard. I don't know...each person has to look at this history as an individual and ask herself, who has done something that made me look at climbing in a different way? Alex Honhold is an amazing and talented climber who is blowing the roof of of standards, but has he changed the climbing? No. He's just pushed the envelope.

John Waterman really did break new ground with his ascent of the SE Buttress of Hunter but did it change the way people climbed or looked at climbing? I don't think so. If it had we'd see others hauling 17 haul bags weighing 1000 lbs over months to climb badass buttress. It just ain't happening.

Keep thinking...
Mal


skiclimb


Oct 5, 2011, 7:23 AM
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Re: [maldaly] Greatest Mountaineering Feat By An American? [In reply to]
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Excellent post Mal.


dynosore


Oct 5, 2011, 8:31 AM
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Re: [skiclimb] Greatest Mountaineering Feat By An American? [In reply to]
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The sourdough expedition that was the first to climb Denali gets my vote. Four totally green guys traveled hundreds of miles through grizzly infested wilderness and swamp and climbed it on a bet.

"The climbers did not use ropes because as Taylor said later ‘We did not need them.’ This was typical of the Sourdoughs’ style. With the exception of the fourteen-foot flagpole, they choose to travel light."

Yeah....they lugged a 14 ft spruce pole to the top with them Shocked so they could put the American flag up and leave a testament to their climb.

"The summit party consisting of Taylor, Anderson and McGonagall set out at 3.00 a.m. - a true Alpine start. For some reason or other Lloyd had returned to Willows Camp: he may have been suffering from altitude sickness. Without the protection of a rope the three climbers surmounted the Karstens Ridge, traversed the Harper Glacier and scaled a steep couloir since known as the Sourdough Gully. Not far from the summit McGonagall stopped explaining later, ‘No, I didn’t go clear to the top. Why should I? I’d finished my turn carrying the pole before we got there. Taylor and Pete finished the job. I sat down and rested, then went back to camp.’ As with Lloyd he may have been suffering from altitude sickness. The other two, Taylor and Anderson, climbed on still lugging the flagpole. At 3.25 p.m. on April 3rd, 1910 they were standing on the North Peak. They had made the summit push from 11,000 feet (3352m). Encumbered with the flagpole they climbed more than 8,000 feet (about 2500m) and then returned to their camp site in eighteen hours. An extraordinary feat of mountaineering."

Nothing done in this day of goretex, ropes, and weather forecasts will ever impress me this much.

http://irishmountaineeringclub.org/...id=128&Itemid=89


(This post was edited by dynosore on Oct 5, 2011, 8:34 AM)


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