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80's climber?
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nytefyre


May 25, 2005, 9:26 AM
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80's climber?
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Sometime, I think in the 80's...ABC Wide World of Sports, aired a LIVE rock climbing event. It took place somewhere out west...the rock was redish in color...Angel Cliffs or something like that...the climber was a soloist...Doug something? It was really cool and I'd like to get a copy of that climb. I also think it was a 2 day affair...with him having to tie himself in and sleep in a hammock. At one point he did fall about 20 feet or so...landed on his back...but was OK...just got the air knocked out of him. Does this ring a bell with anyone? Or was I the only one who watched this event unfold on live TV...while the rest of you were either out climbing or not born yet! :) Any help would be appreciated!


dingus


May 25, 2005, 9:38 AM
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John Long poduced a live ABC Sport special about free climing the Lost Arrow, from the base. It was done over two days with the live part consisting of the last two pitches. Ron Kauk and Jerry Moffat were the climbers.

I was living in TN at the time so it was pre-1986, I think 85 or maybe summer of 84. Dave Shultz had already freed those pitches, but I think he did that from the Notch. Kauk and Moffat were the first to do the entire Lost Arrow free. The deviated from the chimney section in part down lower and their route is known as the ABC Route now.

I clearly remember watching that broadcast (Thanks Largo, another brick in the wall that cemented my move to Cali... I was in the Valley about a year later myself). Moffat was suffering bad elbow tentonitis and was botching up the 2nd to last lead very badly. Kauk was hollering at him in irritation from below as he repeatedly chalked up and balked at the 5.11 crux of the pitch that would normally have been easy for him (they were on a production schedule and it was LIVE)...

"Just HIGH STEP IT!" Kauk kept yelling. You could tell he was pissed.

Kauk floated that last lead so easily you just couldn't tell how freaking hard it was. Long was doing the color commentating...

"Those holds he is using are like the thickness of two dimes glued to the wall." I can't remember who his broadcast partner was, but it was an ABC Sports regular who didn't know jack about climbing. It was actually quite funny.

DMT


iamthewallress


May 25, 2005, 10:17 AM
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In reply to:
Sometime, I think in the 80's...ABC Wide World of Sports, aired a LIVE rock climbing event. It took place somewhere out west...the rock was redish in color...Angel Cliffs or something like that...the climber was a soloist...Doug something? It was really cool and I'd like to get a copy of that climb. I also think it was a 2 day affair...with him having to tie himself in and sleep in a hammock. At one point he did fall about 20 feet or so...landed on his back...but was OK...just got the air knocked out of him. Does this ring a bell with anyone? Or was I the only one who watched this event unfold on live TV...while the rest of you were either out climbing or not born yet! :) Any help would be appreciated!

Roped soloist...Two days...Angel Something...Reddish rock.

It sounds like he was aid climbing, and I'd guess that the climb was on Angel's Landing in Zion. Don't know who Doug was...Maybe this is a good question to resurrect the Zion History Thread?


nytefyre


May 25, 2005, 10:48 AM
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Hey Thanks man....I wasn't the only one who saw it! I would love to get a copy...wonder what my chances would be of having ABC having it archived? I think the host was Kurt Gowdy? Or Jim McKay? I just know I was glued to the screen!


Partner polarwid


May 25, 2005, 1:10 PM
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The climber was GEORGE WILLIG, and he starred in several WIDE WORLD of SPORTS climbs in the late 1970s (not the 80s as us old fart's memories are going away :wink: ).

This was the series of climbs he made over a couple of years...

October 29, 1977
The ascent of mountain climber George Willig to the top of Eldorado Canyon in Eldorado Springs, Colo. marks the first time live coverage of a climb was presented on American television.

April 22 & 23, 1978
George Willig's climb of Angel's Landing in Zion National Park almost ends a bit early when he falls on the way up, but he was able to complete the climb.

April 28, 1979
Wide World of Sports live coverage of George Willig's Devil's Tower climb in Wyoming: a free climb of Devil's Tower's 700-foot face.

I believe the route in question was the ANGEL'S LANDING climb in ZION in OCTOBER of 1978, since it seems to match the details you provided... 8^)

He was also famous for climbing the South Tower of the WORLD TRADE CENTER in 1977 (a "first ascent"), and has a couple of FIRST ASCENTS in the GUNKS (SHITTY MITTY for one), as well as routes in a couple of other areas around the US. He made a name for himself with his "stunt climb" of the WTC, but he was a well rounded and capable climber even without the stunts and televised climbs he made.


maxuda


May 25, 2005, 1:16 PM
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I remember something in early 80s that I watched with father that had someone freesoloing something. Also remember Wide World of Sorts cover climbing but this is different and was sure soling soemthing with lots of overhangs and even one move show off where feet fall of and hanging with just one hand.


crankenstein


May 25, 2005, 1:57 PM
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I think Polarwid nailed it with the Angel's Landing comment. I remember watching the guy take a whipper onto his back. There were other ABC Wide World of Sports climbing episodes during the 80's, including Ron Kauk and some British gal on The Old Man of Hoy where the birds (puffers?) throw up on the girl as she is leading. I have some old videos and made from TV climbing video, but unfortunately, the Angel's Landing was before I had a VCR.


nytefyre


May 25, 2005, 3:03 PM
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good information....thank you. Now if I can get ABC Sports to dig in their archives so I can get a copy of those climbs, I'll be set.


boblanning


Jul 14, 2005, 8:00 PM
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Funny you should ask...I was wondering just this evening what happened to George?
I began noodling around the Net and found your e-mail.
Back in the 1970s, I was an Associate Director for Wide World of Sports and in fact worked several climbs with George.
My first in 1978 was with George in Zion National Park, Utah. George climbed Angel's Landing with a pal in a two-day WWS telecast.
It was the first time a live TV climb was ever done from a US national park.
I worked several other climbs with George - one of Devil's Tower ("Close Encounters of the Third Kind" fame) and another climb of Castle Rock in Moab. All three were broadcast live by ABC.
As for George's fall...it was sure timed right to make the broadcast exciting. I never knew whether it was planned or not. George was the absolute showman.
Bob Lanning
Executive Producer
Directors Group


gunkiemike


Jul 21, 2005, 6:02 PM
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Yup, Willig. If anyone is a real fan of his, I have his book ("Going it Alone") which discusses his earliest days as a climber (his first roped climb was Directissima at the Gunks, a pumpy 5.9) and the details of his WTC climb. George's cousin was my son's radiation therapist...small world.


pecall


Aug 10, 2005, 5:54 AM
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On the Devil's Tower climb, and I think - but can't recall for sure - also on the Angel's Landing climb, George Willig was accompanied by Steve Matous.

I recall this vivdly, as I saw these climbs on TV when I was an exchange student in West Virginia in 1978/79. It was also during this period that I got hooked on climbing. 27 years later I still love it!


rockprodigy


Aug 11, 2005, 4:16 PM
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Let us know if you find a copy of that. I, for one, would love to see it!


fredbob


Aug 11, 2005, 4:36 PM
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Met George in the early 80s, seemed a nice guy. He actually did a FA with us at Josh in 84 (Surface Tension on Cyclops Rock). If anyone knows hs current whereabouts, I'd be interested.


welsford


Aug 23, 2005, 5:53 AM
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Check out the link for the exact dates \

http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:GHgSijhKTmkJ:espn.go.com/abcsports/wwos/milestones/1970s.html+wide+world+of+sports+GEORGE+WILLIG&hl=en


kappydane


Aug 23, 2005, 6:33 AM
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Believe it or not, I have some of those shows on video. The very best by far is the Henry Barber trip to England where he solos Strand onsight and the running competition between himself and the English for first ascents. I also have the Old Man of Hoy climb with Ron Kauk and part of the Lost Arrow climb, I think.


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