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dennyg


May 22, 2006, 6:40 AM
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info John Stannard
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A friend brought up John Standard name this morning. I remember hearing his name sometime ago...Just don't remember who, what or when.
any info ?


core


May 22, 2006, 7:03 AM
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Do you mean Stannard?

http://www.gunks.com/...g_Nose_Dive_web_.jpg


brianinslc


May 22, 2006, 7:21 AM
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any info?

You might try the thread by jgill called, "Welcome, John Stannard".

http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=34218&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

He just posted on the delicate arch issue.

-Brian in SLC


dennyg


May 22, 2006, 8:19 AM
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oh
I see, thats why I couldnt find any info.

Thanks

what brought this up...was Stannard playground...Rock St. park, from Roc and rd.

thanks again

this was a good interview

http://www.susanebschwartz.com/acclaim/index.html

which said...
John Stannard: Certainly Doesn't Look Like Much (Rock and Ice Magazine 9/94)

John Stannard recounts the following story gleefully. He says, "I was walking down the roadway in Eldorado, sometime in the 'seventies. There were some climbers about one hundred feet away. I overheard one say to the other. 'See that guy? That's John Stannard.' There was a distinct pause. Then the other says. 'Certainly doesn't look like much.'" Stannard laughs heartily at the memory.

In fact, when you meet John Stannard-short-sleeved shirt en vogue with accountants and actuaries (torn at one or both shoulders); double knit pants (revealing six inches of white athletic socks); shoes reflecting his budget of $15 ("I never spend more.") -- you might be excused for mistaking one of the great climbers of all time, as, say, a physicist who researches gallium arsenide. Actually, Stannard is both. He wears the same outfit to the lab as the cliffs.

When Stannard free climbed the eight-foot wide Shawangunks roof on Foops in 1967, it changed climbers' perceptions about what was possible. It was five years before anyone else could repeat it. For many years, Foops was among the hardest climbs in this country, and a "destination climb" for foreign visitors. Through the mid seventies, Stannard continued creating some of the hardest climbs in the world, while introducing a revolutionary idea -- repeated falling. Jim Erickson, comments, "Stannard saw that if you could fall three or four times, you could fall twenty-five times." More than anyone, Stannard shaped the course of contemporary climbing.

But Stannard's greatest legacy to climbing is his humanism, expressed in his respect for the rock, the land, other climbers, and the climbing environment. It's hard to imagine a parallel in today's climbing. Along with Yvon Chouinard and Royal Robbins, Stannard was a major force in climbing's most fundamental change: the movement away from ecologically harmful pitons to natural protection. He was also responsible for many other conservation efforts in Yosemite, Seneca, the Mohonk Preserve and the Shawangunks.

Then there was the garbage: Here was one of the top climbers in the world, spending Sunday mornings walking the base of the cliff, plastic bag in hand, picking up trash. Russ Clune, a leading Gunks climber of the 'eighties, recalls, "It wasn't unusual for Stannard to collect climbers, give them plastic bags, and say, 'Let's pick up trash for an hour.'"

Uninterested in publicity or fame, by the early seventies, Stannard stopped reporting many of his first ascents, feeling "I had gotten more than my share." The last interview Stannard gave was in 1970.

From the beginning, Stannard was bred tough and smart, traits that define his climbing. He grew up on a farm in rural upstate New York, where his mother taught high school math and his father was a physics professor at Syracuse University. Stannard recalls fondly a childhood where he birthed calves, slaughtered goats, milked cows, cleaned ditches, operated tractors, dynamited for local farmers, plowed and dragged fields, and nearly died several times in farm accidents. He can still identify the make of tractor by sound, or its function at a glance. The Stannard family house was unheated, and in winter, snow drifted through window cracks onto the beds as the family slept.

"The farm generated a lot of good experience in dealing with real things that happen outdoors and in climbing," he says. It also generated fierce self-reliance. Stannard can be shy, even reclusive. Several younger Gunks personalities who climbed with him in the 'eighties recalled he didn't speak all day. One mused, "I wondered if he was mad at me. Then I figured out he just didn't talk."

Yet in other situations, the 55-year-old Stannard is witty and outgoing, with a rare ability to laugh at himself and a scathing sense of the absurd. He laughs recalling his aborted attempt on the Nose. "For food, I brought six roasted chickens. One per day." he explains, ever logically. "We had to come down because we were a couple of chickens short."

All three Stannard brothers studied physics, including John, who received his B.S. in 1958 and PhD. in 1967 from Syracuse University. Afterwards he joined the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C., to research solar energy for satellites. He was inspired to rock climb after snow shoeing and hiking in the Adirondacks with his younger brother. Climbing was an instant fit. Stannard loved the outdoors, the fringe community of social misfits, and the outlet for self-exploration.

After only two years of climbing, he did a new route: Foops, first aid climbed in 1955 by Jim McCarthy. Even in a mecca of roofs, Foops seemed a preposterous free climbing undertaking.

In part, Stannard pushed technical standards because he had discovered a new strategy: falling. On Foops, it took five separate trips, reaching the lip nine times, before he successfully pulled through. He'd go up, place several pieces at the crux, back off, maybe fall, maybe downclimb, then try again, in a process Gunks climbers called, "siege tactics." Without modern gear, this was a serious business. Henry Barber says, "Think about swinging off on a swami belt. You're hanging in space off tape."

However, Stannard's falling might have been overplayed. For starters, his falls were short by today's standards, rarely exceeding eight feet, usually shorter. And he made sure they were safe, often placing three pieces at a crux.

Stannard was helped by his protection, which several climbers called "the best ever." In the Gunks, the higher the grade, the smaller the pro. Stannard's protection on 5.11 and 5.12 often consisted of small nuts, none individually good, but as a unit could hold a fall.

From the start, Stannard followed self-defined rules. No previewing, resting on the rope, or toproping before leading. You started from the ground; if you fell, you started over, pulling the rope down. Rich Goldstone says, "Stannard failed on Foops many times because he never noticed there's a hold to the right of the lip. If he had, he would have done it the first time he got out there. But to go up to look was considered cheating."

Belying his mild mannered, bespectacled appearance, Stannard developed a reputation for extreme boldness. Yet Stannard says he rarely stuck his neck out, a claim supported by virtually everyone who knows him well. Fellow physicist Curt Shannon, who has climbed with Stannard for ten years, theorizes, "John is the most thoroughly analytical person I've ever met. He figures out all the possibilities and risks before every move, so in a way, if he decides to do it, there's no longer any risk. And he's not embarrassed to back off." Rich Goldstone concurs, "'Crazy' never applied to Stannard. I never saw him take an uncalculated fall."

It should be noted that Stannard, in nearly 30 years of climbing, never had even a minor climbing injury.

Why was Stannard so good? John Bragg comments, "He wasn't a natural climber. He didn't look particularly strong or muscular. But he had incredibly strong hands, endurance and control." Stannard cites his short fingers -- less leverage -- and his "+six ape index" -- unusually long arms -- as his greatest climbing physical assets.

In an era when climbers rarely trained systematically, Stannard stood out with his disciplined weekday routine of running, bouldering and fingertip pull-ups. Stories about how he built training machines duplicating climbing problems were apocryphal, possibly inspired by his lab regimen: He practiced hand jams and foot work on a wooden door jam at work, hung off the end of his desk, and drummed his fingers against the lab's cinderblock walls to develop the calluses he considered essential. He says, "I needed a blood test, and the nurse couldn't get the needle through my calluses. She pushed, and pushed, and pushed! Couldn't get it in! She finally gave up and tried somewhere else."

Stannard's dogged persistence has overshadowed other elements of his talent. An early expert in dynamic moves, Stannard displayed remarkable footwork and edging ability. John Bragg recalls he led Never Never Land 5.10, a delicate, balance climb on polished rock, in pouring rain. Stannard still moves with cool and control twenty feet out from protection on 5.11, placing no pro -- essentially soloing -- on 5.6.

After Foops, Stannard continued banging out new routes at the top of climbing standards. In 1969, came the turning point: Persistent. The name is self-explanatory. Stannard decided it wasn't worth working harder on a climb. He says, "At the last move on Persistent, I stopped and looked down, to savor the moment. I knew I wasn't going to do this any more. If I hadn't gotten into the conservation activity, I probably would have quit climbing completely in sixty-nine."

By 1970, as more climbers entered the sport, Stannard worried the greater numbers would exacerbate land and rock erosion, and undermine the quality of the climbing experience. Aid climbing particularly concerned him, because of its greater wear on rock.

In his campaign to free climb the remaining aid routes, Stannard enlisted the help of the next generation of Gunks stars: Wunsch, Bragg, and Barber. Kindred spirits with the requisite physical talents, under Stannard's influence, they began to chance more falls and push into higher grades.

Their efforts were wildly successful, producing many of the enduring hard Shawangunks classics. Of 33 aid routes existing in 1972, two years later, they had free climbed all but two. Russ Clune, who freed the last, Twilight Zone, earlier this year, sums up Stannard's success. "He persuaded people that free climbing was the hip thing to do."

In tribute, the other admiring Gunks climbers dubbed Stannard and company, "The Front Four." Rich Romano says, "Everything they did made news. We considered them the "A Team" and we were the "B Team." When other climbers repeated the Front Four routes several years later, they joked they made, "The First Human Ascents."

Concerned about land erosion, Stannard organized climbers to build trails to the cliff base. Instead of cutting formal steps, they placed rocks and tree branches. "So you'd end up climbing up rocks, without even knowing there's a trail." he explains.

Of his garbage collecting, he says, "I wasn't the first to do it, but I wasn't naive. I realized if people saw me doing it, so much the better. Eventually, anytime someone saw a cigarette butt, they'd pick it up. As far as I was concerned, it was a real fine way to spend Sunday mornings."

Stannard's impact was extraordinary. Almost single-handedly, he created a revolution in Eastern climbing. By 1972, years ahead of Yosemite, no one in the Gunks still climbed with pitons. No one removed his fixed pro, much of which is still in use. Everyone at the Shawangunks, hikers and climbers, unknowingly uses the trails he built.

"My really gung-ho climbing ended in 1974." he explains. That year, Stannard came down with Menard's Disease, a virus that attacks the inner ear, causing dizziness and weakness. The worst bouts lasted for eighteen months. Eventually, he recovered, but he never regained his previous conditioning. Then in 1978, his daughter Christy was born. He felt it was time to move on.

In 1983, reeling from a wrenching divorce, growing impatience with theoretical research, and needing a change, he moved to California, where he joined the Santa Barbara Research Company to research infra red imaging systems for combat missions.

Nowadays, Stannard only climbs several times a year. He still doesn't place much pro, but it's bombproof and distinctive: sliding nuts, slings secured behind nubbins with friends, jammed knots in cracks. He still uses body belays and swamis, or ties directly into the rope. And he's still among the safest climbers leading or belaying.

Eventually, Stannard will retire to Joshua Tree, to a house overlooking the desert mountains, and maybe resume his college hobby of playing the bagpipes. He says, "When I want to feel warm about the past, I don't think about Foops or any routes, but what climbers did in the conservation area in the early seventies."

He recalls his most moving experience, on a beautiful spring day over twenty years ago, when he and two friends tried to move a thousand-pound boulder to build a trail. Stannard laughs, "I knew there wasn't a prayer in hell we could."

One of the toughest men you'll ever meet chokes up with emotion at the memory of what happened. "I started hearing climbers throwing their racks down. They were running over to help us. Pretty soon there wasn't any room around that rock. You couldn't get your fingers under it. And we all rolled that rock off the road."

He pauses, collecting himself. "That story has deep implications. It shows that when people cooperate, there's no limit.


jgill


May 31, 2006, 8:32 PM
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Eventually, Stannard will retire to Joshua Tree, to a house overlooking the desert mountains, and maybe resume his college hobby of playing the bagpipes..

And indeed he has - a dedicated student of the pipes. The climbing community misses you, John!

8^)


billcoe_


May 31, 2006, 9:21 PM
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Great story!

Thanks for sharing!


curt


May 31, 2006, 10:50 PM
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In reply to:
Do you mean Stannard?

http://www.gunks.com/...g_Nose_Dive_web_.jpg

John Stannard, Kevin Bein and who is the tall guy on the right?

Curt


chikinv10


May 31, 2006, 11:33 PM
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It's too bad you all made this sport incredible so early on. i wish i could stand back from climbing and share even a glimpse of what you all have accomplished with conservation and innovativeness. you're the reason we can all sit here and b#tch about one another on sport climbs, boulder problems, ethics, bolting and any other pointless rant. because many years ago you all did it right, so we all try to emulate how it should be done but fall short. thanks for giving me a chance to climb.


climbsomething


Jun 1, 2006, 12:08 AM
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In reply to:
It's too bad you all made this sport incredible so early on. i wish i could stand back from climbing and share even a glimpse of what you all have accomplished with conservation and innovativeness. you're the reason we can all sit here and b#tch about one another on sport climbs, boulder problems, ethics, bolting and any other pointless rant. because many years ago you all did it right, so we all try to emulate how it should be done but fall short. thanks for giving me a chance to climb.
That's why you gotta look those old farts up and hang with them.

Being a 20-something girl helps, but is not required...


dirtineye


Jun 1, 2006, 10:30 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
It's too bad you all made this sport incredible so early on. i wish i could stand back from climbing and share even a glimpse of what you all have accomplished with conservation and innovativeness. you're the reason we can all sit here and b#tch about one another on sport climbs, boulder problems, ethics, bolting and any other pointless rant. because many years ago you all did it right, so we all try to emulate how it should be done but fall short. thanks for giving me a chance to climb.
That's why you gotta look those old farts up and hang with them.

Being a 20-something girl helps, but is not required...

HEY Hil, Stannard plays the pipes, I guess you could take up the Strumpet Trumpet?? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Ack, gag me, I used emoticons!!!!


dingus


Jun 1, 2006, 11:00 AM
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It's too bad you all made this sport incredible so early on. i wish i could stand back from climbing and share even a glimpse of what you all have accomplished with conservation and innovativeness.

You can in a manner of speaking Chinkey. Or perhaps you can at least go looking for it.

5 or 6 years ago I helped a couple of good friends get started on a wilderness wall route. The first (and my only) night on the wall, the 3 of us were just sitting, staring out into space, having just finished the evening chores.

The morning would present us with a 500 foot over hanging dihedral that had never been touched by the hand of man.

Anyway, we were up in a canyon in the southern Sierra, at a vantage from which no lights whatsoever were visible, save the tracks of satellites.

My friend commented quietly, respectfully,

"This is what it must have been like for Robbins and those guys in the Valley, back in the 60's."

I nodded and didn't answer but a few objections leapt to mind. And yet the thought, the EMOTION, stuck with me. I have since come to realize just how RIGHT my friend was (and is)...

that IS what it was like for Robbins and 'those guys.' (Stannard certainly being at the forefront of the 'those guys' group)

And you CAN experience it too. Just stay away from the lights? Go somewhere not yet illuminated by popularity or press, and head up some fierce looking line yet to be sampled by human hands and I promise you, in your gut, in the stem of your brain, in your fingers and toes and in your rucksack of anxiety and doubt, you will feel it.

And all the more you will appreciate the giant shoulders we stand upon... the men and women who could DO THAT without illumination.

They made it up as they went. Get on some big new route and that is exactly what you'll be doing.

But you have their examples to put to practice... and can there be any prouder thanks to the likes of Stannard or Robbins to go where they have not gone but put to practice all that THEY learned (plus what you add?)?

These are very hard places to get to , by and large. The easy access ones have mostly been explored. A lot of dues paying has to go down just to get in position to score one. Oh, but when you do... when you pack up all your knowledge and experience and head up a virgin wall, you will be climbing as giants climbed, likely feeling what they felt; fear, anxiety, insanity, balanced with knowledge, ambition and gut.

Cheers
DMT


wjca


Jun 1, 2006, 11:18 AM
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Any reason why the OP hasn't yet corrected jstan's name in the thread title? Come on. At least make an effort to correct your mistake.


curt


Jun 1, 2006, 12:14 PM
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In reply to:
this was a good interview

http://www.susanebschwartz.com/acclaim/index.html

That was a good piece. I barely recall being interviewed by Susan for it 12 years ago now.

Curt


Partner rgold


Jun 1, 2006, 12:52 PM
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Stannard wasn't just a Gunks free climber:

http://i2.tinypic.com/11bs1aw.jpg


piton


Jun 1, 2006, 1:00 PM
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awesome article! thanks for posting


ddt


Jun 1, 2006, 1:55 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
It's too bad you all made this sport incredible so early on. i wish i could stand back from climbing and share even a glimpse of what you all have accomplished with conservation and innovativeness.

You can in a manner of speaking Chinkey. Or perhaps you can at least go looking for it.

I agree with Dingus. On the one hand there are still those unexplored peaks and unclimbed walls to conquer, even though they are fewer nowadays.

On the other hand, there's the changing nature of rockclimbing as a sport / activity / adventure / lifestyle in itself, and the challenge of defining what it will be in the future. Think about the questions and issues we face today, whether it's ethics or access or the tension between old and new. What is the face of rock climbing in a world of Google Earth and "internet communities"? When do we fight to conserve "the way things used to be", and when do we embrace change?

I don't know the answers, but what I do know is that some of us will lead the way, take a stand, set the tone, and move a whole generation of climbers with them.

DDT


dennyg


Jun 1, 2006, 3:55 PM
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All
You Boy's are Asking all the BIG Question...

I'll Keep it simple

yes
Mr Stannard

If you ever chime in. I was just wondering about your climbing at Rock State Park in Baltimore Maryland. It's just a local crag that was referred to as Stannard playground in Rock and Road. So, I was just wondering about your climbing there and Seneca Rocks. if you have time, I would find it very interesting.

Thank you
Dennis

http://www.dnr.state.md.us/...s/central/rocks.html

http://www.bcpl.net/....html#RocksStatePark

Have at Guys


carp


Jun 1, 2006, 11:42 PM
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My grandfather told me about a party he went to at somebody's house after climbing in the Gunks where guys were doing pullups on the molding of a door jamb.

I wonder if Mr. Stannard was one of them?


bobd1953


Jun 2, 2006, 9:26 AM
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My grandfather told me about a party he went to at somebody's house after climbing in the Gunks where guys were doing pullups on the molding of a door jamb.

I wonder if Mr. Stannard was one of them?

Bob Murray holds the one-arm record at KB house...seven.


jgill


Jun 4, 2006, 2:01 PM
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For those of you with the interest and inclination, to see how the general public perceived John and his cohorts in the Gunks, there's a nice article by Marshall Frady, entitled "Life Among the Rock People" that appeared in a special issue of Life Magazine devoted to Americans outdoors and labeled "The Endless Weekend", September 3, 1971. Seems like yesterday to me, but many of you were not even the proverbial gleam . . . :wink:


dennyg


Jun 14, 2006, 5:09 AM
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"Life Among the Rock People" that appeared in a special issue of Life Magazine devoted to Americans outdoors and labeled "The Endless Weekend", September 3, 1971....proverbial gleam . . . :wink:

Hi John

Saw the Mag. you was talking about on Ebay...2 bucks. Maybe I'll pickit up some time. Then again after this post, It maybe 200 dollars. Someone may scan it and post it.

Thanks Buddy

and I hope I'm still a gleam in someones eye's :roll:


jstan


Jun 15, 2006, 3:14 PM
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Denny:
This thread takes me back to a comment Goldstone made when he found himself to be a guest of honor. He said, "Does this mean I have to die now?"

Now that you mention it I do vaguely remember something about the playground. I am positive I never went there. Perhaps the name was an in-joke. There must have been well over a hundred active climbers in the DC area during the late 60's and I was not in touch with them all.

It was George Livingstone who got me interested in Seneca. A really interesting sort who was never in a hurry to take things seriously. Great to be around. I looked forward to the homemade strawberry rhubarb pies the people in Mouth of Seneca made and sold to the restaurants. Unbelievably good. On one occasion George, I, and Tom Evans( I think )got so into the pies we must have eaten two whole pies between the three of us. Then George facetiously suggested we go and try to free this roof whose name I can't remember. As it was very difficult to turn George down on anything we soon found ourselves on a ledge under a huge roof. Believe me, it was in no danger. We did have a great time of it though.

In some respects the DC climbers were pretty far out. One July fourth the guys in Mouth of Seneca decided to make it lively for us aliens camped at the pavilion. As soon as it was dark they started pitching firecrackers at us. Would you believe some members of our crew had brought quarter sticks of dynamite that they promptly used as return fire. Luckily their aim was flawless and they never hit anyone. This rock climbing thing can get pretty exciting.

While I am here I should also mention that issue of Life is not worth buying. Life wanted to do an article as a companion piece for a scheduled TV show. When I suggested to a friend who is of the legal persuasion that I might agree to do it and then back out at the last moment, he gave me a long meaningful look and said. "You donít want to do that." In the end I imposed the condition that there could be no good pictures, and believe it or not Life complied. The writer, Marshall Frady from Georgia, was very interesting to talk to and had rafts of stories to tell about past writing assignments. I thought at the time Life should have just printed some of his stories instead. A year or so ago I was very sorry to hear he had died. I thought him very good at his trade.

Yes, I am struggling to pursue new evil ways. Take a listen to this performance by Clan MacFarlane that won the Canadian National Championship in 81. It is still talked about. IMHO this is one of the best drum corps that has ever existed. Listen to the drums the first time through. Grab your socks before you get to the end of the slow air though. You really will need to be holding on to something.

http://www.toneczar.com/clips/cam81_clan.mp3


Cheers,

John


nola_angie


Jun 15, 2006, 5:03 PM
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Re: info John Standard [In reply to]
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Yes, I am struggling to pursue new evil ways.

can one of those be to teach a new gen of climbers to respect the rock and surrounding environment???

God, I can't believe its really you. I am such a fangirl. :oops:


dennyg


Jun 15, 2006, 8:25 PM
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wow I'm beside myself

John

Okay, I'll give your boy's a listen. While we are talking Music. I hear you like the pipes. Drums to eh ! Well I got a group for you. The Albannach...Primal would be a good word. I'm not getting there album playing to easily on this laptop (if u can, give it a try). But the video is plays easy enough (The Album is way better).
http://www.albannachonline.com/downloads.htm
By all means don't seat down...Get up and dance and turn it up LOUD.
Funny mee

Now what brought us here. Ohya, Climbing.

Seneca, That has to be were the playground comes in. When I was in New Hampshire last week I pickup a copy of rock and road (no I didn't buy it). They had no mention of Stannards playground at RSP. So, it must be Seneca. I'll keep looking.

Funny you mention Tom Evans. I've climb with him a couple of times in 80s
Then we all went to the Valley and he never came back. I've seen a couple of his picture posted here...so he must be doing some big wall photograph out the valley. DC. Wild eh! Yes he was a character.

So, here I am just breaking into 10s and we are on Crack of Dawn, on face of a thousand pitons. Tom did the first pitch of Marshall, brought his girlfriend and I up. I then take off for the roof section and I'm jamming my way through the crux. When I look down and here's Tom making out with his girlfriend and on hanging belay yet. Yes he was a character.
DC Wild.

Good Storey's John. I'm going to have to ask about that pie next time down Seneca. I want me a piece of that pie.

Alright I'll give your boys a listen now and you try mine. I'm sure we wont be disappointed.

Hey
Thanks for posting up, it's been a treat.

Denny

hmm, done saved myself a couple of bucks. :D


Partner climboard


Jun 15, 2006, 9:04 PM
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It's great to hear from the man himself! Thanks for putting up some great climbs. I am always blown away when I am shaking up some route that you guys did 30+ years ago without the benefit of modern gear or sticky rubber.

When I used to climb at Carderock I'd heard a shorter section of cliff down by the river referred to as Stannard's Playground. There are a few good boulder problems down there. Perhaps John can enlighten us?

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