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jgill


May 20, 2003, 7:45 PM
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Pete Cleveland
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Pete and I did some bouldering and climbing together in the 1960s, and he had an enviable reputation then for both technical skills and nerves of steel. His extremely bold climbs in the Needles (SD) and elsewhere set the stage for climbers like Henry Barber and John Bachar. I knew him as a powerful competitor with an intellectual quality (both PhD and MD). He set technical standards at Devil's Lake as well as making awesome mountain ascents, like the north face of the Crooked Thumb in Grand Teton. How many of you have heard of Pete? Do you have any Pete stories to share?


curt


May 20, 2003, 10:01 PM
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John,

I think Pete is relatively unknown. The only first hand Pete Cleveland story I know (other than yours) was related to me by Todd Skinner. Todd sought out Pete in the early 80s and Pete agreed to meet Todd and take Todd both to Pholgiston and the adjacent route Bagatelle at Devil's Lake.

I recall Todd telling me that he really struggled on these routes--taking many attempts to succeed--and that Pete, at that time in his late 40s or early 50s (I think) floated up both of them quite effortlessly.

Curt


ergophobe


May 20, 2003, 11:12 PM
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Re: Pete Cleveland [In reply to]
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I've heard of Pete, but I cheated - I lived in Wisconsin for 5 years and every climber in Wisconsin knows who Pete is and most people think of him as the local climbing celebrity, so it's dismaying to think that others haven't heard of him. Every Wisconsin climber I know has taken a pilgrimage to Super Pin in the Needles to see the site of Pete's awesome first ascent.

As for anecdotes, I don't really know him, but I have run across him a few times and I remember when Skinner was at Devil's Lake. Pete was still climbing in Vasque climbing boots with lug soles, saying that he had not found a pair of modern shoes that he found comfortable enough to climb in. So when he floated those routes for Skinner, he was probably doing it in the same shoes he wore the first time he did the routes.

Tom


atg200


May 21, 2003, 10:35 AM
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Re: Pete Cleveland [In reply to]
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I've heard of him as well, and spent many an hour staring at Superpin thinking no way.


ramylson


May 21, 2003, 11:06 AM
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I also cheated.. living, as well as climbing, a lot in Wisconsin it's hard to have not heard of Pete Cleveland. I've never met him, but from the locals I do know from the Baraboo area, he is still in the area and apparently still climbs a bit.

Personally, from maturing in climbing on the dime edges and non-friction properties of quartzite, I can see where his strengths came from. In having made the trip out to the Black Hills on a semi-regular basis, the stone there is like heaven. I mean.. there's finally friction that you can deal with. Then, when you tie in the fact that you have to pull on really small holds w/ quartzite, you build an amazing crimp strength. The mental aspects are a bit different, but in seeing some of the routes he's done at Devil's Lake.. I guess it all falls into place. I think he and Tommy Deuchler had a bit of a competition going. Some of the routes they've led are amazing. Both in physical strength, as well as the mental aptitude needed to get the job done. Just look at "Flatus Direct (11d)" and imagine trying to lead it without any of the advantages we have today (shoes for one). Not to mention, the other crazy things he pulled down on throughout the park. BTW, "Bagatelle" goes at .12c/12d. Or, Tommy's crazy lead "Caesarian West Face (12b/12c)" wear the protection was taping beak-heads onto dime edges. Even more nuts was the fact that he apparently topped out just after it started to rain, so he says. Side note, wet quartzite is like ice. Also, Devil's Lake has a history for having stout grades.. more often not, referred to as serious sandbagging. In most cases, you can figure the grade to be two higher then what it's listed in the latest guide book.

I wish I could sit down to talk to Pete some day.. especially since Tommy's stories are so awesome. Great guy.. still climbing and rolling his own Drum cigarettes (for those of you planning on attending the Devil's Lake GTG, you might be able to talk to him a bit since he's aways at the camp ground we'll be staying at).

Honestly, I'd really like to hear about your solo ascent of "Congratulations (10a)" John. Having just led it clean above gear.. that's an amazing route. On-site solo? Wow.. Also, Gill's Buttress with routes like "Gill's Nose (11b)", "Gill's Cheek (11d/12a)", and/or "Gill's Crack (10b/10c)". The history there is amazing.. Oh, and btw.. the "Flatiron (V4)" is fun. You'd be amazed at how often you hear your name on a weekend by climbing around the cliffs..


scgreene2000


Sep 25, 2004, 9:00 AM
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Pete Cleveland - Climbing legend [In reply to]
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Last weekend I was climbing with a club that has a long history with Devilís Lake and was fortunate enough to meet one of the greatest climbers of all time. Pete Cleveland holds three records of hardest climbing grade achieved. 5.11, 5.11d R, 5.12d TR. See link for list - http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/yos/hard.htm I met Pete while he was giving beta to a climber on a route that he put up back in the sixties and he was as I would hope all the great climbers would be, extremely humble and tremendously helpful. Earlier I had tried to climb this 5.11b, Under The Bottle and it had shut me down so I asked Pete to give me some pointers so a few of us walked back to the climb. Pete gave beta to another climber and he work and toiled on the undercling portion and the next move to no avail. I declined getting back on the route; but after a short anecdote from Pete about the last time he climbed the route (and a mouth full of chewing tobacco) he stands up and raps the rope twice around his belly ties a square knot and says heíll give it a go. Pete went up the rock like it was a 5.3 (but 5.3 could never be that graceful!) with what looked like the smallest possible effort. I was at that time truly honored to be witness. After Pete lowered off and we talked a bit I asked him how old he was and he said he was 63. Google Pete Cleveland and see what else this amazing climber has done in so many years!


jgill


Sep 26, 2004, 6:26 PM
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Good post. I wish I could transport all you young'uns back in time to the early and mid 1960s to watch this great climber in action. Incidentally, Pete did his doctoral thesis (PhD) in chemistry (before he became an MD) on the effects of weathering on nylon slings, etc. 8^)


curt


Sep 26, 2004, 6:36 PM
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Here is a link to a few Pete Cleveland comments, in a thread started by John Gill.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...&highlight=cleveland

Curt


shouldbeworking


Sep 26, 2004, 6:40 PM
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funny... last year I met the great Pete Cleveland the same way... At the old sandstone area at Devil's Lake... After quickly hiking up an 11 a or b Pacific ocean wall) and a 10 a or b (tarantula or gargantua) wearing shoes with large holes at both great toes, and secured with a bowline on a coil (no harness, "never could find one that fit right" he explained), he casually mentioned that he'd free soloed the 10.. tarantula, one or two years back...


granitegod


Sep 26, 2004, 6:43 PM
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[quote=" he stands up and raps the rope twice around his belly ties a square knot and says heíll give it a go. Pete wet up the rock like it was a 5.3 (but 5.3 could never be that graceful!) with what looked like the smallest possible effort. !
......wicked.......


salisbur1


Sep 29, 2004, 11:14 AM
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It's great to hear that Crazy Pete's still climbing. He was the master of technique at the Lake. A joy to watch, and the best part is, he doesn't give a hoot if you throw-up on his lawn, either! I seem to remember that for a while he was making money by pulling nails out of people's heads in prison, which sounds a lot like climbing.


dingus


Oct 18, 2004, 6:47 PM
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Re: Pete Cleveland - Climbing legend [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Last weekend I was climbing with a club that has a long history with Devilís Lake and was fortunate enough to meet one of the greatest climbers of all time.

Great tale! What's he like? Did you notice some little thing about him that hinted at his greatness? Some magical instensity, or supreme focus on footwork? What is it about his climbing style? About him?

Anyway, great post. Thanks
DMT


salisbur1


Oct 23, 2004, 8:11 PM
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Well yeeeeeah! The guy's just totally Jacked!!! That's definitely an advantage. It keeps him out of the norm, and being rather intellectual he can totally focus, and also combine in a competitive edge, t's all an effective combination. Seeing him climb, his style is so solid it's like seeing a rock move up a rock. I remember he showed us once how to do the first moves on Acid Rock, and at the time.. the foot work was so totally wild it blew my mind.. or maybe it was the alcohol.. hard to say.. but it made that section very sweet and almost easy.

-ds


scgreene2000


Nov 7, 2004, 10:04 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Last weekend I was climbing with a club that has a long history with Devilís Lake and was fortunate enough to meet one of the greatest climbers of all time.

Great tale! What's he like? Did you notice some little thing about him that hinted at his greatness? Some magical instensity, or supreme focus on footwork? What is it about his climbing style? About him?

Anyway, great post. Thanks
DMT

I think it is just that the guy is pure to the core and by that I guess I mean that there is nothing that obstructs the flow of his passion. Intense in the very best way. I did not see anything way out about his physical style just a great climber and even better person.


rocknroll


Nov 27, 2004, 10:36 PM
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I met Pete Clevland in the summer of 1979 at Devils Lake. I had just returned from my first semester at college in Tucson, Arizona. Totally psyced on desert granite like Mt. Lemmon, The Cochise Stronghold and Josh, I asked if he ever goes out west.

"Nope." he replied. "Rock is too abrasive. Too tough on the hands"


Some legend.


potreroed


Jan 6, 2005, 12:02 PM
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I climbed at Devil's Lake for 20 years and was proud to consider Pete my friend, altho climbing with him was always a humbling experience (the way I heard it Todd Skinner never got off the ground on Phlogiston).

Pete bought a house that used to be on the South shore of the lake and had to saw it in half to get it up that narrow winding road up to his property!

Pete was known to have explored and climbed everything in the Devil's Lake area but one day when we were questioning him about a certain area he admitted that he had found a crack that he decided to leave for a future generation. He called it The Crack of Doom because it looked like Sometimes Crack, only two pitches long and curving to the left. Right away a light bulb went on in my head because I had found that crack myself once while exploring around and had figured that Pete had already climbed it.

The very next day I went with a couple of buddies and climbed it and to this day I consider that route the highlite of my entire climbing career--the crack that Pete Cleveland left for me.

One of my fondest memories of Pete was the night we got him stoned on weed inside the old Silver Dale Saloon.


dan_cleveland


Apr 29, 2005, 1:20 PM
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Re: Pete Cleveland - Climbing legend - Smoking weed! Ha-ha! [In reply to]
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potreroed! You got my dad stoned! I wish I were there to witness that. Hilarious.

I'm Pete's son, Dan, and someone sent me the link to this forum, and to this subject thread.

It is a real treat to hear from people who have climbed with him. When I have climbed with him, it didn't seem so special to me as I had been around him my whole life. As I get older, I really cherish the times we have had together and look forward to our next time together; hanging out at the house in Baraboo.. or going to the lake to climb. Unfortunately I live in Atlanta, so those times come around infrequently. Pete is a great climber, but also a great man. He raised my sister and I.. all by himself. He made many sacrifices to do so, and I am eternally grateful.

I have to say I swell with pride with some of the comments about my Dad on this board. Its really cool to hear other people's stories about him. Did he really get stoned at Silver dale? Man, i would have paid to see that.

Here is my lastest climbing story about him.. I was in town visiting last August. We were going out climbing with the CMC.. on an outing weekend. My dad and I were getting into our group (as usual with long time friends Ole and Sue Swartling, and Bill Dietrich) and a few new people were joining us, along with Charlie Pierce. I was chatting with some guy who hadn't been climbing with the CMC before that weekend. he was maybe 25. I told him who my dad was.. and he looked over at Pete, then discretely asked 'how old is your dad'? I said 63. He then said 'he can STILL climb?' I said without hesitation, 'yeah.. and he'll kick your a$$ on the rock!'. Needless to say, later that day my dad did just that. Even at 63 he can outclimb most 25 year olds, hands down. Charlie was climbing that day too.. and he can still pull down, even at 80. I just hope I'm in as good of shape as these guys later in life.


potreroed


Apr 30, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Re: Pete Cleveland - Climbing legend - Smoking weed! Ha-ha! [In reply to]
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Dan- We got high with your old man a number of times but that afternoon at the Silver Dale was memorable. The place was crowded and every woman in there was a knockout and when we broke out the old corn cob pipe everything rose to a whole new level.

After living in Mexico for the past 11 years I am in the process of looking for a small house in the Baraboo area so I can spend a couple months there every Summer. I really look forward to hanging out and climbing with Pete again.


rudotis


Apr 2, 2006, 11:28 AM
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As one of the founding members of the DLFA with Tom Deuchler and Bill Russell, I have many recollections. We used to park in his lower drive and bivouac in his Sauna. The guy was a real strategist when climbing. In life, he was a hard working - excavating his basement with a shovel and a wheel barrow. I just returned from a visit to DL and would really like to reunite the gang. Any ideas on how to find Tommy Deuchler please let me know signed Jim Rudolph "rudy rudotis"


rudotis


Apr 2, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Re: Pete Cleveland - Climbing legend - Smoking weed! Ha-ha! [In reply to]
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You were probably too young to remember me. I was known as "rudy rudotis" and I did a lot of climbing with both your father and Tommy Deuchler. I am trying to track Tommy down for a DLFA reunion so any help you or or dad may be able to offer would be appreciated. Jim Rudolph email: rudolph@doall.com

ps. And yes your Pop was one of the greats. I spent many a days climbing with him and learned alot from his deliberate startegic approach.


studs


May 4, 2006, 3:27 AM
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Wasnīt Petes wife quite a good climber too?I have the utmost respect for Petes climbs at DL.World class at the time.


chossmonkey


May 4, 2006, 4:45 AM
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In life, he was a hard working - excavating his basement with a shovel and a wheel barrow.

I'm not sure how much truth there is to the story I heard about that, but it's not that he simply dug his own basement.

It's that he dug his own basement in QUARTZITE! :shock:


potreroed


May 6, 2006, 2:36 PM
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Pete's routes are still world-class...both in quality and difficulty, not to mention courage.


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