Climbing was easier in the 1970's.

  • On Aug 22 Heidi & I did a pleasant 5 mile hike up to Sawtooth Lake in Idaho's Sawtooth Mtns. I hadn't been there since 1970. In July that year four of us hiked in & started our climbing club at the Wilderness sign-in, when none of us wanted to use our names after all our smart-assed answers on the overly detailed sign-in sheet. Thus was born The Decker Flat Climbing & Frisbee Club. (Decker Flat is a nearby flat.)

    A 1971 DFC&FC club gathering in Idaho's Pioneer Range.
    DFCnFC 1971 4th of July.jpg
    In 1970, we were aware our objective 10,190' Mt. Regan had been previously climbed, but we were not burdened by a detailed map, guidebook, topos, internet information on the peak, GPS's, cell phones, or Satellite Rescue Beacons.

    Our 1970 detailed map of the area. Decent USGS topo maps of the area were not available until 1972.

    It was all so easy. That evening, we decided on a logical route & the next morning we got up & climbed it. Here's the peak & Sawtooth Lake from the north. We scrambled slabs to the right of the largest snowfield to the north ridge on the right, then worked up the ridge.

    We only used our Goldline rope in one place. After our best climber Harry rappelled into a notch in the ridge & scrambled up the opposite side, we rigged a Tyrolian Traverse for the rest of us.
    Gordon on the Tyrolian.
    Gordon Mt. Reagan 1970.jpg
    Easy, simple, & a hellava lot more fun than using all the electronic crutches modern climbers appear to need.
    We were all conservationests & we soon realized our club could perform public services. Here's Joe & Gordon stabilizing a dangerously-loose boulder on the summit of Mt. Regan.
    Gordon, Joe Fox Mt. Reagan 1970.jpg

    On this trip, Heidi had some bouldering fun. She is not putting any weight on that knee in this photo.

    Heidi, rising from Sawtooth Lake.

    I contented myself with being the old man with one of the mountains of my youth.

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  • @FritzRay

    A lil' more help from yer' canine toby trippin' friends... Oh yeah, we be lovin' this stuff up. Yippie yi-yo kiyah!!



    Hosted a foreign exchange student from Italy a few years back. Took him on his first backpacking trip ever into Sawtooth Lake, just before Labor Day. It was an experience for the lad, for sure. All tuckered out coping a rest here.

  • @toby Thank youf or posting those pinnacles along the way. There are rivers of course sand below them & likely not a solid rock on any of those towers. The Sawtooths have some great choss!

  • @FritzRay Indubitably. At least the view is freakin' awesome fer' sloggin' up the switch backs. 😜

    Here's a couple more...




    Uhh... did I mention I like the Sawtooths? Or used to. Bit too crowded up modern times but still pretty bitchin' wilderness area to have in one's backyard. Yeah, I am glad I had my day, a bit bitd when there was more freedom in the hills..... ⛰


  • @FritzRay said in Climbing was easier in the 1970's.:

    Easy, simple, & a hellava lot more fun than using all the electronic crutches modern climbers appear to need.

    Damn right! Why, when we wanted to climb back in the 70s we had to do three-hundred mile approaches and descents, which were uphill both ways! All while carrying hundred pound loads in packs we made ourselves out of old bedsheets. And that was just for day trips.

    But, seriously, even though our equipment was primitive by today's standards, it seemed fantastic to us and we had a lot of fun.

    All while being soooo stylishly dressed...

    David under the Tantalus roof lo-res.jpg

  • Cool stories!

  • Hmmm. Just got thinking about your thread title.

    Climbing was definitely easier (for some of us) in the 1970s, but it is definitely harder in our own 70s.

    Thank god there is still beer!

  • @David-Harris And decent wines. Heidi & me celebrating our hike & our 31st anniversary in Stanley's Sawtooth Hotel.
    A ray n Dorita.jpg

  • @FritzRay Nice! Happy Anniversary! 🎉

    Here's some more from along the hike into Sawtooth Lake.


    Like you, a lot of water has flowed over that rock yet it's still here. 😉

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    Even easier in the 1950s. On Stone Mnt, Georgia, about to slip on the dry lichen.

  • @jgill Hard to discern from that pic but are you actually tied into that cord? Cuz from where I sit, looks like not....

  • I think I had unclipped after placing a bolt for what lies above, having attached the pack to the bolt momentarily. Don't ask me why. Note the great friction shoes.

  • The more I think about it, the less I agree.

    I was doing scare-fest solo ascents that were beyond cutting edge. Of course, on climbs of that difficulty and danger, one can't stop to take photographs without risking death. But, in this particular case it was possible for my base-camp staff to get one shot near the end of my descent.

    So, yeah, here is that photo of me on the final descent to base camp following the first ascent of the North Wall of my sister's barn...

    Descent from the FA of the North Face.jpg

  • @jgill could it be that you didn't have carabiners and needed to thread the rope through a ring?

  • Awesome ------Dude! Early daze indeed. My photo of Gordon Williams, Aug. 1970, on our north ridge of Mt. Regan ascent in Idaho Tyrolian Traverse.
    Gordon Mt. Reagan 1970.jpg

    Two weeks ago, I read that the best & best known, early 1930's climbers in the U.S., Robert & Miriam Underhill, turned back at that gap in 1934, went down, & climbed the peak from the south.

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