It had a little bit of the feeling of a come to Jesus meeting, when people of like mind come together to praise their gods.
In this case, it was the gods of rock climbing. And one of the disciples, Peter Croft, gave a slide show and riveting sermon on various rock routes in the Eastern Sierra.
Croft inaugurated the new and already popular Adventure Slide Show Series started by Jim Barnes, Tuesday night, Jan. 4, at the Snowcreek Athletic Club.
The place was packed, chairs fully taken, people leaning against the walls and standing in the back of the room. It was a huge turnout of folks of all ages, the mussed-hair, knit-capped, lightweight-down clad, burnished-face people who love to climb, as well as young kids and retirees.
One of America’s foremost rock climbers, the Canandian born mountaineer and his wife Karine now live in Bishop, converts to the Eastside rocks.
Royal Robbins, a leading climber of the previous generation, wrote about Croft and his climbing achievements in 2000: “Peter has been my hero for many years, ever since he came blazing out of nowhere with his stunning free solo ascent of Astroman on Washington Column in Yosemite.... That one could climb this route without resorting to direct aid was impressive. To do it without a rope was astonishing. But such was Peter’s level of mastery. That it was mastery, and not mere daring was proven by a string of free solos of similar stature, executed to perfection.”
Croft told of places in the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite that he has climbed, including one particular ascent of Half Dome with the legendary John Bachar.
But easily the most impressive story was his video of a climb with Tahoe’s Dave Nessin up the Incredible Hulk, a steep, 1,200-foot granite wall in the northern Sierra near Bridgeport.
The Hulk is said to have the best collection of 5.10 to 5.12 multi-pitch routes in the High Sierra, according to an article in Climbing Magazine.
“When it all comes together, it’s like magic,” Croft said.
It came together at the adventure slide show. “Everybody I spoke with had a great time,” Barnes said. “They seem to be glad that something like this is happening.”
The next slide show is Tuesday, Jan. 11 with “Big wall first ascents on Mount Watkins.” Urmas Franosch will speak about his and Sean Plunkett’s searches for big wall excitement in Tenaya Canyon. As the pair establishes a couple of unrepeated routs on the south face of Mount Watkins, the stony visage of Chief Tenaya keeps them under this watchful eye.
The series, sponsored by Mammoth Mountaineering, continues every Tuesday night through March 1, when audiences can count on adventures in ice and rock climbing and snowsports, as experienced by some of the area’s adventurers and photographers. For information, call Mammoth Mountaineering or the Snowcreek Athletic Club. Parking is limited, carpooling is suggested.