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#66611 - 09/26/12 03:30 PM Appalachia Archives JUne 1960
cfrac Offline
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Registered: 04/26/08
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I am writing a history of Millbrook and I am trying to get my hands on The Appalachia (June 1960) Vol. XXXIII No. 1, pages 18-25. Anyone have it, know where I can get it, would be willing to scan it? Also anyone know of other articles about early gunks climbing at Millbrook. I've got Yankee R&I, American Rock, Hans Kraus Biography but any other ideas? Want to share an anecdote about climbing something other than Westward Ha!, I would love it!
Thanks, CFrac
physicsfrac AT gmail

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#66614 - 09/26/12 05:49 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
crimpy Offline
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Registered: 07/02/11
Posts: 330
Loc: Wawarsing
nynjtc offices in Mahwah nj has a nice library, they may have it? http://www.nynjtc.org/

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#66615 - 09/26/12 06:45 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
retroscree Online   content
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Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 397
Originally Posted By: cfrac
...but any other ideas?

Although blindingly obvious and something you've likely already thought of, but sometimes the obvious gets overlooked - interview Ramano and Goldstone.

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#66616 - 09/26/12 07:45 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: retroscree]
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
This is a fascinating project. one of my friends did an ascent of W.H. but from the valley floor nearby where his house was. it was a party of 4, two ropes. they had to climb up the bottom part of Millbrook which was so bad and scary the other leader had a meltdown and they had to lower a rope to him. layers of loose rubble, with vegetation layers in between serving as a lubricant to keep it all extra loose.
another time my partner dropped his glasses on a 5.8 on the north end, I had to take over - what was above looked so horrible I pioneered a variation linking that route to the one to its left. it turned out to be fun climbing.
I still havent' done W.H. and am looking to do it someday but with someone who's done it and I don't want to get lost again...
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#66617 - 09/26/12 07:53 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: phlan]
richp Offline
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Registered: 09/26/12
Posts: 4
cfrac
I have a reprint of Appalachia from June 1960. It is titled Early Rock Climbing in the Shawangunks by Fritz Wiessner. I assume that is what you are searching for. I'll scan a copy and send it sometime today if I get a chance.

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#66624 - 09/26/12 10:10 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
Dana Offline
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Registered: 07/13/00
Posts: 619
Perhaps the AMC ofice in Boston?

I know at one time the U Mass Amherst library had them: I remember reading the issue you are looking for when I was there. Perhaps you can get an interlibrary loan.

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#66631 - 09/27/12 12:19 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: Dana]
phlan Offline

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Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
I'd try the AAC in New York, they should have a good library.

I forgot to say my friends climbed W.H. that way since that's the way Fritz did the 1st ascent. and if you want to put in any pro on the 1st tier of Millbrook, my friend said he would lift a loose block, place a nut underneath it and put the block back in place over the nut. Not anything I'd want to lead!!!
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#66632 - 09/27/12 01:37 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: phlan]
Rickster Offline
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Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 845
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
The NYC American Alpine Club branch may still have a library. Otherwise, the Alpine Club Library was moved to Golden Colorado some years ago.

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#66635 - 09/27/12 04:11 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
tradjunkie Offline
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Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 364
Argh. I know exactly the article you are talking about - the one in which one learns, among other things, that one of the best-known classic routes has been misspelled for 50 years. smile

I was certain I had this article. For some reason I seem to have only part of it (?!?). I think, like you, I asked for pages 18-25 from a library scan or microfilm or something. It turns out the article goes past page 25. I thought I had gotten the rest of it but apparently not.

I'll email you what I have.

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#66642 - 09/28/12 12:51 AM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: tradjunkie]
Rockanice Offline
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Registered: 12/24/99
Posts: 146
Loc: New York
I have the original issue and will dig it out if you don't get the copy scan from RichP. Let me know

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#66644 - 09/28/12 02:35 AM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: Rockanice]
cfrac Offline
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Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 462
Thanks everyone! RichP & TradJunkie hooked me up!

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#66648 - 09/28/12 01:44 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I think Phlan is confusing Westward Ha! (1962), which is a McCarthy route (with Hans Kraus and Yosemite climber Harry Daley), with the Old Route (1935), which is Fritz Wiessner's opening Shawangunk salvo.

Although arguably not a classic, the Old Route deserves an ascent by anyone who thinks of themselves as a gunks climber. It is where it all began, and the route is a testimony to Wiessner's prowess and spirit of adventure. Although Millbrook is only remote today in comparison to the accessibility of the Trapps, back in 1935 there was surely no way a party in trouble could have gotten any help at all. And Fritz's gear made the first pitch a near solo, since (at least as I remember it), much of the pro on the first pitch consists of cams in larger sizes than any pitons Fritz would have had.

I think many people will find the Old Route undergraded at the 5.5 it is given in Purple Dick. There is perhaps a 5.5 way to do it, but it is also (ahem) easy to end up making 5.7ish moves at the top of the first pitch. And although it is no longer approached from below, the traverse of the Death Ledge from the Westward Ha! rappel has its own adventurous moments.

One of the interesting things I hope Chris learns from the Appalachia article is how Fritz got back down from the top of Old Route. The round-trip must have been an interesting undertaking.

When I first started climbing in the Gunks, we were still approaching Millbrook from the bottom, thanks to the kindness of a landowner. (How times have changed!) Although the descriptions of that approach are now taking on mythic proportions far beyond the reality of the hike, it was something you really didn't want to do in wet conditions because of slippery boulders with real space between them to fall into. As for the lower cliff band, we soloed it, picking a line of least resistance rather than something directly below the route we were aiming for.

I'd also like to make an urgent plea here for consideration for the people living underneath the crag. Millbrook is a natural sound amplifier, transmitting climber's calls to the patios and pools of the people living below, people who own a significant, if at this point unclearly delineated, portion of the cliff. In consideration for these people, Millbrook climbers should make all possible efforts to avoid any shouting, and should absolutely refrain from any outbursts that would be offensive to people trying to enjoy the day below. Shorter pitches, hand and rope signals, and even (I can't believe I'm saying this) two-way radios are all highly appropriate and desirable approaches to making climbers' presence on the cliff as unobtrusive as humanly possible.

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#66649 - 09/28/12 02:25 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: rg@ofmc]
tradjunkie Offline
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Posts: 364
RG, check your PMs.

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#66650 - 09/28/12 03:22 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: tradjunkie]
phlan Offline

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Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
highly interesting post RG... and yes I meant to say Old Route! still hoping to do it someday without getting lost... cfrac, I can't wait for your book.
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#66657 - 09/29/12 11:15 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: rg@ofmc]
cfrac Offline
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Posts: 462
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc

One of the interesting things I hope Chris learns from the Appalachia article is how Fritz got back down from the top of Old Route. The round-trip must have been an interesting undertaking.


So the first traverse of Death Ledge pre-dates Millbrooks FA!

Originally Posted By: phlan
highly interesting post RG... and yes I meant to say Old Route! still hoping to do it someday without getting lost... cfrac, I can't wait for your book.


Can't promise a book, for now the history will be recorded on thewhitecliff.com, perhaps an article or guidebook will result from this work, but in the meantime everything will be provided free on the site.


A question: Fritz mentions the Old Route as "...190 vertical feet of enjoyable, interesting climbing, grade 4 to 5." Was he using the YDS and referring to 5.4 and 5.5 or was he using the UIAA IV/V, or something else? I'm guessing it was the latter since the use of YDS despite being developed in the 1930's probably hadn't taken hold yet in the East. So, does anyone know?

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#66658 - 09/29/12 11:48 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
Rickster Offline
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Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 845
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
When was the article or interview written? YDS was in wide use at that time?

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#66659 - 09/29/12 11:49 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
Rickster Offline
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Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 845
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
When was the article or interview written? YDS was in wide use at that time?

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#66660 - 09/30/12 12:08 AM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I the article was written in 1960. Art Gran's Gunks guide used the YDS in 1964. The YDS was around at the time of the article, but it is reasonable to assume it wasn't something Fritz would use. The Appies had their own system (see chart below), there was an alphabetic grade system in use by IOCA, and the Vulgarians were using the YDS, because they were the only group in contact with the California climbers.

So definitely not the YDS system, but rather a version of the European alpine grades, I think not all that different from the current UIAA grades, expressed in roman numerals in the left-hand chart below.

The right-hand chart, which is kinda fuzzy, has a comparison of "AMC grades" in the Gunks to YDS grades at Tahquitz, including example climbs that are supposed to be comparable (but are not; many of the gunks climbs are notably harder then their purported Tahquitz equivalents). Those AMC grades are derived from the European grading used by Hans and Fritz and are a little softer, in YDS terms, than the UIAA versions. The chart comes from an article in Summit magazine promoting the National Climbing Classification System, a good idea that was ahead of its time and never caught on. See http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/...ger-Summit-1963



I suspect Fritz's grading was closer to the current UIAA scale. That being the case, the "grade 4's" Fritz referred to would be 5.4-5.5 and the "grade 5's" would be 5.7, with 5.8 for the "upper 5's" he mentions. I think this fits pretty well with our modern grading of the climbs he mentions, with the exception of the Old Route, whose modern grading of 5.5 would be (IV-IV+), which does not agree with Fritz's grade 5, especially since Fritz apparently stood on a piton somewhere. This does lend credence to my observation in an earlier post about the possible undergrading of the Old Route.

The AMC chart does suggest how Old Route got to be 5.5, because in that chart AMC 5 corresponds to 5.5-5.6.

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#66661 - 09/30/12 01:42 AM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: rg@ofmc]
Julie Offline
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Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
That's a great relic, Rich. Especially as I've climbed most of the routes on both sides!

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#66662 - 09/30/12 03:58 AM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: rg@ofmc]
cfrac Offline
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Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 462
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
This does lend credence to my observation in an earlier post about the possible undergrading of the Old Route.

The AMC chart does suggest how Old Route got to be 5.5, because in that chart AMC 5 corresponds to 5.5-5.6.


Yes! That explains why I couldn't make it 5.5 without going around the obvious crack, and it fits your assumption that Fritz would have preferred that line. I couldn't reconcile the difficulty of the moves with the printed grade despite the route description.

Absolutely fun digging through this historical mystery!

I've been blown away by learning that in the early sixties congress had proposed a study to investigate putting in a scenic highway along the crest of the ridge. It was averted by a letter writing campaign by climbers and hotel guests. Then in the 70's a jetport was proposed near the base of the cliffs. I am guessing this is what became SWF in Newburgh. Add to this the Save The Ridge campaign and you see that the battle to protect this area was on unsure footing more than once!

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#66663 - 09/30/12 11:58 AM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
Rickster Offline
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Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 845
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
The Marriot project at Minnewaska as well. I always thought the jet port was to be on the other side of the mountain. A "improvement" of the Wurtsboro Airport, which still may occur as a developer and current owner has big plans.

The type of activism that fights these efforts has a long history in the Wallkill Valley. Around '71-73, they fought tooth and nail to prevent a Carrol's fast food hamburger joint from opening across the street from the New Paltz Library. The building got built, but never opened as a burger joint.

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#66666 - 10/01/12 12:36 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: cfrac]
tradjunkie Offline
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Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 364
Originally Posted By: cfrac

A question: Fritz mentions the Old Route as "...190 vertical feet of enjoyable, interesting climbing, grade 4 to 5." Was he using the YDS and referring to 5.4 and 5.5 or was he using the UIAA IV/V, or something else? I'm guessing it was the latter since the use of YDS despite being developed in the 1930's probably hadn't taken hold yet in the East. So, does anyone know?


The route description at the end of the article describes the start as a grade 5; presumably the upper part of the climb is a grade 4. For comparison, other routes described as grade 5 in the same article include Emory Crack and [Fritz's] Yellow Face, both graded 5.7 in modern guidebooks, and Maria, a 5.6+.

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#66834 - 10/26/12 09:45 PM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: tradjunkie]
Roy Kligfield Offline
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Registered: 03/16/10
Posts: 16
Loc: Boulder, CO
He almost assuredly referred to Grade 4 as "4th class" and Grade 5 as "5th class" i.e., 5.0 to 5.9 climbing rating. You would see him say "middle 5th class" or "upper 5th class" in the ratings descriptions. The Appalachia article in 1960 is the best known of these publications--but the AMC kept notes throughout the period. Perhaps in the archives of the AMC?

Moreover, suggest that you find someone still alive who climbed in the Appalachian Mountain Club in the 1960s. I recall that they organized semi-annual trips into Millbrook throughout this period. All of these trips involved hiking in from the base, descending on the side of the cliff once the top was reached, and finding your knapsack on the talus slope at the base, then walking out. Even in the 60s the situation with landowners was "tenuous" and great caution had to be observed to maintain minimum profile when approaching Millbrook from the bottom.

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#66837 - 10/27/12 04:38 AM Re: Appalachia Archives JUne 1960 [Re: Roy Kligfield]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY

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