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  • Tom Higgins Shares His Recollections Of A Classic

    We selected the streak we did climb because a side view suggested it might not be as steep at the top as other lines we examined, but the view from underneath still shocked us so much we just stopped looking and thinking about what was up there.

2009 Rockpile Rendezvous Wrap Up

On Saturday, April 4th Pinnacles National Monument celebrated its second annual Rockpile Rendezvous. The Rendezvous is a chance for the Park and other groups dedicated to preserving climbing at the park to talk directly with Park visitors both in and out of the climbing community.

This year's event started with a quiet overnight gathering at one of the Pinnacles Campgrounds group sites, generously donated by the Park to event participants. Although temperatures dropped to an unusual ~35 degrees Friday evening, The American Alpine Club and Friends Of Pinnacles groups braved the cold to swap stories over warm cups of coffee.

After setting up the various booths on Saturday morning and exchanging greetings, the Rendezvous started with a bang as groups of visitors entered the Park in a steady stream. The day's activities featured climbing demos and the chance for visitors to try out the climbing themselves with Sunshine and her expert crew from Naturalists At Large. They set up at Tourist Trap and had both young and old climbers on the ropes throughout the day. It was pretty exciting, as most of them had never climbed before.

Larry Arthur and his lovely assistant (wife) Jane set up an impressive booth representing Mountain Tools. Larry brought some amazing historical climbing equipment, as well as a ton of new gear for visitors to peruse.

The American Alpine Club, represented by Tom Burch and Scott Sawyer, brought an impressive array of informational materials for climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts, and answered questions from the various visitors.

Friends Of Pinnacles also provided informational materials specific to climbing at Pinnacles and the always popular "interactive bolt board," highlighting the progression of climbing bolts in the park since the 1960s. FOP also had a sampling of old and new climbing gear that visitors were able to handle themselves. In the afternoon Bruce Hildenbrand and Clint Cummins of FOP staged a re-bolting demonstration at Discovery Wall on Fly By, Bye-Bye Fly By and The Plague. Reports indicate that the rusted old bolts proved to be extremely difficult to remove.

Tom from Search and Rescue was popular, bringing along a complete setup showing off the various SAR equipment and procedures.

The Park Service outdid themselves this year by setting up two booths: their standard informational booth (including their cool 3-D topo of the park) and a raptor booth. Masterfully run by Alacia Welch and Gavin Emmons (when he wasn't off checking up on the birds), the raptor booth featured an assortment of feathers, skulls and eggs along with a life-sized silhouette of a California Condor that dwarfed even the biggest visitors to the booth. The Park sent several of their best to the event including: Scott Scherbinski, Michael Rupp, Brett Hergert, Dan Ryan and Albert Faria.

Other noteworthy attendees included Brad Young, author of the latest Pinnacles Guidebook. Brad showed up with his whole family and even managed to "do some work" by verifying a new route in the Ignorable Cliffs with another Pinnacles climbing legend, Jim McConachie. Long-time climbing enthusiast Jody Langford and his father Jim regaled the crowd with stories - Jim (a ranger at the Pinnacles in the 1970's and was on the FA of H&L Feather Canyon) was climbing at the Pinnacles before many of us were born!

All-in-all the event seemed to be a great success and everyone appeared to have a good time and be looking forward to next year's event. If you couldn't make it this year we hope to see you next time around.

A big shout out to all Park officials, participants and attendees, too many to list here. The cooperation and camaraderie of all involved made this year's Rockpile Rendezvous a definite success.

Here are some photos from the event
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Rockpile Booths Search & Rescue FOP Booth Bolt Board Ignorable Cliffs


Pinnacles News

  • Tom Higgins Shares His Recollections Of A Classic

    We selected the streak we did climb because a side view suggested it might not be as steep at the top as other lines we examined, but the view from underneath still shocked us so much we just stopped looking and thinking about what was up there.

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