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1970 Pigeons and the Naked Edge

Climbing mag 1970/07

"Ray Jardine leading the Naked Edge (grade 4, 5.8 A3). This 900 ft. route on perfect rock was put up in 1962 by Layton Kor and Bob Culp. Photo Bob Grodfrey." Caption from Mountain 10 magazine.

This iconic photo was taken by Bob Grodfrey and appeared in all sorts of magazines including the second volume of Climbing magazine, 1970-07 as a double page spread; and Mountain magazine 10, July 1970 as a single but full page spread (page 11) And even as a post card published and sold by Mountain Sports of Denver CO. (I scanned the image above from the 1970 Climbing magazine.)

Of British origin (Yorkshire), Bob was a fellow instructor at OB, and one of my roommates at Bill Forrest's place. I must have told him of my plans to climb the Naked Edge that morning, and he must have decided, a short while later, to film the climb. But I had no idea he was there, taking pictures of us. We only found out later. And boy, what a surprise when this dramatic photo appeared in a magazine.

This was in my early years, when aid climbs like this were a big challenge, especially for the likes of me. I was still working as an aerospace engineer, so this climb must have been on the weekend.

Incidentally, the only time I got injured while climbing was due to Bob dropping me on a lead. I was nailing A4 in Eldorado when my pins cut loose, all three of them. My belayer (Bob) didn't react fast enough, and I smacked into the ground, breaking my elbow.

Bob retired from climbing and took a flat in Boulder where he excelled at playing his Grand Piano. Then in the late 70s he died of natural causes. Of course, news of his death spread throughout the climbing community, and someone went to visit the owner of the house Bob was renting, in order to collect his photographs. With much regret by the climbers, the landlady said she threw them all out - of course not realizing how valuable they were from an historical point of view. Ref: he co-wrote the book, "Climb! The history of Rock Climbing in Colorado" and filmed the classic 1976 "Free Climb: The Northwest Face of Half Dome", narrated by Robert Redford.

Climbing magazine No2, July 1970, $0.75

Mountain magazine 10, July 1980


The story has 26 pages. This is page 2.
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