The Yosemite Museum is currently hosting a superb exhibit on the history of climbing at the park. Yosemite’s textured granite and die-hard climbers have made the park one of the world’s premier destinations for this sport. Many innovations were developed during Camp 4 bull-sessions. In addition to the expected Big Wall displays, the one that made me run to the hall and anxiously wait for the 10 am opening, was the promised display of one of the steel spikes that George Anderson used in his 1875 pioneering climb up the southeast hump that we all now know and love as the “Cable route.” There it was, in a Plexiglas display case. It measures about 9 inches long and the single rod was fashioned with a sharp curve to provide an “eyelet” thru which Anderson strung a knotted rope. He was also a blacksmith and I bet he personally made these spikes. These spikes were inserted into hand-drilled holes to create a ladder upon which George summited in October of 1875. Since he went up over 900 feet (the slope up the rock at 45 degrees) he probably made one for every 2-3 feet so he could stand on them to drill the next, then the next, then the next . . . Ken Yager, head of the Yosemite Climbing Association is the driving force behind the exhibition of all kinds of items from the history of big wall climbing at Yosemite. He has collected nearly 10,000 pieces of “stuff” over the years. Generous donations from the Yosemite Fund and Royal Robbins, Inc. made this happen. Maybe soon we will see a permanent climbing museum at the park. If you are addicted to the Half Dome hike, you must view the spike yourself.
*Carpe Diem Experience– Rick Deutsch–www.HikeHalfDome.com*