Getting to the Top

In History

In 1988 four friends decided to do something unheard of, climb to the top of a Giant Sequoia. This is the story of Rob Kaspar and 3 of his buddies, all former Yosemite Institute Instructors, who decided one day to chase a dream, all the way to the top.

“For years I had always wanted to climb this tree but it wasn’t until 1988 that I was able to locate collaborators. The hardest part was getting to a small clump of branches about 40 feet up. It took a while to throw a light line up over them and used that to pull up a lead rope. Above that the limbs grew closer together and so we simply kept throwning the rope over sucessive limbs and jummaring upward.”

Photo taken by tourist standing next to a group of Rangers in the process of arresting us. Victim stands quietly in the background. From left, Bill Lester, Rob Warren, Todd Hoitsma, Rob Kaspar. All former Yosemite Institute Instructors. The climb took two days (we seiged it). The Rangers, about ten in all, said it was irresponsible behavior, blah, blah…… and what if everyone did it? blah blah blah……. and what about upsetting the squirrels? blah, blah blah, etc, etc, etc. (There’s nothing worse than an “Environmental Studies” type who has gotten hold of a uniform and a badge.)

On the way to the Federal Courthouse in Yosemite Valley. Todd holds a photo of the victim. The judge seemed much more interested in hearing about the climb than punishing us for threatening to undermine the social order. We ended up paying a $50 each and did 30 days probation the terms of which were that we couldn’t go into the Sequoia Grove unattended. I’d do it again in a minute (…and did)

See more photos and read the rest of the story over at

Great story, Rob!

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