Jim Donini

"Up rope I'm not moving!" First ascent of Basketcase

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"Up rope I'm not moving!" First ascent of Basketcase

 

 

 




When I first showed up in the Valley in 1970 the Spring monsoon was going full bore. Generator Crack had just been discovered and being one of the few overhanging pieces of rock in the Valley, it was the perfect place to get some exercise. My first time there I couldn't get up the damn thing, but the monsoon persisted and we soon began making daily pilgrimages. The days rolled on wet and cold and Generator Crack was tamed. First right side in, then left side in followed by right side in solo and on and on. Eventually I got to where I was soloing it with running shoes on. Finally the monsoon ended and damn- I could go wide.



Cerro Torre- the lie and the desecration.

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Cerro Torre- the lie and the desecration.


Over the last four decades I have climbed on all seven continents. During that time it became apparent to me that Cerro Torre was the most magical mountain that I would ever encounter. A spike of light brown granite soaring over a vertical mile out of an ice sheet and capped by an otherworldly ice mushroom. Cerro Torre is also a peak of ever changing moods predicated by swirling storm clouds or an intense orange alpine glow on the rare clear days.

Overhang Overpass- bar dips and a hangover

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Overhang Overpass- bar dips and a hangover

In 1974 Charlie Porter saw that I was coping with an excess of unfocused energy so he told me about this beautiful, super clean corner high up on Lower Cathedral Rock that he had just tried. He and Mark Chapman had climbed the short 5.9 (old school) first pitch but had been stymied by a bulge in the corner itself.

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