An Art Gran Story


An Art Gran Story

Yes, Art Gran took his share of kidding about his famous descriptions of “hard” moves on his latest climbs. Always with animation – and total re-enactment , sans rock.

I first met Art at Stoney Point in Southern California - a bright Sunday afternoon with a large Sierra Club contingent in attendance. I was there with Jack Hansen (the “original Vulgarian”) and Yvon Chouinard.

We were bouldering at Boulder #2 and Gran and I had just climbed a steep route on the south side. We dropped the rope to Yvon and he tied in. For whatever reason (it was a very nice day), Yvon was wearing a full length heavy wool overcoat – a thrift store bargain. It was buttoned closed from bottom to top. When he signaled that he was ready to climb, Gran whispered to me, “Grab the rope. Let’s pull him up.” So, the second Yvon yelled, “Climbing”, the two of us hauled. In a matter of seconds Chouinard was on top gasping for breath and laughing nervously. He literally had not used any of his extremities in the ascent. His overcoat had spared his body from abrasion, but in the dynamic contact with the sandstone the coat had lost all of its buttons.

Gran was in stitches. Yvon had stopped his nervous chuckling. He was untying and seriously inspecting his damaged coat. I quickly explained that it was all Gran’s idea – sorry about the buttons, Yvon. Chouinard was no longer amused, but Art, still laughing uncontrollably, had dropped to his knees and began rolling around the top of the boulder. Yvon and I left Art with his rope and downclimbed to the road.

As we trudged toward our next objective, Chouinard was mumbling and staring down at the front of his coat, feeling the texture of the abraded material. Glancing back at Boulder #2 - Art was still on top coiling the rope and still laughing. Chouinard looked back and mumbled something about hyenas and burros – or was it jackasses?