Brief Descriptions of First and First Free Ascents
Mount Morrison, North Face, High Sierra
Mount Morrison, visible from Convict Lake and Highway 395, has presented its spectacular and unclimbed north face for many years without attracting many serious climbing attempts. On May 28 Charlie Raymond and I climbed the face in twelve hours, beginning from a campsite in the hanging valley at the mountain's base. The route starts in the middle of a squat, black hunk of rock. We climbed generally straight up, tending right where the black rock turns grey. Traversing down and left (5.8) to avoid a clean, sharp dihedral, we soon reached an easier broken area. The climbing continued up broken rock to the base of "California," a white section shaped like the state and visible from the hanging valley below. At that point, the imposing wall above forced us left over a friction traverse to an exposed corner. Charlie's lead took us nearly to the prow of ihe north buttress, where we rapidly climbed toward a gold-colored chute above. The chute took us to a steep headwall and finally a thin ridge, which led to the summit. The first pitch is devious and difficult, but after the first four pitches are done the climbing is never more than 5.6. (V, 5.8). From American Alpine Journal, 1968.
New Routes on Daff and Fairview Domes, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite
On July 2 Bob Kamps and I climbed a new route on Daff Dome and called it "The Cooke Book" after the blacksmith-climber, Bruce Cooke. The route ascends the obvious left-facing open-book on the west face and is quite sustained fifth-class climbing. An awkward undercling (5.10) begins the last pitch, which is a long, left-slanting layback to the summit ridge. (III, 5.10). Fairview Dome is the most impressive and clearly visible of the Tuolumne domes. We climbed two new routes on it: Lucky Streaks (IV, 5.9) and Always Arches (IV, 5.10). The former ascends the discontinuous and parallel crack system quite close to the southern skyline as one looks at the west face. Here again the climbing is over beautiful, high-angle rock and is quite sustained. The Always Arches route, which weaves through thick arches on the northern edge of the northwest face is also sustained—two pitches are 5.10—but not nearly so pleasant. While the firm rock and the excellent views of the high country are delightful, some of the difficult sections under the arches are simply oppressive. From American Alpine Journal, 1968.
Tom Higgins and Bruce Cooke