As you surf though my site you will see that it is not like other climbing sites. Not only does it cover the Greenwater Climbing Area, but also sites of climbing equipment new and old, links, safety, dedications, etc. I hope you enjoy surfing my site and that it will perk your interests of the past.
My name is Ed Tieman and I live Graham Washington with my wife Laila, my son Edmundo and bunch of antique climbing equipment. I started climbing way back in 1963 in Ogden Utah then moved here to Washington in 1966 and I still have a lot of that equipment in which over the next few months to have pictures of it posted. It is just a matter of getting it together and of course taking pictures and posting it. I am also in the process of writing about my climbing experiences for how ever long it takes. I might even post some of it so look for it.
I have climbed, Rainier, Baker, Olympus, Glacier, Hood and spent time in the rocks of Mt Erie, Leavenworth and The Summit just to name a few. I also taught for a few years having a hobby business call Climbing Northwest and was a member of the Mountaineers and the Washington Alpine Club.
I am pleased that I still have most of the equipment I purchased in 1963 then latter on when I moved to Seattle. There was this little climbing shop (Alpine Sports)just off the main street in Ogden Utah and in the window was a sign posted, “Rock Climbing Lessons $30.00”. The owner’s nick name was Hack (he owned a Red Spider and fast too). While showing me all the different types climbing equipment he explained what each piece was for and how it was used in great detail and about the different types of climbing. For me each piece was more intriguing than the latter. The more he explained the more intrigued I became. I returned the next day with cash in hand paying for two lessons and the rock shoes.
I’m not sure if Hack could tell time, I didn’t care. My first two lessons were longer than the hour he had explained to me. I suspect that they lasted more like two to three hours each.
During that period of climbing we tied in to the rope using bowline on a coil having to use leather gloves to protect your hands from rope burns and a belay belt to belay with. The problem with the Belay Belt was that it didn’t want to stay in place. It wanted to snake its way around your waist. We used to rappel using numerous styles of body wraps… “Oh” the pain from rope burns.
That was the start of two summers of climbing together in the local canyons.
I tell you; taking a fall with a bowline on a coil tied around your waist was not fun. The coil began slipping upwards beneath your ribcage making it hard to breath. It was like having a boa constrictor around you waist getting tighter and tighter the longer you hung there.
After my second lesson I bought a belay belt, 120 foot 9MM rope some biners, pitons and piton hammer. These basic climbing tools were the beginning of my collection. You know there is nothing like hearing the echoing ring during the hammering in of a well placed piton then clipping in. You can tell by the sound that it will hold if you fell; that is if you didn’t have a long fall.
Then in early 1966 (April 15 to be exact I remember it well, because that was income tax day) I move to Seattle Washington and started looking for Climbing Schools.
My first climbing experience here was at the University of Washington Climbing School Club. For some reason I just didn’t feel comfortable with the three instructors and quit after a few class sessions. That is a story in itself! The next school I found was the Seattle Mountaineers. I was with the Mountaineers for a couple of seasons and would you believe we used Gold Line Rope. Oh, nasty, nasty rope it was like handling steel cable, well almost. We used bowline on a coil and body wraps for both belaying and repelling, what discomfortable falls and belaying and of course the enviable body burns. We would take an article of clothing and wrap it around our waist to keep from getting rope burns sometimes the rope would leave burn marks. So you need to use something old. Then I found the Washington Alpine Club.
What a difference there was between the two clubs. The classes were smaller; more time was spent teaching different types of climbing techniques and equipment.
I climbed and taught with them from 69 until 75 and during that time founded my own climbing School and club called “The Northwest Climbing Club.” Our meetings were held in the Issaquah Recreation Center. I don’t remember which club, but we 100 pound bags to practice arresting a falling leader, not fun.
I retired from climbing in 1980 when I went back into the Air Force Reserves. For 26 years I lie dormant until my son showed interested this year (2006).
During that time period before I retired I saw a lot of equipment and technique changes especially in belaying and rappelling. I feel that this was at the time the biggest leap forward for climbing safety. Those body wraps were body burners especially in trying to stop a fall. The belaying and rappelling techniques I think started with the carabineer wrap. This was a very simple technique and very inexpensive, but that was the start. With new technology came the carabineer break, brake-bars, stitch plates and more which provided much safer climbing and variety for new climbing techniques. This new technology also came with a bigger price tag.
Another change came when we no longer had to tying-in using bowline on a coil or to make our own seat harnesses that we had to keep pulling up like and over sized pair of pants like the kids wear today. Instead of the bowline on a coil, we saw the nylon sewn seat harnesses. The two best ones at the time were the Willens sit harness from England and of course the Chouinard. I still have both and in a way I am still partial to them even though either one could raise you voice quite a few octaves; just don’t fall!
Of course during this period came the environmental interest revolution. The cracks were getting beaten up and getting larger at each piton placement. I saw a climber with his own home made “Nuts.” He explained how he did it; He drilled out the threads and chamfer sharp edges. Then he ran some rope or webbing through the center he even showed me some of the “Rope nuts” he made. He made a loop on one end and ties a knot on the other. The knot was the “nut.” When I saw this I had to make some.
For couple of years the Eiger, Smc, and Clog were some of the manufactures. They all had their own different varieties of shapes and sizes of chocks and nuts. Back then you could buy a set of Chocks and nuts for about 75 bucks or so. I would say that for less than $300.00 you could get most of what you wanted for basic snow and rock climbing. I estimate now you would be lucky to get by with less than a $1000.00 for the basic for both. Then to take a class from any of the clubs it has jumped from $30.00 to $250.00. It is almost becoming a rich persons sport.
Now for rock climbing you have a wide verity of cams, belay and repel gadgets, carabineers, strapped carabineers, ropes and rock climbing shoes. Some of the belay and repel gadgets it almost looks like you have to be genius to be able operate/use them. But there still is chocks, pitons and just simple combination belay and repel items. I just hope they never go away. I am still a believer in simplicity. “Enough said.”