“The section above was ugly. Overhanging
to the right 400 feet, the Black Dihedral was a rotten mess.
Dropped here by the leader were many rocks and huge balls of mud
and grass. Luckily, these
objects fell harmlessly far out to the side of us below.
“After dark, we reached the
“At dawn, casually glancing over the sides of our hammocks, we
were astonished at the tremendous exposure.
The ground was 1,600 feet straight below.
Suspended over space, we hung one above another, like laundry
between tenement flats.” (Royal
Robbins, AAJ 1965)
The North America Wall was the
climb of our lives. More
difficult and more serious than anything we knew.
It all came together for us here.
is the word for the Black Cave. We
felt we had climbed into a cul-de-sac.
“Chuck led the overhang. He
pitoned up one side of it and followed a horizontal dike of aplite
around the top. Fascinated,
we watched the lower part of Chuck’s body move sideways thirty feet
across our line of vision. Pitonage
was very difficult, and Chuck’s hauling line hung far out from the
wall. When all cracks
stopped, he ended the pitch and belayed in slings, thus finishing the
most spectacular lead in American climbing.”
(Robbins, AAJ 1965)
In the midst of that pitch Chuck directed:
“Send out the camera.” He
snapped this image, a composite of two negatives, of Tom, Royal, and
Yvon spanning the abyss.