Climbing History & Trivia Tuesday! This is an easy one, so we'll give some more fun history: •
The land where we climb has changed occupants many times. The first inhabitants were the Pinto people going back 8000 years. Most recently it was part of Mexico before becoming part of the US in the Mexican-American war. It gets its modern name after a prophet in the Old Testament, who was imagined praying in a position reminiscent of the local yucca plants the region is famous for. The area was first protected in 1936, and was bumped up to National Park status in ‘94. Not unlike the shenanigans going on these days with National Monuments, this area lost 289,000 of its original acres due to pressure from special interest mining groups 25 years after its creation.
Despite <2 inches of rain a year, there is a long history of cattle ranching. There was even gold mining, with one mine producing $12M at today's prices. Now there are environmental protections keeping cows & mines out, and similarly all bolts need to be installed by hand... no power drills. •
The rock is quartz monzonite, and it's features are heavily influenced by previous groundwater activity. It forms smooth faces with little potato chip flakes for crimpers. There are some fantastic crack climbs, but they tend to be more featured and varied, thus usually not the perfect splitter type. •
This is one of the most historic crags in the nation. Climbing began here in the 1940's and 50's, with the likes of Royal Robbins exploring the area. It was dubbed a practice area and many of the early ascents weren't recorded or taken seriously. In the 60's and 70's hardmen such as Tom Higgins and John Long did many of the classics and moved the sport forward into the 5.11 realm. The 80's and 90's generation of John Bachar, Louie Anderson, Charles Cole and many others pushed the area and the nation towards the limits as they ushered in 13's and even 5.12 soloing. Randy Leavitt, Hidetaka Suzuki, and Scott Cosgrove brought 13+ and 14a faces, and 5.14 trad. New routes still go in, although there is a more emphasis on moderates that can be safely enjoyed by climbers of all grades. •
Can you name this area?