Location: Round Table Pizza, 2065 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa
Time & Date: Tuesday, July 6, 7:30 PM (Social hours and free beer for members at 6:30)
Directions: From Highway 101 at Santa Rosa go west on Highway 12 to Stony Point Road Exit. Go straight from the middle lane at the light onto Occidental Road. The Round Table Pizza is on the right just down the road.
Jeff Schaffer: A college student's climbing in Yosemite and elsewhere, 1963-1969.
The 1960s supposedly were Yosemite Valley's golden years, when many of the classic big-wall routes were first done. In 1960, you protected with soft-metal pitons; in the mid-60s with Chouinard's diverse array of strong pitons; then in the late-60s, with primitive nuts (stoppers). You belayed with the rope around your back, and got rope burns when the leader fell. You rappelled with the rope running through your crotch and up around your shoulder and neck (more rope burns). Jeff will show slides of his 1960s climbing, and will have an assortment of vintage pitons and other gear, including an old Goldline rope once owned by Royal Robbins.
Jeff (Jeffrey P. Schaffer, much better known for his dozen-plus Wilderness Press guidebooks) began boulding, at age 20, at Stony Point (southern California) in 1963 with his twin brother, Greg, and began leading in Yosemite Valley in summer 1964. In summer 1965, after being tossed out of Peace Corps training for being physically unfit (epilepsy, which he never had), he joined Greg for a few weeks in Yosemite Valley and became hooked. (Back then, there were only about 18 climbers in the Valley.) While at Cal Berkeley, they bouldered weekly with Galen Rowell and others at Indian Rock, and got up to the Valley or to Pinnacles when time and expenses (poor college students) would allow. They established several first ascents - easy by today's standards - and freed several aid routes. Greg's "claim to fame" (?) was outbouldering Royal Robbins (Jeff could only match Royal). Our longest first ascent was Wild Wild West, about 1500 feet up Glacier Point Apron to the headwall. Our most climbed first ascent was Pine Line, near the nose of El Capitan (and very briefly appearing in the Star Trek IV film).
With college over in 1969, Jeff gradually lost climbing partners as all moved onward to careers, and by 1975, gave up climbing. However, in 1991 he began climbing occasionally at City Rock climbing gym in Emeryville (the first in the Bay Area proper), and slowly, by 1996, was again getting the climbing bug, especially once Berkeley Ironworks opened. In 2003, at age 60, Greg and Jeff became the oldest twins to co-lead Devils Tower, Wyoming, and in 2009, at age 66 (now with Social Security), embarked on a 40-day, 11,500-mile trip across America, attempting to do 66 routes. They ended up with 136, most of them short outdoor routes (one 1100 feet) and gym routes. At 9 gyms, they rated them up to ***** (5 stars), the highest being **** (a 10th gym was too bad to bother even climbing). Greg and Jeff co-designed Napa's Rockzilla climbing gym in November 2005, which opened in February 2006. Since then, Jeff (under the monicker Mad Dog) has set about 400 routes, from easy 5.0 up to his current (old age 67) climbing limit, 5.10d.