Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Films, PATC DC History of Climbing

Films, PATC DC History of Climbing

A long time ago PATC made a film about rock climbing and someone has converted it and put it up as a series of YouTube videos.

Part 3 of the YouTube series PATC DC History of Climbing shows a route called Hollywood being climbed on Old Rag.

I found this old footage fascinating for many reasons. For example, the gully at the base of the summit climbs used to be an open meadow and even in the old days it was common to clean the soles of ones shoes off by rubbing them on your pant legs before attempting a particularly difficult move.

The film can be found at:


A second short section of film demonstrating safety techniques of the day was also filmed on Hollywood and can found at:


There are seven parts to the PATC DC History of Climbing the other parts do not feature Old Rag but are interesting if you would like to know more about the early days of DC area rock climbing.

Hollywood is a route that does not appear to be in any of the current guide books. There is a brief mention of it on Rockclimbing.com. It appears to start on what today is called Pure Fun and then traverses over and finishes on what today is called the Pedestal.

The fact that this route actually had a film made about it but is no longer in any guide books is indicative of the fact that a lot of Old Rags' climbing activity has gone unrecorded or unpublished.

There are still lots of undocumented lines on Old Rag. Scoping out a possible line, dreaming about doing it, planning how you are going to do it and then doing a first ascent is a totally different experience than repeating a route for which you have even a small amount of beta.

Do not be surprised if in the middle of your first ascent you suddenly come across an old rusty bolt or piton.

If you do,
bask in the mystical experience of wondering;
whose hands caressed,
whose feet danced,
whose muscles tensioned in coordinated movement,
whose mind intensely focused on the very same holds,
whose kindred spirit shared this route,
across the gulf of time.

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