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Cutting it

September 14, 2010

BMTC sent me a couple photos from the recent Old Timers she led in California.  While she was being awstruck by the antics of a couple of her charges, I was re-trashing my knees on  Harney Peak.  Consequently, I find the photos she sends somewhat depressing.

Barbara Lilley

“This is Barbara Lilley, probably the foremost female climber of her era
–she was the first woman to climb the Lost Arrow in Yosemite and many
first ascents in the U.S. and Alaska.  She’s 80 plus and moves on the
rock like a young girl.  Her companion, Gordon MacLeod was sponsored to
get into the Sierra Club by Ansel Adams. He is climbing with Barbara
and has the legs of a young man.  It was great fun seeing them move
across the rock with nary a hesitation. ”  — BMTC

And, Gordon McLeod —

I replied to BMTC and told her that Barbara and Gordon remind me of our Black Hills climbing legends, Herb and Jan Conn.  They put up some of the early climbs on Devils Tower, a number of notable routes in the Needles formation, and then turned their attention to exploring and mapping Wind Cave.  They’ve  really been where very few people  will ever go.

I went down to an event in Custer some years back that included an outing on Calamity Peak.  I walked into the sponsor’s nice house in the woods and was stunned to see these two old Turks bouldering all over the stone fireplace that stretched up two stories.  Later they split us into two groups for the hike and we got to see Herb and Jan walk us all into the dirt and then put on a bouldering clinic on Calamity.  It was as BMTC describe — nimble, agile, and pure grace and economy.  BMTC will get there someday — and I’ll watch from my wheel chair.

— Margadant

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