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International Exchange, Czechoslovakian Exchange

Czechoslovakian Exchange. In the summer of 1987, the American Alpine Club was host to a team of 12 climbers representing the Czechoslovakian Mountaineering Asssociation. American climbers had been admirably received and hosted in Czechoslovakia in 1986. After a warm welcome from Ad Carter and Paul Kallmes, two masterminds of the affair, Henry Barber showed them climbs on Cathedral Ledge in New Hampshire. They got a chance to climb in the Shawangunks before heading west. Their path took them to the Devils Tower and then to difficult climbs in the Colorado Rockies, including Cinch Crack, Downpresser Man, Johnny Belinda, Naked Edge and several free ascents of the Diamond on Longs Peak. In the Boulder area, Mark Wilford renewed his friendships from his 1982 trip to Czechoslovakia and showed them Eldorado Canyon. These many difficult climbs got them in shape for Smith Rocks, where they redpointed a number of 5.13s, and other West Coast attractions. Alan Bartlett and I took on the task of hosting them in California. I began to sweat a little as I heard what they had done at Smith Rocks. But my longtime friendship with Vladimír Weigner, the leader of the group, made me comfortable in generously offering to allow them to go first on a few old classics where they might guard my own shaky progress with a tight belay from above. Meanwhile Bartlett and Kallmes directed some of the young tigers to the test places in Tuolumne and the Valley. There were one-day ascents of the northwest face of Half Dome and the Nose of El Cap. The North America Wall, an on-sight climb of Astroman and the south face of Watkins were also completed. Tomaš Cada renewed his acquaintance with John Bachar and went on to lead A Separate Reality.

Michael Warburton