The Crimson Cringe - A Crack in the Dream


By Dave Yerian - Co Founder of Jam Walls

Four Men sitting at the base of a 5.12 crack climb called The Crimson Cringe in 1976. 1970's Crew: (L-R) John Yablonski, Peter Mayfield, Werner Braun, and Dave Yerian. Photo by "Blitzo"
1970's Crew: (L-R) John Yablonski, Peter Mayfield, Werner Braun, and Dave Yerian. Photo by "Blitzo"

Ray Jardine first put up the Cringe in 1976. Ours was one of the earlier ascents after Ray’s, about 1979. Peter was a mere teen and I was in my early twenties.  My best guess at the time is that Crimson Cringe had fewer than 20 ascents.

Peter and I had been talking about doing the Cringe for nearly a year and we’d been training for it. The day finally arrived to give the Cringe a go. We attacked it in our EB’s and the trad swami belts of that era. I was wearing my white painter’s pants, the typical garb of climbers back then. Peter took off hard, leading on the 5.12 thin hands crux. The start of the 5.12 crack is fingers to thin hands, and as he inched up, jam after jam on the thin hands sequence, I saw him starting to shake a little. Peter was almost to the belay and into good jams when the sound of clanking gear alerted me to a potential fall. Peter took close to a 40 foot whipper right before the belay and slammed the corner after he fell. Thankfully, he was shaken but not stirred. It was the end of our climbing for the day. 

We would come back two weekends later and give it another  go. This time Peter led his dream with no falls.  

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