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Turkey Rocks History
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By Ryan Kempf
From Boulder, CO
Mar 26, 2013
Ryan on the Sharks Fin wishing he was on Mt. Whiteny.

I am interested in learnign more about the history of Turkey Rocks as it is very rich. What I have gleaned so far has been from climbers that were around during the 70's, as I cannot find anything written. I did hear a tale of a beta book that Jim and Earl use to keep stories in. Apparently it was kept at a bar the burned to the ground taking the book with it.

Any knowledge is greatly appreciated.


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By Tom-onator
From This Galaxy
Mar 26, 2013
Tom-onator

Ryan
Try getting a copy of "For Turkeys Only" by Steve Cheyney and Bob Couchman. 12 pages of historical information chronicled.
Let me know if you can't find one I'll hook you up.


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By ACR
Mar 31, 2013

There used to be a new route book at the Bucksnort Saloon in Pine. I'm not sure about it burning down ever but I know it was almost washed away once. I think that book is probably long gone.
Try finding "The Brown Book of Lies" and the previously mentioned "For Turkeys Only" and they can help you piece together some info. Be careful though, everyone has their own point of view and multiple versions of history exist for Turkey.
Some guys on here can probably shed some light on a the history... Glen Schuler, Stewart Green, Bob D'Antonio, others...

Too bad Earl Wiggins and Charlie Fowler aren't with us anymore.

Jimmy Dunn doesn't bother with this forum stuff, too bad, he could tell you some great stories!

Steve Cheney lives somewhere out in Grand Junction I think.

Also the old South Platte guide had some information in it along with first ascent names and dates.
No promises on accuracy of any books mentioned or the sobriety of any individuals.


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By England
From ?
Mar 31, 2013
Alpine toothpick.

Peter Gallagher?


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By ACR
Mar 31, 2013

Pete is still around the springs. Someone at Mountain Chalet might know how to get a message to him. Bryan Becker lives in the area as well. The best written accounts are probably in the guides though. Most of those guys are busy climbing and haven't written much down.
Cheers!


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Mar 31, 2013
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

There is a memorial plaque on Turkey Perch and another one over by the Leftovers commemorating guys that have passed on. I think I did a search for one of the names and it turned out to be a guy that got killed on his motorcycle when a car hit him. Must have been someone that climbed at Turkey I gather.

Adding more detail to those memorials would be interesting.


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By Alphonse
From Winter Park
Apr 1, 2013

Tom-O wrote:
Ryan Try getting a copy of "For Turkeys Only" by Steve Cheyney and Bob Couchman. 12 pages of historical information chronicled. Let me know if you can't find one I'll hook you up.


Agreed. For Turkeys Only is a great book to pick up. Tom- do you think you could hook me up with one? I've seen other people's copies and would love to pick up one of my own.

ACR wrote:
Try finding "The Brown Book of Lies" and the previously mentioned "For Turkeys Only" and they can help you piece together some info. Be careful though, everyone has their own point of view and multiple versions of history exist for Turkey.


I've got a copy of Brown Book of Lies. I bought a copy (because I couldn't remember the name of the book that I wanted, which was For Turkeys Only) and it doesn't seem to have Turkey Rocks in it. Speaking of which- anyone wanna buy that book from me? It's brand new condition, signed by author Peter Hubbel. If you're buying to get a history of the area then it could be a bit helpful as the names are likely original.


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By Stewart M. Green
Apr 1, 2013

I started climbing at Turkey Rock in 1970, the year I graduated from high school. I would go up there with Jimmie Dunn, Billy Westbay, Doug Snively, Steve Cheyney and some of the other early Springs' climbers. Earl Wiggins, Pete Gallagher, Steve Hong, and Ed Webster started climbing at Turkey in the mid-1970s.

The first routes were put up in the late 1960s by some Colorado College climbers, including Chuck Behrensmeyer and Molly Higgins. One of their classics was Gobbler's Grunt; another was Second Coming.

Turkey Shoot, one of the best routes on Turkey, was done in 1969 by Don Doucette, Art Howells, and Mike Dudley. They first did it as training for The Nose, which they did the 25th ascent of in 1970. The land south of the rocks was, as it is now, private property and some yahoo decided that Turkey Rock was also part of his private domain so he starting shooting at the rock around the trio as they climbed and telling them to get off his rock...must have been exciting! They aided much of the first ascent since they were practicing aid climbing and hauling for their Nose ascent, but later went back and free climbed it.

Anyway, I did a few FAs there and repeated most of the routes at one time or another back in the '70s. Saw Earl solo a few climbs, including Direct Hit, Southern Comfort, and Quiver and Quill. Very impressive. I've climbed a lot with Jimmie up there over the years and even a few years back he would still solo up and down routes on Turkey Perch like Gobble Up and Ragger Bagger and Left-Handed Jew, dragging a rope to give me a belay from the top!

The book you refer to was called The Golden Book of Bullshit. It wasn't in a bar and it wasn't burned and it wasn't a beta book. The Golden Book was simply a looseleaf notebook that Steve AKA Muff Cheyney put together about 1975 for climbers to record first ascents in. Routes were not only from Turkey Rock but also from other crags around the Pikes Peak area. Lots of great entries in the book from Turkey Rock, including the first ascents of routes like For Turkeys Only, Piece of Cake, Whimsical Dream, and many others. The book vanished along with Steve when he moved from the Springs to Grand Junction. I asked him about it a couple years ago and he didn't know what had happened to it. Steve became very protective of the book about 1990 when he had an incarnation of his many cobbler shops and Mark Rolofson was wanting to write a Pikes Peak area guidebook. Cheyney definitely did not want Rolofson to use the book...it almost came to blows a few times...partly because Steve was doing his own book...which never came to pass.

When we climbed at Turkey in the early days, we usually parked at the Big Turkey Campground east of the rocks and hiked along the south side of the cliffs, making sure we were on National Forest land. There was no trail up the backside nor was there camping back there. Also all the early climbs we did at Turkey Rock were protected with Hexes and Stoppers, and occasionally pitons. When I did the FA of Stewart's Crack (which Cheyney named since I didn't) in 1972, I protected the OW section on the first pitch by wedging a 4-inch bong into the crack endwise with a tie-off loop in the middle. The rest of the pitches were basically unprotected since there was no big gear.

Anyway, that's a bit of the Turkey history....

Henry Barber starting up "Reinhold Messner's Delight" on Turkey Rock in 1980s.
Henry Barber starting up "Reinhold Messner's Delight" on Turkey Rock in 1980s.

Here's an historic photograph I made of Henry Barber setting off on the runout route "Reinhold Messner's Delight" in 1980. Henry had just come back from a climbing trip to Dresden, Germany and was wearing a pair of leather anklets that they wore then instead of rock shoes. By the time he was halfway up the route, he was not happy standing with almost bare feet on those Pikes Peak granite crystals!


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By Stewart M. Green
Apr 1, 2013

Looking through the archives, here is another photograph taken on that 1980 day when I went up to Turkey Rock with Henry Barber. We had a flat tire on our way back to Colorado Springs from Turkey in Dennis Jackson's Suburu. Here Henry and Dennis change the tire while Bryan Becker tends to the beer stash...some things just don't change!

Henry Barber and Dennis Jackson change the Suburu tire while Bryan Becker keeps track of spare beers. <br /> <br />Photo: Stewart Green, 1980.
Henry Barber and Dennis Jackson change the Suburu tire while Bryan Becker keeps track of spare beers.

Photo: Stewart Green, 1980.


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By ACR
Apr 1, 2013

And there you go... Great post Stewart!

There was a black binder at the Bucksnort in the early 90s. It had some topos for Bucksnort slabs, Sphinx Rock, and some other places. I remember reading an entry concerning "Liquid Acrobat" at the perch. After that my memory is fogged by cold beer and massive hamburgers.


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By Ryan Kempf
From Boulder, CO
Apr 2, 2013
Ryan on the Sharks Fin wishing he was on Mt. Whiteny.

Thanks all for the info. Stewart I thought about sending you a PM but figured you would post something if you saw it, and figured some others might find the info useful. Glad you did, awesome info and pics!

Tom, I ordered the book, kinda hard to find these days, thanks.

I have a lot of respect for those that found this place and put up the routes. Can't imagine climbing the routes on the tail with 70's style gear. Maybe I will one of these days to add a little spice.


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By Stewart M. Green
Apr 2, 2013

Actually Ryan, most Turkey Rock routes protect pretty damn good with Hexes and Stoppers. If you want to do it, we can probably put together a good '70s cragging outfit for you...white painter's pants (preferably with a denim seat sewed on), a Chouinard rugby shirt, a Forrest swami belt, and a red bandanna for a headband. A pair of EBs would be good too! Get all that together and your old-tyme trad rack and you'll look as sharp as Jimmie Dunn did back in the day...

Jimmie Dunn in classic 1970s climbing clothes....
Jimmie Dunn in classic 1970s climbing clothes....


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By brat
Apr 3, 2013
Celebrating on Intersection Rock, JTree.

This thread is awesome! I appreciate the stories Stewart. I didn't know that routes were aided in first ascents at Turkey. Man, I can't imagine aiding Turkey Shoot, that p2 crack is soo good!


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By Jason Haas
From Broomfield, CO
Apr 3, 2013

Ryan here's a video of Steve Cheyney talking about the FA of Turkey Shoot (he was there that day): If that link doesn't work, just scroll down the Fixed Pin Publishing page on Facebook to the video posted on February 21st. I was not involved in any of the FAs at Turkey, so Stewart has a much better first hand account of the history there than I do, but I photocopied and photographed most of the pages from the Golden Book of Bullshit about a month ago. Steve Cheyney is also writing an essay about the history there for the second volume of the South Platte guidebook, but if you want to know anything in the meantime, let me know. If I don't know it (and Stewart doesn't either), I can ask Steve. He doesn't have email, but does use the phone. Email me or PM me through this website as I don't visit the forums much.


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By Kevinmurray
Apr 4, 2013

I got kicked out one time for swimming in one of the fishing ponds.


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By Ryan Kempf
From Boulder, CO
Apr 4, 2013
Ryan on the Sharks Fin wishing he was on Mt. Whiteny.

Jason.... Glad you decided to hop on the thread. Awesome video. Are you close enough to have any idea of when the 2nd volume will be out?


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By Jorge Gonzalez
From San Gabriel, CA
Apr 4, 2013

Lennie Coyne and I did a few climbs up there in the mid-70s, before we knew much about FA's and keeping track of and naming your climbs (he was 16 then). I remember we snuck in through some private property and Lenny told me the story about some climbers being shot at while climbing. I remember doing at least four climbs, but knew nothing about whether they had been done before or not. That's when Lenny coined (a pun) his famous saying "that looks tenable, do you want to lead it?"

We bought our nuts and hexes at a store called the Cobbler, and to my recollection he got all his info from Cheyney.


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By Ryan Kempf
From Boulder, CO
May 29, 2013
Ryan on the Sharks Fin wishing he was on Mt. Whiteny.

Thread Erectus!

In need of some good "back in the day" stories on this rainy CO day.

"that looks tenable, do you want to lead it?"


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By Kevinmurray
May 30, 2013

The first pitch of whimsical dreams, yes there is a second, was full of dirt and grass and had to be gardened first. There was also a small tree at the crux which made a good foot hold, if your short, to reach the high finger locks.


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