United Way of Looking Glass

by Bruce Burgess

“Most pitches have some kind of character building twist. Sport climbers need not apply! It was CC’s project, climbed with a grab bag of people and spread out over a period of time. The first four pitches had already been established by the time I got in the mix and led the last pitch to top it out.” -Eddie Begoon on United Way

“It must have been ‘86 or ‘87 when Chris Caldwell (CC) first started working on United Way. CC and I had gone to the Hidden Wall shortly after The Slash wasestablished by Jimmy MacArthur and Freddie Young. I led The Slash, and when CC came up, we noticed some cool crescent features up and right from the belay. After further discussion he became inspired to investigate. CC always kept a bolt kit in his pack in those days, which we quickly fetched. CC headed up into the unknown past the short crescent features into a blank section, and after much contemplation drilled the first bolt. It was in a good spot for a bolt, because that move was solid 5.11, maybe harder. He worked the sustained moves through a series of steep, thin eye brows like nothing we’d ever seen.

In just a short stretch he’d placed all our 0 TCUs and needed more. TCUs had only been available for about 1 year, and who thought you’d ever need an one, but this pitch ended up requiring at least 5. We came back the next day to push the pitch higher still to a good gear belay. The next weekend, we returned with Doc Bayne and more TCUs, and that day CC fired through that second pitch. As it often happens at the Glass, showers came that afternoon, but CC was not thwarted. We hung out at the belays until the rain stopped and rock became dry(er), then CC would get back to work. He returned several times with other partners (Kris Kline, Eddie Begoon) before completing the route which stands as a testament to his drive and stamina.”

Heather Phillips