The 1964 climb was McDonald’s third time on Petit Griffon. Three UCLA Mountaineers including McDonald climbed the pinnacle in 1959, but left an inadequate register. The same Mountaineers had tried the climb in 1958 at Dave Harvey’s suggestion, but aborted that attempt when McDonald was injured by rockfall in the couloir.
Regarding the above:
I received the following e-mail 09/10/2013:
I, Dave McDonald, and I think Don Myers climbed this in 1959. Dave Harvey suggested the climb, but didn't do it with us. We had tried the year before, but Dave McD was injured by a rock coming down the couloir, and we put the attempt off to the next summer. The bolt on top is mine.
My response to (SP member LEM) was this:
When I climbed the route in 1996, there was an old rusty metal film container on the top serving as a summit register. In it was just one entry.
First ascent of the Western Summit, Dave McDonald and David Harvey, 1964. (it also listed the day and the month but I didn't make a note of it).
A few days later I received the following response:
Thanks for the reply.
Not that it makes any difference, but....
Dave Harvey, Dave McDonald, Don Myers, and I were members of the UCLA Mountaineers
in the late 1950s. One day on a trip to the Mono Pass area Dave Harvey pointed out the
pinnacle between Abbot and Dade, and thought we needed to climb it. McDonald and I
took a stab at it in summer 1958, but it was warm, the ice was melting, and lots of rock was
falling in the chute. McDonald was hit in the arm and we abandoned the try. We came
back the next summer and did it with a third guy, who I remember as Don Myers. Harvey
wasn't on either attempt so far as I remember. There was no evidence of a previous ascent
at that time. It wasn't that big a deal and nobody brought a film can, but we did leave a note
in a crack. And the bolt we abseiled from.
I have to say that I was not much of a rock climber, and the last couple of moves up the
crack in the flake on the Dade side were among the more interesting periods in my life.
Harvey was a hell of a lot stronger rock climber than I ever was -- he used to do some
hairy stuff with Bill Amborn -- and it would have been a lot easier following him up.
Louis Emmet Mahoney
The 15 August 1959 issue of the UCLA Mountaineers’ newsletter Occasional Misery described an ascent on 1 August 1959 by Mahoney, MacDonald, and Myers. Kudos to Froylan Tiscareño for providing documentation.