- Ron Kauk
Ron Kauk (born 1958) is an American rock climber and
YosemiteCamp 4 regular.
Kauk began spending summers in Yosemite in 1974 [Mark Kroese, "Fifty Favorite Climbs: The Ultimate North American Tick List", The Mountaineers Books, 2002] . In 1975 he free climbed the east face of
Washington Columnwith John Long and John Bachar, renaming the route "Astroman" (5.11c). "Astroman" held title as the hardest long free route in Yosemite Valley for over 10 years.
Also notable was "Separate Reality" (5.12a), an intimidating roof crack which Kauk originally climbed in 1978 without camming devices. The same year he put up "Midnight Lightning" (V8), one of America's best known
boulderingproblems because of its difficulty and convenient location in the Camp 4campground.
In the 1980s Kauk spent time in
Europevisiting the limestone cragsand competing in sport climbingcompetitions. He saw how European techniques such as red pointing and bolting on rappelcould lead to a higher level of climbing difficulty. However, these practices were frowned upon by Yosemite regulars. According to one account [Alexander Huber and Heinz Zak, "Yosemite: Half a Century of Dynamic Rock Climbing", Menasha Ridge Press, 2003] , John Bacharchopped the bolts on "Punchline" (5.12c) which Kauk installed in 1988, causing a fight between the two in the Camp 4 parking lot.
Kauk went on to put up the hardest routes in Yosemite, such as the rap-bolted "Crossroads" (5.13a) in 1990 and "Magic Line" (5.14b) which he climbed in 1997 on pre-placed gear. In
Tuolumne Meadowshe rap-bolted a route that Bachar had started in a ground-up style, provocatively naming the route "Peace" (5.13c/d).
Many of Kauk's exploits have been caught on film. In 1989 he climbed a five pitch route called "Backbone" (5.13a) at
Smith Rockfor NBCSportsworld [Alan Watts, "Climber's Guide to Smith Rock", Chockstone Press, 1992] , and he repeated his toughest first ascentsfor Eric Perlman's "Masters of Stone" videos. In 1992, Kauk trained and doubled Sylvester Stallonealong with late climber Wolfgang Güllichfor Cliffhanger. He also doubled Michael Rooker, Leon, and actress Janine Turner. In 1999 Kauk trained Tom Cruisefor 's climbing scenes.
In 2000 Kauk produced "Yosemite: Ascending Rhythms", a climbing video highlighting the scenic splendor of his favorite crag.
Kauk named some of his first ascents (e.g. "Astroman", "Midnight Lightning") after
Jimi Hendrixsongs. Books by Carlos Castanedaare another source of names (e.g. "Separate Reality", "Tales of Power").
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