Ron Kauk

Ron Kauk

Ron Kauk (born 1958) is an American rock climber and Yosemite Camp 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 Column with 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 bouldering problems because of its difficulty and convenient location in the Camp 4 campground.

In the 1980s Kauk spent time in Europe visiting the limestone crags and competing in sport climbing competitions. He saw how European techniques such as red pointing and bolting on rappel could 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 Bachar chopped 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 Meadows he 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 Rock for NBC Sportsworld [Alan Watts, "Climber's Guide to Smith Rock", Chockstone Press, 1992] , and he repeated his toughest first ascents for Eric Perlman's "Masters of Stone" videos. In 1992, Kauk trained and doubled Sylvester Stallone along with late climber Wolfgang Güllich for Cliffhanger. He also doubled Michael Rooker, Leon, and actress Janine Turner. In 1999 Kauk trained Tom Cruise for '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 Hendrix songs. Books by Carlos Castaneda are another source of names (e.g. "Separate Reality", "Tales of Power").

Bibliography

External links

* http://www.climbandmore.com/climbing,182,0,1,climbers.html


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