Trotter dusts off a project from the golden era
When Urs Kallen walked beneath Goat Mountain and spotted a fracture in the wall he knew it had to be climbed. He was on a reconnaissance to look at the yet-to-beclimbed Goat Buttress and saw the futuristic crack on his return to the car. Back in Calgary he phoned his climbing partner Billy Davidson. The two of them had accomplished many f irst ascents including cmc Wall and Yellow Edge on Yamnuska. Kallen grew up in Switzerland and after climbing many of the Alp’s classics, he moved to Canada with his wife Gerta. Davidson was a Calgary local who met Kallen at a Calgary Mountain Club meeting, their partnership combined years of European alpine climbing and technical aid skills.
Kal len spot ted t he crack on Goat Mountain i n the spring of 1975. At the same time Kallen found it, Davidson was in Yosemite, making the fourth ascent of The North America Wall. When he returned from the south, he planned to travel with Kallen to Yosemite the fol lowing year to tr y The Shield. To train for their tr ip, they wanted to climb another new route together and when Kallen phoned him about the potential new route on Goat Mountain, Davidson wanted to go. They recr uited a new climber, Rob Mitchell, a keen but young climber.
They approached the route the day before Thanksgiving. Davidson and Mitchell were ver y impressed with the line and Davidson jumped on the lead while Kallen searched for wood for a shelter. After establishing the f irst pitch with aid and free climbing and using bolts and pitons for protection, the three climbers readied to sleep under the shelter Kallen built. Using longs branches and logs and a piece of plastic, he constr ucted a spacious lean-to. In the morning the climbers were going to jumar