Notes from the top
route at the ti me i n Eldorado Canyon, Colo. “I was very scared for both of us,” recalls Ingalls. “When it was over and we were walking down the trail, Kor turned around and said let’s call it Psycho after the movie that just came out.”
The route has unprotected free climbing with runouts of 10 metres, a brutally hard threemetre roof, and a hard slab climb with one protection bolt i n 20 metres. It also has down-sloping, smooth handholds. Erickson was one of the first people to look at its free climbing potential.
In 1967, Erickson climbed the route, rated A4, for its third or fourth ascent. Then, in 1974, he came back with Art Higbee and freed the pitch below the roof. Steve Wunsch freed the roof in 1975, after 30 of 40 attempts over a two-year period.
“Like Pearl Harbor, it was so traumatic it feels like yesterday,” says Ingalls of his experience on Psycho. “It was outstanding for its diff iculty and scariness but was not as a great climb like Castleton or the Titan. But it was technical.”
Kor and Ingalls protected the route with fragile soft-iron pitons.
Erickson recalls, “It had a horrendous reputation. But we had better gear, i ncluding f latsoled climbed shoes and the best Chouinard chromoly pitons of the day.”
“It’s memorable to me for two reasons. It was a breakthrough climb because it demanded a team that was good in all the disciplines. I repeated it in the same style as you and Kor, with a mix of free and aid, and of course, ground up. Because we were just little twerps from Wisconsin, I felt, for the f irst time, I was almost as good as the generation before us.”
Then he looks at Ingalls and says, “You guys were famous.”