Ron Kauk, b. 1958
I always thought that Ron was the complete Yosemite climber. He’d done big wall climbing, the hardest free climbs, hard bouldering, everything. He’d done it all.
Publication of the book “Spirit of the Rock”,
Acted as a double for the Hollywood star Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible II”
Magic Line 5.14b, Vernal Falls area, Yosemite, first ascent, considered Yosemite’s hardest free climb to date, thin crack protected by nuts put on the rappel
Burn For You 8c, Frankenjura, first 8c route climbed by American, done on Ron’s 37th birthday
… on the day of my birthday, to do 8c, the hardest free climb of my life, I can’t imagine many better feelings.
“Climbing” 1995, No 151
Peace 5.13c/d, Medlicott Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, new route
Golden Rose 5.13c , Medlicott Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, new route
Broken Arrow 5.13b/c, Olmstead Point, Tuolumne Meadows, new route
Together with Wolfgang Güllich acted as a double for the Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone in “Cliffhanger”
Crossroads 5.13a, Reed’s Pinnacle area, Yosemite, first ascent, one of the first great rap-bolted routes by Ron
To Bolt or Not To Be 5.14a , Smith Rock, Oregon, fourth ascent (second American after Scott Franklin in 1987)
Punchline 5.12b, Arch Rock, Yosemite, first ascent, first rap-bolted route by Ron
Love Sexy 5.13b, Whizz Dome, Yosemite, first ascent, rap-bolted
European Vacation 5.13b, Whizz Dome, Yosemite, first ascent, rap-bolted
Rap It Up 5.12d, Hammer Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, first ascent
Super Sonic 5.13b, Tuolumne Meadows, first ascent
Lost Arrow V 5.12, Yosemite, free ascent, live television broadcast
Thriller V8 (B2), Camp 4, Yosemite, first ascent
East Face (VII F8 A4, 34 pitches) , Uli Biaho, Karakoram, first ascent, first grade VII completed by Americans, with John Roskelley, Kim Schmitz, Bill Forest
It took everything I had learned from the Valley and put it into use on one climb. Before you even get to the base you’ve seen and experienced things you would never find in the U.S. When you finally get there, you wake up to this tower and it forces you to focus on who you are and where you’re coming from. Then you’re up on the wall in the world of total commitment. It’s an awakened state where every move is important. Even passing a water bottle. It’s a matter of survival.
“Climbing” 1986, August, No. 97
Seperate Reality 5.12a, Yosemite, first “true” (without any hanging) free ascent of Ray Jardine’s route
Midnight Lightning V7 (B2), Columbia Boulder, Camp 4, Yosemite, first ascent (probably the most famous boulder problem in the world)
Iron Hawk (VI 5.9 A4), El Capitan, first ascent with Dale Bard
Tales of Power 5.12b, near Wildcat Falls, Yosemite, first ascent, overhanging 20 feet in 60, the straight-incrack doesn’t exceed 1 ½ inches in width until the last few moves and allows only one rest.
Supercrack 5.12c , Shawangunks, long-awaited second ascent of Steve Wunsch’s test piece
New Jersey Turnpike (VI 5.10 A4), El Capitan, first ascent, with Dale Bard, Hugh Burton, Bruce Hawkings
Crimson Cringe 5,12 a, Yosemite, second ascent with John Bachar, without using friends (which were used by Ray Jardine during the first ascent)
Astroman 5.11c, East Face, Washington Column, Yosemite, first continuous free ascent, at that time considered the hardest all-free big-wall in the country.
As a teenager, Astroman represented to me the ultimate opportunity to challenge oneself on many levels. Mentally, physically, and, without a doubt, spiritually. […] Magic is the only word to describe it, climbing pitch after pitch of the most perfect, beautifully sculpted granite in the world.
“Spirit of the Rock”, Gibbs Smith, 2003
Hardd 5.11b, Cookie Cliff, first ascent, with Henry Barber and Steve Wunsch
Free Blast 5.11b (first 10 pitches of the of El Capitan done free), El Capitan, Yosemite, first free ascent, with John Bachar, Jim Bridwell, John Long and Mike Graham
Kauk-ulator 5.11c, Rostrum, Yosemite, first ascent, with John Yablonsky
Astroman V 5.11 , East Face, Washington Column, Yosemite, first free ascent with John Bachar and John Long, the team did the ascent swinging leads, year later (see 1976) Kauk led every pitch free with partner jumaring
Hotline 5.12, Yosemite, first ascent, with John Bachar, sometimes considered the first 5.12 in the Valley (actually the second of third one)
Butterballs 5.11c, Yosemite, first onsight flash of Yosemite’s hardest testpiece
Freestone 5.11d, Geek Towers, first ascent, first big new route