Kingston NY, circa 1990
This image links to a short film [13 megs, Quicktime Sorenson compression] which was shot by Doug Hunter. The movie has a cut in the middle, which misses the entry to the 2.1.2 sequence, and shows the end of the climb.
I never did manage to link the whole thing- falling on the final lunge over a dozen times, while working it on toprope.
Terminator [5.14a, Kingston] was opened [created] by Al Diamond, back in 1989 or so.
Al has been active in the Gunks since the 80s, and for many years ran a guide service there. He is a familiar face to everyone in the Gunks, and still climbs at a very high level in 2006- you can see his notorious shoulders on V10s like Dragon Turns in various online videos.
I belayed Al around 1990 on what I believe was the second ascent of Cybernetic Wall, a short, intensely powerful and overhanging .13d trad route that Scott Franklin put up back in the late 80s. As far as I know, Cybernetic is still awaiting a sit start- something Johnny Woodward proposed to me on the day he flashed Love Muscle [5.13a] on lead, placing gear as he went. Love Muscle moves left at the top of the same wall that Cybernetic climbs. Johnny thought we were all wimps for using a cheatstone to start the Cybernetic/Love Muscle crack. If Cybernetic received a sit start, I believe it would be a V8/V9 leading up to the crux, with the whole thing then clocking in around 14b. Even as a very short climb, not bad for a trad crack climb in the Gunks.
But back to Kingston, and Terminator:
The crowd back around '89 was myself, Al Diamond, Jordan Mills, Dave Lanman, Craig Berman, Jeff Morris, Tom Andrews, Dave Luhan, and others- Mark Gravatt, John Blumenthal, Doug Hunter- and then a little later John Cronin put a lot of time in. John climbed some hard 13s at Kingston as well as put up V9s like the Cronin face in the Trapps [Gunks], before he moved west to Salt Lake City. I dropped out of the scene in '91 to go to grad school.
Jerry Moffat got on Terminator when he was visiting circa '89- while Al was still drilling it- [Craig Berman reminded me of this in a recent conversation] and Jerry said that the route would go as it was- so Al never added a planned pocket between the 2.1.2 sequence and the finishing jug, thus mandating the final big lunge.. As a bit of information for the uninitiated: all the routes in Kingston are drilled at least a bit, if not completely.
Al, Jordan, and I worked it for a while, then Jordan and I projected it for over a year.
We worked it dozens of times.
This was around 1990/91. I went out there with Lynn Hill once, when I was getting stronger on it-
she thought it was amazingly burly- [it is]- It was one of the first REALLY hard problems I worked.
Jordan and I were both falling multiple times on TR linkage at the final move, which is arguably the crux-
a long hard lunge to a good target hold, after a hard sequence-
the infamous 2.1.2 setup which is around V6/7- of course, getting to the final lunge is hard on linkage,
perhaps V9 to link into the 2.1.2. I'm guessing since I have only been climbing hard again since 2000
and haven't sent any new V10s yet. Also, as far as I know, the final lunge went with a different foot placement
than the one that Jordan and I were using, and I've heard a rumor that this foothold was broken or removed
At the time a European guy [perhaps from Poland] named Mark was climbing in Kingston. He was friends with Les Pawlak.
This guy Mark ultimately sent Terminator on lead, in 1993 I think. Shortly thereafter,
Craig Berman [19 at the time] nabbed the second ascent on TR and then on lead. Craig had earlier gotten
the third ascent [redpoint] in '91 of Jordan Mills' amazing monofest Colors, 13d, also at Kingston- which I had TR'd the
second ascent of- subsequently I've heard this climb was redrilled to make it easier... too bad...
Craig went on to climb hard in Salt Lake in the early 90s, then became a dancer with the modern dance company MOMIX. [NB: in 2006, Craig is a principal performer with Cirque de Soleil.]
As far as I know, the third ascent of Terminator was Vadim Vinokur, in 1996. It was Vad's first 5.14;
he's told me that he still feels it is 14a, having gotten on it last year again after he worked 'Biographie' in Ceuse.
Ivan Greene has also repeated Terminator- in 96/97.
My opinion: Most likely, Terminator should be rated V11. I make this estimate based on more recent
comparisons, like working Karajo, a V10/V11 in the Gunks; then again, it's been ten years since I was on Terminator.
But comparing it to something like Karajo, it is MUCH harder.
Of course, this opinion is from someone who hasn't SENT either
of the routes he's comparing- but I have no emotional attachment to this particular story any more
other than the fierce desire to return to Terminator and run laps on it. I probably spent more time on the climb than anyone else- literally weeks- and I linked on TR to the final lunge
over ten times... so I guess I'm in the ballpark with this rating. For whatever it is worth...
Also, there is a line to the left of Terminator that is harder- 14a for sure, perhaps 14b- another project
that Al Diamond was opening back in 1990 - that Vadim and Ivan have done. I believe it was the first ascent but
one could confirm with Vadim.
As a side note: I worked on routes like Scarface [13d, Smith Rocks] back in 1989: I think calling Terminator
a route is a misnomer. It's really a bolted boulder problem.
I was close to linking Scarface working it on TR- my best burn starting below
the mono [ten feet up ] and finishing at the exit move [the "Elvis thrutch"] onto the slab- which is nearly the whole route- and no move on Scarface came close to the hard moves on Terminator. However Scarface is almost 3 times
longer than Terminator, and is currently rated 13d, not 14a.
With a couple of Evel pads one could boulder ['solo'] Terminator- especially after Ivan Greene's
mindblowing ascent of Death Penalty [V10, Peterskill] which has a much dicier landing. Yeah, it would be highball...
KINGSTON: a few comments
I was part of the culture at Kingston in the beginning, and loved it- I thought that drilling in a quarry
was a great idea- Coming out of a long background as a trad climber [6 summers in Yosemite and Eldorado, climbing
routes like the Naked Edge, Astroman, Rostrum, Freeblast, and many more]
and a little modern dance on the side- I felt like places like Kingston offered something that climbing gets
now in gyms. In Kingston we were SCULPTING and creating sequences.
As regards the ethics of drilling in a quarry, I never even once questioned it. The better routes mixed natural
features with the drilled and manufactured ones. I have a lot to say about
ethics: as RE chipping, I believe it is simply WRONG in most 'natural' areas- and bolting also may well be wrong
in many areas as well- but we can talk about the evolution of ethics on British Grit areas versus the eastern
Euro 40 foot runouts between hand drilled bolts, until we are blue in the face- and why not! But this is not
really a discussion about ETHICS...most climbers misuse the term ETHICS.
If climbers are so incredibly concerned with the environment [and here I can write a much longer article, and I will get around to it eventually]- I'll say briefly- if climbers are so concerned with the
environment, better to look at what Dave Brower worked for, and aim towards changing situations that are
REALLY affecting our lives- like bioengineered crops, or big industry. Or hate crimes.
Bolts and chipping are issues that do not even register on the radar of REAL ETHICS.
I realize this is potentially a controversial position, but that's how I feel.
Don't get me wrong. Berndt Arnold, John Bachar, Reinhold Messner, the Grit masters, Lynn Hill, Ron Kauk,
Scott Franklin with his solo of Survival [5.13a, Gunks] many years ago- they are all my climbing heroes. But that isn't a
question of ethics for me, more one of style. Here's a great quote on this subject
'Style, in other words, is the reality that consciousness gives
itself. Incidentally, I believe that is also Hegel's definition of
liberty. One day, defending Chaplin's 'A King in New York,',
Rossellini said "It's the film of a free man." At heart, that's it.
To create cinema, it is sufficient to film free people...'
- J L Godard
And bottom line: you know, the moves on Terminator are incredible.
Many thanks to Al Diamond- and Jerry.