Gossip Gossip


Wednesday, 26 August

Gaskins replies   22/07/04

I've just looked at what you've written/published, more specifically Markus' comments.
Re. Zerberus: The line I climbed (as Markus knows) was neither the 7C nor Zerberus, rather it was a line in between the 2 and using holds of both. To me this was the central line (which was the line I had been told Zerberus was, whereas Zerberus is really left of centre). Markus appears to be being deliberately misleading people regarding this problem to support his story.

The reach thing on Gossip is rubbish, it really is not that far between the holds, although very good body tension is a prerequiste. The distance is certainly less, and on better holds, than between the holds on my own problem, At the Heart of it All (Woodwell) which also crosses a roof.

I would not say meeting at 2:30 in the afternoon is climbing all day with someone. Whilst my only attempt on the 8A was an attempted flash.
I could continue but I have no interest in a "one side says this, another that argument", merely I wish to add perspective to Markus' comments which have, at best, minimal foundation in what actually happened, whilst most are totally inaccurate.

P.S. Markus has put the wrong year on his dates (2005 rather than 2004). Also the date of my ascent of Riot Act is wrong, as also is his assertion that I climbed Riot Act the day I arrived in the Frankenjura.

The Gossip gossip   20/07/04

Maybe it's wrong to make this public and I certainly hope we're not making you think any less of the people involved, but as it is we might as well tell you the whole story...

About John Gaskins' ascents in the Frankenjura.
Markus Bock:
"Why I (and all climbers from Frankenjura who have tried GOSSIP) don't believe him:
1. On monday 05.07.2005 I showed him GOSSIP and the sequence how to climb it. JOHN tried it then for 1 1/2h, but doesn't climb any of the hard moves. I stayed with him all the time. Also I have gave him some powerspot, but also with less weight NO CHANCE.
2. I asked him per shortmassage about his different sequence. He told me it, but it's not different. MICHL KAISER (he climbed a lot of hard boulders here) tried this sequence for a while in the last 2 years, he is 185cm tall and said that he missed 10 cm to reach the next hold. JOHN is about 172 tall!
3. I climbed with him all the day.before we stayed at a place with a 8A trav..He tried the moves in the traverse,and he has had problems to do the crux-moves.
4. He told me at Monday morning that he climbed ZERBERUS 8B+ at the morning in 1h.After I have seen him in Gossip, I stopped at ZERBERUS and asked him how he has done the moves: It turned out after some minutes that he climbed a 7C Boulder there, which is directly right to ZERBERUS.
5. After that,I showed him some other hard stuff and he told me by the way that he has also done RIOT ACT 8B+ in one day (the day he arrived in Frankenjura, Tuesday 29.06.2005) I write you this before any news report from JOHN about his "success" arrived you. And I write in the name of all who have done hard stuff here and tried GOSSIP for long time. We are all the same opinion: ITS NOT POSSIBLE THAT HE HAS DONE IT."

After I got this email from Markus, naturally, I emailed John to get his side of this story. John did NOT contact us or any other website or magazine (at least as far as I know) to spread the newsof his success.

Here's John Gaskins' answer:
"Thanks for contacting me although I also have to say I was a bit surprised to receive this email.
I spent an afternoon with Markus whilst he climbed. After that he showed me where Gossip was (I had been climbing that morning so I didn't climb that afternoon, then I briefly tried Gossip in the evening although by that time I was far from focused especially given that my {non climbing} wife and I had been out climbing for about 9 hours and I knew that she wanted to go). In the subsequent days I worked out a totally different (and for me easier) sequence to that which Markus had used and had had me trying that initial evening. Indeed on the day I climbed the problem I found a further refinement to my sequence that was for me the key to my success especially when allied to that mornings good conditions and the fact that I climb better first thing in the morning (I generally climb a number of grades harder before lunchtime than I do after). We also discussed Riot Act, where we had both used virtually identical sequences. After that I exchanged a couple of texts (SMS), at no point did Markus raise this issue with me.
Regarding Zerberus I'm really puzzled. As Markus knows I was misinformed as to the exact line of the problem and hence didn't actually climb it, although prior to discovering this misinformation over the line I thought I had climbed it.
As regards other things, both in my local area and elsewhere, various people have seen me either doing them or doing all the moves whilst working them. Indeed I have shown people the moves on many of these things by climbing them (the individual moves) after my ascents. In addition there is video footage of me climbing (i.e. linking all the moves together) on most of my hardest "sends".
Certainly at this point in time I have nothing to gain from claiming things I haven't done. I am not, and never have, tried to build a reputation etc indeed I will very soon move on to concentrate on my work career. I did the problems (in the Frankenjura) purely for myself, as with everything that I have done. Indeed when I first started trying most of my hardest problems (i.e. those in my local area), bouldering was not a major activity. I am saddened that people now wish to maliciously claim, without any foundation, that I have not climbed these things when I have worked hard over many years, both in terms of training time and also the physical number of days trying these things prior to completing them."

So, there you have it, believe what/who you want. Gaskins' honesty have never been questioned before and no matter what the truth is, this is a sad story indeed. Climbing is a sport where trust is fundamental. Anyone can claim to have climbed anything. It's impossible to prove someone hasn't climbed something. I'm sure we'll hear more about this in the near future...

Hard sends by Gaskins   19/07/04

During a short trip to Frankenjura, John Gaskins managed a couple of impressive repeats. First he made a one day ascent of Riot act, 8B+, and after three visits, he managed to grab the second ascent of Markus Bock's Gossip, 8C, bringing his tally of 8C climbs to three. According to John he used a completely different sequence than the first ascender.

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