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Dateline 1978: Climbers at The Cobbler in Colorado Springs

Back in the late 1970s, the local climbers in Colorado Springs would congregate every day at the Cobbler Mountain Shop at 10 South 25th Street. The Cobbler originally started as a boot and climbing shoe repair shop by Steve Cheyney, a long-time area climber. His first place was a 6-foot-wide hole-in-the-wall storefront on West Colorado Avenue. He later partnered up with Dennis Jackson about 1977 and they moved to the 25th Street location in Old Colorado City.

Bryan Becker boulders outside The Cobbler's back door with Dennis Jackson and Earl Wiggins. Colorado Springs, Colorado. 1978. Photograph © Stewart M. Green

We local climbers hung out at The Cob, as we affectionately called it, catching up on gossip; recording new routes in the Golden Book of Bullshit, a loose-leaf notebook; sipping cold beers, usually Dos Equis; and indulging in climber's games like darts and bottles, which required balancing hands on two beer bottles, then seeing who could place one bottle the furthest while balancing on one hand and arm on the other bottle.

Afterward in the evening, we would parade across Colorado Avenue to Henri's Mexican Restaurant and Emilio, the host and Henri's brother in law, would show us to a big booth in the back where we always ate bottomless bowls of chips and salsa and order smothered green chili burritos and Tecates with lime. That was the routine almost every day.

I usually brought my Canon F-1 camera and shot black and white photographs of the goings-on and characters at The Cob. Here's a photo I shot of Bryan Becker working on the hard backdoor boulder problem while Earl Wiggins does a casual hand-in-pocket spot and looks up the alley outside the shop with Dennis Jackson at whatever mischief was happening.

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