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Uncle_Tricky

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  1. best of cc.com Fun when it's done

    Fun when it’s done Methow Valley News Dec. 7, 2005 Adventures don’t always have to be "fun" to be fun. For example: # A few years back, three friends and I decided to attempt "The Inferno," a rarely climbed route on South Early Winters Spire. Still suffering from the previous night’s debauchery, we trudged upward toward the spire, our brains baking under the July sun like slugs on blacktop. Soon, we discovered whoever was supposed to bring the water, didn’t. We were so thirsty we simply wrung out our sweat-soaked T-shirts to get a drink. At the base of the route, we discovered whoever was supposed to bring lunch, didn’t. All we had was a pound of beef jerky which, when you are dying of thirst, is as appealing as a sand sandwich after crossing the Kalahari Desert. The first part of the route was steep and loose enough to qualify as exciting. Imagine climbing a teetering stack of refrigerators as tall as the Space Needle. Then we arrived at the hard part: a "5.10c overhanging, flaring five-inch crack." Translated into regular language, that means, "Run screaming in the other direction." There, already 500 feet off the ground, we discovered whoever was supposed to bring the big gear necessary to climb this section, didn’t. Covering oneself in bacon grease and throwing slices of Spam at a starving grizzly bear seemed like a sane idea compared to continuing upward. Fortunately, we brought along a madman – I’ll call him Mr. Peru – who volunteered to lead the pitch. Grunting like a constipated wildebeest while screaming self-motivational profanities creative enough to make the saltiest of sailors blush, Mr. Peru climbed. Although more dehydrated than our beef jerky, we survived and now laugh about the time we got singed by The Inferno. # The first couple of backhoe operators I approached to dig a waterline up the extremely steep hill behind my place looked at the job, laughed, and told me it was impossible. Finally, I found someone willing to dig the trench. But, he cautioned me, it was much too steep to backfill – I’d have to do that by hand. No problem, I thought. "Help wanted backfilling the Infinite Ditch of Woe," said the signs I posted on bulletin boards around the Methow. I figured it was truth in advertising: 500 cubic yards – or 50 dump trucks worth of dirt – would need to be moved by hand. By the next morning I had assembled a crew of seven people eager to make some money. Upon seeing the Ditch of Woe, one person quit before even picking up a shovel. By lunch, the crew had shrunk to five. The next morning, only four people showed up for work. At noon on the second day, two more workers suddenly remembered a bunch of other pressing commitments they had to attend to, and left. Some four days later, when the last shovelful of dirt was thrown into the trench, only one woman and I remained. The Infinite Ditch of Woe broke some spirits, but also created a lasting friendship. # As the rains of last January pounded down, our dreams of snowboarding powder melted faster than an ice cube in a hot tub. But we were determined to make the best of our weeklong trip to British Columbia’s Kootenay Mountains. Sure, the area has a bunch of fancy commercial hot springs – but who wants to pay 10 bucks to soak amongst a crowd of blubbery Canadians and screaming kids? We decided to hike in to a backcountry hot spring, which was why we were now lost in a forest in a heavy downpour, wallowing through chest-deep snow. After wading two waist-deep creeks, we finally found the hot spring. We shed our soaking clothes and plunged our hypothermic bodies into the hot pool. The hot sensation lasted only three seconds. A torrent of icy melt water pouring into the hot spring made the pool about as warm as the Methow River in March. The soggy, snowy trek back to the car was a character building experience. "O-o-o-one, p-p-p-please," I said. Shivering uncontrollably, I handed my 10 dollars to the cashier back at the fancy commercial hot spring. "Pretty nice, eh?" said a well-fed Canadian as I eased into the steaming hot pool amongst a crowd of shrieking children. "H-h-h-heaven," I replied. # Looking back, it’s often the worst of times that make the best of memories.
  2. I thot the crux pitch on Paisano, including the not very well protected face leading up to a left facing corner was fairly exciting. Climbing in do-not-fall territory on incut holds of somewhat questionable solidity kept my attention.
  3. best of cc.com Snafflehoundus Terriblus

    A cat? A skunk? A corn snake? I can hear the snafflehounds snickering from here. They are more wily than coyote, funkier than a skunk and use corn snakes to floss their teeth after a night out carousing. Trying to scare a snafflehound with one of these creatures is a more laughable proposition than making sweet love to a rabid badger.
  4. North Cascades Climbing Accident

    Why/how were three people rappelling at once with a fourth anchored to the rap station? Granted this is a newspaper story, and seeing as how I write newspaper articles, I distrust anything I read in a newspaper. But this one detail made me curious.
  5. TR: E. Face Minuteman

    I tried climbing this as as party of 3 a couple years ago, but we bailed after we unwittingly and unsucessfully attempted to climb the rotten (offroute) left facing corner that leads up to a pine tree and a dead end under the big roof - about 50 feet left of the official .10 crux pitch. By the time we figured out where we needed to be, one of my partners was already late for work in Twisp, so we went down instead of up. A couple days ago a friend and I actually climbed the thing. I wonder why this route is not done more often? There is some loose rock and ambiguous, traversing, indifferently-protected climbing in the middle, but the first couple and last couple pitches are much fun. The descent is a bit tedious, with multiple loose scrambling/stacked unstable blocky downclimbing/small shrubbery rapping options-each of which is flawed in differently annoying ways. My partner had some intestinal issues on the climb. I apologize in advance for her unintentional (but ultimatly fertilizing) contributions to the landscape.
  6. Close Calls

    Never play Russian Roulette with a semi-automatic.
  7. Rockfall Question

    We've all been in the wrong place at the right time.
  8. TWISPTED REALITY (A monthly opinion column) Snafflehoundus terriblus Methow Valley News / July 6, 2005 The shenanigans of snafflehounds can drive even the most pacifistic of people to a state of rodenticidal rage. Two climbers apparently coined the term snafflehound in 1938 while climbing in the Bugaboo Mountains in Canada. During the night, cat-sized rodents ate their rations, their ropes and their boots. They named these voracious animals “snafflehounds.” The same species of snafflehound that terrorizes climbers and campers is the most notorious rodent in the Methow. Technically, snafflehounds are bushy tailed wood rats, or Neotoma cinerea . Most in the Methow simply refer to them as pack rats. Because of their nocturnal noisiness and petty larceny, pack rats are undesirable housemates. However, they tend to move in uninvited. As anyone who has ever tangled with a snafflehound will attest, evicting these wily and tenacious critters is no easy matter. My first snafflehound experience started out subtly enough. Coins, silverware, carabiners and screwdrivers started disappearing. Lacking faith in my short-term memory, I figured I’d just misplaced the items. One night I looked out my window and witnessed a huge rodent with big ears and a furry tail dragging my cordless drill off the deck. It all started to make sense. Then the snafflehound moved in. I hardly slept the next week. Each night, all night, I lay in bed while the snafflehound inside the walls and ceiling scratched, chewed and made a racket louder than a dance troupe of drunken cloggers brawling on a tin roof. Intending to relocate the snafflehound, I bought a “Have-a-Heart” brand live trap. The rodent ignored it. Instead he chewed a hole through the mosquito screen on my window, pilfered my alarm clock and proffered a huge pile of pack rat scat on my pillow. Murder in my heart, I returned to the store and bought a supposedly lethal device called “The Better Rodent Trap.” I baited it with peanut butter and dog food. As evidenced by the yellow puddle next to the sprung (but empty) trap the next morning, all the trap did was scare the piss out of the snafflehound. As if to mock me, the snafflehound chewed apart my phone cord, stole an engraved compass with sentimental value, peed on my favorite chair, and ate the cover plus the first 47 pages of Mammals of the Northwest. Once again I returned to the store, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep. This time I bought an old-fashioned rat trap: nothing fancy, just time-tested, spring-loaded death. Or so I hoped. Each night I would bait it with tasty treats. Each morning I would discover the trap sprung, the bait gone. Out of respect for the snafflehound’s escape artistry, I named my elusive nemesis “Houdini.” Nearing wits end, I turned to Sun Tzu for advice. “Pretend to be weak, that your enemy may grow arrogant. Hold out baits to entice him. Feign disorder, and crush him,” wrote the ancient Chinese military philosopher in his book, The Art of War . As if conceding defeat, I abandoned my cabin to the snafflehound and slept outside on the porch. Inside, I scattered dog food on the floor to lure the pack rat and lull him into complacency. Sensing an ambush, Houdini kept a low profile for several days. I sweetened the bait, laying out a shiny galvanized joist hanger, a pair of dice, a socket set and some chopsticks. That night, I heard the snafflehound dragging something across my floor. I jumped out of my sleeping bag and through the open door into my cabin. Momentarily startled by the sight of a sleep-deprived madman naked as a plucked turkey and wielding a .357, the pack rat froze, eyes wide, nose twitching. Before I could shoot, Houdini darted behind the books in my bookcase. Intent on rodenticide, I slowly pulled book after book off the shelf. Finally, the rat was cornered somewhere between Desert Solitaire and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas . I split the difference and shot Mark Twain through the spine. Huckleberry Finn and the snafflehound exploded in a deafening blast of blood, fur, guts and literary greatness. I had finally succeeded in relocating the snafflehound - to another plane of existence. I slept well for a month. Then the next snafflehound arrived. But that’s a different story.
  9. Snowpatch Spire FA info?

    I am trying to fact check some info for an article. I understand that Raffi Bedayn and Fritz Weissner were the first to climb snowpatch spire in the bugaboos? Is that correct? What date was the FA? thanks.
  10. Silver Star

    Went up the peak yesterday with a couple folks. The crux was hitching a ride back to the car. We approached by way of Burgundy col. No snow until the basin, but the gully had just enough kick-step friendly snow to cover up most of the loose stuff. Nearing the top of Silver Star Glacier. Snow was walking friendly: Snagtooth Ridge from Silver Star Peak: Although we left the car at the approach to the wine spires, instead of descending our approach, we decided it would be fun to loop down to the highway via Silver Star Glacier and Silver Star Creek and hitch back to the car. Here we are descending Silver Star Glacier. You can see our tracks traversing in from the right below east faces of the Wine Spires. The vertical tracks are where we slid down the glacier on our butts. Looking back up at our descent route. Right of the big rock hump in the left center of the picture, you can see a 6-8 foot avalanche crown. It slid down to the glacier polished slabs beneath. We looked down at that and instead decided to go descend the broad snow gully at the far left center of the picture. On the top right are the Wine Spires, Burgundy being the farthest right, the Chianti, Pernod and Chablis. Looking back up at the East side of Vasiliki Ridge. Some comical postholing (up to chest deep) once we got down into the snow covered flats below the glacier, but only for an hour or so. Then there was some steep mixed postholing/bushwhacking for a while. High quality. I'm sure there's a better way to go down than we did, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Back at the road, we figured it was best for only one of us to try and get a ride. We took turns trying to thumb a ride back to the car. Meanwhile the other two of us lounged and dozed in the sun in the woods next to the creek. Finally - after more than an hour and probably 60 cars - I got a ride 5 miles up to where we'd left the car. Yeah, I had an ice ax. Maybe some poeple don't want to pick up a hitchhiker with and ax. But sheeeiit, can't a brother get a ride these days? Anyway, it was a nice day to be out tromping around out in the mountains.
  11. Nice climb and TR, Mark. I even learned a new vocabulary word that you used in the sentance "...on anastomozing crack systems in solid granite." However, the definition is almost as perplexing as the word itself. Anastomozing: A classic divaricated and again joined crack system noted for its discoid uniseriate pseudodichotomously divided margins which can be straight or slightly wavy possibly colorless and usually distinctly delimited or diffluent and rounded rarely to a slightly distinct divarcated distant pale granite grey with fine unlayered granular content often in apical arrangement divided transversely to their longer structureless axis in vertical view.
  12. In the last 3-5 years? Personal experience/rumor/links/thirdhand k-nowledge? PM works good. Thanks.
  13. Climbers and skiers in the area should come on down to the Methow Bonfire for the Arts (AKA Bernie Man). When: Saturday, April 2, from 5 pm til 2 am. Where: 191 Twisp East County Road (about two miles north of Twisp on the backroad to Winthrop.) This is Bernie Man's place--easily identified by the huge metal sculptures in his pasture. What: A big party featuring the largest bonfire even seen in the Methow (it's being build with a crane), live music by Jazzukha of Seattle and Whut Tha Phunk of the Methow, DJ Dov, drumming and the surreal backbeat of Bernie Man's 250-foot long high tension Astral Alien Electric Harp. You've got to see and hear this thing to believe it. Also possibly featuring Bernie Man's Twisp-famous flamethrowing monster truck that can weld shit too. Beer garden will feature kegs of foamy beerverages provided by the Twisp River Pub. Food will be available from an English-style red double decker bus. Rumor has it that there is a $2 all-you-can-eat boiled cabbage special. According to event planners who commented on the condition of anonymity, Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi--the 113 pound Japanese world eating champion who consumed 50 1/2 wieners and buns in 12 minutes in 2002--is flying in from Tokyo to attend. The event is sponsored by the Confluence Gallery and proceeds go to support various Methow Valley artistic endeavors. Price: $10 in advance, $12 at pasture gate. For more information call 509-997-ARTS.
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