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haireball

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About haireball

  • Rank
    enthusiast

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  • Occupation
    "has-been-wannabee-legend"; wannabee renaissance man
  • Location
    Leavenworth, WA, USA
  1. boy do I feel dumb - it was right here on the site all the time -- Geoff's outfit is North Cascades Alpine Guides, in Winthrop. tell him I sent you and he'll probly double the price... and unless Steve is retiring from guiding, I doubt that it matters where he's currently sleeping between climbs. Olyclimber asked about Croft? I'd say whatever he's charging will be worth it. While he was living in Vancouver, he used to bring club groups down to Leavenworth and spend entire weekends climbing nothing harder than 5.8 -- Steve had a gift for somehow making everyone feel his equal, even though the reality was quite different. A private day with him would be a bargain at almost any price...
  2. Approach Vehicle Suggestions

    if you're planning to leave it at any of the heavily used trailheads like in the Icicle Canyon, thievery is much an issue as roadworthiness. the older and uglier, the better, has worked for me. I once left a couple of thousand dollars worth of gear in the unlocked trunk of a 70's vintage nondescript dodge something-or-other at the Stuart Lake trailhead for three days, and returned to find my stash undisturbed, surrounded by shiny toyotas and subarus with their locks punched out... seems like noboby wants to lift the turd to see if there might be a dollar underneath...
  3. Do you have to be in GOOD shape to climb?

    no, but climbing is likely to improve whatever shape you're in. I've belayed more than my share of three-hundred-pound "dunlops" (as in dunlopped over my belt...), and they seemed to enjoy themselves. if you subscribe to the the legendary Alex Lowe's maxim that "the best climber is the one having the most fun", then I'd have to say that I've encountered a plethora of truly great pillsbury doughboy climbers over the years. For inspiration, research the names Mark Powell, and Don Whillans...
  4. Fixed draws are not fair game

    what I don't understand is why bother collecting these. in studies commissioned by the major Euro rope manufacturers back around 1980, they found that, on average, thirty percent of the impact force generated in a climbing fall is absorbed by the tightening of knots in the system! so why are these same companies selling us SEWN runners?
  5. double ropes

    this is good discussion, and I'm gonna derail it slightly by directing the focus back to experience in the real world. Since 1982, I have climbed almost exclusively on double-rope belay systems. I made the switch for the simple reason that, at that time, there had never been a catastrophic belay failure documented anywhere in the world, by climbers belaying with double ropes. I don't know if this is still true, but if it is, it seems a compelling point. I have owned and worn out over those 24 years, sets of Beal, Edelweiss, Edelrid, Sterling, and Blue Water doubles. I favor Edelrid, but am perfectly happy anymore to buy whatever I can get for the most attractive price. While the marketers would have us believe that "half-ropes" and "twin-ropes" are very different species, in my own climbing, I have dispensed with the distinction. What has worked for me in real-world climbing is to twin-rope (clip both strands in every placement, as if they were a single rope) unless rope drag is an issue, or a placement seems suspect (fragile). If a route is zig-zagging, I clip single strands to reduce rope drag (it also protects the following climber more effectively), and on suspect placements, I clip a single strand to reduce impact force (this saves me having to invest in screamers). In falls as long as 40 feet, I've never failed a placement, though I'd ignored the "rule" and twin-clipped half-ropes. (note: before I'd made the switch to doubles, I had, on occasion, unzipped placements using single ropes with supposedly lower impact forces...) also - I've found it no particular trick to take in one strand while feeding out the other on belay, even back in the days when we were using double munters! a few minutes of practice will sort you right out. and doubles make protecting traverses for a timid second a snap - as well as taking all the pain out of following pendulums. bottom line? - unless you climb exclusively at a gym,or on single-pitch sport lines with modern fat bolts, I would STRONGLY recommend the double rope belay system. If and when you do make the switch, note that I've observed a fairly dramatic difference in braking power between the older belay devices (e.g. ATC) and the newer versions with the v-slots - recommend updating your belay-brake device if you're still using one with straight slots.
  6. Hydration System

    I use an MSR system because it was the only full-gallon bladder I could find. At three years old, it shows no apparent wear, although I've had to replace bite-valves stripped from the tube in gnarly bushwacks...
  7. Mt Stuart area climbing permit?

    unless things have changed this year, no permit necessary for bivoucing in the moraines below Stuart Glacier (north side) if Sherpa Glacier descent turns you off, consider descending NW buttress - class 3 & 4 rock scrambling, but at least doesn't require ice-boots, ice-tools, crampons... I've never had any difficulty obtaining a walk-in permit to camp at Stuart Lake - mid week these permits often go unrequested... Leavenworth Ranger Station opens 0700. good luck!
  8. Climb: Jupiter Tower-ne "face" Date of Climb: 7/8/2006 Trip Report: After 25 years, I finally found someone willing to accompany me on an exploration of Jupiter Tower. Tom Janisch and I ferried our gear across the Wenatchee just upstream from the mouth of Fall Creek an hour before sunrise Saturday morning. We were pleasantly surprised to find a boulder stream that provided a brush-free approach to the toe of the tower, and found ourselves roping up @ 0600. Starting at the lowest point of the wall, we climbed three pitches up heavily vegetated cracks & chimneys, then found ourselves traversing ledge systems to avoid Truly Difficult climbing. Seven pitches of wandering back and forth on ledges gained the spine of an arete which we followed for seven more pitches to a double summit level with the main ridge. Three rappels dropped us to a lively creek in the gully north of the tower, which we descended back to a pack we'd left at the rope-up point. The only sign we saw of previous traffic was one ancient piton which we passed on rappel, and two sling rappel anchors which looked as if they pre-dated the Big Bang. Of the Schmidts-Madsen route documented in Brooks / Carlstadt guidebook, we found no sign except for those we passed rappeling in the exit gully. We climbed seventeen roped pitches, up to a standard of about 5.10a, on high-quality, though sometimes heavily vegetated rock. IV,5.10a definitely worth the trip. Gear Notes: racked for the nose, and used it all! multiple of everything from brass micros to 4" cams. Pitch three (crux) required inventive rigging to protect -- several placements where multiple micros were equalized to create one solid clip... 2 60m ropes for belay/rappel Approach Notes: miraculously brush-free boulder stream approach- "rubber ducky" raft for Tumwater ferry - dependable drinking water in the exit gully
  9. double ropes

    I've climbed almost exclusively on double rope belay systems since the early 1980s, so what I have to say is what I have experienced. I am aware that skinny ropes are engineered to be used either as "half-ropes" (clipped alternately) or as "twin-ropes" (both strands clipped together as if they were a single rope). The catalogue writers describe these as very different, seemingly incompatible systems, and strongly discourage "twinning a halfrope" or "halving a twinrope", however, if you take a close look at the load-ratings, stretch factors, impact forces, etc, don't expect to find dramatic differences. Being a congenital cynic, I suspect a scheme to sell you two sets of ropes, where one is adequate. Anyway - here's how I use 'em: on lead, I always clip them as twins, unless rope drag is an issue, or a placement is suspect. Clipping only one of the ropes is a strategy to reduce rope drag, or to halve the impact force on a suspect placement (saves me having to invest in screamers...). I made the switch from single-rope belay to double ropes for one reason: at the time, there had never been a catastrophic belay failure documented anywhere in the world for double-rope belay systems. Since making the switch, I've discovered numerous benefits, particularly for protecting the second climber on long traverses, and for executing pendulum maneuvers. the short version? I haven't bought a fat rope since 1982. I have extensive personal experience of Sterling, Beal, Blue Water, Edelrid, and Edelweiss skinny ropes, and while I favor Edelrid for durability and handling characteristics, I just buy whatever I can get for the best price at the time of purchase.
  10. Alpine Cordelette Length

    much shorter than 15 feet is too short for effective use as anchor equalizers, or for escaping belay / passing knot. much longer than 20 feet is unwieldy. anything in between seems to work OK. The recommendation of 5 meters comes from the French guide-training school at Chamonix, where the use of cordelettes seems to have first been popularized (this is why we use the French term "cordelette" - 'little rope' - instead of the English 'accessory cord'). I tend to favor 6mm since I climb almost exclusively with double rope belay systems usuing skinny ropes. It gives better bite as a prussik, and is lighter and cheaper than larger diameter cord.
  11. Rad - maybe I wasn't entirely clear in that other post - I retired from paid guiding twelve years ago --- but I'd be happy to refer interested parties to friends who are still practicing the profession. And your description of your day with Doug Robinson is spot on. I really liked Doug - never had the opportunity to do any more than just a couple of craggin' routes in J-tree with him, but I thought he was one of the best the AMGA had to offer. Closer to home, Geoff Childs runs an outfit out of Winthrop (I'm embarassed to admit that I don't remember the business name...) - you can book a climb with Geoff, or Paul Butler, or Steve House. And as an example of Rad's case that guides or not just for newbies, consider the time Peter Mayfield (who was, at the time, the holder of the Yosemite guiding concession, and a leading light in the fledgling AMGA) hired Mugs Stump to guide him around the Wind Rivers for a couple of weeks. Peter's rationale was that he wasn't likely to spend enough time there to get to know the area well, and he simply wanted to make the most efficient use of the time he did have. If Mayfield found it worth the price, the rest of us ought to consider it a no-brainer.
  12. gym to outdoors / top-rope to multipitch

    Rad & Bagsers, you guys are making my day. now at twelve years retired from my AMGA "career", I suppose I can't be accused of commercialism at this point so - for the record, these "great ideas" are not my own. My experience of the AMGA both as a trainer for them, and as a trainee with them would lead me to make the bold claim that a novice climber can probably learn more from a single private day with a fully certified AMGA guide as he or she could glean from a year's membership in a climbing gym. That makes a private guided climb a pretty damn good deal...
  13. Old Stoppers - Chouinard

    Wild Country Rocks were the first curved stoppers, came out in '81 if I remember correctly. Chouinard followed with curved stoppers the following year. Chouinard/Frost introduced their original wired stoppers about 1973, so your booty was born sometime between 1973 and 1982. I still carry these as aid pieces, have never replaced a wire - I just throw them out if/when the wire goes bad. Not worth the hassle of re-wiring a piece that is for all intents and purpose obsolete.
  14. Stuart/Ingalls area

    You should be ok without crampons as long as your boots are stiff enough to kick through a hard crust if it turns cool. Trekking poles may be more comfortable than an ice axe for most of the terrain you'll be on... take what you're most at ease with. West Ridge of Stuart is roughly same technical difficulty as Ingalls, but much longer, and with some real puckery exposure around the notch. good photo-ops!
  15. gym to outdoors / top-rope to multipitch

    if Dan has a book out on this, I haven't seen it, but it sounds like something needed. BTW, I can't take credit for this idea - I'm just trying to drum up support for it... Matt, montypiton is kind of a mr hyde, not a particularly comfortable identity, actually kind of an arrogant ass, but he served a purpose, and I hope he can be quietly laid to rest now that haireball can post again... unfortunately, he's occupying my email address at the moment, which is why pms should be directed to him. If you pm haireball, your message will most likely be lost in cyberspace.
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