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About JayB

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  • Birthday 11/30/1999


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    Capitol Hill
  1. Sounds like it's time for you to take up kayaking, Bob.
  2. -Totally agree about the political barriers standing in the way of any expansion of nuclear power. My theory is that nuclear power became intractably associated with nuclear weaponry (even before Three Mile Island, etc) and that ossified into a sort of a (mostly) uncritical hostility to nuclear power in the public mind in general and the left in particular. What's interesting to me that that in that period the France of the 1970's embarked on a crash program that saw them go from getting next to none of their power from nuclear at the onset of the 1973 embargo, to something like ~50% by the mid eighties, and 75% now. As far as I know, they have an impeccable record when it comes to safety, but the French example rarely figures into the public discussion. Ditto for the fact that our carrier and submarine fleets have been powered by nuclear reactors since the 1950's with an equally outstanding safety record. There are ideological obstacles to any kind of a rational, non-utopian response to climate change on both the left and the right, but I think there's an unfortunate asymmetry between the two when it comes to nuclear power. If the left suddenly adopted the ideological priorities of the right and put economic growth, material abundance, etc ahead of reducing CO2 emissions, we'd basically just continue on the same path since fossil fuels are the least expensive, most abundant, and most reliable source of energy. If the right adopted the current framework of the left, including its stance on nuclear power, there'd be a consensus that we need to shift to non-emitting renewables and zero chance of that ever happening because scaling up solar, wind, etc to the level that would be required would be physically, economically, and technically impossible. It'd also very quickly prove to be politically impossible once the cost of power went up enough to cause significant economic dislocation, unemployment, and miscellaneous other human suffering. -I'm also glad to see someone injecting consistent mortality calculations into the discussion. AFAIK nuclear is literally hundreds of times safer than other conventional power sources, including hydropower, wind, and solar. If you take the math behind deaths per-unit of C02 emissions seriously, you could conceivable argue that over it's life cycle the reactor saved far more lives than it took as a consequence of preventing X^n millions of tons of C02.
  3. I think the argument is is that, at least on the West Coast, there are some dams where the cost/harm they inflict on salmon stocks equals or exceed the value of the power they generate. There are some cases like the dam on the Elwha where that analysis seems plausible, and others on the mainstem of the Columbia where it's much less so, even though the cost of mitigating the damage they do to salmon stocks runs into the hundreds-of-millions per year. You'd also have to add in flood control, irrigation, and shipping benefits to most of these analyses, which more or less makes removing those dams a non-starter. If you are interested, there's are a couple of great books that do a deep dive into the history/politics/economics of dam building in the Western US as part of a broader analysis of the overharvest-and-habitat destruction story that lead to the widespread collapse of salmon stocks (at least from historical levels). The first is "Salmon without Rivers," and the second is "King of Fish." Both highly recommended if you're into PNW history.
  4. There's nothing wrong with "being the change that you want to see in the world," even if the tangible effects of doing so are indistinguishable from zero. The only downside I've seen is that peoples and societies can use these things as sort of a mental fig-leaf they use to hide from the reality of what's driving their personal emissions, and what'll actually move the needle in terms of global emissions. Carbon taxes, the expansion of fracking, and a massive increase in the number of nuclear power plants are about the only things that have the potential to reduce global CO2 emissions enough to have any measurable impact. When you look at reliability, power-density, scalability, and storage-capacity it's clear that the odds of expanding wind and solar enough to cover more than a fraction of our requirements for base-load power, much less increased demand in the future are zero. Unfortunately, most of the folks that I meet who are the most concerned with global warming can't stomach the idea of making carbon taxes revenue neutral to give them a prayer of actually being passed into law, hate fracking despite the fact that the natural gas produces ~1/2 the CO2 per BTU of coal, and have an uncritical hostility to nuclear power. Until that changes, everything that happens in the realm of global warming activism isn't going to amount much more than a kind of therapeutic theater.
  5. CC.com Traffic Decrease?

    There's been a decline in traffic across all message boards, some of which is due to the advent of social media, some of which is due to people accessing the internet with their phones most of the time. If you happen to be on a social media platform and encounter a story or beta about a route that you think would be interesting or helpful to other folks, encourage whoever contributed to put it up here or ask their permission to post it here so that it gets added to the archive.
  6. Great TR, pics, and intel. Thanks for adding this to the archive!
  7. That's quite a line! Loved reading about the mud placements. Maybe the PNW volcano equivalent of ascending the white cliffs of dover with ice tools...
  8. I think that any time spent intensively contemplating the risks associated with climbing, and how to mitigate them, is time well spent. I know that for myself at least, then I'm out climbing I don't have the bandwidth to process anything more complex than a few rules of thumb or vivid stories from ANAM that pertain to what I'm actually doing at that particular moment. Can you elaborate on some of the ways that you feel that framing your risk analysis in terms of equations helps you climb more safely? Not calling your claims into question here, just hoping to learn something that I might be able to put to use.
  9. Agreed. Alpine climbing involves such a complex web of dynamic variables that trying to quantitate into some kind of an reliable predictor of risk is unlikely to be helpful, to put it mildly. IMO simple rules of thumb that promote safe safe habits are much more practical and useful. Everyone should read ANAM, and other compilations of close calls if they can find them. Back when life didn't make getting out for a bit of alpine climbing next to impossible I can remember encountering things like a loose ledge traverse between rappel stations and saying "Alright - looks like we're in the ANAM zone here..." before starting a discussion of what we could do to mitigate the risk. One of my personal rules of thumb was to stick to alpine routes at least two number grades below the top end of what I could lead at the crags, at least if I was going to be the one leading the harder pitches on the route. I still had close calls and epics, but I would have been in much worse shape if I didn't have that extra margin to play with when getting off route, encountering wet conditions, bad pro, etc.
  10. Another thing I've often wondered about is how people approach the question of what approach to take with their kids when it comes to high-risk outdoor activities. I'm definitely trying to expose them to the natural world as much as possible, and there's a certain amount of risk involved in that, but there are a handful of activities that I've engaged in that I'll continue to participate in at some level, but not only won't encourage, but will quietly hope they never develop an interest in. Alpine climbing and WW kayaking are at the top of the list. There are only so many "there but for the grace of God go I," moments you can experience before the universe's serene indifference to your existence, and the capacity for low-probability/high-mortality events to negate any level of skill, experience, or preparation make you question the wisdom of encouraging your kids to head down the same path that you've taken, no matter how much you've enjoyed it. Once they reach a certain age, if it becomes clear that they're hell bent on one or both no matter what I say I imagine I'll relent and do everything in my power to make sure they understand the risks they're taking and how to mitigate them, but I'll be quite content if it turns out they never develop an interest in either.
  11. Sometimes I've wondered if part of drives people to relentlessly ratchet up the risk, or persist in an extremely high level of risk-taking well into their mid-thirties and beyond might be a consequence of a void elsewhere in their lives. The single-minded pursuit of anything that requires a super-high level of dedication and commitment can preclude participating in quite a few other activities that give life meaning, purpose, and direction. I can imagine that if you aren't careful the domains of life outside of high-risk, high-commitment outdoor pursuits can atrophy to the point where an unhealthy amount of your identity, joy, and purpose come from activities that entail a significant amount of risk - and that's part of what keeps you on that path.
  12. Agreed. I think the general statistical pattern falls pretty neatly into a pattern where technical difficulty * objective hazards * repetition = increasing mortality, but there are enough noteworthy exceptions to the pattern to preclude any of us knowing how our particular coin-flips are going to turn out, much less that dialing our risk back to a particular level is going to guarantee that we die peacefully in our beds at an advanced age. Renotto Cassaratto (sp?) falling into a crevasse within view of basecamp after descending K2, Daryl Hatten falling out of a tree, Mugs Stump, Goran Kropp, are just the first few and I'm sure there are plenty more. My Dad wasn't a risk-taker, and action-sports had zero appeal to him. He did, however, have principles that he was determined to live by despite the fact that doing so entailed certain risks. He loved to jog, and it brought him a profound sense of peace and fulfillment. He also had atrial fibrilation and a pacemaker, and knew that physical activity above and beyond a particular threshold would elevate the risk of heart attack, etc. He also knew that an arrythmia or coagulopathy, or some combination of the two, could potentially strike him down while watching TV. So he kept jogging, and about 18 months ago he sustained some kind of a cardiac arrest while jogging on the Sound To Narrows, fell and broke his skull on the concrete and sustained a massive TBI. He spent the next several months hovering between a coma and a vegetative state where he could open his eyes and that was about it. Ultimately, his body was beginning to deteriorate so terribly that my Mother finally agreed that it was time to let him go. His accident happened three weeks before our youngest daughter and his final grandchild was born. Our oldest was four at the time and loved her Papa as much as anyone can love anything in the universe. He had an awful lot to live for, and it's possible that if he'd been able to accept a life where he'd never exert himself out of fear of overtaxing his heart that he could have lived many more years. But he couldn't. Our family suffered terribly as a result of his accident. Watching someone persist in limbo between death and consciousness for months is many orders of magnitude worse than someone simply dying. I was never sure if he understood the risks that I took, which despite being completely prosaic in the world of outdoor sports, always seemed completely bewildering to my parents. On some level, I think they both understood, and never held it against me. When he refused to stop being active - I understood, and I never held it against him. Even though I would never take the risks that folks pushing the boundaries take on, on some level - I understand their choices. You can do that, and mourn their passing even when you are at the epicenter of the grief their death causes.
  13. -I think that there's just something hard wired-in us to be impressed by, and applaud, accomplishments that transcend the limits of what most humans are capable of. That's particularly true when you have the first-hand knowledge necessary to appreciate the level of skill, talent, etc required for a particular achievement. That's true of many domains in particular, but alpine climbing at a high level requires so many capacities that people admire - skill, athleticism, determination, resourcefulness, mastery of fear, etc, etc, etc - that a certain amount of attention and praise is inevitable whenever someone starts putting up routes beyond a particular threshold. I also think climbing falls into a sort of grey zone where it isn't always easy to distinguish between and undertaking that's foolhardy and suicidal versus something where skill, experience, etc can largely mitigate the risk of death. At least that's why it seems to me that people tend to respond differently to the news that someone perished base-jumping or proximity-wingsuit-flying versus taking on an alpine route that's at the limits of what people are capable of. -When I read Bob's comments I can't help but wonder if part of what we're seeing is some Eastern Block psychology on display. I've often detected an air of resignation and fatalism from folks hailing from Eastern Europe with regards to death, risk, suffering, etc. More than one Russian I've chatted with has commented on what seems like a sort of naive, childlike optimism about risk amongst Americans in particular. "Life is hard, suffering is certain, and an early death is a predictable outcome of tempting fate. No sense in pretending otherwise." Not terribly surprising when you contemplate the history of that region over the past few centuries, but it certainly stands in stark contrast to the default settings that our culture imbues in most Americans. Might also be the reason why Eastern Block folks in general, and Poles in particular seem to have a virtual monopoly on Alpine routes that require immense amounts of risk and suffering. If the universe is geared to guarantee suffering and pain, why not gt your helping in the Himalaya? How many non EB folks were in on first winter ascents of 8,000 foot peaks? IIRC it was almost exclusively Poles, no?