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Everything posted by Cairns

  1. Dog Days Wednesdays

    quote: Originally posted by Dru: Seems to me that Wednesday is the cruelest day of the week. if you could define one day of ideal climbing - the best climbing day of your life - what would happen on that day? What would you do? With what and with who would you climb? This will be my second night of work this week so I guess this is my Tuesday, and I work Fri,Sat, and Sun nights, so that can't be my weekend. I don't know if days or life can be cruel, but something must be going on because the fantasies described heretofore soothed me. Good prescription, Dru. Good medicine, all. I can't define an ideal day, so I'll try for a good-enough one. That's how a parent needs to think, sometimes. South Africa, Northern Province. Oscar Wolfarht. Some of Oscar's friends "spent 3 days on the rock without getting to the top". We don't really even know where the crag is, just that it must be too big to miss. We leave our car in the care of the king of the nearest village. Three hours later we are lost and crawling on hands and knees under thorn trees. We find a trail as night surrounds us and follow it to a meadow where we sleep. In the morning Oscar trades 3 cigarettes for water and info from a local. We get lost again and meet another local out searching for his cattle. He is carrying an axe and we understand why his cattle are trying to avoid him. He points us in another direction and we find the cliff. A helicopter flies overhead. Oscar gets excited because there is a radio installation on top of the mountain and the weekly maintenance visit is a fabled party time. We don't know, however, whether the heli was arriving or leaving. We drag our way through more thorny vines to the base. We reconnoiter. No signs of earlier climbing. We decide to see what the climbing is like and start up at 4pm. After 6 steep but moderate pitches we reach the top. All we have with us are a few hard candies. We need water. We're pretty high up and it's cold. We start for the radio station and get there just at dark. No one is at the station and it is very well protected against forced entry. There are a couple of metal huts nearby and on one of them the door opens to show a bare concrete floor. The door of the other hut is locked. We discover that we can pry up the locked door until the hinges unseat. Inside the second hut are cots, water, a stove, huge quantities of powdered non-dairy creamer, and some old newspapers. We brew batches of Cremora, then lie on the cots with the newspapers spread over us, and the stove going at the slowest burn we can get from it. We almost get warm enough to sleep. As we head back to the top of the climb next morning we notice a line of bolts, well spaced, leading up an overhanging bluff. It looks way hard. Could it be Wolfgang Gullich? He was here. Far and away the most remote sport climb I ever expect to see. Just one lonely climb. We rap back to the base and as we get there an Africa-hard thunderstorm lets loose. We hide out under an overhang and admire the discharges which could kill us at any moment. On the walk back out we pass a hut which has a necklace of cattle bones strung under its eaves. The next week Oscar and I were at Cedarberg, a climbing area outside of Johannesburg. It rained all night and we had no protection from it. Since then any climbing day when I stay dry is near enough ideal for me. Cairns
  2. Where are the GREATS???

    quote: Originally posted by Rodchester: This is an excerpt from a private e-mail meessage I received. I feel guilty just through association with this website. Guilt by association works for some very high-class types like Mark Twain who was going to have us all drowned when he got to the higher authorities. For more run-of-the-mill types like me, it doesn't work. Just because some humans eat babies or steal books from the library doesn't mean I do. I do worry some about being infected by the evil thoughts of others on this site, but learning that Jim Nelson may be around makes it worth the risk. Thanks, Dru.
  3. Where are the GREATS???

    quote: it was quite tempting, but what I really enjoy is sitting around the campfire or chatting on a bulletin board At least when the company is good or the them are bad or we realize how ridiculous we look. Truth is humor, humor truth; well said, big guy.
  4. Attention Old-Schoolers

    quote: Originally posted by JayB: What's the oldest piece of gear that you use and why do you stick with it? Still do the job? Sentimental reasons? That would be the Clan Robertson gear sling, Early Pleistocene. It still holds gear but my only sentiments about it are hostile and I probably stick with it because some voodoo doll of me somewhere has it stitched on.
  5. Mountaineers

    quote: Originally posted by Dru: The reason I asked the original question (do Spokane Mountaineers = seattle Montaineers AKA THE MOUNTAINEERS) is because one of the Spokane group told me they were totally different. But in terms of behaviour, they seem to perform exactly the same (ie swarm popular areas with huge hordes.) SO i wondered what the difference was? Aside from minor differences in coloration the key distinguishing characteristic is smell, acquired from communal gathering places and diet.I know a good climber who came through the Seattle Mountaineers. He could have been like Messner were it not for that early handicap. The danger field is so intense I nearly became a victim of it just by looking through the Mountaineers' Intermediate Climbs Guide. Back to the smell. The women develop synchronized menstrual cycles and the men have suppressed androgen levels except for the alpha who becomes exaggeratedly obnoxious.
  6. quote: Originally posted by Dr.E: Come to think of it, I have a batch of booty beaners that are worthless but I can't make myself throw away. I wouldnt trust them to rap off, who knows their history? Been meaning to alert climbing public to Bonatti blue gate left at some rap point on Burgundy Spire this September by Slovenian friend who borrowed it from me. Said artifact was purchased '68 from Charlie's in Boston (MA) back when you could still spit across the EMS showroom down the street. Best piece of gear I owned.
  7. How Come....???

    Throw in the rumor that Alan Kearney did not report many of his FAs.
  8. How Come....???

    quote: Originally posted by Cpt.Caveman: Hey Cairns how do you report them? Nowadays a Joe Schmo does not know how to contact authors This was a big mystery to me, too. The answer came indirectly. Something was clearly wrong about the North Face route on N Early Winter Spire. What to do? What to do? In hindsight I think it was my tremendous abilities at mental breakthrough but it could equally well have been someone saying, "Why not give the FA a call?" That was the answer! The telephone book! Greg Markov answered the phone and cleared the matter up. Guidebook authors, to be sure, will often call you. Please direct them to the nearest randomly chosen cc'er. Cairns
  9. old timers

    quote: Originally posted by Dru: Semi-legendary nurse ANDY CAIRNS was seen posting here lately on the Beckeyisms thread... Dru, why you raising personalities issues? For a start I try self-appreciating humour, then balance with self-deprecating, then will move on to more fertile name-calling and poking fun at others. At least my name is alias and vice versa.
  10. Calling Big Lou

    From the first reports of Big Lou sightings I knew this forum wouldn't let me down. I remember the launch party for Mariah Magazine in Chicago when I actually stood next to Henry schmoozing with Royal, but was unable to get anywhere near the star attraction who gave the A-list crowd a thrilling slide show on his expedition to K2, the one which overcame many unspeakable ordeals on the approach march alone, only to be defeated high on the mountain when a high-altitude porter had a bad case of worms. Triumph and tragedy; Big Lou a legend to rival Greek myth. You are so right that those of us who are nonlegends, or less, nonentities, will scatter like leaves when he comes.
  11. Old timers

    quote: Originally posted by Dru: I think Reinhold Messner said, nowadays he wouldn't be able to climb hard new routes on the Dolomites, but when he was 20 he wouldn't have had the staminas and determination to ski across Antarctica... No word on at what age he started seeing the Yeti everywhere though Let's see...leafing through the incunabulum..."Brett Brown" on the UW Red Square exhaust chimneys...letters from Jeffrey L. Smoot...Stephenson Equipment catalogs (oops, too early)...aha! Here it is. Happy Mom has 6-lb. boy - in giant fish tank! Famed mountain climber comes face to face with Bigfoot - and lives! Oyster-eating gramps is a proud papa - at 94! Yes, that's Reinhold Messner's mug on the front of Weekly World News, December 16, 1986.
  12. Beckeyisms

    I like, "A route on this intimidating face has been avoided for many years but was climbed by Andy Cairns and Bill Thompson in July 1985."