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About Norman_Clyde

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    old hand
  • Birthday 07/28/1962


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    Seattle, WA
  1. Trip: Ireland - South Peak of Skellig Michael Trip Date: 08/23/2017 Trip Report: Back in the summer I made a Hail Mary request for a partner to join me in Ireland to climb on the island of Skellig Michael. This is the place that was featured in the climax of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and will receive considerably more screen time in the soon-to-be-released Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. That's right, I was seeking a partner to fly with me across the Atlantic to Ireland, in order to climb a two hundred foot crag of undistinguished Class 4 sandstone. Not for the climb itself. Because high on the peak there is a secret hermitage, a series of ledges where an extremely badass monk (or more likely a succession of badass monks across several centuries) lived out his life alone on a crag, on a tiny sea island, full in the teeth of the Atlantic wind. It would certainly be technically possible to do this climb solo, with an acceptable margin of risk, except that access to this peak is strictly regulated, and in order to get approved, you have to have a partner - - although the agency in charge expects both of you to climb unroped. Strangely, no one at cc.com took me up on the offer. So 'I joined two mountaineering clubs across the Atlantic, one in Ireland and one in the UK, and posted on their partners forum. I got a couple of responses and worked out logistics with one Peter O'Toole. I had a three day weather window, and ended up needing all 3 days. On the third day, conditions were iffy. Peter was short on funds. It costs 75 Euro for a boat ticket to and from the island. At the last minute he bailed. But this was OK, because by then I'd come to know the guides on Skellig Michael (not climbing guides, guides to the heritage site there) and I knew they'd probably let me climb it alone. The head guide Claire said the rocks were still too wet. But before she could refuse me access, Brendan O'Connor from the lighthouse road crew stepped up and offered to join me as my guide. He had done plenty of high-angle rope work on South Peak and knew its routes by heart. I made it to the summit and, more important, was able to see the dwelling place of a real-life, historic Last Jedi. It's all here. First image = Skellig islands from the mainland. Great Skellig is the larger of the two. South Peak is the high point. Second image = view from the summit, looking eastward across Little Skellig toward the mainland. If you look closely you can see the drystone huts of the monastery on the right skyline across the gap. Gear Notes: Helmet Rope used in a few places, one person tied in by the waist and the other using natural pro, no anchors; mainly to ease the mind of the guide that granted us permission Approach Notes: Apply for permission to climb through Ireland's Office of Public Works Wait several months Fly to Ireland Drive several hours to village of Portmagee, County Kerry Take a boat to Skellig Michael -- tickets sell out in advance, but if you book at The Moorings, a B&B in town, they sometimes hold tickets in reserve for guests While you wait for the weather to clear, enjoy the freshest seafood you've ever eaten
  2. Howdy folks. Long time no post. I am seeking a partner for a climb of the South Peak of Skellig Michael in Ireland. [img:center]http://www.starwars7news.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Skellig-Michael.jpg[/img] [img:center]http://famouswonders.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Skellig-Michael.jpg[/img] Skellig Michael is a tiny island 10 miles off the Irish coast. A group of intrepid monks built a monastery on the island's North Peak in the early Middle Ages and eked out an existence there for 600 more years. The site has been in the news since it was used as a filming location for the Star Wars reboot The Force Awakens. The drystone beehive huts built by the monks were tailor-made to stand in for an ancient Jedi temple. Skellig will get more screen time in the upcoming 2nd installment, The Last Jedi. I visited Skellig in June of 2016. The experience was unforgettable. While I was there, I learned that there is an even more isolated hermitage on the island's steeper South Peak, a single hut and a series of narrow terraces set on cliffs. One needs basic mountaineering skills to reach it. This is the place I want to see. Access to South Peak is granted by application and is tightly controlled. Solo climbs are strictly prohibited. The route is short, only a few hundred feet, nontechnical but exposed, similar to class 3 or 4 alpine routes in the Cascades or Olympics. Ropes are not allowed. It is assumed that a person who asks to climb South Peak can make the simple moves and can handle the exposure. I plan to fly to Ireland just to go to the South Peak. Not for the climb so much as to stand in a place unique in human history. If any of you find this objective intriguing, please reply or send me a PM. If you know any European climbers I can tap for it, please share their contact info with me if you are willing. [video:youtube] Skellig Michael is a tiny island 10 miles off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland.
  3. Climbing essay "A Narrow Ledge" on Amazon

    Strong enough to give offense on TAY.com. I take issue with family men like me putting themselves in harm's way. I explain that my righteous indignation springs from personal guilt that I've played recklessly with my family's future. I speculate how the family of a dead climber must feel. The poster's issue is that I make these speculations in context of the death that occurred on Shuksan N Face this May. He says I should not assume to know how this man's family felt at the time. I can see his point. I have seen John Muir's grave. His body rests between two back yards in a Bay Area suburb. Couldn't say how deep he is under.
  4. My essay A Narrow Ledge has been released as a Kindle Single on Amazon. It’s about a Rainier climb I took this May, and also about how climbing has changed me as a person, how risk-taking strengthens the mind, when this risk-taking crosses into irresponsibility for a guy with a wife and kids, and my striving for the sweet spot (the narrow ledge) between safety and oblivion. CC.com and TAY.com both get a mention. I talk about the role these sites play in herding a scattered group of iconoclasts, fomenting friendly competition and (for some of us) subtly ratcheting up the pressure to go ever faster, lighter, steeper. I talk about what it’s like to learn of a friend or partner’s death on social media, which I have experienced on cc.com on more than one occasion. This essay is intended for the armchair adventurer. It is possible that inveterate cc.com hardmen may also find it a good read. Post comments on barronbrown.net, or send me a PM, or post a review on Amazon.
  5. Fast Hike to Muir 7/27

    Slight change in plans. Sunday instead of Saturday. All else the same.
  6. Fast Hike to Muir 7/27

    Considering a quick jaunt to Muir. I'm scoping out my capabilities for a fast 1 day climb in late season. Plan to travel light and hope to ascend in 2 hours or thereabouts. I'm open to continue to Cathedral Gap or the Beehive if interested (this would require consideration of a rope, plus climbing permit and fee).
  7. Found: Ice axe on Muir Snowfield 7/3/11

    Bump. I have also left word with MRNP.
  8. Axe was sitting in a glissade path. Most likely it came off of someone's pack while they were sliding. I lost an axe that way about ten years ago in Source Lake basin, posted about it here, so when someone found it two months later he was able to return it to me. I would love to return the favor. Describe the axe in sufficient detail and it's yours. Send a PM.
  9. The perfect Climber's Christmas gift

    Don't be caught in the cold without it
  10. Mt. Mystery question????

    Really nice photos. I climbed Mystery solo via the E. ridge but from a southern approach several years ago. Came in via Dosewallips before the road got washed out, camped at Sunnybrook Meadows, followed Del Monte Ridge from the South. Routefinding is far less straightforward from this side-- I had hoped to proceed straight up from the south, but ended up contouring and losing some altitude to gain the east ridge. Many, many loose rocks. Trundling was such an obvious risk that solo almost seemed an advantage. This approach is much more laborious, but quite secluded--not another soul to be seen from beginning to end. It stands out as a memorable trip.
  11. Nothing like spending time in the heights with interesting companions.
  12. Con Anditions on Muir snowfield

    Paradise is shockingly bare of snow as of today. Hardly a patch to be seen. Skinning was not an option below Pebble Creek. The only reasonable skiing was on the snowfield itself, which was not as bad as you might imagine: the hard boilerplate up high still took an edge, there was an almost forgiving section lower down, and very little breakable crust. A big lenticular descended and swallowed the peak at sunset, suggesting that conditions may change soon.
  13. Mount Olympus-Winter???

    This has been addressed in previous posts. A search would turn them up. Besides the obvious problem with Olympus being the first target for every single weather system hitting the NW, the approach trail crosses a large avy path. You will need a very long window of stable weather-- longer than you'd need to climb Rainier in winter-- in order to cross this area safely, summit, then cross safely again. Or you could look into alternate approaches, but the same factors are likely to apply.
  14. Fatboyed on Tahquitz Rock

    Downclimbing a few moves ought to be no more difficult than configuring and clipping in to a prusik. But then I hardly climb rocks anymore, so what do I know?
  15. Favorite 40+ mile hikes in WA/OR

    Loowit Trail around St. Helens. 31 miles, about 5000 vert, with plenty of deep pumice sand. Bring extra socks because the pumice dust will wear holes in your first pair within 10 miles. Not the most scenic terrain in the state, but some of the most unique.