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Everything posted by Norman_Clyde

  1. I agree with what you said in the other thread. The practitioner is probably more important than the practice. There are chiropractors with a lot of good common sense, and M.D.s who are intelligent but clueless. That is, there is a range from sensible to clueless in all healing professions, so if you're looking for a provider, be careful and go with a reference from someone you trust. Having said that, I should elaborate that the models of disease and treatment do vary quite a bit between professions, as do the abilities of each profession to police its own members. My impression is that most MD's are competent, but that too many are unpleasant individuals with no people skills who see human beings as "cases" or interesting intellectual exercises. And I've spoken to a few chiropractors who question germ theory. But I've also had excellent care from members of each profession.
  2. "We begin bombing in 5 minutes." Some 80's band even sampled it in a song.
  3. Previous commute, 1998 to 2003: three minutes by bicycle. I rode home for lunch most days. Current commute, 2003 to present: three different jobs, varying between 50 miles/one hour to 186 miles/three hours. The worst is Seattle to Ilwaco, WA, 177.5 miles including 72 miles of two-lane, winding Hwy 101 stuck behind logging trucks in the rain. And yes, I chose to quit the job 3 minutes away to take the jobs 3 hours away. The advantage is that the shifts I commute to are 24 to 48 hours long. Six hours driving to 48 hours of work is sort of like driving half an hour one way to an 8 hour workday, or maybe a little better since much of the driving I do is more scenic than city traffic. When I work in Sunnyside, I can't swing a 24 or 48 hour shift there, but instead work a series of 12's (two or three) and stay at the inn across the street, expenses paid. Less than ideal, but the pay is good enough to make it worthwhile, at least once a month. One of my colleagues at Sunnyside drives there from Point Roberts, which he tells me is five hours' drive. He also works shifts in Salem, OR which is six and a half hours one way. At this point, my commuting miles add up to about 20K per year: tolerable, but a lot more than I'd like. I'm always on the lookout for a closer job. I've considered moving, but the family is not keen on it. Also I'd have to whittle the work down to just one place, since right now the three places are all in different directions from Seattle.
  4. "...Moose...Indian..." -Henry David Thoreau "...Fred Astaire..." -George Gershwin
  5. All this time I've been wondering if I really knew what a clownpuncher was. Looks like I was right. My summer training: Run in the daytime, run in sunshine. Climb once in a while, less often than I want to. My winter training: Run in the dark and the rain. Once in a while remember to hang from the holds I bolted to the treehouse. Ski a few times a month if I'm lucky.
  6. I think Fitzgerald said he didn't charge anyone with the crime of outing Plame because the law says it's only a crime if you do it on purpose, and there was not enough evidence to pin it on any one person making the name public "on purpose". Not that he was sure no crime was committed, but that he was not going to have evidence to prove it so he didn't charge anyone.
  7. Did I tell you about my epic muffpointing of Washboards at Peshastin?
  8. Skis laid out on the pumice... I'm beginning to salivate... enter SKY, stage left! Right on cue! Most excellent work, guys.
  9. If you all think dying after a 1000 foot fall, or drowning, is worse than dying in bed-- think again. A lot of people that die in bed do so by drowning from within, on their own fluids. Sorry to burst the bubble, but it's best to know. Even if you live to be really old and then die a non-traumatic death, it's a matter of chance and luck whether you suffer or not. A few seconds of terror are probably not very nice, but in perspective--it's only a few seconds. Even a few hours of slow freezing in a crevasse is probably no worse than the physical distress of all kinds of "ordinary" deaths that happen all around us every day. I remember a conversation with ChucK at a pub club a few years back where we were discussing the crevasse idea. I'm pretty sure that if that happened to me, I'd be thinking what Stefan was thinking when his rappel anchor failed: "My wife is going to be really pissed." The mental pain scares me more than the physical. But in the case of the mountaineer, neither is likely to last too long.
  10. She meant no one in my family would forgive me. Then she said "But it's all right," i.e. go ahead and keep climbing, which sounds like a contradiction; but that's sometimes how life is. Sky, I don't remember the Latin, but you are definitely not no one. Eras algo. Though I hope you don't have to exercise it, forgiveness is appreciated.
  11. Anyone without a family that depends on them (emotionally, financially, whatever) IMO can take risks with fewer regrets. I am making the baseline presumption that the biggest impact of the climber's death is not on the climber but on those he/she leaves behind. If you buy this idea, this means that a person's death at age 30 or 40, leaving a spouse and kids behind, has a greater human cost than a person with fewer responsibilities dying at age 18, or 25, or whatever. I am not seeking to measure one person's grief over another's. I owe a debt to each of the people who have honored us on this page by sharing their stories of loss. I have been fortunate enough not to have lost any close friends to climbing yet, and make no claim to speak as a survivor. I do believe that the absolutely worst time for me to take risks was when I had several young children under age 5. That period (which has not been over for long) was the busiest and hardest phase of my life so far. Apparently social science data bears this out as a general trend (exceptions apply, obviously). If I had vanished with no notice, leaving behind the legacy of "My fun recreation was more important to me than all the years of struggle now before you," the manner of my departure would probably generate lifetime of bitter feelings in all the people I care about the most. I didn't expect to feel this way in my forties, but without counting my chickens, already I have a certain amount of relief that I survived that period without mishap. My wife still says "If you die climbing, no one will ever forgive you. That's just a fact."
  12. Well put, Jason. Muffy, the lyric you're looking for is by Guy Clark, a Texas songwriter. I almost posted another line from the same song in my first post on this thread: "In life as in love, I need to remember:/There's such a thing as trying too hard.". He goes on to say: You've got to sing Like you don't need the money Love like you'll never get hurt You've got to dance Like nobody's watching It's got to come from the heart If you want it to work.
  13. I don't like the old line "at least he/she died doing something he/she loved." If this is the only good thing we can say in the face of a climber's death, it's pretty feeble. You could say the same of every accidental drug overdose. But IMO there is something true behind these words. I think what people are trying to say is "His death was consistent with the life choices he made." That is, the person died as the actor, not as the acted upon. It's much easier to cope with the helplessness of being mortal, if at least we can make some of the rules we live by. Dying because one willingly went into danger seems better than dying because one was forced into a dangerous situation. But for most of us, our daily lives are pretty safe. If you die while taking out the garbage, does that somehow compound the tragedy? If you die in a car wreck while on an important errand, is that less sad than if you die on a drive you took for more frivolous reasons? I don't particularly like all the driving I have to do for work. I don't fool myself that it's just as dangerous as climbing (though the recent climber's death by logging truck gave me pause). But if I die behind the wheel coming or going from work, then I died "doing something I loved", because I love the life I have, where the work is challenging and rewarding and I get to enjoy my time off with my family, or climbing. If you are getting it right, your life is all of a piece, and what you're doing when you die is irrelevant.
  14. I just arrived home from an utterly grinding 24 hours in the ER, my head spinning with thoughts and images of death and fear. When you're severely sleep deprived, as I am currently, it's sometimes hard to make emotional sense of events-- yet sometimes this state of exhaustion seems to bring clarity. As I drove home, I knew I needed to write down some of the thoughts I was having; but I didn't know that cc.com would provide such a neat forum of communication. Several of the thoughts already expressed in this short thread are among the best I've read anywhere on the subject of climbing, risk, and the climber's responsibility to others. Someone should start collecting them for a book (maybe I will!). IMO, climbing is no more egotistical than most activities directed toward self-gratification. Climbers are out there for themselves, not others-- just like bowlers, fisherpeople, model railroad enthusiasts: most climbers are no more callous than everyone else in balancing altruism and self-interest. For the "average" climber, in my estimation the assumption of risk is not much different from the model railroad enthusiast who eats too much and never exercises. By this measure, anyone who smokes tobacco is incrementally more selfish than a climber, because there is no way to mitigate tobacco-associated risk. Tobacco erases more life-years than climbing ever will. After a close call on the unnamed glacier beneath Forbidden's W. Ridge in 1996, I spent about six months of intermittent brooding on this subject. One of the more disturbing things about this close call was that none of our party had any clue of what was coming before it happened (the tongue of the glacier busted up and slid away under our feet as we stood on it). Prior to that event, I had fooled myself that I was conscious of all the risks I faced, therefore able to control them. This is wishful thinking and denial. Just as there is always a car across the yellow line that could end you instantly, in the mountains there is always a rock ready to fall. I was glad I had the chance to recognize this while having the chance to keep on living. Eventually, I decided that I would keep climbing. I try not to be callously stupid about what I choose to do in the mountains, and I try to keep the relative risks balanced with the risks and burdens of my family/working life. That seems fair to me. If I gave up on daring pursuits, I would feel so defeated by modern insipid existence, I'd be hopeless and lost, I would despair. I'm one of those who feel that late 20th and early 21st century life has lost its moorings. I can't wrestle meaning from it. I don't exactly wish I lived in another time, but I do feel much better suited to another sort of life. A longer life is not inevitably better. Harder and shorter might actually be all right, if something in that life gives it meaning. It's a little like how our immune systems work. There is evidence that the dramatic increase in asthma and autoimmune diseases is due to the lack of immune system challenges in our modern hygienic environment. Our immune systems have spent millennia learning to fight off nasty microorganisms: now, they don't have enough to do, and they end up getting restless and stirring up trouble. [some studies suggest that parasitic intestinal infestations, like tapeworms, can actually reduce symptoms of asthma.] I am not proposing that we turn the clock back. We can't. (If I thought we could, maybe I would propose it.) We would not get a healthier population leading longer lives. It's just that all the wonderful benefits of our long, cushy modern existence come with a price. I submit that, like our immune systems, our spirits have evolved to cope with a different life than most of us are leading. A shorter life, perhaps more loaded with unexpected grief and pain, might in fact be more what the spirit expects. Not necessarily what every spirit needs-- but maybe what the spirit expects. In this country, where we rarely lose the young, most people can pretend they are safe until they get old. Then when they're old and can't pretend any more, they seem ill prepared emotionally for their situation. The vast majority don't want that kind of preparation, either: they want me to help them keep pretending. Work in the ER is a lot like holding back the incoming tide. I flurry about, moving people to ground a foot or two higher, giving them a little more time to watch the waters rise. Rarely am I allowed to say, "Sorry, but there is no rescue boat coming. Maybe we should take a minute to think about that." I've read enough accounts of families coping with a loved one's death in the mountains to know that it's very hard on those left behind, harder than the seemingly random deaths that occur in the human-defined realm. This probably does make climbers a little more selfish than others, if they don't do some work with their loved ones to assert their priorities in life and explain themselves. At least where spouses are concerned, if one can't accept a climber's choices, this gives them the chance to opt out of the relationship. Children will have a tougher time, since you can't exactly opt for different parents. I suppose the least a climber with kids can do is to explain himself/herself to the kids old enough to understand, and to write a letter or make a video for those too young to do so. Climbing is a way of facing that there is no rescue boat coming. It keeps me honest about life. I climb, as I pursue other similar activities, because when I’m engaging with “the congruent world that just doesn’t care” I feel more deeply connected with the whole of material existence. I get a sense I’m doing part of what I’m here on Earth to do. It's ironic, I know, that it takes a dangerous play-activity to keep me in touch with reality. But this game helps me to stop pretending. And in the process, it makes me more alive.
  15. There is a previous thread on this subject which you might want to look up. A primary issue is that the usual route to the mountain crosses several big avalanche paths. Getting there would be more than half the fun.
  16. Better drill some holes in the handle, or you'll be hauling excess weight.
  17. Norman_Clyde


    Please tell me they didn't teach you this in chiropractic school.
  18. I finally got there via Mineral Creek on Friday. The irony is not lost on me that I drove an additional 110 miles round trip (past Snoqualmie to Roslyn, Cle Elum Lake, Cooper Pass Rd, etc.) in order to avoid an additional 10 miles of hiking. Weather was exceedingly pleasant. I hiked the PCT to the western aspect, then scrambled the most likely looking gully. It was still the wrong one, but as I was no longer climbing on instrument rating, I could make my way down to the saddle on visual. Chikamin's eastern aspect is more aesthetic than the western, but I descended to the west anyway, because my time was short. I was not able to read the names on the rock. I did a search on NWHikers.net and found a highly informative post by HarryMajors that not only explains the names, but provides historical background. Link Anyone who aims for the summit of Chikamin is advised to do so either for historical interest (i.e. the rock) or for the view (which is excellent), because the climbing is not particularly pleasant. One can climb Chikamin in one day from either Snoqualmie or Mineral Creek, but it might be more fun to camp in the Spectacle Lake area and climb several peaks in a long weekend; Chikamin, Lemah, Chimney Rock, Summit Chief would be reasonable day climbs all from the same properly situated camp. Perhaps one day I will take such a trip, though for October I have only single days off and have had to fit my alpine jaunts into six and eight hour periods.
  19. The rudeness trend is going to be mighty hard to reverse-- because it's so much easier to be rude.
  20. That approach is quite a bit more direct. I may give it a go tomorrow.
  21. Yes, it is possible; that is the route I took for my first two attempts. It may be a little shorter because, unlike the PCT, it lacks switchbacks. The trail goes straight up the valley, crosses the creek, then becomes very primitive and slow, side-hilling through vine maple, more like glorified bushwacking. Then it proceeds straight up a steep buttress to Joe Lake, after which you can traverse up grassy slopes to the PCT. Though it may be shorter, the Gold Creek approach is more work. Snow is not a factor at this date. I'm still extremely irritated that I didn't bring the map, or at least study it beforehand. If I had just hiked another quarter mile, reaching the saddle would have been a cakewalk.
  22. Two bolts on Washboard somehow ended up under my feet on the way up. How did that happen?
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