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About MichaelB

  • Rank
  • Birthday 04/16/1958


  • Occupation
    Environmental Project Mgr.
  • Location
    Olympia, WA
  1. Found: Gear at Exit 38, 6/16

    Jay: Sent you an e-mail to your hotmail address. - Mike
  2. Stuart - complete N. Ridge confusion

    Good choice. We stayed on the ridge and triggered a rock avalanche of refrigerator-sized boulders just below the summit ridge - lucky to escape with our lives.
  3. Stuart - complete N. Ridge confusion

    Just returned from climbing the complete N. ridge. We were similarily confused by the "Kearney" note, and followed a line similar to the blue line on your pic. We were also confused about the route along the ridge line from above the Great Gendarme, as we encountered slings and rap rings that indicated people rap into the gully W. of the Gendarme.
  4. Death at the Coulee

    Over the past ten years, I have climbed Air Guitar more than 200+ times. On Sat I returned to Sunshine Wall to climb Air Guitar with the intention of more closely evaluating gear placements on the route. I certainly would not attempt to evaluate the event that led to Goran's death, but I do consider myself qualified to evaluate this particular route. I do not believe the rock moved. Yes basalt columns do move over time, but the column that contains Air Guitar is well seated. The column is big, heavy, and the crack is reasonably solid for Vantage rock. As I already knew, the route does take cams very well. However, as seasoned basalt, crack climbers know, basalt cracks are rarely perfectly parallel, and contain numerous irregularities. Consquently, a cam carefully placed in a concave surface is very bomber, while a hastily place cam that even partially contacts a convex surface can and often does walk. Air Guitar and the nearby route, Pony Keg, both constrict as one reaches deeper into the crack. Ten feet below the Air Guitar anchor, one encounters a horizontal ledge. The hand crack just below the ledge will nicely take a carefully placed #3 camalot, or just one foot lower a more easily placed #2 camalot. The fist crack above the ledge likewise takes a well placed #4 camalot, however a #3 camalot placed in the fist crack will most likely pull because the crack does significantly flare at this point. Some climbers do find this last section to be a little tricky. Five pieces of well placed gear is reasonably run-out for a basalt crack of this length. The climber would face potential twenty foot falls, which should be considered a risky consequence on basalt. I normally place six pieces, even though I have the route "wired". Due to the recent event, I placed eight pieces, which still involved a 25 foot runout to the first piece. I sincerely extend my sympathy to the friends and family of Goran. - MikeB