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About Lepton

  • Rank
  • Birthday 01/14/1956


  • Occupation
    International Sales
  • Location
    Lake Forest Park, WA
  1. let's hear it...

    Two things accelerated my improvement. The first was having the opportunity to watch a good climber lead a hard route early in my career. What impressed me most was the tenacity that climber displayed, resting in a dubious position and working out the crux well above protection for over 30 minutes. The second thing that really helped me understand that I could do harder climbs was to change my boulder training from doing laps on routes I had wired, to really concentrating my sessions on working on a problem until I could do it. As I increased the difficulty of boulder problems I worked on I was soon able to include harder problems in my warm ups, and expand my repetoire of moves.
  2. Climbers & their Rules

    It's commonly accepted that these are the standard techniques for succeeding on climbs at or above one's limit, so it's understood that if someone says they climbed something "hard" (for them--be it 5.6 or 5.14), the assumption is that they had to work at it first. Otherwise, the ascensionist probably onsighted or flashed the route, and would no doubt say so. Your stupidly rigid standards for success on a hard climb would invalidate at least 99% of all standard-setting climbs of the last 20 years (30 years? 50 years?), and reflects a probable lack of experience on your part attempting and climbing hard routes. Working a route on TR or via relentless dogging, french-freeing, or rappel inspection has got nothing to do with using a step-ladder to drop a ball through a hoop. I think you have a valid point, that climbs on the cutting edge most often do require repeated attempts, falls, failures, etc. etc. It is all part of the process of learning your limitations and possibilities. Climbs accomplished on lead, from bottom to top, are still the standard of excellence I think that we all aspire to, don't you think? I believe the original post was more in reference to the question of what is defined as having "accomplished" a climb. Do you consider the "bastard knocked off" if you took a hangdog rest or two, or top roped it? I would think you would want to be proud of what you have accomplished, but also note you left room for improvement. If a climber reports to the community that he or she has "accomplished" a climb, in today's climbing scene what does that really mean? Let's suppose that there is a longstanding problem that many are trying over time and one person resorts to using any and all means to "do" the climb, announces it, names the route and claims the glory, without actually having climbed the whole thing from bottom to top in one go. Is that really a valid first ascent? Or suppose that someone comes along and top ropes the climb, would that be worthy of laying claim to being the first ascent and naming the route? I think that is the fundamental question, and the reason why climbers in today's "state of the sport" want to know the particulars of how a climb is done. P.S. Regarding my lack of experience, you may want to read the threads regarding the bolting of Dan's Dreadful Direct or my ode to Russell Machine and get back to me.
  3. Climbers & their Rules

    Well, I suppose if you get a step ladder and dunk a basketball then you can say that you are just as good as Michael Jordan in his prime.... ... hangdogging, toproping, aid grabs, rehearsing...that's all climbing with training wheels. Not to say that it is bad, but if you want to say you climbed something hard, then be honest with yourself and others regarding your accomplishments. Reminds of waiting at the base of Iron Horse while an aid climbing duo finished their wack at it, only to hear one of them exclaim excitedly, "We just did a 5.12!".....huh? Ja, just do it.
  4. Tsunami - Phi Phi, etc.

    Until about a week ago there was a Dutch based web site that had posted a series of photographs taken from one of the mountainside bungalows overlooking that narrow strip of beach land with all the hotel and shop development. The first photo showed the tranquil bay in the foreground of the previous post. The second and third photos showed the water being sucked out of the bay. The next photo is struck me with awe. It showed the wave breaking across the first line of palm trees on the near shore, approaching the first buildings. That image showed what I remember as a three layered wave that wasn't really breaking toward the land, but seemed to have a "reverse wave" about 50 yards behind the tallest landward wave, and that "reverse wave" was breaking in the direction away from shore. The reverse wave was about 1/4 the total height of the first wall of water hitting the shore. The water behind the wave was extremely turbulent. From that photo I would have to think that the total height of the initial wave was well over 30 feet, and I would not argue with a 45 foot wave. The next photo shows the wave nearly finishing its push across the entire width of that strip of land, then the last photo shows water draining into both bays. I don't recall any photos showing the 2nd or 3rd major tsunami's (there were a total of three). My friend reported that the water in the sea remained turbulent for hours after the tsunami's. One person my friend met helping in the triage they had set up in the local school yard had reportedly was body surfing before the tsunami hit, out in deeper water. He said that was swimming in deeper water when the initial "sucking" out of the water happened before the first tsunami came, and he was pull out about 1/2 to 1 mile from shore, right into the teeth of the tsunami. However, when he was sucked into the tsunami it was in water deep enough that it wasn't breaking. He had no choice but to swim hard in front of it and start riding the wave from a long distance to the shore. The wave carried him on a high speed ride to shore, and to him it seemed to accelerate as it approach shore as the wave was funneled between the mountains. He had no choice but to ride the wave from side to side and ride it THROUGH the streets, between hotels and palm trees, and entirely across the island, finishing his ride out to sea on the other side of the island. He was unharmed.
  5. Tsunami - Phi Phi, etc.

    I can't help but think about the amazing impact of the tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean last December. During the recent OR show I heard a few tales of survival that were pretty amazing. On Phi Phi Island I understand there were climbers on the beach when the waves hit. Some survived by clipping into the rock to prevent themselves from being washed out to sea. I spoke with a gentleman who was vacationing on Phi Phi with his wife and two teenage sons. They awoke late that morning after getting to bed late from a Christmas Day party the night before. His wife decided to go snorkeling at the beach while he and his sons got themselves ready to go down and meet her for breakfast at a sea side restaurant. Phi Phi island is small, with two rocky mountains joined by a narrow strip of beach that is about 200 yards wide and 800 to 1200 yards from mountain to mountain. They were staying in a bungalow on one of the mountains. As he was getting dressed he heard a tremendous roar and went out on the veranda with his sons, and was stunned to witness the tsunami rush in and completely over the strip of beach land that houses most of the development on Phi Phi. He watched hundreds of people dying. Then he realized his wife was down there snorkeling! He ran out and down the steps leading to the beach. There was only one person coming up the steps, and it was his wife. Her story of survival is amazing. She was snorkeling in hip deep water close to shore as she waited for her husband and sons. All of a sudden she was being pulled out to sea at a rapid pace, so she struggled to get to her feet. By the time she stood up she was in ankle deep water about 250 yards from shore. She turned around to see the wave on the horizon, realized what it was, and started running to shore, hoping to make it to the steps going up the mountain side. As she ran she was shouting at the other people on the beach to get out of there. Nobody else was running to safety. They were either standing and watching the incoming wave, or they were actually running after the receding water! By the time she got to dry sand she turned around and realized she didn't have time to make it the extra 150 yards to the steps leading up the mountain. She grabbed a beach towel and ran to the nearest palm tree and with seconds to spare tied herself to the tree with the beach towel and took a deep breath just as the wave hit. The water was so full of coral and sand that her skin was raw and bleeding afterward. She thought she was going to run out of breath and die, so she desparately shimmied up the tree with the beach towel still wrapped around her until her head popped above water. As soon as the water was low enough for her feet to touch ground again she untied from the tree and waded across to the steps, just before the second wave hit. Shortly after that her husband found her. She was the only survivor from that beach. They spent the next two days doing triage and recovering bodies, and were evacuated to Phuket and then to Bangkok. It amazes me that she had the presence of mind to think of using a beach towel for survival.
  6. Psycho Babble

    Sometimes in moments of great stress there is a phenomenon that has been referred to as "psycho babble", a torrent of verbage that can erupt from a person in unexpected ways. Climbing often has moments of stress, and twice I have encountered psycho babble when I was belaying. The first incident happened on the Glacier Point Apron in Yosemite. John W (real names are withheld to protect the innocent) and I were working on a mid 5.11 face climb that had a crux that was a tad run out and invited a 25 foot pendulum fall if you failed. I had had a go at it and sportingly logged some air time. I needed a rest so I gave the sharp end of the rope to John. He proceeded quickly to get to the crux and tried several maneuvers to step up onto the sloping little hold that was about shoulder height. Mantling it was no good, as my experience had shown. He eventually committed himself to stemming maneuver that allowed him to get his left foot up onto the hold, pushing off a small dihedral with his right hand. But as he pushed off to move over onto the ledge his right toe popped off a little nubbie and he was suddenly suspended horizontal to the ground, left foot on the slippery hold and right hand pushing on the dihedral, with his right foot flailing away in a comical manner. It just so happened that as he was in his horizontal position his eyes were focused...no...WIRED directly at my eyes as I held the belay rope ready to take up slack for his unavoidable fall. Then it happened. It began with an eiree high pitched whine. At first I thought some strange cricket was sounding off from a crack in the rocks up there somewhere. Then I realized the whine was coming from John. There he was, flailing away and whining like a hurt rabbit. Then he said, "Help!" moments before his flailing dislodged his left foot and he came zipping through the pendulum fall in an ackward position. I caught his fall and lowered him to the ground. "What was that?", I asked. "What do you mean?", he said. "That high pitched whining and you asking for help". "What are you talking about?" He never knew that he was making any sounds or had said anything. He still doesn't believe it to this day. The second time I encountered psycho babble was belaying George (again a fictitious name) on a 5.9 crack climb just uphill from Camp IV in Yosemite. It was his first attempt at a 5.9 and there were a few of us there to watch and give him support. When George reached the crux it required that he move from a secure hand crack into an offwidth bulge. George was a BIG man with limited flexibility and the move was very ackward for him. He placed protection above his head, then committed to the move. Then he got stuck. And then out poured the most amazing verbal tossed salad at a very high rate of speed and volume... "...FOOT! WHERE'S THE ... OH GOD! HELP! COME ON! HAND! GRAB IT! WHY WHY WHY! OH MY! FOOT! GET IT! HAND! WHAT THE!? ..." This went on for at least a full minute. During this time the small group of us witnessing the phenomenon were looking at each other, trying to hide our laughter. Finally George got into the squeeze chimney, wheezing, "Oh God! Oh God! Oh God". When he lowered to the ground one of his friends asked about what he was talking about up there. George never knew he had said a word, and denied it up to his early demise (RIP). Perhaps these moments merely represent the inner voice of fear that gets an outlet to reality beyond our conscious control. I find them fascinating and still think about those moments when life gets challenging. Sounding off in this manner in a business meeting may be a tad off the mark, though.
  7. Bolting Sport Routes

    Maybe I'm from another era, but doesn't "sport route" mean there should be some "sport"? I don't go hunting by tying the bunny to the ground spread eagle and firing away point blank, so why would I expect the first ascentionist of a route to provide hand rails and and a hoist? Folks, this is rock climbing. It is SUPPOSED to have an element of fear. If you need to get in some safe laps up the rock, then stay in the gym. If you want to challenge yourself to take on not only the difficulty of the rock but the added difficulty of controlling your fear, then get out on the crag and do these bold albiet safe routes. I have a nice used set of golf clubs for anyone that isn't up to the challenge...
  8. Twark Might

    P.S. Marc, if you read this, I'll take $500 to destroy that photo of you.
  9. Twark Might

    I know Marc Twight. Marc Twight is a friend of mine, and you're no Marc Twight. (honorable mention to Lloyd Bentsen)
  10. The correct way to tell the Koreans to hurry up would be "Balleewa!"
  11. first ascent Ice on Shuksan

    Paco, I am duly impressed. This climb is beautiful and from the pictures and your description I think it should become a late Fall or early Winter classic. Do you think that in mid-Winter there will be too much snow?
  12. Gondola on the Chief?

    Sounds like a perfect day to me. Free climb the wall, romp up to the top for steak and beer, ride the gondola down to the parking lot with a bevy of beautiful admirers. No painful slogging through the woods. Will they have drink trays for summiting climbers?
  13. Liberty Ridge Resort ?

    First of all, has anyone seen the proposed site and plan for development? If so, is it accessible from the web for review? IMHO if you are going to oppose this development only based on general principles that you are opposed to development of any kind near a park, then your position is weak. Personally, I am curious exactly where the development is proposed and what plans they have for the development. I have absolutely no problem with a resort in the vicinity of RNP as long as it does not impact sensitive drainages or create an ugly presence in hiking, camping, or fishing areas. If the resort is placed in such a way that it interferes with existing use of the land, or if there is environmental impact for salmon streams or other wildlife habitats, then there is a sound reason for either directly opposing the development or requesting a modification of the development to mitigate the damage. I think the climbing community would do a great disservice to itself to oppose this development without first doing due diligence with research about the development and have sound reasons for opposition. So, have any of you done research? Please share it with us.
  14. Middle Marking Ropes

    Ah, all you young wippersnappers. We old timers would just cut a notch in the middle of the rope, the white core showing through the sheath looked real pretty.
  15. Biggest Whipper!!!

    Terminal Gravity, I really enjoyed your post with your story buying Friends from Jardine. I have another, although not necessarily a whipper tale, an interesting perspective regarding Friends. On May 17, 1980 I summited the Nose of El Cap in a driving snowstorm. We got back to Curry, ate steaks, got drunk, then blitzed sleep until late the next morning. I remember laying on my back in the late morning, watching the patterns of shadows and sunlight on the walls of my tent, when suddenly somebody apparently hit the vibrator setting on the bed. After a moments confusion I realized we were having an earthquake. I decided just lay there and enjoy the ride, flat on my back, since there really wasn't any danger of the pine trees falling over or anything. There where whoops and hollars of excitement all around as climbers were digging on the volume of the earthquake's roar and watching incredible rock avalanches across the valley. After it finished I crawled out of my tent to see great billows of dust clouds hanging from the valley cliffs and to listen to the tales of those who witnessed the huge rock falls. Later we learned the earthquake was about 6.5 on the Richtor and centered in Bishop, about 30 miles away. After an hour or so climbers started returning to Curry with their stories of either being at the base of cliffs or on climbs during the earthquake. There were a number of near misses. I happened to be in a group of climbers with Ray Jardine nearby when a particulary harrowing story was told. I can't remember the name of the climb, but it is about a 4 pitch crack and layback in a right facing dihedral that is formed by a gigantic pillar of rock leaning against the cliff. The crux pitch is hard 5.10 starting as a finger crack and eventually expanding to fist or wider, with laybacking the final part to the belay ledge being the technique of choice. At that time it was common to have a single set of Friends on a rack to supplement our hexes, as the cost of Friends was such a shocking advance in the economics of climbing. Those with more funds may have had two sets, which they would display with all the pride of a hunter with a trophy. One climber told the story of being in the middle of that layback pitch, halfway through the runout layback section at the top. He had a single set of Friends, and had protected as usual, with several hex placements then a Friend, several hex placements then a Friend, etc. until he had his last and largest Friend at the top of the widening section in his hand, ready to place, when the earthquake struck. Imagine his horror as suddenly the entire pillar started to sway back and forth, out and in from the main wall, as he was in the middle of a layback. He looked down to see ALL of his hexes rattling down the rope, with only the Friends left in place (since they were expanding and contracting quite nicely with the flexing of the crack). He suddenly realized that his last Friend was about 60 feet below! He hung on for dear life with both hands until the earthquake subsided, slammed in the last Friend, then sprinted up the last 20' of the layback to the belay ledge. They quickly rapped off. Unfortunately the 3 Friends placed in the early part of the climb could not be retrieved, since as they expanded and contracted they had "walked" so far back into the crack they couldn't reach the triggers. When Ray Jardine heard this story he immediately GAVE the man a new set of Friends and asked for his testimonial for his marketing.