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About Bryan_Burdo

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  1. Globe & Mail Article on Slesse

    When I climbed Navigator Wall with Pete Doorish (almost 20 years ago!??!!), we camped below the South Peak. I never saw any "Bone Cairn", but there was plenty of debris. I remember being most struck by a compact leather kit. I unzipped the top and opened it to find an electric shaver, it's cord neatly coiled around it. I thought about how some businessman had meticulously laid it out on a bed the morning of the flight. The sense of small-scale order amongst the chaos was a last flicker of humanity that we were privileged to find, and replace respectfully. Near the top of the climb, on the third day, we noticed a massive amount of wreckage, including what looked to be a tail section, on the southern satellite summit, climber's left of the South Peak. Does anyone have information of the exact impact point of the crash? I remember being astonished at so much material being so precariously perched that high on the mountain. It looked like it must have been strongly embedded by the impact. Finally, on the descent, there was yet more debris on the col above where we saw the wreckage, south of the South summit. It was here that, amongst some wiring and electronics, I reached down and picked up a three-inch diameter ring of metal. On it was inscribed the points of the compass. It was a floating compass, used for general navigation, usually mounted above the dashboard in the cockpit. Considering the real serendepity in linking that route together, sometimes tenuously linking disconnected crack systems on a large and ever-steepening wall, I felt like I was drawing a bit into my personal bag of karma that trip. Amid the ruggedness of the situation, there was a benevolence of happenstance, as the weather was perfect and the route unfolded wonderfully (this karma came to a dramatic end on the East face of Steinbock a few days later, but that's another story). It's hard to put a finger on any direct connection of our climb and ouselves with the tragedy, although the coincidence of the accident's occurence only a few weeks before I was born is one tiny thread. We were definitely involved in a positive psychic connection up there that weekend. I like to think that it was mainly the bond of friendship between me and Pete, which endures to this day, but if there were spirits still lingering up there, they were smiling with and upon us as we made passage.
  2. Mark- great trip report as usual. Looks like some great climbing and I look forward to checking it out next season. It was great to see you guys up there all enthused'n stuff. Almost as good as our FB sighting.
  3. Bob- Looking at what I wrote: "300' of downclimbing", I see the problem. What I meant was 300' loss of elevation, rather than 300' of travel. I will make the correction (and a photo should help considerably). I did include a locator diagram that indicated that you had to descend the step below the middle of the face, but it was a small picture. On the other hand, maybe you just couldn't resist jumping on the first "butt cheeecks" you came across?
  4. R&B, you guys were almost certainly on Midnight Ride (gets morning sun, unlike W Face), or maybe somebody's exploratory line nearby. Did you see tat hanging off the bolted stations above? Mike Schwitter placed a few bolts/pins on MM, but I seriously doubt any mashy/bashy stuff. I've never heard of a second ascent of that one, it's pretty runout, according to MS.
  5. Single pitch trad climbing dumb?

    Back in the (Goldline) day, when for me climbing was a means to getting up stuff a lot bigger than say, a building, we were driving by Castle Rock on the way to the N. Ridge of Stuart. I made the error of referring to Castle as a "Practice Area". My much more experienced partner duly chastised me, saying that shorter, technical climbs were worthy summits in their own right. A year later, after a trip to Josh and TR-dogging my way up Brass Balls on said Castle, I had a visceral conversion to what he was talking about. On a road trip spring '05, I climbed for a week in JT, and did one sport route among many pitches of gorgeous cracks. Comparing a tour of high quality single-pitches in a day to a long, multi pitch is apples and oranges. And though I love my Sporty overhangs, a day of moderate gear-battling gives me an excellent buzz and helps fill out the memory bank accounts properly. But yeah, I suspect that Jens is a little "under the bridge" with this thread....
  6. gym to outdoors / top-rope to multipitch

    Yeah, Matt, that's the method. Definitely an alternative, not a primary for newbs or anything. However, since most newer climbers are used to working with handling autobelay devices, that hurdle is reduced considerably. When using the "hybrid" (ATC+Gri) team method, the first can just tie off the rope, then the second sets up per usual. In summary, single side rappel is most usueful for the following: -Very exposed or free rappels -Substantially diagonal raps -When you want to deal with debris/obstacles/anchors w/both hands free -Situations of serious fatigue, weather, etc.. Other situations offer not as much advantage, see tradeoffs as per weight. As a local (Mazama) example, I would tend to use a Gri for Prime Rib, Restless Natives (free raps), but an ATC for Sysiphus, Inspiration (lower angle, straight raps).
  7. gym to outdoors / top-rope to multipitch

    Tradeoffs. Security vs. weight. You have to ask: how involved/steep are the rappels? Are there long and/or hard lead pitches where the extra security of an autobelay is valuable? Are the extra few ounces going to impede the team efficiency, and is that even a factor in the overall success, since not every trip is at the limit of speed and efficiency? One Gri-Gri in a party of two halves the extra weight; leader belays second w/ATC. The extra ounces MAY be worth it. Everybody and every climb has their own calculus. Those young women on Condor probably would have been safer with a Gri-Gri (properly used), but there are many instances where the advantage is nil or negated (i.e. fast, light alpine).
  8. gym to outdoors / top-rope to multipitch

    I have found, through extensive experimentation, that by far the safest rappel configuration is the single-strand method with a Gri-Gri (reference Petzl instructions and practice under controlled conditions first!). The degree of control of descent, and freedom of movement in a "hands-off" mode (e.g. to deal with rope issues, scope out route alternatives, or clearing debris) trump all other methods, in my book. Believe me when I say that I have stretched the use envelope with this device to parchment-thin, and it has performed like a thoroughbred. Nowadays on the occasions when I rappel with a non-autolocking device, I am fairly gripped, and on orange alert for any Murphy's Law scenarios (not a bad thing, necessarily). The caveat, of course, with the single-side rappel, is the pull down. On steep, relatively clean rock, the linking quickdraw between the ropes and the bulkier knot are usually non-issues, but obviously in choppier terrain the chances of snagging are greater. A good compromise in these situations is for the first to use the Gri-Gri, setting the rap course, then the second rappels double-strand, (after testing the pull-down, of course). This is a very current topic for me as just a few days a go I finished setting a two-pitch 5.11 with a very "tricky" rappel- a full 30m in length and most of it free, with the last 10m kick-swinging to a hanging stance of "space station" that is well-off the line of the route itself. Needless to say, there will be prominent beta-note on that one in the guidebook! Another little-discussed aspect of rappels is the timing of the "snap" as the end approaches the anchor. This is definitely an acquired skill, but once mastered, it can minimize the epicicity factor massively. In many decades of this business, I have yet to have to engage in the re-ascent or abandoning of a rope section due to snagging after a pull-down (I have plenty other types of rope-ascent FUBARS to keep the campfire burning late, of course). Along this line, has anyone else had luck with backfilling potentially ravenous cracks, horns, etc. with rocks/debris, etc. to prevent snagging? I have even snapped off a few hungry-looking veggie-gargoyles in order to keep the rope falling happily (insert cringing eco-emoticon here). As usual with climbing, paranoia is simply a more complete awareness of the possibilities. I long ago used up any luck I was given at the outset.
  9. [TR] Goat Creek Wall- Prime Rib 10/9/2005

    Now Matt, be fair... I said that The Shield should only be bolted if it fell within the parameters of my proposal to gridbolt El Capitan on a 3' x 3' layout.
  10. [TR] Goat Creek Wall- Prime Rib 10/9/2005

    Thanks for the "BTW" about the date, OW! I suppose the chances of the original poster reading all of this is slim, but at least the info is here for those that might be interested in doing the route in the future. I think that the original concerns voiced were sincere, and I can certainly see why the questions arose. I certainly am not inclined to "spray" bolts (though that, I realize, is a matter of opinion) where they aren't needed by the intended users, in this case beginner-to-intermediate multi-pitch sport climbers. Certainly I plan to put in more routes on GW that fall more to the "adventure" side of the equation (in addition to those already in place), but Scott and I wanted to provide a friendly "introduction" route to the area, and from the general feedback, I reckon we succeeded. Thanks from both of us to all who have relayed their encouragement. The Methow Valley was absolutely stunning today in the October sun with a fresh dusting of white!
  11. [TR] Goat Creek Wall- Prime Rib 10/9/2005

    I put up "Prime Rib" last year, with the help of Scott Johnston. Our intent was to provide an *entry-level* multi-pitch sport climb, instead of an "adventure" climb, of which there are plenty in this area. My thanks to Chris for clarifying some of the rationale for the bolting pattern we used. My first caveat is that if you are a solid 5.9 (or harder) leader, and are looking primarily for alpine-style adventure, this is probably not the climb for you. As Chris noted, "Inspiration Route" would be more suited to this type of experience. As to route specifics: -I believe that the pitch taken into account as "puzzling" is the 10th, or second-to-last, pitch, which as noted, is mostly 3rd/4th class with a few moves of moderate 5th. This pitch also traverses along the top of an overhanging wall. If the second were to come off at several points on this pitch (yes even on "easy" terrain), the result would be a potential swing over the lip of the steep face below (this situation also applies to the 9th pitch as well, but the climbing there is more sustained and obviously exposed). So if this (10th) pitch were being followed by a novice, with say a conventional 20-foot runout on 4th-class climbing, and they were to misstep at the wrong point, they would potentially pitch off over the edge and be immediately put into a dire rescue situation, where moments before the seriousness of their position would be inobvious, to say the least. Hence the "guide bolts", which are optimized for the second, not the leader. - At almost any point on this climb, getting off route by even as little as ten feet can be a very serious mistake, as loose rock abounds everywhere that hasn't been "swathed" by the (multi-week) cleaning process. Couple this with the winding nature of the route, the many short steps and overhangs which impair visiblity, etc., etc., and the result is that in order to have a safe climb for mutiple parties, many of whom may be inexperienced in multi-pitch routefinding, yes there will be many bolts. In fact, often too many bolts for the taste of an experienced leader used to longer runouts on say, Squamish- or Darrington quality granite, where wandering about on tricky but choss-free slabs is part of the luster of the experience. We took great pains to avoid exposing parties to rockfall generated by parties above, and part of this strategy involved putting bolts where they kept people "on route". Also, as Chris noted, the bolts on otherwise easy climbing often is necessary to keep the rope from engaging loose rock. - Several of the cruxes on this climb seem to be very height-dependent, and a tall climber may find nothing harder than 5.8, and be wondering why their are bolts so closely spaced. Another, shorter, climber, for whom the (reachy) 5.9+ move is at their limit, may be glad that they won't potentially deck on the ledge 10 feet below them as they pull a steep crux. "Clip 'em or Skip 'Em" definitely applies. If you really want to impress your climbing partner, I suppose that you could rack up only a few draws for each pitch, and earn your hardman points in that way. You would still be getting a lot more clips (and a lot cleaner rock) than when I initially reconned the route with only shoes and a chalkbag. A detailed topo of this route and many others in the "Goat Rocks/Dome/Creek Wall" area will be available in the form of my guidebook coming out in spring '07.