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CascadeClimber

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CascadeClimber last won the day on March 14

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About CascadeClimber

  • Rank
    old hand
  • Birthday 10/14/1918

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  • Homepage
    www.cascadeclimber.com
  • Occupation
    Consultant
  • Location
    200' below the top of Charity
  1. Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

    I believe this often starts from "That's all there is, so go". I've been in on those quite a few times. When what there is (or isn't) is all there is, accepting the situation and making a thoughtful choice is all there is to do. And, I've seen that morph into "good enough" when there was more to be had. IMO, a good climbing partner will call that out on me and be thankful when I did the same for them. Complacency kills.
  2. Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

    My experience with reports and pits are that they are far, far too generalized to helpfully predict conditions that are highly localized. You can dig a pit that is entirely solid, go 50 feet around a corner and get the chop from a wind slab. In some ways, people with a ton of education about avy risk assessment seem to get into more trouble because they become over-confident about the accuracy of what I see as severely flawed assessment procedures.
  3. Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

    FWIW, I don't have any metrics on my personal web site and I don't have any ads. Never have. Primarily for two reasons: To resist the temptation to make it about popularity and to keep my motivations more grounded (i.e. not about money). I've been asked to write for money and declined, for the same reasons. I've seen Ed Viesturs talk. I walked out thinking, "That was boring". And compared to someone like Twight, what Ed has to say decidedly lacks drama. If shit looked or felt bad, he went home. And you're right: That crew tends to live longer in more obscurity. Is there a right or wrong option? Not in my opinion. Just choices with consequences. Jberg and Willis Wall. I'd looked up at both for a long, long time. Started dreaming of Willis when I read about the "Traverse of Angels" in Beckey. It sounded like a place I wanted to be. The Jberg route...to spend that much time moving across terrain entirely untraveled by other humans. After just three of them, I can so easily see why Fred became obsessed with FAs; it's as different an experience for me as gym vs. alpine climbing. No guide book, no topo, no route description, no looking for tat or cairns or rap stations or anything. An entire category of distraction from just being in the place in the moment falls away. My ego did revel in the sharing of what we'd done, yes. And, I don't recall ever thinking "I can't wait to get back and tell people about this" when on-route. "Spraying" wasn't a motivation that I recall. Before JBerg I told exactly one other climber what we were trying, in case we went overdue. Same with WW. And, whether it's a Grade V alpine FA, or an off-trail Alpine Lakes traverse, or a day of off-trail scrambling/canyoneering in the Valley of Fire (all of which I've done with thorough enjoyment), there is just something, for me, more pure and magical about being in a much-less peopled place; finding my own way, and making it up as we go with a fantastic partner.
  4. Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

    Not usually. However, one of the most open, honest, and complete books I've read about climbing is Jim Wickwire's, "Addicted to Danger".
  5. Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

    Actually, I don't believe that's true. Time spent in areas of high objective danger is a key metric. I've soloed the North Face of Chair in less than 20 minutes and seen people take many hours on it. I accept one form of risk- that a technical error on my part will lead to a large fall, to reduce another form: Objective. Relative to Jberg, Jens and I free soloed the slabs in about 20 minutes. Roping up and pitching them out would have taken hours. As it turned out, that time difference would have been very critical. We had to skills to safely solo and the time we saved doing so likely saved us. More recently, a slow guided group, including a friend of mine, on Liberty Ridge was forced to make camp on the ridge. They were all wiped out by avalanche during the night. More skilled climbers simul or free-soloing would have made Liberty Cap that day and not been on the ridge when the avalanche happened. That isn't to say that the going fast in one place couldn't put you in the wrong place at the wrong time later. If you've been up the DC you've climbed under active seracs. As mentioned, there's a people-trench there and most folks assume incorrectly that lots of people going somewhere means it's safe. I have always felt uncomfortable under that icefall and rest before entering the shooting gallery on the way up and routinely jog past it on the way down. Ignoring objective danger is a recipe for trouble. Making considered choices about it, even if they are contrary to what other people would do, is my preference.
  6. Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

    It's a good discussion. Very good. I'm not at all suggesting otherwise. Just that it's very damn easy to armchair judge the risk choices of others without all the information and/or from the perspective on one's own abilities. And I'm not immune from it- sure seems like maybe Dean Potter and Dan Osman had adrenaline habits that led to increasingly risky behavior with narrower and narrower margins for error. If someone can go solo Astroman, which I couldn't aid up, all the power to them. It would be insane and too risky for me, and entirely within their abilities and risk margin. And in terms of the 'not being in a hurry to get out' thing you mentioned, I think it's helpful to evaluate one's motivations. If this kind of behavior becomes "need" and "have to" it's a pointer to an addiction that can easily overrule/cloud other aspects of risk evaluation.
  7. Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

    You are the person who has judged, I guess. It might be more accurate to say "Too much objective hazard for me". I would much rather be dependent on my speed and skills to get through that threatened slab section on Jberg than be stuck under a clusterfuck of bumblers knocking shit (and themselves) down on me on the Cleaver or below the Pearly Gates. Similarly, I fret less climbing up the Haystack Gully in thin, difficult ice conditions in winter than I do in summer when the hordes are sketching about above me. Only two people fully understand the risk on the Jberg route. Both measured it against their abilities and chose to proceed. To this day anyone else passing judgement on it is doing so with incomplete info. It's no different than big-mouth Krakauer writing a book about the 96 Everest disaster from the perspective of someone at sea level- the frame of metrics is just wrong. I've been in situations where I needed something from the lid of my pack and, as Beck Weathers said about his gloves, it might as well have been on the moon. "He should have just stopped and put on gloves" might make 100% sense at sea level, but at 28,000 feet or, as was my case, in 100+ MPH wind, it's nonsense. Thousands of people a year spend about the same amount of time under the Ingraham Icefall, where Peter Whitaker and team nearly got the chop, as we spent on those slabs. There is a trench-path below the icefall and with it comes a false sense of security. That said, Jens' (Klubberud, not Holsten) description in the TR he posted is more dramatic than I recall and than what I wrote for my TR and the AAJ article. My Dad came home from work in April of 2000, went for a run like he did almost every day, and then fell over dead at the kitchen sink from a heart attack. He didn't even have time to turn off the water or call out to my Mom, who was asleep one room away. Another friend had both his parents killed and his wife and newborn kid severely injured by a drunk driver as they stood at a crosswalk in Seattle. The only guarantee in life is death. In the mean time, I try to make conscious, reasoned, internally-referenced choices and refrain from judging the risks other take.
  8. Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

    These guys got plenty of grief for the risk inherent in their FA on Johannesberg. Yes, yes we did. And for the Willis Wall climb as well. I guess my position is that it's important to evaluate one's motivations for taking risks and, externally, to refrain from passing judgement on the severity of risks others take based on my abilities. Jens and I soloed a lot of unprotectable low-5th on those J-berg slabs. It was well within our abilities at the time and we'd done a lot of similar climbing together for years. At that point we didn't much need to talk to one another on-route, we just knew what the other would do. So while the consequence of an error was high and there was unavoidable objective danger (indeed, the slabs were swept by ice shortly after we got off them), we were able to move quickly and confidently through that section. As far as motivation goes, it comes down to internal or external. My sense is that people taking increasingly high risks in order to get press, "spray" (to drag out an old term from this site), appease sponsors, get Instagram "likes", etc. are in a higher risk category, as are those who have become addicted to adrenaline. For me, over 25 years, the most helpful question has become, "Can I stop doing this?". If the answer is "no", then it's no less a risk that a drinking, drug, gambling, etc. problem. If the answer is "yes", then it is (for me, at least) important to do so occasionally. There was a period when I thought of myself as "Loren the climber". The first time I lost my climbing motivation for an extended period I had a bit of an identity crisis. The result was a reorientation of my self-concept; I am who I am regardless of what I do..."Loren. A person who climbs." This connects to the idiotic and profoundly damaging "You complete me" movie idea. No one completes anyone, no one needs another *anything* to be complete. We are all entirely complete all the time. Start from a genuine embrace of that self-definition and the world is a brighter, more beautiful, less heavy place, where one can go have fun climbing and go have fun not climbing.
  9. This place is like Monte Cristo

    Ah yes, "Sweet Granite in Renton", nailing on Green Dragon, Layton's infamous TR as told from the perspective of his unhatched turd. Amidst all the noise there was some classic signal.
  10. This place is like Monte Cristo

    Or maybe Static Point since they closed the road... As someone who was here from almost the beginning, it's stunning to me that it's Tuesday evening and not a single post been made on this part of the board or in the Route Reports sections in days. In its heyday, this was *the* place to check on Monday to see who'd done what the previous weekend. Zero posts about weekend hijinks on Tuesday would have been inconceivable. I know Facebook and other social media has taken a bite out of dedicated forum sites, and I also know that some people got chased off by trolls (Z, Foofoo, Borbon's endless avatars, etc), and I know I couldn't stay logged in for a long time- every page load logged me out. But the silence here is still deafening. Where has everyone gone? Did the novelty of forums for climbing just wear off (we do tend to be a quasi-misanthropic bunch)? The hiking and skiing forums still have decent traffic...
  11. Plan to keep the filthy casuals out of MRNP

    The entrance fee was $5 for about the first 80 years the park existed. They've since doubled it twice and now this. The shit thing is that while this is expected to increase revenue by $68MM, the asshat GOP budget cuts NPS funding by $300MM, so they net out $240MM less, if their projection is right (I suspect they've overestimated the new revenue). All the while, the only thing I've seen MORA management do to cut costs is close the damn park. They've added cell and Internet service to the ranger huts and paid for an ENTIRELY unnecessary webcam at Schurman, and I've heard they intend to blast the shit out of the rocky are west of the Schurman hut to make yet another helo pad, which is entirely unnecessary. So park management isn't doing the public any favors, either.
  12. RIP Fred Beckey

    I wrote this and posted it here years ago. It seems appropriate today, with the passing of a someone the likes of whom the Cascades will never see again. The Random and Omnipotent Goddess of Northwest Weather is my Shepherd; I shall want. She maketh me to become soaked to the bone in green slide-alder thickets: She leadeth me onto the slick-as-snot log crossing the raging waters. She taxeth every fiber of my soul: She leadeth me in the way-paths of Beckey and I take His name in vain. Yea, though the approach seems like a walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil devil's club: For thy Goretex art with me; Thy trekking poles and thy cortisone creme, they comfort me. Thou preparest a sucker-hole in the tempest storm for me in the presence of mine friends; Thou annointest my head with rain, ice, and rock fall; My courage runneth away. Surely "obvious gullies" and "easy 4th class terrain" shall beckon me for all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Cascades forever. Godspeed Fred. Make sure to ask St. Pete about any unclimbed routes.
  13. Total bullshit. I had it out with one of them at the gate after we summited last February. We were 10 minutes late and she fucking read me the riot act and played the intimidation game- making a big show of writing down my license plate. I suggest that you call down there and tell Tracy Swartout that you object, as a park GUEST, to being treated like this. I also encourage you to dispute the ticket: Make them go to court. 360-569-2211 The management down there seems to have entirely forgotten why they are employed. Their (often arbitrary) rules are not the freaking customers, we are. So, so completely disgusted with most of the NPS right now.
  14. Ongoing login issues...

    It's PEBKAC dumbass: Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair. So you might double check between which chair and keyboard lies a problem- it appears to be yours. Anyway, all I was trying to do was point out a possible contributing factor to the plummeting participation here. Consider the messenger shot. Continue on as you were.
  15. Ongoing login issues...

    Chrome appears to run faster because it starts when the computer starts and just sits there waiting to be used, sucking up system resources. So it only appears to be much faster. The only routine function for which I have to use something other than IE is uploading audio files to an open source VoIP phone system, and that's because the open source community goes out of its way to submarine IE. But whatever. Login persistence isn't a browser function, it's a matter of setting a cookie. And yes, it's across PCs with clean installs. In fact, it's two laptops with a total of three clean installs. All I wanted to point out is that I'm having issues and I'm likely not the only one. Coincidentally, since I posted this it hasn't happened, not even once. This after I quite literally couldn't switch between forums the day I posted without it happening.
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