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slothrop

Gapin' at the Ranger Station

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After signing out at the ranger station in Marblemount, my partner and I were perusing the climbing register. Suddenly, the words "new route on the north face of Fury and a new route on the east face of Challenger" drifted over to us from a few feet away, where a mustachioed older fella was enduring the usual questions from a cute filly in the green shorts. My partner and I exchanged looks and stealthily ambled over next to the guy to eavesdrop. He had his taped-together Green Trails maps laid out, marked up with peak names and various arrows and lines. We chatted with him for a bit, and he mentioned that he had been the third to do the complete Pickets traverse, "back in the Sixties". [Wazzup] Whoa.

 

"So you're doing a new route on Challenger?"

 

"Yeah, good rock."

 

"Really? Cool." (Damn, we are so unworthy...)

 

Mr. Hardman got his permit business taken care of, packed up that Secret Map, and was on his way, off to conquer the Pickets with his wife.

 

"Hey, uh, what was that guy's name?"

 

"Oh... Jim Yoder."

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What's the "complete Pickets Traverse"?

 

Beckey's red book says "In August 1963 Alex Bertulis and Half Zantop made the first alpine traverse of the Picket Range, a 10-day trek..."

 

Do the 10 days include both S and N Pickets?

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Hey... Sloth, weren't you supposed to be bivi'd below Triumph last night? What happened? Too much [big Drink] ? Did you guys climb it Saturday morning?

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Dunno about Bertulis and Zantop, but the guy we met said he'd done the whole range, north and south. He had a wild-eyed look about him...

 

Jon and I bivied Thursday night, climbed the NE ridge Friday, and got back to camp after dark. We took our time on the route, even though we simulclimbed the whole thing. We slept again Friday night and got back yesterday afternoon. Didn't see another person until we were coming down Saturday morning. Nice route and perfect weather!

 

I hope the two guys we met who were on their way up to the same route didn't get rained on. They had been up on Johannesberg the previous weekend and did many pitches of off-route loose rock before beginning an epic descent.

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I don't know what that crazy JY guy did or didn't do. Just remember he's full of shit. I don't mean that in a bad way either. [sNAFFLEHOUND]

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Ralph,

 

Jim Yoder definitely has a 'wlid eyed look' about him. If you engage him in coversation, his sight is focused on a point on the wall behind you. He has said a lot of things like he personally built SPIRE rock, has put up 500 routes in the desert among other things. He is definitely a character.

 

Dan

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I have known JY since the seventies when he and I and a few others worked long and hard on the construction of SPIRE rock. Actually it might have been the early 80s. So easy to slip a decade... JY was and is a very talented climber and is always looking for new rts. You may only hear BS coming from JY because of your lack of knowledge of climbing history. Just the same way I thought Walter Bonatti was a BS master until I knew the full story. His exploits were a full measure beyond the accepted limits of climbing. I'm not sayin JY is another WB, but don't be so quick to dismiss JY as a BS master.

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Jimmy Yoder...a mini-Fred B. of sorts...has actively engaged in seeking out new climbing possibilities in the most obscure of places and has established hundreds of routes.

 

If he said he did the Pickets Traverse in the 1960's, he was joking because I don't think he graduated from high school until about 1976. Jimmy got a well-developed sense of humor.

 

For historical purposes, Spire Rock in Tacoma was dedicated in 1976. It was created with volunteer labor under the supervision of a guy named Wayne Cook who is rarely seen these days. Wayne recruited who ever was walking by, including myself, to lift large stones, pull on ropes or whatever. In fact, Spire Rock is where I first met Jimmy Yoder, the first NW climber I met when I moved up here for college/climbing. He usually arrived on some sort of motorcycle with a cute girl hanging on. First trip to Leavenworth was with JY in a mammoth run down Cadillac packed with an odd assortment of characters and requiring a couple of quarts of oil every hour or so.

The guy is a northwest neo-pioneer and a real survivor...a smart-ass, some say, with a heart of gold.

- Dwayner

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