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I asked for advice, received it, and maade my own judgement.

 

thumbs_up.gif Good for you. And you also exhibited good judgement by heading down in shitty conditions even when a partner wanted to press on.

 

...And that's what this climbing thing is all about, right? Making our own judgements, being responsible for ourselves and looking out for our partners. We can make the judgement whether or not we're going to take advice from strangers on cc.com, and we don't need a disclaimer on a TR to know that maybe wearing sandals on Dragontail isn't a good idea for everyone.

 

We should also be able to take a little well-intentioned criticism too.

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Just curious, if he wasn't so well known and heralded for his achievements, how would the antics of Joe Simpson be viewed by the participants of this site: cutting edge alpine, stupid, poor judgement, bad luck....... Again, just curious.

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Surprising amount of scrutiny. I wrote the TR because I like reading TR's occasionally on this site and have hooked up with some good climbing partners here, and thought I'd contribute something back. As for the TR, I wrote it more to be an entertaining yarn of how we made some mistakes and paid for them. The 20/15 hindsight kicked in pretty quickly afterward. My partners and I learned alot from this trip and likely won't make the same mistakes twice, unless we go insane. Then we probably would.

And rest assured, I'm not breeding. Kids scare me. Small hands and what not.

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How many accidents have you read this year from people not bringing proper gear?

I stand to be corrected, but every accident report I've read this year were of people that had sufficient equipment. I am not suggesting that less is better, but maybe some are more focused crossing ice in sandels than in boots.

I usually bring what's required, but sometimes I misjudge and have to turn around or just go for it. I've had many payoffs from packing very light, more successes AND more failures.

It didn't sound in the TR like it was such a big deal. They hung out and fished after they came off!

Suprise bivies happen all the time, what's the big deal?

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On the other hand, that Mr. Radon report about the Fin seems to me more like one that should be open for criticism. They appeared to make some bad choices, but the report read like they were fucking smart guys who did everything right. But still on that one, if you want to help anyone, it's probably best to be somewhat constructive and as polite as possible in your criticism. In the hope that you won't discourage others from telling their stories.

 

That's my view on this thing.

 

the_finger.gif Chuck!

 

What does our trip have to do with this shit? We didn't even come close to making the same mistakes as these guys. Yeah we forgot some gear, but I never once felt like the situation was out of hand, even with inclement weather rolling in. Some of the forgotten gear was unexcusable and radon and i knew it, but we talked about it at the car and made the decision to still go for it minus the gear. I had extra cold weather gear which was never taken out of my pack. So don't even start saying that we deserve a bunch of criticism. We are all grown ups and make our own decisions. In fact our summit pics looked dam near identical to alpinfox pics. So why don't you start criticizing those guys too because they didn't bring any bivy gear and rain gear? Radon already said his comment about light is right and crap was tongue and cheek. In hindsight I think this trip was the best we worked together as a team and we have been climbing together for a long time. And yes some lessons were learned as well, ie i will never leave home without crampons in late summer.

 

It is funny you said something about this because after radon posted that TR and some people sniped back at us, I was like what is the f-in point of posting TR's anyways if everyone is going to Monday morning quarterback it.

 

WTF! All this critiquing is so subjective, just based on the way someone writes a f-in TR. A person can just post pictures and a few words on a epic climb and because they said nothing about it people will not criticize. After following the website for so long I have come to the conclusion that less information is better, because that way everyone and their grandma won't pass judgement on me and my climbing partners for our style or lack thereof.

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I'm one of the "retards" that was up there with Rollo - I was on the sharp end of his rope. I'm also the one who failed to read the book's glacier descent description before I left town, left the photocopy of that description in the car before we started hiking in, and the one who listened when, days before, a friend with loads of alpine experience (one who had been twice-benighted on SA C-to-C in the early 90s) said the descent was a "walk off." I think that makes me - as the trip leader - responsible. I can assure all of you (kind and unkind) that I recognize the luck involved that allowed my friends to descend unharmed.

 

That said, I believe we approached the climb and our deteriorated situation respectfully. We definitely climbed slower than I would have liked or had planned, but I've seen impatience lead to serious error so decided it was best not to rush or panic as it got late. The rope team that topped out first spent an hour in the swirling mist trying to find a safe descent, and when that couldn't be found we wisely hunkered down instead of pressing. In the morning, we judiciously evaluated our options in cloud-obscured conditions and didn't start our descent until we could do it safely - given our non-existent descent beta and the gear we had.

 

I don't condone rescuing dumb-asses either, but we never considered asking for it and we'd have elected to trudge out Ingalls Creek all day instead of requesting one.

 

Having climbed Prussik last year - in October - and having paid attention the night before our SA ascent, we, too, knew when it became dark. And we still thought our 9:00am start was conservative. But we underestimated how slowly we would (safely be willing to) move over the 5th class stuff up high and some in our party were stymied by the cold, wet last pitch (Rollo incorrectly reported that we arrived there at 7:30 when we started that pitch, it was 6:30 - although we indeed summitted at 8:00).

 

I almost always wear sandals when I hike, find that they fit easily on my harness, and have worn them on virtually every descent I've done in the last six years. Although I would clearly have elected to wear boots - and bring crampons - had I not bone-headed the descent beta. SANDALS! were not the issue.

 

I'm embarassed that I allowed my party to leave without good descent beta and thankful they were all unhurt. And while Rollo hasn't bred, you might be interested to know that I have three wonderful, intelligent kids and that my wife let me fuck her even after this botched descent.

 

Finally, I'm cool with the criticism, especially since that about our lack of descent beta is wholly justified. But I'm not so cool with being called a FUCKING RETARD or the assertion that a mistake on an climb is relevant criteria for breeding. Neither am I tough, but if the sprayers want to call me a FUCKING RETARD in person instead of through cc.com, I'll be glad to meet them. We could get stoned and/or go climbing after we tussle - both of which I find thoroughly enjoyable in nearly all circumstances.

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Guess I didn't notice the tongue in cheek part. My apologies.

 

I liked the part where you guys did all that funky stuff tieing and untieing at the top of the Fin too! boxing_smiley.gif

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crutch- don't sweat the peanut galley man, all these punks think they are high and mighty just cause they see things 20/20 in hindsight.

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If you want to see TRs here don't drive away the posters with a littany of flames.

 

If you don't want any scrutiny at all then don't post TRs. Simple enough.

 

I like the suggestion that each one of us should take responsibility for our own actions and accept the consequences.

 

The corollary to that is that we should keep our noses out of someone else's personal choices! Boots, sandals, tevas, barefoot...what does it really matter?

 

In my opinion, the only time to interject is if these choices endanger others who could not or did not participate in the decision process (like rapping with your helmetless newbie partner down a gully full of loose blocks), or if they will reflect badly on the whole climbing community (this is a tough call though).

 

Many of us push the envelope one way or another. How else would we grow as climbers?

 

So...at risk of scrutiny here is my own report of Backbone ridge Dragontail in 2003:

 

...................................

 

Last summer a certain monkey avatar poster, an inspired climber, suggested a one day outing, something casual. I said great. He suggested Backbone ridge on Dragontail. I'd looked at the face several times, drooling, but never been on it. Long, free apine rock is what I love best and this route is a true gem. I said wow, great, let's do it!

 

We crashed at the trailhead, woke up pre-dawn, hiked (in my boots) to Colchuck Lake and up the lower talus slopes.

 

There was a tongue of hard snow (30-35 degrees?) to cross between the talus and the rock. Monkey got out his nut tool (to arrest a fall) and hiked right across in his approach (non-boot) shoes. No sweat.

 

Without my axe (intentionally left behind for weight purposes) I am much more tentative on steep snow than Mr. Monkey, who had disappeared around the corner of the buttress. I did, however, have my Makalus which kick ass, so I kicked steps across. Slow but effective. I'm not sure my nut tool could have arrested a fall to the talus below. I made it across to the buttress and scrambled onto it after Monkey.

 

On the buttress we scrambled up the the base of the first technical pitch where we roped up and put on our helmets (how dorky). We leapfrogged until the crux OW, where Monkey got to work. The #5 camalot was perfect. I followed quickly and cleanly (because you can chimney and stem pretty well there too) and off we went.

 

Pitches rolled by on a gorgeous day. No other parties on the entire wall that we could see. I led the Fin direct pitches (linked them w/our long rope, actually). Monkey finished off the Fin and soon we were hiking the easy terrain to the summit. We stopped to eat at the end of the technical climbing just below the summit.

 

We were both dialed in and everything went smoothly. We snapped some shots of Stuart, chatted with scramblers who'd come up from the other side, and headed down. Monkey knew exactly where to go, he'd done this route 2 other times in the past year.

 

The glacier was just soft enough for us to cruise down it with relatively little slipping (except our intentional boot skiing). I have to say it's pretty low angle and was less intimidating than the snow at the base of the route, at least in mid-July.

 

We cruised back to Colchuck lake and hiked out to the trailhead. Back at our car just over 12 hours after leaving it. A spectacular day in the mountains.

 

Was it luck everything went so perfectly? You be the judge:

 

Monkey has a ton of climbing experience, had been on the route several times before, and told me what gear to bring. I have done my share of trad leading over the years and felt comfortable with the grade.

 

The weather forecast was good. I brought a gortex shell and space bivy sack but nothing else for inclement weather.

 

Had we needed to retreat from high on the face it would have been difficult with one rope. Had we needed to bivy it would have been cold but bearable. Had I slipped on the snow it could have been ugly, but I didn't. Was it luck I didn't fall? Yes and no. Mind over matter. Read Steve House if you can get past the ego.

 

We swam in Icicle creek and headed home after a wonderful day in the mountains. Not all adventures go this smoothly, but then the bumps make for wonderful memories and stories too.

 

Thanks to Mr. Monkey for a grand day out. bigdrink.gif

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How about just get him stoned. The internet does strange things to people but in this case it's just the way he is. No excuses. You'll know where you stand.

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Hey Crutch/Rollo:

 

Thanks for sharing your story here, and I hope that you will continue to do so in the future , even after the reception you got.

 

I am with Chuck in that while I think that people who seem to be boasting about a climb that could have ended in disaster had luck not worked in their favor deserve to be ripped on a bit unless they drop the triumphalist tone. The best example of this phenomenon that I can think of is the novice climber who had to be rescued off of the lower third of the Kennedy Glacier due to extreme errors in judgement and rank incompetence - then had the gall to start spewing about how rad the copter ride was, how he was destined become one of the top 5 percent of climbers - whatever that means - because he, in whatever he chose to do, was always a "5 percenter."

 

Anyhow - the tone that you and Rollo used was totally different. You told the tale of a potentially life threatening cluster with the right mix of humility and dark humor.

 

This brings to light one of my critiques of the typical TR posted here, in that seldom does anyone share their entire experience within one. No matter how desperate things were on the route, it seems that the only acceptable tone to recall the event in is one of ironic detatchment coupled with a hefty dose of understatement and reserve.

 

While I appreciate that anything that hints of drama can veer into the realm of breathy self-parody pretty quickly "At this altitude even lacing my boots required an act of will that delivered me into the chasm that exists between sublime euphoria and otherwordly despair..." I can attest to the fact that in truly dire circumstances ironic detatchment is not the emotion that best characterizes the situation. What I have felt in the situations where I thought that my life was genuinely at risk were emotions more along the lines of terror, doubt, remorse, grief, anger, guilt, self-pity, and every combination thereof. I have been climbing with quite a few people, and I know that I am not unique in this respect - yet very few people include these feelings when they recall the event on the barstool or the website.

 

I think I understand why this sort of editing takes place after the fact. The first is that exposing one's vulnerabilities to strangers - and what fits that definition better than a bunch of avatars on a website - is both scary and thankless. No one is really into sharing their deepest feelings if all that they can expect in terms of a reward for exposing them is a barrage of mockery and armchair quarterbacking. Another reason is that it's difficult to translate such things into words, and doing so requires a significant investment of time and energy. A third is that it goes against the standard model of what seems to be acceptable content in a TR.

 

Anyhow - while I am a big fan of ironic detachment and understatement, I think that limiting the range of acceptable expression to them fundamentally distorts the nature of climbing, and eliminates many of the things that make it such a compelling pasttime from the picture. It's those moments of doubt, and terror, and remorse, and regret, and misery that make that authenticate the positive experiences.*

 

So I hope that we see more TR's that include them now and then, and that when they do show up the folks that post here will think a bit more carefully about their own experience in the mountains, and remember the times when they felt the same way before hitting the "submit reply" button.

 

*For my own part, I think I will fucking weep when I make it to the summit of Ranier after getting shut down three times and counting - even though I was expecting it to be hike - and to recall letting fly with anything more than a shrug upon reaching the summit is to invite several years worth of ridicule.

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I just call RETARD decisions like they are. Fucking accept it and move on a better man.

 

I'm easy to find so if you want to kick my ass go for it. You wont find me drunk so make sure you eat your wheaties before you start.

 

There's no hindsight 20/20 in some of this stuff. It's just user error all the way.

 

If you don't like it too bad because I am telling the truth that some of these people here shrugged off.

 

Glad you all made it back in one piece.

 

I've had my share of fucked up unplanned bivouacs but it turns out I was actually partially prepared for each and every one so far. --- Yeah I just got water and rack padna. (secretly with stove and pot and bivouac sack stowed away where they couldn't tell) --- That doesn't make me any better. It just makes me more prepared.

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...

This brings to light one of my critiques of the typical TR posted here, in that seldom does anyone share their entire experience within one. No matter how desperate things were on the route, it seems that the only acceptable tone to recall the event in is one of ironic detatchment coupled with a hefty dose of understatement and reserve.

...

 

Ha ha! Yep, I'm often reading a TR about a route that I think would be scary/big/whatever, and it always sounds so casual. Less-than-minimal equipment, an obligatory newbie smoked on the approach, and something like mushsmile.gif to make the afternoon complete.

 

I think Rollo and party paid for their mistake pretty well, having to spend the night up there. I appreciate that TR, thanks for not caring so much what people will think. I couldn't resist a chuckle once the rappelling started, which drained away any "what kind of IDIOT"-type anger that might have welled up. tongue.gif

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I failed to mention the following rappel descent beta in my posting yesterday.

 

We built a cairn on top of the large rappel rock that we used on the first of two rappels; the slings are not visible from the slopes above. It's located ~250-300m down and NE of the summit (toward Aasgard Pass). The second rappel station is not visible from the first, can be reached with a single 60m rope, and is somewhat jizzy because its many slings are wrapped around a shallow horn (we backed it up with a friend for the initial three rappels). A third station is visible from the second, but you can reach the rubble from the second station with two 60m ropes; however, we found that the rope pull from the second station was fairly difficult so going to the 3rd station may be better.

 

I'm not advocating the rappel as the preferred descent (still wish I'd been smart enough to read the glacier descent beta and brought crampons /axe), but am providing the information to this forum "just in case."

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Surprising amount of scrutiny. I wrote the TR because I like reading TR's occasionally on this site and have hooked up with some good climbing partners here, and thought I'd contribute something back. As for the TR, I wrote it more to be an entertaining yarn of how we made some mistakes and paid for them. The 20/15 hindsight kicked in pretty quickly afterward. My partners and I learned alot from this trip and likely won't make the same mistakes twice, unless we go insane. Then we probably would.

And rest assured, I'm not breeding. Kids scare me. Small hands and what not.

 

Dude, I don't care what mistakes you made on that climb. It sounds like your execution went fine given some lack of forethought. I bet your planning will be fairly bulletproof for the next few trips.

 

But! If I run into you sometime then I'm buying you a beer for the week of at-work entertainment you provided with the TR and subsequent firestorm bigdrink.gifgrin.gif

 

Keep'em coming, just don't get yourself hurt alright?

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I wouldn't want to discourage someone from posting a TR, I know I have been too lazy to. I think there really is an issue though with the casualization (bushism?) of many aspects of climbing lately. The car-to-car-Challenger-in-a-day crowd, the no helmet crowd, the go ridiculously super light crowd, the never wear boots crowd all have their place but these can easily be mistaken as the norm, and not the exception. I think it would be pretty easy for someone to read that TR and think it wasn't as big a deal as it probably was, and eventually word on the street becomes that SA can be done in street shoes in late Sept conditions (which most stuff is currently) and can be rapped off rather than carry crampons and axe.

 

I'm glad y'all are OK and if it were me I would be having a good laugh right now. bigdrink.gif

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JayB - wholeheartedly agree. Rollo wrote with humility and humor because nothing we did felt "epic," just discouraging, inconvenient, and cold. I've been more scared at trad crags than I was on top of SA in the cold wind, but who wants to see a TR of a 3-pitch 11a with sketchy gear when the descent to the car would be 90 minutes even with a broken ankle?

 

I dig climbing and I dig sharing the experience. I write TRs all the time -- my first long trad climb on Angels Crest, an affirming climb in Red Rocks Black Velvet Canyon with my wife, ascents up Levitation 29 and the Grand Wall to which I'd aspired, Prussik, Chamonix, ... Those TRs have included descriptions my joy and my failings (it took me 15 hours car-to-car on Angels Crest and I haven't left my headlight in the car on any climb since), but the climbers that received them are "family" to me. Their criticism is pointed but not vitriolic. The intolerance exhibited in this forum is discouraging, especially when I take into account the likelihood that it's extraordinarily unlikely that the sprayers have climbed mistake-free throughout their career.

 

I climb because I'm compelled to do it and because it gives me such deep joy, especially when I take a perspective look back at how scared I often was. I write about it because I want people to become excited enough to share my compulsion.

 

I don't know many folks who think being called a FUCKING RETARD is helpful or supportive, which are a few of the reasons that Rollo visits the forum. Being called a FUCKING RETARD will not keep me from climbing, scaring myself, and writing about it; but it will keep me from sharing it this broadly. Just think about it - we all LOVE climbing ... we should let that show more often, myself included.

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Right on, Crutch. I, for one, would love to read somebody's report of how they got sketched out on some 5.11 climb at a crag - or a 5.4 for that matter - if they had something interesting to say about it. But rarely do we read such reports here because most people fear that anything they post here can and will be criticized or they fear that saying "I got scared" will only make them look bad somehow.

 

I know its human nature for many of us to read something on this board and focus on what we disapprove of rather than what we like about it, and maybe it should come as no surprise that we rarely see an emphatic statement in support of somebody else but a dozen times a day we read an emphatic post putting somebody else down. However, I think those who say "it doesn't matter" or "just ignore it" are missing the point. For most of us, it actually DOES matter what we read here, and few around here ignore it when somebody is attacking them.

 

There is an element of good advice where we read "don't sweat it, bro – it's the Internet." In many cases, however, those who offer this advice are precisely the posters who actually go the most aggro when provoked and their anger is no joke even though they may try to pass it off as such a day or two later after they've regained their composure.

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Okay, this thread ends here, and I've shipped the last bit to Spray, where you're free to wallow as you see fit.

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