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Goat_Boy

Ryland Moore Essay--Climbing No 216

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Ryland Moore,

 

I’ve just read your essay in Climbing, No 216, Nov ’02. I think many of us share your reaction to crowds on popular summits, particularly after finishing a more serious route only to confronted with the hordes who have followed a cattle path to the top. I’ve also frowned upon more casual climbers pounding their chests over cell phone calls to buddies, attempting to ingratiate some sense of awe over their achievement.

 

Your point about more experienced climbers taking an elitist attitude toward novice climbers is a good one. Many of us who get impatient at a logjam simply want to get away from slower, often more dangerous novices so we can continue “our” climb at our speed. And under similar circumstances, most of us would simply pass by your leash- dragging beginner on Hood, as you did.

 

But I think you failed to fully explore the crux of the issue. Yes, crowds tend to change our behavior, but because they are exactly that, crowds, and not because climbers become naturally elitist or take self-reliance to extremes. The real issue is that crowded routes tend to actually isolate teams and individuals rather than foster cooperation and safe technique. We’re more interested in getting around someone than helping a novice climb safely. When a logjam is not an issue, climbers do, in fact, tend to help other teams on route. Climbers routinely offer unsolicited advice to “greenhorns” who appear poised to gore themselves on their axe, frequently encourage total strangers who appear to be languishing on route. But the fact is, we are less prone to do so when there are several others around to do it for us, when we become self focused and desire primarily an exit from a crowded bottleneck. I doubt you would have callously passed by your Hood beginner had the descent route been free of delays. Crowds do change our behavior in the mountains. No doubt about it. I know that’s what you were trying to say.

 

Using the recent accidents on Hood and Rainier to make your point, however, does a disservice to those involved. What could you have done if you were stationed in the Pearly Gates, waiting to advise teams coming down? The accident was precipitated by a team with a novice, but he was roped to 3 experienced climbers. The route had been glazed by recent rain and was more dangerous. We don’t know who slipped or why. The other victims were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time on fast ice. Similarly, the Rainier teams, all experienced, were caught in severe weather on high angle terrain. Liberty Ridge is a committing route, especially in deteriorating weather. Proposing that a local with experience on the route or with local weather might have been able to offer life-saving advice is a big, big, presumption and insults the victims, it seems to me.

 

Your point about how we react to summit crowds and bottlenecks is interesting and worthy of discussion. But using the accidents on Hood and Rainier to embellish the point completely misses the mark.

 

Eric Ellis

Kitsap Peninsula, WA

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"But I think you failed to fully explore the crux of the issue. Yes, crowds tend to change our behavior, but because they are exactly that, crowds, and not because climbers become naturally elitist or take self-reliance to extremes."

 

Bingo...I agree totally.

 

I ahve not read the article yet, but i will.

 

Another commetnt...

 

"Liberty Ridge is a committing route, especially in deteriorating weather. Proposing that a local with experience on the route or with local weather might have been able to offer life-saving advice is a big, big, presumption and insults the victims, it seems to me."

 

I assume he is refering to the group that got three killed on Lib Ridge this year?

 

I know one "local" very experienced and strong climber that was there (when the OR State team) was climbing. She was solo in a day, she passed them and didn't think much of them, they seemed fine and she was concerned about deteriorating weather effect5ing herself.

 

I know I need to read the artcile to fully comment, just some thoughts. [big Drink]

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As it was such a short article, there are many behind the scense workings that went on before the article was published. My original article was around 2600 words and delved into a situation where I witnessed just that, a more experienced climber helping out a less expereinced party on a route with no other parties around. I also went into depth more about the tragic accidents on Hood and Rainier, saying that it could happen to the most experienced or first timer, no matter what the conditions were and that we as climbers understand and take that risk every time we go up. IMHO, I do feel that accidents can be prevented in the mountains -easy to say in hindsite and easy for me to say from behind a computer when I was not even there - bu there are some basic rules in my book that I listen to. Do not continue to go up when weather continues to deteriorate. Do not continue up difficult terrain without setting protection (ie. running belays)and turn around if you are feeling uncapable or unsure of your abilities. As for the climber on Hood who tried to snowboard down the Spur without climbing it first, well I think that is self explanatory.

 

I guess I tried my best in the 1000 words I had and it was edited and rewritten about 20 times. My first stab also focused heavily on mass media's role in getting people into climbing and comparing it to other extreme sports like motorcross, ESPN X games and people wanting to be the next Peter Garret from Vertical Limit. I discussed how the mainstream media glorifies the lifestyle and in return, you are seeing more and more individuals out there who are about doing and less about learning how to do. Coupled with a "reactionary Societ" (a whole different tangent I could go off on), US people are forced to react to situations that they are not prepared for in a mtter of seconds, when if they had learned properly, much as many of us had, then maybe some accidents could be prevented. Am I exempt from an accident? Never. Are you? Never. But why would we not stack as many cards in our favor to help us be prepared in the event something does happen? My experience over the last few years in the Cascades on many of the dog routes is that I see very few newbies trying to learn in comparison with newbies who want to learn all they can instead of getting out there and learning as much as they can. Does this mean you have to have a guide to teach you everything? Absolutely not. Even reading books is a step. Maybe some people learned on there own. That is awesome. But at least they took the initiative to learn. Newbies who don't take this time to learn or even want to learn, but want to do is my concern. Those folks who want to do and are not even fully aware of the inherent dangers around them is what scares me and makes me decide, do I want to try and help this person or should I leave him alone. I have decided to lend a little advice, but I am also seeing that when I do that, I receive some sort of macho explitive shouted back at me. Does it bother me? No. I'll never see them again. But what if it makes them think for a brief moment that they are in over their heads or really shouldn't be doing what they are doing? Who knows.

 

I tried my best (especially since I am no writer) and my experiences are different from everyone elses on this list. Just one point of few out of many, but I stand by my feelings on the Hood and Rainier tragedies. If you would like to see the unedeited version of my article that delves more deeply into Society, mass media, large cities in close prox. to large US mountains, then PM me and I'll send it your way. Thanks.

 

Ryland

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Ryland, would you consider posting the original 2600 word article here or providing a link to somewhere it could be read?

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Here ya go: Dissent is good and always appreciated. Thanks, y'all. [big Drink]

 

Ry

 

A Vantage Point

 

I am not some lofty alpinist who spends nine months of the year bivyed on precipices the size of a skateboard while tackling the world’s highest peaks and most coveted routes. However, I am a climber. I have seen my days in the mountains over my eleven years of climbing experience and have scratched my teeth on routes that I was challenged by. I have faced austere conditions in the mountains, and although they may not be considered epics on a Joe Simpsonian level, they were situations that I would have rather not been in given the choice.

 

I have had opportunities to live and climb near beautiful mountain ranges in the US like the Tetons and the Cascades for the last five years and have had the opportunity to climb throughout the Andes and Mexico as well. Over these last five years, I have begun to notice, and I am by no means an expert, that climbing, in all of its capacities, is becoming a sport glorified by the mainstream media. In return, with each passing winter, there seems to be more and more individuals climbing on the most accessible routes in search of achieving that status of glorification. Do not get me wrong, I am all for people getting into climbing and I encourage it through working with children at the local climbing gym in hopes that they will be introduced into the sport much the same way I was. What I disagree with is individuals getting into climbing because of how others will perceive them and not because you would do just about anything to be in the mountains for the experiences and challenges alone, even if it meant being ostracized by society.

 

In early May, while climbing Mt. Hood’s Leuthold Couloir, I experienced something in the mountains that I have never experienced before – Anger.

 

The trip started off perfectly. After skinning up along the Palmer lift and crossing Zig Zag Glacier, my buddies, Gabe, Graham, and I bivvied near Illumination Saddle under a crisp, star-filled sky, watching the lights of Portland twinkle to life as the sun set into the Pacific.

 

We awoke at 3 a.m., geared up, and set out down the saddle, traversing the upper Reid Glacier in thigh-deep snow deposited by a storm less than a week earlier. We rounded a band of rocks and headed up the couloir proper, frontpointing up sustained, 45-degree, wind-blown snow and ice. We were constantly barraged by small pellets of rime ice from the looming Castle Crags and Yocum Ridge, which formed the right and left sides of the couloir. Wind-worn half steps left by a previous party made route finding a non-issue, keeping me from pretending that this was an unclimbed route, as I often do in the mountains.

 

We continued up the narrow couloir, only taking breaks to rest our burning calf muscles. With two other parties following (an uncommonly low number of climbers for this route), the couloir began to open up and the ice showers stopped as abruptly as a spring thunderstorm. Thirty minutes later we stood at the base of the Queen’s Chair, looking off down the ominously steep north and east faces of the mountain. My buddies and I were ecstatic over the line we had chosen and could not wipe the smiles from our faces. This feeling of ecstasy, however, would soon give way to a feeling of bewilderment.

 

Upon arriving at the summit and after having the Leuthold practically all to ourselves, I arrived upon a scene that I am becoming all too accustomed to. With around 80 individuals on the summit and trains of rope teams, one directly behind the other, coming up the South Side, I was no longer in a pristine environment surrounded by my experiences and challenges. I was now forced to deal with other’s experiences. People chatting on cell phones, bragging to their friends who were awakened from their slumber in some nearby city at 7am to hear, “Dude, guess where I am? The top of the World, Baby!” as they shout to anyone else around who will listen to them. Now picture 20 or 30 individuals all doing the same thing. From statements to,”Yeah, we just finished our climb and will be down soon,” to “Did you catch Billy Bob Thornton hosting Saturday Night Live! Last night?” People were chatting away, as if they were calling all of their friends to find out where to meet up for happy hour after work that day. “Can you believe how bad the reception is up here?”

 

I find this mentality slightly skewed and do not comprehend why someone cannot wait a few hours once they are down and are actually finished with their climb before calling their loved ones to let them know they are safe. When I go to the mountains, I am trying to get away from what society throws at me on a daily basis. I am trying to clear my mind and focus on the challenges before me, not recreate my Monday morning routine experience at the local coffee shop on the summit of a mountain. When reading stories by climbing’s legends like Reinhold Messner, Peter Croft, Greg Child, or Fred Beckey, where do they state, “And as I reached the summit, filled with joy over my accomplishment from this first ascent and reflecting on this project I have had my eyes on for the last decade, I became overwhelmed with the undying urge to call my friends on my cell to let them know of my success!” Ok, maybe the cell phone wasn’t around just quite yet during most of their first ascents, but you get my point.

 

Though typically I would spend a half hour soaking up the views, eating food, and re-hydrating on the summit, I felt rushed and anxious to descend after only 10 minutes. I had no urge to take it all in. This was a scene I could take in at the local coffee shop on any weekday morning, not a scene I had climbed to the top of Mount Hood to savor.

 

We began our descent, but after only two minutes were stopped dead in our tracks by pack trains of climbers coming up through the Pearly Gates. With 10 climbers in front of us and more piling up behind, I began to feel like I was in line at a concession stand ordering a hot dog and a beer. The line began to creep forward, and after descending a set of steps that looked like a construction crew had built them, I was free of the first bottleneck.

 

The rope teams in front of us with less experienced climbers descended down to the Hogsback at a pace that my patience could no longer bear. I waited behind a timid climber who held his ice axe backwards with the wrist loop dragging in the snow and inched forward as if testing the waters of a hot tub. Feeling my impatience, he turned to me and said, “This is my first time climbing.” I moved to the side and descended rapidly past his team, quietly muttering like Yosemite Sam.

 

We returned to our bivy site, packed up, and skied down to the parking lot. A little worn, I plunked down in my Crazy Creek, dug up the beer we had buried in a snow pile, and stared up at the mountain. Why had I become so frustrated, impatient, and angry up there? I felt fine now, more relaxed in the Timberline parking lot than I had felt on the summit. Graham and Gabe, arrived seconds later after returning the permit, excited over our ascent. “Man, what an awesome line!” said Gabe. “Yeah, could you believe the conditions we had in the Couloir?” replied Graham. Nothing was mentioned about our experience on the summit at that time.

 

Looking up at the <I>South Side,<P> I began to reflect on past climbing experiences. I recalled climbing in Peru, Chile, and Argentina, when I would look forward to seeing others after days of isolation. I remembered what it felt like to climb a route alone, with only my thoughts and a snippet of song looping in my head. I remembered what it felt like to arrive at a summit just as the sun hit my face without another soul for miles, relishing my escape from the daily routine of life.

A year ago, on the eve before heading out to attempt the Ptarmigan Traverse in the North Cascades, two climbing partners and I rented “Vertical Limit.” This was just another addition to the mainstream media’s extreme craze that indoctrinates fledgling climbers with the idea that climbing is all about going to the extreme without taking the time to learn how to climb properly. In return, there seem to be more and more "climbers" on the most accessible routes each season, filled with fallacious images of being the next “Peter Garrett” or “Elliot Vaughn”, yet lacking the basics learned in Climbing 101. With the latest tragedies in the Cascades on Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier, I wonder if there are too many people in the mountains with too little experience? I am not here to pass judgment on the 14 climbers involved in the accidents this year on Hood and Rainier and have heard from many reputable individuals who new the climbers involved in the Rainier accident that stated they were very experienced. Nor is it my position to provide a direct correlation to the number of people chatting on cell phones on a mountain’s summit to the number of climbers who lack the experience to be there. But I think that what we as climbers all need to ask ourselves is, is climbing a recreational endeavor that I take on because it sounds cool? Or does it move me in some profound way that I feel compelled to learn everything there is to know about climbing because it, for me, consumes a large part of life?

 

I am no hard-core Steve House or Mark Twight. I cannot fire 5.14 at will (or even after a hundred red-point attempts for that matter) and even get thumper legs when I am clipping bolts on a 5.10 run-out. But, I can tell you that I am committed to climbing. Each and every time I plant my ice axe in the snow or load up my trad rack, I am thinking. Of my surroundings, of potential hazards, and knowing that I will be relying on all of my skills and knowledge I have collected over these years, no matter how large or small they may be, so that I can – not reach the summit or fire off my hardest grade ever so that I can come back and brag to my friends but, - have a truly amazing and memorable experience. Of course I am enjoying the weather (when it is enjoyable) and sharing in the experience with my partners, but I do not allow that to get in the way of taking precautions and maintaining some sort of seriousness to the task at hand even if it is subconscious and even if the climb ahead is a “walk-up.”

 

With the numbers of climbers I see in the “backcountry” on routes like Mt. Hood’s South Side, I find it surprising that accidents like the tragedies in May do not occur more often in the US. In mountains around the world, like Mt. Blanc, the Matterhorn, and from my experience on Aconcogua, there are many deaths each year and with that, people who just do not belong there. Is it because of the shear numbers that visit these slopes each year and dumb luck or is it because of lack of experience and easy accessibility that makes these mountains deadly? Are the easily accessed US mountains becoming the same way as more individuals get out to experience what they offer? Who am I to sit on my high perch and say who belongs and who doesn’t? What if someone were saying this to me 11 years ago when I was first starting out?

 

Accidents in the mountains will continue to occur no matter how much experience individual climbers have. We are not always in control, although some us may like to think we are, and there are situations and conditions out there that are much bigger than we are. However, there are some aspects that seem prevalent in the generalized new American style of climbing that I disagree with. We as a society are reactionary. Almost everything we do in our lives is a reaction to something placed before us. We declare bankruptcy when we go into debt instead of relying on sound financial planning. We clean up pollution after we have created it instead of preventing it in the first place. However, in the mountains, we may only have a matter of seconds to react to or prevent a situation that could mean the difference between climbing another day or death. In the accidents on Hood and Rainier and in many of the stories catalogued each year in the American Alpine Club’s Accidents in North American Mountaineering, there are opportunities that climbers could have taken that were preventative and may have allowed them to bypass having to react to a life-altering decision. What if the snowboarder on Mt. Hood had climbed the Cooper Spur and checked out the conditions first? What if the climbers on Rainier had not continued to climb/descend Liberty Ridge once the weather began to deteriorate? What if the climbers on Hood had spaced each other out more between parties or not roped up after getting above the bergschrund or had been on a running belay system? Now, it sure is easy for me, a 26 year old, to make these critiques from behind a computer after pondering over the tragedies for over a week on climbers who may have had more years of climbing experience than I am old. And asking, “What If…” does not help the climbers who died and their families and friends who lost loved ones.

In my eleven years of climbing, if I ever saw someone doing something in the mountains that seemed wrong, dangerous, or incomprehensible, I was always told to just, “Stay away from them or they may kill you along with themselves.” However, with more and more people venturing out into the mountains to see what all of the glory is about without thinking of or realizing the consequences, maybe it is our duty to point out to individuals that maybe they do not belong here when you see them putting their crampon on backwards or tying in improperly and you look around and do not see a more experienced partner letting them know of their errors.

As for me, I do not think I will be near the South Side route of Mt. Hood on a beautiful, busy Spring weekend anytime soon and will stick to the “road less traveled by,” although those are harder to come by as well. I hope that other, more experienced climbers will politely ask the next person they see on a cell phone calling to brag from the summit,” Would you mind waiting to do that on your own time in the parking lot and not on mine up here?” Or to a climber who looks like they might be getting in over their head to say, “Do you think it is safe to descend a route you haven’t scouted first because this snow seems pretty unconsolidated to me.” These little remarks force others to consider what you are saying. So what if the guy calls you a jerk and says you don’t know what the hell you are talking about. You never have to see them again. But, what if it causes a less experienced climber to deal with his subconscious and brings him away from the beautiful weather and day of enjoyment to consider, if only for a moment, the potential hazards before them before a committed decision to proceed is made? You may have just helped to prevent an injury or a death.

Do I think all of these fatalities could have been prevented? Maybe, maybe not. Do I think the climbers involved could have taken other steps to attempt to prevent what happened instead of forcing themselves to react to situations they put themselves in? Definitely. Maybe these accidents will provide a wake-up call to those who do not realize the seriousness that climbing requires and will begin to see the lines between Extreme Sportz on TV in a more controlled environment and a climb up a glaciated peak. Maybe it will force people to question, do I really have enough experience to be up here doing what I am doing or should I maybe try and seek out some help and learn a little more from those more experienced than I? There is no “certification” process that says, Mr. Moore is now a Certified Climber, like you have with sports such as scuba diving. I know I am always willing to teach what I have learned and I continue to learn every time I am out from those with more experienced than me.

So, why should you waste your energy worrying about other’s safety when you have your own safety to worry about? I am against more regulations being placed in the mountains on who can climb what when, but I am worried that with the ease of access, the liability on our nation’s parks, and the scrutiny they may receive from the general public complaining that the public’s tax dollars are going to an unnecessary level of rescues, that restrictions may be implemented to such an extent as to make it very difficult to climb any mountain or route who’s access we now take for granted. Who knows, maybe one day we will all be required to show a Climber’s Certification card when we go to register for a backcountry climbing permit or purchase the latest ice tools from a dot.com company overseas.

On the ride back to Eugene, Gabe, Graham, and I didn't talk about the summit scene on Hood. Maybe we wanted to erase it from memory, lest it detract from the incredible experience we had had during the ascent. Or maybe it just went without saying that what was most important to us was our experiences and memories from the route we climbed and not the photo from the summit.

 

Ryland Moore

Eugene, OR

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Ryland,

 

Thanks for posting the entire piece. To my reading, the edited version changed it's tone and thesis. I think this is especially apparent if you read the published version first. The original text contains much that would mitigate my prior criticism.

 

I still believe 3rd person speculation about climbing tragedies is often gratuitous, frequently misused by those who have an axe to grind. I don't think, however, that was your intent. But I do have to ask, why connect the tragedies with a proliferation of inexperienced climbers?

 

"With the latest tragedies in the Cascades on Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier, I wonder if there are too many people in the mountains with too little experience?"

 

Even though you later point out that they were, in fact, experienced, the reference implies otherwise...that they made rookie mistakes. That's where the using those events fails and insults those victims and survivors. We weren't there and don't know what, or if, mistakes were made. Mountaineering can be dangerous for all level of climbers--sometimes even more so for accomplished climbers willing to shave the safety margin by forgoing that belay, running out that pitch or taking on the more challenging route. That's why a discussion of the dynamics of route crowding, not those particular tragedies, might have been more appropriate here.

 

Otherwise your points about inexperience and poorly educated yahoos in the mountains are all well taken. Seems to me the published version did a small disservice to your intended argument.

 

Best wishes.

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One time I hiked up the Chief and this other guy hiked up while I was there and when he got to the summit he whipped out the cell phone and started calling up his buddies in Ontario and ranking them out for working 50 hr weeks at some boring desk job back East, where it was still snowing, while he was kicking back on a sunny day in May on top of a mountain in BC.

 

[laf][laf][laf][laf][laf]

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Ryland, thanks for posting the uncut version. It gives a little more perspective on the issues you originally intended to address. Congrats on getting published, again.

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Good points Chuck and Goat Boy. I guess as I was writing, I was thinking as well. I wanted as much as I could get in, but the editor cut a bunch. I guess that's what you get when you write spec articles. It was interesting to see the editors trying to get me to say something controversial. Much worse than what my article had. All in all it was a good experience and I am glad that you all took the time to read and critique it. No, I am not some old crotchety elitist, as I said in the long version, and I love having people in the mountains. I love taking newbies along with me and I teach kids weekly, rock climbing techniques. Hell a couple of the kids in my class (6-12 year olds) can lead 5.11 sport! Within a year I expect them to be stronger sport climbers than I, and although they aren't leading trad, they fly up cracks at the columns with ease. I am all for people in the mountains, just wish more people took climbing more seriously and took a little more time to learn. I am still learning and would feel greatful to anyone who called me out if I was doing something stupid - not stupid as in running it out on lead, stupid as in glissading with crampons. Is it a pipe dream? Maybe. My opinion matters about as much as the next person's. You have made me think of things from a different perspective and outside my collective box. Hope I have done the same for you. Hope to see y'all out cragging soon.

 

As for the cell phone issue, well that section was definately not refined. Like I said, this article was edited about 20 times, and when I go back and read that, it does sound elitist and that is not who I am. Just trying to put pen to paper. Dissent is good!!!!!!! [big Drink]

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I was "climbing" on a via ferrata route in Italy a few weeks ago. This guy behind us (very crowded) actually received three cell phone calls, and jabbered away during the entire climb. By the third call it was getting irritating. I'm not saying he doesn't have a right to use his phone, but man, it sure would have been funny if he dropped it! The whole conga line would have laughed...

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[laf][laf][laf]

Was he a tourist or from Italy? Always wanted to try one of those lines. Hear there are some pretty exposed lines over there. Did ya feel safe, as in more or less safe then being on the sharp end of an alpine route? Don't you need some special gear that Petzl makes?

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The FBI should nab all the fools talking on cell phones trying to stick clip at smith rocks for a start. [laf]

 

There are good via ferrata routes in Germany as well... You can do a search online for the details and also any climbing shop near the climbing areas has that stuff most of the time.

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Thanks, Ryland and Eric, for sharing your opinions with the rest of us. You too, Chuck. Dissent is good. Legitimate exchange of ideas redeems this forum.

 

Now, my 2 cents about cell phones: when you're sharing a physical space with others, then forcing them to listen to your private conversation is a violation. It's basic anthropology: it breaks certain unwritten social rules. The more people spend their lives in their cars, on the phone, AT THE COMPUTER, the more the culture seems to be forgetting ancient guidelines of human interaction. We're still 98 per cent chimpanzees, and we should not be so casual about ignoring the chimpanzee rules. If you stand next to me and talk loudly to your invisible companion, gleefully ignoring my presence while simultaneously making it impossible for me to ignore yours, it's a gesture not to far removed from the [Moon] . I hope to escape this very thing in the mountains, so if you care about your inner chimpanzee, please refrain from social calls when on a climb.

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Hey Ryland,

I assume this is not the published version.

 

Did they make you cut out all that extraneous cell-phone-whining BS? You seem to make a good point about helping the less experienced so noone gets killed, but what is the deal with,

 

quote:

I hope that other, more experienced climbers will politely ask the next person they see on a cell phone calling to brag from the summit,” Would you mind waiting to do that on your own time in the parking lot and not on mine up here?”


It's their mountain too. Cell-phone talking rights are not just allocated to the "experienced". What about people talking to their buddies right next to them? Saying “Man, what an awesome line!” or, “Yeah, could you believe the conditions we had in the Couloir?” Would that be OK because they didn't need to use a newfangled gadget?

 

I think that in most of your article you come off as a psuedo-self-deprecating elitist. You seem to believe your motives for being on Mt. Hood are correct and someone else's perceived motives are unacceptable. Their motives should make no difference to you. Who cares if they're not in it for the long run? It's NONE OF YOUR GODDAMNED BUSINESS!! You sound like the lameshits who grouse about people with North Face gear who don't climb. Someone's trying to break into their elite "club" without paying the proper dues. Give me a break [Roll Eyes] .

 

There's always someone more experienced. In fact, you namedropped a bunch of them in your article. There's always someone up there with different motives than yours. Are they justified in griping about you like you gripe about those who want to make a call from the top of the mountain?

 

In closing, you write:

quote:

On the ride back to Eugene, Gabe, Graham, and I didn't talk about the summit scene on Hood. Maybe we wanted to erase it from memory, lest it detract from the incredible experience we had had during the ascent.

...or perhaps maaaybeee....

they didn't obsess over a bunch of people enjoying themselves at the top of a notoriously crowded mountain!!. Just a thought.

 

I can understand how working hard on a big essay like you did can start screwing with your brain and get you thinking some extreme stuff (look at me in this flame [laf] ). You're probably not like that in real life. But in your essay you come off as one crotchety f*ck for being only 26 years old! I'd hate to see you at 40! [laf]

 

Cheers Ry. You did write that you appreciate dissent. [Cool]

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Norman,

So why is a cellphone convo different than if both people in the coversation are present?

 

What about talking to someone on the bus? Surely you have sat on the bus when there are two people who actually know each other are sitting together and talking. Everyone else on the bus gets treated to enforced eavesdropping (unless they have a personal music device). I know it is uncomfortable to be forced to listen in on someone else's conversation. Would you advocate no talking on the bus, or perhaps just talking allowed only if both conversants are present?

 

What about talking in a restaurant? I recently heard about some restaurant that banned cellphones. [Wazzup] I know most people have this love/hate or just hate/hate thing with cells and say, "f*ck yeah, that restaurant is cool". But you should ask yourself...why is it OK for people to talk in restaurants ONLY IF they're both there? I think it comes from discomfort with new phenomena. People will get used to these conversations with ghosts just like they got used to rock n' roll, microwaves, friends, and body piercings.

 

I still think you should MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. I undertand that having to endure someone else's pea-brained yabber is something one does not want to do while on a lovely mountain peak (or zoning on a bus) but think of the bright side of cell phones...at least you don't have to listen to BOTH of the babbling morons!

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