Sobo posted a message today that made me realize that I had once joined him for an afternoon of ice climbing when he was up north about 10 years ago. I've climbed with a lot of random people over the years; most of whom I've forgotten and probably wouldn't recognize - however for some reason certain encounters stand out.
Climbing with sobo was memorable for 2 reason... We climbed well into the dark and upon topping out on the second climb (Ripple - a classic mellow ice route that forms fat and sticky every year from October - March) I turned around and saw the comet Hale-bop glowing on the horizon above the canyon wall. It was a beautiful sight -- the stars glowing bright and this huge burning comet right in front of me. I think of the comet everytime I climb Ripple (which is at least a few times / season)... and only many occasions I've sat at the belay anchors and described the sight to various climbing partners.
The second reason it was memorable was because sobo had a space blanket taped inside his helmet and when I asked him why he told me a long story about a forced bivy on some Cascade wall. I went home and taped my own space blanket inside my helmet and lo and behold a few years later found myself stuck on a route well after dark. It was cold as shit and after we dug a little ledge in the snow I pulled off my helmet and with pride showed my partner the space blanket that was still taped inside.
Apart from sobo I've experienced a couple other memorable climbs with random people - including a rather frightening experience where some random guy whom I had never met till that morning (I called a random number posted on a bulletin board) decided to solo an ice route. Half way up his pick broke and he hung on one tool freaking out and screaming obscenities for 15 minutes until he got up the nerve to downclimb to a ledge where he could replace his pick and finish his solo. All the while I was standing at the base mentally preparing myself to watch a guy fall 100' to his death.
Random climbing partners are kind of like one night stands... if the climbing or company was good then you'll have a clear recollection. Likewise if the climbing or company really sucked you'll remember the story for years!
Any good stories out there about random people you've met and climbed with???