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octavius

sunglasses and coincidences

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I've told this story to friends, but decided readers here might enjoy it. It is one of those stories where you are left thinking... 'what are the odds'? I'd like to see stories like this that others might have, about lost gear and coincidences.

 

Last year, on July 1st, I climbed Ingalls East Ridge. On the hike out, I was wearing my favorite sunglasses, Smith T-Nines. I loved these sunglasses. They were prefect, good fit, and had enough wrap around and coverage that they even worked on glaciers (I had worn them up the Emmons the previous year). Their only flaw was a scratch in the center of one lens... I had been meaning to get that lens replaced or the scratch fixed.

 

As we get closer to the trail head, I remove the sunglasses and hang them from the chest strap of my pack. Somewhere in the last couple of miles of the trail, the sunglasses fell off the chest strap, but I didn't notice. When we got back to our cars, I realized they were gone, but I was so beat I wasn't going back to find them.

 

Later that week I go back to the store where I had purchased them. They no longer stocked T-Nines. I look through all of the other models, and pick out another set. They aren't as good, but they will have to do. Over the next months, while using the new set, I lament the loss of my old pair.

 

That December, I decide to head down to Joshua Tree for the holiday season. I couldn't convince any of my regular climbing partners to go as they were all taking a water ice course (I didn't have the water ice bug). I saw from this board that Catbirdseat was planning a trip, so I planned to meet him there, and a few people I met on RC.com.

 

When I arrive in JT, I find CBS and setup camp next store. He is camping with Fenderfour and another guy that I recognize from VW in Seattle (Oscar). Over the next week I climb with these guys, shoot some video for climbing videos, and just have a good time with a pretty regular schedule that consisted of: hit crossroads in the morning, climb during the day, and drink at night. Turns out Fenderfour lives about six blocks from me in North Seattle.

 

I start hitting some local crags with FF that spring, including a trip to Frenchman Coulee. As we pull up one day, and he parks his car, he reaches over to retrieve something from his glovebox. I notice he has a few pair of sunglasses and I ask if I might borrow one - I had forgotten mine that morning.

 

"Help yourself" he answers in his normal generous style.

 

I pull out the sunglasses and find a pair of T-Nines.

 

"Wow" I say "where did you buy these? I lost my pair last year and haven't found a good replacement".

 

He pauses, then responds "You lost those? I found those last year. Where did you lose yours?".

 

I have to think for a minute "I lost them coming out from Ingalls, in late June I think".

 

"I found those, coming out from Stewart in mid July, just laying next to the trail" he responds. "Their only problem is that one lens is scratched in the center".

 

I try them on, same perfect fit, same scratch on the lens. Fenderfour offers them back to me, same generous style. When I get home I double check my climbing log, I had done Ingalls on July 1st.

 

 

- octavius

 

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I was doing a solo, late winter ascent of Inner Constance. To save weight I did not bring a tent, but a shovel and dug a snowcave in a scooped out area where the wind swirls around a big boulder in Avalanche Canyon. Back then I wore contact lenses (yeah for lasik!) and as I was trying to remove them to store for the night I dropped one. I could not find it after a long frustrating search and so I spent a restless night lamenting the fact I was going to have wierd vision for the ascent and descent the next day. Since I was in a bivy sack with no tent floor, I essentially gave up all hope of finding it in snow. The next morning I woke up and decided a short cursory search couldn't hurt. Low and behold, there in the large crystals of spring snow that look a lot like a contact lenses, I spotted it. It felt incredulous to me, but I just figured it must have been a carma thing. I was extremely grateful to have normal vision a a stress free climb!

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Sigh. Over the Memorial Day weekend, I lost my favorite pair of Native glasses going into Mt. Jefferson on the Pamelia Lake trail. I had them on top of my hat. At one point, I removed my hat to put my hair up, and they must've flown off. Better to keep them on a leash next time.

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a snaffle stole my sunglasses at smith. we were climbing in the gorge. :cry: i am still heart broken. that was umm 5 or 6 years ago and i am still traumatized.

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I understand "still traumatized." A couple of years ago, coming back from Ouray, I crumpled up my Arcteryx hard shell under my seat, and forgot to take it with me when I got off the plane in Seattle. When I reached Portland and got out on the tarmac, I realized I had left it on the plane. I called Delta and asked them to keep it safe for me and they refused to help. (AAAAAGH!!) I still wince every time I see one of those jackets. I still avoid flying Delta, too.

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I left a pair of prescription safety glasses on a plane. My name and phone number were even on the case. I called them immediately that night and was told they could not recover them for me. They just give away all eyeglasses they find. I was pissed off. If I remember correctly this was United Airlines. I doubt any other US airlines are any better. All US carriers are bad.

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It's not sunglasses but similar luck. I was doing a backcountry ski trip in the Sierra a few years back. We were on the Darwin Bench near Evolution Valley. We skied off away from camp to explore the area and while away from camp, I took off my blue and white bandana for a photo and, without knowing it, dropped it on the ground. Getting ready the next day at camp, I couldn't find the bandana and ended up heading out without finding it.

 

5 months later, I was backpacking through the same area. It looked very different without all the snow. We set up camp one afternoon and went poking around. Without realizing it we found ourselves on the same spot we had been months earlier on skis when we took the photo. I looked down at one point and there was my blue and white bandana. A bit sun-bleached but otherwise fine. Still use it!

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My buddy and I headed out one morning in a dense fog to climb Sharkfin Tower. Disoriented and stupid in the whiteout, we missed Sharkfin (appreciably) and climbed steep snowslopes up towards the col just south of Boston Peak. There on the col, I consulted my altimeter cuz something didn't seem quite right....there, we were actually above the summit of Sharkfin (according to the altimeter) and I figured out that we were at Boston Peak instead. D U M B. Anyhoo, we decided to climb back down the steep snow in the mist, and we were getting ready to do so, there, leaning against a rock, was a grivel ice ax. Where's the coincidence in all this? Well, if you lost that grivel ice ax, I still have it...so let me know and perhaps you'll be able to fill in the first part of this story...

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When I was 9, my brother and I were given $5 to walk to the store and pick up a few groceries for our Mom. On the way, I straggled behind looking for horned toads and lizards. About halfway there I found a crisp 5 dollar bill! My brother and I were elated as we ran the rest of the way to the store. We bought pastries and candy and pop and chips and everything else ($5 went along ways back then). We sat on the porch of the small store and ate till we were sick. When we were done, we decided it was time to buy the groceries we were sent there for. We were shocked to discover that my brother had LOST the $5 we were given. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that rather than connecting the dots, we spent several hours searching for that money. When we got home, Mom had a hard time believing our story. Idiots. Only somewhat similar (not really I guess) but your story reminded me of it so thought I'd share. I am not the same person as that idiot child....mostly.

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Some years ago my Dad and I went on an outing to climb Sherpa’s west ridge. As we were packing up at the car we debated whether or not we should take our wallets or risk leaving them in the car where they would be vulnerable to trailhead thieves. We decided to take them with us.

 

On the approach, we stopped and ate lunch along side the Ingalls Creek trail, then left the trail and started gaining elevation working our way through some slide alder bands and meadows. After gaining about 2,000 feet of elevation, I felt something hit me in the back of the head. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the top pocket of my pack was open and that the only missing item was my wallet.

 

We had traveled through a bit of brush to get where we were and the odds of retracing our steps and finding it were improbable. Regardless, we dropped our packs and headed down the hill to look for it. To our amazement we luckily stumbled upon it in a stand of slide alder and jubilantly headed back up the hill to continue our trip.

 

We got back to our packs and were preparing to continue, when my Dad turns to me and says “You’re not going to believe this, but I can’t find my wallet.” His pack had been securely zipped up so we knew the only place it could be was at our lunch stop. Back down the hill we went to find his wallet waiting for us there.

 

 

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About 9 years ago, by partner and I climbed the north ridge of Stuart, after we were off the decent and on the hiking trail back up the stuart pass, we sat down for a quick break….well I had my helmut and BRAND NEW CRAMPONS on the back of my pack……somehow they came off. And my partner was walking behind me the whole time and he did not see or hear this. We get back to the tent and they were not there. Well after a 16 hour day……there was no way I was going to go on a possible 8 miles round trip to find them….I never recovered them…..lame. I use the crampons once….earlier that day.

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I understand "still traumatized." A couple of years ago, coming back from Ouray, I crumpled up my Arcteryx hard shell under my seat, and forgot to take it with me when I got off the plane in Seattle. When I reached Portland and got out on the tarmac, I realized I had left it on the plane. I called Delta and asked them to keep it safe for me and they refused to help. (AAAAAGH!!) I still wince every time I see one of those jackets. I still avoid flying Delta, too.

 

*snif* i feel your pain.

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There once was a clothing maker named Snow Lion out of Berkley, CA. Holubar was selling close out down parkas following the demise of Snow Lion- $40 for a $100 jacket. There were two left, a large (blue) and an extra large (rust orange). My brother and I each decided to buy one. Even though I wore a large, I let my brother have the large and I took the extra large, since I was a little bigger than he.

 

We took our new parkas on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada range. We each strapped the parkas in their stuff sacks to the back of our packs because we didn't have room inside. I remember telling my brother to double tie the jacket, but he didn't listen.

 

When we pulled off the trail for a rest break, his jacket was gone. We all hiked back and searched for that jacket, but never found it. It likely bounded down a slope.

 

Here it is 25 years later and I still have my orange jacket and seldom wear it because it is too warm.

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