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Skeezix

How'd you get started in climbing?

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In 1975 I joined the "Outing Club" at J. Sargent Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA. This other guy in the club knew how to rock climb and had gear, so I went on a climbing trip to Seneca Rocks, W.VA. and climbed Conn's West, my first route. It was fun. Then I joined the Army and talked my way into teaching rock climbing for the 9th Infantry Division in Leavenworth, WA. Then I got out and landed a job as a climbing ranger in North Cascades National Park and did that for 10 years...

 

What's your story?

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Went out solo and practically committed Recreational Darwinism in a pair of leather hiking boots at a limestone quarry near Front Royal, VA. Survived, but only barely. Shortly thereafter, I was out hiking on Old Rag Mountain and ran into some folks who were just concluding a day of climbing. They told me that they were going to be at Seneca Rocks, WV, in a couple of weeks, and that should I show up, they would outfit me and allow me to tag along with them. It was about this same time of year...

 

I got off my shift at midnight, and headed for Seneca. As luck would have it, a freak snowstorm hit and filled the roadways with a coupla feet of snow. I pushed on through and made it to the parking lot, but no one else was there (gee, ya think??). I got snowed in, and had to wait two or three days until someone showed up and helped to push me out. It was five years and four states later that I finally ended up back in Virginia at school at VA Tech. I joined the VA Tech Cave Club, and did that hard for my freshman year. In so doing, I hooked up with two guys, Frank Gibson and Psycho (Mike), who became my caving mentors.

 

At one point early in my second year at Tech, I asked what cave we were going to map the upcoming weekend. Frank responded that "we" weren't going caving, but that he and Psycho were going rock climbing instead. The conversation went something like this:

 

Me: Rock climbing... I tried that once, sorta... What's it really like?

Frank: Well, it's a lot like what we do in caves, only it's sunny. And warm. And dry. And the air is fresh, and you don't smell like carbide when you're done. And you don't have to sleep underground all weekend. In fact, it's a helluva lot more fun that caving, come to think of it...

Me: Can I come along?

Frank: Hmmmmmmm... sure, we'll have fun.

 

I think I went caving all of 3 or 4 times in all of my remaining years at Tech after that first climbing trip. :laf:

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I grew up looking at pictures on the wall of climbs my dad had been on in the 50s. During the summers I'd go hiking and later scrambling with my folks.

 

At age 14 in '78 I signed up for the Mountaineers Basic Climbing class. I finished that and started the Intermediate class. When I could finally drive I grew sick of climbing with old farts (at the time 40 was old :grlaf: ). I met high school friends into climbing, so I ditched the Mounties and went climbing...

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When I was about 3 or 4 years old I remember watching a documentary about guys climbing El Cap and I vividly remember thinking "that's what I want to do when I grow up". I did not actually do any technically climbing till I was about 18 though. I had a similar experience to Sobo... after nearly killing myself on what was probably 5.5-5.6 in hiking boots, I decided to take a class on rock climbing right after that.

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i'm a newb. 3 or 4 years ago a friend asked if I'd like to climb Hood, and I've been hooked since, though taking it slowly. I've only been rock climbing for a year and a half, and climbed my first outdoors 5.10a a month or two ago.

 

not bad for a 42 year old, non?

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At the UW some of us were into RFing, started raping into the steam tunnels and off the balconies on McMahon. Joined the UWCC as they had good parties and took the climbing PE course with some northwest notables. Did most of local peaks with friends graduated went to OZ and found friends from CO and CA to climb with. Joined MR in CA later.

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I've only been rock climbing for a year and a half, and climbed my first outdoors 5.10a a month or two ago.

 

not bad for a 42 year old, non?

If you were in your mid-20s or so, then I'd say that you were pretty slow in your development.

But at 42, Jeez, that's fuk'n great, man! Way to stay in shape. :tup:

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At the UW some of us were into RFing, started raping into the steam tunnels and off the balconies on McMahon.

Steam tunneling was always a blast at VA Tech. Expulsion was the price for being caught. It made for a very committing experience.

 

Also, climbing and rapping off the tower cranes on campus that were putting up new buildings was always top notch, late-night fun and games!

 

What's RFing? Rappel-Fucking??? Early form of clucking?

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steam-tunneling - also a favored activity at uva (good to see you fucking rednecks were good for somethign)

 

a trip to tri-cities the year after college lead to a clibm up the s side of hood which just blew my fucking doors off and led to a serious OCD addiction to all things clmibing - i remember me n' me friend bob doing our first climbs on limestone death-traps in shenendoah park, then spending the whole next week replaying every motion in me mind - sickness! after seneca it was done...

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After years of scrambling I decided to learn how to rope up for the odd 4th class pitch I might encounter while peak bagging. I guess I didn't realize that fingerjams up Flying Circus would result in lifelong addiction.

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When I was 9 my parents bought be belay course b/c I was hyperactive and sucked at everything else they tried to put me in... I started competing when I was 11 with the goal of winning nationals. I did just that but eventually decided indoor climbing was sorta gay and started cranking outdoors. I thought mountaineering looked sweet so I started climbing random mountains, guidebook-less, in jeans and skate shoes, without a pack (OMG!) and then eventually bought some better gear and started technical mountaineering...

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I had an idea for a book in December 2006. I started researching climbing and PMing people here when I'd read a post and want more info. One of those people, John Frieh, convinced me to give rock climbing a try. I did, in spite of my fear of heights, and fell in love with the sport, surprising everyone I know including my hubby. Now my three kids climb, too. I can't wait to give Alpine a try one of these days.

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1983: Got inspired by my trail crew supervisor in Zion (John Gangemi), he was an animal on and off the rock.

 

Got back home, dug out the classic 1974 issue of Nat Geographic with the hammmerless ascent of Halfdome, I studied the knots and gleaned what I could from the text.

I got the Spire rock guide book and bought some used gear from a dude at High school and started self teaching myself at Spire.

 

Mom felt I needed something organised so I enrolled in the mounties basic course. I stayed in it long enough to get the rock climbing info, meet Pope and then I bailed when we got to the snow and ice part.

 

The rest is history, with Pope and I learning alot those first few years 1985/1986 but challenging ourselves and scaring ourselves.

 

The best years EVER!

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My start was in Montana with my father and three older brothers. We went out in the mountains most weekends and kept doing steeper and steeper climbing. Finally we bought a rope and made diaper harnesses with seatbelts. We did a lot of top roping and got really good with mountain boots. I finally met a lead climber (Alex Lowe) who wasn't really interested in taking on "another" beginner but hooked me up with a guy who was starting to get good after climbing with Alex for a couple years. It was a springboard. I never looked back at backpacking or my brothers and father for years. By the time one of them expressed an interest, I was leading 5.10 trad in EB's. Climbing has bee very good to me......

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Quite some interesting stories. Mine is much more banal in comparison: after years of scrambling and skiing, I wandered unroped on the lower Winthrop glacier in early summer and the weather closed in on us for a while. I understood I needed to become better informed to be safe and took a Mountaineers course. I never got socked in on a glacier after that: I have always gone where the weather was more promissing.

 

Shouldn't this thread be on the main board?

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Climbing has largely been a family affair for me.

 

My mother was an avid hiker and birder and first took me on a hike up Mt. Monadnock at age 3 (my father grudgingly accompanied although he would rather have stayed home with the New York Times and our cousins were a no-show). At age eight my uncle drove me and my buddy up to Monadnock and dropped us off to camp overnight unsupervised. It was terrifying when the raccoons came in and raided in the middle of the night but we survived and made a successful summit bid the next day.

 

My older brother took up rock climbing in college and showed me how to set a top-rope when I was 12. With a buddy, I then learned how to climb by reading Freedom of the Hills and going to the nearest crag and trying things. A couple of older guys showed us how not to kill ourselves.

 

My brother took me to the Tetons when I was 15, and at 16 I swung leads in the Bugaboos.

 

My wife and I met sort of over climbing. I've climbed in the Bugaboos with one nephew, and taken another to Mt. Erie for his introductory climbs.

 

Here's my brother, nephew, and high school friend on top of Snowpatch Spire two years ago.

420sSurf5.jpg

 

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My frist climb was a 35 clay bank that was damm near 80 deg. made it to the top only to slip and fall off,at 8 years old i was the frist kid in the hood to get to the top. as the other kids walked me home i remember them saying "wow did that hurt"?As blood poored from my face,arms,and legs! But i felt great joy,for i had been to the top!! And was most likely in shock from the pain!

But have been hooked on climbing every since!

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Could we please try to keep spray climbing-free? (never thought I'd have to say THAT here.... :lmao: )

 

 

 

 

My tai chi teachers took up climbing a couple years ago to overcome height-anxiety; the were so enrapt by the transformative experience that they wanted all of their students to try it...the rest is history(for me). Thanks Steven and Lorelli! :wave:

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I love getting out and hiking ever since I could remember. As kids we went hiking up a small canyon that had climbs up in it, but never saw anyone climbing and couldn't imagine ever climbing. As I did more hiking, I kept on looking for challenges, finding it in distance hiking, bushwhacking and scrambles. Eventually I ran out of steep trails and was finally interested in getting over my fear of hieghts. I used to go out with a crew that was just learning to climb and we would toprope anything, 10 foot walls, buildings and quarries. I was scared shitless every time. I'd get up 10 feet and say "take and lower". Then my bud who took me and another newbie out and tooks us the 8 pitch long slab classic Sliding Board on Whitehorse. Never being more than 10 feet off the ground, I remember telling my friend Craig, "shouldn't we start off on something shorter?" We didn't, we just climbed the route. After that I remember all I could think about was climbing. I have pretty much thought about climbing every single day since then.

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say what you will about the mounties as an organization, but their text book definitely deserves a tug - how many folks out there taught themselves to climb, largely on the strength of that opus magnus?

 

x1

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Okay, ill let it out... My TRUE story goes more like this.

 

One day I was jerking off in the living room while my parents where out for a walk. Somehow I jizzed out and it hit the roof and was just splattered there on the ceiling. I was like, 'oh shit' b/c I heard my parents walking up the street so I piled up 5 chairs and bouldered to the top to clean up my jiz. I've been hooked ever since.

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I've only been rock climbing for a year and a half, and climbed my first outdoors 5.10a a month or two ago.

 

not bad for a 42 year old, non?

If you were in your mid-20s or so, then I'd say that you were pretty slow in your development.

But at 42, Jeez, that's fuk'n great, man! Way to stay in shape. :tup:

 

thanks. when i was in my twenties i could run a half-marathon in 1.15, and i probably would have made an awesome climber. now i weigh 35 lbs more...sigh.

 

as i think back, i guess my first climbing experience came when i was no more than ten. we lived in lake chelan, and one day a bunch of us decided to make our way down the outlet channel from the lake to the columbia gorge. i should go look at it again, but i recall lots of boulder jumping and scrambling over some pretty sketchy stuff. surprisingly, we lived and no one got hurt. someone had to drive down to where it empties through the basalt cliffs to pick us up.

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