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Style points!


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Seems some were offended by my appointing "style points" for what well could have been an epic in survival.


So lets make a list of incidents that should be awarded style points!


Doug Scott's crawl down the Orge is a good starting place.

Robert's and McCarthy's ascent of the S Face or Denali and the N Face of Huntington another.

Robert's and Tackle's ascent of Kennedy.


Not the same league but I suspect pretty indelible in Gwain's mind.

Gwain's 150' fall and two days of hard climbing on 3 quarts of water and 6 snickers for the two of us.


one of mine? Hobbling off the toboggan to my car, driving the 30 min to the emergency room and having the nurse tell me I didn't need to be there if I could walk in. Injuries? Broken back and broken leg.



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The whole notion of climbers and style points is kinda funny. Climbers are obsessive geeks that just go climbing.


You can not look cool or stylish while doing the following things: driving with a mattress on top of your car, riding an exercise bike, using an elliptical runner, having a bout of diarrhea, putting on socks...and climbing up or crawling away from mountains and struggling to survive. All of these things, climbing/crawling/surviving included, are just things that you gotta do sometimes.


Basketball players, etc have style.


Anyway, just sayin'...

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Sorry, I have to disagree; first of all, while there is nothing wrong with geeks, or being one, not all climbers are geeks.Obsessive? Maybe, but that may be the price of safety and survival, too. But there is a very definite criteria of style throughout the various aspects of climbing, and it's of very long standing, going back to the earliest days of alpinism. Some of the old pictures of Swiss and Bavarian guides in the Aiguilles, wearing rope-soled shoes and felt hats, climbing with absolutely beautiful, classic form and elegant grace on routes that were extremely bold and serious,extreme exposure, runouts of 70 or 80 feet with hemp ropes tied around the waist, ice ax carried through the pack straps, are prime examples.


Look at the books by the famous French alpinist and guide Gaston Rebuffat,"On Snow and Rock", "Between Heaven and Earth, read "Gervasutti's Climbs", flip through back issues of the American Alpine Journal, look at photos of the legendary early big wall pioneers of yosemite such as Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt,Yvon Choiunard, Bridwell, I could go on and on, if you want to see real style, elegance and grace under extreme conditions and pressure.If you're lucky enough to ever get to watch Tim Olson, the author of Portland Rock Climbs, at work on rock or ice, you'll be treated to a virtual clinic in beautiful,elegant climbing of perfect balance and unmistakeable and highly individual style. Videos of Lynn Hill, Alex Lowe, John Bachar, Hans Florine,Peter Croft and Ron Kauk offer more of the same. There's a great old photo in Rebuffat's book "On Snow and Rock",of him standing with a group of famous guides and climbers in front of a stone hut in the alps, people such as Herman Buhl, Ricardo Cassin, etc. If that's not a stylish crew with their beautiful ski sweaters, knickers, knee socks, berets and meerschaum pipes, I don't know what is. These guys were lionized in European society and the international climbing community, and they looked the part, as well as being able to really climb like lions.


Style is everywhere in climbing, in everything, from the manner of the actual climbing itself, to the evolution of the placement of protection, not to mention a huge clothing and equipment industry which is still motivated by a very healthy amount of "form follows function", and a constant effort to meld the greatest versatility and function with fashion.


Style is also a major part of the whole approach to way climbs are planned and carried out, such as the evolution of Alaskan and Himalayan climbing from siege climbing by large expeditions to small teams going light and fast, or the freeing of routes that were formerly aid, or onsighting. Pick up a Lost Arrow or a Camalot and think about the combination of engineering and design, art and science, that it took to create something so beautifully and perfectly functional, rugged, and that enables us to, for a short time, rise above the pavement, the rat race and urban sprawl,and as the famous French alpinist Lionel Terray said, "to really become men", to do something magical and extraordinary. I'd go so far as to say that to climb IS style,of a very high order, because, however, inelegantly or awkwardly it might be done, it is nonetheless an effort to do something beyond the daily grind, that gives up us a glimpse of the nobility and grandeur, the majesty of the mountains themselves, that brings us closer to finding those same elements within ourselves.


I totally agree with you on all the other things you've mentioned that are pretty much impossible to do and look cool or stylish at the same time--but not climbing. And crawling/surviving? Hey,man,epics and mistakes are still evidence that someone has tried to DO something, not just lay around on the couch playing video games or tubing.


To come crawling out of the mountains,windblasted, frostbit, sunburnt, gaunt and hollow eyed, with a thousand yard stare, but ALIVE, up and moving, still going straight ahead, having survived terrible and even tragic ordeals, now that is the very stuff and substance, the fucking MARROW of Style and Cool.Tell me that Joe Simpson isn't cool, man. Tell me that what Ed Hillary, John Harlin, Joe Brown, Tom Patey, Galen Rowell, John Gill, Louis Lachenal, Anderl Heckmair or Layton Kor did wasn't cool. Tell me, man, that Conrad Anker, Colin Haley, Will Gadd, John Long, Doug Robinson, Fred Beckey or Tom Frost aren't cool.


And tell me that the guy next to you in the middle of the night freezing his ass off on the bivy ledge halfway up the east face of Liberty Bell or Grand wall, in the rain, the guy sorting the rack and taking off on the next lead with a big grin even though he's scared to death, tell me that guy isn't cool. He might look gawky or geeky, some of my early climbing partners sure were, guys with glasses so thick they looked like chunks busted out of the bottom of pop bottles,skinny arms,climbing in t-shirts and jeans, but hey, they were out there, hanging off of Snow Creek Wall, somewhere up in the Nightmare Needles, Nooksack Tower, North face of Mt. Index or Baring or Town Wall, Vesper Peak, Warbonnet or Pingora, and that's pretty cool.


Style and cool are OLD, man, they've been around a LONG time, as B.B. King would say. The Vikings, the Masai,the mountain men; like old Hugh Glass, a hunter with Jacob Ashley's party heading up the Missouri, who got mauled so bad by a Grizzly he was left to die alone in the wilderness, but somehow survived, and crawled clear across what is now southern Wyoming and half of Nebraska, with a broken leg splinted with the rawhide from the grizzly, to finally reach St. Louis on foot after 6 months. John Colter, Tom Fitzpatrick, Bill Sublette, Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger and Joe Meek, these were some very cool guys with plenty of style, who took survival to a high art, as well they might have, studying with none other than the Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Mescalero Apache, Gros Ventre, Paiute, Crow, Kiowa, Comanche and so on, who were the masters.


The point is, style and cool are way more than looks. And even the things you mention which are impossible to look cool or stylish while doing, well, even those are, in a sense, basic daily survival, the thing that's in us that makes us keep at it, day after day, when it's miserable and boring, when we're sick or stupid or scared, when we still just keep putting one foot ahead of the other to get the kids to school or get the garbage out to the curb, get to work on time. When you think about it, that's really pretty cool. Even the guy driving with a mattress on top of his car. Life is not easy, yet people constantly amaze me the way they keep at it in spite of everything, and they do it with a lot of laughter and spirit, too, and that's style, for sure.


Victor Hugo, in "Les Miserables", said "There is nothing more beautiful than a man who gets back on his feet."; an old Chinese proverb says, " Seven times knocked down, eight times get up." Putting on your socks? Man, that's a Zen koan, nothing less. Everyday life, nothing special, yet how magical and miraculous, whether doing your taxes or climbing the west face of Uli Biaho. Zen master Oda Sesso Roshi said, "Sweep the garden,any size." Very, very cool, and loads of style.


It may not always look that way, or appear to be very evident. But I guarantee you it's there. If you don't see it now, someday you will. :wave:



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Style points are the very heart of our calling. They have been from the very beginning. When it all goes wrong, when hope is flagging, when the call comes to sever your earthly tether and soar, hopefully not earthward, you can always fall back on your deepest, inner need to log style points.


This core principle has brought more climbers in trouble back to the world of the living than 1000 essentials.


Even the most sensible librarians among us, even the dyed in the wool Mounties leadership, begrudgingly admire those who can extract themselves from the jaws of death with elan.

Edited by tvashtarkatena
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joshk threw his climbing boots into the raging torrent of the north fork of bridge creek, right under the awful eye of goode (dude) - when he tried to hint that maybe he couldnt' do the climb anymore, i harrangued him until he decided to do the whole thing in his tennis shoes - does that count?


oh yeah, we smoked a pack of cigs each on the hike in on day 1, generally while we were walking - how many points does that get?

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Yeah: what Mtguide said: EXACTLY on the money. Joe Simpson may be one of the more recent famous ones.


For pretend: I like the German (Swiss) guy Anderl Meier character on the Eiger Sanction though, better than real. He's totally phucked, looks over at his buddy Clint (as Jonathan) and says in that understated lilt of an accent: "You're very good. I have really enjoyed climbing with you."


Dr. Jonathan Hemlock: "We'll make it."


Meier then simply says: "I don't think so. But we shall continue with style. "


Man, that's writing there.

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"Mtnguide" writes:

If you're lucky enough to ever get to watch Tim Olson, the author of Portland Rock Climbs, at work on rock or ice, you'll be treated to a virtual clinic in beautiful,elegant climbing of perfect balance and unmistakeable and highly individual style. Videos of Lynn Hill, Alex Lowe, John Bachar, Hans Florine,Peter Croft and Ron Kauk offer more of the same.


I give this a whopping six Groupie Points! It would have gotten more if you had included, Chris, Beth, Timmy and the whole wacky gang!





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And if you wanna see some real style, check out the "iso" at "the comps"!:



Tanned, rested and ready to clip and throw down! Are you???



"Let's take it outside, sucka! Exit 38, tomorrow, after school!"



Sporto fantasy! "Yah...there were two babes sittin' on our

laps wearin' prom dresses and such, and like they were complimenting us on our awesome sit-starts and I said "there's more where that came from" and they giggled...and then I woke up."

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I'll give you this much Don: you, more than many others ever will know, have learned and mastered the art and skill of peeing on the campfire just as everyone is crowding around it in the cold of the early twilight.


Oh...you mean like this?:




or this?



or perhaps this?



Sorry, I can't take credit for those "relevant" offerings. Instead, I presented a sarcastic perspective related to climbing. Whatever dude.


"Oh, piss-boy!"







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Not sure if this is style or stupid ...


Decked from 20 feet up or so. Could still wiggle my toes so I got up, picked up my gear (wasn't hard cause it pulled out and was lying next to me), called it a day and drove home. Now home was a 12 hour drive. 6 hours into the drive I meet up with my parents who are moving and loaded/unloaded a bunch of boxes in our vehicles. Got home at 2am, told the wife who is nurse I took a little fall. Next morning decided to see the doc cause my shoulder hurt - diagnosis broken neck. Sported a c-collar for 12 weeks.

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That's Pete Reike, the first paraplegic to summit Rainier under his own power.

The d00d carrying him is a State Trooper that stopped to help Pete and his wife, Jenny.

He rolled that Ranger a coupla times in the accident and totaled it, although it doesn't look like it from the pic.

Dane, do you know Pete?


BTW, I gave Pete some awful shit when I saw that photo on the front page of the Tricycle Herald... :laf:

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