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pope

Mountaineering Excellence?

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I've seen some goofy shit over the years. Three of my buddies and I once finished Snake (Squamish Chief Apron) by climbing a slab to the right of a seeping crack. When "The Boy Idiot" finished the pitch and his partner had followed, I started up this thin, run-out slab (5.10?). About fifteen or twenty feet up, I hear Boy Idiot's partner say, "What's the matter, not wet enough for you?" I looked up to notice him draining his water bottle down the slab! It probably wasn't such a big deal, but at the moment, feeling like retreat wasn't an option, and now facing the possibility of a wet exit, I flipped my lid and screamed obscenities at this guy.

Once in Zion's Taylor Creek Canyon (South Fork), I tried to follow a guy up a "free" ascent of a finger crack. He asked me to trail a line, so I 'binered it into the gear loops on my harness. About thirty feet up, my buddy noticed that I was trailing the rope tied into my harness, and that he was belaying me on the rope I'd 'binered into my harness gear loops! (Come to think of it, that's almost as bad as the Lynn Hill knot.)

 

Mountaineering excellence or absolute stupidity? OK, if you've got a story to add, let's resist the temptation to make an ass out of somebody by naming names.

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Ok, Mountaineering stories of idiots. One time on Baker we were doing a ascent in a total whiteout at the summit, which is bigger than a football field with cliffs around some of it...I felt comfortable enough to go up since I was up a week before, comfortable but with wands. We thought we were the only ones on the top, since we started late, trying to wait out the whiteout with snowfall, and after dinking around the summit, we started down, pulling wands, and like ghosts in the mist, we were astonished to see many parties headed up, totally ill prepared, stuff falling off packs and COTTON. A few mumbles to the parties about being careful, and I told one of them that hey, maybe we will leave the remaining wands so they can get down... "OK", and we went home to watch the news if there was anyone missing on Baker. The week before we saw a crazy Canadian (sorry Dru) with two screwdrivers going up and he just handed us Billy Graham flyers, saying God will watch us all.

Bill

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I was very new to the rock and we were up on Guye Peak. About 4 or 5 pitches in my leader hit a move he could not make. He set the rap anchor with the #10 Stopper he had found fixed right there. There was no backup at all, the anchor was a solitary, found piece.

He looked at me and said, "this is going to be the smoothest rap of your life!"

It took two more incidents like this to get me to quit climbing with the dude. So I'm a slow learner.

BTW- Didn't you get him to mix YOU a couple screwdrivers?

[This message has been edited by jtflyfisher (edited 09-05-2001).]

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TTT-

I've been wearing cotton in the mountains for over thirty years because I like the way it breaths and how it feels. I've worn cotton underwear and shirts ski mountaineering, ice climbing, alpine climbing, and I can assure you, cotton is not the silent partner to the Green River Killer. I do have to be careful to take my shirt off when I start sweating (I've been seen skinning uphill in a snowstorm with a bare back), and if I do get my shirt wet I often wear it over my sweater so my body heat can dry it.

-mattp

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I had a partner on W ridge of forbidden that was on the first rap down the Coulior. He was about half way down and saw slings way off to the left (looking down) on ledge about 4 feet about the snow. Once he got on the ledge, he saw lower slings on Right (looking down) and decided to use them instead. If you have been up there, you know coulior has a natural lean to the right. I watched him jump off the ledge land on the snow slide across the coulior into the wall on the otherside. Luckily he had a helmet on and only bruised his shoulder and pride.

Now that I think of it, on the way up across the taboo glacier I had another incident with the same person. I was tied into the middle of a 3 man rope team. The leader got off the snow onot the rock and started to belay me in. About 30 feet from the edge the Glacier made some nasty noises, shook, shimmied and I think I heard it say 'I will crush you', or at least that is what I was thinking. It seemed like the lower half of the glacier dropped. I took off running sideways for about 30 feet. When everything calmed down, I turned around and saw the 3rd person on the rope was about 15 feet behind me with about 30 feet of coiled rope in his hands. When I gave him a dirty look he only replied back with a 'What?' expression. I could have killed him.

That was the last time I climbed with him.

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A few years ago my dad was in town from Indiana and I thought it would be cool to take him up to Camp Muir for the day. He's always been in pretty decent shape so we took off on up and had a great hike. On the way up though some dude comes hiking by us fairly fast sportin the full on Eddie Bauer look dragging his poor 10 year old son behind him. They really did not even have enough stuff to make it to Muir and he turns and asks me how far to the top. I told him that would not be a good idea without more gear and that it usually takes at least two days. He was like "Well it shouldn't take that long and I live near Mt Washington back east where the weather really gets bad, and I've been up that a few times ...blah blah". There was no talking to this guy. He had all the answers. I just felt bad for his kid getting dragged along behind this maniac. Never did see them again. Maybe they summitted and descended out the Emmons side that afternoon..lol

Another time a few years back I had just summitted Adams on a particularly cold day and up comes this dude wearing a grey two pc sweatsuit and hightop tennies. It was surreal! I even took a pic of this guy. Funny as hell!

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My wife and I summited Adams last Sept. on a bright sunny day and felt kind of silly as we were the only folks out of a group of 15 or so on the summit with boots and ice axes. Everyone else was in tennis shoes and carried no gear or packs but "hiking sticks" aplenty. I think they were a bunch of army guys from fort Lewis. I just kept my mouth shut and glissaded out of there before we got caught up in anything. Of course they all thought that was pretty cool looking unitl thier kahki shorts started filling up with snow. hah!

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Skiing up to Camp Muir one sunny spring day, I was passed by two jarheads (military-types) sporting nothing more than shorts, chuka boots, sunglasses, and severe sunburns on their backs. Dangling over each of their shoulders was a loop of goldline with a handful of steel carabiners and pitons clipped to it.

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I remembered another story. It was mid july and I was coming off of Mt. Hood at about 9500 feet. I saw a guy hiking by himself without an axe, so I wandered over to say hi. As I got closer I noted he was in light hiking boots, jeans, light jacket, one gallon Jug of water in his hand and a small fanny pack, (big enough for 2 bandaids and a frozen power bar). I started to talk to him to get a feel for his experience. He said the day before he had a guide and rented all the gear but because the weather was so bad that they turned around. On the way up I had almost got pegged by a bone crushing rock coming right towards me. It would have knocked me into the shrund. Anyways I tried to talk him out of it, but there was no changing his mind so I glissaded down as fast as I could to get away from him.

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I was running up Mt. Hood's south side a couple of years ago and ran into a bunch of Japanese exchange students on their way back down. I guess they decided to turn around at the 'schrund, but had ice axes being carried in all ways except the correct. They were wearing jeans, hooded sweatshirts and tennis shoes so it didn't surprise me when I saw one slip and start doing backspins for about 300 feet down a steeper part of the slope. She managed not to impale herself, and she slowly got up and kept walking away.

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If you've ever been in the guiding business, you meet all kinds. Some of your clients will brag about all their experience and then you find out they know nothing so I usually assumed they did know nothing and made many decisions accordingly. Anyway, I'd do these courses and we'd just get a list of names with very little idea who might show up or what they'd be like. On one of the first basic rock seminars I taught on my own, I had a guy show up with a big old hunting knife strapped to his leg. It took me twenty minutes to talk him into putting it into his pack while he insisted how useful it might be in a tricky situation. It came out again from time to time, at lunch, etc. and made me and everybody else nervous, in fact, the other clients were privately complaining. The final straw soon arrived. When it's hot outside, you and I might remove that extra shirt. Knife boy dealt with the situation by cutting off the sleaves of his own shirt WHILE HE WAS WEARING IT, creating his own custom version of the classic "wife-beater" T-shirt. Everyone was appalled and that was it. I took him aside and told him it was the knife or the class and he chose the class....and even returned for more later that summer without the knife.

Another time I had a student accidentally knock me off a ledge up in Icicle Canyon when I was leaning over to coach his belayee. Caught myself, though..and I ain't gonna let that happen again. Wacky guiding stories? I got loads of them but I've bored you enough, although another guide, working in the Tetons, was essentially class-threeing a class-five pitch as many guides will do and gave firm instructions to his clients that they weren't to pull on or touch the rope while he was leading out. Someone did..they either pulled on it or tripped on it and the guy fell 60 feet to a ledge and spent months in the hospital. I won't drop his name but he was a pretty awesome climber before, and pretty dang good afterwards.

Yikes! - Dwayner

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I once climbed Cutthroat Peak's South Buttress with this broad. We soloed to just below the "Tarzan jump" pitch, and then I asked her to walk out to the end of a ledge with the rack to set up a belay, while I uncoiled the rope. Next thing I know, she just disappeared. I shuffled over to the end of the ledge to find that she'd soloed about forty or fifty feet up the next pitch, which seemed to dead end at the top of a gully. There she was, clinging to the wall, unable to go up, unable to retreat. I basically had to solo the pitch, climbing a line to her right, which I never would have done ropeless in any other situation, to access a ledge where I could quickly get a rope around a tree and lower her a line with a locking-D.

Yes, I was stupid enough to climb with her after that, but I've always been a fool for a nice rack.....she had all the gadgets!

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On a bivi at the foot of the Adams glacier I ran into a couple of guys that had a tough time on the north face of the northwest ridge. They claimed to have misjudged the length of the route, taking a pretty big fall in which this guy wripped a huge hole in his pants and lost his axe, then they dug a snow cave, summitted (yeah right) and then for some reason descended the same way instead of coming down the north ridge. We got to talking and they claimed to be from Florida. That's when they pointed down to our gear and said "what's that?" "Uhh ... its a picket."

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pope wrote:

"I once climbed Cutthroat Peak's South Buttress with this broad...."

I once climbed a route with a "broad" at Squamish. I lead up the first pitch, clipped the anchor, and call to her to start climbing as she is out of sight. She starts climbing and I start taking in rope. After a time she calls for slack, so I give her some. Then she calls for more so I give her more. This goes on for a while until I realize that something is up. I loosen the clove hitch on the anchor and move to where I can see her. She has climbed past like the first three pieces of pro and will surely deck if she comes off. I calmly ask her if she can downclimb to which she replies in the negative. I calmly ask her to climb down to the piece she just passed and clip into it. Once she does, I am just able to lower her to the ground against the rope drag. It took a while to figure out how to sort out the resultant clusterfuck.

She was kind of new to the sport.

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