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ivan

first ascent [TR] Tower Rock - FA - Rapunzel's Back in Rehab - C1 7/15/2015

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As an aside, there is no prohibition on the use of my name in posts Ivan. Such as "We rode up in Lucille", Bill's POS truck...or "Bill put in an easy pitch and I put in the hard one:-)", or "Bill took this fine photo of me on the traverse".....

 

Btw, I got dibs on naming the next pitch. I have in fact already named it: it's the "Dances with Death" pitch. I'll let you have that one:-)

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sorry'bout that bill, i did deny you your august credit, didn't i? ole jimbo's got me always looking over my shoulder trying not to attract the attention of the internuts police :)

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Trip: Tower Rock - FA - Rapunzel's Back in Rehab - C1

 

Date: 7/15/2015

 

Trip Report: The Beast - don't be fooled, them thare are full-grown trees :)DSC02611.JPG Tower Rock, 2 hours from everywhere, appears oddly neglected - Brown Beckey's got the tiniest blurb of the single route up it done in 1982 (anyone know of a second ascent? i can't find anyone who's tried it) but no picture n' no topo - tim olson's oregon rock guide has some more detail than beckey, but still the vast monolith appears to have continued unloved

 

tower's just south of randle, an unladen swallow's flight from the cispus river - the face is gigantic,something like 1200 feet tall - the rock is basaltic, according to beckey, but like nothing i've seen - like over-baked brownies, it's composed of a hodge-podge of components - incredibly solid and compact, it's cross-hatched in all directions, crackless, and crumbles into bricks and blocks of all conceivable sizes - the tower looms over it's talus field, fiercely steep, it's upper-wall reminiscent of the right side of el cap, incredibly bulging and over-hanging

 

tower is composed of two giant faces seperated by a ledge/fault system that was the path taken by the first team to climb the face - currently, after 7 days of effort, our route climbs the lower wall - it'll be just as much work to finish the upper wall, if the rock quality holds

 

as it currently exists DSC02616.JPG yeah, there's a lot more to go, but as it stands, what's there is 600 feet tall and a great day-tripper's aid adventure already - i figure the worst that can come of telling folks about this now before it's complete is that some other sad fools can go do it for me :)DSC02612.JPG

 

trip the first: fuck, this happened so long off i wonder if my recollection's right at all - me n' bill n' ben in the late winter - a burr up their bespectacled asses about a mythical 10-pitch free route up a largely untouched tower - the plan to hike to the top then set a rap-line down the likely route - out of town on a friday night to the frightful fall of rain - ghetto camp before the gate in gales of damnable damp - the roar of frogs - the next morning the most sordid thang - endless hours uphill w/ drill n' bolts n' chains in the continuous cloud-fuck n' frenzied chilly breeze - near the summit gob-smacked to gain a blazed trail barely a mile from a seasonal road - the top a huge disappointment, it characterized by clouds and beaming rainbows and rock so rude they rarely accoladed the attribution - soon there after the weekend righteously concluded and me around for the sweet family on the sabbath

 

trip the second: on the reconnaissance earlier, dejected at finding a kitty-litter summit, we'd paused after a tortuous overladen descent on the boulder field and pondered on future options - a man w/ an aid-climber's conscious could do a take on "infinite bliss" and find a bitching way up the crazy big blank face - it was sure to take a mort of mortal work, but bill n' geoff are true gentlemen all measured and solid for this kinda goofy shit - we banged up from p-town on a friday night and made camp up at the turn around on the forest road - stumble-fucking up the forest we arrived amazed and ready to ramble on - many mozzies n' deer flies this damned trip - pitch 1 went quickly between geoff and bill, the later bounding up free on low-angle stacked mossy talus to make an anchor atop tier 1 - me i got tier 2 - all bolts at first until i no longer feared the ledge, then lotza 2-hook moves in a row until reaching the top of the tier where i left a fixed hook to protect a low-angle romp to the second anchor - we retired to camp n' soggy fires n' fulsome screeching music - day 2 we jugged to the top of p2 and bill and geoff got up a ways before yielding to me, whereupon i drilled n' hooked to a high point we marked w/ red tat before descending and returning to our troubled and lonely little lives - i recollect getting a true n' glorious drunk on in the passenger seat n' slumbering back to vantucky :)

 

geoff putting up the first pitch on the scrubby, compact low-angle first tier P6060034.JPG

 

the artist as a young asshole ascending the second steeper tier P6060040.JPG

 

geoff workign on pitch 3, the first steps onto the very steep lower wall P6060042.JPG

 

trip the third: lovely ospreys n' robins round the lake - pete n' pam play camp hosts - camp weddings n' nightly fishing sheenaningans - muskrats n' pond-skimming swallows - bastard mozzies n' mean biting flies, mostly in obeisance for the first couple cold days, but growing in malevolence as the weather waxed towards wicked hot - the sweet ne face of Tower almost totally shade-soaked for the mid-morning riser - kids n' retirees n' rv's n' jumping trout n' tame dogs - the listless routines of an aimless life - awake w/ the sun - fresh shits n' dewy breakfasts - a short but grim uphill grind through steep forest w/ plentiful windfall, shirt soaked through by the time we hit the sunny talus field at the base but soon blessed w/ shade - warm juggy work to start and then to the serious business - fear frenzies despite being armed w/ all the wonderful war machines of modern man - a long time of terror n' toil - the day dispatched, we make a rapid descent, each time by a different winding way - beer n' stripping soaked clothes off at the mercifully close car - me auolde yosemite food bin rummaged through for a desperate dinner, usually of beer n' tobacco n' pringles n' whatever benevolent bill threw my way - an hour or so of bird-watching n' binge-reading on maggie thatcher's frigid teeming fucking bush - to sleep at the post-gloaming in a grand 6-man tent alone, racked out on a queen sized inflatable air mattress, wrapped in down and dozy drunkenness - the night passed moaning to sore muscles as i twist n' turn until the dawn drags me to my addled senses, then it all runs off the reel much as it reckoned the day before...

 

first several days of murmurings n' mumblings w/ just me n' bill (me a damn baby in comparison to my venerable and august elder - that baby weighing in at a mean 250 bare-nekkid pounds and a coward to boot of course) - bill a bastion of genteel sincerity that must sadly have bitch-left this world many generations ago - me strangely silent of song for days - my mind scrambled and saddened by the robust requirements of 6-weeks of family-left sorrows gone off in the valley - eventually songs to lift my times and shape my senses - "mining for gold" by the cowboy junkies running on an eternal loop in my mind - long after-shocks of "burn down the mission" caused by geoff for sure

 

after 3 days of toil we grow weary and call in the cavalry - the silverman boys gonna come down n' save us from our misery - we make a rest day out of walking the mountain side w/ them, then retiring to the big boulder to pound pbr's n' provide Adult Supervision - they lounge around camp afterwards, contemplating on crashing the redneck wedding well under-way - we smoke bales of weed n' cackle n' cough n' find high times are treasure enough in this wicked world - eventually all good things must get on the bus w/ gandhi though and they roll off into the night in the hms revenge, ready i hope to return for more

 

the last day done-off as surely as a band-aid - after a fearful arduous jug up the wild steep fixed lines ole bill baits the question ("good news or bad?" - which would you take?) - - dedication to a last day of determined work - 5 hours of bolting and hooking on endless steep traversing ground until i was gut-wrenched at what it was likely to take me to get get back to bill - epic amounts of gear left as i rapped into the void and quickly grew dependent on bill to reel me back in - the retreat then fully declared we rapped n' ruminated n' laid our plans like parchment paper, all of it ultimately putting us on sweet terra-firma w/ a fuck-load of gear to get off - surprised by bill's pronouncement of this day, i had no proper pack to cram all the crap into

 

eventually we ambled on down the way, me overloaded like a gypsy carnival-whore w/ rope-bags aplenty such that i swooned on multiple occasions as the straps cut into me wind-pipe and i passed yards off unyielding to gratuitous thoughts, my mind in a true and lovely gray place - the last night spent in part w/ militant california-paul, such as exemplar of that shakespearean clap-trap about sounding of fuck-all and negative fury, yet yielding nothing :)

 

our objective from the relative sanity of the rv park n' its teeming trout pond DSC02631.JPG white-boys jugging the first 2 tiers - at this angle the lower wall takes up most of the entire frame, but the upper wall's just as big n' steeper P6070047.JPG 700 feet of ropes n' route-making machine Tower7.jpg just starting the second pitch Tower5.jpg bags of bolts n' drills n' bullshit - starting to install pitch 4 Tower6.jpg geoff at the top of p4, kyle jugging up to the mid-pt anchor DSC02617.JPG

 

closing thoughts: happy to share the discovery w/ the nw brethren - leave yer self-righteous bolting morals at home w/ yer bitches - the place went unloved for a reason :) - the only cracks evident are where awful rock-fall is just a geologic fart-in-a-stiff-wind away - if intending to push the route higher (what's there is plenty for a day-tripper), please let me or bill or geoff know so one of us can come along - perhaps a dozen separate lines could be pushed to the top in the same style, each likely to take weeks n' 1000$ to put in place :) - recon trip to the top found almost no real rock up there - at some point all lines must turn to awful kitty litter, but maybe it'll go anyhow?

 

topo as it currently stands - hope to see this fucker get taller in the fullness of insensible time :)

 

topo8.jpg

 

Gear Notes: - up to 30+ draws if clipping all bolts - 2 bathooks (talons can work, but they risk blowing out the drilled holes) - ideally 2 70 meter ropes, but 2 60'S can work if careful - cheater stick not bad idea, as many of the bolts were installed by a fear-fucked orangutan at his max reach - lower off tat or quick-links/biners for follower at traversing parts - helmets essential - much potential for rockfall of all sizes, especially if hauling or jugging - base area very dangerous in strong winds or if below climbers on first 2 approach pitches - upper pitches largely protected from natural rockfall (be careful up there :) )

 

Approach Notes: Exit 68 off i5 - east on 12 to randle (about an hour) - right (south) turn at randle (follow signs for tower rock RV park) - quick left about a mile south of randle, then another turn right about 6 miles later - rt turn at tower rock RV park/cispus learning center signs - left onto logging road (75?76?) just a 100 yards before rt turn to tower rock forest service camp (or straight for another mile to the RV park) - forest road is closed at gate near main road during winter/early spring - about 1 1/2 mile up road (stay on main road at split a 1/2 mile up) there's a turn around (about .25 mile past a steep switchback) - from there you can continue in car but there's no turnaround - walk or drive 1/4 mile to road-end - at wierd stone-forest-altar begin hiking up steep forrested slope - about 45 minutes to base - occasional game and human trails, generally trending right and up - copious windfall in middle section of trail - steeper for last 1/3 of trail - idea is to skirt talus field on right and join base from tree at right edge of wall - 1st bolt is just 5 feet off ground near clump of trees about 50 feet above a huge lounge-like boulder that is a great/safe observation spot

 

descent: currently rapping from top of p5 to top of p4 is extra-ordinarly hard - in the future ideally there'll be a rap line straight down through p5 - for now be prepared to leave a fixed line to get back to the top of p4 and for the first rapper to have to haul the second back over - descending from the top of p4 requires 2 70 meter ropes or a stop at the mid-pt anchor (no rings) - the rap overhangs but you just barely touch the wall at the mid-pt anchor - use terrain to help you rap in the right direction

 

9/5-6 - trip the fourth w/ geoff n' bryan - 3 days of school, the easy ones, dispatched and snap, whizz, bang it was friday afternoon and we were flying down the highway, heading north, clutching cans n' cackling at this wicked world we are so at home in - ominous omens, devil-eyed little girls glaring out of death-cold cars at us - road signs: "the time of the lord is here" - jesus, we'd best tread lightly

 

the tower rock rv park at dusk, the ride dispatched in minutes it seemed, fueled by high-octane what-have-you n' plebian pbr's - the park much as i left it, riddled w/ well-heeled red-necks n' pam n' pete n' a feller i'm pretty sure ain't named larry but will ever here-after be for me :)

 

got good n' whiskey-drunk w/ hood-river spirits sitting round the fire n' sorted n' packed n' planned for the day to come and soon enough it was upon us - up at 630 to grits n' coffee n' black tobacco

 

holy shit, plenty of weight to pull us down on the slow amble up-hill but within the hour we'd handled it and got to the glory - bryan, his first visit to the wall, had spoken in pure-drunken-honestness of the ease w/ which he'd dispatch it all, so for his sins we gave it to him - he gamboled up the first 2 pitches easy enough as geoff n' i smoked n' chuckled n' occasionally jugged

 

geoff did p3, a looooong way to go on bolts, much like leaning tower i suppose - i then did p4, so much fun now that i'm not fear-sweating it like on the first ascent, more than half-certain the huge roofs blocks would rain down on me once rattled by the roar of the drill

 

atop 4 the boys lost their motivation n' sense of adventure i reckon - it was late afternoon for sure, but i'm sure we could have completed p5 and put in our new rap line by dark, but it would have meant being late for a triumphant performance by the tower rockers band down at the rv park and of course cutting into precious drinking time, so with tears in my heart i consented to just fixing the first 4 pitches and coming back the next day

 

a surrealistic night for certain - dogs n' fishers n' baby gymnasts n' rv's of a thousand descriptions - not 1 but 2 bands, quite possibly the laziest ever, each managing to play perhaps a total of 30 minutes w/ at least 6 set-breaks thrown in to keep their buzzes on - a roaring fire n' light-flecked lake to seperate us from the heathen masses, which we nonetheless joined from time to time to see if any hotties under the age of 50 had arrived (they hadn't :( )

 

the hedonistic scene concluded with brutal finality when the heavens opened and the fuck-sky descended around eleven - a steady baptist downpour off and on from then till well after dawn

 

sunday morning a savage one, as they always are it seems - the dregs of the whiskey sitting sullenly upon my senses - the unceasing rain toasting all hopes for progress up the mist-wracked tower - in time the melancholia did end though, as all misery must, and we hoofed it back up to the wall to see if anything could be done - by then it was so late, the wall so streaming, the likelihood of yet another dousing so certain that it was w/ half a heart me n' bryan began jugging - i made it most of the way back up to the highpt, cursing n' crying on the last stretch, only to see bryan fighting the soaked ropes of the first pitch w/o much success - the signs were shit, so i surrendered to the inevitable yet again and settled for a few hours drink'n'n'smoke'n around the base, poking around to suss out future projects - bryan contrived to bring the party to a smashing conclusion by slipping and slicing a big fat bloody smile into the meat of his hand, a moment redolent w/ nostalgia for geoff n' i as we thought of nastia last year :)

 

in the end we said fuck it and resolved to return next weekend, with the pleasant reward of getting to walk back down the hill w/ fuck-all upon our backs :)

 

trip the sixth - bryan n' bill - a week after a sodden deluge we returned, 4 pitches fixed n'all the shit already up there - had a union social i was in charge of on friday afternoon so arrived at the rendezvous dangerously deranged - i soon fell into a deep n' stupendous stentorious snoring sleep but rallied somewhere along the way to get groceries - we rambled on through the growing dark and reached the rv park after a good bit of bullshitting, my soul made right and brightly glowing

 

whiskey and whoop-whooping ensued - demented dean our neighbor definitely added to the what-have-you - saturday morning arrived all too early and we roused ourselves from half-horrid hangovers and rallied on up the hill

 

jugged to the top of 4, the last 2 not so bad w/ the 1-jug, 1-gri technique - i lead the jaunt up p5, all the draws still hanging on it since july - pumped in some more bolts about the high-pt anchor as the boys made their way up - a bit of a clusterfuck really, but what big-wall is complete w/o one every 200 fucking feet or so? :)

 

dem white fellers, despite my urgent exhortations, didn't snap at the sincere offer to lead the new pitch 6, so off i set, rather tired n' sore already, truth-be-told - the good thing about being a bit gored was the bolt-spacing stays generous

 

we'd set a 3 p.m. turnaround time as we needed to put in a whole new rap line, and i exceeded that by a wee-bit - was eager to end ascending after hitting supper steepness combined w/ loose n' hollow rock

 

bill led the raps down, putting in surprisingly only 2 stations - the 2nd one being damn near exactly 60 meters, ending after a huge stretch of overhang ontop of a terrifying shattered tower

 

saturday night a staid one by last week's standards - salami n' jalapeno bread - whiskey once again n' big batches of burgundy n' black n' green tobacco - moby dick goddammit - cave man tv, but bill checked out before it got really interesting - early to bed

 

sunday broke gloomy, mist-fuck all-about, brain aching n' bitchy - we humped it back up the hill n' broke out into the big open of the talus field even as the wisps of cloud cleared the tower - it was to be 3 serious long strenuous jugs, ones i'd like just as well to forget - bryan clocked'em for what they were n' whittled away the hours instead getting whiskey-drunk down in the boulders, dodging the fragments i flung off the cliff n' building up a bonfire

 

took a long time to regain the high-pt but after all that work it was insane to think of turning around, so bill being disinterested once again i took on the leading end - the bit of bad rock reached around the angle then returned to berserker attitude - the line i wanted turned out to terrifying to contemplate - a 50 square feet panel all hollow and horrid, rooflets w/ cluster-munitions abounding - the solution was a dead-horizontal traverse to a sweet ledge, but stil a few feet below the summit of the lower-wall

 

bill to the top, a god-send for his shivering ass no doubt - it was the lord's day so we hadn't that much time to fuck-around, so he did a little recon, put in a bolt, then returned - we sorted out the shit best left behind n' bolted for the ground

 

back down i discovered some of the sad fragments of geoff's torque wrench which had precipitated itself down from 600 feet up after it foolishly believed it could fly - we sat round the fire for a bit n' bashed back down the hill, rounded up the camp shit, paid pete his blood-shekels n' then blasted back home through the growing gravid sky

 

10/24 - round 7

 

geoff n' i gallump on up the grand highway in the fading light of friday, galled by the recent demands of this gawdamn world - a big bonfire on the side of the forest road - it was to be a 1-day trip, so there was no sense in standing on ceremony - just a simple howl-at-the-moon affair which happened soon enough upon arrival and ambled on amiably until a hint after mid-night

 

dawn on saturday - destiny called so i shuffled off to have a shit and returned to the sight of my lawyer wretching into the bushes - The Great Spit - like a true hound-dog though he shook it off n' went back to binging on bad-berries

 

a quick walk up the hill, though the leaf-fucked forest floor makes it more sporting in places now - a deep gray diffracting through the grim sky as i gazed up to see how the fixed lines had fared over the past month - they seemed fine enough and so we set to it

 

a touch of rain followed to re-inforce the fuck-you nature of the big-wall, but that gave an excuse to sip beer n' listen to car-talk, a most unlikely touch of normality that couldn't help but conquer all fears - then it was the endless jugging n' hauling up extra rope n' whatnot

 

to the highpoint near noon, geoff grown gaunt n' red-faced but i was in rare-spirits, risen so far above bullshit i can't help but care about when it chokes me at every breathe

 

the plan was to move it on up to the big ledge, which in time i did make, ducking and dodging and working to find sections of rock good enough to take a bolt - a lot of case-cheese in this section - the rock under the hammer sounds like a hobo through a half-bottle

 

the great ledge was rather a little disappointing - cool environment for sure - the summit so close now you could talk w/ a person there should they appear and have no instinct of self-preservation to lean out over the edge - perhaps only 2 more full rope-lengths to go? the whole area like a vast tilted hanging ampitheatre, my voice and hammer strokes singing back at me from close in - no good place to set up a camp or even really sit though, despite its grand dimensions - maybe up higher?

 

so many possible directions to go from here - to re-establish a plum line rap-station to the top of p5 will require a separate mission to set up and will be off-course to the upper-wall - will likely want to establish a fixed line to it i suspect - left 14 bolts, a pair of chain anchors and my hammer to encourage my return

 

had originally hoped to pull all the fixed lines and clean the scene up for the winter but the long and fast-fading light cleared that thought away swiftly - i figure the face gets no sunlight and my static lines are damned relics already, so why let them quietly die on my garage floor? besides, there's always the off-chance of a november visit before the road closes, though with short days and the long jug, it's hard to get more than a couple hrs of exploration in before prudence demands descent

 

home w/ time for wine n' women n' fine discourse - i sink swiftly into the Big Blackness, waking near dawn to delicious soreness in every muscle associated w/ jugging or top-step tensioning

 

nearer...nearer...dice.

 

5/13/16 - round 8

 

spring - the earth reborn - time to return to see how them fixed ropes fared after months of tempests tortured them

 

big bill once again the big guy in charge - he fetched me from my humble abode on a thursday afternoon and we headed north

 

our plan was to try to drop in from the top and return to the highpoint

 

old men rise w/ the birdies and gawddamn it, though i was playing hooky from work, somehow i'm awake an hour earlier than normal? jesus, is this what lies in store for us all? :)

 

exciting times ensued as we sought to figure out how to finagle together passable roads to get close enough to hump a horrid bit of bullshit to the promised land- impromptu road-construction, tree clearing and many dead ends ensued and hours went by before we got it all sorted out, only to find the road near burley mountain, still miles away, choked w/ impassable snow

 

giving up on doing anything terribly productive, we settled for hiking the road to see if we could at least drive it after it melted out and locate the suspected trailhead - a couple hours of downhill slogging n' forest surfing returned us to the tower top, which looked every bit as uninviting for trying to rap down as it did the first time :noway:

 

not terribly excited at the prospect of trying to go over the edge, i settled for sucking down a couple beers and contemplating just hucking meself off the top like the forking free-basers - that done w/, we slowly crawled back up the long hill to the automovat, n' reversed our wending way back down to the cispus's quiet side, where we stared at the face w/ some high-powered optics

 

the sight of the ropes still in passable shape and the blue bolt-bearing bag glowing like a goddamn beacon high up the wall brought back the fight in me, and though the weather forecast didn't support a bottom-up attempt on the morrow, fukit, why not at least go up and climb as much of the route as we could and inspect the fixed lines from top-down?

 

grey and storm-threatening on saturday - we found the approach road blocked by a giant tree just a hundred yards or so from the start of the trail and slowly stumble-fucked our way up the hill, the path as short and savage and uncertain as ever

 

i'd never gotten to do p1 before and enjoyed it - bill did p2 and, despite regretting your friend and humble retard's spacing of the bolts, made it go quickly enough - he even threw in a completly cock-eyed and unnecessary dangerous run out at the top :)

 

sadly, his ever-suffering shoulder bearings blew out along the way, and big bill begged off continuing up - i figured i hadn't really brought enough beer anyway and the weather was clearly going to get ugly soon - we slid on back down, bill following on a hare-brained shoe-string of a tag-line

 

did some lounging on the party boulder, pondering on where the upper route should wander to - hiked up to look at the fixed lines up close - thought them in surprisingly good shape, but i'm still a bit skert at the prospect of tangling with them soon :)

 

gonna take a mort more work to make it go, and maybe the goddamn summit just won't be in the cards...

 

8/22-24 - trip #9

 

mid-summer doldrums done set in - big trips south n' east n' even north all spent n' its me on the couch doubting my own existence at 2 in the fucking morning

 

but the tower project is something to keep the head out of the oven for, so on a thursday evening bill fetched me in his big blue new ride i'm calling lucille until he latches upon a better moniker for the the motherfucker

 

we rattled off the miles north and reached the forest road after dark - reckoning on decent weather friday we bedded down under the open sky only to be rudely awoken after midnight by the beginnings of a mighty rain that kept on coming the whole day to come - fortunately lucille is commodious enough and we went on to spend most of the next 24 hrs in there alternatively napping n' reading n' listening to howard stern on the satellite

 

saturday dawned gray, nonetheless we did the super-shuffle-stumble down the trail - this was the first time we could drive to the burley mtn trailhead and it proved easy enough in a high-clearance ride - better yet, we found a doable shortcut, which gets you from the hardtop to the trailhead in a little over 5 miles, providing you don't get yerself kilt by driving off the absurdly steep hillside or kamikaze it into the crater-sized ravines running through the middle of the track

 

its so damned murderous to try to jug n' haul up 600 feet of overhanging fixed lines that we figured from here on out we should just drop in from the top and finish the fucker off that way - my first great fear was we wouldn't find anything anchor worth on the summit to get started, but after a number of hijinx that got sorted out and a day later we'd put in the final pitch (which i hope will be #13 as all rehab programs need one) :)

 

amazing views on the wall near the summit - holy shit, this thing is gonna go! 1000 feet of accessible, insane big walling n' all you need is a buncha draws and a couple hooks :rawk:

 

8/18-20 - trip the tenth - a little more than a year into this lithographic yawp, geoff n' i trundled north with a wagonful of liquor that woulda made winston churchill smile - Big Heat coming on the bottom lands, so to the hills made a sorta sense, even if it was just to hump loads of shit all over the place n' sweat like homos in hot-dog eating contests

 

a fine trip really - wrote a great big old piece on it actually with lovely alliteration and meaningful metaphors but then the cc.com overlords took it all away in a mouse fart n' nearly put me off my meds - sigh...writing, especially senseless writing about one's self, really is a practical lesson in buddhism, no? had to decide to retrench w/ something only a little short of a haiku...

 

the long n' short of it was we spent a day recovering most of the fixed lines that had been swinging in the breeze for the past 4 seasons, then humped it up the short, punished road and spent 2 days putting in more pitches - had a grand time guzzling beers n' waxing philosophic n' sucking straight out of the rapidly dwindling keg of crazy life

 

reckon only 3 more work days n' we'll be ready to check out of rehab :)

 

the only way out of rehab

 

Optimized-20160820_102059.jpg

 

fine views through them thare padded walls

 

Optimized-20160819_085432.jpg

 

putting the finishing touches on the pitch - boulder fields only a 1000 feet down there :)

 

Optimized-20160819_132523.jpg

 

holy shit, why didn't bill and i realize we could spent that long rainy day in his car in here instead?!?

 

burley-mountain-sunrise.jpg

 

songs from the trip i'll have a hard time getting out of my head for a while:

 

"it's been rough and rocky traveling but i'm finally standing upright with my feet on the ground - after taking several readings i'm surprised to find my mind is fairly sound" [video:youtube]

 

"twisted angel, cast out of some strange heaven, sent down here to pull me out of my shell - you show up on my doorstep, honey dripping from your mouth, like some slack jaw Jezebel" [video:youtube]

 

"bright lights, put me in a trance, but it ain't house music that makes me want to dance"

[video:youtube]

 

 

9/3-4 - hop #11 -thought this might be the trip we finally got the fucker done, but it turns out one more ride on the merry-go-death-round is in order

 

headed up on a rainy, dismal friday night - smooth sailing and an easy passage well lubricated with burgundy n' the baleful observations of a hopped-up howard stern

 

once again amazed to arrive at the lookout on a friday night, this one a memorial day weekend to boot, without a soul in the joint - nobody there saturday night neither - holy shit it's the goddess decadence dressed up as a demesne - as the frigid wind wailed outside and the cloud murk crept by it was sure that summer was spent and fall was fey upon us all, but inside the firebox glowed a gaudy orange and the good humor of easy life laid upon the walls

 

had a bit of a lazy saturday morning as it was maybe 40 degrees and bitter breezy outside with visibility measured in meters - lounged n' coffeed n' read some shelby foote

 

eventually we resigned ourselves to a rare auold rough up and rambled down the road and stumbled down the steep hillside - threw ourselves over the cliff-edge and then put in a new pitch on super-steep and sometimes friable rock with wild exposure

 

img_20160903_122507_1_.jpg

 

our duty done for the day, retraced our steps and had another capital evening in the cabin as once again the weather closed in

 

sunday dawned a bit better than the day before so we got an earlier start - put in another pitch and finally got to a spot where we could clearly see all that's left to do - one more steep pitch of 60 meters, than a ledgy pitch of 25 meters or so and the fucking thing is finite :)

 

excellent diversion on a dark and dismal night

 

85579a.jpg

 

and of course no descent down that doomed road is complete without belting out at least one willie-tune :)

 

[video:youtube]

9/10-11 - trip 12 - jesus, will it never end?

 

sigh...thought one last trip would do it...guess not - now that i'm back in the working world a weekend just ain't as long as it used to be

 

first week back to school - only got summoned to the principal's office once - apparently "don't be an asshole" is not considered professional no'mo :(

 

bill scooped me up friday afternoon ahead of schedule and we zoomed north, shooting the breeze n' feeling the heady breeze of a halycon life - bedded down by a creek and had an hour to read n' drink n' contemplate the coming of the end

 

saturday up n' earlish - breakfasted on cold cheeseburgers n' bare faced bald lies - bumbled up the broken road, just 4 miles to the new-found good trail

 

shuffled on sideways and down and soon we were there, much mo'betta than the other way - our cached rope n' drill n' whatnot no worse for our wearisomre toils in the cocked-up here between

 

did so very much want to get it all done this day, but it wasn't to be - after descending about 150 meters off the summit, with a 60 meter stretch left to fill in, i tussled with the terrorific orange band - it runs across most of the face of tower and is biggest on the left side, by the awful weeping porthole that awes one so by the quiet cispus' side

 

in the orange band the rock is wicked fresh - some of the rock crumbles under the touch - most everything is a block detached from the wall and headed downhill - spent a long time trying to pick a way through, but only got halfway done before it was time to start heading back up

 

bill put in a half pitch above the low-point - enjoyed a beer and trundling everything in sight - the battery then died and we bounded up, reclimbing one pitch rather than do the mother-of-all hatefuck overhanging jug

 

lovely night, waiting for the rain - fuck'n hummus n' pbr n' shelby foote - bedded down ready for the great deluge that then did not appear

 

sunday dawned drizzly n' half-heartedly we set to finish it up, knowing there was no way - the summit saddled in clouds, we dropped down just the same, set to finish up bill's half-completed pitch at least

 

that's what came of it, through the rain and what-have-you - just a hair over a pitch left to fill in...

 

fun drive back - crowds by the bone-yard and the road-side shrines - christ, we'll be dead by tuesday...

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I have trouble believing that it's a month'ish shy of the 4 year mark since the debauched conceptualization (a rework of the calendar need to be rolled into play as much more than the glorious and anticipated 9 months which is normal http://www.calculator.net/conception-calculator.html. It was exclaimed and it's still not finished despite best efforts. (insert swear words with religious words or some kind of pig shit to indicate extreme disbelief here).

 

3 words for the graduate.....crap, forgot all 3 of them. Anyway, moving on, AS A SIDE NOTE, THIS IS WHAT OCCURS WHEN YOU RELY AN AN OLD AS FUCK, INJURED SHOULDER GUY to assist. See? You wind up having to do the heavy lifting (thanks for that BTW - no sarcasm, genuine this time)

 

STILL. NOT. DONE. You've done a great job, unlike moi, no complaints, but we need to go for the happy finish: then give a polite bow, and ride off into the sunset. Still working on getting some shots up of the weekend, but ... old people and technology they say, most accurately as it turns out as it concerns cameras and computers. I'm blaming my kids for not having grandkids yet to help out on this issue:-). Tomorrow, for a Kodak moment perhaps?

 

2 points. 1st) it rained at 1:47 am. You slept through it, I, however, had to get up and pee with a cold wet face....again. Then it stopped. The rain, not the snoring.

 

2nd) I called the fact that you would step up and get the "Dances with Death" pitch established. This would have fully occurred and been done discussing had we a "TRUE" 60meter, and not some rag tag piece of crap I'd bought on sale that didn't stretch to the ledge. Sorry- my bad. Although in my defense, instead of the rope being too short, it could be that in fact, the ledge was too long. This is my suspicion and I have seen this on other occasions but I don't want to pitch it to full on public, tar and feather ridicule, so we can keep that between us for now.

 

Lucille, anyway, is looking for rematch. ...and in case this was not discussed this weekend, why you should go to Jerusalem to get a tattoo. - http://aleteia.org/2016/09/12/getting-a-medieval-tattoo-in-jerusalem/

 

GD, good times.

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EDIT, FIRST POST ACTUALLY SAID THIS, TYPED IT AND POSTED BUT IT SHOWS UP AS BLANK.

 

 

I have trouble believing that it's a month'ish shy of the 4 year mark since the debauched conceptualization (a rework of the calendar need to be rolled into play as much more than the glorious and anticipated 9 months which is normal http://www.calculator.net/conception-calculator.html. It was exclaimed and it's still not finished despite best efforts. (insert swear words with religious words or some kind of pig shit to indicate extreme disbelief here).

 

3 words for the graduate.....crap, forgot all 3 of them. Anyway, moving on, AS A SIDE NOTE, THIS IS WHAT OCCURS WHEN YOU RELY AN AN OLD AS FUCK, INJURED SHOULDER GUY to assist. See? You wind up having to do the heavy lifting (thanks for that BTW - no sarcasm, genuine this time)

 

STILL. NOT. DONE. You've done a great job, unlike moi, no complaints, but we need to go for the happy finish: then give a polite bow, and ride off into the sunset. Still working on getting some shots up of the weekend, but ... old people and technology they say, most accurately as it turns out as it concerns cameras and computers. I'm blaming my kids for not having grandkids yet to help out on this issue:-). Tomorrow, for a Kodak moment perhaps?

 

2 points. 1st) it rained at 1:47 am. You slept through it, I, however, had to get up and pee with a cold wet face....again. Then it stopped. The rain, not the snoring.

 

2nd) I called the fact that you would step up and get the "Dances with Death" pitch established. This would have fully occurred and been done discussing had we a "TRUE" 60meter, and not some rag tag piece of crap I'd bought on sale that didn't stretch to the ledge. Sorry- my bad. Although in my defense, instead of the rope being too short, it could be that in fact, the ledge was too long. This is my suspicion and I have seen this on other occasions but I don't want to pitch it to full on public, tar and feather ridicule, so we can keep that between us for now.

 

Lucille, anyway, is looking for rematch. ...and in case this was not discussed this weekend, why you should go to Jerusalem to get a tattoo. - http://aleteia.org/2016/09/12/getting-a-medieval-tattoo-in-jerusalem/

 

GD, good times.

Edited by billcoe

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if the route's complete after this weekend ya'll should come w/ 2 weekends later and be part of the first ascent :)

 

AS AN ASIDE, I HAVE DRAWN LINES UP WHAT ARE CLEARLY FINE FINE CRACK ON THE PHOTO AND THERE SHOULD BE 4 OR 5 FREE EASY ROUTES UP THIS THING.

 

Thats all I have.

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despite his avatar image, billcoe is, in fact, not a child :)

 

tried talking geoff into going w/ you this weekend ole'boy, so that i could see the promised land w/o having to walk the last mile, like moses of old :)

 

one way or the other, this fucking thing gets finished by next weekend :rawk:

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I think Ivan has the poets gift of naming,

 

Stone soup? Uh......I don't think so

awwww, shit...why so harsh? didn't you come up w/ the rather unimaginative "ivan's arete" once? :)

 

fwiw, "stone soup" was a mighty fitting moniker - it was the product of a good number of folks, mostly i just stitched together their many contributions...

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Stone Soup pretty much accurately describes it. It was like an open source project where Ivan kept inviting in various folks to work on his project. I had a pretty good time till we got to the loose block pitch and I wanted to free it following (didn't). But we all know what they say about opinions? "They're like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink" or some such. Anyway, maybe that should be on the Beacon thread. Here's some Rapunzel stuff from last weekend.

 

I have a short vid to show the looseness of the blocks. Pause it right at the start and look over my shoulder at the stuff we are trying to avoid or clear off for instance. Off the belay below I'd used @ a 3 foot tall rock to step up and get some height off the ledge and was bolting up pitch 7 or 8ish when Ivan says that the block is loose and he's gonna push it off. So I whipped out my cell phone. We'd been tossing rocks all day and there was no way anyone was below us. The ground is @ 700-800 feet below us here. Pause it at 5 seconds and you can see Ivans shoulder. He's in a real sweet cubby hole. The pitch below us was the "Dances with Death" pitch I reference -where about everything looks loose. The highlight of that was Ivan riding a big block (just like Slim Pickens in Dr Strangelove) which chose to pop off from his body weight alone. Except he was clipped to a bolt and I had him on belay.

 

We seem to spend a inordinate amount of time working on trying to figure how not to get kilt on this SOB (and have been successful so far), and engineering a fix so the next folks up don't die because we missed something of importance or lazily left something behind like a sharp edge or loose block. It's hard, brutal, frightening at times, confusing and thankless work. There may be 8 people in the world who care, and that is you, gentle reader. Even non sharp edges seem to trash ropes. I caught that Ivans static has a huge core shot on it.... AFTER we rapped it, and it was on a softer/rounder edge too.

 

Last Saturday 9/10/16:

 

[video:youtube]

 

Here's Ivan near the top of Rapunzel. The trail rope there overhangs @ 8-10 feet out, it's steeper than it looks. Note the lead line trying to follow solid rock and avoiding the stuff on the right. @ 90 percent of the bolts have been placed after tapping rock with a hammer to determine how solid it is and moving the bolt to the most solid sounding location.

 

Ivan_near_the_top_of_Rapunzel.jpg

 

 

I was going to go for it and head up there this weekend, but the weather last Sunday was near brutal cold up there at @ 40 degrees with wet windy mist, and it was 75 degrees and warm down here, and figure with the chance or rain going up to 70 percent up there tomorrow, pretty much would be crazy to get on the monster in those conditions.

 

Hope you like the vid! Any complaints (Kevin:-)can be done at the complaint dept here: https://www.dol.gov/wecanhelp/howtofilecomplaint.htm

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Trip: Tower Rock - FA - Rapunzel's Back in Rehab - C1

 

Date: 7/15/2015

 

Trip Report: The Beast - don't be fooled, them thare are full-grown trees :)DSC02611.JPG Tower Rock, 2 hours from everywhere, appears oddly neglected - Brown Beckey's got the tiniest blurb of the single route up it done in 1982 (anyone know of a second ascent? i can't find anyone who's tried it) but no picture n' no topo - tim olson's oregon rock guide has some more detail than beckey, but still the vast monolith appears to have continued unloved

 

tower's just south of randle, an unladen swallow's flight from the cispus river - the face is gigantic,something like 1200 feet tall - the rock is basaltic, according to beckey, but like nothing i've seen - like over-baked brownies, it's composed of a hodge-podge of components - incredibly solid and compact, it's cross-hatched in all directions, crackless, and crumbles into bricks and blocks of all conceivable sizes - the tower looms over it's talus field, fiercely steep, it's upper-wall reminiscent of the right side of el cap, incredibly bulging and over-hanging

 

tower is composed of two giant faces seperated by a ledge/fault system that was the path taken by the first team to climb the face - currently, after 7 days of effort, our route climbs the lower wall - it'll be just as much work to finish the upper wall, if the rock quality holds

 

as it currently exists DSC02616.JPG yeah, there's a lot more to go, but as it stands, what's there is 600 feet tall and a great day-tripper's aid adventure already - i figure the worst that can come of telling folks about this now before it's complete is that some other sad fools can go do it for me :)DSC02612.JPG

 

trip the first: fuck, this happened so long off i wonder if my recollection's right at all - me n' bill n' ben in the late winter - a burr up their bespectacled asses about a mythical 10-pitch free route up a largely untouched tower - the plan to hike to the top then set a rap-line down the likely route - out of town on a friday night to the frightful fall of rain - ghetto camp before the gate in gales of damnable damp - the roar of frogs - the next morning the most sordid thang - endless hours uphill w/ drill n' bolts n' chains in the continuous cloud-fuck n' frenzied chilly breeze - near the summit gob-smacked to gain a blazed trail barely a mile from a seasonal road - the top a huge disappointment, it characterized by clouds and beaming rainbows and rock so rude they rarely accoladed the attribution - soon there after the weekend righteously concluded and me around for the sweet family on the sabbath

 

trip the second: on the reconnaissance earlier, dejected at finding a kitty-litter summit, we'd paused after a tortuous overladen descent on the boulder field and pondered on future options - a man w/ an aid-climber's conscious could do a take on "infinite bliss" and find a bitching way up the crazy big blank face - it was sure to take a mort of mortal work, but bill n' geoff are true gentlemen all measured and solid for this kinda goofy shit - we banged up from p-town on a friday night and made camp up at the turn around on the forest road - stumble-fucking up the forest we arrived amazed and ready to ramble on - many mozzies n' deer flies this damned trip - pitch 1 went quickly between geoff and bill, the later bounding up free on low-angle stacked mossy talus to make an anchor atop tier 1 - me i got tier 2 - all bolts at first until i no longer feared the ledge, then lotza 2-hook moves in a row until reaching the top of the tier where i left a fixed hook to protect a low-angle romp to the second anchor - we retired to camp n' soggy fires n' fulsome screeching music - day 2 we jugged to the top of p2 and bill and geoff got up a ways before yielding to me, whereupon i drilled n' hooked to a high point we marked w/ red tat before descending and returning to our troubled and lonely little lives - i recollect getting a true n' glorious drunk on in the passenger seat n' slumbering back to vantucky :)

 

geoff putting up the first pitch on the scrubby, compact low-angle first tier P6060034.JPG

 

the artist as a young asshole ascending the second steeper tier P6060040.JPG

 

geoff workign on pitch 3, the first steps onto the very steep lower wall P6060042.JPG

 

trip the third: lovely ospreys n' robins round the lake - pete n' pam play camp hosts - camp weddings n' nightly fishing sheenaningans - muskrats n' pond-skimming swallows - bastard mozzies n' mean biting flies, mostly in obeisance for the first couple cold days, but growing in malevolence as the weather waxed towards wicked hot - the sweet ne face of Tower almost totally shade-soaked for the mid-morning riser - kids n' retirees n' rv's n' jumping trout n' tame dogs - the listless routines of an aimless life - awake w/ the sun - fresh shits n' dewy breakfasts - a short but grim uphill grind through steep forest w/ plentiful windfall, shirt soaked through by the time we hit the sunny talus field at the base but soon blessed w/ shade - warm juggy work to start and then to the serious business - fear frenzies despite being armed w/ all the wonderful war machines of modern man - a long time of terror n' toil - the day dispatched, we make a rapid descent, each time by a different winding way - beer n' stripping soaked clothes off at the mercifully close car - me auolde yosemite food bin rummaged through for a desperate dinner, usually of beer n' tobacco n' pringles n' whatever benevolent bill threw my way - an hour or so of bird-watching n' binge-reading on maggie thatcher's frigid teeming fucking bush - to sleep at the post-gloaming in a grand 6-man tent alone, racked out on a queen sized inflatable air mattress, wrapped in down and dozy drunkenness - the night passed moaning to sore muscles as i twist n' turn until the dawn drags me to my addled senses, then it all runs off the reel much as it reckoned the day before...

 

first several days of murmurings n' mumblings w/ just me n' bill (me a damn baby in comparison to my venerable and august elder - that baby weighing in at a mean 250 bare-nekkid pounds and a coward to boot of course) - bill a bastion of genteel sincerity that must sadly have bitch-left this world many generations ago - me strangely silent of song for days - my mind scrambled and saddened by the robust requirements of 6-weeks of family-left sorrows gone off in the valley - eventually songs to lift my times and shape my senses - "mining for gold" by the cowboy junkies running on an eternal loop in my mind - long after-shocks of "burn down the mission" caused by geoff for sure

 

after 3 days of toil we grow weary and call in the cavalry - the silverman boys gonna come down n' save us from our misery - we make a rest day out of walking the mountain side w/ them, then retiring to the big boulder to pound pbr's n' provide Adult Supervision - they lounge around camp afterwards, contemplating on crashing the redneck wedding well under-way - we smoke bales of weed n' cackle n' cough n' find high times are treasure enough in this wicked world - eventually all good things must get on the bus w/ gandhi though and they roll off into the night in the hms revenge, ready i hope to return for more

 

the last day done-off as surely as a band-aid - after a fearful arduous jug up the wild steep fixed lines ole bill baits the question ("good news or bad?" - which would you take?) - - dedication to a last day of determined work - 5 hours of bolting and hooking on endless steep traversing ground until i was gut-wrenched at what it was likely to take me to get get back to bill - epic amounts of gear left as i rapped into the void and quickly grew dependent on bill to reel me back in - the retreat then fully declared we rapped n' ruminated n' laid our plans like parchment paper, all of it ultimately putting us on sweet terra-firma w/ a fuck-load of gear to get off - surprised by bill's pronouncement of this day, i had no proper pack to cram all the crap into

 

eventually we ambled on down the way, me overloaded like a gypsy carnival-whore w/ rope-bags aplenty such that i swooned on multiple occasions as the straps cut into me wind-pipe and i passed yards off unyielding to gratuitous thoughts, my mind in a true and lovely gray place - the last night spent in part w/ militant california-paul, such as exemplar of that shakespearean clap-trap about sounding of fuck-all and negative fury, yet yielding nothing :)

 

our objective from the relative sanity of the rv park n' its teeming trout pond DSC02631.JPG white-boys jugging the first 2 tiers - at this angle the lower wall takes up most of the entire frame, but the upper wall's just as big n' steeper P6070047.JPG 700 feet of ropes n' route-making machine Tower7.jpg just starting the second pitch Tower5.jpg bags of bolts n' drills n' bullshit - starting to install pitch 4 Tower6.jpg geoff at the top of p4, kyle jugging up to the mid-pt anchor DSC02617.JPG

 

closing thoughts: happy to share the discovery w/ the nw brethren - leave yer self-righteous bolting morals at home w/ yer bitches - the place went unloved for a reason :) - the only cracks evident are where awful rock-fall is just a geologic fart-in-a-stiff-wind away - if intending to push the route higher (what's there is plenty for a day-tripper), please let me or bill or geoff know so one of us can come along - perhaps a dozen separate lines could be pushed to the top in the same style, each likely to take weeks n' 1000$ to put in place :) - recon trip to the top found almost no real rock up there - at some point all lines must turn to awful kitty litter, but maybe it'll go anyhow?

 

topo as it currently stands - hope to see this fucker get taller in the fullness of insensible time :)

 

topo8.jpg

 

Gear Notes: - up to 30+ draws if clipping all bolts - 2 bathooks (talons can work, but they risk blowing out the drilled holes) - ideally 2 70 meter ropes, but 2 60'S can work if careful - cheater stick not bad idea, as many of the bolts were installed by a fear-fucked orangutan at his max reach - lower off tat or quick-links/biners for follower at traversing parts - helmets essential - much potential for rockfall of all sizes, especially if hauling or jugging - base area very dangerous in strong winds or if below climbers on first 2 approach pitches - upper pitches largely protected from natural rockfall (be careful up there :) )

 

Approach Notes: Exit 68 off i5 - east on 12 to randle (about an hour) - right (south) turn at randle (follow signs for tower rock RV park) - quick left about a mile south of randle, then another turn right about 6 miles later - rt turn at tower rock RV park/cispus learning center signs - left onto logging road (75?76?) just a 100 yards before rt turn to tower rock forest service camp (or straight for another mile to the RV park) - forest road is closed at gate near main road during winter/early spring - about 1 1/2 mile up road (stay on main road at split a 1/2 mile up) there's a turn around (about .25 mile past a steep switchback) - from there you can continue in car but there's no turnaround - walk or drive 1/4 mile to road-end - at wierd stone-forest-altar begin hiking up steep forrested slope - about 45 minutes to base - occasional game and human trails, generally trending right and up - copious windfall in middle section of trail - steeper for last 1/3 of trail - idea is to skirt talus field on right and join base from tree at right edge of wall - 1st bolt is just 5 feet off ground near clump of trees about 50 feet above a huge lounge-like boulder that is a great/safe observation spot

 

descent: currently rapping from top of p5 to top of p4 is extra-ordinarly hard - in the future ideally there'll be a rap line straight down through p5 - for now be prepared to leave a fixed line to get back to the top of p4 and for the first rapper to have to haul the second back over - descending from the top of p4 requires 2 70 meter ropes or a stop at the mid-pt anchor (no rings) - the rap overhangs but you just barely touch the wall at the mid-pt anchor - use terrain to help you rap in the right direction

 

9/5-6 - trip the fourth w/ geoff n' bryan - 3 days of school, the easy ones, dispatched and snap, whizz, bang it was friday afternoon and we were flying down the highway, heading north, clutching cans n' cackling at this wicked world we are so at home in - ominous omens, devil-eyed little girls glaring out of death-cold cars at us - road signs: "the time of the lord is here" - jesus, we'd best tread lightly

 

the tower rock rv park at dusk, the ride dispatched in minutes it seemed, fueled by high-octane what-have-you n' plebian pbr's - the park much as i left it, riddled w/ well-heeled red-necks n' pam n' pete n' a feller i'm pretty sure ain't named larry but will ever here-after be for me :)

 

got good n' whiskey-drunk w/ hood-river spirits sitting round the fire n' sorted n' packed n' planned for the day to come and soon enough it was upon us - up at 630 to grits n' coffee n' black tobacco

 

holy shit, plenty of weight to pull us down on the slow amble up-hill but within the hour we'd handled it and got to the glory - bryan, his first visit to the wall, had spoken in pure-drunken-honestness of the ease w/ which he'd dispatch it all, so for his sins we gave it to him - he gamboled up the first 2 pitches easy enough as geoff n' i smoked n' chuckled n' occasionally jugged

 

geoff did p3, a looooong way to go on bolts, much like leaning tower i suppose - i then did p4, so much fun now that i'm not fear-sweating it like on the first ascent, more than half-certain the huge roofs blocks would rain down on me once rattled by the roar of the drill

 

atop 4 the boys lost their motivation n' sense of adventure i reckon - it was late afternoon for sure, but i'm sure we could have completed p5 and put in our new rap line by dark, but it would have meant being late for a triumphant performance by the tower rockers band down at the rv park and of course cutting into precious drinking time, so with tears in my heart i consented to just fixing the first 4 pitches and coming back the next day

 

a surrealistic night for certain - dogs n' fishers n' baby gymnasts n' rv's of a thousand descriptions - not 1 but 2 bands, quite possibly the laziest ever, each managing to play perhaps a total of 30 minutes w/ at least 6 set-breaks thrown in to keep their buzzes on - a roaring fire n' light-flecked lake to seperate us from the heathen masses, which we nonetheless joined from time to time to see if any hotties under the age of 50 had arrived (they hadn't :( )

 

the hedonistic scene concluded with brutal finality when the heavens opened and the fuck-sky descended around eleven - a steady baptist downpour off and on from then till well after dawn

 

sunday morning a savage one, as they always are it seems - the dregs of the whiskey sitting sullenly upon my senses - the unceasing rain toasting all hopes for progress up the mist-wracked tower - in time the melancholia did end though, as all misery must, and we hoofed it back up to the wall to see if anything could be done - by then it was so late, the wall so streaming, the likelihood of yet another dousing so certain that it was w/ half a heart me n' bryan began jugging - i made it most of the way back up to the highpt, cursing n' crying on the last stretch, only to see bryan fighting the soaked ropes of the first pitch w/o much success - the signs were shit, so i surrendered to the inevitable yet again and settled for a few hours drink'n'n'smoke'n around the base, poking around to suss out future projects - bryan contrived to bring the party to a smashing conclusion by slipping and slicing a big fat bloody smile into the meat of his hand, a moment redolent w/ nostalgia for geoff n' i as we thought of nastia last year :)

 

in the end we said fuck it and resolved to return next weekend, with the pleasant reward of getting to walk back down the hill w/ fuck-all upon our backs :)

 

trip the sixth - bryan n' bill - a week after a sodden deluge we returned, 4 pitches fixed n'all the shit already up there - had a union social i was in charge of on friday afternoon so arrived at the rendezvous dangerously deranged - i soon fell into a deep n' stupendous stentorious snoring sleep but rallied somewhere along the way to get groceries - we rambled on through the growing dark and reached the rv park after a good bit of bullshitting, my soul made right and brightly glowing

 

whiskey and whoop-whooping ensued - demented dean our neighbor definitely added to the what-have-you - saturday morning arrived all too early and we roused ourselves from half-horrid hangovers and rallied on up the hill

 

jugged to the top of 4, the last 2 not so bad w/ the 1-jug, 1-gri technique - i lead the jaunt up p5, all the draws still hanging on it since july - pumped in some more bolts about the high-pt anchor as the boys made their way up - a bit of a clusterfuck really, but what big-wall is complete w/o one every 200 fucking feet or so? :)

 

dem white fellers, despite my urgent exhortations, didn't snap at the sincere offer to lead the new pitch 6, so off i set, rather tired n' sore already, truth-be-told - the good thing about being a bit gored was the bolt-spacing stays generous

 

we'd set a 3 p.m. turnaround time as we needed to put in a whole new rap line, and i exceeded that by a wee-bit - was eager to end ascending after hitting supper steepness combined w/ loose n' hollow rock

 

bill led the raps down, putting in surprisingly only 2 stations - the 2nd one being damn near exactly 60 meters, ending after a huge stretch of overhang ontop of a terrifying shattered tower

 

saturday night a staid one by last week's standards - salami n' jalapeno bread - whiskey once again n' big batches of burgundy n' black n' green tobacco - moby dick goddammit - cave man tv, but bill checked out before it got really interesting - early to bed

 

sunday broke gloomy, mist-fuck all-about, brain aching n' bitchy - we humped it back up the hill n' broke out into the big open of the talus field even as the wisps of cloud cleared the tower - it was to be 3 serious long strenuous jugs, ones i'd like just as well to forget - bryan clocked'em for what they were n' whittled away the hours instead getting whiskey-drunk down in the boulders, dodging the fragments i flung off the cliff n' building up a bonfire

 

took a long time to regain the high-pt but after all that work it was insane to think of turning around, so bill being disinterested once again i took on the leading end - the bit of bad rock reached around the angle then returned to berserker attitude - the line i wanted turned out to terrifying to contemplate - a 50 square feet panel all hollow and horrid, rooflets w/ cluster-munitions abounding - the solution was a dead-horizontal traverse to a sweet ledge, but stil a few feet below the summit of the lower-wall

 

bill to the top, a god-send for his shivering ass no doubt - it was the lord's day so we hadn't that much time to fuck-around, so he did a little recon, put in a bolt, then returned - we sorted out the shit best left behind n' bolted for the ground

 

back down i discovered some of the sad fragments of geoff's torque wrench which had precipitated itself down from 600 feet up after it foolishly believed it could fly - we sat round the fire for a bit n' bashed back down the hill, rounded up the camp shit, paid pete his blood-shekels n' then blasted back home through the growing gravid sky

 

10/24 - round 7

 

geoff n' i gallump on up the grand highway in the fading light of friday, galled by the recent demands of this gawdamn world - a big bonfire on the side of the forest road - it was to be a 1-day trip, so there was no sense in standing on ceremony - just a simple howl-at-the-moon affair which happened soon enough upon arrival and ambled on amiably until a hint after mid-night

 

dawn on saturday - destiny called so i shuffled off to have a shit and returned to the sight of my lawyer wretching into the bushes - The Great Spit - like a true hound-dog though he shook it off n' went back to binging on bad-berries

 

a quick walk up the hill, though the leaf-fucked forest floor makes it more sporting in places now - a deep gray diffracting through the grim sky as i gazed up to see how the fixed lines had fared over the past month - they seemed fine enough and so we set to it

 

a touch of rain followed to re-inforce the fuck-you nature of the big-wall, but that gave an excuse to sip beer n' listen to car-talk, a most unlikely touch of normality that couldn't help but conquer all fears - then it was the endless jugging n' hauling up extra rope n' whatnot

 

to the highpoint near noon, geoff grown gaunt n' red-faced but i was in rare-spirits, risen so far above bullshit i can't help but care about when it chokes me at every breathe

 

the plan was to move it on up to the big ledge, which in time i did make, ducking and dodging and working to find sections of rock good enough to take a bolt - a lot of case-cheese in this section - the rock under the hammer sounds like a hobo through a half-bottle

 

the great ledge was rather a little disappointing - cool environment for sure - the summit so close now you could talk w/ a person there should they appear and have no instinct of self-preservation to lean out over the edge - perhaps only 2 more full rope-lengths to go? the whole area like a vast tilted hanging ampitheatre, my voice and hammer strokes singing back at me from close in - no good place to set up a camp or even really sit though, despite its grand dimensions - maybe up higher?

 

so many possible directions to go from here - to re-establish a plum line rap-station to the top of p5 will require a separate mission to set up and will be off-course to the upper-wall - will likely want to establish a fixed line to it i suspect - left 14 bolts, a pair of chain anchors and my hammer to encourage my return

 

had originally hoped to pull all the fixed lines and clean the scene up for the winter but the long and fast-fading light cleared that thought away swiftly - i figure the face gets no sunlight and my static lines are damned relics already, so why let them quietly die on my garage floor? besides, there's always the off-chance of a november visit before the road closes, though with short days and the long jug, it's hard to get more than a couple hrs of exploration in before prudence demands descent

 

home w/ time for wine n' women n' fine discourse - i sink swiftly into the Big Blackness, waking near dawn to delicious soreness in every muscle associated w/ jugging or top-step tensioning

 

nearer...nearer...dice.

 

5/13/16 - round 8

 

spring - the earth reborn - time to return to see how them fixed ropes fared after months of tempests tortured them

 

big bill once again the big guy in charge - he fetched me from my humble abode on a thursday afternoon and we headed north

 

our plan was to try to drop in from the top and return to the highpoint

 

old men rise w/ the birdies and gawddamn it, though i was playing hooky from work, somehow i'm awake an hour earlier than normal? jesus, is this what lies in store for us all? :)

 

exciting times ensued as we sought to figure out how to finagle together passable roads to get close enough to hump a horrid bit of bullshit to the promised land- impromptu road-construction, tree clearing and many dead ends ensued and hours went by before we got it all sorted out, only to find the road near burley mountain, still miles away, choked w/ impassable snow

 

giving up on doing anything terribly productive, we settled for hiking the road to see if we could at least drive it after it melted out and locate the suspected trailhead - a couple hours of downhill slogging n' forest surfing returned us to the tower top, which looked every bit as uninviting for trying to rap down as it did the first time :noway:

 

not terribly excited at the prospect of trying to go over the edge, i settled for sucking down a couple beers and contemplating just hucking meself off the top like the forking free-basers - that done w/, we slowly crawled back up the long hill to the automovat, n' reversed our wending way back down to the cispus's quiet side, where we stared at the face w/ some high-powered optics

 

the sight of the ropes still in passable shape and the blue bolt-bearing bag glowing like a goddamn beacon high up the wall brought back the fight in me, and though the weather forecast didn't support a bottom-up attempt on the morrow, fukit, why not at least go up and climb as much of the route as we could and inspect the fixed lines from top-down?

 

grey and storm-threatening on saturday - we found the approach road blocked by a giant tree just a hundred yards or so from the start of the trail and slowly stumble-fucked our way up the hill, the path as short and savage and uncertain as ever

 

i'd never gotten to do p1 before and enjoyed it - bill did p2 and, despite regretting your friend and humble retard's spacing of the bolts, made it go quickly enough - he even threw in a completly cock-eyed and unnecessary dangerous run out at the top :)

 

sadly, his ever-suffering shoulder bearings blew out along the way, and big bill begged off continuing up - i figured i hadn't really brought enough beer anyway and the weather was clearly going to get ugly soon - we slid on back down, bill following on a hare-brained shoe-string of a tag-line

 

did some lounging on the party boulder, pondering on where the upper route should wander to - hiked up to look at the fixed lines up close - thought them in surprisingly good shape, but i'm still a bit skert at the prospect of tangling with them soon :)

 

gonna take a mort more work to make it go, and maybe the goddamn summit just won't be in the cards...

 

8/22-24 - trip #9

 

mid-summer doldrums done set in - big trips south n' east n' even north all spent n' its me on the couch doubting my own existence at 2 in the fucking morning

 

but the tower project is something to keep the head out of the oven for, so on a thursday evening bill fetched me in his big blue new ride i'm calling lucille until he latches upon a better moniker for the the motherfucker

 

we rattled off the miles north and reached the forest road after dark - reckoning on decent weather friday we bedded down under the open sky only to be rudely awoken after midnight by the beginnings of a mighty rain that kept on coming the whole day to come - fortunately lucille is commodious enough and we went on to spend most of the next 24 hrs in there alternatively napping n' reading n' listening to howard stern on the satellite

 

saturday dawned gray, nonetheless we did the super-shuffle-stumble down the trail - this was the first time we could drive to the burley mtn trailhead and it proved easy enough in a high-clearance ride - better yet, we found a doable shortcut, which gets you from the hardtop to the trailhead in a little over 5 miles, providing you don't get yerself kilt by driving off the absurdly steep hillside or kamikaze it into the crater-sized ravines running through the middle of the track

 

its so damned murderous to try to jug n' haul up 600 feet of overhanging fixed lines that we figured from here on out we should just drop in from the top and finish the fucker off that way - my first great fear was we wouldn't find anything anchor worth on the summit to get started, but after a number of hijinx that got sorted out and a day later we'd put in the final pitch (which i hope will be #13 as all rehab programs need one) :)

 

amazing views on the wall near the summit - holy shit, this thing is gonna go! 1000 feet of accessible, insane big walling n' all you need is a buncha draws and a couple hooks :rawk:

 

8/18-20 - trip the tenth - a little more than a year into this lithographic yawp, geoff n' i trundled north with a wagonful of liquor that woulda made winston churchill smile - Big Heat coming on the bottom lands, so to the hills made a sorta sense, even if it was just to hump loads of shit all over the place n' sweat like homos in hot-dog eating contests

 

a fine trip really - wrote a great big old piece on it actually with lovely alliteration and meaningful metaphors but then the cc.com overlords took it all away in a mouse fart n' nearly put me off my meds - sigh...writing, especially senseless writing about one's self, really is a practical lesson in buddhism, no? had to decide to retrench w/ something only a little short of a haiku...

 

the long n' short of it was we spent a day recovering most of the fixed lines that had been swinging in the breeze for the past 4 seasons, then humped it up the short, punished road and spent 2 days putting in more pitches - had a grand time guzzling beers n' waxing philosophic n' sucking straight out of the rapidly dwindling keg of crazy life

 

reckon only 3 more work days n' we'll be ready to check out of rehab :)

 

the only way out of rehab

 

Optimized-20160820_102059.jpg

 

fine views through them thare padded walls

 

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putting the finishing touches on the pitch - boulder fields only a 1000 feet down there :)

 

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holy shit, why didn't bill and i realize we could spent that long rainy day in his car in here instead?!?

 

burley-mountain-sunrise.jpg

 

songs from the trip i'll have a hard time getting out of my head for a while:

 

"it's been rough and rocky traveling but i'm finally standing upright with my feet on the ground - after taking several readings i'm surprised to find my mind is fairly sound" [video:youtube]

 

"twisted angel, cast out of some strange heaven, sent down here to pull me out of my shell - you show up on my doorstep, honey dripping from your mouth, like some slack jaw Jezebel" [video:youtube]

 

"bright lights, put me in a trance, but it ain't house music that makes me want to dance"

[video:youtube]

 

 

9/3-4 - hop #11 -thought this might be the trip we finally got the fucker done, but it turns out one more ride on the merry-go-death-round is in order

 

headed up on a rainy, dismal friday night - smooth sailing and an easy passage well lubricated with burgundy n' the baleful observations of a hopped-up howard stern

 

once again amazed to arrive at the lookout on a friday night, this one a memorial day weekend to boot, without a soul in the joint - nobody there saturday night neither - holy shit it's the goddess decadence dressed up as a demesne - as the frigid wind wailed outside and the cloud murk crept by it was sure that summer was spent and fall was fey upon us all, but inside the firebox glowed a gaudy orange and the good humor of easy life laid upon the walls

 

had a bit of a lazy saturday morning as it was maybe 40 degrees and bitter breezy outside with visibility measured in meters - lounged n' coffeed n' read some shelby foote

 

eventually we resigned ourselves to a rare auold rough up and rambled down the road and stumbled down the steep hillside - threw ourselves over the cliff-edge and then put in a new pitch on super-steep and sometimes friable rock with wild exposure

 

img_20160903_122507_1_.jpg

 

our duty done for the day, retraced our steps and had another capital evening in the cabin as once again the weather closed in

 

sunday dawned a bit better than the day before so we got an earlier start - put in another pitch and finally got to a spot where we could clearly see all that's left to do - one more steep pitch of 60 meters, than a ledgy pitch of 25 meters or so and the fucking thing is finite :)

 

excellent diversion on a dark and dismal night

 

85579a.jpg

 

and of course no descent down that doomed road is complete without belting out at least one willie-tune :)

 

[video:youtube]

 

9/10-11 - trip 12 - jesus, will it never end?

 

sigh...thought one last trip would do it...guess not - now that i'm back in the working world a weekend just ain't as long as it used to be

 

first week back to school - only got summoned to the principal's office once - apparently "don't be an asshole" is not considered professional no'mo :(

 

bill scooped me up friday afternoon ahead of schedule and we zoomed north, shooting the breeze n' feeling the heady breeze of a halycon life - bedded down by a creek and had an hour to read n' drink n' contemplate the coming of the end

 

saturday up n' earlish - breakfasted on cold cheeseburgers n' bare faced bald lies - bumbled up the broken road, just 4 miles to the new-found good trail

 

shuffled on sideways and down and soon we were there, much mo'betta than the other way - our cached rope n' drill n' whatnot no worse for our wearisomre toils in the cocked-up here between

 

did so very much want to get it all done this day, but it wasn't to be - after descending about 150 meters off the summit, with a 60 meter stretch left to fill in, i tussled with the terrorific orange band - it runs across most of the face of tower and is biggest on the left side, by the awful weeping porthole that awes one so by the quiet cispus' side

 

in the orange band the rock is wicked fresh - some of the rock crumbles under the touch - most everything is a block detached from the wall and headed downhill - spent a long time trying to pick a way through, but only got halfway done before it was time to start heading back up

 

bill put in a half pitch above the low-point - enjoyed a beer and trundling everything in sight - the battery then died and we bounded up, reclimbing one pitch rather than do the mother-of-all hatefuck overhanging jug

 

lovely night, waiting for the rain - fuck'n hummus n' pbr n' shelby foote - bedded down ready for the great deluge that then did not appear

 

sunday dawned drizzly n' half-heartedly we set to finish it up, knowing there was no way - the summit saddled in clouds, we dropped down just the same, set to finish up bill's half-completed pitch at least

 

that's what came of it, through the rain and what-have-you - just a hair over a pitch left to fill in...

 

fun drive back - crowds by the bone-yard and the road-side shrines - christ, we'll be dead by tuesday...

9/24-25 - the crucial 13th step of rehab - me sick as a dog - the cabin on a stormy, swirly friday night - sweet cedar smoke in the fireplace - an early amble-off saturday soon after the crepuscular sky broke clear over rainier - no weight on the way down, but shockingly differnt on the way back up - all day drilling n' pounding n' perspiring, wrapped up in light down n' doubting the doom bound for us all

 

rapunzel's panties are finally off, boys, and she's feeling mighty friendly - hopefully it won't be until the vernal times that we get back and between her thighs :)

 

whipped and wasted, big bill n' i slave-hauled 5 ropes, excess bolts, drill, hammer, old beer cans, etc. back up the hill moments after the sun sidled over the western horizon - in darkness we stumbled, but soon found the light, even as the onery owls went hoot-hoot n' we saw the fucking silliness of dreams fulfilled...

 

back to the lookout at 9 - a roaring fire roasting, i sat and shivered like a cancer-ridden old man, feverish and frigid - the beer and wine and wacky-tobaccy unable to touch the dying thing inside me - ben rambled in moments later and the embers glowed greater - giddiness and gawd-damn-it stories, then much later geoff's headlamps grew through the gloaming and we had ourselves a 4-alarm hootenanny :rawk:

 

bill tried to sleep through it all but cramps n' let-cry-havoc from the hillbillies-in-charge saw to that - well after midnight came quick, and finally we fell off, the cabin up to a neat 70 degrees by then, though the wind blew and the earth went-on wobbling its woozy way round its old drunken enemy...

 

sunday a solid one - a sound sleep in - wicked hot by 9 as the soaring sun roasted us out of our fart sacks and sent us shuffling all over the summit with no sensible agenda :)

 

eventually came back down to the valley and finally flagged a fine trail up to the base, despite some bastards in the pack sending their backwards glances from time to time n' casting dispersions against yer's truly - then sat on the couch-boulder w/ bill to behold the boys bumble-fuck their way up the first 2 pitches - did some reading, combed the talus for recent debris, set fire to some turpentine-soaked wood, n' generally had a boozy, woozy rest day of it all

 

funny how these things work out...the 14th trip will be the 14th step of rehab, and that will be much as the first one i reckon :)

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As an aside, it may go without saying but I'll say it anyway. Let us get up and knock off some lose blocks and rocks one more time and finish her before anyone decides to run up and jump on the route.

 

Close, so close.

 

ps, working on getting a photo or 2 up. Ivan played superman this weekend. Damned impressive doing yeomans work like a galley slave he was. EDITED - Here's the man @ 50 meters below me. Squint, he's down there I'll swear to it.

 

SEPT_24_2016_BILL_AND_IVAN_AT_TOWER_ROCK.jpg

 

Ben and Geoff rocking the start. "Deceptive Scale" is more than a just a potential silly route name. Up here it's a way of life. You can see it in both these shots.

 

Geoff_and_Ben_on_P1_of_Rapunzel.jpg

Edited by billcoe

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some others from ben n' geoff

 

sunrise sunday in the sumptious shack - old man, old mountain :)

towerrawk1.jpg

your morning dose of lovely inspiration - ain't much lame-ass aiding to be had over yonder

towerrawk3.jpg

happy homos

towerrawk4.jpg

"add-a-bolt" ben on pitch 2 - yup, he suggested it :)

towerrawk2.jpg

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Git 'er done before the rain flies boys!

The interwebs are awaitin' yer great glory!

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Trip: Tower Rock - FA - Rapunzel's Back in Rehab - C1

 

Date: 7/15/2015

 

Trip Report: The Beast - don't be fooled, them thare are full-grown trees :)DSC02611.JPG Tower Rock, 2 hours from everywhere, appears oddly neglected - Brown Beckey's got the tiniest blurb of the single route up it done in 1982 (anyone know of a second ascent? i can't find anyone who's tried it) but no picture n' no topo - tim olson's oregon rock guide has some more detail than beckey, but still the vast monolith appears to have continued unloved

 

tower's just south of randle, an unladen swallow's flight from the cispus river - the face is gigantic,something like 1200 feet tall - the rock is basaltic, according to beckey, but like nothing i've seen - like over-baked brownies, it's composed of a hodge-podge of components - incredibly solid and compact, it's cross-hatched in all directions, crackless, and crumbles into bricks and blocks of all conceivable sizes - the tower looms over it's talus field, fiercely steep, it's upper-wall reminiscent of the right side of el cap, incredibly bulging and over-hanging

 

tower is composed of two giant faces seperated by a ledge/fault system that was the path taken by the first team to climb the face - currently, after 7 days of effort, our route climbs the lower wall - it'll be just as much work to finish the upper wall, if the rock quality holds

 

as it currently exists DSC02616.JPG yeah, there's a lot more to go, but as it stands, what's there is 600 feet tall and a great day-tripper's aid adventure already - i figure the worst that can come of telling folks about this now before it's complete is that some other sad fools can go do it for me :)DSC02612.JPG

 

trip the first: fuck, this happened so long off i wonder if my recollection's right at all - me n' bill n' ben in the late winter - a burr up their bespectacled asses about a mythical 10-pitch free route up a largely untouched tower - the plan to hike to the top then set a rap-line down the likely route - out of town on a friday night to the frightful fall of rain - ghetto camp before the gate in gales of damnable damp - the roar of frogs - the next morning the most sordid thang - endless hours uphill w/ drill n' bolts n' chains in the continuous cloud-fuck n' frenzied chilly breeze - near the summit gob-smacked to gain a blazed trail barely a mile from a seasonal road - the top a huge disappointment, it characterized by clouds and beaming rainbows and rock so rude they rarely accoladed the attribution - soon there after the weekend righteously concluded and me around for the sweet family on the sabbath

 

trip the second: on the reconnaissance earlier, dejected at finding a kitty-litter summit, we'd paused after a tortuous overladen descent on the boulder field and pondered on future options - a man w/ an aid-climber's conscious could do a take on "infinite bliss" and find a bitching way up the crazy big blank face - it was sure to take a mort of mortal work, but bill n' geoff are true gentlemen all measured and solid for this kinda goofy shit - we banged up from p-town on a friday night and made camp up at the turn around on the forest road - stumble-fucking up the forest we arrived amazed and ready to ramble on - many mozzies n' deer flies this damned trip - pitch 1 went quickly between geoff and bill, the later bounding up free on low-angle stacked mossy talus to make an anchor atop tier 1 - me i got tier 2 - all bolts at first until i no longer feared the ledge, then lotza 2-hook moves in a row until reaching the top of the tier where i left a fixed hook to protect a low-angle romp to the second anchor - we retired to camp n' soggy fires n' fulsome screeching music - day 2 we jugged to the top of p2 and bill and geoff got up a ways before yielding to me, whereupon i drilled n' hooked to a high point we marked w/ red tat before descending and returning to our troubled and lonely little lives - i recollect getting a true n' glorious drunk on in the passenger seat n' slumbering back to vantucky :)

 

geoff putting up the first pitch on the scrubby, compact low-angle first tier P6060034.JPG

 

the artist as a young asshole ascending the second steeper tier P6060040.JPG

 

geoff workign on pitch 3, the first steps onto the very steep lower wall P6060042.JPG

 

trip the third: lovely ospreys n' robins round the lake - pete n' pam play camp hosts - camp weddings n' nightly fishing sheenaningans - muskrats n' pond-skimming swallows - bastard mozzies n' mean biting flies, mostly in obeisance for the first couple cold days, but growing in malevolence as the weather waxed towards wicked hot - the sweet ne face of Tower almost totally shade-soaked for the mid-morning riser - kids n' retirees n' rv's n' jumping trout n' tame dogs - the listless routines of an aimless life - awake w/ the sun - fresh shits n' dewy breakfasts - a short but grim uphill grind through steep forest w/ plentiful windfall, shirt soaked through by the time we hit the sunny talus field at the base but soon blessed w/ shade - warm juggy work to start and then to the serious business - fear frenzies despite being armed w/ all the wonderful war machines of modern man - a long time of terror n' toil - the day dispatched, we make a rapid descent, each time by a different winding way - beer n' stripping soaked clothes off at the mercifully close car - me auolde yosemite food bin rummaged through for a desperate dinner, usually of beer n' tobacco n' pringles n' whatever benevolent bill threw my way - an hour or so of bird-watching n' binge-reading on maggie thatcher's frigid teeming fucking bush - to sleep at the post-gloaming in a grand 6-man tent alone, racked out on a queen sized inflatable air mattress, wrapped in down and dozy drunkenness - the night passed moaning to sore muscles as i twist n' turn until the dawn drags me to my addled senses, then it all runs off the reel much as it reckoned the day before...

 

first several days of murmurings n' mumblings w/ just me n' bill (me a damn baby in comparison to my venerable and august elder - that baby weighing in at a mean 250 bare-nekkid pounds and a coward to boot of course) - bill a bastion of genteel sincerity that must sadly have bitch-left this world many generations ago - me strangely silent of song for days - my mind scrambled and saddened by the robust requirements of 6-weeks of family-left sorrows gone off in the valley - eventually songs to lift my times and shape my senses - "mining for gold" by the cowboy junkies running on an eternal loop in my mind - long after-shocks of "burn down the mission" caused by geoff for sure

 

after 3 days of toil we grow weary and call in the cavalry - the silverman boys gonna come down n' save us from our misery - we make a rest day out of walking the mountain side w/ them, then retiring to the big boulder to pound pbr's n' provide Adult Supervision - they lounge around camp afterwards, contemplating on crashing the redneck wedding well under-way - we smoke bales of weed n' cackle n' cough n' find high times are treasure enough in this wicked world - eventually all good things must get on the bus w/ gandhi though and they roll off into the night in the hms revenge, ready i hope to return for more

 

the last day done-off as surely as a band-aid - after a fearful arduous jug up the wild steep fixed lines ole bill baits the question ("good news or bad?" - which would you take?) - - dedication to a last day of determined work - 5 hours of bolting and hooking on endless steep traversing ground until i was gut-wrenched at what it was likely to take me to get get back to bill - epic amounts of gear left as i rapped into the void and quickly grew dependent on bill to reel me back in - the retreat then fully declared we rapped n' ruminated n' laid our plans like parchment paper, all of it ultimately putting us on sweet terra-firma w/ a fuck-load of gear to get off - surprised by bill's pronouncement of this day, i had no proper pack to cram all the crap into

 

eventually we ambled on down the way, me overloaded like a gypsy carnival-whore w/ rope-bags aplenty such that i swooned on multiple occasions as the straps cut into me wind-pipe and i passed yards off unyielding to gratuitous thoughts, my mind in a true and lovely gray place - the last night spent in part w/ militant california-paul, such as exemplar of that shakespearean clap-trap about sounding of fuck-all and negative fury, yet yielding nothing :)

 

our objective from the relative sanity of the rv park n' its teeming trout pond DSC02631.JPG white-boys jugging the first 2 tiers - at this angle the lower wall takes up most of the entire frame, but the upper wall's just as big n' steeper P6070047.JPG 700 feet of ropes n' route-making machine Tower7.jpg just starting the second pitch Tower5.jpg bags of bolts n' drills n' bullshit - starting to install pitch 4 Tower6.jpg geoff at the top of p4, kyle jugging up to the mid-pt anchor DSC02617.JPG

 

closing thoughts: happy to share the discovery w/ the nw brethren - leave yer self-righteous bolting morals at home w/ yer bitches - the place went unloved for a reason :) - the only cracks evident are where awful rock-fall is just a geologic fart-in-a-stiff-wind away - if intending to push the route higher (what's there is plenty for a day-tripper), please let me or bill or geoff know so one of us can come along - perhaps a dozen separate lines could be pushed to the top in the same style, each likely to take weeks n' 1000$ to put in place :) - recon trip to the top found almost no real rock up there - at some point all lines must turn to awful kitty litter, but maybe it'll go anyhow?

 

topo as it currently stands - hope to see this fucker get taller in the fullness of insensible time :)

 

topo8.jpg

 

Gear Notes: - up to 30+ draws if clipping all bolts - 2 bathooks (talons can work, but they risk blowing out the drilled holes) - ideally 2 70 meter ropes, but 2 60'S can work if careful - cheater stick not bad idea, as many of the bolts were installed by a fear-fucked orangutan at his max reach - lower off tat or quick-links/biners for follower at traversing parts - helmets essential - much potential for rockfall of all sizes, especially if hauling or jugging - base area very dangerous in strong winds or if below climbers on first 2 approach pitches - upper pitches largely protected from natural rockfall (be careful up there :) )

 

Approach Notes: Exit 68 off i5 - east on 12 to randle (about an hour) - right (south) turn at randle (follow signs for tower rock RV park) - quick left about a mile south of randle, then another turn right about 6 miles later - rt turn at tower rock RV park/cispus learning center signs - left onto logging road (75?76?) just a 100 yards before rt turn to tower rock forest service camp (or straight for another mile to the RV park) - forest road is closed at gate near main road during winter/early spring - about 1 1/2 mile up road (stay on main road at split a 1/2 mile up) there's a turn around (about .25 mile past a steep switchback) - from there you can continue in car but there's no turnaround - walk or drive 1/4 mile to road-end - at wierd stone-forest-altar begin hiking up steep forrested slope - about 45 minutes to base - occasional game and human trails, generally trending right and up - copious windfall in middle section of trail - steeper for last 1/3 of trail - idea is to skirt talus field on right and join base from tree at right edge of wall - 1st bolt is just 5 feet off ground near clump of trees about 50 feet above a huge lounge-like boulder that is a great/safe observation spot

 

descent: currently rapping from top of p5 to top of p4 is extra-ordinarly hard - in the future ideally there'll be a rap line straight down through p5 - for now be prepared to leave a fixed line to get back to the top of p4 and for the first rapper to have to haul the second back over - descending from the top of p4 requires 2 70 meter ropes or a stop at the mid-pt anchor (no rings) - the rap overhangs but you just barely touch the wall at the mid-pt anchor - use terrain to help you rap in the right direction

 

9/5-6 - trip the fourth w/ geoff n' bryan - 3 days of school, the easy ones, dispatched and snap, whizz, bang it was friday afternoon and we were flying down the highway, heading north, clutching cans n' cackling at this wicked world we are so at home in - ominous omens, devil-eyed little girls glaring out of death-cold cars at us - road signs: "the time of the lord is here" - jesus, we'd best tread lightly

 

the tower rock rv park at dusk, the ride dispatched in minutes it seemed, fueled by high-octane what-have-you n' plebian pbr's - the park much as i left it, riddled w/ well-heeled red-necks n' pam n' pete n' a feller i'm pretty sure ain't named larry but will ever here-after be for me :)

 

got good n' whiskey-drunk w/ hood-river spirits sitting round the fire n' sorted n' packed n' planned for the day to come and soon enough it was upon us - up at 630 to grits n' coffee n' black tobacco

 

holy shit, plenty of weight to pull us down on the slow amble up-hill but within the hour we'd handled it and got to the glory - bryan, his first visit to the wall, had spoken in pure-drunken-honestness of the ease w/ which he'd dispatch it all, so for his sins we gave it to him - he gamboled up the first 2 pitches easy enough as geoff n' i smoked n' chuckled n' occasionally jugged

 

geoff did p3, a looooong way to go on bolts, much like leaning tower i suppose - i then did p4, so much fun now that i'm not fear-sweating it like on the first ascent, more than half-certain the huge roofs blocks would rain down on me once rattled by the roar of the drill

 

atop 4 the boys lost their motivation n' sense of adventure i reckon - it was late afternoon for sure, but i'm sure we could have completed p5 and put in our new rap line by dark, but it would have meant being late for a triumphant performance by the tower rockers band down at the rv park and of course cutting into precious drinking time, so with tears in my heart i consented to just fixing the first 4 pitches and coming back the next day

 

a surrealistic night for certain - dogs n' fishers n' baby gymnasts n' rv's of a thousand descriptions - not 1 but 2 bands, quite possibly the laziest ever, each managing to play perhaps a total of 30 minutes w/ at least 6 set-breaks thrown in to keep their buzzes on - a roaring fire n' light-flecked lake to seperate us from the heathen masses, which we nonetheless joined from time to time to see if any hotties under the age of 50 had arrived (they hadn't :( )

 

the hedonistic scene concluded with brutal finality when the heavens opened and the fuck-sky descended around eleven - a steady baptist downpour off and on from then till well after dawn

 

sunday morning a savage one, as they always are it seems - the dregs of the whiskey sitting sullenly upon my senses - the unceasing rain toasting all hopes for progress up the mist-wracked tower - in time the melancholia did end though, as all misery must, and we hoofed it back up to the wall to see if anything could be done - by then it was so late, the wall so streaming, the likelihood of yet another dousing so certain that it was w/ half a heart me n' bryan began jugging - i made it most of the way back up to the highpt, cursing n' crying on the last stretch, only to see bryan fighting the soaked ropes of the first pitch w/o much success - the signs were shit, so i surrendered to the inevitable yet again and settled for a few hours drink'n'n'smoke'n around the base, poking around to suss out future projects - bryan contrived to bring the party to a smashing conclusion by slipping and slicing a big fat bloody smile into the meat of his hand, a moment redolent w/ nostalgia for geoff n' i as we thought of nastia last year :)

 

in the end we said fuck it and resolved to return next weekend, with the pleasant reward of getting to walk back down the hill w/ fuck-all upon our backs :)

 

trip the sixth - bryan n' bill - a week after a sodden deluge we returned, 4 pitches fixed n'all the shit already up there - had a union social i was in charge of on friday afternoon so arrived at the rendezvous dangerously deranged - i soon fell into a deep n' stupendous stentorious snoring sleep but rallied somewhere along the way to get groceries - we rambled on through the growing dark and reached the rv park after a good bit of bullshitting, my soul made right and brightly glowing

 

whiskey and whoop-whooping ensued - demented dean our neighbor definitely added to the what-have-you - saturday morning arrived all too early and we roused ourselves from half-horrid hangovers and rallied on up the hill

 

jugged to the top of 4, the last 2 not so bad w/ the 1-jug, 1-gri technique - i lead the jaunt up p5, all the draws still hanging on it since july - pumped in some more bolts about the high-pt anchor as the boys made their way up - a bit of a clusterfuck really, but what big-wall is complete w/o one every 200 fucking feet or so? :)

 

dem white fellers, despite my urgent exhortations, didn't snap at the sincere offer to lead the new pitch 6, so off i set, rather tired n' sore already, truth-be-told - the good thing about being a bit gored was the bolt-spacing stays generous

 

we'd set a 3 p.m. turnaround time as we needed to put in a whole new rap line, and i exceeded that by a wee-bit - was eager to end ascending after hitting supper steepness combined w/ loose n' hollow rock

 

bill led the raps down, putting in surprisingly only 2 stations - the 2nd one being damn near exactly 60 meters, ending after a huge stretch of overhang ontop of a terrifying shattered tower

 

saturday night a staid one by last week's standards - salami n' jalapeno bread - whiskey once again n' big batches of burgundy n' black n' green tobacco - moby dick goddammit - cave man tv, but bill checked out before it got really interesting - early to bed

 

sunday broke gloomy, mist-fuck all-about, brain aching n' bitchy - we humped it back up the hill n' broke out into the big open of the talus field even as the wisps of cloud cleared the tower - it was to be 3 serious long strenuous jugs, ones i'd like just as well to forget - bryan clocked'em for what they were n' whittled away the hours instead getting whiskey-drunk down in the boulders, dodging the fragments i flung off the cliff n' building up a bonfire

 

took a long time to regain the high-pt but after all that work it was insane to think of turning around, so bill being disinterested once again i took on the leading end - the bit of bad rock reached around the angle then returned to berserker attitude - the line i wanted turned out to terrifying to contemplate - a 50 square feet panel all hollow and horrid, rooflets w/ cluster-munitions abounding - the solution was a dead-horizontal traverse to a sweet ledge, but stil a few feet below the summit of the lower-wall

 

bill to the top, a god-send for his shivering ass no doubt - it was the lord's day so we hadn't that much time to fuck-around, so he did a little recon, put in a bolt, then returned - we sorted out the shit best left behind n' bolted for the ground

 

back down i discovered some of the sad fragments of geoff's torque wrench which had precipitated itself down from 600 feet up after it foolishly believed it could fly - we sat round the fire for a bit n' bashed back down the hill, rounded up the camp shit, paid pete his blood-shekels n' then blasted back home through the growing gravid sky

 

10/24 - round 7

 

geoff n' i gallump on up the grand highway in the fading light of friday, galled by the recent demands of this gawdamn world - a big bonfire on the side of the forest road - it was to be a 1-day trip, so there was no sense in standing on ceremony - just a simple howl-at-the-moon affair which happened soon enough upon arrival and ambled on amiably until a hint after mid-night

 

dawn on saturday - destiny called so i shuffled off to have a shit and returned to the sight of my lawyer wretching into the bushes - The Great Spit - like a true hound-dog though he shook it off n' went back to binging on bad-berries

 

a quick walk up the hill, though the leaf-fucked forest floor makes it more sporting in places now - a deep gray diffracting through the grim sky as i gazed up to see how the fixed lines had fared over the past month - they seemed fine enough and so we set to it

 

a touch of rain followed to re-inforce the fuck-you nature of the big-wall, but that gave an excuse to sip beer n' listen to car-talk, a most unlikely touch of normality that couldn't help but conquer all fears - then it was the endless jugging n' hauling up extra rope n' whatnot

 

to the highpoint near noon, geoff grown gaunt n' red-faced but i was in rare-spirits, risen so far above bullshit i can't help but care about when it chokes me at every breathe

 

the plan was to move it on up to the big ledge, which in time i did make, ducking and dodging and working to find sections of rock good enough to take a bolt - a lot of case-cheese in this section - the rock under the hammer sounds like a hobo through a half-bottle

 

the great ledge was rather a little disappointing - cool environment for sure - the summit so close now you could talk w/ a person there should they appear and have no instinct of self-preservation to lean out over the edge - perhaps only 2 more full rope-lengths to go? the whole area like a vast tilted hanging ampitheatre, my voice and hammer strokes singing back at me from close in - no good place to set up a camp or even really sit though, despite its grand dimensions - maybe up higher?

 

so many possible directions to go from here - to re-establish a plum line rap-station to the top of p5 will require a separate mission to set up and will be off-course to the upper-wall - will likely want to establish a fixed line to it i suspect - left 14 bolts, a pair of chain anchors and my hammer to encourage my return

 

had originally hoped to pull all the fixed lines and clean the scene up for the winter but the long and fast-fading light cleared that thought away swiftly - i figure the face gets no sunlight and my static lines are damned relics already, so why let them quietly die on my garage floor? besides, there's always the off-chance of a november visit before the road closes, though with short days and the long jug, it's hard to get more than a couple hrs of exploration in before prudence demands descent

 

home w/ time for wine n' women n' fine discourse - i sink swiftly into the Big Blackness, waking near dawn to delicious soreness in every muscle associated w/ jugging or top-step tensioning

 

nearer...nearer...dice.

 

5/13/16 - round 8

 

spring - the earth reborn - time to return to see how them fixed ropes fared after months of tempests tortured them

 

big bill once again the big guy in charge - he fetched me from my humble abode on a thursday afternoon and we headed north

 

our plan was to try to drop in from the top and return to the highpoint

 

old men rise w/ the birdies and gawddamn it, though i was playing hooky from work, somehow i'm awake an hour earlier than normal? jesus, is this what lies in store for us all? :)

 

exciting times ensued as we sought to figure out how to finagle together passable roads to get close enough to hump a horrid bit of bullshit to the promised land- impromptu road-construction, tree clearing and many dead ends ensued and hours went by before we got it all sorted out, only to find the road near burley mountain, still miles away, choked w/ impassable snow

 

giving up on doing anything terribly productive, we settled for hiking the road to see if we could at least drive it after it melted out and locate the suspected trailhead - a couple hours of downhill slogging n' forest surfing returned us to the tower top, which looked every bit as uninviting for trying to rap down as it did the first time :noway:

 

not terribly excited at the prospect of trying to go over the edge, i settled for sucking down a couple beers and contemplating just hucking meself off the top like the forking free-basers - that done w/, we slowly crawled back up the long hill to the automovat, n' reversed our wending way back down to the cispus's quiet side, where we stared at the face w/ some high-powered optics

 

the sight of the ropes still in passable shape and the blue bolt-bearing bag glowing like a goddamn beacon high up the wall brought back the fight in me, and though the weather forecast didn't support a bottom-up attempt on the morrow, fukit, why not at least go up and climb as much of the route as we could and inspect the fixed lines from top-down?

 

grey and storm-threatening on saturday - we found the approach road blocked by a giant tree just a hundred yards or so from the start of the trail and slowly stumble-fucked our way up the hill, the path as short and savage and uncertain as ever

 

i'd never gotten to do p1 before and enjoyed it - bill did p2 and, despite regretting your friend and humble retard's spacing of the bolts, made it go quickly enough - he even threw in a completly cock-eyed and unnecessary dangerous run out at the top :)

 

sadly, his ever-suffering shoulder bearings blew out along the way, and big bill begged off continuing up - i figured i hadn't really brought enough beer anyway and the weather was clearly going to get ugly soon - we slid on back down, bill following on a hare-brained shoe-string of a tag-line

 

did some lounging on the party boulder, pondering on where the upper route should wander to - hiked up to look at the fixed lines up close - thought them in surprisingly good shape, but i'm still a bit skert at the prospect of tangling with them soon :)

 

gonna take a mort more work to make it go, and maybe the goddamn summit just won't be in the cards...

 

8/22-24 - trip #9

 

mid-summer doldrums done set in - big trips south n' east n' even north all spent n' its me on the couch doubting my own existence at 2 in the fucking morning

 

but the tower project is something to keep the head out of the oven for, so on a thursday evening bill fetched me in his big blue new ride i'm calling lucille until he latches upon a better moniker for the the motherfucker

 

we rattled off the miles north and reached the forest road after dark - reckoning on decent weather friday we bedded down under the open sky only to be rudely awoken after midnight by the beginnings of a mighty rain that kept on coming the whole day to come - fortunately lucille is commodious enough and we went on to spend most of the next 24 hrs in there alternatively napping n' reading n' listening to howard stern on the satellite

 

saturday dawned gray, nonetheless we did the super-shuffle-stumble down the trail - this was the first time we could drive to the burley mtn trailhead and it proved easy enough in a high-clearance ride - better yet, we found a doable shortcut, which gets you from the hardtop to the trailhead in a little over 5 miles, providing you don't get yerself kilt by driving off the absurdly steep hillside or kamikaze it into the crater-sized ravines running through the middle of the track

 

its so damned murderous to try to jug n' haul up 600 feet of overhanging fixed lines that we figured from here on out we should just drop in from the top and finish the fucker off that way - my first great fear was we wouldn't find anything anchor worth on the summit to get started, but after a number of hijinx that got sorted out and a day later we'd put in the final pitch (which i hope will be #13 as all rehab programs need one) :)

 

amazing views on the wall near the summit - holy shit, this thing is gonna go! 1000 feet of accessible, insane big walling n' all you need is a buncha draws and a couple hooks :rawk:

 

8/18-20 - trip the tenth - a little more than a year into this lithographic yawp, geoff n' i trundled north with a wagonful of liquor that woulda made winston churchill smile - Big Heat coming on the bottom lands, so to the hills made a sorta sense, even if it was just to hump loads of shit all over the place n' sweat like homos in hot-dog eating contests

 

a fine trip really - wrote a great big old piece on it actually with lovely alliteration and meaningful metaphors but then the cc.com overlords took it all away in a mouse fart n' nearly put me off my meds - sigh...writing, especially senseless writing about one's self, really is a practical lesson in buddhism, no? had to decide to retrench w/ something only a little short of a haiku...

 

the long n' short of it was we spent a day recovering most of the fixed lines that had been swinging in the breeze for the past 4 seasons, then humped it up the short, punished road and spent 2 days putting in more pitches - had a grand time guzzling beers n' waxing philosophic n' sucking straight out of the rapidly dwindling keg of crazy life

 

reckon only 3 more work days n' we'll be ready to check out of rehab :)

 

the only way out of rehab

 

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fine views through them thare padded walls

 

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putting the finishing touches on the pitch - boulder fields only a 1000 feet down there :)

 

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holy shit, why didn't bill and i realize we could spent that long rainy day in his car in here instead?!?

 

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songs from the trip i'll have a hard time getting out of my head for a while:

 

"it's been rough and rocky traveling but i'm finally standing upright with my feet on the ground - after taking several readings i'm surprised to find my mind is fairly sound" [video:youtube]

 

"twisted angel, cast out of some strange heaven, sent down here to pull me out of my shell - you show up on my doorstep, honey dripping from your mouth, like some slack jaw Jezebel" [video:youtube]

 

"bright lights, put me in a trance, but it ain't house music that makes me want to dance"

[video:youtube]

 

 

9/3-4 - hop #11 -thought this might be the trip we finally got the fucker done, but it turns out one more ride on the merry-go-death-round is in order

 

headed up on a rainy, dismal friday night - smooth sailing and an easy passage well lubricated with burgundy n' the baleful observations of a hopped-up howard stern

 

once again amazed to arrive at the lookout on a friday night, this one a memorial day weekend to boot, without a soul in the joint - nobody there saturday night neither - holy shit it's the goddess decadence dressed up as a demesne - as the frigid wind wailed outside and the cloud murk crept by it was sure that summer was spent and fall was fey upon us all, but inside the firebox glowed a gaudy orange and the good humor of easy life laid upon the walls

 

had a bit of a lazy saturday morning as it was maybe 40 degrees and bitter breezy outside with visibility measured in meters - lounged n' coffeed n' read some shelby foote

 

eventually we resigned ourselves to a rare auold rough up and rambled down the road and stumbled down the steep hillside - threw ourselves over the cliff-edge and then put in a new pitch on super-steep and sometimes friable rock with wild exposure

 

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our duty done for the day, retraced our steps and had another capital evening in the cabin as once again the weather closed in

 

sunday dawned a bit better than the day before so we got an earlier start - put in another pitch and finally got to a spot where we could clearly see all that's left to do - one more steep pitch of 60 meters, than a ledgy pitch of 25 meters or so and the fucking thing is finite :)

 

excellent diversion on a dark and dismal night

 

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and of course no descent down that doomed road is complete without belting out at least one willie-tune :)

 

[video:youtube]

 

9/10-11 - trip 12 - jesus, will it never end?

 

sigh...thought one last trip would do it...guess not - now that i'm back in the working world a weekend just ain't as long as it used to be

 

first week back to school - only got summoned to the principal's office once - apparently "don't be an asshole" is not considered professional no'mo :(

 

bill scooped me up friday afternoon ahead of schedule and we zoomed north, shooting the breeze n' feeling the heady breeze of a halycon life - bedded down by a creek and had an hour to read n' drink n' contemplate the coming of the end

 

saturday up n' earlish - breakfasted on cold cheeseburgers n' bare faced bald lies - bumbled up the broken road, just 4 miles to the new-found good trail

 

shuffled on sideways and down and soon we were there, much mo'betta than the other way - our cached rope n' drill n' whatnot no worse for our wearisomre toils in the cocked-up here between

 

did so very much want to get it all done this day, but it wasn't to be - after descending about 150 meters off the summit, with a 60 meter stretch left to fill in, i tussled with the terrorific orange band - it runs across most of the face of tower and is biggest on the left side, by the awful weeping porthole that awes one so by the quiet cispus' side

 

in the orange band the rock is wicked fresh - some of the rock crumbles under the touch - most everything is a block detached from the wall and headed downhill - spent a long time trying to pick a way through, but only got halfway done before it was time to start heading back up

 

bill put in a half pitch above the low-point - enjoyed a beer and trundling everything in sight - the battery then died and we bounded up, reclimbing one pitch rather than do the mother-of-all hatefuck overhanging jug

 

lovely night, waiting for the rain - fuck'n hummus n' pbr n' shelby foote - bedded down ready for the great deluge that then did not appear

 

sunday dawned drizzly n' half-heartedly we set to finish it up, knowing there was no way - the summit saddled in clouds, we dropped down just the same, set to finish up bill's half-completed pitch at least

 

that's what came of it, through the rain and what-have-you - just a hair over a pitch left to fill in...

 

fun drive back - crowds by the bone-yard and the road-side shrines - christ, we'll be dead by tuesday...

 

9/24-25 - the crucial 13th step of rehab - me sick as a dog - the cabin on a stormy, swirly friday night - sweet cedar smoke in the fireplace - an early amble-off saturday soon after the crepuscular sky broke clear over rainier - no weight on the way down, but shockingly differnt on the way back up - all day drilling n' pounding n' perspiring, wrapped up in light down n' doubting the doom bound for us all

 

rapunzel's panties are finally off, boys, and she's feeling mighty friendly - hopefully it won't be until the vernal times that we get back and between her thighs :)

 

whipped and wasted, big bill n' i slave-hauled 5 ropes, excess bolts, drill, hammer, old beer cans, etc. back up the hill moments after the sun sidled over the western horizon - in darkness we stumbled, but soon found the light, even as the onery owls went hoot-hoot n' we saw the fucking silliness of dreams fulfilled...

 

back to the lookout at 9 - a roaring fire roasting, i sat and shivered like a cancer-ridden old man, feverish and frigid - the beer and wine and wacky-tobaccy unable to touch the dying thing inside me - ben rambled in moments later and the embers glowed greater - giddiness and gawd-damn-it stories, then much later geoff's headlamps grew through the gloaming and we had ourselves a 4-alarm hootenanny :rawk:

 

bill tried to sleep through it all but cramps n' let-cry-havoc from the hillbillies-in-charge saw to that - well after midnight came quick, and finally we fell off, the cabin up to a neat 70 degrees by then, though the wind blew and the earth went-on wobbling its woozy way round its old drunken enemy...

 

sunday a solid one - a sound sleep in - wicked hot by 9 as the soaring sun roasted us out of our fart sacks and sent us shuffling all over the summit with no sensible agenda :)

 

eventually came back down to the valley and finally flagged a fine trail up to the base, despite some bastards in the pack sending their backwards glances from time to time n' casting dispersions against yer's truly - then sat on the couch-boulder w/ bill to behold the boys bumble-fuck their way up the first 2 pitches - did some reading, combed the talus for recent debris, set fire to some turpentine-soaked wood, n' generally had a boozy, woozy rest day of it all

 

funny how these things work out...the 14th trip will be the 14th step of rehab, and that will be much as the first one i reckon :)

 

pix:

some others from ben n' geoff

 

sunrise sunday in the sumptious shack - old man, old mountain :)

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your morning dose of lovely inspiration - ain't much lame-ass aiding to be had over yonder

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happy homos

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"add-a-bolt" ben on pitch 2 - yup, he suggested it :)

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10/22 - the 14th step of rehab...

 

sigh...it's gonna take a biiiiit longer...

 

nuttin but rain n' wind n' miserable fall for weeks it seems - the tiniest of windows seemed to open this weekend so we 3 high-falutin-founders made a go of it, driving north in the growing dark

 

pouring snow a bit shy of the cabin, some of us at least were white-knuckled indeed on the final turn up on the blasted alpine top, the Big Ride straight down the mountain side if we slipped off

 

lovely night - a roaring fire of course - beers - music - the full fury of winter-come-too-soon raging against the glass and livelying up the occasional piss

 

6 a.m. came too soon, despite the fact that we slept through the alarm and didn't rally until 7 :)

 

the storm had dispersed in the night, and it was an austere scene we rolled out into, the 3 volcanoes burning bright white, the air frozen n' damp

 

the plan was to force the way - come in from the top, burn the ships, cortez-style, and commit to a complete ascent - didn't quite work out that way...

 

we did indeed manage to make the steep descent, only the 2nd time for me and i remembered it right - less than an hour of 50 degree elk trails n' moss-surfing to the base, me armed w/ a snapped-off sunflower stalk

 

the subsequent ascent didn't work out quite so well - somehow not starting up the rock until 1030 - bill bounded up p1 in only 25 minutes, but then bailed half-way up p2 - i took over and finished it, then short-fixed up p3, which just seemed to drag and drag - the cliff dripped n' dripped and i became increasingly an Unbelieber in the Cause as my hands chapped and one of my adjustable daisies buckle blew out - by the top of 3 it seemed unlikely we'd make the top shy of 3 a.m., but we pressed on over to the top 4 anyhow, but then bailed back down soon thereafter as The Suck became too totally apparent to ignore

 

bill clawed us way back up the miserable hillside to fetch the automovat as we pressed upwards, and, after bailing, we remade his acquaintance down below on the forest road, having hauled all his stuff down between us, me high as georgia-pine n' hollering every willie nelson tune i could recall

 

another pleasant evening, my hip fully malfunctioning and hardly capable of hobbling to the crapper, bill as crampy and age-encrusted as ever, and even young geoff making mousy noises on occasion

 

a bigger breeze by far that night, the rafters shaking n' threatening to go soaring - some bastards stole half geoff's beers from the lodge, but they left everything else so i guess we can't complain too much

 

so....in the end, i reckon the plan for a first ascent's gonna require a longer spring/summer day and/or a day of pre-fixing to the top of 3 perhaps...a reason to hie through the horrid hibernal season though, no? :)

 

bucolic sunrise, day 1

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bill on p2

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me on p3 - fuck this thing is too long...

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moody morning #2

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snow all melt after a super breezy evening

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Frosty Froliks or Winterpalusa is more appropriate description ;) . The highlight was not the weather and the hour and a half steep hike by myself through those beautiful and serene woods back up to the truck: but the fine upbeat company. It's much more fun than rolling with a barrel of monkeys at the zoo. BTW, as you said - the "First Ascent" has already been done as you noted to me "that's how them bolts got put in". The first "continuous ascent" will have to wait till next spring and the first free ascent sometime after that I'd expect.

 

I bailed off as it looked like the last clean shot to do so and not slow you guys down who seemed so determined to top out or drop out. Glad I did as I'm still sore today. As an aside, you guys should have been off before 3am (which could have been bettered had the first bolt not been clipped until 10:35am!) but the weathermanfolks were not too determinant on what hour the shit would truly hit the fan that night and it could even have hit hard at midnight if not sooner.

 

As a member of the grumpy old man club that has to get up and pee at all kinds of strange hours I did go out in that crap weather for all of 3 freezing minutes in the wee hours. Being on the wall when that cold wet fog rolled in with the high winds would have been ugly beyond description if not an outright SAR call out. It was the right decision to call it off this go round. "The better part of valor is discretion" later took on a special meaning in light of Geoffs later knee pain, your hip pain and my shoulder pain. The Tower will be there next spring when we have another go.

 

Here's the approach video for the 6 folks interested and still reading with the truck on good ground before the road got really "interesting" and exposed and folks in the vehicle started to get squeamish and then went to praying that they'd just survive the drive in. I wasn't too concerned although there are some claw marks on the steering wheel that just showed up mysteriously. I knew that this Ford has the full 5 star crash rating and it will easily and gladly take the 300'-600' roll down a treeless steep snow covered hill just fine. :grin: The advice I got last summer from Pete (of Pam and Pete of Tower Rock Campground, the good one, not the dankage of the Forest Service same named Tower Rock campground) was "don't go up here without a Jeep". I learned the hard way that it was good advice and so I went out and bought a 4x4 (COUGH**for-my-wife**COUGH) and so that I wouldn't tear up the Forester undercarriage (again for the 3rd time) which seemed to not even be able to get up the short road and the mini-grand canyons that have formed in the same. Turns out that the 4wd truck with 18" tires still needs to be jacked up a tad more to stop that occasional scraping and slamming thing which will be the winter project I suppose. Of course, this last trip they had graded the long road and one could make it most of the way in a Honda Civic now. In fact, the road grader is still parked up there, so they may wind up doing the whole road if they don't all get snowed in and have to go all "Alive" like a mad crazed soccer team in the Andes. Geoff had a great shot of the new snow that dumped on Rainier he might show up and share.

 

[video:youtube]

 

ps, I'm tempted to file a complaint about the pay for this job via the wage and hour link I posted above. And I want hazard pay this time. I mean, look at the large blocks and rocks we've been rolling. At even a dollar a lb I could retire right now. The cost has been a one way street heading the other direction so far. We don't have a $ count but it's a bit. Ivan was noting the amount of Stainless Steel up there, one rogue stainless hanger alone interestingly had perhaps missed the PASSIVIZATION process (the word came to me last night!) and is already brown and rusting says Ivan. That should give folks one more thing to hate on too if if they count up all the bolts we put in if they are so inclined. But perhaps not. We have about 5 happy customers reading along now and only one person bitching about a route name at another place so far....pretty fair ratio although there is plenty of time to tip it the opposite direction, maybe for now that's pay enough.

 

At some point this route is going to be the "thing" to do. Budding wall climbers will be running laps before Yosemite big wall trips and some day the shocking sight of 2 partys showing up to do the route the same day may even occur. I will admit that my wife is trying to help my head get right about this as well, having seen my internal crazy climber stokeage go right off the charts a few times previously: she says to me that no one else (except us few crazy's rolling like psycos to get back up there to get the route finished) really gives a crap. Now or ever.....and perhaps she's surprisingly, but sadly, right.

 

It's hard to hear it, I had only fed that to her after hearing it from Steve Strauch about 25 years back as I thought it rang true. But perhaps I'd rather have someone piss in my oatmeal than hear that kind of painful truth.

 

I'm gettin' paid by the word here aren't I.....? :whistle:

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Trip: Tower Rock - FA - Rapunzel's Back in Rehab - C1

 

Date: 7/15/2015

 

Trip Report: The Beast - don't be fooled, them thare are full-grown trees :)DSC02611.JPG Tower Rock, 2 hours from everywhere, appears oddly neglected - Brown Beckey's got the tiniest blurb of the single route up it done in 1982 (anyone know of a second ascent? i can't find anyone who's tried it) but no picture n' no topo - tim olson's oregon rock guide has some more detail than beckey, but still the vast monolith appears to have continued unloved

 

tower's just south of randle, an unladen swallow's flight from the cispus river - the face is gigantic,something like 1200 feet tall - the rock is basaltic, according to beckey, but like nothing i've seen - like over-baked brownies, it's composed of a hodge-podge of components - incredibly solid and compact, it's cross-hatched in all directions, crackless, and crumbles into bricks and blocks of all conceivable sizes - the tower looms over it's talus field, fiercely steep, it's upper-wall reminiscent of the right side of el cap, incredibly bulging and over-hanging

 

tower is composed of two giant faces seperated by a ledge/fault system that was the path taken by the first team to climb the face - currently, after 7 days of effort, our route climbs the lower wall - it'll be just as much work to finish the upper wall, if the rock quality holds

 

as it currently exists DSC02616.JPG yeah, there's a lot more to go, but as it stands, what's there is 600 feet tall and a great day-tripper's aid adventure already - i figure the worst that can come of telling folks about this now before it's complete is that some other sad fools can go do it for me :)DSC02612.JPG

 

trip the first: fuck, this happened so long off i wonder if my recollection's right at all - me n' bill n' ben in the late winter - a burr up their bespectacled asses about a mythical 10-pitch free route up a largely untouched tower - the plan to hike to the top then set a rap-line down the likely route - out of town on a friday night to the frightful fall of rain - ghetto camp before the gate in gales of damnable damp - the roar of frogs - the next morning the most sordid thang - endless hours uphill w/ drill n' bolts n' chains in the continuous cloud-fuck n' frenzied chilly breeze - near the summit gob-smacked to gain a blazed trail barely a mile from a seasonal road - the top a huge disappointment, it characterized by clouds and beaming rainbows and rock so rude they rarely accoladed the attribution - soon there after the weekend righteously concluded and me around for the sweet family on the sabbath

 

trip the second: on the reconnaissance earlier, dejected at finding a kitty-litter summit, we'd paused after a tortuous overladen descent on the boulder field and pondered on future options - a man w/ an aid-climber's conscious could do a take on "infinite bliss" and find a bitching way up the crazy big blank face - it was sure to take a mort of mortal work, but bill n' geoff are true gentlemen all measured and solid for this kinda goofy shit - we banged up from p-town on a friday night and made camp up at the turn around on the forest road - stumble-fucking up the forest we arrived amazed and ready to ramble on - many mozzies n' deer flies this damned trip - pitch 1 went quickly between geoff and bill, the later bounding up free on low-angle stacked mossy talus to make an anchor atop tier 1 - me i got tier 2 - all bolts at first until i no longer feared the ledge, then lotza 2-hook moves in a row until reaching the top of the tier where i left a fixed hook to protect a low-angle romp to the second anchor - we retired to camp n' soggy fires n' fulsome screeching music - day 2 we jugged to the top of p2 and bill and geoff got up a ways before yielding to me, whereupon i drilled n' hooked to a high point we marked w/ red tat before descending and returning to our troubled and lonely little lives - i recollect getting a true n' glorious drunk on in the passenger seat n' slumbering back to vantucky :)

 

geoff putting up the first pitch on the scrubby, compact low-angle first tier P6060034.JPG

 

the artist as a young asshole ascending the second steeper tier P6060040.JPG

 

geoff workign on pitch 3, the first steps onto the very steep lower wall P6060042.JPG

 

trip the third: lovely ospreys n' robins round the lake - pete n' pam play camp hosts - camp weddings n' nightly fishing sheenaningans - muskrats n' pond-skimming swallows - bastard mozzies n' mean biting flies, mostly in obeisance for the first couple cold days, but growing in malevolence as the weather waxed towards wicked hot - the sweet ne face of Tower almost totally shade-soaked for the mid-morning riser - kids n' retirees n' rv's n' jumping trout n' tame dogs - the listless routines of an aimless life - awake w/ the sun - fresh shits n' dewy breakfasts - a short but grim uphill grind through steep forest w/ plentiful windfall, shirt soaked through by the time we hit the sunny talus field at the base but soon blessed w/ shade - warm juggy work to start and then to the serious business - fear frenzies despite being armed w/ all the wonderful war machines of modern man - a long time of terror n' toil - the day dispatched, we make a rapid descent, each time by a different winding way - beer n' stripping soaked clothes off at the mercifully close car - me auolde yosemite food bin rummaged through for a desperate dinner, usually of beer n' tobacco n' pringles n' whatever benevolent bill threw my way - an hour or so of bird-watching n' binge-reading on maggie thatcher's frigid teeming fucking bush - to sleep at the post-gloaming in a grand 6-man tent alone, racked out on a queen sized inflatable air mattress, wrapped in down and dozy drunkenness - the night passed moaning to sore muscles as i twist n' turn until the dawn drags me to my addled senses, then it all runs off the reel much as it reckoned the day before...

 

first several days of murmurings n' mumblings w/ just me n' bill (me a damn baby in comparison to my venerable and august elder - that baby weighing in at a mean 250 bare-nekkid pounds and a coward to boot of course) - bill a bastion of genteel sincerity that must sadly have bitch-left this world many generations ago - me strangely silent of song for days - my mind scrambled and saddened by the robust requirements of 6-weeks of family-left sorrows gone off in the valley - eventually songs to lift my times and shape my senses - "mining for gold" by the cowboy junkies running on an eternal loop in my mind - long after-shocks of "burn down the mission" caused by geoff for sure

 

after 3 days of toil we grow weary and call in the cavalry - the silverman boys gonna come down n' save us from our misery - we make a rest day out of walking the mountain side w/ them, then retiring to the big boulder to pound pbr's n' provide Adult Supervision - they lounge around camp afterwards, contemplating on crashing the redneck wedding well under-way - we smoke bales of weed n' cackle n' cough n' find high times are treasure enough in this wicked world - eventually all good things must get on the bus w/ gandhi though and they roll off into the night in the hms revenge, ready i hope to return for more

 

the last day done-off as surely as a band-aid - after a fearful arduous jug up the wild steep fixed lines ole bill baits the question ("good news or bad?" - which would you take?) - - dedication to a last day of determined work - 5 hours of bolting and hooking on endless steep traversing ground until i was gut-wrenched at what it was likely to take me to get get back to bill - epic amounts of gear left as i rapped into the void and quickly grew dependent on bill to reel me back in - the retreat then fully declared we rapped n' ruminated n' laid our plans like parchment paper, all of it ultimately putting us on sweet terra-firma w/ a fuck-load of gear to get off - surprised by bill's pronouncement of this day, i had no proper pack to cram all the crap into

 

eventually we ambled on down the way, me overloaded like a gypsy carnival-whore w/ rope-bags aplenty such that i swooned on multiple occasions as the straps cut into me wind-pipe and i passed yards off unyielding to gratuitous thoughts, my mind in a true and lovely gray place - the last night spent in part w/ militant california-paul, such as exemplar of that shakespearean clap-trap about sounding of fuck-all and negative fury, yet yielding nothing :)

 

our objective from the relative sanity of the rv park n' its teeming trout pond DSC02631.JPG white-boys jugging the first 2 tiers - at this angle the lower wall takes up most of the entire frame, but the upper wall's just as big n' steeper P6070047.JPG 700 feet of ropes n' route-making machine Tower7.jpg just starting the second pitch Tower5.jpg bags of bolts n' drills n' bullshit - starting to install pitch 4 Tower6.jpg geoff at the top of p4, kyle jugging up to the mid-pt anchor DSC02617.JPG

 

closing thoughts: happy to share the discovery w/ the nw brethren - leave yer self-righteous bolting morals at home w/ yer bitches - the place went unloved for a reason :) - the only cracks evident are where awful rock-fall is just a geologic fart-in-a-stiff-wind away - if intending to push the route higher (what's there is plenty for a day-tripper), please let me or bill or geoff know so one of us can come along - perhaps a dozen separate lines could be pushed to the top in the same style, each likely to take weeks n' 1000$ to put in place :) - recon trip to the top found almost no real rock up there - at some point all lines must turn to awful kitty litter, but maybe it'll go anyhow?

 

topo as it currently stands - hope to see this fucker get taller in the fullness of insensible time :)

 

topo8.jpg

 

Gear Notes: - up to 30+ draws if clipping all bolts - 2 bathooks (talons can work, but they risk blowing out the drilled holes) - ideally 2 70 meter ropes, but 2 60'S can work if careful - cheater stick not bad idea, as many of the bolts were installed by a fear-fucked orangutan at his max reach - lower off tat or quick-links/biners for follower at traversing parts - helmets essential - much potential for rockfall of all sizes, especially if hauling or jugging - base area very dangerous in strong winds or if below climbers on first 2 approach pitches - upper pitches largely protected from natural rockfall (be careful up there :) )

 

Approach Notes: Exit 68 off i5 - east on 12 to randle (about an hour) - right (south) turn at randle (follow signs for tower rock RV park) - quick left about a mile south of randle, then another turn right about 6 miles later - rt turn at tower rock RV park/cispus learning center signs - left onto logging road (75?76?) just a 100 yards before rt turn to tower rock forest service camp (or straight for another mile to the RV park) - forest road is closed at gate near main road during winter/early spring - about 1 1/2 mile up road (stay on main road at split a 1/2 mile up) there's a turn around (about .25 mile past a steep switchback) - from there you can continue in car but there's no turnaround - walk or drive 1/4 mile to road-end - at wierd stone-forest-altar begin hiking up steep forrested slope - about 45 minutes to base - occasional game and human trails, generally trending right and up - copious windfall in middle section of trail - steeper for last 1/3 of trail - idea is to skirt talus field on right and join base from tree at right edge of wall - 1st bolt is just 5 feet off ground near clump of trees about 50 feet above a huge lounge-like boulder that is a great/safe observation spot

 

descent: currently rapping from top of p5 to top of p4 is extra-ordinarly hard - in the future ideally there'll be a rap line straight down through p5 - for now be prepared to leave a fixed line to get back to the top of p4 and for the first rapper to have to haul the second back over - descending from the top of p4 requires 2 70 meter ropes or a stop at the mid-pt anchor (no rings) - the rap overhangs but you just barely touch the wall at the mid-pt anchor - use terrain to help you rap in the right direction

 

9/5-6 - trip the fourth w/ geoff n' bryan - 3 days of school, the easy ones, dispatched and snap, whizz, bang it was friday afternoon and we were flying down the highway, heading north, clutching cans n' cackling at this wicked world we are so at home in - ominous omens, devil-eyed little girls glaring out of death-cold cars at us - road signs: "the time of the lord is here" - jesus, we'd best tread lightly

 

the tower rock rv park at dusk, the ride dispatched in minutes it seemed, fueled by high-octane what-have-you n' plebian pbr's - the park much as i left it, riddled w/ well-heeled red-necks n' pam n' pete n' a feller i'm pretty sure ain't named larry but will ever here-after be for me :)

 

got good n' whiskey-drunk w/ hood-river spirits sitting round the fire n' sorted n' packed n' planned for the day to come and soon enough it was upon us - up at 630 to grits n' coffee n' black tobacco

 

holy shit, plenty of weight to pull us down on the slow amble up-hill but within the hour we'd handled it and got to the glory - bryan, his first visit to the wall, had spoken in pure-drunken-honestness of the ease w/ which he'd dispatch it all, so for his sins we gave it to him - he gamboled up the first 2 pitches easy enough as geoff n' i smoked n' chuckled n' occasionally jugged

 

geoff did p3, a looooong way to go on bolts, much like leaning tower i suppose - i then did p4, so much fun now that i'm not fear-sweating it like on the first ascent, more than half-certain the huge roofs blocks would rain down on me once rattled by the roar of the drill

 

atop 4 the boys lost their motivation n' sense of adventure i reckon - it was late afternoon for sure, but i'm sure we could have completed p5 and put in our new rap line by dark, but it would have meant being late for a triumphant performance by the tower rockers band down at the rv park and of course cutting into precious drinking time, so with tears in my heart i consented to just fixing the first 4 pitches and coming back the next day

 

a surrealistic night for certain - dogs n' fishers n' baby gymnasts n' rv's of a thousand descriptions - not 1 but 2 bands, quite possibly the laziest ever, each managing to play perhaps a total of 30 minutes w/ at least 6 set-breaks thrown in to keep their buzzes on - a roaring fire n' light-flecked lake to seperate us from the heathen masses, which we nonetheless joined from time to time to see if any hotties under the age of 50 had arrived (they hadn't :( )

 

the hedonistic scene concluded with brutal finality when the heavens opened and the fuck-sky descended around eleven - a steady baptist downpour off and on from then till well after dawn

 

sunday morning a savage one, as they always are it seems - the dregs of the whiskey sitting sullenly upon my senses - the unceasing rain toasting all hopes for progress up the mist-wracked tower - in time the melancholia did end though, as all misery must, and we hoofed it back up to the wall to see if anything could be done - by then it was so late, the wall so streaming, the likelihood of yet another dousing so certain that it was w/ half a heart me n' bryan began jugging - i made it most of the way back up to the highpt, cursing n' crying on the last stretch, only to see bryan fighting the soaked ropes of the first pitch w/o much success - the signs were shit, so i surrendered to the inevitable yet again and settled for a few hours drink'n'n'smoke'n around the base, poking around to suss out future projects - bryan contrived to bring the party to a smashing conclusion by slipping and slicing a big fat bloody smile into the meat of his hand, a moment redolent w/ nostalgia for geoff n' i as we thought of nastia last year :)

 

in the end we said fuck it and resolved to return next weekend, with the pleasant reward of getting to walk back down the hill w/ fuck-all upon our backs :)

 

trip the sixth - bryan n' bill - a week after a sodden deluge we returned, 4 pitches fixed n'all the shit already up there - had a union social i was in charge of on friday afternoon so arrived at the rendezvous dangerously deranged - i soon fell into a deep n' stupendous stentorious snoring sleep but rallied somewhere along the way to get groceries - we rambled on through the growing dark and reached the rv park after a good bit of bullshitting, my soul made right and brightly glowing

 

whiskey and whoop-whooping ensued - demented dean our neighbor definitely added to the what-have-you - saturday morning arrived all too early and we roused ourselves from half-horrid hangovers and rallied on up the hill

 

jugged to the top of 4, the last 2 not so bad w/ the 1-jug, 1-gri technique - i lead the jaunt up p5, all the draws still hanging on it since july - pumped in some more bolts about the high-pt anchor as the boys made their way up - a bit of a clusterfuck really, but what big-wall is complete w/o one every 200 fucking feet or so? :)

 

dem white fellers, despite my urgent exhortations, didn't snap at the sincere offer to lead the new pitch 6, so off i set, rather tired n' sore already, truth-be-told - the good thing about being a bit gored was the bolt-spacing stays generous

 

we'd set a 3 p.m. turnaround time as we needed to put in a whole new rap line, and i exceeded that by a wee-bit - was eager to end ascending after hitting supper steepness combined w/ loose n' hollow rock

 

bill led the raps down, putting in surprisingly only 2 stations - the 2nd one being damn near exactly 60 meters, ending after a huge stretch of overhang ontop of a terrifying shattered tower

 

saturday night a staid one by last week's standards - salami n' jalapeno bread - whiskey once again n' big batches of burgundy n' black n' green tobacco - moby dick goddammit - cave man tv, but bill checked out before it got really interesting - early to bed

 

sunday broke gloomy, mist-fuck all-about, brain aching n' bitchy - we humped it back up the hill n' broke out into the big open of the talus field even as the wisps of cloud cleared the tower - it was to be 3 serious long strenuous jugs, ones i'd like just as well to forget - bryan clocked'em for what they were n' whittled away the hours instead getting whiskey-drunk down in the boulders, dodging the fragments i flung off the cliff n' building up a bonfire

 

took a long time to regain the high-pt but after all that work it was insane to think of turning around, so bill being disinterested once again i took on the leading end - the bit of bad rock reached around the angle then returned to berserker attitude - the line i wanted turned out to terrifying to contemplate - a 50 square feet panel all hollow and horrid, rooflets w/ cluster-munitions abounding - the solution was a dead-horizontal traverse to a sweet ledge, but stil a few feet below the summit of the lower-wall

 

bill to the top, a god-send for his shivering ass no doubt - it was the lord's day so we hadn't that much time to fuck-around, so he did a little recon, put in a bolt, then returned - we sorted out the shit best left behind n' bolted for the ground

 

back down i discovered some of the sad fragments of geoff's torque wrench which had precipitated itself down from 600 feet up after it foolishly believed it could fly - we sat round the fire for a bit n' bashed back down the hill, rounded up the camp shit, paid pete his blood-shekels n' then blasted back home through the growing gravid sky

 

10/24 - round 7

 

geoff n' i gallump on up the grand highway in the fading light of friday, galled by the recent demands of this gawdamn world - a big bonfire on the side of the forest road - it was to be a 1-day trip, so there was no sense in standing on ceremony - just a simple howl-at-the-moon affair which happened soon enough upon arrival and ambled on amiably until a hint after mid-night

 

dawn on saturday - destiny called so i shuffled off to have a shit and returned to the sight of my lawyer wretching into the bushes - The Great Spit - like a true hound-dog though he shook it off n' went back to binging on bad-berries

 

a quick walk up the hill, though the leaf-fucked forest floor makes it more sporting in places now - a deep gray diffracting through the grim sky as i gazed up to see how the fixed lines had fared over the past month - they seemed fine enough and so we set to it

 

a touch of rain followed to re-inforce the fuck-you nature of the big-wall, but that gave an excuse to sip beer n' listen to car-talk, a most unlikely touch of normality that couldn't help but conquer all fears - then it was the endless jugging n' hauling up extra rope n' whatnot

 

to the highpoint near noon, geoff grown gaunt n' red-faced but i was in rare-spirits, risen so far above bullshit i can't help but care about when it chokes me at every breathe

 

the plan was to move it on up to the big ledge, which in time i did make, ducking and dodging and working to find sections of rock good enough to take a bolt - a lot of case-cheese in this section - the rock under the hammer sounds like a hobo through a half-bottle

 

the great ledge was rather a little disappointing - cool environment for sure - the summit so close now you could talk w/ a person there should they appear and have no instinct of self-preservation to lean out over the edge - perhaps only 2 more full rope-lengths to go? the whole area like a vast tilted hanging ampitheatre, my voice and hammer strokes singing back at me from close in - no good place to set up a camp or even really sit though, despite its grand dimensions - maybe up higher?

 

so many possible directions to go from here - to re-establish a plum line rap-station to the top of p5 will require a separate mission to set up and will be off-course to the upper-wall - will likely want to establish a fixed line to it i suspect - left 14 bolts, a pair of chain anchors and my hammer to encourage my return

 

had originally hoped to pull all the fixed lines and clean the scene up for the winter but the long and fast-fading light cleared that thought away swiftly - i figure the face gets no sunlight and my static lines are damned relics already, so why let them quietly die on my garage floor? besides, there's always the off-chance of a november visit before the road closes, though with short days and the long jug, it's hard to get more than a couple hrs of exploration in before prudence demands descent

 

home w/ time for wine n' women n' fine discourse - i sink swiftly into the Big Blackness, waking near dawn to delicious soreness in every muscle associated w/ jugging or top-step tensioning

 

nearer...nearer...dice.

 

5/13/16 - round 8

 

spring - the earth reborn - time to return to see how them fixed ropes fared after months of tempests tortured them

 

big bill once again the big guy in charge - he fetched me from my humble abode on a thursday afternoon and we headed north

 

our plan was to try to drop in from the top and return to the highpoint

 

old men rise w/ the birdies and gawddamn it, though i was playing hooky from work, somehow i'm awake an hour earlier than normal? jesus, is this what lies in store for us all? :)

 

exciting times ensued as we sought to figure out how to finagle together passable roads to get close enough to hump a horrid bit of bullshit to the promised land- impromptu road-construction, tree clearing and many dead ends ensued and hours went by before we got it all sorted out, only to find the road near burley mountain, still miles away, choked w/ impassable snow

 

giving up on doing anything terribly productive, we settled for hiking the road to see if we could at least drive it after it melted out and locate the suspected trailhead - a couple hours of downhill slogging n' forest surfing returned us to the tower top, which looked every bit as uninviting for trying to rap down as it did the first time :noway:

 

not terribly excited at the prospect of trying to go over the edge, i settled for sucking down a couple beers and contemplating just hucking meself off the top like the forking free-basers - that done w/, we slowly crawled back up the long hill to the automovat, n' reversed our wending way back down to the cispus's quiet side, where we stared at the face w/ some high-powered optics

 

the sight of the ropes still in passable shape and the blue bolt-bearing bag glowing like a goddamn beacon high up the wall brought back the fight in me, and though the weather forecast didn't support a bottom-up attempt on the morrow, fukit, why not at least go up and climb as much of the route as we could and inspect the fixed lines from top-down?

 

grey and storm-threatening on saturday - we found the approach road blocked by a giant tree just a hundred yards or so from the start of the trail and slowly stumble-fucked our way up the hill, the path as short and savage and uncertain as ever

 

i'd never gotten to do p1 before and enjoyed it - bill did p2 and, despite regretting your friend and humble retard's spacing of the bolts, made it go quickly enough - he even threw in a completly cock-eyed and unnecessary dangerous run out at the top :)

 

sadly, his ever-suffering shoulder bearings blew out along the way, and big bill begged off continuing up - i figured i hadn't really brought enough beer anyway and the weather was clearly going to get ugly soon - we slid on back down, bill following on a hare-brained shoe-string of a tag-line

 

did some lounging on the party boulder, pondering on where the upper route should wander to - hiked up to look at the fixed lines up close - thought them in surprisingly good shape, but i'm still a bit skert at the prospect of tangling with them soon :)

 

gonna take a mort more work to make it go, and maybe the goddamn summit just won't be in the cards...

 

8/22-24 - trip #9

 

mid-summer doldrums done set in - big trips south n' east n' even north all spent n' its me on the couch doubting my own existence at 2 in the fucking morning

 

but the tower project is something to keep the head out of the oven for, so on a thursday evening bill fetched me in his big blue new ride i'm calling lucille until he latches upon a better moniker for the the motherfucker

 

we rattled off the miles north and reached the forest road after dark - reckoning on decent weather friday we bedded down under the open sky only to be rudely awoken after midnight by the beginnings of a mighty rain that kept on coming the whole day to come - fortunately lucille is commodious enough and we went on to spend most of the next 24 hrs in there alternatively napping n' reading n' listening to howard stern on the satellite

 

saturday dawned gray, nonetheless we did the super-shuffle-stumble down the trail - this was the first time we could drive to the burley mtn trailhead and it proved easy enough in a high-clearance ride - better yet, we found a doable shortcut, which gets you from the hardtop to the trailhead in a little over 5 miles, providing you don't get yerself kilt by driving off the absurdly steep hillside or kamikaze it into the crater-sized ravines running through the middle of the track

 

its so damned murderous to try to jug n' haul up 600 feet of overhanging fixed lines that we figured from here on out we should just drop in from the top and finish the fucker off that way - my first great fear was we wouldn't find anything anchor worth on the summit to get started, but after a number of hijinx that got sorted out and a day later we'd put in the final pitch (which i hope will be #13 as all rehab programs need one) :)

 

amazing views on the wall near the summit - holy shit, this thing is gonna go! 1000 feet of accessible, insane big walling n' all you need is a buncha draws and a couple hooks :rawk:

 

8/18-20 - trip the tenth - a little more than a year into this lithographic yawp, geoff n' i trundled north with a wagonful of liquor that woulda made winston churchill smile - Big Heat coming on the bottom lands, so to the hills made a sorta sense, even if it was just to hump loads of shit all over the place n' sweat like homos in hot-dog eating contests

 

a fine trip really - wrote a great big old piece on it actually with lovely alliteration and meaningful metaphors but then the cc.com overlords took it all away in a mouse fart n' nearly put me off my meds - sigh...writing, especially senseless writing about one's self, really is a practical lesson in buddhism, no? had to decide to retrench w/ something only a little short of a haiku...

 

the long n' short of it was we spent a day recovering most of the fixed lines that had been swinging in the breeze for the past 4 seasons, then humped it up the short, punished road and spent 2 days putting in more pitches - had a grand time guzzling beers n' waxing philosophic n' sucking straight out of the rapidly dwindling keg of crazy life

 

reckon only 3 more work days n' we'll be ready to check out of rehab :)

 

the only way out of rehab

 

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fine views through them thare padded walls

 

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putting the finishing touches on the pitch - boulder fields only a 1000 feet down there :)

 

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holy shit, why didn't bill and i realize we could spent that long rainy day in his car in here instead?!?

 

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songs from the trip i'll have a hard time getting out of my head for a while:

 

"it's been rough and rocky traveling but i'm finally standing upright with my feet on the ground - after taking several readings i'm surprised to find my mind is fairly sound" [video:youtube]

 

"twisted angel, cast out of some strange heaven, sent down here to pull me out of my shell - you show up on my doorstep, honey dripping from your mouth, like some slack jaw Jezebel" [video:youtube]

 

"bright lights, put me in a trance, but it ain't house music that makes me want to dance"

[video:youtube]

 

 

9/3-4 - hop #11 -thought this might be the trip we finally got the fucker done, but it turns out one more ride on the merry-go-death-round is in order

 

headed up on a rainy, dismal friday night - smooth sailing and an easy passage well lubricated with burgundy n' the baleful observations of a hopped-up howard stern

 

once again amazed to arrive at the lookout on a friday night, this one a memorial day weekend to boot, without a soul in the joint - nobody there saturday night neither - holy shit it's the goddess decadence dressed up as a demesne - as the frigid wind wailed outside and the cloud murk crept by it was sure that summer was spent and fall was fey upon us all, but inside the firebox glowed a gaudy orange and the good humor of easy life laid upon the walls

 

had a bit of a lazy saturday morning as it was maybe 40 degrees and bitter breezy outside with visibility measured in meters - lounged n' coffeed n' read some shelby foote

 

eventually we resigned ourselves to a rare auold rough up and rambled down the road and stumbled down the steep hillside - threw ourselves over the cliff-edge and then put in a new pitch on super-steep and sometimes friable rock with wild exposure

 

img_20160903_122507_1_.jpg

 

our duty done for the day, retraced our steps and had another capital evening in the cabin as once again the weather closed in

 

sunday dawned a bit better than the day before so we got an earlier start - put in another pitch and finally got to a spot where we could clearly see all that's left to do - one more steep pitch of 60 meters, than a ledgy pitch of 25 meters or so and the fucking thing is finite :)

 

excellent diversion on a dark and dismal night

 

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and of course no descent down that doomed road is complete without belting out at least one willie-tune :)

 

[video:youtube]

 

9/10-11 - trip 12 - jesus, will it never end?

 

sigh...thought one last trip would do it...guess not - now that i'm back in the working world a weekend just ain't as long as it used to be

 

first week back to school - only got summoned to the principal's office once - apparently "don't be an asshole" is not considered professional no'mo :(

 

bill scooped me up friday afternoon ahead of schedule and we zoomed north, shooting the breeze n' feeling the heady breeze of a halycon life - bedded down by a creek and had an hour to read n' drink n' contemplate the coming of the end

 

saturday up n' earlish - breakfasted on cold cheeseburgers n' bare faced bald lies - bumbled up the broken road, just 4 miles to the new-found good trail

 

shuffled on sideways and down and soon we were there, much mo'betta than the other way - our cached rope n' drill n' whatnot no worse for our wearisomre toils in the cocked-up here between

 

did so very much want to get it all done this day, but it wasn't to be - after descending about 150 meters off the summit, with a 60 meter stretch left to fill in, i tussled with the terrorific orange band - it runs across most of the face of tower and is biggest on the left side, by the awful weeping porthole that awes one so by the quiet cispus' side

 

in the orange band the rock is wicked fresh - some of the rock crumbles under the touch - most everything is a block detached from the wall and headed downhill - spent a long time trying to pick a way through, but only got halfway done before it was time to start heading back up

 

bill put in a half pitch above the low-point - enjoyed a beer and trundling everything in sight - the battery then died and we bounded up, reclimbing one pitch rather than do the mother-of-all hatefuck overhanging jug

 

lovely night, waiting for the rain - fuck'n hummus n' pbr n' shelby foote - bedded down ready for the great deluge that then did not appear

 

sunday dawned drizzly n' half-heartedly we set to finish it up, knowing there was no way - the summit saddled in clouds, we dropped down just the same, set to finish up bill's half-completed pitch at least

 

that's what came of it, through the rain and what-have-you - just a hair over a pitch left to fill in...

 

fun drive back - crowds by the bone-yard and the road-side shrines - christ, we'll be dead by tuesday...

 

9/24-25 - the crucial 13th step of rehab - me sick as a dog - the cabin on a stormy, swirly friday night - sweet cedar smoke in the fireplace - an early amble-off saturday soon after the crepuscular sky broke clear over rainier - no weight on the way down, but shockingly differnt on the way back up - all day drilling n' pounding n' perspiring, wrapped up in light down n' doubting the doom bound for us all

 

rapunzel's panties are finally off, boys, and she's feeling mighty friendly - hopefully it won't be until the vernal times that we get back and between her thighs :)

 

whipped and wasted, big bill n' i slave-hauled 5 ropes, excess bolts, drill, hammer, old beer cans, etc. back up the hill moments after the sun sidled over the western horizon - in darkness we stumbled, but soon found the light, even as the onery owls went hoot-hoot n' we saw the fucking silliness of dreams fulfilled...

 

back to the lookout at 9 - a roaring fire roasting, i sat and shivered like a cancer-ridden old man, feverish and frigid - the beer and wine and wacky-tobaccy unable to touch the dying thing inside me - ben rambled in moments later and the embers glowed greater - giddiness and gawd-damn-it stories, then much later geoff's headlamps grew through the gloaming and we had ourselves a 4-alarm hootenanny :rawk:

 

bill tried to sleep through it all but cramps n' let-cry-havoc from the hillbillies-in-charge saw to that - well after midnight came quick, and finally we fell off, the cabin up to a neat 70 degrees by then, though the wind blew and the earth went-on wobbling its woozy way round its old drunken enemy...

 

sunday a solid one - a sound sleep in - wicked hot by 9 as the soaring sun roasted us out of our fart sacks and sent us shuffling all over the summit with no sensible agenda :)

 

eventually came back down to the valley and finally flagged a fine trail up to the base, despite some bastards in the pack sending their backwards glances from time to time n' casting dispersions against yer's truly - then sat on the couch-boulder w/ bill to behold the boys bumble-fuck their way up the first 2 pitches - did some reading, combed the talus for recent debris, set fire to some turpentine-soaked wood, n' generally had a boozy, woozy rest day of it all

 

funny how these things work out...the 14th trip will be the 14th step of rehab, and that will be much as the first one i reckon :)

 

pix:

some others from ben n' geoff

 

sunrise sunday in the sumptious shack - old man, old mountain :)

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your morning dose of lovely inspiration - ain't much lame-ass aiding to be had over yonder

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happy homos

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"add-a-bolt" ben on pitch 2 - yup, he suggested it :)

towerrawk2.jpg

 

10/22 - the 14th step of rehab...

 

sigh...it's gonna take a biiiiit longer...

 

nuttin but rain n' wind n' miserable fall for weeks it seems - the tiniest of windows seemed to open this weekend so we 3 high-falutin-founders made a go of it, driving north in the growing dark

 

pouring snow a bit shy of the cabin, some of us at least were white-knuckled indeed on the final turn up on the blasted alpine top, the Big Ride straight down the mountain side if we slipped off

 

lovely night - a roaring fire of course - beers - music - the full fury of winter-come-too-soon raging against the glass and livelying up the occasional piss

 

6 a.m. came too soon, despite the fact that we slept through the alarm and didn't rally until 7 :)

 

the storm had dispersed in the night, and it was an austere scene we rolled out into, the 3 volcanoes burning bright white, the air frozen n' damp

 

the plan was to force the way - come in from the top, burn the ships, cortez-style, and commit to a complete ascent - didn't quite work out that way...

 

we did indeed manage to make the steep descent, only the 2nd time for me and i remembered it right - less than an hour of 50 degree elk trails n' moss-surfing to the base, me armed w/ a snapped-off sunflower stalk

 

the subsequent ascent didn't work out quite so well - somehow not starting up the rock until 1030 - bill bounded up p1 in only 25 minutes, but then bailed half-way up p2 - i took over and finished it, then short-fixed up p3, which just seemed to drag and drag - the cliff dripped n' dripped and i became increasingly an Unbelieber in the Cause as my hands chapped and one of my adjustable daisies buckle blew out - by the top of 3 it seemed unlikely we'd make the top shy of 3 a.m., but we pressed on over to the top 4 anyhow, but then bailed back down soon thereafter as The Suck became too totally apparent to ignore

 

bill clawed us way back up the miserable hillside to fetch the automovat as we pressed upwards, and, after bailing, we remade his acquaintance down below on the forest road, having hauled all his stuff down between us, me high as georgia-pine n' hollering every willie nelson tune i could recall

 

another pleasant evening, my hip fully malfunctioning and hardly capable of hobbling to the crapper, bill as crampy and age-encrusted as ever, and even young geoff making mousy noises on occasion

 

a bigger breeze by far that night, the rafters shaking n' threatening to go soaring - some bastards stole half geoff's beers from the lodge, but they left everything else so i guess we can't complain too much

 

so....in the end, i reckon the plan for a first ascent's gonna require a longer spring/summer day and/or a day of pre-fixing to the top of 3 perhaps...a reason to hie through the horrid hibernal season though, no? :)

 

bucolic sunrise, day 1

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bill on p2

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me on p3 - fuck this thing is too long...

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moody morning #2

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snow all melt after a super breezy evening

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'twas a bit of a tough week, but the tower's bigger than trump? :)

 

who knew our team's crack lawya was a skilled t-shirt designer as well? this present was truly timely :)

 

tower.jpg

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Always wondered about that Tower. Cool TR. From a few of the vantage points it resembles Washington Column for us California folks.

 

instagram @jensklub

 

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From a few of the vantage points it resembles Washington Column for us California folks.

 

instagram @jensklub

more like the leaning tower really, just taller and w/ no killer ledge...

 

an easier walk off at least :)

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Trip: Tower Rock - FA - Rapunzel's Back in Rehab - C1

 

Date: 7/15/2015

 

Trip Report: The Beast - don't be fooled, them thare are full-grown trees :)DSC02611.JPG Tower Rock, 2 hours from everywhere, appears oddly neglected - Brown Beckey's got the tiniest blurb of the single route up it done in 1982 (anyone know of a second ascent? i can't find anyone who's tried it) but no picture n' no topo - tim olson's oregon rock guide has some more detail than beckey, but still the vast monolith appears to have continued unloved

 

tower's just south of randle, an unladen swallow's flight from the cispus river - the face is gigantic,something like 1200 feet tall - the rock is basaltic, according to beckey, but like nothing i've seen - like over-baked brownies, it's composed of a hodge-podge of components - incredibly solid and compact, it's cross-hatched in all directions, crackless, and crumbles into bricks and blocks of all conceivable sizes - the tower looms over it's talus field, fiercely steep, it's upper-wall reminiscent of the right side of el cap, incredibly bulging and over-hanging

 

tower is composed of two giant faces seperated by a ledge/fault system that was the path taken by the first team to climb the face - currently, after 7 days of effort, our route climbs the lower wall - it'll be just as much work to finish the upper wall, if the rock quality holds

 

as it currently exists DSC02616.JPG yeah, there's a lot more to go, but as it stands, what's there is 600 feet tall and a great day-tripper's aid adventure already - i figure the worst that can come of telling folks about this now before it's complete is that some other sad fools can go do it for me :)DSC02612.JPG

 

trip the first: fuck, this happened so long off i wonder if my recollection's right at all - me n' bill n' ben in the late winter - a burr up their bespectacled asses about a mythical 10-pitch free route up a largely untouched tower - the plan to hike to the top then set a rap-line down the likely route - out of town on a friday night to the frightful fall of rain - ghetto camp before the gate in gales of damnable damp - the roar of frogs - the next morning the most sordid thang - endless hours uphill w/ drill n' bolts n' chains in the continuous cloud-fuck n' frenzied chilly breeze - near the summit gob-smacked to gain a blazed trail barely a mile from a seasonal road - the top a huge disappointment, it characterized by clouds and beaming rainbows and rock so rude they rarely accoladed the attribution - soon there after the weekend righteously concluded and me around for the sweet family on the sabbath

 

trip the second: on the reconnaissance earlier, dejected at finding a kitty-litter summit, we'd paused after a tortuous overladen descent on the boulder field and pondered on future options - a man w/ an aid-climber's conscious could do a take on "infinite bliss" and find a bitching way up the crazy big blank face - it was sure to take a mort of mortal work, but bill n' geoff are true gentlemen all measured and solid for this kinda goofy shit - we banged up from p-town on a friday night and made camp up at the turn around on the forest road - stumble-fucking up the forest we arrived amazed and ready to ramble on - many mozzies n' deer flies this damned trip - pitch 1 went quickly between geoff and bill, the later bounding up free on low-angle stacked mossy talus to make an anchor atop tier 1 - me i got tier 2 - all bolts at first until i no longer feared the ledge, then lotza 2-hook moves in a row until reaching the top of the tier where i left a fixed hook to protect a low-angle romp to the second anchor - we retired to camp n' soggy fires n' fulsome screeching music - day 2 we jugged to the top of p2 and bill and geoff got up a ways before yielding to me, whereupon i drilled n' hooked to a high point we marked w/ red tat before descending and returning to our troubled and lonely little lives - i recollect getting a true n' glorious drunk on in the passenger seat n' slumbering back to vantucky :)

 

geoff putting up the first pitch on the scrubby, compact low-angle first tier P6060034.JPG

 

the artist as a young asshole ascending the second steeper tier P6060040.JPG

 

geoff workign on pitch 3, the first steps onto the very steep lower wall P6060042.JPG

 

trip the third: lovely ospreys n' robins round the lake - pete n' pam play camp hosts - camp weddings n' nightly fishing sheenaningans - muskrats n' pond-skimming swallows - bastard mozzies n' mean biting flies, mostly in obeisance for the first couple cold days, but growing in malevolence as the weather waxed towards wicked hot - the sweet ne face of Tower almost totally shade-soaked for the mid-morning riser - kids n' retirees n' rv's n' jumping trout n' tame dogs - the listless routines of an aimless life - awake w/ the sun - fresh shits n' dewy breakfasts - a short but grim uphill grind through steep forest w/ plentiful windfall, shirt soaked through by the time we hit the sunny talus field at the base but soon blessed w/ shade - warm juggy work to start and then to the serious business - fear frenzies despite being armed w/ all the wonderful war machines of modern man - a long time of terror n' toil - the day dispatched, we make a rapid descent, each time by a different winding way - beer n' stripping soaked clothes off at the mercifully close car - me auolde yosemite food bin rummaged through for a desperate dinner, usually of beer n' tobacco n' pringles n' whatever benevolent bill threw my way - an hour or so of bird-watching n' binge-reading on maggie thatcher's frigid teeming fucking bush - to sleep at the post-gloaming in a grand 6-man tent alone, racked out on a queen sized inflatable air mattress, wrapped in down and dozy drunkenness - the night passed moaning to sore muscles as i twist n' turn until the dawn drags me to my addled senses, then it all runs off the reel much as it reckoned the day before...

 

first several days of murmurings n' mumblings w/ just me n' bill (me a damn baby in comparison to my venerable and august elder - that baby weighing in at a mean 250 bare-nekkid pounds and a coward to boot of course) - bill a bastion of genteel sincerity that must sadly have bitch-left this world many generations ago - me strangely silent of song for days - my mind scrambled and saddened by the robust requirements of 6-weeks of family-left sorrows gone off in the valley - eventually songs to lift my times and shape my senses - "mining for gold" by the cowboy junkies running on an eternal loop in my mind - long after-shocks of "burn down the mission" caused by geoff for sure

 

after 3 days of toil we grow weary and call in the cavalry - the silverman boys gonna come down n' save us from our misery - we make a rest day out of walking the mountain side w/ them, then retiring to the big boulder to pound pbr's n' provide Adult Supervision - they lounge around camp afterwards, contemplating on crashing the redneck wedding well under-way - we smoke bales of weed n' cackle n' cough n' find high times are treasure enough in this wicked world - eventually all good things must get on the bus w/ gandhi though and they roll off into the night in the hms revenge, ready i hope to return for more

 

the last day done-off as surely as a band-aid - after a fearful arduous jug up the wild steep fixed lines ole bill baits the question ("good news or bad?" - which would you take?) - - dedication to a last day of determined work - 5 hours of bolting and hooking on endless steep traversing ground until i was gut-wrenched at what it was likely to take me to get get back to bill - epic amounts of gear left as i rapped into the void and quickly grew dependent on bill to reel me back in - the retreat then fully declared we rapped n' ruminated n' laid our plans like parchment paper, all of it ultimately putting us on sweet terra-firma w/ a fuck-load of gear to get off - surprised by bill's pronouncement of this day, i had no proper pack to cram all the crap into

 

eventually we ambled on down the way, me overloaded like a gypsy carnival-whore w/ rope-bags aplenty such that i swooned on multiple occasions as the straps cut into me wind-pipe and i passed yards off unyielding to gratuitous thoughts, my mind in a true and lovely gray place - the last night spent in part w/ militant california-paul, such as exemplar of that shakespearean clap-trap about sounding of fuck-all and negative fury, yet yielding nothing :)

 

our objective from the relative sanity of the rv park n' its teeming trout pond DSC02631.JPG white-boys jugging the first 2 tiers - at this angle the lower wall takes up most of the entire frame, but the upper wall's just as big n' steeper P6070047.JPG 700 feet of ropes n' route-making machine Tower7.jpg just starting the second pitch Tower5.jpg bags of bolts n' drills n' bullshit - starting to install pitch 4 Tower6.jpg geoff at the top of p4, kyle jugging up to the mid-pt anchor DSC02617.JPG

 

closing thoughts: happy to share the discovery w/ the nw brethren - leave yer self-righteous bolting morals at home w/ yer bitches - the place went unloved for a reason :) - the only cracks evident are where awful rock-fall is just a geologic fart-in-a-stiff-wind away - if intending to push the route higher (what's there is plenty for a day-tripper), please let me or bill or geoff know so one of us can come along - perhaps a dozen separate lines could be pushed to the top in the same style, each likely to take weeks n' 1000$ to put in place :) - recon trip to the top found almost no real rock up there - at some point all lines must turn to awful kitty litter, but maybe it'll go anyhow?

 

topo as it currently stands - hope to see this fucker get taller in the fullness of insensible time :)

 

topo8.jpg

 

Gear Notes: - up to 30+ draws if clipping all bolts - 2 bathooks (talons can work, but they risk blowing out the drilled holes) - ideally 2 70 meter ropes, but 2 60'S can work if careful - cheater stick not bad idea, as many of the bolts were installed by a fear-fucked orangutan at his max reach - lower off tat or quick-links/biners for follower at traversing parts - helmets essential - much potential for rockfall of all sizes, especially if hauling or jugging - base area very dangerous in strong winds or if below climbers on first 2 approach pitches - upper pitches largely protected from natural rockfall (be careful up there :) )

 

Approach Notes: Exit 68 off i5 - east on 12 to randle (about an hour) - right (south) turn at randle (follow signs for tower rock RV park) - quick left about a mile south of randle, then another turn right about 6 miles later - rt turn at tower rock RV park/cispus learning center signs - left onto logging road (75?76?) just a 100 yards before rt turn to tower rock forest service camp (or straight for another mile to the RV park) - forest road is closed at gate near main road during winter/early spring - about 1 1/2 mile up road (stay on main road at split a 1/2 mile up) there's a turn around (about .25 mile past a steep switchback) - from there you can continue in car but there's no turnaround - walk or drive 1/4 mile to road-end - at wierd stone-forest-altar begin hiking up steep forrested slope - about 45 minutes to base - occasional game and human trails, generally trending right and up - copious windfall in middle section of trail - steeper for last 1/3 of trail - idea is to skirt talus field on right and join base from tree at right edge of wall - 1st bolt is just 5 feet off ground near clump of trees about 50 feet above a huge lounge-like boulder that is a great/safe observation spot

 

descent: currently rapping from top of p5 to top of p4 is extra-ordinarly hard - in the future ideally there'll be a rap line straight down through p5 - for now be prepared to leave a fixed line to get back to the top of p4 and for the first rapper to have to haul the second back over - descending from the top of p4 requires 2 70 meter ropes or a stop at the mid-pt anchor (no rings) - the rap overhangs but you just barely touch the wall at the mid-pt anchor - use terrain to help you rap in the right direction

 

9/5-6 - trip the fourth w/ geoff n' bryan - 3 days of school, the easy ones, dispatched and snap, whizz, bang it was friday afternoon and we were flying down the highway, heading north, clutching cans n' cackling at this wicked world we are so at home in - ominous omens, devil-eyed little girls glaring out of death-cold cars at us - road signs: "the time of the lord is here" - jesus, we'd best tread lightly

 

the tower rock rv park at dusk, the ride dispatched in minutes it seemed, fueled by high-octane what-have-you n' plebian pbr's - the park much as i left it, riddled w/ well-heeled red-necks n' pam n' pete n' a feller i'm pretty sure ain't named larry but will ever here-after be for me :)

 

got good n' whiskey-drunk w/ hood-river spirits sitting round the fire n' sorted n' packed n' planned for the day to come and soon enough it was upon us - up at 630 to grits n' coffee n' black tobacco

 

holy shit, plenty of weight to pull us down on the slow amble up-hill but within the hour we'd handled it and got to the glory - bryan, his first visit to the wall, had spoken in pure-drunken-honestness of the ease w/ which he'd dispatch it all, so for his sins we gave it to him - he gamboled up the first 2 pitches easy enough as geoff n' i smoked n' chuckled n' occasionally jugged

 

geoff did p3, a looooong way to go on bolts, much like leaning tower i suppose - i then did p4, so much fun now that i'm not fear-sweating it like on the first ascent, more than half-certain the huge roofs blocks would rain down on me once rattled by the roar of the drill

 

atop 4 the boys lost their motivation n' sense of adventure i reckon - it was late afternoon for sure, but i'm sure we could have completed p5 and put in our new rap line by dark, but it would have meant being late for a triumphant performance by the tower rockers band down at the rv park and of course cutting into precious drinking time, so with tears in my heart i consented to just fixing the first 4 pitches and coming back the next day

 

a surrealistic night for certain - dogs n' fishers n' baby gymnasts n' rv's of a thousand descriptions - not 1 but 2 bands, quite possibly the laziest ever, each managing to play perhaps a total of 30 minutes w/ at least 6 set-breaks thrown in to keep their buzzes on - a roaring fire n' light-flecked lake to seperate us from the heathen masses, which we nonetheless joined from time to time to see if any hotties under the age of 50 had arrived (they hadn't :( )

 

the hedonistic scene concluded with brutal finality when the heavens opened and the fuck-sky descended around eleven - a steady baptist downpour off and on from then till well after dawn

 

sunday morning a savage one, as they always are it seems - the dregs of the whiskey sitting sullenly upon my senses - the unceasing rain toasting all hopes for progress up the mist-wracked tower - in time the melancholia did end though, as all misery must, and we hoofed it back up to the wall to see if anything could be done - by then it was so late, the wall so streaming, the likelihood of yet another dousing so certain that it was w/ half a heart me n' bryan began jugging - i made it most of the way back up to the highpt, cursing n' crying on the last stretch, only to see bryan fighting the soaked ropes of the first pitch w/o much success - the signs were shit, so i surrendered to the inevitable yet again and settled for a few hours drink'n'n'smoke'n around the base, poking around to suss out future projects - bryan contrived to bring the party to a smashing conclusion by slipping and slicing a big fat bloody smile into the meat of his hand, a moment redolent w/ nostalgia for geoff n' i as we thought of nastia last year :)

 

in the end we said fuck it and resolved to return next weekend, with the pleasant reward of getting to walk back down the hill w/ fuck-all upon our backs :)

 

trip the sixth - bryan n' bill - a week after a sodden deluge we returned, 4 pitches fixed n'all the shit already up there - had a union social i was in charge of on friday afternoon so arrived at the rendezvous dangerously deranged - i soon fell into a deep n' stupendous stentorious snoring sleep but rallied somewhere along the way to get groceries - we rambled on through the growing dark and reached the rv park after a good bit of bullshitting, my soul made right and brightly glowing

 

whiskey and whoop-whooping ensued - demented dean our neighbor definitely added to the what-have-you - saturday morning arrived all too early and we roused ourselves from half-horrid hangovers and rallied on up the hill

 

jugged to the top of 4, the last 2 not so bad w/ the 1-jug, 1-gri technique - i lead the jaunt up p5, all the draws still hanging on it since july - pumped in some more bolts about the high-pt anchor as the boys made their way up - a bit of a clusterfuck really, but what big-wall is complete w/o one every 200 fucking feet or so? :)

 

dem white fellers, despite my urgent exhortations, didn't snap at the sincere offer to lead the new pitch 6, so off i set, rather tired n' sore already, truth-be-told - the good thing about being a bit gored was the bolt-spacing stays generous

 

we'd set a 3 p.m. turnaround time as we needed to put in a whole new rap line, and i exceeded that by a wee-bit - was eager to end ascending after hitting supper steepness combined w/ loose n' hollow rock

 

bill led the raps down, putting in surprisingly only 2 stations - the 2nd one being damn near exactly 60 meters, ending after a huge stretch of overhang ontop of a terrifying shattered tower

 

saturday night a staid one by last week's standards - salami n' jalapeno bread - whiskey once again n' big batches of burgundy n' black n' green tobacco - moby dick goddammit - cave man tv, but bill checked out before it got really interesting - early to bed

 

sunday broke gloomy, mist-fuck all-about, brain aching n' bitchy - we humped it back up the hill n' broke out into the big open of the talus field even as the wisps of cloud cleared the tower - it was to be 3 serious long strenuous jugs, ones i'd like just as well to forget - bryan clocked'em for what they were n' whittled away the hours instead getting whiskey-drunk down in the boulders, dodging the fragments i flung off the cliff n' building up a bonfire

 

took a long time to regain the high-pt but after all that work it was insane to think of turning around, so bill being disinterested once again i took on the leading end - the bit of bad rock reached around the angle then returned to berserker attitude - the line i wanted turned out to terrifying to contemplate - a 50 square feet panel all hollow and horrid, rooflets w/ cluster-munitions abounding - the solution was a dead-horizontal traverse to a sweet ledge, but stil a few feet below the summit of the lower-wall

 

bill to the top, a god-send for his shivering ass no doubt - it was the lord's day so we hadn't that much time to fuck-around, so he did a little recon, put in a bolt, then returned - we sorted out the shit best left behind n' bolted for the ground

 

back down i discovered some of the sad fragments of geoff's torque wrench which had precipitated itself down from 600 feet up after it foolishly believed it could fly - we sat round the fire for a bit n' bashed back down the hill, rounded up the camp shit, paid pete his blood-shekels n' then blasted back home through the growing gravid sky

 

10/24 - round 7

 

geoff n' i gallump on up the grand highway in the fading light of friday, galled by the recent demands of this gawdamn world - a big bonfire on the side of the forest road - it was to be a 1-day trip, so there was no sense in standing on ceremony - just a simple howl-at-the-moon affair which happened soon enough upon arrival and ambled on amiably until a hint after mid-night

 

dawn on saturday - destiny called so i shuffled off to have a shit and returned to the sight of my lawyer wretching into the bushes - The Great Spit - like a true hound-dog though he shook it off n' went back to binging on bad-berries

 

a quick walk up the hill, though the leaf-fucked forest floor makes it more sporting in places now - a deep gray diffracting through the grim sky as i gazed up to see how the fixed lines had fared over the past month - they seemed fine enough and so we set to it

 

a touch of rain followed to re-inforce the fuck-you nature of the big-wall, but that gave an excuse to sip beer n' listen to car-talk, a most unlikely touch of normality that couldn't help but conquer all fears - then it was the endless jugging n' hauling up extra rope n' whatnot

 

to the highpoint near noon, geoff grown gaunt n' red-faced but i was in rare-spirits, risen so far above bullshit i can't help but care about when it chokes me at every breathe

 

the plan was to move it on up to the big ledge, which in time i did make, ducking and dodging and working to find sections of rock good enough to take a bolt - a lot of case-cheese in this section - the rock under the hammer sounds like a hobo through a half-bottle

 

the great ledge was rather a little disappointing - cool environment for sure - the summit so close now you could talk w/ a person there should they appear and have no instinct of self-preservation to lean out over the edge - perhaps only 2 more full rope-lengths to go? the whole area like a vast tilted hanging ampitheatre, my voice and hammer strokes singing back at me from close in - no good place to set up a camp or even really sit though, despite its grand dimensions - maybe up higher?

 

so many possible directions to go from here - to re-establish a plum line rap-station to the top of p5 will require a separate mission to set up and will be off-course to the upper-wall - will likely want to establish a fixed line to it i suspect - left 14 bolts, a pair of chain anchors and my hammer to encourage my return

 

had originally hoped to pull all the fixed lines and clean the scene up for the winter but the long and fast-fading light cleared that thought away swiftly - i figure the face gets no sunlight and my static lines are damned relics already, so why let them quietly die on my garage floor? besides, there's always the off-chance of a november visit before the road closes, though with short days and the long jug, it's hard to get more than a couple hrs of exploration in before prudence demands descent

 

home w/ time for wine n' women n' fine discourse - i sink swiftly into the Big Blackness, waking near dawn to delicious soreness in every muscle associated w/ jugging or top-step tensioning

 

nearer...nearer...dice.

 

5/13/16 - round 8

 

spring - the earth reborn - time to return to see how them fixed ropes fared after months of tempests tortured them

 

big bill once again the big guy in charge - he fetched me from my humble abode on a thursday afternoon and we headed north

 

our plan was to try to drop in from the top and return to the highpoint

 

old men rise w/ the birdies and gawddamn it, though i was playing hooky from work, somehow i'm awake an hour earlier than normal? jesus, is this what lies in store for us all? :)

 

exciting times ensued as we sought to figure out how to finagle together passable roads to get close enough to hump a horrid bit of bullshit to the promised land- impromptu road-construction, tree clearing and many dead ends ensued and hours went by before we got it all sorted out, only to find the road near burley mountain, still miles away, choked w/ impassable snow

 

giving up on doing anything terribly productive, we settled for hiking the road to see if we could at least drive it after it melted out and locate the suspected trailhead - a couple hours of downhill slogging n' forest surfing returned us to the tower top, which looked every bit as uninviting for trying to rap down as it did the first time :noway:

 

not terribly excited at the prospect of trying to go over the edge, i settled for sucking down a couple beers and contemplating just hucking meself off the top like the forking free-basers - that done w/, we slowly crawled back up the long hill to the automovat, n' reversed our wending way back down to the cispus's quiet side, where we stared at the face w/ some high-powered optics

 

the sight of the ropes still in passable shape and the blue bolt-bearing bag glowing like a goddamn beacon high up the wall brought back the fight in me, and though the weather forecast didn't support a bottom-up attempt on the morrow, fukit, why not at least go up and climb as much of the route as we could and inspect the fixed lines from top-down?

 

grey and storm-threatening on saturday - we found the approach road blocked by a giant tree just a hundred yards or so from the start of the trail and slowly stumble-fucked our way up the hill, the path as short and savage and uncertain as ever

 

i'd never gotten to do p1 before and enjoyed it - bill did p2 and, despite regretting your friend and humble retard's spacing of the bolts, made it go quickly enough - he even threw in a completly cock-eyed and unnecessary dangerous run out at the top :)

 

sadly, his ever-suffering shoulder bearings blew out along the way, and big bill begged off continuing up - i figured i hadn't really brought enough beer anyway and the weather was clearly going to get ugly soon - we slid on back down, bill following on a hare-brained shoe-string of a tag-line

 

did some lounging on the party boulder, pondering on where the upper route should wander to - hiked up to look at the fixed lines up close - thought them in surprisingly good shape, but i'm still a bit skert at the prospect of tangling with them soon :)

 

gonna take a mort more work to make it go, and maybe the goddamn summit just won't be in the cards...

 

8/22-24 - trip #9

 

mid-summer doldrums done set in - big trips south n' east n' even north all spent n' its me on the couch doubting my own existence at 2 in the fucking morning

 

but the tower project is something to keep the head out of the oven for, so on a thursday evening bill fetched me in his big blue new ride i'm calling lucille until he latches upon a better moniker for the the motherfucker

 

we rattled off the miles north and reached the forest road after dark - reckoning on decent weather friday we bedded down under the open sky only to be rudely awoken after midnight by the beginnings of a mighty rain that kept on coming the whole day to come - fortunately lucille is commodious enough and we went on to spend most of the next 24 hrs in there alternatively napping n' reading n' listening to howard stern on the satellite

 

saturday dawned gray, nonetheless we did the super-shuffle-stumble down the trail - this was the first time we could drive to the burley mtn trailhead and it proved easy enough in a high-clearance ride - better yet, we found a doable shortcut, which gets you from the hardtop to the trailhead in a little over 5 miles, providing you don't get yerself kilt by driving off the absurdly steep hillside or kamikaze it into the crater-sized ravines running through the middle of the track

 

its so damned murderous to try to jug n' haul up 600 feet of overhanging fixed lines that we figured from here on out we should just drop in from the top and finish the fucker off that way - my first great fear was we wouldn't find anything anchor worth on the summit to get started, but after a number of hijinx that got sorted out and a day later we'd put in the final pitch (which i hope will be #13 as all rehab programs need one) :)

 

amazing views on the wall near the summit - holy shit, this thing is gonna go! 1000 feet of accessible, insane big walling n' all you need is a buncha draws and a couple hooks :rawk:

 

8/18-20 - trip the tenth - a little more than a year into this lithographic yawp, geoff n' i trundled north with a wagonful of liquor that woulda made winston churchill smile - Big Heat coming on the bottom lands, so to the hills made a sorta sense, even if it was just to hump loads of shit all over the place n' sweat like homos in hot-dog eating contests

 

a fine trip really - wrote a great big old piece on it actually with lovely alliteration and meaningful metaphors but then the cc.com overlords took it all away in a mouse fart n' nearly put me off my meds - sigh...writing, especially senseless writing about one's self, really is a practical lesson in buddhism, no? had to decide to retrench w/ something only a little short of a haiku...

 

the long n' short of it was we spent a day recovering most of the fixed lines that had been swinging in the breeze for the past 4 seasons, then humped it up the short, punished road and spent 2 days putting in more pitches - had a grand time guzzling beers n' waxing philosophic n' sucking straight out of the rapidly dwindling keg of crazy life

 

reckon only 3 more work days n' we'll be ready to check out of rehab :)

 

the only way out of rehab

 

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fine views through them thare padded walls

 

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putting the finishing touches on the pitch - boulder fields only a 1000 feet down there :)

 

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holy shit, why didn't bill and i realize we could spent that long rainy day in his car in here instead?!?

 

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songs from the trip i'll have a hard time getting out of my head for a while:

 

"it's been rough and rocky traveling but i'm finally standing upright with my feet on the ground - after taking several readings i'm surprised to find my mind is fairly sound" [video:youtube]

 

"twisted angel, cast out of some strange heaven, sent down here to pull me out of my shell - you show up on my doorstep, honey dripping from your mouth, like some slack jaw Jezebel" [video:youtube]

 

"bright lights, put me in a trance, but it ain't house music that makes me want to dance"

[video:youtube]

 

 

9/3-4 - hop #11 -thought this might be the trip we finally got the fucker done, but it turns out one more ride on the merry-go-death-round is in order

 

headed up on a rainy, dismal friday night - smooth sailing and an easy passage well lubricated with burgundy n' the baleful observations of a hopped-up howard stern

 

once again amazed to arrive at the lookout on a friday night, this one a memorial day weekend to boot, without a soul in the joint - nobody there saturday night neither - holy shit it's the goddess decadence dressed up as a demesne - as the frigid wind wailed outside and the cloud murk crept by it was sure that summer was spent and fall was fey upon us all, but inside the firebox glowed a gaudy orange and the good humor of easy life laid upon the walls

 

had a bit of a lazy saturday morning as it was maybe 40 degrees and bitter breezy outside with visibility measured in meters - lounged n' coffeed n' read some shelby foote

 

eventually we resigned ourselves to a rare auold rough up and rambled down the road and stumbled down the steep hillside - threw ourselves over the cliff-edge and then put in a new pitch on super-steep and sometimes friable rock with wild exposure

 

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our duty done for the day, retraced our steps and had another capital evening in the cabin as once again the weather closed in

 

sunday dawned a bit better than the day before so we got an earlier start - put in another pitch and finally got to a spot where we could clearly see all that's left to do - one more steep pitch of 60 meters, than a ledgy pitch of 25 meters or so and the fucking thing is finite :)

 

excellent diversion on a dark and dismal night

 

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and of course no descent down that doomed road is complete without belting out at least one willie-tune :)

 

[video:youtube]

 

9/10-11 - trip 12 - jesus, will it never end?

 

sigh...thought one last trip would do it...guess not - now that i'm back in the working world a weekend just ain't as long as it used to be

 

first week back to school - only got summoned to the principal's office once - apparently "don't be an asshole" is not considered professional no'mo :(

 

bill scooped me up friday afternoon ahead of schedule and we zoomed north, shooting the breeze n' feeling the heady breeze of a halycon life - bedded down by a creek and had an hour to read n' drink n' contemplate the coming of the end

 

saturday up n' earlish - breakfasted on cold cheeseburgers n' bare faced bald lies - bumbled up the broken road, just 4 miles to the new-found good trail

 

shuffled on sideways and down and soon we were there, much mo'betta than the other way - our cached rope n' drill n' whatnot no worse for our wearisomre toils in the cocked-up here between

 

did so very much want to get it all done this day, but it wasn't to be - after descending about 150 meters off the summit, with a 60 meter stretch left to fill in, i tussled with the terrorific orange band - it runs across most of the face of tower and is biggest on the left side, by the awful weeping porthole that awes one so by the quiet cispus' side

 

in the orange band the rock is wicked fresh - some of the rock crumbles under the touch - most everything is a block detached from the wall and headed downhill - spent a long time trying to pick a way through, but only got halfway done before it was time to start heading back up

 

bill put in a half pitch above the low-point - enjoyed a beer and trundling everything in sight - the battery then died and we bounded up, reclimbing one pitch rather than do the mother-of-all hatefuck overhanging jug

 

lovely night, waiting for the rain - fuck'n hummus n' pbr n' shelby foote - bedded down ready for the great deluge that then did not appear

 

sunday dawned drizzly n' half-heartedly we set to finish it up, knowing there was no way - the summit saddled in clouds, we dropped down just the same, set to finish up bill's half-completed pitch at least

 

that's what came of it, through the rain and what-have-you - just a hair over a pitch left to fill in...

 

fun drive back - crowds by the bone-yard and the road-side shrines - christ, we'll be dead by tuesday...

 

9/24-25 - the crucial 13th step of rehab - me sick as a dog - the cabin on a stormy, swirly friday night - sweet cedar smoke in the fireplace - an early amble-off saturday soon after the crepuscular sky broke clear over rainier - no weight on the way down, but shockingly differnt on the way back up - all day drilling n' pounding n' perspiring, wrapped up in light down n' doubting the doom bound for us all

 

rapunzel's panties are finally off, boys, and she's feeling mighty friendly - hopefully it won't be until the vernal times that we get back and between her thighs :)

 

whipped and wasted, big bill n' i slave-hauled 5 ropes, excess bolts, drill, hammer, old beer cans, etc. back up the hill moments after the sun sidled over the western horizon - in darkness we stumbled, but soon found the light, even as the onery owls went hoot-hoot n' we saw the fucking silliness of dreams fulfilled...

 

back to the lookout at 9 - a roaring fire roasting, i sat and shivered like a cancer-ridden old man, feverish and frigid - the beer and wine and wacky-tobaccy unable to touch the dying thing inside me - ben rambled in moments later and the embers glowed greater - giddiness and gawd-damn-it stories, then much later geoff's headlamps grew through the gloaming and we had ourselves a 4-alarm hootenanny :rawk:

 

bill tried to sleep through it all but cramps n' let-cry-havoc from the hillbillies-in-charge saw to that - well after midnight came quick, and finally we fell off, the cabin up to a neat 70 degrees by then, though the wind blew and the earth went-on wobbling its woozy way round its old drunken enemy...

 

sunday a solid one - a sound sleep in - wicked hot by 9 as the soaring sun roasted us out of our fart sacks and sent us shuffling all over the summit with no sensible agenda :)

 

eventually came back down to the valley and finally flagged a fine trail up to the base, despite some bastards in the pack sending their backwards glances from time to time n' casting dispersions against yer's truly - then sat on the couch-boulder w/ bill to behold the boys bumble-fuck their way up the first 2 pitches - did some reading, combed the talus for recent debris, set fire to some turpentine-soaked wood, n' generally had a boozy, woozy rest day of it all

 

funny how these things work out...the 14th trip will be the 14th step of rehab, and that will be much as the first one i reckon :)

 

pix:

some others from ben n' geoff

 

sunrise sunday in the sumptious shack - old man, old mountain :)

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your morning dose of lovely inspiration - ain't much lame-ass aiding to be had over yonder

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happy homos

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"add-a-bolt" ben on pitch 2 - yup, he suggested it :)

towerrawk2.jpg

 

10/22 - the 14th step of rehab...

 

sigh...it's gonna take a biiiiit longer...

 

nuttin but rain n' wind n' miserable fall for weeks it seems - the tiniest of windows seemed to open this weekend so we 3 high-falutin-founders made a go of it, driving north in the growing dark

 

pouring snow a bit shy of the cabin, some of us at least were white-knuckled indeed on the final turn up on the blasted alpine top, the Big Ride straight down the mountain side if we slipped off

 

lovely night - a roaring fire of course - beers - music - the full fury of winter-come-too-soon raging against the glass and livelying up the occasional piss

 

6 a.m. came too soon, despite the fact that we slept through the alarm and didn't rally until 7 :)

 

the storm had dispersed in the night, and it was an austere scene we rolled out into, the 3 volcanoes burning bright white, the air frozen n' damp

 

the plan was to force the way - come in from the top, burn the ships, cortez-style, and commit to a complete ascent - didn't quite work out that way...

 

we did indeed manage to make the steep descent, only the 2nd time for me and i remembered it right - less than an hour of 50 degree elk trails n' moss-surfing to the base, me armed w/ a snapped-off sunflower stalk

 

the subsequent ascent didn't work out quite so well - somehow not starting up the rock until 1030 - bill bounded up p1 in only 25 minutes, but then bailed half-way up p2 - i took over and finished it, then short-fixed up p3, which just seemed to drag and drag - the cliff dripped n' dripped and i became increasingly an Unbelieber in the Cause as my hands chapped and one of my adjustable daisies buckle blew out - by the top of 3 it seemed unlikely we'd make the top shy of 3 a.m., but we pressed on over to the top 4 anyhow, but then bailed back down soon thereafter as The Suck became too totally apparent to ignore

 

bill clawed us way back up the miserable hillside to fetch the automovat as we pressed upwards, and, after bailing, we remade his acquaintance down below on the forest road, having hauled all his stuff down between us, me high as georgia-pine n' hollering every willie nelson tune i could recall

 

another pleasant evening, my hip fully malfunctioning and hardly capable of hobbling to the crapper, bill as crampy and age-encrusted as ever, and even young geoff making mousy noises on occasion

 

a bigger breeze by far that night, the rafters shaking n' threatening to go soaring - some bastards stole half geoff's beers from the lodge, but they left everything else so i guess we can't complain too much

 

so....in the end, i reckon the plan for a first ascent's gonna require a longer spring/summer day and/or a day of pre-fixing to the top of 3 perhaps...a reason to hie through the horrid hibernal season though, no? :)

 

bucolic sunrise, day 1

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bill on p2

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me on p3 - fuck this thing is too long...

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moody morning #2

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snow all melt after a super breezy evening

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'twas a bit of a tough week, but the tower's bigger than trump? :)

 

who knew our team's crack lawya was a skilled t-shirt designer as well? this present was truly timely :)

 

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memorial day weekend 2017 - trip 15 - what better way to honor the deeds of the war dead than to meet a similar demise in the pursuit of demented distraction?

 

2 full fucking years we've been brewing on this damn thing now, and goddamn-it-all if it ain't gonna take 2 more at this rate

 

the steel highway's all connected now, bolts glimmering in the vernal sun, all that's needing is at least one complete pair of testicles and 3 days to see it all done - we managed to get half that forumula right this time, but the other firfuksakes continues to ellude us...sigh... :)

 

bill n' geoff at my door on a friday afternoon, us all fulla vim n' vigor, the lovely sun pounding down n' a perfect forecast - it's become a real old ritual now, one i quite enjoy - lucille all loaded up w/ liquor n' war gear n' headed north down the proud highway, the talk all of politics and preternatural predilections - not one of us worried about the woe waiting for us just a few miles off in the wings of those shaded woods

 

the forest road a bit more claustrophobic than memory served, but trimmers n' time-to-kill sorted that all out soon

 

skeeters n' evening wedder too sultry to light a fire, we sit n' guffaw n' what-not until the needs of tomorrow carry us off to the sandman's necessity

 

saturday morning a bit of a problem - ole'kyle was in theory to join us to make light-work of this heavy task before us, but the probability of him arriving early were long - it wouldn't have mattered but geoff had left his shoes behind in portland, meaning he had just a pair of loafers for the big ascent, leaving us rather dependent on kyle's arrival

 

after some beers n' bullshitting n' a bitchy shit, bill n' i grew despondent and wandered up the hill alone to fix the first 2 pitches and see what happened next

 

turned out to be nothing - we did our duty in swift time, then rapped back down, me pausing in the talus to quaff my beers n' comment on the awful import of the numerous large-caliber rockfalls that had transpired since last we'd passed this way

 

back down at the car it was after noon now and still no kyle, so we rambled back to randle in search of signal and serious answers

 

after a bit of bad noise, it was clear that kyle was a lost cause, presenting us w/ the necessity of acquiring real civilization if we were to get geoff properly foot-clad for sunday's big effort

 

i sang n' drank, all laid out on the back deck, as the miles rolled by and eventually closed my eyes and knew Such Lovely Things - woke up in a payless parking lot along the interstate with a smile, made brighter by a pair of cheeseburgers n' not diminished a bit when i attempted to give navigational instructions only to learn i was nowhere near where i thought i was :)

 

back in the woods we had another night like the first - informal comedy n' the careless way that comes w/ abiding in an arboreal cloister - the view of tower was tremendous and hopes soared, the summit holding the sun until 9 pm, and light enough to read by until damn near 10 - sure, there were 12 pitches left to do, but it'll go, right?

 

rising near 5 a.m. wasn't too hard, the world as light as need be - we were off soon after w/ high, high hopes, the plan being ole'busted'shoulder'bill to accompany us n' enjoy the views at the base, then later to meet us on top of tower w/ words of encouragement and fresh beers

 

the first 2 jugs went quick n' geoff rolled out on p3 - that pitch ended up depressing me last fall, and it had much the same effect on him now - it's loooong and steep and the occasional hooking helps prevent a steady rhythm from being established

 

2 hrs later, still early, i was off on p4, and it went very quickly indeed - while geoff cursed n' grumbled to follow it, i started short-fixing up p5, but was eventually stalled by a cluster-fuck in the lead line, forcing me to pause in an awkward place n' scorch in the near-summer sun, waiting for our boy to arrive

 

i finished 5, losing steam as i went, half sun-stroked n' pissed that one of my adjustable daisies was no longer functioning - still, i felt good, despite realizing i was lower on water than was right and i'd left all my food in the haulbag at the base - i thought we had it all the same

 

geoff hoved into view below and his face told me all i need to know long before my least-favorite-words-in-the-world were spoke

 

"i don't know dude"

 

ah well, there's always next summer :)

 

on the positive side of things, the retreat from there is well proven to be easy enough now, especially when using 2 70 meter ropes - the fixed line on p6-7 still looks good, despite 2 years of exposure and above 5, it's all bolts and no hooks, w/ several lower angle pitches, so it'll go fast

 

maybe the 16th time will be the charm? :rawk:

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I heard that this route saw it's first complete ascent top to bottom last Saturday: or the reverse I suppose as the wingsuiters have had the top to bottom trip covered for some time now. Looking forward to the trip report. In the Royal Robbins scale of adventure, I'd give it a 1-1/2 stars (out of 10). However, on the Shackleton scale of "endurance in the face of mindless no reason hairball adventuring" it should rate an 8 if you can embellish the story here or there. ("wink wink nudge nudge say no more")

 

BTW, which one of you bastards clicked the link upthread and reported us to Wage and hour division for being underpaid? I'll need to be sending these 150 forms they want us to fill out over to my attorney, the august Geoff S., for evaluation. As he was on the route FA, hopefully Ivan gets a discount on the bill said attorney will surely be sending him. As I paid for the bolts, surely he will gladly pay the legal fees. Besides, he did the most work. At least we didn't get tagged for the horrifically many unpaid road maintenance and campground improvement hours....still, bad form my brobhams, bad form.

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Trip: Tower Rock - FA - Rapunzel's Back in Rehab - C1

 

Date: 7/15/2015

 

Trip Report: The Beast - don't be fooled, them thare are full-grown trees :)DSC02611.JPG Tower Rock, 2 hours from everywhere, appears oddly neglected - Brown Beckey's got the tiniest blurb of the single route up it done in 1982 (anyone know of a second ascent? i can't find anyone who's tried it) but no picture n' no topo - tim olson's oregon rock guide has some more detail than beckey, but still the vast monolith appears to have continued unloved

 

tower's just south of randle, an unladen swallow's flight from the cispus river - the face is gigantic,something like 1200 feet tall - the rock is basaltic, according to beckey, but like nothing i've seen - like over-baked brownies, it's composed of a hodge-podge of components - incredibly solid and compact, it's cross-hatched in all directions, crackless, and crumbles into bricks and blocks of all conceivable sizes - the tower looms over it's talus field, fiercely steep, it's upper-wall reminiscent of the right side of el cap, incredibly bulging and over-hanging

 

tower is composed of two giant faces seperated by a ledge/fault system that was the path taken by the first team to climb the face - currently, after 7 days of effort, our route climbs the lower wall - it'll be just as much work to finish the upper wall, if the rock quality holds

 

as it currently exists DSC02616.JPG yeah, there's a lot more to go, but as it stands, what's there is 600 feet tall and a great day-tripper's aid adventure already - i figure the worst that can come of telling folks about this now before it's complete is that some other sad fools can go do it for me :)DSC02612.JPG

 

trip the first: fuck, this happened so long off i wonder if my recollection's right at all - me n' bill n' ben in the late winter - a burr up their bespectacled asses about a mythical 10-pitch free route up a largely untouched tower - the plan to hike to the top then set a rap-line down the likely route - out of town on a friday night to the frightful fall of rain - ghetto camp before the gate in gales of damnable damp - the roar of frogs - the next morning the most sordid thang - endless hours uphill w/ drill n' bolts n' chains in the continuous cloud-fuck n' frenzied chilly breeze - near the summit gob-smacked to gain a blazed trail barely a mile from a seasonal road - the top a huge disappointment, it characterized by clouds and beaming rainbows and rock so rude they rarely accoladed the attribution - soon there after the weekend righteously concluded and me around for the sweet family on the sabbath

 

trip the second: on the reconnaissance earlier, dejected at finding a kitty-litter summit, we'd paused after a tortuous overladen descent on the boulder field and pondered on future options - a man w/ an aid-climber's conscious could do a take on "infinite bliss" and find a bitching way up the crazy big blank face - it was sure to take a mort of mortal work, but bill n' geoff are true gentlemen all measured and solid for this kinda goofy shit - we banged up from p-town on a friday night and made camp up at the turn around on the forest road - stumble-fucking up the forest we arrived amazed and ready to ramble on - many mozzies n' deer flies this damned trip - pitch 1 went quickly between geoff and bill, the later bounding up free on low-angle stacked mossy talus to make an anchor atop tier 1 - me i got tier 2 - all bolts at first until i no longer feared the ledge, then lotza 2-hook moves in a row until reaching the top of the tier where i left a fixed hook to protect a low-angle romp to the second anchor - we retired to camp n' soggy fires n' fulsome screeching music - day 2 we jugged to the top of p2 and bill and geoff got up a ways before yielding to me, whereupon i drilled n' hooked to a high point we marked w/ red tat before descending and returning to our troubled and lonely little lives - i recollect getting a true n' glorious drunk on in the passenger seat n' slumbering back to vantucky :)

 

geoff putting up the first pitch on the scrubby, compact low-angle first tier P6060034.JPG

 

the artist as a young asshole ascending the second steeper tier P6060040.JPG

 

geoff workign on pitch 3, the first steps onto the very steep lower wall P6060042.JPG

 

trip the third: lovely ospreys n' robins round the lake - pete n' pam play camp hosts - camp weddings n' nightly fishing sheenaningans - muskrats n' pond-skimming swallows - bastard mozzies n' mean biting flies, mostly in obeisance for the first couple cold days, but growing in malevolence as the weather waxed towards wicked hot - the sweet ne face of Tower almost totally shade-soaked for the mid-morning riser - kids n' retirees n' rv's n' jumping trout n' tame dogs - the listless routines of an aimless life - awake w/ the sun - fresh shits n' dewy breakfasts - a short but grim uphill grind through steep forest w/ plentiful windfall, shirt soaked through by the time we hit the sunny talus field at the base but soon blessed w/ shade - warm juggy work to start and then to the serious business - fear frenzies despite being armed w/ all the wonderful war machines of modern man - a long time of terror n' toil - the day dispatched, we make a rapid descent, each time by a different winding way - beer n' stripping soaked clothes off at the mercifully close car - me auolde yosemite food bin rummaged through for a desperate dinner, usually of beer n' tobacco n' pringles n' whatever benevolent bill threw my way - an hour or so of bird-watching n' binge-reading on maggie thatcher's frigid teeming fucking bush - to sleep at the post-gloaming in a grand 6-man tent alone, racked out on a queen sized inflatable air mattress, wrapped in down and dozy drunkenness - the night passed moaning to sore muscles as i twist n' turn until the dawn drags me to my addled senses, then it all runs off the reel much as it reckoned the day before...

 

first several days of murmurings n' mumblings w/ just me n' bill (me a damn baby in comparison to my venerable and august elder - that baby weighing in at a mean 250 bare-nekkid pounds and a coward to boot of course) - bill a bastion of genteel sincerity that must sadly have bitch-left this world many generations ago - me strangely silent of song for days - my mind scrambled and saddened by the robust requirements of 6-weeks of family-left sorrows gone off in the valley - eventually songs to lift my times and shape my senses - "mining for gold" by the cowboy junkies running on an eternal loop in my mind - long after-shocks of "burn down the mission" caused by geoff for sure

 

after 3 days of toil we grow weary and call in the cavalry - the silverman boys gonna come down n' save us from our misery - we make a rest day out of walking the mountain side w/ them, then retiring to the big boulder to pound pbr's n' provide Adult Supervision - they lounge around camp afterwards, contemplating on crashing the redneck wedding well under-way - we smoke bales of weed n' cackle n' cough n' find high times are treasure enough in this wicked world - eventually all good things must get on the bus w/ gandhi though and they roll off into the night in the hms revenge, ready i hope to return for more

 

the last day done-off as surely as a band-aid - after a fearful arduous jug up the wild steep fixed lines ole bill baits the question ("good news or bad?" - which would you take?) - - dedication to a last day of determined work - 5 hours of bolting and hooking on endless steep traversing ground until i was gut-wrenched at what it was likely to take me to get get back to bill - epic amounts of gear left as i rapped into the void and quickly grew dependent on bill to reel me back in - the retreat then fully declared we rapped n' ruminated n' laid our plans like parchment paper, all of it ultimately putting us on sweet terra-firma w/ a fuck-load of gear to get off - surprised by bill's pronouncement of this day, i had no proper pack to cram all the crap into

 

eventually we ambled on down the way, me overloaded like a gypsy carnival-whore w/ rope-bags aplenty such that i swooned on multiple occasions as the straps cut into me wind-pipe and i passed yards off unyielding to gratuitous thoughts, my mind in a true and lovely gray place - the last night spent in part w/ militant california-paul, such as exemplar of that shakespearean clap-trap about sounding of fuck-all and negative fury, yet yielding nothing :)

 

our objective from the relative sanity of the rv park n' its teeming trout pond DSC02631.JPG white-boys jugging the first 2 tiers - at this angle the lower wall takes up most of the entire frame, but the upper wall's just as big n' steeper P6070047.JPG 700 feet of ropes n' route-making machine Tower7.jpg just starting the second pitch Tower5.jpg bags of bolts n' drills n' bullshit - starting to install pitch 4 Tower6.jpg geoff at the top of p4, kyle jugging up to the mid-pt anchor DSC02617.JPG

 

closing thoughts: happy to share the discovery w/ the nw brethren - leave yer self-righteous bolting morals at home w/ yer bitches - the place went unloved for a reason :) - the only cracks evident are where awful rock-fall is just a geologic fart-in-a-stiff-wind away - if intending to push the route higher (what's there is plenty for a day-tripper), please let me or bill or geoff know so one of us can come along - perhaps a dozen separate lines could be pushed to the top in the same style, each likely to take weeks n' 1000$ to put in place :) - recon trip to the top found almost no real rock up there - at some point all lines must turn to awful kitty litter, but maybe it'll go anyhow?

 

topo as it currently stands - hope to see this fucker get taller in the fullness of insensible time :)

 

topo8.jpg

 

Gear Notes: - up to 30+ draws if clipping all bolts - 2 bathooks (talons can work, but they risk blowing out the drilled holes) - ideally 2 70 meter ropes, but 2 60'S can work if careful - cheater stick not bad idea, as many of the bolts were installed by a fear-fucked orangutan at his max reach - lower off tat or quick-links/biners for follower at traversing parts - helmets essential - much potential for rockfall of all sizes, especially if hauling or jugging - base area very dangerous in strong winds or if below climbers on first 2 approach pitches - upper pitches largely protected from natural rockfall (be careful up there :) )

 

Approach Notes: Exit 68 off i5 - east on 12 to randle (about an hour) - right (south) turn at randle (follow signs for tower rock RV park) - quick left about a mile south of randle, then another turn right about 6 miles later - rt turn at tower rock RV park/cispus learning center signs - left onto logging road (75?76?) just a 100 yards before rt turn to tower rock forest service camp (or straight for another mile to the RV park) - forest road is closed at gate near main road during winter/early spring - about 1 1/2 mile up road (stay on main road at split a 1/2 mile up) there's a turn around (about .25 mile past a steep switchback) - from there you can continue in car but there's no turnaround - walk or drive 1/4 mile to road-end - at wierd stone-forest-altar begin hiking up steep forrested slope - about 45 minutes to base - occasional game and human trails, generally trending right and up - copious windfall in middle section of trail - steeper for last 1/3 of trail - idea is to skirt talus field on right and join base from tree at right edge of wall - 1st bolt is just 5 feet off ground near clump of trees about 50 feet above a huge lounge-like boulder that is a great/safe observation spot

 

descent: currently rapping from top of p5 to top of p4 is extra-ordinarly hard - in the future ideally there'll be a rap line straight down through p5 - for now be prepared to leave a fixed line to get back to the top of p4 and for the first rapper to have to haul the second back over - descending from the top of p4 requires 2 70 meter ropes or a stop at the mid-pt anchor (no rings) - the rap overhangs but you just barely touch the wall at the mid-pt anchor - use terrain to help you rap in the right direction

 

9/5-6 - trip the fourth w/ geoff n' bryan - 3 days of school, the easy ones, dispatched and snap, whizz, bang it was friday afternoon and we were flying down the highway, heading north, clutching cans n' cackling at this wicked world we are so at home in - ominous omens, devil-eyed little girls glaring out of death-cold cars at us - road signs: "the time of the lord is here" - jesus, we'd best tread lightly

 

the tower rock rv park at dusk, the ride dispatched in minutes it seemed, fueled by high-octane what-have-you n' plebian pbr's - the park much as i left it, riddled w/ well-heeled red-necks n' pam n' pete n' a feller i'm pretty sure ain't named larry but will ever here-after be for me :)

 

got good n' whiskey-drunk w/ hood-river spirits sitting round the fire n' sorted n' packed n' planned for the day to come and soon enough it was upon us - up at 630 to grits n' coffee n' black tobacco

 

holy shit, plenty of weight to pull us down on the slow amble up-hill but within the hour we'd handled it and got to the glory - bryan, his first visit to the wall, had spoken in pure-drunken-honestness of the ease w/ which he'd dispatch it all, so for his sins we gave it to him - he gamboled up the first 2 pitches easy enough as geoff n' i smoked n' chuckled n' occasionally jugged

 

geoff did p3, a looooong way to go on bolts, much like leaning tower i suppose - i then did p4, so much fun now that i'm not fear-sweating it like on the first ascent, more than half-certain the huge roofs blocks would rain down on me once rattled by the roar of the drill

 

atop 4 the boys lost their motivation n' sense of adventure i reckon - it was late afternoon for sure, but i'm sure we could have completed p5 and put in our new rap line by dark, but it would have meant being late for a triumphant performance by the tower rockers band down at the rv park and of course cutting into precious drinking time, so with tears in my heart i consented to just fixing the first 4 pitches and coming back the next day

 

a surrealistic night for certain - dogs n' fishers n' baby gymnasts n' rv's of a thousand descriptions - not 1 but 2 bands, quite possibly the laziest ever, each managing to play perhaps a total of 30 minutes w/ at least 6 set-breaks thrown in to keep their buzzes on - a roaring fire n' light-flecked lake to seperate us from the heathen masses, which we nonetheless joined from time to time to see if any hotties under the age of 50 had arrived (they hadn't :( )

 

the hedonistic scene concluded with brutal finality when the heavens opened and the fuck-sky descended around eleven - a steady baptist downpour off and on from then till well after dawn

 

sunday morning a savage one, as they always are it seems - the dregs of the whiskey sitting sullenly upon my senses - the unceasing rain toasting all hopes for progress up the mist-wracked tower - in time the melancholia did end though, as all misery must, and we hoofed it back up to the wall to see if anything could be done - by then it was so late, the wall so streaming, the likelihood of yet another dousing so certain that it was w/ half a heart me n' bryan began jugging - i made it most of the way back up to the highpt, cursing n' crying on the last stretch, only to see bryan fighting the soaked ropes of the first pitch w/o much success - the signs were shit, so i surrendered to the inevitable yet again and settled for a few hours drink'n'n'smoke'n around the base, poking around to suss out future projects - bryan contrived to bring the party to a smashing conclusion by slipping and slicing a big fat bloody smile into the meat of his hand, a moment redolent w/ nostalgia for geoff n' i as we thought of nastia last year :)

 

in the end we said fuck it and resolved to return next weekend, with the pleasant reward of getting to walk back down the hill w/ fuck-all upon our backs :)

 

trip the sixth - bryan n' bill - a week after a sodden deluge we returned, 4 pitches fixed n'all the shit already up there - had a union social i was in charge of on friday afternoon so arrived at the rendezvous dangerously deranged - i soon fell into a deep n' stupendous stentorious snoring sleep but rallied somewhere along the way to get groceries - we rambled on through the growing dark and reached the rv park after a good bit of bullshitting, my soul made right and brightly glowing

 

whiskey and whoop-whooping ensued - demented dean our neighbor definitely added to the what-have-you - saturday morning arrived all too early and we roused ourselves from half-horrid hangovers and rallied on up the hill

 

jugged to the top of 4, the last 2 not so bad w/ the 1-jug, 1-gri technique - i lead the jaunt up p5, all the draws still hanging on it since july - pumped in some more bolts about the high-pt anchor as the boys made their way up - a bit of a clusterfuck really, but what big-wall is complete w/o one every 200 fucking feet or so? :)

 

dem white fellers, despite my urgent exhortations, didn't snap at the sincere offer to lead the new pitch 6, so off i set, rather tired n' sore already, truth-be-told - the good thing about being a bit gored was the bolt-spacing stays generous

 

we'd set a 3 p.m. turnaround time as we needed to put in a whole new rap line, and i exceeded that by a wee-bit - was eager to end ascending after hitting supper steepness combined w/ loose n' hollow rock

 

bill led the raps down, putting in surprisingly only 2 stations - the 2nd one being damn near exactly 60 meters, ending after a huge stretch of overhang ontop of a terrifying shattered tower

 

saturday night a staid one by last week's standards - salami n' jalapeno bread - whiskey once again n' big batches of burgundy n' black n' green tobacco - moby dick goddammit - cave man tv, but bill checked out before it got really interesting - early to bed

 

sunday broke gloomy, mist-fuck all-about, brain aching n' bitchy - we humped it back up the hill n' broke out into the big open of the talus field even as the wisps of cloud cleared the tower - it was to be 3 serious long strenuous jugs, ones i'd like just as well to forget - bryan clocked'em for what they were n' whittled away the hours instead getting whiskey-drunk down in the boulders, dodging the fragments i flung off the cliff n' building up a bonfire

 

took a long time to regain the high-pt but after all that work it was insane to think of turning around, so bill being disinterested once again i took on the leading end - the bit of bad rock reached around the angle then returned to berserker attitude - the line i wanted turned out to terrifying to contemplate - a 50 square feet panel all hollow and horrid, rooflets w/ cluster-munitions abounding - the solution was a dead-horizontal traverse to a sweet ledge, but stil a few feet below the summit of the lower-wall

 

bill to the top, a god-send for his shivering ass no doubt - it was the lord's day so we hadn't that much time to fuck-around, so he did a little recon, put in a bolt, then returned - we sorted out the shit best left behind n' bolted for the ground

 

back down i discovered some of the sad fragments of geoff's torque wrench which had precipitated itself down from 600 feet up after it foolishly believed it could fly - we sat round the fire for a bit n' bashed back down the hill, rounded up the camp shit, paid pete his blood-shekels n' then blasted back home through the growing gravid sky

 

10/24 - round 7

 

geoff n' i gallump on up the grand highway in the fading light of friday, galled by the recent demands of this gawdamn world - a big bonfire on the side of the forest road - it was to be a 1-day trip, so there was no sense in standing on ceremony - just a simple howl-at-the-moon affair which happened soon enough upon arrival and ambled on amiably until a hint after mid-night

 

dawn on saturday - destiny called so i shuffled off to have a shit and returned to the sight of my lawyer wretching into the bushes - The Great Spit - like a true hound-dog though he shook it off n' went back to binging on bad-berries

 

a quick walk up the hill, though the leaf-fucked forest floor makes it more sporting in places now - a deep gray diffracting through the grim sky as i gazed up to see how the fixed lines had fared over the past month - they seemed fine enough and so we set to it

 

a touch of rain followed to re-inforce the fuck-you nature of the big-wall, but that gave an excuse to sip beer n' listen to car-talk, a most unlikely touch of normality that couldn't help but conquer all fears - then it was the endless jugging n' hauling up extra rope n' whatnot

 

to the highpoint near noon, geoff grown gaunt n' red-faced but i was in rare-spirits, risen so far above bullshit i can't help but care about when it chokes me at every breathe

 

the plan was to move it on up to the big ledge, which in time i did make, ducking and dodging and working to find sections of rock good enough to take a bolt - a lot of case-cheese in this section - the rock under the hammer sounds like a hobo through a half-bottle

 

the great ledge was rather a little disappointing - cool environment for sure - the summit so close now you could talk w/ a person there should they appear and have no instinct of self-preservation to lean out over the edge - perhaps only 2 more full rope-lengths to go? the whole area like a vast tilted hanging ampitheatre, my voice and hammer strokes singing back at me from close in - no good place to set up a camp or even really sit though, despite its grand dimensions - maybe up higher?

 

so many possible directions to go from here - to re-establish a plum line rap-station to the top of p5 will require a separate mission to set up and will be off-course to the upper-wall - will likely want to establish a fixed line to it i suspect - left 14 bolts, a pair of chain anchors and my hammer to encourage my return

 

had originally hoped to pull all the fixed lines and clean the scene up for the winter but the long and fast-fading light cleared that thought away swiftly - i figure the face gets no sunlight and my static lines are damned relics already, so why let them quietly die on my garage floor? besides, there's always the off-chance of a november visit before the road closes, though with short days and the long jug, it's hard to get more than a couple hrs of exploration in before prudence demands descent

 

home w/ time for wine n' women n' fine discourse - i sink swiftly into the Big Blackness, waking near dawn to delicious soreness in every muscle associated w/ jugging or top-step tensioning

 

nearer...nearer...dice.

 

5/13/16 - round 8

 

spring - the earth reborn - time to return to see how them fixed ropes fared after months of tempests tortured them

 

big bill once again the big guy in charge - he fetched me from my humble abode on a thursday afternoon and we headed north

 

our plan was to try to drop in from the top and return to the highpoint

 

old men rise w/ the birdies and gawddamn it, though i was playing hooky from work, somehow i'm awake an hour earlier than normal? jesus, is this what lies in store for us all? :)

 

exciting times ensued as we sought to figure out how to finagle together passable roads to get close enough to hump a horrid bit of bullshit to the promised land- impromptu road-construction, tree clearing and many dead ends ensued and hours went by before we got it all sorted out, only to find the road near burley mountain, still miles away, choked w/ impassable snow

 

giving up on doing anything terribly productive, we settled for hiking the road to see if we could at least drive it after it melted out and locate the suspected trailhead - a couple hours of downhill slogging n' forest surfing returned us to the tower top, which looked every bit as uninviting for trying to rap down as it did the first time :noway:

 

not terribly excited at the prospect of trying to go over the edge, i settled for sucking down a couple beers and contemplating just hucking meself off the top like the forking free-basers - that done w/, we slowly crawled back up the long hill to the automovat, n' reversed our wending way back down to the cispus's quiet side, where we stared at the face w/ some high-powered optics

 

the sight of the ropes still in passable shape and the blue bolt-bearing bag glowing like a goddamn beacon high up the wall brought back the fight in me, and though the weather forecast didn't support a bottom-up attempt on the morrow, fukit, why not at least go up and climb as much of the route as we could and inspect the fixed lines from top-down?

 

grey and storm-threatening on saturday - we found the approach road blocked by a giant tree just a hundred yards or so from the start of the trail and slowly stumble-fucked our way up the hill, the path as short and savage and uncertain as ever

 

i'd never gotten to do p1 before and enjoyed it - bill did p2 and, despite regretting your friend and humble retard's spacing of the bolts, made it go quickly enough - he even threw in a completly cock-eyed and unnecessary dangerous run out at the top :)

 

sadly, his ever-suffering shoulder bearings blew out along the way, and big bill begged off continuing up - i figured i hadn't really brought enough beer anyway and the weather was clearly going to get ugly soon - we slid on back down, bill following on a hare-brained shoe-string of a tag-line

 

did some lounging on the party boulder, pondering on where the upper route should wander to - hiked up to look at the fixed lines up close - thought them in surprisingly good shape, but i'm still a bit skert at the prospect of tangling with them soon :)

 

gonna take a mort more work to make it go, and maybe the goddamn summit just won't be in the cards...

 

8/22-24 - trip #9

 

mid-summer doldrums done set in - big trips south n' east n' even north all spent n' its me on the couch doubting my own existence at 2 in the fucking morning

 

but the tower project is something to keep the head out of the oven for, so on a thursday evening bill fetched me in his big blue new ride i'm calling lucille until he latches upon a better moniker for the the motherfucker

 

we rattled off the miles north and reached the forest road after dark - reckoning on decent weather friday we bedded down under the open sky only to be rudely awoken after midnight by the beginnings of a mighty rain that kept on coming the whole day to come - fortunately lucille is commodious enough and we went on to spend most of the next 24 hrs in there alternatively napping n' reading n' listening to howard stern on the satellite

 

saturday dawned gray, nonetheless we did the super-shuffle-stumble down the trail - this was the first time we could drive to the burley mtn trailhead and it proved easy enough in a high-clearance ride - better yet, we found a doable shortcut, which gets you from the hardtop to the trailhead in a little over 5 miles, providing you don't get yerself kilt by driving off the absurdly steep hillside or kamikaze it into the crater-sized ravines running through the middle of the track

 

its so damned murderous to try to jug n' haul up 600 feet of overhanging fixed lines that we figured from here on out we should just drop in from the top and finish the fucker off that way - my first great fear was we wouldn't find anything anchor worth on the summit to get started, but after a number of hijinx that got sorted out and a day later we'd put in the final pitch (which i hope will be #13 as all rehab programs need one) :)

 

amazing views on the wall near the summit - holy shit, this thing is gonna go! 1000 feet of accessible, insane big walling n' all you need is a buncha draws and a couple hooks :rawk:

 

8/18-20 - trip the tenth - a little more than a year into this lithographic yawp, geoff n' i trundled north with a wagonful of liquor that woulda made winston churchill smile - Big Heat coming on the bottom lands, so to the hills made a sorta sense, even if it was just to hump loads of shit all over the place n' sweat like homos in hot-dog eating contests

 

a fine trip really - wrote a great big old piece on it actually with lovely alliteration and meaningful metaphors but then the cc.com overlords took it all away in a mouse fart n' nearly put me off my meds - sigh...writing, especially senseless writing about one's self, really is a practical lesson in buddhism, no? had to decide to retrench w/ something only a little short of a haiku...

 

the long n' short of it was we spent a day recovering most of the fixed lines that had been swinging in the breeze for the past 4 seasons, then humped it up the short, punished road and spent 2 days putting in more pitches - had a grand time guzzling beers n' waxing philosophic n' sucking straight out of the rapidly dwindling keg of crazy life

 

reckon only 3 more work days n' we'll be ready to check out of rehab :)

 

the only way out of rehab

 

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fine views through them thare padded walls

 

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putting the finishing touches on the pitch - boulder fields only a 1000 feet down there :)

 

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holy shit, why didn't bill and i realize we could spent that long rainy day in his car in here instead?!?

 

burley-mountain-sunrise.jpg

 

songs from the trip i'll have a hard time getting out of my head for a while:

 

"it's been rough and rocky traveling but i'm finally standing upright with my feet on the ground - after taking several readings i'm surprised to find my mind is fairly sound" [video:youtube]

 

"twisted angel, cast out of some strange heaven, sent down here to pull me out of my shell - you show up on my doorstep, honey dripping from your mouth, like some slack jaw Jezebel" [video:youtube]

 

"bright lights, put me in a trance, but it ain't house music that makes me want to dance"

[video:youtube]

 

 

9/3-4 - hop #11 -thought this might be the trip we finally got the fucker done, but it turns out one more ride on the merry-go-death-round is in order

 

headed up on a rainy, dismal friday night - smooth sailing and an easy passage well lubricated with burgundy n' the baleful observations of a hopped-up howard stern

 

once again amazed to arrive at the lookout on a friday night, this one a memorial day weekend to boot, without a soul in the joint - nobody there saturday night neither - holy shit it's the goddess decadence dressed up as a demesne - as the frigid wind wailed outside and the cloud murk crept by it was sure that summer was spent and fall was fey upon us all, but inside the firebox glowed a gaudy orange and the good humor of easy life laid upon the walls

 

had a bit of a lazy saturday morning as it was maybe 40 degrees and bitter breezy outside with visibility measured in meters - lounged n' coffeed n' read some shelby foote

 

eventually we resigned ourselves to a rare auold rough up and rambled down the road and stumbled down the steep hillside - threw ourselves over the cliff-edge and then put in a new pitch on super-steep and sometimes friable rock with wild exposure

 

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our duty done for the day, retraced our steps and had another capital evening in the cabin as once again the weather closed in

 

sunday dawned a bit better than the day before so we got an earlier start - put in another pitch and finally got to a spot where we could clearly see all that's left to do - one more steep pitch of 60 meters, than a ledgy pitch of 25 meters or so and the fucking thing is finite :)

 

excellent diversion on a dark and dismal night

 

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and of course no descent down that doomed road is complete without belting out at least one willie-tune :)

 

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9/10-11 - trip 12 - jesus, will it never end?

 

sigh...thought one last trip would do it...guess not - now that i'm back in the working world a weekend just ain't as long as it used to be

 

first week back to school - only got summoned to the principal's office once - apparently "don't be an asshole" is not considered professional no'mo :(

 

bill scooped me up friday afternoon ahead of schedule and we zoomed north, shooting the breeze n' feeling the heady breeze of a halycon life - bedded down by a creek and had an hour to read n' drink n' contemplate the coming of the end

 

saturday up n' earlish - breakfasted on cold cheeseburgers n' bare faced bald lies - bumbled up the broken road, just 4 miles to the new-found good trail

 

shuffled on sideways and down and soon we were there, much mo'betta than the other way - our cached rope n' drill n' whatnot no worse for our wearisomre toils in the cocked-up here between

 

did so very much want to get it all done this day, but it wasn't to be - after descending about 150 meters off the summit, with a 60 meter stretch left to fill in, i tussled with the terrorific orange band - it runs across most of the face of tower and is biggest on the left side, by the awful weeping porthole that awes one so by the quiet cispus' side

 

in the orange band the rock is wicked fresh - some of the rock crumbles under the touch - most everything is a block detached from the wall and headed downhill - spent a long time trying to pick a way through, but only got halfway done before it was time to start heading back up

 

bill put in a half pitch above the low-point - enjoyed a beer and trundling everything in sight - the battery then died and we bounded up, reclimbing one pitch rather than do the mother-of-all hatefuck overhanging jug

 

lovely night, waiting for the rain - fuck'n hummus n' pbr n' shelby foote - bedded down ready for the great deluge that then did not appear

 

sunday dawned drizzly n' half-heartedly we set to finish it up, knowing there was no way - the summit saddled in clouds, we dropped down just the same, set to finish up bill's half-completed pitch at least

 

that's what came of it, through the rain and what-have-you - just a hair over a pitch left to fill in...

 

fun drive back - crowds by the bone-yard and the road-side shrines - christ, we'll be dead by tuesday...

 

9/24-25 - the crucial 13th step of rehab - me sick as a dog - the cabin on a stormy, swirly friday night - sweet cedar smoke in the fireplace - an early amble-off saturday soon after the crepuscular sky broke clear over rainier - no weight on the way down, but shockingly differnt on the way back up - all day drilling n' pounding n' perspiring, wrapped up in light down n' doubting the doom bound for us all

 

rapunzel's panties are finally off, boys, and she's feeling mighty friendly - hopefully it won't be until the vernal times that we get back and between her thighs :)

 

whipped and wasted, big bill n' i slave-hauled 5 ropes, excess bolts, drill, hammer, old beer cans, etc. back up the hill moments after the sun sidled over the western horizon - in darkness we stumbled, but soon found the light, even as the onery owls went hoot-hoot n' we saw the fucking silliness of dreams fulfilled...

 

back to the lookout at 9 - a roaring fire roasting, i sat and shivered like a cancer-ridden old man, feverish and frigid - the beer and wine and wacky-tobaccy unable to touch the dying thing inside me - ben rambled in moments later and the embers glowed greater - giddiness and gawd-damn-it stories, then much later geoff's headlamps grew through the gloaming and we had ourselves a 4-alarm hootenanny :rawk:

 

bill tried to sleep through it all but cramps n' let-cry-havoc from the hillbillies-in-charge saw to that - well after midnight came quick, and finally we fell off, the cabin up to a neat 70 degrees by then, though the wind blew and the earth went-on wobbling its woozy way round its old drunken enemy...

 

sunday a solid one - a sound sleep in - wicked hot by 9 as the soaring sun roasted us out of our fart sacks and sent us shuffling all over the summit with no sensible agenda :)

 

eventually came back down to the valley and finally flagged a fine trail up to the base, despite some bastards in the pack sending their backwards glances from time to time n' casting dispersions against yer's truly - then sat on the couch-boulder w/ bill to behold the boys bumble-fuck their way up the first 2 pitches - did some reading, combed the talus for recent debris, set fire to some turpentine-soaked wood, n' generally had a boozy, woozy rest day of it all

 

funny how these things work out...the 14th trip will be the 14th step of rehab, and that will be much as the first one i reckon :)

 

pix:

some others from ben n' geoff

 

sunrise sunday in the sumptious shack - old man, old mountain :)

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your morning dose of lovely inspiration - ain't much lame-ass aiding to be had over yonder

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happy homos

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"add-a-bolt" ben on pitch 2 - yup, he suggested it :)

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10/22 - the 14th step of rehab...

 

sigh...it's gonna take a biiiiit longer...

 

nuttin but rain n' wind n' miserable fall for weeks it seems - the tiniest of windows seemed to open this weekend so we 3 high-falutin-founders made a go of it, driving north in the growing dark

 

pouring snow a bit shy of the cabin, some of us at least were white-knuckled indeed on the final turn up on the blasted alpine top, the Big Ride straight down the mountain side if we slipped off

 

lovely night - a roaring fire of course - beers - music - the full fury of winter-come-too-soon raging against the glass and livelying up the occasional piss

 

6 a.m. came too soon, despite the fact that we slept through the alarm and didn't rally until 7 :)

 

the storm had dispersed in the night, and it was an austere scene we rolled out into, the 3 volcanoes burning bright white, the air frozen n' damp

 

the plan was to force the way - come in from the top, burn the ships, cortez-style, and commit to a complete ascent - didn't quite work out that way...

 

we did indeed manage to make the steep descent, only the 2nd time for me and i remembered it right - less than an hour of 50 degree elk trails n' moss-surfing to the base, me armed w/ a snapped-off sunflower stalk

 

the subsequent ascent didn't work out quite so well - somehow not starting up the rock until 1030 - bill bounded up p1 in only 25 minutes, but then bailed half-way up p2 - i took over and finished it, then short-fixed up p3, which just seemed to drag and drag - the cliff dripped n' dripped and i became increasingly an Unbelieber in the Cause as my hands chapped and one of my adjustable daisies buckle blew out - by the top of 3 it seemed unlikely we'd make the top shy of 3 a.m., but we pressed on over to the top 4 anyhow, but then bailed back down soon thereafter as The Suck became too totally apparent to ignore

 

bill clawed us way back up the miserable hillside to fetch the automovat as we pressed upwards, and, after bailing, we remade his acquaintance down below on the forest road, having hauled all his stuff down between us, me high as georgia-pine n' hollering every willie nelson tune i could recall

 

another pleasant evening, my hip fully malfunctioning and hardly capable of hobbling to the crapper, bill as crampy and age-encrusted as ever, and even young geoff making mousy noises on occasion

 

a bigger breeze by far that night, the rafters shaking n' threatening to go soaring - some bastards stole half geoff's beers from the lodge, but they left everything else so i guess we can't complain too much

 

so....in the end, i reckon the plan for a first ascent's gonna require a longer spring/summer day and/or a day of pre-fixing to the top of 3 perhaps...a reason to hie through the horrid hibernal season though, no? :)

 

bucolic sunrise, day 1

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bill on p2

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me on p3 - fuck this thing is too long...

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moody morning #2

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snow all melt after a super breezy evening

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'twas a bit of a tough week, but the tower's bigger than trump? :)

 

who knew our team's crack lawya was a skilled t-shirt designer as well? this present was truly timely :)

 

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memorial day weekend 2017 - trip 15 - what better way to honor the deeds of the war dead than to meet a similar demise in the pursuit of demented distraction?

 

2 full fucking years we've been brewing on this damn thing now, and goddamn-it-all if it ain't gonna take 2 more at this rate

 

the steel highway's all connected now, bolts glimmering in the vernal sun, all that's needing is at least one complete pair of testicles and 3 days to see it all done - we managed to get half that forumula right this time, but the other firfuksakes continues to ellude us...sigh... :)

 

bill n' geoff at my door on a friday afternoon, us all fulla vim n' vigor, the lovely sun pounding down n' a perfect forecast - it's become a real old ritual now, one i quite enjoy - lucille all loaded up w/ liquor n' war gear n' headed north down the proud highway, the talk all of politics and preternatural predilections - not one of us worried about the woe waiting for us just a few miles off in the wings of those shaded woods

 

the forest road a bit more claustrophobic than memory served, but trimmers n' time-to-kill sorted that all out soon

 

skeeters n' evening wedder too sultry to light a fire, we sit n' guffaw n' what-not until the needs of tomorrow carry us off to the sandman's necessity

 

saturday morning a bit of a problem - ole'kyle was in theory to join us to make light-work of this heavy task before us, but the probability of him arriving early were long - it wouldn't have mattered but geoff had left his shoes behind in portland, meaning he had just a pair of loafers for the big ascent, leaving us rather dependent on kyle's arrival

 

after some beers n' bullshitting n' a bitchy shit, bill n' i grew despondent and wandered up the hill alone to fix the first 2 pitches and see what happened next

 

turned out to be nothing - we did our duty in swift time, then rapped back down, me pausing in the talus to quaff my beers n' comment on the awful import of the numerous large-caliber rockfalls that had transpired since last we'd passed this way

 

back down at the car it was after noon now and still no kyle, so we rambled back to randle in search of signal and serious answers

 

after a bit of bad noise, it was clear that kyle was a lost cause, presenting us w/ the necessity of acquiring real civilization if we were to get geoff properly foot-clad for sunday's big effort

 

i sang n' drank, all laid out on the back deck, as the miles rolled by and eventually closed my eyes and knew Such Lovely Things - woke up in a payless parking lot along the interstate with a smile, made brighter by a pair of cheeseburgers n' not diminished a bit when i attempted to give navigational instructions only to learn i was nowhere near where i thought i was :)

 

back in the woods we had another night like the first - informal comedy n' the careless way that comes w/ abiding in an arboreal cloister - the view of tower was tremendous and hopes soared, the summit holding the sun until 9 pm, and light enough to read by until damn near 10 - sure, there were 12 pitches left to do, but it'll go, right?

 

rising near 5 a.m. wasn't too hard, the world as light as need be - we were off soon after w/ high, high hopes, the plan being ole'busted'shoulder'bill to accompany us n' enjoy the views at the base, then later to meet us on top of tower w/ words of encouragement and fresh beers

 

the first 2 jugs went quick n' geoff rolled out on p3 - that pitch ended up depressing me last fall, and it had much the same effect on him now - it's loooong and steep and the occasional hooking helps prevent a steady rhythm from being established

 

2 hrs later, still early, i was off on p4, and it went very quickly indeed - while geoff cursed n' grumbled to follow it, i started short-fixing up p5, but was eventually stalled by a cluster-fuck in the lead line, forcing me to pause in an awkward place n' scorch in the near-summer sun, waiting for our boy to arrive

 

i finished 5, losing steam as i went, half sun-stroked n' pissed that one of my adjustable daisies was no longer functioning - still, i felt good, despite realizing i was lower on water than was right and i'd left all my food in the haulbag at the base - i thought we had it all the same

 

geoff hoved into view below and his face told me all i need to know long before my least-favorite-words-in-the-world were spoke

 

"i don't know dude"

 

ah well, there's always next summer :)

 

on the positive side of things, the retreat from there is well proven to be easy enough now, especially when using 2 70 meter ropes - the fixed line on p6-7 still looks good, despite 2 years of exposure and above 5, it's all bolts and no hooks, w/ several lower angle pitches, so it'll go fast

 

maybe the 16th time will be the charm? :rawk:

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trip #16 - july 21-22

 

rapunzel's back in rehab is now ready for whatever rude, idle-minded customers might care to come her way - she ain't particular and man, for a hillbilly woman all moss-covered and whiskey addled, she sure is purty :)

 

it took the metaphorical third shot to see her finished, but after a weapons-grade-retard attempt last cock-tober and another last month that went off the rails w/o warning, me, big bill, n' gentleman geoff finally managed to malinger our way through the 13 steps of rehab this weekend and can now confidently claim ourselves to be Redeemed Men

 

swimming in the shade w/ the fam on thursday turned into sangria in the backseat on the long voyage north afterwards, and then ended indignantly w/ me sharting myself upon arriving at the dark, dank forest trailhead - not the most auspicious of augors, but thank the sweet baby-back-rib jeebus i'd brought another pair of shorts...

 

not ones to turn in early, geoff n' i stayed up late howling at the moon and indulging in new-found muzak, swilling n' smoking n' what not and therefore needled poor bill the next morning with our torpor to rise n' get to the bidness, which he'd been chomping at the bit for since sunup

 

still, in the end, we eventually got our shit straight and wandered up the hill for the umpteenth time, me sweating like a purblind lesbian at pike's place on a sultry summer afternoon - a half-hour later we were at the base and i relaxed, letting them two boys tangle w/ the first 2 pitches while i debauched myself in regal splendour, watching the game unfold above me

 

i jugged up and did the dog-day-long p3 as geoff went back down to the ground, leaving bill to do the wild p4 and giving me the pleasure of following it for the first time - the work of the first day done, we then fixed back down to the ground and returned to camp

 

it was weird to be back and idle by the middle of the afternoon, but we made do, getting our vittles on and preparing for an early sleep in order to rise w/ the sun on saturday, swatting black flies and bull-shiting about days gone by

 

saturday's dawn came just after 430, and soon thereafter we Did the Necessaries n' noodled on up the track, me gut-weary and wondering if a half-frozen don miguel breakfast burrito was really what me wounded bowels wanted :)

 

the first 2 jugs are easy, but the 3rd was a horrible sweat-fest, partly b/c we didn't have a long enough static to use the midpoint anchor to break up the long jug (it's more or less exactly 60 meters from the top of p4 to the top of p2, and relentlessly overhanging, especially at the end) - the one thing in our favor was the marine layer of clouds that kept the sun off us as we each took the better part of an hour to thrutch up it

 

p5 is another long one, but i did it last month and so i volunteered for it on the basis i'd get us through it fastest, though i was already feeling a wee bit whupped

 

p6-7 we cruised through easily for reasons the 2nd ascent team will quickly appreciate, though not w/o incident as bill, despite endless warnings, accidentally kicked off a belayer-slayer atop p6 that nearly made the world a lawyer shorter as poor geoff was just below

 

excitement waxed john holmes large once we hit "the fault" and p8 - the summit now is close enough to look conceivable, and after all the incredible steepness of the lower wall, now it's a reasonable angle to get up to the base of the upper wall - bill shot across it w/o complaint

 

p9 is the "dances w/ death" pitch, and i was mortal concerned w/ how to rig it so that no one got kilt - geoff figured he'd rather lead it than sweat below, waiting for big blocks to plummet on him, so i hung at the bottom of the fault and watched the show while bill belayed - my fears proved pretty unwarranted, though geoff's eyes got big-around enough at what he'd wandered through that i at least felt vindicated in my caution - he made good time up the fresh and fearful steep way while bill n' i chuckled n' took in the scenery, hoping another f-15 eagle would come roaring through the valley below as it had the day before, just a football field or two away

 

bill and i each relead p9 on top-rope - we didn't jug the line b/c there are so many sharp edges and fresh blocks that either chopping the line or weighting a block such that it crashes down is all too imaginable for a fear-fucked modern mammal

 

once in the rotten notch we felt good n' giddy - the scary part done, we had a good bit of light left and were only 3 rope-lengths from the top - bill, whose shoulder ailments seemed to have all but disappeared after 2 years of constant complaint, linked p9&10, fixing a static 2/3 up such that i could reach him far faster than belayer geoff - i howled in pain after a small rock, dislodged by bill's rope, bounced down the gully n' peeled back the flesh of my thumb

 

p12 i lead in unorthodox style, on a static line as geoff was still coming up the leadline - i'd done it so many damn times i figured there was no fear of falling - what was aggravating was yet again my adjustable daisy had given up the ghost after holding my fat-ass in place too long, and the replacement i borrowed off bill promptly died too - 12 is so steep it's a bit of a nut-kicker trying to do it old school w/ just a fifi

 

the shadows were growing damn long, but we figured to link 13 & 14 and be on top w/ daylight left - geoff got the honor of bringing this pleasing project to its ultimate ejaculation, and up he went - amusingly, though he'd put this one up last summer, he'd forgotten he'd made something of a challenge out of it then, and thus conspired to short-cock himself, killing himself w/ drag and letting me do p14 (all 50-some-odd feet of it) and be the first to flop onto the dusty summit

 

i guess we should have had a good hullabaloo on top but the combination of weariness and worry at the prospect of the jungle-thrash downhill in the dusk left us with little more inclination than for a perfunctory handshake and a quick glance around at the alpen-glow

 

after ditching all our gear at the summit saddle (we figured we'd drop in the next day from above and pick it all up), we banged down like bob-sledders on fire, hoping to regain the base before total dark and just managed to pull it off - i sucked down my victory can of pbr as the stars started to rise, and then by headlamp we made the short trip back to camp, where low-n-behold ole'kyle was, thus solving the mystery of who'd been hooting up at us periodically through the day :)

 

our dreams fulfilled, we wallowed in sweet weariness n' got our party on, me too tired but to drink gatorade n' burgundy n' suck down smoke n' cackle at this chapter of life concluded - the sun rose the next day and once again we were only ordinary men :(

 

many more routes to manufacture up the teetering tower, should anyone have the taste for it - i fear these fellows may be shot of it now :)

 

i hope to remember these past 26 or so months of wandering back and forth with this parcel of fools fondly - ben, kyle, bryan, geoff and bill (the last 2 especially) all made their contributions, the usual result being a mixture of fear, elation and gut-laffs that doesn't appear to have a name that comes quick to mind

 

go get it people - i'll be very surprised if you don't find it worth your time - after all, how many grade V big wall climbs are there in washington, and all bolts to boot? throw in the close distance to portland/seattle and the relatively easy approach/descent, and i'd think this tawdry little lady's got a chance at classic status :)

 

topo

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bill leading p8 to base of "dances with death"

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bill on p10, leading out of the rotten notch

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top of p12

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me just below p13 anchor, a few feet below summit

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