FLANDERS!!!!! OH NO!!!!!!!!!!! ......."he's baaaaack"

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Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 9, 2012 - 09:10am PT
If anyone was wondering how Flanders (aka Chief Knucklehead) is doing these days, a year after a stroke and heart attack felled him, I am here to testify.

We had gone into Lee Vining Canyon last week, warmed up on some fat ice up the middle of the Main Wall, then set our sights on The Fischer King (M3/WI3+), a spicy mixed line left of The Spiral Staircase. (FYI, this route named after the late, great, John Fischer)

My experience with this level of mixed climbing is fairly limited, especially with the new-fangled tools...BD Cobras. Leashless climbing on ice is one thing....on stone, a whole nother level of spice! That all being said, I was MORE than pleased to send Flanders out on the sharp end.

The conditions were thin that day, but that first pitch was a kick in the pants, with ice 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and plenty of tool placements in fine crack.

The second pitch proved our undoing....1/4 inch of glaze on a 50 foot slabby section right of the belay, and no pro....we rapped a V thread and called it a day.....til yesterday.

No warm-up ice yesterday....we went straight to the business, albeit with a variation. We could see that the conditions on the second pitch had not improved, so rather than getting into the classic first pitch corner system, we chose a direct line up the wall that would keep us right of that impossible slab, albeit mostly on dry-tooling ground.

Enter Flanders. I've been climbing with this guy for nearly 24 years, and have had opportunity to see him do some pretty cool leading, but what he pulled off on this first pitch was really special. They call this mixed climbing, but in the case of this pitch...a bit of a misnomer. Not a single screw was placed in 200 feet.

While I held my breath, Doug masterfully weaved a series of pins, cams and pick jams into a stealthy lead, all sewn together with nerves of FRIGGIN STEEL! I was so focused on an attentive belay, I did not get many pics of him....here are a few....

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The pictures above do NOT do this lead justice....it was pure HUEVOS GRANDE! I had the priviledge of following the gem! Doug's pictures below should give a much better perspective....

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Off and on in our lives, if we are so lucky, we have the opportunity to bear witness to something truly special.....witness the greatness of someone in their element, doing things that are the result of hard work, vision, and years of dedication to a craft.

Yesterday, I got to be the witness....as well as the benefactor, of what I consider to be one of the greatest leads I have ever seen.

Like I said earlier, the Flanders man is back, climbing strong as ever, and has nerves like FRIGGIN STEEL!!!

And all I could do was nearly shyte myself.....

eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Feb 9, 2012 - 09:35am PT
BEAUTIFUL, Crag and Chief Knucklehead!

My heart is on wing!

KEEP THAT MAGIC ALIVE!

oxoxoxoxo

eK@
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 9, 2012 - 09:53am PT
Looks scrappy and thin...

Nice!
Barbarian

Trad climber
New and Bionic too!
Feb 9, 2012 - 09:58am PT
Wow!!! That does look thin! So glad to see Flanders back in form...tell him hello for me.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 9, 2012 - 09:59am PT
Lots of beautiful things there in the least year cragman but if you'll forgive my forwardness, the renewed friendship between the two of you is the most beautiful thing of all.

Rock on.

Cheers
DMT
eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Feb 9, 2012 - 10:01am PT
Lots of beautiful things there in the least year cragman but if you'll forgive my forwardness, the renewed friendship between the two of you is the most beautiful thing of all.

Therein lies the REAL MAGIC, eh?

ox
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 9, 2012 - 10:18am PT
Ice IS nice!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2012 - 10:24am PT
Thanks Ding and Kath...

You're right.....except.."...friends don't make friends shat themselves!"

:)
Roger Brown

climber
Oceano, California
Feb 9, 2012 - 10:29am PT
Proud Doug!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 9, 2012 - 10:34am PT
Cragman its been a lesson for me, one I need to work on.

Cheers
DMT
seth kovar

climber
Reno, NV
Feb 9, 2012 - 10:35am PT
AWESOME!!!!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 9, 2012 - 10:38am PT
Great pics....Bravo!!!!
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Feb 9, 2012 - 10:55am PT
It appears that Flanders is back, and KICKING ASS!!!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2012 - 10:57am PT
^Yeah.

Mine.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 9, 2012 - 11:17am PT
Wonderful to read this.
Truly amazing what determinatiuon and good friends can do.
mctwisted

Social climber
paradise
Feb 9, 2012 - 11:41am PT
good job guys, that mixed climbing is pretty hairy stuff, not like you can have pro where ever you decide you want it, thats the real deal. way to go
my adrenaline seeking friends!
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Feb 9, 2012 - 12:41pm PT
Thanks Dean, that's a post I'm glad to see. Way to go Doug, the spirit lives on.
Johnny K.

climber
Feb 9, 2012 - 03:52pm PT
Really awesome,what an inspiration Doug is!
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Feb 9, 2012 - 04:02pm PT
sweet!
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Feb 9, 2012 - 04:39pm PT
Well done Lads!!!
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