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Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Original Post - May 17, 2006 - 09:31pm PT
We can all raise the level of our forum in many ways.

Let's put up some personal climbing writings here.
Rags

Trad climber
Sierra foothills, CA
May 17, 2006 - 11:10pm PT
The following story was written by Paul B., all rights reserved. Reprinted here without his permission (I'll email him after I post it). Names have been edited (slightly) to protect the innocent, but you may still know these folks ;) He sends these things after every trip. These climbers in the story are my friends and climbing partners. I didn't make this one.


Last Man Standing 3/9/2004

I looked around at the dusty parking lot. I was surrounded by tourists who had taken the shuttle into Red’s meadow to see the waterfall. Tea and Ali crouched under the Eurovan to escape the brutal afternoon heat. As Todd ’s van rolled up the hill, I realized I was the last man standing. The great July road trip had started out with 8 eager climbers, but by Friday afternoon, only one remained. Perhaps the following tale will explain how I came to be standing alone in a hot, dusty parking lot contemplating the long drive home as the rest of California was just about to start their weekend.

It was actually Frosty who had suggested the Great July Road trip. He had been punching code into the Mutual of Omaha computers in his cubicle in Nebraska for the better part of a year. After almost getting arrested for climbing a railroad trestle, he decided he was in dire need of a climbing vacation. After convincing his better half to join him, he asked me to find a partner and come along. He proposed a climbing & canyoneering adventure in the great state of Utah.

When I banged an email to my regular climbing partners, I got not one, but five replies. John was definitely a go and he had invited his friend Brad. Todd was also in and Carol thought she might be able to join us for the first weekend of the trip if we ended up somewhere within driving distance of Jackson. Tom was eager to join us if we ended up with odd numbers…. kind of like a swing voter. With that, I assumed the role of trip coordinator, or as Carol affectionately put it, official cat herder for the great July road trip.

Things began to unravel when Frosty suggested we change the venue to Banff, Alberta. The California contingent was leery of a 22-hour drive for an unknown area and Carol definitely wouldn’t be able to join us. Being somewhat self-contained, Frosty politely told the Cali crew to go to….. well, anywhere they wanted, because he and Kat were headed to Canada. The Cali crew settled on a high Sierra trip and it looked like Carol would have to spend the weekend tending to house projects. The trip took another turn when John ’s grandson was born prematurely and experienced some serious complications. When John’s participation in the road trip became doubtful, Brad decided he wasn’t going either. As the trip grew nearer, Frosty decided the weather forecast for Banff was unappealing, so he suggested another change in venue to the City of Rocks in Idaho. Todd was up for the City, as was Carol, so it looked like 5 of us would meet in Idaho.

The day before departure, however, John tossed me a curve ball. It looked like his grandson, , was out of the woods & he wanted to re-join the adventure. With ’s situation still somewhat precarious, however, he wanted to stay within easy reach of home. He had checked in with Brad, who was also back onboard, as well as Todd and it looked like the Sacramento crew was leaning toward re-organizing a Sierra trip. I was outside packing the van when John called and was caught off guard by the sudden change of plans. After a brief verbal tirade, John asked me to stop using the F-word so much. He informed me that he always knew when I was upset because my vocabulary went from that of a gentleman to that of a sailor.

“Well”, I informed him, “I am sick and f%%ing tired up herding this unruly group of cats.”

Using fatherly patience, John was able to assuage my frustration and put the great July road trip back in motion. Frosty was literally hours away from departure when I informed him of the latest change in plans. Daunted by the long drive to the Sierras, he and Kat decided to stick with their City of Rock plans, which put Carol back in the game. As I drove North on 395 to join the Sacto contingent at Lake Tahoe, I called Frosty to inform him that, being the gentleman that I was, I was bequeathing him the prime campsite I had reserved at the City. His reaction was less than appreciative however, because for some strange reason, he was under the impression that I had cheated him out of that particular site.

Meeting Uncle John at Woodford’s Canyon Friday afternoon, we decided to start the great July road trip with the “best crack climb in Lake Tahoe.” The 150-foot 5.10c crack lived up to its reputation and gave us enough of a workout that cocktails seemed in order. We drove a short distance to our pre-arranged rendezvous at a beautiful campsite along a babbling brook in the Sierra high country near the Pacific Crest Trail. Margaritas flowed freely as the rest of the gang arrived and the alcohol helped keep the voracious mosquitoes at bay.

Brad, a semi-retired dot-commer with a penchant for Japanese green Tea, stunned the group when he announced that he was nursing an old injury and wasn’t sure how his shoulder would hold up to a week of hard climbing. Although we wanted to pump him full of Tequila to pre-dull any pain he might experience, he forsook our margaritas in deference to the Japanese leaf and, as such, set himself up for a painful weekend. We spent the weekend climbing 5.10 and 5.11 sport routes in a beautiful wilderness area known to climbers as Elephant’s Graveyard. Brad’s shoulder gave out Sunday afternoon as he followed Todd up a particularly strenuous route. We toasted our independence that night with a proud feast and bid farewell to Brad, who would return to Chico the next morning to pursue a new venture distributing Japanese Tea.

John, Todd, & I decided to spend the next day climbing in a new area high in the Sonora Pass called Chipmunk Flat. The road up Sonora Pass was absolutely gorgeous and the superb climbing was the icing on the cake. After 3 pleasant routes, we decided a night at the hot springs was in order and agreed to meet at the Bridgeport Ranger station where we hoped to check on the camping situation in Red’s Meadow. John was eager to explore the climbing near Red’s Meadow and since neither Todd nor I had been there, it seemed like a grand adventure. Additionally, since our group was down to 3, our dream of climbing the classic 5.11 route in the Incredible Hulk seemed unlikely. When we met in Bridgeport, however, Uncle John was ready with a knuckleball. He had checked in with his daughter on the drive down the hill and it seemed like little wasn’t quite out of the woods yet. With his heart 300 miles away, John elected to return to his family.

“Well,” I said to Todd as John’s rig lumbered down the highway, “It looks like we will be able to do the Incredible Hulk after all.” Todd chose this moment to inform me that life in Todd-town wasn’t exactly wine & roses either. He had a lot on his mind and wasn’t sure that a long alpine route was the cure. “Let’s head to Mammoth to check out the area John told us about” was Todd’s suggestion for the remainder of the trip. The promise of a night at the hot springs was all the motivation I needed to head for the green church in Mammoth.

We decided to spend the next day at the Dike Wall so that we could enjoy another night at the hot springs before descending into Red’s Meadow. I had climbed at the Dike Wall once before and although I didn’t remember much about the area, a note in my guidebook gave a hint as to the climbing we were about to experience. Scribbled enigmatically at the bottom of the page was a four-word verse in pencil: “best sport route ever”. I wasn’t sure which route the comment alluded to, but after climbing 6 routes on the wall, it could have been any one of them.

After a rest day involving a mountain bike loop through Rock Creek and more hot springs, we drove into Red’s Meadow and set up camp at Soda Springs, which would be our base camp for climbing at Trenchtown Rock. A vigorous 45-minute bushwhack led us the base of the crag where we found several bolted lines on a polished granite slab. Although not extremely steep, the slab was slick enough that there weren’t many routes below 5.10. After a few of these, Todd was eager to get on a crack, so he chose to lead the first pitch of Catch a Fire 5.10c. I knew something was amiss when it took him an hour to lead the pitch. Following the route, I discovered that it was more of a flared seam than a crack, and the seam was filled in with dirt and moss. He would dig out some moss to reveal a marginal placement for protection, try to wiggle a cam into the flared seam, and then proceed upward without knowing where the seam would open up again. It was nerve wracking. I got my chance to experience the excitement on the 5.10a second pitch, which although easier climbing, was no less demanding. We were both mentally exhausted when we returned to our packs and decided to spend the rest of the day back at camp with a book and a cold beer.

Hoping for better luck on Friday, we marched down the dusty equestrian trail past Rainbow Falls to the elusive Rainbow Wall. After an hour on the trail, we arrived at the base of a large chunk of dirty, weathered granite. Judging by the amount of greenery growing in the cracks, we should have guessed what was in store, but Todd, the eternal optimist, was excited about leading a 5.10b crack up the center of the formation. After a long, 150-foot pitch, Todd called down to let me know that the crack was so overgrown and dirty that he was willing to leave gear to bail rather than complete the second pitch. Seeing as how it was my gear, however, I volunteered to lead the second pitch and scurried up the dirty crack, which probably hadn’t been climbed in 5 years. Although the second pitch started out a bit cleaner, as soon as I turned the corner above, I discovered a 40-foot layback that was completely covered in moss. I declared the pitch “unclimbable” and proceeded to aid through the slimy green wall. Not wanting to subject ourselves to another Rainbow Wall surprise, we humped out packs back up the trail to the parking lot, which by now was sweltering hot and mobbed with sightseers.

“It’s time I hit the road”, Todd said, obviously contemplating other issues “Not much here to keep me climbing for another day”.

“Yeah”, I agreed. “It’s all John’s’s fault. It was his idea to come down here in the first place.”

“No one is to blame for this trip”, Todd said in his most cheerful tone. “I had a great time and would do it again tomorrow if I didn’t have pressing issues at home.” “Life”, he said, “is just a series of adventures. That’s what keeps it interesting.”

He gave me a hearty hug and a big Todd smile before stepping into his Van and driving up the road. As I stood there among the tourists and the trees, I realized he was right. Todd’s optimism is contagious. I loaded up the dogs and headed south on 395 looking forward to the adventure around the next bend.


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2006 - 07:24pm PT
A World Outside: A Universe Inside

In the early years which Bruce Hawkins and I shared, I suffered from limitations acquired as a result of frostbite injuries to my fingers, while Bruce was laid low from the fatiguing effects of the cytomeglia virus. In addition, he was experiencing the trailing setbacks from a back injury incurred from a skiing accident. These early years were, for our time together, 1986 through 1989.

At this time, I had enough reserve fitness to get us up things like the Crucifix and the DNB on the Cathedral Rocks of Yosemite; in Tuolumne we would do things like the Oz on Drug Dome or Middle Earth on Mariuolumne. Bruce would follow my lead of traditional crack routes up until the very beginning of the '90s, at which time he recovered some strength and started toting the sharp end for himself. He called it "Stone Mashing" or just "Mashing". In Tuolumne Meadows, mastering one of his own leads of the Direct North Face of Lembert Dome, I witnessed his durable character when he led through the vertical finger cracks in wet conditions.

In the early '90s, I had moved to Boulder and began to suffer from soft tissue injuries in my arms. I also lacked the financial reserves to get out to Yosemite much more than once a year. With our more continuous climbing days behind us, we began a phase of our friendship marked by a wonderful potency. We shared and developed a keen philosophical interest in enjoying the slim remains of our climbing, our discussions, and our wilderness experience.

A key bit of coping brilliance which Bruce applied to our days was this: he'd say, "Seek to express your potential in terms of what you can do today. To do not be confused by an expectation based on what was once possible". Employing this simple wisdom, we'd always wholeheartedly embrace what was evidenced as possible on the given days that lie before us. And he meant this in terms of our combined potentials as a team, along with any adjustments we would be called upon to make in terms of each other's infirmities. In the mid '90s, that meant Bruce would follow me out hand cracks over roofs, me leading free, with Bruce following in slings. In the late '90s, I was finished and we'd go for walks or pleasure drives in the foothills, or I would belay Bruce while he expressed his renewed health on sport routes. At that time we took great satisfaction just from being together and in sharing our observations of the external and internal natural worlds: those of nature and of human nature.

Coping skills, that was one of our chief areas of inquiry and application. He'd do his vigilant reading, and come up with things like, "Roy, an Indian myth says that we were once beings of light, without bodies, and we came here to experience limitation, the limitation of physicality, to learn what it has to teach". In October of '97, we were standing on Fairview Dome's northern shoulder, looking up at a mass of ravens in swirling congregation above our heads. Bruce said to me, "And they live to be really old, as much as 70 years". I responded, "So, they have time to develop great coping skills right?". He smiled and nodded saying, " This is so and we're being given an opportunity to witness a piece of that harmony right now". On the topic of perspective and temporal existence his favorite axiom was, "In the big picture, you're already dead, or dead soon enough -so, now that you have a moment's reprieve, which is your life, in its totality just a wink, now, what are you going to do with it?"

In '98 we ended one of our days at the southern edge of Mono Lake. This experience held a markedly sweet and subtle crystallization of our shared feeling for the surroundings: a crisp moment in time. It was late in the day, at that time when the air is pure, clean, still. Bruce and I walked out upon the yielding soil towards the lake's edge and beheld a glassy calmness of the waters; smooth,flat, and thin was our perspective of the lake during those moments. Noticeably, the temporal dimension shifted within us, unifying to the timber of the scene and we became aware of a mesmerizing waltz organizing before us; a slow movement of various birds upon the water. It was visual music. It reached within us like the sweetest kiss of time. You could not detect their means of movement upon the water, as though the water's own slow migration carried the peaceful waterfowl in opposing directions like cutouts in a kaleidoscopic dream.

In '99 high above Tuolumne Meadows we enjoyed a scramble along the ridge from the Unicorn through the Cockscomb, over Echo Peak and on to Cathedral Peak. There I followed Bruce up a tenuous solo through either the Cockscomb or one of the Echoes, where we worked through steep finger locks high on the loose ground of some obscure northern aspect. Hawkins moved above and out of sight. This took me a few minutes to negotiate safely. When I summited the cool wall, a view opened upon the remaining 200 ft. of arete which commanded a marvelously exposed position high above the range of flight. Up there in my memory's vault, the furious evening sun illuminated thousands of golden knobs and spoke to Bruce's strong and gentle frame. He patiently awaited my arrival as he sat perched, grinning down from the apogee of a radiant experience.

Postscript:


In the year 2000, Bruce Hawkins died in a car accident. I wrote this story essentially as a eulogy and was unable to present it due to various other concerns.

His wife, Ellie Hawkins, now lives outside of Joshua Tree National Monument. We stay in touch.

I re-typed this story today using a nifty voice recognition software: a pretty cool coping skill.


The day of our climb on NW Face Direct,
Lembert Dome crack route, upon return.

Bruce Hawkins, Tarbousier.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
May 18, 2006 - 07:36pm PT
Thanks guys. Voice recognition software? thata worked really well. I could never speak that eloquently.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2006 - 07:37pm PT
thanks for your story rags.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2006 - 07:41pm PT
thanks for the compliment golsen.
i don't speak that eloquently.
i wrote it long hand in 2000,
then typed it.

today i dictated it it from the typewritten copy.
voice recognition thofltware, itss the tic,thicket!
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
May 18, 2006 - 07:43pm PT
I posted this on another website. Jaybro and some others on this site knew Lynn.

Wheels on Fire

If you climbed in LCC in the late 70’s to early 80’s you may have run into a quiet guy with long, curly, bright red hair and wired rim glasses. I first met Lynn Wheeler in the late 70’s. My first impression was that there was something wrong with the guy because he was so quiet. When I got to know Lynn better and after I climbed with him a few times I realized that there was this very intelligent, guy inside, perhaps one of those people who are born with huge skills and intelligence in some areas but has a hard time communicating at other levels.

The first time I climbed with Lynn I went up to the Gate Boulders looking for a partner. I ran into Lynn on a fine Saturday and I was psyched. The week before I had followed MB up Equipment Overhang Left without any falls. It was my first 5.11a. I think this was 1980. Lynn was also looking for a partner so we headed up to the dihedrals. I was pretty well excited and going for it. My friends told me that if I could follow something that I should be able to lead it (I listened to that for many years before I finally figured out they were BSing me….)

That is an awesome climb and everything was going well right up to the crux. I was absolutely terrible at remembering moves and for me, the crux of that climb is very sequential. The bolt at the crux had a bail sling of 1” tubular webbing hanging from it so I clipped directly into it with a RR Salewa Hollow Aluminum ‘biner. These were RR’s attempts at making an ultralight (I think they were all recalled later for safety reasons). I had the rope clipped into the biner, but the gate got hung up so that the webbing was forcing the biner open and the sling was halfway onto the gate of the biner. That is not a good place to hang around and we were not smart enough in those days to have draws, that is just how we did things…I was pumped out and I knew I was coming off that sucker. I fell on the biner that way and was surprised that it held. Not a long fall only about 8 feet or so. I climbed up again and found that the biner was now bent open and it was not going to work. After fiddling with another one and getting clipped in I was toast. I felt kind of shitty, my first time climbing with the guy and I am falling all over the place. I lowered down and Lynn was smiling. I apologized for thrashing so bad and he kind of chuckled at me.

I asked him if he wanted to give it a go and all of a sudden he got serious. A man of few words, he was up for it. Lynn pretty well fired the thing up to that last hairy lie-back at the top. He just couldn’t get himself to go for it, even though he had done the crux. He lowered down. My turn, this was what they would later call yoyo – ing. I called it thrashing up the route to get your gear. I was able to get up the thing and perform those last hairy lie-back moves to the anchors. Lynn followed the thing with absolutely no problems. We were pretty happy just to have gotten up the thing and our relationship now had something to go on besides struggling on the boulders.

“Wheels on Fire” up the Green A is named after Lynn. He did some other good routes in LCC. One of them is State of Confusion, a 5.11 slab climb on the Gate. I ran into Wheels and went up to do what was maybe the second ascent of State of Confusion. The Spanish climbing shoes with the sticky rubber, Fire’s were out and Lynn had done the climb in those. They were made by Boreal had sticky rubber but the edge wore off them pretty fast and they stretched out since they were unlined leather. After we climbed the approach pitches we arrived at the ledge below the climb. Lynn proceeded to take his shoes off and switch feet. WTF? “Lynn what are you doing?”

“The edges on the outside are a whole lot better than the inside edges, you are going to want good edges for this climb.”

Alright, well I left mine on the right feet. He tells me the approximate number of bolts and says it is all bolted and you don’t need any other pro. But then he hands me some wireds. “Lynn, why do I need these?” Well, I didn’t have enough hangers, so some of the bolts only have nuts on them, just loop these small wireds over the bolt and snug it up.”

Damn, this is getting interesting. I had been climbing lots of slab and feeling pretty good about it, but 5.11 slab should never be taken lightly, especially in LCC. And here I was headed up one of Lynn’s routes with no bolt hangers? Lynn was excited to have someone climb his route. LCC slabs play with your head anyway, but sticking those wireds over the bolts added to the effect. Because of the nature of the rock and it being a new route there were a lot of micro edges that were very friable but I managed to make it up the thing. Lynn cheerily followed the route without falls, with his shoes on the wrong feet and switched them over at the top.

I didn’t stay in touch with Lynn when I moved away from SLC. I heard he worked at BD in the early 90’s and most unfortunately, I heard that he took his own life. If you have ever been at a friends service, it all comes back to you, all the times you have shared, the times that you should have shared. All of the dead persons friends say nice things about the guy. These are things that you should have said when they were alive. I didn’t make it to Lynn’s service and I know I am many years late, “Wheels, I didn’t get to climb with you much buddy, but I enjoyed the times I did have, and you were a hell of a climber. I just wish I could have been a better friend.” Wheels routes are still up there. I think he even managed to put hangers on those bolts.


BTW, I hope this does not turn into a thread about our fallen comrades, but Tarbusters story reminded me of this...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2006 - 07:51pm PT
thanks golsen for that.
agreed.
james if you don't whip out your neato story i'm going to para-pharse the darn ending for us...
James

climber
A tent in the redwoods
May 18, 2006 - 08:30pm PT
some other time-don't butcher a good thing.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2006 - 08:48pm PT
ok cool.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 18, 2006 - 09:22pm PT
thanks, Roy, Rags, Golsen (somehow missed yor Wheels peice on the first go round) can't wait to read what's next.


How does voice recognition software deal with a midwestern drawl over-stuffed with decades of,like califonisms?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2006 - 09:27pm PT
if you train it like a good pup, it works.
but by the si-ound uv it, yer gunna like, tootily need teh impart a heap a trainin'!
(Brah)
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
May 18, 2006 - 11:18pm PT


Not many people here know who Bill Sewery was, but he was a long-time Phoenix climbing fixture, and the owner and proprietor of Desert Rock Sports, a climbing and outdoors shop here (now gone). He was an exceptional person and one worth remembering. I wrote this for the Arizona Moutaineering Club newsletter back in 1998.

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE

A while back, I attended a memorial for Bill Sewery. There wasn't so much a feeling of "memorial" to the gathering, but more of "celebration" of Bill and his unique and personal joy for life. The turnout of his friends and partners was quite impressive. Bill had a heck of a lot of both. The hall was standing -room only. For the next couple of hours, we watched Bill's life and adventures flash across the screen while friends related stories of trips with Bill. While I'm sure tears were shed, the laughs filled the room repeatedly during the show, something that spoke volumes about Bill’s life.

Like a lot of climbers, I knew Bill mostly through my trips to Desert Mountain Sports, his local Phoenix shop. We had lots of conversations over the last few years, most of which centered around the Superstition Mountains, a subject that Bill was obviously happy to discuss with me. I was always amazed at his positively dictionary-like knowledge of the area. With his finger tracing across the map, Bill would describe in detail, "You head down this canyon and there's a nasty patch of cholla on the left, some pretty rocky spots, but some good campsites down here on the right." Although the years had left him unable to continue his exploratory hikes in the Supes, he clearly had memories that had not faded. His eyes would glow while he described trails and climbs from his past.

Bill was a Phoenix climbing fixture for over thirty years. He was rock climbing in the 1960's, when ascending vertical stone was still in its Arizona infancy. His natural curiosity and desire to explore meant that he would be in on a lot of the original first ascents at many areas within the state: Granite Mountain, Tom's Thumb, Camelback Mountain, the Superstitions as well as very early climbs on Shiprock and in Yosemite. Before his medical condition sidelined him later in life, I get the idea that Bill went everywhere and did everything he could cram into his life. Experiencing life was obviously a big thing with him and he did a boatload of it.

After the memorial, I had a chance to sit down with Bill's slide collection. I wanted to find and hopefully preserve in my own way, some of the climbing photos that Bill had taken over the years. Maybe I would find elusive shots of first ascents and secret crags. I found a few shots like that, but I didn't expect what else I found in that collection. As I scanned through about four hundred slides, I got pulled into them. I went back thirty years to a time when Bill was built like a clock spring, wiry, lean and strong. Faces of youthful men and women from another era passed across the monitor. On the rock, in the snow, hiking, climbing, skiing…you name it, they were doing it. Lots of AMC outings reflected my own discovery of climbing. As slide after slide passed through the scanner, I could almost hear their laughter. Belay calls echoing off rock walls. The “plink” of hammers setting and cleaning pitons. Long rappels, stuck ropes, epic adventures and nights in the middle of nowhere, telling stories by the campfire. Memories the slides brought back about my own outdoor experiences crept up on me, wrapping me in a nostalgic quilt of friends, partners, and remembered climbs.

In the end, I started wondering. One day, when I'm gone and someone is going through my slides, a collection that will number in the thousands by then, will someone see the faces on my partners, the photos of rugged landscape and sun-caressed climbs, and know that I had also enjoyed such a life? Will they celebrate it for me? I resolved right then to take more shots of the “faces” of my climbing adventures. To change the direction of my viewfinder in a more personal direction, away from just exposure.

Belay off, Bill.
Rags

Trad climber
Sierra foothills, CA
May 18, 2006 - 11:28pm PT
TarB & golsen, great stories, but you almost had me weepin.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2006 - 11:49pm PT
cheers Rags,
more to come.
I'll dictate something tomorrow.
anyone else?
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
May 18, 2006 - 11:59pm PT
This is something I wrote a while back for Black Diamond, but it didn't run. Anyhow, see what you think.

“Alpine-Solo-Topo-Porno”
by Marty Roberts

“You people!” That’s what my girlfriend says to dismiss those without a full complement of Y chromosomes—especially climbers. My baby loves me, but there are some things honeydip won’t tolerate. For instance, she draws the line at toenails that flake off in bed, and me shopping for commercial vacuum cleaner solvent to heal an aching shoulder. If it’s “not intended for use on skin,” why did they package it in a roll-on? I rest my case.

Winter means bouldering, but for some reason she frowns on my peers buying C-clamps at the hardware store to mend blown out tendons. “You people,” she mutters. “It’s a miracle the species continues.” Am I really that far beyond the pale when I look at a roadside pull-out deep in the mountains and think aloud, “If I lived here I’d be home now…”? Is that really so wrong? She should take her case up with Lito and the Funhogs.

But somehow, along the way, compromise entered into the equation. She concedes that stinky poly-pro may in fact be the new black, and I, in turn, get to send the El Cap of laundry on Sunday mornings. I am not to digress into endless accounts of anything involving a Roman Numeral 6 or the letter V while in mixed company. In exchange, I get to hatch my plans for a satellite-up-linked web-cam of pie selections at the diner in Tuolumne Meadows. So long as I don’t drop veggie-chicken nuggets in the toaster to feed road-tripping visitors, she’ll give me a wide berth when I need my space – and not just because I’m wearing the poly-pro. After all, let’s face it. The topo and I need to be alone.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 19, 2006 - 12:25am PT
First Wheels and then Bill Sewery, really glad to see stuff about them. Nice, guys. I worked for Bill and climbed a bunch with lynn.


Where to begin? Too much for now. maybe for other threads, later.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2006 - 12:40am PT
nice cocktail marty(r)!
rough to swallow, us people sometimes, (even for BD: haha!).

hey steelmonkey:
i sure hope someone feels the life echoing out of your slides; they should be so lucky...

on that note, risking the eulogy drag on, (so what risk really):
i had a very close friend go over the bars in a bike race a few years back. her exit was swift, like walking through a door. we had dated, done a really stellar climbing trip in the dolomites among other neat things together. a bit before she died, she sensed it's approach and asked me, "who is going to end up with all my pictures when I go?". well, i did. i put a bunch of them in the local history museum, along with a very complete record of over 100 works of pastel landscape which she painted throughout the west.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2006 - 04:09pm PT
Here is a piece I wrote about that woman, whose name was Randi Eyre.

THE WATER OF LIFE

I have made a few forays into the ridges and valleys which stretch downward from the Continental Divide. While enmeshed with the ancient folds of those high ramparts, I seek a state of absorption and exhilaration loosed from my core. Those places act upon me. My challenges and plans are matched with a set of highly developed expectations, all keeping me tuned in. So all that marvelous experience is well anchored, it unfolds almost on its own.

Then, during the quiet mornings, I saw the water in its various forms.

Randi and I were feeling our way across the darkened trail and reached the edge of Loch Vale. The forest comprised small strands of blackened trunks which grew blacker still as the reddened waters of the Loch rose up from a still born night. The watery fire made from this affair was most brilliant in its emergence. The trees, their slender lives were accounted for each one by the generosity of deep red blackness served upon the water. I will always remember our encounter with such a visual masterpiece enabled by the gracious waters of the Loch Vale.

After her passing, I visited a little tarn that lives amidst the icy world in the cirque below Flattop's northern flanks. I came upon it early one morning and paused to say hello to this clarity huddled and vibrating in the wind. Not so much placed within the dimple of highland, but rather more upon it, clear as a crystal diadem this pool was made as if barely leashed to the earth. As the wind fluttered it so it appeared free to communicate itself to realms unconcerned of gravity. I thought it both receptive and communicative; a living prism carefully placed and charged as a lens within the Cosmos.

Yet another early morning, from beneath Hallett Peak I surmounted a brow of trees overlooking the silence of Emerald Lake. The waters were slightly teased by a steady breeze. The fringes of the lake were peopled by various parties who held gentle position at the water's edge; all were quiet and I felt they were in a reverent abidance to the mountain song. I checked my breathing for fluidity and economy. I sought to minimize my intrusion of foot fall and breath. In this fashion I carried on, passing through and by, struck by the sermon of the lake. I continued on from Emerald Lake to gain the thinner air of the Great Divide. Standing up into the brilliant winds and gold burned grasses of a continental peneplain I loosed some of Randi's ashes to the winds. They were so dry. All her water gone. The water cycles around and crystallizes, melts, flows, evaporates, rains, sustains, nourishes, and erodes. It is a malleable and transformative stuff, with tension and fluidity, reflectivity and conductivity. Some of it found its way out into a tear up on my cheek.


guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
May 19, 2006 - 05:03pm PT
Roy, nice.

Not being a poet, as one can tell. I wrote this while killing time, waiting to go on a road trip. Used those magnetic words people have stuck on the refrigerators. It sort of tells it all I think.

The rock is a gift
A thousand delicate smears
A trip above the void with friends together
In the cool winds
I leave my life behind
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