the life of a thing


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The Good Places
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 7, 2017 - 09:59pm PT
human things passing, the transience of life as compared to concentrated forged carbon and iron, and the pleasures of climbing (moments of utmost beauty, wildness, and serendipitous small but important objects) have got me thinking.

we all know the caress of that much-sought jam, and the meeting of self to shape of earth in climbing. but the objects we find, or purloin, or happen upon and then extend as tools to enable furtherance of serendipity, these have really grabbed me recently.

Like Greybeard's beater symmetric cut biggest old Hexentric that maybe traveled the Cassin of Denali with him when I was toddling about, shouting "hey girls, come babysit me!" I bought that dented POS and I will leave it up somewhere, a wild and new place, the story of the thing and the place to be fondly recounted in hushed tones. It will sit there until an other traveler comes along to continue its trajectory.

Like vitaliy's tools that took some storied tours, for sale on mp.

Like the short thick LA that I found in the dust beneath some nothing pile of Summerville five years ago. That pin, those particles of Lost Arrow, they traveled with me until we together consummated my prideful solo new route a year and a half ago. That pin sits quiet and silent, traveling on like some lighthouse on a shoal, guiding and relieving some future traveler. It is very probably totally independent of my path since I rapped sideways 70 m off it. I'd like to see it again.

Like that long thin BD angle that I foolishly forefinger-hooked alone and afraid in tennis shoes at the offroute finish to peak 9. It came off in my hand. I recovered, sent, and years later left it in concert with a blue tricam for sake of daylight on a descent from a shady alcove ledge. Living the good life now.

Like Jody's dolt (?) kb that he tried'a place on some junky FA in tetonia while belayed by Gill. He dropped it, and Bink-bink-bink away down the cliff it went.

Like that LA pin I dropped into the pines off'a that proudest moment atop the first of Rancher rock.

Like that Army angle that pulled out with fingers in Thompson, UT. It traveled a few moons with me and then found a new home at the apex of a ridge of tuff breccia in the high Mojave.
Or stuck old style #4 with waterknotted purple sling that I liberated from some wide "5.4" in at Valley Massif, WY, last summer. That mystery knot caught my partner Phil as he peeled off a wide one this summer. Last I heard it'd been bootied agin' from some chimney up in Devil's Canyon. Travelin' on.

Some things though, they're just stuck here in samsaara for now, with me.

Like that single short ring that the oldtimers left when they got down from my "first ascent" to the big ledge at Rancher's rock. It sits forlorn now, clipped on the cord-rack with the or ferric fossils, itching for that 85 mph forecast wind at Rancher rock today. I know how it feels.

Like that tired but proud rusted to brittle "fixed" baby angle that rattled out as I aided past on the Wonka tower and sits now, bored on the nail above Sal's antique beercan collection.

Like that ratty old CMI blade that opened the otherwise unprotected door to three fun and one new pitches on a fine day at the Pescatorium. It popped loose as I followed and it moulders now in the indoor air pollution of my home.

I feel like the sorry sad stuck-with-me things need a new home out there where the air is fresh.
I've been leaving things out there into the empty unpeopled places lately. It feels nice.

What are some serendipitous things that stand out as fellow and friendly travelers in your life of climbing?


away from the ground
Mar 7, 2017 - 10:09pm PT
Hmmmm... A few things I can think of.
One is a 20 year old pair of pants ('96 vintage) that I've done well over a vertical mile of FAs in. And probably 10 vertical miles of climbing in. Green "yak skin" fabric, made by the North Face before they stopped making good stuff and started catering to yuppies. The only wear is some bike chain rash on one ankle and some loose elastic. They're still going, and so am I....


from out where the anecdotes roam
Mar 8, 2017 - 12:21am PT
known to me (as in i dream of) "exer-genie"

it might have been around 1966.
the p.e. teacher extolled the virtues of this thing and marketed them to us for about two weeks worth of lunch money.

the rope stayed threaded through, and friction varied according to how wrapped it was around the smooth core, adjustable
by pressing the spring button down out of the the line of holes in the housing and twisting the anchor loop right or left.

the quick and obvious setup was to lodge it between the frame and the top of a closed door. boy the rope ran seductively smooth
through it even at speculative settings. i can still hear the rising handle banging the door as you pulled down on the other.

in the link, an astronaut commented that it got hot, that part i had forgotten ... guess since i didn't "Work It Now?," heat was hardly an issue.
such was the case though it travelled around with me quite a lot with good intentions and because i was very aware of it's versatility.

it proved to be very durable through the years of non use and i'm just as sold on it as the day coach talked it up. every few years it re-appears
in odd places and when it still had it's rope, i would tug on it a little, still that slippery smooth marvel any adolescent stroker can muster.

somehow it escaped various waves of predation over the years, overlooked by the pilferers, not much potential to be pawned.

in fact i was surprised to see it the other day and frankly, still looking intact if a little forlorn.
it got stomped snugly into the mud there in my debris field by marauding cows,
not as chewy as the bike seats or the propane hose they truly covet
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 8, 2017 - 04:53am PT
Original design was meant to lower heavy objects safely from heights.^^^

Two things I will share (the old Fires have been Cosmically re-soled so they are not original).

An old insulating pad made of some stiff new-age substance derived no doubt by taking petroleum and cracking it and refining it and retorting it and bending it and transforming it into this sheet with heat-retaining and cold-shielding properties that only weighs approximately what twenty-five hummingbirds (small ones) might weigh.

I got it from some friend many years ago. I'd be a liar to tell you I've used it much, but it's been used recently to shield the window in this room I call home. It worked, but is so permanently warped into a curve that it won't sit flush. I taped it to a large piece of cardboard so it would fit well without bowing outwards, but the packing tape was not up to the task. I need another roll of duck tape to do the job right.

The old balaclava has a hole in it, but it's still just as warm as the day I got it. I used it in the Sierra and Cascades for cross-country skiing, and it made the ascent of the Salathe with me in '74, and I've worn it to Facelift where nita made faces at it. And that's all my old things that are in original shape. The rest was yard sale merchandise in '95.

I sold off the CMI hammer to H.

Yeah, H probably has lots of odd old junky stuff.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Mar 8, 2017 - 06:05am PT
Mouse, How did you get yer hands on my balaclava? I could have sworn I used it two weeks ago skiing up by the Divide west of Eldora.

Brave, Nice thread. On numerous occasions (more when I was younger) I have come across some old rusty pin in the most unlikely of places and mused about some nameless soul whose route-finding skills were as sketchy as mine. Today I think of those things as trace fossils bearing witness to otherwise long forgotten adventures. I am certain some of those trace fossils were placed by adventurers no longer with us, and think of them quite fondly. Wonder if any of my own trace fossils trigger a similar response in other adventurers, or if they are just happy to have something to clip into at that moment.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 8, 2017 - 06:09am PT
Relax, Nick. Yours is in no danger. Enjoy your skiing.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Mar 8, 2017 - 06:33am PT

Cool BC!

Mar 8, 2017 - 06:42am PT
The yellow Yates screamer in the 3rd photo makes no sense.

Check out how those carabineers are loaded also the rope is pinched against the rock where it's clipped.

Ho man!!!! WTF !!!! You always make your anchors like this?

N00b mistakes .......

Mar 8, 2017 - 06:49am PT
I once had a big bro. It's since moved on to greener pastures.
You can buy anything these days on the interwebs;
but nothing is more prized than the booty you work for. It is earned.
But I hate leaving gear behind.
It's cool, in its own right, that there's some tangible evidence I was there; though in most instances it may never be seen again. But I know. And if I ever thought someone else would care to follow me, I could someday draw a treasure map to the places I've been and the possessions that have escaped my clutches.

But these are only things. The real intrinsic value is in the doing, in being present.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 8, 2017 - 07:02am PT
In 1975 I happened upon the remains of Toni Egger a couple of thousand vertical feet and about 1.5 linear miles below Cerro Torre. He had traveled that distance as a part of the glacier in a mere 16 years.
I buried his remains under some nearby rocks but kept a carabiner which I deposited on the summit of his namesake peak Torre Egger when I did the first ascent the next year.
I sometimes wonder about that carabiner. I imagine that it was subsumed into Torre Egger's magnificent ice mushroom and remains there as an icon to Toni.

The Good Places
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 8, 2017 - 02:14pm PT
duck: "Check out how those carabineers are loaded also the rope is pinched against the rock where it's clipped"

maybe this is SOP for me. ;-)

or maybe with 40 m of rope strung out horizontally behind, with at best a piece every 10 m, I whacked in some pins and backed up the spine-snapping alignment as quick as possible.

and yeah, Jrig, the blue bro travels on in my quiver. I almost left that junky red REI oval you gave me on a summit the other day.

from out where the anecdotes roam
Mar 8, 2017 - 02:27pm PT
that movie that was all about finding the arc of the covenant? ... i was having flashbacks to dallas texas 1968,
a very difficult place to find a bluet canister or anyone who even believed in such a thing

The Good Places
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2017 - 07:16pm PT

so who is RB? E UT Entrada summit, this 'biner had been there for a while


The Good Places
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 1, 2017 - 07:57pm PT
windswept-cut slings on single pins bump

RB, RB, who did you be?

did you rope solo the three pitches of Quixotean choss, as it seems to me?

did you nail the south side line, drilling twice?

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 1, 2017 - 09:20pm PT
Me! Me! I swear on Hayduke's detonator cord!

Reilly Butthead

The Good Places
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 18, 2017 - 12:39am PT
#2 stamped on the 2100kg rated bail biner i just painted three times

just who is #2?

simple things of significance

The Good Places
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2018 - 09:22pm PT


Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Sep 17, 2018 - 07:30am PT
OP musings remind me of a movie I liked a lot: The Red Violin.

Social climber
The internet
Sep 17, 2018 - 07:55am PT
You are a brave cowboy to be climbing off that anchor pictured above. Ummm - what exactly is the screamer going to do - after those biners snap in half?

The Good Places
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2018 - 08:17am PT
most astute JLP, yes the screamer was a cute late addition, a useless clip-on at the last minute after realizing that the last 40 m of ridge traverse lacked any really meaningful protection. it was the only anchor on the summit besides a shaky rounded hump that I slung first upon topping out. darkness coming, one headlamp between us, and things had to get done, so if you please....go repeat the route
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