My regret regarding climbing...


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Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 12, 2019 - 10:21pm PT
Many of us have lost friends in climbing accidents. If one of my lost friends had died as a result of something I did, or if we were climbing together and something just went wrong, then certainly that would be my greatest regret. But despite a few valiant efforts to kill myself and a friend or two I've not yet pulled it off. I’ve lost friends to climbing, and it was gut wrenching, but the regret was not a personal one, not something like survivor's guilt. But there is one thing, to some it may seem trivial, which crosses my mind often.

I regret not having kept a journal, a climbing diary. Bonnie Kamps was kind enough to let me see and peruse a few of the many notebooks, the journals that Bob kept of his climbs; every last one of them I suspect. I knew right then I’d blown it.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Apr 12, 2019 - 10:31pm PT
Well said. I used to keep a journal. Then I kept Trip Reports in html form for a while, copying Clint Cummins as a model of sorts. Then as I got into digital photographs with their date stamps, I got lazy with writing up what I had climbed. Now with social media its a sort of Trip Report, but always truncated in an unsatisfying way, poorly formatted.

So as I round higher numbers in years, this lack of detail I regret sometimes. Other times thankful for forgetting how piss poorly I climb.

I really have enjoyed what is being shared online about Bob. His name was always read with respect when I would run across it.

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Apr 12, 2019 - 10:36pm PT

...thankful for forgetting how piss poorly I climb

For over 25 years you've been like a brother to me (sometimes a son?).

And I almost always see you having a blast while climbing. Don't mistake how hard you climb with how good a climber you are....

D Murph

Apr 12, 2019 - 10:41pm PT
I regret not putting more bolts in my tiny handful of faceclimb first ascents. The boldness and competitive ardor of my youth now unnecessarily puts people at risk and diminishes traffic on some (biased of course) otherwise fun lines. And for what?

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Apr 12, 2019 - 11:23pm PT
Thx gents. Best of adventures! Back at ya!

Hope they open that road to the reservoir soon. We have some lines to finish up!


Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Apr 12, 2019 - 11:32pm PT
And I'll climb the hill in my own way . . .
Just wait a while for the right day

No regrets.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 13, 2019 - 01:35am PT
Hmm, journaling one's climbs... I know there are some folks who do it, but that would be a very different personality type than my own that's for sure.

Mountain climber
Apr 13, 2019 - 04:59am PT
DMT wrote, “ I rarely rose above my own limitations”

Definitely same here! The good news is that I enjoyed my many failures and setbacks along with a few successes.

Social climber
Apr 13, 2019 - 05:07am PT
My regret is that I did not stop to take more pictures- or to learn how to take better photos

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 13, 2019 - 05:21am PT
For the most part it has been great but occasionally I regret the missed opportunities. Those times when lack of motivation, fitness , bravery and skill made it too easy to bail.... I do regret not climbing Epinephrine and Crimson Chrysalis in 1986 when you could get on them without waiting in line.... Climbed a bunch of stuff and then moved on not knowing how much the scene would change by the time I got back there again...

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 13, 2019 - 05:22am PT
I do keep a climbing journal. Not very in depth. just short notes. I also have some pretty cool hardcover photo books from some of our trips.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 13, 2019 - 05:32am PT
I feel blessed to have been able to explore so many special places over so many years. I regret the early passing of so many who were pursuing the same dream....the alpine world is as harsh as it is beautiful and it’s pull is irresistible to some.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 13, 2019 - 05:35am PT
for some reason I have been lucky enough to not lose any really close friends to the mountains..

Trad climber
Apr 13, 2019 - 06:01am PT
I have lost a number of partners and friends over the years, mostly in alpine climbing.
Many of the most interesting and enthusiastic people I have known were climbers and it hurts that some of them are not around anymore.
I regret not having more photos but the memories remain.
My biggest regret are a handful of hard classic climbs I should have done when young and capable but will never do.
I have never regretted taking up climbing.

Social climber
portland, oregon
Apr 13, 2019 - 07:09am PT
Hope lays in the future and regret in the past. Both of which we have no power over. Put them both to rest my friend, and rest easily.

And all that is left undone is done.

Ashes to ashes, we all fall down.

Big Wall climber
Republic, WA
Apr 13, 2019 - 07:56am PT
My regret was believing that one quart per man per day was how much water you should bring. Maybe on a day climb but not on a wall. I have no proof but as I sit here in the painful throws of a gout attack I think I should have left half the pitons in the car and taken more water. How many of you have sat at a belay more than halfway up El Cap, staring down at the meadow with the lush river going through it, not having had a sip of water for a day or more? It is maddening in an existential kind of way. Gotta get to the the top just for a drink of water.

right here, right now
Apr 13, 2019 - 08:17am PT
Climbing IS life. I set out at a young age to pursue it as deeply as possible and to have no regrets. I succeeded.
But this too, comes at a cost. I'm a physical and financial cripple – and though it's hard to connect those outcomes definitively with my choices, I'm not so surprised!

I kept journals, and retroactively created those that were needed to fill the gaps. Took tons of pictures. Am now working on a collection of narratives about all of it.

Berg heil, craglings!


Deceased Climber Friends

Chuck Bloodworth, 1979 – disappearance, South Face of Aconcagua
Jerome Carlian, 1980 – overdose
Yabo, late 80s – self-inflicted gunshot wound
Paul Scannell, 1994 – helicopter crash, Ruby Mountains, Nevada
Al Bard, 1997 – fall guiding on Owen Spalding route, Grand Teton
Dan Osman, 1998 – rope jumping accident, Leaning Tower
Walt Shipley, 1999 – kayaking accident, drowning, Dinkey Creek, California
Randi Eyre, 1999 – bicycle crash, Elephant Rock Classic, Colorado
Bruce Hawkins, early 2000s – car crash
Billy Westbay, early 2000s – cancer
Shawn Curtis, early 2000s – alcohol
Randy Grandstaff, 2002 – rappelling accident, guiding, Red Rocks
Pete Steers, mid-2000s – alcohol?
Dan Grandusky, 2004 – alcohol, broken heart
Charlie Fowler, 2006 – probable avalanche, Ge'nyen Mountain, southwestern China
Walter Rosenthal, 2006 – ski patrol rescue accident, Mammoth Mountain
John Bachar, 2009 – free solo fall, Dike Wall above Mammoth Lakes
Kyle Copeland, 2009 – Crohn's disease
Connie Tobia, 2011 – liver failure
Paul Borne, 2010s – hang gliding accident
Jack Roberts, 2012 – ice climbing fall, Bridalveil Falls, Telluride
Ray Olson, 2012 – unspecified
Pat Nay, 2013 – postsurgical heart failure
Jennifer Martin, 2013 – unspecified
Richard Harrison, 2014 – unspecified
Scott Cosgrove, 2016 suspected clot/stroke fallout from multiple reconstructive surgeries
Bill Roos, 2017 – renal cell carcinoma
Bob Van Belle, 2017 – alcohol, COPD
Craig Khalsa, 2017 – septicemia
Peater Wilkening, 2018 – unspecified
Jeff Lowe, 2018 – ALS-like disease
Jim Bridwell, 2018 – complications of hepatitis C

Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 13, 2019 - 08:21am PT
When I was 17 my (total non-climbing) father actually noticed how much I liked climbing around on rocks and suggested I "should take some kind of class". I turned him down thinking it was only a "boy-sport". I very much regret that decision. Starting up in my mid 30's- I realized I had a true passion for climbing, but there is a certain amount of physical and mental conditioning I will never acquire this late in the game.

Edit to add.. wow Tar. ^^^

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 13, 2019 - 08:29am PT
I coulda been a contenda!

(I got Tar beat, at least in actual climbing deaths)
norm larson

wilson, wyoming
Apr 13, 2019 - 08:32am PT
This is a good thread.
Like so many here I have no regrets about focusing so much of my life and energy in climbing. Except the loss of so many of my alpine climbing friends and associates. They are missed and left a hole in me that can't be filled.

I do wish I had kept some sort of journal too but I did take a camera along on most of my more memorable trips and I'm really glad I did. Those photos are precious to me in so many ways.

At 64 I look back and am proud to have known and met so many others with a similar passion. It's a great tribe and most never get to experience that brotherhood in their lives.
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