Mirror,Mirror -Ascent 73 Your Favorite Short Climbing Story?

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 24, 2009 - 11:57pm PT
Ed Drummond wrote this amazing piece about an epic FA of the Arch Wall on the Trolltind Wall in Norway,arguably Europe's largest. It first appeared in the 1973 Ascent. They were up there for three weeks and very nearly perished from exposure.

Ed is a poet and really draws the reader into marvellous layers of desperate emotion and details of the passage.











With all of Ed's wonderful wit and phrasing, this is my favorite short climbing story......Post up yours!
Double D

climber
Jan 25, 2009 - 12:08am PT
Classic!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jan 25, 2009 - 12:10am PT
Just want to say Steve Grossman that I always so enjoy your Threads ! Great to meet you at the Nose Reunion. Lynne
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 25, 2009 - 12:14am PT
I've always loved that one. But it's 10 pages. Somehow, I think that disqualifies it from the "Short Climbing Story" category. Even without the pictures it's still long.

Or maybe we live on different literary planets. If Ed's Troll Wall piece is your favorite short climbing story, what is your favorite long climbing story?

My favorite short one is a little thing Jim Sinclair wrote about thirty years ago. Can't remember where it was first published. Ascent? CAJ? I'll look for it and try to get it posted up here tomorrow.

D
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Jan 25, 2009 - 12:15am PT
"How long will it take you to retrieve that?"






The account from, Summit(?), could have bee Off Belay™, maybe even Climbing™ about the Minnesotans climbing McCarthy West on Deto, is still one of my stand out faves. Last time I mentioned it, here, someone posted it.

"harder to shake than a Duluth winter."
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 25, 2009 - 12:18am PT
A long piece, maybe, but not relative to a long climb and a long wall. Which is something you notice right away when you're at the base of Trollveggen.

Jim Sinclair's article is called "Sometimes You Know - Sometimes You Don't." It was in the Canadian Alpine Journal in 1974, and reprinted in Games Climbers Play. For me, the title says all that's needed.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2009 - 12:24am PT
Well, let's throw it open to extended play, shall we!?! On the hunt for the elusive favorites......
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Jan 25, 2009 - 01:27am PT
I remember that article like it was yesterday, one of the best ever. I eventually got there a few years later but it was a long and winding road. I took the train up from Oslo just for a look-see. Fortunately I didn't have to invoke any ploy other than "it is late October and pissing down." I could only see the top intermittently, at mid-day it was too dark to get a decent picture. It is the most sinister-looking place and, shudder, the choss! It looks like the whole thing is ready to come down anon. I camped at the base, but not too close, and listened to the rain-loosened missiles all night. They might have been loosened by Odin's goats pulling his chariot. What sort of man would brave that? I was humbled and happy to get back on the train.
perswig

climber
Jan 25, 2009 - 07:51am PT
Dear god, that is some amazing, lyric writing. Thanks for scanning and posting.
Dale
Michael Kennedy

Social climber
Carbondale, Colorado
Jan 25, 2009 - 10:09am PT
"Mirror, Mirror" - one of the all-time classics. Should be required reading.

"A Short Walk With Whillans" by Tom Patey is another must-read.

"Mind Games" by David Pagel may be the story Jaybro mentions (Climbing #85, August 1984). Hilarious and well worth finding.

Steve, thanks for getting these historical threads going, they bring back great memories and help keep some of the history alive.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2009 - 11:13am PT
My pleasure, Michael! The history is what makes the ST so fun! So many great stories that just need a little bump!
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Jan 25, 2009 - 11:44am PT
any length?

The Soloist's Diary, hands down.

followed by, 'One Green Bottle.'
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Otto, NC
Jan 25, 2009 - 12:21pm PT
Dave Pagel's hysterical account of driving back to Minnesota from Boulder is an all-time favorite of mine.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jan 25, 2009 - 12:34pm PT
Drummond's Troll Wall story is an absolute classic, thanks to Steve for bringing it back
into daylight.

I read a lot as a young climber, with dreams far beyond my achievements. No piece of
writing influenced me as much, then or since, as Chuck Pratt's "The View from Deadhorse Point."

Steelmonkey kindly posted Pratt's article on SuperTopo a few years back. Interesting how
so much seminal writing first came out in Ascent.
yo

climber
I drink your milkshake!
Jan 25, 2009 - 01:14pm PT
11/10

like Spinal Tap
bobinc

Trad climber
Portland, Or
Jan 25, 2009 - 03:13pm PT
How about "Midges"? I have to find date and author but some of you must remember this short, short gem set in the bogs of the northern UK.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 25, 2009 - 03:33pm PT
"Midges" is in G.J.F. Dutton's "Nothing So Simple As Climbing". It may first have appeared in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal, or something of the sort - Dutton was editor of a journal, too. And an extremely witty writer.
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Jan 25, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
" It's a 5.10 mantle into Heaven , brother."

Forgot about that one!
"Pneumanuts",

"He mumbled something about a new technique, then floated past the crack" from memory, but it was something like that.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jan 25, 2009 - 05:17pm PT
Robin Smith's story "The Bat and the Wicked," about a Scottish FA with Dougal Haston, is
also among the best of the best. Maybe one of our scanmasters will bring that back to
the light too.

Tragic to lose such fine writers, climbers, people as Smith, Haston and Patey, so young.
"A whole generation of British alpinists," as one writer put it (there were many more as well).
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2009 - 07:02pm PT
Along the lines of purposeful tribulations, another fine writer Sir Martin Conway, had this to say in Mountain Memories, 1920.

What would a man know about mountains who knew them only in days of cloudless peace? He that would "enter into the treasures of the snow" must wander in high places in Nature's many moods. When lightening is mated with the clouds, and when rain and snow-fall link earth and sky with silver cords, he must be a joyful onlooker and participant in the drama, even if he rejoice with trembling. To climb along a narrow beclouded ridge, when the gale sweeps across it and grasps at its crest, is a far more thrilling experience than to tread the slenderest arete in still air and clear sunshine. A tower of ice, whencesoever beheld, will be a brilliant thing, but the traveller who passes beneath one tottering to its fall will carry away a more vivid remembrance of its grandeur. Such sights and memories are unpurchasable treasures which have to be won. No written record can transfer them, nor are they easily to be erased by the passage of time.

I just bought the book and it has lots of great passages.

Hmmmm- This one's too short! Perhaps the next will be just right?!?
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