most fun you've had climbing in Really Bad weather...


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Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Dec 10, 2009 - 03:17pm PT
note to self, don't climb with John.

now this though...

wet load to the base of manure pile where Werner magicly appeared in the Buick with coffee, beer, chips etc.

that's just awesomeness


Dec 10, 2009 - 04:33pm PT
1987, Walt Shipley and I blasted up the Super Couloir on Fitzroy for what was the speed record at the time -I think 14 or 15 hours. The weather wasn't too bad, but as we got close to the top the wind picked up and you could see a new storm approaching across the ice cap. Somehow we lucked out and spent about 15 minutes on top in glorious windless weather. But as soon as we found the Argentine Route raps and started heading down the weather and the wind dropped in on us. We were rapping with the rope ends in our jackets to keep the wind from hanging them up somewhere. Dark came and we got to the point where you're suppose to drop through a notch and on to the east face. Looking down the expanse of the east face with our headlamps looked terrifying so we kept heading straight down. Big mistake as the normal way gets you out of the wind, and heading down the way we did put us directly in the wind. We had a tiny rack to start with and now we had to find and in many instances build our anchors. We cut pieces of fixed ropes we found frozen in the ice to sling blocks, and the wind pushed us around, and "sand blasted" our exposed skin with ice crystals. We finally made it down to the col, and laughing at the wind, becauseof course that's what you do after that type of experience, we curled up in our sleeping bags and bivy sacks to grovel and wait for light.

As an added bonus, after making it down to the glacier the next morning we had to take the shortcut back to the Cerro Torre side alongside the lake (can't remember the name). Evidently we got bad beta from JB and ended up on the wrong side of the lake from where the trail was in swamps and sticker bushes. That almost made the storm seem like childs play -though needless to say, both Walt and I were cooked at that point.

Hey Scott - Good one on Zod - Cerro Torre was almost as much fun when we were raping ehhh - ha ha!!
Lee Bow

Trad climber
wet island
Dec 10, 2009 - 07:50pm PT
The most fun I ever had climbing in serious crap was actually on a SAILBOAT! The winds were way serious (gusting to 60kts) and the waves were starting to get a little out of hand. On the way out to the mark most of our division had bailed out, but a few of the serious guys were hot on our heels...All the div A guys (big boats, mostly 40ft)have 'checked out' and have a good half mile on us.
As we round the mark and head down wind Dad (on helm) orders me to 'pop the chute'...I look at the big boats and none of them is flying a spinnaker...umm Dad ARE YOU NUTS?
He's just grinning and so is my Grampa in mid boat..

"This won't be a's your job to get it down"

My Grampa chimes in. "Good Lord man. This is our chance to trounce the whole fleet."

The spinnaker goes up with a woosh and I think "Ohh man I'm NEVER gunna get that down.

By the end of the run we really have caught uo with the big boats. A couple even tried launching chutes but their massive sails forced them to wipe out.

The it was time to round the mark and take the rag down...and that's where it all went to hell. The halyard jammed at the top of the mast as we came around and the boat lay down flat. Technically this is called broaching, but when the boat is skating all over the water like soap in a bathtub is better to call it a MASSIVE F#$N MESS.

Somehow it seemed sensible at the time...I ran out the mast and released the top shackle to the sail...SPROING... the boat stood up fast, I felt like I was riding a catapult! Some how I stuck in the rigging. The sail was laying all over the water. Grampa was struggling to pull it aboard and Dad had his hands full with every other line on the boat.

We were fast approaching the finish line and I didn't want to be a distraction...but I was 30 ft up a skinny mast in a storm. Talk about free solo.
"UMMM, Dad any chance you could send up a bosun's chair?"

We were screaming across the finish line with the race comittee taking pictures. My Dad responded cooly like this was an everyday occurance.
"You got yourself up there, you get yourself down"

By far and away the most FUN I ever had climbing in crap weather.

sounding out stuff , in the manner of crickets
Dec 10, 2009 - 09:10pm PT
the trailhead for the stillwater is positioned just below a wild cascade. the trail is blasted in alongside a plunging river, beating itself silly on boulders and throwing spray and mist all about. it is a very invigorating place to be, so much so that it's a relief to reach the flats where the water spreads out above the gorge, where conversation at normal volume may resume.

my buddy and i were headed there in mid winter, after a severe cold spell, and an ill advised short cut in a vw bus that had met it's match on the snow drifted gravel road. things were just getting "sparkly", there was fungus among us, and we were doomed to spend the experience shoveling and pushing but a savior arrived in the form of a bee keeper with a 4WD who wanted through. he hooked us up with a wild high speed tow in the wake of his truck. the powder storm we were immersed in only permitted glimpses of our whereabouts, the task was to keep the tow rope roughly perpendicular to the bumper, and avoid getting the front wheels crossed up or letting thumbs get ripped off by a steering wheel gone mad.

so when we unhooked on the maintained road and turned for the trailhead we were really cooking, with the exultation one would expect in such a case of divine intervention and deliverance.

the tumult in the gorge had been refashioned by a solid conforming sheet of translucent ice into a beckoning stairwell accompanied by a remote gurgeling. the ice was as perfect as acrylic, several inches thick and yielded a view into a private green aqueous world, far removed from the raging whitewater norm. boulders were wrapped in clear, fused and sculpted forms that just begged to be caressed by the smooth stroke of a gloved hand. cuspate surfaces warping, blending into one another, bridging decks across green depth,
only the passage of sparse bubbles told the thickness of the ice.

we were moving across a magical mask, placidly cloaking the roar, rendered eerie this day by it's absence.

traction was non-existent on the wind polish, our vibram lugs would creep slowly toward the occasional open hole, and the buffeting propelled us all the more. the natural response was to hunker down, and let our canvas coveralls, knees and forearms, hips and all arrest the slide. so groveling in a carhart baby suit was the order of the day. slithering up each step, embracing the lucite, peering into liquid where fish, under normal conditions would be foolish to venture, it was otherworldly indeed, and our approach so infantile.

at the top where a skating rink spread wide the wind was funneled and rambunctious. it was all we could do to stand in identical boots, shoulder to the wind and facing each other as in a mirror. actually, standing was possible only for brief periods. the punch of a gust would overcome the traction of our lugs and we would quarter cartwheel to the surface in tandem, slamming onto the ice, anaesthetized by convulsive laughter, righting ourselves for another round, grinning in anticipation. the effect was that given our symetrical frames of reference, the earth was coming up to slap us on the side, a sensation we couldn't shake, but it delighted us greatly.

on the other end of the range, there was a great unsolved mystery. a real gorge, of the clarks fork of the yellowstone river and that evening, as the cold spell broke, and the window of opportunity was lost, we realized that if we were going to see that granite gorge from river level, and study the potential that it held, we were going to have to do it in the severe cold. that's what we did. it took ten years till ten days of minus twenty opened the door for us. but that's another story, one for a different kind of trip report

right here, right now
Jan 11, 2019 - 10:40am PT
Ha ha, top roping on the 90 Foot Wall, Tahoe, at the onset of a snowstorm, on acid!

Watching snowflakes collecting into patterns on the wet granite boulders at the base of the climb was pretty cool. But when I began to see embedded within the crystals and lichens repeating patterns of faces appearing all over the rock, lips poised as if singing in a choir, it was time to head upward. Fingers and arms were almost numb cold, so I just signaled them to grasp and clasp the stone, which was beginning to drip. Luckily the route was mildly overhanging, so the footholds were not too bad, if a little damp. The pump came on quick, so I raced up to the anchors to beat the clock. After topping out, my buddy was concerned that his Fiat wouldn't make some of the steeper rises in the road which he surmised were turning white and slick on the route back to Kings Beach, so we fled for other activities!

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Jan 11, 2019 - 11:32am PT
The most fun I had in bad weather was climbing Mt. Blanc in October with a storm moving in. Knowing how many people die in a good storm in the Alps, we nevertheless persisted.

We were thirsty but couldn't drink because our water bottles were frozen solid. Our route traversed from west to east. My nose was running and it was cold enough from the north wind that my snot froze in a horizontal icicle which I would reach up and break off from time to time. We were a party of three. On the way down one of us became so tired and hypothermic all he wanted to do was lie down for a short nap. It took a major effort to keep him on his feet and walking downhill.

A few hours later we were enjoying wine in a cafe, laughing at it all. Such is climbing in the Alps.

Trad climber
Jan 11, 2019 - 01:48pm PT
Well one memory was climbing the Diamond with this guy Steve who was my buddy's best man at his wedding. Only time I met him (Steve is hysterical!). He was driving to Alaska and called me up and said he wanted to climb and I was like sure, lets do the D. He said we need supplies which included a quarter ounce of weed, a large pizza from ABO's, and a pipe screen for the bowl. Supplies were secured and off we went.

The weather didn't look great but what the hell. By time we reached Broadway it was snowing, but not bad. Well it snowed like 6 or seven times on the ascent (Pervertical) but we celebrated every pitch. And the belly laughs got longer and harder the higher we got. Pun intended. :-)

When we topped out all parties had bailed long before and our bag of weed was nearly empty. We got back to Boulder in time for a friend's party where I hung out with my future wife.

I haven't seen Steve since. Last I heard he got married and is living in a self made cabin in Alaska.

Cheers Steve!!!!


Mountain climber
golden, rollin hills of California
Jan 12, 2019 - 08:37am PT
John Muir was a big fan of storms and their great wonderful energies. The absolute best of the mountains was the storms. A great account is Muir climbing a tree to better experience the storm's energies:

Toward midday, after a long, tingling scramble through copses of hazel and ceanothus, I gained the summit of the highest ridge in the neighborhood; and then it occurred to me that it would be a fine thing to climb one of the trees to obtain a wider outlook and get my ear close to the ∆olian music of its topmost needles. But under the circumstances the choice of a tree was a serious matter. One whose instep was not very strong seemed in danger of being blown down, or of being struck by others in case they should fall; another was branchless to a considerable height above the ground, and at the same time too large to be grasped with arms and legs in climbing; while others were not favorably situated for clear views. After cautiously casting about, I made choice of the tallest of a group of Douglas Spruces that were growing close together like a tuft of grass, no one of which seemed likely to fall unless all the rest fell with it. Though comparatively young, they were about 100 feet high, and their lithe, brushy tops were rocking and swirling in wild ecstasy. Being accustomed to climb trees in making botanical studies, I experienced no difficulty in reaching the top of this one, and never before did I enjoy so noble an exhilaration of motion. The slender tops fairly flapped and swished in the passionate torrent, bending and swirling backward and forward, round and round, tracing indescribable combinations of vertical and horizontal curves, while I clung with muscles firm braced, like a bobo-link on a reed.

A Wind-storm in the Forests

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 12, 2019 - 09:06am PT
Cold bivies are miserable. It isnít as bad when moving.

So I have never had fun when it is really cold. And I have nearly frozen my ass off more than once.

Trad climber
Little Rock and Loving It
Jan 12, 2019 - 11:40am PT
Cold bivies are miserable. It isnít as bad when moving.

Roger that. Spending a few hours belaying in a cold, windy storm isn't much fun either.

I have had fun BC skeezin in full conditions.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jan 12, 2019 - 01:14pm PT
This thread needs some pics:

After bailing off Ski Jump, while looking for Phantom Pinnacle, before we headed over to climb Bishop's Terrace:

Le_bruce ready to belay me, hard to keep the water drops off the camera lens:
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