How Many Of Your Nine Lives Have You Used Up?


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Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 4, 2011 - 11:17am PT
Seeing Alpinista55's whipper count, I thought it might be interesting to kind of see a "close call" tally from you guys and gals.


1) Almost froze to death in a late season rain/snow storm near South Sister in Oregon when I was a teen. Luckily I had a warm dog in the lake/tent.

2) Can't go up, can't go down! First free solo in mountain boots above jagged boulders, Deschutes River...

3) 60 footer on the Pacific Ocean Wall.

4) Ice/rain/snow near the top of the North America Wall.

5) A week of storm, wind, falling ice hunkered down at The Molar on Mescalito.

6) Upside down 30 foot whipper, almost hit the ledge, new route, NM.

I've got a couple left, near as I can tell........

Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
Feb 4, 2011 - 11:25am PT
You mean so far this year?

Trad climber
New York
Feb 4, 2011 - 11:50am PT
1. Hit by a car biking back from school
2. Suffer heat stroke during martiala rts class, teacher and "friends" leave me on the floor in the corner and do nothing
3. 30 foot whipper at the Gunks
4. I ate Taco Bell once

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2011 - 11:51am PT
You mean so far this year?

Uhhh, actually I was thinking more of the big picture "high value" epics.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2011 - 12:04pm PT
"GUD" list Locker!

Uhhh, any involving climbing? Or are you just too honed on the stone and only manage to blow it in the rest of your life....HA!

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Feb 4, 2011 - 12:56pm PT
Massive whipper in Sedona- caught by a #6 wire in that white colored stuff.
Upside-down swing between two boulders- caught by a #4 wire!
Last nano-second duck away from basketball sized rock on Grand Teton
Storm on Mescalito
Lightining storm in Tetons
Standing on snow slope in Pakistan and heard/felt the "whummmp."


Big Wall climber
Feb 4, 2011 - 01:02pm PT
More than I want my wife to ever know about.

Feb 4, 2011 - 01:18pm PT
Used the last one up when I just about took the chop in my closet. . . and. . . interestingly, when you've gone THAT far over the top, the counter resets and you start all over again. . . so. . . as of December 1, 2009, I'm back to having NINE!



Social climber
Feb 4, 2011 - 01:41pm PT
Not so much "honed on stone" but always carried a scared shitless demeanour when climbing so didn't stick my neck out looking for The Horror and avoided ( or at least tried to avoid ) choss heaps, dodgy belays, climbs that ended with fukked up raps & other FUBARed situations that might lead To Death.

That said, I remember rapping off the east side of Mt Colonel Foster with 2 chaps & at least one rappel was manky enough - a sort of slightly sophisticated dirt bollard - and the last fellow down did a rap/downclimb rather then trusting that screwy anchor.

And of course.... childbirth.

But it's the ones I don't know about that are more scary. The time(s) when I was "in danger" and not knowing it. F'rinstance, hitchiking on my own from Interlaken & I was picked up by an old guy who said he owned a gun shop. Nice guy but what if, unbeknownst to me, he was really a Swiss cannibal and that day he was going out for skin lotion but figgered I wasn't the right size?

Or, like a good friend who was hiking on her own in the mountains on Vancouver Island & she suddenly felt the hairs on her neck standing up as she heard a rustling in the bush nearby. She thought it was someone else with a dog....and saw the tawny back of a large animal....and then it was gone. Was that cougar just not hungry that day?


A long way from where I started
Feb 4, 2011 - 01:52pm PT
Tami Sez:
always carried a scared shitless demeanour when climbing so didn't stick my neck out looking for The Horror and avoided ( or at least tried to avoid ) choss heaps, dodgy belays, climbs that ended with fukked up raps & other FUBARed situations that might lead To Death.

Kind of forgot to avoid sticking your neck out that day on Yak Peak, didn't you? (Mrs. Knight's left crampon detached from her boot while soloing an ice step near the summit on the first winter ascent. It was fun to watch her hanging by one tool while trying to re-attach it. In a full-on blinding Force 8 gale. With a 3,000-foot fall as the option if re-attachment didn't work.)


Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
Feb 4, 2011 - 02:36pm PT
The worst for 2010 was a speed wobble down the straight on my R1 at Willow Springs, 175mph+. Not quite sure why I'm here typing this after that one.
Otherwise, typical weekly streetbike insaneties.

this just in

north fork
Feb 4, 2011 - 02:38pm PT
I don't want to know.
Captain...or Skully

The Seas of Stone.
Feb 4, 2011 - 03:35pm PT
At least a couple, eh? ;-)

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Feb 4, 2011 - 03:39pm PT
11 or 12 (at least) but I hear 13 is a lucky number.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2011 - 09:06pm PT
Wow, speed wobble and gunpoint are out in front at the moment.

I was hoping for a few more climbing tales!
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Feb 4, 2011 - 09:26pm PT

Feb 4, 2011 - 09:52pm PT
Terminal velocity of a human is 117-125mph in random posture. On a big bore sportbike that's 3rd gear with 3 more to go. Still it's the yakker on the cell phone who turns left in front of you that is the real danger in riding.

Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 4, 2011 - 10:24pm PT
Just one I that stands out, although I'm certain there were some close car crashes.

My first rappel... a certain (banned) individual sent me down a 70 meter rappel on a 60 meter rope... no knots tied in the end BTW.


Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Feb 4, 2011 - 10:25pm PT

I think I’m in trouble on the 9 lives theory!

There was the 1st grade classmate, who over-swung on a baseball pitch, staggered to one side, and caught me across the forehead.
Some say: I haven’t been right since: (knocked out, concussion, and many stitches).

#2 was multiple high school drinking related car crashes with my peers: with not a scratch.

#3 was passing the car that was turning left-------on the left------ at 90 MPH, during my college years.

#4-11: were learning to climb from books, then rock climbing, ice climbing, and climbing big mountains-1970-77.

(I will be conservative and use an average of only one “I couldofdied” incident per year.)

#12 1978-was a “two-for” on the Chouinard Route on Mt. Fay. Car-size boulder fall, and cornice collapse in a two-day mini-epic.

#13 1980-Rock fall on a new route on the Salmon River that would have converted me to “people-juice” ---if I had not moved 30 feet to one side, when my muse told me: I was about to get chopped.

#14 1994-Being forced off a snowy highway in Wyoming by a out of control car in my lane, and rolling my SUV end over end. I ended up upside down: hanging from the seat belt------totally fine. The car was "totaled."

#15 All too many ocean-swimming incidents, where I fight the current, and can't get back to shore. As a weak swimmer, who loves deep water swimming: I need to start carrying some cheating device.

These are just the high points!

Social climber
Bouncy Tiggerville
Feb 4, 2011 - 10:27pm PT
It's officially 5:

1. Bouldering fall as installer for EP, 40' up and narrowly missed upside-down wooden floor impact.
2. First-time solo aid fall at Smith Rock, inches from broken back and major concussion.
3. Redheaded GF tried to kill us both during drive on windy road during break-up.
4. Crazy Alaskan captain tried to leave me in the surf after going overboard
5. Slipping climbing out of fish-hold and narrowly missing eminent fatal impact on elevated circulation pipes.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2011 - 10:56pm PT
NOW we're getting somewhere!

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 4, 2011 - 11:21pm PT
1. Run over by a truck on San Pablo Ave Berkeley. Crushed chest-long stay in Childrens Hospital.

2. Severe concussion playing football on paved play grounds.

3. Head on collision Boy Scout camping trip-Scoutmaster was the worlds worst driver.

4. 5oo ft fall on Arrowhead Arete approach, courtesy Art "The Move" Gran-hello Lewis Memorial Hospital.

5. Totaled VW Squareback on San Jose Freeway. Rearended by lady doing 50 mph.

6. Blasted in right calf with a 9mm hollow point, during a shoot out. Hello Straub Hospital in Honolulu for a long visit.

7. Arm wrestling Survival


Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 4, 2011 - 11:26pm PT
I’ve used ‘em all and many more. Here’s two from my youth before I got hooked on cycling and then climbing…

Playing army in a storm drain in Ithaca, N.Y.

I had been here many times before, the concrete tunnel goes down at a modest grade, makes a gradual right turn (following the street above) and then ends with an opening 300 feet up a canyon wall. There is a 12” concrete ledge to disperse the water and prevent erosion of the shale cliff. I would escape from my friends by running down this drain, stepping out onto the exposed ledge, and moving to the side where they could not see me. Well, when the drain curves right it is banked a little, and one had to be careful to stay on the high side as a trickle of water ran down the low side growing very slippery green algae.

On this occasion my friends were in hot pursuit, and in the heat of the moment I was careless, got on the slippery stuff and totally lost control. I flew out the mouth of the drain in a seated facing forward position and stuck the landing, on my butt, on the concrete step. It was a very near thing for several seconds as I struggled to keep my balance and not rock forward to certain death. I Never went down there again.

High school in Ithaca.

We used to go jump off the bridge over the river flowing into Beebee lake on the Cornell Campus. The lake level would vary some since it was controlled by a dam but it was usually about a 60foot drop. People had been killed hitting the water badly there. It was a stone bridge with big fat walls along each side over a deep canyon which the reservoir had backed up into making it good for diving and jumping.

I was standing on the wall getting ready to jump when some a**hole “friend” pushed me off unexpectedly. I was falling and trying to get oriented to hit the water well when I saw a couple in a rented aluminum canoe coming under the bridge from upstream and it was clear that I was going to hit them. I still remember like it was yesterday seeing them see me. Somehow I flexed my body in a way which curved me around the side of the canoe as I entered the water. I scraped myself on the boat and pretty much capsized it but avoided the direct impact I was sure would happen. I swam to the rocks on pure adrenaline and set off up the ledges with every intent of killing the guy who pushed me but then I realized I had a broken arm.


Feb 4, 2011 - 11:50pm PT
8, some might know about 2 or 3

Social climber
Feb 5, 2011 - 12:03am PT
Gweeedo those are SICK.

Kris I wish you had been able to KILL the f*#k who gave you a shove.

My daughter gotta shove like that offa big cliff - quite high - but was able to get a good entry into the saltchuck. No injuries. Phew.


Ice climber
Feb 5, 2011 - 12:30am PT
A guy I know got paralyzed by some dumbass in a similar thing. Scares the hell out of me to think about that.

Mountain climber
there and back again
Feb 5, 2011 - 12:56am PT
Too many to count, but this is a sampling of what comes to mind.
1. As a teen I stuffed my head through my windshield on a wet day in the hills of San Rafael. I woke up in the hospital and looked like Frankenstien for a month.
2. Splitting the line on my motorcycle between two semis at around 100mph.
Climbing wise:
3. Took two 40 foot whippers on Central Pillar of Frinzy in 89. A manky hafe inch ABC cam held me both times.
4. '91 4 of us came down Hood in a total white out. Could see the ground or tell whether we were going up or down.
5. In '94 I was set on fire in base camp on Aconcogua. Long story!!!!
Fell in a crevasse on Denali in 95. On the same trip we were buried for 3 days.
6. I had to self arrest this idiot I was taking up Rainier when he fell over backwards with a bunch of slack in the rope. Damn near killed us all.

I am sure there is more blocked out of my mind for self preservation.

Trad climber
Red River NM
Feb 5, 2011 - 12:58am PT
3 that I know of...

Descending "grassy ledges" on Ellingwood Arete after a hail/snow storm with two wet ropes and no gear or webbing. My partner took the rack and webbing to go find a way down. One little slip and I could have gone for a big ride.

The 1rst life I really used up while climbing happened about 6 months into my climbing career in 1993 or so.

I got caught by a freak hailstorm at the top of new route in Cimarron Canyon. I was pretty new to climbing and did not want to leave any gear for an anchor. I slung off a small tree(like 2 ft. tall and the size of my wrist.(DUM!) as my only anchor. Not wanting to make two half rope rappels and leave another anchor, I tied a mongo knot in the end of my lead rope and clipped it into the anchor thinking the knot would not pull through the black diamond oval.(DUM DUM) Then the idea was to tie my 5mil haul line to the knot and use it to pull my lead rope back through the anchor when I got down.

Remember, I was frozen cold (I only had on a t-shirt and short) and had just gotten literally pounded by the hail storm so it made sense at the time.

Anyway, I weighted the rope and began descending. I got to my first piece 20 ft. down.... so far so good. I had just pulled my next piece about 30 ft. below my rap anchor and all of a sudden I was falling! My knot popped through the single oval!

I remember screaming TAKE! TAKE!, but I knew I was not on belay because I was rapping. Fortunately, call it angels, god, Karma or a smart wife, my wife had taken the end of the 5mil and wrapped it around her body. She saved my life that day.

After screaming many explicatives and somewhat getting my wits about me, I realized there was a crowd of 20 tourists in the parking lot to witness the spectacle. The 5mil stretched where the mongo knot was about where my 2nd to my last piece was, about 30 ft. down from the anchor. The 5 mil had stretched 30-40 feet!

I finished the rap and got all of my gear except a sling and b/d oval. I went back the next year and got my biner and finished a nice new 5.8 climb in the canyon.

Another time I was going way too fast in my V8 powered Jeep on a curvy road....


Feb 5, 2011 - 01:00am PT

Thats all I have to say bout that.

Good to be here.

Social climber
Feb 5, 2011 - 01:02am PT
going way too fast in my V8 powered Jeep

You got a vehicle to run on vegetable - but mostly tomato - juice???


hanging from a crimp and crying for my mama.
Feb 5, 2011 - 01:35am PT
If it is eight, please don't tell me.
Q- Ball

Mountain climber
where the wind always blows
Feb 5, 2011 - 02:01am PT
I'm not old but feel I need to slow down, stuff happens, I guess.

1- Lightening in the Wind Rivers- Ice ax was humming, glacier googles where metal was touching shocking me, gators sending sparks, random rocks sparking, and yes lightening

2- Avalanche on Togwatee Pass- decent 3 foot slab that took me for a 200 foot ride and buried me

3- Mt Lion- Simple hand on hand combat; nothing like punching a lion in the face. Sheep Mountain Wy

4-Icefall in Tennessee!- collecting freshwater mussels in a "safe zone" I had determined. Huge sheet of ice broke off from an unseeable cliff and ramped off the lower visible one and reached 40 feet into the river!

5- Honduran CPR- I came back to this great world after a flat ground fall with a random Honduran giving mouth to mouth with a crowd of 50 watching!

6- Giving aid to a dude who glissaded off a cliff in the Tetons. Washing machine sized rock tried to stop the first aid. Nothin like hearing "ROCK" and thinking, "thats not just a damn rock its a piece of the mountain"

7- Russian Army- Surveying land along a border to mongolia for snow leopards and unknowingly out running them to Mongolia via a fierce mountain range

8- Mt. Lion again- Picking up shed antlers in Wy. Came around a corner and was staring at a lion. Fired one shot over its head and what I thought was a dead deer in front was another cat sleeping

9- Siberian Airways- I'ld fly Aeroflot any day, which doesn't say much

10- Etc... etc...
Guess I got more life than the average cat

Trad climber
washington indiana
Feb 5, 2011 - 02:56am PT
More than 9 for sure.
In the last 17 years:
2 Heart Attacks
13 hour surgery with severe anaphylatic shock, failed mini-maze and opened up my chest.
3 ground falls most notably a 40 footer at Drapers Bluff, IL. with a pacemaker, ICD and on blood thinners.

Q-Ball gets my vote for the best list - I want that dude in my corner when the sh#t hits the fan :)

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Feb 5, 2011 - 10:09am PT
Fritz do we know each other?
Q Ball WTF how are you still alive?

Mine go like this

3 years old find my grandmothers pill box. More like a small hard side luggage thing full of all sorts candy looking things. Eat a mixture of god knows what. Wake up in ER after stomach pump etc...

Rolling end over end in Land Cruiser in Montana not buckled in sitting in the rear. Weird thing was I remember the car just rotating around me.
I was the only one who did not go to the hospital,

After doing Lurking Fear driving home from the valley 9 hours to Reno. We would drive 5 miles take a nap. My friend fell asleep at the wheel crossing the Carson Valley hit the bridge barrier over the Carson River. Didn't roll but I had forgotten to put on my seat belt again there.

Camp 6 Nose

Glory bowl avalanche Teton Pass

Saying NO to a fishing trip in Baja with two friends. Both were found dead after being missing for over 8 months. They were killed on Day 2 of the trip in San Quetin on a beach camping.

Super run out on this 5.8 in the Meadows. The pitch has one bolt 15 feet from the anchor. Knob broke in my hand and I almost...... didn't hold on.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Who'll stop the reign?
Feb 5, 2011 - 10:12am PT
Car related:

1. Rammed into the back of a full size van at 65 mph, rolled into the oleanders. Broken neck in there places C1 and C2, walked away. WALKED, away. That one counts for 3 I think.

2. Rammed head on into a telephone pole on Silverado Trail in Napa County, engine ended up in the passenger compartment, walked away from that one too. Which seat belt chest bruise and sprained both ankles when the firewall collapsed.

3. Driving back to Stockton from Knights Ferry bouldering sesh I was daydreaming whilst looking at Mt Diablo and sideswiped a guardrail on the Mariposa Rd over pass over Hwy 99. My ole F100 actually rode up onto and then straddled the guardrail, OVER THE HIGHWAY, and proceeded to slam into 3 guard rail posts BOOM BOOM BOOM. On the 2nd boom it almost tipped over onto the highway, some 30 feet below. On the 3rd boom it went the other way and I ended up back on my road, with a dying truck.

Lots of less significant crashes hehe, but none cat life threatening I think.


Climbing? Failed to reclip a hardness locker into a fig 8 on the end of a belay from above (went to fetch some water). Parabiner, with the reverse screw sleeve, the gate was stuck OPEN. I fell on the route, managed to snag a knob with one hand, cranked a shoulder wrenching move to stay on and then pressed a mantle. As I stood up Angus said, 'Dingus, is that your KNOT?'

I looked down and I was completely disconnected from the rope and my bod harness tie in loop was dangling between my legs with the stuck open biner caught on its gate notch. I one handed it all back together pretty damn quick. Definitely felt the Grim Reapers husky voice on the back of neck that day.


Feb 5, 2011 - 12:48pm PT
Potentially more interesting, is what did you learn from your mishap(s)? Enlighten us so we may avoid the same fate.

1 I learned not to be belayed by an MIT, Electrical Engineer.

2 Have a low deductible on your sportbike insurance.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 5, 2011 - 03:39pm PT
Jeeez Dingus- Did you take driving lessons from my ex Scoutmaster?

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 5, 2011 - 04:10pm PT
almost tboned at the then new signal right by the winkin lantern. but for acceleration to dodge around the screaming braked car in front, right turning into my lane on my right, and the left turning idget on the red, I wudda been dead. yup, definitely counts as one.

have to think about others.

Feb 5, 2011 - 04:33pm PT
I guess I'll play...let's see...

1 - Pulled a 1' x 1' x 2' granite block onto my head, a dozen stitches...doc said that if it would have hit me anywhere else, it would have killed me...

2 - 'was in a speeding car that rolled in the Kern Canyon and came real close to launching into the river/boulders below...

3 - Had a guillotine- shaped block come off and came close to chopping my left finger off, luckily it was pointy and merely lacerated it to the bone. A bandana & climbing tape was handy. The following forced downclimb/fall, 30+ minute hike out, hour drive to the nearest hospital/clinic, hour wait and the actual occurrence was not as bad as the S&M Nurse scrubbing the wound out (no anesthetic) and the doc sneezing on it while being stitched-up...

4 - 'Got caught in a talus slide at The Needles; thrown 15-20' onto a boulder cracking some ribs, and barley able to get out of the path of a VW Bug-sized boulder cleaning house...

5 - 'bout got blown off of Fairview Dome by step voltage from a lightning strike, less than a pitch from the top. My arms went into involuntary motion, curling up and way painful to straighten.

6 - 'got hit by step voltage at the base of Parker Bluff, just after bailing on a project...

7 - Took about a 30'+ whip on this project in a remote crag in the Kern, swinging around to head first, almost decking (3-4' from touchdown).

8 - Had serious heat exhaustion (my partners had symptoms of heat stoke) while low on water on a no retreat possible FA on Tehipite Dome.

9 - Consequently, due to #8, I wrestled with the stuck haul bag some 1100' off of the deck, moving around in etriers, catching myself by grabbing a sling, when I realized I was not tied-in after I 'thought' I had switched ropes for the second...

Edit: 10 - survived a deluge on Dolt Tower with no good rain/bivy gear...BITD

11 - survived slip/fall down the glacier from Clyde Mineret, trying to assist my partner who did screw himself up, after retreating in the big fall rainstorm that eventually washed out the bridge below.

I'm still here...



Trad climber
JackAssVille, Wyoming
Feb 5, 2011 - 09:47pm PT
Three, one for each time I got married.

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, California
Feb 5, 2011 - 10:11pm PT
I'm getting close to 9
but only a couple of the lives
were from climbing.
The rest were skiing, stabbing, gunshot, crazy drivers,
and life.

Gunks Guy

Trad climber
Woodstock, NY
Feb 5, 2011 - 11:00pm PT
Let's see...
5 Years old. Living in NYC. Begging my mom to let me go with my best friend, Johnny Johnson, and his dad while JJ gets a hair cut. Mom finally relents but JJ and dad are 1 1/2 blocks ahead. I am running like a madman to catch them. Down to the end of the block, hang a right and streak across the street never looking. I can still hear the screech of the tires nearly 50 years later. Neighbor across the street was racing to make the red light. The 30' skid ended with the bumper just touching me.

Late 90's. Stole a mid-week, warm, December day at the gunks. My partner and I were racing from classic to classic. Doing the middle rappel of three at the High-E rap station. Miscalculated the middle of the rope and rapped of the end 6-8 feet above the next station. Somehow stuck the landing.

Q- Ball

Mountain climber
where the wind always blows
Feb 9, 2011 - 10:20pm PT
Bump. Would love to hear mountaineering/climbing related close calls (happy endings- don't mean to ask of really bad times). Anyone can drive off the road, just turn the wheel! Figured this bunch of folks would have some stories that could give me a laugh! I always hate looking up and thinking, "well, here we go again". If there is one thing to never trust, I would say a mountain with a women nearby. ha, sarcasm can be hard to type.
Seth Jackson

Trad climber
Feb 10, 2011 - 12:22pm PT
Sentenced to a Loooooonnnnng stretch. Overturned on appeal. Got the last life I had back.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 10, 2011 - 12:48pm PT
Sentenced to a Loooooonnnnng stretch. Overturned on appeal. Got the last life I had back

Now that's a thread stopper! Yikes.

I got robbed by three street thugs in NYC on St. Patricks day 1978. One had a gun, one a buck knife and the third a bat. They escorted me back between some truck trailers at a loading dock and relieved me of a case containing several trumpets, a bag of green and some cash. Then they made me remove my clothes, which they took, and gave me a nice poke with the knife but missed my femoral artery lucky for me. I'm convinced that the reason they did not kill me is only that I kept my composure.

If this thread stays afloat I'll get around to some climbing related ones.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 10, 2011 - 12:50pm PT
I always thoght that it was 9 lives per decade.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 10, 2011 - 12:59pm PT
I always thoght that it was 9 lives per decade

...But that leaves one entire year of safety.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 10, 2011 - 01:27pm PT
Hmm, let's see:

1. Walking home from school holding my mom's hand. My homework assignment gets blown out of my hand by the wind and without looking I run into the street to grab it. A van locks up its brakes and stops about a foot away from me.

2. Soloing Snake Dike. On that frictiony third pitch, mentally committing to a balancy, no hands step up into a dish. I would have downclimbed if I though I could.

3. Soloing Whitney's E. Face and getting off route on the Fresh Air Traverse. I'm climbing up a chimney and, as I'm reaching for the top of a flake jammed sideways, my feet cut loose. All my body weight loads this flake and I can feel the thing wobbling in my hands. Just a really sick feeling.

Probably lots more close encounters that through either youth or the distance of time have faded from memory.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 10, 2011 - 01:29pm PT
Then there was the time I was playing around with an SKS rifle in an old truck graveyard about two miles east of California 395. I thought it would be cool to put a round into this old truck tire, still mounted on a rim. To my amazement the round bounced straight back at me whizzing a couple of feet past my head.

I had no idea that could happen.

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Feb 10, 2011 - 02:08pm PT
Heh Kris, I had a similar thing happen with kiddie toys. I got a BB gun for christmas when I was about 10 or 11 years old. On the first day, I shot a tire at point-blank range, and the BB bounced back and hit me right between the eyes! I guess I almost became ol' Jelly-Eyed Nutjob.

Some others:
1) 18 months old, fell out 2nd story window, backflipped and hit feetfirst with barely a scratch (there was a witness)
2) drank a bottle of cough syrup, stomach pump at hospital when mom noticed I was falling asleep instead of being my normal hyper self
3) Bit a lamp cord in Tulsa Oklahoma, jaw locked onto it, dimmed lights in the house, dad whacked me to get me off the electrical cord. Mouth charred and puffy
4) On my bicycle, smacked into the side of a speeding car that ran a stop-sign... over the handlebars, head-first to asphalt. Mangled the bike, my hair was falling out from shock as I dragged my bike home. Better me hitting the car than it hitting me!
5) Jumped out of a swingset into a stack of tires taller than me... stack fell over, with me half inside, and head slammed into pole of the swingset. Unconscious a few hours, night in the hospital, didn't recognize mommy when I woke up.
6) Contest of wills with my mom... bro and I are maybe 8-10 years old, alone with mom in the car, not realizing how far over the edge she is in life. On way home, mom detours out to a lonely road, mom is saying in a very serious but very crazy scary way, "I could kill you and leave you out here and nobody would know..." My younger brother is crying telling me to stop, but my reaction to the fear is to hide it and keep pushing her buttons, calling her bluff, acting like a little punk. Fortunately, she held it together and regained her composure and perspective. Knowing what I know now, that could have ended differently.
7) Boogie boarding in strong winter surf at the pier in Cayucos, current pulling me out to sea past the end of the pier, padding with all of my might and still going out to sea, spaghetti arms and legs turn to lead and I just can't fight it any more. But somehow I kept at it and eventually got back in.

That takes me up to junior high, years before my first trips to Joshua Tree with the full climbing stoke but no knowledge of ropes... best not to ruminate on this stuff!

But I've been lucky to not have to deal with stabbing and gunshots and serious crime from other humans. That stuff seems to be the most unpredictable brushes with death.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 10, 2011 - 04:16pm PT
"I could kill you and leave you out here and nobody would know..."

Ho man! Another thread stopper. Wow.

A friend showed me this picture...

He and a buddy were paddling a canoe down a river somewhere in Missouri. As they threaded their way under some tree branches my friend, in front, turned around and snapped a picture of his buddy in the rear going under the branches.

The picture came back from the developer showing a full grown cougar lying on the tree branch which, they had not seen.

Trad climber
boulder, Colorado
Feb 10, 2011 - 06:59pm PT
1 - 3 foot leap to a hands catch on a retaining rod 3 stories above concrete in an old granary. (12 years old) And why? Well I knew I could do it. If you know you can do it - why not?
2 - ice fishing, walking on thin ice - couldn't swim. Ice began cracking - got on my belly and wormed my way to shore.
3 - going down in quicksand to be saved by grabbing my friend's fishing pole.
4 - drove my pickup into a washed-out creek bed at 80 mph. Farmer watching said it went end over end 3 times. I was saved by not having a seat belt.
5 - looking at a 60 foot ground fall. Couldn't climb up - too tired to climb down. After an eternity of suffering arms gradually opened and I hung from my jacket on a crystal until I recovered enough strength to go on.
6 - rolled off a belay ledge micro-seconds before giant rock exploded where I was sitting.
7 - solo climbing - leaning out braced against a small edge. Edge broke - I lunged towards oblivion only to come up against another smaller edge.
8 - putting on crampons at base of Hallet's chimney. Rocks the size of gallon buckets suddenly exploding all around me. Not a scratch.
9 - soloing in the Dolomites - excellent rock, perfect weather - suddenly rocks were whizzing by on all sides. Didn't touch me.
10 - mega snow avalanche in the Alps. Ice climbing in a tight gulley - no place to run. Closed my eyes before certain death and . . . avalanche took a left turn down another gulley leaving me with snow under my shirt and in every orifice. It seemed.
Ah - that makes me under water. Just like my mortgage.
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