How Many Of Your Nine Lives Have You Used Up?


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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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