FLANDERS!!!!! OH NO!!!!!!!!!!! ......."he's baaaaack"

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Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 9, 2012 - 06:10am PT
If anyone was wondering how Flanders (aka Chief Knucklehead) is doing these days, a year after a stroke and heart attack felled him, I am here to testify.

We had gone into Lee Vining Canyon last week, warmed up on some fat ice up the middle of the Main Wall, then set our sights on The Fischer King (M3/WI3+), a spicy mixed line left of The Spiral Staircase. (FYI, this route named after the late, great, John Fischer)

My experience with this level of mixed climbing is fairly limited, especially with the new-fangled tools...BD Cobras. Leashless climbing on ice is one thing....on stone, a whole nother level of spice! That all being said, I was MORE than pleased to send Flanders out on the sharp end.

The conditions were thin that day, but that first pitch was a kick in the pants, with ice 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and plenty of tool placements in fine crack.

The second pitch proved our undoing....1/4 inch of glaze on a 50 foot slabby section right of the belay, and no pro....we rapped a V thread and called it a day.....til yesterday.

No warm-up ice yesterday....we went straight to the business, albeit with a variation. We could see that the conditions on the second pitch had not improved, so rather than getting into the classic first pitch corner system, we chose a direct line up the wall that would keep us right of that impossible slab, albeit mostly on dry-tooling ground.

Enter Flanders. I've been climbing with this guy for nearly 24 years, and have had opportunity to see him do some pretty cool leading, but what he pulled off on this first pitch was really special. They call this mixed climbing, but in the case of this pitch...a bit of a misnomer. Not a single screw was placed in 200 feet.

While I held my breath, Doug masterfully weaved a series of pins, cams and pick jams into a stealthy lead, all sewn together with nerves of FRIGGIN STEEL! I was so focused on an attentive belay, I did not get many pics of him....here are a few....

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The pictures above do NOT do this lead justice....it was pure HUEVOS GRANDE! I had the priviledge of following the gem! Doug's pictures below should give a much better perspective....

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Off and on in our lives, if we are so lucky, we have the opportunity to bear witness to something truly special.....witness the greatness of someone in their element, doing things that are the result of hard work, vision, and years of dedication to a craft.

Yesterday, I got to be the witness....as well as the benefactor, of what I consider to be one of the greatest leads I have ever seen.

Like I said earlier, the Flanders man is back, climbing strong as ever, and has nerves like FRIGGIN STEEL!!!

And all I could do was nearly shyte myself.....

eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Feb 9, 2012 - 06:35am PT
BEAUTIFUL, Crag and Chief Knucklehead!

My heart is on wing!

KEEP THAT MAGIC ALIVE!

oxoxoxoxo

eK@
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 9, 2012 - 06:53am PT
Looks scrappy and thin...

Nice!
Barbarian

Trad climber
New and Bionic too!
Feb 9, 2012 - 06:58am PT
Wow!!! That does look thin! So glad to see Flanders back in form...tell him hello for me.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 9, 2012 - 06:59am PT
Lots of beautiful things there in the least year cragman but if you'll forgive my forwardness, the renewed friendship between the two of you is the most beautiful thing of all.

Rock on.

Cheers
DMT
eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Feb 9, 2012 - 07:01am PT
Lots of beautiful things there in the least year cragman but if you'll forgive my forwardness, the renewed friendship between the two of you is the most beautiful thing of all.

Therein lies the REAL MAGIC, eh?

ox
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 9, 2012 - 07:18am PT
Ice IS nice!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2012 - 07:24am PT
Thanks Ding and Kath...

You're right.....except.."...friends don't make friends shat themselves!"

:)
Roger Brown

climber
Oceano, California
Feb 9, 2012 - 07:29am PT
Proud Doug!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 9, 2012 - 07:34am PT
Cragman its been a lesson for me, one I need to work on.

Cheers
DMT
seth kovar

climber
Reno, NV
Feb 9, 2012 - 07:35am PT
AWESOME!!!!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 9, 2012 - 07:38am PT
Great pics....Bravo!!!!
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Feb 9, 2012 - 07:55am PT
It appears that Flanders is back, and KICKING ASS!!!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2012 - 07:57am PT
^Yeah.

Mine.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 9, 2012 - 08:17am PT
Wonderful to read this.
Truly amazing what determinatiuon and good friends can do.
mctwisted

Social climber
paradise
Feb 9, 2012 - 08:41am PT
good job guys, that mixed climbing is pretty hairy stuff, not like you can have pro where ever you decide you want it, thats the real deal. way to go
my adrenaline seeking friends!
WML

climber
Biggest Little City, NV
Feb 9, 2012 - 09:31am PT
Burly lookin' line! Great job!
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Feb 9, 2012 - 09:41am PT
Thanks Dean, that's a post I'm glad to see. Way to go Doug, the spirit lives on.
Johnny K.

climber
Feb 9, 2012 - 12:52pm PT
Really awesome,what an inspiration Doug is!
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Feb 9, 2012 - 01:02pm PT
sweet!
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Feb 9, 2012 - 01:39pm PT
Well done Lads!!!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2012 - 03:33pm PT
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neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 9, 2012 - 05:21pm PT
hey there, say.... oh my!.... wonderful to hear you are feeling like your ol' wonderful self. flanders!

nice work, both of you!

god bless!
:)
nature

climber
Aridzona for now Denver.... here I come...
Feb 9, 2012 - 05:27pm PT
did he get nuked too?
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2012 - 06:49pm PT
Christians don't get nuked....they get crucified.
rhyang

climber
SJC
Feb 9, 2012 - 08:53pm PT
Really happy to see this !
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2012 - 03:17am PT
rhyang, coming off your Canada trip, you oughta come up and get some LV ice while it's still around!
Silver

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Feb 10, 2012 - 06:26am PT
Cool and nicely done.

Dean you do look really puckered in a couple of those shots.

Nice
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Feb 10, 2012 - 06:32am PT
welcome back doug!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2012 - 06:35am PT
Aaron,

At the belay at the base, I took a shot from a softball-sized chunk of ice, right in the back of the neck. It had come down from 200 feet above.

At any rate, I was PLENTY sore by the time I was halfway up the route, especially swinging my left tool.

Fortunately, the ice caught all muscle left of my spine, as well as some of my bunched hood and sweater collar.

Still pretty sore this morning.
cleo

Social climber
the canyon below the Ditch!!!!
Feb 10, 2012 - 07:49pm PT
SWEET TR!


TFPU! Hope I get to meet you guys someday!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 11, 2012 - 03:36am PT
^Thanks, Cleo!

Would love to meet you as well!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2012 - 04:54pm PT
Neck finally feeling normal again. Time to go back to the canyon!
rhyang

climber
SJC
Feb 13, 2012 - 06:22pm PT
rhyang, coming off your Canada trip, you oughta come up and get some LV ice while it's still around!

Just saw the SMG ice report .. I don't have Doug's nerves of steel or decades of skill. I'm all about the fat stepped out stuff ! :)
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2012 - 07:03pm PT
rhyang, Doug and I just got back from a SWEET little afternoon romp here on Horsetail Falls, and you would have LOVED it!

Unfortunately, neither of us brought a camera....a huge mistake considering the absolutely AMAZING ice features we encountered on the north face route at Horsetail. HOLY SMOKES there are some really cool features that neither of us had ever seen before! So unique that we want to go back up and do the route again, just to get photos!

For those of you that need salt rubbed in the wound, we were 4 hours house to house, including the approach and 3 pitches of really AMAZING ice! We rapped a series of trees from the top down the north face and right back to our packs. Found some booty today too so.....COOL!!!!!!! :)

Got down right at dark, did the 3 minute commute, and walked in to steaks coming off the BBQ....THANKS TO MY AMAZING WIFE!!!!!!!!!

Sweet little 4 hour romp for TEAM KNUCKLEHEAD!
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Feb 13, 2012 - 07:12pm PT
I quite enjoy reading about the icy adventures of others from the toasty warmth of my office!

It's great that you guys are getting out. Thanks for telling the tale.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2012 - 07:29pm PT
Icy adventures INDEED, Phyl! Come on over sometime and join us!
10b4me

Ice climber
dingy room at the Happy boulders hotel
Feb 13, 2012 - 09:19pm PT
how is the roadside ice?
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 14, 2012 - 04:37am PT
Roadside has some very nice, leadable ice, and should improve over the next few days as colder temps make their way into the area for the rest of the week.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Feb 14, 2012 - 09:19am PT
Cragman - Would love to come out and climb some of that stuff with ya.

Very nice
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 14, 2012 - 03:49pm PT
Riley...any time dude!!!
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Feb 15, 2012 - 12:50am PT
Jeeepers, Flanders is amazing

Riley
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 15, 2012 - 06:02am PT
No kidding, Riley! The icy realm is definitely Doug's millieu!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Trad climber
Will know soon
Feb 15, 2012 - 02:25pm PT
Fantastic!

Great pictures too! Missing you guys. Any chance you're coming to the Todd Gordon Fundraiser in JT this April? lynnie
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 15, 2012 - 02:38pm PT
Lynne, that is still up in the air with me. Won't know until the time draws a little more near.

Doug will not make it...he will be back east for a family wedding that weekend.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Feb 15, 2012 - 02:42pm PT
Not sure anymore either Lynnie.
It's a big trip for me from out here..
Sure would be nice to see ya though.


Cragman - I can't get over that beauty lead. The man, after what he has been through, is an intuitive genius on the sharp end. That iced up looking slab moving into mixed ground and then fat ice is just sick! I've never climbed something like that..
mooch

Trad climber
Old Climbers' Home (Adopted)
Feb 15, 2012 - 02:46pm PT
The Tour is back!!!!!!


Hell Ya!!!!!!

Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 15, 2012 - 03:05pm PT
Yeah Riley, that lead was something to behold!

I think I'm gonna get a GoPro and mount it to that dude's helmet!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 17, 2012 - 08:21pm PT
Another great day out with the Chief Knucklehead...climbing up the north side of Horsetail.

Will post some great pics in the morning, since it's near past my bedtime.

Stick a fork in me.....I'm done.
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
Feb 17, 2012 - 08:40pm PT
Awesome! hats off to Team Knucklehead.

waiting with worms on my tongue* for more pix

*baited breath
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2012 - 09:00am PT
Tried to post up pics early yesterday morning, but the upload function was not working. Alas, I am presenly in San Diego spending some time with my father-in-law, who is dying of cancer.

Trying to upload pics once again, but to no avail.

Is there a problem with the site, or is this on my end?

I get to Step #2 and it will not go farther.
philo

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Feb 19, 2012 - 09:05am PT
Absolutely fantastic! This is wonderful stuff.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Feb 19, 2012 - 09:20am PT
Credit: phylp

Testing 1,2,3...seems to be working
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2012 - 06:42am PT
Still have not figured out why I cannot load pics....obviously something here on my end.

Thanks Phyl, for doing the test for me.

Back on the east side tomorrow night, and will try again then.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Feb 20, 2012 - 11:08am PT
Cragman - I don't use Tue uploader here at all - its slow and I hate it.

I still upload to Photobucket and then copy and paste the link. Did my entire TR that way.
I do all the work from my phone. I would never post anything the other way.
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
Feb 20, 2012 - 08:39pm PT
Dean,

Roadside looked pretty lean and mean yesterday, so with your glowing report from Friday as inspiration, Annie and I did North Gully of Horsetail. Wild bizarro ice formations including a ridge like a dragon's back, plumes of blue ice that looked like cresting waves and a huge ice "cave" at the start gave some very interesting climbing.

It felt more challenging than the low angle would suggest, due to the weird twisted ice shapes, water running behind glass-clear ice in spots, and fragile ice. One large block broke off under Annie's crampons and crashed down the gully as she was leading the 3rd pitch, leaving her hanging from 2 tools -- she quickly recovered footing and kept climbing (nerves of steel, that girl).

From the top of the falls we headed climber's right up and over a small rock buttress, but never found any rap slings and wondered which were the trees that you and Doug rapped off. Instead we followed boot tracks which led to the tramway trail and walked off.

A very sweet climb, very alpine feeling and one of the most aesthetic I've seen in California. THANK YOU TEAM KNUCKLEHEAD FOR POINTING THE WAY!
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
Feb 26, 2012 - 09:16pm PT
Low-res cell phone pix of Horsetail Falls

North Gully Horsetail Falls.
North Gully Horsetail Falls.
Credit: Annie Polucha

Horsetail Falls approach. North gully is on the right side of the rock...
Horsetail Falls approach. North gully is on the right side of the rock buttress in upper center of photo; main falls follows ridgeline to the left
Credit: Annie Polucha

How sweet it is...Annie having a snack after the climb
How sweet it is...Annie having a snack after the climb
Credit: em kn0t



Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 27, 2012 - 06:32am PT
Nice, Em! Good on you two for getting on that line...fun stuff, eh???

I took my 35mm SLR and got some AMAZING shots when Doug and I did it, but I am having upload problems currently...will post them soon.

Hope to see you soon!!!
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
Feb 28, 2012 - 11:52am PT
Dean,
Yes, I'd love to see your photos. As you know, the low res images don't do justice to the ice.

Bummer about not being able to post your pix. If you email one of your photos I can test posting it through my account. :-)
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2013 - 07:15am PT
Two years ago today, Flanders went down in his kitchen from a stroke and heart attack. That he survived was a miracle...and two years later, he continues to amaze.

Flanders in Lee Vining Canyon last week....

photo not found
Missing photo ID#286911
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 28, 2013 - 09:01am PT
Miracles do abound around the Taco

Yeah!

Susan
chez

Social climber
chicago ill
Jan 28, 2013 - 12:45pm PT
Beautiful shot
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 28, 2013 - 01:07pm PT
Stellar, and,, unstoppable....
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
He's back in the Canyon today.....fiend, he is.
PeteC

climber
Jan 28, 2013 - 01:48pm PT
Doug is an inspiration and a delight to watch climb. The master at work!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2013 - 04:42pm PT
He'd climb ice year round if it was available.
sullly

Trad climber
Jan 28, 2013 - 05:00pm PT

Credit: sullly
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 28, 2013 - 05:50pm PT
Old farts getting it done!

How's yer dawg?
dave

climber
Earth
Jan 28, 2013 - 06:52pm PT
You mean this guy?

Credit: trippy
last Wednesday in the LVRG

Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2013 - 08:18pm PT
Nice shot of the poseur on Spiral Staircase, Dave!
Brian Biega

climber
Truckee, CA
Jan 28, 2013 - 08:24pm PT
Hi Doug-



Look forward to seeing you soon!

Cheers, Brian
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Jan 28, 2013 - 08:45pm PT
a super smooth character on mixed ground... awesome!
edit: cragger, your feet need to breath.
dave

climber
Earth
Jan 29, 2013 - 09:12am PT
Cragman, this one is from when we did Spiral Staircase a few weeks back in THIN conditions.
Flanders rice climbing
Flanders rice climbing
Credit: dave

the other one up thread is the left left side of chouinard flow where it touches the rock, also THIN last week.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 09:16am PT
I stand corrected, Dave...thanks for the pic!
Tork

climber
Yosemite
Feb 28, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
Credit: Tork

Credit: Tork

Credit: Tork

Credit: Tork
Flanders!

Trad climber
June Lake, CA
Feb 28, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
I have been up and down on the wait loss program.

Credit: Tork
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Feb 28, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
Baahaha,, that last pic is avatar material!
Tork

climber
Yosemite
Feb 28, 2013 - 05:15pm PT
I was a little worried when you leaned back on the anchor...proves those ice screws can hold a good load.























































Credit: Tork




I wonder if it could have held us both???




























Credit: Tork
rhyang

climber
SJC
Feb 28, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
Doug is awesome ! :)
TYeary

Social climber
State of decay
Feb 28, 2013 - 08:53pm PT
Outstanding, guys. Doug is indeed back. Sorry I missed you all ast trip up.
Strong work.
TY
Flanders!

Trad climber
June Lake, CA
Mar 1, 2013 - 07:48am PT

If you thing Tork has put on a few pounds, you should see his wife, Mony !
Tork

climber
Yosemite
Mar 1, 2013 - 09:19am PT
He won't be back for long if Mony sees his last coment. Talk about thin ice.



A guy could deck when treading thin ice!
Credit: Tork
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