I use to date a climber that had very limited verbal skills. He had learned how to climb through trial and error. It was also his method of teaching...
He would put me on things that were over my head, get us into an epic adventure and then give me a specific "look." It was this "oh shiest you are going to die, you better save yourself" look... (I hated that look.)
Our last epic was during a crack climb. I followed him to the bolt and then discovered that we didn't have enough rope to rappel down. We didn't have the option to top out and we didn’t have the right gear to set up another anchor below us, etc… Instead I found out that he had another plan, we were to climb off rope across the face into an easier crack. We were then going to free climb it the whole way down...
I remember focusing on each hold... Somehow I made it across and slowly fitted myself into the "easier" crack. It was pretty solid until I found myself in a very interesting section. A tree had grown out of the crack and was making the area crumble and fill up with dirt... It created a fragile ledge that you could walk across to another spot on the wall that had huge jugs. Nothing was solid going across but it looked a whole lot easier then climbing the slab around the tree. When I put my full weight on the dirt, I quickly realized my mistake… I felt my world shift and my feet fly over the ledge. At the same time, I flung myself across to grab a tree branch and held for life. I felt my hands being ripped by the bark; the pain was sharp as my shoulder jerked. I ignored the pain and held tighter, feeling the blood dripping across my wrist as my whole body dangling in the air sixty feet from the ground… The world slowed down and at the corner of my eye I could see him giving me the "look." He then called out to me; "don't let go." Somehow with this golden advice ringing in my ears, I pulled myself back in and made it down.
We dated for another year after that, but never did another rope climb. I was sick of epics, so I developed a preference for bouldering.
Looking back I can honestly call him both the best/worst teacher I ever had... He was the best teacher because I did go pass my limits on a regular basis. He was the worst because he kept putting me in danger.
(It was an interesting stage in my life…)
This thread reminded me of an epic TR I read a while ago on another board (canyoneering this time). About as bad a time as I can imagine 2 people and a dog having... especially the dog. Give it a read and happie's dog woes will seem inconsequential at best:
To Anastasia_ Sorry I ever became your partner from Hell.
Sorry for ever investing in that "Fish" Harness.
Looks as if the climbing world will never climb with me.
I must be limited. wow- I feel horrible!
I must remember that day.
You must have been soo pissed at me since that day.
I ran into a guide over the weekend his name is todd and he works for Bob Gains. I'll sign up ASAP. It should make me the safe climber that I need to be. thanks for the compliment.
Limiting vocabulary is being fixed, because I go to school for that.
I can't do anything right can I.