Speaking of statistical improbabilities...


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Social climber
Eastside (of the Tetons)
May 7, 2012 - 02:44pm PT
Awesome story, tfpu!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 7, 2012 - 03:18pm PT
Thanks, Lila, for posting one of the most wonderful things I've ever read on line. The only creation of your father's that I own, I still cherish and use -- my now 40+ year old Doltster.

It's also great to read about climbers who golf. Back when the Ahwahnee Hotel's pitch and putt course was still in existence, I wanted to carry a wedge and a few balls up the Royal Arches and see if I could hit a green from the Jungle, but climbing partners talked me out of it.


May 7, 2012 - 03:27pm PT
A wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.


Trad climber
May 7, 2012 - 06:00pm PT
Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. As a dad who has two adopted children, I can appreciate your journey on some level, if even a small one. My wife and I hope to be able to allow our kids the freedom to seek out their history when the time is right. Its strange for me, sometimes when I think about it, to know that my kids have biological parents out there who may often wonder about them. The whole thing is too big to understand sometimes.

Thanks again.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 7, 2012 - 08:09pm PT
Boodawg, you honor me with your words and wisdom.

I would be very proud to be a steward of the Dolt peg until it goes to live with Ken Yager at the YCA. To touch and hold something in my hands that he made...I'm barely keeping it together.

To be able to teach my daughter about the great outdoors, leaving the planet better than she found it, living out her dreams whatever they may be...will be so much more colorful with the stories about Dolt and Ann that I will be able to share, and now, moreso, because she will be able to hold something tangible in her hands to spark her curiosity.

I can't help but think that they're both smiling...broadly. My heart thanks you.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 7, 2012 - 09:14pm PT

I gave all of my 70s gear to Ken Yager so he could build authentic displays using 70s gear. I gave camping gear, clothes, EBs I had worn, as well as all of my ancient hardware, some of which was produced by your birth father. I saved one piece back, a Dolt pin, that was elongated to about 8 inches. I used it through my climbing days to fish nuts and clean dirt out of cracks. I think it was with me on every climb I did starting in 1971. It is a fine piece of hardware, and it is the only physical piece of that life 40 years ago that I have left: it is enough.

Thanks for joining us.

Here is a picture of my Dolt holster--Nylon--my Dolt cleaning pin (the one I kept), and an early version of an elongated hammer better suited for cleaning.

Social climber
May 7, 2012 - 09:27pm PT
Great story, Lila - you are the offspring of a legend. Big boots to fill, but your spirit covers that well.

Peace, Erik

Social climber
May 8, 2012 - 12:06am PT
What a wild story. Thanks for also cross-posting on Daryl Hatten's thread. I was only 11 in '71 and so not exactly climbing in Yos.

But knew Daryl well.

All the best to you Lila ! :-)

May 8, 2012 - 12:10am PT
Great story - thank you for sharing it with us. I like the photo of your mom, she looks nice. I wonder if anybody recognizes where it was taken.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 8, 2012 - 11:34pm PT
I haven't laughed this much or this often in a really long time -- so thanks for that!

JEleazarian: Loved your story about combining sports. About 10 years ago, I hit a ball off of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland (before anyone starts cursing me out, it was before I learned that golf balls contain lead) in what felt like gale force winds -- definitely memorable, not so much for the act itself, but for the moment in between when I lost my balance and regained it again.

Perswig: You reminded me that I've been running around on rocks since I could walk, just not the "big wall" types. ")

Roger B: So happy to hear that you donated your gear to Ken Yager & the YCA. It seems right to me that Bill's equipment have a home where he loved to be and seemed happiest.

And funny that you said that I look like my birth mom, because her sister took one look at another photo and said I look like my birth dad. Guess I'll just have to show up so we can settle it once and for all. lol.

Prod: I bow down to the 2 iron. My 3 iron only gets to come out to play for good behavior. I find, though, that if I try to concentrate physically, my brain gets in the way, so this is where humor comes in very handy.

Reilly: My grandpa was in the lighthouse service on the Hudson River in NY. I always admired his job, too. Say, what is it about Reillys and water?!

Hey, and thanks to everyone who shared their own adoption stories. Everyone deserves to love and be loved!

Question: Does anyone happen to know whether Bill was flexible? I inherited hypermobility somewhere along the line, and it doesn't appear to have come from my birth mom's side of the family. Just learned today that I inherited my strong hands from him...pretty darn cool.

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
May 9, 2012 - 12:48am PT
Lila.... WOW, Just saw this story ....Wow..wow... wow..and Welcome...Thanks for sharing your birth story....
Best wishes to you....

ps...Maysho has a a cool adoption story...
pss.. adoption stories have always fascinated me...
Berdette Robison

the present
May 9, 2012 - 11:59am PT
I have not been on the Supertopo in several months. I am not a climber, nor have never been involved in any aspect of that world. I went to my Senior Prom with Boodawg in 1963 and found him via this website. I spent a few months on the Supertopo website and read so many fascinating stories. Then life took over and my visits to Supertopo stopped.

I read your story and am so moved. What an amazing journey for you. It must be so incredible for you to find out so much about your birth parents from what were essentially strangers to you just a short while ago. How tragic that you never knew either one of them. But, I'm sure from the outpouring of stories, you must feel a true connection. I hope your adoptive parents have been supportive and are as overwhelmed as you are. You are truly an inspiration. What a gift to be able to give your daughter.

By the way, it's Boodawg's birthday May 15!

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 9, 2012 - 11:11pm PT
So, I started thinking about all of the things that had to happen in order to be here now...

If I just start from the moment when my daughter was first put in my arms, when it occurred to me that Ann's arms were empty...I couldn't stop thinking about how fortunate I was to have the care of this little soul entrusted to me, and yet, at the same time, my heart ached for what it must have felt like for Ann to have gone through something so miraculous and then have had to pack up her things to leave the hospital...and go home all alone.

I wanted her to have the chance, if it wasn't too painful for her, to meet my little muppet and to soak up some of the sunshine that she radiates constantly, if only to give her back some of the connection she had so bravely passed along to my mom and dad and me. I wanted to look into her eyes and express my love and gratitude and deepest respect.

My search started with obtaining my original birth certificate and a copy of a single sheet of "non-identifying" information from Catholic Charities about my birth parents. Non-identifying...no kidding.

There are many more women out there with my birth mother's name than I could have imagined, but I was able, with the assistance of two superb "search angels" to narrow it down, and finally located her birth record, which also listed her mother's maiden name, through which I was able to locate records on her mother, who had come to the US in the early part of the last century from England. While ancestry.com is a terrific resource for people who have already moved on, it's not such a great resource for people who are still living.

I scoured hundreds and hundreds of webpages, looking for clues that might lead to more information about my birth mom, but all I was able to come up with was a family tree that went backwards. I nearly gave up here, thinking that if she had wanted to be found, it would have been easier to locate her. I registered with a reunion registry, but there were no matches. I began to think that maybe she really didn't want to be found.

I eventually happened upon her 1969 UCLA graduation picture, which blew me away. What if UCLA hadn't had the yearbooks scanned into the Archives.com database? It renewed my hope, and I continued to search, but came up empty-handed time and again. When it finally did occur to me that she might have changed to her middle name, a few pieces of information popped up here and there, but nothing current.

Little did I know that Ann had spent time living abroad in Russia, and more recently, in Brazil. In fact, she was living in Brazil on a permanent resident visa until about 6 months ago when she went back to Alaska for health reasons. Now I know why it was so difficult to find anything about her -- she wasn't in the US and was busy getting on with living!

Had she not come back to the US, it is doubtful that I would have ever "found" her, or ever known if she was even still alive. I certainly never would have found her amazing sister! For reasons I can't explain, last fall I became more determined than ever to get my message to her. I purchased an address history report and sent a card to her around Thanksgiving of last year to the most recent address listed. And then I waited. And checked the mail every day. Until the card came back as no forwarding address the day before Christmas.

What to do...I felt like I was running out of time. I searched, and searched, and then searched some more. Then I happened upon a jazz magazine publication that had posted its mailing list for whatever strange reason, and I found an address for her from 2 years ago. I grabbed a larger envelope and stuck the returned card inside, along with a small family picture taken with Santa Claus, and put the card in the mail the very next morning (sometime between Christmas and New Year's Day). And the wait began again.

I secretly hoped that the card had made its way to her, and that maybe she was just waiting for my birthday to call. Silly, but I refused to let go of hope. My birthday came and went, and I made peace with things, knowing that I had done everything I could possibly do. Like BooDawg mentioned in reference to his posting of the UCLA "Traffic Diversion" story, the search I did one Friday night in March just before bed was almost an after thought. I assumed I wouldn't find anything, but thought what the heck.

I was completely blindsided when I saw the Alaska State Police Report. She had passed away just five days before my birthday. I was lost.

But Ann made sure I was "found" by listing her younger sister as her next of kin (and by sharing her story with her sister a number of years ago). And she also made sure that it would be possible for me to find out who my birth father was by sharing his name with Catholic Charities. What if she hadn't done either of these things?

Switching back to the puzzle of my birth father, what if Don Lauria hadn't posted the "Dolt Stories"? And what if DEE EE hadn't posted such a thoughtful comment about parents knowing Bill through UCLA? (It was adding "UCLA" to the mix of search terms that led to the "Dolt Stories" posts.) After all, if neither of these things had happened, I would still be completely in the dark. What if Catholic Charities had required that I get a court order before being willing to divulge any information? The lights would still be out.

And as BooDawg mentioned, he had posted the "Traffic Diversion" story almost as an after thought. What if he hadn't done so?

I suppose this is my way of dealing with the sadness that they are both now gone...in that I marvel every day at how many threads had to be woven together to lead me home. Lucky me!

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
May 9, 2012 - 11:56pm PT
Good for you for reaching out and It's good you are learning more about your birth parents.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2012 - 01:42am PT
Genealogy searches often seem to yield such random results for me,
so I'm glad that nothing very important or urgent depends on my searches.
But there is still a desire to learn more about people in the past.
For me, it is not so much that they are my relatives,
but that they are ordinary people, and I try to imagine what it was like to live in those days (usually the 1800s).

We even have an adoption story in our family tree.
All are different, I suppose.
In this one, we did not know about it until a relative of my mom's was contacted by some researchers in 1999.
Back in 1856, Abigail Lindley (age 26) became pregnant out of wedlock.
Abbie moved in with an aunt in New York, had a baby girl, and gave it up for adoption to a family in Ohio. She never married.
Abbie was well educated and became a teacher in Tennessee, and also sold books and pictures door-to-door.
Over time, she did a lot of travelling in Florida and kept diaries.
These she turned into a book about Florida, "Petals Plucked from Sunny Climes", published in 1879 under the pseudonym "Sylvia Sunshine".
Abbie's diaries were saved at Duke University, and in them she occasionally discussed her lost daughter:
 June 13, 1865 - the eve of Ortie's birthday, she wrote, "I was a child of strong impulses, with a restless disposition. I had no one to properly check my turbulent inclinations (her mother died in 1836), and guide my erring steps, until I had made an unfortunate move which I cannot remove with tears of blood, and now I am only waiting for my mission to be fulfilled, that I may live in peace and be at rest." (Abbie taught school in Tennessee for two years).

She never had direct contact with her lost daughter, but her father did, and she received some things from his estate, such as a family piano.

Researchers reading her diary were curious about her daughter, and managed to trace some of her descendents, reaching us. In 2000, my parents and some other family members had a gravestone made and placed it on Abbie's previously unmarked grave in St. Augustine, FL.

There is often a desire for family connections, I guess because working together has essentially helped family genes survive in the past.
You are lucky in some ways and have 2 families to connect with now (assuming your parents or their relatives are still alive).
Thank you for sharing your story.
At a minimum it gives us more insight into Bill Dolt and another factor for why he may have felt so discouraged in December 1971.
There are random factors in life; some mistakes get made, corrected as much as possible, some goals never get reached, and some are accomplished due to things out of our control.
We just have to ride it and try to do the best we can....

Trad climber
May 10, 2012 - 02:07am PT
WOW Lilabiene you're amazing - thank you so much for posting this.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
May 10, 2012 - 04:04am PT
Mothers day is really going to be special this year! Your an awesome mother and your daughter is one lucky kid. Let me wish you a happy Mothers Day.
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 10, 2012 - 08:59am PT
This is so cool, and amazing!

I have adopted two girls as infants. I never met my oldest daughter's birth mother (we did write her for many years, keeping her apprised of her daughter's life with us), but my adopted daughter (now 20 years old) tracked down her birth sister via Facebook, which eventually led to the chance to meet her birth mother in person. Her birth mother has lived, and continues to live a very rough life, which helped our adopted daughter appreciate the sacrifice her birth mother made on her behalf, and appreciate the wonderful life she's had as a member of our family. My oldest adopted daughter's name is Sierra, after the Range of Light, given long before it became as popular as it is today.

May 10, 2012 - 11:10am PT
I love LilaBiene's story of her search because it is so genuine. It is so awesome that her birth parents turned out to be such interesting people. Both of them seem to have interesting stories and the whole thing would make a book that I'd love to read. Although she claims to be shy, Lila can write and should.

I have a very different adoption story. My parents divorced when I was very small and I have almost no memories of my father. He was never home. After a couple years of living with my grandmother, my mom remarried a wonderful guy who took care of me, bought me what I needed and helped me through college. If I mention my dad, it is my adoptive father that I am referring to. He legally adopted me so my last name changed.

After my freshman year at SJSU, I went back to northern Idaho for the summer where I worked on a construction survey crew. One Saturday morning as I loafed in bed with my girlfriend, he knocked on the door and introduced himself. This was a bit of a shock and I suggested we meet later for lunch at a cafe - neutral territory. It's a convoluted story how he found me but it was my brother's doing not mine.

The next summer my girlfriend and I met him for a weekend camping trip in Oregon. I don't recall much about this weekend except it was uncomfortable being with his friends, new wife and two step daughters. That fall my brother and I along with our girlfriends spent a weekend with him and his wife on the coast. He volunteered to send us $50 a month to help with college (he had never paid any alimony or child support). The money never showed up and I never talked to him again.

During WW2 he had been in the navy with my uncle and once in awhile my uncle would let me know that he had heard from him. Before she passed way my grandmother heard from him once in awhile. Last summer my aunt called to say that his obituary had appeared in the paper. Odd feelings about that. My uncle tells me that the last time they talked all he wanted to talk about was the booze he drank.

I know nothing of his genealogy although I do recall his mother. I remember spending the weekend at her house. She tended bar for a living. Her "husband" drove a cab and was not there in the evenings. I recall watching TV in bed with her and my brother. Actually, my brother and I watched TV while she drank bottles of beer.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 10, 2012 - 11:33am PT
In 1983, shortly after having moved back to Merced, naturally I felt my life had ended and my dreams reflected this feeling. One stands vividly out: I am hiking down the trail from some mountain, loaded with climbing gear. I encounter myself coming up the trail, carrying my golf clubs. "Have you ever climbed Neon Green Pinnacle?" I ask myself.
"No, but have you seen one? I think it came over here."
I am in a better place now. Medication, you know.

Since this is about statistics, "Only one in 250 million have ever been to the top of Neon Green Pinnacle." In spite of its unique color, it is difficult to find, as it is where the white man's never been and the injun's afraid to go.

The possibility I would ever find the golf ball ended when I awoke.

I never played the 9-holer at the Ahwahnee. I don't think I missed much.

Firefall, though, I still don't believe they did it........and I saw it.
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