Speaking of statistical improbabilities...


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Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
May 10, 2012 - 02:07pm PT
This is just too good not to bump. Totally captivating story.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2012 - 10:09pm PT
Clint: What a fascinating story. And how amazing that some wonderful folks researched the genealogy, diaries and found your family. Incredible.

I agree with what you said about just doing your best. In the years when I was sick and doctors were of no help, I was at a very low point in my life and at times felt very hopeless as to whether I would ever be able to dig myself back out of the hole I had fallen into. (My uncle gave me some sage advice a few years back: When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging!) But you do the best you can, and if your persist long enough, things will turn themselves in a different direction.

It does weigh heavy on my heart that my birth may have contributed to his overwhelming sadness, especially since he was raised by foster parents himself. But I also believe that there is a very high probability that he suffered from celiac disease, which unless diagnosed, can take a terrible toll emotional health.

I want to celebrate his life, because he gave me some very rare qualities that I am grateful for every single day.

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
May 10, 2012 - 10:37pm PT

Lila, Hey....So cool to have you joining us here on the Taco... It has been an enjoyable- exciting story to hear...Thanks!

ps..Happy Mother' Day!!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 10, 2012 - 11:01pm PT
As it is Mothers Day any day now,
I wish all of you mothers out their will be satisfied with getting the least little shred of respect you deserve from your kids and for longer than the time it takes one of them to read and return a text...

Soppy sorry ass posers you are nonetheless mothers

Ave Eve

you know who I mean

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 11, 2012 - 08:26am PT
Modest Mouse: YES, we are all HUMAN!!! ;D

Social climber
Butterfly Town
May 13, 2012 - 01:55am PT
Lila: Few people REALLY know statistical improbabilities the way you do, and as is often said, "Timing is everything." Taking a bit of a leisurely morning today to continue unpacking and sorting my stuff that arrived from Hawaii a few weeks ago, I came across some stationery that I had from shortly after Dolt left us.

DoltPeg, 2 Dolt bolt hangers, and a Dolt Bashie, set on a sheet of Dol...
DoltPeg, 2 Dolt bolt hangers, and a Dolt Bashie, set on a sheet of Dolt's stationery.
Credit: BooDawg

I also rummaged in a box of vintage hardware and picked out several pieces that I'd be honored if you'd hold until you feel it's time to pass on to your daughter or to the YCA.

The chunk of aluminum with the hole and nylon loop and the # 4 as well as Dolt's logo stamped into it is a "bashie" or a "mashie," The metal is soft so that it could be pounded with a climber's hammer until it deformed around or into some irregularity in the rock. Then a carabiner was clipped into the nylon loop, and if it were well placed, it would hold a climber's weight and allow one to proceed higher. If not, well... The main problems with them were that they defaced the rock like pitons did and also the nylon would fray or rot under the sun's UV attack and then it would often make a problem for the next party to try to climb the route.

Dolt made at least 2 kinds of bolt hangers. These are used after one has hand drilled (with the help of one's hammer) a hole into the rock. Then one inserts a bolt and hanger into the hole to attach oneself to the rock.

Credit: BooDawg

The DoltPeg is similar to other pitons in that it has a tapering blade and is driven into cracks in the rock. Then a carabiner is clipped into the eye, and all manner of stuff is clipped into that one. Dolt's innovation with these was the D-shaped hole which he reasoned would allow the carabiner to lie closer to the rock and thus reduce leverage and the likelihood it would pull out. However, that advantage only occurs if it is placed in a mostly horizontal crack, and Yosemite's cracks are mostly vertical ones. Also, the fact that the hole is not round tends to decrease the strength of the piton's eye compared to a round hole since a round shape best resists deformation under the blows from one's hammer.

Credit: BooDawg

Credit: BooDawg

Happy Mother's Day Lila! It must feel great to have succeeded in identifying your own birth mother and father and to have begun meeting some of their friends. Lucky for you and your own daughter, improbable as it must have seemed at times to you!
john hansen

May 13, 2012 - 02:07am PT
that is quite insightful about the shape of the eye Ken.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2012 - 08:17pm PT
BooDawg: Oh, my...gosh, I'm completely at a loss for words*.

Though I'm still just beginning to learn about climbing hardware, wow...

I'll cop to being completely choked up, full of awe and reminded once again of how precious and beautiful life really is...and of how so many of life's most rewarding moments arise out of connection.

Thank you for the beautiful presentation of Bill's creations, and for providing the context and background. I could barely take my eyes off of the pictures to post a reply, and can not wait to go back and read your post again.

What a magical way to end mother's day -- my heart is so full!

Thank you!!!

P.S. My mother's day present is an intro to climbing package at a local Boston climbing gym -- this time around it will have so much more meaning for me. Should be booking flights for the face lift soon.

*Good friends will attest that this has hardly ever happened in the history of moi. ;)
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 13, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
Well, BooDawg went to UCLA, which in LA-speak means "you are looking at Los Angeles" so he's nothing if not insightful.
But they don't tell you the shtuff he knows in the classroom. He's had decades to learn this and decades to forget it. It's good to hear this technical aspect of the lost art, well, ignored art.
Nailing was just so much fun, I never stopped to consider the niceties and never pursued it past the basics, really.
There is a world of difference in what the professional observer sees and what the casual observer merely thinks he is seeing.
MFM (a dolt in a former life)
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
May 13, 2012 - 11:43pm PT
Lila, just holler if you need help or advice with FaceLift logistics and arrangements. If you're used to camping that'll help, but isn't entirely necessary. As you can see from:

Social climber
"close to everything = not at anything", ca
May 14, 2012 - 01:44am PT
wow. cool story. tfpu

Trad climber
Fumbling towards stone
May 14, 2012 - 02:18am PT
Wow... You are a good story teller Lila! Amazing story indeed and it made my night. Especially the part where you reveal you father's name. My jaw was on the ground!

This Taco Stand certainly can be a magical place.

Since you have mentioned you're in the Boston area, that photo on the golf course looks like Cape Cod or nearby to me. I grew up in Massachusetts and spent many summers at my grandfather's summer home in Chatham.


Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 14, 2012 - 04:44pm PT
MH: LOVED that link!!! :D I'm pretty good with the technical stuff, excuding the compass.

Told the hubby about my plans to participate in the face lift and he was all cool with it until I started talking about camping...I wish I had a picture of his face as he put 2 and 2 together and quickly recovered asking if I wasn't just going to visit folks in CA?

No, I gleefully chirped, I'm going CAMPING! (Observe wheels turning faster.) Where? He asks nonchalantly...

Yosemite! Yay! (I'm practically hitting the roof of the car in excitement.) Isn't that awesome?!!

No - he squawks - you're...you're...well...going to need a chaperone!

I give him a LOOK...and burst out laughing, so hard I can barely talk. He's worried I'm going to get LOST. Well, duh, of course I'm going to get lost. I'm directionally challenged. This is nothing new.

Tent? No problem. Tent in the correct national park? Now, that's up for grabs. ;D
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
May 14, 2012 - 09:27pm PT
Once you get to the Valley, you may have a surfeit of chaperones. It may be one of the safest 'towns' in your country.

Mountain climber
Seattle WA
May 14, 2012 - 10:48pm PT
Good story. Glad you learned about yourself in a profound way...

Better then my dads friend. He learned that he was not biologically related to his "parents" via a blood test, in school (back when you could handle blood in high school biology classes).

Trad climber
May 15, 2012 - 09:51am PT
Hi Lila,

There are other options to tent camping as MH has stated. The Curry tent cabing are pretty cool, the Awahnee is very nice for a national park, the Lodge etc. But screw all of that you need to be camping in the heart of it all in the Yellow Pines campground. Ken Yeager, who sets up Facelift also gets a private campground.

Here is a look at what happens there.


MAke sure to hang out with the young at heart who stay up and make noise past 10:00 pm. Then have coffee and listen to the old Fuddy duddies complain about it at 6:00 am. You all know who you are!!!


Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2012 - 05:45pm PT
If I wasn't stuck in some ring of Dante's Inferno on a commuter bus in the rain on the Mass. Pike during rush hour...I would be hopping up & down, arms all a'flailing-like.

Tent = no problem!

Huge PROPS to my birth dad for passing along this nifty talent. :D

If I'm going to cross multiple timezones to be in a beautiful national park, I am sleeping outdoors. 'Nuff said. Well, unless . . .did someone say bears?

(Just make sure you laugh really hard when you see how many maps I bring with me. Deal?)
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 15, 2012 - 06:49pm PT
Yeah Lila, bears, even racoons with attitudes, but MH's brigade will give you the 411 and keep you safe from getting tooled (watch out for you know who).

The Lift is your best bet for connecting with people who knew your dad.

Oh, and there are some rocks there too,..

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2012 - 08:31am PT
PR: Rocks, you say? :D I can't wait - it's going to be a very looooong 4 months.

From what I've read here on ST, I have no business going vertical out there, but I'm excited to see what it feels like looking up...

O the already OT, but is this part of the vision for gratis topo exchanging you alluded to in 2004?

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2012 - 10:58pm PT
Flights booked for the Face Lift in September -- I'm psyched!
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