Runout classics - ever take the ride?

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Messages 81 - 100 of total 159 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 25, 2012 - 02:43pm PT
So many stories here that make me cringe. Climb long enough, and you will likely have some air time. By God's grace, we live for another adventure.

It is rather sobering, however, when the outcome is different. On January 29th, 1996, I watched my friend Pete Schoerner take an 120 foot fall while attempting a first ascent of an ice route here in June Lake. He was on the 4th pitch, when the ice sheered off the wall.

Pete was killed instantly, and it was a horror show I will, unfortunately, never forget. Flanders and I recovered his body the next day.

This event really sobered me to the seriousness of what we do. When death knocks so close to home, it changes you.....sure as hell made me way more mindful of what I will and won't do.

And when I look back at the many near misses in my 38 years on a rope....I count my blessings.

Rest in peace, Pete.....you were badass....

photo not found
Missing photo ID#215684
ec

climber
ca
Nov 25, 2012 - 02:50pm PT
Cragman, you got that right...

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

 ec
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
i WASNT ON THE INTERNET during bush years...
Nov 25, 2012 - 02:53pm PT
yep.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Ol "426" was luck on day - we were working a new route when he did a small penji and the rope severed in an instant to the last few core strands- brand new 11 mm hit an incredibly sharp edge and SSSSSS.! Lowered him safe to the ground and we went whooooooooman check disout!


Crag,, horrible memory there...
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Nov 25, 2012 - 03:18pm PT
Hey Ron, I just heard a story that somebody is getting a permit to take out 500 tons per year for three years of granite from somewhere near crystal springs. hear anything about that yet? I'm hopin it's not true
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
i WASNT ON THE INTERNET during bush years...
Nov 25, 2012 - 03:21pm PT
HUH!???? no troll?!! have not heard that ,, and wholy sizzle a quarry in the canyon- riparian zone??
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Nov 25, 2012 - 03:24pm PT
Yeah I heard that from somone who works for a local attorney somehow alpine county is involved but that's forest service land. I guess everything is for sale.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
i WASNT ON THE INTERNET during bush years...
Nov 25, 2012 - 03:26pm PT
crap.....just crap.. they probably wont make snot off the permit- i know those systems. then the inevitable court cases involving restoration not done. theres water shed concerns and Tribal lands right down stream. Hard to fathom, but ive seen stranger things..

.
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 25, 2012 - 03:42pm PT
cliffhanger - There was nothing to stop them from taking the final big ride to the Ahwahnee, if she slipped.
Wow, that must have been very unnerving to watch. I hope she found herself a new boyfriend/climbing partner after that!

Of course there was the young man (18) who did take that ride. If I remember correctly, him and his partner unroped at the belay where the traverse starts. Besides being "slippery", those little dished out pockets are often filled with dry pine needles and dust which have filtered down from the rim.

The guy I witnessed take the slider was sitting on his butt with his hands/palms pressed flat against the stone. Like a kid on a slide. It would be very natural to simply roll over onto your butt and use your feet and hands in an attempt to brake, like you would in dirt or sand. I suspect it is pure impulse to try and slow down or control your slide. He could see the lip approaching, and rocketed out over it into space and out of site. The rope jerked tight and then see-sawed back and forth on that rather jagged edge. I was breathless for a few moments, hoping that the worst thing imaginable didn't suddenly happen. But after a few moments he pulled himself up and over the lip.

I don't recall his name, but his partners name was Joe Royer, and was head of ski patrol at Snowbird. He invited me to come visit & work for him there, so I took him up on it for part of the following winter '71/'72.

I know that RA has become a popular solo, and I have gone cordless on more difficult rated climbs, but after viewing that fall and having personally encountered the "greasy" / "slippery" rock, dust, and pine needles on that traverse, there is no way I would have ever soloed it. The image I had of him sliding down on his butt, along with the knowledge that a very young man/climber had most likely took a very similar position there in his final moments in this world. And simply thinking about the fear and anticipation he must have felt as he approached that lip knowing that he was about to be catapulted into eternity, still gives me the willies.

edit: Sorry to here about your dear friend, Dean. Thanks for keeping his memory alive.

btw, Joe Royer started the 1st heli-ski/guide service to the Ruby Mts, back in the '70/80's! kool dude!
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Nov 25, 2012 - 04:15pm PT
seems I'm not the only one to have tested the bolt on the runout 2nd pitch of Ten Karat Gold at Suicide ... a scream of terror, frantic yarding in of rope, realizing we have not died, going back up and getting it right the 2nd time, etc.
Sheets

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 25, 2012 - 04:37pm PT

I took a fall on the last pitch of Royal Arches and didn't find it too bad aside from losing some skin on my hands, knees, and fore-arms. We were caught in the rain and needless to say I found slimy 5.4 slab a lot harder with water pouring down it. There was a huge pile of pine needles at the bottom that slowed me from chucking off the lip.
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 25, 2012 - 07:36pm PT
ThomasKeefer - I caught a pretty epic whip...
Dude, same here!

It was 1972 and I had been climbing about one year at that point. My partner (Steve Williams) and I spent the weekend at Tahquitz & Suicide. It was late in the day after a long day at Tahquitz & as we made our way down the slabs on the SoEast descent route we decided to fit one last climb in before we headed back to San Diego. The sun was quickly approaching the western horizon, so we decided on a climb that we had both done before since we didn't have much time. That was the Traitor Horn (5.7) a classic two pitch route.

Steve led off the 1st pitch and the plan was for me to switch leads with him at the belay/me lead on through. But when I got to the belay, which was a small block which had two fixed pins as anchors, he requested that I let him give the Pearly Gates a shot. The PG is a 5.10+ double overhanging layback just to the left of the TH! Although the light had already began to turn that amber color as it burns through the haze on the horizon. I said "Sure, go for it."

From the belay, to get to the TH, you layback/jam this right facing corner for about 20 ft or so to the base of a slightly overhanging 15-20 ft. tall headwall. At which point you then traverse right to the TH.

For the Pearly Gate route, you also follow the corner/crack, but rather than trverse right to the TH, you continue to follow it. It doglegs at the 20ft headwall and angles up into a double overhanging layback. Kind of intimidating and challenging, yet very appealing to a couple of young wanna be hardmen. We had talked about the day we would give it a go, and it was now here.

So off goes Steve. The corner is fairly easy, so i didn't say anything when Steve didn't stop to put in pro. He placed a medium sized Chouinard Hex above his head and just above where the crack doglegs up the headwall and starts to double overhang. Off he goes onto the double overhanging layback.

Steve was a pretty hefty/stocky dude! Probably around 180# or more. He was looking pretty strong and rapidly made it to about a foot or two before the top of the headwall/end of layback then suddenly came to a dead stop. And, DEAD SILENCE followed. He just hung there in a classic layback stance. I was thinking, "OH SH#T!"!

Of course we were using a Hip Belay, so I braced my left shoulder into the wall and pulled my right braking hand around to my left as firmly as I could and tightened every muscle in my body, anticipating the jarring impact which was about to come. And it came like getting slammed by a linebacker at full on attack mode! The full force of a 180
# person taking a 40 ft freefall.

It sounded like an explosion, don't recall exactly what caused the sound, but I suspect it was a combination of Steve hitting the lower face, me slamming against the wall, and the hex, that Steve had placed, ripping down the crack for about 10-15 feet before it miraculously reset itself. That's right, the hex was pulled down pass the dogleg and continued to follow the lower part of the crack for about 10-15 feet before it hit a narrow spot and reset itself.

SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!

And, not only that, the force had tweaked my position so much, and had pulled me away from my snug belay anchor by a foot or two that I new something wasn't right. I reached around as best I could and felt one of the two pins we had clipped into at the belay. It was loose and I could wiggle it back and fourth. I was braking with my right hand so I couldn't locate the other pin.

Talk about an "Oh Shit!" moment. Steve's blue RR boots were staring me in the face. And Steve was hanging free in space from his waist, wrapped in a 1" tubular webbing Swami Belt with his head hanging to one side. It was a 35-40 ft freefall.

I was doing all I could to just hold onto the rope with my brake hand. My mind started working quadruple time (or whatever) trying to assess what would be the best plan for getting our asses out of this jam before the friggin' hex pulled (at that point I couldn't even see it, since i was sitting to the immediate left of the right facing corner/dihedral it was in).

While I was determining what to do I recall momentarily glancing down the nearly vertical/very steep face to the ground below. Odd things go through your mind at times like that. I pictured our lifeless, crumpled bodies laying in a heap 140 feet below. And wondered how long it would be before they were discovered.

My left shoulder was throbbing. I always carried two 4mm purple prussicks in my pants pockets, one in either pocket. I started to dig for one, so I could rig a brake, but Steve suddenly started moaning and moving. He suddenly came to and within a few moments had pulled himself back into the easy layback crack and was ready to finish the pitch. But this time he wanted nothing to do with this set of Pearly Gates, since it had just about brought him to the doors of another set of Pearly Gates (lol)! So, after he put another peace of pro or two in, he finished off by leading TH.

Both of our belay pins had basically pulled. The one that I had wiggled with my fingers, pulled out with a slight tug. The other pin was cocked over to one side at an angle and also wiggled back and forth and easily pulled out. Had the Chouinard Hex not reset itself, we would have been toast!!

edit: lesson learned. don't trust fixed pins without esting them (we we wer'nt carrying hammers, btw). always back up fixed pins. dont trust yout partner to do this, always check the anchors. and he should have put multiple pieces of pro to protect a dificult lead, not just one.
Blodgett Goat

Trad climber
Missoula, Montana
Nov 25, 2012 - 08:01pm PT
I've always wondered about people taking the ride on some runout classics. Snake dike is super chill but if someone lost their sh#t and panicked that would be a nasty fall. Knuckleheads at Pat and Jacks is another.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Nov 25, 2012 - 10:16pm PT
Ray Jardine is reputed to almost have launched off the pine needles on that last pitch of Royal arches while soloing. I think it put a damper on his soloing after that

Always felt if you started to fall on that traverse you could basically run for it and get to the forest at the end but who knows. I remember soloing it with needles and dampness and was gripped but going back with a rope and walking across it with basically no hands in approach shoes

Peace

Karl
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 25, 2012 - 10:37pm PT
Does falling off of mountains without a rope count?
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 25, 2012 - 11:53pm PT
The guy I talk about in my story above about Pearly Gates, Steve Williams, took a fall on th Nutcracker in Yosemite during the Spring of 1974, broke his leg and had to be rescued. He then moved to Seattle Washington area that summer with the people he met and was climbing with in the Valley. I never saw or heard of him again, but I am pretty sure he continued to climb. Anyone know or remember him?

EDIT: Oh yeah, I meant to mention that, I bet that Chouinard Hexcentric is STILL wedged into that crack going up to PG & the Traitor Horn. It became so hot from the friction it poduced while it slid down the crack, that it had melted and the aluminum had rolled up anf then re-hardened on the sides. I bet that it is still there, wedged firmly in that right facing corner/crack. It would probably be around in the middle of the crack/half way up it before the headwall. Maybe the next time someone is up there, they could look and see. I don't recall what mm perlon it was strung with, but I think it was a green 7mm! Of course that would probably be long gone. If it is still there, it would be really cool if someone could tke a pick of it! For memories sake!! THANKS!!
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 26, 2012 - 11:23am PT
Caught a big one on Jules Verne in Eldorado Canyon Colorado. I could not see my partner because there was a roof over my head, but at one point he stopped going up. Then a few minutes later, I see a biner with brass wires on it land on the ledge I'm on, bounce, then fall another 100' into the trees. It was getting dark. Then the rope starts gently moving, an inch at a time. A few inches later, I hear a Tarzan-like scream and get yanked off my feet, luckly the anchor had an upward directional. It was a very long fall, the classic one, I have no idea how long. 75'? It was a totally clean fall with no injuries. Luckily it was too dark for me to try to finish it for him! Although all I actually signed up for was to follow it. I never really wanted to do it afterwards, and at this point probably never will.

Longest fall I took myself was probably on the Good Book, about 30'. It's a layback and my hand came out, and I did a back dive. This was back in the days before anyone wore helmets. I can still remember seeing two tcu's pull out, with my feet in the foreground. For some reason my brain saved that memory for all time. I wasn't hurt at all but could have smashed my head easily.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Nov 26, 2012 - 12:18pm PT
Awww heck I feel like such a weenie after some of these tales.

I got off route on Pywiack Dike Route BITD. Went straight up where I should have banked left. Got a very odd feeling when I realized the little nubbins were getting even smaller. Then my PAs let loose. Whoopee.......sliding down about 25 feet past my last bolt......then on down. down. down. My two partners at the belay going wide eyed as I plummeted towards the bulge above their vestigial ledge. Don't know who was most frightened of the three of us. Just before they got my PAs in the face the rope stopped stretching. Thanks to wearing painters pants and a rugby shirt I was only slightly scuffed but my brain was screaming to me "NO I ain't going back up there again today". Then I couldn't get either of my buddies to take over the lead! Even though one had led it before!!
Went back a couple of years later and cruised it. It's MUCH easier when you follow the route!
Oh yeah, if you haven't climbed on those ancient PAs: they give you no warning when they're about to let go. Thank God for EBs.

Grack Marginal: I had a go at it this autumn. Could NOT get myself to go more than 10 feet beyond the bolt above the roof. Even downclimbed the roof move and went back up again, still the barrier. Even though I've led it a couple of times BITD and my shoes are way better than anything I had back then. I KNOW it's just a walk but my mind was NOT going there.
It's clear I need to keep in practice for slab/friction climbing.
A lot of it is in your head.
Rick Linkert

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills CA
Nov 26, 2012 - 12:50pm PT
High Traverse -

I should have taken a long ride on Patio Pinnacle as punishment for stupidity of Darwinian proportions - lathering up with sunscreen on a hot day and lacing on a brand new pair of Royal Robbins blue suede shoes. My right foot skated on the first move of the climb and I never felt like I was really on anything I could trust the rest of the climb. It made for an engaging afternoon.

Splitter-

I vaguely remember the climb with Kevin and Art - must still have some PTSD. I think it was a Clevenger route on Poly - high and to the right. Have you remembered the name? Very glad you pulled the last moves successfully.

Best

Rick
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Nov 26, 2012 - 03:37pm PT
Splitter..... so you have used up a life or two.


I took the fall 2 times on Rebolting. P1 getting to bolt 3 (if I recall)
Good belayer... run like hell downhill.


The longest was about 80, it was at the Weeler Ridge, I was climbing a Kamps climb on the west side of notch #2. 5.8ish.

I got to the stance they used for bolting, a diorite knob, I was chalking up and just relaxing my mind so I could do what looked like a 5.6 mantle onto the knob..... without any warning the knob popped!

The fall was almost over before I knew what was going on.

I reckon its the best way to go.... completly relaxed.

This is a really nice thread.





JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 26, 2012 - 03:43pm PT
Since the OP specifically mentioned Marginal on the Apron, I held a 40-footer, as well as several others, when we first climbed it in March of 1972. We (Dan Smith, Art Brook and I) were climbing in RR's then, so we did much more edging than smearing.

I didn't fall on the traverse above the roof on the first pitch, but both of my partners did, in fact one more than once. Nothing particularly long, and the landings were safe for us. On the last pitch, Dan was about 20 feet out with nothing between him and me, and started sliding. After about ten feet of a s-l-o-w -- m-o-t-i-o-n fall, Art, who was about 40 feet below us, started heckling to the effect of "You call that a fall? You should be ashamed to call that a fall!" etc. Dan eventually took a couple of summersaults, climbed back to my stance, and did the lead without any further incident.

As an epilogue of sorts, most of us were a bit intimidated by Marginal back then, particularly the traverse on the first pitch. I described the fall over the roof as essentially harmless, because Dan and Art had fallen at least three times between them to no effect.

In any case, after no-names like us did it, several others decided it was doable. A few weeks later, I saw a friend of mine on crutches. When I asked what happened, he explained that the "harmless" fall over the roof wasn't. He ended up with a broken ankle.

John
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