Gear theft in Western Washington area


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A long way from where I started
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 3, 2013 - 10:02pm PT
I just got a call from Mari, who had headed out to do some scrubbing on a crag we are working on about 30 miles from Seattle. She couldn't rap in to do any work because our anchor and static rope were gone. All that was left was a bit of sliced webbing.

I'm hesitant to point a finger at any climber, because the only three climbers who knew about the place were Mari, me, and Mooser. And if you knew Mooser, you'd know that gear theft doesn't really play a big part in his life.

Despite its location near Seattle, the crag is remote. Not visible from anywhere, and accessible only by logging truck or mountain bike. We park 2.5 miles away and ride logging roads to get to a clearing, from which we've cut and flagged a trail through insane blackberry jungle to the top of the cliff above the river.

Strangely, Mari said there is new flagging. Bizarre. The trail goes only to a place that no one but a climber would care about. It's not even scenic, unless you're a Pacific Northwest jungle pervert. (Original TR about it is at;

So I haven't got a clue who could possibly have found the start of the trail, let alone reflagged it to the clifftop (which doesn't even look like a f*#king clifftop until you hang onto a tree and lean out over it). Nor do I have any idea if the person/s who reflagged it are the ones who took the rope and anchor gear.

But for the record, if you see someone with a 30 meter black static rope, you might ask them where they got it.

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Apr 3, 2013 - 10:08pm PT
Watch the new sitcom , " Honey Boo Boo Tweakers " and you might spot your gear...?

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 3, 2013 - 10:17pm PT
Seems like more of a deal, or at least you'd get better target audience coverage.

Northern Mexico
Apr 3, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
That sucks Ghost!

Had the same happen to me, hiked up to finish cleaning a route and found parts of the static line lying around. I thought it was rats at first but there was no 'fuzzy evidence' on the ground.

Good luck finding your gear.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 3, 2013 - 10:36pm PT
Sounds like a call to Vinny is in order. Too bad he don't do logging roads.

Apr 3, 2013 - 10:55pm PT
Whew! My black static is longer than that.

Strange and troubling story.

Apr 3, 2013 - 11:59pm PT
I currently own a 30M black static too. Sterling HTP for me, but it's not yours. I got the bro deal when I bought the 300 meter spool. Same thing happened around here to us, with 3 full sized ropes being stolen in a single day. Last time was another cliff, also off the beaten trail, had the full sized yellow colored 60meter twin to the black Sterling stolen. Wasn't too painful as I'd had it out for 3 seasons elsewhere an it was stiff as a wire rope.

Not sure why that happens... Hope you get yours back or solve the mystery.
Captain...or Skully

Apr 4, 2013 - 02:13am PT
Bump. Seriously weird, man. Why reflag, if you did the labor already?
Big Mike

Trad climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 03:39am PT
Some punk is gonna have some bad karma leading on that static rope cuz he obviously doesn't know any better.

oh look! Someone left me a free rope and anchor! I'm gonna take it! Sweet!

Hopefully darwin wins

Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 4, 2013 - 09:18am PT
You clearly finked someone's super-secret proj ;)

The message is loud and clear. Next thing you know you wake up with a horse-head in your bed :)

But really? Some person does (what I can only imagine as) a soggy bush-thrash out in the middle of nowhere, takes the time to replace markers and snake a rope? Someone clearly has too much time on their hands. You might try leaving a shiny new model airplane kit lying on the trail as a distraction technique.

Trad climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 09:31am PT
That's a bummer, David! And talk about a relatively remote and obscure place to think you can't leave things in place without them getting ripped off! (And yeah, that cliff top will do you in if you walk to the edge and don't already know it's there!)

With the flagging, it sounds too ambitious for your random vandals/thieves. If it was other climbers, well...that's just lame.

Apr 4, 2013 - 10:19am PT
It's probably other climbers who discovered it themselves, independently of you. The rope might have looked old, sketchy of mossy. They may have took it not out of malice, but to clean up what they perceived as garbage.

That's what happens

Mountain climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 10:54am PT
how about not leaving your stuff out at the crags?
Big Mike

Trad climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 11:03am PT
You ever develop anything squishy?

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 4, 2013 - 11:34am PT

Hey Ghost. Sorry about the theft. I joked in your previous thread about reverse engineering the location of the crags from the photos, but I've had no luck (I didn't even try of course). With no basis whatever, I'm guessing not climbers. Static line and biners might be useful to the ORV crowd up there. I know! Cavers!


Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 4, 2013 - 11:39am PT
Well, as much as I dig ya Ghost... I agree a bit.. argueably, if you leave gear hanging about it's going to look like booty or trash to someone elses eyes. I always assume people are going to mess with sh#t. When E and I work on stuff we always hide/stash ropes we don't want to shlep back an forth.

It is just weird this happened in such a remote location. I can see where you just didn't expect it to be an issue. Any chance this is private property or something?

Side note: I hide a solo TR rope out at a local crag and always leave a note with a date. "Rope in use [date] Please don't take!" just in case someone finds the bag. Probably still get stolen at some point.
Off White

Tenino, WA
Apr 4, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
Oh cut the man some slack! David used to be an alpinist and schlepped rope all over and back, but most of us here aren't getting any younger, and I can't criticize any effort to extend the autumn season of our climbing lives. Hell, I've got a rope hanging on a wall right now for convenience sake, so I can sneak in a pitch after the ibuprofen kicks in but before the light gets too bright to confound my cataracts.

In all seriousness though Mr. Ghost, I sympathize with your outrage. It could have been worse, there was a similar incident at an obscure crag in central Western Oregon a few years ago, but the louts simply vandalized, cutting partially through the rope and leaving it in place as a life threatening hazard. Fortunately no one got hurt, but Sarte was arguably correct, "Hell is other people."

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Apr 4, 2013 - 12:46pm PT
If the thieves don't know it's a static rope, and climb on it anyway, they'll be grtting a good surprise.

Social climber
Apr 5, 2013 - 01:01am PT
David any chance this newly flagged trail might lead to an outdoor grow op ?

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Apr 5, 2013 - 01:39am PT
That was my first thought as well Tami.
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