It was great to hear from you on fakebook Crack 'N Up the Snake Charmer. I'd really like to re-post your fakebook reply to my query about your snake bite if you'd let me-- it's amazing, hilarious and nothing less.
Rick Sylvester. I've got a great epic tale called I think 'Climbing with Slick' about our leisurely two-day ascent of the Grade IV Geek tower Center Route. Slick Rylvester arrived at our rendezvous in the Camp 4 parking lot a little late, and we finally left to do the climb around 1:30pm, the second week of November, finally arriving at the base of the route with less than three hours of light to climb six pitches to the top of the tower, then rappel down the right side route. You can imagine the fun we had in that leaning, muddy gully.
I'm going to have to agree to disagree with you about the anchor thing. You'd already done Half Dome direct Route with Will Ox and Robert 'Da Simpleton' Carrera. and possibly the Column South Face, plus Mud Flats solo and the 130 degree LeConte Boulder aid crack, both all Crack 'N 'Up ascents, so I had a lot of respect for you.
I on the other hand, had done Mud flats with copperheads and a belayer, while my big wall experience consisted of drinking a case of Budweiser a day and listening to Darryl Hatton's many classic hair-raising tales of actually climbing big walls, many of them early third and fourth ascent repeats, including the second ascent of the P.O. Wall, while he put away two cases of Coors in one sitting. I considered him my mentor in The Valley.
Darryl told me I'd been crazy to do Mud Flats, which at the time was grade A4 and had 40' ground fall potential. It boosted my confidence enormously, and while drinking he taught me big wall do's and dont's, mainly delivered in the form of a seemingly endless supply of gruesome stories.
When you and I did The Tower together and I jugged up to you at the first anchor, your anchor 'system' nearly caused me to launch a giant brown submarine right there in my pants. I swear it was exactly as my cartoon shows. I gave you hell, and each subsequent anchor was mainly well-arranged except for one.
At the top of the fifth and sixth pitches which you lead as one initiating an unbelievable bout of MMA rope drag, you then rapped off without waiting for me to clean as you were in a hurry because it was almost dark (fair enough.) Arriving at the anchor I couldn't believe that in your rush you'd rappelled from a 3/4" bolt which was halfway pulled out, backed up by an ancient 1/4" bolt three feet up the start of the next pitch, a piece of dessicated (sun baked to the point where the yellow color was bleached bone-white) flat 1" tape, tied in an overhand knot directly through the hanger above, it ran down to where it was clipped into your single 'biner with another overhand knot if I recall. No freakin' way,I thought as I arrived at the station at last light. I took the time to clip the good bolt four inches below the 3/4" and equalize the lot, which made for a fun lights out rappel in 'this is what its like to be blind' conditions. I had to make certain my set-up was right by feel, before I launched down towards the sound of your voice, the entire time thinking Thank God I won't see the ground rushing up to kill me if the anchor fails. At least you'd used a screw-gate 'biner.
We had exactly one-quarter pint of water for our final day, and I allowed myself one small sip before breaking out my dinner. I'd been in a mad rush to secure my rations at The Lodge Gift Shop before our ride left. All I could think to get was a packet of Fig Newtons, which normally I like. Dehydrated as I was I may have as well have brought a bag of sawdust. You'd brought two cans of creamed spinach, which you enjoyed cold. Popeye much? Hungry and thirsty as I was it never crossed my mind to ask you for a bite, or slurp as the case may have been.
Finally, I didn't bash my Mitt cleaning your pins. I'm left handed, and cleaned good pin placements using my daisy chain clipped into the pin with a cleaner 'biner, outward force supplied with body weight.
The reason why I was covered in dried blood on the third day of our ascent, was because while cleaning pitch 5 in 110 degree heat my nose started pouring blood. After several fruitless minutes trying to arrest the flow by tilting my head back, I elected to let 'er run while I cleaned so I wouldn't be rappelling down to Ahwahnee Ledge in the dark, to no avail. I have to admit it was mesmerizing watching the drops run off me and disappear into space. Eventually I ran out of enough blood to maintain necessary pressure to feed the leak, and my nose stopped bleeding.
I was pretty weak the next morning, and when you insisted on leading all four remaining pitches I readily agreed, a feat you managed in about ten minutes using Crack 'N Ups, only setting gear every thirty or forty feet to prevent a long whipper.
You were the worldwide master of that piece of equipment, and Bill Forrest should have subsidized your trips to Yosemite.
I've lead such a boring life. Thank god I have SuperTopo.
But I will say, Greg, you're waaay under-charging! Those are late 70's prices, if that!
You're also in four galleries too many in Reno. Have you heard of the capitalist notion of
Supply and demand? Those gallery owners are playin' you like a cheap fiddle.