Old Geezers! (Yes you!) Write up your FA Stories and tidbits


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Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 27, 2016 - 08:59pm PT
Yous guys got nothin'? That's hard to believe.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 27, 2016 - 09:21pm PT
Got tons of stories, from the past, from this very day. its getting the motivation to write them down, that's the crux

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Apr 27, 2016 - 09:47pm PT
And not on a geezer thread.

In my head I'm 19.

Gym climber
Small Town with a Big Back Yard
Apr 27, 2016 - 09:54pm PT
No Way Karl - maybe in a few years.

looks easy from here

Ben Lomond, CA
Apr 27, 2016 - 10:07pm PT
Quoting a post 7 years old, but whatev's...

I've touched some damn good stone in my travels, and THE very best is a description I like to save for The VERY BEST.

If y'know what I mean...

I would say on a scale of 1 to 10 with the worst of Josh choss at 1, and the most heavenly, burnished and fantastically featured Sierra stone at 10

Any spots of 10 you'd be willing to share, Warbler?

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 27, 2016 - 10:17pm PT
The Three Stooges Seek Fame and A First Ascent in the North Cascades

To say we were wet behind the ears is putting it mildly, even for NW
climbers. I was the most experienced but not necessarily at alpine first
ascentism. I honestly have no rememberance of how this caper came about
and I don't even remember the third stooge. The #2 stooge actually became
a proficient and somewhat well known climber, no thanks to me. Anyway,
somehow I convinced the other stooges that a ripe FA was ours for the taking
and on one of the better Cascade peaks, no less. How I came by this idea I
haven't the slightest other than I think the grandiosity was hatched in a smoky
den in Seattle's University District with the perusal of an arcane reference that
almost pre-dated Uncle Fred. It certainly pre-dated his estimable guide. I vaguely
recall thinking that the lack of squiggly lines on the face in question was tantamount
to Moses being handed a pair of stone sheaves. But I digress.

I recall absolutely nothing of the drive, the approach, or the climb, but given the
whole adventure's nascence this should not come as a revelation. What I do recall
is getting to the summit and looking toward the rapidly descending sun and realizing
that I had no clue how to get off this fairly substantial peak, especially before dark.
Given that, I am proud to say that it made perfect sense to descend the way we had
come. What I'm not proud of is my logic did not encompass the logistics of a three
stooge descent with minimal gear to leave for anchors. No matter, gethomeitis was
upon us so down we went. Being a typical Cascade peak one sling was generally
sufficient for most of the anchors. As dusk developed parsimony never entered
into our decision making, such as it was. About 2/3 of the way down the valley
below was getting quite dark but we could almost smell the hemlocks, as it were.
Since I was the de facto leader I always descended last so imagine my surprise to
rappel down to a very spacious ledge. The other stooges were just standing there
without being anchored as it was that large. I hurriedly pulled the ropes and then
realized there was another reason they were not anchored. There wasn't boulder
one, let alone crack one, anywhere I looked. Somehow I recall that the last few
rappels had strayed from our original ascent line as I had not recalled leading
anything sans an anchor. A brief debate ensued which addressed the merits of
climbing back up. Stooge logic determined that that course would only leave us
benighted higher up. The efficacy of a three man, er, stooge chorus of Ave Maria
returned little hope of said chorus getting any sort of favorable review. At this
point I casually observed that there was one sort of boulder on the ledge. The
one problem was that it was really more of a goiter affixed to the main wall and,
as such, did not have any place that a sane person could call a place to hold a sling.
There was a sort of groove along the top which given a few hours we could have
improved upon with our hammers. The other problem was that the doubled
sling did not hang anywhere near steep enough to engender either friction or
confidence, especially in the crucial maneuver of going over the edge. We played
around with it and added a third sling to get it to hang a little lower but any sort
of jiggle or un-weighting of the rope could have proven disastrous. My fingers are
getting sweaty now at the thought. I told the others I would hold it on while they
went down although I knew full well I probably could not have prevented any
major sort of jerking from dislodging it. To this day I still lie in bed and think about
my turn going over the edge without anyone holding it on, if only for psychological
benefit. What the hell were we thinking?
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
Apr 28, 2016 - 01:21am PT
Yes I will, I have tried to
often I mention in the Flames Thread,
that that is what I've done where ever I've gone climbing , since 86 at least. . ..
Try to eye a freshy ,
climb some virgin rock. . .
okay this will take the pages edit feature of a desk top
So it will wait
A bit. . .
looks easy from here

Ben Lomond, CA
Apr 29, 2016 - 10:48am PT
Thanks for the list. Now I just gotta sack up and make the jump from 5.6 to 5.11. ;)

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 29, 2016 - 10:18pm PT
There’s a climb up at Courtright Reservoir called The Face of a Blue Eyed Dog. Herb Laeger started it with another climber who lost interest. They had five bolts in. Herb talked me into finishing it with him. So Herb, Maya and I hiked out to Dusy Dome to check it out. Putzing around on the start I found that getting both feet off the ground was 5.11. Another one of Laeger’s sandbags…

Herb sat with his back to the wall, taking in the view. He cleared his throat. “I think you should give it a try. Get up to the last bolt, pull up the drill and go get the next one.” I wasn’t psyched for this tendon busting crimpfest, but Maya flashed me a naughty smile, and I knew what had to be done. I arranged Herb’s drill, hammer, bolts, wrench, etc. into an organized cluster I could pull up and manage. I took seven draws, three hooks, two aiders and trailed the zip line. I knew Herb expected that I would be challenged by the climbing. What he didn’t know was the effect which Maya’s presence would have on my performance. I walked right up to that fifth bolt, and since it seemed really cruxy right there I climbed a few moves further before letting go, just to make a statement.

I got set up. The drill hung from the bolt with a nice hook I’d made from a welding rod. The zip line went from the drill through a biner on my harness and back to the ground where Maya could belay it if I fumbled it. I climbed above the bolt not knowing what to expect. Placing bolts from stances guarantees that you’ll put them where they can be clipped. Using hooks requires much more attention to this matter, which can make or break a route for future climbers. Attentive to this, I climbed higher above the last bolt than I wanted to but there it was: a freaky little divot in the rock. If I was standing on it I could make a clip. Step up one more body length, what difference could it make.

Standing in the divot I looked around for a feature to hook. Lower on the face the holds were in-cut, good for hooks, but up here the rock was like steel and the holds were thin, flat and water polished.
Breathe. Balance. The wide blade of the Talon on a flat 1/8” polished edge. Clip in the aider. Right foot still in the divot, both hands holding the top of the aider, step the left into the lowest loop. Breathe. Clip in the other aider. Kiss that divot goodbye and delicately fiddle the right foot into the other aider. What a place to be. Best to keep the mouth shut lest the hook pops and breaks some teeth.

I gained confidence in the hook, and it was pretty routine pulling up the drill and assorted gear. This was an old Bosch Bulldog, and the trick was to grab it by the battery and work the switch with the back of your hand. I set the bit where I wanted the bolt to be and hit the switch. The drill came on full power, but it was barely denting the rock. “Herb! WTF? I’m up here with a dead bit!!??” “NO! It’s brand new. What’s going on?” “It won’t drill!” Then I saw it. The Goddam thing was turning in reverse. I had never seen a reversible Bosch. “The damned thing is going backwards!”

I found the toggle, reversed the drill, and began making a hole. About an inch and a half in the hook finally slipped off. I hung from the drill, which was still running with the back of my hand stuck against the switch. The bit bent but did not break. Herb was yelling “Let go, you’re gonna ruin my drill!” But there it was right in front of my nose, the good hook placement I missed earlier. I think one of the finer points of climbing is to remain 100% situation-ally aware under increasing stress. If I saw that hook in the first place the whole deal would have been different. By the end of the day we had a 60M 5.12 classic Courtright face climb.
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