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Big Piton

Trad climber
Jul 21, 2009 - 10:06pm PT
I started dating my partner, then she excepted me to carry everything to the rock.

I asked her what was up? She told me she was talking to a girl at the cliff and her dude took care of everything when they went climbing. So, the following weekend she called and found that I was heading to yosemite without her. She freaked out, when she found out I was with her sis.

I told her that since "sis" wasn't my girlfriend I would get more climbing in. Well that's my story and I am sticking to it.

BTW: she cut up my extra rope into 2 " pieces while we were gone.



A long way from where I started
Jul 22, 2009 - 12:00am PT
Ha ha. Dummies all!

Keep the stories coming.
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
way, WAY out there....(OMG)
Jul 22, 2009 - 12:40am PT
Yeah, this is a great thread.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 22, 2009 - 01:09am PT
Oh, eh, rappelling down the NA after I had broken (rebroken actually, I orginally broke it in Colorado 10 days before while bouldering but had plans for the NA and had hiked loads up to the base with a cast on my leg but had jumped into the Merced and had chopped the cast off with a piton and then gone up on the route but had broken it again while hauling) my ankle. I had a big pack with all our cans of food and the first 4 pitches of the NA being very steep, had gotten my hair stuck in the rappel system.
It wasn't exactly fun tearing the hair out of my head and the rappel system, all the while my ankle hitting the wall, killing me, trying not to let go of the rope and dropping to my death.

That was pretty much not fun, but yes, stupid.
Dick Erb

June Lake, CA
Jul 22, 2009 - 02:30pm PT
Once in my early Yosemite days I decided that it would be a good idea to rope solo the Chouinard-Herbert route on the NF of Sentinel. Things were going well and nearing halfway I started feeling rain. I looked around, the sky was dark with clouds, and and chose to rap off. A few rappels later I am on top of Chessman pinnacle. There was some third and fourth class down to the next rappel, so to save the time of coiling and uncoiling the rope I grabbed one end of the rope hanging above me and started climbing down a gully that narrowed to a chimney. It was here with my back on one wall and my feet on the other that I heard a block tumbling down. It looked about like a cubic basketball ricocheting off the walls into the funnel I spanned. As I was trying to get into the back of the chimney it sailed past about a foot or so away. Now that was dumb and I knew it right away, so it must not be the dumbest thing, which was probably soloing the Lost Arrow Tip with only one jumar clipped to my swami for a belay, and not even knowing I had done anything dangerous until much later.

Gym climber
Jul 22, 2009 - 03:17pm PT
Nice shot of your injury and the road below Black Wall. Sure Mark H. recognized it too Willoughby. Great epic accounts all! Reminds me of all the dumb things I did at Donner. One has to be the time I belayed Rocko Rampino while he tr'd Goldilocks. Getting to the top, he proceeds to move anchor slings/biners down to Gold Dust anchor bolts, then climbs over edge expecting to be lowered to the ground. Problem is: I'm too far back now and talking to Rick Sylvester with my back turned. Needless to say, I find myself being dragged on my back toward base of cliff over boulders. When I stop, I look up to see Rocko just above me. Nice lowering job for him since I kept the belay hand steady the whole time. I ended up with broken ribs. Only bones ever broken climbing.
Gene Drake

Boulder climber
Jul 22, 2009 - 03:54pm PT
Belaying Largo on at tr, on the wall above Camp 4, he says he's off, at the same time some friends walk up and start talking to me, I let go of the cord, next thing I know, the cord is sizzling, Largo yelling, I grab the cord and stop his fall. He yells, what kind of f###ing belay was that. I never did tell him what really happened.
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
way, WAY out there....(OMG)
Jul 22, 2009 - 04:25pm PT
Pure Gold.
Love the foot shot, W.(arrrggh.)
Off White

Tenino, WA
Jul 22, 2009 - 07:38pm PT
Well Jefe, I sorta think you might have told him now!

Trad climber
Joshua Tree
Jul 22, 2009 - 09:23pm PT
3 hits of acid.

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Jul 22, 2009 - 10:49pm PT
Just last night I was climbing for about 4 hours. Hot. Sweaty. Dirty! Shirtless. Some manky old steel that really made me wonder. Cord got stuck a couple times. Eventually, had it wired.

Then one of my partners asked where I left the wire cutters. I said I think I left them on the scaffolding he was working on.

Turns out I laid them down on an air duct after snipping a cable tie.


Big Wall climber
The Immaculate Conception
Jul 23, 2009 - 01:37pm PT
Spit on another party below....not purposeful, of course. Big loogey hit the dood square on top of the noggin'!

Social climber
Raleigh NC
Jul 24, 2009 - 11:04am PT
Bump! More!

climber's near nevada...
Jul 24, 2009 - 11:10am PT
narrowing it down is the hard part...

clipping into my knott bight instead of my harness, then starting to untie the rope ?

grabbing the damn pro as i peeled and ripping my shoulder ?

putting the top prusik on one rope and the footloops on the other, instead of both on both, and pulling myself upsidedown as soon as i weighted them ?

soloing bolted quartzite with daisy chains and hooks ?

the list goes on...

Jul 28, 2009 - 07:25pm PT

C'mon. There's gotta be more dumb things done by supertopoans. I've read to many of your posts to believe otherwise :)
corniss chopper

Mountain climber
san jose, ca
Jul 28, 2009 - 10:00pm PT
During college a friend got accepted to be in the Shuttle
program and we were partying . About 10pm after talking about rock climbing for awhile we somehow loaded the car and drove up the
Scottsdale Hwy to the rockpile. The idea agreed on was the full moon was just up and we could use its light to climb a short wall. No headlamps.
I led, and had to lean sideways a lot to see the holds.
My future astronaut friend freaked out on the way up and was
twitching like a spaz as I pulled him the last bit up to the ledge.

Had to lower him to the ground as he was messed up. Later I had that 'moment' of fearful clarity that this genius had been belaying me! But the desert at night is magic so not a total

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Feb 11, 2010 - 06:22pm PT
I did not do this but my partner and I were headed up Zodiac and he is leading the first pitch. Gets to the traverse over to the anchor and from about 5 feet away he thinks he is going to do some sort of jumping lunge to the anchor. He goes to jump after I give him some slack and the piece he is standing on blows as he jumps and blows a few moreand he takes a good 30 footer. I asked him every pitch after that if he was going to jump to the anchor when he gets close.


Big Wall climber
Kalispell, Montanagonia
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:42pm PT
I'm too lazy to type it all again, so I am copy and pasteing it from an earlier thread of Jul 08.

Not the dumbest, but pretty amusing and dumb to boot. The thread was about backup knot use. It may help to visualize Willie Coyote.

Yes, I have. Scared the crap outa me but I'm still here to tell the tale. Never have and wouldn't consider not using one. Fallen quite a few times solo, mostly free climbing.
It was the manzanita choked approach ledge of Liberty Cap last May, and anchored my rope off on the more exposed part and the docking tether of the haulbag to my belay loop so I had enough slack to toss the pig over and under the many obstacles. Nearing the 3/4 section of my rope, I had to toss the pig uphill on some loose sandy stuff, and scoot it around until it would stand on it's own, and then try to climb my sweaty fat butt up to it. In the process I stood up and slid down a little and pulled the top of the very overstuffed pig towards me and it yanked my dumb a$$ off faster than I could have imagined. Soloists do not catch head first falls so I went to the backup, which was nearing the end of a 60 meter rope. Went about 50 foot with the stretch and all the give in the slung manzanita I had used for pro.
Scared the crap out of me, but relatively unhurt. Hanging by the backup knot, with the over 100 lb. pig pulling on the belay loop, I was just not having a good time. Had to pull the chest cord off the soloist and prussic the pig up enough to get it off the locker and let her go to the deck. about 250 to 300 feet I suppose. All the basics I needed were in the bag, ascenders, more slings and biners,ladders etc..
Climbed the rope back up to the ledge and got really pissed and scared that I was getting in over my head for a first solo wall, went and gathered my crap, tucked my tail, and went back down to the valley, pretty whipped.
Still love to solo. Still think the way I do it is the right way. I would never hesitate, thinking that the system will not do a good job of keeping me on the cord. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Feb 12, 2010 - 03:09pm PT
Trying to pick out the John Muir Trail right before it meets up with the top of Nevada Falls:

Mckinleyville, Ca
Feb 12, 2010 - 05:25pm PT
Another Dumb Stunt

Sometime in the early '80's, after I had successfully exiled myself from the Valley, and was working as a carpenter on Bay Area concrete tilt-up jobs, I felt a great need to escape the big city crush. My muse assigned me a vision of a solo ascent of Mt Shasta, complete with a nordic ski descent from Lake Helen. I believe it was spring, because there was a nice deep base of snow on the mountain.

I had a week off work, and on monday I spent the day driving up through central California, arriving in the afternoon at the Bunny Flat trailhead for the Avalanche Gulch route. About 7,000 ft altitude.

Next morning I set out with some rather old-school gear and a comforting sense of delusion. I knew I was in good fitness -well, skeletal-muscular at least -not sure about the lingering effects of San Jose bar-hopping and Camel straights, but upon reflection, I have little doubt that it somehow contributed to a hypoxic-induced lack of good judgment. I felt at home in the wilds, but perhaps my confidence and escapist joy allowed me to downplay certain acclimatization issues from living for months at sea level.

I went up the main ridge which is the south edge of the whole Avalanche Gulch bowl. A pair of three-pin Fischer metal-edged 215s strapped to my pack, plus an ice axe, I used my pair of cane ski touring poles. Always thought old-style wood poles were cool.

On the way up, the weather was partly sunny, and the snow was a fresh deep layer which hadn't yet melted or iced up. The snow base was deep enough in the bowl to cover all the rocks. Beautiful. Looking down into the bowl as I climbed the ridge, I fairly drooled at the sight of my anticipated descent of a couple thousand feet of moderate and easy terrain. It was past noon when I arrived somewhere near the base of the Red Banks.

Somehow, I had apparently decided not to summit that day, but to do the skiing first. I had gotten greedy and become lured to the steeper slopes above 10,000 ft Helen Lake for a super-long descent. But I was oblivious to the consequences.

This was it. Time for skiing bigtime. There was still some intermittent sun, and I had hoped to catch my run when the snow would be warmest -to help with any unwanted crust I might encounter. So finally, there I was on my boards, ice axe strapped to the back of a nearly empty daypack, traversing out from some rocks, into the center of a couloir -maybe 300 ft wide. Somehow in my high-altitude glee, I had failed to notice an important detail or two. I was now somewhere over 12,000 ft. And I hadn't registered the steepness or the condition of my departure point. After traversing about 50 feet out, it dawned on me that the center of the broad chute was an icy consolidated snow surface. I could almost touch the uphill side by just reaching out my right arm. Way too steep for me, especially with the ice.

Ok, I thought, just a careful kick turn here and traverse back. I examined the contact of my edges. Each ski was contacting the snow on a just a few inches of edge. I was barely on. I knew I couldn't guarantee reversing my track without slipping off. Looking downhill to my left, I acknowledged my spectacular demise. Ice axe couldn't be reached without unsafe shenanigans. I decided to continue traversing to the other side of the bowl, where I could see better chance of re-rigging my situation.

It was going okay until I reached the very middle of the couloir. My edge contacts dwindled to nothing on a bad icy section, and I slipped off for a good 1,000 ft of ride. At least there were no rock formations in my path. It was zero to 50 in 5 seconds. Instantly I self-arrested with my bamboo ski pole. It snapped off uselessly. My next instinct was to keep from going into a tumble. I spread out my arms and legs flat on the surface, while trying to keep my ridiculously long non-release skinny skis from catching and either ripping my legs off, or slicing up my head with the tips. I couldn't control anything else. Sometimes I would rotate so my head was downhill. Even though my path was basically a smooth incline, my speed caused the exaggeration of little bumps, and I was flipped into the air a few times to land on my stomach or my back, but thankfully I still never began tumbling. My vision was a total incoherent blurr from all the rapid bouncing. It went on this way for what may have been 30 to 45 seconds, and included several sharp painful jolts to my back. Finally, as I approached lower altitude above Helen Lake, the snow became soft, and the angle laid back. I slowed and then came to an abrupt halt, on my back, head uphill, and my right ski tail jammed in up to the boot. The left ski was gone.

Lying there I figured I'd broken my back and was paralyzed, but I found that I could move very painfully. Here I was around 10,000 ft. It was afternoon, quiet, windless, and sunny. My truck was about 4 miles away, and it was Tuesday; the mountain was deserted. Well, I post-holed down in thigh-deep snow that was melting into mush; crawling sometimes to rest my back. Reached the truck by dusk, and could barely drive with the clutch pedal and column shift. Waited into the night to get x-rayed in Shasta town, to learn that I'd cracked my tailbone. Stupid ice axe... Stayed in the Mountain Aire Hotel that night to soak in their outdoor hot tub before next day's painful drive back home. Live and learn, if you survive.
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