Werner is right. You Americans are stupid. So let this be a wakeup call. Climbing isn't just a hobby. It is the real deal. It is more important than online wanking about politics or religion or boobs.
Okay, maybe not more important than boobs, but it is the real deal. And this is a story about two people who not only post here on Supertopo, but who also use their climbing skills to save the world!
Those of you who’ve come to know Ghost and Tami through this forum probably don’t see much more than a couple of old folks who used to climb. Some of you may have done a few of our routes, and maybe you remember the cartoons and the novels. But mostly, if you think of us at all, it’s as oldsters to be humored. Mostly harmless, and good for a laugh now and then, but not all that exciting or important in the grand scheme of climbing. You probably have a mental image of us as something like this:
We were young once.
Credit: From the web
And that’s fair enough. You have your climbing heroes. Supertopo gives you the opportunity to genuflect in front of your monitor when it displays stories of climbing gods like Largo with his muscles, and Mark being as free as he could be, and others whose photographs appeared on magazine covers a long time ago. But before you write Tami and I off as underachievers, as people who wasted their immense potential by getting wasted, people who did mediocre climbs and wrote silly stories, consider that those modest achievements you know us for were products of the limited time available to us in our public lives. You have to understand that the bulk of our time and energy was spent saving the world in our secret roles as superheroes.
Yes, it’s true. In the pantheon of Superheroes, we stand tall.
Well, actually we’re both kind of short, but to say “In the pantheon of Superheroes we stand short” just doesn’t have the same ring, does it? In Canada, there are even statues of us in the Parliament Building in Ottawa.
We have been honored.
Credit: From the web
Don’t believe me? Think about it this way: How many 5.12s would JB have soloed if he'd had to spend eighteen hours a day fighting the forces of evil? Yeah, that’s right, exactly as many as we did. He’d have been lucky to get up 5.11 on a toprope. And as for the oh-so-intriguing dark side of the Superhero… F*#k that. You all watch movies about Batman or Wolverine and think “Ooohhhhh! He’s so angst-ridden!” Give me a break. Those are movie stars. The stories those guys act in are fiction, and the only angst afflicting them is whether they make twenty-three million per picture or just twenty-two. We, on the other hand, actually suffered. Here’s just one story…
You could say it really started in 1759 on the Plains of Abraham, just outside what is now Quebec City. But for us it started when the phone rang in the climbing store I was pretending to work in back in 1980. Some guy in Toronto wanted to know if anybody working there knew anything about climbing. I thought about hanging up. I mean, what kind of sane person in Toronto would call a climbing store in Vancouver and ask if someone there knew anything about climbing? But the alternative was to stock shelves or deal with customers, so I said I was the guy, and how could I help.
What followed was a bunch of bullshit about shooting a film, and needing to know if there were any mountains in BC that would make a stunning backdrop for a commercial, and… Mostly I tuned it out. BC is covered with mountains the way a rat is covered in fur – what kind of idiot was I talking to that didn’t know that? But then, in the middle of all the drivel I heard the words, “Canadians must understand the need to keep their country from fragmenting.”
Well, why hadn’t he said so at the start? Superheroes need meaningful projects every bit as much as Alex Honnold does. And what could be more meaningful than saving my country from disintegration at the hands of French separatists?
The French are coming!
Credit: From the web
It appeared that I was being offered a chance to conquer the French Menace and get in some climbing all on the same day. And to top it off, there was money to be had. In all those movies and comics about superheroes, the subject of money somehow never comes up, does it? But in the real world, superheroes make dirtbag climbers look successful and wealthy.
Since this was beginning to sound good, I called my friend Tami, who, like me, was pretending to be a dirtbag climber while in fact living a secret life as a superhero. For those of you who don’t know her, I should point out that she was often not operating entirely on natural neurotransmitters, and therefore talking to her about specifics could be difficult. I, however, knew her well, and knew exactly how to catch her interest. “Hey Tami, you wanna make a bunch of money?”
Altruism is a worthy goal. Both of us aspired to it. In the next life perhaps we will even achieve it. But in this life we still had to deal with the reality of putting food on our plates and keeping the sleeping bags patched. Gold spoke to us in a loud voice.
What it's all about.
Credit: From the web
And so, with gold-clouded vision, we became the stars in a movie that was pivotal in saving our country. It wasn’t a long movie. Just 30 seconds. But it was shown over and over on every TV station in Canada, and since most of the country still speaks English, it must have been the key to saving the country. Right?
Tami wrote up some of what happened in her diary, and posted it here on Supertopo a while back. It’s a fun read, and some of it is even true. As for the parts that aren’t true, well, they’re all fine with me. Superheroes are kind of like priests, you know. Okay, superheroes mostly aren’t interested in molesting children, but they do see and hear a lot of things that have to remain confidential, so Tami’s tale of what happened is as good as any – If I had written it, it would be different, but it wouldn’t be any closer to the truth.
Words, though, only go so far. Anybody can write anything. But pictures… Ah, pictures provide some evidence that words speak truth. Well, okay, pictures did provide evidence once upon a time. Like when dinosaurs walked the earth with Sarah Palin’s grandfather six thousand years ago. Now, however, in the age of digital everything, pictures are meaningless.
Or maybe not. You decide…
First things first, right? You want to know about the cast. Who starred in this epic adventure? Let’s start with Tami. To the world, she was just one more lame little hippie climbing chick.
Hey, wanna go climbing?
Credit: From the web
As for me, well, to the world at large I was just another piece of human garbage, rotting in the back alleys of Needle City.
Sometimes, being a hero isn't all it's cracked up to be.
But as her companion on countless death-defying adventures over the centuries, I knew Tami as something else entirely.
You're going to die.
Credit: From the web
And, like Tami, when the call came from a troubled world, I answered.
And if she doesn't kill you, I will.
Credit: From the web
In a sane world, the story would end here. Tami and I heard the call, and would answer it. Separatism would get kicked into the next dimension, and the good folks in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan could get their morning coffee and donuts at the local Tim Horton’s and never know they’d come within a whisker of losing their empty lifestyles. But this is not a sane world. This was to be a movie. And to make a true Superhero Movie, you need sidekicks, right?
All Superheroes have sidekicks. Batman and Catwoman have Robin and… Who does Catwoman have? The Green Hornet had Kato. Dick Cheney had that talking chimp. So, we dangled dollar bills in front of some of the dirtbags we pretended to be friends with back then, and sure enough, a bunch of them showed up for a casting call. There was food, an open bar tab, and the director’s wife to fantasize about. In the end, although many were called, only three were chosen.
But, dirtbags or not, they were a manly bunch. There was Peter. The World’s Greatest Rock Climber. A fitting choice for a parable based on rock climbing.
Dream on, ladies.
And John, a fine climber and all-round great guy. But a great guy who didn’t understand what usually happens to Sidekick #2 in Superhero movies.
They don't come much more badass than this.
And Ryan, a climber who, although unknown to the world at large, operated at a level achieved only by one other – the legendary Tronc Feillu. If you have to ask about Tronc Feillu, you wouldn’t understand the answer, so don’t ask.
The ultimate climbing partner.
(And before you ask why Tami got all these Manly Men to play with, while I didn’t get nothin’, just remember that director’s wife…)
So. With heroes ready to rumble, and sidekicks on standby, the show was about to get on the road. At which point Superhero #1 said: “Uh, hang on a minute.”
You see, while normally any gig with Tami was cool – who better to watch my back while I watched her back (well, more often her front) – she was going to be fully occupied. Preening for the camera, right? And trying to avoid stepping in the puddles of drool from the men on the film crew.
Time for something beyond a sidekick. Time for someone who could deal with the copious quantities of herb that were sure to be involved (this was Canada, remember), yet able keep it together enough to make sure I was still around to walk into the sunset with Tami after saving the country. That is, someone who could set a trustworthy belay no matter how f*#ked up he got. So I sat the director down and said “Hire this man, or the show’s over.”
The bear, as a cub.
You can’t make a Superhero movie without Superheroes, and if the Superhero says “Hire Peder, or else,” then you swallow your objections and hire Peder. From your perspective it’s only money. And someone else’s money, at that.
With Peder in, the show could finally hit the road. Of course, the road ended after a couple of hours and then it was time to hit the trail. But nobody worth his entry in "Who’s Nobody" hits the trail without the right tunes. So we took a time-out to debate exactly what constituted the “right tunes.”
The right soundtrack is crucial.
With tunes chosen, we were ready to hit the trail for real. But we knew that our sidekicks, stalwart mountaineers though they were, would never make it to the summit for the filming without some inspiration. As we debated what might inspire our crew of manly men, Tami realized her shoe had come untied.
Oh dear, I think I just have to bend down and tie my shoelace.
Thus inspired, the crew was ready to go, and we headed into the wilderness. It was tough going. But we were tough climbers, and we simply put the pain out of our minds and got on with it. After pushing our bodies to the limit for almost five minutes, some in the crew were starting to fade, so we gave them a break.
If you're going to fight monsters, you might as well get wasted.
The break dragged on a bit as the crew prepared for the filming by practicing manly poses.
Who could ask for better companions when things get tough?
Of course Tami and I were above this worldliness. We didn’t really need a break, nor any artificial aids. Tami satisfied herself with a simple drink of clear water from a mountain stream, while I satisfied myself with the view of Tami satisfying herself.
Preparing for battle.
Thus refreshed, we continued upward. Some seeking the summit, some seeking wealth and fame, some seeking only to serve the common good, and some simply content with the view of their favorite superhero partner’s butt.
She who must be drooled over leads the manly men into the fight against the French menace.
Up and up we toiled
And yet further
Establishing the high ground in preparation for the battle
Till, at day’s end we reached the summit
Our last sunset?
Knowing that there would be a hard day of celluloid fame ahead, we settled in for the evening. Some, not worried about anything more serious than what they would spend their ridiculous paychecks on, chose to smoke vast quantities of dope and listen to Pink Floyd on the boom box. One, however, knowing that he’d actually have to earn his paycheck by taking repeated falls for the camera, chose to simply watch the sun go down for what he hoped was not the last time.
Not a bad choice for a last bivi site.
Morning found the team alert and ready to save their country.
Battle-ready in a way Seal Team Six can only dream of.
Now, given that it is going to take some time for the team to get its collective sh#t together enough to boil water for coffee, this may be a good point to take a break and go over just what the whole deal was really about. As noted at the very beginning, this all happened back in the dark ages, when evil people from Quebec were attempting to… Well, whatever it was they were attempting to do, it was evil. And would surely have prevented ordinary Canadians from ever having coffee and donuts at Tim Horton’s ever again. So the country’s leaders decided that the only answer was to blow trumpets from the heights and stir the blood of those ordinary Canadians and make them hate the French.
But how to stir the blood of these people? Speeches from the steps of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa? Leaflet campaigns in Safeway parking lots? Sunday sermons? Clearly, none of that would work with the coffee-swilling hordes, and the only answer was to have Tim Horton himself speak out. But, given that he’d died six years earlier, that was going to be tough. So, with no rational plan available, the decision was made to make a series of short films that could be aired as “TV commercials.” The logic was that the average Canadian, watching TV in the evening after downing the usual six or eight beers, would not notice that these were not advertisements for automobiles or laundry detergent, and that the message would pass subliminally into his/her subconscious, to resurface months later at the ballot box.
So, a hotshot crew of writers and directors was hired, and a half dozen 30-second films were planned around the theme of “One person can’t do it alone, but working together we’ll get the job done.”
Despite my Superhero-level intellect, it was never clear to me how this was going to convince anyone to vote for “the repatriation of the constitution.” Or, for that matter, how repatriating the constitution would save the country from the Quebec menace. But “understanding” isn’t really part of the superhero job description. Your country calls, you answer. No understanding needed. Particularly when large amounts of cash are involved.
Okay, background story over. We were awake, and there was a film to be made. Studly mountain climber pulls for the summit, but, in his hubris, forgets that he can’t do it alone, and falls into the void. Since he’s Canadian, his team comes to the rescue and together they all stand victorious on the summit – speaking English. Yeah, I know, it’s a crock of sh#t, but wtf, the money would make the next season’s dirtbagging a whole lot easier. So we all swallowed our nausea and gathered round to set up the falling-from-the-last-move shot
Mike the Cameraman meets the Dream Cast.
The guy on the right is Mike. A cameraman. According to the folks we were working for, he was not just a cameraman, but Jesus, Thor, and Buddha rolled up into one body and reincarnated as a cameraman. Which we didn’t doubt, but even if you’re the greatest cameraman in the history of film, it’s hard to step out of a helicopter onto a tiny summit and do your Oscar-worthy thing if you’re totally f*#king terrified of heights. Especially when you realize that what you’re being asked to do is to place you lens squarely into the superhero’s chest then tumble over the edge with him. We all figured it would look really cool to have the falling climber appear into the frame that way. Mike figured he was doomed. But, doomed or not, the guy was a pro. We lashed him down on a three-foot leash, told him that it was totally safe for him to let go of his sanity, and the man just buckled down and over-rode his fear. Stone professional.
Action time. John raps down to set pro in a crack about fifteen feet below the edge, then on down to set a belay a ways below that.
I'm actually getting paid for this?
Then Superhero #1 fakes a slip on the last move and hurtles into the void
Take that, you silly French wipers of other people's bottoms!
And it was a total f*#king void. The drop was about 3,500 feet. 1,000 vertical, then another 2,500 of slightly less-than-vertical to where the angle eased and the forest started. Not much different than popping off the top of El Cap. Absolutely stunning place to stage the world’s most spectacular fall. Which we did. Several times. It was just a thirty-footer, but like I said, it was a thirty-footer into over 3,000 feet of air. Exhilarating. To say the least.
At this point, with the team together on top, a helicopter with the door removed and a camera platform installed was supposed to show up to film the summit celebration. But nothing happened. We sat around on the summit telling terrified Mike that if he’d just get wasted he’d feel fine, but after a while we all started to wonder if maybe the French hadn’t advanced their takeover timetable and somehow taken over the helicopter as well as the country. About an hour later we heard the Whup-whup-whup, and then a voice on the radio saying “There you are! We’ve been looking on the wrong f*#king mountain.”
So, with Mike now in the helo to shoot from above, we threw our arms around each others’ shoulders, and waited for the filming to start, but what we got instead was a voice on the radio again: “For Christ’s sake, get the f*#k out of view.” Presumably a reference to the support crew of Peter and Peder, who were lounging around on top with us. “And kill that f*#king joint.”
Apparently they thought the smoke would interfere with the purity of the shot. Or something.
A couple more circles, and the call came to roll camera. Then the radio again: “Jesus Christ! You people look like you’re having a stand-up f*#k. Let’s get some separation here.”
So we gave the camera a bit of separation, the helicopter circled a couple more times, and we finally heard: “Great. We got it.” So Peter, and Peder came out of hiding, the chopper headed off to wherever, and us action-hero types scrambled down to where we’d left our packs and prepared to start the 6,000 foot descent to the car. But we’d only dropped down a few hundred feet when we heard the whup-whup-whup again.
What does he want?
WTF? Do they want to re-shoot something?
You're getting a little close, friend.
No, they’re coming right down to where we are. I mean right down.
Maybe he wants to bum a smoke?
No one aboard but the pilot, who points at his mic and then at us until we realize he wants us to turn on our radio. “Which one is David Harris?” We look at one another, then five people point at me. “They want you to look at the rushes.” Now the pilot is pointing at me, then at the skid which is touching a rock on the 45-degree slope.
So, okay, I’m a superhero. I’ve rescued terrified people from rabid badgers, helped old ladies to cross the street, and generally been saving the universe since the dawn of time. But I know f*#k-all about film. Getting me down to Vancouver at helicopter speed to view the rushes is not going to make one damn bit of difference to this film. I am thinking about pointing this out when I also start thinking that wherever these people are likely to hold their “viewing the rushes” ceremony, there will be a bar. And serious catering. And the director’s wife will probably be there. Oddly enough, this seems more attractive than hiking five hours down to the car.
So I step on the skid, grab doorframe, and pull myself into the helo. Before I have time to say “Hey, there’s no seat back here.” Or “Hey, there’s no seatbelt back here.” Or “Hey, there’s no door back here.” My five mates are hurling their packs through the door and saying “Hey, take care of this sh#t for us.”
And then the pilot lifts off and immediately banks his machine hard to port so that the door hole is directly below me and 3,000 feet of space are directly below that. I spreadeagle myself across the empty door hole with all the packs on top of me, hoping that I will live long enough to strangle the f*#king pilot who forgot about the fact that with no seat, no seatbelt, and no door, his passenger was pretty much going to fall out of his helicopter when he banked it so steeply. Thank god I’m a superhero.
After a quick stop down at the highway to pick up the director and cameraman, we’re whup-whup-whupping back to the coast, and then to the hotel bar where we drink and wait for the film to be rushed through development and brought to us for viewing. It looks pretty cool to me, but the director is cursing. Seriously cursing. Because my fall into 3,500 feet of space doesn’t look rad enough. Doesn’t look rad at all. “Looks like you’re falling three feet into a f*#king sandbox!” More drinking. “We’ve got to re-do this.” More drinking. “I sure as hell hope this place you’ve got picked out for tomorrow is going to work out. We need a location where you can do some more falling with a cameraman directly beneath you. We can cut that into the shitty stuff we’ve already got and maybe it’ll work. Can you take us somewhere we can do that?”
More drinking. I had no idea what he was talking about, and no idea what we would do about it. but Squamish was just 45 minutes up the road, and whatever falling he wanted done, I was pretty sure there was some place at Squamish we could arrange it.
And arrange it we did. Picture this: One superhero babe supervising four young climbers on a ledge with a tight rope running diagonally up from them. Tami is the one in front — the one who is laughing so hard at something that has just happened to the guy at the other end of the rope that she looks like she might lose control completely and either pee her pants, or tumble off the ledge. What was she laughing at?
They’d set up a bombproof belay, plus triply redundant protection at the high point, and then let out a measured thirty feet of slack so that when I faked my fall I’d plummet spectacularly toward the camera — far enough to make it look good in the film, but not really all that far.
But as the milliseconds of the fall stretched out longer and longer, and the rock kept flying upward past me I realized that the belay had failed.
Then TWANG, and I was hanging about one foot above the terrified cameraman, looking across at my superhero companion on the ledge, and knowing from her crazed laughter that it had been her idea to give me the extra twenty feet of slack.
The director thought it was sort of okay, but demanded that we do it again. So I jugged up, and plummeted one more time. I think we’d still be up there, shooting take after take, but the cameraman (not Mike this time) kind of didn’t like the idea of me plummeting fifty feet and coming to a stop so close above his nose that he had to put on fresh underwear after every shot.
So that’s it, right? Climbing shots in the bag. Falling shots in the bag. Time for the hotshot director to hand out a few checks, and then jet back to Toronto to turn our little adventure into celluloid gold. But no. In his mind, the image of me falling into the void still sucked. He might have footage of me plummeting toward the camera, but he wanted a better shot of me falling away from the camera. And if a real mountain top with a real 3,500 foot void wasn’t good enough, then By God a parking lot a few miles south of Squamish would be perfect.
He and his crew scoped it out.
Yeah, it's a parking lot dude.
Everything was perfect in his mind. The climber would stand on the dolly, which would get pulled along the tracks away from the camera, and…
…and this would somehow look like a plunge into a 3,500 foot void?
No problem, sez he. “The green trees and gray cliffs across the road will be out of focus, and will look totally void-like.” Yeah, but what about the foreground? What about the mountaintop the hero is supposed to be pulling onto when he slips? “Forget it. We’ll make some rocks and it’ll be perfect.”
Make some rocks? But sure enough, the next morning there were rocks. Nothing you’d mistake for Baffin Island or Patagonia, but sort of the same color as Squamish granite.
WTF? This is a climbing scene?
And the whole “How do you fall horizontally, in a parking lot?” question was soon answered. “We’ll just tie the dolly handle to your ass and then haul you backwards.”
Sure, you laugh. But it saved our country... And paid the rent.
Which they did. Again, and again, and again. With a bit of artfully arranged sand blowing out from under my fingers as I “fell” from the styrofoam summit.
But of course even this wasn’t enough, and as the afternoon wore into evening, and the mountains to the east drained from view, I was driven to where they’d set up a trampoline in front of the setting sun. “Get up on that thing and bounce. Your hair will fly around, and so will all that junk you’ve got dangling off you. It’ll look great.”
And I’m sure it did look great, but on about the fourth or fifth bounce the #4 Friend that was flying up and down with me changed course and flew straight into my crotch and, for me, the party abruptly ended. Everyone else thought it was hilarious. I just curled up into a fetal ball and moaned.
But that’s life for a superhero. If you’re not prepared to take it in the balls for your country, you might as well just go get a college degree and become an accountant or a lawyer.
Wow Ghost, amazing! Such a cool story & such great writing, I just learned a bunch right there. I liked the opening statement, it caught my attention immediately.
So let this be a wakeup call. Climbing isn't just a hobby. It is the real deal. It is more important than online wanking about politics or religion or boobs.
But mostly, if you think of us at all, it’s as oldsters to be humored. Mostly harmless, and good for a laugh now and then, but not all that exciting or important in the grand scheme of climbing. You probably have a mental image of us as something like this:
Ha so true Ghost, all this time I thought u were just around here to be humored & share sarcastic comments with- hahaha boy was I wrong! Real life superheroes, right here on ST, thanks for saving us David & Tami so that we can enjoy this quality of life here today! One of the best TRs evar, I'm still laughing my ass off!
I've been trying to find this commercial but to no avail.
It's probably locked up in a political party's vault somewhere. Can't remember which political party was in power then, but it was definitely a government-sponsored deal, not something done by CBC or CTV or by a commercial entity.
I made it part of my agreement with the film company that I'd get a copy of the finished product, and they honored that agreement. Gave me an 8mm film copy of the finished film. I've actually watched (on somebody's 8mm rig) and never thrown it away, but right now I have no idea where it is. I assume it's in the basement somewhere, but if you'd seen our basement you'd understand how little that means.
One day I'll find it and have it digitized, but you shouldn't hold your breath waiting for the YouTube version to appear anytime soon.
I think Justthemaid just threatened to come up and clean your house.
I'm picturing a case of maple syrup precariously teetering over the box holding the valuable film footage... The clock is ticking people... its only a matter of time before a marmot or beaver knocks that case over.
Ghost.. your cluttered basement is no match for me. Tell you what.. for that case of syrup, a novelty Mountie hat to attach DaBrim to and a promise to protect me from the gang of French Canadians that have sworn to kill me if I cross the border... I will come clean your basement.
I'm amending my list of demands. Crossing the red-maple line is no small matter. If I'm risking life and limb to come up there to wrestle a reel of film away from beavers (or whatever other furry/bitey things are lurking down there).. I'm gonna need a date with Anders at a three-star restaurant thrown into the deal.
Sorry- Thought Ghost had moved back over the border for some reason. I know he's WA climbing clan (like my other half). Got his current location corn-fused for some reason. I really need to stop huffing glass flux.
OK.. Anders is out, but there's still probably marmots involved and a visit to that sopping wet excuse of a state, so he's going to have to take a drive over the border to pony up that syrup and hat.
If I'm risking life and limb to come up there to wrestle a reel of film away from beavers (or whatever other furry/bitey things are lurking down there).. I'm gonna need a date with Anders at a three-star restaurant thrown into the deal.
Skip writes about beaver wrestling with Anders, and you guys think my sh#t is funny?
About the film: Somewhere in my possession there should be a small brown envelope with a small reel of 8mm film in it. We're talking about just 30 seconds here, not the full "Making Of" or outtakes. Just the commercial as it finally aired.
If I ever find it, I'll try to get it digitized. And if it's digitized, I'll be happy to share it.
That was a fun gig. But more than fun, it was also educational. It's easy to be a young dirtbag climber, all wrapped up in how special you are compared to all those clods out in the world who are so boring. But meeting, and working with the people on that film crew was eye-opening. They bust their asses doing something that is not easy, and they were good at it. They moved in a different world than we did, but there was an intersection of attitude.
In about '76 I got dragged into (ok-not fully kicking and screaming)
a Wausau Insurance (the old sponsors of 60 Minutes) shoot. Now we
weren't out to save the nation. No sir, just pure avarice, thank you.
These were reel Hollywood types. Who else would show up on Mt Baker with
nary a sweater? Seriously, the dood on the left is wearing my anorak and wooly
hat (which I still have - ha!)
Since it was Hollywood there was no damn hiking or nonsense. In
fact, lunch was delivered hot by air! (couldn't put my hands on that pic)
Of course, with the crack team assembled we didn't have to resort to
fake rocks in the carpark. We kept it totally believable.
"C'mon, Mike, don't look like a flippin' salmon being reeled in!"
I did say we were the consummate professionals, didn't I?
Great story and writing, Ghost! I'm confused, just got home from work. Don't really know what is going on with the border issue, but I was wasted a lot too back then - and the border was REALLY close for those of us at WWU in Bellingham.
I raced on a Vancouver based mountain bike team in the early 90s. Every year in late June we raced in a World Cup in Quebec (Mont Sainte Anne). So we would go to Canada Day in Quebec City when we were there.
My team mate would dawn a t shirt that said "Viva Canada" and a maple leaf on the front. And on the back was "Sans Quebec"
I raced on a Vancouver based mountain bike team in the early 90s. Every year in late June we raced in a World Cup in Quebec (Mont Sainte Anne). So we would go to Canada Day in Quebec City when we were there.
My team mate would dawn a t shirt that said "Viva Canada" and a maple leaf on the front. And on the back was "Sans Quebec" We made him walk a head of us a bit. Made for a fun night!!
Not to turn this toward politics, but your comment reminds me of the aftermath of the episode...
After all the commercials aired, and all the politicians spewed their spew, and all the pundits chimed in, there was a nation-wide referendum. I don't remember the exact wording, but the basic premise was "Do you support certain special rights for Quebec, beyond those available to other provinces in Canada."
When the vote was tallied, the results were surprisingly uniform. Both English- and French-speaking Canadians rejected the referendum by about 75% against to 25% for. This was widely trumpeted by the government as showing overwhelming sentiment -- even among Quebecers -- against giving any special status to that province.
But then, when the exit polls were analyzed, it turned out that while 75% of the rest of Canada had voted against it because it gave too much to Quebec, 75% of Quebecers voted against it because it did not give enough to Quebec!
Thank god Tami and I were ready to stand up and be counted. Otherwise, all you Americans would have to buy phrase books if you wanted to take a trip to Squamish or Canmore.
Thanks to all of you for your kind words. I really had no idea how this story would be received, but it looks like it wasn't a big mistake to post. Tami and I, and Ryan, John, Peter, and Peder had a lot of fun on that gig. And as I mentioned above, working with the film crew was a real eye-opener. They were a long way from the dirtbag scene we knew, but they were amazing people. They worked 18- and 20-hour days, and risked their professional careers on every job. I probably wouldn't have put it this way back then, but they definitely weren't sport film-makers.
Since this seems to have been well received, I went back through the photos I could lay my hands on, and dug out a few that didn't go into the TR.
Start with a couple of people shots:
Here's Ryan. Best climbing partner in the universe.
Another adventure with Ryan -- Baffin Island 1981
Is that stuff in the bottle the magic potion that made him a SuperClimber?
The bivi. Check the creek about 5,000 feet below...
No, he wasn't an El Cap climber. And no, you Californians couldn't have kept up to him in the mountains.
Tami and Peter tying to decide whether it's worth waking up.
"Is it time to get up dear?" "No, I think, I'll sleep in a bit longer."
The Director checks out the framing of the key shot.
Consider that this provided a more "realistic" fall into 3,500 feet of space than an actual fall into 3,500 feet of space.
Tami and Ryan (back left) and Peter (back center) heave on the ropes tied to my ass, thereby sending me plummeting into the void.
Good thing I'm not afraid of heights.
Once again, thanks to all of you for your kind words, and thanks to John, Peder, Peter, Ryan, and Tami for joining me in saving our country. Or at least for having a few days of big fun.
How did I miss this, what an AWESOME story with AMAZING pictures. Your ready to write for SNL or should I say SCTV. The only thing I'm wondering is how did Tami take when at the beginning you include her in your geriatric club, she's my age for christs sake! Does that mean I'm old too? Three cheers for the ghost!!!!!
Fabulous story, Dave - and mostly true.
In defense of Peder and myself, though, we weren't lounging on the summit in plain view when the director erupted. We had hidden away in a chimney in the summit block. Those days, though, weed was weaker than diet cigarettes and it was necessary to roll fatties the size of carrots - and we each had one. Obviously the smoke was significant. That was when the director yelled over the megaphone that the mountain looked like a F-ing volcano and could we please douse the F-ing joints. He used the F word a lot.
As far as your plummet off Nightmare Rock remember it was at that confusing time when Canada was switching over to the metric system. So when the director asked for a thirty footer I figured "No way!, we'll rig it for thirty meters" I still wasn't clear on what a meter was but I was pretty sure it was longer than a foot. You took the leap and I had a flicker of panic that we might have goofed on the length. All was good though - you missed the ground by at least a meter. Lucky us and luckier you. Anyway, belated apologies for a bad joke at your expense.
As far as your plummet off Nightmare Rock remember it was at that confusing time when Canada was switching over to the metric system. So when the director asked for a thirty footer I figured "No way!, we'll rig it for thirty meters" I still wasn't clear on what a meter was but I was pretty sure it was longer than a foot. You took the leap and I had a flicker of panic that we might have goofed on the length. All was good though - you missed the ground by at least a meter. Lucky us and luckier you.
So glad this resurfaced as I missed it the first time round.
Nice one David and great comments from those "on the case". Since tonight is the supermoon it seemed appropriate to post up the track that our friends reported they listened to on the summit of rexford as the moon popped up.
THANK YOU SUPERHERO GHOST...er...MILD-MANNERED WRITER DAVE!!!!
You're outta the closet now as a hard-climbin' English-sputterin' BITD Superhero, not to mention brilliantly funny ST writer with great photos!
This truly is a masterpiece. You not only got Chris Mac's thumbs up, but you got the elusive Peter Croft to post up...a farggin' miracle!
I loved every second of this ride, and having done loads of filmwork in BC, Alberta, The Yukon and AK during the winter months, in choppers, I commiserate with the need for alcohol-induced forgetfulness of the details. ;-)
Like everyone else here, I eagerly await your next narrative...and would love to see that 8mm footage someday...;-)
So I go back to Canada for a couple of days, just to be sure that things are still okay there (you know, that people are still speaking English), and what happens? As soon as my back is turned, Ed bumps this thing.
Damn. Didn't Ed just swear upon a stack of guidebooks that he'd never get involved in anything political on Supertopo again? And what could be more political than separatist rebellions in foreign countries.
And Canada's not just foreign, it has oil. How many American lives have already been lost in the fighting there?
Oh well, Chris will probably freeze this TR soon, but in the meantime, maybe we can get a few more posts into it.
merde, Ghost, the Homeland Security let you back into the USA after I bumped this intending to get their attention?!
oh, perhaps A.O.Scott was not only right, but prophetic in his review of The Bourne Identity... it was 2002, and he wrote:
"The movie, which opens nationwide today, trots out a quaint view of the C.I.A. as not only bottomlessly malevolent, but also endlessly and terrifyingly competent. Shortly after they see Marie's image on a security camera satellite feed, the folks at Langley are in possession of her entire life history, and they are able to track her movements across Europe with a few clicks of the mouse. This is inadvertently hilarious in light of recent news reports. If Marie had only thought to disguise herself as an international terrorist, she might never have attracted the agency's notice in the first place. (We can also assume that Pashto and Arabic are not among the languages Bourne speaks.)"
Yeah, and you know why? Cuz given what you posted today it sounds like you think we're going to have to dust off our superhero outfits and save the US...
What does it matter WHO you lot elect for president?
The attitude of American exceptionalism will prevail. Your agencies will continue to tell your citizens that your foreign policies are altruistic when it benefits only the very wealthy of the corporatocracy.
Your media is propagandized; US Democratic process is dead.
Hillary Clinton is just another piece of meat like Obama and the Bushes before her.
David completely forgot to mention the following fascinating subjects, which form another backdrop to his feat. I'm sure he'll be getting to it.
Seven Years' War
Bilingualism and biculturalism
Dispossession of First Peoples, and sometimes worse
United Empire Loyalists (those who were robbed by the US 'revolutionaries', and moved to Canada)
Confederation and the British North America Act
World War I, Vimy
The Statute of Westminster
World War II and First Canadian Army
Prime Ministers Macdonald, Laurier, Mackenzie King, Saint Laurent, Pearson, and Trudeau
And a whole bunch of other important stuff.
Our first Prime Minister, Macdonald, was an alcoholic, but quite a functional one. Not unusual in those days for politicans. However, his opponent Alexander Mackenzie (not the explorer) was a prim teetotaler. Once in parliament, Mackenzie stated "Sir John, you're drunk." To which he replied: "Yes, but the house would rather have Sir John A, drunk, than you, sober."