Trip Report
Half Dome cables with an autistic boy--er, young man
Tuesday August 16, 2011 11:06am
A friend said it looks like we're standing in front a picture of Yosem...
A friend said it looks like we're standing in front a picture of Yosemite. It just doesn't look real, does it?
Credit: Damn this looks high

Since our first trip to Yosemite in 2005, I've wanted to hike to the summit of Half Dome with my son, Carl. Now 16, Carl is autistic and has never spoken a word. One of Carl’s doctors asked me why I want to take him up there and what fear I think Carl wants to overcome or what I think he wants to accomplish. To those questions I have no answer. I don’t know why I want to take him up there or if he has any desire to be on top of Half Dome. I don’t know if he has any memory of our previous attempts or if he remembers what he had for lunch yesterday. There’s a lot I don’t know about Carl’s interior life. What I do know about him is that he’s game for almost anything I do with him—he will apparently do whatever I do and go wherever I go.

In 2006, Carl and I never even made it to the cables. I took one look at the approach trail up the Sub-dome and bailed out. Last year we made it a third of the way up the cables before Carl stopped--he just stopped and became a dead weight attached to my harness, unwilling to take another step. No encouragement from me or the people around us would get him any higher. I was disappointed but honestly a little relieved—did I mention I’m afraid of heights? (Some details about the 2010 attempt in the comments section below).
Carl and I on our way down in 2006.  5 years ago--such a little boy.  ...
Carl and I on our way down in 2006. 5 years ago--such a little boy. At that time, while he was still a BOY, we still had hope he might 'snap out of it.'
Credit: Damn this looks high
2010 at the base of the cables--before our attempt at the cables.
2010 at the base of the cables--before our attempt at the cables.
Credit: Damn this looks high

So this year I was bound and determined to make it. I started rock climbing about a year ago—still afraid of heights but doing some very hard, exposed climbing—and I’ve acquired experience with the equipment. I was prepared and confident that we would be safe—and I made a point of talking with Carl about the system I had devised and the safety it afforded us. I never really know what Carl understands but, oddly, he looked right at me while I spoke—something he rarely does (honestly, it was a little unnerving).

After a poor sleep, we awoke at 4 am and got to the trailhead near Happy Isles at 5:45 am. The hike was relatively uneventful—Carl hiked well and even seemed to have a little more push than last year. He also seemed a little more adventurous—he ‘balance beamed’ a fallen tree across a stream, just as I had done, instead of simply stepping over the water. I was encouraged that we might just make it this time. I had the feeling that Carl might have been too tired last year so we stopped every hour for about 15 minutes—and I promised him we’d wait at the base of the cables until at least 11 am before casting off on the final push.
Vernal falls--not really that scared of the exposure--so I was hopeful...
Vernal falls--not really that scared of the exposure--so I was hopeful at this point.
Credit: Damn this looks high


Carl wore a climbing seat harness and a chest harness. These were connected to each other with a spring loaded locking carabiner--twisting the gate while simultaneously pushing it up and in was something I didn't think Carl could absent-mindedly or deliberately accomplish. To this carabiner I had girth hitched a 48 inch nylon sling, which was also girth hitched to an identical spring loaded locking carabiner attached to my harness. Carl wasn’t going anywhere I wasn’t going. For extra protection, I was using a third carabiner attached to a pair of nylon slings girth hitched together and to the locking carabiner on my harness. With this sling/carabiner I would clip into the cables—only unclipping to move past each stanchion. If Carl fell, he’d do so only until he came taught to me. If he pulled me from my footing, we’d only fall as far as the next stanchion on the cables. We were in no real danger and I was confident of that—I had no real concerns about our safety.

At almost 11 am on August 2nd, fully harnessed and ready, we set off. Last year Carl followed me so I thought I’d let him do the pace setting this year. Carl seemed to be doing fine until his feet started to slip as the rock became steeper—about a third of the way up. At this point I began to understand that Carl isn't afraid of heights ‘per se’ but that he doesn’t like it when his feet slip—anywhere! I’ve noticed this on easy hikes with him. He’ll step on a gravel-covered stone and all forward motion will cease if his foot slips—regardless of height or steepness of terrain. He just wants his feet to be well planted! Fair enough. Carl got to a point where he just couldn’t get traction for his boots (I was looking right at his boots from below and behind, watching them slide) and didn’t seem to understand that he could simply pull up on the cables with his hands to get past these parts—and at this point he was done, the climb was over and we turned around.

I had brought a beer for myself and a soda for Carl—for the summit celebration. We sat at the base of the cables and contemplated another failed attempt (I contemplated—Carl? Who knows?). The beer was warm and flavorless. I only drank about half of it. Carl’s soda, however, seemed to meet with his approval just fine. Truth be told, the cables route wigged me out more than a little bit and knowing that I’d climbed a far harder route on Tahquitz rock just three days before didn’t seem to quell the unease I felt while looking up at the cables. For me, it’s heady being up there. It gets to me. After 30 minutes I decided that we might as well give it another try—we were there, why not?

So, we clipped in to the cables and set off--this time with me in the lead. When we got to ‘Carl’s crux’ we breezed through it—he didn’t miss a beat. I can only assume that being ‘short roped’ to me gave him just enough confidence that the slipping of his boots never lasted long enough to worry him. He never whined or stopped or hesitated--just kept coming. As we approached the part of the trail that starts to ease off I could barely speak--I was so proud of him. We were on top soon after taking pictures and laughing. Well, I was laughing and smiling--Carl was just being Carl. I truly had, and have, no idea what he thought or felt--happy, relieved, proud, blasé? I haven’t a clue. We spent almost no time at the summit. Later people asked if we’d stood on the ‘diving board’ or 'The Visor' and I said, "No". It hadn’t even occurred to me and I can’t explain why. I did, however, slide over to the edge on my belly!
With the valley at our backs, you can see the system we used.
With the valley at our backs, you can see the system we used.
Credit: Damn this looks high


But now we had to get down—luckily we’ve had some experience getting down the cables. Last year, Carl slid down on his butt—lots of traction? This year, he devised a new method. Still clipped into me and both of us clipped into the cables, Carl sat on his haunches—in a squat—and ‘glissaded’ down the rock face. It was riotously funny to watch (really wish I had it on video)--that is until he glissaded both boots under one of the wooden 2’ x 4’ steps on the route. “Oh, come on! How the hell am I supposed to get his boots out from under the step when he won’t stand up and can’t walk backwards up the rock?” Not to worry--someone climbing the cables helped support him while I got his feet out (I don’t really remember how we did it, but…we did). And that was it. It was over. We’d done it and were safe. We only then had to hike 8 miles back to the valley floor, find a place to spend the night and drive home the next day.

Two last things about the cables; First, a lot of people looked at our harness/sling/biner arrangement with true envy--more than one said, "I wish I'd have thought of that." Two, the people on the cables with us were very understanding. It's as if they all, every single one, understood how big of a deal this was for Carl. While we descended, they would patiently wait for us to pass--never offended by Carl's unwillingness to share the cables with anyone unless forced to switch both hands to one side as we waited for someone to pass us. People are good--for all of my complaining about 'the great unwashed' of our society--people are good.

I will never know if Carl is happy we gained the summit of Half Dome. And that bothers me. I want him to someday tell me, “That was cool, Dad.” I’d even settle for “What the hell were you thinking? I almost sh#t my pants.”

My boy, dwarfing El Capitan.
My boy, dwarfing El Capitan.
Credit: Damn this looks high

  Trip Report Views: 9,494
Damn this looks high
About the Author
DTLH is a poser climber (trad poser?) from Temecula, CA.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:11am PT
Very nice, thanks. You're a nice dad.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:17am PT
TFPU - really really nice.
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:18am PT
Who isn't happy to be on top of Half Dome? I would bet one of the highlights of his life and one that will be etched in his memory for eternity! I somehow believe that autistic people are on another plain of intellegence than we are. Most that I've known, have an incredible talent in some other area! You are proud of your son I'm sure, he did quite the great job.
Peace
jfailing

Trad climber
PDX, North Slope, The Open Road
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:22am PT
Very cool! Even if he can't communicate it, I'm sure he's stoked on the whole experience...
eKat

Trad climber
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:24am PT
My boy, dwarfing El Capitan.

In addition to that, El Cap is dwarfed by the size of your heart!

FABULOUS!

TFPU!

ox
Spufi

Trad climber
DeLusion, Ca
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:26am PT
An awesome TR. Thank you for for sharing it with us. Go Carl!
BillO

Trad climber
Yachats, OR
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:29am PT
Very cool! Thanks for sharing.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:30am PT
Awesome TR. Seriously awesome. :)
Gene

climber
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:31am PT
Beautiful. Well done Carl and Dad!
Denise Umstot

climber
Princess of the El Cap Bridge!
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:31am PT
Great TR! Way to go Carl!! You are an awesome dad with much patience and love for your son. What a team :)
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:34am PT
What a warm and touching TR.

I had a neighbor with an autistic son so I tried to do some research on it.
The U of U has a pretty advanced program, but there are still so many mysteries. Good luck to you.
YoungGun

climber
North
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:37am PT
Awesome trip report. Thanks!!
eKat

Trad climber
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:47am PT
. . . and, this . . . my dear TacoBrethren. . . is exactly why TheTacoStandROOLS!

:-)
d-know

Trad climber
electric lady land
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:50am PT
Inspirational.

carl is
one lucky
dude
to have a pops
like you
showing him
the way.

i suspect
carl has
taught his
pops a thing
or two as well.


love and respect.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:54am PT
Fabulous and interesting TR; your candor with respect to your son's condition is amazing.

Thanks for the great story & unflinching honesty. All the best to you & Carl.
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
  Aug 18, 2011 - 11:15am PT
Damn this looks high, Thank you .....Beautiful trip report, made me tear up...

Carl, Wow..Good job!!....

and

Carl's Dad, Good job too! .. Patience is a virtue.. and a victory.
What a cool Dad you are....






Prezwoodz

climber
Anchorage
  Aug 16, 2011 - 12:15pm PT
Thank you for the wonderful trip report. I think that what you are looking for in words he said in the details. When he was looking right at you while you spoke. That he didn't complain on the way up and just kept coming. It probably took a lot for him to overcome those barriers and in that I think he showed you what it meant to him.
John Butler

Social climber
SLC, Utah
  Aug 16, 2011 - 12:24pm PT
Absolute amazing trip for you and your son.

I took my Aspergers son up this year. Aspergers is like pieces of Autism, but not severe. Aspergers people get by really well in lots of ways, but seem to each have their own areas that can be challenging to the point of being debilitating.

I thought he would choose to wait at the top of sub-dome or turn around a few feet up, but he shot right up the cables. Once on top he suddenly realized where he was and a panic attack of epic proportions hit him.

It took 30 minutes to get him back to the cables. All the time I am thinking SAR, sedation and a litter would be the only way. I had him put a harness/sling rig on before the climb and tried over and over again to talk him through the process of getting down "ten feet at a time."

Panic attacks, for the uninitiated, are moments where the victim seems to be without reasoning ability. 21 years of panic attacks and I had never seen anything like this. He has tried jump out of moving cars when remembering he forgot something at home brought an attack on, completely unable to understand that all we had to do was turn around and go back for it. Well meaning folks offered words of encouragement that sent us back to square one over and over until I finally put my finger to my lips and shushed them with a smile before they could speak.

Good fortune would have it that 2 fine men with a full on Via Ferrata setups approached the cables and I was able to say we would do it exactly the way they would. I had to handle the clipping as he hung on to the the cable for dear life. Once underway he was fine. But our decent was slowed by the 2 in front of us who were completely terrified. A couple of less severe attacks befell him, but we got on with things.

Some of the folks on the way up were put out that they had to pass us on just one cable. A few felt the totality of what was going on and were just great human beings.

You have to admire people who do things even when scared half to death. Those 2 guys had the ride of their lives and it was great to share a moment with them at the bottom. My son had quite a ride, too.

At in rate, the worst of times always seem to become the best of times as you just do what you have to to get through it all.

jb

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Aug 16, 2011 - 12:27pm PT
Stories like this are why the cables should stay, thanks dads, for showing your sons some adventure. Bet they never forget, either.

DMT
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
  Aug 16, 2011 - 12:28pm PT
You and your son got further than I did (when trying to hike to the saddle of Half Dome for trash pick-up during 2010 Facelift). To do that long hike, get started on the cables and come down, and then get back on it? Bravo!
neversummer

climber
30 mins. from suicide USA
  Aug 16, 2011 - 12:30pm PT
Inspiring...really cool!!!
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
  Aug 16, 2011 - 12:30pm PT
If I may be so bold as to speak for your son..

What the hell were you thinking Pops??? I nearly sh#t my pants! But
damn that was cool! Thanks for taking me up there!







oh.. and by the way. John is scared of heights too. But I'm not. Not as long as my dad is with me. Whats next dad?
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Aug 16, 2011 - 01:40pm PT
Most excellent. Your story is precisely why the cables should stay.

The pictures of your son on top have a different look in his eyes - he looks proud and awed to me.

TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
  Aug 16, 2011 - 01:45pm PT
Thank you for posting. Inspiring to be sure!

Cheers!
twohearts

Trad climber
laguna
  Aug 16, 2011 - 01:53pm PT
Wow, I have to say, I am moved to tears with you Dad...your strength, resourcefulness, and committment to your goal. I can't imagine how this did not effect your son in a very profound way! Thanks for taking the time to share this with all of us!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 16, 2011 - 01:53pm PT
Super super AWESOME!!!

That's as good as climbing gets right there.

A hard won goal, the glow of success!
cowpoke

climber
  Aug 16, 2011 - 01:56pm PT
One of the best things I've read, here or elsewhere. Those last two paragraphs, man. So glad you posted here, and I think you should really consider distributing beyond ST.
Guernica

climber
dark places
  Aug 16, 2011 - 02:02pm PT
Damn this looks... rad!

Really great work, and all the best to your family.
this just in

climber
north fork
  Aug 16, 2011 - 02:04pm PT
The coolest part is you guys were defeated twice only to return again and conquer your fears. Thanks for the TR.
Manjusri

climber
  Aug 16, 2011 - 02:14pm PT
Wow, thanks so much for that trip report. Great read!
sullly

Gym climber
  Aug 16, 2011 - 02:20pm PT
This TR sure got me choked up. Nice work!
Wonderso

climber
SF Bay Area
  Aug 16, 2011 - 02:23pm PT
That was wonderful to read! I have little tears in my eyes now; better not let the boss see me, haha! I feel so proud and excited for both of you! Hearing about the early attempts was great for this and I'm guessing (only guessing) might make it feel even bigger and better had you 'flashed' it. You had me cracking up with the "what the hell were you thinking!" comment too, LOL! I hope you might get either one day too. I'm so glad I read this! I'm inspired!

A big CONGRATULATIONS to you both!!

:)
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Aug 16, 2011 - 02:25pm PT
Much of my career has been working with children with autism. This is just freakin' amazing. So cool. The unarticulated bond between the two of you...sometimes words get in the way but we just "know". Susan
thetennisguy

Mountain climber
Yuba City, CA
  Aug 16, 2011 - 02:28pm PT
Really great TR! Inspiring! I am in tears! Thank you so much for posting this. What great love you have for your son!

Thank you truly for posting this TR!

All the best to you and Carl in your future endeavors! God be with you both!

HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Aug 16, 2011 - 02:45pm PT
Well DONE Carl!
DTLH------that's the way....easy does it.....listen to Carl's feelings, let him work through it, or let him say no in his own way, stay physically close. We all need to learn from this. Good luck to you both on Carl's Next Big Adventure.
redrocker

climber
NV
  Aug 16, 2011 - 02:47pm PT
I made a point of talking with Carl about the system I had devised and the safety it afforded us. I never really know what Carl understands but, oddly, he looked right at me while I spoke—something he rarely does

Makes you wonder.

Nice job DTLH and Carl. Thanks.

cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
  Aug 16, 2011 - 03:19pm PT
Wow, fascinating, I'm really proud of both of you! I too hope someday he says something to you about it!

tahoe523

Trad climber
Station Wagon, USA
  Aug 17, 2011 - 12:47am PT
Thank you for sharing and congratulations on a successful summit. It was a very moving TR for me.

And if I, too, may be so bold as to speak for your son- he is so fortunate to have such a loving father.

I look forward to reading about your next adventure.
QITNL

climber
  Aug 16, 2011 - 04:23pm PT
Hell yeah! Nice job, both of you!
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 16, 2011 - 06:28pm PT
Thank you all for the compliments and kind words.

Have to put one more in--one of my favorites of Carl.

At the base of the sub-dome--on the way up!  Can you read that express...
At the base of the sub-dome--on the way up! Can you read that expression? Smug maybe? "Got this one in the bag, Dad."
Credit: Damn this looks high

Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
  Aug 16, 2011 - 06:29pm PT
Good work guys. thanks for the inspiration.
eKat

Trad climber
  Aug 16, 2011 - 06:31pm PT
What a dear, sweet soul, that Carl!

This thread just keeps on giving!

KEEP THAT MAGIC ALIVE!

oxoxo

Kath
Brian

climber
California
  Aug 16, 2011 - 07:07pm PT
Very, very, very cool.

Brian
David Knopp

Trad climber
CA
  Aug 16, 2011 - 07:24pm PT
best trip report all year, thanks for sharing the joy.
adam d

climber
CA
  Aug 17, 2011 - 12:33am PT
Awesome! What a great experience whether he liked it or not and whether he can speak about it or not. I'm a special ed teacher and I still can't imagine how difficult it must be to be a parent of a child who doesn't speak. I'd love to know what Carl thought of it all too!
Peter Astroman

Big Wall climber
Orange County, CA
  Aug 16, 2011 - 07:58pm PT
What an inspiration - both of you! I agree with the comment about your heart dwarfing El Cap. Way to go and the two of you will have the eternities to talk about how awesome it was for Carl. That is after you are both relieved of the limitations of this life.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Aug 16, 2011 - 08:50pm PT
That's really awesome. Thanks for your honesty.
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 16, 2011 - 09:37pm PT
John Butler,

Thanks for sharing your story. It's humbling to note that our trip was difficult but yours with your son was truly epic! I, too, thought about YOSAR a few years ago--just in case.

Jim
OR

Trad climber
  Aug 16, 2011 - 09:46pm PT
AWSOME. This story has made my day. You are an amazing father and have a gifted son.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
  Aug 16, 2011 - 10:30pm PT
Brilliant. I am close to tears. Brilliant.

I don't know and don't care what any expert might tell you, as a father of five I am 100% sure your son understands EVERYTHING you say and EVERYTHING you do for and with him. He knows you are #1.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
  Aug 16, 2011 - 10:39pm PT
That kid is a silent adventurer... Life is an experience, way to bring another one his way.
RKM

Social climber
Utah
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:40pm PT
These kinds of children (and adults) give the whole world a sense of compassion. Every time you see, meet or come in close contact with one of the "gentle ones", it makes you stop and pause. Maybe even ponder a little about love and life.

You’re a good man and your son is infinitely happy down deep inside.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Aug 16, 2011 - 11:53pm PT
hey there say, 'damn this looks high' (dear dad of carl)...

first off... wow, i sure wish more dads would have saftey backup for their kids, too... a life-giving message of: "i love you while we learn this piece of dangerous rock"


next:

wow, what a neat wonderful story of dad-and-son... this is what it is all about: relationships, relating to life and learning where it is to take one, spiritually, while doing the physical aspect of it...


to carl:
oh my! job well done!
wonderful accomplishment...

:)


god bless to you...
inspiration, has no price on it...
it is an on-going treasure to others...

things in life, can be conquered, as well as the rocks
you just finished...


:)
D.Eubanks

Big Wall climber
  Aug 17, 2011 - 07:48pm PT
This is one of my favorite TR's of all time !.

Thank You Dad and Carl and a well deserved Congratulations.
Double D

climber
  Aug 17, 2011 - 12:06am PT
Inspiring... mainly just your patience and determination. He's one lucky boy to have you as a father.
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
  Aug 17, 2011 - 12:30am PT
Fantastic trip report! Like Susan I have lots of career experience with kids and some adults with autism and similar conditions. We learn so much from them. I'm so happy to see you willing to take on this adventure and make the second attempt. You guys rocked it!


as above.. you can be SURE Carl understands the Love and Trust you have for him.
Rock!...oopsie.

Trad climber
the pitch above you
  Aug 17, 2011 - 12:39am PT
Job well done; congrats to both of you on the summit. Thanks for sharing the journey, I learned more form this than most TRs.
SofCookay

climber
  Aug 17, 2011 - 01:45am PT
Best trip report I have read on this site. Congratulations, you have so much to be proud of. Beautiful and amazing story - thank you for sharing.
shrub

climber
Redlands
  Aug 17, 2011 - 02:26am PT
Beautiful. I knew sooner or later I'd see a TR like this.

These kids can do so much if they have the right support.

Nice work, DTLH, for giving the support and having the patience.

Nice job, Carl, for trusting and not giving up.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/43585554@N03/5162947725/in/set-72157625228645657/
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Aug 17, 2011 - 02:43am PT
I recommend trying Facilitated Communication. Look into it.

You may yet at least read the thoughts of your child.

dipper

climber
  Aug 17, 2011 - 02:53am PT
Best TR ever.

A wonderful example of unconditional love.

You both rock!
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Aug 17, 2011 - 03:24am PT
What a special, moving, well conveyed story.
Thanks so much for sharing.

I agree with a poster above-
shop this story around, it has an obvious impact on people.

Congrats!!!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
  Aug 17, 2011 - 04:23am PT
The only thing inaccurate in this TR is where you describe yourself as a poser climber. Thank you for a realy nice story that has all the elements of a great climb!
eKat

Trad climber
  Aug 17, 2011 - 12:22pm PT
I think the look on the Ranger's face tells it all. . . even she is HAPPY about it!

:-)
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
  Aug 17, 2011 - 12:26pm PT
excellent, what a great trip!
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
  Aug 17, 2011 - 12:31pm PT
Two thumbs up!
BrentA

Gym climber
Roca Rojo
  Aug 17, 2011 - 12:31pm PT
Careful what you wish for!

Carl is going to want to link El Cap and 1/2 dome now
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 17, 2011 - 03:38pm PT
Funny things happen--the social graces are lost on Carl. On another hike a few years ago, I asked a couple coming down the trail 'How are the waterfalls?' The woman replied, "Oh, my God!" and I thought to myself, 'Cool' until I realized she wasn't answering my question--instead, Carl had taken the opportunity to whip it out and take a leak right there on the trail in front of her.

The thing I like about Carl--and about most special needs people--is that there's no pretense. If he's in pain, he cries. If he's mad, he lets me know. He is an emotionally pure human being.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
  Aug 17, 2011 - 04:16pm PT
This is awesome wonderful.
What a treat.
Thanks so much.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 17, 2011 - 04:18pm PT
Awesome day with your son, true dedication as a father!!!
Thanks!
-e
eKat

Trad climber
  Aug 17, 2011 - 04:22pm PT
"Oh, my God!" and I thought to myself, 'Cool' until I realized she wasn't answering my question--instead, Carl had taken the opportunity to whip it out and take a leak right there on the trail in front of her.

See. . . this thread really does just keep on giving!

:-)

HiFrikkenLarious!
JohnRoe

Trad climber
State College, PA
  Aug 17, 2011 - 06:10pm PT
this is amazing, so good
Longstick

Social climber
Seattle, WA
  Aug 17, 2011 - 06:14pm PT
Doesn't get any better than this. Hats off to you, Dad. A reward of 'thanks Dad' may never be heard. But I hope you find hope and fullfillment to keep on doing what is right.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Aug 17, 2011 - 06:50pm PT
What a great father you are!

Great TR! I would say your first attempts were not "failures" though. You failed to summit, but you set the groundwork for your eventual summiting and did some nice hikes to boot.

A lot of regular people can't do that summit push. Anyone should be proud of making it up the cables.

One of my family is high functioning on the spectrum, and just that is a challenge. It must be tough to work so hard to raise a child and not get a lot of feedback from them.

Maybe it's my imagination but I see a lot of pride and satisfaction in this shot. His expression is clearly different from the earlier shots.
Syncro

climber
Newport beach ca
  Aug 17, 2011 - 07:20pm PT
Wow, my best memory is of me age13 and my dad 50 doing the same climb ,I think he will remember this in his own way hopefully as long as I have now I'm 50
imStein

Trad climber
Triumph, Idaho
  Aug 17, 2011 - 08:50pm PT
wow
what a trip
glad that I got to read this
thank you
tooth

Trad climber
B.C.
  Aug 17, 2011 - 09:48pm PT
Great times! Awesome trip report!
jstan

climber
  Aug 17, 2011 - 10:04pm PT
We have experts on autism here. Something about which, I for one, am ignorant. Start a thread on it?
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 18, 2011 - 02:02am PT
You've all made me appreciate my boy more than I can express. Thank you. I had no idea how powerful this TR would be...to me! And to all of you. Thank you, again.

6:24 am and already way ahead.  Mr. Lickety-split!
6:24 am and already way ahead. Mr. Lickety-split!
Credit: Damn this looks high


davidji

Social climber
CA
  Aug 18, 2011 - 02:55am PT
Nice trip report! Glad you guys made it up this time.
The Wedge

Boulder climber
Estes Park, CO
  Aug 18, 2011 - 05:25am PT
Rad!
Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  Aug 18, 2011 - 08:50am PT
Oh, what a special trip report, and I agree with the Fet, there was NO failure. Just strike that word from your vocabulary. Thanks for sharing your story of planning and adventure. Best wishes to Carl, and to you.
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 18, 2011 - 09:21am PT
From the trip report I wrote for family members last year...

On Wednesday, June 23 2010, we started out later than I wanted (6 am instead of 5 am); Carl's hydration bladder developed a leaky ‘bite valve’; we had a ‘wardrobe malfunction’; and it just seemed like we could have had an easier start to what was going to be a very big day. On the early part of the hike, Carl was slower than I would have liked. I have a tendency to want to 'get there' as soon as possible, but Carl has his own pace and attempting to move him faster only produces a pissy 14 year old boy—so I tried to contain myself, walked at my own pace for a while, then waited.

Life with Carl is hard—sometimes very hard—and I sometimes wonder what life would be like if he didn't live with me or if something happened to him (what if he fell over the falls or off Half Dome?, what if...? Scary thoughts that I don't like to admit to having). I've always known that my life would be over if something happened to my daughter Mary—life would be unbearable without her and I can't imagine any joy returning to my life if I ever lost her. I've always thought this, from the day she was born. But with Carl, I never had that same certainty about what losing him would mean to me—would I have the same void, the same heartache, the same inability to continue with my life?

After Little Yosemite Valley I got ahead of Carl and waited for him to catch up, as I'd been doing for hours—I would walk ahead, he’d start to catch up and, seeing me stopped, he’d stop short of where I was—very maddening! But at this particular point I lost sight of him and waited for him to catch up—or at least to the point where I could see him. After a minute or so, he didn’t come into view but I knew he wasn't that far behind me, so I turned around to get him—pissed, a little bit, and only slightly worried, too. I asked other hikers if they'd seen a boy with a hat and no one had apparently seen him. After passing the point where I’d last seen him and passing dozens of hikers who should have seen him, I could only think that he'd gone off trail. No longer pissed—fully panicked now. I knew I had to find him—that he'd be lost (but probably not scared—being alone in the forest wouldn't be scary for Carl, at the edge of a steep ledge, yes, lost in the woods, no). I called his name repeatedly. Those 3 to 5 minutes took several hours to pass—but out of the woods came my boy—looking like he'd just wandered off trail to take a leak (I’m sure he hadn't—if he wanted to take a leak, he'd have done it right in the middle of the trail—trust me, I've seen it). For me, that experience told me one thing: I love my boy, wish he wasn't autistic, wish he could talk to me, wish he was easier to live with, wish so many things, but know that I could never live happily if anything ever happened to him—especially if it were my fault. But, I found him. And he had no idea he was lost, had no idea of the torment his absence had caused me. He was just walking along tearing leaves apart—like he does ALL the time: just a happy guy in the woods. So, the rest of the story is almost anti-climactic. But...
John Butler

Social climber
SLC, Utah
  Aug 18, 2011 - 11:12am PT
Losing a child in the wilderness is horrific, if even just for a few minutes. We lost track of my son in the Winds several years ago when he was left alone by a group of faster hikers to wait for my younger son (and I), who was struggling at 11 years old with a 40 pound pack.

As to why Boy Scout leaders who regularly teach kids about the "buddy system" would leave a kid alone during an off-trail trek is beyond me, but they did it nonetheless.

When we discovered him missing, my 11 year old and I set out... and just like you said, the longer it goes the sicker you begin to feel.

One of the great qualities of my Aspergers son is an incredible memory. Once he realized he was alone he remembered exactly what I had taught him... stop and blow the whistle I had tied to his shoulder strap 3 times until somebody came or he heard a signal in return, but never move. That memory and the OCD kept him blowing that whistle... and blowing... and blowing.

So I am backtracking, storming through the wilderness looking and looking and getting more and more worried about the time of day, and my 11 year says "stop." I couldn't hear a thing after playing drums in a band in my early days, but my son could hear a faint whistle. He was quite a way off our track on top of a ridge, but just within range where my son could hear him.

Funny how being terrified somehow indelibly burns memory into your mind. I will never forget what he looked like standing on that ridge like, what he was wearing, what the wind on my face felt like, and what that faint whistle sounded like when I finally heard it's sweet melody.

Every once in a while you see a young parent with a kid literally on a leash. I understand exactly what they are doing and why. When I'm a Grandpa... I will carry a leash :-)


Tami

Social climber
Canada
  Aug 18, 2011 - 12:02pm PT
Life with Carl is hard—sometimes very hard—and I sometimes wonder what life would be like if he didn't live with me or if something happened to him (what if he fell over the falls or off Half Dome?, what if...? Scary thoughts that I don't like to admit to having). I've always known that my life would be over if something happened to my daughter Mary—life would be unbearable without her and I can't imagine any joy returning to my life if I ever lost her. I've always thought this, from the day she was born. But with Carl, I never had that same certainty about what losing him would mean to me—would I have the same void, the same heartache, the same inability to continue with my life?

Your unflinching honesty is refreshing in a society riddled with perverse smoke & mirrors regarding the way our children are. I teach kids & regularly have high-functioning special needs kids in the class. Some parents have embraced the challenges; others are in denial.

Thanks again for an astonishing TR.
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
  Aug 18, 2011 - 01:50pm PT
This is my favorite tr, outstanding!

Sometimes the spoken word is the greatest barrier to communication and understanding. I'd venture to say that your son has taught you more about yourself that you would have ever expected.

Do you really need to have your son tell you it was an incredible accomplishment? Know that it is!
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Aug 18, 2011 - 03:17pm PT
If anyone hasn't seen the HBO movie Temple Grandin with Claire Danes it's fantastic.

I bet off width climbing would make a fantastic squeeze machine! ;-)
Jim Leininger

Trad climber
tucson, az
  Aug 18, 2011 - 05:02pm PT
That is just about as inspirational story as I have seen on ST.... I have taken young Scouts up the cables using a similar harness setup, good thinking!!! Truly a great story, Congratulations to both of you!!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Aug 18, 2011 - 10:22pm PT

dude you rock!

ME Climb

climber
Behind the Orange Curtain
  Aug 18, 2011 - 11:50pm PT
What an incredible story! The best thing I have heard in months!

Eric
ME Climb

climber
Behind the Orange Curtain
  Aug 19, 2011 - 12:57am PT
Just found out this is the brother in law and nephew of a girl I went to high school with. Such a great story!

Eric
handsome B

Gym climber
SL,UT
  Aug 19, 2011 - 01:10am PT
Thanks for sharing such an inspirational and honest piece of your life.
Perk

Trad climber
Laguna Beach
  Aug 19, 2011 - 11:53am PT
Carl's actions speak louder than any single word he may or may not ever say. The two of you are over-the-top inspirational. Stories like these really elevate life. Thanks for sharing.
ME Climb

climber
Behind the Orange Curtain
  Aug 19, 2011 - 03:18pm PT
DTLH- great hanging with you this morning!
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
  Aug 20, 2011 - 01:22pm PT
Carl's actions speak louder than any single word he may or may not ever say. The two of you are over-the-top inspirational. Stories like these really elevate life. Thanks for sharing
++plus


DTLH, & John Butler, Thank you both.. for sharing your stories and keeping it real..
This thread continues to blow me away, in a good way. It really was not that long ago- that parents quietly institutionalized their special needs children.

Big Respect..

Best Wishes
nita

Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 20, 2011 - 01:40pm PT
I originally wrote this story just for family members. I started to post it on ST a few times but I would always stop and think, "What am I doing? This is silly--why would anyone on ST want to read about this?"

I am overwhelmed with the response from the Tacostanders--more than a few times I've broken down reading what you had to say--and I don't even know any of you!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 20, 2011 - 01:17pm PT
Nice! You are a wonderful dad.
jstan

climber
  Aug 20, 2011 - 01:41pm PT
"life would be unbearable without her and I can't imagine any joy returning to my life if I ever lost her. I've always thought this, from the day she was born"

You are worried about an inequality. I think that inequality would be there no matter what Carl was like.

I had a daughter. A daughter is like you but, unbelievably, she is of a different sex. That such a thing could even exist completely changes how you view yourself.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Aug 21, 2011 - 11:15am PT
Nice job. I have worked as a case worker for Kids with severe developmental disabilities and I think that this is one of the coolest things I have seen done. I sure it was not without anxiety on your part and his, but the anxiey is part of what makes a great adventure just like for everyone else. I bet when you look back on this it is with a great sence of pride and it will provide great memories for the rest of you and your sons lives. Great job.
Zander

climber
  Nov 7, 2011 - 11:24am PT
A great trip report. Having just climbed Half Dome with my son and knowing how good that felt I can only imagine how good you feel about this. Thanks for writing it up and sharing it with us.
All the best to you and your son.
Zander
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Nov 7, 2011 - 06:44pm PT
Zander, glad you liked it. There's nothing like Half Dome, is there?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Nov 7, 2011 - 06:56pm PT
He just wants his feet to be well planted! And he's afraid of heights.

Some supposedly 'ordinary' people never figure that out.

Thanks for the report - somehow I missed it first time around. I do some work with groups that provide services for persons with disabilities, including things like autism, and think it's great that you got up Half Dome. But what's next?
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Nov 8, 2011 - 10:46am PT
Mighty,

What's next? Snake Dike? If I could only teach him to belay....

If his feet ever stop growing, I'll buy him climbing shoes--do they make TC Pros in a 14/48?

Hey, maybe he can land a sponsorship deal. Carl could star in a new DVD--I'd offer a title but, as my teenage daughter will tell you, I'm lame. So, help me out with the title--just for fun.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Nov 8, 2011 - 10:17am PT
Totally awesome trip report. and totally awesome dad. Way to go Carl!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Nov 8, 2011 - 10:24am PT
Happy this was bumped again. Read it the first time, and it's equally amazing the second time. And it brings tears as easily the second time. I hope you and your son (and family) makes it to some taco events.
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
  Nov 8, 2011 - 02:08pm PT
What's next? Snake Dike? If I could only teach him to belay....
Three-person team?
Josh Nash

Social climber
riverbank ca
  Nov 8, 2011 - 02:25pm PT
Thank you for being so honest as well as for an awesome trip report. I can't even imagine how hard it is raising an autistic child. From what I have gleaned from this trip report you are an awesome dad.
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
  Nov 8, 2011 - 02:55pm PT
good for you guys!
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Nov 13, 2011 - 09:37pm PT
Bought Carl some climbing shoes at the gym and tried an easy VB-.  Sna...
Bought Carl some climbing shoes at the gym and tried an easy VB-. Snake Dike here we come! OK, well maybe we'll try something a little easier first.
Credit: Damn this looks high

How easy is it for an autistic boy to untie a figure 8 follow through without me knowing it 100 feet above him?
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Nov 13, 2011 - 09:43pm PT
it just makes me smile....
Oxymoron

Big Wall climber
total Disarray
  Nov 13, 2011 - 09:48pm PT
Love & respect, as that other guy on the music thread says all the time.
It's true. And the tears are real. This TR touched a spot not often felt.
tornado

climber
lawrence kansas
  Nov 13, 2011 - 10:30pm PT
Wow, that's great that Carl is climbing!!! Right on!!
skywalker

climber
  Nov 13, 2011 - 11:26pm PT
Sheesh, way to go. As a parent I know my child very well. Cheers for steppin' out and going for it with your son! As a teacher, the replies have informed me more about how these kids work. I have a kid I'm trying to work with this semester who is super cool but gets fixated on some things. This T.R. is both cool and inspiring and educational.

Thanks!

S....
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Feb 9, 2012 - 10:49pm PT
So, I took Carl to Big Rock for a little trial run on some easy slab. He didn't like it but at least got about 5 feet off the deck. The next time? He started to untie his tie-in knot...while, thankfully, still on the ground!

Next time, I'm going to try belaying him from above to see it he'll climb towards me.

Not sure I'll ever get him off the ground again.
A5scott

Trad climber
Chicago
  Feb 10, 2012 - 12:40am PT
i just saw this... great trip... awesome dad! from the look on his face while on top of half dome i would say that he genuinely looks happy to be up there. I think you reached him by taking him up there.

i wish you guys all the best

scott
Scrubber

climber
Straight outta Squampton
  Feb 10, 2012 - 01:14am PT
Wow! I've joined since this TR made the rounds, but thanks for bringing it back to the front page. That was one of the most honest and moving tales here that I have ever read. I nominate you for Dad of the Year, and Carl for Hiking Buddy of the Year. The two of you are a true inspiration to all of the different challenges we face in our own lives. Thank you.

Kris

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Feb 10, 2012 - 01:43am PT
Mr High, you are a SuperDad! If you could only bottle your patience.
I wish my autistic niece was not so brittle. She does love to swim and,
oddly, seems to enjoy downhill skiing. She has even won some medals
which may have pleased her mum more. Sadly, she is going through a
difficult stage now, which may be medically related, but she can not give
any help in describing her symptoms.
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Feb 12, 2012 - 10:22am PT
Carl as Hiking Buddy of the year...Yes. He's the best.

It's funny about kids with delays/special needs--dare I say, handicapped? Yes, they are handicapped because something vital and important is missing. But what they can accomplish and who they are (I've always thought that Carl is the most PURE human beings on the planet) is truly humbling.
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Feb 13, 2012 - 09:13am PT
Carl on Puppy Dog at Big Rock yesterday.  I promised him that I'd lowe...
Carl on Puppy Dog at Big Rock yesterday. I promised him that I'd lower him once he got to the first bolt.
Credit: Damn this looks high

Carl seemed to alternate between fear and trying to figure out the puzzle. He'd get to a point, stop and turn around, sit down, get back up--all with lots of encouragement--then figure out someplace to put his feet/hands that was different from what I was pointing out to him. The exercise was frustrating and a true test of patience but he seemed to be a little less afraid after a while. If the holds had been a little bit more 5.3 than 5.6 he might have made it higher. As with all things Carl, one step at a time. Maybe next time he'll make it to the second bolt. Next time I'll belay him from above with a third person simul-climbing next to him.
ME Climb

climber
Behind the Orange Curtain
  Feb 13, 2012 - 09:49am PT
Jim, let me know next time you take him out there. I would be very honored to assist.

Eric
Abend

Social climber
  Feb 13, 2012 - 11:51am PT
then figure out someplace to put his feet/hands that was different from what I was pointing out to him

Go Carl!
Brian.The.Jedi

Social climber
Stockton, CA
  Jul 17, 2012 - 01:37am PT
The Boy Scout Troop my two sons belong to will be climbing Half Dome via the cables this September. My oldest son, who is 14 and has Asperger's Syndrome will be going, but my youngest son, who is 12 and has Autism, will not. While looking for information to help my oldest mentally (and physically) prepare for the hike, I came across this trip report.

THANK YOU! Your determination to ensure that your son experiences this adventure and your loving attempts to help him learn to climb are an inspiration.
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 22, 2012 - 09:10am PT
Still not sure if I'll ever get him up Snake Dike but I did get him up the Trough at Big Rock a few weeks ago.
Descending doesn't seem to be Carl's strong suit.
Descending doesn't seem to be Carl's strong suit.
Credit: Damn this looks high
splitter

Trad climber
SoCal Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
  Aug 22, 2012 - 09:50am PT
I missed this TR first time, etc! Glad I noticed it today. Keep up the good work and your wonderful relationship. The both of you are truly blessed to have each other. i hope I get to meet you some day.

John
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Aug 22, 2012 - 03:02pm PT
Oh what a lucky man you are.

To be blessed with a son who trusts you so much.

But remember you earned the trust with love.

I am gratified at the response of this Taco Crew, as well.
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 7, 2012 - 11:50am PT
I think I figured out how to get him up Snake Dike. Party of 3. One leads the pitch, the second is tied in about 5 or 10 feet ahead of Carl--to clean the pitch and provide a 'tug' now and then on the first 2 pitches. After that, the 5.4 pitches should be less intimidating for him. Gotta experiment first but I'm hopeful.
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Sep 10, 2012 - 09:11pm PT
This is a real gift to be able to read. Hats off to you and your boy !
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
  Sep 10, 2012 - 10:19pm PT
I would recommend two ropes and a very solid experienced third to tend as needed.. actually the "third" should lead, you should tend.

You and He should get experience with multipitch 3 person where walk-off is an option at any pitch.

As long as he seems to enjoy his time go for it!

Thanks so much for sharing this great challenge and love with us.

This ranks up there with any of the great climbing achievements that we read about or might look to accomplishing ourselves.

In my mind.
Alti2de

Sport climber
Columbus, Ohio
  Jan 6, 2013 - 10:59pm PT
I am beyond words... Someone said a few posts back that the trust Carl has in you was earned by your love for him...I would echo that sentiment... It's amazing what love and trust combined can say...and accomplish. I, too, wish that someday your son may in some way be able to communicate with you. I wish only the best for you both, and for many more wonderful adventures together.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
  Jan 7, 2013 - 11:45am PT
This is the most heart-warming story I've ever read on SuperTopo...Thanks for sharing.
LilaBiene

Trad climber
Technically...the spawning grounds of Yosemite
  Jan 17, 2013 - 08:40pm PT
Your TR is an incredible gift to us all...thank you.

I admire your energy, resourcefulness, persistence and uninhibited honesty; but most of all, I deeply admire your giving soul.

Many of my favorite memories with my little muppet are times when we were simply doing...digging, wandering along a trail, splashing, rolling down grassy hills, making pictures with rocks, swinging, coloring, hunting for climbing rocks big and small...hugging.

Being kinesthetic, I tend to think that words just get in the way of what your heart happens to be bursting with at any given moment.

My heart feels warm and full after reading your TR. Thank you, again, and I look forward to reading more about your adventures.

P.S. Life would be pretty boring and awful if we could do everything the first time we tried. ")
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jan 17, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
I've read this TR and the ensuing thread of comments three times over the year, and have found more power in it each time. As I guess is the case for everyone who has read it, it has moved me deeply.

I'm so glad that mouse from merced wrote what he did. I think he speaks for a lot of us who have followed this thread but haven't found the right way to thank you for sharing your and Carl's story.

Oh what a lucky man you are.

To be blessed with a son who trusts you so much.

But remember you earned the trust with love.
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
  Jan 18, 2013 - 12:03am PT
Thanks for bumpng, Lila Biene. I hadn't posted to this when DTLH wrote it up. After reading all the heartfelt comments tonight that have been added since the initial TR I just wanted to acknowledge how moving and inspiring this has been for so many. Truly one of the greatest trip reports on ST. Hopefully more outdoorsy - climbing oriented parents with autistic children will stumble on to this TR and garner encouragement and motivation.
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Jan 24, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
...and equally moving are many of the comments you've posted. Thank you.

On a related subject, we are starting to prepare and train for a first autistic ascent of Snake Dike--on Carl's 18th birthday this summer. Partners are lining up and we may have quite a party afterward! As always, Carl will be Carl--impassive and nonchalant afterward regardless of the outcome.
John Butler

Social climber
SLC, Utah
  Jan 24, 2013 - 03:56pm PT
I just started working as a climbing mentor to autistic kids in the gym. They are cool. :-)
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Feb 11, 2013 - 01:01pm PT
Carl on the first pitch of Surprise on The Weeping Wall at Suicide.
Carl on the first pitch of Surprise on The Weeping Wall at Suicide.
Credit: Damn this looks high
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Feb 11, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
^^ Awesome!!

The cables are fantastic, but actual roped climbing on the rock by himself??!! That's a whole 'nother level of accomplishment!

Edit: I was going to say maybe some day you could attempt Snake Dike, but didn't want to propose something unrealistic, I just read above and saw you are training for it. Wow!
eKat

Trad climber
  Jul 19, 2013 - 07:52pm PT
BBST!
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 20, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
Well, Carl has decided that he doesn't want to climb--and he figured out a way to make it obvious to even someone as stubbornly optimistic as his dad! He just weights the rope and finds a place to sit down at the base of the route. Damn! Oh, well. He loves horseback riding and swimming and that's good enough for me.
eKat

Trad climber
  Aug 20, 2013 - 02:54pm PT

BBST!

Donini made that up. . . it stands for:

Bump (for a) Better Super Topo

:-)
blumsky1985

Gym climber
Charlotte
  Jun 6, 2014 - 09:19am PT
BBST
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
  Aug 26, 2014 - 10:07am PT
Still one of the best TRs this site has ever seen. The continuation of the story in the comments section only makes it better.

BBST
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