Trip Report
Here comes my 13th major come-back aka Looking Black in.
Wednesday September 19, 2012 9:31am
So the seasons were changing. Autumn was in the air.
Credit: philo
I was a year out from spinal surgery and a multi disc fusion in my neck and I was restless.
Time for a road trip.
Credit: philo

Knowing that I am in pseudo-training for some rather larger climbing goals later in the year my old friend and climbing partner Dave Henritze
Dave Henritze
Dave Henritze
Credit: philo
called and asked if I wanted to meet at the Black Canyon for the weekend, "Does a bear sh#t in the woods?", "Does a duck have a water tight O-ring?" "Of Course" I said.
Oh good, Camp 4, my favorite.
Oh good, Camp 4, my favorite.
Credit: philo
Hey Camp 4 my favorite.
It has been over twenty years since a knee replacement surgery took me out of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for good. Or as I saw it for bad...
The end of my era.
The end of my era.
Credit: philo
The urge to return had been strong for several years but 2+ years of bizarre medical anomalies leading to cervical surgery kept me rim locked. The last time I went down there it didn't work out too well. As is chronicled in this earlier Trip Report.
http://www.supertopo.com/tr/The-Silver-Surfer-rides-again-Tales-from-the-land-of-diminishing-returns/t10759n.html
It was in fact on that trip that the shaky leg and other symptoms started becoming to obvious to ignore.
That led me to ask this question of the tribe.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1488621/Hyperreflexia-and-Clonus-Any-knowledge-out-there
And that led to this.
http://www.supertopo.com/tr/C3-C7-a-psycho-physical-Trip-Report-from-an-A-type-personality/t11117n.html

Ahhh well better luck this time.

Now at a year out from this remarkable surgery I was eager to return again for my first time.
Dave is a solid partner and a lot of fun to climb with. I have always known I could count on him 100% in any situation. And in the past I had put him through some real situations. Like this...
photo not found
Missing photo ID#153148


When we were roping up at the base Saturday morning Dave reminded me that it was 30 years ago this month that I took him on his first route in the Black.
The SOUTHERN ARETE of the PAINTED WALL

The second time I did the Southern Arete of the Painted Wall route was more than a decade later when as the gnarled experienced veteren I was initiating the latest whelp d'jour. I was confident that having done the route before and having filled out my resume of comparitive experiences that this was going to be a romp. I even had temerity to schedule a date with my ever so high maintenance girl friend back in Gunnison that same evening.
Well the "Black" is never casual and up high I got way off route and way spiced out right before dusk. My partner Dave Henritze had to follow, in the dark, with a pack, a full pitch of virtually un protected pegma-loose including an "if you fall we both go" 40' sideways traverse to get to my belay. What a way to bust a whelp. He was awesome! Particularily when I foolishly shone my headlamp (our only lamp) right into his night vision adjusted eyes moments after he had un clipped the last piece of pro and was about to start traversing the unprotected pegma-loose. Fearing that we were stuck there for the night I built an anchor with any and all the gear I could trick in. Thirteen pieces of marginal bivy pro.
This is the inspiration for the "Fine Mess" cartoon in Robbie William's Black Canyon guide book.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#181703
We spent a surprisingly uncomfortable bivy way off the deck on a doormat sized jumble of broken rock in the middle of one of the epic pegmatite bands that eventually flow into the dragons. With less than a sniff of water and a dwindling bag of mini snickers for sustenance between us, we huddled together in a single bivy sac sleeplessly starring at the river foaming 2000 feet below. To this day more than fifteen years later I can't get the river song out of my head. And I can't look a snickers in the nuts without gagging.
To further complicate this adventure I was deeply troubled by the realization that not only was my girlfriend being stood up but she had also likely by now realized I'd borrowed her car with out asking. When our friends showed up at the rim with headlamps to check on us I fairly begged them to pitch down several lengths of connected rope and jumars. After all I still had hopes of a sex life after climbing. But that idea was a NO GO. We almost took off climbing again when the moon filled the canyon to over flowing but the morning clearly showed how fatally flawed that line of reasoning would have proven. Dicey poorly protected pegmatite traversing into unprotected off widths for breakfast. I have never been so blue balled!


Gratuitous Government Groping.
Gratuitous Government Groping.
Credit: philo

The Cruise Gully. And thus it begins.
The Cruise Gully. And thus it begins.
Credit: philo

" You sure you want to do this?" he asked.
" You sure you want to do this?" he asked.
Credit: philo

Young man if you take one more step...
Young man if you take one more step...
Credit: philo

You can tip toe thru the tulips all you want just don't touch the pois...
You can tip toe thru the tulips all you want just don't touch the poison ivy.
Credit: philo

Dave at the top of pitch one.
Dave at the top of pitch one.
Credit: philo

Pitch two, the crux.
Pitch two, the crux.
Credit: philo

After the roof it is vertical hands.
After the roof it is vertical hands.
Credit: philo

Start of pitch 3. Wide crack!
Start of pitch 3. Wide crack!
Credit: philo

well climbed.
well climbed.
Credit: philo

The cam & jam pack.
The cam & jam pack.
Credit: philo

Last pitch was a sweet slab and face.
Last pitch was a sweet slab and face.
Credit: philo

Credit: philo

Reminiscing about the past 30+ years of diggin' the Big Ditch.
Reminiscing about the past 30+ years of diggin' the Big Ditch.
Credit: philo






more to come



  Trip Report Views: 1,502
philo
About the Author
philo is a trad wall climber, one time Eldo Prancer and has been Black Canyon Wannabe hardman from somewhere halfway over the rainbow.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:05am PT
well done!

(i'd like to talk to you about your cervical stuff - check out my post for details). let's grab a beer?
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:05am PT
It seems to have gone well so far? Nice report (I hope the end is good too).

I am always amazed at your drawings.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:14am PT
Hey Philo,
I guess we just missed you. I talked with Dave for awhile as he was waiting for you to show up. Donini and I were in site 1 and climbed Scenic on Friday.

My first visit to The Black and yes I'll be back.

Cheers
Arne
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
Author's Reply  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:24am PT
Hey Arne. Sorry to have missed you. Dave said you & Donini were there. I was on my way over to say howdy but you drove right past. Sniff sniff. Ha haha. It is a remarkable place. After 20 years I had almost forgotten how much I love that stone.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:45am PT
Phil....I recognize the pics of Maiden Voyage, apropo for your reimmersion after 20 years into the glories of the Black. Did you enjoy the shade? Arne and I fried on the SC, of course 2.5 liters of H2O for two people for 13 pitches may not have been sufficient.
Fighting a late summer flu bug.
TwistedCrank

climber
Released into general population, Idaho
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:52am PT
Dave Henritze. Now there's a name from the abyss I haven't heard for a while. Nice to see he still looks the part of the curmudgeon.

I have a vague recollection of going to ski Gothics with him and Kurt Panter and Chuck Grossman only to have it be so cold that the enlsolite pad (remember those?) I was carrying literally shattered when I attempted to bend it.
mountain dog

Trad climber
over the hills and far away
  Sep 19, 2012 - 12:03pm PT
Inspiring report.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Sep 19, 2012 - 12:05pm PT
Damn, Philo, you just won't take no for an answer, will you?

Yer an inspiration, sir.
Gilroy

Social climber
Bolderado
  Sep 19, 2012 - 09:10pm PT
Darn tootin' he's an inspiration. That's how we roll here at the House o'Geezers.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Sep 19, 2012 - 09:22pm PT
Wooohoo! Go Philo!

Love your stories and cartoons.


I'm happy to see that you got "Back to the Black"



Reminds me of that 60's song by Los Bravos!
Black is Black!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqgwnv0HCk8
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
Author's Reply  Sep 20, 2012 - 11:45am PT


Profile of the Cruise.
Profile of the Cruise.
Credit: philo

The clean arete is the Cruise and the big overhanging dihedral of pegm...
The clean arete is the Cruise and the big overhanging dihedral of pegmatite is Kachina Wings.
Credit: philo

Climber on the Cruise at bottom of picture.
Climber on the Cruise at bottom of picture.
Credit: philo

Climbers on the Cruise framed between branches.
Climbers on the Cruise framed between branches.
Credit: philo

Credit: philo

Closer.
Closer.
Credit: philo

photo not found
Missing photo ID#264127

Joe & Dave discussing the AMGA approved techniques for emergency remed...
Joe & Dave discussing the AMGA approved techniques for emergency remediation of fecal impaction.
Credit: philo

I prefer Rimwalk to Boardwalk.
I prefer Rimwalk to Boardwalk.
Credit: philo

Something in my past keeps whispering in my ear.
Something in my past keeps whispering in my ear.
Credit: philo

Stone Temple Ganesh.
Stone Temple Ganesh.
Credit: philo

On the road again!!! Hats off to the tribe.
On the road again!!! Hats off to the tribe.
Credit: philo


locker

climber
STFU n00b!!!
  Sep 20, 2012 - 11:30am PT

Cool!!!...

Nicely done!!!...

philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
Author's Reply  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:15pm PT
My buddy Dave has been the subject of many of my 'toons and stories. So here is another story of what I put young Davie through back then.

RIPPED HOOKS
I have ascended a fair number of routes in the Black almost all of them in the pre-cam days. In all that time the Canyon scared me enough that falling never seemed like an option. I have in fact only had two falls off those walls both from ripped hooks.
The second one was a terrifying but harmless wiff off the Hallucinogen. But the first was a doozie of a plummet off of the Hooker. I was climbing into the unprotected pegmatite crux with my friend and partner Dave Henritze belaying. I was feeling controlled and confident even though my last piece of a pro, a good wired stopper, was with every move up quickly fading from sight. There was still a long way to go before good pro would be available which I must say really sharpend my awareness. Soon I came to the climb's namesake the dubious free-pro hook placement. I didn't have any tape to secure the little bugger but I placed and clipped it any way. As soon as I started to move on the nasty thing started to wiggle and pivot. I thought that can't be good. The oh so brilliant idea came to me that I should "set" it in place. so I slowly eased my weight on it relieved to see it actually holding. Then I bounced on it a little while still holding on the rock. It stayed put. So I put a good solid drop on it to try and somewhat fix it. The little metal devil immediately ripped hitting me smack in the teeth. I proceeded at an alarming rate straight down the wall head first. Did I mention that in those days to save weight only the belayer wore a helmet. Well this was obviously not a good situation. I started thinking of all the things I hadn't screwed up at yet and it seemed I had a looong time to think.
I am not at all sure how long of a fall I took But it was far and away the most air time I have ever logged. I ended up hanging in space still head down alternately staring wide eyed at the river directly below and My belayer directly to my left. Dave had never seen me fall before and didn't expect it I am sure. So I don't know which of us looked more like a deer in the headlights but his eyes were fairly bulging out of his head. Mine were only kept in place by the glasses strapped to my face. Well as it all worked out I was absolutely un harmed and un scathed. But very very dazed! My family jewels had been sucked up so hard that I thought I felt them squeezing my Adam's apple out of the way. Needless to say we retreated.

Oh good, Camp 4, my favorite.
Oh good, Camp 4, my favorite.
Credit: philo
I know the West Coast climbers have a hallowed place called Camp Four a debaucher's pit of World wide historic significance. But for me the Camp 4 I will always prefer is the one with the view of the Painted Wall. This Camp 4 has been the seen of numerous stories and 'toons as well. Here is one story.


TICK-LISH SITUATION.
There we were the usual gang of dirtbaggers sitting around a picknick table in the North Rim campground. It was a rainy rest day so the usual thrumming sense of doom that the Gunnison river elicits wasn't even vaguely apparent. We had no place to go and no better place to be. In our altered states fueled by lazy overindulgence we were passing the rim time by discussing and debating our preferred methods of dispatching ticks. Of course all methods had to be tested with that days crop. The methods employed were many and all were diabolical. We decided to subcatogorize above rim, below rim and wall time methods of execution. My personal rim time favorite was a hot cast iron skillet. Like popcorn but too small to eat. As a huge Tolkien fan I always muse about poor ol Bilbo having to listen to the trolls debate the best way to eat dwarves and burrahobbit whenever I reminisce about the great tick debate and decimation of 87.
We were huge, grim and malicious creatures lording over a make shift torture chamber for ticks. Fortunately Gandalf and the Sun never arrived and we gleefully carried on with our tick-lish experimentation till all the fodder was gone. Ah ah ah! Don't ask about my wall time favorite.
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Sep 20, 2012 - 01:11pm PT
Phil!, you da man! A total inspiration!

Now if you could drag your ass out here to somehow kick me out of my doldrums, doing 1-arm boulder problems at Malibu Creek and JT with my "frozen" shoulder. I gave all of my gear to my daughter, who is putting it to better use on North Table and the Butt rocks in the S. Platte.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:22pm PT
A Fantastic TR, and inspiring come back!
Thanks philo!
What ever happened with the girl
30 years ago?
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:28pm PT
Get DOWN!
Glad to see you out on the Big Stuff.
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
Author's Reply  Sep 24, 2012 - 03:01am PT
Ezra, it's hard to talk about the girlfriend. A year after I penned that story she suffered a massive cerebral aneurism and lost a third of her brain. l still love her but she is a vegatable now. On a happier note,
I am going back to the Black in a noteWooHoo.
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
Author's Reply  Sep 28, 2012 - 09:56am PT
Heading back to the Black this weekend. Woo Hoo where's my dependz?
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Sep 28, 2012 - 01:01pm PT
Yea Phil!, my gimpy crimpy hero! Whatcha doin?, Say Hi to Jimmy N. if you see him! Best time of year.
Zander

climber
  Sep 28, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
Great Trip Report! Thanks for posting.
Way to keep at it. I enjoy the historical stories.
Zander
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Oct 1, 2012 - 01:01pm PT
Phil, soooooo....how'd it go?
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Oct 1, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
Keep phiguring it out and having phun you phriggin' phreakazoid!

Thanks for the phine report!
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Oct 1, 2012 - 07:46pm PT
Izzee still down there? PHIL!
Norton

Social climber
quitcherbellyachin
  Oct 1, 2012 - 07:50pm PT
great trip report, Philo

enjoyable read, and your old grey beard looks good on ya!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Oct 4, 2012 - 01:58pm PT
Butt plugs are not the emergency treatment for impaction, rather the preventive measure. Knee-jerk reaction to this sort of lunacy: Oh, you lucky o'farts!
Keep trippin'!!!
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
  Oct 4, 2012 - 04:01pm PT
Gawd, Phil!
You've now eligible to join the GCA along with ME, it's charter member.
(GCA = Geriatric Climbers Association).
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
  Oct 4, 2012 - 04:11pm PT
Great to see you getting out after it.
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