Trip Report
The Witch and the Warlock: A Needles Climb to Fly Adventure
Thursday May 26, 2016 12:07pm
I've avoided sharing too much here, the ST forum can be quite abrasive and downright ignorant when it comes to wingsuit BASE. Yet I lurk and use the site without contributing much in return. So here's my adventure from last weekend. If you enjoy, let me know and I'll make an effort to do so more often, and if you don't let me know too but try to maintain some humanity in your comments. We're all climbers after all.

Like many others I'm sure, the Needles is a special place for me. My first trad-lead over 15 years ago was on White Punks on Dope (WPOD). Below the splitter crack of the last pitch, my partner Don handed me the rack and insisted it was my turn. Then and ever since, the Needles have always intimidated and tested me both physically and mentally. There's an indescribable, and perhaps even dark energy to this place. No matter how much stronger and skilled a climber I become, there is always something here that will induce soul-searching fear and doubt. I returned once again last week, solo this time, to test myself yet again.

Friday late morning I roll into the paved pull-out next to Needlerock creek on the lower canyon road, and begin to reacquaint myself with the grand view above.

Credit: Jiggler

Based on the forecasted strong winds, my first day's plan is to re-dial in the trail up, do some easy soloing, and carefully profile with a laser range-finder the exit spot I had found the year prior. The trail starts out fine just as I remember, but soon becomes a maze of fallen trees and false paths, the result no doubt from our extended drought and an actual winter season this past year. Falling back onto standard Sierra bushwhack training I eventually find a series of cairns that lead me to the base of Voodoo Dome just left of WPOD. I wander left to the series of corners and cracks, put on my climbing shoes and start up 5.7-5.8ish terrain hoping I'll be able to meander my way to the top.

Climbing clean cracks up Voodoo Dome
Climbing clean cracks up Voodoo Dome
Credit: Jiggler

Some steep sections along the way.
Some steep sections along the way.
Credit: Jiggler

Luckily it all connects, and after a short lunch on the summit, I swiftly head over to the North-side of the Witch and climb up and then down from the summit to reach the spot I had remembered. With laser in hand, I carefully butt-scoot to the sloping edge and commence the two-part analysis. The first part is the exit phase, I need to be absolutely sure that the bench below and subsequent obstacles are all far enough below my known flight profiles. This is complicated by the large protruding rock to my right that blocks an exit push straight out into the clean drop of the Witch-Warlock gully. In the second-part analysis, I need to evaluate my potential flight lines and glide-ratios along with prospective landing areas. This analysis becomes less exact as the number of variables is increased, and I need to decide on what am I willing to accept for possible landing areas. I decide on a Plan A, B, and even C (shit I hope it doesn't come to C), and climb back down the Witch to go scout the Warlock.

The exit view and the big roof-block on the right
The exit view and the big roof-block on the right
Credit: Jiggler

I had been trying to recall the detail of climbing Imaginary Voyage (IV) over a year prior, and how solid I felt on the moves. Even if I could free-solo the route, how could I get my gear up on top? I'd need to tag a line and then set a fixed line to come down and jug back up. Could a 60M reach far enough? Why have I never bought a 70M? Why didn't I pack a second rope for this trip? The mental chess game continued in my head as I traversed in from the ledge to the 2nd pitch of IV, pausing to clear my head and focus for the one committing move that reaches a horizontal hand-rail. Now staring up the route, I see again the annoying long-grass that grows from this otherwise bomber hand crack. I pull into the first sequence to see how it feels, but 3 to 4 moves up and I'm not feeling secure with the grass constantly getting trapped between my skin and the rock. I reverse the moves back down to the ledge just as a thunderous roar rockets up the canyon. My head spins and I look in awe as a fighter jet (F/A-18 Hornet?) screams past showing me her belly 500 feet away on-level and throws a complete clockwise barrel role diving into the upper Kern canyon. I had heard one fly by earlier, but had no idea just how close they were buzzing the notch between Voodoo and the Warlock. This would continue about every hour from around Noon to 5PM, same pattern, same barrel role, stunning to watch every time.
Credit: Jiggler
After the free air-show, I decide to head back to camp, descending between the Witch and Sorcerer so I would get a different perspective from below on the gully between the Witch and Warlock. In the upper gully, I observe the only two climbing parties I've seen out here today, both on the same route Igor Unchained. The follower of the lower party on the first pitch yells out that timeless phrase, "I thought this is supposed to be 5.9?!" On the rest of the way down I manage to stay mostly on a marked trail, and spend a few hours clearing the path through fallen trees and branches.

Igor Unchained
Igor Unchained
Credit: Jiggler

View up Witch-Warlock Gully
View up Witch-Warlock Gully
Credit: Jiggler

I wake Saturday morning and find the winds are still not calm, a 5-10mph breeze from the West is blowing but it's steady and not at all gusty so I convince myself to go have a look on top. Ninety minutes later at around 9AM I find myself on the Witch at the exit getting excited about a gentle updraft already forming. This excitement is quickly squashed as a breeze picks up out of the NW, a direct tail wind, and I decide to hang out a bit tucked under a small overhang where the sun is warm. As I'm laying down, eyes closed, I slowly begin to notice over the next hour how the NW wind which I can feel in my hair begins to oscillate with another warmer current that travels up my pant leg. By 10:15AM I can no longer feel that NW wind and the updrafts are the perfect strength now. I shake out from my pseudo nap and wake myself up with a splash of water in the face. One last gear check, and I feel my pilot chute handle as I inch my way over to the singular stance, quite literally the only square foot of rock on the entire formation that is suitable for my exit. I spit into the updraft and watch the spray hover out from me 10 feet away, it's perfect. I softly speak for the first time in over a day, "Three, two, one, cya". I push off and feel the suit inflation almost immediately as I fly away. I quickly judge my glide path and pick a conservative spot along the Warlock to pass by, the thermals are so good I steepen my flight slightly to build speed and continue to pass by the outcropping rock-ridges of Voodoo dome while keeping a close eye on the road below to decide when I need to break-off the terrain and drive for the landing area. Passing the big roof of the Skull, I bank right, I want to throw a barrel role like my F-18 buddy the day before, but I need all my speed and glide to make the road. I'm smiling now in full flight, coasting to the finish line, I flare up to slow my speed for deployment and pitch out my pilot chute. The opening is smooth as I hold the risers and swing underneath the inflating fabric. I quickly unzip my wings and grab my toggles to release the brakes. My smile quickly returns to serious as it's clear I'm pointed in the correct direction but I'm moving backward at around 10mph. That earlier breeze in the lower valley has matured into a swift valley wind. I tack into the wind to remain over the road while minimizing my reverse speed. About 150 feet up I lock onto a sandy looking bench just off the road and put it down accurately, but far from gracefully. My canopy is entangled in a large bush, but I'm standing and soaking in the moment. I just flew off the Witch…

Flying the Witch-Warlock gully
Flying the Witch-Warlock gully
Credit: Jiggler

Passing the Skull on Voodoo
Passing the Skull on Voodoo
Credit: Jiggler

About to meet this bush
About to meet this bush
Credit: Jiggler

Celebrating back at the car with strong coffee and some chocolate cookies, I contemplate my next move. I came with the intention to climb and fly for the first time the Witch and the Warlock. By any measure this trip is already a total success, but I know I won't feel satisfied with myself if I don't at least make an honest attempt on the Warlock. The winds are clear in their message for the rest of today, but the forecast was for the calmest winds the following morning. After some minor puncture repairs to my wingsuit from the landing, I attach my second rig, and fill up my pack with both flying and rope-solo gear. The hike up is much slower this time with the load and putting my head down on the slog up, I somehow manage to lose the trail again and find myself on steep pine needle infested ground in a maze of black dead branches. I curse the Guide Tennies that skate out as though I'm on ice. Finally after a bit of contouring, I regain the trail and reach the Warlock. After stashing my rig & suit on the North side, I again traverse in from the ledge to save time, set-up an anchor and confidently now launch up the route armed with a double rack. Everything goes well enough, but above the chimney section I slow and then pause for a good while at the right leaning thin corner. Eventually I realize the moves only to get held up again by the next big block that has me eventually pay out enough slack in the rope to layback past and finally reach secure ground. The winds haven't let-up and as I take a moment to wiggle my numb toes I get yet another air-show tower flyby. It's getting late and I contemplate yet again the chances of a single fixed 60M line from the top reaching far enough down the North wall to work. I decide the smart choice is to bail now, go rest and fuel up at camp, and return in the morning to maybe repeat the Witch if the conditions are good. The Warlock is not going anywhere as far as I can tell. Satisfied with my effort and happy with my decision, I rap down and cruise back to camp in anticipation of the beer I left cooling in the creek.

2nd Pitch Imaginary Voyage with the grassy crack
2nd Pitch Imaginary Voyage with the grassy crack
Credit: Jiggler

The chimney pitch
The chimney pitch
Credit: Jiggler

The 5.9 crux corner
The 5.9 crux corner
Credit: Jiggler


This next morning does prove to be calmer, and I enjoy the packless hike up with my rig waiting at the base of the Warlock. Before I know it I'm standing at exit again by 9AM. I wait just 15 minutes for the first updrafts to appear and begin to gear-up. The clarity and focus remain, but just like climbing a five-star classic route the second time, I take in more of the beauty and nuances of the line, that special green lichen glowing in the sunlight, and the dark power that is the Needles.

Gear-up and view from the Witch
Gear-up and view from the Witch
Credit: Jiggler

  Trip Report Views: 7,079
Jiggler
About the Author
Jiggler is a climber and wingsuit pilot from SoCal.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal
  May 26, 2016 - 12:47pm PT
way to get after it! looks like your rockin an A1 ultralight, although, the leading edge looks more like A2.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  May 26, 2016 - 12:28pm PT
Nice report, thank you for posting!
johntp

Trad climber
Little Rock and Loving It
  May 26, 2016 - 12:35pm PT
Sweet! Keep posting up!

edit;: This forum can be a pile on, but it is mostly a few lame ass juveniles posturing. Keep a tough skin and it will separate the wheat from the chaff.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
  May 26, 2016 - 12:38pm PT
Hi Jiggler-

I know nothing about wing suiting, my questions are sincere and not meant to be negative. I'm more curious and slightly concerned.

I share your love for the Needles and I'm wondering if this place would become a consistent venue for wing suiting and if so, what does that mean in terms of impact? Are there fixed lines for multiple launches, does hardware get added for access, what are the pitfalls (no pun intended)? I honestly don't know.

What you did sound burley without question!
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  May 26, 2016 - 12:40pm PT
So awesome!
The Alpine

climber
The Sea
  May 26, 2016 - 01:25pm PT
So sick!

C'mon dude - post the video!
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  May 26, 2016 - 01:37pm PT
F ya.... Every time I get to the top of The Howling and walk around. I wonder, how come nobody flies of of this deal....

Awesome... thank you for taking the time to post this up.

Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  May 26, 2016 - 01:38pm PT
Kick ass!

Yes videos please!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  May 26, 2016 - 02:02pm PT
Nice! On my short list...still haven't been there.
Don Freeborn

climber
  May 26, 2016 - 02:28pm PT
Wow! Way to go Chris!
Friend

climber
  May 26, 2016 - 02:51pm PT
Wow!! Rad. Best cragging ever and yes.. quite a strange energy to the place. Cool TR!
Jiggler

Trad climber
Author's Reply  May 26, 2016 - 02:55pm PT
Thanks for the comments, I will post a video update when I find the time to edit one. In the meantime you can find some of my other videos with a simple "Sierra Wingsuit" google search.

Contractor, I'm happy to answer any genuine questions, but may take a few days to respond. I can assure anyone concerned that no one else will be flying these exits unless I bring them there. There are an incredibly small number of pilots capable of this flight, and most have never heard of the Needles. I'll be returning in a few months to finish the Warlock, will not leave fixed lines for more than 24 hours, and will give a heads-up to anyone in the campground about my plans.

Snakefoot, it's an Aura2 cloudlite-fabric, incredible suit, but the fabric is not very compatible with Sierra manzanita.

Coach37

Social climber
  May 26, 2016 - 03:07pm PT
Thanks for writing this up, what a great adventure! I seem to remember an alternate pitch to the left of the grassy handcrack, an easy jug haul with no gear. You're soloing so the 'no gear' doesn't matter, maybe an option for future missions?
grubs

climber
  May 26, 2016 - 03:18pm PT
if this place would become a consistent venue for wing suiting and if so, what does that mean in terms of impact?

The Needles is not in danger of becoming a wingsuit mob scene. Only the most experienced wingsuit pilots have the necessary skills to manage the exits available. Climbers will continue to be the primary source of impact to the area for years to come...

Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  May 26, 2016 - 03:32pm PT
I think the only way to compound the strong vibe of climbing at the Needles would be to fly off any of those formations. Absolutely mindblowing. Just you, the peregrines and the fighter jets know what that is like.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  May 26, 2016 - 03:58pm PT
Way cool report Jiggler!

So was this the first time the Needles have seen a BASE wingsuit flight?
If so congrats on the 1st. :)

Look forward to the video,
thanks for the share.
Tad
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  May 26, 2016 - 04:42pm PT
Beautiful. Fantastic write up. Way to soak up the place in a way most of us never will. Stay sharp out there and thanks for taking us along on the ride.

Scott
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  May 26, 2016 - 05:34pm PT
You had my heart racing. I'm glad you had a safe and beautiful trip.

I could be wrong, but I believe the terminology for the planes is F/A-18. Stands for fighter/attack. My brother flew that plane for a long time. There is a base pretty close to Needles at Lemoore that he flew out of sometime. That's probably where your planes came from.
The Alpine

climber
The Sea
  May 26, 2016 - 06:38pm PT
Good highlight clip of a few different Sierra jumps:


drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  May 26, 2016 - 06:49pm PT
Excellent.

I know I've long pondered what it'd be like to actually jump from those high and wild places.
To make those dreams reality....
props to you my man.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
  May 26, 2016 - 10:14pm PT
Thanks for the response and nice achievement!
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  May 27, 2016 - 12:13am PT
Shouldn't this be titled: The Flyin', The Witch, and The Warlock?

Great report.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  May 27, 2016 - 06:19am PT
I bow to the master. Amazing stuff.

BAd
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
  May 27, 2016 - 09:27am PT
Thanks for taking the time to post this up! Look forward to more.

JakeW

Big Wall climber
CA
  May 27, 2016 - 10:41am PT
Thanks for taking the time to post on here Chris! It's nice to see someone explaining the methodical approach experienced wingsuiters use to approach flights they've never done before (regardless of whether they are "new" exits or not...which of course this one probably is).

I hope folks reading can realize how much forethought Chris and other folks safely doing similar things are putting into these flights. There's a lot more to it than just flying skills and boldness...actually, those things are lower on the list of survival skills than the combined assessment of personal skills, terrain, and conditions. In fact, having flying skills and boldness alone, without assessment skills, is perhaps the most dangerous position to be in...and many of these folks have died. Of course Chris seems to have ALL the necessary skills and boldness to achieve his goals and dreams!

It is my perspective(and I think others) that wingsuiting in and of itself is perhaps no more dangerous than many other activities that suffer far fewer losses of life. Investigation into wingsuiting deaths, including scrutiny of the "Base Fatality List", reveals that almost all deaths are a result of major mistakes. It's almost never gear failure, or some bold mofo just getting too close to the mountain by choice. Nowadays, it is usually a lack of assessment...the most common mistakes being attempting a flight that the pilot/suit doesn't have(or barely has) the performance to complete...or attempting a possibly safe but challenging flight in poor enough conditions that it's turned into the former.

Safe wingsuiters attempt to avoid those mistakes by assessing their skills in all conditions(most accurately using a gps called the FlySight), and mapping the terrain with lasers, google earth, altimeters etc. Then, ideally every flight done includes enough margin for error that the flyer will be safe with even a relatively poor performance in bad conditions...and then they wait for perfect conditions and fly perfect!

And to further address Contractors questions. Modern wingsuiting is among the lowest impact activities out there. It's half a hike...so there is half the impact of a nature lover going on a flower walk. Modern wingsuits are not very loud due to the relatively low speeds, and with a low speed deployment even the canopy opening is more of a ruffle than a crack. Wingsuiting is an amazing form of mountain worship! The practitioners study the mountain (and themselves) in intricate detail, and then don't even touch it from start to finish, and the whole experience is 99% hiking, so there's a lot of humble mediative time to balance out the intensity!

Anyhow, sorry if that distracts from our appreciation of Chris' awesome weekend! I just think more dialogue needs to occur about these activities so that perhaps someday the sport can be as safe as it should be. I'm always thinking of writing on the topic, but usually I'm feeling short on time and just trying to keep up with family responsibilities, and trying to find a little time to go play! So thanks for motivating me to chime in Chris.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  May 27, 2016 - 11:09am PT
A big portion of the accidents I've read about or been involved in were due to poor decisions due to some or all of the following: time pressure, changing weather, changing plans at the last minute, forgoing normal procedures and safety steps. So I definitely recommend a final mental safety check/review before you commit to anything, even when, especially when, you feel any time pressure (e.g. thermals are changing).

It seems close proximity wingsuit jumps are to regular BASE jumps, as free soloing is to regular roped climbing. More dangerous, the margin for error much lower, and the skill level needs to be much higher. So people will always question your sanity if you are doing either. But if you really know what you are doing and are careful about it, I say go for it.
shylock

Social climber
mb
  May 27, 2016 - 01:38pm PT
so f*#kin cool
T2

climber
Cardiff by the sea
  May 27, 2016 - 02:59pm PT
So freaking cool Chris! The Morrison exit was badass as well.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  May 27, 2016 - 03:13pm PT
Very cool Needles 'combo' adventure, good job! Thanks for sharing. Love that place and the fighter jet buzzes are super cool!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  May 27, 2016 - 07:36pm PT
Bold adventure to say the least Jiggler . . . Thanks for the share!
radair

Social climber
North Conway, NH
  May 27, 2016 - 07:54pm PT
Thanks for posting this excellent trip report! These stories and photos are the closest i will ever get to wingsuiting and your assessment and preparation are very intriguing. I would never have guessed the Needles would be suitable, having never been there, but the sensational photos i have seen over the years makes me want to experience the area on any level. Thank you and best wishes
thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
  May 27, 2016 - 11:05pm PT
I have two words for you: Rad. Ical.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 28, 2016 - 04:00am PT
Awesome that you are living your dream!
rincon

climber
Coarsegold
  May 28, 2016 - 04:48pm PT
Thanks for sharing your report. It's so amazing that you can fly all the way past Voodoo Dome. I would have loved to have been able to watch.
nah000

climber
now/here
  May 29, 2016 - 02:22pm PT
fantastic...

a level of adventure and story that this site should be filled with.

thank you.
ec

climber
ca
  May 30, 2016 - 09:48am PT
Oh, yeah! The dream of a prolific bushwhacker...AWESOME!

 ec
haishan

Trad climber
CA
  May 30, 2016 - 10:53am PT
Nice work Chris- great to see you're still getting after it and keeping it safe. Hope all is well with you.
-patrick
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
  May 30, 2016 - 11:08am PT
Cool post. You're clearly insane.


I got no beef with wingsuiters. I've got plenty of former climber friends and heroes who died basing. Whatever.

It's the knucklehead cheerleaders that piss me off. Save the sermon
It is my perspective(and I think others) that wingsuiting in and of itself is perhaps no more dangerous than many other activities that suffer far fewer losses of life. Investigation into wingsuiting deaths, including scrutiny of the "Base Fatality List", reveals that almost all deaths are a result of major mistakes. It's almost never gear failure, or some bold mofo just getting too close to the mountain by choice. Nowadays, it is usually a lack of assessment...the most common mistakes being attempting a flight that the pilot/suit doesn't have(or barely has) the performance to complete...or attempting a possibly safe but challenging flight in poor enough conditions that it's turned into the former.
Heisenberg

Trad climber
RV, middle of Nowehere
  May 30, 2016 - 11:39am PT
^^^
Clearly you're off your meds Brooke.
JakeW

Big Wall climber
CA
  May 30, 2016 - 12:13pm PT
Are you calling me a cheerleader? Wow, sorry I came off that way to someone who doesn't know me (I think?). This is actually a very personal issue for me as many of my friends have died. I watched it all build and go down over years. It's not pleasant, and a terrible part of is that most folks and mainstream media just glorify the dead and don't like to discuss their mistakes...setting the stage for the next wave of deaths. Instead they make blanket uneducated statements like "wingsuiting is dangerous" and "people should have the freedom to take risks"... Totally ignoring that a lot of people are taking extra risks without realizing it, and the whole culture resists education and thoughtfulness.

Saying wingsuiting kills is like saying drinking water kills, after most of your community drinks from a polluted well. And then...would you glorify those that were poisoned and cheer on anyone else that wanted a drink? Or would you try to clean the well and get folks some pure water?

My only reason for posting is to help potentially save one or more people who choose the path of wingsuiting.

It is painful to criticize my dead loved ones too much, so i feel its better to highlight someone doing it well and the methods therin. Jiggler is attempting to do this stuff as safely as anyone out there, so its nice to see his stories. I just thought I might contribute to explaining the processes he, I, and a few others have used to minimize risk as much as possible.
snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal
  May 31, 2016 - 08:57am PT
Jake, ignore this ankle biter. its a dead end argument and this is not the thread for such. it was a blast flying with you and sean back in the day.

Chris, the cloudlite suit is great version and the flights you're doing are an inspiration. my A1 version is getting tired. keep it up as the sierra has so much to offer us.
Jiggler

Trad climber
Author's Reply  May 31, 2016 - 03:21pm PT
Thank you all for your comments. My hope was to give more insight into this mixed discipline than can be conveyed in a highlight video. I'm certainly encouraged to continue doing so.

Thanks Jake for your words. "What would Jake do?" is something I've asked myself on many a new exits:-)
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Jun 1, 2016 - 09:00am PT
Bump to the top?
The Alpine

climber
The Sea
  Jun 1, 2016 - 09:29am PT
Jiggler - the buildup has been awesome. Thoroughly enjoyed the backstory with all the effort that's involved in an endeavor like this.

Now please - we need the vid!

I think everyone would love to see that birds eye view in such an amazing place.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Jun 1, 2016 - 10:24am PT
The Needles are one of the most climbing venues in the state, if not the world, donini. You should bring yourself back and go on the attack.

Jiggler, you're a fine writer and I dig your attachment to the Needles.

I appreciated how you used your technical knowledge to explain some of the do/don'ts of wingsuiting.

You also expressed your sense of bliss but it's too bad it is over and done so quickly.

And not one "gonna die" from this crowd--that's special!

Safe flying!
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
  Jun 1, 2016 - 05:53pm PT
Hey Jiggler,

Thanks for the detailed description of planning that goes into your flight. I have looked off ledges from close to the top of El Cap before......wondering......., but I know I'll never base jump or fly a wingsuit. Still, it is awesome to hear what goes into it. Thanks.

Doug
Alex Baker

climber
Portland
  Jun 1, 2016 - 06:46pm PT
Really, really, intriguing. Thanks for sharing.
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Ojai, CA
  Jun 1, 2016 - 08:43pm PT
Pretty damn cool...
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Jun 2, 2016 - 07:45am PT
I appreciate the mix of mindful chilling in nature, to observe and absorb the conditions over time, and the in-the-moment intensity of the drop. Both are forms of being present in the moment, but on different timescales.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Jun 2, 2016 - 10:59am PT
TFPU
The Alpine

climber
The Sea
  Jun 2, 2016 - 07:01pm PT
Not the Needles, but pretty Needles-esque. And a peregrine to boot.

https://www.facebook.com/brendanweinstein/videos/10205983423937127/
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
  Jun 28, 2016 - 05:01pm PT
Sad Tragedy.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jun 28, 2016 - 05:04pm PT
It appears this was Chris LaBounty who just passed away in an accident in The Dolomites. I didn't know him but this report was beautiful and I was inspired by his preparedness, thoughtfulness and adventurous spirit. My deep and sincerest condolences.

Scott
Matt's

climber
  Jun 28, 2016 - 07:16pm PT
http://www.samessenger.com/christopher-john-labounty/

Sad

Rip
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jun 28, 2016 - 08:10pm PT
awww sh#t.
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
  Jul 29, 2016 - 07:36am PT
Hey Snakefoot

Tell us more, genius




snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal

May 31, 2016 - 08:57am PT
Jake, ignore this ankle biter. its a dead end argument and this is not the thread for such. it was a blast flying with you and sean back in the day.

Chris, the cloudlite suit is great version and the flights you're doing are an inspiration. my A1 version is getting tired. keep it up as the sierra has so much to offer us.
28 days later.
Keep it up? Nice advice, if you're a sociopath. Sean is Dead. Now this Guy, too. You must hate your friends.

All you cheeleaders need to check your heads.

And Jake,
These idiots hump your leg so you must be their community leader, right? A leader? What would Jake do? Jake would tell you to jump in a fire, apparently.
F*#k you for this stupid comparison.


Saying wingsuiting kills is like saying drinking water kills..


You should be proud of your leadership. You must have lots of dead apprentices. Proud effort dude. Proud.

Let me fix that sentence to match your comparison correctly.
" saying wingsuiting kills is like saying that poisoning the drinking water kills." Better, right? Hence wingsuiting is poisoned water and Jake, Snakefoot, Base104, Heisenberg et.al. have a nice cold glass of it for you and are screaming "Drink! Drink!Drink!" Frat Boys!

snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal
  Jul 29, 2016 - 08:01am PT
flip, i really enjoy your stupid posts, took you a bit for this one. can you post on topic at all here? you're still an ankle biter around here, oddly mad as ever. no more down and out posts?

now, back to more cheerleading...chris was pushing the game and the margin for error is significantly small at this level. fly free.

Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Ojai, CA
  Jul 29, 2016 - 09:38am PT
Yo Flop. I'd say Snake's foot is in his mouth on that one too, but using a tragic death to say 'told you so'? Weak sauce bro.
Mtnclan

Mountain climber
California
  Jul 23, 2018 - 11:17pm PT
First, I really appreciated your post jiggler; it's an area I've climbed in, and it was nice to see the photos. All the best luck to you.

Secondly, and far less important, but as I'm new to this site, I wonder if there is a way to automatically delete the inane and useless comments of certain members, such as this frothing at the mouth, "ankle-biter"guy. Though they are easily ignored, it's a drag to see the discourse brought down to such a creeping low level. Is there a button I can punch to make the "ankle-biter" disappear?

But overall, my family and I are enjoying ST a lot.

Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
  Jul 24, 2018 - 07:13am PT
You're talking to a dead guy. So genius

Jiggler "I'm certainly encouraged to continue doing so."

People are suggestible. People seek approval. People are trusting.

And people are dumb.

If you humped Chris' leg then you're part of the problem. You're the "Jump, Bro!" kind of friend,teacher, leader and guide. If you humped his leg, you should feel shitty.

Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Jul 24, 2018 - 06:41am PT
Yeah, I think Chris died wingsuiting in Italy. The sport in its rad from as Chris was practicing--proximity flying--just seems too sketchy, but young guns will always gravitate to such activities. Chris seemed like an awesome guy. Really sad that he's gone. I just recently re-read Bird Dreams by Matt Higgins about this particular game Well worth the read. I'm kind of obsessed by wingsuit flying, and I get the draw, but proxy flying is pretty much Russian roulette.

Every time I drive by Convict Lake, I look up at those peaks and think of Chris. What nerve and skill he had. Unfortunately, those aren't enough.

BAd
xCon

Social climber
909
  Jul 24, 2018 - 07:07am PT
Credit: xCon
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
  Jul 24, 2018 - 08:44am PT
RIP.

I am sorry no one was there to pull you back from the edge. I would've tried if I had known you.
snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal
  Jul 24, 2018 - 09:47am PT
another worthless post by flip, keep up your lameness as you shine bright. just jumped mt morrison last friday and it is rad, with a technical exit... get some.
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
  Jul 24, 2018 - 10:08am PT
You have far more to live for, Snakefoot, than a few fleeting moments of adrenaline rush. Talk to those who love you before its too late.
snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal
  Jul 24, 2018 - 10:10am PT
thanks tut, i have no death wish. the same could be said for climbing, surfing and other serious sports.
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
  Jul 24, 2018 - 10:21am PT
Pretty sure proximity base/wingsuiting is way higher risk than climbing or surfing. Be safe my friend, and find much joy in being on this green Earth.
nathanael

climber
CA
  Jul 24, 2018 - 11:51am PT
I think about this trip report whenever I'm up on those summits. Such an inspiring spot, and beautiful to imagine him up there pushing the limits of the impossible. Sad that Chris is no longer with us.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jul 24, 2018 - 07:59pm PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2836443/RIP-Chris-LaBounty
xCon

Social climber
909
  Jul 24, 2018 - 08:07pm PT
if you have the discretionary income rock climb involves

your intrinsically involved in subsidizing a system wherein jigglers response is more than rational...

tsk tsk
nah000

climber
now/here
  Jul 24, 2018 - 09:58pm PT
one of my favourite reports to this site...

thanks for the bump.



it’s too bad the haters that are perpetually lying in wait, ready to jump up and tell us “i told you so” dont start gofundmes so they can pay for the sessions that might be of benefit to their mental health...

while i have some sympathy for f.f as he seems to have repeatedly and deeply lost, k.t. [and his broken record type response to this type of tragedy] is boring in his predictability, ignorant in his statistical justification and arrogantly self righteous in the grounding of his “authoritah”.

while it is true that if these paths were to be taken up by the masses it would be a wholesale mistake... the thing you two folks always miss is that the only one who knows what might or might not have happened if these individuals were to have not taken up these pursuits, is the big guy/gal that may or may not be residing upstairs, downstairs or maybe on the first floor [and that’s whether the individual is an alpinist, a wing suiter or whatever other “high risk” “sport” embracer we’re tut tutting at today]. ie. neither of you have any idea regarding what may or may not have been the life trajectories for those unfortunately cut short if they hadn’t of chosen these pursuits but still had the same spirits occupying their bodies...

that’s ‘cause to completely finish beating the dead horse: despite your best efforts to project verbiage giving evidence to the opposite, neither of you is the afore mentioned big guy/gal...



but keep on keepin on, trying to save the folks who obviously aren’t as smart as you and who must therefore just not know the risks and so need to have the same message repeated by two folks who unfortunately seem to have had their hearts hardened somewhere along the line... /partial s



finally, if we’re going to create morality tales about folks deaths we’d be remiss not to remember the to some parts famous climber, who came on this board at one point to make warning statements about the likely imminent death of a now world famous free soloist [who is afaik still living]. the first climber ended up nearly dying shortly after in a workplace accident and did not live long after due to the complications...

ie. never forget: there but for the grace of god[ot] go we all.

even those of us who willfully choose to avoid the front lines.



respect to the now lost who did more then spend their time on this earth perpetually dying...

and peace to the still living left behind.
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
  Jul 25, 2018 - 03:54pm PT
The Trauma Bays of every Level 1 Trauma Center in the USA are filled daily with the broken bodies of those that thought "they knew the risks".

Yes, my first experience with BASE jumpers was on Half Dome around 1982 or so after doing the RNWF in a day.

Took pictures to document for them as their lead guy went splat on Big Sandy and gave the camera to the last guy that went ahead and jumped.

Right then and there, that they would abandon their friend to jump and get away told me all I needed to know about enablers and how much they really cared about the human cost and their friends. All they cared about was not getting caught. We ran to the base to see if there was anything we could do as we had just met the guy and spent the last hour shootin' the breeze.

Was fun doing CPR on the corpse with the EMT that arrived at the base about 2 hours later and wouldn't give up.

At least he died going splat like he loved.

If what they were doing when they died was worth it we wouldn't be sad for their loss. We would be stoked for them. Tell his daughters it was worth it, if you are so certain.

And until you, yourself are there to deal with the consequences on the ground at the scene, don't tell me how to feel about it when someone with so much to live for throws their life away so senselessly and for nothing lasting, imo.
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
  Jul 24, 2018 - 11:28pm PT
I agree with your perspective, nah000.

It's so easy to look at another's life, that one hasn't lived, and make pronouncements.

RIP, Chris. I'm sure your daughters will embody how great a father they had!

Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
  Jul 25, 2018 - 06:43am PT
Hey Snakefoot, you get some. Go do what you love. It only took 28 days to prove that you're a sociopath. Kunlun is just stupid

Hey Snakefoot, I'll laugh because you're a shitty person and ST will be better without you encouraging people to die stupidly
snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal
  Jul 25, 2018 - 06:57am PT
your aggression is hilarious flip. i do what i love, you cry at the posts.
Heisenberg

Trad climber
RV, middle of Nowehere
  Jul 25, 2018 - 10:16am PT
Flip Flop aka Brooke Ingleheart

climber
Earth Planet, Universe

Jul 25, 2018 - 06:43 am PT
Hey Snakefoot, you get some. Go do what you love. It only took 28 days to prove that you're a sociopath. Kunlun is just stupid

Hey Snakefoot, I'll laugh because you're a shitty person and ST will be better without you encouraging people to die stupidly

You're Highlarious Brooke. So he's a sociopath? Your lack of education demonstrates you don't even know the meaning of the word and how it's used. Sad
The definition fits you quite well Brooke:

so·ci·o·path
ˈsōsēōˌpaTH
noun.
a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

(saved you the time in your school work)

And finally your last comment. You say this about an individual whom you've never met, EVER!!. I'm pretty sure he has given back to humanity more than you have. I hope homeowners see how much hate you have in your soul to only realize it's what you put into their home. Even sadder.

Find some peace in your life Brooke. Holding onto this much hatred is not good for one's soul. But.... guess you have to have one first huh?
Mtnclan

Mountain climber
California
  Jul 25, 2018 - 03:51pm PT
Scott wrote:
It appears this was Chris LaBounty who just passed away in an accident in The Dolomites [June 23, 2016]. I didn't know him but this report was beautiful and I was inspired by his preparedness, thoughtfulness and adventurous spirit. My deep and sincerest condolences.
x4 more of us.

Sorry to err on such a sad event- the death of Chris, whom we now know was "jiggler." And even F-f got it right this time:
Sad Tragedy
.

Worth the firey candle? Can there ever be a definitive answer? An answer that would suit all cases?

Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
  Jul 25, 2018 - 06:02pm PT
I looked at this thread again yesterday, and got to talking about it with my wife (we married late and don’t have kids.) I said it made me angry, upset anyway, when someone with a family at home gets killed in such an extremely risky activity. Boy did she set me straight. It went something like this:

“The most fundamental principle of liberty is self-ownership. As long as it doesn’t involve hurting others, it’s your life. You are free to choose what you do with it. Which is the better choice, mastering an extreme sport and getting killed at it, or becoming an obese couch potato and dying from diabetes?”

“But what about responsibility? In an instant there’s no Dad.”

“What kind of father will a man be with his wings clipped?
Frustrated, always wishing he was out there? Eventually resentment builds? Think about your life. You didn’t grow up with kids, but you had serious responsibilities. How many times did you have your neck in the noose climbing, knowing what a train wreck you’d leave behind if you were killed? But I know you, the thought didn’t even enter your mind. How did the people at Future Disc respond when you told them you’d be gone for a week to climb El Cap?”

“Well, I could tell they didn’t think it was a smart thing to do – from their perspective- but they didn’t even hint that I shouldn’t go. Of course, they had a fat “key man” policy on me. And I think they knew that I did way more dangerous stuff than that.”

“That’s my next point. If I’m the wife in a family and Dad does risky sports, my only requirement would be that he has deluxe life insurance. That’s responsibility. Don’t go out and get yourself killed and leave behind a broke family. Same thing for serious injury.”

I agree with her 100% about self ownership. Which led me to the conclusion that we each make our choices. If I had kids when I was doing my best climbing I would have managed my risk envelope differently, but I would have been miserable were I not free to climb at all. That would have been my choice. Chris LaBounty chose differently. That Needles flight was amazing. The only way I’ll ever get off one of those Needles summits is by rappel. I hope.

So I'll lift ale ale to Chris and others like him now. I still have mixed feelings, that's just me. But the anger is gone.
Heisenberg

Trad climber
RV, middle of Nowehere
  Jul 25, 2018 - 06:09pm PT
ksolem

Do you have the anger to the two climbers who perished on El Cap this summer ?
If the answer is no, why not ?

H_
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
  Jul 25, 2018 - 07:04pm PT
Well said Kristian, this is a worthy discussion- keep it civil.

A person who embarks on high risk activities, not totally dedicated to ego, who is a better spouse, father, mother or friend from the experience is wholly separate from a person that escapes the mundane, is dedicated to ego and seeks attention at the detriment of those around them. Perhaps both realities coexist and are in conflict within persons that partake in high risk.

And perhaps a Chris prior to the accident would have a different perspective to the Chris after the accident, although I doubt that.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
  Jul 26, 2018 - 08:35am PT
Do you have the anger to the two climbers who perished on El Cap this summer ?

Like I said, I did.

Like I said, now I have mixed feelings, if I had been in their shoes I would have moderated the risk envelope a bit. But they made their own choices. I doubt those guys felt like they were putting it on the line when they tied in that morning. Just another fast trip up the Captain, after all.

So no anger now. Just sad.



micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 26, 2018 - 05:53pm PT
I hear you Kris.


Climbing, big mountain skiing, deep wreck diving......all of them dangerous, all of them selfish.

When you have children, your selfishness needs to take a back seat to your responsibility and their need in my opinion. When I had kids, I dialed back my risk level significantly because it was the right thing to do. I'm a married man. My life, in my opinion, should be less of me, more of what I can do for and be for her.

I'm a dad, an adventurous, motivated, creative, outdoorsy PRESENT dad. They need me and my responsibility to them outweighs my need to burn my adventure candle on high at both ends.

what kind of a dad with a man be with his wings clipped?
A present one.

Bolted belays and 5.8 is my level now that I have kids....and thats ok...
Bolted belays and 5.8 is my level now that I have kids....and thats ok with me. Sketchy anchors, routes with known large amounts of loose stuff....long runouts, those things are a thing of the past for me.
Credit: Macronut
My kids don't really care if I knock off another ride sketchy route. T...
My kids don't really care if I knock off another ride sketchy route. They care that I am there for their dirt bike races. They care that I am stoked for my own adventures but more so that I am always around and down am their biggest advocate and fan.
Credit: micronut



When I'm out there in the hills, their need for me to come home is now the lens through which I make my decisions in the alpine.

I ache for those these guys leave behind.

Sincerely

Scott
Heisenberg

Trad climber
RV, middle of Nowehere
  Jul 26, 2018 - 06:17pm PT
Sorry ksolem

I thought you were talking about Chris LaBounty in your previous response regarding to whom or what the anger was directed. Happy to see you’ve let go and grown beyond the emotion
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
  Jul 26, 2018 - 08:08pm PT
“What kind of father will a man be with his wings clipped?"

The very definition of "being a man" is being a father who is there for his children...and making sound choices for one's safety is part of being there, imo.

I really reject this idea that people are somehow "incomplete" because they aren't proximity wing suiting or soloing Alpine gnar in winter.

Nothing makes you more complete than being a good father to a child.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Jul 26, 2018 - 08:51pm PT
I think this is a worthy discussion if we keep it civil. I'm with Tut and Micro re. dialing it back when you have kids. It's a false dichotomy to say if Joe X isn't doing the gnar-gnar rad, then he's no good as a man/husband/father. It's WAY more complicated than that. You brought a life into this world. THAT is now your first priority not the 90 seconds of gnar as you proxy fly the Dolomites. Of course, extremists will be extremists, and there's absolutely nothing this peanut gallery can do to stop them, but maybe these discussions will give some current/future parent a little pause before trying to solo or BASE.

BAd
jeff constine

Trad climber
Ao Namao
  Aug 1, 2018 - 06:43pm PT
Why are you not doing the nar? bAd.
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