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Merrill Bitter - mid 80's

Id# 107934326,  Dimensions: 1000 x 1500 - View full size 

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By Tom Hunt
From: SF CA
Dec 18, 2012

Shot was taken by my photographer friend Erik Ostling from the other side of the canyon.
I will try to find the rest of the pics he took as I think there might be some good ones of us (I mean Merrill - I'm sure I was looking pretty desperate) on the nice pillar up a bit from this pitch...dragged up many routes by Merrill back then but definitely learned a lot while getting my ass kicked.

By Burt Lindquist
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Dec 18, 2012

I met Merrill once at Devil's Tower way back in the 80's. He told me a story down in the campground one night about how he fell 600ft (???-could have been less - could have been more.... my memory is shakey) down an ice route he was soloing and landed softly in the snow slough pile at the bottom and walked away pretty much OK..... Then-- before the DT trip weekend was over Merrill and his climbing partners had an epic on the Tower where if I remember correctly.... a rock was dislodged by a pack being pulled up by the leader and and the climber below was unable to get out of the way-- took the brunt of the smash in a tucked position with his hands wrapped around his head (No helmet) being situated at the bottom of a un-escapable chimney and having his head pretty badly split open and one of his fingers nearly severed..... they self rescued as I and friends tried to help (feebly) and I was always really impressed by that!

By Tom Hunt
From: SF CA
Dec 18, 2012

Wow, that DT self rescue sounds epic! Never heard about that one but Merrill was never one to rant about his achievements even though in the 80's he was already a legend to a lot of us.

About the fall story he told at the Devil's Tower campground - My memory is pretty shakey as well but I'm pretty sure he was talking about the BIG fall he took while soloing the Great White Icicle. I believe he broke one of his tools & got scuffed up a bit but was otherwise unscathed...at least physically.

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Merrill Bitter - mid 80's

Submitted By: Tom Hunt on Dec 17, 2012
On this route:
Stairway to Heaven (WI5+ R )