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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Dec 12, 2007
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

So here is a slightly different topic than the "10-climbs for 2008" discussion already happening.

About 10 climbs already done. (Or 3 or 7 or whatever)

it's also probably going to be related to the discussion of "Why do you climb" no doubt.

What are 10 climbs you have done that stick in your mind- as a great time, the essence of climbing, as personal achievements, lessons learned, or whatever? 10 climbs that are burned into memory and why?

I'm not looking for a ticklist, just some impressions that were made and why and how...


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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Dec 12, 2007
avitar pic <br />

Mother #1 is up there for me too, it was my first climb at veda and my first off width (minus the free solo of easy jam prior) I was racing the sun and lost. I was also somewhat terrified as I thought if I fell I would be a bloody mess(not that I wasn't already). It felt like the hardest 5.7 ever, after reaching the top in twilight I rapped back to the belay from the top of the parabolic slab and got my brand new rope stuck.
Talk about a temper tantrum, it was pathetic, I went back in the morning and almost cut my rope out. However I got lucky and reversed the puzzle.

2nd apron Mt. Evans:
my first alpine climb, we arrived at the base pretty early but not exactly sun rise. No topo just going off of memory, off route from the start run out 20-40 ft to an old fixed pin (KB) for my first piece the options above look really thin (litteraly)and I don't think I would have even gotten an rp in the seam above. continuing up on run out slabs, at the top of the 2nd or 3rd pitch it started raining, hailing, sleeting etc. We ended up simu climbing the last 2 pitches of an easier route in the cold wet weather.

First flatiron: first multi-pitch lead ever, standard east face run out plus getting off route on pitch 2 made things interesting(this was my second trad lead). ended up running out of rope with not much pro below me we simul climbed till I could sling a flake and sit on it to belay. we didn't reach the summit that day as we bailed once we reached the ridge line.

Third flatiron: First moonlight free solo on the first attempt at the third. no headlamps and no one to show us the way, all we had was a big light for emergency guidebook reading situations or finding bolts for the rap. Got off route before finding the route as we missed the sign for the east bench, once we found the east bench we were having second thoughts, none of the other climbers (who we could see with headlamps) would give us any deffinative beta as to where the route started and what general direction we wanted to go.
We went for it even though the moon was behind the ridge but the city lights of boulder were really bright so we pushed on and rested at the eye bolts if needed.

Free soloing the first and third in a day: self explanitairy after reading the above and understanding my bond with these formations. Also the first time ever soloing the flat irons is up there too.

Any crack climb, they are all burned into memory.(cardiac crack stands out pretty boldly in my memory)

Peoples Choice: My first ever 5.10 and my first multi pitch lead.

Hot Dog and Hazerdous Waste: Both times I thought I was on an easier route, and both times I learned how fun it can be to take big safe falls.

Any secret crags I have found over the years were always a joy also.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Dec 12, 2007

My top ten climbs, in no particular order:

1. Zodiac. I was just a teen and talked my 17 year old buddy into trying this thing with me, even though he had never done a wall and I'd only done the Prow and the NW of the Dome, both way easier. Halfway up, he confessed that our friends were betting him cams that we'd bail. Twenty years ago, it was old school A3+ and I found myself bargaining with God on several leads, but I also found a level of commitment and maturity in myself that I never really knew was there. After that, nothing in my life--grad schools, two knee surgeries--seemed insurmountable.

2. Left Ski Track. At 14, my first lead and multipitch climb, complete with old Adidas tennis shoes, eight nuts and about ten biners. Ah the power of ignorance.

3. Lucky Streaks. After a summer of climbing in the Valley and Meadows, I thought I was bad ass and would float up this. It reminded me how hard old school 5.8 could be.

4. Any number of Sierra peaks. Awesome experiences in an awesome setting. My favorite place in the world.

5. The Shield. An amazing route, climbed at a difficult point in my life. Being up there with a really good friend helped reestablish those priorities in my life: family, friends and relationships. Everything else is fluff.

OK, that's only five, but the sheets are calling.


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By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Dec 13, 2007
Waiting for lift-off, Thin Air(5.6) Cathedral Ledge, NH

1 Play Misty, Cathedral Ledge
My first 5.11, I did it during a Trad leading workshop through UNH and now I look at sections of this climb as my definition of a 'no fall zone'

2 The Energizer (aka Aerial Vermin), The Pit
The only climb I've ever decked on, not a pleasant experience and once I hope not to repeat.

3 Aquaduck Pocket, Red River Gorge
I was trying to onsight my first 5.11 on a trip to the Red a couple of years back and I've never worked harder to get up to an anchor just to fall before clipping the chains.

4 Another Doug Reed Route , Red River Gorge
Same trip as above, I onsighted this one, the folks I was with bought me some Ale-8-Ones to celebrate.

5 Slabs Direct, Whitehorse Ledge
My first experience on such run-out terrain, climbing the first 270ft without any pro somehow makes the upper run-out seem much more tame.

6 One Size Fits All, Rumney
My first route with really big dynos and hard grovelling.

7 Handsome and Well-Hung, New River Gorge
I got front page in the regional paper(Beckely Herald) for this one. Great climb, got it second go. Very rewarding, but I couldn't have done it without the confidence of the next two.

8 Englishman's Crack, New River Gorge
Off-width start to an overhanging off-width crux, this climb is one of the most obvious at the New, and therefore was its first 5.11 and one of my first on gear. I never thought I'd like off-width, but after pulling through, I can't wait to do it again.

9 Marionette, New River Gorge
This one is rarely led because of the distinct lack of gear for the bottom 18ft that contains a V3 crux and a commiting two handed slam-dunk move. I was planning on using a bouldering pad, but I decided to do it move pure and commit. I've never had to concentrate more for a rock climb.

10 Team Machine, New River Gorge
The only mono-divot I'll ever be strong enough to acutally use. This climb forces you to put about half your body weight on a mono divot and the other half on a tiny invisible foot, then switch feet. Extremely balancy and techinque heavy climbing, my finger was sore for weeks afterwards.


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By Jimbo
Dec 13, 2007

Salathe: Topped out at 3 in the afternoon on day two, couldn't find the east ledges rap route and still hit the ground in the dark.

Levitation 29: Still the best free climb I've ever done.

Crimson Cystalis: Back before you needed a reservation just to stand at the base.

Complete Exum on the Grand Teton: 8 hours car to car in tennis shoes and a single 9 mm rope. I can't believe Alex Lowe did this in under 3 hours, he was a machine.

Polar Circus: Perfect day, perfect ice, back when we thought our Lowe Hummingbird axes were so state of the art.

The Septer in Hylite Canyon: Free solo, both feet and one tool came off right at the top. So there I dangled on one tool (a Hummingbird) 90 feet off the deck until I could spin back around and sink the other tool.

Grand Wall on Squamish Chief, via Cruel Shoes. The split pillar is amazing.

Raven Maniac on Mt. Lemmon: The best sport pitch I've ever done. A 45 minute battle to the chains 130 feet up.

Outer Space on Snow Creek Wall: Me and a buddy free soloed this route. There was a brand new yellow Camalot in the middle of the crux hand crack. We could both move it around but couldn't quite get it out with only one hand to work with.


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By Mark Hammond
From Eldorado Springs, CO
Dec 13, 2007

Great thread, I'm enjoying it so much I decided to contribute.

Ruper, Eldorado Canyon-I had been climbing less than 20 days including toproping when I decided to tackle Ruper as my first long climb. My partner announced that he wouldn't be doing any leading as soon as we entered the canyon and saw the Redgarden Wall. I led all the pitches and was unable to read about the descent due to darkness on the summit. The several hour, trial and error downclimb of the East Slabs would have been enough to make it a memorable day, but I won't ever forget the feeling of the exposure, moves, beauty and lack of adequate rack on Ruper.

Kor-Ingalls, Castleton Tower-First desert tower and it kindled in me a love for the Colorado Plateau that has never diminished. Also, I climbed it with a young lady and we hauled up a bottle of champagne. We drank it on the summit, then we made the beast with two backs on that platform in the sky. Could explain my "tower lust".

Childhood's End, Big Rock Candy Mtn, South Platte-Loads of terror and pushing myself Waaaaaay above rusty 1/4" bolts in a gusting wind. An awesome setting, awesome partner and the longest climb I had done at the time. Don't miss the knee deep pea gravel descent off the backside, you can run and jump like you are on the moon!

Scenic Cruise, Black Canyon-First trip to the Black and biggest route I had done. A partner with whom I shared another of the climbs I'm describing today, one who brought out the best in me. A confidence boosting climb, overcoming the intimidation factor of standing in the bottom of the Black for the first time. Oh yeah, and amazing climbing.

The Nose, El Cap-My partner had been hauled up one smaller wall. For me, it was my first time doing any aid, first time hauling, first time jumarring, first bivy in the vertical world. I had "learned" it all from reading the big walls book by Straussman. We swapped pitches all the way up, even passing parties, in under 3 days. Our joy and celebration was cut short when we returned to the Valley floor and learned that our friend and hero Derek Hersey had died while we were on the wall.

CO NE Ridge, Kingfisher, Fisher Towers-Not a hard route, a big route, or a particularly enjoyable route for me. I soloed this at a very difficult time for me personally and in my relationship. Purposefully went slowly and spent more time brooding than climbing. Spent a little time wondering what the hell I was doing up there and more time wondering what the hell I was doing with my life. Returned to the ground with the knowledge that I was an ok guy and that my love relationship was still something I wanted to pursue.

Mixed Feelings, RMNP-My first day with ice tools in my hands, a friend puts me on this. Its way over my head and the temperature is in the single digits. I lower off defeated without topping out and kneel in the snow with the screaming barfies. Upon not dying from said pain, I decide that ice climbing, and all who practice it are stupid. I join the ranks of the stupid soon after.

The Big Easy, Zion NP-An early FA for me and still the longest I've done. Six days on the wall, some time retreating to try another line, some runouts, some leapfrogging our only 2 bigbros on aid, some fun free climbing, lots of adventure, 13 cool pitches, rad bivy spots, sick views, a great partner, 104F in the shade, one big scorpion, one stuck rope= a really good time.

Peak 11,300, Central Alaska Range-Another great partner. The coolest alpine route I've done I think. Never scared, just great climbing the whole way. I never felt like I was slogging, the terrain always felt like climbing. Great mix of rock, ice and snow. Climbed the summit ice pyramid in a storm which trapped us on the summit for 40 hours. Cold and wet, with no tent we spent the time in the "hole of despair"(Trademark). My buddy had lost his food bag and some other items, so the suffering was increased. I shivered the whole time. We escaped during a lull and had steak and tequila back in basecamp. I love Alaska.

Cathedral Peak, Tuolumne-A rest day solo that was just super nice. Didn't see anyone the whole day. Had time to revel in the beauty of the place. Hard to describe this one I guess, just a special time.

Lots more, but I'll stop at ten,
Mark


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By Tavis Ricksecker
From Bishop, ca
Dec 13, 2007
Church of the Lost and Found, Left. Summer 2013

10. The Hulk, Happy Boulders: Just a brilliant boulder problem.

9. Southwest Corner of Grandma Peabody, The Buttermilk Boulders: Can a 45 foot line be called a boulder problem? The 5.9 crux came early but the 5.8 friction move with 35' of air under your feet might make your mouth go dry.

8. Perched, Owen's River Gorge: The most exposed 5.10 sport climb I've ever seen. Mega pucker factor as you reach for the arete above the roof with 100' of air directly below your heels. Maybe my favorite sport climb ever?

7. Bloodymir, Joshua Tree: My first 5.9 lead, and when I learned that no-star routes in joshua tree can be grainy sandbags. I almost whipped five feet from the top. Would that cam have held in the grainy flared nastiness below? I'll never know, but I'm glad I didn't find out.

6. The Exorcist, Joshua Tree: My fingers didn't fit in the crux section of crack. So, with two good cams 15' off the ground, I started laybacking the fin feature on the side of the crack. The top of the fin is a jug maybe 15' higher, and, unable to stop and place pro, I aimed for this hold. I got close. Didn't pay attention to the rope going behind my leg. Didn't keep my feet high enough. I popped. I took an upside down 20 footer from 25 feet up. My belayer, unsure if I was about to deck onto the granite slab below, body checked me into the wall. I ended up dangling upside down with my face about three feet from the slab, shaken and badly rope burned but otherwise unhurt. A few minutes later I climbed back up to my pro, but couldn't make myself go any higher. I lowered off. My buddy Kip led the thing then and did exactly what I did, only he didn't fall. Scary shit. Next time I'm going straight in on this one, tips locks be damned.

5. Crack Attack, Indian Creek: Brilliant pitch, and my best onsight. I kept expecting to fall at the upper cruxes, but didn't.

4. Crimson Chrysalis, Red Rocks: Can something so steep be only 5.8? Yes it can.

3. Prince of Darkness, Red Rocks: I was seventeen, and 5.10 was my limit for sport climbing. My partner (a stronger climber) freaked out from the exposure and wanted to go down. I convinced him to continue up if I lead every pitch. I ended up onsighting the whole route.

2. Cathedral Traverse, Tuolumne Meadows: Attempted to solo this in a day when I was 18. I didn't know better. Never even made the summit of the first peak. I took a direct line up Unicorn Peak instead of the fourth class way. Should have paid better attention to the route description. After 100' of fourth class, the line steepened. 20' of 5.7 ish climbing led me to a blank section of slab with a large quartz knob. I stood on the knob to suss it out and was just thinking maybe I should find an easier way when the knob broke. I fell 20' to the ledge atop the fourth class section. Thankful to be alive, my first thought was to go back up and find a different way, but as soon as I moved I realized my ankle was badly sprained. Downclimbed the fourth class, hiked three miles back to the car, and then drove my stickshift four hours back to berkeley without the use of my left leg. Was on crutches for a week. Talk about a beatdown.

1. Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome, Yosemite: Did this one car to car in a day in late October. Left the car at 2 am, cruised up the slabs by headlamp. Starting climbing around 4:30 am. Climbed fast and in whatever style we could (5.9 C1). Topped out right at sunset (7 pm). Celebrated with some herbal smoking blend on the summit, not realizing that as tired and dehydrated and hungry as we were, it would have been hard to find the cables in the dark anyway.. As it was, we wandered around on the summit for an hour in the dark looking for the cables. Finally, I tripped over something and fell on my face. It was the cable! We descended into the darkness. Later, I kept losing the trail. My partner Greg was muttering something about elephants which I tried my best to ignore. Fell asleep on a log at Little Yosemite for like an hour, till the cold woke us up. Got back to the car at 11 pm. 21 hours car to car. Still the greatest climbing day I've ever had, and the most tired I've ever been in my life.


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By Nathan Furman
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Dec 13, 2007
A lazy afternoon at Big Sandy.  Big Sandy is plenty big and multi-terraced; it makes a wonderful place to relax and watch the birds.

These posts are so inspirational! Often I don't try to explain why certain climbs are so personally enriching, because (in my head) I get embarrassed that it sounds vacant or meaningless to those people around me. But while reading others' stories/epiphanies it reminds me of how rich my own climbing experiences have been for me. So I'll share a few:

1. Upper Exum on the Grand: this was my first alpine climb, and I did it with four others. Only one person really knew what was going on. It was a clusterfrig. I spent most of it unroped while one person in our party needed thorough guiding. I was free to hop around and explore, both on the rock and in my mind. We topped out. We ran out of water. We got the ropes stuck on rappel. I was scared, and happy, and finally exhausted. On the walk back down I just went fetal position and just wanted to be left alone. But Mat's encouragement/bossiness got me to my feet to continue back down to the car. It made me want to explore the alpine environment more.

2. The Prow on Washington Column: We were three pitches up, rappelling off in the rain, when lightning hit above us. Right above us. It knocked off several tons of rock which rained down all around us--T.V. size boulders and soft-ball sized rocks. Smoke/dust exploded out of the ground at the base of the route, wafting 30/40/50 feet into the air. How we didn't get hit I'll never know. The adventure of it all became crystallized in my mind.

3. Lurking Fear, El Cap: We fixed four pitches then blasted the next day. We topped out with plenty of light, but there was bottomless snow on top and we couldn't make it to the descent route before dark, and the descent was unrecognizable at night with all the snow. After carving out a platform under a tree, we bivied with no gear next to the most pitiful fire. It was cold. We'd stoke the fire, move several inches away from the flames, drift off to semi-sleep, get cold and stoke the fire again. That cycle must have repeated itself 30 times that long night. Once again, the adventure was crystallized/fossilized/preserved in amber.

4. Natural Mystic, Greenland: A FA this summer. 17 pitches. We were moving slow because of the alpine/FA nature but had no bivy gear. It was light all night long, so we just kept climbing. But god was I tired. At 5 a.m., after climbing for nearly 24 hours, I remember taking 20 minutes to lead this broken section of 5.8...nothing was making sense to me...my partners were so supportive. On the summit we set up a solar still and melted snow by the suns weak rays. It was the first water I had had in 12 hours. The rappels took another 10 hours. It was one of the most pure experiences of my life.

5. Bears Reach, Lovers Leap: One warm summer morning I soloed this climb over and over. I have never felt so free. I'd get to the top, run down, and climb it again. Climbing felt effortless...gravity didn't seem to exist. It was like flying.

Cheers,
Nate


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By Charles Danforth
From L'ville, CO
Dec 13, 2007
Do a little dance...

In no particular order, most of them very old and very easy. No I don't climb hard stuff like the rest of you ;-)

-o- Le Gourmet to Front C to Critter Crack - (Seneca Rocks) My first multipitch climb and what set me off on the path I'm on now. Met my wife on that trip.

-o- Gunsight to South Peak Direct - (Seneca) My first high exposure lead and the first time I realized that the hardness of a climb was not just the moves or the pro. Sacking up and dealing with the exposure opened a lot of doors for me.

-o- No Alternative - (Stone Mtn, NC) - Easy slab with huge runouts and huge exposure. The first time I dealt with pure friction slab and still one of the most memorable.

-o- unnamed short wall in a cave in WV - My first and only climbing injury. Fell 20' down-soloing a short, easy wall (5.3?) after 13 grueling hours in the cave. Broken ankle and a summer of no climbing helped sort out my priorities.

-o- Third Flatiron - (Boulder) - My first climb out west and the first time I lead 8 pitches in a row of anything. I've since climbed much better Flatiron routes, smarter, faster, and so forth, but that was a real eye-opener for me.

-o- Keiners Route - (Long Peak) - My first alpine climb of any consequence.

-o- Enterprise (Shelf Road, CO) - My closest call to date. Swapped ropes on a TR anchor and proceeded to be lowered on the wrong rope. Fortunately, I'm a wuss and was still holding the right rope in my hands, saving me from a very messy 80' free-fall.

-o- Grand Central Couloir, Nokhu Crags (RMNP) - The first time I made the wrong decision about avalanche conditions. Fortunately, everyone survived unscathed.

-o- Original Fantasy Ridge (Lumpy Ridge) - A "crack training" route in which I got in seriously over my head, ran low on gear, and crossed several mental boundaries. I'd love to go back and do this one again now that I know what's coming.

Hmmm, looking back on this list, it seems to be all about near-misses, epics, and disasters averted.


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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Dec 13, 2007

1. Notch Couloir, going with great friends, one from sea-level, stumbling down Keplinger's & wandering back through Wild Basin due to lightning.
2. Yellow Spot, QQ, very early career, deciding to solo & having the wisdom to back down.
3. Whitney-Gilman, March, 1st multi-pitch climb, snow & ice on the approach, waist deep snow on top, wallowing back to the tram.
4. High Exposure, Gunks, 1st multi-pitch lead with a buddy who only followed, spring break, too cold to feel fingers on P3.
5. Otto's Route, great desert tower, 1st with my wife.
6. Love Route, Hallett Peak, gentlemanly start, simuling, getting caught in lightning, scared silly leaving the rack atop, having to go back up to get the rack with a few wires luckily left on the harnesses.
7. Aconcagua, Polish route out of condition, stupid, going up despite a respiratory infection, getting a wee too hypoxic.
8. Smear of Fear, amazing route, great day, Thanks, Tom.
9. Ames Ice Hose, terrific route, great friends, classic.
10. Birds of Fire, awesome route, stellar rock, great day, great friend.


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By Deaun Schovajsa
Dec 13, 2007
You wanna' look like this when ya get old!

Here's 5 that jump out...got my ass handed to me on many of them.

1. Weeping Wall (lower and upper), Canada. Early 90's, old thick Chouinard screws and snargs for gear. All day affair, rappelling in the dark, stuck ropes, total epic. Staggered back to the hostel at 1:30 AM and started slamming some beers around the wood stove.

2. D7 on the Diamond winter of 1992. This one took us a week. The weather was crap, we got beat up, but we had a blast!

3. SF Washington Column around '89 or '90. Weathered off the first time, but came right back and struggled mightily. Passed early on the 2nd day by a Frenchman and his girlfriend who were doing the route in a few hours. Ahrg!! Great fun with one of my favorite partners.

4. Nose, El Cap. Awesome route with 2 of my best friends.

5. Finger of Fate on the Titan. Spanked on the first attempt, no guidebook or route description, started way late and off route and took a ground fall from 25 feet when a piece pulled. Nothing too hurt but my pride. A few years later, back with 2 friends and enjoyed the route and camaraderie immensely.


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By JacobD
From Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 13, 2007
Me on Half Dome Boulder, Middle Finger of Fury <br /> <br />Awesome problem!

This is a great thread. Heres some of mine in no particular order.

Frogland 5.8 red rocks - Awesome adventure, with no one else on the route with a good friend.

Cut Loose 5.11- red rocks - My first 5.11 onsight. One of the most aesthetic lines I've seen. Saw it in the climbing daily planner 4 months before and swore I'd do it.

Pooh's Corner (first pitch) 5.9 Vedauwoo - One of my first harder(for me) trad leads. A friend told me it was 5.7 and let me borrow his cams. Right as I was about to clip my first piece my foot slipped and I decked. I didn't notice it at the time, but I had a badly sprained ankle. I got back on it while my adreniline was high and sent it

Don Quixote 5.10d Minnehaha, Washington - The first trad climb I've ever worked on lead. We decided we were only going to go at it ground up on lead. We made the two hour drive from college every weekend for a few months and finally my friend and I both got it clean.

Screw 5.6 Vedauwoo - Just a gorgeous climb, absolutely love it.

Memorial Route 5.8 Slick Rock, Idaho - 10 pitches of slab. Guided two noob friends up the route with no problems, awesome experience for them and a fun day.

Skyline 5.8 City of Rocks, ID - Such a sweet climb. Stepping out onto the undercling and then feeling the jugs is just awesome! Great rock and cool summit.

The Seal 5.10 Looking Glass Rock, NC - Took my first big trad whippers on this. 35 footers onto a nut. I took the same fall three times before finishing the climb. My friend and I got an alpine start so we could get in the most climbing possible, just a great day.

Hideaway Chimney 5.5 Vedauwoo - Such a fun climb to solo, with awesome views.

Chimney Rock 5.7, Northern Idaho - Left at 5 p.m. after school got out on a Friday drove 5 hours north to the trail head, hiked in by headlamps untill we were too tired to hike, woke up to a brilliant view of the rock. Great climb with great friends.


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By Zirkel
From Bishop, CA
Dec 13, 2007
Owens Gorge.  Mt Tom in background.

OK, I'll play... These stand out:

1. Tuolumne Meadows (early-90's): South Crack (Stately Pleasure), Regular Route (Fairview) and West Crack (Daff) all in a day. Did this with my ex-girlfriend who, on the last pitches of West Crack, was dragging my sorry ass to the top. She's such a bad-ass! Afterwards, beer and ice cream in front of the TM store never tasted so good.

2. Joshua Tree (mid-80's): Figures on a Landscape. Just starting to lead 5.10. Burley Bill Critchlow (Ahwahnee waiter extrordinaire!) let me have the first pitch. The chi was flowing, baby! My 15 minutes of fame.

3. Yosemite Valley (early-90's): Berlin Wall. Big Wall Pete's route on Chapel Wall and my first 5.12. I spent 3 weeks working the route and finally stuck it after working a 10-hour breakfast-lunch shift at the Ahwahnee with 3 slabs of prime rib in my gut. Beef... It's what's for dinner.

4. Yosemite Valley (mid-80's): Edge of Night. New to the Valley and had never climbed an off-width before. That didn't deter my new climbing partner, Gomps. I wore shorts and a tank top, by the way. Ugh.

5. Five days in the Needles of CA: no one but me, my partner, Scott Franklin, Lynn Hill and Greg Epperson.

Hey Tony, how's that Arc Teryx harness working out?


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Dec 13, 2007
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

OK, I have a few minutes- time to add one of my own. I'll add more later.
The climbs that stand out in my mind are as often as not, failures, wishes, might-have-beens and the other half of the time beautiful pitches, near makes, should not have beens, climbs I anticipated for a long time before doing, etc... Rarely just a climb that was of a grade I aspired to.

So here is the first one I can recall.

1) Orangahang. (5.11c-ish, Springfield Gorge, OH)
See picture at:
www.mountainproject.com/v/tony_bubb/105938844

Orangahang was a 5.11 offwidth roof in Springfield Gorge, OH. Just as you walked into the gorge the rock transitioned from slightly less than vertical into a huge roof, perhaps 7 meters or more with a huge crack splitting it. As the roof was not so far off of the ground it was a terrible TR. If you fell from the bottom, you'd swing into dirt, if you fell later, you'd clear the ground and hit a big tree instead. You had to get a loose belay and a spot for the beginning.

In the late 1980's, I was TRing at the gorge on occasion and eyed this thing as a 'someday' goal. But I never did it or tried for the afforementioned reasons. In 1990 I came back and got on, on TR and with some dogging at the lip, made the climb with hangs. In 1990-1991, I started climbing more seriously. In 1991 I finally came back to lead it with a few big hexes and cams. I had a belayer and a spotter and headed up, through the bat hangs, knee-bars and up to the finish, where I'd spent some serious hang time on TR, and arrived there and de-pumped in a good jam. Eventually I pulled though and into the slightly over-vertical knobby jamcrack above and made it to the anchors. I lead it maybe a year later in hiking boots on a bet. The climb had become easy after wiring it, and the secret I suppose, was that it was no harder in hiking boots than in climbing shoes.

The climb itself was the greatness, not any particular ascent of it. The evolution of the concept of wide-eyed awe of the thought of TR-ing it, then to able to lead it, then to being a 'local' who sandbagged and did it in hiking boots or whatever.

This was my first adventure in 'killing the impossible'.

2) Beenestalker (5.10d, [R], Military Wall, RRG)
Description is here:
www.mountainproject.com/v/kentucky/red_river_gorge/greys_bra>>>

Beenestalker had a reputation. This was furthered in my own mind by the fact that I didn't know anyone who'd ever climbed it, the total lack of chalk on it, and never having seen anyone on it in my time at the Red. But it looked SOOO cool, but all I had was a set of hexes, stoppers, and tricams.
I think it was in 1990, myself freshman at Purdue U, when I asked my parents to buy me my first cams for my Birthday, with that route specifically in mind. They gawked at the $50 price tag (sale) from the HB micro-cams, on sale at Desert Rock Sports, in California. I didn'ty get them, but I asked again and ended up getting 2 units for a combined X-mas and B-day gift a few months later, in the sizes I asked for, .33" and .45."
Come spring of 1991, it was time to try. Or maybe I am off by a year. Not important. The point is that I'd walked by it, looked up at it, bought gear just for it, etc... And I finally got on it.
It had rained that day and the top alone was wet. The bottom overhung so radically that it did not get rain for the first 20+ feet of nearly horizontal moves or the overhanging leaning open-book above.

As I was racking up, a local (who shall remain nameless) walked by and inspected my rack. With a snear and harsh tone he told me to leave the tricams behind, since they 'wouldn't go in even if I could hang on to place them' and said just to take the cams and small nuts. Then he left, saying something about not wanting to be around when I fell. Nasty, really. I still hold it against him, but more on why in a moment.

I ignored his advice, more for fear of missing a single possible placement, and with my stomach in my throat, headed up. A camed hex started in the corner. Then the blue or purple tricam. The climbing was out under crack that might have been 15 degrees from horizontal, but there were some feet- the climbing was 5.9. I placed a brown tricam as I turned up into the open book, the meat of the climbing.
I went up a short way and placed the red tricam from a stance, and fished for a nut. The crack was odd, shallow, and flaring. No cams to be had yet, as it was also too large. The climb started getting harder. The feet are thin feet out right, clinging and stemming to the left out off of the overhanging corner, up, right, up, right. I found a stance and a pod in the crack and placed a pink tricam, then looked for another nut placement, but failed to find one.
The crack narrowed just above and now I could see clearly that the crack was NOT going to take the cams I had bought for it and brought up. The pink tricam was the last I'd have for the crux, but it looked good. I climbed up and on, solving the crux without realixing it, and nearing the ledge and anchors, looked again for a small nut to place, but found nothing good, so I went to the anchors. I'd placed 4 or 5 tricams for pro, and a hex as a starting directional. I arrived at teh anchor surprised I'd held on to the last few moves, which had become slick, with the soot from the fires that had been burned by illegal campers over the years, and the humitidy, my hands were black. Pumped, I had flopped my arm over onto the ledge and rested it there standing on a good foothold(*). I stood at the anchors and started to clip them...
First a few biners, then a few slings, then 2 ovals through the 2 slings, reversed and opposed. The slings were ready to clip, and as I pulled up the rope to clip it...
(*) Sandstone is not strong when wet. This is a very important thing to note. It is also important to note that there is no longer a good foothold just below the anchors to clip from. Equally important is that if you blow a foot and are just leaning on the top, not gripping it, that you WILL go for the ride.
I fell perhaps 25 feet to a stop, crashing my ribs into the steep and pocketed arete of 'Thirsting Skull', just outside of the corner. In the cold I did not notice more than the pain of a bruise, but when I underessed that night, the blood had matted my shirt to my skin so bad I had to soak it off.
I was not sad that I had a near miss, bummed that I lost the on-sight, etc... I was just happy my gear held, and that I'd made it to the anchors. The prospect of repeating the moves to get back up, however, were grim. I finished on a bad-gear C2 aidfest and clipped and lowered. My partner cleaned with some aid and prussic work.

More later...


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By Brent Kertzman
From Black Hills, SD
Dec 13, 2007

Okay, I can never pass up a trip down memory lane...

1. Arching Jams 5.10c, The Pericle on Pikes Peak - Placing a blind faith cam at my waist followed by a goodness gracious oh so spacious exposed series of underclinging/liebacking moves three pitches up in a very beautiful environment.

2. Cleveland Route 5.10d, Hairy Pin in Needles, SD - Latching onto the infamous yellow jug after the crux 15 feet out from the first bolt only to break a piece off, barndooring wildly, barely avoiding taking the big ride back down the cheese grater. Aren't the Needles wonderful!!!

3. Spook Book - 5.10d???, Needles, CA - I saw an apostle or two just getting to the first bolt never mind the outer body experience required to reach the second bolt. The second pitch is one of the best dihedrals I've climbed. Great position, Must do for hard people.

4. Scirroco - 5.11d, Needles, CA - Instant exposure, great position, killer scenery, phenomenal moves, techno-pumpy, unadulterated fun.

5. Fire Fingers - 5.11a/b - Royal Arches, Yosemite, CA - Long sliding fall that melted lycra to my knee. Intense sustained thin moves but a great route overall.

6. Astro Man - 5.11c - Washington Column, Yosemite, CA - A high point in my career for climbing long routes. Just about blew the onsight moving into the Harding Slot when the feet cut loose... Hung on and my body continued to morph into liquid tofu. Great route, super diversity, excellent exposure... Dry heaves after each pitch. Super fun... now that it is over.

7. Ladies in Love 5.12b - Mt Rushmore, SD - Belaying Dale Goddard as he climbed the first onsight and actual first redpoint of this route in 1988. He sent these bad girls in less than seven minutes. As for me following Dale... you know what they say about sloppy seconds. Super unique, ultra classic.

8. Anaconda 5.11c - Garden of the Gods, CO - Prematurely pumped arms due to over gripping as I moved upward on my first go. All the while wondering just how good are those drilled ring angles for catching a fall on a wall this steep... not to mention the clean placements in that vertical dirt. Great route none the less... and by the way the some pitons were flight tested that day.

9. The dark hike out after drilling 1/4" bolts from free stances on some obscure dome on the Rampart Range west of Monument, CO with Jeff Britt. It was February complete with waist deep snow and neither of us had a flash light. Needless to say our thumbs were nearly frostbitten and raw from flicking our bics for three miles.

10. Tricouni Nail 5.8 - Needles, SD - Taking my first leader fall (a 20 footer). Pretty scary falling on goldline rope wearing a 1" tubular webbing swami belt for a harness. I ripped several chunks of lugs from my Galibier R.R. Yosemite boots. Man those were the daze.

Enough rambling from this old man... It's time for some Geritol!


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Dec 13, 2007
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

OK, a few more minutes to fill, and another climb in my past.

3) Epinephrine (5.9, IV, Black Velvet Canyon, Red ROcks, NV)

www.mountainproject.com/v/nevada/red_rock/black_velvet_canyo>>>

I'd just graduated from college in late May, 1995. John and I wanted to do some Zion walls, but we were starting a 60-day road trip in Red Rocks in June for a while, then thinking of heading to Zion in Mid-June.
We wanted to climb some long routes in redrocks before embarking on the V's in Zion we'd thought we'd do. We chose Epinephrine as a route to start one afternoon and finish the next, so as to avoid the crowds and rush, and also so as to spend a night on the wall, to feel out the routine, so to speak.
We hiked into the climb one afternoon, racked up with all our aid gear, a haul bag, sleeping bags, food, water, etc... Everything as if it were an aid climb. We'd later find out that hauling those chimneys was a pain in the butt: all part of the learning experience, which was the entire point, so it served us well.
We got onto the route at perhaps 3 or 4PM with ropes, tag lines, a wall hauler, poop-tube, etc- everything and the kitchen sink too.
I was leading the second block to the top of the black tower and headed up the obvious line, which is to say I did NOT stay out in the chimney, I went back in it, culminating in a terribly grunt-worthy and runout crux coming out of the chimney at the top and onto the ledge. THis may have been the first free ascent of the line inside, sans bolts, etc, for all I know. Regardless, it sure was dumb, I told myself as I was heaving and worried about puking down into the line where my partner and haul bag had to follow. I had to place a piece above and back down to pull out my gear so John didn't have to follow it that way, or he would not have been able to 'kick the pig' out of the chimneys for me to haul.
We slept atop the Black Tower that night, and awoke for a breakfast of bagels and canned peaches the next morning.
The next day I remember a seemingly endless climb to a seemingly endless scramble to the top of the formation. We hit the summit, saw Vegas around noon, I suppose, before it got hot. Looking back now on the pictures, I see 2 skinny young men with skin brown like sand and grins ear-to-ear. I'd love to be 4% body-fat again, and perhaps, to have my first 'long' climb again. There are days I wish I'd never climbed in Red Rocks, or even Eldo for that matter, but only so I could discover them again...
Epinephrine... a drug of sorts, I suppose. Now to get the same high, I'd have to do more. It has in some small way left me 'chasing the dragon.' As such, is a bittersweet memory burned in forever.


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By Julian Smith
From Colorado Springs, CO
Dec 13, 2007
Julian Smith

Hats off to John Langston! You know... maybe someone should start a thread about which MP.com person(s) who has reached out and touched (inspired) someone else without ever knowing. Two people on MP. com who have inspired me the most( but who I have never met) would be John Langston and Christa Cline. I guess the explanation would be that somehow a random post really connected and pushed me to reach a place where I was struggling to be. Perhaps the context or meaning would be impossible to explain outside of the moment within which it was framed (John - soloing the Diamond, and Christa writing so positively about the Saber in '06), but for all of the hours I have spent in front on my monitor staring at this site; thanks to everyone who takes their time to write what they are thinking about climbing, because you never know just exactly who you are going to reach... Cheers!


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By M.Morley
Administrator
From Sacramento, CA
Dec 14, 2007
8-21-09

- R.M.L. in Joshua Tree. My first lead. What the f* was I thinking?

- Run For Your Life in Joshua Tree. My second lead. Seriously, what the f* was I thinking? Didn't know what the "R" in the guidebook meant, so I just ignored it. Just glad I didn't fall.

- Shot Tower, Arrigetch Peaks, Alaska. We spent a month in the late summer of 2002 in the remote Arrigetch Peaks of Alaska and nabbed the 6th recorded ascent of a route David Roberts (FA in 1971) called his "finest alpine rock climb".


- Long John Wall, Rewritten, Wind Ridge, Bastille Crack, Whale's Tale linkup with a good friend on a perfect spring day in Eldo.

Enjoying a cool one at the top of the Whale's Tail after a 16-pitch day.
Enjoying a cool one at the top of the Whale's Tail after a 16-pitch day.


- East Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock in Yosemite. Just a fine route all around.

- The Red Dihedral on the Incredible Hulk. One of the true gems of the High Sierra. Challenging and sustained throughout. We rode bikes in for the first 3 miles of the approach. The bike ride at the end of the day (downhill, singletrack) was as fun as the route!

- Prodigal Sun in Zion. If you haven't spent a night on a wall in Zion, you need to put it on your list of things to do before you die.

- Epinephrine in Red Rocks. Pretty long day, nice climb. Met Jorge Urioste in the parking lot as we hiked out. He asked what we had climbed. "Epinephrine" I told him. He said "glad you liked it. I put that sh*t up 25 years ago" (I might be embellishing a bit, but that was the gist of it).

Many more, those are just the ones that stand out at the moment...


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By Brian Hansen
From West of Boulder, CO
Dec 14, 2007

An enthusiastic bump. Great reading, keep 'em coming.


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By Ben Kiessel
Dec 15, 2007
2003

1-Ro Shampo- Growing up in Michigan (where there is no rock) my friends and I would take weekend trips to the Red and Ro Shampo was my project for at least 2 years. The vertical climbing wall at home was not great training. Every time we would go down I would try this route and fall off. One day my balls dropped and I floated it.

2-Weekend in Valley of the Gods- Brad and I climbed 5 towers in 2 days. The first pitch of the first tower was the first time we climbed together. The climbing was great, the area is spectacular and I made a life long friend.

3-Iron Messiah- John and I had just driven the 36 hours from Northern Michigan to Zion after getting back from our first year of college. The drive consisted of red bull and mountain dew. We pulled in to the visitor center at 10 am and decided to not waist any time and hop on IM. It was June and the temp was 102 so we packed 1 liter of water for the 10 pitch climb. We got to the base and I ripped my thumb nail up a little being careless. John started up the first pitch when I started getting dizzy. I started to lower him but when he was a few feet of the ground I fainted. Oops. After a few minutes he climbed on. On top of the 4th pitch John got a really bad bloody nose, so I climbed on. On top of the 6th pitch we were both dizzy so we decided we should play it safe and rappel.

4-Prodigal Sun-A few days later on the same trip to Zion. We wanted to climb PS in a day and John had never aided before so I was going to lead the whole thing. We had learned in the last few days that when it is over one hundred degrees you have to bring water with you when you climb. We had not learned that you should not leave things at the base of the route. After toping out at night and walking down, the buses were no longer running. So we walked from the grotto to the base of PS crossing the river 2 more times to retrieve or things. Luckily a ranger stopped us as we were walking back to camp and gave us a ride.

5-Oracle-Brad, Bill and I had planned on climbing the Hallucinogen in the Black that weekend but the weather was crap so we went to the fishers instead. The climbing was amazing! The gargoyle/ ridge line traverse was some of the coolest climbing I have ever done. We toped out with thunder clouds threatening and got rained on walking out.


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By sam.f
From Santa Cruz, CA
Dec 15, 2007
Aiguille de Joshua Tree.

1. Hyperbola; Looking Glass, NC. This gorgeous line began with a 5.9 R/X slab traverse that almost made me fill my pants with something warm and smelly. Once I accessed the dihedral, it was some of the nicest climbing I've ever done. With an ever-steepening finish and bomber gear, except for the beginning, one of the best trad routes I've ever done.

2. Zoo View; Moore's Wall, NC. Uber classic, 'nuf said.

3. Bimbo's Bulge; Moore's Wall, NC. Zoo View's much harder neighbor to the right. Same exposure, way steeper and pumpier. My best flash on a gear route for me, ever.

4. Shadowdance; Moore's Wall, NC. Gorgeous dihedral. Onsight attempt made even more memorable by not one, but TWO big whips on small wires.

5. The Pulpit; Stone Mtn., NC. Super fun, run-out friction slab. Climbed it with my girlfriend. I thought the lead was scary, then she got to the 1st belay in tears.

6. Burning Calves; Beauty Mtn., NRG, WV. Awesome splitter on incredible sandstone.

7. West Africa; Asheboro Boulders, NC. And really any other problems at AsheBURL (especially Asheboro's Steepest, Rasp Factor, Blue Plate, Welcome to Asheboro, Crimper's Paradise, Lightning Bolt Crack); this place is SICK!!! Had been closed for the past 6 years or so, just re-opened; I'm super psyched to climb here all winter. If you haven't been here yet, check it out.

8. Peek-A-Boo; Table Rock, NC. This was my mom's first multi-pitch (with a pretty stout crux for 5.5), she crushed it, and she's 57 years old!

9. No Free Lunch; Hawksbill Mtn, Linville Gorge, NC. Long, steep, pumpy, bomber gear, exposed with a wild mantle to finish. Nice anchor placement, Dan.

10. Do or Dive; Moore's Wall, NC. My best onsight of a gear route. My girlfriend belayed me, which is always scary. But I was about 8 feet runout, fumbling around on the upper cruxy section, had to down climb 2 times before figuring out I had to go left to the jugs in the crack. I was ssooooooo pumped and did not want to take the ride, battled it out, and finished it up.


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By Nick Stayner
From The Magic City
Dec 15, 2007
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.

Here's a few from my introductory climbing years.

1. Aristeia, Little Sandy Valley, Wind River Range, WY- During the summer of my first year of climbing, I joined my climbing mentor/partner Trevor on an old-fashioned new routing adventure into this seldom visited valley. We carried a single 8.small mm rope, a variety of nuts and hexes, and a few cams. We certainly maximized adventure, although it was more of an unconscious decision! I hadn’t started leading then, so I was still somewhat ignorant. Until I saw the crux belay, that is. I learned a lot about climbing in that instant. One of those experiences against which all other adventures are weighed.
2. South Face/Southwest Ridge linkup, Symmetry Spire, Tetons- While neither route is technically that difficult (5.9 and 5.7, respectively), this was my first huge Teton day (of many to come). After doing the South Face, we reached the base of the Southwest Ridge at about 3 PM. I was completely gassed. But, like my partner (the infamous Weez) said, it was summer and there was plenty of light left. I reluctantly went for it. I experienced a “second wind” on the route only to crash completely on the descent, a steep, snow-filled gully affectionately known as the “Cemetery Couloir”. As a bonus, we got to do it in the dark! We finally reached the trail to String Lake. About 15 minutes in, I stumbled upon a set of eyes in the trail, reflecting the light of my headlamp. Eyes definitely set too far apart for a human head. Instinctively, I turned to my partner and said, “Weez, do you see that thing?” He didn’t answer, instead leaping out of my headlamp beam and hissing, “Dude, you’re lighting me up for it!” We thrashed a large detour well below of the “thing” and finally stumbled back to the car.
3. Enclosure Ice Couloir/NW Ridge, The Enclosure, Tetons- My first 2 AM alpine day. I got very sick on the approach and for some hubristic reason decided to continue. Weez and I wheedled our way through the Valhalla Traverse and finally reached the couloir. After the Valhalla, the couloir looked like a bunny slope. We soloed it, and the climbing proved thoroughly anticlimactic. The Northwest Ridge, however, was not. Wet rock, heavy packs, and mountain boots a half size too big all contributed to the excitement. Weez had recently purchased a digital videocamera and documented our adventure. It shocked me to watch it years later and see my sickness-contorted face. If I could’ve seen my reflection, I definitely would’ve turned around that day.
4. Black Line, Gallatin Canyon, MT- Not much to say about this one. The first route that really inspired me to come back numerous times and eventually redpoint. At the time, it was the most sustained and continuous pitch I’d ever lead. I learned a lot about conserving gear, climbing above protection, and staying relaxed.


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By Nick Stayner
From The Magic City
Dec 15, 2007
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.

"Ladd Raine" wrote:
3 Aquaduck Pocket, Red River Gorge I was trying to onsight my first 5.11 on a trip to the Red a couple of years back and I've never worked harder to get up to an anchor just to fall before clipping the chains. 4 Another Doug Reed Route , Red River Gorge Same trip as above, I onsighted this one, the folks I was with bought me some Ale-8-Ones to celebrate.


I remember being pretty psyched about the onsight of ADR, thinking it felt pretty easy for the grade. Later on, I logged on to the Red River climbing site and saw that the consensus was 5.10c. I knew the Red had a "soft" reputation, but come on!

"Ladd Raine" wrote:
7 Handsome and Well-Hung, New River Gorge I got front page in the regional paper(Beckely Herald) for this one. Great climb, got it second go. Very rewarding, but I couldn't have done it without the confidence of the next two.

I have a good story about this one, too. It was my second onsight attempt at the grade. Just below the crux, I was delighted to find a fixed stopper. Ready to commit to the crux moves, I clipped it without a second thought. I pulled through the crux and ran up to the anchors. On the way down, psyched to work on cleaning some new booty, I got my nut tool and grabbed the sling on the stopper to start work. To my surprise, the nut blew out with the slightest tug on the sling. Glad I didn't fall there!


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Dec 15, 2007
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

Another one
4) The Third Flatiron, Std Route.
www.mountainproject.com/v/colorado/boulder/flatirons/1057480>>>

Why? Particularly considered that the East Face left is a much better route?
www.mountainproject.com/v/colorado/boulder/flatirons/1057527>>>

It is all about history. In this case a personal history: a book still in the writing. The Standard East Face of the 3rd is the climb that opened up the idea of Flatirons scrambling to me, and was also my introduction to speed scrambles/races/time trials, etc...

It must have been around Y2K when I was invited to participate in a 'Time Trial' on the third flatiron at about the time the seasonal falcon closures were lifted. There must have been between a dozen and 20 participants that year- meeting at the Chautauqua Ranger station, jogging up to the 3rd, climbing it, rapping or climbing down, and running back to Chautauqua- with an eye on the watch and those ahead of and just behind you. Not a 'race' per se, but definitely a challenge.

I'd previously thought that doing the 'trifecta' (1st, 2nd, and 3rd flatirons in a day) as a big day, or of doing 3 flatiron routes in an afternoon as pretty quick. I had no idea of what to expect or how to pace or who to chase and run from...

The results? Well, I was toward the back of the pack, but under an hour, car to car. It started occurring to me that day how much a person can do in a day, and also how even easy routes can be a physical challenge, if you want them to be.

Many time trials or races or whatever later, in different years, in different states of conditioning and strength and with a ever-changing rotation of friends and a few constants, I continue to enjoy the classic for year after year.

Some info on speed in the flatirons can be found here:
www.wwwright.com/climbing/speed/


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By Peter Spindloe
From North Vancouver, BC
Dec 17, 2007
Starting the fourth class downclimb.  Photo by Ted. August 2007.

I have a few, and like Tony I'll lean towards telling more of the story.

North-West Ridge, Mt. Sir Donald

Yes, a Fifty Classic, but not crowded. I'm not sure how Kevin and I settled on it, but it became a goal for the season. On typically short-notice we decided that particular August weekend was right so we headed out on Friday after work from Vancouver and made it to the parking lot by about 1:00am. We tried to sleep in the car until about about 4:00am, but I don't think either of us slept much between being wired from the drive, cramped quarters and the impending climb. We hiked up to the col at the base of the ridge in very good time and were able to start up in the very early morning light. We left a pack at the bottom containing my camera and Kevin's approach shoes.

After about 500 feet we decided to rope up and simul-climbed the rest of it. At about 10:00am I thought we had an hour to the summit, but it was 1:00pm by the time we summited. 2400 feet of 5.4 is a lot of climbing. We decided to try the descent that starts down the north-east ridge and then traverses back to the north-west ridge which you then downclimb. We didn't like the way it was going so we decided to return to the summit and just downclimb the route, so we found ourselves back at the summit at 2:00pm. We downclimb, with occasional rappels, all the way to the rappel route that starts more than 2/3 of the way down, but still involves 16 rappels (yes, it's a big mountain). The headlamps came out during the rappels. Some of the rappels were separated by sections of scrambling on ledges. We knew there were big drops, but couldn't see them and felt pretty comfortable.

At one point, the scrambling got tougher and we started to consider hunkering down until the light returned. Kevin's headlamp died, making our decision for us. We placed a few pieces and clipped in. I added some layers and lent Kevin some extra socks since he only had his rock shoes -- no socks or approach shoes. It never got below freezing, but it was cold. We weren't especially worried except that we knew our wives would be worrying. The night passed in fifteen minute naps and bursts of activity to generate some warmth.

An ineffectual attempt at sharing body-heat led me to think about being at work on Monday morning when everyone would ask around what everyone had done on the weekend. I imagined responses like "mowed the lawn," "went shopping" etc. and then me saying "spooned a guy." That is essentially how it went on Monday and it has been one of my co-workers favorite stories ever since.

Once the light returned, we were on the ground in an hour and a half, back at the car by 10:00am, and eating a huge meal in Revelstoke by noon.

The bottom line is that this is a fantastic climb with awesome scenery, incredible length at a consistent 5.0 to 5.4. I suppose I should post it in the database... I hadn't because we discovered that the camera we brought had dead batteries and it didn't seem right to post without pictures, but I'll post it so others can post their pictures...


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By Victor Ortenberg
Dec 18, 2007

Leading Pinnacle Gully on Mt Washington my second time ice climbing ever. My 'experienced' partner bailed on the first pitch. I however didn't do that hike only to go back down.

Finding the snow camouflaged hole on top of the regular route on Mount Williamson and realizing that we actually were going to summit our 1st fourteenter.

Sending some boulder problem at Bachar Boulders after trying for 3 hours only because my buddies refused to give me beer until I got it.

Wilsons Irregular Route, Lost Horse, JTree. Wanted a 5.5 for one of my early trad leads. Got a 5.9 awkward chosspile. The "What are you guys on? People don't go up there much." from someone over on The Swift was priceless.

Open Book, Tahquits. Yeah, I can lead 5.9!!!

Phobos, Meadows. Err, maybe not.

Serenity/Sons, shouldn't I feel totally confident on 5.9 after this?

The Yawn, ok I can lead 5.9 but seriously folks...

Passing a group of ultra - fit REI types with shock - absorbing trekking poles on the way up to Italy pass. I was dressed in rags and carrying 2 full packs because one of our party was having altitude issues. When the outing club found me on top smoking a cigarette I felt that my life was finally complete.


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