Sooo...given the poor performance thus far - which may be unavoidable and the nature of climbers - what if, when you epiced on a trip, bootied a piece or used a piece in a unique way, or even just use your rack normally on an epic or otherwise memorable trip, you then passed a token nut or piece of gear forward to this community of worthy waiters? People seem to wait for the piece and them wait for the trip report. What if you had a cool trip, posted a little write up and then sent a nut off to the interwebs via snail mail? We'd have to concede that this current system, even if/when working correctly can only serve a limited amount of people. I'd be willing to start with a piece from my epic on the Incredible Hulk, if there was interest. No offense to OP; the idea is great but I don't see myself being able to partake in any way.
you then passed a token nut or piece of gear forward to this community of worthy waiters?
That's been the problem - the takers, on the average, get the piece and sit on it. One bad actor can sit on it virtually (or literally, in fact) forever. So it sits.
Maurice Chaunders wrote:
We'd have to concede that this current system, even if/when working correctly can only serve a limited amount of people. I'd be willing to start with a piece from my epic on the Incredible Hulk, if there was interest. No offense to OP; the idea is great but I don't see myself being able to partake in any way.
Having more gear on the system would be kinda cool, but it means chasing more folks to get on with it, and *I* am not going to track it. If other people wanted to toss in more gear and get parallel threads in the post, then by all means. But presently it looks like this whole thing is pretty not happening. Maybe the next few people will spruce up the stats a bit.
Regardless, I think you should FOR SURE post your TR from the Hulk Epic here. That's the sort of thing that people are actually logged in to read about.
Well, it has been 3 weeks. You guys are just plain friggin' lame. Excuse? Ryan, when you are done with the stopper, can you just send it to me? It must have some evil super power that turns people into lame-o's.
Great timing! I was just writing this...
The Stopper arrived in Arizona at the end of March, 2014. Late March is my busiest season by far, and this season has been busier than most, so I didn't have many opportunities to take it out climbing for a short while. Of course when guiding clients, I would never, ever use a bootied piece of gear that has been passed around to more strangers than a giant spliff at a Phish concert. However if one were to do such a thing (maybe as part of a top anchor for the safety line for a canyoneering class, as a random example) it might look something like this:
In early April I was finally able to get out for 2 days to climb at The Waterfall with Jack Tackle, who had been spending much of his winter in sunny Arizona, my friend Chris (AKA Young Svelte Chris) who is just beginning to enjoy pushing his climbing limits, and Patter the crag dog. The Waterfall is a perfect place for The Stopper to do it's thing; small nut placements abound, and the rock is bullet-hard. Unfortunately we were buffeted by cold, swirling winds and even blasted by snow, so motivation was in short supply. We did manage to climb several 5.10 & 5.11 routes over 2 days. The Stopper was placed on 2 routes: Black & Tan (5.10) and Central Scrutinizer (5.11). Here is a picture, though I don't remember which route this was from:
After working much of the next week, I encountered a surprise 3 day opening in my schedule, so on a whim my friend Marilyn (AKA The RocDoc) & I decided to fly to Vegas and climb Eagle Dance (5.10+ A0), which we had been talking about climbing for a few years now. I realize The Stopper isn't about climbing well-known classics at well-known crags, but thought it would enjoy the trip anyway. Despite a sudden & severe illness, Marilyn rallied big-time & we climbed most of the route, placing The Stopper twice. Here is a shot of one of the middle pitches of Eagle Dance:
Here is a picture of the stopper somewhere on Eagle Dance.
We flew back Friday evening, and my clients for Saturday cancelled. So my friend Sayfe & I took the stopper to Isolation Canyon, a great crag near Payson, to give it a taste of bomber quartzite. Iso is another perfect place for The Stopper, featuring lots of nut placements and super-duper hard rock. We did several routes, placing the stopper on two: Doubts Even Here (5.9) an easy, fun warm-up on a super-green licheny face, and Avian Flew (5.10+++) which starts with a burly 7' roof crack. Both placements were great, but neither was tested, as the send train was rolling along. This is the stopper on Doubts Even Here:
This is Sayfe on the second pitch of Walking Dead Arete, a stellar 3 pitch route, which we climbed to work a possible new route off to it's side.
And here is The Stopper on Avian Flew, not too far above the 1st roof:
For its final AZ outing, the stopper visited Sedona for two days. Sedona is a gorgeous place with lots of red-rock towers & walls. Though it is known for soft rock, I have fallen many times on tiny gear there and it almost always holds, so I figured The Stopper would be fine. Both days were spent at the Supercrack Tower area, playing on the many great cracks. I climbed 1 day with Chris, a sales rep for Petzl/Julbo/Oboz who was passing through doing clinics at local retailers, and climbed with Ryan Z, who makes the occasional visit to Mountainproject, the other. Patter the crag dog accompanied both days. When Ryan & I climbed we didn't meet until noon, did the big hike in, and climbed all 5 pitches of Inception (5.11+/12-R). Though neither of us sent it, we had a fun time. Chris & I started with The Windows Route (5.10), a great 3-pitch line that climbs through 2 arches on it's way to the top. Next up we linked the top 2 pitches of Turkish Bride (5.10+), which makes for a long, sustained, and spectacular pitch. We rapped down & Chris put up Shotgun Wedding (5.11-), which he had been drooling over since we arrived. Next up I wanted to lead the second pitch of Inception (5.11+/12-), which features an overhanging, Annunaki-type finger crack. Through the entire 2 days The Stopper was only placed once (on Inception) though no picture was taken of it's placement. Here is Patter scoping up the scene at Supercrack Tower:
Luckily the cacti were abloom:
This is one reason why The Stopper wasn't placed much; it's hard to place a small stopper in the wideness. The 3rd pitch of The Windows Route:
This is a bad butt-shot of Chris leading Shotgun Wedding:
Patter hanging at the belay ledge:
And here is another bad butt-shot of me climbing the 2nd pitch of Inception with The Stopper on my hip:
Well after all the fun we had, I knew it was time for The Stopper to move on. I wish I had taken (or witnessed) a whipper on it though. After posting up about it, Ryan Kempf responded and was eager to take The Stopper up some alpine routes. I sent it off in late April, and hope The Stopper is having fun in Colorado.
I don't know what Tonys plans are, but a friend and I have started cleaning up a crag north of Nederland in Colorado. There is this one line that looks stellar, and I would wait to put that up until after tony climbs with the stopper. How many new routes has it seen? I wonder
Thanks for posting the TR Mike. You and the TS got a lot of routes in! Way cool. When I returned home from a climbing trip to the Black on 5/5 the stopper was in my mailbox.
My plans for the stopper are some rarely repeated routes in RMNP and I was excited about the conditions up there at the time I received the stopper, the snow was melting out a a really fast rate (close to a foot per week). A storm moved in days after TS showed up and has since dropped another 2' of snow (minimum) in the Park and my optimism about climbing any rock up there in the near future is dismal. I will make a recon trip up there this weekend and if it looks bleak I may change plans or have to pass the stopper to Tony.
Thanks for posting the TR Mike. You and the TS got a lot of routes in! Way cool. When I returned home from a climbing trip to the Black on 5/5 the stopper was in my mailbox. My plans for the stopper are some rarely repeated routes in RMNP and I was excited about the conditions up there at the time I received the stopper, the snow was melting out a a really fast rate (close to a foot per week). A storm moved in days after TS showed up and has since dropped another 2' of snow (minimum) in the Park and my optimism about climbing any rock up there in the near future is dismal. I will make a recon trip up there this weekend and if it looks bleak I may change plans or have to pass the stopper to Tony. Tony, When is your trip?
I leave in late June. Here's the thing, the point was to encourage a little adventure and story sharing. And really, there is no stopper needed for that.
People could post up here. At this point, the stopper is more of an impediment to it, as people wait for it, than it is a provocateur. I'll take it when you are done or by late June...
Regardless, I think you should FOR SURE post your TR from the Hulk Epic here. That's the sort of thing that people are actually logged in to read about.
The sun literally looked like a cigarette cherry, dark, dark orange. And it was snuffed out into an ashtray as soon as we reached the true summit of the Hulk. I was surprised my partner didn’t have a headlamp, but nothing could be done, at that point. We signed the register and began the sketchy, blocky downclimb to the one rappel station we would need to hit, before walking down the scree. We just kept the rope lopped around us, in a big mess, too exhausted to take the time to stow the rope properly, also thinking it would be a short romp to the chains.
We thought we’d scamper down to the rap station, but we boulder hopped down and ever further down, eventually sopping to stow the rope and actually down climbing. There came a time when we were no longer comfortable downclimbing, and set up a rap of sorts, for me to go take a look with the headlamp. We spent a lot of time looking off to skiers left. My basic LED headlamp showed us nothing but black. It was ominous and unlikely, but I kept finding really promising areas. I’d rap down 20 feet or so, come to a huge ledge, and think, “This must be where the rap station is”. Nope. I floundered for probably close to an hour. When it was time to climb back up, my partner couldn’t get me on belay, so I self belayed on the fixed rap line. Wasting more time. We both thought the descent was skiers left, off the back of the hulk. Wrong again, we later found out. So we gave up skiers left and headed down another area. We soon committed to leaving some gear, so I left a cordelette around huge boulder, and we rapped dwon a gully, of sorts. This was probably the downclimb of the descent.
We got to the end of the rope and used my partner’s cordelette and continued down another bit. We thought we could make out a large cairn, and we probably ended up just missing the rap station. In daylight, we could have downclimbed this, though it was certainly sketchy. It jived with thwat we both understood to be the route’s descent, and we agreed we were on the right track. We found ourselves on a ridge, a few hundred feet below the summit. We were probably very close to the rap anchors, down the ridge to the left. We chose to bail off to the right and, and swing to rappers right, thinking we’d swing around under the actual rap station soon enough. It was only one rap to a scree field, so we had read, so we thought it would just take a rap or two at most to pick up the scree. I slung a horn on the ridge and headed down into the darkness. Tomas stayed at the top, huddled down as best he could. The weather was fair, but it was early October, probably around 10pm or so by now. There were some comforting ledge type features on the face, so I rapped down and veered right. I found a place to set up another rap and called Tomas down. No big deal so far. The rock resembled sliced bread, with many horns to sling and set up raps, but also to catch the rope and snag our progress. We did a few more rappels on similar rock. Some times Tomas would wait, then peer down, only to see me 30 feet below him, untangling the rope. Progress was slow, but each station was ok. I planned on having every station be a potential miserable bivvy, so they weren’t full rope lengths everytime, probably 20m or so regularly. We had one 60m rope with us.
Some rap stations were pretty terrible, steep perches. Others were decent places to sit down and hunker down. I eventually spied some tat – psyched! Someone else had been this way! My headlamp didn’t reach too far, scattering into the dark abyss, but the tat was white and I headed for it. The white was actually some terribly faded blue webbing. I pulled away some crud and was actually able to use the webbing as a back up. In our exhausted condition, and given the back country nature of the climb, I chose to use two slings and 2 biners at almost every station I made. I was hemorrhaging gear and need to make sure I had enough to get all the way down. So I used the webbing with a sling of mine and we headed down with renewed confidence. Another rap or two and we found some more tat! Sick! This white and red cord was in equally crappy shape, but I used it along with a sling of my own. This was on a large ledge, that would make a great lunch stop on the way up. We could have done a decent bivvy there, but we had some confidence from finding the tat and figured we must be getting close to the ground by now. We were continuing to head down to climber’s right. Eventually we hit the scree! I was psyched to see the cliff turn to slab and the slab hit the scree. It was the very top of the scree field, and I couldn’t imagine how the regular descent route would have gotten here with just one rap. We clearly missed the downclimbing way up above. At any rate, I saved the surprise for Tomas and he met me on the lower part of the slab. In my exhausted condition, I opted to stay on rappel as I check out the scree.
I remember reading about a sketchy move, while down climbing in the scree – some sort of overhang maneuvering. I got to the end of the sree field and was incredibly disappointed. It was like one of the games where there’s a bunch of quarters hanging on a ledge and you drop yours in and try to knock some more quarters off to win. My headlamp was dimming and I couldn’t see anything below the precipe. I could make out other hanging scree fields above us, and wondered how far off route we were, and if this scree field could be above a massive cliff. So I started to look for a place to build an anchor amidst the huge boulders at the end of the scree field. I pulled a loose one almost onto myself, and jumped on it, setting off a huge rock slide. I ran on tops of boulders, nearly on the brink of the precipice, like cartoon running on the tops of rolling boulders, not actually progressing up hill, just staying alive. It was extremely loud and the slide was big. I eventually got up onto some slabby ground to climber’s left as the rock slide escalated. It ended up being the biggest slide I’d ever heard. Massive thundering. Friggin amazing. Scary as hell. So after that, I decided to bail on the scree all together. I scrambled back up to Tomas and we set up to try again. We rapped down and ended up finding a little slot that paralleled the scree field. It turned into quite a slot. There was a dirty chockstone and I set up a rappel there, leaving a single cam. The slot was steep, and it was a combination of raping and scrambling backwards, some of the sketchiest down climbing and miserable anchors of the descent. It soon got very steep and we came to a huge ledge. The rock changed dramatically and there were sharp angles and large ledges. Kinda reminded me of the tunneling part of Frogland in Black Velvet Canyon. We dropped another rap and found…some tat! We were on someone else’s heels again! It was a relief to seem that someone had been this way, especially since as the rock changed, there were fewer options for raps – no more horns and much fewer cracks. We got down to another large ledge and I built an anchor with 2 or 3 nuts, and rapped into yet another slot. And solid ground. Sweet Jesus we were down!
Still had looooots of scree to walk through. The rocks were loose as we stumbled home to our tent. And by to our tent, I mean away from our tent. We wrapped around, close to the base of the climb and walked past our tent. The camping is in a valley, basically, and we got downstream of our tent. We looked all over the place. We had our rope and cams on us and were exhausted. We kept scrmabling lower and lower, trying to get vantage on various boulders. The Hulk was too big to use as a reference. It looked like we were in the right spot, based on what we had seen from camp in the morning, but it looked like we were on track, every chance we stopped to look. We scouted boulders to get better vantage and traipsed around for probably close to 2 hours before giving up and heading back upstream to start over again. We eventually found our tent, tucked down in a little hollow. It seemed like an obvious place to camp; I don’t know how we missed it.
We saw no one on the Hulk at all, on Saturday, but when we were up, we spied some people walking around. They got injured on the hike in and bailed on the climb, spending the day hiking around casually. We saw them in the morning and they had heard the rock slide I sent down and kept an eye on us during the decent. They saw us walk by our tent and almost shouted, but figured we knew what we were doing. Nope. When we climbed into our tent, I checked my watch. It was 5 am.