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Zion climbing history
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dmckj


Jan 18, 2005, 9:27 PM
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Wow...how fascinating. Time to get a little reality back into this thread, not to mention sanity.

I know Dave Jones, and hey, what a great guy!
Unlike certain folks, it would never occur to Jones to twist any history of an ascent. For starters, there really is no 'Jones history' or lies therein because Jones has made a point on not getting involved in self-promotion (he thinks it a bit tacky). But this doesn't stop him from being slandered, does it? For those who do their research, however, all dates on all topos of Jones' first ascents are fact.

As to the minor contribution to a routes list in the 84 Climbing article.. it doesn't claim 1978, as Mr. O erroneously states, but rather 1980 (maybe it's time for reading glasses?). And as a guy lucky enough to be able to buy new cars should know, the 81 model cars came out at the end of 1980....and, surprise!....the route was climbed over Thanksgiving. But, really, who gives a gosh darn golly? The only one who seems concerned enough to have fabricated a tale of fictitious climbing partners, by his own admission in this thread, is Mr. O himself. Why?

As to the article 'BG goes to Zion'... WRONG AGAIN! Mr. O. Could this be possible? I have it on a really good source that Jones had never even met Scott Fischer when he wrote the article, and that in fact it was based on a climbing episode Jones had with John Sherman. But Jones and Sherman are friends, and the story was solely meant as put down on pretentious climbers. If the shoe fits...I say go ahead and wear that shoe whoever wants it. Oh yeah, and it would never have occurred to anyone that Jones actually used to drive a Dodge Dart in his teenage years. But, hey, don't let facts get the way of slandering someone I've always said.

My....that was refreshing.

Back to seclusion.

Mr. Jones assures me that he wishes this thread to have a long life.

adios


bsmoot


Jan 18, 2005, 10:08 PM
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I'd like to talk about, in my opinion the two most significant pioneers in Zion climbing.

Jeff Lowe was the first person to raise the standards of sandstone climbing by ascending in apline style, the biggest walls in the park. The S.E buttress of Issac (2000') and The Toad (2,200') on the N face of The Sentinel in 1971. These massive faces were done with old gear, and were both done in only 3 days...VERY fast time for a first ascent!

When I did Moonlight, back in '78 it had a lot less bolts on it. The free climbing on the N. face of Angel's Landing was impressive back then. Jeff climbed at a very high standard.

Dave Jones was responsible for the next jump in standards. In the 80's He consistently climbed routes that had unprotected offwidths and put up the first two A5 routes in Zion...Wages of Sin & Empty Pages. Dave has more first ascents of Zion walls than anyone else...20 or so. When he would get off a wall, he would trun around & head up another one. I think he climbed 5 or 6 walls in a single 5 week trip...most of these were first ascents. Many of these climbs were 5.11 or harder with very few if any bolts placed. He bagged some real classics because he was the only one at the time who was willing to climb wide cracks.

On one of this routes, Rites of Passage ( just left of Shunes Buttress ) He and his partner were in a hurry, so they only put one bolt in at a belay. His partner climbed up a bit and fell...the bolt held...whoa! Last year, I climbed a new route on the Watchman with Dave. He hadn't climbed in 9 months. 300' up he promptly led a long smooth 5.10 offwidth...he's 48 years old.

Some of the classic Jones routes include: Shune's Buttress, The Vigil, Lovelace, Silmaril, Golden Years & Space Shot. When Dave isn't wearing out his partners he works full time as a Geologist...and he's an overall great guy!

It also should be mentioned that standards rose again when John Middendorf & Eric Rasmussen climbed some MAJOR grade VI stuff on Mt. of the Sun, Isaac, Abraham, Lady Mt. & Twin Brothers formations. A lot of amazing stuff has been done recently, but that's not quite history yet.


dmckj


Jan 19, 2005, 7:08 AM
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Well...all I can add is that I admire that Jones guy a heck of a lot.


dangle


Jan 25, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Well I don't know if its at my end but there have been some technical difficulties.

It looks like the mandate consists of one vote.

The Jonesephiles are interesting though. Scott told me he met Dave in October '83. Back then he still resented the way that friends eliminated a lot of the runouts that he had been forced to do making the first ascents. Read the story again. Its Scott alright. Nice cover though, teenage car and Vermin.

Checking the article it does indeed list the year 1980, but began the pattern by post dating Cerberus and Monkeyfinger and it was enhanced as time passed. The Bjornstad guidebook even lists a date along with the year 1978. It also contains a "history" that credits Dave with being one of the chief pioneers of the late seventies. Entirely false.
The irony is that if Dave had been honest with when and how he put routes up he would be greatly more admired.

On "another network" Brian Smoot floated the rumor that Dave led most of the first ascent. I had already soloed as far as the second ladder. Dave pushed that pitch a bit farther same as the last 2 or 3 bolts at the end, but the only full pitch he pioneered was to Earth Orbit. I won't dispute that Dave has onsighted 5.10, but that pitch has been done as a 5.10 and Dave aided it entirely. My point about the photos debunking the 1978 claim will also extend to support my assertions about the leading.

I suppose that since Scott achieved a certain hero status (for the wrong reasons I might add) a denial was called for.

Still it would be a far better show of good sportsmanship for Dave to properly credit Scott for the role he "mistakenly" usurped.

Any more votes out there?


iamthewallress


Jan 25, 2005, 1:21 PM
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A bit of John Middendorf's personal history on the Zion walls can be found in this beautiful slide show:

http://www.bigwalls.net/.../SlideWeb/index.html


iamthewallress


Jan 25, 2005, 1:22 PM
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A bit of John Middendorf's personal history on the Zion walls can be found in this beautiful slide show:

http://www.bigwalls.net/.../SlideWeb/index.html


rockprodigy


Jan 25, 2005, 1:29 PM
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Ahh, I'm starting to realize why nobody has compiled a comprehensive history of zion climbing. Too bad we, as climbers, have let it go so long now that we will never be able to get all sides of the stories.

I'd be interested in the Iron Messiah tale, just because I've always wondered how you rope soloed all those chimneys...must have been sketchy.


iamthewallress


Jan 25, 2005, 1:37 PM
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I just read the rest of the thread. I vote Moon Patrol.


epic_ed


Jan 25, 2005, 1:43 PM
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Ron -- give it a few more days. No one has been online in nearly two weeks due to the server issues. I'll change my vote to Moon Patrol, too.

Ed


sarcat


Jan 25, 2005, 1:51 PM
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I vote for Moon Patrol also.

Great reads BTW.


epic_ed


Jan 25, 2005, 1:53 PM
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Ron -- give it a few more days. No one has been online in nearly two weeks due to the server issues. I'll change my vote to Moon Patrol, too.

Ed


dangle


Jan 25, 2005, 2:54 PM
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Looks like rockprodigy is outvoted, but I'll give him a short response before I start work on "The Tale of Change, MPfa".

On IM after a previous attempt to within 150m of the top I third classed one of the chimney pitches and some of the easier stuff below (using a different start) and had two ropes fixed which I used as a toprope so that I was on the large sloping ledge below the final big dihedral in less than two hours on 4/9/88. The true summit was reached shortly after 14:00, but the descent which still required drilling was complicated by my dropping my figure eight on the first rap. With only modified Ds it took til dark.
Lesson: Carry a few ovals.


arsenalcrater


Jan 25, 2005, 5:29 PM
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Wow! This is a great thread! The John Middendorf slide show was classic. Hey John, are you out there? Are you still guiding the Canyon? As for the history of Zion, great stuff!!! Keep it flowin'!!!


dangle


Jan 25, 2005, 9:44 PM
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Well, its late and after a superlative repast I'm already finishing my fourth glass of cabernet so I beg the reader's latitude. The letters are swimming as I should be, or at least having a jacuzzi. But you see THAT"S the problem. The extremes of environments that among other desert climbs were embodied by Moon Patrol have wimped me out. They've sold me on the folly of hanging tough.
Ofcourse I'll TELL people that seige climbing allows me to take my time and do a good job, but we all know what its like to face 14 or more hours of cold darkness at a lumpy bivy when there are creature comforts to be had by just scampering down a rope. A minor degree of financial security and the attendant trappings closed the deal.

I have become somewhat self-domesticated.

But before turning 30 in '84 I bought my first place located closer to Zion. I guess that the big Navaho walls had a certain mystic regency among the many sandstone areas where I have been fortunate to have explored. In time the value of practical considerations would outweigh vague notions of heroics (hey its the wine talking) but still in my prime I felt the first solo of the Leaning Wall wasn't enough by one of the two routes I'd already put up. No no! It had to be a new line and one push.

OK OK I fixed 90m of rope first. So much for heroics.

I also had a pretty good notion of start and finish thanks to my previous spring's sojourn with the Busman of the Desert, Mike Strassman.
This was before he became famous for the POV videotape of his demise and subsequent resurrection in a snowslide suspiciously self-started.
Watch it Mike. I have the photos from Organasm and can blackmail you too.

Anyway such was my vision that I had not realized that what I was doing was "capsule" style. Silly me. I thought it was just cheating.

So off I go on my adventure in early October with generous provisions for 3 or 4 days. It would be among my twenty or thirty most rewarding solos along with another completed before the month ended.

Now for those that were looking for beta, well you're SOL. That guy was at least right about one thing. Reading glasses.
Yeah I'm on The Big Glisade. But Alzheimers isn't so bad really. You get to meet new people every day. (and forget others...)
But even if I could remember every placement of every aid climb like I could until about '78 such a litany wouldn't be worthy of the effort.

For me such adventures are sought out for their experiential content. In living on the wall I would become attuned to its rhythms. Still in the lingering effects of summer the southwestern orientation of the face had chilly mornings but after baking in the afternoon ambient temperatures could easily top triple digits. The first day I found refuge from the heat in the shade of the bivy ledge hidden by a pillar. The last few hours of light were shaded by the west rim and proved comfortable to resume climbing.

This tactic proved so agreeable that, having enough rope to fix (3) I repeated it the following day and with provisions appearing bountiful yet again.
Well if you get your foot in the door far enough you might as well go in. Day four saw me packin' it up and draggin' it up. That's when momma plaid me for a sucker, and damned if I wasn't too.

It was so easy to suck me in. All it took was a little milder weather. That night on a ledge high on the wall the front came through and by 2:00AM I moved my water inside my flimsy bag to keep it from freezing and bursting. Were it not for the stove I brought the next morning's light would have seen me retreating but the top was close and much of the remaining ground familiar.

Sucker, sucker, sucker!

Topping out I realized that it was too late to complete the descent but I split the gear into two loads and headed towards the first rappel with load one. I refer to it as such because I wasn't thinking ahead and considering all the possibilities. As I descended the clouds moved in but I crossed the exposed slab at the bottom of the scramble.
As I began to return for the second load my potential error dawned on me. The second load contained the ropes I should have fixed across the slab already.

The skies darkened more and I began to race. If I didn't get my second load across the slab to where I left my food, water and bivy gear before it rained....

After twenty desperate minutes I made it by seconds. Big droplets began to slap into the slab as I was halfway across gasping with pulse pounding. They were the start of what would leave the slab a deathtrap for days.
The bivy that night after the first rap was wet and uncomfortable.

But it could have been much much worse.


dangle


Jan 26, 2005, 5:54 AM
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Jeez! Plaid???

I must've put on a kilt for that fifth glass.

Now I remember why that guy called Pey fictitious. Apparently Jones also claimed a FA of the route Mark and I put up, Catharsis, in the same guidebook. Its not surprising that our contribution to the Fang Wall (AKA Lovelace) was ignored as well. I didn't do much but I put up the pitch that turned back Jones on his solo attempt when Mark and I recovered his gear and ropes for him. When he "completed" the route he went less than a ropelength higher.

Well besides the Alzheimer's I mentioned there's also Waldheimer's (inability to remember your Nazi past) and Jonesheimer's (inability to recall FA details).

The cure is apparently still in the research phase.


dmckj


Jan 27, 2005, 8:21 AM
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Although I'm not inclined to lower myself, Mr. Olevsky's willingness to slander others in open forums deserves some sort of rebuttal because the poison of his comments should not pose as 'history'.

First, other than the 1984 article in Climbing I have never provided anything other than copies of my original topos for anyone's guide, period. I never promoted my routes. I have always simply provided topos to people who asked. All the topos I submitted were original with correct first ascent dates and personnel. No guidebook author ever ran copy by me for final proof. Any errors in their guides are the fault of the authors. Mr. Olevsky's assertion that I falsified history is nothing more than pathetic tripe. The only thing that matters is the truth, something Mr. O appears to have a hard time with by his own admission. He is the one who has demeaned Zion climbing history by consistently making up stories about who he did the first ascent of Spaceshot with. That's his cross to bear (anyone catch the irony in that one?), not mine.

Second, Mr. O is only as credible as his arguments. Let's review a few, shall we? As this thread earlier pointed out, Ron got it WRONG about the first ascent date claimed in the 84 Climbing article, and he got it WRONG about the article 'BG Goes to Zion'. I should know, as I wrote the article. As this thread earlier noted, this was based on a real event with John Sherman and I. Apparently, Mr. O can't grasp the fact that it was a put down of pretentious climbers in general. Now, gentle thread reader, why might that be?

Moving on, let's take his most recent comments, on 'Lovelace' or 'The Fang Wall' as it is also known. I put most of that route up with Mark Pey. Mark, in his finest moments, was an average climber, but he was a friend of mine, so I dragged him up a bunch of routes, most of which were over his head. We worked our way up Lovelace, and then Mark, in fairly classic form, crapped out on me. He wanted a day off. I didn't, and went up and soloed and fixed one more full pitch, the one that takes you to the base of the chimney. Mark had sworn to me he would be ready to climb the next day. By chance, a major snowstorm blew in the next day. Being one of those types of people who actually works for a living, that day was the last I could climb because I had to go back to work. So I went to Mark and said, 'O.K., I have to leave tomorrow so we have two options: 1) pull all the gear right now in the bad weather, or 2) leave the gear up, allowing you to finish the route'. I thought I was being gracious to offer to Mark to finish the route without me. Instead, Mark whined about his options as if he were put upon. I said 'Fine, let's go get the gear right now'. Being a veteran of climbing under the worst of winter conditions in alpine settings for many years the thought of simply cleaning gear didn't particularly bother me. But it bothered Mark. So Mark grudgingly said he would work the route in my absence. Now...imagine this. Mark invites Mr. O to finish the route. They have ropes fixed ALL THE WAY TO WITHIN ONE AND A HALF PITCHES FROM THE TOP. So Mark and Mr. O ascend all the fixed ropes and manage to climb only ONE short pitch in their 'effort', leaving the last pitch unclimbed. Mr. O did an admirable job in putting up the chimney pitch and putting in drilled angles on lead. Contrary to what he says, I gave him FULL credit on my original topo for putting up that pitch (look it up). Ultimately, I had to reclimb the entire route and bagged the first ascent with Gary Gray. Although Mr. O deserves credit for putting up that pitch, it is a sad commentary to their abilities that he and Mark didn't finish it. And that is a fact. Mr. O didn't 'retrieve' my gear for me. He failed at completing a route I graciously allowed him to go up on and finish.

And speaking of Zion history, I would suggest asking Mr. O some questions about the following......

What was the nature of the reported rappel previewing and anchor fixing on Prodigal Son?
Do the readers know that Prodigal Son is really a variation on the 'rearranged' line of Archangel? Why doesn't Ron talk about that earlier route?
Could Ron describe for thread readers the visionary nature and boldness of the first ascent of 'Crimes Against Nature'? It would be a fascinating story to hear in his own words, perhaps described move by move.
Could Ron explain why he told me a route had already been completed by the Smoots in the Shuntavi Butte area when, in fact, it hadn't? Or was that just another 'prevarication'? John Middendorff and I subsequently did that climb (Mouse Turds in the Oven).
Finally, when I did the first ascent of Spaceshot with Ron he told me that someone had previously asked him whether it had already been climbed. He told me that he 'prevaricated', and had said yes it had been. It hadn't been.

Does anyone see a pattern here?

Finally, the matter of the slander against the owner of the climbing shop in Springdale. For the record, the owner is a GREAT guy, and I hope any and all of you will support his store in Springdale. He deserves the support.

Sincerely
David Jones


tenesmus


Jan 27, 2005, 8:47 AM
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Dang.


Take that.


This is really fun - you guys need to keep it going. I think what makes History cool is the personalities. Ya'll got personality.

Its like reading that just about everyone who ever worked with John Wesley Powell said he was a total jerk and an embellisher(sp?). Yet, we all remember him.

What did you say about rope soloing the chimneys on Iron Messaih? I need to hear more about that.


dangle


Jan 27, 2005, 10:13 AM
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Wow!

Dave I knew it was you but figured I'd play along.

So, you got yourself a shotgun! Well congratulations. Looks like one of those single shot break open ten gauges if I'm not mistaken. Must have a pretty short barrel to wing so many birds at once.

Well I still work a little too and have business to take care of at OR, but I'll give this the two seconds it deserves.

I first logged on using the third person to flush out someone who was posing as a third party to float a cover story for a hate crime. Using a contraction of Drilled Angle I wasn't trying hard to hide and even took the opportunity to mock myself by exagerating the mythology.

I never said anything about what a heck of a guy I was. Really Dave! That is so pitiful!

I don't think that condemnation of lies by guidebook authors constitutes slander especially when the person it appears to benefit doesn't display the sense of honor to give credit where credit is due. What have you done to set the record straight on being credited as a pioneer of the late seventies? I met you on 12/6/79 and you wanted to know about Zion walls.

You must have had a huge three weeks there sport.

What about Catharsis. Did you set the record straight on that or were you happy to let that one slide your way too. I'm happy to say that Ammon agrees with me and Bird and Erikson and so many others that true free climbers don't use sling belays. No doubt you disagree but even so you didn't free it or put it up.
As for my continual lies about Space Shot, well there was only one. I copped to it first. And it came from the very list from Climbing that you cite as evidence! What were your vanity plates again?

A sad commentary on my abilities?
Hey YOU don't need to say it. I say it myself repeatedly. For me one of life's great jokes is that so many climbers treat me like some superclimber when my skills are so pedestrian. I'm weak. I'm lazy. But I have an eye for a good line and in the unlikely event I succeed on it then it will probably go at a reasonable grade and WHAMMO instant trade route.
Why so many truly great climbers have tied onto a rope with me and continue to do so is beyond my explanation but not my appreciation.
I'm talking about the kind of superclimbers only one of us is pretending to be.

As for the day you speak so knowingly of (where were you again) after more than a week of storms the approach was complicated by all the snow yet clutzy me and Mark managed to recover your gear for you and push the line a bit. Each of the first three drilled angles in the back-and-foot chimney took an agonizingly long effort, but of course now one just goes


clip.


Then there was the epic of recrossing the creek swollen with the flood of snowmelt and all your gear. No doubt a person with your skills would have merely floated across using a balloon filled with all the hot air he could spout.
There's your sad freakin commentary.

And Prodigal Sun (not Son):
I have tried to get people to understand how this route evolved but nobody seems very interested. They just want to tick it off their list. Well I hope this makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

The following is the TRUE STORY of Prodigal Sun.
I built an enormous scaffolding and used multiple compressors and drills along with many chisels to entirely craft the route from blank rock. My work force was serviced by prostitutes from a Nevada brothel in a trailer that was held nearby using a crane. I managed to distract the park service from this effort the entire time by deliberately backing up a toilet in the visitor center.

As for Shuntavi. I don't know what you're smoking but I only smoke the good stuff man. The only routes I know of are Mark's and Bill's. WTF are you talking about?

And the worst for last. If this owner is such a great guy then maybe HE would care to explain why he stated for the record that having a sign with swastikas on his property facing the home of a jew was his "first constitutional right".

I say boycott Zion Rock and Mountain Guides.


dangle


Jan 27, 2005, 1:38 PM
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Hey Tennis Mouse, you haven't been in Dave's oven have you?
There's a local climber I'm friends with, Justin Powell.
He's a good sort and, yes, he's related.


ammon


Jan 27, 2005, 2:25 PM
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Alright!!!!

Everyone, lower your weapons!!!


Shake hands……






and just walk away.


tenesmus


Jan 27, 2005, 2:25 PM
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In reply to:
Hey Tennis Mouse, you haven't been in Dave's oven have you?
There's a local climber I'm friends with, Justin Powell.
He's a good sort and, yes, he's related.

huh? dave's oven? Know lots of Justin's, but not necessarily this one. Loads of climbers in this town. I'm just another anonymous slc climber.




I just checked out that Middledorf slideshow and its super fun. This slide was particularly interesting: http://www.bigwalls.net/climb/SlideWeb/slides/130.html

I used to guide in the grand canyon (hence the name Tenesmus)and know of several killer walls there that are extremely interesting to me. Does anyone know about the safety of gear in Vishnu Schist? I'd heard its scary, but didn't know of anyone else doing stuff there.


dangle


Jan 27, 2005, 6:28 PM
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Tenesmus, don't understand the reference.

Ammon, thanks for the PM but they've been killing off the compliant, the timid or the merely poor fighters among my people for more than five thousand years. Just what do you think that's going to leave?


epic_ed


Jan 27, 2005, 7:36 PM
Post #48 of 667 (64348 views)
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Registered: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4724

Re: Zion climbing history [In reply to]
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Tenesmus = "the constant feeling of the need to empty the bowel, accompanied by pain, cramping, and involuntary straining efforts."

You'd enjoy wall climbing, too, if you haven't ventured that far into this game.

Ed


dangle


Jan 27, 2005, 7:56 PM
Post #49 of 667 (64348 views)
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Registered: Apr 1, 2004
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Re: Zion climbing history [In reply to]
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Uhg! Don't drink the water.


dangle


Jan 27, 2005, 10:38 PM
Post #50 of 667 (64348 views)
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Registered: Apr 1, 2004
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Re: Zion climbing history [In reply to]
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Uh oh. Two hours, a hundred views and no posts. Looks like we scared 'em off.

OK make it a vote for next week's account.

Sunlight

T-bird

Iron Messiah

another tirade

other

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Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Big Wall and Aid Climbing

 


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