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Zion climbing history
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dangle


Jun 9, 2005, 8:20 PM
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If I recall correctly, I looked down and saw that my badge was not visible, and I turned it over so you could see who I was.

Brian in SLC

(cough, cough)
Crap Crap crap

You turned it over without looking.

What were the attempts you made that were met with "dark and murky" before posting on roughster's thread and posing as a disinterested third party? (A good enough reason for a "demeanor" change)

As for the last post;
"(not so) bad" is when someone ELSE is confronted with the mess that you and other short sighted climbers leave them.

But my guess is after the park service has to rescue a few more gumbies they'll use rock damage to ban climbing there.


atg200


Jun 10, 2005, 9:11 AM
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jesus! no more personal pissing matches in this thread! we don't care!

why do people bounce test on touchstone? i think there are really only one or two placements worthy of it on the whole route. i don't bother bounce testing 80% of the placements i make on sandstone in C2 or easier and i've never fallen as a result. i doubt my ascent had much of an impact at all. on the other hand, bounce testing stoppers in that sandstone is going to have a huge impact - especially if not carefully cleaned.


Partner cracklover


Jun 10, 2005, 10:14 AM
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In reply to:
i don't bother bounce testing 80% of the placements i make on sandstone in C2 or easier and i've never fallen as a result. i doubt my ascent had much of an impact at all.

I believe you were not the only member of the party. :lol:

As the other member of your party, I can tell you that I bouce tested many (most) of my placements on the wall because:

1 - I was (and am) an aid newbie, and
2 - I was (and still am to a lesser degree) unfamiliar with Zion sandstone.

To flesh out my second issue: all rock accepts gear kind of differently, and until you've placed a few hundred pieces in different kinds of placements, different sorts of cracks, etc, you don't really know how gear and rock will interact. For example, in gunks conglomerate and polished granite, my experience has been that ball nutz are absolutely bomber, and barely need a tug to set 'em. However my experience in Zion showed me that some thin cracks under the varnish level will simply spit out a perfectly sized ball nut in a wash of sand, at right around body weight.

Conversely, my experience with polished granite has shown that tricam placements in perfectly parallel sided cracks, and cam and offset nuts in flaring cracks would sometimes slide right out with a little change in pull direction. However in Zion, I found that cams and offset nuts in flaring cracks were bomber. I presume that tricams would have been excellent in parallel cracks, too, though I avoided placing any because of concern about the nose of the tricam messing up the rock.

So this is just stuff you learn about the rock. Until I know the rock, I bounce nearly every placement.

GjustanothernewbiemessinguptherockO


atg200


Jun 10, 2005, 11:40 AM
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hey gabe,

didn't want to use you as an example of what not to do, but you volunteered ;) you certainly didn't need to bounce test more than a handful of your placements - they were all absurdly bomber. for you, it was a mental thing and i don't blame you since it was your first wall. but i still think my passage on my pitches left no impact - i didn't bounce test anything on that route.

perhaps the ethic on easy sadnstone trade routes that accept perfect cams or stoppers should be that bounce testing bomber gear is frowned upon like camhooks and nailing. its an unnecessary impact.


Partner cracklover


Jun 10, 2005, 12:23 PM
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I'm a baaaaad boy! I'll be good now. Or something.

Sooooo, how 'bout those stories?

GO


funk29


Jun 10, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Climbing is anarchy.

Here is a bit of kolob history

Schoolroom Pin Puller, uses pins to put up FA in Kolob/ZNP!!! This just in the notorious Schoolroom pin puller, Bolt Chopper/ Andrew Christensen used the three and a half stolen pins to put up a grade VI, FA in Kolob Canyon/Zion National Park. Last weekend the maverick climber Andrew Christensen and the mysterious big wall legend “Shaggy” put up a nine pitch 400-meter route on the North Face Wall of Kolobs, South Fork of Tayor Creek. Their Route “Stolen Pins VI 5.10 A4 D + r/x PDW(pretty damn western)” is directly across from the southern facing Lowe-Wilford project (see note below). It starts of mellow with an 80ft overhanging 5.10 hand crack what was originally a free climb called “Grandpa Stadg.” From the route follows a 60 meter pitch thin that contains 30m of camming beaks on an angled crack. Because these pin pullers apparently only had a rack of a set of nuts, 9 “Bootied cams”, The Three and a half Schoolroom pins (TTSP) and , six beaks that were also reportedly stolen off of a “serious nailing pitch somewhere on the Titians, Finger of Fate route. Because Andrew only has a small rack, (all of which is stolen except for the set of nuts that he didn’t purchase from REI) there are several of the 60m pitches that required leapfrogging of pins. Caution would be climber’s belays are reportedly suspect because of the large amounts of spinners as well as obnoxious accessories bolted to the wall. Like a soupspoon at the belay, a kitchen cabinet knob on one of the rivet sections, and at least one crushed Mt. Dew can used at a washer at each belay. This route is with out a doubt the hardest techo aid route in any of the Kolob Canyons and receives the Jim Beyer rating of A4 D +r/x. Andrew is quoted at saying; I was really inspired by talking with Beyer after he got off of Martyrs Brigade (a new route on El Cap.) I really wanted to duplicate a route with a pitch similar to his ‘8ft duct taped to ice axe hook move off a loose block...but I didn’t bring my ax so I had to lasso a small bush instead… with my cordelette and the TTSP’s tied on for weight to toss the line…I was already 40 feet into the A4 D section, looking now at a 75 foot ledge fall for sure, so obviously, it was not as hard as Martyrs Brigade, and besides, my biceps aren’t as big as Jims anyway.” “I was really scared on that pitch dude, Like, I almost messed up my golden ponytail man… that’s not cool..I’d lose my sponsers for sure” Notes: I: The National Chapter of Crack Bolting Gumbies (NCCBG) is currently proposing an effort to retro bolt this danger to the climbing community. The president Godd Harding “I think it is evil to use crushed Mt. Dew cans instead of washers while placing a Rawl 5 piece.” One cedar local was overheard talking about the ascent- “that dude [Andrew] is so sick.. I’m gonna start stealing pins so I can climb hard just like him—I heard that there are at least 4 left in the schoolroom roof…” II: Some one currently has been sieging this prized project into submission over the last 6 moths. There are currently ropes fixed 4/5th of the way up this route. These ropes will hopefully be chopped soon. P.S. There are no fixed pins on this route.
Updated By: funk29


dangle


Jun 10, 2005, 1:18 PM
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funk29 you lost me after a few paragraphs. I disagree respectfully. Climbing is not nor should it be anarchy even if you spell it incorrectly. For one thing the law of gravity is strictly enforced. Other laws of physics too.

Crowing of stolen gear suggests you may have less regard for less universally enforced laws but wasn't this conversation about how to preserve routes?
What happens to routes with a long string of tenuous placements? Do you care?


Gabe You ARE a bad boy! If I'd known when we went climbing the next day you would have gotten penalty slack but then again wasn't it MY rope? More importantly bounce testing is hardly the only erosional behavior.

OK everybody's gotta learn, but why do they have to do so on one of the finest climbs I've even seen in 30 years in the desert. I think routes like Touchstone and Moonlight should be considered such treasures that they should act as showpieces where good climbers can show their stuff, climbing easily and employing a light touch.


funk29


Jun 10, 2005, 1:25 PM
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yea about the spelling...I can always use some help...Mark Twain might have been a good climber, and he was a great story teller.


grayhghost


Jun 10, 2005, 1:27 PM
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http://www.utahclimbers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=212&start=0

"I heard (second-hand) that he was involved in an accident. He was hip-belaying someone up a railroad trestle without an anchor and fell 60 feet. He broke many bones in face, hip, pelvis, and arms. His expected recovery is 6-9 months."

"Yep, this is true. I spoke with a very close friend of Andrew's the other day.
As much as I agree that Andrew's bolt chopping and arrogance were distasteful the guy was a ball of energy who attacked climbing with a devotion and philosophy that was very hard core. It's sad that it happened but there is also that ironic kharmic element . . ."


brianinslc


Jun 10, 2005, 1:33 PM
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If'n folks are curious, here's what the Schoolroom Pin Putter Inner looks like:

http://mtncommunity.org/dc/user_files/886.jpg

Foto by bsmoot...

In reply to:
Crowing of stolen gear suggests you may have less regard for less universally enforced laws but wasn't this conversation about how to preserve routes?

Andrew was kind enough not to steal my pins. While I might disagree with his logic for pulling them, he didn't do it to steal them. Left them in a nice little pile at the base of the route.

As a bonus, Andrew thinks Ron looks nice in tights.

In reply to:
I think routes like Touchstone and Moonlight should be considered such treasures that they should act as showpieces where good climbers can show their stuff, climbing easily and employing a light touch.

Thats a great idea. Putting into practice might be tough, though.

Interesting how things all weave together...gosh, almost "community-esque", eh? Ha ha.

Brian in SLC


Partner cracklover


Jun 10, 2005, 2:12 PM
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Gabe You ARE a bad boy! If I'd known when we went climbing the next day you would have gotten penalty slack but then again wasn't it MY rope?

Penalty slack? Hah! With me interfering in your day with Julia, I wasn't even counting on a catch! I was soloing with a rope, baby!

In reply to:
More importantly bounce testing is hardly the only erosional behavior.

Indeed. In Zion, I saw a couple of straight in nut placements that were *not* bounce tested, yet were still the hardest nut placements to clean I've ever come across in six years of climbing. brianinslc's suggestion of a tap with a hammer seems like an excellent suggestion, when the alternative is either fixed gear or
In reply to:
such methods as (cough cough) clipping the stopper to a harness (body cleaning?), and jugging past, thereby ripping it out of the crack

In reply to:
OK everybody's gotta learn, but why do they have to do so on one of the finest climbs I've even seen in 30 years in the desert. I think routes like Touchstone and Moonlight should be considered such treasures that they should act as showpieces where good climbers can show their stuff, climbing easily and employing a light touch.

Oh, I put in some time on choss first. But that gets old pretty fast, y'know? And when you live on the east coast, and can't afford more than one, or sometimes two, trips out west per year... well, what would you do?

Anyway, I'm perfectly happy to talk about my own little failings, if they're of that much interest, but I came here to listen, not to talk.

GO


nailbomb


Jun 10, 2005, 3:09 PM
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how about some history on what happened with the "theft" of the first ascent of desert shield? i heard that the route got scooped after the initial FAists fixed the first bit.


dangle


Jun 10, 2005, 5:00 PM
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Silly me. I thought "stolen pins" meant that they actually were...


Sorry Gabe, but being present wasn't a problem, even if I WAS trying to make time with someone 28 years younger than me (which would be a good 3 years over past efforts).
I like Julia. She reminds me of my little sister, and is fluent in even more languages and climbs a lot better. I actually just got an email from Julia yesterday from Belgium. She included a summit photo from Sheep Dome with her, me, no-one, moabeth, and victorkgb.
PM me your email address and I'll send it to you along with Dead Horse Walking.

As for clean/hmrls; carrying a hammer JUST to clean might be good in theory, but it leaves the door open wider for "fear pounding" and also for destructive rapation of needed fixed gear. I've discussed the concept of fixed nuts with recognizably distinctive thick cables used in the most vulnerable spots. This would mitigate removal as a destructive factor but lacking stricter controls booty greed would render this tactic futile.
As I've said before carrying a hammer just to tap loose nuts is clean, but hammerless is better since it demonstrates a greater commitment.
In retrospect body yanking probably wasn't too well thought through but after I led the second pitch Megan couldn't remove even ONE nut! Cams ARE easier to clean than weighted nuts, but they tend to pivot on the two deepest cams with the shallow ones causing the spot to flare. Some placement spots have flared so much from cams (so small they didn't even exist when I first did it hammerless) that NOW you can't even nut these spots effectively and one is forced to continue camming.

I repeat; my guess is that after they rescue a few more gumbies the park service will use rock damage to justify closing Zion to climbing.

Of course they wouldn't in the exceedingly unlikely case of climbers actually agreeing on and doing something effective to deal with the problem...


flamer


Jun 10, 2005, 6:57 PM
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In reply to:
moabeth...

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I know that Andrew(at least) is laughing with me on that one.......


josh


dangle


Jun 10, 2005, 9:05 PM
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She had nice things to say about you too Josh. (Although no-one and I got on her case for the way she treated Julia.) I hope Andrew got my PM. The system went caput (again) right after I hit submit. I'll send a copy to Gabe.


moabbeth


Jun 10, 2005, 10:39 PM
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Josh-
I was going to cut and post a quote of Andrew's at the top of this page about how "no one here wants to hear your pissing matches" but it's conveniently deleted. Why don't you boys practice what you preach and don't start pissing matches. And leave me out of your conversations on this site.

Congraduations. I haven't posted on this site in a year...until now cause Ron said you were starting shit. But this is a fire that needs to be put out before it starts. I have better things to do than get into online wanker wars with the two of you. I'm nobody, I'm not worth your trashtalk time. So leave me be. :roll:

Hope you get out and climb something fun this weekend that gets all that negative energy out of you. Flame away with the other people here who will put up their flame throwers to yours. But I ain't going down that road. Would be nice if you did the same.

As for me, I'm going climbing :wink:

over and OUT!!!


flamer


Jun 11, 2005, 9:21 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
moabeth...

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I know that Andrew(at least) is laughing with me on that one.......


josh

If that was starting shit or even talking it then I'm a monkey's uncle!!

I didn't say anything bad...did I? Or did I recount what myself and others have experienced(with beth)?? NOPE!!!
I know my opinion's....and I didn't express them(here anyway)....

Laughing all the way......

josh


bsmoot


Jun 12, 2005, 10:01 PM
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nailbomb wrote:

In reply to:
how about some history on what happened with the "theft" of the first ascent of desert shield? i heard that the route got scooped after the initial FAists fixed the first bit
.

Salt Lake climbers Drew Bedford & Tim Stack made the first complete ascent of Desert Shield. They are both friends of mine. They said there were no fixed ropes hanging off the route at the time of their ascent.

Eric Rasmussen, who worked on the lower pitches of DS went on to climb some very impressive grade VI's on Twin Brother, Isaac and the amazing north face of Lady Mountain...next time you hike up to Emerald pools, you'll see what I'm talking about.


dangle


Jun 13, 2005, 10:50 AM
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Yesterday in Zion Canyon was REALLY something.

At a time of year when one expects triple digit highs yesterday's breezy 82 was an unexpected treat. I drove up at 7:15 with the top down and had to use the heater! In the afternoon shade and wind I wore a third (albeit thin) layer until things calmed down around 18:00.
Did a new variant, Tiptoe Through The Crypto.


Any new thoughts on how to climb in Zion without destroying the rocks? Was it Nietzsche who said "man always kills the thing he loves".

How civilized!


Partner amber


Jun 13, 2005, 5:57 PM
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We are now one third of the way to 100,000 views.

... that's because it's an interesting read. ;)

on conserving much-cherished zion routes, i think the idea of establishing ethics that they be reserved as show pieces is a good one in ways, but there's also the reality that most climbers (well, the ones who i know anyways) dont always exactly appreciate the notion of being regulated.

moreover, as an aspiring climber, it would mean climbing less of the routes that keep me motivated and excited about climbing, or to climb lesser-frequented, more obscure routes that could also pose greater danger to my young climbing self due to limited information on said routes - and while i do enjoy the prospect of eventually climbing more obscure routes, the only way that i know of to acquire the skills and experience to safely ascend something with limited information is to hone critical skills - both, obvious technical skills and more esoteric skills like route finding, rope managment, safety (rockfall potential, etc), reading the weather, judging a route's difficulty against my ability without endangering my life or that of my partner, evaluating fixed gear, understanding how to safely bail if things go sour, and so on, is through climbing lots and lots of trad routes, then moving onto more popular trade routes where the ante is upped but information is still abundant.

i can acquire some of the technical skills through sport climbing, which ignites the beloved ethics debate, and other skills will come through good old fashioned trad climbs on granite terrain - but limiting myself to nothing but weekend cragging until i have the skills and experience of those of you who've been climbing for a decade or two isnt of much interest because then climbing becomes pretty pointless to me. that's not to say that i'm planning a trip to reattempt moonlight anyday soon, but there will ultimately come a day when i will want to re-enter adventure climbing and perhaps do a wall in zion, and i'm not sure of a way to promise that this ascent will be completely without impact unless a) i find a mentor who will train me in the ways of relentless perfection and can help me gauge my readiness for a flawless ascent or b) i just climb the damn thing when i feel like i'm ready and see how it goes. perhaps like gabe, i will test things that probably didnt need to be tested simply because i'm nervous. perhaps i'll have to sandblast a nut to get it out because i'm mostly used to cleaning them from granite cracks. perhaps not.

hopefully, i will find a good mentor who can help me navigate the learning curve so that the first wall that i send will be with superior style and ethics, but i have yet to find someone with the time and energy to impart such knowledge. hell, just posting beginner questions on rc.com gets a rise out of people sometimes - and let's face it, experienced climbers who are eager and willing to indoctrinate a climbing n00b like myself into adventure climbing and teach them the required technical skills, all of the esoteric stuff, along with impeccable style and unquestionable ethics that are often debated amongst more veteran climbers are few and far between. i'd learn how to brew/keg beer and buy a cattle ranch to provide a limitless supply of beer and grilled steak if i could find such a mentor, but the reality is that i'm doing good to find a group of regular partners and a couple of people to provide feedback on things like gear placements and rope management. more often than not, beginners are told that climbing is something that they just need to learn on their own, which i'm willing to do, but it also means that mistakes will be made along the way - i'm not trying to justify anything by saying that, just trying to be realistic. everyone has to learn somehow.

anyways, as a beginner who was brought into climbing by a group of people with STRINGENT ethics, conservation is definitely something that i consider - but there also becomes a point where it becomes too overwhelming for a beginner to navigate. i KNOW that i'm not terribly efficient and that i'm probably not doing everything in the best manner possible - but do i stop climbing until i've read every book ever published on the subject? do i wait patiently and post on the internet begging for someone to teach me - or do i just get out there, and do what i know and learn what i can? should i become a martyr for something that i love? even if i do, would it matter to anyone but me? do i limit myself to weekend cragging in boulder canyon and avoid daydreaming about routes that i long to do someday so that other people can do them instead of me? is there a metric where i can accurately measure my ability to cleanly ascend a trade route with positively no impact without going somewhere and impacting something? even if i go to indian creek to hone sandstone crack skills before getting on another wall or tower, i'm contributing to the wear and tear of an area that's already suffering from overuse. if i go to the swell to learn in a less impacted area, then i'm getting in over my head and exploring unknown terrain without the experience to necessarily make the best judgment calls. where's the line? where do i acquire the skills to someday send the things that i want to climb without feeling guilty about it?

anyways, the list goes on, but from a beginners perspective, therein lies the problem. give me a mentor who will very thoroughly train me with superior style and ethics, and i will be ALL over it. tell me what to do, and it shall be done. until then, i will continue doing the best that i can.

ps. i think it was leopold in "a sand county almanac" - "man always kills the things he loves, and so we the pioneers have killed the wilderness. some say we had to. be that as it may, i am glad i shall never be young without wild country to be young in."

from ed abbey, "We can have wilderness without freedom; we can have wilderness without human life at all, but we cannot have freedom without wilderness, we cannot have freedom without leagues of open space beyond the cities, where boys and girls, men and women, can live at least part of their lives under no control but their own desires and abilities, free from any and all direct administration by their fellow men."


PPS
In reply to:
then I'm a monkey's uncle!!
haha. flamer is a monkey's uncle!


And one final PS - my opinion of flamer's status as a monkey's uncle is based solely and purely on the fact that i think he's one big ball of goofy fun and couldnt resist the temptation to send a fun-loving cyber-jab.

whew. sorry about the unyielding rant. ethics and conservation are things that pique my interest, and i often feel at conflict about how to learn things with minimum impact - and as i've just demonstrated, i'm quite capable of driving myself crazy over it. :)


dangle


Jun 13, 2005, 10:59 PM
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I was invited to a wedding this month and I already bought a gift off the registry. I went down the list until coming to an item that I'd actually always wanted for myself. I figured that in the (unlikely) event of cold feet (a trip to New Mexico perhaps??) I was GOING TO KEEP IT FOR MYSELF!

I have this sneaking suspicion that you actually like the two most important BEEs. No I'm not talking about John Belushi in a bee costume with Mexican style ammo bandoleers across his chest (but he would certainly be third!) I mean BEEr and BEEf. (See? I even prioritized!!)


Been a while since I thumbed through Aldo's work. Must've been cool when jaguar stalked the Colorado delta.


There's no easy answer here. You raise some good questions though, some of which I've already considered. I'm a libertarian so I think my freedoms should only be limited by those of others, but I'm NOT a utopian. In fact I'm probably real world enough to the point of cynicism. As a climber I know how strong the desire for freedom is and that's PRECISELY why I feel we won't solve or even slow the problem without a HIGHLY intrusive (not to mention costly) remedy.

Or we just destroy the rocks and erosion of the routes is no longer a problem.


About a century ago people began to realize that some hunting practises were having a profound negative effect on wildlife populations. Laws and regulations were enacted in an effort to preserve hunting for future generations.
At first there was a terrible outcry. "We've been hunting a long time. We don't need other people telling us what to do..." yada yada yada.
Today most hunters acknowledge that the fish and game reserves are bounteous enough to demonstrate the success of costly and sometimes inconvenient management protocols. They know that people cannot often be counted upon to be responsible on their own.
And even endangered species can be brought back from the edge of extinction and restored to populations large enough to use hunting as a management tool.

But on climbing routes all damage is cumulative.

River runners now (mostly) submit to heavy regulation. SCUBA divers need to be certified to get their tanks filled. There are other examples.

Do I like it? Hell no.
Do I understand the need for it?




Unfortunately..........yes.


dangle


Jun 25, 2005, 1:03 PM
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Soooo......

near two weeks go by and not a bite on that little dose of reality.




And here I am sitting at the keyboard after a flick, countless hydrocortones for a bad tooth and nursing an oversize Del Dueno. The weather isn't conducive for going for a ride and I'm too wacked anyway so the thought comes to me....BULLSH ah er.. another tale from that blank on a map, the land time forgot, the fabled red walls of Zion.

There are a bunch of young bucks out there that can barely restrain themselves from those very rocks but for the turbidity of the Rio Virgin and the triple digit highs. Dare I taunt them with an account from when power drills were legal and the walls more virgin and beckoning?


WTF Why NOT?


Like many Zion tales, this one begins out of state.
Its the end of '84. After the debacle described earlier in this thread I have returned the horse trailer I borrowed 70 miles away to get my mule to haul loads and finally recieved my tax refund without which I was financially grasping at straws while with Pey and Strassman. In fact the night before I had stayed at Strassman's in Mammoth and then driven to Oakland for the AAC meeting.
It was there that (among many others that included the like of Becky and Bonatti) I first met Earl Redfern.


Earl would be my partner on the T-bird which after we finished it would constitute my longest desert climb.

But that was September '86. Lets back up to returning the trailer and paying my bills. To celebrate my 30th birthday in midJune I made my usual rendez-vous with Dave Mondeau outside Moab. I had brought my dad's Winchester Centennial figuring that it was the most appropriate day of all to try out a thirty-thirty.
Not having Jones running out of the bushes with toilet paper streaming (private joke, remember the Oct. '81 trip) allowed me a string of accurate shots.
We then headed down the Horsethief Trail to Mineral Bottom.
The mosquitos were relentless so we tented and smoked despite the heat. Above us a slim buttress remained in the shade making it our objective. The next day we fixed two vertical to overhanging pitches and as we descended the talus to the tent a wafer of rock gave way and I sustained a substantial ankle injury. Therapy all night allowed a continued attempt but our success was not without cost to Mondeau as well. Cleaning a nut too vigorously resulted in a messy head wound. When we hiked out me limping and Dave all bloody it must have looked as if we were coming home from a war.

Unfortunately years after we put up Mineral Canyon's first route Earl and his partner would both leave the same canyon feet first.


end part I

Want more?


skinner


Jul 7, 2005, 2:03 PM
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In reply to:
Want more?

UMMMM.... YESS!!!


dingus


Jul 7, 2005, 3:09 PM
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Please post up Dangle.

DMT


dangle


Jul 7, 2005, 6:07 PM
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Mineral Canyon became one of those geographic focal points. I would use the boat ramp to launch my motor canoe upstream to attempt Abbey Tower. The juxtaposed landing strip served for aerial recon to find the back door to Hell Roaring Canyon as well as to shuttle back to the boats for trips through the Labyrinth en masse.
It was on such a shuttle in April '94 with Mark Bowling and Mark Schoening as fellow passengers that I had my closest call so far in then more than 27 years of uncomfortable experience as light aircraft "freight". As the legendary Pete Schoening and family members watched with fear we landed hard in a gale force quartering tailwind at the Ruby Ranch "airstrip".
Earl wasn't that lucky.
In thin hot summer air he couldn't climb and clipped a wing on a wall of Mineral Canyon. He died with a fellow pilot. It took a while to find the wreck.


But in October '84 I bagged the FSA of the Leaning Wall via a new route and then, trapped in Hell Roaring by record snow, capped it off on Halloween with the FA of the Witch.
When I met Earl a month later in Oakland I was becoming a climber addicted to sandstone while Earl had dreams of Baffin, but we kept in touch and my courtship with what would become the T-bird next involved my courtship with "the Lynn Hill of Whitewater", Joy Ungritch.

We met when I returned to the point between Mineral and Taylor Canyons. Ironically after going to the trouble of hauling a canoe 380 miles to cross less than 380' of river the previous year climbing Horsethief Tower I discovered that there was a tower on the easy to reach side!
Joy and I headed out to recon the tower on borrowed horses but the tactic was curtailed by what appeared to be an effort of my mount to kill me.

The third time that the horse reared up and fell on its back I wasn't successful in falling clear. My right thigh was pinned between saddle and ground. Still I hopped onto my good leg and never lost the reins.

Then I solved the mystery.

With Joy holding the horse I pulled the saddle and revealed a nasty bite. It turns out that the wrangler for the friend of Joy who was putting her up at his ranch resented the attention that she had immediately shown towards me so selected my mount "special".
I've saddled horses since I was a kid, but now I ALWAYS saddle my own.

The whole thing backfired on the amorous but rebuffed wrangler. Joy nursed my purple/green/yellow thigh as well as neighboring anatomy.
Two days later I limped up to the tower using a cane to suplement my massive charliehorse hematoma. Five foot nothing Joy carried all 70lbs of gear on a back made remarkable by 12 years of guiding for Sobek. I then aided the entire first ascent of what we named Charliehorse Needle with Joy laughing at my groans from below.

I later debated with the wrangler the endurance of my mules at home with his favorite Arabian. The guy's name was Price Parker and he claimed to be some kind of familial missing link between Bonnie Parker (Bonnie & Clyde) and Robert Leroy Parker (Butch Cassidy).

Yeah right! And I'm the grandson of the Tsarina of Russia and Jack the Ripper.

Anyway, years later I heard that the Arabian had thrown him, stepped on his head and took off his ear. Really! Its true. I heard it (he probably didn't though...) Never did get to make and send him that modified earmuff.


Some weeks later and back in Utah Joy went up north to to get some things for my place. Just before heading back south she had lunch with a client who had become a longtime friend. During the meal she found that Edward Abbey was already acquainted with my desert forays and so wanted to meet her new boyfriend. That was the closest I came to the author of The Monkeywrench Gang. In May '89 weeks after his death Mondeau and I finally climbed the tower he had floated past with Joy five times and named it for him.

The evening after her lunch I suggested that our next climb should be huge north wall on Timbertop....


End Part II

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