Angus and I were doing a run up E Butt of Middle Cathedral in the Valley. We'd simuled pretty fast for a while but caught up to a slow moving team 2/3 the way up the route. I came up to a belay to meet a dude belaying HIS leader up higher.
As I set up my ropes to bring ole Angus up I chatted with the dude.
His eyes were big and round and sorta spinning in opposite directions. And he was nervous. I mean he was positively VIBRATING. Dude was whigged out, maybe his first grade IV, maybe his first moderate multipitch, maybe just nervous. His hands visibly shook at times and I could see the lead line quivering.
I immediately dubbed him "Nervous Ned." Which is what prompted me to respond to the thread to begin with. I wondered if you'd encountered the same climber!
Anyway, by the time Angus had caught up to me Nervous Ned was gone.
"Hey, check out Nervous Ned when you get to the belay." Was all I said as Ang led out the next pitch, knowing we were going to have to pitch the rest of the route out now, settling in for long waits at the last few belays.
So when Angus brings me up he's grinning at me from 20 feet higher. Big ole grin. I'd no sooner tied in and he let loose,
"Nervous NED! BwaHAHAHAHAHAH! That dude IS nervous!" We chuckled a bit - we both 'been there, done that' farfignoogin misery loves company german shazenblooginfarkingnokin thing. We could RELATE.
So on the next lead they were slow enough both Angus and I were on their ledge before the leader departed.
"Where's the belay?" asked the leader. We told him we usually just climbed off in one pitch from there though the 2nd had to 'simul a bit' (200 feet haha) for it to work.
The leader seemed OK with this notion and off he goes, Nervous Ned nervously paying out rope. Nervous Ned hadn't thought this whole thing through before the leader left and now that it was sinking in what he was going to be doing he was even more nervous.
Its only like 5-8ish for a few moves and then the route backs off to 5.6 or easier for the rest of the way.
As Nervous Ned nervously belayed Ang and I enjoyed a quaint native herb roasting ritual. We invited Nervous Ned to participate but the mere presence of our voodoo was clearly pushing him over the edge.
And the leader was running out of rope.
Nervous Ned's eyes got bigger and bigger as the rope got shorter and shorter.
"Um.. what am I supposed to do now?" He asked with angry suspicion.
"Well buddy," Angus reponds, casually exhaling a cloud of blue smoke, "I suggest you start breaking down that belay, so you're ready to climb when the rope comes tight."
Nervous Ned looked blankly at Angus, blankly at his anchors, blankly up the rope (ten feet left).
"Like THIS." I intervened. "Look at your anchor and start removing the more difficult to clean pieces first, leave one good anchor. You got all the leader pro between you two guys too, remember."
I pointed to a piece and said, "That one can go."
Nerovus Ned was having problems coming to grips with the situation but like a CLIMBER, he faced the fall line, faced his fears and he tried. He cleaned that peice left handed but was awkward and was down to like 3 feet of rope left.
"Your leader is about to run out of rope bro. You got to be READY!" Intoned Angus. And without comment we went to bat for Nervous Ned.
Angus and I both 'reached in' at once and started breaking Nervous Ned's belay down for him. He said nothing. We each were clipping shit to his harness. Angus told him, "Get your chalk bag open buddy, you got to be ready!"
Rope comes tight, Angus asks "Ready?" Nervous Ned nodded and Ang pulled his last piece for him and clipped it to his harness. He all but patted him on the ass and said,
Now Nervous Ned may still rue the day Team Milktoast climbed up his ass and sorta forced him into a simulclimbing experience he hadn't bargained for. But between you and me I think we did the guy a huge favor. The next time his leader ran out of rope, for whatever reason, Ned would be more armed to deal with it than before.
Nervous Ned made it off just fine btw. We showed them how to find the Catwalk and described the raps and blazed (haha) on out of there.
Nervoius Ned? We remember and toast to your memory all these years later.
I bet Nervous Ned went on to become a wall master, and bouldering Astroman and shit.
Or maybe not...
(This post was edited by dingus on Apr 23, 2009, 2:38 PM)
dingus, Perhaps I have indeed encountered Nervous Ned. I do recall a fellow I know who once had bowel control issues during a moderate climb. He was the same fellow who seconded a straight-up easy pitch and then told the leader "You know, when the climbing is that easy you don't need to put so much protection in for me." ... he's not quite up for Astroman just yet (nor am I!).
Your Manic Moe character is somebody who will free solo in the face of death but not if there is injury involved. How does that make any sense?
Basically the orthogonal axes are measuring aspects of the same thing. It's like having a graph of how tall you are in cm vs how tall you are in inches.
Simply put he is the guy that climbs 400+ foot cliffs in less than 5 minutes without protection because he trusts he won’t fall on that route. However, he wouldn’t climb a really tough 30-40 foot section because he might fall and end his climbing career with an injury but still be alive. Mental anguish is much worse than physical pain.
Being an injured climber means he has to sit and watch everyone else do what he loves(Worse than death). Certain death means he died doing what he loves.
I just pray my son doesnt become a Wild Bill or Maniac Moe one day. However, I know he will.
But he may or he may not - probably not. Around adolescence, a "CEO" type ... is that you, Nate? ... will start creeping into his brain to lend a hand. Until then, that is why the little tykes have parents!
It can be an intoxicating thing to see our kids do things we cannot. Enjoy the years!