I was reading this article about the spring-loaded rock climbing protection piece known as a”cam”, and apparently this fellow, Ray Jardine, invented the modern version of something that has totally revolutionized climbing since then. Inventing the cam is something along the same magnitude with inventing the bicycle. It was really that ground-breakingof an accomplishment.
So I was impressed by this, and followed the link at the bottom of the rather limited Wikipedia article on Ray to his “Adventure Homepage”, www.rayjardine.com This guy is completely ridiculous. What he has accomplished in terms of seeking adventure, (which I don’t see as the ultimate goal of life by any means) is almost totally unprecedented. For example, taking 3 years to sail around the world or building your own kayaks which you then use to kayak 960 uninhabited miles in 38 days. He sells different kits for making your own homemade tents, sewing your own backpacks, your own hats, and more. He in a scientist, an engineer, and an inventor as well as a world-class explorer and adventurer. I think that is a really impressive diachotomy of books smarts and brave curiosity.
If you look out his webpage, in a column on the right side, you’ll see accounts of a lot of the things he’s done. I’m just putting this up because I feel like he is an interesting person and wanted to share some things I was looking at and thinking about. Ray reminds me of Uncle Sandy!
Here are a couple of shots from the climb Joe and I did Monday afternoon. The climb is called the Gallatin Tower and is located down Gallatin Canyon as you go towards Yellowstone NP and Big Sky ski resort. It was a great way to spend a relatively warm afternoon in Bozeman. I recognize the beard is getting a little out of hand. I’m going to do someting about that one of these days.
Its been a good week. Busy, but good. On Thursday I went rock climbing at one of the closest local areas, Practice Rock, with Joe and Luke. I had been there before but not since winter had arrived. I was quite proud of myself as I did my first 2 lead climbs using “traditional” protection. (You climb up with the rope trailing you, place protection in the rock, clip yourself to it, and keep climbing ) Leading a climb is more difficult (and scary) than being the 2nd person up. And trad climbing is another level of difficulty above just sport climbing (sport is where there are pre-placed bolts that you the clip the rope to as you climb)
It was a lot of fun and makes me look that much forward to summer where hopefully I’ll become familiar with all the local areas around here. I found out that the class I’m teaching is only 3 days a week. I did a fair amount of climbing when I was going to school in Chapel Hill, and not much since then. It has been a good to return to something I enjoyed so much.
There was also a “Pow Wow” here at MSU this weekend, about a block from my house in the basketball complex. I’d never been to one but I believe they are much more frequent in the western part of the country. It was really interesting, and I could go on for awhile about that as well. However, for the sake of brevity here are a couple of low-quality films shot by my camera and then sent through You Tube to make sure they end up looking extra cruddy.
I recently found out that I will I have a job for the first summer school session here teaching Statistics 216. It is the introductory statistics class and what I’m currently teaching. I really enjoy the material and feel like I’m learning a lot to get to the level where I feel comfortable lecturing on it.
It also pays fairly good money (especially for Bozeman). Hopefully it will be all the work I have to do in the summer. I’m also looking forward to having the opportunity to teach this material again so soon, I feel like it will be easier than if I waited a whole summer. Furthermore, the 1st summer sessions ends on June 29th and school doesn’t start again until August 27th! Now I can make definite plans for the summer.
South Face of Half Dome. 94'. Alan Lester and I are in the prime of life. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Scott Cosgrove said that this was the most state of the art thing he'd ever done. If he did it, that means that if I want to be "state of the art", I gotta do it. 12DX no problem.
So Alan and I get this plan together to repeat the Southern Belle. Not try, repeat. We drive all the way from Boulder with one thing in mind, 2nd ascent, PERIOD! All this under the gaze of Valley big shots like Croft and Cosgrove and God whoelse?
And yeah, I had visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. I just did the BY, Midnight Lightning, Astroman blah blah. In Yosemite, those folks don't care about who you think you are and what you just climbed. Kinda hard from a Texas/Colorado hybrid like me to understand.
We drove in one straight shot to Yosemite(get a globe, it's a long way). Marched straight up to the Southern Belle, camped, drank nothing and tried to fire. CRAP!
We had a deal, I do all the freaky runout face pitches and Alan gets the cracks, that's his thing. Alan floats the 1st 5.9 pitch, cruises the shorty 5.12 2nd pitch and then HIKED the12C 3rd pitch with 2 #2cams. He just left one halfway up and milked the second for 60feet. I just pooed myself.
The 4th pitch is the "crux", 12DX, I work the 5 bolts and do what we considered an, A0? followed by a 100foot 12a runout. The scariest climbing moment of my life(in the 90's), almost so far. I tried to put in nests of RPs and just left them hanging cuz' they were crap! Who's foolin' who? I nail the runout and Alan does the 5th pitch in excellent style, 12A.
Alan blows through the 6th pitch, that's right, 1 bolt in a 150' 5.10.
This is where we get to the porn....but not on Half Dome with Alan....ahem.
So Alan nails the 6th pitch and it's all me from here on up, his crack duties(funny) are through at this point. 2 mindless unprotected 5.11 pitches with almost no bolts go by, AND!
Here's where I screwed up. The topo only sez' where the one bolt is and 1 bolt is hard to see. I missed, not hard to do on Half Dome.
If you've ever had to climb 40' to get to within' seeing distance of the bolt. When I say the bolt, I mean the only bolt.
I just could not find the bolt. There was a garbage drawing Coz gave over but dangit. 14 bolts on the back half of Half Dome does not register in the heat of battle.
So yeah I fell(you wanted to hear it and there it is). Crap I thought, where is the bolt. I already climbed 40 feet longer than Coz's(I love him) crappy topo said.
And there the bolt was, 30' to the right of where I was climbing. I had already done way too many moves to downclimb.
Once again, I've said before, this is where I thought you separate the "men from the boys". The Cali boys from the Boulder boys! If you've ever been that far off route, yet so close.What a mind f*#k. A BASE rig wouldn't help you. Largo couldn't help you.
(Any partner affiliation that has to do with death routes is well discussed before hand between the partners. Alan and I did not even broach this subject. We were studs from Boulder and arrived in Yosemite to steal the 2nd ascent of the Southern Belle.) [This was in response to a question.]
The 3rd worst moment of my climbing life was on the Belle. I had climbed to far to the left to ever get to the 1 bolt. 40' of 5.11 that I just could not downclimb. I yelled my ass off to Alan, get me the bolt kit!
Seriously people, I was wearing a baseball cap. I leaned in a little to far and the brim of the ballcap clicked on the rock and chucked me off. Alan needed 150' feet of rope, we didn't, have to send up a bolt kit. I started sketching as much as you can halfway up Half Dome. Mentally, I had a meltdown. Seriously, Alan was 100' below me separated by a #2 TCU and a tiny Lowe Ball Nut. If those two pieces blow, ugly factor 2 straight onto Alan.
This brings up a situation I've always fancied. Do you wanna take a 200' fall and blow out your legs, or do you wanna hold a 200 foot fall as the belayer? Behind every earthquaking leader is a bold unheralded person holding the other end of the line. The belayer of freaks should be recognized!
So 1 pitched, I knew I was going to pitch. The mental process of pitching the kind of pitch that Doug Robinson would write about and make Coz cringe is a many splendered thing. Getting so far up all the rad sh#t on Half Dome, and then tossing so far was unthinkable.
Anyhoo, I went 40' into a dike (the kind that runs all over the S. Face of the Dome). I knew I broke my ankles very quickly. Actually, I knew they were toast way before. I then skidded like a dog dragged by a truck for another 40'.
My two pieces of gear held. I asked Dean and he never saw them on his ascent. This was easily the biggest fall Alan ever held. He lowered me down 8 gruesome pitches(thank you Coz). Anybody who knows about the South Face of Half Dome knows what a train wreck it is to get there. A freakish rescue is unbelievable. I begged and pleaded for a YOSAR rescue, a helicopter or whatever. Alan then looked me straight in the eyes and said "dude, were from Boulder and we won't be rescued in Yosemite". Alan literally carried me on his back to Little Yosemite Valley, a coupla miles. I then took a horse ride down to the bottom. Another crazed experience.