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Climbing Solo

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Postby MoapaPk » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:09 pm

Well Eric O, that was like a 2nd or 3rd or 4th cup of coffee (not from Starbucks).

I'm not a real climber, and try to keep solo trips to class 3 with rare class 4. What disturbs me most is when I get overconfident; you know, that feeling that "it hasn't happened yet, so I must have some special guardian angel". In particular, I have a nasty tendency to jump across gaps; there is a vicious feedback, because you have to be confident when you start a jump, and after a while (with many successful jumps in a row) that confidence uncovers something animal that replaces reason.

I always take 50' 3/4" webbing and two 10' slings with me on rough solo trips. I've never had to leave a sling behind, but I've sure been close.

Apart from that, loose rocks scare the crap out of me.
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Postby Diggler » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:26 am

Wow, Eric. Someone was looking after you that day... While I haven't met you, glad you're still here, partner. I gotta say that writing made my palms sweat & slightly nauseated. Excellently written. Be safe out there all.
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Postby Guyzo » Tue Aug 05, 2008 1:36 am

Good story, It's all about the adventure. 8) Glad you made it back in one piece. :D One of the things that seperates climbing from most other sports is the fact that you just can't call "time out" when it gets really exciting. Eric, I bet you learned more about yourself in a few hours than most normal folks will ever learn in a lifetime. :wink: Thanks for posting up.
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Postby The Chief » Tue Aug 05, 2008 1:58 am

Guyzo wrote: ... the fact that you just can't call "time out" when it gets really exciting.


Exactly!!!

Nice write Eric on your good ole "Shit your britches" session. It all comes with the Soloing gig. Keep soloing and I gaurantee you'll have many more. :wink:
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Postby Eric O » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:34 am

Thanks, y'all.

Chief, I did come mighty close to shitting my britches. Right after I made it to the chimney and had a rest stance on top of a flat-topped chockstone, I dropped 'em and let loose, not a moment too soon. My guts were entirely woozy and ready to go at that point. It was nice to feel lighter afterward.

Other chimney details I left out: A couple hundred feet down I found an ancient rusty sardine can... maybe someone had ascended that way once, or maybe it had fallen off the top. I also found a dead squirrel. "Wow," i thought, "even naturally sure-footed creatures die here" and I gave it an honorable burial with a small cairn.
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Postby The Chief » Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:56 pm

Eric O wrote:Thanks, y'all.

Chief, I did come mighty close to shitting my britches. Right after I made it to the chimney and had a rest stance on top of a flat-topped chockstone, I dropped 'em and let loose, not a moment too soon. My guts were entirely woozy and ready to go at that point. It was nice to feel lighter afterward.

Other chimney details I left out: A couple hundred feet down I found an ancient rusty sardine can... maybe someone had ascended that way once, or maybe it had fallen off the top. I also found a dead squirrel. "Wow," i thought, "even naturally sure-footed creatures die here" and I gave it an honorable burial with a small cairn.


Just think... you would have never had these very fond memories of this incredible time in your life, had you not gone out and done the solo.

It surely must have made you a much better person over all and of course, added some well needed tools to your climbing experience tool box.

One more reason and incredible tale of why we here at SP choose to go out and do the things we do. None better or lesser than any of the other.:wink:
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Postby drjohnso1182 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:58 am

Eric O wrote:Up the Wrong Tree in the Minarets


Whoa :shock:
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Solo!

Postby Murph1 » Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:00 pm

Rossi:
You have received some very good advise in these posts from people like The Chief. I would add one point. In the world of religion there is a reference made to the "Holy Spirit". That translates out in the mountaineering and extreme sports world to, "Listen to that little voice in your head that says, "This is the right thing to do!" or the reverse, "This is the wrong thing to do!"
It has been my experience that when that "little voice" in my head speaks it would do well for me to pay attention and act accordingly. Every time I have failed to listen I have payed a penalty for it.
You have to feel "right" about doing the climb. Don't try it otherwise!!!!!!!
Enjoy your climb!
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Postby Nelson » Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:39 pm

drjohnso1182 wrote:
Eric O wrote:Up the Wrong Tree in the Minarets


Whoa :shock:


Ditto, great read. Stopped everything I was doing to finish that. Congrats on making it down. Eric, you say you felt embarrassed about the event, but it seems like you did every damn thing right.
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Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:42 am

The Chief wrote:-Leave a full itinerary with a topo map of your trip with someone close and then DO NOT deviate from it.


To me, soloing is not soloing unless I'm alone and there's no hope of rescue.

I don't tell anyone where I'm going when I solo. I don't leave any itineraries.

I have been soloing for 30 years without incident. I have free soloed and climbed big walls solo. I have climbed dozens of class 3, 4 and 5 peaks solo.

I hike solo, sometimes for weeks at a time.

I have done hundreds of caves solo, including vertical/technical caves.

I am a certified solo scuba diver, and regularly solo in darkness at 100 feet.

I also spend a lot of time solo kayaking on whitewater rivers.

It is possible to live a long and happy life doing a lot of soloing. The only time I was frightened while solo was the first time I had sex.
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Postby isostatic » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:05 am

Sierra Ledge Rat wrote: The only time I was frightened while solo was the first time I had sex.


I you were alone when you had sex for the first time, what were you afraid of?
Eternal damnation? :lol:
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Postby t8erchip » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:09 am

WOW Eric, well written. It brouht to mind some of the Twight stuff. It had me wrapped.

I'm just braking into the solo climbing, I've had good times, so far. Nothing too commiting....yet.

For what it's worth, 150 feet of super tape weighs a pound and a half, and packs well. And is good to 1200 lb's :shock:
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Postby Cascade Scrambler » Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:05 am

I can only echo what has already been said: well written Eric. That's certainly a learning experience for me. You shouldn't feel ashamed about it, that's for sure.
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Postby Eric O » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:51 am

Wow, thanks for the comments/compliments. I just looked again recently and hadn't realized that so many had replied.

I do feel all right about that experience -- I just did what I had to do, didn't have much choice. Over time the feeling of chagrin and of coming too close to death has subsided. The part about suddenly hanging by less than all of my fingertips, with my legs dangling over several hundred feet of air, certainly gave me some Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms for a couple of years thereafter.
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Postby Kerstin » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:41 am

Eric, your story had me sweating bullets! I don't know what else to say except that I'm very glad you are still around.
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