First Ascent of Summer Ridge

Page Type
Trip Report
California, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Sep 10, 1994
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71.06% Score
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Created On: Dec 16, 2005
Last Edited On:
September 10, 1994

A conversation on a sunny September 11 morning at a
Cafe in Lone Pine, Calif....

BRUCE: I'd forgotten how awful the approach to this
thing was. No wonder we hadn't been back in
17 years!

PAT: The Brush! maybe we finally went back to do
it because we had forgotten! I know that if
you'd agreed with me, I was going to turn
back and go climb somewhere else.

BRUCE: I know. It was when I realized you really
were ready to go back that I knew we just had
to do the route. I knew for sure I wasn't
going to do that approach ever again. This
was our last chance on the route, and I just
wasn't ready for another failure. This route
has been on my grudge list for close to two

PAT: As far as I was concerned, it could have
stayed on our grudge list for good.

BRUCE: Those first two gully pitches were pure

PAT: I know. It's been awhile since I'd climbed
like that. push every hold into place, the
belayer doesn't anchor because he might have
to get out of the way of something big moving
real fast.... Freight train blocks...... I
was real glad someone had been up as far as
the unprotected 5.9 pitch. That 3/8" bolt
they used to rap was perfect.

BRUCE: That's for sure. I think if it hadn't been
there, I would have drilled. I can't believe
you led that thing without pro seventeen
years ago.

PAT: I half expected you to send me up the thing
on lead again.

BRUCE: I woulda' if there hadn't been a bolt there.
It was just enough, spinner hanger and all.
But the crux of the route for me was the

PAT: I kept expecting to wake up in the morning
next to a dead man... then you would shiver
and I'd know you were still alive.

BRUCE: The wind.

PAT: An evil wind. I was almost sure that we'd be
rappelling in the morning, if we survived the
night. It was blowing so hard, the buffetting
of my bivy sac was creating wind inside, just
from the fabric moving around!

BRUCE: You shoulda seen my garbage bag, man. What
got to me, though, was that the wind was so
strong that it would blow my ensolite pad out
from under me as I shifted around. And the
dust storms! There were times I couldn't
breathe because of the dirt and grit blowing
around on the ledge. I kept thinking about
your windbreaker, about borrowing it. I must
have thought about it for two hours before I
finally asked.

PAT: And I kept expecting you to ask for it. You
with your warm blanket jacket. Then you'd
shiver again. What happened to that garbage
bag, anyway? I could hear it snapping for
about half the night, then it stopped.

BRUCE: When I borrowed your wind breaker, I took the
garbage bag and crumpled it up inside. I
thought I was going to die. I was getting
desperate and hypothermic. I was trying to
get a little insulation from it. It sure
wasn't doing me any good shredding and
flapping around my ears!

PAT: You know, you were getting kinda close to me
up there...

BRUCE: Listen Pat, I was so cold at that point, I
would have snuggled with Charlie Manson!
Well, are you glad we did the route?

PAT: I'm glad we're down.

BRUCE: But are you glad we did the route?

PAT: Man, the route is a pile. the rock is shitty,
the pro is bad...

BRUCE: Yeah, but the exposure, the views, the
location are wilder than anywhere else on the
peak. Its an unbelievably exposed, wild
adventure in a beautiful location....

PAT: On incredibly poor quality rock. But the
bivy was the crux.

BRUCE: You can say that again, my man. You can say
that again.


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