Monday, December 27, 2010

Alpine Gumbies on Parade

Ah, the wayward journeys of the aspiring trad gumby. As follows is a frighteningly hilarious autobiographical account of a completely unnecessary epic on a rock route in Huntington Ravine, in the summer, in crystal weather.

The author manages to drag the what-should-be 1.5 hour approach hike into an unnecessary ramble of Himalayan proportions. Just skip ahead to the meat at "Into the Ravine and the Up into Trouble".

Delectable highlights include:

"Immediately, I knew we were getting into trouble. I had trained on lengthy routes in the gym, but now I had to not only hang at a hold for a long period of time to place a piece of protection, I had to do so while negotiating a 20-25 lbs. backpacks, making every move harder."

" left foot, which was bearing most of my weight and saving my quickly tiring arms, stepped on a small patch of wet grass and lichen. Instantly, my feet came off the wall."

"So there we were: a climbing party of three on the Central Buttress, running low on daylight and energy. I was trying to disaster manage the best I could, thinking of the best and safest option to put an end to this trip....The solution off the buttress was singular but scary: I was going to have to free solo..."

This story raises various questions about his ability to even get up the pink route without causing himself or others grievous injury. Simple, safe solutions are immediately apparent with anyone with enough gray matter to bother wearing a helmet.

#1 Rappel the route. You have climbing gear, leave it behind. What is $90 worth of nuts and a cam or two split between 3 people? $30. That's right. Just leave it behind and get down, and you'll be out half-a-sack of hippie lettuce. Which might do you some good.

#2 Prusik over the short block. Of course, I am making a not-so-small assumption that all the parties on an alpine route have a grasp of basic concepts, such as wrapping a two slings around the rope and using the contrivance to pull themselves up a few feet over the offending crux.

#3 Why did they have one rope for a party of three? Were they climbing the route Freedom Of The Hills glacier-style?

I hope the two sisters rewarded their convenient "handsome man" rescuers with oral reciprocation on the evening hike back to Pinkham.


  1. Alpine Gumby: Gets into an easily avoidable situation...ONLY SOLUTION IS TO FREE SOLO

  2. Awesome. I think you should make taking the piss out of amateur bloggers a regular thing.

  3. Is the route they're talking about really only seven pitches, max 5.7? From what I've read about the route they attempted, the rest is either low 5th or just 4th class scramble.

    1. They apparently can climb 5.12b's in the gym, but can't manage a 5.7 outside? Something doesn't add up here..