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#94041 - 04/09/08 08:43 PM Do you climb?
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
Nobody has posted here for ages! So I thought I would get the ball rolling. How many of you got into backpacking through climbing?

My science teacher was a member of the Spokane Mountaineers and put up a "mountain school" poster in class. I was 16 years old and went to mountain school and was hooked in an instant. One of my first real climbs was Mt. Rainier. Weather was perfect and I was lead up by a fantastic old time club mountaineer. I wondered what all the fuss was about Mt. Rainier. Then I got to rock climbing with two married Air Force guys. My folks would not let me climb with boys my age, and who knows why, but the let me climb with Miles and Hank. Miles immediately made me wear a helmet. That was back in the days when few wore them. He was going to night school to be a high school counselor - I think I was is "project". While at University of Washington, I joined the outing club and met NOLS instructors. I got a chance to be a NOLS instructor and again was hooked and spent 7 years teaching climbing. I already knew climbing but at NOLS I learned real outdoorsmanship.

I always backpacked while my kids were young. My youngest daughter became my good backpack partner for a while. When all kids were out of the house and I moved to California I again got into technical climbing. Wow had things changed in 15 years! I sort of do both now- backpack and climbing. I go a while doing rock climbing and get feeling like I really want to go out and cover more distance. Then I backpack for a few years and want to get back into more challenging climbing. The only thing I definitely do not do anymore is winter climbing. I just hate winter!

Because of coming to backpacking thorough climbing, I never much thought that I needed at trail. Trails merely are to quickly get you to where the real fun begins. Mountaineering is pretty intense - so I really enjoy the mental relaxation of backpacking. Bottom line, I just love being in the mountains. More and more, whether I bag a peak or not is not that important. And I find that mountaineering skills are really useful in off-trail backpacking too. Best thing about backpacking -- I do not have to carry 30 pounds of climbing gear!

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#94042 - 04/09/08 10:08 PM Re: Do you climb? [Re: wandering_daisy]
KWeb Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 183
Loc: Tacoma, WA
My name is Kyle, and I'm a climber. The main reason I hike is to train for climbing. I rarely hike for the enjoyment of it (the wonderland was for the enjoyment but if I were to do it again I'd make it more of a challenge). I climb because I enjoy the challenge. I climb because I like to push myself physically and mentally.
Yes, I climb.

Sorry for the above.....I'm tired......and haven't climbed for some time now <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

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#94043 - 04/10/08 06:34 AM Re: Do you climb? [Re: wandering_daisy]
Pika Online   content
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1736
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Until the arthritis in my hands got too bad for technical work, I always considered myself much more of a climber than a backpacker. I backpacked mostly to get to the base of the mountain, not for it's own sake. I spent 15 years at the University of Washington as a student and faculty member. In those years, I climbed a fairly large number of the peaks in the North Cascades, some of them pretty remote, and seldom went backpacking just for recreation. Now, however, my climbing is more-or-less limited to scrambling and I find that I really enjoy backpacking for it's own pleasures.
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#94044 - 04/10/08 06:43 PM Re: Do you climb? [Re: wandering_daisy]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I was introduced to backpacking while I was learning about climbing and bagging peaks in Arizona many moons ago. Over the years, I have enjoyed topping out on summits, but also simply being outdoors - caving, bike touring, SAR, and sea kayaking. Backpacking techniques and equipment apply to all these pursuits. It also helped that my profession of archaeology also requires outdoors work - Oh the pain and anguish! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#94045 - 04/11/08 09:57 AM Re: Do you climb? [Re: wandering_daisy]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Interestingly, I'm kind of the opposite. I've backpacked for many years and only in the last few started doing a little scrambling, or at least "going out to scramble to the top of this" as opposed to just walking up something from a ridgeline I'm backpacking across <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> - just as an excuse to have something else to do in the mountains, I also just love being out in the mountains. so any another excuse to get out on a possibly more interesting day trip or side trip is fun <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> So I could say, no, I don't climb, or at least I don't consider I do because I do nothing techincal, but backpacking got me into scrambling pretty nicely.
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#94046 - 04/11/08 09:51 PM Re: Do you climb? [Re: wandering_daisy]
mockturtle Offline
member

Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 251
Loc: WA
No, I don't. Did some rock climbing when very young but never seriously considered mountain climbing. Lost several friends and co-workers to climbing and thought it was an insane pastime. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> Today, when I'm too old to even consider it, I have some regret that I didn't climb. I feel very blessed to have lived among tall, snowy peaks all my life here in WA and I LOVE reading about climbing!

My grandparents and several other relatives summitted Long's Peak [a day climb] in Colorado several times in the 1920's. My grandma wore a dress! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> I have some neat pictures of them and find it very inspiring. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#94047 - 04/12/08 08:46 AM Re: Do you climb? [Re: mockturtle]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

If you can still backpack, don't sell yourself short thinking you are "old" - If you look at me you'd never guess I scramble mountains either. Just pick an easy scramble and try it - slowly and carefully. If you can backpack you can very likely do it - sure it's not technical climbing, but that's for the ropes and bolts crowd. At least you get to stand on top of something and admire the world.
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#94048 - 04/12/08 10:08 AM Re: Do you climb? [Re: phat]
mockturtle Offline
member

Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 251
Loc: WA
You're right, phat. I can scramble on snowless peaks, although I'm just getting to that level after knee replacement two years ago. Looking forward to enjoying a few easy summits this summer.

It was the technical climbing I was referring to. My main phobia about that [aside from the obvious acrophobia] was the notion of being roped together with other people. A couple of my friends died on Rainier as a result of their leader falling and pulling them off the mountain. [The others died in an avalanche in Alaska]. I guess I fear being dependent one someone else's skill and judgment. Do you ever feel that way?

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#94049 - 04/12/08 11:35 AM Re: Do you climb? [Re: mockturtle]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
I guess I fear being dependent one someone else's skill and judgment. Do you ever feel that way?


Yep. one of the reasons I'm usually solo - or very selective about trip partners.
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#94050 - 04/12/08 01:10 PM Re: Do you climb? [Re: mockturtle]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
One thing that attracted me to technical climbing is the teamwork involved in roped climbing - alternating leads with belays and safeguarding each other's progress. To me, it is a wonderful fusion of individual ability and group effort.

On technical rock, it is rare for the entire team to fall, a phenomenon which seems to occur more frequently on steep snow and glacier terrain. On rock, leader falls are not unknown and slips by the second on the rope are almost trivial. It is vital to obtain a rock solid belay to attain any reasonable safety margin.

My deepest and most enduring friendships are with climbing partners, nearly all of whom have also partnered in SAR operations, which takes the level of teamwork and commitment to a still higher level. These friends include my wife, a marvelous climber who floats up tricky friction slopes with the effortless ease of rising smoke. Some of our best days have been spent on the rock.

Of course, you are depending upon the competence of your partner. Where I have found that my confidence was misplaced, I have had no compunctions about ending the climb right there. It is good to do some practice sessions with any prospective partner before commiting to a real climb.

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#94051 - 04/12/08 06:00 PM Re: Do you climb? [Re: oldranger]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I Climb... climb on <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
On belay <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
Climbing <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I love the exact instant when toes step off horizontal rock and meet vertical rock and the world turns 90 degrees and the new down is between me and the rock, not the other ground where my partner is. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

As Oldranger said - almost all climbing deaths occur alpine climbing not technical rock climbing. A few years ago they had like 3 deaths out of 50,000 person climbing days in yosemite valley - definitely safer than driving to yosemite. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Modern technical climbings belay system is way safer that climbing with older gear. With multiple pieces of protection and an anchored belayer with an automatic belay tool, there is little that even a beginner can do that is wrong enough to get you hurt. Some people need to have attentive partners who watch their every move, I'd rather have a partner that can catch me regarless of their attention or lack of it, or physical ability. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> I climbed extensively with a woman who weighed 85 pounds soaking wet, and I was about 180, dry.

However I mostly solo except on real routes in climbing areas. I have a lot of steep hard ryolite 30 feet from my back door - theres a 30 foot high lava flow that defines the back of my property, so I can tie on my shoes and walk out into the backyard and boulder. A traverse from one side to the other and back is around 250 feet. Enough to keep my fingers in shape. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

One of my routes starts by walking to end of the small boat dock, leaning over the pond and grabbing the rock, then swinging onto the rock and up the vertical rock above the pond. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Its a lot lighter to leave the gear at home - like 25 pounds each.

THE IMPORTANT PART
Climbing [technical rock] is about being absolutely 100% ON. Every move is preplanned and executed and you watch your toe lock on before averting your attention. Anything else is "thrashing" and it will tire you out and make you fall. You pull with only the force required and you move quickly, to pause is to expend energy not going up. Generally I use 2 point contact, that means I have one toe and some fingers locked on and the other hand and foot are moving together for their next purchases. Yes this is a violation of the "watch everymove" but as I said - generally, and it depends on how hard that piece of rock is to YOU because someone can just stroll across it and others will be forever spat off. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> On anything where I would be roped [except the crux], I would climb a lot faster than you would expect. The problem with using protection is it slows you down and can actually cause your death by benighting you. However as I said in another place - down climbing steep rock is more difficult than going up because you can't see your feet.
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#94052 - 04/14/08 10:29 AM Re: I do climb. [Re: wandering_daisy]
crackers Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 290
Loc: New York / Istanbul
I climb. I used to climb pretty much all the time, now I just climb a lot. My company makes backpacks for climbers, as they are carrying around that 30 pounds of gear and want a very light yet durable pack.

I think this section of this board is pretty quiet because there are so many other sites with extremely active climbing or mountaineering forums...not that this isn't a valuable resource.

Most fatalities reported from technical climbing in the United States over the past decade or so have NOT been from alpine climbing. That's a base canard. There are roughly 20 to 30 fatalities reported to the American Alpine Club every year, total, and the vast majority are from rappelling. For example, there were about 32 fatalities per 100,000 attempts on Denali since 2000, but an average of only 1240 attempts per year. In contrast, there are numerous rappelling accidents across the country every year. Here's a report done by the American Alpine Club on the issue of the costs of rescue on the AAC site. I don't really feel like beating a dead horse (again), but other information given in this thread is wrong.

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#94053 - 04/14/08 10:39 AM Re: Risk and Equanimity [Re: mockturtle]
crackers Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 290
Loc: New York / Istanbul
Quote:
...My main phobia about that [aside from the obvious acrophobia] was the notion of being roped together with other people. A couple of my friends died on Rainier as a result of their leader falling and pulling them off the mountain. [The others died in an avalanche in Alaska]. I guess I fear being dependent one someone else's skill and judgment. Do you ever feel that way?


I think this is wholly reasonable. I find that the level of trust necessary in a climbing partnership is really amazing. It took a long time to develop the particular patience, ability to empathize and communicate that a really good climbing partnership needs to prosper and survive. I definitely have feared the commitment to the partnership before, and I'm sure I will again. You don't learn in a vacuum and you definitely are wholly dependent on other's skill and judgment at times in the learning process.

Interestingly though, once the hook was deep in my gullet and I transformed into a climber, I've found that the knowledge that I'm dependent on someone else's skill and judgment transformed my entire life. I don't drink more than the barest minimum of alcohol and drive a car. I used to think it was fine to drink a few beers with dinner and drive, but not any more. And that's just one of the most blatant adjustments that this knowledge and sense of commitment have effected in my life.

It's an interesting and deep topic for discussion. I've certainly spent many hours talking about it with my climbing partners, my friends from other parts of life and others...and I will never second guess somebody else's decision as to where to draw the line with which they are comfortable in these matters. It's a weighty decision.

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#94054 - 04/14/08 04:21 PM Re: Risk and Equanimity [Re: crackers]
mockturtle Offline
member

Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 251
Loc: WA
You make some good observations and I have to admit that I'm just as reluctant to have someone else depend on MY skill and judgment as I am to rely on theirs. I am totally willing to face the consequences of my own actions--however dire the outcome--but would not subject someone else to same level of risk. An agreed level of risk is essential to a 'team', IMHO. If one finds a person or persons with like risk thresholds and similar judgments about the risk, teamwork is possible and desirable.

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#94055 - 04/14/08 07:14 PM Re: I do climb. [Re: crackers]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
crackers
The sport of rappelling is not climbing. How many of those rap deaths were climbers and how many sport rappellers?
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#94056 - 04/15/08 07:44 AM Re: I do climb. [Re: Jimshaw]
crackers Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 290
Loc: New York / Istanbul
Quote:
crackers
The sport of rappelling is not climbing. How many of those rap deaths were climbers and how many sport rappellers?
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


All of them. The AAC does not compile accident reports for "the sport of rappelling" as you generously put it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Personally, rappelling terrifies me more than anything else I do on a regular basis...

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#94057 - 04/15/08 07:46 AM Re: Risk and Equanimity [Re: mockturtle]
crackers Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 290
Loc: New York / Istanbul
Quote:
You make some good observations and I have to admit that I'm just as reluctant to have someone else depend on MY skill and judgment as I am to rely on theirs. I am totally willing to face the consequences of my own actions--however dire the outcome--but would not subject someone else to same level of risk. An agreed level of risk is essential to a 'team', IMHO. If one finds a person or persons with like risk thresholds and similar judgments about the risk, teamwork is possible and desirable.


Absolutely. I think that you're right on. I think it's a very sticky wicket and among the climbers I know, I know some that have given real thought to it, and some who I wouldn't climb with... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

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#94058 - 04/17/08 08:04 PM Re: I do climb. [Re: crackers]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
Accidents in North Americal Climbing is great reading for anyone engaged in wilderness sports. What you do not get is the unreported accidents and all the "near misses".

I agree with you that there are other places that climbers use as a forum. I have in the past suggested that our forum change the "mountaineering" subtitle into off-trail travel. I think we would have more posts for this.

I think there is a "climber's mentality" and a "backpacker's mentality" and they are not the same. I have never had to focus as much in backpacking as I have to in climbing. The mental aspect of climbing is a very large part. I love that 100% focus, but I also like to take a brake and just small the roses.

For the apparant risk in climbing, there are in reality very few accidents. Climbers have many back-up safety systems. In some ways because climbing is much less "casusal" than backpacking, I think you get less accidents staticticlally.

I really feel my climbing experience enhances my backpacking. They are different sports in the same environment. The one phrase that really hits home to me is the title of the Seattle Mountaineers book on climbing - Mountaineering- Freedom of the Hills. So right on! With mountaineering skills you have so much more freedom to run around the hills.

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#124192 - 11/22/09 01:34 PM Re: I do climb. [Re: wandering_daisy]
idahosteve Offline
member

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 62
Loc: Idaho
I didn't realize this forum was even here! I have another unique take on this (all are unique!) as I started climbing at 12 years of age, and then climbed and backpacked my way for 35 years until finally retiring after a trip to the Bugs a few years back.
I enjoy my backpacking even more now than I did before. I always had backpacking as an access/method to get to a climb. Therefore even on off days, it wasn't the focus. I bet I missed some cool stuff with that attitude. I still loved every second of it, but it is different. Now I am absolutley enthralled with my entire experience as I walk down the trail, or explore off trail. I have a great appreciation for the peaks that I see, of possible routes, but I don't feel the rat needing to be fed!
The new platform of UL hiking is opening up another new world for me to use my skills. There are almost no paths that are closed to my travels now. Unless I actually want to bring some snow travel gear, I can now safely, and lightly just wander in the mountains like a goat. Its a truly liberating and spiritually fulfilling time. I don't miss climbing, as I had a very long and very full climbing career. I look forward now to doing some really long thur hikes, and some really off trail explorations in remote areas. And the prospect of hiking with some new folks is also exciting! Let me know if you want to get out! grin
_________________________
I dare you to move, like today never happened...
-Switchfoot-

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#124202 - 11/22/09 06:59 PM Re: I do climb. [Re: idahosteve]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
OK I have to ask you what is the BUGS? Sorry , not a climer but im am inquisitive. I cant spell reel good either!

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#124210 - 11/22/09 09:25 PM Re: I do climb. [Re: Kent W]
idahosteve Offline
member

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 62
Loc: Idaho
Hey, no problem, and a good question. The Bugs, or the Bugaboo Mts of Canada are a spectacular set of high alpine climbs on very large faces/peaks... they usually require a long approach, an all day or greater climb, and then a long trek back to either your base camp, or the hut that Canada is so famous for having in their backcountry areas.
Our climbs in the Bugs typically were rising at 3AM, out the hut by 4, hike for 1-2 hours, climb for 8-10 hours, then descend and back to the hut for a 12-17 hour "day".... take a rest day and repeat! the climbs were technical, ie vertical granite with ropes and protection required for the most part. Its a special place. You can look it up on line and see some pretty awesome pics!
_________________________
I dare you to move, like today never happened...
-Switchfoot-

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#124284 - 11/23/09 09:55 PM Re: I do climb. [Re: wandering_daisy]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
There are way more accidents in Yosenite involving hikers than climbers, and many more rescues required. Climbers sort of have an idea what they're getting into, vs hikers who go to the edge and look down to watch the climbers. I was once hit by a rock (while clibing)knocked off by a hiker 300 feet above, fortunately it was small.

Also the 100% concentration helps. I've climbed all day in Yosemite valley with nothing but a scrape on my knee from sharp granite, then tripped over a telephone pole in the parking lot...
Jim YMMV
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#124926 - 12/08/09 05:22 PM Re: Do you climb? [Re: wandering_daisy]
Swimswithtrout Offline
member

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 48
Loc: Colorado
I got into backpacking because of rock climbing !

I started climbing in 1970 at Devils Lake,WI and in 1972 was invited to spend the summer at a friends cabin above Pinedale in the Wind Rivers. Put 2 and 2 together and I was soon hooked on both.

I make many annual climbing pilgrimages to the Winds after that. Mostly to the northern range and the Gannett Pk/ Titcomb Gorge area, then later to the Cirque and the Deep Lk basin. Climbing was always the focus.

One of the great perks to being a climber locally is up in RMNP and their tech climbers bivy permits. I've signed out to climb Spearhead at the head of Glacier Gorge, the most spectacular setting in all of RMNP, many times, just to get the chance to spend the night up there where hikers are not allowed to.

My big and bold days are probably over now at 54yrs old but I'm doing a lot of Sport Climbing now, to still get to smell chalk and lichen on my hands.

Peaks and summits don't have the same appeal as they did when I was younger though, I'm perfectly content to hike the Winds with a fly rod and camera instead of a rack and rope. My eye is still picking out lines on the faces as I pass, but now I'm content to do a little fishing and some campside bouldering.

Belay off
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#132456 - 04/21/10 12:15 AM Re: I do climb. [Re: Jimshaw]
Ecrow Offline
member

Registered: 02/02/08
Posts: 85
Loc: N. New Mexico
Jim this is a phenomena that we joke about all the time. "Parking lot falls" happen just as you get to the edge of the lot and see your car. Everyone does it. It always seems funnier at the time because of the sigh of relief that everyone is feeling.
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