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THE COLORADO COLLEGE ALPINE JOURNAL

2007


Cover—Rappelling River Tower Joe Forrester This Page: Happy Dome Renan Ozturk

Senior Editors: Michael Wejchert, Joe Forrester Guest Editors: Brian Sohn, Chris Barlow Finance:Kylie Manson Thanks To: Debby Fowler, Steve Crosby, Dan Crossey, the Climber’s Association of Colorado College, and the Contributors. Generously Supported by Colorado College’s Life of the Mind Grant and the Ritt Kellogg Foundation

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Madaleine Sorkin on Half Dome Mikey Schaeffer

CONTENTS Letter from the Editors— 4 Climbs : North America— 5-31 Asia— 31-34 Africa— 35-36 Europe—36-37 Community Happenings— 37 Endnotes— 38

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Letter from the Editors As Mike and I slowly soloed our way up the North face of Robson the stress was thick. Two thousand feet of 70 degree snice separated us from the glacier below, there were huge cornices looming above us, and a lightning storm was approaching from the northwest. All that could be heard in the dark was the crunch of the crampons on the ice and deep breathing. Occasionally I would look down and see Mike’s headlamp, face deep in concentration. Eventually we reached the middle rock band 500 feet below the double corniced ridgeline; we needed to conference. Mike and I discussed our situation and decided that the safest plan was to down-solo the face. The ridge was not frozen and the storm was much closer. Many hours later after the sun had risen, we reached our high camp below the north face. Downsoloing the face under the cornices had been mentally exhausting. We packed up our tent, and started descending the upper glacier. Now, downclimbing, I had ruptured the sack of fluid under my knee cap. And as dawn crept up Mike had to trade his glasses for regular sunglasses; the lame would be leading the blind through the crevasse field. We had decided to descend the lower glacier because the Michael Wejchert below the North Face Joe Forrester 2,500 ft. of 5.6 loose shale didn’t seem to be very safe to rappel and we had done enough downclimbing. Unfortunately, the lower glacier dropped us out on the wrong side of Berg Lake, so we were forced to do a 3 km lake traverse. Wading across the lake was painful, but, arriving at our packs after 37 hours of climbing and retreating was great. We collapsed for the night with a snickers bar apiece. The next morning we hiked out the twenty-seven kilometers to our car. Our boots were soaked, my knee was messed up, and we didn’t have any food. As the delirium set in, I had some thoughts. How many times have I been walking off from incredible mountains exhausted, with friends from Colorado College? Some of my most treasured memories involve that last five miles to the car with the sun setting, or the snow falling, knowing that my partner and I had given everything we had on a mountain wall. Each of us are inevitably caught up in our own thoughts, but we share something absolutely priceless, and bonds develop that last for years. As I look back on the friendships I have created through climbing at Colorado College, and the ones that continue to develop, I can say that I am truly lucky to be brought together with so many people with climbing as the unifying theme. I hope as you read through the trip reports and stories, you find yourself reminiscing about your own adventures, and stay excited to have many more.

Be Safe and Happy Climbing, Joe Forrester

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Joel Irby getting ready to get a little dicey on The Castle, South Platte Joe Forrester

Climbs 2007

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Ballad of a Dead Soldier Renan Ozturk

North America: United States

Alaska The Stump Man aka The Brown Finger, IV 5.11 1,500’ Stump Jumper, IV 5.11a The Stump, The Wisdom Tooth, Ruth Glacier Ballad of a Dead Soldier V 5.10+ The Beholder V 5.12 (5.10x) The Eye Tooth, Ruth Glacier The Great Transformation V 5.12b/c Lower Incisor, Ruth Glacier Renan Ozturk (’02) and Cedar Wright Renan Ozturk and I landed on the Alaska Range's Ruth Glacier on June 14 in a dream state. The weather was perfect, and we skied our sleds to the "Spider Camp," so named for the unusual spiders that moved into our tent as soon as we arrived. This great camp was about a five-minute ski from the beautiful, 1,500-foot Stump, a subpeak of The Wisdom Tooth. The next day we were attempting a new route on The Stump that Renan had been stormed off the year before; it lies to the right of Chris McNamara and Joe Puryear's Goldfinger (IV 5.11a, 12 pitches, 1,800', McNamara-Puryear, 2004). We 6


each got a couple of wet, vegetated, dangerously run-out dihedral-stem-sketching pitches. The big surprise was that most of the route was spectacular with smooth but feathered, weather-polished edges and footholds and a plethora of thin-cam placements. Fifteen hundred feet later we topped out on a beautiful new free line, which shared the last pitch of Goldfinger. We called the route The Stump Man (aka The Brown Finger, IV 5.11, 1,500'), a slight jab at my good friend Chris' Goldfinger route, but also a nod to the reality of muddy fingercracks. We descended Chris' route back to our skis and boots. The weather just wouldn't get bad, so one rest day later, we were back on the Stump to tackle the next dihedral system left of The Brown Finger. The line we took avoided the dihedral for the most part, as we found the better rock, and the path of least resistance, weaved up world-class rock on either side. We explored both faces of the dihedral and then ventured onto the arête toward the top. This is probably the best route on the Stump, with an impossible-looking, runout 5.10a pitch through a steep but featured golden face with luscious flakes near the top. Stump Jumper (IV 5.11a) features four classic and unique 5.11a pitches and much bullet 5.10. It still wouldn't storm, and now The Stump was pretty played out. The El Cap-size Eye Tooth loomed above our camp, letting us know of her presence by dropping the occasional avalanche down one of her huge gullies. Just to the right of the biggest avalanche gully lies Dream in the Spirit of Mugs (V 5.10, 2,800', Bonapace-Haas-Orgler, 1994), a worldclass, 3,000-foot alpine rock climb, that, 1,500 feet up, breaks right on easier ground, avoiding a more direct line up a 1,500-foot golden headwall pillar with numerous finger-sized splitters streaking up its face. The Stump –Renan Ozturk After simul-climbing the route to Pitch 13, where the Dream breaks right, we continued directly up for eight long pitches, encountering world-class stemming and fingercrack climbing. We were amazed to find that the direct line went at 5.10+, as it looked like 5.13 from below! Renan, who has done Dream in The Spirit of Mugs, recommends our line, which we called Ballad of a Dead Soldier (V 5.10+), as a much more direct and enjoyable finish. This is also a much better rappel route, though it's still a flake- and block-ridden pucker-fest in spots (pray when you pull). "It's pretty amazing we haven't core shot a rope," I said to Renan as I rapped off the last pitch. By the time we pulled the ropes they were both miraculously chopped. As we skied the hour and a half back to base camp, it was snowing and the next three days were spent in the tent in a state of delirium. And then... the sun peaked through the clouds and the rain stopped. We wandered toward Denali to the next formation north of the Root Canal, where we found one of the best routes I have ever done in my life on the Lower Incisor. I had the pleasure of leading the first two pitches, which both clock in at 5.12. The first pitch entails a classic 5.12 crimper traverse from 7


The Beholder—Renan Ozturk

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one crack to the next, and the second is an out-of-this-world, 170-foot finger crack, that I barely on-sighted and estimate to be 5.12b or c. Strangely enough my winter in Indian Creek came into play as the perfect training. We called the pitch the "Indian Creek Trainer," due to its sustained, splitter nature, and called the route The Great Transformation (V 512b/c) in honor of a comparative literature book I read while on the glacier. The weather miraculously continued to hold through our rest day, and even though I was gobied and sore from my allout effort on the crux pitch of the Great Transformation, I knew we had to go for the objective that had brought us onto the Glacier in the first place: the unclimbed central pillar of The Eye Tooth (ca. 9,000'). The year before Renan had made it up the first third of the route, before blowing two tendons on the powerful last pitch of his recon. The central pillar is unique in that to each side lay ferocious, rock-spitting avalanche gullies. I managed a few fitfully surreal dreams before the alarm clock went off, and then we skied the hour up the side glacier that leads to The Eye Tooth, and soon were simulclimbing up the initial buttress that approached Renan's tendon-popper pitch. Renan got his redemption and led the overhanging crimper pitch first try. On second, I Renan on The Beholder Cedar Wright found the crux 5.12 sequence to be reachy and powerful, and I just eeked it out. One more steep 5.11 dihedral pitch brought us to the huge ledge where we planned to traverse under the left of the pillar's two avalanche gullies. The ledge ended and the traverse to the ledge continued in a slow and calculated manner, as every piece I placed would have almost surely ripped out should I have fallen. Meanwhile the sun had hit the gully and Renan was getting pelted by chunks of ice. I finished the final 5.10 X foot traverse moves as quickly and safely as possible, looking nervously left at two rotten RPs in expanding flakes. I reached a thin crack and have never been so psyched to place a double zero and a zero TCU in all my life... they seemed like a bomber belay after the choss I had climbed through. Now we felt committed: up and over was the easiest and safest way off. We found the climbing on the pillar to be mostly varied and classic, with that golden, windweathered patina that we had grown to love, but the pitch right after the death traverse was strewn with huge blocks, one of which narrowly missed me when Renan accidentally cut it loose. I trundled a refrigerator-sized block which exploded into the gully below. (Thankfully Renan had climbed gingerly past these features and not killed me with them.) The final pitch went right up the center of the thin pillar with 3,000 feet of exposure looming below, and entailed utra-techy stemming and body scumming, with three double zero TCUs and many RPs for pro. We topped out onto The Eye Tooth with an incredible sense of relief. Things had just gone too smoothly on the climb, and on the descent the very middle of the lead line went into a crack on the third rappel... and wouldn't come out. I was forced to chop the lead line in the middle, and feeling like scared kids who want their mommies, we rapped the 3,000 feet, passing a 9


Kate on Half Dome Mikey Schaeffer

knot on every rappel. The feeling of relief upon touching down on the glacier and completing our route, The Beholder (V 5.12 [5.10X], 3,000'), is hard to put in words. On the ski descent back to base camp, the binding ripped off my left ski and I postholed the last mile back to camp in a totally worked, psychedelic state. The next morning, with all our ropes chopped and an amazing two weeks of climbing under our belts, I duct taped my binding onto my ski and we lugged our sleds four miles up the glacier to the airplane pickup point. We had climbed and descended almost two miles of rock, and chopped three ropes, in less that two weeks. Deprivation from civilization and some harrowing rappels made civilization pretty sweet. Less than a week later we headed to Pakistan on our way to Shipton and Trango towers for the "Stan" part of our "Alaskistan 2007" expedition. Continued on Page 36

California Direct Northwest Face, VI 5.12 Half Dome, Yosemite Valley Madaleine Sorkin (’04) and Kate Rutherford (‘03) The Beauty I Do “I can’t do it; I can’t see it anymore. It is impossible,” I sob as I am lowered down. Madaleine, my climbing partner, hugs me as I land on Big Sandy, one of Half Dome’s most prominent ledges. I don’t hug her back. I am stiff with frustration, my ribs hurt and I am scared that ten feet of silver granite above us will thwart our attempt to free the Regular North West Face of Half Dome. Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the 10


ground. Since I heard the simple verse by the poet Rumi, I have done my best to live by it. I don’t so often kiss the ground as much as the vertical cliff faces I find myself on. Today we are trying to climb the beauty we see. Last year, as I told my father about my latest adventures on El Capitan, I could hear him smile over the phone. But in the same breath that he congratulated me, he said that while El Cap was grand, Half Dome was really the most beautiful piece of rock he had ever seen, anywhere. Had I climbed that one yet? He wanted to know. Now, the most El Cap—Renan Ozturk beautiful piece of rock in the world was at my fingertips, grating them raw. It didn’t matter anymore that Madaleine and I could be the first women to free this route. We had lost the sequence and I lost hope. I took my turn at the belay and rested. Madaleine climbed up; she fell too. I lowered her back to the ledge and together, we sat cold and frustrated. We ate almonds, and talked about the finger lock that we needed to get with our left hand. A slow aid party passed us. Finally the sun reached us lightening the mood. We laughed and worried about our adventure, wiggling our toes in the warmth and watching the trees and granite swirl far below us. We were here because this is a beautiful climb; it’s the skyline we live under, and it is as perfect a piece of architecture as can be found in any landscape. Let the beauty you love be what you do… Time to try again; I fall. Then Madaleine tries: she’s at the pin, then the nut. She skips the nut. “Get your foot up there!” and “Don’t fall!” I scream under my breath. She stands up. And just like that, she has sent. I start hoot’n and holler’n. Over the next hard pitches we swapped leads, now invigorated, even more determined to become part of that beauty, to melt into the face of that granite monolith and eek our way to the top no matter how grueling. Finally, awash in the gold light of evening, we stood on top. We gave thanks and headed down into the shadows of the valley floor, grateful to have climbed the most beautiful rock in all the land. There are a thousand ways to kiss the ground. -Kate Rutherford The Nose (VI 5.9 C1) El Capitan, Yosemite, CA. Chris Burwell (‘08) et al A week before heading back for my last year at CC, I headed to Yosemite to meet two very good friends of mine, Sebastian Grau Kunhardt and Matias Meyerholz, both from Chile. We spent a few days climbing some valley classics, but mostly we relaxed and enjoyed the sunshine. Several days before I was scheduled to leave for Colorado, we began our only objective of the trip by fixing lines to the top of the fourth pitch of the Nose. The following morning, after a hearty break11


fast and a few carafes of coffee, we began jugging the lines at 5 am. I began first block as the sun came up, and spent the morning climbing some of the most memorable pitches of my life. We reached the Changing Corners after dark, very tired, and as soon as Sebastian left the belay, Matias and I both fell asleep. Not long after, Sebastian took a scary fall into the darkness, caught only by our trusty gri-gri. Sebastian heroically finished the pitch, and we slept at Camp 6 until sunrise. We topped out the next morning at 10 am, after about 29 hours on the wall. We had brought 22 cams, including a few offset aliens, a small handful of stoppers and free-climbed or French-freed nearly the whole route. The only pitches where we consistently used aiders were the Changing Corners, the Great Roof, and the summit bolt ladder. A few Valley locals had told us that climbing the Nose with a team of three might be challenging for novices like ourselves: but the down time gave Matias the opportunity to improve his English, me to practice my Spanish, and Sebastian to laugh at both of our mistakes. I had a great time, and I recommend the Nose to those who would like to learn ‘in-a-day’ tactics, even if you don’t quite make it. -Chris Burwell

California Winter Break Various Activity Hayden Miller (‘09), Max Krimmer (‘10) Ben Snyder (‘10) and Julia Sick (‘11) The plan had been laid out: I would return from France overnight in Denver, then fly into San Francisco to meet up with some friends and head to Bishop. I was meeting Simon Benkert, a friend I had met through competing several years ago. We would ride out to Bishop with Simon’s friend, the perpetually psyched Ethan Pringle, where I would spend two weeks before returning to Colorado Springs for school on the 20th. However, upon arriving in San Fran I found out that Ethan had injured his heal a few days earlier when his girlfriend moved the pad out from underneath him. No biggie, I assumed. But then I got hit with my second blow; it was snowing in Bishop. I began passing my days in San Francisco meeting Simons’s friends, eating at taco stands, and finding out that despite only being able to use one foot, Ethan was still considerably stronger than me. After five days of the city, I began to grow restless and the offer to go to Sacramento and work for Simon’s uncle became enticing enough to take. I had now been in California for a week without touching rock. Simon had planned to return over this weekend from Bishop so an any-means-necessary journey did not make sense to him. The following morning it was off to the Sacramento bus station to catch a Greyhound to Reno. After that, I had no plan. I arrived in Reno and figured there must be a bus to Carson City, another gambling town 30 minutes south. I walked around and eventually got lead in the right direction to the bus stop. Then the saving grace came, Simon’s friend Victor Copeland called and told me he talked to Simon that morning and heard I was headed to Bishop. With new motivation I started trying to hitch hike but it was now dark and a kid with two weird looking square backpacks of foam is a little out of the ordinary. I began talking to people on the streets, saying where I was headed and if I could get a ride, even just for five minutes down the road. Once again my luck turned for the better, and I got a ride to the next town. Once there, I met Vic and we headed to Bishop. The Buttermilks—the main attraction of amazing quartz monzonite boulders perched at the foot of the Sierras—was still very snowy so we decided to head to the Volcanic Tablelands. Vic game me the full tour, and while not climbing anything exceptionally hard for myself, I had one of the most satisfying climbing days in a very long time, climbing classic after classic. The next day we decided we were going to do Golden Shower, a highball V10 up in Buttermilk country, snow or no snow. Unfortunately, we found out our navigation skills were not up to par when approaching from the opposite direction due to snow and we spent four hours hiking around. Given the beauty of the Sierra’s and the Buttermilks the day was in no way ruined. We headed back to the Tableland’s and both ran laps on the ultra-mega classic Atari, a problem I later found out Vic put up years ago. The weekend was now over and Vic had to depart but later that night CC students Max Krimmer, Ben Snyder, and Julia Sick arrived, along with Max’s friends Ryan Nieto and Elizabeth Grant. We spent the next two days at the Tablelands, while I constantly insisted that the borrow step-mom’s mini12


van could make it up the snowed in road. On Wednesday, we headed up to the Buttermilks and made it to the boulders after only getting the car stuck in a snow bank once. Instead of a few hundred people swarming the area, the snow had kept the human population down to a dozen or so. I concluded my break in Max’s hometown, Ojai, nestled in the foothills between Santa Barbra and LA. With two relaxing days of sleeping and chilling under my belt, I caught a ride off of Craigslist’ rideshare up to San Francisco and arrived back in Colorado Springs in time for some beers. -Hayden Miller

Steck-Salathé IV/V 5.9 The Sentinel, Yosemite Jeremy Roop (’06) and Mikey “Meat Truck” I don't mind wide cracks. I would even venture to say that I occasionally enjoy them. There is something gained by thrashing around in their deep recesses. I have to imagine new ways to combine two appendages into an awkward jam, an experience unrivaled on even the most aesthetic splitter handcrack. That said, at the beginning of this past summer, on the first day of a week-long vacation in the Valley, I found myself standing on the small ledge directly below the infamous "narrows" of the SteckSalathe. I was looking straight above into the most incredible and unfathomable wide crack and I have ever seen, and I was scared. As is turns out, the narrows are quite aptly named. The pitch is a bombay chimney that starts as a 10 inch slot in the back of a roof and continues upwards for nearly 60 feet, slowly narrowing along the way. More of a vertical spelunking adventure than an act of rock climbing, the slot is in fact so intimidating that on the first ascent of the route, Steck and Salathé opted to avoid it completely, placing several bolts to aid their way around it. It wasn't until a few years later that Royal Robbins braved the slot and eventually squirmed his way through, freeing the Steck-Salathe. Since Robbin's day, many a valley climber has successfully passed through the Narrows and the pitch now carries a fairly innocuous 5.9 rating. Reminding myself of this fact (and ignoring the fact that everyone knows 5.9 in the valley has the potential to be damn hard), I forced myself to take one last full breath, turned my head to the side, and thrust myself up into the cool darkness. Fifteen minutes, a few scrapes and a cracked helmet later, I emerged victorious into sunlight. My partner Mikey however, a nearly 200 pound ex-football player who occasionally goes by the nick-name "Meat Truck" was not so fortunate. After thrashing madly in the depths below me for nearly an hour, the meat truck was eventually forced to admit defeat and he asked to be lowered to the bottom of the pitch. This was disappointing to be sure, but I can't say it was entirely unexpected. Before leaving the ground we had joked about the fact that Mikey wouldn't fit through the Narrows, but I was pretty sure it had been in the ha ha that would be funny but it wouldn't actually happen kind of way. Unfortunately, it just had happened. We were now well over a thousand feet up the side of the Sentinel, with five more pitches to go, one rope between us, and my partner's bulging pectorals wouldn't fit through the narrows. Luckily, as I contemplated the obvious “what the hell do we do now?" question, the meat truck came up with a solution. It was uncouth to be sure, but such shenanigans usually are. After a lot of untying and re-tying, two rappels, and several blind shoe throws around a chock-stone, Mikey somehow ended up tied to the bottom a top-rope that hung free on the outside of the slot. Thirty seconds of desperate lay-backing later, he joined me on the belay ledge, thereby completing our 60 foot, 3 hour pitch. Fortunately, the rest of the route flew by at a comparative lightning pace, and we summitted in plenty of time to enjoy the late afternoon sun bathing the Valley. Picking my way down through the slabs and bushes on the descent, I considered the route we had just climbed. For nearly 2000 feet it had remained very consistent. Wide, flaring, physical, and lacking in any sort of enjoyable or fluid movement. On paper, it sounds perfectly awful, and perhaps it really was, but I will still call it an absolute classic route. It was well worth climbing, but maybe only once, and definitely with a skinny partner. -Jeremy Roop

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The FreeRider VI 5.12d El Cap, Yosemite Valley Renan Ozturk (’02) and Amee Hinkley After a long winter in Nepal and one day before flying to Alaska I completed a 6 day free ascent of the FreeRider on El Cap. It was my second attempt from the ground after extensive mini-traxioning on the headwall while living on the summit. My first attempt was ground-up onsight in 2004; everything went free except the monster crack which gobied me severely. The Free Rider, with only one 5.12+ tufa dyno and some thuggy hard offwidths is the easiest free climb on El Cap and had seen a lot of traffic in the last few years. During my successful redpoint with Amee Hinkely (who gingerly jumared every pitch on a 9.1 cord) we endured forced bivies because of crowds on the route. Mainly we were tangled up in a party including classic valley characters Dean Potter, Ivo Ninov, Timmy O’neil, and his paraplegic brother Sean. We patiently rationed food and water, waited for the junk-shows to dissipate and unavoidably got hit by lots of urine. Nevertheless, El Cap is classic and the climbing is brilliant. I climbed the route with only one fall low on the route the first day on a hard slab boulder problem in the sun. We topped out happy, scrounged a ghetto meal and had a nice open-bivy. The next day I said a quick goodbye to Yosemite and entered the fast lane to the Ruth Gorge, Alaska Range.

(Above) Kyle jugging into the wild blue yonder Jeremy Roop Morning on the wall Joe Forrester

-Renan Ozturk West Face V 5.8 C2 Leaning Tower, Yosemite Valley Jeremy Roop (‘06), Joe Forrester (‘06) and Kyle Davis Late June in the valley is quite hot. We had originally planned to climb something on the Capitan but the 100oF+ temps kept us looking for the shade. Also, this was to be Kyle’s first wall climb. We ended up deciding on climbing the west face of the leaning tower. Leaning tower, not monstrous by Yosemite standards, is still a beautiful chunk of granite. The face over14


Two legends: The Incredible Hulk (Above) and the Diamond on Long’s Peak. Joe Forrester

hangs an incredible amount, and the 4th class traverse into the start of the climb meant there was already 400 ft of exposure when we started. Kyle and I started schlepping our loads to the base of the climb. Climbing the 4th class traverse with a 80lb haulbag full of water was exciting to say the least. The next day we got off to a pretty post alpine start. I started leading the first two pitches and reached the top of the second pitch after an hour or so. The climbing was pretty casual, bolts with a couple of hook moves. Then Kyle started jugging the haul line. Unfortunately, he attached the Gri-Gri for back up. As he jugged higher and higher, the Gri-Gri locked up on the weight of the haul bags. I could see Kyle was perplexed and scared. The first pitch was so overhung I could barely see the belay. Very slowly the bags started inching forward on the ledge. Uh oh I thought, Kyle is going to ride the pigs. I could only imagine Jeremy as he released the bags and watched Kyle go swinging out into the abyss. Kyle wung out over 400 ft of air, arching 50ft out from the wall and then 50ft back. I am pretty sure I could see the whites of his eyes from 200ft out. After the king swing, the climb went pretty smoothly. We got to Ahwanee ledge with enough daylight for me to fix the next pitch, a reasonably tricky C2 traverse. It was pretty magical as the sun turned the ledge an ethereal orange. Perhaps the best part of the entire wall were the Asahi beers that Jeremy brought up complemented with some beanie-weenies. He wanted to thank Kyle and I for hauling up the gear, and man he was successful. We collapsed with a slight buzz. I should say Kyle and I did, Roop was pretty beat. He had climbed the Steck-Salathe the day before. The next day was pretty casual, although the pitches still overhung substantially. We reached the top with plenty of time to spare, so we sat down and ate some soup and drank some more Asahi. Unbeknownst to us, we were in for quite the night. Critters just couldn’t seem to leave us alone. The first advance came shortly after dark. Jeremy heard a small wall rat that got spooked and ran over Kyle’s head. He had quite a start. As I was shining the light around, I spotted a monstrous wolf spider over Jeremy’s head. Not more than an hour later, we heard a chipmunk rustling in our haul bag. 15


The last straw was when it began to nibble on our aluminum cans. We made a ruckus and it left. The rest of the night was uneventful, and we did the raps in the morning. -Joe Forrester The Red Dihedral IV 5.10The Hulk, The High Sierra Jeremy Roop (’06) and Joe Forrester (‘06) The Incredible Hulk is a beautiful hunk of white granite situated in the High Sierra. It rises over 1,100 ft from the canyon floor. Jeremy, Kyle and I hiked up during the midday after leaving from the lake home to the world record brown trout. The hike up was beautiful, progressing from thick pine forest to alpine meadows. Spires and faces, some unclimbed, jutted out, tempting us onwards. We arrived high at the base of the Hulk with enough time to watch the alpenglow illuminate the face. The next morning Jeremy and I started climbing. Since graduating, it is harder and harder to climb with other alumni, especially living in Virginia. Jeremy took the first lead, linking the first two pitches to the base of the Red Dihedral. I took the Red Dihedral, and Jeremy took the next pitch. We then simuled to the top. Climbing a route this big in five pitches was exhilarating, and we summited in 5 hours. On the summit register we saw that another CC grad, Kate Rutherford (‘03) had summited a couple of days before. This area is certainly a special place, and highly recommended. -Joe Forrester

Colorado The Yellow Wall IV 5.11 The Diamond, Longs Peak Bosier Parsons (‘95) and Kishen Mangat (‘95) The Yellow Wall on the Diamond has been lingering in my mind for many years. Most climbers know of and are intimidated by climbing on the East Face of Longs Peak due to fast-moving weather systems, wind, cold, altitude, and difficulty. Of course there are some who cruise 5.12 at 13,000 feet, and even link multiple hard routes on the East Face in a single day. The progression of route selection on the Diamond is pretty obvious – the Casual Route, followed by Pervertical Sanctuary, and then usually the choice of D7, the Black Dagger, Forest Finish, or the Yellow Wall. For me it was the Forrest Finish, which I chose because it is less sustained but still has some pretty wide climbing to keep things interesting. But there’s no doubt that the Yellow Wall and its notorious A4 Traverse pitch capture many climbers’ attention, instilling fear and puckering. The original traverse in 1962 by Layton Kor and Charlie Roskosz involved some hooking and some thin piton placements, and then allowed access back to the more centrally located crack system which is now the Casual Route. The combination of Roger Briggs freeing the original dihedral on the first pitch in 1976 and Charlie Fowler and Dan Stone freeing the A4 Traverse pitch in 1978 unlocked the key to the Complete Yellow Wall, including the original dihedral, the A4 Traverse, and the Headwall pitches. For Kishen Mangat and me, the choice to attempt the Yellow Wall was easy, since it had always been on our minds. For us, not climbing the A4 Traverse would not be considered an ascent of the Yellow Wall. We decided to start on the original corner and go for the complete version. But, as is often the scenario on the Diamond, you can easily be ill-prepared mentally and/or physically, or get hammered by thunderstorms. This time it was all of the above. We were fortunate with the timing of our ascent up to Broadway Ledge. I like to exit left below the top of the chimney, risking a few steeper moves on some rotten rock to make it faster and easier to scramble up to the base of the Diamond. This proved wise as we beat another party also intent on the Yellow Wall by just 10 minutes or so. I counted 11 parties on the Diamond that day, so it was far from a wilderness experience. Instead, it was a big party of whooping and hollering. We planned on swapping leads, and in order for me to get the traverse, Kishen started up the 16


original corner. He was quickly humbled because it is steep and thin, and a ground fall is not an option. He offered me the lead, but I figured if he had to back off then I probably would too, so he re-climbed up and stretched the ropes to our first hanging belay. I took the lead and was feeling fine, until things got steeper and more difficult. I was already pumped, and took a rest before getting up and through to the top of the second pitch. I climbed up and down a bit trying to piece together the correct move. I still ended up coming off and took a 10 footer. I was more pissed then scared at this point because I knew I had it, and shouldn’t have come off there. I finished the pitch quickly and we achieved our goal of linking the three pitches to Crossover Ledge in two. Kishen quickly moved up the easier pitch above and into the corner which begins the A4 Traverse pitch. This was a great piece of leading since he gained a nice little square ledge to belay from, and avoided the more common hanging belay stance. The ledge allowed me to breathe and gather my courage for the lead. I moved up through the finger lay-backing, which was great climbing, and then fought hard to figure out the mantle move onto a thin ledge where the traversing begins. I figured it out, then sketched through, and was glad to be somewhere I could stand fairly easily. I stepped right to find a RURP with a tattered old piece of webbing, which I clipped. I then moved another 10 or 15 feet right to a fixed Bashie. Here was where my mind almost thwarted me. Stepping off the secure little ledge and committing to the moves above the Bashie was mentally quite difficult. I moved up and down several times until I felt I had the sequence figured out, and then went for it. But before I could move my foot, I sailed off, and with the rope stretch of newer 1⁄2 ropes, fell 25 feet onto the Bashie! I’m sure I let out a good yell, as there were cheers from across the Diamond! From the belay Kishen offered his usual “Holy Shit Bosier!” and we were on our way. I worked back up to the Bashie to find it was still seated just as before, so my mind was a bit more settled knowing that it would hold. The final section goes up a steep 5.10 crack which took everything I had, and I was really glad I didn’t leave the #3 Camalot with Kishen, as I placed it to protect my desperate flop onto the ledge where the Traverse meets up with the Casual Route. Kishen followed pretty smoothly and was congratulatory and impressed by the lead. I was already freezing by the time he started the next pitch and I was wearing everything I had, I had eaten everything I had, and now I watched the weather move in. He did well on the pitch, but it still felt like forever, as I was sketching hard about the thunder and lightning while chattering uncontrollably. I climbed in the rain, which seemed to stay just light enough to allow me to ascend without falling all over the thing. When I reached the pedestal belay, there was a very short discussion about whether to continue or to traverse off left to the D7 rappels. I was disappointed to bail, but the weather and our slow speed made the decision obvious, not to mention my bonked energy supply. I asked Kishen to lead the traverse exit left, a couple of 5.8 moves, and then just before I cleaned the belay, the rain started in harder and everything got wet, and the lightning really started crackling. My mind took total control and I was puckering with fear for my life. I was so pumped I felt like I couldn’t hold on, and I didn’t, slipping off the wetness and taking a short swinger! Crazy - I never thought I could fall off that pitch! We started feeling better knowing we were to the rappels. But realizing it was probably false to think we were any less likely to be struck by lightning, we descended the familiar rappel route as fast as possible. By the time we were back on the glacier it must have been 5 or 6 o’clock, because I recall feeling glad that we didn’t have to negotiate the talus field in the dark. Did we climb the Yellow Wall? Certainly a good portion of it. Was it enough to quench our thirst for more? I think all climbers know the answer to that one. My question remains: who will go back with me to try to get the complete ascent? Kishen and I, and my other good partners-of-old are often challenged with their busy schedules, but I am confident I will return. The problem is, when someone is available, how will I ever get back in shape?! And will we be able to send it in style, allowing enough time to achieve the complete version of the climb? Or will we be thwarted by crowds, or weather, or fear, or sickness? Or perhaps we will choose a different line: there’s so much to get excited about. But the longer I wait to go back, the more mythical and frightening my memories and aspirations become. Sow how about it? Any takers? Did I mention I have a sick base camp of family cabins up above the YMCA of the Rockies? Come one, come all, come often. Longs Peak awaits… -Bosier Parsons wbosierparsons@yahoo.com 719-494-4968 17


Alexander’s Chimney III WI4 M4 Long’s Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park Michael Wejchert (’08), Joel Irby (’06), Kevin Brumbach (’07) Joel and I had a vendetta, which was Alexander’s chimney. Both of us had tried the route far too many times to not go back and finish it up. My freshman year, it had been the first time I was roped up with my future partners in crime: Joe Forrester, David Hoven, and Joel. We of course had failed miserably. A later attempt with Joel saw me winging off the crux pitch in less than ideal conditions. Joel had led the first pitch at least four times. Confident in the route’s conditions after scoping it out via the Smear of Fear the week before, we headed up. Our good friend Kevin Brumbach rounded out the team. Hiking up again a mere week after already doing it was not very fun, although we got a sweet sense of victory sprinting past the party who had started up the trail an hour and a half before us as we approached Lamb’s Slide. We sorted gear and played the good ‘ol horse and goggle for the lead. Joel, per usual, won via black magic, and he once again set up the first pitch, disappointed that his reliable number two placement had been iced over. Shitty ice stymied him before he traversed out right. In the meantime, a mongo-sized block had chosen Kev for a target, and we remembered why helmets are as pricey as they are. I took the next easy pitch and jumped off the snowslope to clip the hanging anchor (there should probably have been more snow). Fortunately I didn’t fall again as I led the next cave pitch. Clipping the anchors, I realized that it was in the bag! Kevin climbed up, and Joel was relegated to follow the pitch

Michael Wejchert on Alexander’s Joel Irby

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carrying the pack, which gave me a great sense of satisfaction. Kev had nabbed it on the first go. But, as Joel and I noticed that most of the fixed gear and webbing on the climb were ours from previous raps, we realized that even short, fun routes in the park can be hard simply because of their setting. We quoted some Point Break and set the ropes for the rap. Alexander’s chimney was my first route at CC. I thank the boys for taking a newbie ice climber up to the park, and wish they had all been there when we actually finished the fucker off. But, if it’s any consolation, failure and success in the park don’t really feel any different. -Michael Wejchert Ellingwood Arete III 5.7 Crestone Needle Sam Wilson (’09) and Rowan Hill (’09) Sam Wilson and I planned on climbing the Ellingwood Arete on Crestone Needle (first ascent by the CC professor Albert Ellingwood) last semester, after my first trad lead up in Elevenmile Canyon. On the second weekend of first block we headed for the 4 wheel drive road up to South Colony lakes in Alex Kerney’s Volvo, Helga. We hiked in on Friday night, which took a while since Helga only made it half way up the bumpy road. Alex and Andi, who accompanied us and provided transport to the mountain, hiked the normal route up the Needle. Sam and I got up excessively early and stumbled through the dark at 3 a.m. After scrambling around in the dark for almost two hours without finding the route, we finally sighted the grassy ledge that fit the route description. Once on the ledge we heard running footsteps and wondered who was prancing around at 5 in the morning on the narrow ledge. We caught a glimpse of six mountain goats hopping off the ledge right in front of us. Once on route, our moods soared and we found ourselves quite comfortable on the ridge. We clambered up fourth and low fifth class terrain for about 1000 feet on surprisingly solid conglomerate. We climbed unroped to the headwall where we tied in up for two fun and long pitches of 5.5 and 5.7. The first pitch led up a chimney with stemming and face moves for a full rope length. The final pitch followed a right facing corner with a fun crux over a small roof up to a ledge. This put us just below the summit. The way down was steep and gusty, but thanks to our early start we were napping in the tent by noon. -Rowan Hill, Raw Milk Enthusiast Smear of Fear III M6 WI5 Long’s Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park Michael Wejchert (’08), Chris Alstrin October 11th, 2007 Chris Alstrin, who made the film Higher Ground and who works in the AV department at our fair school, and I still a student at Colorado College climbed the Smear of Fear on Thursday, October 11th. Chris skipped work, and I assumed I could catch up on class sometime that night. Wednesday saw us driving up to sleep in the local Estes Park rock gym, sorting gear, and certainly interrupting Chris’ friend Roy’s last romantic evening before leaving for Yosemite for an extended period of time. I had wanted to climb the route since freshman year, when I first leafed through Jack Roberts’ guidebook. 5.10 rock climbing to thin ice? Holy shit! After a delicious breakfast of salmon and bagels and cream cheese at around 4:00 Thursday morning, we set off up the approach trail, which I know too well to ever enjoy. It was quite windy as always above treeline, but thankfully calmed down enough for us to rack up and start the climb. I led the first pitch which was quite easy up to a good stance and belay. Chris followed and led the crux pitch of the route, which was a tricky, mixed crack up to some thin ice. Following the pitch, I realized my hands and feet were certainly unused to having tools in their 19


hands; the movement felt foreign and odd, but no less enjoyable than it had ever been. I led the last pitch, which started off thin directly off the belay but soon became quite easy. A good anchor, and we were done. Success in the park is rare, and I feel like the main effort for the route was the handful of other times I had hiked in to try and actually get some climbing in!

-Michael Wejchert

Chris Alstrin on thin ice Michael Wejchert and (below) Alex MacPherson leading into the fog. Who says ice climbing is always more miserable?

The Casual Route IV 5.10a The Diamond, Long’s Peak Alex MacPherson (’03) and Joe Forester (‘06) During childhood we all read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and in the beginning we learn: The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it no longer I lit out. When Huck “lit out” it was with his good friend Tom Sawyer. Last summer I was working a job near where I live. The work was easy but dismal and I was anxious to be done. So when I got a call from my Tom Sawyer (Joe Forrester in this case) that we should climb The Diamond of Long’s Peak, I immediately found a replacement for my job. The day Joe and I were climbing weather came in earlier than expected. By 9 AM we were in 20


a white-out and by 10 AM we were in a hailstorm. Having only brought one rope we were forced to go up over the top of the mountain instead of retreating. Climbing in the whiteout and the hail was one of the most nerve-racking experiences I’ve had. But when we stood on top of Long’s I definitely didn’t feel “sivilized”. And as the lightning storm started to strike around us we lit out, fueled, at least temporarily, by the same sense of adventure that must’ve been what took Huck down the river with a runaway slave. We were headed back to our own versions of Widow Douglas (engineering school for me and med school for Joe). But as everyone reading this knows, these excursions make the Widow Douglases of our lives much easier to bear. -Alex MacPherson All Mixed Up WI4 or so Thatchtop Mountain Michael Wejchert (‘08) Not a soul, save for a few elk, cluttered the windy road up to the familiar glacier gorge trailhead on the cold Wednesday evening. On my seventeenth trip up to the park, not a soul sat in the passenger’s seat, either. I watched the speedometer rise and fall and blasted the Cure (the one tape in the borrowed car) to concert levels. In a mere nine hours I was due in class to discuss Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire. As the road wound up in elevation and the air became colder, I reflected on the reading I had done: apparently for nothing. But they were Abbey’s words that had compelled me to once again visit the Park in the dead of night after all, running out of the stuffy library and packing my ice gear. The consolation that he was somewhere in his favorite place somewhere and perhaps somehow smiling at my own thoughts made up for the inevitable dissatisfaction of my professor. I drank a liter of water and tried to sleep as the familiar wind buffeted the tiny green car. Even in parking lots, the Park’s wind can astound. The effect, usually heightened by impeccable timing with a human’s prayers for it to stop, is one of fear. Thoughts of spindrift blowing a lone climber off of the route once again dominated my dreams. However close to school this place might be, to step into its sphere is to accept another world entirely. Being alone was, I thought for the first time since leaving, perhaps not such a good idea after all. I did not sleep until the sun was crouched behind the mountains and it was time to get up anyhow. Coffee still steamed in my thermos. I poured some and, still in the car, arranged my things. I neglected half of my water as it hid in the folds of my sleeping bag. The wind kept me cinched tight in my hood but soon stopped as the sun jumped over Thatchtop Mountain and Long’s Peak. Presently the climb came into view. All Mixed Up is a moderate climb in a wonderful location. Presently the wind died and I began to hike up the scree, dumping my pack and most of its contents at the trailhead. No one breathed for miles, and the world dissolved into maroons, greys, greens, and the white of the cascade. I began the ice climb just as my fellow students were discussing Abbey. The day was beautiful and the thunk of the tools in good ice made me lose track of the time. I thought of my first successful climb in the park: a solo of the route “Martha” my freshman year, and of the seventeen other alpine trips that had seen hypothermia, a broken wrist, vomit, blood, sweat (which usually freezes immediately) and if not tears, certainly anger. Those seventeen trips define my progression as a climber. For me, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the beautiful places of the world. After I topped out, I ran back down to the trail, hopped in the car, enjoyed a slice of pumpkin pie in Boulder, and made it back to CC in time to catch up on some reading. I had promised myself I could subsist on three Park successes for a long time. Too much bad weather, too much snow slogging, hiking, camping, driving. A hideous chance of success. But as I write this there is an old magazine open my desk with a picture of Vanquished Buttress. That thing belongs in Chamonix! Cool name, too—do you think it’ll come in this spring? Only one way to find out! My fingers move to type in the weather forecast and a seed irreversibly plants itself. I suppose the low fruit isn’t worth picking and I guarantee I’ll make that familiar drive sometime soon. -Michael Wejchert 21


Five Finger Discount IV 5.10c C2 Safeway Spire, Colorado National Monument Dave Hoven (‘06) and Kyle Davis Kyle Davis and I headed up this beauty of a tower thinking it would be a piece of cake. On the contrary; it took us forever and we were completely wiped out by the time we were done. We finished the last pitch, which seemed to be the most taxing, in the rain. As I was belaying Kyle up the rain cleared and we were rewarded with a magnificent double rainbow that spanned from one canyon rim to the other. The route looked as though most of it would go free at reasonable grades.

Kyle jugging in on Safeway Spire David Hoven

-Dave Hoven

New Hampshire Hassig’s Direct, IV WI5 M5 Cannon Cliff, New Hampshire Mike Wejchert (’08) and Chris Wejchert March 20th, 2007 Grivel North America printed an ad in Alpinist 2, back in 2003 (when I was even more of a wee lad than I am now), concerning John Bouchard’s ascent of Cannon Cliff’s Black Dike: Chouinard’s “filthy, black icicle.” Bouchard was nineteen years old. “He self belayed until the rope jammed and he cut it. He dropped a mitten. He broke a pick. He topped out at dusk, in a storm. It was New England’s first Grade V ice climb.” Grivel ended their ad with their typical “Style Matters.” How could any selfrespecting New Englander not think about the thing? Fast-forward several years and many climbs later. I confess I flew home for spring break simply for that little trickle of ice. Reports were ominous. “Unprotectable for twenty feet at the crux” was one. Not too bad, right? A report a week later stated the entire climb was rotten and thin. My father Chris and I drove up from southern Vermont on the 19th and crashed on the floor of his old climbing buddy’s home, perusing through Mountain magazines. After some beers we fell asleep on the living room floor. The alarm buzzed loudly. Turn it off, go back to sleep? No way! The Dike! A McDonald’s breakfast (which would haunt me until a suitable sized ledge), and we were racked up and ready to go. At least in the winter one doesn’t have to deal with copious amounts of poison ivy on Cannon’s approach. The day was at first quite mild—a boon considering we had prepared ourselves for a typical N.H. climbing day, and the approach went much quicker than the summertime because of a nice, packed out path. Suddenly it came into view; thin, dark, and ominous. A surge of fear stabbed at the small of my back. Fuck that, I argued, I’m getting to the top of this thing. The first pitch was mellow but unprotectably thin; I got two equalized nuts for an entire ropelength. The next pitch was simple enough as well—solid finger jams with gloves on and great tool cams. We bypassed the rock traverse and chose a direct line, which we later found out to be Hassig’s direct. The next pitch, undoubtedly the crux, had a coating of verglas. I got a sling around a frozen (loose) block and, after trying all other alternatives, got a solid pick cam. About to bail for lack of visible pro, I started breathing heavy and pulled up, pitifully far from my last bit of pro. Half on thin ice, half 22


jammed in a weird offwidth, I finally got a small stance and tried to knock in a pin—psyched that I had the right size, as it was the only physical pro available. Almost took the big one there, I thought. As always, I spoke too soon, and the baby angle rattled down from my numb hands to the base of the Dike. Dad, per usual, was staring off elsewhere and singing to himself. I let out several angry words and punched on, “protected” by a ratty tri-cam in verglas and belayed my father up off a single mammut sling around a flaring horn. By now it was full conditions; the morning warmth had disappeared. As the spindrift sloughed off my frozen face, I lamented leaving my warm blue parka in Colorado. Dad came up to the belay. “Absolutely incredible lead Mike. I was scared as hell. Can’t imagine how you did it on the sharp end.” I don’t think I would have rather heard it from any other climber. Dad took the next ice pitch and belayed below a funky overhanging ice cave. The last pitch was thin and rotten, although not steep. I got a good screw five feet from the belay and a stubbie, but other than that, it was picks and ‘pons only. There is an exit pitch that takes one to the trees to the right of the Black Dike, but there was no way in hell I was going to do anything less than the whole thing. I kept up straight and scratched my way to the trees, utterly psyched. I had finally (sorta) climbed the Black Dike! Dad came on up and we hugged before stumbling back down to the car. I couldn’t help but think about my first ice climb, about 45 minutes away—the WI2 of Willy’s Slide. Again with my dad, I had attempted to knock ancient ice screws out with frozen hands, cursing twisted leashes and the spindrift coming down. That was six years ago. On the way back, we had glimpsed the Black Dike, dark, steep, and ominous as always. It seemed light years away. We climb for progression’s sake. Steps are small and oftentimes we feel like we don’t get anywhere. But small step on top of small step, we move upwards, punching towards that unobtainable, perfect climb. -Michael Wejchert

North Carolina Original Route III/IV 5.11a R/X Whitesides John Fitzgerald and Joe Forrester (’06) The Southest in October is a beautiful place. The trees are turning, the air is crisp, and second year med students are released from the fluorescent John Fitzgerald following some spice Joe Forrester lighting of the medical school library for a long weekend. I teamed up with my buddy from Virginia Beach John Fitzgerald for a run at the Original Route on Whitesides. Amongst Southeastern climbers, Whitesides has a reputation for rearpuckering run outs on poor gear. It is also the tallest cliff in the southeast. I had to at least give it a shot. After the all-day party that had taken place after the culmination of our final exam, the nine hour drive down south was testing. As the sun was setting, John and I scouted the approach 23


and then crashed for the night. Over the night, there was a slight misting, so I was apprehensive about the first slab pitch. I would be leading every pitch except two, as John was more of an alpine climber. He used to climb 5.12+ in the Gorge but had his left forearm shortened an inch after a motorcycle racing accident. Nevertheless, he was game to give it a go and follow me up some southern rock. As the sun was lighting up the face, I started up the first pitch. The first 60ft were pretty standard 5.7 southeastern slab climbing. However, there were no bolts. I finally clipped the first and only bolt in the 120 ft pitch with a sigh of relief. I continued slabbing my way upward and the rock became progressively more slimy. I was 40 ft above the one and only bolt on the pitch when I On the final traverse out of the OR Joe Forrester came to the crux. It was soaking wet. As I slowly started high stepping, John yelled up some encouraging words. “ If you come off, I am just going to start running down the hillside as fast as I can. GO FOR IT MAN” I was filled with courage and sent. After the first pitch, the climbing didn’t really let up although the pitches were shorter. It was pretty fun. Any pitch under 5.9 involved going anchor to anchor with one or two pieces in between me and the anchor, but the 10c and 11a pitches were actually protected well! The pitches were vertical and the holds were positive. It was exhilarating watching the rope just loop out down to the belay 60ft out with nothing between me and the sky except my wits and my hand crushers. We finished the route in a little over six hours with plenty of sunlight left to bask in the sun with the tourists. A nine hour drive and studies awaited me, but I had a grin on my face! -Joe Forrester

Utah Spaceshot IV 5.9 C2 Zion Rich Brereton (’07) and Michael Wejchert (’08) Rich Brereton and I share an embarrassing affinity for completely soulless puns, art-rock bands, climbing, and of course, Star Wars. It was no small wonder that once again we should be sharing a rope for Block Break. With Christopher Burwell (’08) driving his trusty Subaru Imprezza wagon “Carwee” paired up with Nathan “Bonesaw” Brand (’07), we drove the twelve hours to Zion, including a stop at Neptune Mountaineering and a stretch where I was the sole conscious member of the car and quite confused and afraid: listening to a twenty minute long Sonic Youth song at two in the morning wasn’t such a good idea after all. Nonetheless, after differences of opinion with the ranger concerning our camping spot, (the ranger asked why one member was stumbling around the desert, calling out Burwell’s name), we set off, Rich and I for Touchstone wall, and the Bonesaw/Burwell team for Moonlight Buttress. I had never been to Zion before (a morbid fear of aid climbing has a lot to do with this) but it’s by far one of the most incredible places a human being could ever dream of encountering. To gaze up at the walls was one thing—but to live on them, if only for a day, was a boon indeed. Rich led the first two aid pitches with all the grace one might expect from an El Cap vet, or aid 24


climbing, for that matter, and continued with style on the next hard free pitches. However, our late start (around eleven) made us consider the last four pitches (my easy block) with a wary eye. I distinctly remember us both getting ridiculously psyched on one occasion to climb into the night, but the sight of our friends hobbling back from Moonlight changed our minds. Rich was visibly disappointed, I most likely outspokenly relieved. We sat drinking beer and eating canned fruit in camp that night, and decided on Spaceshot for the next day. After a good night’s sleep and an early start, we blitzed up the first easy pitches to the staggeringly steep aid headwall. Rich reminded me of Heinrich Harrer’s descriptions of Andrel Heckmair on the Eiger. This was to be Rich’s great day. I smiled to myself thinking such romantic thoughts and— almost got beaned on the dome with one of my esteemed companion’s falling aiders as it whipped down next to me. Rich soon redeemed himself by styling the crux of the route along with all other pitches. Early on, we had decided that time willing, I would complete my second full aid lead. Time was not willing, and I acquiesced readily for “efficiency’s” sake. Night fell before the last pitch and we debated who would lead it, or, if we would be there for half an hour or three hours. We finally came to the agreement that if Rich led all of Spaceshot, I would lead all of some ice climb—my specialty. Even then I shuddered, but was soon wishing to be on thin ice as I jugged the last pitch. We (a pronoun for Rich) had done it! A five minute break and we started rapping/scrambling down, ever wary of Nate and Chris’ unmoving headlamps at the top of Moonlight. After several rappels in which the end of the rope was eaten up in overhanging darkness, my nerves were beginning to wear. We stumbled through desert bushes for a little while, making one rap off of a tiny little shrub, and back to the car and sugary cinnamon rolls— it was about one o’clock. We hugged each other and were happily greeted by our two equally tired comrades, who had also sent! -Michael Wejchert III 5.8 C2 Kor Route, Dolomite Spire Big Bend Area, Moab, UT Dave Hoven (’06) I woke up early on this crisp Tuesday morning, drank a beer, ate half of a day old doublecheeseburger, and began the arduous hike up to the base of The Dolomite. This being my first real rope-solo adventure, and one of my first aid climbs, the going was slow and stressful. By the time I got to the top of the third pitch I was talking to myself and my gear out loud. Disaster struck about three quarters up the fourth and final pitch (linking pitch four and five) when I dropped my boot switching from free climbing to aid. I ignored the omen of the plummeting shoe and continued on, aiding in one boot and one heinously tight Anasazi. Just below the summit, on what seemed to be the last point of aid on the tower, I blew a hook and went sailing. Immediately after realizing I was fine, I was overwhelmed with the urge to feel terra firma beneath my feet so I collected gear and rapped down. When I was packing my stuff in preparation for the shitty hike back to my car I saw that the locking carabiner that had attached my belay device to my harness had apparently been cross-loaded during the fall and was bent and cracked at the gate. In light of the situation, when I got back to my car I drove into town and bought the biggest strawberry milkshake I could find. -Dave Hoven

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The Flow River Tower III 5.8 C1 (First Clean Ascent) Sweet Cherry Pie III A2+ First Ascent February 19-21 2006 Joe Forrester (06’) and Jeremy Aslaksen Over two beautiful days in February, Jeremy and I mud-clawed our way up the west ridge of River Tower. The first pitch consisted of some dicey mantles right off the belay. I had led this pitch clean the year before, so Jeremy got it this year. Some of the bolts were missing 3/8th hangers which we replaced. The second pitch was reported by the first ascentionists to be a “perfect 2-3 River Tower, the line is right of the sun/shadow line Joe Forrester inch crack.” The crack was far from perfect; unless perfect is equivalent to a foot and a half of caked mud. It took me over 2 hours to clean out the crack. The rest of the 2nd pitch went well and was a simple bolt ladder (12 rivet hangers needed). The third pitch required more mud excavation but revealed a very nice crack underneath. The fourth pitch required run out free climbing and there was pretty heinous rope drag. This could be avoided by free climbing out right from the belay, carrying minimal gear (single set cams/tcus). This line will go free at moderate 5.10 using the bolt ladders, 5.11+ without. Enjoy the mud-less cracks. After climbing The Flow, Jeremy and I put up a new aid line on a tower south of the Fishers Parking lot. At modern A2+, Sweet Cherry Pie is stellar and is a great rest day diversion with a cool summit. The line starts at a left leaning crack on the north end of the tower and the first pitch ends at the obvious saddle. The second pitch goes up the north east aspect up a wider friend-beak crack. The first ascent required straddling the summit ridge and lassoing the summit block. Quite Exciting! -Joe Forrester Beaking In Tongues VI 5.8 A4 The Oracle, Fisher Towers Jeremy Aslaksen and Joe Forrester (’06) The Fisher Towers are a beautiful place. Gothic towers shoot upward towards the sky, caressing the clouds with withered fingers. Mud oozes out, slowing upward progress. I have spent many a day and night climbing in the Fishers and love it every time. I always seem to find something new about myself each time I go. Over Thanksgiving break, I was fortunate to meet up with my Fishers climbing buddy Jeremy Aslaksen. I also had Savannah, my girlfriend, acting as ground crew. Our goal was to climb Beaking in Tongues on the Oracle. The Oracle is a seldom climbed tower in the Fishers. There are two lines on the tower, a 5.10x sketchfest, and an A4 sketchfest. We chose the A4 sketchfest. I was lucky enough to win the toss and headed up the first pitch. I had to climb the first 30ft without any pro, mantling and stemming on mud blobs. I started to despair. My first piece of gear was a #1 pecker. I couldn’t bounce it, so I just stood up. It held. 5 #1 and #2 beaks later, I got a good #2 cam in a mud flare. The rest of the first pitch was some more fun beaking. On the second pitch, Jeremy was cleaning out a mud curtain when I heard a squeak. “Oh Shit!” A bat started spiraling down and landed in my lap. Jeremy had accidentally speared a bat with his nut tool while cleaning his placement. Bummer. I knew there was going to be some bad mojo associated with that. The next two pitches started to become standard Fishers fare. Beaks in mud, angles into mud 26


Forrester and Aslaksen pitch 3 of Beaking in Tongues –Savannah Snyder

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blobs, an occasional cam, all we trusted with our body weight. Not to mention the plentiful cursing, back cleaning, and harassment we used just to keep it light hearted. The fifth pitch was the most exciting for me. I used nothing but #1 beaks and tipped out #4 and #5 cams in horizontal choss flairs. I never knew how bomber beaks were. On the crux pitch, Jeremy dislodged a watermelon size block. We watched as the block sailed past and then stood aghast as a giant whoomph echoed through the canyon. The rock had hit our fucking ledge! As we rapped down our fixed lines that night, we inspected the damage. The ledge was collapsed and a huge hole was now in my Jolly Roger flag. Bummer again: the bat karma got us. On the way out, I rolled my ankle really hard. Jeremy ended up getting the last pitch. The last pitch was the gem. Jeremy took a total of 12 hours to lead it strung out over two days. I had the opportunity to consider my place in life on Thanksgiving Day as I sat on a ledge of mud in the shade at 25 degrees for nine hours. Turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce sounded pretty nice. We finally topped out on Thanksgiving day, exhausted. We were the fourth ascent of the route after Steve “Crusher” Bartlett, some Italians, and the late Cameron Tague. Replacing all the anchors with new webbing on the way down and adding a bolt to one of the rap stations took some time. However, we finally got back down and collapsed amidst our five ropes, beaks, blades and cams. The best Thanksgiving gift of all was waking up to the Fishers covered in snow, sitting around and laughing with good friends. -Joe Forrester In Search of Suds III 5.10Washerwoman, Canyonlands Timothy Gibson (’10) and Noah Gostout (’10) Leaving the blacktop behind, we soon realized our adventure had taken a sharp turn. This epiphany was soon stressed by a sign reading “High Clearance 4x4 only,” a qualification that our peppy Subaru Impreza Sport didn’t quite live up to. After stepping from the car to examine the road ahead, we decided to continue onward towards the Washerwoman tower. With only the directions printed from Mountain Project, our distances and landmarks were based on the passenger’s observations of the surroundings lit by a full moon. After miles of jostling, rock stacking, and loud directions being yelled over the revving engine, we decided the stress was too much and broke into our stash of Tecate Mexican Beer. Our nerves somewhat subdued, we pushed further along the boulder strewn trail. After passing almost six miles beyond what the guide said was the correct distance, we put the exhausted Subaru and ourselves to sleep along side the trail and waited for light and sobriety to find the now illusive Washerwoman tower. The desert beauty surrounded our makeshift campsite as the sun rose and poured light on vibrant sandstone. Neon colors of reds and oranges emerged from the lackluster landscape we had stumbled into the night before. We placed our dew-moistened sleeping bags into the car and spread out the map. After some hesitation as to whether or not we passed the tower in the dark we moved onward. Only a few minutes along, and the defining roars from one of the “high Clearance” vehicles that the sign had warned us of broke the hypnotizing purr of the Subaru. From this monster truck emerged the head of a rotund, balding middle-aged man. His astonishment seemed to be in congruence with ours, except his surprise concerned the fact that we could undoubtedly drive and camp between his axels. Inside his enormous Tonka truck, a full array of instruments including a GPS, pinpointed our location. Using the now clear directions, we passed what was reconfirmed as a not drivable road in the trusty Subaru, and parked at the bottom of the stunning arch. With a hearty breakfast of eggs in a blanket smothered in Cholula hot sauce, we began the approach to our climb. Hiking with speed and determination we covered ground quickly and silently. Our silence was abruptly punctuated with the cracking of a rock lip underfoot and a shriek of swear words. A step that had dutifully held Tim’s weight failed under my own, sending my knee into the abrasive rock, and blood oozing from the ensuing cut. With the mood now dampened by a sense of foreboding, we reached the base of the climb. Tim led the first pitch, artfully scaling the crack system and placing gear. He paused momentarily and shouted, “Wow, it’s the sky! I thought it was a plastic bag.” His realization came as a shock to 28


me as well; the contrast of the immaculately blue sky against the red rock looked truly artificial. Leading the second pitch I passed into the beginning of the arch. From the second belay ledge Tim led out onto the face of the tower, stepping away from the protective roof of the arch onto the exposure of the face. Following, I realized that what looked like challenging moves from below were made even more so by the unnerving breezy exposure. The giddiness of summiting the tower was soon washed away with the anxiety of lowering ourselves over the edge of the summit ridge and loading the chains for the free rappel. Tim slid first into the void beneath the arch spinning gently on the ropes. Looking down at him I had to speak out loud to myself to quiet my nerves. Once my turn came, I found myself awed at the incredible free feeling that came with suspension from the stone bridge above. Joining Tim on the ledge, we both finished the rappel and began to pull the ropes. The guide had warned about rock fall with the rope pull, and for once was dead on. As the colorful lines came zipping down a shower of marble sized rocks accompanied them. Tucked beneath our helmets, we noted the loud snap of rock against the hard plastic each time one of the projectiles attempted its assault. We hiked down to the car and recounted the day’s unforgettable events. Sweaty, hungry, and thirsty, we drove back out of the canyon, to the safety of the blacktop again. Our trusty Subaru once again conquered the rutted road and we were on our way back to civilization and friends to tell our story… and play Tequila whiffle-ball.* -Noah Gostout

Wyoming Minor Dihedral III/IV 5.9 Haystack Peak, Wind River Range CMC Route III 5.6 Mount Moran, Teton Range Ellen Stein (‘87)

Haystack Minor Dihedral Ellen Stein

My claim to fame is that all my friends are better climbers than me. I can hang with them skiing, biking, peak bagging, and even ice climbing to some degree, but not on rock routes. Just haven’t had the miles, so this summer I decided to step it up. I went on my first big alpine rock trip in early August (wettest week in the Winds, so we heard), but managed to beat the heat, the bugs, the crowds and had a blast. The memories are indelible, of course, but fading as quickly as the cuts on my fingers as I get back into the swing of my work and life in Durango. I must give credit *EDITORS NOTE: The CCAJ in no way endorses Tequila Whiffle Ball or any other sort of pastime where liquors are present. However, if it did, it would strongly recommend campsite one in Onion Creek as it now has a fence, and emphasizes only the use of fine Jose Cuervo tequila. It also would perhaps suggest to not give Mr. Forrester a bat after imbibing aforementioned product.

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where credit is due and report that my friend and climbing partner, Brad Davidson (Logan, Utah) led all the routes and was a great sport. I pulled my weight when I could, route finding on boulder fields and the like. We accomplished a lot in 8 days in the Winds and 5 in the Tetons. My favorite was the Minor Dihedral on Haystack Peak which was a beautiful 5.9 III/IV route that we climbed in eight pitches above Deep Lake. Other highlights include a canoe approach to Mt. Moran (12,605) in the Tetons. We climbed the CMC route, overnighted at the high camp, summited, descended, cooled off with a swim, and canoed home. Can’t beat that. We were one of two parties on the mountain that day which was pretty fabulous. -Ellen Stein

Greenland North Ridge Route IV 5.9+ Peak 741M Althea Rogers (‘06), Kelly Ryan (‘06) and Bradford Cabot Watermelon. No, chocolate fudge brownies. What about donuts dipped in peanut butter fondu? Don’t think about peanut butter or you’ll never get through the next pitch. I thought about all the foods I was missing as I brought my climbing partner Kelly Ryan (’06) up to the belay ledge. We had spent the day before climbing a new route on a peak directly east of the one we were on now. A full day of kicking North Ridge Line Althea Rogers

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steps up slushy snow and wandering about in the maze of slots and sketchy snowbridges had left me tired, and hungry. Kelly wouldn’t let me talk about the food I was dreaming about until at least six weeks into the trip and it had been only three. We had started out that morning at 2 am. Our other climbing partner Bradford Cabot had been feeling poorly and after an hour of hiking he decided he wasn’t up for another climb. Without Brad along with us we had no hope of saving our rations for the entire day. Brad was the one with the most self control among us and also the one who seemed to be losing the most weight. As Kelly and I continued on towards peak 741m we stopped to pull out our glacier travel rig and eat half of the daily ration. I had finished the rest of mine a few hours later as we sat on Kelly and Althea on the summit Kelly Ryan the ridge deliberating about which line to take up. We had anticipated taking the north ridgeline to a snowfield on the north face to gain the northwest ridge and the summit. As I sat below a beautiful summit block that looked like it belonged more in Squamish than Greenland I asked Kelly if we shouldn’t just go straight up. After another hour of simul-climbing up the blocky ridge and snow we began pitching it out on solid rock up lichen covered cracks. The first pitch was 5.8 climbing up a double crack system. After Kelly joined me on the ledge we decided to change into climbing shoes and our packs became even more cumbersome. The pitch above us seemed to be the steepest. As soon as I climbed off the ledge I realized how hard the pitch would be with a pack on. I kept climbing up until I reached another ledge where I clipped off my pack. The crux pitch held a series of good cracks which would have been better if not for the loose flakes that threatened each placement. After 50m of climbing the angle eased off and I set the belay at the base of a squeeze chimney. I hauled my pack up and Kelly came up to meet me and the challenge above. She lead the chimney pitch and hauled our packs at the top of the chimney. A few more mellow pitches found us at the top looking out over the Davis Straight and icebergs floating by. “Hey Althea, I saved some chocolate…” Kelly handed over the brown gold as we started the long descent back to camp and more days of climbing ahead. I think I can make another three weeks without talking about mango chutney. -Althea Rogers Althea Rogers, Kelly Ryan, and Bradford Cabot were supported by the Gino Watkins Fund, Shipton/ Tilman Award, and the American Alpine Club.

Asia Pakistan The Epica Direct, Unrated Cats Ear Spire, Pakistan Renan Ozturk (’02) and Cedar Wright (Continued From Page 8) Yup, the last couple of weeks have been a real humbling, face-slapping, butt-kicking suffer-fest for Renan and me, and the last two days have been the icing on our humble pie. After a week and a half 31


Cats Ear Spire Ozturk/Wright

of unstable weather, we jumped on the first clear window in an attempt to reach the two summits of Cat Ear Spire. With little information on the line, we were instantly off-route, but forged on, hoping that somehow we could force our way to the summit. I have never climbed at altitude before and, without any acclimatization, found myself nauseous, headachy, and gasping for air. But I sucked it up, quite literally, and we pushed on. One cold shiver-bivy later, we managed to push nearly two thirds up the face before the route became too loose and dangerous for the sensibly minded. So we bailed, which was a small epic in and of itself. Stuck ropes and the possibility of being forever plastered to the face of the Cat Ears were the main worries. The exclamation point on the whole experience was a grapefruit sized rock whizzing past my head followed by several others which I dodged like I was in a surreal video game. It's hard to put into words the sense of disappointment that Renan and I stewed in, but we did our best to stay positive. I think the true test of a person comes when the tables turn and you have to look failure in it's ugly twisted face and realize that in the grand scheme, regardless of your personal victories or defeats, it's good to be alive. Of course, that didn't make it any less agonizing to sit and write this in perfectly sunny weather, knowing that we were too worked to climb, and that by the time we recover, it could be storming…. Many days later: The angst of bad weather, altitude sickness, failure, and the harsh reality that dreams don’t always come true is over. In the last two days, our dream has come true: We have realized the first ascent of a major virgin summit. This was perhaps the last major summit in the Trango group, the South-West Summit of the Cat Ear Spires. After five days of inclement to atrocious weather, we started up the approach to our “theoretical” line with all the goosebumps and nervousness of the full commitment that is alpine style. Due to its impenetrable nature, the higher Southwest spire of the Cat Ears had never been climbed. However, after much scoping Renan and I theorized that there was a line that spiraled in a corkscrew up this beautiful peak. Renan and I established the line over two days with one nauseous, head-achey shiver bivy at over 18,000 feet. The first day was characterized by two vertical to overhanging splitter headwalls connected by an eight hundred foot traverse along mixed snow, ice, and choss. After the second headwall, we traversed another four hundred feet to the final and third overhanging headwall. Renan fixed one pitch, and then rappelled to our less than spacious ledge. As the sun set, the adjacent wall that connects to the 32


spire cut loose with one of the most impressive avalanches I’ve ever seen. A mere 300 feet away was certain death. While the view was impressive, our bivy was less than ideal, with water dripping on us all night, and barely enough room for us to lie on our sides. By the morning my feet were essentially lifeless blocks of ice, and the uncertainty of whether our line would go was overwhelming. Mostly due to altitude sickness, I really, really wanted to give up and bail, but I knew I would never forgive myself, and so I dug deep into my reserves. In spite of my dizzy nauseous state, we continued upward. The final six-hundred feet was the most difficult and dangerous part of the route with huge death-blocks, overhanging off-widths, and tricky aid moves through awkward roofs. We both pulled out the full bag of tricks and I had the feeling that everything I had learned as a climber was leading up to this moment. I had the indescribable pleasure of leading the final pitch. The summit was not visible until the very end of the route when I pulled out a roof and onto the last vertical step to the summit. As I climbed the final bit, I could hear our cooks Hafiz and Safraz, who at this point were convinced that the mountain had eaten us alive, screaming up to us from the glacier. Renan and I took turns climbing up the final needle like summit block, and I think we both were a little misty eyed, knowing that we had scored the ultimate Himalayan prize…a virgin summit!!! But this kind of glory is fleeting; going up is only half the battle. Renan and I now had to descend our route, which meant re-climbing the two huge and tricky traverses we had crossed and establishing a rappel route down the headwalls. It’s truly not over until it’s over with this kind of climb and one pitch before we were to touch down on terra-firma, our ropes were stuck. In our totally worked state there was a moment of sheer panic…before I sucked it up and was forced to use some life-risking tactics to retrieve the ropes. We reached the base of the climb in the late afternoon, and skittered down the approach gully eager for the comforts of basecamp. We were both lamenting the hour and a half traverse across the glacier to our camp, but as we descended the final scree slope to the glacier we caught sight of Hafiz and Safraz. They were very happy to see us alive and in one piece and had spent the previous night imagining the worse. They gave us the hero’s welcome, with celebratory garlands, tasty hot Pakistani food, and soda!! And then…they carried our packs back to basecamp for us. We literally ran behind them to keep up as they displayed their impressive hiking skills, with fearless crevasse leaps, boulder hops, glacier slides. We decided on the name The Epica Direct for our route. Epica was our good friend Erica Kutcher’s nickname, and it seemed fitting as she passed away here in an avalanche not far from our basecamp. Erica was one of the most promising female Yosemite climbers ever to roll through the scene, and earned the nickname Epica because she was never afraid to go for it, and often the results were pretty “Epic.” I think Erica would appreciate the sarcastic “Direct” description of our route which we had initially considered calling the “California Corkscrew.” In the end the only line to the beautiful summit stands as “The Epica Direct” and so in that 20/20 retrospect, I guess all the failure and suffering in bad weather of the last month was worth it, because in the end it makes this amazing success even sweeter. - Cedar Wright

Nepal Tawoche South Ridge attempt Khumbu, Nepal Himalaya Renan Ozturk(’02) and Seth Hobby Winter in the Everest Region. In February Kris Erickson, Adam Knoff, Ross Lynn, Whit Magro, Seth Hobby and I headed up for some new routing on 6,495M Tawoche. We had all just finished as instructors for the Khumbu Climbing School, teaching the 60 Sherpas and Nepalis to climb. We set up basecamp on a beautiful, seldom visited alpine meadow at 5,000m on the east side of the mountain. I was partnered up with Seth, an old friend with whom I had previously epiced on the N Face of Cholaste in 2004 and made an ascent of the LOSAR ice feature together with Erikson in 2006. While Whit and crew went for an acclimatization climb up the east ridge, Seth and I put all our cards into the South Ridge: a 2,000ft tall rock buttress with a wild, convoluted gendarmed ridge approach. The climbing on the ridge has some bullet tiger-striped 5.9 pitches with a sea of holds and perfect finger locks. The crux mystery 33


(Left) South Ridge of Tawoche (Above) La Bas Route, Morocco

pitch that topped out the ridge turned out to be a 5.10+ squeeze at 20,000 ft in double boots. Feeling extremely beat down we stumbled to a bivy hoping for a glacier slog to the summit the next day.

During the night a snow gale hit which coincided with the first snow Kathmandu has received in 62 years. With a full moon gleaming off the fresh snow and the sea of clouds down at 17,000 ft we painstakingly harvested the fluffy snow to melt in our ice crystal filled i-tent . In the sunny morning we took a half-rope, a few nuts and one tool each onto the upper mountain. After a classic knife-blade snow ridge traverse we got shut down by a hidden technical rock band, not to mention nasty fixed ropes blowing in the wind from the route’s only other ascent. On the descent, not wanting to reverse the gendarmed ridge in the dark, we went down a "mystery" gully that shredded our ropes multiple times. In this same time the rest of the crew succeeded via the east ridge and were ready to attempt the SW ridge. We wished them luck and hiked down to continue our traveling. Unfortunately they were thwarted by more severe snowstorms. Although Nepal often serves up some humble pie, the journey is always fulfilling. The high Tibetan culture and iconic peaks will never cease to captivate and lure me back for more. -Renan Ozturk

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A new mural for the classroom Renan Ozturk

Africa Morocco La Bas VI 5.12 Tagoujimt n'Tsouiant, Tagha Cirque, Atlas Mountains Renan Ozturk (’02) et al Climbing is an amazing vehicle for interaction with some of the world’s remaining "off the grid" cultures. The journey as well as the climb leaves one with a rich experience. The Atlas Mountains Village of Taghia, Morocco is a three hour canyoneering adventure away from phone, electricity, and roads. During our month stay we, as a group of climbers organized by Cleo Erickson, established a multipitch 5.12 route, but that wasn't all. The union between The North Face and Global Giving means that TNF includes a charitable component in each trip we propose. So along with the climb we built a new roof on the school in this remote village (the materials were carried in by mules), attempted to bolster local trails with handrails and I did a site-specific landscape mural in the school classroom. Conrad Anker, Kris Erikson, Kevin Thaw, Heidi Wirtz, and I climbed La Bas (5.12b) on Tagoujimt n'Tsouiant; the route name is a local expression meaning "no harm." Our new line had 12 pitches of bolted 5.10 to 5.12 leading to several hundred meters of traditionally protected terrain, which we simuled to top out the 35


800M cliff. On October 3 we red-pointed it ground up with no falls. Others with us in Taghia included Roman Gackowski, Josh Helling, Jeff Hollenbaugh, Ken Sauls and Jim Surette. Many European climbers have visited Tagha Cirque for the past 20 years and established many classic routes with much recent activity. From our climb we could see the multi-colored roof and watch goats being herded though steep trails recently reinforced with chain and rebar. No more drips in the schoolroom, a big mural, (hopefully) no more death-falls from precarious trails, together with a fine new route made for a fine experience. - Renan Ozturk

Europe Italy Fehrmann/Preuss Finish IV- 5.8 Campanile Basso, Italian Dolomites Aidan Haley (’09) and Michael Stanton The Dolomites have some of the most stellar rock climbing in Europe. The Basso is an incredible tower in the range and has captured people’s imaginations since eyes first looked upon it. Pioneers of Dolomite climbing attempted its vertical faces and the face turned away countless attempts. Finally in 1899 Otto Ampferer and Karl Berger, students from Innsbruck, climbed a corkscrewing route up and around the tower. Michael and I decided to take the Fehrmann route that climbs 12-15 pitches up a prominent diThe Totenkirchl Aidan Haley

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hedral on the west side of the tower to the main ledge—from which you can walk about two thirds of the way around the tower. The climbing in the corner was great and constantly steep. We made it to a ledge four pitches below the summit and walked around to the East face of the tower where the Preuss route can be taken to the top. Preuss was a badass in every sense of the word and had massive freak power. He had a strict climbing code that he stuck to religiously: he climbed solo, and whatever he climbed up he had to climb down with no rope. He also did this at the turn of the 20th century. Another interesting tid-bit about this climb is that he found it relatively difficult so he took off his boots at one point and climbed the rest in his socks. I was freaked out from the steepness and exposure yet I had modern shoes and equipment, not to mention a belay. The route was stellar, and when we topped out there was an Italian choir from the village below the Basso singing. It was surreal. The highlight of the descent included a full 60-meter free hanging rappel. This was a very memorable experience in the mountains. -Aiden Haley

Austria Totenkirchl-Express, IV- 5.10Totenkirchl, Wilder Kaiser Range, Austiran Alps Aidan Haley (’09) and Michael Stanton August, 2007 I stopped in Germany for 2 weeks to climb with Michael Stanton, an old climbing partner from Seattle now living in Munich. The weather forecast was tumultuous but we were determined to make this work. Two days after I arrived we drove south east to the Wilder Kaiser range in Austria to attempt the “Totenkirchl” or “Death Church” in English. The climb is divided into three distinct sections and is listed on the topo as having 21 pitches. The first section is 8 pitches of enjoyable steep face/slab climbing up to 5.8. The rock in the Wilder Kaiser is a type of hard textured limestone, really great stuff to climb on and super grippy. We encountered the third pitch dripping wet but manageable. The top of the slabs brought us to a long traverse into a huge amphitheatre where we began to tackle the main head wall of the “death church”. Looking up and the towering columns of the amphitheatre gave the impression we were in some sort of brutal torture chamber in the dungeon of a satanic church. Pitch after pitch of enjoyable vertical rock brought us to the upper ridge where the route joins one of the easier trade routes up the peak. We unfortunately got stuck behind a German family with swami belts moving in a bizarre fashion. Their system of climbing is hard to describe, but nevertheless slow. We were able to climb around a corner and up to a rappel ring where the ridge dropped away into the mist. We continued to make our may up until we broke through into the sunshine on top of the ‘church’. The descent was long but relatively straightforward and followed the painted descent arrows. We arrived at a hut to watch the alpine glow hit the mountain. We enjoyed a schnitzel and beer/fanta drink. Got to love the Alps… -Aidan Haley

Community Happenings Chris Benoit and Mona Johnston are suffering through another beautiful Seattle summer and beating it to the mountains when possible. Benoit has worked the system so he can spend 8 months of his second year of law school in Mexico. Mona will be living at the University come September when she starts her Architecture Masters. Though they miss the South Platte (and any climbing for that matter) their couch and bottle of tequila are open to any others who still roam wild and pass through the city. -Chris and Mona 37


More Thoughts

As I sit and write this I think we may have gotten in over our heads. Never before have I, or Joe for that matter, used any sort of publishing format and there will doubtless be some misnakes in editing (never fear, that one was indeed intentional) and the like, so the tension is running high indeed. Ironically, reading this means that everything worked out, and that sickly feeling of failure will have passed. You, I’m sure, are can relate—two or three pitches from the top, you realize you’ve got it in the bag, yet there continue to exist those incessantly nagging doubts. Those feelings cause us to check our knots twice or knock on imaginary wood or pray that the snow demons will hold off until morning. All said, I suppose getting in over our heads is what we, the alpinists, the rock, the ice climbers, the adventurers, are very good at. Joe’s introductory letter cites a certain attempt on Mt. Robson where his knee became, well, fucked on one level or another. It was not the first nor the last time that I have seen him hobble out resolutely from an objective. As for me, those moments of fear remain, but moments of humor stick too. For instance: fourteen hours of bailing down, with many more to go, deep into grizzly country as Robson’s seracs groan, we stumble across the marsh by Berg Lake, soaked and exhausted. Yet one of us still has the humor to quip: “All this, and we still gotta deliver the ring to Mordor.” Or, a day later as we hike out, still on empty stomachs, I rip off my pack and dig out the last, nauseating energy-gel. About to chow down, Joe teeters into sight on the trail, his knee throbbing. The guilt becomes overbearing. “Joe, do you want this?” “No way, dude! I’m hallucinating, and it’s definitely gotten rid of my hunger pangs.” We laugh, lurch out to the car, eat burgers, ice cream, and massage our sorely blistered feet. A day later I’m on the Athabasca glacier alone before those blisters get the better of me. It rains, so we hop in the car and drive back nonstop to Colorado, where, as soon as his warped knee is able, Joe climbs the Diamond (see page 20), I suppose these memories are the ones I’ll take away from Colorado College. It’s like what CC alum Ed Webster bellowed, excitedly jumping up and down on his old stomping grounds during a slideshow in Worner Center: “It’s about the friends you’ll make!” He was right. We enter into these places not because of some bits of rock. We enter them because they teach us about one another, and the interactions found in this journal are decidedly human ones. We hope you’ve enjoyed the journal, and we hope that students and alumni will continue to contribute to the CCAJ in the years to come. Meanwhile, 30 sleepless hours after Athabasca, I wake up at the first belay on New Era to petrified screams of “UP-ROPE!” Pulling in slack I realize I may have gotten in over my head, and slowly smile. -Michael Wejchert

The CCAJ is a non-profit entity organized under The Colorado College. In addition, the magazines themselves are free of charge. All contributors and editors spent countless hours compiling, editing, and fundraising in order for this publication to come into fruition. While large steps are being made to ensure its long-term sustainability, financial contributions to the Journal of any kind will be graciously accepted. If you enjoyed this year’s CCAJ, please help. 38


Hayden Miller on Eviloution (V10) Bishop, CA Hayden Miller

Aiden Haley in the Alps Aiden Haley

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Pulling onto the summit of Cat’s Ear Spire, Pakistan Renan Ozturk

Rolf the motorcyclist gets takes in the view on Caselton’s summit Michael Wejchert

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2007 CCAJ