Twenty years from now only a few, if any, climbers will have repeated Jonathan Griffith’s 2013 trilogy (the North Faces of Aiguille Verte, Les Courtes and Les Droites, solo, in winter, in a day), while V15 bouldering will be common.
His axe was still raised. He glanced away, refusing again to connect, his eyes the same color as the ice. The scene was straight out of a Neruda poem, I thought, the one about the cruel wind slaughtering butterflies. Or maybe something from Eliot? Me and the grump were Prufrocks measuring out our lives with coffee spoons, hollow men engaged in an expiring pursuit. How terribly, terribly sad. I sniffed.
Recent violence near Potrero Chico confirms that the region is potentially unsafe for climbers.
Sometimes Andrew Lindblade, shaken by a near miss or just discouraged during a bad day in the mountains, would tell Athol Whimp that was it. “I’m retiring,” he’d say. Whimp, the other half of that powerful, intuitive climbing partnership, paid no attention. Whimp knew, Lindblade told me recently, to laugh at doubt.
I’ll never forget my first real gun, a seven-shot Ithaca .410 pump shotgun. It was a surprise Christmas present from Mack, my alcoholic grandfather who, in the 1950s, had murdered a black musician with a ball peen hammer when the guy rolled into Mack’s Paris, Texas gas station asking for a battery charge after hours. Apparently, the man had been rude.
If you ask climbers what our favorite part of climbing is, we would say solving problems. Well, we might actually say, “slaying the Gnar,” or “sending the chronicles of Gnarnia with advanced kneebar techgnarlogy,” or even just, “taking a dump on a route,” but we all mean the same thing, and that is we enjoy figuring out solutions to vertical challenges.
"Oh no!" Randy thought, or so he'd tell us later, as he skied down from the top of Sunlight Mountain at dawn in storm. "Alison's going to kill me! I've lost the intern!" At Rock and Ice we usually have an intern around, writing and helping in different ways; and intern mortality and well-being are good things to be concerned about.
From my vantage beneath a steep bouldering wall at the Movement climbing gym, called by some “the best crag in Boulder,” I sat hypnotized by the sight of a tight little package, all hot with hair full of body and bounce, pumping an elliptical machine. I enjoyed this nice moment until the guy (jerk) next to her diverted my attention.