Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 20: The Send Is Nigh

Our dear readers know that this blog has some recurrent motifs-- Napoleon not being organised, things taking forever, talking shit, and people posing on routes way above (or below) their limits, and of course the old question-- To Bolt Or Not To Bolt. I am proud to report that on Sunday, ALL of our recurrent themes were played out.

First, Napoleon did not show up at the appointed hour ready to go. We'd divided the jobs the evening before: I would buy the 20 bolts necessary for the ladder, and Napoleon would buy the two-foot socket wrench necessary for bolt chopping. So after the usual hour-long delay, we set off up the trail, putting up our now-standard "stay away; Gumbies On Crack will kill you" warnings, and we marveled at how wet the approach was. Indeed at one point we walked through a shower. Late-- check.

When we arrived Napoleon announced that "the community" did not approve of the idea of the bolt ladder I proposed for bypassing our second crux pitch. We won't name names of those members of "the community" but I found it funny-- most people, even with binoculars, can't see the pitch in question...and Napoleon has not even been ON the pitch in question! I was reminded of how the religious right freaks out about movies that they don't like, usually without seeing them, or how recently an African-Canadian (or black, whatever you're suppsoed to say) family in Ontario wanted to censor To Kill A Mockingbird...even though the book is anti-racist! Anyway, whatever. Talking smack-- check.

So then Napoleon climbed up P1 and I started upt he project pitch rope. So naturally we had an Aid Race and I must say Napoleon is stilla bit ahead of me in the jugging game. Here is us hanging and cleaning, err, I mean, posing.
I was expecting an hour's work and then up to the bolt ladder...but we ended up spending the entire day cleaning P2. Which was slow but kind of fun-- we knocked some absolutely massive rocks off. Napoleon also used a handsaw to cut down a surprsingly thick tree, and then he had to jug down to dislodge the thing from the crack it had wedged itself into. Meanwhile, I excavated the P2 traverse, which is now MUCH safer (3 bolts) and easier (most of it can be walked). I thought we would have a hand-traverse, which is what happened when I aided the pitch the first time...but you cut out a cedar shrub, you rip on the roots, and boom!, a block comes off, and now you have a ledge. Things taking longer than expected-- check.

Here we have young Napoleon getting antsy. After all, it has been about four hours since he last set foot in Starbucks.

Now when lowering Napoleon off the traverse, our young hero was not too I videotaped him cussing away. Those who have not aid climbed (or whatever it is that Napoleon, Driller and I do) will wonder, gee, what are all those ROPES for? Well clearly they are for bondage (of Napoleon) and domination (of our fears).

We finally rapped down the project pitch and installed a rap station 25 meters down, so you can now get off the route if it rains, or if your significant other calls and decides that you should Pick Up Arugula Right Now! which obviously takes precedence over The Climb, because Michelle Obama does it.

On returning, I got an email from The Yankee, a man with whom I have been talking trash for a number of years. The Yankee and Napoleon are quite adept at snipping away at each other, which is kind of entertaining, but would be better if they were ever in the same room to do so. Or maybe that would explode the fabric of space time, or be like Tyler Durden and Jack sharing space-- chaos! Anyway, The Yankee proposed that instead of making a bolt ladder, we install gym holds. Which would look something like this. I know, it sounds ridiculous...but how bad would it really be? You pull and stand on holds instead of bolts, and every third bolt has a hanger on it. "You call it A0," said The Yankee, "and then some sick fuck will free it at 5.19C and then, well, then you take the holds off and you have a totally free route." Which might work...except at that point, standards, even for gumbies like me, will have risen so high that the pitch the ladder bypasses will be a mere walk in the park at wet 5.12b.

Anyway, we will likely be stymied not by ethics, aesthetics, or a sense of tradition....but rather by cheapness and laziness. Imagine hauling a hundred pounds of plastic up there! I am too lazy, and Napoleon would certainly rather be in Starbucks, and Driller, well, Driller I am guessing would not be a fan.

But weekend it is High Noon for the bolt ladder. I'm going in with a drill, 20 bolts and maybe even a rock rack. Stay tuned...the send is nigh!


  1. jeez mike, so much for bringing back climbing's sense of humour eh? Cause that DID look pretty funny...

    How many ropes were you on then? 40 or so?

  2. Driller 'would not be a fan' cuz he recognizes a sly sandbag when he hears one...picture that fucking treacherous Yank, Tecate in hand, talking shit around a Josh campfire: "...and then I convinced the dumbfuck Canucks to actually bolt holds on the fucker! Ha!".

    This blog is rad. Sordid and stupid and kinda disasterous, like sniffin used panties from a vending machine, but also rad. I hope you all send.