Unfortunately, my pool of stupid stories pretty much extends to the present, but I did generate a few good ones when I went to the Bugs in the late '80s. We thought we'd start with one of moderates on the west side of Snowpatch. The Bugaboo/Snowpatch col was very icy that year (during our two weeks there were three helicopter evacs from people who fell on it), and I can read a map, so we went around the other side of Snowpatch, cause it was shorter. Icefall? What's an icefall? So, shut out from our original, low commitment objectives we decided to do the SW Corner, which we know almost nothing about and at ~16 pitches is a bit more to bite off. F/U #1. Left our packs at the col, including headlamps, and went with the rope, rack, shirt on the back thing. F/U #2. Blew off our turn around time, cause we were just so close to the top (mostly because I have this learning disability where I always think that pretty line must be the 5.6 crux and usually turns out to be .10 with the 5.6 around the corner). F/U #3. Then as we start down we get blasted by a sleet storm, gale winds, zero visibility, but hey, isn't that why we go to the mountains?
Normally you should be able to downclimb, almost walk down, the rock next to the snowpatch itself, but everything is now verglassed so we've got to rap everything. The first few pitches of the SW corner follow a narrow ridge before abutting the main bulk of the mountain with the huge east and south faces sweeping away to either side: Descending the route, (which no one ever does, but our packs are down there) it is imperative that you find the top of that ridge. We get below the snowpatch, and Mark disappears down the rope into the gloom and clouds. There is no possible communication, and the rope stays taut for a looong time, and it's now getting dark. Finally it goes slack, but I'm shivering so violently it takes like five minutes just to rig my device, then I rap into the gloom, sleet stinging my face, and the wind whipping the ropes out to the side.
And we're fucked. We are in fact out on the east face, the rappel is free hanging, it is many hundreds of feet of vertical rock to the glacier, and Mark is way over to the left on a tiny stance with his arms wrapped around a big loose flake and no anchor. Seems when he realized we were too far east he tried to traverse over to the ridge and wound up taking a huge swing out on the face with about two feet of rope left in his hand--which must have been exciting, we never tied knots in the ends in those days--and he's not going anywhere if I don't get him. But all I've got to work with is a flared vertical crack, and it's now too dark (like 15 min. to full dark) for me to tell by sight whether a piece is any good, so I just start firing in nuts, five of them I think, yanking and beating on them until I figure one of them has to be good. Mostly I remember when it came time to pull the ropes, 'Oh god, please don't let this get stuck, or we are gonna die.'
A week later we get slammed by six inches of snow on the Beckey/Chouinard. As I rapped the big dihedral in the snow (another free hanger) with this huge friggin' pack (Mark's fault, he's a caver by upbringing and cavers, especially cavers from the south, are all bat sh!t crazy with bizarre ideas of what is necessary equipment. I've got this huge pack, but no stove, tent, or sleeping bag. Don't ask.) I flip over, hanging up side down, the wind slamming me from side to side, and I remember thinking, 'you just don't f$cking learn do you,' and, 'I'll bet it would be cool to have some sort of back up right about now.'