Right after Iíd moved back to GA, still a pup, I went to Tallulah Gorge for the first time. Tallulah is diamond hard quartzite, I love tri-cams but I donít even bother there, wonít grip, same with cams if itís a parallel placement and you donít get it deep. Anyway, Curtis Glass puts me on Flying Frog, which he calls a nice 5.8, Ďcause for a while there sandbagging Corbett was the national f$%king pastime. Actually itís a Gottlieb classic and one of the best pitches in the South and a consensus 10c. A full, sustained rope length with a 30í layback corner at the top that everyone has fallen out of at some point, though I didnít know any of this then.
By the time I get to the corner Iím fried. I try every stemming, cheating thing I can think of, but itís a layback, so finally I plug a Friend blind because Iím too flamed to pull in and look to see if itís any good and then I take off for the top. And a couple of moves from the top the muscles just give up and Iím off.
And Iím falling, and falling, and falling. I hate the ones where youíre in the air long enough to analyze everything and I just know that Friend has blown. This is bad, since the next piece is an RP in a parallel seam 10' below that that wonít hold a loud fart, and it occurs to me that this has the potential to approach triple digits. And then I stop. Friend held, but the guy who Curtis has belaying me is only climbing for the third time ever and had left a giant loop of slack in the rope. It was better than 50í and I was ecstatic, cause I was still alive.
And since you mentioned him, a funny Ajax story. We climbed together a good bit when we were both in Breckenridge in the mid-80s and he was always telling me the Ďright wayí to do things, like you should be able to stand at the bottom of any climb and choose a dozen pieces, 16 tops, and thatís all you should take. Whatever, Ajax. We go into Cynical Pinnacle to do the Center Route and Iím taping up because that South Platte granite has teeth, and heís giving me a ration because you shouldnít have to tape if you have good technique. Whatever, Ajax. Even with the tape my hands got chewed up pretty good, because maybe my technique wasnít the best, but he didnít tape at all, and his hands were f%^king handburger for the next three weeks. People screamed when they saw us, zombie hands raised from the dead.