Ralph Tingey calls the climb The Septuagenarian Way. Or jokes that it was done by “two bird brains.”
“Jim, you know, we’re a 140-year-old rope,” he quipped during Tuesday’s ascent by himself and Jim Donini, both age 70, of Bird Brain Boulevard, a historic Grade IV WI 5 in Ouray, Colorado.
“Well, thank god the rope isn’t 140 years old!” Donini replied.
Comprised of rock, steep ice, some choss and some moss, the seven-pitch line, a milestone established by Charlie Fowler, Jeff Lowe and Mark Wilford in 1985, demands a full quiver of skills.
Donini, while best known for his alpine legacy in Alaska and Patagonia, had not prepared in particular for ice climbing, having mainly been rock climbing lately, with two trips to Sedona, Arizona. Neither he nor Tingey had ever done the route, though it was on both climbers’ tick lists.