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BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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June 28, 2014

Hi Folks,

Sorry I've been late with some of my emails, but life has been very busy this summer. Tons of music gigs, climbing, riding, Boy Scout events, soldering new cables for the studio and believe it or not a bunch of actual WORK! What's a guy to do? [grin]

We all know that cliffs like Cannon and Pisgah are huge exfoliating onions. All you gotta do is to look at the huge talus field at the base! That said, for the most part we consider the cliffs here in our little Valley are more-or-less stable. That is in spite of that big talus field below the right side of the South Buttress that's conveniently hidden in the woods. [wry grin] To be sure, there have been some pretty good sized rock falls on Whitehorse, just in the almost 30 years I've been climbing here. The big ledge that fell off just right of Mistaken Identity, the flake that fell off next to Sea Of Holes and the huge black that fell down over Children's Crusade - making a mess of Beelzebub!

But then there is Cathedral and Humphrey's, both really stable, right? Well while it appears that there isn't a lot of talus below either of those crags, there certainly is a lot of small to mid size stuff laying around on the ground. When I was up at the start of the Saigon's recently I spotted a number of chunks of rock on the ground that were pretty clearly fresh. Almost every time I hike along the base of either of these cliffs I spot stuff like this. I was at Humphrey's a few years ago and actually saw a refrigerator sized block come out of the upper overlaps right of Macadamia! Fortunately these occurrences are rare enough and happen at times when people aren't rich there, so for the most part no one gets injured.

And then of course there the occasional incidents when someone pulls off some rock and it falls to the ground. Again this happens rarely, but it does take place. Apparently last week this took place on Cathedral. Early in the week I was taking a FaceBook break while working on my computer when a thread popped up from my friend Adam B. He said that there had just been a substantial rockfall over on Fun House. As we all know, this is a very popular trade-route on the cliff and it would be a drag of something happened to it! Surprisingly I hadn't heard anything, even tho had the screen door open in my office on the cliff side. So I got up, grabbed a hiking pole and camera and headed over to have a look-see.

I was surprised as I hiked up to the base of the climb that I didn't see any rocks on the ground. There was even a party on the first pitch! I asked them if they had seen anything, but they had not. [hmmm] I decided too walk down the other way, by the kiosk, and who did I see sitting at the picnic tables playing chess with his buddy Jason, but Adam! I asked about the rock. They said they heard it and it was pretty big and loud. They had also walked over to check it out and thought that it had knocked over a tree on the upper ledge. I didn't go back over to check on that. Later that day I heard from another friend that they had been climbing on Black Crack, up near Upper Refuse, and someone had knocked a large rock off on Retaliation. It would have had to be a pretty big rock to go all the way down that upper ledge and down over Fun House. FWIW The people climbing Black Crack never heard a call of ROCK or any alert at all!

Anyway, as we all know, things happen. It is a good thing no one was right there on that very popular route when the rock came down. Had it been on a Saturday afternoon, it could have been a disaster! When it comes down to it, it's kind of surprising that there aren't more incidents like this. For me it's one more reason to wear a helmet! (I know, I know, I just had to get that one in!) Anyway, we do participate in a dangerous sport, both from the dangers our own climbing entails, as well as stuff that "just happens". I guess that's a part of the attraction. [grin]

Climb safe-
Petzl is running a photo contest running right and I entered one. If you have a minute and like my picture, I'd appreciate your vote. The winner gets to go on a Roc Trip with the Petzl crew for 45 days. This would be a real gas...


PS - the header of this topic is a sideways reference to a political tune that I wrote with a friend years ago, in the election when the elder Bush was running for President. You can hear it here -

See if you can figure out all the sample clips. Enjoy

Instant Bug Report - 5:
Still at 5, tho it I hope it will be dropping soon.

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Remember - climb hard, ride the steep stuff, stay safe and above all BE NICE,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Climbing may be hard, but it's easier than growing up!
Yogi Sklarananda (a.k.a. Ed Sklar)
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