The problem with BASE jumping (and hang gliding in Yosemite) isn't the hazard to the jumper (pilot), the problem is that tourists do two things not in keeping with the Park: 1) they drive into meadows and park for better views, and 2) they drive in the trees and rocks on the side of the road because of the distraction. So it's scooping up the remains of the spectators which causes big Park problems. -- Eugene Miya Recently, Bell emailed me and we got together and went climbing. While driving him out of the Valley up to the Meadows, I saw Tuan at the base of El Cap and noted that if he wanted to meet Tuan, that was a quick possibility. Bell said that he would rather go climbing. I therefore declare Bell to be a "true" climber. ;^) -- Eugene Miya "I've got you good" "Well get me better" -- Two climbers talking as one moves through the crux of the climb. (Allen Sanderson) You know the difference between trauma and 'no big deal'? Trauma is when it happens to me. 'No big deal' is when it happens to you... This roof is 'no big deal'! -- William Wright Found the following in a local post by someone describing what they look for in a resume when hiring a person for a computer programming job: "Flowery action words can't hide a lack of accomplishment in life. I like it when someone lists things like "mountain climbing" in their resume, because it means he's geeky enough to feel it's necessary to prove that he's not a geek, yet not so geeky that he's anal retentive. " -- Paul Hess
By Inez "Jeane" Dixonelius,Spiritual adviser to the President. *Aquarius This is the age of doom dawning for the seasoned waterman. April promises wet cracks and routes beneath waterfalls. Body condoms are suggested for all multipitch climbs. Keep yer raincoat on when chasing wild mountain wenches on belay ledges. Lady Aquarius, you are best suited for a sensible Capricorn. He'll get a job first, then go climbing. *Pisces Since Aquarius is wearing rubber, the stars suggest you team up for some watersports. Don't be slithering around responsibility, little fishie--set up yer own anchors. It is a well known fact that all sport weenies are aspiring Pisces. Break the rules, equalize with a cordelette and be shark-like. Prospect for romance in the making, but you have to be into sheep. *Aries Piton-ram, you are destined to celebrate your 98th birthday on the wall. Don't cut your hair and beard (that goes for the ewes sporting a mustache as well). You know what happened when Samson's plume was cut off...You will need all your strength to pulley up the keg. Romance on a portaledge promises disastrous results. Bring your inflatable suzie doll and leave yer pardner alone. *Taurus Steer madness stalks the heifer. Quit flaring your nostrils and buck up. Heifer, aim higher when you kick him, he'll thank you for it on the runout. Somebody is riding you and yer ain't a pig. Throw off the rider and look for a new pardner. Power bars will only give you a stomach ache and tofu is the spam of vegetarians. Stick to a side of beef, oops, that won't work. Diet is important this season. With your build you have to do something. *Gemini Yer are two in one; purchase of a soloist is suggested. No one likes your company as much as you do. Given your Jeckyl and Hyde personality it is time you focus on the twin within. Good luck. Solitude makes for a monotonous, but self-satisfying sex-life on the bivy. A tip, partners will flock to you if you leave Jeckyl behind in the Harding Slot. *Cancer Okey, you homebody of a crab--repack your rucksack, you can't take the kitchen sink with you. Venture out and climb high and light. Carrying a haulbag on a sport route ain't cool. Look for romance with a Pisces and leave the bull alone. Your ability to keep house at the campsite makes you a welcome addition to any group of filthy tradhogs leching after your sweet tush. *Leo Quit roaring! We have heard you, over and over again. And keep your paws to yourself! You are big and beautiful and you purr when you forget what you were roaring about. Your strength will help you get over your lack of agility. Don't sit up in that tree and look down hoping for a rescue---jump, even though you hate leaderfalls. Raid Aerosol will help get rid of the flea problem. Lady Lion rules. *Virgo Prim and proper and innocent as a rattlesnake. Tidy and organized, quit making off with gear you think has been discarded. Not everyone is as neat as you are. You are the perfect multipitch partner! Organization is your forte and your gear is never neglected. Your virginity is doomed, my dear, no matter what you do, there is a lusty Scorpio out there waiting for you. Bat those eyelashes and enjoy a ride in the Duelfersitz. *Libra Balanced and well adjusted. Your face climbing ability is awesome! How about some variety? Take a plunge, drink a half bottle of vodka and ask a Leo to take you up an offwidth. Watch your language and quit cursing at the moon. And, really, imitating your partner's Elvis leg ain't nice. Just because you are light on yer feet doesn't mean others can't be klutzes. You should dabble in sensual variety. Read a romance novel. *Scorpio Quit showing that big ole stinger. We are not impressed. No one is stepping on you, so what's the deal? Let your partner touch and fondle you. You'll like it after all. Check out the crab, a backwards step and a sideways shift will make a nice little dance routine. Learn to down climb. *Sagittarius Your ability to enjoy nature is appreciated but, please, watch the leader. You always find the hot springs. Sag, the sensitive new age partner is good at touchy feely rope management. Your destiny is freeing the line from rope eating flakes. Practice your knots and don't squint in the sunlight watching fairies dance under your eyelids. Group sex is not for you! *Capricorn The goat aspires to climb high. Just get that stupid focused look off your face! Your jumping ability is impressive, but must you leave pellets behind wherever you go? Your rack is loaded and nothing will please you more than looking up at a big wall with the lion roaring behind you. Romance is where you least expect it. Too bad you are straight.
By John Dalbey. Life During Climbing Times (Sung to the tune of "Life During Wartime" by the Talking Heads) Heard of a climber loaded with 'biners, Racked up and ready to go. Heard of some new routes far from the highway, A place that nobody knows. The sound of beta off in the distance, I'm getting used to it now. Climbed on the big walls, climbed on the boulders, Don't think I'll ever slow down. This ain't no sport climb, This ain't no top rope, This ain't hang doggin' around. No time to drink beer, Belay from lawn chairs, I ain't got time for that now. Somebody saw us up on our new crag, We had to feign ignorance. I've got twelve rock shoes, a couple of chalk bags, Some people ask if I'm French. High above basecamp, bags are loaded, All the ropes are in place. I sleep at the bivvy, I jug up at daybreak, A great big smile on my face. This ain't no contest, This ain't on TV, There ain't no judge and no crowd. I want to hang out, Be seen at Snowbird, I ain't got time for that now. Heard about Smith Rocks, heard about Hueco, Heard about Joshua Tree. You oughta know not to climb wearing Levi's, Somebody's likely to see. I got some Stoppers, some Chouinard Ovals, To do El Cap in a day. But I ain't got no Walkman, ain't got no boom box, Ain't got no CD's to play. Why use the Bosch drill? Why bolt on rappel? To make some dinky new route. Quickdraws all preplaced, Every three feet, That's not what climbing's about. This ain't no limestone, This ain't the Verdon, This is the U. S. of A. If climbing's too scary, Go back to the rock gym, Leave the cliffs for the brave. We disdain topos and preinspecting, We always lead it onsight. Stuck on a Grade IV after the sun goes, We just stay for the night. We dress like hardmen, wear day-glo fashions, It's all a clever disguise. Changed my lycra so many times now, Gotta blend with the times. You like the jamcracks, I like the friction, We make a pretty good team. Don't get exhausted, I'll do some leading, I think it's your turn to clean. Burned all our guidebooks, what good are guidebooks? Route skills help me survive. I'd rather climb into the unknown, That's when I know I'm alive.
Dear Friend, A year ago I was a 300 lb slob, living out of a cardboard box and struggling up 4th class sport climbs. I hadn't a dime-sized edge to my name! I'd lost more climbing partners than I could count, but I swear none of the accidents were my fault---I can't help it if I have a very short attention span when it comes to belaying! Now I am a ROCK STAHR - I regularly flash 5.14, and compete at the international level. My lean frame fits inside the narrowest of squeeze chimneys (and I'd climb them if only my gigantic ego would fit as well). I have risen well above such earthly chores as belaying and can devote my full energies to tasks such as defining the future of climbing. I own a house on every continent each with two acres of climbing walls and enjoy training sessions orchestrated by an arsenal of 25 specialists who oversee every phase of my athletic development. How did I make this incredible transition? Well, I responded to a letter like this, never guessing the enormous impact it would have on my life. Don't believe anyone who tells you climbing at the top is all hard work, nothing could be farther from the truth! Here's how it works: (1) Call the person at the top of the list, and offer your services to belay them for a day. No matter how grungy the route, how long the approach, or how heinous the deeds he/she orders you to perform, DO IT! Bring your helmet and plenty of protection. (2) Cross off the top name and add your own to the end. Then make six copies of this letter and send it to your climbing buddies. If you are feeling nice today, send it to your six worst enemies. If the belay-slave-chain goes unbroken you will, in a matter of weeks, receive 3,587,949,402,467,446 calls from people begging to belay you! Your abilities will skyrocket! Everyone will hate you, but so what? You'll be leading 5.14 like me, what do you care? IF YOU BREAK THE BELAY-SLAVE-CHAIN, YOU RISK CERTAIN DEATH OR WORSE! Why half my old partners broke this chain, and that's probably why they're all history! The list: Enemy Guinea Nasty Aim Research Center Iris Retch University of Washing Tom Lord Egg-Pan Honeybear Technologies Baby Born Hunt Purdy University Nich Dire Stem Honeybear Technologies Big W. Thrill Trip Reports R Us Sir Ten Severe PMS Institute Lean Slanderson Universe City of Ootah Henry J. Snob Slime Inc Horse Dickey Balm Outtel Corp Baron Bon Girth Universe of Tooksan Norm Fief-Jostle Howling Peckers Company G. Heroin Shrug Fudge Inc Down Under Les C. Yodels Rancid Coke Magazine OJ Mothnorn Californy Fornication Shop Huber Rancid Blend Something Under Not Aunt Q. Lung Guano Berzerker Robot Lab Eleg O. Gerbil US Worst Technologies Tanya Z. Wyner Retired Hacker and ClimberP.S. If you've been hanging out on rec.climbing in the pre-netscape days (when the number of posts was a few dozen per day), you might recognize the names of some of the most active participants of that time.
The top ten reasons climbing is better than love. By James Jay Klavetter 10. The bond between you and your partner is more apparent. 9. Your partnership doesn't often end up making children. 8. Your partner and yourself are doing something together you BOTH enjoy. 7. Your partner usually doesn't throw things at you when there is an arguement. 6. Your partner doesn't get mad at you if you forget the anniversary of your first climb together. 5. If your partner leaves you, it is relatively easy to find another. 4. You don't usually feel like jumping off a cliff if you fail at a climb. 3. On most climbs, you can protect against something REALLY bad happening. 2. Communication is easier and surer (even if windy). and... 1. If there is a fall, broken bones mend faster and more completely than broken hearts. Why climbing is better than sex. A man's perspective, by John Byrnes 1. When you climb, you only have to get yourself to the peak. 2. If you climb with someone other than your regular partner, no one gets mad, in fact, you can all three climb together and share protection! 3. You can reuse your protection, and someone else even cleans for you, provided you don't put it in too deep. 4. There IS such a thing as being too overhung. 5. You can get belayed without first bekissing. 6. A good hand jam can be as satisfying as any other kind of jam. 7. No matter how many times you fall off, you can always climb back on. 8. Having a belay slave is not a criminal offense. 9. The rocks never expect you to call afterward. 10. Friction is a positive quality when you're climbing. 11. The rocks don't care if you show up late. 12. The rocks don't complain after 7 or 8 pitches. 13. When you're climbing, a good two-finger jam will support your body weight. 14. Your belayer never hesitates when you yell "TAKE!" 15. When you're climbing, weird body positions are considered "cool". 16. The rocks don't scream for help when you try for the on-sight flash. 17. Your climbing partner doesn't complain when you don't want to do cracks anymore and want to do some face. 18. A three-finger pocket isn't too big. 19. You don't have to wait an hour after getting pumped-out. A woman's perspective, by Ilana Stern 1) The rock is always hard. 2) Rocks are never busy watching football when you'd rather climb. 3) Rocks don't complain about the kind of protection you want to use. 4) You can go climbing with another woman and nobody will call you names or hassle you. 5) You can use ropes and harnesses and nobody will think you're kinky. 6) You can go climbing any time of the month. 7) It's over when *you* reach the peak. 8) You won't die of embarrassment if your mother finds your rock gear. 9) If it's in too deep, you can yank on a nut. 10) Nobody ever got pregnant rock climbing! 11) If you need something REAL BIG, you can always put in a Big Bro'!
Bird's (nest) Eye View an interview with Chin Chuan and Niles Goodman
Sixty feet up an overhung wall utterly devoid of features, the 96-pound, 20 year old pauses to contemplate his next move. The route, when he finishes flashing it, will probably go 5.15, though, since nobody else in the world yet climbs that level, it's hard to say. He reaches into his chalk bag and pulls out . . . an Oreo Cookie??? Chin Chuan burst upon the climbing world just five months ago, and has already established himself as the premiere free climber in the world. None of the 32 first ascents Chin attaches his name to have yet been seconded: Most are believed to rate in the 5.15-5.16 range. Chin was discovered in a tiny Chinese seacoast village by National Geographic Explorer cinematographer Niles Goodman. Because of the language barrier, Niles acted as translator for this interview. And, in all fairness, this story is as much about him as about his phenom protege, Chin.
Climb On Magazine: Niles, tell us about the circumstances that led to your 'discovery' of Chin?
Niles: Well, I was in southern China working a film assignment for National Geographic. We were filming the local villagers who gather birds' nest soup nests from the local sea caves. These guys are phenomenal! Some of the caves are 500-600 foot up sheer sea cliffs. They climb up or down bamboo pole bundles they've lashed together each and every day, just to get to work. Then, when they finally get to the caves, they climb around a regular spider's web of the same sort of bundles to get to the nests, which the birds build high up on the cavern walls. The only light these guys get comes from candles they carry in one hand.
C: So basically, all the villagers are accomplished climbers.
Niles: I saw a 60 year old man climbing routes with a candle in one hand, one handed!, that would make most of the young bucks currently putting up firsts puke their guts!
C: So Chin was the best of these nest collectors?
Niles: Actually, they wouldn't let Chin collect the nests. The village elders considered him too young. They had him doing all the dirty work, like putting the bamboo scaffolding in place. The first time I saw Chin, he was climbing 200 feet up a cavern ceiling, hauling a fifty-kilo bundle of bamboo!!! I knew instantly that if I could get this kid on the international climbing circuit, he'd tear it apart. So I got him to one side and tried to convince him that his future lay with professional climbing.
C: Obviously he agreed with you.
Niles: Not at first.
C: Chin, Niles said that you were initially didn't want to become a professional climber. What changed your mind?
Chin: Oreo Cookies.
C: Oreo Cookies???
Niles: I had a bag of Oreos, and I gave him a couple. He'd never tasted refined sugar before, or chocolate for that matter. I guess they taste better than fish and rice every meal. Anyway, Chin asked if he could have Oreos if he became a professional climber, and I said yes. It seemed a simple enough thing at the time.
C: So the entire reason you went into professional climbing was to get Oreo Cookies?
Chin: (shrugs, as if to say "It's a good enough reason.")
C: So what happened next?
Niles: Chin needed a sponsor, so I took him to Bend, Oregon.
C: Why Bend?
Niles: Because several big companies, like Metolius and Entreprise and Vertical Concepts are home based there. It's a target rich environment. Plus, it has Smith Rocks nearby, which means lots of tough routes. You gotta remember, I was footing all of Chin's bills myself, so I had to get him sponsored fast. I knew, once people saw him climb, we'd have to fight off the sponsors, but first I had to get him exposure. So, literally the day after we flew into Seattle, he was on the rock strutting his stuff for several reps.
C: I take it he impressed them.
Niles: (laughs) I'll say. We were at the base of Face, setting up below Just Do It (5.14c). I'm getting all the gear set up and Chin asks me where he's supposed to climb. I pointed the route out. Before I knew it, Chin was halfway up the spire! By the time I realized he wasn't wearing a harness or even tied in, he was above Just Do It and onto the unclimbed rock! He just flew up that rock!!!
C: (to Chin) You climbed without a rope???
Chin: (looking apologetic) I didn't know I was supposed to use a rope. I never had before.
Niles: That wasn't the amazing part. The amazing part is when we all panicked and started shouting at him. He DOWNCLIMBED the route!!!
C: You downclimbed a 5.14a???
Chin: They were yelling at me. I thought I'd done something wrong. So I came down.
Niles: Needless to say, we had no trouble getting Chin sponsored.
C: I understand you've had difficulties in international competition, though.
Niles: (he grimaces) It's been one minor disaster after another. First he got disqualified at Snowbird, then we had troubles with the French government . . .
C: (interrupting) Tell me about the disqualification.
Chin: I didn't know you had to clip the rope.
Niles: He walked out of the ready room, looked at the route, then flashed it. If I didn't know better, I would have sworn he was climbing the speed route, not the difficulty route. He didn't clip a single 'draw on the way up. Then he downclimbed it. He got DQ'ed for passing a clip (laughs). It's my fault, I didn't explain the rules to him. I mean, I have a hard time remembering that this kid who's ripping the rocks apart never climbed using any gear before, not even a safety rope!!!
C: Tell us about Arco.
Chin: No Oreos.
Niles: Yeah, that pretty much describes it. We landed in France and they confiscated most of our Oreos. Left us only one bag, and that they slapped a tariff on. Seems that Oreos are 'American Culture' which threatens the traditional and culturally pure French Pastry Industry. Well, Chin went through that bag in about a day. (laughs) If he doesn't ease up on the cookies, pretty soon he'll be so fat, he'll only be able to climb 5.14's like the rest of humanity. Anyway, we tried to find some more Oreos. Nothing!!! Not one God Damned Oreo in the whole of France. We couldn't even find a decent substitute! So I asked Chin if he'd climb without 'em.
Chin: (in English, angrily) No Oreos! No Climb!!!
Niles: Yeah. Anyway, we tried to get some more FedExed from the States, an Oreo airlift, if you will. The first batch got confiscated at the airport. And the second, and the third. We were running out of time. So we appealed to the French government. What a joke. No help there. Frankly, there's a rumor about that some of the French climbers complained to their government that they couldn't beat Chin in a fair climb, and that's why they blocked our cookie imports. I don't know if that's true or not, but . . . (shrugs).
C: So Chin didn't climb Arco?
Niles: Nope. No Oreos, No Climb. I suppose that's fair. After all, I did promise him Oreos when he climbed.
C: So, what's next?
Niles: Well, it doesn't look like Chin'll be climbing in France very soon. On the other hand, Nabisco heard about the incident, and has offered Chin an extremely generous endorsement contract for Oreos. Seems that not too many junk foods can claim to be the main power source for a world class athlete!!! (laughs). But for now, there's plenty of competitions around, and we'll be doing much better, now that we've worked most of the kinks out.
C: Thank you for your time, and good luck.
Niles: Thank you.
Chin: Thank you.
>"The sun was in my eyes"
>"Forgot to trim my nails"
>"Can't do that route without a