“The Fall” (A rock climbing story)

The Sticht belay plate that caught the fall. A locking carabiner was always used--I no longer have the original, so I substituted an old REI oval. The piton is a 3/4" angle, the type we were anchored to when Rick fell and the only protection that held the fall--it was our only belay anchor on the pitch.
The Sticht belay plate that caught the fall. A locking carabiner was always used–I no longer have the original, so I substituted an old REI oval. The piton is a 3/4″ angle, the type we were anchored to when Rick fell and the only protection that held the fall–it was our one and only belay anchor on the pitch (I guess it was “good enough!”).

 

This scared-straight tale (an 80-foot, factor 2, fall directly onto a single, 3/4″ angle piton belay) happened 40 years ago when I first started rock climbing with my high school buddies, Stan Robinson, Rick Fritz, Rick Parizek, and Marshall Campbell. On this particular day, I was on the crag with Rick Fritz.

[NOTE: My brother Brian reminds me and my notes tell me…Brian, Néstor Cifuentes (Chilean high school exchange student), Rick Parizek, and possibly Craig Lahlum were with us for the first pitch. They then rapped off and departed–good judgement on their part!]

Oh, the excitement of it all! What freedom o’ the hills!

And what lack of judgment we had! At least initially…

The story, then, is an object lesson on why it’s important to get proper instruction before diving in to your new passion, whatever it might be…free diving, wing suit flying, bungee jumping, crochet, golf…

Youthful innocence and exuberance, and the associated sense of immortality, probably filtered out most of the trauma of the incident at the time. However, as I make a return this summer (after a 30-year hiatus) to the sport of what is now called “trad climbing”, I find that visual snippets of “the fall” come speeding back, flashback-style.

Damn, but did we come close to biting the big one, eh, Rick!?

Below is a direct transcription from the Arizona Republic newspaper, dated Sunday, February 2, 1975. The article has the basic facts fairly correct (maybe 80% truth), but was enhanced with a slather-thick coating of western melodrama and some crunchy conjecture. It was fun to write, I’m sure. Also note how Rick’s mother was named–she didn’t even have a first name of her own back then! Signs of the times…

My comments/corrections in brackets and italics were written on the news clipping the day the article came out.

Youth saved in 80-foot fall down mountain as single spike holds rope

by Jack West

A 16-year-old youth fell 80 feet [fairly accurate] down the side of Camelback Mountain Saturday but survived when his rope was snubbed [fancy language!] by a single piton, a spike hammered into the soft rock of the cliff [it was a fixed pin–we didn’t hammer it].

The injured youth, Rick Fritz, of 3933 E. Shangri La, was under observation Saturday night at the emergency room of Scottsdale Samaritan Hospital, where his condition was listed as fair. First reports indicated possible arm and rib injuries [he had a punctured lung and a cracked pelvis].

Fritz had been climbing with Dan Joder, 16, of 3902 E. Cholla, when the accident occurred. Both are members of the Arizona Mountaineering Club [wrong, Rick wasn’t yet a member]. The club’s rescue team used specialized equipment [is there any other kind?] and ropes to lower the injured climber to safety.

Police said they were told that the two youths were climbing above Echo Canyon on the mountain’s north side [a route called “Suicide” or perhaps “Suicide Direct” as we were likely off-route] when rock crumbled beneath Fritz’ boot, causing him to fall.

Joder said [ha ha, no idea where he got this quote] the rope tied to Fritz popped out one spike after another [we didn’t carry any pitons; natural runners zippered] until the last small piton held, yanking him to a halt near a ledge.

“I was attached to that rope, too,” Joder said. “He fell right past me, and he went bouncing and sliding down and I thought the rope would pull me down, too.” [True enough, but the thought didn’t cross my mind at the time–things happened too fast. And the quote? From whom? Not me!]

Instead Joder found himself swinging at the end of the rope [How exciting! I wasn’t affected except for rope burns–Sticht belay plate] high above Fritz, who reached a ledge safely. Joder then lowered himself to a safe spot and climbed to Fritz [I did not, a long-haired guy did, although I eventually rapped down].

Police and firemen soon arrived and the rescue team was summoned. At dusk a fire department utility truck equipped with powerful lights illuminated the rescue efforts as police and Department of Public Safety helicopters whirled overhead [oh, the drama of it all].

Shortly after 9 p.m., the rescuers carried Fritz to an area where he could be taken aboard an ambulance. His mother, Mrs. John Fritz, rushed to the stretcher.

“Has this cured you of mountain climbing?” Mrs. Fritz asked.

“Hey,” Fritz answered, “I don’t know.” [This last exchange was indeed true]

Postscript:

After this lovely experience that endeared us so to our respective mothers, we actually took some real rock climbing classes–the basics, self-rescue, leading, etc–and we started working a bit with the Arizona Mountaineering Club Rescue Team. Finding mentors with some patience and experience was the key to our survival through those formative years.

A big thanks, then, to folks like Bill Sewrey, Larry Treiber, Herb North Sr. and Jr., Humberto Urbina, Monty and Dana Hollister, Bob Box, Bill Jefferies, Dan Langmade, Kay Alderton, Stan Skirvin, Bill Kelsey, et al…and hang-out places like Sewrey’s friendly shop, Desert Mountain Sports…and even “Piton Joe” (you know who you are, Marty!).

There is an old saying among aviators–and climbers and other “risk-takers”–that when you begin working your way up the left side of the learning curve you are given two sacks. One is a sack labeled “LUCK”, and it is stuffed full. The other is a sack of “EXPERIENCE”, and it is drooping and empty. The goal is to fill up that sack of EXPERIENCE before you completely empty the sack of LUCK. Ideally, you’ll fill the bag of EXPERIENCE and still have a few teaspoons of LUCK remaining to help tide you through your remaining years, just in case.

That February day in 1975, Rick Fritz and I came way too close to dumping out the entire contents of our respective sacks o’ LUCK over the talus and boulder-strewn slopes of Camelback Mountain.

“Oh, we were young and our hearts were an open book…”

Here, you have a couple of crappy scans of even crappier old snapshots:

Rick Fritz, in an official Royal Robbins hat decorated with a United States Hang Gliding Association  (USHGA) patch, coils a rope on top of the Crying Dinosaur in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. I guess I’m contemplating my navel (I am definitely not texting)…

Rick and Dan, Crying Dinosaur, Arizona, late 1970s.
Rick and Dan, Crying Dinosaur, Arizona, late 1970s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rick Parizek (foreground, in Royal Robbins big wall shoes) and Rick Fritz (in back), my first climbing partners, on the Crying Dinosaur. Sometimes we actually used helmets back then! Note the rope. It is the same one I used for the photograph above, which would make it at least 35 years old now–a perfect age for use as a greasy vehicle towline…

Rick Parizek and Rick Fritz, Crying Dinosaur, Arizona, late 1970s.
Rick Parizek and Rick Fritz, Crying Dinosaur, Arizona, late 1970s.

Post-Postscript:

In an old photo album, I ran across some notes I made shortly after this incident. Here they are…

“Lets do Suicide. Here’s a bolt. Lets anchor to those trees, too.

Rick Fritz leads first pitch…one bolt, a #9 hex, another bolt, a natural runner on a chicken head, then a belay ledge with one bolt. Brian, Néstor, Rick P and me up the first pitch.

We look at the second pitch. Brian, Néstor, Rick P rappel and go (4:00p.m.) It’s late.

Fritz leads second pitch…one natural runner, two bolts, one fixed piton, one fixed angle piton…we belay here.

Second pitch has more difficult moves (5.7?). Fritz belays me up to the angle piton (I have bad feelings).

Fritz on third lead traverses off left 20 feet with no protection, then a natural runner, then up trough, bad rock, out of view. I heard him place a second runner…possibly a total of four. At least a 40-foot runout at this point.

Body comes flying backwards out of the trough. His helmet comes off, so does equipment sling. All protection pulls (bad placement of first runner, zipper effect).

There’s a jerk on the rope as it slides through my hands. I eventually lock the belay plate. Maybe ten feet of rope went through the plate before he stopped.

Is he dead? I call to him. No answer. I call for help. People come running from other side of Echo Canyon.

I call to Rick. He answers sounded pained. I ask him if he is coughing up blood. He says no.

He calls for slack. In total I give him about 20 feet of slack [he was working his way to the first pitch belay ledge]. Meanwhile, several other climbers have set up a belay to start up the first pitch.

Other climbers finally reach Rick, tie him in to the belay ledge anchor, and free the rope. I set up a rappel on the 3/4″ angle piton with a #3 hex for a backup. The rope runs through two carabiners in each of those anchors.

The rappel is a bit difficult as I have to go down diagonally to the first belay ledge.

I reach Rick and he’s tied in and this other climber is trying to figure out how to lower him. People argue. Rick gets cold and we give him someone’s coat.

The Fire Department arrives and there are about five police units in the parking lot. The Arizona Mountaineering Club Rescue Team finally gets there just after the Fire Department turns on their lights to illuminate the wall as night falls.

Humberto Urbina jumars up on a fixed rope…”

Rick was eventually lowered and carried back to the parking lot in a Stokes litter. He was back doing some easy climbing within a month or so. We, along with Rick Parizek, immediately got religion and became involved with the Arizona Mountaineering Club (our rescuers!), took some classes, helped and learned with the Rescue Team, and so on. Our bag of experience started to fill up. Rick Fritz eventually went on to do what was back then some pretty hard climbing, including a few first ascents in the Phoenix area and big wall ascents of El Capitán in Yosemite. He also set several records for long distance flight in hang gliders during the 1980s–his (and our) other hobby of the day.

But, boy howdy, are there lessons to be learned from this experience, or what?

 

Working the Scene at Boulder Falls

You have arrived on scene at your favorite landscape location. Now what do you do? How do you begin?

So, maybe you start with a typical wide view, taking everything in. After all, that is usually one’s first instinct. The contrast here in this example could have been difficult, though–note the dark rock walls below and the sunlit cliffs and bright clouds above. But, by exposing the highlights properly, then lifting the shadows in post, this example worked out satisfactorily (Nikon D800 file)…

Boulder Falls, #1. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016
Boulder Falls, #1. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016

 

Then, perhaps you decide to try the same scene in monochrome (and we already know I am always partial to this interpretation)…

Boulder Falls, #1. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016
Boulder Falls, #1. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016

 

Then you start trying different orientations…maybe a horizontal…

Boulder Falls, #2. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016
Boulder Falls, #2. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016

Next, you start to move in to capture the details with a tighter composition…

Boulder Falls, #4. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016
Boulder Falls, #4. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016

 

Maybe even a bit closer…

Boulder Falls, #5. Boulder Creek, Colorado, 2016
Boulder Falls, #5. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016

 

Perhaps you even ignore what seems to be the main subject–the falls–and you start looking around for other interesting possibilities…

Boulder Falls, #7. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016
Boulder Falls, #7. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2016

 

Throughout the process, you can also experiment with different shutter speeds to see which might work best with the water–it will depend on the effect you are after, of course. You will also want to hit the shutter button multiple times, even with the exact same composition/settings, as the water will swirl and jump differently in each image. Later, you can select what you think is the best capture.

Very often (but not always), the best images will be the ones you make last. In this particular case, that notion held true–the last two photographs above are the ones I personally liked the most.

Just some thoughts on working a water landscape scene at Boulder Falls, the general principles of which could really apply to working any scene, from landscapes, to cityscapes, to portraits, to street photography.

[NOTE: The short trail to Boulder Falls is still closed pending repairs needed as a result of the 2013 flood.]

14er Report #15: Huron Peak (Late Fall/Early Winter Conditions, Northwest Slopes)

The Approaching Sunrise. Huron Peak, Colorado, 2014
The Approaching Sunrise. Huron Peak, Colorado, 2014

 

“What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy.”George Mallory

 

In addition to much joy, anxiety always seems to accompany me on these solo, middle-o’-the night, 14er quests for sunrise photography–especially now that we are precariously balanced on the icy threshold of winter.

For this trip, the forecast was for “breezy”–which could be a burlesque show-stopper at altitude if “breezy” turned out to be 50+ mph winds or some such nonsense. Indeed, on the drive up I-70 I could see, by the light of the pizza-pie Moon, monster lenticular clouds lurking over the Front Range, a sure sign of high winds aloft. The truck was even moving around a bit with the occasional stray wind gust as I approached the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnel.

Then there was the question of the snowpack. How much was there on the road to the trail head? Would I have to hike the extra four miles by leaving from the lower 2WD trail head, or could I make it up to the higher send off point (giving me better timing for sunrise photography)? What about the hiking? Would I need snow shoes? Surely, as a minimum, I would need Micro spikes. How much longer would the hike take with deep snow? Would I even be able to follow the trail and stay on route? Up high, post holing through hip deep snow between rocks would possibly be another show stopper.

So, even though Huron Peak is probably the easiest of the Sawatch 14ers, nothing at this time of year and at that altitude is a sure thing. Click here for the rest o’ the story–and selected images.

14er Report #14: Castle and Conundrum Peaks (Late Fall, Northeast Ridge)

Castle Peak Summit, Late Fall. Colorado, 2014
Castle Peak Summit, Late Fall. Colorado, 2014

 

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.
René Daumal 

The Basin, Abstract, #2. Castle-Conundrum Peaks, Colorado, 2014
The Basin, Abstract, #2. Castle-Conundrum Peaks, Colorado, 2014

 

It was with a bit of trepidation that I chose these two peaks for this late fall trip (yesterday, October 31, 2014). This time of year, with a few minor snowfalls already on the books, the Class 2+ route could be a bit more slippery and difficult than you’d find on a typical August summer tour. In addition, this was my first sojourn into the Elk Range, home of the Maroon Bells, Capitol Peak, Pyramid Peak, and Snowmass Mountain–all summits with a reputation for being a bit dangerous, with significant exposure and loose, crappy, rock galore.

Castle and Conundrum, though, are the easiest of the Elk summits, so they were a logical choice for an Elk virgin like me. The forecast was ideal (though, “breezy” was predicted) and the next storm to arrive over the weekend would probably take these peaks off my climbing list until next season. So, now or next year? (“Will power…it’s now or never…”)

Would the conditions be adequate for a safe, solo ascent on Halloween? Would the spirits be with me? That was the question. Click here to find out! You’ll read the complete Trip Report and see a few selected images.

14er Report #13: Mt. Shavano and Tabeguache Peak (Fall Conditions, East Slopes)

Shavano Sunset. Mount Shavano, Colorado, 2014
Shavano Sunset. Mount Shavano, Colorado, 2014

 

…get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space.

Edward Abbey

Thanks for that one, Ed. May you rest in peace somewhere out there in the lonely desert of southern Arizona.

Now, on to important matters…

Yesterday’s 14er adventure was a bit of an experiment. Up until this trip I had always done a very early morning, oh-dark-thirty drill to get me up near or on the summit by sunrise. This time around, with the thunderstorm threat now about nil, I decided to try going late to be on top for sunset–then hiking down after dark. You’ll see how it went and what  I think about this in the full report below.

On a completely off-the-wall note, today’s objective–to climb both a “mount” and a “peak”– led me to wonder about naming conventions. What is the difference between a “Mount” and a “Peak”, anyway? I would think a Mount would be massive and a peak would be pointy but, if you look around at Colorado high points (like today’s pair), it seems that the designation could be a bit subjective.

Surprisingly, someone has actually done a legitimate, scholarly, statistical analysis of this very question (no doubt prompted by many fart-fueled and cramped hours of storm-bound, high-altitude, tent debate with his or her companions).

The research paper in question? Here you go: Are Summits Titled by Topography or Whim? A Multinomial Logistic Regression Study on Mountains, Mounts, and Peaks, by Steph Abegg, March 2010. I won’t spoil the conclusion–you’ll just have to feed your own curiosity starting AT THIS LINK.

OK, on to the trip report–one”Mount” and one “Peak”. Click here for the full report and selected images.

Fall Colors Around Boulder

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
John Muir, The Mountains of California    

A month ago, the leaves started to change up in the high country. Now the aspen and willows in the big mountains are mostly bare and are starting to collect the first cold layers of the winter snows.

But the show still goes on!

The golden colors have migrated downhill and are now peaking in and around Boulder. Try a stroll around “The Hill” or Chautauqua Park for some inspiration. The sumac out near Eldorado Canyon on the South Mesa Trail has been especially brilliant over the past few days. And we probably have another week or two of yellow, crimson and gold remaining out on the plains along the creek and river drainages (Sawhill Ponds, for instance).

Enjoy!

Tribute to Autumn, A Short Photo Essay

Sawhill Autumn, #3. Sawhill Ponds, Boulder County, Colorado
Sawhill Autumn, #3. Sawhill Ponds, Boulder County, Colorado, 2014
Sawhill Line Study, #1. Sawhill Ponds, Boulder, County, Colorado, 2014
Sawhill Line Study, #1. Sawhill Ponds, Boulder, County, Colorado, 2014
South Mesa Autumn, #1. South Mesa Trail, Colorado, 2014
South Mesa Autumn, #1. South Mesa Trail, Colorado, 2014
South Mesa Autumn, #3. South Mesa Trail, Colorado, 2014
South Mesa Autumn, #3. South Mesa Trail, Colorado, 2014
South Mesa Autumn, #5. South Mesa Trail, Colorado, 2014
South Mesa Autumn, #5. South Mesa Trail, Colorado, 2014

14er Report #12: Mt. Elbert and South Elbert (Fall Conditions, Northeast Ridge)

Mt Elbert from the Arkansas River Valley, Late Fall. Colorado, 2014
Mt. Elbert from the Arkansas River Valley, Late Fall. Near Leadville, Colorado, 2014

 

It’s always farther than it looks, taller than it looks, and harder than it looks. (The three rules of climbing mountains. In the case of Elbert, the first two definitely apply.)

Full-on winter is around the next bend waiting to pounce on us like a sneaky snow leopard, bringing with it the end of the standard 14er climbing season (yes, many still climb them in winter–it’s just a bit more complicated). We have already had two small, autumn, storms that powdered the high country recently which surely are making the trails and routes a bit snowy, icy, and sketchy for the average bear. So, with a number of sunny days gone by since the last snow, and a great forecast from NOAA, I thought I’d take advantage of a window of opportunity and check out a relatively easy 14er–Mt. Elbert and her little sister, South Elbert.

“Interminable”. That was the operative word for me for the day (yesterday, Friday, October 17). Elbert is the highest point in Colorado and it aims to emphasize that fact, using that very long and unending adjective, in a number of ways.

First, the trail through the forest never seems to end–in fact, at one point it takes you downhill. Aaack! Why am I going down, when I need to go up!

Then, once you get above treeline, the trail seems to switchback its way, forever and constantly, up an interminable stack of scree and boulders. Then you get a good lesson on the exasperating nature of false summits. On Elbert, there are at least two and they are a good distance apart.

The same issue of false summits applies to little sister, South Elbert. Although, from main Elbert you can look down and see the entire ridge you will be hiking, it still will surprise you when you are actually on it. Summit? Oops, nope, maybe the next one…summit?…oops, maybe the next one. And so on.

So, set your cruise control on “trudge” and just walk upward. You’ll eventually get there. Just don’t get too jazzed when you look up and see that the top appears to be a short five or ten minutes away. Only let yourself get puppy-tail excited when your next step takes you downhill to the west (or south, in the case of South Elbert). Click here for the full trip report and a selection of images.

14er Report #11: Sunlight Peak, Windom Peak, Mt. Eolus, North Eolus (Fall, Standard Routes from Chicago Basin)

Fall Sunset #2. Chicago Basin, Colorado, 2014
Fall Sunset #2. Chicago Basin, Colorado, 2014 (These are mere 13ers–the 14ers are behind these peaks!)

 

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed…We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.”

 

[NOTE: Cool video by Jimbo added at the end. Check it out!]

Why is it people feel compelled to wave at people in passing trains (and the people in the trains at those along the tracks)? Or maybe it’s just the coal-fired, Butch Cassidy-Rob-Em-Style, steam trains (as in the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge classic) that promote this friendly social behavior?

Naw, I think its all trains…and ships, too, especially cruise ships. I think it has to do with humans embarking on an adventure. You just gotta wave. In our case, an adventure into the wilderness…(It isn’t enough for me to simply drive to the edge and look in.)

I figured we had less than a fifty percent chance of summiting anything in the Needle Mountain section of the Juan Mountains on this late September trip. After all, this is the time of year that you could just as easily awake to find a foot of snow atop your sagging tent as you could a clear, warm, autumn-blue sky.

My buddy and climbing partner from decades past, Jimmy D, had come up with the idea a few months back and I thought it a grand one, so off we went, hoping for the best.  (Thanks, Jim!)

The general plan: Meet in Durango Wednesday night to organize our pack loads, sway and clackity-clack our way on the Durango-Silverton train to the Needleton stop and hike in to a Chicago Basin base camp on Thursday, summit Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak on Friday, summit Mount Eolus and North Eolus on Saturday, hike out to the train on Sunday for the return to Durango.

As we planned things, I kept thinking about a post I saw on 14ers dot com from September 12 that said something like…’Summer conditions at Chicago Basin. Don’t know how this can last much longer.’ And we were going two weeks later…two weeks closer to winter. Could favorable conditions in the high country really last much longer?

In the end, it couldn’t have worked out better. We had great weather for the climbs and the snow and rain waited until Sunday to hit, making the hike out at once miserable and magnificent–the water was spewing off the mountains via every possible drainage, including the very trail we were walking. The wetness delightfully boosted the color saturation of the beautiful fall colors in the aspens and lower undergrowth to near-HDR levels.

What a scene! John Muir would have climbed a tree to watch it all.

A bit of bad weather, then, as long as it comes at the right time, just makes an epic adventure even juicier, don’t you think? Click here for the entire 14er Trip Report as well as a slew of wonderful images!

14er Report #10: South Massive, Mt. Massive, Massive Green, North Massive, Point 14,169′ (Late Summer/Early Fall, Southwest Slopes & Tour de Massive)

The Mt Massive Massif, #3. From near Leadville, Colorado, 2014
The Mt. Massive Massif, #3. From near Leadville, Colorado, 2014

 

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

Ah, karma

I probably shouldn’t have gone on this trip. My cranium was filled to the brim with other worries–family issues and scheduling matters mostly–and I was not very focused or in the moment. Result: I managed to leave a very expensive camera lens somewhere along the Massive-South Massive ridge. I just wasn’t paying attention and it fell out of a side pocket of my backpack where it had been improperly secured. (Yes, I did go back and look–essentially climbing both Mt. Massive and South Massive twice from the saddle–but no luck.)

It reminded me of those dark days you sometimes have running errands (or, worse, doing something even more serious) when nothing goes right. You hit all the red lights, the person you need to see at the Acme office is out on vacation, you set a plastic bag down on a hot stove top, you temporarily lose your wallet or purse in the house then find it in a stupid place, you drop your cell phone in the toilet, you discover you are supposed to be in two places at the same time for appointments, the dog barfs on the sofa, and so on.

When you run upstream against the universe like that (and you do know it when it is happening if you pay attention), maybe it’s time to just back off and try to climb those peaks or run those errands on another day. If you do that, often you’ll find yourself flowing easily with the downstream current of the universe and the peaks get climbed in a snap and the errands get done in a jiffy-pop.

Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to the echo of the universe today. The peaks got climbed, but the needle on my enjoyment meter was bouncing against the “Low” mark on the far left of the dial. I also paid much more attention to foot placement on the scree, loose boulders, and scrambling sections, as I figured today–based on karma–would be the day I’d fall or twist an ankle and have to get carried out ignominiously on a Stokes litter.

Luckily, that didn’t come to pass.

So, if you happen to be up on Mt. Massive’s summit ridge over the next few days, you just might come across an abandoned Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens resting quietly among the rocks enjoying the view. Please let me know if you do. A monetary reward as well as lunch at the Walnut Café in Boulder will be waiting for you. Click here for the Trip Report and some selected images.