Showing posts from July, 2020

The Fame Monster

"I don't want to write about climbing; I don't want talk about it; I don't want to photograph it; I don't want to think about it; all I want to do is do it." - Chuck Pratt . I can't remember when I first came across Pratt's quote but it's stuck ever since. Pratt, after penning his classic essay  The View From Dead Horse Point , never published another piece of climbing writing. Unlike Pratt, I continue to be guilty of occasionally spewing about climbing, from slideshows to this blog. Still, with each passing year and with the buzz around climbing growing ever louder, I find his sentiment more and more appealing. There was a time I used to record each climb I did: when I did it, with whom, how long it took and other like details. At some point I stopped this practice: once an experience was in the past, there seemed little point in recording it. Yet climbing for the moment, letting go of climbs as soon as you've done them, can shade into selfish

A slice of the unknown

I step from a luxurious belay ledge onto a steep, prickly slab. The slab is undercut just beneath my feet: a rock dropped from here might hit the distant orange spot of my pack at the base of the wall. I clip a bolt. Wait, what, a bolt? By this point Alik and I expected to be traveling across untouched rock. Five years earlier Alik, Ian and Nino climbed three pitches of the line we're attempting, but we've already passed their highpoint. It seemed unlikely that anyone else should've wandered up to this obscure face, overshadowed by the bigger, better known north faces of Ha Ling Peak to the north and Mount Lawrence Grassi to the south. And yet a bolted anchor four pitches up makes it clear we're not the first people up here. The slings on the anchor suggest the mystery climbers rappelled off, but then the bolt I've just clipped hints they might also have finished the route. We don't know. I shuffle further left, stuff a cam under an overlap, and turn my attentio