Lucky Old Coot

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It was a lot harder keeping cool in those days. You never fell into a deep sleep on a hot night back then. You just made the best of it. We may not have had air conditioning when I was a kid, but we had something better, Kool-Aid. Nothing was quite as satisfying as a glass of frosty Kool-Aid on a dog day afternoon. Some lucky folks had a second-floor back porch. People bragged if they had a sleeping porch, not unlike they do today if they have central air.

Ours was a self-reliant society. It was what we waited for all winter. Send to mlessler7 gmail. Needless to say I was "Happy as a box of birds" to see these coots at the landfill. I think these guys are just "ducky". Don't be "buzzard bait" and click the link below. I've never seen or heard of those kind of coots before. They are really pretty! Love that you incorporated those old sayings! Gee I think they're attractive. You're lucky to have them from an old coot.

Great photos.

We don't have Coots in this "neck of the woods" so your wonderful series of pictures is fascinating for me to say the least. Your post here is easily one of the best written articles I have read recently anywhere on any subject. I could hear my own Dads voice who used those same expressions and that was profound for me. Excellent post Ryan. They may be 'common as muck' but still an interesting species to watch especially when they are walking on ice. I agree with Frank, an excellent post. Too much sport climbing for this lad.

I yank the bags up to the ledge and get the anchors set higher. A look over the edge shows the blue helmet guys retreating from Anchorage Ledge. Later in the day, the white helmet guy gets up to Anchorage Ledge. It looks like we'll be free to climb as slow as we want to the top. We know Ben is a few pitches below and moving well.

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Maybe he'll catch us. It's now a circus over on the South Face.

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Pitch one probably has two fixed lines and five people buzzing about. We really lucked out getting the Prow all to ourselves. After a quick re-rack for the ' pitch 10, I cast off. C1 all the way. I backclean extensively, leaving nuts for gear every feet. The topo said something about a 5.

I never found it. I did follow the Eric Coomer dictum of clipping the haul line into a directional just above the small roof on the pitch. This is key. Nancy saw all kinds of things stuck in the flake to the right on her jumar of pitch 10 including a poop tube and possibly Jimmy Hoffa's bones. The top of the pitch has a great ledge. Bomber bolts, a shade tree and a good place to sit down or even lay down. Greg helped the bags get by the clip in point and small overhang. Greg charged up the eleventh pitch with the big gear and more cursing.

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Heck, it got him through the overhang. He climbed the right most crack system.

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It looked like the better way to aid climb this section. He also got to use the 4.

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If you want to free climb it, climb the middle crack system at 5. If you want to torture yourself, try the belly crawl crack. It looks bad. All the variations end up at the same spot anyway, a low angle, blocky stance with one fixed pin. Greg actually used it this time. I cleaned the pitch and acted as a directional for the haul bags to get them past the overhang and up the corner.

I reached the belay, stacked ropes, racked up for the pitch and take off. I fully expected pitch 12 to be a walk in the proverbial park. I stepped right off the belay and mantled to a slab with two bolts at the top of it. Maybe a better belay for the top of 11? I then stepped right to a ramp with a bunch of pin scars, a fixed 'head, which was actually a mashed in wired hex, then a bolt with a sling and a 'biner.

I tried to free climb to the 'head. No go. I plugged in an Alien into one of the pin scars and hoped it would hold. I was out a ways from my last gear and the placement wasn't exactly C1. It held. I clipped up the mashed in hex and bolt then plugged in a big unit, a 3. You have to climb right and up following weaknesses to the top. Most of this climbing is on very rotten rock. It's probably no harder than 5. I grabbed a bay tree on the way up this section and had a swarm of biting ants all over me in one second. I brushed them off and continued up the rotten rock to a steep cleft leading to the top.

The pitch was only supposed to be 70 feet long. Maybe 70 feet after you straightened the ropes over the edge, but there is about feet of climbing on it, most of it easy and loose. As I topped out, I was blasted with a warm wind and sun. A beautiful view of the western end of the valley greeted me as I set up the hauls off a couple of trees. Greg helped the bags over the first edge and waited to top out with his wife. Made me want to fly home right then and there to see my family. I'm such a sissy.

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We got all the junk to the top and decided to bivy at the top. It was PM. We sorted out all the gear, ate dinner plus all the extra cans of fruit the kids brought with them , drank plenty of water, took obligatory summit pictures with an alpine glow on Half Dome in the background. We made a clean and non-cheater-stick ascent of the Prow. Though we definitely benefited from mid-season, fixed gear conditions. It was great to be on top of the column.

Sometime in the middle of the night something crawled across my feet and was poking around in a few stuff sacks with food and accoutrements in them. I thought Greg was searching for lip balm. I looked up, without the goggles, and saw a skunk. I yelled and Greg shined a light. I'm lucky not to have been sprayed. Greg and Nancy laughed and said it was a Ringtail Squirrel. It may have been Bigfoot. Time to zonk back out. I actually didn't sleep that well.

I was too jazzed to be on top with a couple of real novices and I helped them get to the top of their first wall. Because of me, they will probably have a lifetime of wall experiences, good and bad. I felt pretty good and proud. It can't be that bad. We're doing it after a good night's rest, we're well fed, we're hydrated and it's perfect weather.

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It can't be that bad, really. I poured out 1. I only carried 1. For some reason the pouring out of the water haunted me.