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Messages - mylesmoser

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Big Wall Forum / Fighting the Paine.... Old, yet what went down
« on: December 02, 2013, 10:21:37 am »
Sorry for not posting this sooner. We were holding these for awhile for the AAJ, but the didn't use the Central Tower and they edited the North Tower.

Enjoy wall monkeys!

http://roamingbanditos.blogspot.com/2013/11/old-but-new-full-stories-from-down.html

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It was a fantastic adventure in a awesome Place with an excellent Women!

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Full-Quiver-Three-Arrows-Lone-Pine-Peak-III-5-9-R/t11318n.html

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Big Wall Trip Reports / Livin' in the Portal
« on: December 15, 2011, 02:51:46 am »


   Here I am in North Dakota for two weeks. Enjoying the company of Amy's family. Taking a much necessary rest from the adventures that have been embarked upon and those that are waiting.
For the last week I have been endlessly searching the web and wholesalers for buckles, snaps, webbing, slides, material, buttons, and clips. I've always been interested in making haul bags and other big wall paraphernalia: from screamers to chest harnesses, to bombproof 4 season portaledge rain flys. I also just finished a prototype wall bivy/tent that will be put to the test as soon we get home. Well, after I adjust Max the VW Bug-he found a rock in Alabama Hills that did not agree with his rear end.

Man! We have had one hell of season. I have learned so much from the previous adventures and can't wait for what's coming. Most of all, I have discovered a partner who will not back down in the face of danger; a partner who looks at the open jaws and dripping teeth of the Sierra Bulgarian and says "let?s fight". Amy has gone from my princess, to my wing man. What we have done in recent months has left me with a feeling that I can not express. I have gone from a rat scurrying through holes and caves in the Alabamas trying to sniff out a willing belayer, to my dream of becoming a First Acsentionist.

First Ascent... What does it mean?

I don't know.

But what I can tell you is that I crave it! I dream of it. I think of it all the time. I want more virgin ground like a high schooler wishes to loose their virginity. I stare out my window imagining little red lines with little red dots, connecting those lines on all the Sierra buttresses. I have ambitions for routes that tear and turn my insides, only because the time is not right, the weather is not in, there is not enough snow. Secrets and mystery. The unknown. The what if. The we might.
The god awful bivy for one, let alone two. I need it!

I have had the privilege of climbing with and being mentored by one of the finest men I know, Phil Bircheff. A humble man who has chosen someone much younger to call friend.

"Can you give me a spot" I asked two years ago. He quietly puts his watered-down white wine on the gravel ground.

"Come on, check this one out!"

"Don't really spot me, you know... just be there" I proclaim.

And that was the start of a friendship that has changed my life. Phil the veteran of the iron age, has taught me to drive and listen to the ring of a piton. The ring which we have sent though the Whitney Portal for all to hear.
We sit at my table behind the Portal Store, Phil filing and sharpening RURPS and I on the bench grinder making a half inch Cassin Piton, into a quarter.

He spits on his stone.

I didn't even ask him to sharpen. He just knew.

I have stared at a hidden pillar well above the Portal for months. Every morning escaping the god-awful cold of early season in the Portal, I sneak into sun light... Binoculars in hand. Two parallel running splitters; how do I get there?

Phil walks up, "check it out" I say. He's probably thinking "here we go again!"

We're at the base, we dig in a bivy. Sh!t, we forgot the chicken, we'll just ration the trail mix for three days!
We swing leads for 6 two hundred foot pitches. Spire summit, awesome! One ring-angle piton dead vertical and we are off, slung block, fix 4 more pitons, ground... Trail mix gone.
Beers by the waterfall, topo drawn... We have created Pillar Altisimo.

Living in the Whitney Portal for the last eight months has been an experience. Grinding generators that sound as if they are about to explode. Constant "Doo yu know where the trail to Alf Dome is?" The smell of morning breakfast. The pancakes which are too big for any civilized person to eat, and the morning hug from non other than Earlene.

Sneak a sausage or two on the grill, Doug's back is turned... Bacon in the mouth.

Back to the upper lot we call home.
Squealing generator!

Doug Jr. on a smoke brake knows where we're at. He picks on me for awhile as I'm packing for the next climb... Sh!t my sausage!

Grab the sausage, which Dougie has removed from the grill. He knows me all too well now.
Tickets in the window, a ticket on the wheel, a line in front of Earlene... Where the hell are the Dougs? Dougie is on smoke break hopefully picking on Amy this time. Doug Senior is off some where saving the planet or mankind as we know it.

"All right here we go! Three eggs, over easy, side of hash, wheat toast, two pancakes for some reason, extra bacon, six sausage, three scrambled, one pancake, only toast... With sausage, ("that's not only toast"), four more pancakes, one hamburger ("it's not even lunch!"), two sides of bacon, "do you have any ketchup?", extra hash browns, one more pancake, two eggs sunny side up, "is my order ready?", lights fading... Generating crapping out, pancake batter every where, the sound of a screen door sliding open, "Doug!, Dougie!, I'm going climbing... Keep it real Dougs."

Squeeze in a few hours of climbing before work...
"Amy we are going to be late!" I yell down, as she flawlessly dances up the stone.
15 minutes late to work.

Amy and I just climbed a thousand feet. Throw the packs down, cover up my B.O. with old spice, slide the kitchen screen door ?You?re an IDIOT!" Senior yells. I laugh, wipe the sweat from my brow because I know this is his way of saying "Good Job!"

Amy, still with holes in her butt from climbing, is taking orders. I behind the window stuffing every morsel in sight in my mouth. She sneaks off to get into clothes that don't have holes.
The crowd is gone, lunch is over.
Time to hit the books. I stare at The High Sierra, Secor, Cameron Burns, California Fourteeners. These books all have awful pictures, but they will do.
"Day Needle!, Day Needle!, Day Needle!" I hunt frantically for a blue pen, so eager to draw the future route into the book.

Here I am, in the kitchen with my rack of equipment, trying to convince Doug Senior to give up some of his pitons from years past.
All he can do is stare at the equipment on the floor and say ?Myles! You might show up to work on time if you left some that equipment at home... Because back in my day..." I've heard it all before, so I don't judge. He is just getting old.

Squeaking generator, gotta get away!

I sneak off to my spot under the "Eiger of the Portal" also know as Candle Light Buttress. I sit there quietly with my jaw hanging to my toes, gawking at the king of the Portal, the Whitney Portal Buttress.

Amy and I worked on this wall for half a season before being beaten by a man-eating crack full of bushes and dirt. Some fine scrubbing, digging, and trimming got us through it. I was bed ridden for a few days. Doug tells me I probably got the Hanta Virus... while laughing.

Winter rolled in, and we were out.

The start of this season had us itching to get back on it. Snow on the road and a manmade burm, to keep the crusaders out, was no match for the Volkswagen Max.

Tire chains on, first gear in, here we go!

And, we're stuck.

"Amy get in, I'll push."

First gear in, engine hot and - we?re stuck once more.
Like knights storming a castle to slay the king we persevered.... After jacking and digging the car out.
We humped well over a hundred pounds of equipment to the wall, the next day it snowed for two weeks! We were out once more. Just as the weather cleared, my best friend Paul decided to show up. He had not wall climbed in a very long time, but the weather was saying now!

A party of two turned into a party of three.

100 pounds to haul turned into 175 pounds.

We were in for it! We lived on the wall for six days, making our way slowly up the steep face.
Paul in good style reading Mutiny Aboard the Bounty, heckling from his hanging palace while Amy and I worked ourselves.

Paul?s portaledge collapses... Now we are all uncomfortable.

Three people, a ledge built for two, three nights, wish Paul was thinner.

Exploded finger, blood everywhere, nine pitches up, a thousand feet of climbing, five hundred feet to go, one gallon of water left, Paul and his mutiny, "Where is the brandy?? Paul wants tacos, we?re out of gas, my finger hurts, time to bail, we wait till morning.

Doug Senior flies past us in His white truck. We turn in to our campground and there he is. Senior, arms crossed and a smile on his face, leaning against his truck awaits our tales of epic. He of course is proud, but with tape on my finger I start to explain, then out of nowhere "You?re an IDIOT!" breaches my tale. Amy, beautiful and tired had hung there for hours of boring belays and strenuous attempts to free climb, Paul- Paul just hung out, but hey that's what Paul does.

Doug then told us to go take showers!

So we failed.

A few weeks later we moved into the Portal. The wall held our bail-out gear hostage and I wanted it back. Starring daily at the route and the dangling equipment rotting in the sun was driving me mad. It was as if the wall was taunting me. At the right time of day I could see my carabiners flicking beams of sun at me while I would sit and ponder the wall. It was time to relive the adventure all over again.

Four days and three nights is what it took Amy and I to finish. Day two began with a morning greeting from Doug Jr. (a loud horn blast from his truck as it made the serpentine bend in the road, telling us he is watching). By no means were they easy. On the third day we went for the summit push. The winds were extremely violent, pushing anywhere from sixty to eighty mph. The Buttress was trying to tell us who was boss and it was doing a good job at that. Several times we had to hang on tight, in order not to get blown off the wall.

Meanwhile, we could see Paul and Phil on another wall fighting the same winds. Phil had told me later that the winds were so strong it had stolen his beanie while climbing, and that's when he began to fear for us.

We hit the summit in a torrent of wind. Rappelling the last seventy meters to our portaledge, I heard Amy screaming. As I got closer she was telling me the winds had picked her up in the two man ledge. "She must be exaggerating" I thought.

I tied the ropes off nice and tight so they wouldn't blow away." We can't rappel in these winds with all the equipment" I shouted.

And then, we were air born. Amy and I are literally floating on air. Easily three hundred pounds just got picked up and WHAM!!! We slam down on the anchor. Not good. Wham! Oh Dear! The rest of the night was us with are legs spread wide and arms stretched out to keep the rain fly from collapsing.... It was great!

The next morning we rappel. And as soon as we hit the ground who should be there but Big Paulie. He had hiked up to carry loads.

Righteous!

"Come on Doug it has to be a grade V, twelve pitches....come on! We where up there for six days! Then four!" I yell.
Doug Jr. quietly flipping hamburgers as his father and I go at it. "Dougie come on, give me your opinion..." Silence still from Dougie. Doug Senior then tells me that a party of women was on the route and they said it wasn't bad.

He's pretty funny for an old guy, always smacking me down because he knows I?ll get back up.

And then it comes.... His son is about to through us out of the kitchen and lets me have it... Just what I?ve been waiting for, a response from Dougie.

Dougie is asking ?why aren't you climbing? Why should the grade matter? Why do you care what others think? You climbed it? It doesn't matter!"

Well, Dougie was right. I got what I wanted and most of all I got those damn annoying, sun flickering, ruin my pondering session carabiners back.

Amy, Paul, and I walked away calling the route The Never Ending Story. You could ask Dougie if he thinks it's grade V, but I would just recommend trying it, you'll find out!

Remember that blue pen I was searching for, I found it! That blue line eventually got drawn in. Day Needle was something I'll never forget. Serious, hard work.

Three days, four nights, bashed knuckles, broken drill bits, sketchy blocks, a baggy of nuts and a salami stick. Five gallons of water, one sleeping bag for two people, and a sh!t ton of gear. Those awful bivies I crave so badly, oh yeah- we got those. Run-out, sketchy climbing, got that too. Screaming barfies... check, being pummeled by chunks of hail...hell yeah we got it, fifteen pitches with on the edge climbing.... Oh baby! Sleeping on the side of a wall around 14,000 ft in one of the grandest areas around... Priceless!

We hit the summit, down the Mountaineers Route, crash one more night under the Massif, three mile hike out, and we're done. Swing into the Dougs? office, I mean kitchen, tell them how it went. Get heckled a little; pray that a Giant Sierra Pine Rat has not ripped our canvas pop-up to shreds.

Take a shower then flip some Burgers.

I stare at Amy through my serving window as she describes the route with radical gestures and movements to our bosses, and paying customers. I listen to Doug laugh as she talks of the heckling we received from Iceberg Lake.

I just wait in the kitchen for it.

I know it's coming

"Myles!"

"You?re an idiot!"

And...I got it!







To Doug Senior, Earlene, and Doug Jr. Thank you very much.





 
I had posted this on my Bosses Forum December 3rd as a thank you letter, figured you guys would enjoy a laugh.

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