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Messages - johnmac

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Big Wall Forum / Re: Totem Cams
« on: September 11, 2015, 09:20:46 pm »
Good to hear that you like them Prod!

It takes a little bit of time to get used to them. I've placed them in ridiculous sandstone pockets in Moab and knew they would just blow when I applied weight to them. But they are simply amazing and hold. I continue to be astonished at their potential. I've only got two sets but would like more. In the spring I'm going to sell some of my c4's and replace them with totems.

Big Wall Forum / Re: The Sea of Dreams
« on: June 16, 2015, 12:13:31 pm »
Beautiful pic of AK on pitch 5 in yesterday's elcap report.

Big Wall Forum / Re: The Sea of Dreams
« on: June 11, 2015, 11:01:42 am »
Andy Kirkpatrick is planing on soloing this route very shortly, so it will be interesting to follow him on that adventure...

Big Wall Forum / Re: Awesome
« on: February 27, 2015, 10:00:16 am »
This is what I wrote over on

I've hesitated to comment on this but feel I should ...

I think if you ever take a daisy fall you will be surprised on how much force is generated. Even great looking cams can pull and the shock impact on other pieces and your body is like nothing else. I've watched c3's melt out sandstone placements while just standing on them.

I would never ever consider using the 3 aider without a rope technique in even the best sandstone in Zion. It's just not safe.

Buy yourself a copy of Andy Kirkpatrick's Me, Myself and I.

Consider this a your one free lesson that you got away with. Learn to climb with a margin of safety. Climbing is supposed to be a fun pastime but there is no point going out there and trying to kill yourself because of a lack of understanding of the risks involved.

Be safe and live long.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Risks v Reward
« on: October 10, 2014, 10:17:07 am »
Thanks for the replies.

I'm going to take next week off and ride a bunch before winter sets in for good.  We have had quite a bit of snow up here in Summit County and it won't be long before you won't be able to ride.

Maybe I need to buy a fat bike!

Big Wall Forum / Risks v Reward
« on: October 09, 2014, 03:53:02 pm »
A couple of weeks ago while rappelling off the Tower of Babel in Arches National Park my climbing partner had a mishap. He was about 25 meters from the ground at the last set of anchors having just rappelled from the previous belay.

The next minute he wasnít there. He has no recollection of what happened. I was at the higher anchor and had no view of him but he yelled out that he was at the anchor. The only thing I can think of is that he hadnít clipped correctly into the anchor.  He has many years of experience.

Anyhow, he survived the fall, with 8 broken ribs, a couple broken fingers and a collapsed lung. Thankfully, his helmet did its job and he only received minor head injuries.

The level of care provided by the Park staff and EMT's at the base of the tower was fantastic. Prior to them arriving, a member of the public who was watching from the side of the road rushed over and attended to him until they arrived. He was unconscious. I never got to thank him as I was still on the way down. He was flown to Grand Junction's St Mary's hospital via helicopter, where he was released this week after spending 12 days in hospital. 

It will be another 14 days before he is cleared to jump in a plane and fly home. He will fully recover, but right now he is limited to a wheelchair and a walker to get around. Each day sees a little bit of an improvement. He is busy reading my Alpinist Collection.

I've been climbing since I was 14 and I'm now 51. For 20 years I was a full time IFMGA guide working around the world and although I've never lost a client or a friend while climbing or guiding I've seen plenty of friends and peers come and go over the years. Although upsetting at the time, this is really the first accident that has rocked me. Most of the time you can be quite analytical about these things, however, in this case, I've have found the whole experience to be really quite traumatic.

After he was evacuated, I had to go back to our campsite and pack up our gear and then hit the road to Grand Junction. During that period, although I was able to contact the hospital they wouldn't provide any details as to his status. I really thought I would be calling his wife to let her know that he had died. When I got to ER, he was alive but a mess and the extent of his injuries were still being accessed.

So, now I'm really wondering for the first time in my life the risks versus the rewards. Maybe I should have a huge gear sale. My wife, whom Iíve been married for 25 years and has always, been 100 percent supportive wants me to just to have a break and wait until next spring to decide what to do. Itís probably the wise thing to do, but the thought of not having a plan over the winter is not something Iíve ever done before. Typically, I work out my vacation periods, goals, etc., and get everything lined up. Itís almost as though not having something to look forward to (the research and planning, training, gear prep), etc., is what Iím scared of missing out on. Iím not used to this indecision.

I still have one major bucket list goal and that is solo El Cap. I love being up on walls and feel totally at ease soloing. Iíve done plenty over the years from alpine, rock and walls but yet to tick the Caption solo. Going back to school to finish off a degree and working full time has really cut down those road trips.

When I used to helicopter ski 7 months of the year (NZ and Canada), we used to always talk about the perceived margin of safety and just how objective and rational your decision making really was. Did you start every day with a clean slate or was the hazard increasing incrementally as you spent more time in the environment? I retired from guiding after my third helicopter crash. Flying around in bad weather, with limited visibility, from tree to tree, lost its appeal.

So have you ever thought of hanging up your boots? Talking up a new sport or hobby? I also race mountain bikes so itís not like Iím going to run out of things to do and Iíll probably get to improve my places by a couple of positions as Iíd likely have more time now...

"The new line ascends the overhanging wall to the left of the 1960 first-ascent route (5.9 A4, Chouinard-Kamps-Pratt). Pratt returned eight years later with Dennis Hennek to force a more direct and difficult finish. The Constant Gardener joined the 1960 route for its final pitches."

From climbing mags website.

Big Wall Forum / Re: A bit of light reading... if humor is light
« on: September 09, 2014, 07:18:13 am »
I knew there was a reason why I liked bolts as belay anchors....

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Reticent. A Trip Report
« on: August 29, 2014, 12:45:20 pm »

lol, that's great!

Yes, a great quote. Hopefully, I'll be able to use it sometime....

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Reticent. A Trip Report
« on: August 26, 2014, 09:05:23 pm »
Thanks for sharing. Another great TR.

Big Wall Forum / Gear Express Sale
« on: August 22, 2014, 01:52:52 pm »
Gear Express is having a good sale right now. Lots of gear with up to 25 percent off...

Big Wall Forum / Re: El Capitan Geologic Map Published!
« on: August 07, 2014, 06:19:10 am »
Thanks for posting. Excellent!

Big Wall Forum / Re: Totem Cams
« on: August 01, 2014, 07:09:49 am »
Just got another two. I'm slowly catching up to Hudon.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Dear Bigwall forum members...
« on: July 24, 2014, 09:45:11 pm »
Mark, you are a class act for sure.

Viewed from afar a lot of big wall routes and climbers seem to have this mysterious quality to them. A special gang of practitioner's that where head and shoulders above anyone else and membership that was closely guarded. By sharing your own experiences, since you got back into walls, you're helped to wipe away all the BS and let people know that these routes are not outside the reach of competent climbers. 

I think you have really opened up a lot of people's eyes ...

Big Wall Forum / Re: Printing Topos from Yosemite Big Walls
« on: July 24, 2014, 03:41:04 pm »
Kevin you were right!

I was using a pre-release version of the book. The new file is called "The Complete Guide Ebook_2.27.14 2.pdf.

I can now view single pages!


Big Wall Forum / Re: Dear Bigwall forum members...
« on: July 24, 2014, 02:27:08 pm »
Looking forward to that TR!

Big Wall Forum / Re: Printing Topos from Yosemite Big Walls
« on: July 24, 2014, 02:26:14 pm »
Yes, that sounds right. I'll email him directly. Many thanks.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Printing Topos from Yosemite Big Walls
« on: July 24, 2014, 12:54:51 pm »

What you suggested doesn't appear to work with my copy...

"Very easy to change from two-page viewing to single page viewing. It is in Adobe Acrobat under View>Page Display. Then you can choose either Single Page display or Two Page display"

When I make that change I go from 4 pages to 2 pages....

Is it the version of the PDF I'm using?


Big Wall Forum / Printing Topos from Yosemite Big Walls
« on: July 24, 2014, 09:38:27 am »
Does anyone have a trick when printing topos from the new guide book. The book is formatted with each page comprises of two guide book pages. I want each page to be a single page and fill the entire sheet of paper.

My work around is to take a screen grab of the page I want to print and then print that full size to letter or legal size paper.

But, I think I must be missing a setting in Adobe Acrobat that would allow me to view the book one page at a time, like supertopo allow.


Big Wall Forum / Re: Dear Bigwall forum members...
« on: July 24, 2014, 06:37:58 am »
yes, damn right.

Supertaco has really gone downhill recently. People are so nasty!

On a bright note ... mountain gear has lots of totems in stock. Just picked up a couple more.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Rivet Hangers breaking?
« on: July 14, 2014, 07:28:28 pm »
It would to great to test the breaking strain of a standard versus cinch style rivet hanger?

Big Wall Forum / Re: Kong block roll or 2:1 ratchet or both or what?
« on: July 11, 2014, 08:08:19 am »
Thanks for the tip!

Big Wall Forum / Re: Totem Cams
« on: July 10, 2014, 08:52:30 pm »
I've had a good week selling crap on ebay so I'll be buying some more totems over the weekend. It's amazing what people will pay for stuff.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Totem Cams
« on: July 10, 2014, 10:00:23 am »
I picked up three last week and used them in sandstone over the weekend. They really rock. I'll be getting the larger ones in a couple of weeks. Ended up getting them from Only place I could find that had them in stock. They have 50 of them right now.

The totem website has been updated but it looks like they have some issues.

Looks pretty solid.

Evolv have their new Maximus on sale. I guess it didn't sell well. 85 compared to 140.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Andy Kirkpatrick's Kickstarter Project
« on: May 30, 2014, 02:32:01 pm »
Only 300 pounds to go, so it looks like it is going to be funded!

Big Wall Forum / Re: Totem Cams
« on: May 29, 2014, 06:46:40 pm »
Try It shows that they have 99 totems in stock. Purple available to ship now. Shitty timing for me. I just had to do the timing belt on the car....

Big Wall Forum / Andy Kirkpatrick's Kickstarter Project
« on: May 23, 2014, 06:35:01 am »
Should be a good read ....

I pledged 31 Pounds which works out to 52 US dollars. You get a copy of the book for that plus some stickers, etc...

Big Wall Forum / Re: Camp Warden Harness - new BW addition
« on: May 22, 2014, 12:59:45 pm »
The daisy idea looks good.

The harness has some nice features but ... you have to try it on to know whether it is going to be any better than the BD. I use the BD and find it pretty comfortable. It all depends on the shape, etc.

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