Commentary; Ice climbing
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NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
10 Feb 2000
New HampshireCoos County
- Mount Washington; Pinkham Notch Trail
- 44.2576 -71.2537
Stereo=2: 1=L, 2=R; Spaced Omni Stereo; DPA 4060 Omnidirectional Microphones
NPR/NGS RADIO EXPEDITIONS
Show: Mt Washington
Log of DAT #: C-2
Engineer: Flawn Williams
Date: Feb 10,2000
ng= not good
g = good
vg = very good
RICK WILCOX (RW) HELMET MIC
18:25 DAVID BREASHEARS (DB): we'll get suited up here for an ice climb.
18:27 AMBI; PUTTING ON EQUIPMENT VG
18:40 FX: SHAKING EQUIPMENT VG
18:44 DB: we might as well climb it, right?
RW: sure, yeah DB: it's easier to climb it than to walk down, isn't it?
RW: yeah, yep RW: I mean if we try to get up faster, it's shorter up central but not so exciting
DB: well let's see what happens
DISSCUSSION OF TAPE RECORDERS AND PHONE NUMBER--NG
20:23--21:09 AMBI: SUITING UP VG
21 :09 DB: (OFF MIC) look at how that wind gets in there
RW: yeah that blows that pretty hard
21:37 more discussion about phone NG
FX: SHAKING EQUIPMENT VG, AND AMBI CONTINUES WITH NO TALKING TIL 26:03
26:53 AMBI: GETTING READY VG
27:12 FX: HAMMER TAPPING VG
27:30 FX: HAMMER TAPPING VG
27:46 DB: fun to be out climbing though
27:54 DB: it looked to me from what you saw, if that guys finishing that pitch, is that of it?
RW: is he on ice? There's probably one more snow pitch, and then that's it.. .. they should be exiting to the left at the top
28:26 TAPE RECORDER DISCUSSION NG
28:53 DB: colder up here, colder in this shade here
RW: yep ... if the gully looks really nasty ... we can always head up central and come out more or less where we want to come out
DB: yeah ok
RW: probably gonna be ok ....but I'll let you check it out
DB: I think they were far enough up
DB: not gonna be too concerned about their activities above us. Especially if I can ... have a feeling I'm gonna be getting those other gloves out. How does that wire look?
RW: wire looks ok. Yep ... good .... yep
30:20 DB: all right I got the rack .. .look OK? Yeap ... coupla runners ...
RW: Bullwinkle and rocky, ready for some more action here
DB: some nice cold gloves
RW: yep, don't you love it. Kind of a crazy sport.
DB: standing in the shade is a little different story ... want me to just trail the rope up there?
RW: yep. And I'll follow you. Like I say we should be ok for about a hundred feet up the right hand side there. You'll see a spot for belay I think.
DB: ok. Is this a real belay with a n anchor?
RW: it's a rock ... a little hole in the left hand side, and sometimes you can put a sling in there or there may be a rock piton or. .. or nothing.
31:43--32:20 AMBI: CLIMBING G DB: (off mic) looks really nice up there
DB: (off mic) I think we're ok with those other climbers
RW: yep, yeah it looks good
DB: ... up the middle ...
RW: you see how it sort of slates, goes toward the right?
DB: (oft) yeah
RW: well that's the way
32:35--34:13 AMBI: CLIMBING VG
DB: (off mic) RW: yep.
35:26 RW: well I have to say the gully looks in excellent condition ... certainly as good as it gets ....
36:15 FX: ICE AX G
37:21 FX: TAPPING G
37:41 FX: TAPPING G
37:46 DB: didn't take long to get warm, did it?
RW: no. I'm just hopping the fingers'll hold up cuz these gloves are pretty thin.
DB: off mic
RW: good. Well this first 150 or so is the crux ...
DB: I'm putting a screw in here.
RW: yep. That'll be good for a belay, sure.
DB: I think that give n that where we are ...
RW: sounds good to me.
DB: is that ok with you?
RW: absolutely. Yes sir.
38:23 DB: there you go. I want to step in front of you... you all right with that?
RW: yep. You ready to go?
DB: yeah go ahead.
38:38 FX: CHAINS CLINKING VG
DB: what I want to do is get it couple of these ice screws off
RW: get em handy, right Handy, and up you go.
DB: can you get my harness in a loop and pull it down, get a loop visible?
RW: it's right here.
DB: it is? Good.
RW: right there?
DB: is there another one behind it?
RW: yep. It's kinda behind your bag. That looks like your best bet right there.
DB: is it?
RW: well, just ...
DB: that's all right.
39:29 FX: SPITS NG
DB: (OFF) all right ..
RW: nice,., DB: that's yours
RW: thank you
DB: put the short tool in my left hand and, how's your belay there? All right?
RW: yep. I'll put you on as soon as you go by me.
THIS LOG CORRESPONDS WITH THE C-2 LOG, RICK WILCOX'S BACKPACK TAPE
41:57 (CORRESPONDS WITH 1:26:33 ON DAT C-2)
I'M LOGGING ONLY WHAT'S UNINTELLIGIBLE OR NOT PRESENT ON THE OTHER TAPE
42:30 DB: not have to worry about really awful weather, every time the clients go out, are they frozen, are the still alive?
42:50 DB: well I'm racking up again ... getting ready for the next pitch ... looking up a little slot here in the Pinnacle buttress called pinnacle gully. And we've just finished 165 feet of ice.
44: 13 DB: I really don't like climbing with a pack and a helmet, cuz every time you look up you're jammed.
45:09 DB: so I'm just above rick here, a very pleasant little bit of ice. Typical problem early...you're either new to the season or new to the sport, is to bash you tools in about 20 times harder than is necessary...bash your knuckles, and not get ...just get yourself tired:
46:01 DB: just climbed over a little bulge, and now I'm on easier terrain, getting up a little bit steeper here, kinda messy right here, messy but the ice is nice, as they say, and will suffice.
46:40 DB: little bulge I'm on now, which is nice, make a mistake of not leaning in too far, cuz then you cant see anything, and it's a very awkward position. Stopping here ... hey Rick?
47:13 (about 1:30:00 on DAT C-2) DB: In about 15 feet there's a nice place, OK?
47:26 DB: Great. So I am about 80 feet above the belay, Rick's encouraging me to put in an ice screw, which I shall because you can fall over 170 feet at the moment. But it's so unlikely. . . Ice on the left!
47:56 47:56 FX: ICE FALLING
48: 15 DB: It was a leftover dinner plate that I didn't see. OK, stopping for an ice screw, right here.
47:27 FX: CHOPPING
48:51 DB: If I run out of rope I'll put in a screw and I could keep climbing, whatever you want. I'll belay ... putting in a screw here
FX: ICE SCREW GOING IN
49:23 DB: I'm clipping in the carabiner ... now I'm clipping in the rope
49:38 DB: I'm into a very nice ice screw
49:40-51:44 AMBI: CLIMBING, BREATHING, ICE CRYSTALS FALLING, CHOPPING,
51:44 DB: ok now I'm on to some easier terrain here, back into some snow on ice, that was a nice bulge there ...beautiful climbing up here ...
52:23 DB: Hey Rick? (RW in bg) I can put a screw in here. . .
52:50 DB: Hey Rick? How much rope? (RW in bg) OK
53:21 FX: CLINKING, ICE SCREW VG
54:03 DB: I'm putting in a screw here, at the belay. It's very nice. . . a little bit. . . the ice is hard here. This is a tough ...guy to go in here. I'm gonna have to tap in with the hammer, which I don't wanta do. A time consuming way to place an ice screw ......And it's almost in. TAPPING AND CLINKING THROUGH THIS SECTION VG
55:34 DB: Now I'm going to ...the screw is in, and I'm going to tie into it and I'm ready for Rick. Rick? I'm off! That's a really quick way, in a gully here where maybe he can't hear me, of letting him know I'm off belay. That means be doesn't have to belay me anymore, I'm anchored' up here, that if... and that's good, because then he can undo the ice screw and not have to pay attention to holding the rope for me, and then if I'm ready to climb, and when he's ready, I'm ready. I've got a good solid ice screw, and I... a lot more, it's just not necessary. A good stance here, very comfortable. It's important to get a good position that one likes ... it's a little bit erratic, the surface I'm on.
AMBI: ROPE BEING PULLED UP--G
57:55 DB: You're on, Rick! That means ...
58:30 DB: He's climbing now, very quickly. I'm in this gully, we have about one pitch left, half a pitch, I'm not sure, but he's really flying up here, so I have to pay attention to the rope. Can't really look around a lot ... it's just delightful in here.
59:07 DB: rick is very very fast, and very experienced ... so he's right on ... .it kinda sounds like I'm bending over ... and my waist strap is pinching my diaphragm a little, so it restricts my breathing. But I'm just here hauling in the rope, and I really take time to look around. My job is just to haul in the rope. And I can see this beautiful green lichen on mfy right.
59:58 DB: I feel bad about that one big piece of ice. I didn't really knock any loose with my ice ax, so I wasn't' looking. And I came upon another dinner plate, loosened by the party ahead of us... and I shoulda been more careful, cuz it came down and it was big, and it went right by Rick, 3 feet away. And he dodged it very artfully.
1:01:00 DB: I'm shifting a little bit, this stance is not my favorite ... rest my ankles a little bit.
1:01:21 DB: Rick's not one to complain if I'm not bringing in the rope fast enough. So
I have to pay attention...Now I can turn around and look ... a lot of my view is obscured by the overhanging wall of this gully, which comes out right over my head about 30 feet now. I can see down to the bottom and I can see out into Maine, the mountains of NH, and ... now rick is really climbing fast ...he's taking out the ice screw now, so there's a little pause .. .I thought there was
1 :03:33 DB: it's good to .. .I'm sitting kinda on, I'm on my crampons a bit now ... a little tired, ankle bent the wrong way ...
1:03:55 DB: hey Rick!
1 :04:25 FX: WE BEGIN TO HEAR A LITTLE OF RICK CHOPPING IN THE BG
1 :04:55 DB: Sorry about that piece of ice .. .it was a dinner plate from that earlier party, and it was under the soft snow and I stepped on it and off it went ... that was a nice artful dodge
RW: yep (bg) ... you missed me (THIS IS 1:49:54 ON C-2 DAT)
1 :05:42 DB: I've kind of made a mess of things here .. .! had it all stacked and then it slipped when I wasn't paying attention ... if we slide that down it ought all just ...go ... nothing to hang up on. Know what I find that's worse than any ice conditions are when you have a little bit of loose snow over ice, and you're not quite sure
RW: yeah, that's really nasty
1:07:32 DB: TALKING ABOUT THE TAPE RECORDER
1 :07:38 DB: we might as well get in a little more climbing RW: sure, go ahead up
DB: I just wanta make sure that it's not gonna anything in the gully on you. So hold on ...you're still into your belay device ...
1:07:52 RW: You want me to put in another screw here? (THIS IS 1:52:27 ON C-2 DAT)
1 :09:34 DB: I mean if! get up there .. .! see .. .! just don't want to get into some mess you know, of...
1 :09:44 DB: I'm gonna have that quickie ice screw, that's all, cuz I'm not gonna go leading above you without putting at least that in
RW: good thinking
1: 11 :05 DB: but I think I was ok climbing above you RW: yep. Oh yeah, yeah yeah
DB: I mean I wasn't gonna pop us both off, I Hope not.
RW: no, I'd catch you go in by
1: 11 :21 DB: next time I do this I'm gonna do what I've done on the Black Dike all the time, and climb with one tool, and assist. .. you don't get bent over so much
RW: I know, it's crazy
DB: and you really have to ...fuckin hell.. .ok man.....ok....
RW: soon as you get that screw in I'll be able to go back to sleep here
DB: all right. Lemme get right to a nice stance, just right here
RW: well you're eventually gonna run out of ice
DB: I don't want to do that .. .! know when to stop .. .! know. But I don't want to have to put in two screws. I'm ok rick to be able to go up a little bit, I'm not gonna pitch off on you on grade 2 ice, I promise.
1:12:45 DB (APPROX 1:56:38 ON C-2 DAT) OK... it's just damn hard to putin.. :oops I didn't' hit it, went right through the middle, thankfully ...shit! ... I still ... it's so hard to put in ice screws at this angle, it's like... whoops...but I love putting this one in. Man! I'll never use another ice screw.
1: 13 :21 DB: I'm gonna bring all my stuff up for you to sell. Little bit of ice, sorry ...not mine. Somebody else.
1:1340 DB: Look at this. This is so amazing .. .it's a good one too ... ooh I love it like that. I don't know what'd goin on when those ice screws go thru and hit air like that.
1 :14:06 DB: this is a great ...that one's great. that one I had to bang in, I couldn't twist it in, so you're gonna, I regret to inform you, you're gonna have fun getting it out ...God" somehow, Rick, I just can't bear to go up over there
1: 14:22 RW: (1 :59:00 on C-2 DAT) Go to the right then.
1:14:27 DB: It's just steep enough so I can climb. This is terrible awkward. This, whatever I'm on, with a pack.
1:14:54 DB: Sorry. I got something jammed up there that really is unpleasant.
1:15:18 FX: ICE TINKLING VG
1:15:19 DB: you know what, Rick? Since you're not in a great place, I'm just gonna to straight up. I don't want a knock any ... if you were protected, that's one thing. But I don't wanta blast something down onto you.
1: 15:42 DB: Wow. Huh. Those guys had 3 ice screws in here. Whoa!
1:16:00 DB: What? RW: (talking about wind slab) (2:00:35 on C-2 DAT) DB: I bet.
1:16:20 DB FX: WHISTLING
1:16:26 DB: sure is nice up here.
1: 16:52 DB: Yeah ... oh that's all over right there, that's no point in going up that.
1:17:12 DB: How much rope? what?... left? ....they went right up the gully... you want me to go out there? .... OK, what do I belay to? ..1'11 get a good stance ...
1:18:01 DB: You want me to go there, Rick? .. OK ...
1:18:28 DB: what? .. OK ... CLIMBING AMBI TIL END OF SECTION AT 1:19:24. REST
OF DAT IS UNUSABLE.
Last 45 minutes of Rick Wilcox's (RW) backpack tape, some of David Breashears (DB) in bg
1:22:47 RW: Wanta just run that up there? I'm gonna stay down here.
DB: Hold on, I've gotta slip this out.
RW: Whatever you wanta do is fine ...
DB: If you're gonna stay there I wanta be clipped into both.
RW: We just did the 1 st 2 pitches in one pitch, so that's nice
1 :23:04 RW: I don't think I've been this warm in this gully for years. Usually you're
sitting here with your hands shakin.
DB: Equalize this, hang on ... screws, there is some hollow ice under there. I'm gonna put a good screw in there right away.
RW: Good thinking.
DB: You're all set-you want it any tighter?
1:23:45 RW: No, but gonna make sure the rope doesn't snag on anything
DB: Ice screws?
RW: Yes sir.
DB: Let's plug this up
FX: ICE SCREW GOING IN
RW: I just don't want this sitting down in Niagara Falls getting nice and frozen
DB talking about the recording NG
1 :26:33 RW: Not gonna get another day like this, look at this sky, look at everything. Unbelievable ... you want some gear here?
DB: Hang on. RW: Get my rack straightened out.
1:27:04 RW: If we could take people out every day like today this sport would actually grow a little bit.
1 :27: 17 DB: when the clients go out are they frozen?
1 :27:30 DB: I'm racking up again ... getting ready for. . .little slot in the gully.
1:27:45 RW: You want another screw here? DB: Just one more.
1 :27:49 DB: Look at that-I'm gonna use that one right away.
DB: We're out the belay. We're passed the belay over to Rick. (off mic: Climbed so many times, it's just about right, I've been here ...it's not a cold day)
RW: Well, the other reason is I haven't been .. .lately, so it's always good to see a youngster on the ...
1 :28:25 DB: Now Ricks's warm, that's how it works ...the belayer is cold, the climber is warm.
RW: Time for the belay to move on, and your reward is a hot cupa coffee at the top. Ok, I'm here on belay ...
RW: Yep, you sure are.
DB: All right, whoops, sorry ...
RW: That's all right, we'll just sell it to the radio guys ...
1 :29:07 RW: You got just a little bit of snow there with ice underneath-interesting
1:30:00-1:31:50 DB in bkgrnd with AMBI
RW: time to put in another ice screw?
DB: (bg) about 15 feet there's a nice place
1:32:36 DB (bg) (yells)
RW: yep (ice falling FX)
RW: You missed me.
FX: ICE FALLING
1 :32:54 RW: yep, all right, good deal
1 :33:07 RW: So when you go over the bulge I won't see you anymore. When the rope comes tight I'll climb. I'll give you a little pull, letting you know you're out of rope. Use your judgment on those screws and things. (DB in bg)
RW: When you run out of rope you'll just be tight.
1:33 :35 DB (bg):
1:33:37 RW: Well, you might want a belay me up
1:35:05-1:36:37 AMBI: Ice crystals falling, clothing rustling, no talking, rope paying out VG
1 :36:39 RW: (yells) David....david....dave
1:37:00 RW: You're running out of rope! Whadya need? Keep going?
1:37:29 RW: Yep? 10 feet.
1:37:33 FX: CLIMBING, ICE AX CLINKING VG
1:38:38 - 1:40:32 AMBI: CHOPPING, CLIMBING VG
1:40:32 RW: Yep? OK 1:40:35-1:42:22 AMBI: CLIMBING
1 :42:22 RW: That's me. CLIMBING AMBI
1:42:34-1:48:33 AMBI WITH ICE AX ETC VG
1:47:43 FX: CARABINER
1:48:25 FX: ICE FALLING
1:48:34 RW: Hey, David!
1 :48:35 AMBI: CLIMBING
1 :49:35 DB (bg) Sorry about that piece flying.
RW: No, no problem
DB (bg) RW: Yep
RW: Yep, yessir.
1:49:54 RW: Yep. You missed me. OK.
1:50:22 DB (bg) RW: Oh, that's all right. Straighten it out ... yep.
1 :50:40 DB (bg) Slide that down and I'll. . .
1 :50:53 DB (bg) loose snow
DB: never quite sure what you're on
RW: yeah. That's really nasty. Whoopsie. You get a little bit careless when you're coming up 2nd, that's for sure.
DB: that's all right.
1:51:18 DB: so we have one pitch? RW: Yeah, I think you can make the top, and basically, uh ...
1:51 :27 DB: Let me get you ... belay. Find a place you like.
RW: I'm gonna hold onto your rope there, good screws.
DB: 1 have ~ screw. What I'm gonna do is put something in right away, so ... can we finish off of that?
RW: Straight ahead, or? You wanta go over there?
RW: Yeah you can
DB: It just ends right over the top, right?
RW: Yeaaaahhhh, uh, yep
DB: I start to see ... I mean there's bushes there. That has to be the top.
RW: Oh, that's the top. If you went straight you'd exit left on it. If you go right, um, see you got a little bit of a climb to the rim still? If you go to the left we could go on one rope. If you go to the right I'm not exactly sure.
1:52:18 DB: TALKING ABOUT TAPE RECORDER
1:52:27 RW: You want me to whip in another screw?
DB: I'm gonna put one in right here. So your belay will be protected. I'll put a long one in so you don't have to mess around.
1:53:02 RW: I could tell you the story about the guy that ran out the last pitch here ... at the top, and he couldn't find anyplace to put in an anchor. So he sat in the bushes up there, and his buddy came up 2nd, he was too tired and lazy to take out the ice screws, so he fell-whatya want, a couple screws?
DB Just a minute ... I want to .... ok ...
RW: OK ... what re you doing?
DB: You need to put me on
RW: On belay. Yep. Got it.
DB: And then I can get outa this stuff and then I'm gonna do what I did with this tool, and back up this screw.
RW: OK DB: It actually adds quite a bit of strength to the belay.
1 :53:44 DB: So did they both pitch?
RW: well the guy pulled 'em out of the woods, you know, and they were both flying down the gully and the rope hooked on one of the old ice screws that wasn't out.
RW: OK, you're on
DB: I'm gonna take this off
DB: take me off
RW: all right
DB: I think I can finish it in one pitch, though, don't you?
RW: up to the right?
RW: yeah I think so
DB: ...a mess
RW: well, there's a lot of pucker brush up there. That's the only thing, I don't know what you're gonna wind up in
DB: I better go up that way, it's just not-AND MORE ABOUT THE TAPE RECORDING
1:55:05 FX: tapping, clinking
RW: that's good
DB: I'm gonna have that ice screw
RW: good thinkin
DB: those screws were OK down there, weren't they?
RW: the belay screws? DB: yeah RW: most of your protection screws have been really fine
DB: yeah, but I think it was OK climbing above you
RW: yep. Oh yeah I was very happy
DB: I wasn't ...
RW: No, no, no. I'd catch you ...
DB: OK Man
RW: Yeah. If you just throw in a screw
DB: Next time I do this I'm just gonna do what I've done (bg)
RW: yeah, it's too low angle here ... ok ... sorry ... get you going ... soon as you get that screw in I'll be able to go back to sleep here
DB: all right
1 :56:34 RW: well, you're eventually gonna run outa ice, too, and that's ...
DB: I'm gonna stop right here
RW: Oh well, that's good. That's beautiful...right ... sure ... I'm countin on that. If you wanta keep an eye to your right ... if you see anything good to go up, go ahead and go up it ... yeah I think that's the main problem. Cuz there's a nice place off to the left on rope, it's flat, right at the top of the buttress, it's very beautiful, it'll be spectacular today, it'll be in the sun, of course anything on the right's gonna be in
1 :57:38 DB (bg)
RW: It's all right ... so flat .. .isn't that nice? (DB in bg) Well I'll get you a rack of those if you want. Just give me your old ones, I'll sell 'em all.
1:58:07 FX: ICE FALLING G
RW: you missed
1 :58:22 RW: isn't that great? They come out the same way too.
RW:: well I'll go back to sleep.
RW: it just means there's a layer of ice over the snow. And they're OK but they're not great. The one you got in there is probably great (DB in bg) ...that's good (DB in bg) ... well, I'll get it out
1:59:00 RW: well go to the right then. Wherever we wind up, we'll figure it out ... yep...
1 :59:29 RW Well when you get up there you can tell me what you see
1:59:57 FX: ICE TINKLING VG
2:00:00 RW: go up straight, that's the right way
2:00:20 FX: ICE TINKLING
2:00:35 RW: this is where the wind slab gets you. This is where in some conditions wind slab is a problem. To bad we weren't getting this all on tape.
2:01:06 AMBI: ROPE PAYING OUT
2:01:36 RW: OK
2:01:50 RW: you got quite a bit, about 80 feet. You want to go up and left. Yep. No ... you wanta get on the buttress to the left. Yeah. Just don't fall off. You could go down over the edge a little ... right ... sure ... yeah you could un-rope right there ... when the rope's tight I'll come up.
2:03:08-2:03:40 AMBI: CLIMBING
2:03:48 FX: ICE AX
2:04:38 FX: ICE AX
2:05:11 RW: Up rope! CLIMBING AMBI
2:07:00 END OF DAT