Stick Clips - More "Fun" Without
Yes, Rich, here's another old fart who thought placing pro, even when difficult or dangerous, was as much a rewarding part of the climbing as the climbing. Way old school I know, but seemed so satisfying to get pro in off the deck with a wobbly sigh of relief, or in the middle of hard moves higher along, staying with the same challenges as the FA party, loving them and cursing them on the spot and back at camp where big laughs and hoots go on ... all that.
Of course, one pays for such quirky pleasure, sometimes in heated arguments with partners who see no problem with those stick clips, sometimes with other consequences off the deck when the pro won't go and then you must decide with withering arms to down climb or go on, and wind up falling into the North Sea trying that first ascent, and break a heel and get freezing wet and hobble around your subsequent Scotland tour in a cast with a somewhat grumpy wife, all because the little bitsy nuts you got in were lousy and you knew it but couldn't hang in there long or well enough to get them solid, and tried to down climb and time the coming splash to when the waves were in rather than out but missed that timing and hit jutting rocks ...
Days of old, fond in memory, but not so smart. My better choice: leave the FA for other stronger, better ones to come. Turns out one did come along two years later and get that FA, and since then the Scots around Aberdeen have a tale to tell in the pubs of how one of their own did what the American visitor couldn't. Of course, now it is not hard to see that is a perfectly wonderful and fitting outcome as the days turn for all of us and the better and better come along, and it was good to be sobered as a whippersnapper of the day learning slowly, reluctantly, there is no eternal fame or body, and perfectly wonderful for the hardy and hard climbers of that part of the world and their rich climbing lore. So we see, all is not lost, in fact much gained, as we embrace some dangers and stupidities of climbing, provided we live to reflect upon them.
Supertopo Post, October, 2010