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A picture that requires a thousand words

Have an interesting or epic climbing story? Post it here.
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A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby ivorysandal » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:43 pm

My son and I had plans to climb Mt. Lindsey on Sunday, August 11, 2013. I had tried it myself in September, 2012, shortly after a 'rare' September snowstorm had covered the upper peak in ice, and abandoned the attempt at 13K when I saw several people having a lot of trouble descending the scree/ski field. I therefore knew the route, and that Lindsey requires a stream crossing. I had read a post on 14ers.com from the end of July that the creek was high because of the recent Monsoon rains and "yes, it is cold". I decided the best option for my son and I was to carry our sandals along in our backpacks so we could take off our boots and use the sandals for crossing if necessary. As it turned out it wasn't. We found and were able to negotiate some well placed logs with no spills. But at the ridge at 13K I suggested my son stash his poles, extra drink bottle and sandals under some rocks to lighten the backpack load, as he was going to climb the more difficult class 3/4 route. I knew from past experience that climbers are an honest lot and will leave your stuff alone - unless it appears to have been accidentally dropped, in which case you'll often find it in some visible spot on the way down.

So my son heads up from the ridge about 10 minutes ahead of me. I follow behind and immediately see he's dropped his Maroon Bells sweatshirt. I pick it up and secure it to the top of my pack. I continue climbing up the delightful scree section, trying to stay to the right as much as possible to grab and climb the more stable rock. Trying to catch my breath at one point I look down and see a Maroon Bells sweatshirt 30 feet below me, not my son's, still secure at the top of my pack, but my identical sweatshirt, which had obviously fallen out of the bottom loops.

I sure as hell am not going to down climb to get that sweatshirt (as I was already sweating profusely and didn't desire more) and decide I'll just pick it up on the way down.

We both make the summit on our respective routes - my son had already started descending the scree section but magnanimously agreed to go back up with me the last 200 feet to the top. High 5 and several grip and grin photos with a marmot sneaking into the background for a few pics.

Image00004.jpg
Beady eyed predator (and then there's the marmot)
Image00004.jpg (168.45 KiB) Viewed 927 times


Now descending the scree again - hate it, hate it - but no sign of sweatshirt I dropped. I figured someone scooped it up and I'd find it again at the trailhead.

We finally (gratefully) get off the scree to reach the ridge and head to the spot where my son had stashed his poles, drink and sandals. As we approached, 3 marmots scampered away. It was then we discovered the poles and drink were still there but the sandals were missing. I couldn't believe it - someone had stolen my son's sandals. So much for honest climbers. Then looking around for a minute I happen to spot a pair of horribly beat up sandals tossed in the middle of the trail. My Sherlock Holmesian conclusion was that some a-hole had ditched his gnarly old sandals for my son's nice and new looking pair and for some inexplicable reason, tossed them in the middle of the trail. Not only was the guy an a-hole, but an inconsiderate boor as well. I envisioned him saying "Wow, what a great pair of sandals that are exactly my size! I'll just take these and dump my dogs on the trail." I mean, these things were nasty looking - mossy and torn, they looked like they'd been outside in the elements for about 10 years. I don't know how anyone could even stand to wear those. And wouldn't you know it - the guy just happened to have the same size feet as my son and they even seemed to be the same model. What dumb luck.

I picked them up (with gloves - no bubonic plague for me, thank you very much) and brought them back to the stash spot to take a photo of the crime scene. It was then my son pointed out that some of the tears looked like bite marks. Huh?! We looked again - yep bite marks. Now re-evaluated the situation using a different formula as follows: leather sandals left alone for 2 hours + 3 marmots observed at scene of crime + beat-up, mossy, ripped sandals tossed on trail close to original site = innocent non-existent climber accused of theft when in fact the guilty parties were a lot shorter, hairier and hadn't seen a dentist in - well never. As Sherlock Holmes might say 'when you have eliminated the possible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true'. In fact, what actually remained was pretty disgusting, but there you have it

Oh - my missing Maroon Bells sweatshirt? Found it - stashed neatly under a cairn down around 11,000 feet, and not a bite mark to be found. I guess marmots don't go for the synthetic stuff.

P.S. I tried to upload my crime scene photo but could not get it below 350 KB (though frankly the detail in the image is not to be missed, but may be too intense for younger viewers or those with heart conditions). But if someone is interested in this ghastly photo and can offer a suggestion as to how to upload, I'd be happy to share the horror.
Image00001.jpg
Not ivory sandals
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Last edited by ivorysandal on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby globreal » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:49 pm

Welcome to the backcountry! :lol:
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die."
~John 11:25

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby Jim Davies » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:18 pm

Hmmm, usually they eat the poles also.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby painless4u2 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:19 pm

I use: http://www.faststone.org/FSResizerDetail.htm

It's free, simple, and easy. Let's see the ghastly photo!
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

Bad decisions often make good stories.

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby ivorysandal » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:27 pm

Thanks painless4u2 - it really was. I edited my post and added the photo. And I guess we are lucky the varmints didn't eat the poles (or the boots we were wearing at the time).

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby jdorje » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:06 pm

The last (and only) time I ditched my pack, marmots ate through the pole grips and the mouthpiece on my water bladder. But now you've demonstrated the trick is to leave some even more delicious and sweat-filled item to distract them from the important stuff.
-Jason Dorje Short

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby RyGuy » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:23 pm

General rule of thumb...if you've worn it, don't leave it out. Marmots (and most animals) LOVE the salt that typically is on items we wear. Hats, Trekking poles handles, shoes, socks, whatever.
"Climbing mountains is the only thing I know that combines the best of the physical, spiritual, and emotional world all rolled into one." -Steve Gladbach

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby Euroclimber » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:50 am

I never understood why people stash things...if it's with me it has a purpose and stays with me at all times. I guess you won't be doing this again?

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby ivorysandal » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:57 am

Yes, I would say that was a first and last...with those sandals anyway.

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby susanjoypaul » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:03 am

Peak Rule #26: Stashing only makes sense when it involves a hot day, a cold river, and a six-pack.

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby jsdratm » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:05 am

I learned the same lesson on Mount Yale with my trekking poles :x

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Re: A picture that requires a thousand words

Postby Roald » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:08 am

jsdratm wrote:I learned the same lesson on Mount Yale with my trekking poles :x


Me too, on Maroon three weeks ago:


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Frickin' marmots.
chrismjx wrote:

Roald, in that one sentence you managed to demonstrate that A) you're an idiot and B) you're a hypocrite, and a perfect example of the cause of the modern-day problems in this country.

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