Once a Climber, Always a Climber

It has been a couple of decades since Oliver has tied into a climbing rope, but to paraphrase a well known military adage; “Once a climber, always a climber”.

I discovered in the first few minutes of meeting Oliver that his list of adventures was long. From a NOLS course in the Cascades back in the 70’s (yes before I was born), to exploits in Yosemite while dirt-bagging at Camp 4 for weeks on end, to sky-diving, to scary leads in his first pair of EB’s, the conversations through-out the day would be as entertaining as the climbing.

While a professional career had put climbing on the back-burner for quite some time that burner stayed lit, and now, for his 65th birthday, his wife is sending him back to Yosemite this Fall for a week of reminiscent adventure. Oliver figured it would be beneficial to get a bit of training in before his trip to Yosemite, so he came to EMS Schools for a bit of refreshing.

After sorting our gear we made our way over to Whitehorse Ledge. The first few pitches of Cormier-Magness provided the perfect “Oh ya I remember how to do this” type terrain as we quickly dispatched 3 pitches.

The famous Whitehorse Ledge Slabs
The famous Whitehorse Ledge Slabs
Second pitch of Cormier-Magness, the classic
Second pitch of Cormier-Magness, the classic “Wheat Thin Arete”
Echo Lake and Cranmore Ski Mountain in the background
Echo Lake and Cranmore Ski Mountain in the background

After the 3rd pitch we practiced descending with 3 double rope rappels back to the shaded ground. A quick drive over to Cathedral had us eating lunch after looking at Whitehorse from a different vantage.

Whitehorse Ledge
Whitehorse Ledge

After lunch we rapped the Barber Wall and headed over to Upper Refuse.

That back-burner flame is fully lit now!
That back-burner flame is fully lit now!
Cruising the first pitch
Cruising the first pitch
And the 3rd pitch
And the 3rd pitch

We topped out right around 3pm, and started making plans for a couple more sessions before the Yosemite trip.

Thanks for the panorama Joe!
Thanks for the panorama Joe!

Every day I work in the mountains is rewarding, but I’d be lying if some didn’t stand out as a bit more rewarding than others. Watching Oliver reconnect to something that has always been a part of his life since his college days was very special, and I’m really looking forward to our next day together, which happens to be next week!

Thanks for reading, and as always if you like to you can follow NEAlpineStart at the top right of the blog. I have a lot of gear reviews coming up this Fall, along with some great foliage climbing!

See you in the mountains!

-NEAlpineStart

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