5cense A toxic testosterone-fueled intervention after not summiting Magic Mountain (Jan '94)

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792

[11 Oct 2020> No microcosmic D.C. walk this week (tho we did walk 10k thru the park) since H street was next + we want to stay as far as possible from the White house which is a superspreading hotspot accounting for ½ of current covid cases in D.C. so instead we'll flash back to January 1994, picking up from post 790, written in the stapled-in insert to our regular journal:]

Jan 4, 1994—Tlachichuca
I was spanked... looks like "summit day" is non-existent in this summary of my days... at least for Citlalpetl (Pico de Orizaba). Doesn't matter though, it's the train ride not the station, right? I was within a couple of miles of out of thousands. But yes, i didn't set foot on top.
     So we arrived by train in Guadalajara at like 1 or 2 a.m... 5 hours late. It was weird and nostalgic being back in Guad. We were in a part i'd never been to except when we (in the taxi) hit the turn off to Chapala and Tlaquepaque, where the new bus station is and what a bus station it is—probably about 10 different terminals, all the ticket counters computerized, polished marble floors... it was all a trip. There was a bus to Mexico City at 3 a.m. so we waited, but it was full. I was running around terminal to terminal trying to find the next bus to D.F. Finally i got one at 5 a.m. so we waited it out. It was actually early and we arrived in D.F. over an hour ahead of schedule, a modern bus that smelled like hair spray and had these violent B-grade movies playing. We arrived into terminal norte—seriously like arriving at an airport, ultra-modern. The only problem is that the terminal norte is only 1 of 4 that exist in D.F. We had to get to terminal "El Tapo" which serves eastern cities. Hopped the subway, we urban hikers, and had to switch trains a few times, walking the series of tunnels at the hubs like ghostbusters with our huge packs and ice axes hanging off, following the coded maps, and then emerged (without even seeing the smoggy sky) in terminal Tapo. They actually had direct busses to Tlachichuca but we missed it, so we went to El Seco instead and got another bus to Tlachichuca—a dirty little town reminiscent of Ajijic. Went to the only hotel "Gerar," run by this cool family, this man Gerar and his cute 6-year old daughter. They did us up good, four double beds and hot water and cable TV... much needed after 48 hours of continuous travel.
     We found the infamous señor Reyes guy but he wanted 100 pesos (which is now like 100,000 old pesos, or 33 dollars) to drive us 14 miles to Piedra Grande, the base camp. Tensions started to develop in the groups. Matty seemed inclined to just pay it, but Todd and I wanted to walk. Eric has been fairly neutral this whole time and agreeing to anything. We found out we could get a cab to Hidalgo, a small town further up and walk the rest of the way, which seemed an ok compromise with everybody.

Tlachichuca w/ a distant Citlapetl (Pico de Orizaba)

Jan 5—Tlachichuca
(continued...) so we got a cab to Hidalgo (for 40 pesos, as opposed to the 400 pesos it would have cost us with the señor Reyes)... granted we had to walk from Hidalgo to Piedra Grande which at least me and Todd wanted to do anyways. I was feeling the altitude right away as we started walking.  After a while Todd started falling back, after all, we had all afternoon and there was no point in hurrying, we were supposed to be acclimatizing. Every time Matt would stop he needed an excuse, like "i was checking to see if we were on the right road". Then he would blaze off ahead. We (Todd and I) would go 100 feet and rest, 100 feet and rest. The trail was steep and our packs heavy. We were carrying more—we had the ropes, the pickets, ice screws and food. We got to the hut around 4. I ran down to the spring and pumped liters of water through the filter. There were a lot of people at the hut, like 20 or 30, and there was unburied shit and toilet paper everywhere. We cooked up some ramen than i took a nap. I was feeling good before the nap, just tired. When i woke up i was feeling a bit queasy and nauseous, nostalgic of how i felt in Bolivia. Todd cook up some rice and beans but i could only take a few bites. I tried to sleep but i kept feeling worse until i got up and barely got out of the hut before exploding from within and vomiting everywhere. I had bits of ramen noodles up my nose. I don't think i'll ever eat ramen again, which is fine by me.
      The rest of the night was one of the more miserable I've ever had. It seemed to go on forever. Every moment was agony. I had a headache and knew i was dehydrated but every time i took a sip of water it would slosh around in my belly and i'd go outside in the vacuous light of the stars and puke violently, heaving until there was nothing but air left in my belly. One time i heaved in my bunk and had to close my lips tight to keep it in (it was a slatted bunk with many people below... it would have been quite a scene!). I managed to hold it in my mouth until i got outside and puked violently in convulsing dry heaves. Puking was the only thing that broke up the monotony of the night and at least i felt alright for a few minutes afterwards. The rest of the time i just lay there, hot and cold, my ears ringing, my nerves buzzing, my had pounding, my stomach a delicate cauldron, that if i just shifted around my stomach acid would slosh then i would get that dry taste in my mouth and knew had to get up and just when i would get outside— BLEAAAHH! And i would be hunched over and could see the road winding down in the moonlight and my heart longed to just go down. I knew that was what i had to do. I almost just started walking, in my socks, just to relieve the agony. I told Todd that i had to go down, but they said wait until dawn. It seemed like an eternity. I knew there was a large group waking up at 2 a.m. Everybody snoring and farting like a bunch of beasts. I smelled like shit, like sickness and puke. My mortal flesh tying down my soul that could have floated up Citlalpetl. Why me? Why do i have to be so sensitive to the very altitudes that beckon me? I could see the ominous white cone in the moonlight. We were only at base camp, like 14,000 feet, imagine how much worse it would get? The volcano with the starry volcano was unlike anything i've ever seen before, so harsh and exposed. It terrified me yet i yearned to be up there. But my body just didn't want to be up that environment. It wouldn't have mattered if i summitted, i just wanted to be on the glacier, on the ice. My mind did anyway. But common sense made my mortal flesh gaze at the road down. There was a parting of mind and body. What makes my mind work? My brain cells, and i could feel them being deprived of oxygen, of being dehydrated cuz i couldn't keep water down. Finally i heard an alarm and people started to get up (2 a.m.). At least i only had 4 hours to go. The smell of butter made me really sick, Ralph! They all went up the mountain. When i went out to puke after that i could see their lights winding up and their crampons clanking on rock and ice. The wind picked up in violent bursts that shook the hut, although it stayed vacuously clear. I pitched and rolled and groaned and moaned. An eternity of agony. Some other people got up and when they lit a candle and it was under the picture of the Virgen of Guadalupe. It was eerie and i was so desperate, i was seriously praying to the Virgin, much as my mind had the patience and clarity to do so. The Virgen of Guadalupe, the miracle worker, deliver me from this pain. The only hope i saw was the winding road down. Finally when i saw the slightest bit of light on the horizon while heaving and purging, i began packing. The others woke up. Todd was in agreement but Matty was not. He didn't want me going down alone, what if i passed out and died of exposure? I was impressed he would be so concerned but my intuition was strong and i knew if i just got lower my senses would clear and that i could find my way back and they could go on without me. My will was heading down. Eric came down with me a few hundred feet, that was extremely cool of him. He gave me a last swig of water (besides my quart) and left me going down. I wound down and around the ridge and was still feeling iffy. I puked again, the first time i could see it. It was neon yellow like anti-freeze and frothy and splattered in the dry ashy dust. I felt better and managed a few bits of a granola bar and some water. I just kept slogging down until i came to a patch of morning sun. I put my pack down and laid down and dozed off. But i woke up cuz my feet were freezing. At the point things became euphoric and surreal. I felt like i was in Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls.  I still had a vague lingering of nausea and was very fatigued but i knew it was all downhill. I went down to tree line and it got warmer. I found a patch of pine needles in the sun and snoozed off again. It was extremely pleasant and relaxing. My view of Citlalpetl became more and more distant and i was around the west side so could no longer see the hordes, like ants, scampering up the glacier. It was silent and calm in the piney forest. I had it all to myself.
     I moved on, trodding along until i entered Hidalgo, sudden culture shock. Primitive shacks with lots of goats and cows and burros. Children with dirt smudged faces ran out yelling "doo-shay, doo-shay" and ran along following me. They kept saying "tue-shay" and i figured maybe they thought i was French before i figured out they were saying "dulces." But i had none. Hidalgo to Suapan. The ash-dust was thick on the trail, a couple of inches deep and seem to cover everything and swirl in the wind. From Hidalgo to Suapan was more Faulkneresque—a dusty trail through rows of harvested corn fields. Farmers with horses, etc. Suapan was slightly more evolved then Hidalgo. I cruised through it to the opposite end of town and saw a taxi going the opposite way. He said he would take me to Tlachichuca for the price of "un refresco" if i waited 20 minutes. I set my bag down on the dusty road and waited. Had a few conversations with kids on the way to school. This one man on a horse intrigued me. He seemed patriarchal and wise like something out of a Marquez novel. He rode majestically but not arrogantly, on a burlap sack on his horse with three well-fed happy dogs in his wake. He had an aura of serene complacency about him. He eyed me and nodded and i'm sure he knew my whole story so didn't stop to question me like everyone else. He tied up his horse outside his house. Even his house had a wise and knowing presence like it was part of him. His daughter came out, healthy and obedient, beautiful with a modern hat, looking more Chinese. The whole scene of that corner for 20 minutes was better than any movie. The dusty crossroads with Citlapetl rising above. The ash/dust infiltrated my nostrils and orifices. It swirled in little dust devils and gusts giving substance to the otherwise invisible wind. The air was buzzing and vibrant. Eventually the taxi returned. I got in and put my dusty bag in the trunk. Then this old man ran up, the driver's "abuelo" whether out of blood or just a figure of speech i don't know.
      It was one of the more interesting cab rides I’ve ever been on. A ride full of many side-trips and social calls. We had to go into town to find el hombre con chaqueta negra. He kept driving around honking and swearing jokingly while the old man kept telling me about "el mal de la Montaña". He said you could tell you had altitude sickness by pressing your thumb on your palm and if it was white you had it. The cure was to put a stone in your mouth. "Así" he told me, putting his fingers between cheek and gum like he was dipping chew. His face was leathery and bristly with gray whiskers and very much alive. In addition to the stone in the mouth, one had to put a stone "así" he said, pointing down his pants. He kept repeating this to make sure i understood. "algun piedra? no importa que tipo?" I asked. It didn't matter, any stone. We found the man with the black jacket and picked him up and then ran into more people on the edge of town. We crammed in more people, a young couple with 2 kids and "el tío" who shared the front seat with me, me sitting on the gear shift... 8 people in all. We drove on. Each time we stopped he had to start the car back up in a special way, twisting the steering column while turning the key. There were 2 women on the side of the road and everyone squashed in the back made fun of the driver when he said "dos mas". They challenged him to fit them in. So he stopped and our small Datsun now had 10 people in it. Full of hilarious small talk. No one singled out my presence, i was just another, the 1st passenger in fact. Then another "tío" with a cane was on the side of the road ahead. The driver stopped. There was no physical way we could fit him, so he got in the trunk! Using my pack as a pillow. 11 people in a Datsun Honeybee. It was quite a ride. I was high riding through the corn fields with rows of "canastas" or piles of head corn leaves to be burned. Very fertile land. Past the ruins of an old hacienda. Dust everywhere. I didn't get him a refresco but gave him 5 pesos, a little more than what everyone else gave him. Went back and chatted with this Canadian father-son pair and Stephanie the little girl while my room was being prepared. Than i took a hot shower and napped for a few hours until twilight. Got up and my mind was hungry. I basically had kept down a few granola bars over the course of two days. But there was only 1 shitty restaurant nearby. I ordered a pizza, fries, 2 limonadas, cafe etc. but couldn't finish the pizza. Went home and watched Simpsons in Spanish and read "Magic Mountain," well written and relevant to my situation.
      Been lazy today, spending hours talking to Gerard and his wife and daughter, eating breakfast and now i'm sitting in the sun in the plaza. In front of me in the church, with white domes and crosses. The white dome of Citlapetl looms in the distant, towering above the church. The sun shining brilliantly off its icy cap. I'm happy to just watch life go on in this ordinary village or maybe i'll go check out the lake with the whirlpool in the middle that sucks people in and spits them out in a geyser further off. Todd, Eric and Matt should be summitting about right now. That's worlds away from my benign complacency in this sunny plaza.

Citlalpetl

Jan 6, 1994—near Mexico, D.F.
I'm on a bus from Mexico City to Los Mochis and we just blew a tire passing a chicken truck. We also just got through watching [undecipherable] and i'm high from drinking instant coffee. The cars are cruising by and they're changing that tire.
      So let's see... "summit day" i ended up borrowing Gerard's bike (after helping Stephanie with her homework) and rode down to this lake "San Miguel de Tecuitlapa". It was downhill on the carretera and i was high flying down through corn fields through this town to San Nicholas de Buenos Aires then turned on this dusty dirty road for another 3 km, 21 km in all. The lake was really inspiring. [Here's a scan of the next page:]

[then we launched into bad poetry in spanish:]
la hoja de maíz
caí coma la paloma
como la angel
desde el cielo
azul
entra el agua
verde
con vida
las sombras de los arboles
tiraron por el sol
en la cara del lago
abajo
va el agua por la tierra
subiendo por el volcan
en el cielo como nubes
caíndo en lagrimas en los
pastos de maíz
entre los ridilitos
entre el lago
Shit i don't remember, but i was thinking out loud and wished i had had a pen to write it down, or a camera, but it will have to do as a memory that had vague lingering meaning more than it was. Most than it is. I rode back to the main road and caught a bus (too dangerous riding uphill on the highway). I got off in town and i was riding up to the hotel i saw this scary looking guy whose face was black like he'd been working in the oil fields. It was Matt. He summitted. Todd made it to the crater (18,000 feet) but didn't summit. He got sick and threw up. Eric made it to the glacier—16,000 feet—on the acclimatization day but not that high the next day.  So Matty is the hero. And i'm the man of the lake, made for some interesting dynamics. Matty just left Todd to go down on his own when he was sick and Todd fell and had to self-arrest. Matty's crampon broke and he had to be lowered most of the way to get off. So that's that.
      We spent another night at Gerard's and got a bus to D.F. While we were sitting there waiting we saw a dog get hit by a truck which was really disturbing. Right when we got to D.F. there there was a bus going to Los Mochis so we hopped on (after a crazy taxi ride thru Mexico City under a twilight sky like Velveeta smoky cheddar and my mind and feet are racing faster than my hand can write and this instant coffee sludge isn't helping).

Jan 8, 1994—Chihuahua
Just cruised through copper canyon on this train and are now emerging into the piney highlands near Chihuahua. The bus to Los Mochis seemed to go on for an eternity—24 hours. Went through 4 movies—Somersby, A Cantiflas flick, Encino Man and Singles. To top it off we saw Born on the 4th of July when we got to our room in Los Mochis, a scuzzy cock-roach infested dive. We got to eat sea food too. Woke up at 5 a.m. to catch this train, it was well worth it, going through long tunnels and over bridges straight through the canyon, switching back and forth amongst the blackened cliffs with encroaching jungly vegetation. Awesome. From Chihuahua we'll probably head to Nogales, a lot earlier than we expected.
      I had a revelation when i woke up in the middle of the night on the bus. We were at the periferico in Guadalajara. It triggered all sorts of memories, 12-15 years before when we used to go to school, mom w/ joint in hand driving through the valley laden with brick-burning smoke, listening to Earth, Wind and Fire or The Crusaders. It all came back to me, like my life flashing before my eyes, i could imagine my state of mind then and it's amazing how much my mind has expanded since. I never would have imagined i'd be back in this shape and form. It was a total re-evaluation, not just of me but it triggered memories of what mom, Kevin, etc. used to be like and what they're like now and it really gave me the realization that i'm getting older, seeing things with the passage of time, seeing not just myself get old but people and societies age around me. Here i was at the crossroads, on the way back from climbing a 18,000 foot volcano with transient testosterone-fueled gnarly climber dudes, also absorbed in their own worlds, all of us in this bubble of a bus. I'm stuck in this bus but would rather be absorbed in the overall picture. Outside it seems almost like Mt Lemmon, with its pine and manzanita and even some of the rock is similar. And so ends the journey which will have to do for now, except it just gave me the travel itch worse and I’ve been daydreaming of moving to South America, of getting my masters in the fall, making some money and getting the hell out of America.

Jan 10, 94—Tucson [Now back to the regular dark blue hard-bound journal]
Well the story is not quite over... it seems getting from Chihuahua to Tucson was the crux. The exit-move, the homecoming. Got to Chihuahua and took a cab to this ultra-modern bus station only to discover that we couldn't get our tickets with traveler’s cheques or credit cards. So Matty gets this idea to go to the airport, "it's international, they'll speak english, etc..." I wasn't about to argue w/ him and we had no other option but to go, since we had no way of getting cash. Things were getting increasingly tense. Matty had definitely established himself as the alpha male and we were betas just doing whatever he commanded. The problem is he relied on me to speak spanish which seemed to just piss him off. The airport was less evolved then the bus station, completely empty with no service and when we went to get a taxi back it cost 4x more to leave the airport back to the bus station. So Matty and Todd are freaking out and if it wasn't for Eric who found some humor in the situation it would've sucked. Eric is the buffer between the two. Matty stormed out saying that he was just going to walk. It was about 10 miles back on a dark road. Oh well, we had nothing better to do. It was freezing cold so we stopped in the parking lot to gear up, an urban survival affair, then decided to filter some water for the journey. This cop in the parking lot took pity on us and hitched us up with a ride in the back of a truck that was a colder experience than any time on the volcano, but hey, we were prepared for the cold, layers of pile. We back to the bus terminal, then Matty and i cruised around til we found this restaurant that took Mastercard (not Amex) so we got the boys and i treated everybody to a nice seafood dinner in this surreal restaurant that had weird animal sounds piped in. Went back to the bus station. It was freezing and hard marble floors. I layed down and fell asleep. I woke and they were all crashed with their sleeping bags and pads out. Urban survival. Had to wait til 9 a.m. for the casa de cambio to open but it didn't open til like 10:00. Got the money than finally got 12:00 tickets to Aqua Prieta then chowed breakfast to rave and ranchero music.
      The bus to Aqua Prieta was hell, but luckily i had my book (Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann). It was one of the old busses with no T.V.s (snivel snivel) and no bathrooms and the road was a pothole-ridden dirt road. We moved at incredibly slow speeds, at times through treacherous mountain roads, very beautiful and wild land, like the old wild, wild west. Through a few roadblocks and gun searches, identity checks, etc. and finally into Agua Prieta, but still a ways from the border so we took a cab. The guard at the border freaked when he saw us. "Uhhh, why are you guys coming through Douglas on foot?" Then "Um, how am i going to search you?" "Do you guys have jobs?" He kept shaking his head like we were an inconvenience to his routine. Finally he decided to search my bag, he stared at my box of cranberry cove tea for a while then waved us through. Then Matty starts bitching at me for having the idea of meeting our ride (Eric's roommate John) at the Gadsden hotel (but looking back, we would have sat in the cold for hours). We got there and John wasn't there. We sat down and had a beer. Matty told me to call Lydia and ask her for a ride. I told him to chill that i would in a while once we were sure John wouldn't show. He called Tony and told him to come get us. Meanwhile Todd and I bailed to get some food. We came back and Matty's all "next time you get food, let me know!" in an angry tone. The tension was increasing an Matty was getting drunker. Than John and Joe showed up and he began boiling over like a tea pot while we all were chilling having a beer telling our story. The irony was that he was the alpha hero of the story, the one who summitted, but he was clearly bothered and disturbed and us beta wolfs were all quite content to just have beers and reminisce about our journey. Suddenly Matty explodes and grabs Eric violently and starts going on about how he has to sit there and wait for Tony now when he was the one who was just trying to get us a ride and poor Eric is like what does this have to do w/ him since John showed up and he never said otherwise. It was seriously like watching an animal lash out in this fucked display of dominance. Clearly there was something else eating at Matty. It escalated into this 2 hour argument that didn't get anywhere except we got all to vocalize to Matty what an asshole he was and it seemed he wanted to hear it because he didn't want to let it slide. He said he didn't want us going back to Tucson if we had anything unspoken on our mind. The whole conversation was about Matty and how to improve Matty's egotistical selfish nature. We all told him we had no intention of ever climbing with him again and he said we were all just jealous cuz he was the only one good enough to climb the volcano. For a while i started to sympathize with him cuz at least he admitted that he needed help and wanted to change, wanted to know honestly how we felt about him, but evidently he's been behaving this way his entire life and i've got other people i'd rather invest energy in. I guess the best part about it was to see Eric get his word in cuz up until then he seemed to always just take shit from Matty and they've been good friends before all this. He let Matty know it wasn't just about the climbing and he wouldn't stand for his shit and if he wanted to remain friends he had to change. Blah blah, it turned into a toxic alcohol and testosterone fueled intervention of sorts. We left him there alone to drown his sorrows and wait for Tony. I fell asleep in the back of Eric's truck until we got back to Tucson at like 4 a.m. and i took like an hour-long shower.
      Now it's back to reality... i have to make some big decisions here, whether i'm getting a PhD or master’s and what job i should get, what direction i should take my research in, if any. [Followed by a listing of courses and requirements:]

The day in between (before school started) i went to the Cornerstone w/ Eric and popped off a bunch of routes: ________ (5.9), Blood Simple (5.9), Air Zoner (5.10+) and Raising Arizona (5.10). I was a little shaky on the 9s, the first i've climbed in a while. Then Eric went up Air Zoner but peeled off below the first bolt so i ended up going up and i did it no with no falls. Raising Arizona was bordering on religious, really exciting climb. When i got back Emily invited me to eat at Selamat Melang. She was being a little more sane. We hung all evening and saw True Romance, another of Quentin Tarantino's movie though i don't think Roger had a part in this one. I can't figure out what's up w/ Emily.... my rational mind says "danger! stay away" but at times i'm intrigued and she is beautiful. Maybe i’m just too lonely at times. Wednesday was my first day of classes. E + M is cool as usual. Thursday i had Statistical Mechanics which was a complete joke. Dr Caruthers was helped in by Peter Lipa. He's really old and not just that but seemingly incompetent as a teacher. All he did was ponder the beauty of stat mech and talk about all the Nobel laureates he knows and then read straight from the book. When i asked if he was gonna go into material outside of the book he said no, that we may as well just read the book and said we didn't need to even come to class if wanted to, so fuck that. He was so weak he had to sit and he spoke slowly in between gasps of air, talking like Yoda. So I'm not sure i even want to take this. I got excellent reviews from phys 101 so i'm pretty psyched. I had planned on going to Joshua Tree with Scott, Brian, Chawn and Harold but i got this shitty virus and had to back out. How mature of myself. Living with Lydia is turning out to be very cool, almost like having a sister. One night she was in my room chatting til late and ended up just crawling into bed with me and since then she just sleeps in my bed, sometimes naked. Nothing has happened but it's a bit weird, especially since she's going through a break-up with some guy that sounds like a creep.

Jan 15, 1994
Went climbing with Stefan today. We were supposed to be at Windy Point at 9:30 to meet Todd and this guy Bruce from Yosemite, but Stefan was late. We went to Lonesome Pine crag. I was feeling dizzy and still sick so we TR'ed Lonestar (5.10-) and Lonestar Direct (5.10- R). Both had easy cruxes right off the ground and easy after that. After that i had a little more confidence so i led One Hundred Feet of Solitude (5.10+). It was pretty easy and contrived, i don't think it's 10+ and don't think it deserves 2 stars. Stefan had problems on it, then whined afterwards and didn’t want to climb anymore, otherwise the route next to it looked really cool, Lonesome No More.

Jan 20
Went climbing Saturday also, went with Todd MacGregor and these 2 guys Bruce and Scott from Yosemite Valley. We warmed up on Recovery Room (5.10-) then Bruce led The Sloth (5.11). I managed to get up it not use the arete, the way Bruce did it, but it was fucking hard. Todd led Birthday Girl (5.10) after that and we went up that. Meanwhile ran up Arizona Flighways (5.11+) and i got on it, though it was intimidating, and managed to flash it, my first 11+ and i flashed it! I was hyperventilating by the time i got up, my throat as so sore. Wasn't healthy. Bruce is a pretty good climber, flashed 4 11s, no, he fell on Coronary bypass.

Jan 21
I wrote the previous entry because i was so bored in phys 528 i had to keep from falling asleep. Carruthers is a complete senile and incompetent moron and doesn't seem to want to lecture on stat mech but only talks about wavelets. I complained to Thews and it seems he must have talked to him cuz now he handed out a notice saying he will lecture about stat mech. I had the first meeting of my lab and the students seem pretty bright. I did a good job though i was nervous. I'm always nervous the first class. On thursday i finished and noticed my fly had been down the whole time.
     We had the first meeting of the "Dead Physicists Society" on wednesday. I'm sure we'll change the name. Jesus, Dave and me, and then Stefan showed up after. Gretta and Stefan came over and we made sushi and miso soup and had a big feast and drank 4 bottles of wine. Soon we were dancing in the living room and trying to turn our heater into a sweat lodge. Then i put my harness on and Stefan put me on belay and Lydia was trying to tie us up and she bit Stefan and things were getting out of control.

Jan 23
Friday i went climbing with Patrick and Chawn. Originally Rebecca was going to go but she was whining too much. So Patrick and i drove up. There was this roadblock at Windy Point—ends up they were filming this movie Pontiac Grill with Ted Danzig or whoever that guy from Cheers is. We had to wait, then park our car below Windy Pt since the other lots were taken up by film equipment. It was surreal walking through the sets, they had a beat-up old Chevy truck with a refrigerator in it, and an old police car and they had taken down all the signs and put Idaho Interstate signs up. The cars were wrecked and had broken windshields. There were Hollywood types everywhere. Anyways, I threw up Indigo Montoya (5.7+) for Patrick, an awkward off-width. Then Chawn led Kiss and Make Up (5.9+) which had some cool finger locks then a great roof. I led the climb next to it, Pumpty Dumpty (5.11-), thin moves to a bulge, very contrived, then i pulled past the bolt and got to this pocket and was too pumped to get gear in, so i had to rest. Put the piece in then pulled the crux.
      Saturday night i went with Bruce and Eric and we met up with Pat, Brian and George. Kind of strange seeing George out of context from the old crowd and SCUBA diving. Eric and George were on Crab Corner, Pat and Brian on Mean Mistreater and i was attempting Feeling Fertile with Bruce—a mass ascent of the rock from different angles. I tried bouldering to the first bolt a few times but i guess i wasn't feeling fertile. So i had Pat trail a rope up and tried it on TR and it was hard 5.10 getting to the first bolt. Then it seemed a lot harder and i was looking at a bad penjy so i just finished up on Mean Mistreater (5.9). Hung out on the ledge and belayed Bruce up. Pat was still hanging on the crux so i decided to try International Enquirer (5.11), an excellent route. I got to the crux an had my hands reversed. I might have gotten it otherwise. I rested then reversed the sequence, right then left finger-lock then right hand for the jug and then cruised up, made some placements than did some pretty stiff moves with the gear at my feet. Almost did it, but i stilled died. After that Brian and i went to do Question of Balance (5.10) while the others worked on Seventh Sojourn. Brian got up two bolts and got to the first crux 5.10 roof move and was too freaked out having the bolt below his feet so i went up and pulled it off, risking my ankles on a sloping ledge. Finished the pitch, then Brian did the second pitch. Got the bolt than the stopper, started to do the crux than kicked the nut out and started to fall and caught himself. Put the stopper in and pulled off the move that inspired the name.
     So i went home and was planning on going to bed early cuz i need to wake up early (6:00) to go to Mendoza. Couldn't sleep and the phone kept ringing and then Lydia came in to vent about this psycho ex-boyfriend and crawled into my bed and then there was a tap on Lydia's window and she was like oh shit, then i saw this big guy walking around the house, then a knock on the door. Lydia went out and brought him in through the kitchen to her room (with her bed made). He saw me and started asking if she was fucking me and she said no, that i was her roommate but yah, sometimes she slept in my bed but we'd never done anything. Then he started accusing her of this and that and being belligerent and irrational and she was in tears. At one point she poked her head into my room to grab the phone. I asked if she needed help and she told me to stay put. She went back into her room and threatened to call the cops and then eventually they were outside and i could hear them yelling and fighting and didn't know what to do, i was waiting for some sort of sign. They were sitting in her car so i figured she'd honk if anything was wrong and i didn't sleep obviously even though i really need to.
     Eventually my alarm went off at 6 a.m. and there no sign of them outside and she wasn't in her room. Chawn came by then Bruce but Brian was late. I called and woke him up and he made it over by 7:30. We decided to shine the Mendoza canyon thing since some of us were going on no sleep. We decided to hit Iranian Wall instead. Brian and Bruce followed Chawn and i on their motorcycles, after stopping at the bagelry to laugh about the events of the night before. It always helps to put things in perspective. The approach to Iranian Wall was heinous but cool, maybe 45 minutes. We scouted about and i led Whirling Dervish (5.8) while Bruce and Brian got on Persian Perversion. It was easy, low trauma and fun. I ran both pitches together, the second being run out but easy. After that Chawn led Infidel (5.10) it felt so good to do it, wide stemming, sustained. Rivaling any route at Windy Pt.

pretty sure this is Iranian Wall

 

+ your truly on KR Goes to Montana

Then I went over and led KR Goes to Montana (5.10-), a jugular crack with many blocky roofs. Pulled a cruxy strenuous first roof only to get to another roof, got some solid gear then started jamming up, up a committing layback into a flaring crack/chimney sort of strenuous squeeze/stem and i was getting fatigued and getting a full body flame. Pulled higher into the squeeze/stem and it got easier but kept going and eventually to a ledge then up more steep jugular stuff with a huge loose block, but not as bad, then a swimming pool exit jug yar to a mantle and out. Brian followed bitchin' the whole way, saying it was the hardest 5.10- he'd ever done. I would probably agree. Harlow was coming up the other side on some supposed 5.9 but he said he might want us to lower down a rope. So I set up a belay, but he pulled the move and didn't need it. It was getting dark so we quickly packed our shit and took the steep embankment up in the pitch black with loose dirt, crashing through brush and pulling on trees, completely drenched with sweat, it was great fun. Harlow and i grabbed some Pete's Wicked Ale and went to Brian's to feast. Delay reality, but i was tired as hell. Went home and Stefan and Lydia were sitting in the kitchen and there was a cartridge of bullets on the table, Stefan eating Chinese takeout like it was some sort of stake out. Ends of this guy Ado's final statement was that he wanted to spend the night in the house otherwise he would kill her or burn her books. Not only that but he told Lydia that he's been stalking her and watching to see what lights have gone off and on and knows where we're sleeping which is disturbing to say the least. It disturbs me that some psycho like this can have so much control over Lydia with threats. She's afraid to piss him off. Saturday night she ended up at a hotel with him cuz her wouldn't let her go home and she had to play along with him and pretend everything was normal while he went on about how they would have children and live happily ever after, etc... And this guy is conniving enough that he's sweet-talked her family in his spare time and they all think he's such a great guy (even though he's physically kicked the shit of her multiple times, not to mention what he's done mentally and psychologically to her). I could go on but the bottom line for me is that she should get a restraining order and he will not set foot in our house or be seen anywhere near it.
     Dream sequence [not yet logged in dream journal]: I went to Virginia with David on a train. We got off at the station and we were the only white people. It was like being 200 years back in time, the people were old-fashioned and had a submissive air. We met David's wife's family and they were freaking out when i started talking to the black people. We drove out to their farm and they were harvesting corn, it was a very lucid scene, the threshing machines were just ripping it up and big men with overalls scooped it up in armfuls throwing the stalks in piles and collecting the corn. I saw images of the kernels up close, very vivid and i could even smell them, everything fertile and productive. I went into this work-shed and there was a dead corpse hanging from the ceiling. This guy was "sampling" it, he would say a word and the rotting corpse would repeat it back to me, saying words like "Boltzmann distribution".
     Went to the firing range on Wednesday night... Stefan thinks i should learn how to shoot a gun or at least see what it's all about, especially w/ all this stuff w/ that psycho Ado guy. Kind of strange, never thought i'd find myself going to a place like that. Smell of gun powder in the air. I still don't think i like the idea of guns, they are more likely to do harm than good, something most people don't realize, thinking it gives them security when they're more likely to cause damage.
     Stefan and i had plans to go to the Dragoons on Friday but a front came in. It quickly went through so we left early Saturday morning. When we got to Benson there was a few inches of snow on the ground. We figured we'd go anyway just to see the Cochise Stronghold in the snow. On the way to the west side we passed these two horses. I thought they looked cool and friendly so had him stop and one of the horses approached me when i got out and made this strange face at me, baring his teeth and lifting his head back. I was inspired to jump on so i did. It was way cool, i rode it up the road a ways.

The landscape was surreal and apocalyptic with the snow and eerie fog. By the time we got to the campground there was more snow, but that didn't stop us. It was spectacular, seeing the domes in the snow. We went up the trail to the pass, but there was too much snow to start bushwhacking to the drainage. At the saddle we bushwhacked and made our way down this gully next to Rockfellow Dome. Days of Future Passed was in the shade and there was snow on top and the crack seemed cold and damp. What's My Line (5.6, 3 pitches) was in the sun so we figured we'd do that. But the sun wasn't consistent and there were still ominous clouds lurking about so that was kind of unnerving. I led the first pitch (A0) clipped the bolt and lowered to the chickenheads, then cruised up 150 feet of chickenheads, making one placement to protect the tension traverse for Stefan. I talked him into letting me lead the second pitch cuz i was cold as shit, so i ran up until i ran out of rope. H led the next pitch and took forever and i was freezing my ass off, my fingers and feet were completely numb. When we got to the second set of slings rapping off i had to hack off a few inches of ice to get at them. Ice was falling on us while we were climbing, it was crazy. Stefan dropped his helmet off the top and probably would have given it up for a lost cause had i not insisted on searching for it. I made some calculations and it was pretty much where thought it would be.

Cochise Stronghold in the snow

We bailed after that and kind of hesitated in limbo not knowing what to do, but finally ZZ's pizza sounded too irresistible. Today we went to Chimney Rock, it was cold but in the sun. Started out on Stripper (5.8 x 2). I led the first (Fuck It Use The Tree) pitch, hmm, nice way to get off the ground. Stefan led the 2nd pitch and did a botch job on the runners and was pretty gripped, so he belayed below the hole. After that i did Single Lens Reflex (5.10-)—beautiful climb. Kind of heebie-jeebie traverse 20-25 feet up before you get the first placement then just sewed it up in a thin strenuous dihedral, the crux took me by surprise as i was expecting it to be before i got a crucial hold, from there it was a bitching sort of 5.7 crack and when i got to the bolts thad been hacked off. So i had to contrive some way of going to the next ledge up unprotected where i could set up a shitty belay. There wasn't much motivation after that so we bailed and i went running and worked out.

791 <(current)> 793> Shirley the squirrel + a pigeon hawk along H-i-K streets NE
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