|A sort of a sunset at 14,000 feet. The full moon hangs over Mount Hunter, with Mount Foraker to the right. The classic Sultana Ridge is the sun-shade line on Foraker.|
|Eating salmon with the pick of my ice axe. I forgot my spoon this day.|
Those with less technical experience were nervous on the steeper slopes. They didn't feel comfortable standing upright and sometimes assumed positions that seemed more secure but were more tiring. They didn't feel comfortable resting with their weight on the fixed rope. Clipping and unclipping was difficult and stressful. If the weather was bad and they were tired, all of these things were magnified. It was as if those with less technical experience were given a slightly harder mountain to climb.
|Spud and Mike cruising to camp at 17,200. This is one of my favorite sections of the route.|
It might be the great variety of climbing available here in the Eastern Sierra colors my viewpoint on this issue, but it seems to me that having a breadth of experiences is beneficial no matter what part of the climbing buffet is your favorite. Some of the connections are obvious: bouldering can help you deal with powerful or dynamic moves on a sport climb. Sport climbing lets you work on movement skills you can bring to trad routes. Trad skills let you climb big walls and rocky peaks. But the connections could be more subtle. Projecting a boulder problem or sport route can help the mountaineer embrace the process of climbing a big peak and deal with the inevitable occasional setback or failure. The benfits could work the other way too. The experienced alpine climber knows that the summit is a very small part of a much bigger thing, and can bring that knowledge to working a challenging pitch at the crag.
|On an expedition the little things can be pretty sweet, like having your name written in Sriracha on a quesadilla.|
I was going to to mention a bunch of accomplished climbers who were known to be well rounded when a colleague pointed out that I don't need to drop famous names when I guide well rounded climbers all the time. He's right. I don't need to name drop Alex Lowe and Ueli Steck when I personally know Brett and Lee and Clay. I've been lucky to share a rope with climbers who like to eat from every part of the climbing buffet. Next time you find yourself joking that, "sport climbing is neither" remember that it's all just climbing and consider trying something new. You might like it.
|"Do not use parking brake on glacier". From the dashboard of the de Havilland Beaver we flew off the glacier in.|
*I meet folks who hold these views in The Sierra too, but in much smaller numbers.