|By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett|
Jan 27, 2014
I led this, Jan 1983, with Steve Unsch. Onsight lead. We assumed it was a first ascent. I told Ken Black that evening, round the fire, and next day Ken decided he wanted to do the second ascent, and we all wandered over and I took this photo. He was being belayed by a Canadian guy.
We named this Brownian Motion.
To add to the story, Ken Black got no further than than in the photo I posted. Unhappy, he began badmouthing both the climb and me. Not happy about this, proud of my first ascent, I simply put on my shoes and started soloing the route, right on front of him.
He was mad! Can't really blame him. I almost got my comeuppance when, 25 feet up, a flake I was liebacking broke and I started barndooring. I still recall the hyper-awareness: Ken and his partner both scrambling away from the landing zone as I slowly pivoted off, one hand free, neither foot on a hold. Time slowed almost to a standstill. There was one little bit of the flake left, pinched between my thumb and index finger and I managed a death grip on this, did a sort of one-arm pinch pullup, locked off and grabbed a big hold. That was about the end of the hard climbing, so I finished more easily. We were sort of even after that: I'd showed him up for failing on the route by soloing it in front of him but since I almost plummeted off the thing (bad landing, too) the effect was also to make me look stupid. Good times.