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Who is the most famous climber you have ever met? What circumstances?
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By Jeff Hatfield
From Tempe, AZ
Sep 30, 2009
Several years ago, I was sitting atop Stichter Quits in J-Tree with my friend Sally as she brought up my wife Susan. As we sat there, a craggy old guy popped up as he finished a nearby route. I elbowed Sally, and asked her if she knew who it was. “That’s Jim Bridwell,” I told her. He was there with a couple of clients.

Jim and his party set up their rap as we finished our climb. As we approached the rap station, Sally asked me “Is it okay if we use your rope to rap?” Thinking that Sally was talking to him, Jim replied “Sure”.

Sally often tells how she got to rap on Jim Bridwell’s rope, but I always chime in that not only did I get to rap on it; I got to coil Jim Bridwell’s rope.

What was really great about that encounter was that our friend Mick, who was battling cancer, was unable to make the trip with us. Sally ran back to her car and got a card she had for Mick, and got Jim to sign it for him. I think Mick really appreciated that gesture, and it brought home to me how truly down-to-earth a lot of our climbing heroes are.

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By lisa c
Oct 2, 2009
One of a few: Bobbi Bensman after her boob job. I fondly called her Boobi Bensman after that and there isn't a shred of disrespect in her nickname. I can't believe I was the only climber who recognized her at this climbing-shoe workshop. She so rocks!

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By rakkasan
From clarksville, tn
Jun 5, 2010
Camp 4
Met Ammon Mcneely after climbing on Manure Pile Buttress in the valley. I was the first one down off the route and raced back to the car for some water because I was ravenously thirsty. Sat down on a bench and smoked a cig, looked over and there is the man himself with a few buddies next to an old van. I walked over and introduced myself and shook hands. Real cool guy, not a bit of arrogance or elitist attitude whatsoever. Bullshitted until the other guys got back down and then bailed out for a night of boozing

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jun 5, 2010
El Chorro
A few years ago Heidi Wirtz came to the island I live on to relax... probably wasn't planning on climbing at all. She was with her mom, etc.

A friend of mine named Shamick, who comes here to rebolt every year, is apparently friends with Heidi. He was all like "my friend Heidi is coming, leave her alone, don't ask her for her autograph or anything stupid." I was like "dude, I don't even know who this person is so don't worry about it."

Well, Shamick convinced her to go out climbing with us one day. I could tell they just wanted to chill but they came with us anyways.

Anyways, Heidi and her b/f backed off of a route they were trying because of noticeably rusty bolts, just above a sharp coral reef. A broken bolt would have been ugly.

So this climb is one that I've wanted to do for a while. I get on it after them, not to show them up or anything, but just to do it. I one hang it (not a hard route but I was happy to do it). Then on the boat on the way back I'm all like "the grades here are soft anyways, you should have done it." Heidi says "yea, it's just not that important to me, tender finger, bad bolts, etc." I reply with some stupid shit like "come on you're in Thailand just climb and have fun, bla bla bla."

I don't remember exactly what I said... I just remember finding out who she was a few days later, and how strong of a climber she is, and feeling really stupid. It became pretty obvious why it wasn't important to her!

Anyways I'm not sure she cared at all what I said and probably doesn't even remember me but I still felt like a douche.

Other than that, I've met a lot of "famous" climbers but just randomly. Probably the one that had the most influence was Micah Dash. Just such an out going guy, loved to involve everyone in the conversation, make sure everyone was having fun and not getting too serious about whatever they were doing (and this was at the Red, where A LOT of people seem to get too serious).

Hope you're still climbing up there somewhere!

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By jhn payne
Jun 5, 2010
"Ragin Cajun" 5.12c Jackson Falls, So Il.
Had the honor to climb with Bob Kamps when he stopped by our area, we did several routes together. He got the second accent of a route of mine. Met Warren Harding in Estes giving a slide show, Todd Skinner stopped by our area as well.

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By Ryan Kelly
From work.
Jun 5, 2010
My kinda simian
I met Jack Marshal at a Donkey Show in Tijuana.

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By Cultivating Mass
Jun 5, 2010
Leading on the only "fair means" rack.
Before ya say it, I know. I know that generally speaking I'd love to be razzing all the rah-rahs here, and questioning their idea of fame in the first place, and its relative importance. Plus agreeing heartily with Tyson from Vegas. Nice link.

That being said, I'm turning down the boiler for a minute to share some shit I find funny, along the same lines as these.

Got creeped out by Misty Murphy at Sun City but tried to be nice. Won't ever get THAT time back, might as well have peed in her fixed dog bowl for her.

Was hanging at a friend's house, drinking with Lukas and Alvaro, Joe Kinder+Colette McInerney showed up and we had a couple cold ones and shit-talked East Coast ethics, routes, Vegas craziness, etc. Random Mad Dog glass bottle flies over the fence, almost clocks some girl standing near us. Everyone's in shock, glass everywhere, and the guy who owns the house (REALLY drunk) flies over the fence like Chuck Norris intent on destruction. Lukas and Varo follow suit, hoping to keep our host from getting his drunk ass beat. I shake my head, trying to A)avoid a fistfight and B)nurse my day-old badly sprained ankle. Colette nudges Joe, says "Joe, ya think you should go help out?" Joe agrees, runs over to the same 6-foot tall concrete block fence that the others sailed over easily, and starts looking left and right, as if one side of the fence was going to somehow be vastly shorter. Finally he runs far right, starts looking for footholds, at which point I set down my beer, went "Jesus Christ-the fight's gonna be over before he makes it over that fence!" Limped over, vaulted the fence, started limping in the direction of trouble. 20 seconds later Joe books past me as I pirate-hop out to the middle of the street, help get the near-scrap sorted out, and head back to the house for more beers. Joe+Colette are super nice folks, but I gave Joe infinite shit that night for being a 14d climber (Livin' Astroglide@Rumney) and having trouble hucking a six foot fence after 2 beers. Classic.

Hit the climbing gym back East right after a ruthless hot day of work at a tree service. Barreling into the locker room on a mission to scrub off and get climbing, almost knock some guy over blasting through, since he's short, I say "sorry, kid. My bad!" Turns out it's Kurt Smith, who it NASTY strong, way chill, and hangs out+betas us on everything under the sun. Really nice dude. Turns out we knew Mike Pont in common-Mike's part of the ever-exclusive fraternity formed by those who love the band Camper Van Beethoven.

Talked chipping with Yaniro and Timy Fairfield on opposite sides of the country, both at comps. Both had pretty pragmatic and philosophical attitudes towards previous ethical fuckups and what they learned from them. Learned a lot, and goes to show that if you're a big enough man, you can own what style you've climbed in and rise above. Plus, if you aren't brand new or have your head in the sand, you really have to respect how hard those two got after it. 13c on gear when the French were still trying to chisel their way up to 12+? HARSH. And Timy, along with Jim Karn, should be the example of how to beat the Euros at their own game. Those guys hung it out there and represented the US at comps largely on their own dimes while the Euros sipped lattes and lost to them. Nice.

There are so many people who are rock stars to one person and utter nobodys to another, it really makes me laugh. Jorge Uriose is the tiniest, happiest, strongest old-as-hell badass who will start outclimbing us all again next year when his shoulder's better. Joanne told me about a run she did during her ultrarunning phase the other day that made my brain hurt trying to think about it. Anyone that wants to shit-talk Prince of Darkness better whip a few times on quarter-inchers trying to hand-drill the next one first. Respect.

And all the Punks out here-Nick, Paul, Richard, and Sal (in the same union as him but never met the guy) have been great sources of inspiration and knowledge and the biggest influence out West towards my own new-routing. If it ain't ground-up, it ain't fucking rock climbing! Thus ends my rant.

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By koreo
From Denver, CO
Jun 5, 2010
sloping <br />
I met Lynn Hill at the spot in boulder. She showed me how much of a badass climber she is, and how much of a candyass I am. It was awesome.

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By Godfried
Jun 5, 2010
Shared belay ledges with Chuck Pratt on Devil's Tower. Fred Beckey in Joshua Tree. He asked me for directions.

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By Tradoholic
Jun 5, 2010
Kurt Smith came to our gym for a slide show and was drinking Michelob Ultra at the after party. James, our local smart ass asked "Why the hell are you drinking Michelob Ultra?!?!?". Kurt replied "To keep my weight down" to which James shot back "Michelob Ultra! It's what beer drinkers drink when they're not drinking beer!" Kurt was not amused.

Sharma, signing posters in Boulder. I told him he should come to Devils Lake to try the hard bouldering (half joking) to which he replied; "Whoa, cool man. Sounds sweet!". He never showed up :(

Michael Reardon in Boulder in a bar, I was too intoxicated to remember what the hell I said to him.

FAMOUS Winsonsinite (TM) Jay Knower! At DL, slept on his couch in NH, AND we both spent some time in the same internet bitch-fests ;)

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By steve edwards
From SLC, UT
Jun 5, 2010
I've met Russ Walling too. And, clearly, this gives me an advantage over other people.

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By Cory Sipher
From Roseburg, OR
Jun 5, 2010
Cory
I ran into Steve House at Smith Rock. He actually apologized to me as I walked by for having some of his gear scattered on the trail! He definitely didn't come off as another cocky sponsored athlete, even though he's a rock star here in Oregon. He seemed pretty chill.

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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Jun 5, 2010
I was in Boulder in October, hanging out with a college buddy I hadn't seen in 8 years. We were hitting the usual pearl street haunts and after a few, my friend starts telling people I was a pro climber. It was kind of funny and kind of embarrassing, but the most interesting part was that the girls didn't give a shit, and the guys thought I was super hott!!

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Jun 6, 2010
I've been fortunate enough to meet my share of the more well known among us, but probably one of the best moments was when I was lucky enough to spend a day climbing with Allen Steck a couple years back- he brought a friend and his grandson out to las vegas and Larry D and I took them up Lady Luck on a lazy day.

Very inspirational- Steck cruised the route despite his age catching up with him, and, when i had set up a short rope to lower him and his grandson past a short 5th class step, he grabbed the rope out of my hand, and dulfer'd down the step then continued on his way.

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By Stucker
From Centennial, CO
Jun 6, 2010
Old Greg with his downstairs mix-up.
Tom Hanson. He was cranking hard and solo on the juggy handle of a coffee pot on the west face of the break room at Agilent Technologies. He's taught me a lot since then - about coffee and climbing and spinning yarns. Yarns as imaginative as a Dali painting. Good thing he doesn't fish!
He made us wear these masks. It was horrible!
He made us wear these masks. It was horrible!

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By Umph!
Jun 6, 2010
money order is in the mail

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By Snupe
From SoCak
Jun 6, 2010
I've climbed with caughtinside, who is a legend in his own mind.

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By Snupe
From SoCak
Jun 6, 2010
Ryan Kelly wrote:
I met Jack Marshall at a Donkey Show in Tijuana.


Was he in the audience or involved in the show?

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By Ben Woods
Jun 6, 2010
A couple days before, getting religion on Grizzly peak in a ridiculous storm (with a break for the photo op)
I had this smart-mouthed (but rather funny) Aussie in the back of the WFR class I taught in Moab a couple of years ago...he handed in his exam and it said Greg Child on the top of it...no, I was not worthy.

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By jimschilber
Jun 7, 2010
One cool thing about climbing is that you have the chance to rub elbows with the worlds best climbers and it is like no big deal. We all have the access to the same rock/ice. not like if you played baseball you could walk onto Wrigley's field and hit some balls.
my 2cents

Royal Robbins climbs at the same gym as me. Way cool. nice guy.

tommy & beth in the valley @the Ritz parking lot

and way more than i can remember @the 50 year anniversary of the first assent of the nose

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By duh
Jun 7, 2010
Ryan Kelly wrote:
I met Jack Marshal at a Donkey Show in Tijuana.


Yore mom's not that pretty, but I never would have called her a donkey. sides... I have to do something on my rest days.

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jun 7, 2010
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.
The hilarious thing about so-called famous climbers is that you can only drop their names around...other climbers. The general public will shoot you a look like the RCA Victor dog listening to his master's voice.



I hope that dog reference wasn't lost on some of you younguns.

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By Stucker
From Centennial, CO
Jun 7, 2010
Old Greg with his downstairs mix-up.
Someone lost a dog?

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By Mark Kauz
From Madison, WI
Jun 7, 2010
Up on Rat Stew.
I ran into Joey Kinder and Jason Kehl at the spot, but I had called Joey up and planned on meeting him there anyway, so that wasn't really a surprise. I called him up when I was in town and he tells me "we're all at the Spot, come on down," but I didn't know we included Jason and a bunch of other guys. He's a nice guy but he continually gives me shit for not being able to climb more than 4 spot when I was there. right after he walked away, I immediately started climbing harder. Its funny that a pro climber can throw you all out of whack when he's on of your heros. Spent some good time climbing with him though

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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Jun 7, 2010
Axes glistening in the sun
I met Harvey Carter at Indepenance Pass a few years back while climbing one of his routes. Had a great conversation, in which he told me when he first led the climb he hammered in one piton and that chalk was aid! Told me I could train myself not to sweat so much. LOL!! Course if I had fingers and hands the size of his I probably could have place one piece to!!!!! Spoke to him for a good hour.

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