Mountain Project Logo

Tall tales of the Walk-off


Original Post
Carolina · · Rural NC · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 75

Thought it might be fun to hear some stories about peoples Walk-off experiences.  

We have all been there, you are climbing in unfamiliar terrain, and you get to the top of a route and follow someones "advice" that the walk-off is your best option to descend.  
On the way down..................please feel free to fill in the blank.

Jake G. · · Maryland · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

When I was teenager I did a climb called group therapy at rr. I'll leave out my partner's names because I don't know if they would want to be included in this story. The climb didn't go as quick as planned and by the time we topped out it was already getting dim. We chose a decent gully based on some vague advice from some other climbers. We were told it would be scary 4th class so we didn't think anything was unusual when we decided to rap a short section. But that turned in to more raps off trees shrubs and chicken heads. Before we knew it it was like midnight and we noticed the sound of helicopters just over the ridge. As they swept closer as closer we realized that the rescue was for us! We never checked out and our rental car was still in the parkinglot We didn't know if we were going to get fined or charged or what so our first instinct was to hide as guys rappeled out of helicopters with spot lights. They didn't find us so we continued down but then the helicopters started to come back. We ended trying to get the rangers on the 2 way radio we were using to communicate from belay station to belay station and it worked. After a few choice words were exchanged the helicopters left. At this point it was like 3am and the decent turned to mostly 3rd class and we almost got back to the parkinglot before we noticed a cop car parked there. We waited for awhile and by like 5 just as the sun started to come up he drove off and we left without any further trouble. Basically the lesson I learned was always bring a jacket, even in the desert (that was a COLD night) and always tell the rangers you'll be biviying on the climb even if your not. 

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 507
Jake G. wrote: When I was teenager I did a climb called group therapy at rr. I'll leave out my partner's names because I don't know if they would want to be included in this story. The climb didn't go as quick as planned and by the time we topped out it was already getting dim. We chose a decent gully based on some vague advice from some other climbers. We were told it would be scary 4th class so we didn't think anything was unusual when we decided to rap a short section. But that turned in to more raps off trees shrubs and chicken heads. Before we knew it it was like midnight and we noticed the sound of helicopters just over the ridge. As they swept closer as closer we realized that the rescue was for us! We never checked out and our rental car was still in the parkinglot We didn't know if we were going to get fined or charged or what so our first instinct was to hide as guys rappeled out of helicopters with spot lights. They didn't find us so we continued down but then the helicopters started to come back. We ended trying to get the rangers on the 2 way radio we were using to communicate from belay station to belay station and it worked. After a few choice words were exchanged the helicopters left. At this point it was like 3am and the decent turned to mostly 3rd class and we almost got back to the parkinglot before we noticed a cop car parked there. We waited for awhile and by like 5 just as the sun started to come up he drove off and we left without any further trouble. Basically the lesson I learned was always bring a jacket, even in the desert (that was a COLD night) and always tell the rangers you'll be biviying on the climb even if your not. 

Ouch. I think the walk off for group therapy is the same as tunnel vision, which really isn't bad at all, although I'm sure it would worse in the dark. It has one optional rap for like 5-10 feet but other than that it's pretty much just steep hiking. But I would imagine that in the dark you might be inclined to continue rapping past the small exposed step-down move and end up missing the trail as it goes off to the side. 

Jake G. · · Maryland · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

To be honest I'm not proud of that story. It's the first time I've ever shared it with other climbers. Feels good to get it off my chest. LOL!

Dallin Carey · · Missoula · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 157

In November of 2016 my buddy, Joe, and I headed into Idaho's Lost River Range to try and nab the second ascent of Dean Lords' alpine test piece "Broken Wings." We had tried twice before and failed so this time we were determined to get it. We fired off the first half of the route no problem, but it had not gotten warm enough for ice to form on the upper half so the crux pitches turned into horrifying dry tooling underneath sugar snow. We topped out the route around 9:30pm and encountered some of the strongest winds either of us had ever experienced. Our original plan had been to traverse the ridge over to Mt. Borah, and follow the well established trail down to the parking lot where my car was waiting for us with some much anticipated chocolate milk. The ridge traverse consists of mostly 4th class, and the occasional section of easy 5th class climbing around a series of towers and ribs, usually no problem.

Unfortunately Joe and I topped out in a compete state of exhaustion. We were freezing, hungry, thirsty, and so tired, everything you would expect from an alpine climb. As we worked our way along the ridge we came to a particular rib that we could not find our way around. We were either lost or too sketched to do the down climb. Either way we decided to drop off the ridge in an attempt to go around it. We got around it only to encounter another rib that forced us further from the ridge. We got around that and the same thing happened. We kept getting pushed lower and lower until we gave up all hope of getting back to the ridge and resigned ourselves to the fact that we had to descend to the drainage between Borah and Peak 11308 and walk out. Bivying was out of the question seeing as how our gear was no where near warm enough and it was absolutely freezing.  At this point we had no food left, Joe was out of water, and I had a couple sips left.

As we descended lower and lower we encountered the most heinous canyon we had ever been in. It was choked full of dead fall, cliffs that would appear out of nowhere, brush so thick you had to crawl under it, dozens of tricky creek crossings, and just general misery. I'm still not sure if i was dreaming/hallucinating, or i actually saw it, but at one point a huge flash of light filled the night sky. I looked up and saw a huge ball of fire streak across the sky for several seconds before disappearing and leaving what looked like gold dust in its wake. There was no noise or boom during the whole spectacle. At 5:50am (8 hours later, and 27 hours after starting the climb) Joe and I arrived at my car and that blessed chocolate milk. It was the most soul crushing walk off I have ever endured, but also the climb that made me fall in love with alpinism.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

I like this thread - the "Epics" thread.

Steve Marshall · · Concord NH · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 40

Rapping solar slab gully we got stuck, along with 2 other parties, behind a guided party of 3 (2 clients + guide). Well those clients were not handling rappels very well and were basically freaking out at every one, whenever they had to "step out" over the edge in order to weight the setup. So the guide was kind of stuck as neither of them wanted to go down first (uncomfortable rigging themselves up to the anchor or something)... but they also didn't want to rappel without him there. IDK what he ended up doing, a lot of sweet talk I think, the rest of us basically sat on various ledges in the gully making chitchat literally for hours as more and more parties stacked up. The guide was being extremely selfish and not letting anyone go ahead, since he wanted to get his clients down before dark. ("yeah, me too, buddy") But at a certain point he would have had to let like 3 or 4 parties past so he didn't even consider it, he would just get down first and rig the next station and ignore us.

So HE got his clients down just before dark, we had to rap the last 2 in the dark and then missed a turn on the trail in the dark, being somewhat new to the area. We did have headlamps but, idk, trail and desert often look similar. Anyways so there we are wandering around the desert for a while and decided to just beeline for the one place we could see headlights, got a bar of signal and our friends picked us up... ended up walking pretty far out of the way and finding ourselves at the south exit to the loop road. At least they were nice enough to have saved some dinner, lol.

not really very serious but rather infuriating

Steve Skarvinko · · SLC, UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 25
DCarey wrote:  I'm still not sure if i was dreaming/hallucinating, or i actually saw it, but at one point a huge flash of light filled the night sky. I looked up and saw a huge ball of fire streak across the sky for several seconds before disappearing and leaving what looked like gold dust in its wake. There was no noise or boom during the whole spectacle. At 5:50am (8 hours later, and 27 hours after starting the climb) Joe and I arrived at my car and that blessed chocolate milk. It was the most soul crushing walk off I have ever endured, but also the climb that made me fall in love with alpinism.

Dude, on 11/13/2015 in Red Rocks after climbing Black Orpheus while hiking out we also saw what seemed to be a UFO.... It was this weird expanding ball of white with this cool blue streak along the backside of Mt. Wilson. It abruptly changed direction and sped off with amazing speed and then it was gone, but the weird thing was that the blue color stayed for about 15-30 min later lighting up the whole sky.... The official report was that it was a missile fired off the coast of CA... but the sudden change of direction... IDK! We did get a picture, but it didn't do it justice and didn't capture the ball of white light.

 
Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Ill cut to the chase. It helps to not inflate the ego and just give proper real beta. Outerspace in Leavenworth is not a 30min approach...its a 1.5 hr car to wall approach with some good vert gain so that'll take it out of you esspecially when you cross the creek and start scrambling up junk it takes to get there... And the descent is not a 30 min walk off. Its a 2+hr sketch as hell rated R class 4 down climb with rap stations and some sketchy loose shit all over. We are avid hikers as well as climbers and each of us fell on our ass 5+times after being drained all day. Most of the down climb is not to be taken lightly. If u go you will keep going and the rock gradually slopes more as you get near the edge so if u get to close theres no going back. Anyways its our fault cuz 3 people and 1 70m rope is not a great way to climb a route like that but what we figured would be a half day climb on a Thursday with hopefully no other parties became a 16 hr epic being held up by parties in front of us and downclimbing that sketch stuff at night. When u top out in outer space you are far from through the tough shit. Anyone can play this off as nothing, we did the climb and I could easily say "oh yea its easy go for it" but in reality that's putting someone's safety at risk so I could appear tough. Be real on the beta people. People who are familiar with the area prior could bust it out fast given no real hiccups but I dunno definitely felt mislead. Climbed prime rib of goat yesterday and that grading is true to what I've been climbing..all the beta was spot on.. Simuled easy 1st pitch. Did 2nd pitch as one pitch. Linked 3,4, and 5 with a 70m rope with mostly extended runners and dmm revolvers to keep the drag down it we barely reached the rap station at top of 5th which is the only rap station you actually want to use as the top belay. Linked some other pitches but can't recall which ones right now. Getting to pitch 8 head up to the wall above you but don't follow trail or cairns they lead you east you want to get to wall, walk under the brush to the left and you'll notice a small trail near all the big trees and bolts around left corner. Slab face is really easy to recognize from the pics. Car to shuttle in 6 hrs exactly. When u top out keep hiking up but work left a bit not right. You'll hit fence. Go left follow it til gaurd. Most beta says go right....which cliffs out on the south side. Road is on the north side of where you'll top out. Once u top out its about a 15 minute hike but keep in mind you'll be tired already hot exhuasted. Makes for some fun reflective moments.

Gabe Cisneros · · Baltimore, md · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 15
Briggs Lazalde wrote: Ill cut to the chase. It helps to not inflate the ego and just give proper real beta. Outerspace in Leavenworth is not a 30min approach..

So glad that I didn't try for that route last week. I had no idea about all of that. 

fallingmonkey · · The West · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 30

I had a semi epic on Outer Space also. Climbed it mid summer in the blazing heat in the morning and ran out of water with hours to go. I don't think I've ever been that thirsty in my life. We went down that shitty descent as fast as we could half delirious. Got back to the bottom, slammed a whole 1.5 liter nalgene in one go and then ran to the creek to jump in. Fun but rough day

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 507
fallingmonkey wrote: I had a semi epic on Outer Space also. Climbed it mid summer in the blazing heat in the morning and ran out of water with hours to go. I don't think I've ever been that thirsty in my life. We went down that shitty descent as fast as we could half delirious. Got back to the bottom, slammed a whole 1.5 liter nalgene in one go and then ran to the creek to jump in. Fun but rough day

All good adventures involve a little bit of dehydration and/or AMS. Sounds like a whole lot of type 2 fun.

C. limbnski · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

Outer space is not a descent I'd want to onsite in the dark! The way is not clear, and if you miss a cairn or take a wrong turn it can be quite the experience! Ive definitely had partners not psyched on that part of the climb! Definitely no rap stations on the correct descent. Sounds like quite the epic Briggs, glad you made it out safe! 

Personally, I'd say about an hour to get to the wall from the car and 45m from the top of the wall to the bottom but that's absolutely in the daylight and knowing where to go.

Woo trad climbing! Wish I was out there trying not to slip down scree in the dark right now (or eating dinner in the parking lot after getting down by dark. That sounds okay too :p )

Big B · · Sin City, NV · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 1

anyone that's climbed at JTree has scratched their head at some of the walk offs for those little itty bitty rocks

Taylor Krosbakken · · Duluth, MN · Joined Nov 2008 · Points: 361

Second hand story about the infamous Epinephrine Walk-Off that I heard from a stranger in Red Rocks:

Nearing the top of the 5th class it started to get dark, so they ended up bivying right before the 4th class finish, planning to summit in the morning. I believe they also ran out of water on route. So somehow they ended up sleeping in and getting a casual morning start, which wouldn't be terrible because you don't have too much work to do, but boy would I be hungry and thirsty. They end up summiting maybe around noon, and then start the walk off. Well then they get lost. If I remember correctly, they went right off the ridge instead of left and wound up getting lost in the desert. Now the sun is setting for the second night and they have not drank water since the day before. He said his partner was trying to drink out of cactuses and they were pretty haggard. They end up spending a second night in the dessert. I don't know when or how but at some point on the 3rd day they made it to their car.

That has to be a record for Epi. 3 FRICKIN DAYS!?!?!

Sure glad I did a bit of research on the walk off. Made our ~13 hour car to car seem like pro level. haha.

If you are reading this and this was you please correct me, I probably butchered some details.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trip Reports
Post a Reply to "Tall tales of the Walk-off "

Log In to Reply