Energizer Bunny - Page #2
...No problem, we'd just rap the route with our headlamps--but my headlamp was in
my pack at the bottom and JR had given his headlamp to JF for their
downclimb--OOPS!!
We rapped in the dark until we got to a sizeable ledge halfway down the face and
decided it was too dark to go any farther safely, since I could hardly see my feet in
the moonless night. I asked JR if he had ever wanted to spend a night out on a
cliff--he said NO--but I told him he was going to get the chance anyway.
So we got comfortable--well somewhat comfortable.
In early September, at nearly 10,000 ft., with perfectly clear, windless skies, a night
in the Sawtooths is a beautiful place to be watching the stars--from a tent!!
At about 1am it was beginning to get miserable (about 30 deg) in thin climbing
pants, nylon shell, t-shirt and rock shoes (my warm clothes were at the bottom of
the face neatly stuffed in my pack), but I had an ace up my sleeve--the trusty Bic
lighter. We practiced all our wilderness management skills and scavenged every
scrap of wood burnable on the ledge and anything we could reach within 1/2 a rope
length (luckily the Sawtooth faces have a lot of brush in places) so we kept a small
fire burning until about 5 am, stomped around for another 45 minutes until the
moon finally came out and finished the rappel.
To our surprise, there were beautiful trees to rap from spaced exactly 25-30 meters
the rest of the way down the face, if we had known the route, we could have rapped
blindfolded.
So we got back to the packs, ate the rest of our food for breakfast put on some
warm socks and started scrambling back down to the trail.
As we were headed out, we wondered what happened to JF and Craig. Well just as
we were getting to the trail, they were headed back up to find us, thinking they
would have to call Search & Rescue at any time.
They expected us to be in sorry shape and very cold from a night out, but they
were both a bloody mess. They managed to scramble back out through the talus
and boulder fields, in the dark, with one headlamp between the two of them. But,
their story of getting cliffed out a couple of times and stumbling through the snow
and finally getting to the car at 4 am, only to turn back up the trail after 2 hours of
sleep, made our night seem like a slumber party.
We laughed all the way home because they were supposed to be the "safe"
climbers by bailing early, but we had the 1st ascent in the bag and came out in
better shape.