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Tell us your benightment epic tale!

7:22:30 PM
After reading the Rock & Ice 6 things climbers should do before they die, I feel like I'm missing something out by never being benighted.

Despite limited climbing talent I still enjoy a good long route and have clocked up plenty of hours climbing in the dark, horrendous descents long into the night, etc, but in all cases me and buddy just keep going.
The closest I've come was when I teamed up with a Norwegian I met 2 days before to do The West Face of the Leaning Tower in a day. Not surprisingly, we topped out well after dark, and I assumed we were in for a cold night up there, but Ravn, Son Of Thor, declared he wasn't going to miss out on his post-summit-success beer in the bar and we started the epic 8 or 10 raps down a horrendous loose gully, with shards of death blocks coming down with us, to reach the bottom, then stagger down the boulder and scree slope, waited at the shuttle bus stop for half an hour until we realised it had stopped running several hours ago, and walked all the way back to camp and on to the bar (which was closed, it was 3am by then). But, technically, a benightment is an unplanned bivouac, so I remain a benightment virgin.

Tell us what happens? How do you decide who gets to be big spoon and the little spoon? Do you end the trip best of buddies or never ever climb together again???

8:09:46 PM
On 4/04/2014 Superstu wrote:
>Tell us what happens?

That which happens on a benightment stays as a benightment...

>a benightment is an unplanned bivouac
By the way, there are benightments, and then there are benightments.
~> Some may be unplanned but actually half prepared for!
9:31:22 PM
Yes, some benightments are half prepared for.

In 1971, Robert Staszewski (Squeek) and I pulled up the Mt Beerwah slabs to do the Original Bolt Route. This committing climb aids it's way through roofs and overhanging corners, is rarely if ever repeated and in the day, needed knife blades, bathooks as well as a heap of little tie-offs (because we didn't have bolt plates in Queensland and most of the bolts were rivets bashed into 1/2 inch deep holes).
On the final pitch, the first ascentionists ran out of bolts and rivets and had to use broken drill stems jammed into downward pointing shallow holes. Tie offs would possibly either cut on the brittle stems or snap them outright.

You had to be fast.
Squeak and I both agreed that we would take nothing except the gear. No water, no food, nothing. Of course there was a late start with the usual procrastination resulting in us reaching the only ledge on the climb, one steep rope length below the top- out, at about 7pm in the pitch dark.
Of course there was thunder and lightning on the horizon and of course it was moving towards us on our little 20 cm wide ledge with one little bush for shelter. Of course it started to rain and of course we were horrified because we didn't know which of the few anchors were bolts and which were rivets.
After tying myself to everything, I noticed Squeek shuffling about in his swami seat. From somewhere he produced a little cagoule which he had hidden in his pocket and to top it all, he produced a little nylon belay seat which he had also produced, possible from up his arse.

The night passed very slowly for me, with only half of my bum on the ledge, all of me soaking wet and all of me very cold.
Squeak seemed oblivious to my plight, dry in his cagoule and comfortably balanced in his belay seat.
Sometimes there are no clever or funny endings to a story. This is one of those.

We finished the climb next morning and drove home. I think I promised myself that from that day on I would never trust a person who paint marked their gear, stamped their name on karabiners or who had bespoke wooden racks made to store equipment.
Sometimes, climbing with a super good climber who is super organised means that you are climbing solo.
9:36:43 PM
On 4/04/2014 Superstu wrote:
>technically, a benightment
>is an unplanned bivouac, so I remain a benightment virgin.
>Tell us what happens? How do you decide who gets to be big spoon and the
>little spoon? Do you end the trip best of buddies or never ever climb together
Is my climbing vocab so limited?
I always thought benightment just means getting caught out in the dark...
Does it actually mean having to spend the night on the wall/top of the cliff/bivvying in the carpark with a dead battery (nearly did that one...)?
In which case, I too am un benighted...

Although once we came bloody close after topping out at Heathcliff in the blueys - we'd lucked upon a fellow Chockstoner's holiday home for Valentine's Day & were looking forward to the 15 minute stroll back to Wombat St... 3 and a half hours later and we finaly emerged in the Hare Krishna camp thingy on Mt Boyce firetrail...

The good Dr
12:09:07 PM
Not quite a benightment but at the end of a one day ascent of University Wall at Squamish we started our descent at about 11.30pm. My ever generous climbing partner decided that I should lead the Belly Good Ledge section as he had done it before (during daylight). It was ... ah ... interesting to say the least as I had not done it before. Finally got back to Vancouver at 3am.

9:25:42 AM
On 4/04/2014 martym wrote:

>Does it actually mean having to spend the night on the wall...
Yeah - its like the 'virginity' thing - mere foreplay doesn't count . . .

There are 6 messages in this topic.


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