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Abyss - Benjamin Spannuth

Abyss - Benjamin Spannuth
Abyss - Benjamin Spannuth
September 17, 2012 - 

It’s been about a month since I’ve climbed. I sprained my wrist really bad while ninja kicking sharks to keep videographers safe for shark week…I think that’s the latest story. After spraining it I was in Vancouver so I stayed with family for a bit  to get a feel of how long it would take to heal and hopefully get back to Squamish. While I was there Matty H visited so took him Lily R and Taylor N up to Squamish, stay tuned for a short film of the Foley Frolic! After a week and a quick trip to Washington to get the wrist checked out I realized it was going to take a few weeks to heal so what better time to visit the family in Galt, CA for a bit.Here are a couple photos from Labor Day in Tahoe.

Although my wrist has kept me from climbing the break has given me some time to reflect on an amazing summer alpine season. My main climbing goal for the summer was to simply boulder a lot and get some power I had lost over the Spring but that was quickly replaced after finding an amazing sport project.

The route is part of a film LT11 is releasing tomorrow! The video uses a remarkably broad cast of characters to tell an often repeated but rarely seen story behind how some climbing areas come to be well known. It has some amazing insight from some of the players that have seen firsthand the development of countless areas; experience of which I wouldn’t pretend to have any. They highlight important factors to think about while dealing with what appears like an area of fresh rock that permeate to every time you go climbing. Unbeknownst to them Jon, Jordan, and Rich use yet another incredible climbing area at Mt Evans to mold the story around.

The whole project was of course spearheaded by Jon Glassberg and I’m sure throughout the video you’ll see his insatiable appetite for getting boulders done. Every day we went out we’d split the day between the tower and nearby boulder field. I slowly made progress on the route, which took more than ten days after hand drilling, cleaning, figuring out, crumbling, having Dave Wetmore subtly tell me not to be a pansy, and eventually climbing it, while Jon destroyed the boulders. After finishing at the tower each day I’d finish packing up my stuff to see Jon disappearing across the “Indiana Jones Gulley” on a mission to scrub, figure out, and get something done in the boulder field.  Without his energy behind the area I’m sure it’s development would have slowly moved forward but the 90 some boulders and route that went up this summer, even several he didn’t climb first, happened because the way he motivated people to get up there and climb; often on things he had already cleaned and were ready for someone to do.

We filmed the interview pretty early on while trying Doubloons and ended up finding better beta for the crux.  So it’s a little easier than I was thinking it’d be, maybe 14- all together.  Important stuff right there…

Take me out of the tower footage when you watch it. Look how fast the clouds move, how the light on the tower drops away to the nothing, notice the wind, the valleys and mountains, the shadows, the texture of the wall. It’s the perfect setting.  Let’s keep it that way.

There’s a lot of concern sharing this area could significantly damage it due to the delicate environment.  Use it responsibly.  You don’t need me to rehash alpine, trash, and trail ethics but here’s a non-exhaustive list of a few important things I found unique to the 13,000 ft elevation area.  The lightning is seriously dangerous.  I’ve been at the top of Mt Evans and ON THE TOWER and heard cracking, buzzing, and popping sounds almost out of nowhere. That means get the $%#@ down!  Thelittle critters in the area will literally grab and try to carry away your stuff under your nose and crawl into your backpack to get food. Leave everything packed up and off the ground.  The rain (and hail) is for real and almost every afternoon you get rained on. In fact, EVERY day I tried the route except the day I did it we got rained on, often while I was on the route.  Get some approach shoes for the talus.  I though the Airworx guys were going to die sliding on the talus in their tennis shoes…without rainjackets and water. Also, if you’re like Dave Wetmore YOU GONNA GET HUNGRY! And your breathing may change, and you can get AMS and HACE and hallucinate (had a friend from sea level to less than 11,000 ft do this) and a million other things…there was even a 2000 ft cold air funnel one day!

Despite the warnings life would be boring without some adventure and uncertainty, combine all that setting with the intriguing, technical movement a line like Doubloons demands and I’ll see you there. It’s not very often I look back up at a project once it’s finished and I’m about to leave for the last time and almost wish I hadn’t done it yet.

So many stories about this summer! But that's enough for one post! Thanks to everyone that helped make Doubloons happen and enjoy the film!



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