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Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy
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evanwish


Nov 8, 2009, 4:48 PM
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Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy
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So yesterday I headed out to climb at Moonstone Beach on the north coast. We were planning to do some easy, relaxed climbing. Well… things don’t always work out the way we want. We took the half hour bus ride, and then the short walk to the beach, and are shocked to see how high the tide was. All the dozens and dozens of times i've been to that beach (even at high tide) it was over a hundred yards of dry sand from the rock to the water. We placed the gear and backpacks with phones, iPods, wallets, and other valuables up on the hill above the beach. Eiko anchored into a boulder on a shelf of dirt on the dirt with a few cams to keep her from getting jerked around if I fell.

I began climbing, and when got about four feet off the ground, a wave came in and crashed against my feet. I sped up to get above the water, and within a matter of seconds my feet were about eight feet off the ground and I looked to see a MASSIVE wave come and completely drench me. The mass of the wave itself actually hit my ankles as the spray shot forcefully up from my legs as I held on. Eiko was anchored to the rock above the beach. The wave had completely drenched her and maintained its elevation at her stomach, while the forceful splash went well over her head. Our bags were instantly swept off their “higher ground” perch and the extra gear began floating around. The second the water engulfed her I yelled at her “Unclip! Unclip! Don’t worry about me, unclip and get out of there!!!” She unclipped and was out of her harness in what seemed like half a second, and at the same time I jumped off the rock and CANNONBALLED into the water! (As a side-note, that was probably the best natural crash pad I’ve ever had.) I began to swim, and soon wade, as the water slowly lowered. I grabbed the buoyant bag with the electronics and threw it up onto dry land. Then I gathered up the rest of the rope that was floating around, and miscellaneous floating objects. By the time the water was gone I saw Eiko in the bushes, confused, I ran over and saw her trying to free my rack of slings and draws from under a large bush branch. It was one of those branches that had been formed around a rock while deforming around the shape of the rock. When the wave came in it lifted the six-inch diameter branch, detaching it from the rock, and deposited a few of the slings between the two. It took quite an effort to get the slings free. I pulled the rest of the rope through the anchor and coiled it up as a mess of sand, saltwater, and seaweed.

Meanwhile the water was back to its normal level on the beach, over a hundred yards away. After running around the back to clean the top rope anchor, I was greeted by someone on the beach asking if I had lost a helmet. He informed me that he found it just bobbing about out in the water after the swell had receded. I went through a checklist of everything I came with, and everything I had found. That’s when I realized I was still missing the rope bag. Soon Eiko found a corner of it sticking out the sand and I struggled to pull it out. It was wrapped around a rock and buried four or five inches under the heavy, soaking wet, and compacted sand.

We immediately headed for the shower at the parking lot to wash off at least some of the saltwater. Just my luck, the shower is broken! It was 2:30, and the next bus was to come at 5:30; just enough time to make sure that my gear is destroyed and we are freezing cold and pruned due to our lack of clothes to change into. (PS: synthetic fabric has always been my clothing fetish. My shirt and pants were dry within three or four minutes, while my cotton socks, and my partner's all-cotton wardrobe was all soaked and sloshing water.)

We needed to get back to campus, and could not wait around for three hours. I pulled out my phone to call one of my friends to beg for a ride, “Dammit!” the phone was dead. Of course. We thought of our options and finally we asked a guy who had just pulled up if he could give us I ride back to campus for $20. He accepted under the condition that we only pay him $10. He was extremely nice, eager to help out anyone in need, and the typical Humboldt Hippie. On the ride back we learned about how he hasn’t been able to surf for a while because he’s “tied to rather valuable plot of land hidden up in the hills” and that he’s been “pruning plants, and just got a really good harvest.” Yeah, he must be talking about roses right??! He said that since I just lost a lot of valuable gear and electronics, I could take up a job helping plant, prune, and prepare, and put on the market his marijuana crop. I chuckled at it a bit, and politely declined. I wondered why he was so open about it when just a few months earlier there was a 17,000 plant bust in the same small community just a few months before.

When I mentioned that I’d have to find some rope wash he offered to take the extra ten minutes to take us to the "Outdoor Store". When we got back to campus we thanked him for the ride, and he thanked us for the story saying that we were a blessing because that stopped him from trying to surf the waves, because if there was another massive swell again, would have carried him across the two hundred yards of beach and smashing him on the beach. I guess bad event has a positive outcome somewhere. As we headed back to our rooms we realized that the trip was still far from over. I went immediately to cleaning the gear, getting rid of the salt, seaweed, sand, etc… After soaking and cleaning everything, I taste tested it all for salt and set it out to dry in the bathroom which is without sunlight, and is relatively dry, and with fresh air cycling through the window.

Overall it was a weird experience, completely un-expected, but definitely something to learn from. I’ll have to live for a while without my iPod or phone, but hey, that’s what every generation before us did and they were fine...somehow


The attached picture shows the water at regular level with a boulder in the foreground that became almost completely submerged. I guess shit just happens ;]


altelis


Nov 8, 2009, 8:13 PM
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Re: [evanwish] Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy [In reply to]
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what attached picture?


evanwish


Nov 8, 2009, 10:27 PM
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Re: [altelis] Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy [In reply to]
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http://www.supertopo.com/...aturdays_surf_-_Pics


(This post was edited by evanwish on Nov 8, 2009, 11:45 PM)
Attachments: IMG_0288(small).jpg (85.8 KB)


i_h8_choss


Nov 9, 2009, 2:09 AM
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Re: [evanwish] Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy [In reply to]
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thats a rugged coast up there. did you check the tide times? and you know that sand levels change with the seasons, right?

also if you run into that landowner again, tell him that Ill help him out. please give him my email. Wink


johnwesely


Nov 9, 2009, 5:09 AM
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Re: [evanwish] Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy [In reply to]
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That was a really well told story. I hope your gear is fine.


i_h8_choss


Nov 9, 2009, 8:03 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy [In reply to]
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cool icon jw


johnwesely


Nov 9, 2009, 8:05 AM
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Re: [i_h8_choss] Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy [In reply to]
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i_h8_choss wrote:
cool icon jw

Thank you.


CrazyPetie


Nov 9, 2009, 3:46 PM
Post #8 of 10 (1499 views)
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Registered: Mar 31, 2008
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Re: [evanwish] Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy [In reply to]
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Sounds like a blast man!

I need to move to humbolt...


Partner robdotcalm


Nov 9, 2009, 5:04 PM
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Re: [evanwish] Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy [In reply to]
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At last an interesting trip report! How cold was the water? I'm glad you were able to get out of the surf.

Cheers, rob.calm


evanwish


Nov 9, 2009, 8:00 PM
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Registered: May 22, 2007
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Re: [robdotcalm] Climbing, Saltwater, and Idiocy [In reply to]
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it actually was, or seemed to be, very very warm.

you can check out this video that someone posted of some of the "after shock" style waves (or whatever they call them)
http://tomsebourn.blogspot.com/


Thanks a lot :]


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