Forums: Climbing Information: Trip Reports:
Why I don't like lightning
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Trip Reports

Premier Sponsor:

 


brutusofwyde


Sep 2, 2003, 1:35 PM
Post #1 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 3, 2002
Posts: 1473

Why I don't like lightning
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Eichorn Pinnacle -- West Pillar III 5.10

4:30 pm 20 June 1992

The after-image of the most recent, deadly million-volt electrical
discharge rips across my vision leaving a jagged path of green-black
blindness as I peer through the wind-driven sleets of hell. The sheer
volume of the crackling explosion of thunder, shaking my bowels
simultaneously with the flash, tells me the lightning scored a direct
hit on the summit, where Jane was anchored by steel and aluminum
to the wet granite lightning rod we have climbed.

The air hums, buzzing up through the spectrum of sound from
a low growl up through an angry hive of wasps to a hideous shreiking
whine, penetrating the howling of the tempest, rising in volume and
pitch, then sudden eerie silence, a vivid warning of the next strike.

KABLAMMMMMM!

Rope, no longer taken as I move up, wind-stretched horizontally
into the sky to my right in a desolate, enlarging loop of Saint Elmo's
Fire, entangling my feet, hobbles me, gasping me in panicked
nightmare-slow-motion, the sky a witch's cauldron of cloud, ice, and
sleet plastering the rock in rime-like mushrooms, my medusa wet hair
dancing like things alive. Keep moving. Demons and chittering dark risks
slash at my neck, raking my flesh with their icy sleet-claws.

My mind's eye behind eyelids clenched against the fury of ice-blasted
blinding maelstrom beholds Jane, still anchored to the summit, a
smoking, charred husk, black ash cheeks sunken against bone, her skull
teeth flashing a final, shockingly sickening grin in the context of
cooked flesh of the carbonized corpse, ironically still wearing a green
helmet half-melted to singed hair, stench of burning flesh palpable in
spite of the vortex of wind, me looking into Jane's dead eyes framed by
ash-skin forever in one final look of surprise at this conclusion to our
climb.

Up through the drenching violence of the storm to where Jane was last
alive.

Summit: The scene is like that of some electrical horror film gone awry:
in the contrast of dark, sleet-curtained gloom and and stark brilliant
strobe of lightning, snow pellets freezing to the granite in a
frictionless verglas, As I summit I see a surge of crackling energy
plasma leap from the highest rock, through Jane's helmet and over to a
secondary high point as another deafening direct hit assaults the top of
the spire.I find my climbing partner hypothermic, shocked and dazed but
alive. She's survived her roll of the dice, and its my turn.

With panicked mumbling hands not working I anchor and lower her from
the summit, cowering, suffering searing shocks as more strikes
burningly electrify the wet rock against my skin, I twitching like a
newly-pinned insect in a sadist-entomologist's bug collection, like a
gibbet-strung corpse whose body does not yet know it is dead. The rope
knots on the summit blocks. Between strikes I fumble the tangles of
rope-slush, listening, *feeling* the growing energy imbalance, cowering
down between the summit blocks as the hornet-buzz like a thousand
angry hives suddenly stops....

KABLAMMMM!!!

Upright again into the lull immediately following the explosion, hoping
the monster will take time to reload, knowing that in two more strikes
like that last one my body will cease to respond to commands, my will
like trying to shout with a mouth stuffed with rags at my limbs' mute
ears... rope finally free, Jane is down, the electrical corona crawls
over my flesh and dances demon-like across the sky, buzzing stops,
cower...

KABLAMMMM!!!

Summit carabiners touched with a welder's arc. rope finally set for the
retreat through the sleet, Jane below hunkering in her shorts and
T-shirt frozen dazed Come on we've got to get out of here.

Above, The needle-like spire is suspended in a net of blinding, burning
threads of death as we stumble, drenched, frosted, and nearly destroyed,
down the slabs and through the brush to the shelter of an overhanging
outcrop.

END


mother_sheep


Sep 2, 2003, 1:52 PM
Post #2 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 18, 2002
Posts: 3984

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Wow! I got sucked in to this one! I'm sure you both are feeling rather lucky right about now. I've been in some pretty violent storms high off the ground. This made my arm hair stand on end. Good read!


neeshman


Sep 2, 2003, 1:58 PM
Post #3 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 261

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

OH..... MY..... GOD.......


jookyhead


Sep 2, 2003, 3:03 PM
Post #4 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 1, 2003
Posts: 667

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

:shock: WOW :shock:


jeffers_mz


Sep 2, 2003, 3:49 PM
Post #5 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 11, 2002
Posts: 357

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Pretty good reasons.

Here's a couple more. The sound of the world's largest piece of canvas being ripped apart, travelling left to right directly overhead as the breakdown voltage of successive pockets of air is exceeded at the leading edge of the discharge pulse, and the world's tiniest, crispest "tick!", just like the filament in a light bulb popping as the leader and the discharge connect during that sudden silence, nanoseconds before the visible shock wave of the thunder slams into you like a train wreck.

Thanks. Good read. A classic.


epic_ed


Sep 2, 2003, 3:57 PM
Post #6 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4723

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Nice to see an old story revived. I remember that one (I think) from rec.climbing a number of years back. Your writing style is some damn fine poetry, Brutus. Very nice.

Ed


nnichols


Sep 2, 2003, 5:04 PM
Post #7 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 27, 2003
Posts: 800

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

:shock: :shock: :shock:


climbingcowboy


Sep 2, 2003, 8:10 PM
Post #8 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1201

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

That was a bitchin piece of writing Brutus this was my favorite part, all TR writes take note of a pro.

In reply to:
the sky to my right in a desolate, enlarging loop of Saint Elmo's
Fire, entangling my feet, hobbles me, gasping me in panicked
nightmare-slow-motion, the sky a witch's cauldron of cloud, ice, and
sleet plastering the rock in rime-like mushrooms, my medusa wet hair
dancing like things alive.


positivethoughts


Sep 5, 2003, 7:32 PM
Post #9 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 25, 2003
Posts: 12

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

:shock: Brutus. Great story. Wow.

T


overlord


Sep 6, 2003, 4:31 AM
Post #10 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 14120

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

:shock: wow


dc


Sep 25, 2003, 7:49 AM
Post #11 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 19, 2003
Posts: 355

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

:shock: woah dude... write a book


kman


Sep 25, 2003, 8:50 AM
Post #12 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 16, 2001
Posts: 2561

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

:shock: That's just grim :shock:

I like how it's written.


wc


Sep 25, 2003, 9:41 AM
Post #13 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 20, 2003
Posts: 176

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Lightning is a bunch of electrons right? Just remember to think NEGATIVE, that way the electrons will be repelled and everything will be honky dory.

http://images.google.com/...engatephoto.com/jpeg http://images.google.com/...gstalker.com/weather http://images.google.com/...aricopa.edu/earthsci


maculated


Sep 25, 2003, 9:53 AM
Post #14 of 14 (1996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 22, 2001
Posts: 6177

Re: Why I don't like lightning [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Jeezzzz.


Forums : Climbing Information : Trip Reports

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$49.46 (10% off)
$53.96 (10% off)
$49.46 (10% off)
$12.56 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook