Monday, May 5, 2008

Notes from the Old Rag Bear Attack

-Met up with Tim from the gym after work.
-Hiked out to Old Rag by headlamp friday night and camped at the base of Strawberry Fields.
-Come morning, Tim hang dogged Strawberry Fields. I followed.
-I led the first pitch of Return to Sickbay, the route over in the corner to the left of Strawberry Fields that starts with the chimney, then a finger and hand crack exit. Very cool. Tim followed.
-I climbed the first pitch again and continued up to the second for the layback section. The climbed wasn't too hard, but committing, as there were no rests from the layback. The crack was filled with wet slime and moss, so I wasn't able to get reliable gear. I bailed ten feet from the top, as I was sure everything would rip given a slip on the dirty smears.
-After hiking up to rap and clean the gear, we bushwacked down to find Bushwack Crack.
-We were having a hell of a time trying to find our way in the dense woods. Then we came upon a bear.
-Tim starts "soloing" up a low angle and dirty dirty corner to get away. I just laughed.
-After a while of watching and being fascinated by the bear, we started tossing small rocks and making noise to scare it away.
-We continued deeper into the woods and found Bushwack Crack. It was amazing.
-I tried to lead it, but ended up hang dogging. I need to get back and get it clean. I'm not going to describe it. You have to see it for yourself.
-Hiked back to camp and found the rain fly on Tim's tent shredded, his pack and my stuff-sack of food, gone.
-We look up to see the bear 30' away tearing into Tim's pack.
-Tim starts looking for things to "solo" to escape the bear. I laugh and watched.
-I break out a beer and toss one up to Tim, who had found another dirty ramp to climb, and we discussed the situation.
-Tim's headlamp, phone and car keys were in the pack. We had to get it back. It was soon going to be dark. It looked like it was about to storm.
-We created an "escape route" by rigging tandem single line rappels over that little 30' drop just past Report to Sickbay. Then we started yelling "ROAR!" and trundling rocks and throwing logs.
-The bear retreated about 20 feet, then more. Soon it was about a hundred feet off.
-One of us would keep making noise while the other rushed in and grabbed our stuff.
-We hiked out as it fell completely dark. We weren't going to stick around with that bear and the sky looking to storm.
-Famous words from Saturday morning, "That's not bear shit.  There aren't any bears in VA!"  Tim will never let me live that down.

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