About Bailure

bail·ure \׳bāl-yər\ n (2011) : 

1. An attempt to accomplish an objective that ends with the decision to give up before the realization of said objective.

2. The periodically inevitable result of living a dual life that is split between "normal" pursuits and the obsession to climb rocks.

3. The necessary friend of anyone who is truly pushing the limits of their ability.  The mortal enemy of perfectionism.  E.g. Bailure is the way.

Bailure following the 9th pitch of Rainbow Wall.  With 15 pitches total, 7 of them 5.11 or harder, the hardest few at 12-, this was a reach to begin with.  We were slow, ran out of daylight, and  failed to coordinate with the rest of our group for the possibility of a bivouac.  Down we went.

Most of the way up the Frech Direct route on Alpamayo, around 19,000'.  We thought this would be a good "warmup" in the high mountains of Peru.  We all suffered from the altitude and moved too slowly.  Bailure 300' short of the summit.

1200' up a Patagonian wall with less than 2 years climbing experience.  We started the day off-route, climbed too slowly, and rappelled into the night.

Does it even count as a bailure if you bail after the first pitch? It does if you're climbing Rock Warrior. After encountering heady runouts and uncertain route finding, we were mentally drained. While scoping the second pitch, we decided we weren't up for another 5 pitches of the same thing. Bail.

If you've gotta bail, what's the ideal way to do it? A long, steep glissade, of course. And that's exactly what we did down 1,500 feet of snow on Bonney Pass after bailing less than an hour from the summit of Gannett Peak, highest point in Wyoming. After 2 days of approach hiking and countless thousands of vertical feet (and mosquito bites), we bailed due to poor snow conditions, recent deaths on the mountain, and pure exhaustion.

The face of bailure: sitting at the base of Half Dome, minutes after the decision to not even start up the route given the multi-group cluster that was forming in front of us. The miserable twinkle in the eye comes from the knowledge that we'll have to make the approach again if we want to get on that bad boy.

After getting in great form over 6 months between wranglings of kiddos, driving 5+ hours to the New River Gorge to finally apply the fitness on real rock, hiking 5k through summer overgrowth to South Nuttal, first climb of the day, I pulled off a large flake and crushed my foot. Now the fitness wanes as I hobble, waiting for the bone to heal.