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Hiker Falls on Half Dome

12:53 a.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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1:17 a.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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OK here we go once again with the whole sign thing. I am not gonna get into this too far but I will say this...

THE SIGNS ARE NOT A DECORATION AND THEY DO NOT APPLY TO EVERYONE ELSE BUT YOU!!!

Half Dome is on my top 3 list for 2012...

1:45 a.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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It's definitely worth doing once (when the rock is dry :) to experience it.   I've heard of people who've been up there many times, but to me it was one of those "do it once and that's enough" things.  There are soooo many other places to see.

If you want to do it, reserve your permit early, I hear they disappear very quickly when they first become available.  My trip up there (in 2008) was the last year before they started the permit system...

 

 

1:48 a.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Google the lyrics to "Signs", by Five Man Electrical Band ... or, by Tesla.

                                                     ~r2~

2:00 a.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

Google the lyrics to "Signs", by Five Man Electrical Band ... or, by Tesla.

                                                     ~r2~

Good jam...

I am familiar with the whole permit thing... I would never do it in the rain, now the snow may be a whole different story.... NOT. Then again who knows...

8:47 a.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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I don't think the trail should be closed when it rains, but you can bet I'd clip into the cable if it was slick.

 

10:31 a.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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I climbed to the top of Half Dome in the late winter of early 1980. The cables are not taken down in the winter just the supports making walking up in the summers. I held onto the cables which were laying on the wall.


Summer-hikers-going-up-the-cables-to-the

Summer hikers climbing the cable to the top of Half Dome.


half-dome.jpg

Looking up the east side of the cable route up Half Dome.


Looking-down-from-the-cable-route-on-Hal

Looking down the cable route to Half Dome.


On-top-of-Half-Dome-looking-east-Clouds-

On top of Half Dome looking NE with Clouds Rest and the high Sierra beyond.


El-Capitain-is-slightly-visible-just-lef

El Capitain is slightly visable in the left upper center looking SW from the top of Half Dome. Glacier Point is in the domed shadow on the left


Yosemite-Valley-from-the-brink-of-Half-D

Brink of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley below. Looking down 3000 feet Mirror lake is straight down below Diving Board Rock (watch that first step!). Part of the valley road can be seen in the meadow at the top of the picture.


Half-Dome-from-Glacier-Point.jpg

Half Dome from Glacier Point, Clouds Rest on its left is nearly 2000 feet taller, Washington's Column is seen at the lower left above Yosemite Valley'

There is over 8 acres of flats on top of Half Dome, about the same size as Suunyside Campground/Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley.





12:04 p.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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I wonder if Diving Board Rock is where the base jumpers take launch... Looks to be a perfect spot.

3:28 p.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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I have yet to walk up that rock.  Every time I was there the route was cheek to cheek crowded, and I fear of some one falling and knocking me and a bunch of others off the chain.  Tragic this accident, but fortunately no one else was swept off by her fall.

Ed

10:28 a.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Plaque-on-top-of-Half-Dome.jpg

Sign on top of Half Dome...

11:19 a.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I think (?) if they allowed a bunch of crosses, like you see in some States where they are along  road-sides,  indicating where fatalities occurred in automobile / bicycle accidents ... there might be a heightened awareness of the dangers.

Of course, we have the dreaded "redneck-factor", wherein the Hey, Y'all -- watch this! phenomena occurs.

Darwin-Awards liberally distributed. 

                                                           ~r2~

11:34 a.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I think part of the reason this accident occurred was because it was beyond the cable area.

 

I noticed some people saying she should have held on to the cable kind of thing.

 

I think she did, but once past the cables it was still wet and slippery and still pretty exposed.

2:30 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Yes the granite on top is well worn down and smoothed by the ancient glaciers and foot traffic. I can imagine it being slippery when wet! It was quite slippery in 1980 when I was up there in winter.

6:31 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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this is a terrible thing for the woman's family and friends, so being judgmental feels a little heartless. 

 

i think that fixed lines/cables give people a false sense of security.  even if the rock was wet & slick, and signage tells people not to ascend under wet/slick conditions, i'm betting these hikers felt safe due to that cable.  (sounds like she slipped right where the cable ends near the top). 

it says something that few people did the hike that day, and the usual number of permits on a typical summer day is in the hundreds.   

8:46 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Summer-hikers-going-up-the-cables-to-the

This shot was in June 2001 from the bottom, it took almost an hour to climb up with all the people in front of us.


Looking-down-from-the-cable-route-on-Hal

And this is what it looked like looking down. It is actually harder to go back down because the cables are only a couple feet apart and its hard to have people going up and down at the same time. Plus the cables are only about 3 feet of the ground so kneeling to rest is easier than standing as these people are.


 

12:19 a.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Signs or no signs, I get the heebie jeebies even *thinking* about being up there when it's wet.  Seriously. 

I think I was pretty fortunate on the day I went up (in late Sept, 2008, just a couple weeks before it snowed at that altitude).  There were lots of people, and quite a bit of congestion on the cables, but no long waits or anything.

My main issue with the number of people was that I wanted to hold onto both sides (cables) for stability, but couldn't, because of the traffic going the other way. 

I'm actually surprised at the number of people that go up there, considering the lengthy hike up & back from the valley, and that most of them are day hikers.

 

6:58 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Why don't people clip themselves to the cable? 

Reading about all those attempting the hike with tennis shoes and a single 8 oz bottle of water I understand that the majority do not even know it is feasible...

Early July we (my wife and our three teenagers boys 14, 15 and 17) did our first trip to California and it included Half-Dome.  The original plan was to make it in a three-day backpacking (camping near Cloud Rest trail) but I was not able to get the permits for our timeframe, so our teens made it as a day hike from the Valley.  (too long and tough for me and my wife in those circumstances)

In my planning I've read a lot of advice on Half-Dome, I've look at the ranger's video on Yosemite site, etc..  It was clear to me that having a safety rope and a clip was a must to be safe,  facing rain and slippy surface and also in case of other hikers slipping or dropping things from their backpack, etc.

Our teens love to hike and they also have their licence as interior climber (required here in Montreal, Canada, to do interior climbing).  We decided they would bring their harness and I just had to buy a 2m length of climbing rope and a self-locking clip.  Two would have been safer as in a Via Ferrata, but as a safety measure we felt it was sufficient.


TR2a-climbing-rope-and-clip.jpg


TR2b-easy-to-open-clip.jpg


TR2c-self-locking-clip.jpg


They agreed without any argument. On that morning they left with 2 liter of water each, their harness with clip in their backpack, along with a filter for additionnal water, good lunch, sweater, headlamp and good gloves with rubbery palm and fingers. 

We were not sure however, being possibly the only one clipping, if they would really wear their harness/clip.

They did and were 100% happy to have it, even if it was dry and sunny, including the oldest and fittest of them! It allowed them to really relax, their hands and mind.  They were back less than 10 hours later.


TR1-ready-for-the-cables.jpg


TR2-cliped-to-the-cable.jpg

 

  Even if ones do not have a climbing harness, having a good belt to his pants would be OK to attach the rope.  Climbing rope and clip (many models) can be bought at outdoor stores (REI) for 15-20$.  Why take a chance??

On getting down they had a really crazy guy behind them that was sliding on his hand and stopping himself at each post with his grip, many time with difficulty, his feet loosing ground  forward!!  Could you imagine what could have happened if had lost his grip and missed a 'stop' tumbling into people below him?!?

7:49 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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guyd:  said "Why take a chance??"

 

Because I'm allowed.  It's really that simple.  Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane that is going to land?  Why ride a motorcyle when I colud drive a car?  Why does a man free climb when he could rope in?  If you have to ask the question it can never be explained to you or anyone that does not understand?  It drove my Grandmother crazy that all 4 of her Grandchildren from one of her son's road motorcyles, and two in states where there was no helmet law.   She always asked that question to her death.   One's man's terror is another man's excitment.  I would never make anyone do some of the exciting dangerous things I like to do.  But do not deny me the things I like and live to do just cuase you don't get it or don't want to do it.  A famous document once said "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness"  I belive this falls under the catagory of "pursuit of happiness".  Just because you do not want to chase the same happiness as me, do not derprive me of the right to pursue of what makes me happy.

 

By the way is that actually climbing or just a harder form of playing follow the leader up the big rock?  That looks utterly boring to me,................unless I could do it free hand.

8:21 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Well said, apeman.

Back in the 80s, I climbed the Snake Dike to the summit of Half Dome, than came down the cables.  It was so crowded the we actually walked on the outside of the cables.  I course we had on our climbing shoes, which are a lot "grippier " than hiking shoes and tennies.

8:57 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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I think Guys idea is good advice.  Any experienced climber can walk that pitch even without the cable; nevertheless a tie in gives some protection from all the tuna, one of which could sweep you off the pitch if they or some gear ejecta fell into you.

Ed

10:37 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Apeman,

I didn't mean to deprive you of anything you like to do, specially if you are experienced or confident about, have the techniques and know where are your limits (that you like to push).  If it cannot cause arms to others that is perfect.

The guy that was sliding the cables yelling and laughing at every second post could have caused the deaths of others, and that, I do not get it.

I did propose HD to my teens and didn't try to scare them. As a father I was glad they were interested in doing HD and were aware of potential risks (rain and mainly the others) - and had safety measure available if they wanted.

11:14 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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@ guydI did not mean to imply that you in particular were trying to stop me from doing the things and the risky behaviors I find pleasure in.  I find that so often when people do not understand why others take unnecessay risks or do something in a manner that is not as safe as they would like to see, that the next step seems to be (people)society trying to contol us and save us from ourself's.  As you can tell I'm not a big fan of controlling others, and in fact I'm a fan of less control.  This seems to be, quite often, a contentious point between those who participate in risky behaviors and those who do not.   I think that the guy sliding down the Dome endangering others was reckless in his behavior and I wholeheartedly do not agree with that or any type of behavior that endangers others, unless they are willing participants.  He has the right to endanger himself but not endanger others. 

Regarding the Half dome.  As I've never been to Yosemite, I have never really looked at picts of the Half Dome.  Is one allowed to climb it with out using the cables, both going up and comming down?  If one is, does one then also need to get a permit?  Is it always so crowded or is just like that in the summer?  With all those people there it looks more like a ride at the amusement park,  though when I went to Yellowstone we bypassed a number of things I wanted to see because of the crowdes.

12:02 a.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I guess we all take our dangers in doses we can deal with. For me its helmets,and harnesses to feel comfortable. But when I mention to a non hiker about a plesant three day walk in the woods, I always get "But weren't you afraid of being eaten by a bear?" I probably view the question in the same way someone who free climbs and rides without a helmet feels about my precautions.

So as to Half Dome if I ever get the chance to climb it I would want to tie in to the cables. Its something I want to see and experience, not test my nerve on.

4:00 a.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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There is a sharp distinction between a city slicker with no back country education aghast at your trouncing through the forest without what he feels is adequate protection from bears, and an experienced and knowledgeable climber’s opinion about the risks of free climbing.  The former has no idea what they are addressing while the latter usually has a sound foundation to make such assessments.

Some of the comparisons from an earlier post could be reexamined in this context, and become more reasonable than as originally described.  One can skydive, but please use a parachute.  One can ride a motorcycle but it just makes sense to use a helmet.  Free climbing?  IMO no higher than you are willing to jump.  Notice no bull fighters are out there in the streets of Pamplona, running with the bulls.  I wonder why…

The whole argument, that one can take whatever risk they feel like taking is fine and dandy, UNTIL others must stick their necks out to get such thrill seekers out of a bind.  Folks who get swept over water falls or fall from free climbs require extraction teams to retrieve whatever is left of the dare devil.  While the same is true of those who have employed nominal safety measures, using pro and helmets, they at least have eliminated elements of risk that are manageable within the realm of that activity.  Or looked at another way: anyone has the right to play Russian Roulette, but a line is crossed when you play it at a cocktail party where others maybe harmed by your choices and bad fortune.

Lastly there is the whole aspect of those left behind to bury your butt, especially if they are young and you are their parent.  Do not believe for one moment that potentially orphaning one’s children for the sake of a risky climb is a generally accepted concept among mountaineers.  I never go on risky climbs with daddies of young ones, and know plenty of other climbers who likewise frown on those who indulge in this practice. Sure there is risk in just stepping out the door, but somewhere along the line daring risk become a grossly selfish indulgence.

Ed

5:39 a.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Brings to mind a line from the movie, "Beetlejuice":

I'm going crazy, and I'm taking you with me ....

                                                ~r2~

10:12 a.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Life is short and risky enough as it is.  I say enjoy it to its fullest.  If I had to NOT do the things I enjoyed, I'd go nuts.

I recently had a good friend die from a honeybee sting.  He was only 22 and a new dad.  You never know when your time is up, be it walking down the street or climbing a mountain.

12:09 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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apeman (Brian),

While I concur in part with your decisions, you, as others have noted, are still a part of a larger society. You don't want that society to restrict your behavior (understood); but, if you carry a cell-phone, SPOT, or leave notes to others regarding your itinerary, you are implicitly requesting help in time of peril.

You said:

As you can tell I'm not a big fan of controlling others, and in fact I'm a fan of less control.

You want danger; then you want to drag others into your danger when you slip. You want to make your own decisions; then, perhaps, you force others - through duty or compassion - to join you. That sounds pretty controlling to me. I know you don't mean it that way, but that's how it is.

The solution is to never tell anyone where you are going and what you are doing -- only self-rescue is permitted. If you break both legs while miles in the wilderness, accept that as an interesting survival challenge. Gangrene is real danger! Also, tattoo "DNR" (Do not resusitate) on your arm for riding without a helmet - society shouldn't be forced to pay to keep you in a vegetative state after your family has exhausted all their resources. (Cheery, that! :)

2:23 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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These two make a very simple solution.

TR2a-climbing-rope-and-clip.jpgimages?q=tbn:ANd9GcS60fg5j6FpiyBLFehAYZV

7:34 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

..You want danger; then you want to drag others into your danger when you slip. You want to make your own decisions; then, perhaps, you force others - through duty or compassion - to join you. That sounds pretty controlling to me. I know you don't mean it that way, but that's how it is...

Gee, I wish I could have articulated this point with such clarity.

Ed

8:52 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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JimDoss said:

..I recently had a good friend die from a honeybee sting.  He was only 22 and a new dad.  You never know when your time is up, be it walking down the street or climbing a mountain.

Jim, perhaps you are trivializing with such an example.  Unfortunately the young man died of a bee sting, but I assume he did not foolishly stick his head in a hive.  Furthermore I assume any attempt to rescue him did not entail others sticking their heads into a hive either.  I am not against engaging in risky sports; I am critical of purposefully foregoing risk management practices common to such activities.

The first time I visited Denali, I crossed paths with a couple of the "permanent residences."  While we knew these souls were waiting for us, the experience still had an adverse and lasting affect.  On another climb our group and four other groups in the area were trapped in a BIG storm while climbing in Peru.  We eventually self rescued, but then were compelled to assist rescuing the other groups at great personal peril.  We barely escaped with our lives – all were weakened by hunger and some in our group were frost bite - yet the remainder of our group went back up into a very dangerous situation.  While this instance was due to extraordinary circumstances, these examples give you pause to consider the imposition placed on SAR personnel to rescue fools who purposefully engage in gratuitous risk taking.  

Ed

10:11 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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@ overmywaders  I will endevor to keep this as short as possible.   I cannot control the actions of others.  Therefor I am there for not responsible if they come into the back country.  I am not a big fan of rescuing a people of off Mnt. Hood in the middle winter for example, they made ther choice, I belive they must live with it or die with it.  They are risking maybe dozens of lifes to save the one's that took the chance.  I truly belive that is an irrational behavior and that makes no sence to me at all.   Even though people think they are bieng compassionate, that is their choice, I'm not holding a gun to their heads and making them save anyone,   I do understand your point but please do not blame me for what others feel they must do.  I own and accept the things I choose to do.  First responders do what they do because they are the ones that choose to do that, for what ever their individual reasons.  Again I have no say in that.  I most certianly do not belive in body recovery when there is the risk of some who is alive might die, I have never understood that, but that again is their choice.  I have only had a cell phone for a year now, but am thinking of getting rid of it as it is becoming far, far to intrusive in my life.  While I understand your point of view. I hope that you can see mine. 

10:37 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Once again, it is interesting to see the differing values and beliefs at play.  What's one person's enjoyment is another's fool-hardiness.  What's safe to one is boring to another.  And around we go.

I think we'd all agree there are no absolutes in "risk".  There are huge variances between different people in what they consider "safe" or "risky".  It does seem like a key part of this discussion is around "how our risk taking impacts others".

The SAR example is a tough one, because as has been pointed out, nobody forces anyone to join a SAR team.  Then again, we live in a society where it's believed that SAR is "the right thing to do".  So who's right?

I think another example that was mentioned, and more to the point of the OP's topic, has to do with how our actions impact innocent bystanders.  The point had to do with protecting one's self from falls while using the cables on Half Dome.  And even more to the point is the story about someone intentionally sliding down the cables, barely stopping in time to avoid plowing into other people.

In the extreme example, of the person intentionally sliding, this person's level of "risk management" had an immediate and direct impact on people who in no way "volunteered" to be subject to such risk.  Had he lost his grip, he would have plowed into other people, likely knocked them off their balance, and maybe even caused them to fall to their deaths.

When embarking on a trek up the cables, one understands (or should understand) there is some risk involved, but the understanding is based on an expectation that the people around them would act in a responsible manner - not recklessly putting themselves and others' lives at risk.

 

 

10:59 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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@bheiser1
Not only do I agree with you 100% of how you have assessed the different beliefs regarding risk taking, good job of bringing us back on topic.

 

One of the really funny things here is I would not climb that rock with those cables because some one might fall and knock me off.  I trust myself, but not necesssarly the person whom I do not know........... both in front of me and behind me.

11:18 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

..The SAR example is a tough one, because as has been pointed out, nobody forces anyone to join a SAR team.  Then again, we live in a society where it's believed that SAR is "the right thing to do".  So who's right?

I think another example that was mentioned, and more to the point of the OP's topic, has to do with how our actions impact innocent bystanders... 

Discounting the imposition we place on first responders, by saying they signed up for this gig, does not excuse us from being held accountable when they are summoned due to our actions.  Participating in a society carries some level of mutual obligation, one category of which is acknowledging we have customs, traditions, and collective morals that unite us.  We may not agree with some of them, but we often don’t have the choice.  When enough people are affected, these morals become morays – laws – and then there is no choice.  You must drive on the right side of the roads in the US.  Enough cyclists were placed under public assistance to treat head injuries, that it prompted laws attempting to minimize this impact on society.

Like it or not, one convention we all live under is the state does not take lightly the notion of unaccounted for bodies.  To do otherwise opens the floodgates to foul play, complicates insurance issues, etc.  Thus why we fetch corpses out of the woods.  You can disagree with the custom, but it is a basic element of this society we live in.  As long as one’s gonzo misadventure originates from civilization, one is implicitly obligated to play by the rules, and accept how your conduct affects others.

Ed

11:50 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said: [a bunch of stuff about first responders, responsibilities in a civilized society, and corpses in the woods]

 

Ed, I agree with your points.  I was just commenting on the differences in opinion in the thread.

 

11:58 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

whomeworry said: [a bunch of stuff about first responders, responsibilities in a civilized society, and corpses in the woods]

 

Ed, I agree with your points.  I was just commenting on the differences in opinion in the thread.

 

 Sorry that I misunderstood your intentions (palms forehead four times).

Ed

12:25 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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No  worries.  I did make a comment about first SAR responders "signing up", but that was just a reference to someone else's comment :).

1:36 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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@ whomeworry:  Alas;  again we find ourselves in a pickle (still,or again I'm not sure which), off-topic.  I crafted three responces and deleted them thinking that yet again I might just carry it a little to far off-topic.  So I went out and carved up some back highway on my bike and I came up with this.  This is way to interesting a conversation to let go by the wayside and, after your beautyfully crafted, well thought out, provoking responce to my post above.............. I find that I would still like to discuss this along with other's input, but alas...still.....we are off-topic.  I propose that I start a new topic (in the off-topic section) using your last longer post as a begining and I will add an addenuem to the new post to refer to this post so that people can read all that has been said.  It will be very boad based so that those who want to say what they need to say can and those who don't want any part of the conersation can stay away from the thread.  It will concern risky behavors taken by those in outdoor sports mostly, but will be open to those who think that they have somthing that pertains to risky behavior in general in regards to but not limited to laws, morals, constitutional right's, and all other thoughts regarding "risky behavior". (it must be said that law's, morals, and  the constitutional rights do apply to outdoor activites).   Of cource all trailspace rules will apply and we will keep it this civil.  I want to do this in an effort to please the people who are not happy when we get off topic and so that the moderators don't have to spank us again for being off-topic. And yes, we do get off topic alot.   Whadda think.

5:54 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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apeman said:

..Whadda think.

 Me like a good debate.

Ed

9:27 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

apeman said:

..Whadda think.

 Me like a good debate.

Ed

 

Hmmm ....

Now, I wonder (?) if I might, as well ....

(Upon thinking for a few seconds ... ) :  Nawww ...   too "out-of-character" for ~r2~.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seriously -- The "Off-Topic" forum IS the place for asundry discussion and debate.  Many other website forums have such.  BUT, they usually forbid "religion and politics"  subject matter.   Probably wise.

Someone's feeling might get hurt.

( * insert double face-palm emoticon * )

                                                     ~r2~

9:33 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

...one’s gonzo misadventure...

Hey now, no reason to make this personal!

;) 

5:50 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

whomeworry said:

...one’s gonzo misadventure...

Hey now, no reason to make this personal!

;) 

Sorry!  The term is a hold over from my youth when extreme trips or those partaking therein were labeled gonzo.  Hey we should do a trip; I'd love to tell my friends I went on the ultimate gonzo trip with a cat name Gonzan. 

Minstrel, sing us the song
When Gonzan came along
With me and Alfonso
The whiskey was smooth
and the trip real gonzo...

And that is why I am a painter, not a poet.

Ed

6:13 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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Please note that I have started a new thread in the Off-Topic section regarding and continuing the lively discussion regarding "Risky Behavior"  All introspective thoughts on the subject are welcome.  Thanks

11:26 a.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Haha! I has just ribbing ya' :)

That's actaully one half of how I got the moniker of Gonzan. It was given to me by my hiking pals when I was 18. At the time I was very athletic, loved climbing rocks and trees and just about anything else. I was quite enthusiatic and was up for anything, one of them said off hand, "He's one half Gonzo and one half Tarzan. Oh dude! He's Gonzan!"

I despised the nickname then, but in time learned to embrace my inner gonzan ;)

April 25, 2014
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