THAT ONE TIME

Climbing - - CONTENTS -

An­drew Burr gets in over his head.

THE PLAN WAS to climb Utah’s Castle­ton Tower and then haul a full-size We­ber grill, food for a few dozen hun­gry climbers, and 60 beers up the North Chim­ney. There were 36 peo­ple in at­ten­dance, and only about half of them knew about it be­fore the climb—the other half got the sur­prise of their lives when they topped out Castle­ton to a full­blown back­yard bar­be­cue. As each un­aware climber neared the sum­mit, some­one would lean over the edge and take their or­der: cheese­burger, veg­gie burger, or hot dog. I left a can un­der­neath my truck in the park­ing lot so the un­sus­pect­ing par­ty­go­ers could throw a few bucks in when they got back. Be­tween the beer and the Costco bill, I broke even.

The theme of this year’s bar­be­cue was cow­boys, so my wife and I wore over­sized 20-gal­lon foam cow­boy hats for the climb. Head­ing up the North Chim­ney, I was lead- ing the funky of­fwidth squeeze that ex­tends about 20 feet off the be­lay. I got my­self in the crack and im­me­di­ately re­al­ized I had a prob­lem—the tight slot had pushed my jumbo car­toon hat down over my head, so much so that it was sit­ting on my shoul­ders. My en­tire head was in­side the hat. Oh no, I thought. I can’t fix this. My hands were locked in a stack, and I couldn’t take them out to ad­just the hat. My only choice was to keep go­ing un­til I whipped. I climbed through the whole sec­tion blind, some­what deaf, and com­pletely dumb.

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