Finger Of Fate

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Finger Of Fate

Indian paintbrush plant and the east face of the Finger Of Fate (July 2012).

As has been the tradition for most of the summers since we’ve started climbing, Shirley, Blondie and I set off for the Finger Of Fate in Idaho’s Sawtooths on a July weekend in 2012. We’ve failed on this thing so many times it’s become our own little joke – “let’s go do the Finger” has come to mean anything from let’s go to the base to get stormed off the first pitch to let’s go to the trailhead, get pissed off at the mosquitoes and drive home (11 hours). This time things were different: we were armed with about 350 pounds of fresh motivation.

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Finger Of Fate

Shirley and Blondie psyching up for The Book route on the Finger Of Fate…very stressful stuff (July 2012).


Along with our friends Haydar and Marcelo, we left Portland on Saturday morning and after a casual daytime drive were being eaten by swarms of mosquitoes at the Hellroaring Trailhead by 8 pm. After a sleepless night in the back of our pickup (canopy on our truck isn’t a good mosquito seal) we were hiking by 3:30ish on Sunday morning. At the base of the route by about 7 (was I feeling like shit…sleepless night, altitude, and age) only to see dark clouds rolling through and spitting occasional droplets. Think we all teetered close to the bailing option but after about an hour of hesitation finally started up the route. The dark clouds seemed to part above The Finger and finally clear for the duration of our climb. And what a great fun little climb it was!! Perfect rock, fun pitches, and stellar vistas! All topped off by a small platform of a summit. The marginal weather must’ve kept other climbers away and so we had the entire formation to ourselves. A couple raps and a painfully hot hike out followed. Some were suffering more than others, especially our elderly Blondie who was quite exhausted and needed frequent breaks (therefore took a while…).

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Finger Of Fate

Pitch one of The Book (July 2012).

Then came the crux of the climb – the sleep-deprived night time drive home. After putting in a couple hours and not quite making Baker City , Marcelo took over and showed us what enduro driving is all about. A sleepless night, a car-to-car push, and a truck full of people snoring did not slow Marcelo down and we were merrily home at about 3:30 Monday morning. Respect! A fun outing with great company.

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Finger Of Fate

Shirley, Marcelo, and Haydar lounging just below the summit block (July 2012).

P.S. Turns out that the camp we stumbled through on the approach at 5am belonged to our friend Steve Weston (sorry for the disturbance Steve!).
P.P.S. We climbed in two teams: Marcelo and I followed by Shirley and Haydar. Photos below are in (roughly) chronological order.

Photos

Finger Of Fate

Marcelo on the final portion of the approach hike to the Finger Of Fate during the magic hour at sunrise (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Shirley and Blondie nearing the base of The Book route (5.8 6 pitches) on the Finger Of Fate. Hell Roaring Lake is the lower/larger one in the photo (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Haydar at the base of the Finger Of Fate’s north face…should we go for it or should we go for breakfast in Stanley…

 

Finger Of Fate

Shirley and Marcelo at the base of The Book route (right facing shadowy dihedral) on the Finger Of Fate (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Shirley and Blondie psyching up for The Book route on the Finger Of Fate…very stressful stuff (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Marcelo trying to will the rain clouds away from the Finger before our climb. The deep voodoo worked and we had nothing but sunny skies for the duration of our climb (July 2012).

 

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Yours truly is at the first pitch belay (feeling like shit), Marcelo is climbing the first pitch and enjoying himself very much. Shirley is starting the lead of the first pitch belayed by Haydar from the moat (July 2012).

 

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Marcelo belaying me on pitch 2 of The Book with Shirley leading pitch 1 below (July 2012).

 

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Looking back towards Marcelo (atop pitch 1) and Shirley (leading pitch 1) from just above the roof on pitch 2 of The Book (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Shirley leading the wide crack portion near the top of pitch 1 of The Book. Photo credit goes to Marcelo (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Marcelo just above the roof on pitch 2 of The Book (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Marcelo nearing the top of pitch 2 of The Book. Stellar climbing on pretty much every pitch of this here Idaho classic moderate (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Haydar nearing the top of pitch 1 of The Book (July 2012).

 

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Haydar leading the wonderful pitch 2 of The Book (July 2012).

 

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Haydar leading pitch 2 of The Book just above the roof move. Photo taken by Marcelo (July 2012).

 

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Marcelo topping out on the third pitch of The Book with Hell Roaring Lake (right hand side one) in the background (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Shirley leading the third pitch of The Book – a fun tunnel through to mostly easy ground (July 2012).

 

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Daddy shitfaced from the lack of sleep about to enjoy the fifth (our fourth) pitch of The Book – the twin cracks pitch (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Looking back at Marcelo and Shirley from the lead of the fifth pitch of The Book (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Haydar starting the lead of the very fun pitch 5 of The Book belayed by Shirley. Photo credit goes to Marcelo (thanks man!!).

 

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Yours truly atop the 5th pitch of The Book with the summit block above. Photo by Marcelo (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

More funness for Haydar on the fifth pitch of The Book (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Haydar leading the double cracks on pitch 5 belayed by Shirley (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Marcelo topping out on the fifth pitch of The Book – the 5.5 slab topout of the pitch is visible (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Haydar obviously hatin’ on The Book route (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Shirley enjoying the fun crack of pitch 5 (July 2012).

 

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Shirley also hatin’ on the fifth pitch of The Book (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Marcelo (belaying me) and Haydar belaying Shirley on the “5.5 slab” of pitch 5 of The Book route (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Marcelo emerging from the tight passageway under the summit block (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Haydar about to crawl on over to the other side of the summit block (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Haydar being reborn in the tunnel beneath the summit block of the Finger (July 2012).

Finger Of Fate

Shirley, Marcelo, and Haydar lounging just below the summit block (July 2012).

Finger Of Fate

Marcelo arriving on the summit of the Finger (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Shirley about to pull the crux move (“5.9- boulder move”) of The Book route (July 2012).

 

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Shirley arriving on the summit – a great day in the spud state!

 

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Summit shenanigans. Turned out the summit register was missing a pen…

 

Finger Of Fate

Marcelo, Haydar, and some random uncle fucker on the summit of the Finger (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Indian paintbrush plant and the east face of the Finger Of Fate (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Blondie, Shirley, yours truly, and Haydar resting on the hike out with the Finger in the background. Photo courtesy of Marcelo (July 2012).

 

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Haydar, Shirley, and Marcelo saluting the Finger after our climb…with Haydar going that extra angry mile (July 2012).

 

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Somebody was dragging ass on the hike out to the point where daddy had to come to the rescue…this lasted only ~300 yards as carrying a 65 pound dog is not as enjoyable as it might appear at first (July 2012).

 

Finger Of Fate

Blondie taking a union break in a mountain stream on the hike out. Photo is courtesy of Marcelo (July 2012).

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