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"Lefty!" - "Lefty!" 9/12/99

By Hans Florine

Well, we were planning to do the RNWF on Half Dome and then go for some fun free climbing on the Zebra apres. Jim Herson came out to my home at a respectable hour on Saturday evening, we had the rack ready and food devoured long before 10 pm. Albeit an incredible haggling match between he and me over number of runners and biners to bring. JEEZ - the guy wants to bring 50 runners! I did talk him down to only 15 runners and 10 draws. I thought for sure we'd get to the base and he'd pull out 40 - saying "oh look I forgot these were in the bottom of my pack, guess we might as well take them along!"

Getting to bed before 11pm I figured there would be no praise for us doing a big day on limited sleep as Jim's idea of an early start time is 9am. I talked him into a 6 am wake up. BUT I heard strange noises at 3am, and shook it off figuring it was some vagabond climber just dropping in after a long Saturday wall. When I went to wake up Jim at 6 am he grimaced that it was him that was up half the night not able to sleep until just then when I woke him. so he requests we put the wake up off for 2 hours. I comply of course. but again woken up before the two hours have expired Jim is rustling about not able to sleep.

We leave the stables parking lot at 8:24 am and despite Jim's lake of enthusiasm towards setting a hiking record we made it to the base in a respectable 1 hour and 57 minutes.

Now we're at the base and it's time to flake the ropes and gear up. I had heard that Jim was anal about his shoes so was not surprised to see two types of climbing shoes roll out of his pack, presumably one pair for the Zebra free climbing and a comfy pair for the regular route. Jim informed me that he had left one pair in the trunk at the last minute since our start was so late he figured he wouldn't need the Zebra free climbing shoes. I was a little perplexed seeing that there was still two types of shoes coming out of his pack. then Jim started in cursing this and that, and apologizing as if he'd forgot the rack. then I saw that he definitely had two types of shoes and they were BOTH LEFTIES! One left Boreal Ballet and one left Boreal Laser!20

After a numerous rounds of self abasement by Jim, realization that Greg Murphy would never let Jim live this down, and various offers to keep me silent, finally the reality options were discussed. Hans's dislike for the Half Dome hike and common sense dictated that we climb the route anyway and try to just have fun, there's a novel thought.

So with a left Ballet and a right Five tennie - tongue flapping approach shoe, Jim set off on the lead and I never was with in physical touching range of him till the summit blocks 2 hours and 25 minutes later! Despite missing the record we had a hell of a fun time. We passed 5 parties, two of which were doing it in a day, three people I knew - Willie and Damien Benegas, and Greg Lastname I forget. Not bad considering Jim said he might lower down after the first pitch if it didn't feel fun!

I figured I should try for another record once on top which is the descent of the cables. I finally I remembered to stop the watch at the bottom this time. The time to beat: 2 minutes 23 seconds. I time from the top huge eye bolt anchoring the cable in the granite to the same on the bottom.

We carried down four nasty tourist baseball caps, one straw hat, about 12 thrashed plastic bottles, 6 tin cans, numerous energy bar wrappers, assorted brown bags, and one discarded #1 Taylor made driving golf club head!? This we did instead of checking out the Zebra.

Needless to say Jim didn't come up with an offer to keep me silent. Don't be too hard on him Greg et all, he may just have you on belay in the near future.



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