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Mountaineering and Climbing Q & A from the Famous French Alpinist

January 2002

Noted French alpinist BÙtÈ AnchourÈ has agreed to answer mountaineering and climbing questions from Scree readers when he returns from the mountains. 
Unfortunately, BÙtÈ has spent the last two months recovering from a serious climbing accident and has not been able to answer your questions. 
In late November last year BÙtÈ was attempting a new mixed grade route with the American climber, Poot Biner, notorious in his own right for bailing off of many climbs, that would have been the hardest in the world. 
While attempting to dry tool the 30 meter long roof which required several figure four moves, one figure nine move and an interlocking of a letter b move with a figure six move, a huge chunk of choss broke loose and four pitons blew out causing our hero to crash into the wall at the start of the roof. 
He has been at a hospital in Paris under the care of Dr. Jacques LeKwaque and is finally healthy enough to answer letters.

Question #1† There seems to be a raging debate on the existence of Giardia in the Sierra streams and people are making snide references to Marmot dung as being the cause. 
Do you really think that I should go out and buy the ridiculously expensive water filter from NeverNeed that weighs two kilogrammes?

- Amoebaba from Wrigley Field

Dear Amoebaba,

Bote is dear friends with all the Marmots in the Sierra so please do not insult them. 
Their dung, known as Marmolade in scientific circles, is spread very thin and is harmless if ingested, bearing actually a vague resemblance to candied orange peel. 
I refer you to the well known study on animal droppings and Giardia there-of by the well known climber and scientist, WhoFlungDung from Port-Au-Potte, Haiti, whose seminal paper on this subject, 'Yabba Dabba Doo Doo' goes into extensive detail on this very same topic. 
He spent a summer in the Sierra making several hard ascents (with me) and also analysing Sierra streams. 
He ends the paper by the powerful statement, 'One may, therefore, conclude, that there is little or no Giardia in the Sierra, only Marmolade'.


Question #2† I have been following the latest anthrax situation very closely and I am very concerned that this bacteria is found in nature. 
Does this mean I can come in contact with it in the mountains and other outdoor trips? 
If so, are there any products that are available that I can purchase that will protect me form this bacteria?

- Auntie Social from Uptite, Wisconsin

Dear Auntie,

You can come in contact with just about anything you want in the outdoors. 
Beware of climbing and mountaineering companions carrying packets of white powder, in particular. 
In fact, you shouldn't share anything with your mountaineering companions. 
This includes pots and pans, cooking utensils, and even stoves. 
You will need a special tent to sleep in. 
There is a new tent from the Trojan Tent Company called the Prophylacitent, which will keep you from breathing anything floating in the air. 
It is, of course, a one person tent since you must not be sharing any air space with your mountaineering companions.


Question #3† We are out here in the Afghan desert and would like to do some climbing on the cliffs near our home here. 
Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of money to spend on climbing equipment. 
We are considering using anti aircraft ammunition as pitons. 
Do you think this will work? 
Also, what do you think of making a new bouldering grading for bouldering moves on tanks?

- Taliban Tony

- Kandehar Kenny

- Kabul Klimbing Klub

Dear Tony and Kenny,

Unless you are interested in a new face I would not recommend pounding on the back end of live ammunition. 
In the old days John Salathe made pitons from old model T axles. 
There should be plenty of Toyota pick up trucks in your area that no one is using anymore. 
Try making pitons from the truck axles. 
As for the bouldering grades I would expect that the ratings would be similar to the V rating in common use now, however, I would add one grade for every problem worked out on a moving tank.


Question #4† Would you please tell me if I should send in my application for a permit to the Mt Whitney Ranger Station or to the Bishop Ranger Station if I have to make a summer time day hike of Tora Bora, which happens to be on the SPS list?

- Ryan McNali from Bald Boa

Dear Ryan,

Buy a map, Cortez. 
You are probably thinking of Tunnabora, the most boring peak, this side of Kabul. 
That is indeed on the SPS list and is a festering mound of the most obnoxious scree. 
BÙtÈ makes it a point to not climb such peaks and hence is beneath him to offer advice on it and other list peaks. 
By the by, Tora Bora is not reachable by any trailhead in Bishop nor the Whitney region for that matter and is certainly not dayhikeable.


Bote Anchour