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Ask BÙtÈ ¡nchourÈ

Mountaineering and Climbing Q&A from the Famous French Alpinist

May 2002

BÙtÈ ¡nchourÈ, noted alpinist, now fully recovered due to
the effective treatment of Dr Jacque Beanstalque is back to his alpine
climbing ways.  He recently spent a few days doing first ascents of the
towers near Whitney, called the Whitney Spears, with his climbing friend,
Christina AquaVelva.  He made the first ascent of the route "Hit me Baby,
One more Time" (known rock fall danger), "Fat Juicy Navels" (lots of
exposure) and "Oops, I did it Again" where the route was so scary that
they had to make several pit stops along the way.  Christina, shaken up by
this experience, has given up climbing in the High Sierra and now sings in
the High C at Bar Mitzvahs.  Stirred but not shaken, BÙtÈ, answers your

Question #1† Hey, dude, it's us out here in Afghanistan again.  We have
been bouldering on a bunch of the rocks here and gave up on tanks after
Taliban Tony nearly got whacked heel hooking on the main gun of a T-72. 
Some moron fired it and threw Tony right off the tank.  He's ok, though. 
We have found a nice pile of rocks near town.  Since we don't have any
crash pads we have been piling up camel doodoo at the bottom of the
routes.  Works ok for soft landings but really stinks.  Worse than cat
poo.  It's disgusting.  My dad sometimes makes me sleep out in the
backyard with the chickens.  Anyway, my question is this: do you have any
ideas as to what we can use for chalk?  I tried sneaking some flour from
my mom's kitchen but it doesn't work and my mom gets mad at me.  Any
suggestions would be way cool.  By the way, now that my girlfriend threw
away her burqa she has become the Lisa Rands of Kabul!  She is kicking my
butt on the boulder problems but the best thing is she now smells as bad
as I do so she doesn't get mad at me anymore!

- Kandehar Kenny, Kabul Klimbing Klub

Dear Kenny,

Well, I am glad you are doing well in Kabul.  Using chalk in your area is
probably a bad idea.  I think it is a good light reflector so a laser
designator might light up your bouldering area.  You may find a big crater
there the next time you go out to climb!  I would try pine tree pitch or
something like that.  Maybe juniper trees might work.  There are areas in
the West which prohibit chalk so the climbers use resin which is a refined
version of pine pitch.  Seems to work ok and is pretty sticky.  Should
help on the dynos to slopers.


Question #2† I have been trying to get the tips off from my ski poles so
that I could put different baskets on them.  First, someone suggested the
boiling water method, so I sat in a cauldron of boiling water with my
pole.  I got scalded bad and my pole's rubber handles melted and the pole
warped but the tip remained and I could not climb for six months.  Then I
bought another pole and put in a bench vise and hit the vise with a
hammer, as someone else had suggested.  The hammer broke, the vice came
off the bench and fell on my leg and my pole broke.  I could not climb for
three months due to the leg damage.  Then I bought another pole.  This
time I used a spanner on it.  The spanner bent, the pole bent and my wrist
got sprained but the tip is still on and I am out of climbing till my
wrist heals.  I bought another pole.  I am still keen on getting my tip
off but the little beggars don't want to.  I have tried all the
suggestions offered on the mailing list but nothing works.  Please help!

- Pole Kat from Pole Plant Road.

Dear Tad Pole,

Even though you are a couple of poles away from being a complete basket
case yourself, I think you are doing the economy good by buying so many
poles.  BÙtÈ uses different poles for trekking and skiing and does not
muck with the engineering of the poles.  At the rate that you have gone
through your poles, you could have just saved yourself the trouble and got
one with a different basket.

Buy ten more sets of poles and then try the following:

  1. Hold the pole tip between your teeth and get someone to pull hard from the other end.  The tip won't come off but you will get that much needed dental work.
  2. Hit your pole tip with your ice axe. I don't know what this will do but it will be entertaining.
  3. Grab the pole with a thigh-master and pull the pole. You will be needing another thigh-master after this.
  4. During an electrical storm, go outside and hold up your pole.  It is possible that the electric jolt due to thousands of volts will loosen the tip.  It will also loosen a lot of other stuff in your body.

Also, unsubscribe from that mailing list.


Question #3† I have been climbing ice for several years with an old friend
of mine.  Every time we go to climb something that requires leading we get
into an argument as to who is going to lead what.  I start out asking him
if he wants to lead the hard pitch and then I say I am going to do it and
then he says "ok, I will do it".  What a pain.  On one climb, we were
never able to figure out this and we both started to lead and we found
this out when we were both about 20 meters from the ground!  Then one
another climb, we kept this back and forth stuff 'you lead, no you lead'
and by the time we had sorted it out, we had run out of daylight.  Do you
have any suggestions as to how to get out of this cycle or should I just
resign myself to dealing with an idiot?

- Ron Karpel

Dear Ron,

I am surprised that he doesn't want to just lead all the hard stuff. 
Usually old guys memories are so bad they have forgotten the terror of
doing the leading and want to just jump right on things.  Next time this
happens I would suggest you try and "reset his processor".  When the
argument gets started grab your ice tool by the adze end and whack him
behind the right ear with the handle of the ice tool.  That ought to knock
some sense into him.  If that doesn't work you may in fact be dealing with
an idiot.


Bote Anchour