Tupshin and Devore

No, you have never heard of Tupshin or Devore. And why should you? They are minor bumps in the vast wonderland that is the center of this state, and you can't get anywhere near them using a car. They both post rocks more than 8,300 feet above Puget Sound, earning them seats on Washington State's 100-highest list. On Pat's promiscuous quest to kiss every member, they occupy ignominious positions 97 and 98.

The great joy of working the 100-highest list is that you go places that are drop-dead gorgeous that you otherwise would never consider going. The rotten thing is, as I've mentioned before, that the climbing often SUCKS. OK, that's an exaggeration in this case. Climbing Tupshin is only mildly rotten, and climbing Devore approaches downright fun.

Technical beta Tupshin:

Books rate the main route class 5 but we soloed up and rapped down, as did others according to summit register. Really just two 15-foot sections of low fith class. Take just two or three cams if any. Main danger is kicking rocks on your partners's heads. We used all 5 raps down; would have been scary to downclimb. Loose. Kicked off small blocks on rap 2 that snipped 5 excess meters from a 60 meter rope.

Technical Beta Devore:

Although technically easier, more remote-feeling and grander, with more interesting route finding and more solid rock. We all soloed up in dry weather without much trepidation. Pat and I rapped down two pitches. Lee downclimbed it all far faster.

Pat, pushing 60, like Becky, Messner, and Bonatti, has burned through many a good partner, each of whom has had what he or she considered to be a long and mostly happy climbing career. But we all just wear out after a while. It is the nature of time. And yet Pat, like other odd old bulls in various fields of human endeavor, keeps on trudging uphill, long past where the sensible animals have lain down to munch nearby flowers, soon to fertilize grass.

Whatever happened to the unlucky punk who caught Dirty Harry's final slug? Nobody remembers, but Clint still makes movies. Who marshaled Fidel's army against Kennedy? Eight presidents have come and gone, and that guy is long dead, yet Fidel still runs Cuba. What woman on earth denied Mick the seminal satisfaction? She's forgotten, but Mick's pants cling tight as ever. And Pat O'Brien still climbs mountains. His endurance and perseverance must be measured not just against legendary climbers, but against the truly great old farts of our time.

As Pat's latest old partner, 16 years his junior, I'm plum wore out. Lee is taking over. I spent every ounce of gumption I could muster trying not to slow them down, and failed. I can now testify with full conviction: rigorously changing diapers is an insufficient training regimen for keeping pace with Pat and Lee.

Climb on!