Marty – Off Belay

Posted by on July 3rd, 2020  •  0 Comments

I was on a bicycle ride over to Gig Harbor when I got a text from an unknown number.

Hey Buddy, if you haven’t heard;

Marty died yesterday while running.
Word is a heart attack.
He wanted me to help him on a basic climb of yellow jacket. But covid got in the way (cancelled the trip).

This hurts

Mark Webster:

Who is this…Marty’s gone?

Old Friend from 1976:

It’s Lemon

Old friends die. I guess I have to get used to it. Not saying I like it. But life goes on.

In looking back at this post 4 years later (March 2024) my eyes teared up a little thinking about all we lost when Marty died. As you can tell, the guy was ripped. Mid sixties with the body of a 25 year old, six pack and all. He was the climbing committee chairman of the Tacoma Mountaineers. I met him when an old friend  talked me into re-joining for a year, and there was Marty. We became regular gym partners, which expanded  into many trips to Squamish, Smith, Leavenworth and City of Rocks. We climbed at about the same level and could swing leads up most nines on the west coast. We were the same age with a lot in common: wives, kids semi retired, etc.

He climbed Liberty Ridge, one of the hardest routes on Mt. Rainier, for his 60th birthday and he was the strongest partner on the team. So with all that going on, to suddenly get a call that he had died while on a run…a whole lot of family and friends were shocked and saddened. Turns out he had an enlarged heart with  90 percent blockages on two of his coronary arteries and a 40 percent blockage on the third. His only symptom was slightly swollen fingers. He’d had to stop gym climbing for a couple months.

His primary care doctor had given him a clean bill of health. She was shocked to see the autopsy results. My medical friends told me there is nothing short of invasive $3000 procedures that could have foreseen the problems. So basically, when your time is up, that’s it.

Just got back from City of Rocks with Sue. My best  climb was  My Private Idaho rated 5.9. It was either too hot or too wet to climb much else. The trad climbs there don’t have anchors directly on top. They are usually 50 feet off to the side. You need to be able to bring your partner up and walk over to the anchor.

We stayed with Jim for  3 nights, then BLM for 3 nights and Pam for one night. Weather was thunderstorms for three days straight. We barely dodged getting caught in a thunderstorm on Wheat Thin. It had just rained and was drying out. I led up, feeling rusty but ok. As Pam was following a huge black cloud was rushing in behind me. We rapped off in light rain, but as soon as we pulled the rope it began to pour. We rushed over to the dry cave as thunder crashed immediately above us.

In the morning Sue and Connie wanted to bail so we drove home in 11 hours. It was an ok 9 day climbing trip. Not great, but fun to get away. Today I have jet lag, though we did go test drive a Tundra. Covid has made the the 8 foot beds  in short supply.

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