Monday, April 18, 2005

Bob and Kenny and Snakes...OH MY!
Sunday after lollygagging around most of the morning while everyone broke camp and made breakfast we headed out to Hitman rock to do a little climbing. The wall was just moving into the shade so we hung out in a small cave and told stories for a bit. Kenny decided to lead Biscuit Eater 10a to warm up on. He got to the alcove/ledge mid route where the route becomes 5.4 when all of a sudden he yells "oh shit" jumps to the right side of the alcove (about 2 feet) and a Rattler shoots out of a crack striking at Kenny but missing him. Since the Rattler missed him it flys out of the crack and off of the alcove and falls. Bob down below can hear Kenny shouting and is all prepared to catch a lead fall and looks up in time to think "that's not a sling", he ducks his head and the snake lands on his neck and shoulders. Bob flips the snake off himself and leaps to the side about 10 feet while feeding out an armful of slack so he doesn't pull off Kenny. That last part was instinct because Bob doesn't remember doing it but we all saw him do so.
I ran up to Bob and he asks me "did it get me"? Nope no bite. Kenny is still dancing around and screaming snake snake snake.
We ask him if it got him...nope not a scratch.
The snake survived the fall but is just lying there kind of stunned.
Eventually it coils up at the base of the route, we lower Kenny and the girls pull him to the side in mid air so he doesn't land on the snake.
At one point Bob looks at me with a completely white face and says "it touched me" with shock in his voice.
Our buddy the snake sidles under a large flat rock at the base of the route and stays there rattlling his tail at us.
Finally I end up traversing into the start, cleaning the gear, dropping the rope etc. because I know the walkoff and everyone is now scared that snakes are everywhere, including me.
During the walkoff and downclimb I pick up loose stones and throw them down ahead of me and listen for the telltale buzzing of a rattler.
We hightailed it out of there and went to a more popular area where no snakes would be around.


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