Desperation some times causes us to do strange things. I ran across this climbing anchor (hand hold?) two weeks ago while climbing the summit block of Mt. Thielsen in the Southern Oregon Cascades. Some poor bastard attached his belt to the rock by wedging the belt buckle into a crack, sort of like a tricam. And it was in there pretty securely. Each of us tried to wiggle it out to no avail. I don’t think it was even real leather. How many kN is imitation leather good for I wonder?
The summit block of Thielsen is about 30 meters of 4th class climbing (with perhaps a very low 5th class move near the top). Some people just free solo it, although down-climbing it without a rope would be a bit unnerving. We protected the summit and rappelled from the top.
I’m no forensic expert, mind you, but I think this odd belt stuck in the rock was the result of a desperate down-climb. It was around six feet above a nice solid ledge. I suspect someone was free solo down-climbing, got sketched out about falling, and removed his (I assume it was a man because it’s a man’s belt) belt to fabricate a desperate hand tether with which to lower himself down to the safer platform. I hope he didn’t get hurt, because this set up was pretty jive-ass.
Location: Mt. Thielsen, Oregon, USA