An adventure is only as good as the people you share it with, and that’s especially true if said adventure goes south more than a handful of times. The Cirque of the Unclimbables had no shortage of crazy characters. Here are just a few of them:
Taylor Zann, The Filmguy – Taylor is young, but I forget that a lot as he tells stories of his travels around the world. He is a gifted film maker, yet this is his first big trip- let alone as the solo force behind the camera. He cannot be trusted with cookware. Based out of L.A., Taylor grew up around the Seattle area where he learned to climb with his dad. He brought only low top approach shoes and light weight sneakers to the Cirque and regretted everything.
Jim Ewing, The Hardman – Jim is a climber so strong and prolific you should have heard of him but probably haven’t. I was climbing with him in CO when someone asked a question on anchors. “Oh, the quad?” he said casually, “I invented that.” He’s engineered climbing ropes for over 20 years and will terrify you with facts on how easy it is to cut them. He has a wife that’s way cooler than him, and a daughter that gives me hope for the future. While on vacation in the Cayman Islands, he did an oopsie and landed hard, broke a bunch of things, and decided that having two legs is overrated and chopped one off, joining my club. This was Jim’s dream trip, so, really, this is all his fault.
Pat Goodman, The Team Captain – “Oh, you couldn’t be going up there with a better guy than Pat,” a mutual friend told me as I was checking references. “He can be a crusty asshole, but that’s pretty much why we love him.” Pat wrote the book (literally) on climbing in the Vamps and Cirque – you can find it in a three ring binder at the Inconnu Lodge and in an ammo box tucked under a boulder in Fairy Meadows. The Cirque is in the middle of nowhere with complicated logistics; Pat handled all of that as well as being our camp chef. I only got the runs once with him at the helm.