/ Whatever happened to Goucho?

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Rob Parsons 08:36 Tue

And his proposed book? Anybody know?

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McHeath 09:02 Tue
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I'm sad to tell you that he died in January:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rock_talk/goucho_rip-700265

Post edited at 09:02
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Rob Parsons 09:11 Tue
In reply to McHeath:

Oh, I had completely missed that news. And I am very sorry to hear it. Thanks for replying.

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jon 12:06 Tue
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I feel he's out there smiling at you, Rob...

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Michael Hood 14:30 Tue
In reply to jon:

I used to value his posts but I never actually knew his real name (although I wouldn't be surprised if I recognised it as I'm from a similar era).

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Tom Ripley 15:30 Tue
In reply to Michael Hood:

> I used to value his posts but I never actually knew his real name (although I wouldn't be surprised if I recognised it as I'm from a similar era).

I’d be very surprised if you did...

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In reply to McHeath:

That’s terrible - I missed it before as well. I was really looking forward to his book (or some less selfish reflection, possibly).

The very best poster on here (all I knew of him). Belated condolences.

jcm

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David Lanceley 15:57 Tue
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Certainly an enigmatic character.  It would be fascinating to hear from anyone who knew him personally and / or shared some of his amazing experiences.

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Neil Foster Global Crag Moderator16:02 Tue
In reply to David Lanceley:

I anticipate you may have a very long wait David...

Neil

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Ian Parsons 16:10 Tue
In reply to David Lanceley:

It sounded as if 'MikeB' might be persuaded to share a few stories at some point - if he's still here.

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Philb1950 17:47 Tue
In reply to Neil Foster:

Neil

Who was Groucho. I must know him as he knew me. It,s exercised me for quite a while

cheers

Phil

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Ian Parsons 18:36 Wed
In reply to Philb1950:

Seems to be a bit of a mystery, Phil. Apart from 'Mike' who posted the linked obituary piece - and told us that his first name was Nick - I'm struggling to recall anybody on UKC who reported having known/met Goucho or even knew who he was, despite several reckoning, like you, that their paths must have crossed; quite an achievement in terms of 'staying under the radar' for someone with a climbing CV as notable as his. Of course outside of UKC - which may be a smaller microcosm than it appears - he presumably wouldn't have been known as 'Goucho' anyway.

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Timmd 19:02 Wed
In reply to Philb1950: That's pretty cool (cool isn't quite the right word) I think, that he knew people who can't figure out who he was, in that he seems to have lived life on his own terms, in liking to keep the world at bay and focus his warmth on his family and trusted close friends. 

We don't all manage to live life on our own terms, and his obituary from his friend who posted the original thread about him seems to suggest that he managed to (given the constrains of needing to earn a living).

Post edited at 19:06
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TobyA 19:52 Wed
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> I'm struggling to recall anybody on UKC who reported having known/met Goucho or even knew who he was, despite several reckoning, like you, that their paths must have crossed; quite an achievement in terms of 'staying under the radar' for someone with a climbing CV as notable as his.

There are other possible explanations though!

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Stichtplate 19:52 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

> That's pretty cool (cool isn't quite the right word) I think, that he knew people who can't figure out who he was, in that he seems to have lived life on his own terms, in liking to keep the world at bay and focus his warmth on his family and trusted close friends. 

> We don't all manage to live life on our own terms, and his obituary from his friend who posted the original thread about him seems to suggest that he managed to (given the constrains of needing to earn a living).

What people are hinting at is the strong suspicion that rather than living life on his own terms, his was an entirely invented life, a fantasy, a work of fiction. His climbing CV and ex-olympic skier wife would would virtually guarantee he'd be easily identifiable to more than a handful of UKCers.... if he were an actual person.

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Robert Durran 19:58 Wed
In reply to Stichtplate:

> His climbing CV and ex-olympic skier wife would would virtually guarantee he'd be easily identifiable to more than a handful of UKCers.... if he were an actual person.

Not to mention the fleet of Porsches and millionaire lifestyle. 

I got the impression that this thread had been pulled yesterday but then reinstated this evening. Wasn't the original obituary thread also pulled as soon as someone suggested he might have been fictional? So maybe the mods have checked things out and found that he was indeed fictional.

Post edited at 20:02
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Ian Parsons 19:59 Wed
In reply to TobyA:

> There are other possible explanations though!


Indeed.

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Stichtplate 20:00 Wed
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Not to mention the fleet of Porsches and millionaire lifestyle. 

aww shit... he's not BnB is he?

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pasbury 20:00 Wed
In reply to Neil Foster:

>Neil

>Who was Groucho. I must know him as he knew me. It,s exercised me for quite a while

>cheers

>PhiL

Seems like a fair request, why all the cloak and dagger?

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pasbury 20:04 Wed
In reply to Stichtplate:

> What people are hinting at is the strong suspicion that rather than living life on his own terms, his was an entirely invented life, a fantasy, a work of fiction. His climbing CV and ex-olympic skier wife would would virtually guarantee he'd be easily identifiable to more than a handful of UKCers.... if he were an actual person.

So was his death also fictional? If so that’s pretty offensive.

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Timmd 20:10 Wed
In reply to Stichtplate:

> What people are hinting at is the strong suspicion that rather than living life on his own terms, his was an entirely invented life, a fantasy, a work of fiction. His climbing CV and ex-olympic skier wife would would virtually guarantee he'd be easily identifiable to more than a handful of UKCers.... if he were an actual person.

It depends upon the grounds for the roots of the scepticism, in that while his climbing CV is certainly very good, depending on when he climbed E6 and similar standards, it isn't/wasn't good enough to feature in any magazines. I don't think only a handful of UKCers identifying him counts for much at all, too, it may go against what the mods would like to think and the 'feel' of the forums, but to me it seems rather myopic or inward looking - forum centric if you like, to think that him not being known to more than a handful on here means that his could be a fictional story. There's tens (?) of ex Olympic skiers, I would have thought, meaning somebody would need to sit and work through the different possibilities. If they had different surnames, that complicates knowing who he was, or finding that out.

I'm not invested into either possibility, it's more that there's loads of climbers out there who aren't members of clubs and who don't use climbing forums.

Edit: Ha, somebody, somewhere, for an unknown reason, doesn't like this post. I will reflect upon it's contents with new insight...

Post edited at 20:20
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Robert Durran 20:12 Wed
In reply to pasbury:

> So was his death also fictional? If so that’s pretty offensive.

Eh? How can the death of a fictional person be offensive? It happens all the time in books and films.

Anyway, how could a fictional person have a non-fictional death?!

Post edited at 20:30
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felt 20:12 Wed
In reply to pasbury:

> Seems like a fair request, why all the cloak and dagger?

Parkhotel du Sauvage, Meiringen

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McHeath 20:23 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

> There's tens (?) of ex Olympic skiers

But how many Brits have climbed the Eiger North Face in winter, is there a list anywhere? And is there a Nick among them?

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pasbury 20:24 Wed
In reply to Robert Durran:

Only if you know they’re fictional. If you’ve been duped into thinking that they are a real person and, even if you don’t know them, you feel a connection and then they die and you feel upset.

Social media, online personas. Makes me sad.

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pasbury 20:25 Wed
In reply to felt:

> Parkhotel du Sauvage, Meiringen

I don’t know what you’re talking about.

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Timmd 20:41 Wed
In reply to McHeath:

> But how many Brits have climbed the Eiger North Face in winter, is there a list anywhere? And is there a Nick among them?

The very first winter ascent was in 1961, I'm wondering if there would have been a list kept 20 plus years later of people climbing it? The narrative of somebody keeping anonymous is a very good cover for making something up, but on the other hand, not everybody does want to be known about, and his list of climbs is very good rather than ground breaking (I'd be pleased with it). 

Search me, I've pasta to cook.  I'm not too fussed either way, mildly interested I guess. 

Post edited at 21:04
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Stichtplate 21:19 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

> Edit: Ha, somebody, somewhere, for an unknown reason, doesn't like this post. I will reflect upon it's contents with new insight...

Maybe the dislikes are a reflection of the amount of time you spend writing responses to posts you don't bother spending much time reading. 

He wasn't known to only a handful of UKCers. He wasn't known to any UKCers.

Post edited at 21:20
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DaveHK 21:59 Wed
In reply to thread:

What's going on here?

Are some people dropping hints or saying less than they know for some reason or is everyone just speculating?

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Timmd 22:04 Wed
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Maybe the dislikes are a reflection of the amount of time you spend writing responses to posts you don't bother spending much time reading. 

> He wasn't known to only a handful of UKCers. He wasn't known to any UKCers.

 ''What people are hinting at is the strong suspicion that rather than living life on his own terms, his was an entirely invented life, a fantasy, a work of fiction. His climbing CV and ex-olympic skier wife would would virtually guarantee he'd be easily identifiable to more than a handful of UKCers.... if he were an actual person.''

Maybe you could explain why you have written the above, then?!? If you're going to suggest that no more than a handful of people know (of) him, then it logically follows he was known of by handful, rather than none. Which neatly shows that you've just been an asshole, to be direct with you. 

That is, I did read your post (and have read this thread, since you've posted on it), and you're wrong to have a pop...

What was your point, again? Being an asshole is subject, but you're demonstrably wrong from contradicting your own post.

(So there.)

Post edited at 22:17
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Stichtplate 22:18 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

>  ''What people are hinting at is the strong suspicion that rather than living life on his own terms, his was an entirely invented life, a fantasy, a work of fiction. His climbing CV and ex-olympic skier wife would would virtually guarantee he'd be easily identifiable to more than a handful of UKCers.... if he were an actual person.''

> Maybe you could explain why you have written the above, then?!? If you're going to suggest that no more than a handful of people know (of) him, then it logically follows he was known of by handful, rather than none. Which neatly shows that you've just been an asshole, to be direct with you. 

> That is, I did read your post (and have read this thread since you've posted on it), and you're wrong to have a pop...

> What was your point, again?

Maybe it could have been phrased differently but if I'd written "if a giant flying saucer had landed in Trafalgar Square I suspect that more than a handful of Londoners would have noticed"....You wouldn't immediately jump to the conclusion that a handful had noticed, would you?

The thread was quite clear that no one knew 'Groucho'. His demise was announced by a new poster, also unknown to anyone, who posted and promptly disappeared.

Edit: if I seemed a little abrupt it's in the context of you making something of a habit of firmly grasping the wrong end of the stick when replying to stuff I've posted.

Post edited at 22:23
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McHeath 22:19 Wed
In reply to DaveHK:

> What's going on here?

> Are some people dropping hints or saying less than they know for some reason or is everyone just speculating?

My thoughts exactly, I'm out of my depth here.

So the big question is: If Goucho was a fiction, who wrote all those great posts? Who planned the death of his alter ego several months in advance, and wrote about the process? I find it hard to believe that someone as originally opinionated would just stop writing, it must have been a pretty strong need.

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Timmd 22:23 Wed
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Maybe it could have been phrased differently but if I'd written "if a giant flying saucer had landed in Trafalgar Square I suspect that more than a handful of Londoners would have noticed"....You wouldn't immediately jump to the conclusion that a handful had noticed, would you?

> The thread was quite clear that no one knew 'Groucho'. His demise was announced by a new poster, also unknown to anyone, who posted and promptly disappeared.

No, if you didn't 'know' that he was known by a handful, then you shouldn't have had a pop at me, and been an asshole. The talk of flying saucers is just deflection from being at fault, though you probably won't admit that (if you're already doing it).

That's it, pretty much.

Post edited at 22:25
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Stichtplate 22:25 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

> No, if you didn't 'know' that he was known by a handful, then you shouldn't have had a pop at me, and been an asshole. The talk of flying saucers is just deflection from being at fault, though you probably won't admit that (if you're already doing it).

Yeah, you've called me an asshole several times now. I'm more offended by the Americanism than the insult. 

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Timmd 22:28 Wed
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Yeah, you've called me an asshole several times now. I'm more offended by the Americanism than the insult. 

Nevermind.

> The thread was quite clear that no one knew 'Groucho'. His demise was announced by a new poster, also unknown to anyone, who posted and promptly disappeared.

Edit: If the above is true, then you've been even more wrong to talk about him being known of by a handful, and then especially to have a pop at me for not reading posts (when I had your post in mind when talking about a handful). Clearly.  If you acknowledge being wrong to have a pop it'll demonstrate your character, like it will if you don't. It's about being straight forward in the end.

Back to the mystery of Goucho.

Post edited at 22:52
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Tom Ripley 22:33 Wed
In reply to McHeath:

Indeed. He must have had a pretty good knowledge of 70/80s climbing, and I’m sure they were a climber to one extent or another. 

Wether they were capable of climbing the Eiger North Wall, in winter, independently, in their late 50s, is a different matter. 

Tom

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Glovin 22:35 Wed
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Imagine if Gaucho could read this from that big old crag in the sky, I'm sure it would make him happy  

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FactorXXX 22:38 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

> Nevermind.

> Edit: If the above is true, then you've been even more wrong to talk about him being known of by a handful, and then to have a pop at me for not reading posts (when I had your post in mind when talking about a handful). Clearly.  If you acknowledge being wrong to have a pop it'll demonstrate your character, like it will if you don't. 

I think you've totally misread the use of 'known by a handful' and come up with the total opposite of what was implied by Mr Plate.

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Robert Durran 22:40 Wed
In reply to Tom Ripley:

> Whether they were capable of climbing the Eiger North Wall, in winter, independently, in their late 50s, is a different matter. 

I thought he (supposedly) climbed it with a young guide. And then did a great write up........ but became strangely evasive when asked if he had photos.

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Stichtplate 22:44 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

> Nevermind.

> Edit: If the above is true, then you've been even more wrong to talk about him being known of by a handful, and then especially to have a pop at me for not reading posts (when I had your post in mind when talking about a handful). Clearly.  If you acknowledge being wrong to have a pop it'll demonstrate your character, like it will if you don't.  

It was a figure of speech, take it as such. Or don't. I'm not much arsed.

As to "demonstrating my character".... I get the feeling you might be somewhat over invested in your UKC presence. No one actually gives a stuff mate.

Edit: Just to be clear, read the post properly. I didn't say he was known to a handful. I didn't say he was known to anybody. Clearly. If you acknowledge being wrong blah, blah, blah... 

Post edited at 23:00
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Timmd 22:56 Wed
In reply to FactorXXX:

> I think you've totally misread the use of 'known by a handful' and come up with the total opposite of what was implied by Mr Plate.

No, he said Goucho wasn't known by more than a handful, which implicitly says (or implies) that a handful of people knew him. I say this because I found myself wondering about who the handful were, it's straight forwardly logical. If that's not what he meant, then he should have said 'not even a handful'. He can't then have a pop at me though for remembering what he wrote, and ramble on about flying saucers to aim to discredit my interpretation. It's disingenuous, and not straight forward way to be.

I'm bored of myself, now.

Post edited at 22:59
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Tom Ripley 22:56 Wed
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I thought he (supposedly) climbed it with a young guide. 

I think he climbed it was an unnamed and (unsurprisingly) unknown Italian. He describes leading the Difficult Crack, so I don’t think he was being guided.

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Timmd 23:01 Wed
In reply to Stichtplate:

> It was a figure of speech, take it as such. Or don't. I'm not much arsed.

> As to "demonstrating my character".... I get the feeling you might be somewhat over invested in your UKC presence. No one actually gives a stuff mate.

> Edit: Just to be clear, read the post properly. I didn't say he was known to a handful. I didn't say he was known to anybody. Clearly. If you acknowledge being wrong blah, blah, blah... 

You gave enough of a stuff to talk about flying saucers to suggest I wasn't credible in my understanding of what 'not known by more than a handful of people' meant, though. It's the principle, I seem to get irked by principles. 

Post edited at 23:02
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Stichtplate 23:01 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

> No, he said Goucho wasn't known by more than a handful,

Nope. Still didn't say that.

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Stichtplate 23:04 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

> You gave enough of a stuff to talk about flying saucers to suggest I wasn't credible in my understanding of 'not known by more than a handful of people' meant, though.

I see you've put quotes round something I didn't write. Is that you demonstrating character?

Edit: Here's the full quote...

"His climbing CV and ex-olympic skier wife would would virtually guarantee he'd be easily identifiable to more than a handful of UKCers.... if he were an actual person.''

He wasn't identifiable to even a handful, he wasn't identifiable to anyone. That was my intended implication.

Post edited at 23:08
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Timmd 23:07 Wed
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Nope. Still didn't say that.

'would virtually guarantee he'd be easily identifiable to more than a handful of UKCers...' 

Oh for heavens sake, you wrote the above, which I know you're intelligent enough to understand has the same meaning as him 'not being known by more than a handful of people' (on UKC).  

Have a nice night.  

Post edited at 23:08
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Stichtplate 23:09 Wed
In reply to Timmd:

> Oh for heavens sake, you wrote the above, which I know you're intelligent enough to understand has the same meaning as him 'not being known by more than a handful of people' (on UKC).  

Nope. Not what it means.

> Have a nice night.  

I am.

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Tom Last 23:14 Wed
In reply to Timmd and Stichtplate.

Lads, this is getting embarrassing on an otherwise quite interesting thread. 

Be excellent to one another. 

Post edited at 23:15
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Robert Durran 23:14 Wed
In reply to Tom Ripley:

> I think he climbed it was an unnamed and (unsurprisingly) unknown Italian. He describes leading the Difficult Crack, so I don’t think he was being guided.


Ah, fair enough. Definitely gave the impression he was in the hands of a hotshot, but, fair enough, maybe not actually a guide.

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stevieb 23:15 Wed
In reply to McHeath:

> So the big question is: If Goucho was a fiction, who wrote all those great posts? 

I hope it was mostly true. I don’t remember all that much, but the Eiger thread was probably the greatest thread I’ve read on here, with Goucho in the Captain Ahab role. It would be nice to think that was real. 

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In reply to Rob Parsons:

One of the weirdest threads I've seen on UKC for quite a while. I guess it's 'fun' for those who know what it's about, but to those like me who haven't a clue, it seems like a rather vacuous way to waste big chunks of an evening.

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Le Sapeur 23:21 Wed
In reply to Rob Parsons:

From a (not the) horses mouth, some enquiries have been made into the identity of Goucho. No evidence shows that he existed in anything but a fictional life.

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Le Sapeur 23:22 Wed
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> One of the weirdest threads I've seen on UKC for quite a while. I guess it's 'fun' for those who know what it's about, but to those like me who haven't a clue, it seems like a rather vacuous way to waste big chunks of an evening.

It seems an even bigger waste of time commenting on something you think is a waste of time. No? 

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McHeath 23:36 Wed
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> One of the weirdest threads I've seen on UKC for quite a while. I guess it's 'fun' for those who know what it's about, but to those like me who haven't a clue, it seems like a rather vacuous way to waste big chunks of an evening.

Aha, the perfect red herring! I already had you high on my list of potential perpetrators of the perfect Forum scam, but now you've moved up a bit. Have a nice evening!

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Stichtplate 23:40 Wed
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> it seems like a rather vacuous way to waste big chunks of an evening.

Err, Hello Gordon? UKC, Off Belay.... 

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Deadeye 00:00 Thu
In reply to Tom Ripley and other doubters:

I disagree.  I'm comfortably convinced he was real and spoke of real experiences.  Flicking through his earliest (stored) posts you find comments that just wouldn't be made up by a troll.

He knew some quite specific beta about some tough routes.  He had also climbed with the likes of Jim Moran.  So I suspect he'd simply kept in with a small group of close friends.  Why on earth would that mean that people here would know him?

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In reply to Le Sapeur:

> It seems an even bigger waste of time commenting on something you think is a waste of time. No? 

What? c. 20 seconds.

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In reply to McHeath:

> Aha, the perfect red herring! I already had you high on my list of potential perpetrators of the perfect Forum scam, but now you've moved up a bit. Have a nice evening!

Well, I suspected that. So I suppose it's 'fun' ?? Yeah? I'm very tempted to quote my somewhat humourless aunt, who would often say, 'It's neither fun nor funny.'

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BnB 00:19 Thu
In reply to Stichtplate:

> aww shit... he's not BnB is he?

>

There is only one Porsche in my garage, so no. Groucho was a higher being ;-)

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alan moore 07:11 Thu
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Well Rob; (if you are a real person and your original post was a genuine inquiry), the Internet really is a sad and strange little place isn't it!

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Michael Hood 07:50 Thu
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Has anyone read any climbing prose of similar style and quality since his demise?

I suspect you wouldn't be able to turn that kind of outlet (creative writing) off just like that.

Which would suggest to me that he was real, I certainly would like to think so.

Although if he was fake, that would be monumentally impressive.

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Rob Exile Ward 08:04 Thu
In reply to Michael Hood:

Sadly I think it is improbable. Which means he/she is probably still posting...

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Tom Ripley 08:09 Thu
In reply to Michael Hood:

> Has anyone read any climbing prose of similar style and quality since his demise?

Its good for UKC forum posts, It’s not that good. Pretty basic, boys’ own adventure sort of stuff. Goucho is/was hardly Paul Pritchard.

> Which would suggest to me that he was real, I certainly would like to think so.

There is no evidence, anywhere of a climber of Nick Roberts’ standard having ever existed, or died. He had a ticklist that for a climber of my generation would be impressive, and that in the 70s/80s would have been just below cutting edge for an all rounder. 

I’m sure whoever he was/is he was a climber to some extent, just not to calibre he made out. 

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In reply to Timmd:

> No, he said Goucho wasn't known by more than a handful, which implicitly says (or implies) that a handful of people knew him. I say this because I found myself wondering about who the handful were, it's straight forwardly logical. If that's not what he meant, then he should have said 'not even a handful'. He can't then have a pop at me though for remembering what he wrote, and ramble on about flying saucers to aim to discredit my interpretation. It's disingenuous, and not straight forward way to be.

> I'm bored of myself, now.

Jeez! He didn't say  'he was known by a handful', he said '...would have been known by more than a handful'. Clearly (to me ) meaning that if more than a handful knew him someone would have said so.

It does not state or even imply an actual number of people who might have known him.

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felt 08:27 Thu
In reply to pasbury:

> I don’t know what you’re talking about.

It's the hotel at which Conan Doyle stayed when he visited the Reichenbach Falls, where he killed Sherlock Holmes, having long grown tired of him. Coincidentally, Meiringen is one of the ways to reach the Eiger.

If you look at Goucho's last posts on UKC, he was attracting a considerable degree of hostility and derision (coupled, as usual, with approval). If we must speculate, it might be that "Mike", who shares the same direct but certainly not cliché-free style of writing, had grown tired of him too.

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jon 08:55 Thu
In reply to felt:

> If you look at Goucho's last posts on UKC, he was attracting a considerable degree of hostility and derision (coupled, as usual, with approval). If we must speculate, it might be that "Mike", who shares the same direct but certainly not cliché-free style of writing, had grown tired of him too.

This speaks volumes (scroll up to the op): https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/excerpt_-_chapter_one-691211?v=1#x8838191

Post edited at 09:06
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SenzuBean 09:05 Thu
In reply to jon:

Wow - you mean the first post right? Your link goes to a random comment down the thread.

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jon 09:07 Thu
In reply to SenzuBean:

Yes, I couldn't seem to link it to the first post.

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In reply to felt:

Goucho = Nick = PostmanPat

All have disappeared

Also, wasn't Mrs G a martial artist, not a skier? I remember a thread where he spoke of a road rage incident and his wife beat the sh1t out of the other driver and he proudly told us she was an ex super duper martial artist of some kind....no?

Post edited at 09:13
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SenzuBean 09:20 Thu
John2 09:25 Thu
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

She was also an ex-member of the Italian Olympic ski team. Goucho once broke his nose while foolishly attempting to keep up with her on a piste.

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John2 09:28 Thu
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Your surmise about Goucho's identity is not impossible, but PP disappeared in despair at the choice of prime ministerial candidates being offered in the current election.

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WaterMonkey 09:29 Thu
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> Goucho = Nick = PostmanPat

Surely Admin could look at the profiles, compare email addresses, IP addresses etc and confirm either way?

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Tom Last 09:30 Thu
In reply to SenzuBean:

Haha and look at the second post! 

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In reply to John2:

right, so as others have said, she should be relatively well known? 

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John2 09:31 Thu
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

I'm in no doubt that the character of Goucho was a pretty successful wind-up. He had me fooled for a long time.

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Robert Durran 09:32 Thu
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> Surely Admin could look at the profiles, compare email addresses, IP addresses etc and confirm either way?

I imagine they already have; they wouldn't be letting this thread run if they they thought there were any chance of a real Goucho's real family following it.

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In reply to WaterMonkey:

I wasn't being serious about the PMP connection, just thought it was a coincidence as I am sure Gordon Stainforth always called him Nick...

As for the GS conspiracy jokingly mentioned above...maybe he was testing new material on us as he had decided to start writing climbing fiction?  Gordon is this true?

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Robert Durran 09:35 Thu
In reply to SenzuBean:

I suspect that many of his stories will look blatantly fantastical with the hindsight of knowing he didn't exist.

I once had a work colleague who was a complete fantasist with an elaborate fabricated life story. Everyone fell for it until he made a mistake and was exposed. After that it was hard to believe that we had all been taken in by his obviously absurd fabrications for years!

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Andy Gamisou 09:38 Thu
In reply to Timmd:

> I'm bored of myself, now.

That makes more than a handful of us.  ;-)

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In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

PMP's real name is Nick, yes. And "Goucho's" voice doesn't/didn't sound anything like him. I know nothing about Goucho, which was why I expressed puzzlement about the whole thing last night.

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In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

You heard his voice? 

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Tom Ripley 09:42 Thu
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I’m not convinced Goucho has another regular voice on this forum.

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John2 09:42 Thu
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

I hadn't thought of that connection myself, but it's entirely plausible. PP is highly educated and capable of writing a plausible wind-up, he is well-off after retiring from a job in the City (I remember once recommending Goucho to buy an Audio Research pre-amp costing 10 grand or so), and he is a pretty experienced and doubtless accomplished skier.

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Lusk 09:42 Thu
In reply to John2:

Wasn't Goucho going to open a new climbers bunk/guest house chalet type place in Courmayeur?
Are there any locals around who could verify that?

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felt 09:46 Thu
In reply to John2:

> I hadn't thought of that connection myself, but it's entirely plausible.

It would be hilarious.

PMP (May 2016): It's decades since I bought a waterproof shell. I'm looking for something for 3 or maybe 4 season UK use, walking and climbing and possibly a little summer Alpine. I'm not one who chooses to go out for 12 hours in a downpour but need something that is reliable if it turns out that way. I assume that with optional layering of eg.a wicking layer, a fleece, softshell, down, that a waterproof shell is the way forward for an outer layer? So how much need I pay for a decent product and has anyone got any recommendations?

G (Dec 2016): I've been doing my own gear test over the last 12 months, comparing Arcteryx's Alpha SV, Mountain Equipments Changabang and Mountain Hardware's Drystein II jacket, and I have reached the following conclusion... They are all superb jackets, and there is no difference whatsoever in performance. There is however a big difference in price. You can pick up a Changabang or Drystein for around the £300 mark, whereas an Alpha SV will cost twice that.

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Coel Hellier 09:54 Thu
In reply to jon:

> This speaks volumes ...

OK, so comparing MikeB's post to Goucho's "excerpt", we have:

Most obvious is that both are written in an unusual one-line-paragraphs style. Also:

Similar misspellings (e.g. "self depriciatory" vs "decididly frosty). 

Similarly errant commas (e.g. "It is with sadness, that I am posting" versus "Welcome to the machine, son").

Similiar use of cliches: (e.g. "They say it's not the years in your life, but the life in your years that matters" versus "as my brain clutched at ever thinner straws"). 

And both posters not known to anyone else here. 

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wintertree 09:57 Thu
In reply to felt:

Just how many posters do you keep a dossier on?

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felt 09:58 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> "Welcome to the machine, son"

Nothing errant there.

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felt 09:58 Thu
In reply to wintertree:

I'll check my files.

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skog 10:05 Thu
In reply to John2:

> I'm in no doubt that the character of Goucho was a pretty successful wind-up. He had me fooled for a long time.

Fascinating thread.

It never occurred to me at all to wonder whether Goucho was fake, but I don't feel wound up - Goucho's posts all seemed to be entertaining, and without victims (or without real victims, at least). Or did I miss something?

If it was all a fantasy, it seems more of a hobby-style one, playing a role to write fun stuff - rather than winding up or trolling, or than Si o'-style delusion.

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In reply to John2:

Just to add to the fun (and as PMP surely does exist and appears to be well known so somebody should be able to back this up).....I'm sure PMP once or twice mentioned his wife was Chinese or Japanese?

Applying a huge amount stereotyping (apologies in advance), she could be petite and a 4th dan in Karate and the road rage incident happened but he posted it under the Goucho pseudonym ?

"my brain is clutching at ever thinner straws" here ;-)

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McHeath 10:16 Thu
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> PMP's real name is Nick, yes. And "Goucho's" voice doesn't/didn't sound anything like him.

Exactly; PMP replied prolifically to every single political thread; Goucho never touched them with a bargepole, except for a handful of posts in the week following the 2016 referendum. Also, punctuation/spelling mistakes are very rare with PMP; not so with Goucho.

>I know nothing about Goucho, which was why I expressed puzzlement about the whole thing last night.

My apologies for winding you up a bit last night;  I'd been enjoying a few beers. Sorry!

I do find the idea of an invented Goucho fascinating though; what sort of person would do that? Maybe an armchair climber who'd never managed a VS in his otherwise also unspectacular and frustrated life, but who was obsessed with climbing history and literature and desperately wanted to have been a part of it? Or: was it all an exercise by an imaginative and exceptionally creative writer/climber, just for fun, even down to the mistakes mentioned above? Your good self came to mind; Mick Ward (sorry Mick!), M. John Harrison ... Or maybe a group effort, purely for private entertainment, once a week in the pub?

Somebody, somewhere, must know; but I'm not even sure if I want to know the answer - speculating about the possibilities is nearly as much fun as (re-)reading Goucho's contributions was/is.

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In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> You heard his voice? 

What I meant was the way Goucho writes here doesn't come across as the way Nick (PMP) speaks - I used to climb with him a lot on south-east sandstone in the late 70s/early 80s. 

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jon 10:23 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I meant its content, not its style. Written very (deliberately) ambiguously. As I said, speaks volumes when read with this thread in mind and with Felt's connection to Conan Doyle wanting to kill off Holmes. Here it is to save going back:

> It had started out as a light hearted comment, a bit of sarcastic jest.

> Now the ramifications were staring me in the face.

> I was boxed into a situation that was was rapidly getting beyond my control. Other forces were now conspiring to turn an awkward situation into possible humiliation.

> Should I stick to my current line, or look for an alternative route, one that would at least allow me to save face?

> My stance was becoming more uncomfortable by the minute, as I shifted uneasily inside my predicament.

> The temperature was also becoming decididly frosty. A chill wind was starting to blow in from seemingly all directions.

> Retreat was certainly a possibility, but I hadn't come this far, just to back off at the first sign of difficulty. Besides, ego and vanity were also now getting in on the act. 

> My fingers reached out tentatively for a sequence which might work, but then, uncertain, pulled back before actually committing to the moves.

> Confidence in my ability to extracate myself from difficult situations began to evaporate, as my brain clutched at ever thinner straws.

> And amidst all this, I could see the great and the good of climbing looking down at me, with wry smiles on their faces.

> Welcome to the machine, son.

> Welcome, to UKC.

Post edited at 10:37
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felt 10:24 Thu
In reply to McHeath:

> Exactly; PMP replied prolifically to every single political thread; Goucho never touched them with a bargepole, except for a handful of posts in the week following the 2016 referendum. Also, punctuation/spelling mistakes are very rare with PMP; not so with Goucho.

But the whole point would be to cover your tracks, e.g. be erudite and classy in one persona, sloppy and thuglike in another, know not the slightest thing about jackets as one poster, be like totally a gear freak as another. 

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McHeath 10:32 Thu
In reply to felt:

> But the whole point would be to cover your tracks, e.g. be erudite and classy in one persona, sloppy and thuglike in another, know not the slightest thing about jackets as one poster, be like totally a gear freak as another. 

True. If PMP really pulled that off, it wouldn't surprise me to hear that he'd really been working for MI5 all those years.

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JimR 10:48 Thu
In reply to McHeath:

Breaking news .. Goucho is Boris Johnson although informative sources indicate that the true author is a ghost writer paid by Boris. This is borne out by the fact that the quality of writing and credibility is higher than if penned by blustering Bojo himself.

Personally I enjoyed Goucho's posts which were obviously penned by someone with an in depth knowldege of climbing. I'd always thought it was someone well known hiding behind the anonimity

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McHeath 11:00 Thu
In reply to JimR:

> Breaking news .. Goucho is Boris Johnson although informative sources indicate that the true author is a ghost writer paid by Boris.

And now Rees-Mogg has disappeared - has he been planning this thread for the last two weeks?

I think we should be told.

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John2 11:13 Thu
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

But it's not that difficult to produce a cliché-ridden pastiche.

Another thought comes to mind - did we ever discover the true identity of Crimper? Was it Darren Jackson?

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Offwidth 11:17 Thu
In reply to jon:

I have no idea if Goucho was who he claimed but the fight story struck me as very odd, almost revenge fantasy stuff, having grown up in the company of some elite martial artists. From those I knew of, some were guilty of private macho bluster and some did some dangerous regretful things when drunk, but I can't think any who would want public display for such incidents in such a way. They seemed to avoid fights if possible and if caught in an incident would do the minimum necessary for safety (I witnessed such an incident once, which was over in seconds and barely spoken of again). The police contact back in that thread didn't quite ring true either. G always seemed to me like the Big Fish film lead character.... an exaggerator with some truth behind his tales. I tried to work out who he might be once, through a few climbing contacts from his 'scene',  but nothing obvious came back immediately and I then thought better of it... he said he wanted privacy.... and what did it matter? This thread has been interesting though, for some of the responses. 

It's possible to get published entertainment about real climbers supposedly doing stupid stuff off the hills ... the Burgess Book of Lies is a good example. 

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pasbury 12:10 Thu
In reply to JimR:

Well he got me. I did always wonder who he was like many others here, though not enough to doubt the veracity of his stories. The background knowledge was certainly there, in hindsight the stories and style definitely harked back to the 80s, the time I started climbing so there was an appeal there.

I suppose it was all harmless fun and nicely written escapism, but his 'death' was genuinely upsetting.

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Andy Gamisou 12:26 Thu
In reply to Offwidth:

> They seemed to avoid fights if possible and if caught in an incident would do the minimum necessary for safety

Just for a different perspective - the only decent martial arts exponents I ever came across were the exact opposite.  They were two friends of my wife's (at the time girl friend).  Both around 6 foot tall (and female - sisters), from a (very) broken home in a tough area of Newcastle (Walker). Both having been in the GB karate (I think) team.  One was about 20 one about 19.  They were forever in fights, usually with men.  Arrested a few times, once for one breaking the other's nose during a disagreement.  I don't recall any getting as far as court, but would be surprised if at least one of them didn't end up behind bars (my wife lost touched when we moved away).  Nice pair in many ways, but pretty terrifying in others.

(Apologies for the surfeit of brackets (ex Lisp programmer)).

Post edited at 12:32
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Andy Gamisou 12:32 Thu
In reply to jon:

Niall G. wrote a piece for R&I that followed the exact same formula a year or two ago. 

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Mr Lopez 12:55 Thu
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

> Niall G. wrote a piece for R&I that followed the exact same formula a year or two ago. 

You may have hit the nail in the head there. Just had a look to his past articles there and the writing style is uncanny, going so far as using the same phrases in places. While there's also connections to some of the same well known climbers in both sides.

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jon 13:04 Thu
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

> Niall G. wrote a piece for R&I that followed the exact same formula a year or two ago. 

Which one, can you remember?

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Andy Gamisou 13:18 Thu
In reply to Mr Lopez:

> You may have hit the Niall in the head there.I

FTFY ;-)

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Offwidth 13:27 Thu
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

Fair enough... I was talking about experienced practioners and coaches.

Post edited at 13:28
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steveriley 13:29 Thu
In reply to Rob Parsons:

What do they say?
They talk about their lives.
To have lived is not enough for them.
They have to talk about it.

- Waiting for Goucho

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Andy Gamisou 13:31 Thu
In reply to jon:

> Which one, can you remember?

Not off the top of my head.  It was one from his (excellent) regularish column he used to do for them.  I can probably find out though, given time, if I can coax my crappy kindle fire to work at speeds approximating my old ZX-80, or (unlikely) better.

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Andy Gamisou 13:34 Thu
In reply to Offwidth:

> Fair enough... I was talking about experienced practioners and coaches.

Well, they'd been doing it since little kiddies, and certainly had lots of 'practical ' experience of it. Mostly whilst frequenting the Bigg Market area of Newcastle on a Saturday night.

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profitofdoom 13:40 Thu
In reply to Offwidth:

> .....the company of some elite martial artists..... I can't think any who would want public display for such incidents in such a way. They seemed to avoid fights if possible and if caught in an incident would do the minimum necessary for safety.....

I knew a real martial arts expert once, I spent weeks then months climbing and camping with him. He firmly maintained that the thing for him to do if confronted was run away as fast as possible and not to use his skills under any circumstances. 

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In reply to Rob Parsons:

On the bright side, assuming he was indeed a fake, there’s no reason why his book shouldn’t appear, er, posthumously, after all then?!

jcm

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TobyA 15:26 Thu
In reply to BnB:

> There is only one Porsche in my garage, so no. Groucho was a higher being ;-)

I was going to leap to your defence at that point and say that when you, very kindly, gave me a lift up to the Lakes that time it was in a nice, but otherwise perfectly sensible BMW! Have you packed the kids off to uni and decided it was time to have a rather fun mid-life crisis than involved buying a Porsche?

I have another climbing mate who did exactly that! He even let me have a go driving it once which was actually terrifying, never having driven a car that accelerated like that (although the brakes were pretty amazing too). No much room in though for two big packs full of trad gear.

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Robert Durran 15:30 Thu
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> On the bright side, assuming he was indeed a fake, there’s no reason why his book shouldn’t appear, er, posthumously, after all then?!

Except that then it would be as rubbish as reading Touching The Void knowing it was all made up ;-)

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Rob Parsons 16:09 Thu
In reply to Tom Ripley:

> There is no evidence, anywhere of a climber of Nick Roberts’ standard having ever existed, or died.

From where (or what) have you deduced the name 'Nick Roberts'?

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jon 16:19 Thu
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

> Not off the top of my head.  It was one from his (excellent) regularish column he used to do for them.  I can probably find out though, given time, if I can coax my crappy kindle fire to work at speeds approximating my old ZX-80, or (unlikely) better.

If you could that'd be really good...

Post edited at 16:27
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Mick Ward 16:49 Thu
In reply to Rob Parsons:

That's the name he gave himself, for his essay in 'The White Cliff'.

Mick

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Rob Parsons 16:58 Thu
In reply to Mick Ward:

Ok thanks - I haven't seen that book unfortunately.

Just to be clear: the entry in that book explicitly says that the author of the essay was the same person who posted here as user 'Goucho' - correct?

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Mick Ward 17:06 Thu
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Well my copy of 'The White Cliff' is in one country and I'm in another but, from memory, not as such. Goucho wrote the essay 'High Pressure on High Pressure' (I think this was the title) and posted it on here. Grant Farquhar, who was compiling contributions for 'The White Cliff', asked Goucho if his essay could be in it. Goucho agreed. They had an email correspondence but didn't actually meet. I don't think they spoke on the phone either. (Did anyone ever speak to Goucho on the phone?)

The essay came out with the name Nick Roberts on it. My understanding is that this is the name which Goucho gave Grant.

Hope this helps.

Mick

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Rob Parsons 17:08 Thu
In reply to Mick Ward:

Ok, thanks.

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pasbury 19:20 Thu
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

> Niall G. wrote a piece for R&I that followed the exact same formula a year or two ago. 

Copy left or copy right?

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bouldery bits 21:03 Thu
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I'm Spartacus! 

Post edited at 21:04
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DaveHK 21:10 Thu
In reply to bouldery bits:

> I'm Spartacus! 

You too eh?

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PaulTclimbing 21:42 Thu
In reply to stevieb:

I can still see the upside down facing downhill view of 6000 feet of the Eiger North Face as clear as if I was there myself. Remarkable at the time and a good follow on here. More latterly a sad outcome thereafter.

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Hooo 21:45 Thu
In reply to Offwidth:

I never suspected Goucho wasn't real and never doubted the climbing stuff, but I read that fight story and it just shouted fantasy at me. It's way too clean and perfect and clichéd. I just assumed he liked to exaggerate and tell stories, but I also assumed there were people who could back up the climbing stuff. It's impressive he got away with it for so long.

I am disappointed that his epic retreat from the Eiger was made up, it was a hell of a tale.

Post edited at 21:46
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Deadeye 21:54 Thu
In reply to Hooo:

> I never suspected Goucho wasn't real and never doubted the climbing stuff, but I read that fight story and it just shouted fantasy at me. It's way too clean and perfect and clichéd. I just assumed he liked to exaggerate and tell stories, but I also assumed there were people who could back up the climbing stuff. It's impressive he got away with it for so long.

> I am disappointed that his epic retreat from the Eiger was made up, it was a hell of a tale.


Um, I don't think there's any evidence he wasn't real. Just speculation. 

Yes, some theatrics in the story-telling, but I think he wa sreal and the main mountaineering events (including 2 goes at the Eiger) are real.

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Hooo 22:11 Thu
In reply to Deadeye:

OK,  I'll backpedal a bit... 

I would be disappointed if his Eiger tales were made up. I hope the climbjng stuff was real, and he just embellished his life a bit for us. 

But now the seed of doubt has been planted, it suddenly seems to be by far the most likely explanation. All that climbing, and not one person on here ever met him?

I had a friend many years ago, older and wiser with many great tales, I looked up to him in many ways. One day one of of his tales was disputed by someone who'd  been there, and it quickly all fell apart. Pretty much nothing he'd done had really happened. I couldn't believe I'd been taken in, but I liked the stories and had no reason to doubt them. Once the doubt was there, I looked for the holes and they were everywhere, they were in plain sight but I had refused to see them.

Edited to make it readable

Post edited at 22:24
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what the hex 22:28 Thu
In reply to Deadeye:

I agree, why would anyone as plausible and fascinating as that feel compelled to devote so much energy into fabricating a fully rounded yet entirely fictitious life (and death)? That would be an extraordinary paradox.

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Stichtplate 22:32 Thu
In reply to Deadeye:

> Um, I don't think there's any evidence he wasn't real. Just speculation. 

One way in which one would attempt to shift the burden of proof is by committing a logical fallacy known as the argument from ignorance. It occurs when either a proposition is assumed to be true because it has not yet been proved false or a proposition is assumed to be false because it has not yet been proved true.

See also: Every religion under the Sun

Groucho wasn't the New Messiah. Turns out he was just a very naughty boy (I'm still a bit sad he stopped posting though).

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Robert Durran 22:50 Thu
In reply to Deadeye:

> Yes, some theatrics in the story-telling, but I think he wa sreal and the main mountaineering events (including 2 goes at the Eiger) are real.

I think it is you who is the fantasist.

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Ian Parsons 22:54 Thu
In reply to Hooo:

> I would be disappointed if his Eiger tales were made up. I hope the climbjng stuff was real, and he just embellished his life a bit for us. 

Herewith a couple of quotes re the Eiger:

<<I can only comment regarding summer conditions - which apparently is a no go these days - and both my attempts ended in nightmare epic storm lashed retreats being bombarded by stonefall, avalanches and waterfalls - from Death Bivouac 1st attempt, and the Brittle Ledges 2nd attempt - which were scary as hell and extremely life threatening.>>

<<The night I spent at Death Bivi on my second attempt (at least we got as far as the top of the Ramp on the first attempt), in a nightmare of rain, hail, snow and gale force winds - all at the same time, was one of the worst experiences of my life. And the 2 day retreat from there under appalling conditions and constant bombardment, probably took 10 years off my life..lol>>

The contradiction is obvious. Just careless? I don't know; what do you think? Would you get two such significant events in your life mixed up?

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> Except that then it would be as rubbish as reading Touching The Void knowing it was all made up ;-)


You mean the same way reading Anna Karenina is shite because it turns out she didn’t really exist?!

jcm

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BnB 23:11 Thu
In reply to TobyA:

> I was going to leap to your defence at that point and say that when you, very kindly, gave me a lift up to the Lakes that time it was in a nice, but otherwise perfectly sensible BMW! Have you packed the kids off to uni and decided it was time to have a rather fun mid-life crisis than involved buying a Porsche?

No, I still have a sensible 3 year-old BMW estate for university delivery and outdoor trips, although not the same one as before, which shows how time flies. I have a Porsche GT car (racetrack ready) as an "investment", ie it doesn't depreciate like normal vehicles and may eventually appreciate, and I completely ignore the horrendous ownership costs of punitive road tax, gouging service charges and potential repair costs because factoring those in would ruin my "man maths".

> I have another climbing mate who did exactly that! He even let me have a go driving it once which was actually terrifying, never having driven a car that accelerated like that (although the brakes were pretty amazing too). No much room in though for two big packs full of trad gear.

If you didn't stall it immediately you are a potential driving god. The brakes are incredible. Porsche has a rule that their sports cars must be able to decelerate 100 - 0 kmh in half the time that they accelerate 0 - 100 kmh. In the case of my car that means coming to a complete stop from 100 kmh in a little over 2 sec. A bonus is that you actually can get 2 packs of climbing gear in as it has a boot front and back (the engine is in the middle).

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Robert Durran 23:19 Thu
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

>> Except that then it would be as rubbish as reading Touching The Void knowing it was all made up ;-)

> You mean the same way reading Anna Karenina is shite because it turns out she didn’t really exist?!

Do you think Touching the Void would work if it was revealed to be largely made up? To me it only works because it is commonly believed to be true, yet is almost beyond belief - if it were a novel, I would think it to be naff and too far fetched.

Tolstoy works because his characters and what they do are so utterly authentic - they brilliantly mirror ourselves.

Post edited at 23:20
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In reply to Robert Durran:

It would be a considerable improvement, I’d have thought - the original suffers greatly from the fact the ending is known before you start.

jcm

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Michael Hood 23:52 Thu
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

And yet Free Solo is riveting stuff even though you know he doesn't fall off.

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Robert Durran 00:13 Fri
In reply to Michael Hood:

> And yet Free Solo is riveting stuff even though you know he doesn't fall off.

But, to be fair, it would have been even more riveting as a live broadcast.

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Ian Parsons 00:29 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

Ok Rob; my toes are starting to curl now, and thanks to you I'm probably not going to get to sleep tonight!

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In reply to John2:

> did we ever discover the true identity of Crimper? Was it Darren Jackson?

Joint effort between Darren and John Rushby, IIRC. Which brings me to a candidate with an aptitude for story-telling, a fine turn of phrase, climbing experience, a history of making up characters, and wind-up nature...

Post edited at 01:00
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Stichtplate 01:07 Fri
In reply to Michael Hood:

> And yet Free Solo is riveting stuff even though you know he doesn't fall off.

FFS! Not even a spoiler alert!

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Ian Parsons 01:09 Fri
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Joint effort between Darren and John Rushby, IIRC. Which brings me to a candidate with an aptitude for story-telling, a fine turn of phrase, climbing experience, a history of making up characters, and wind-up nature...

Keep going; a lot of people - ok; a lot of insomniacs - are probably writing this down ;-)!

Post edited at 01:35
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Tom Ripley 03:53 Fri
In reply to what the hex:

> I agree, why would anyone as plausible and fascinating as that feel compelled to devote so much energy into fabricating a fully rounded yet entirely fictitious life (and death)? That would be an extraordinary paradox.

Either: 

a) for a laugh 

b) because it gave him status. Think of all the hero worship on her after each one of his incredulous posts.

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Andy Gamisou 04:20 Fri
In reply to jon:

> If you could that'd be really good...

Well, I searched and, like the ancient knights of yore on their search for the grail, I came up short.  To be fair, they only had to deal with dragons and the like.  I had to deal with the world's worst tablet.  I think, in reflection, my quest was the greater challenge.

If I do ever come across it (like the grail, it surely exists) I'll let you know.

Post edited at 04:21
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profitofdoom 06:57 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

> >> Except that then it would be as rubbish as reading Touching The Void knowing it was all made up ;-)

> Do you think Touching the Void would work if it was revealed to be largely made up? To me it only works because it is commonly believed to be true.....

That's right. I enormously enjoyed Tristan Jones's sailing books until I found out they were 50% or more made up and that he had deliberately concealed this. What a sham and I'll never look at them again 

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DaveHK 07:09 Fri
In reply to profitofdoom:

> That's right. I enormously enjoyed Tristan Jones's sailing books until I found out they were 50% or more made up and that he had deliberately concealed this. What a sham and I'll never look at them again 

The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz is much the same. I bought it thinking it was a true story but started to have doubts part way through (actually before they met the Yetis...). I googled it and found it's pretty much accepted to be heavily fictionalised at best and totally made up at worst. Still being marketed as a true story though.

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Robert Durran 07:45 Fri
In reply to DaveHK:

> The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz is much the same. I bought it thinking it was a true story but started to have doubts part way through (actually before they met the Yetis...). I googled it and found it's pretty much accepted to be heavily fictionalised at best and totally made up at worst. Still being marketed as a true story though.

I felt badly cheated by The Long Walk when I found out it was fictional. I had been utterly gripped by it and recommended it to lots of others. It is rubbish as a novel though. 

I don't feel cheated by "Goucho" though. In the context of UKC I applaud him.

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john arran 07:48 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I felt badly cheated by The Long Walk when I found out it was fictional. I had been utterly gripped by it and recommended it to lots of others. It is rubbish as a novel though. 

Have you read The Life of Pi?

;-)

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dread-i 07:59 Fri
In reply to captain paranoia:

>Joint effort between Darren and John Rushby, IIRC. Which brings me to a candidate with an aptitude for story-telling, a fine turn of phrase, climbing experience, a history of making up characters, and wind-up nature...

I always thought numnum was Rushby.

And 'Fafz got gunz' and 'the captain'  (yar! me hearties) had a common family member. But then again, perhaps not. 

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Rob Exile Ward 08:19 Fri
In reply to dread-i:

I think I know numnum, in fact I even climbed with him. Met Mrs Numnum as well..

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DaveHK 08:38 Fri
In reply to john arran:

> Have you read The Life of Pi?

> ;-)

That story made me believe in God. ;)

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Hooo 08:44 Fri
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Are you now going to tell us that Mrs NumNum is not really like she is in his posts? My faith in UKC is disintegrating. I'm not sure I'm real any more.

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Hooo 08:50 Fri
In reply to DaveHK:

I got suspicious when he fixed the radio. That's the electronics engineer in me. I did carry on to the end before I googled it. It some ways it was an enjoyable read believing it was true, when it would have been crap as a novel, so I suspended my critical thinking for the sake of it.

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Robert Durran 08:52 Fri
In reply to john arran:

> Have you read The Life of Pi?

Yes, I bought it thinking it had a mathematical theme. Despite my disappointment to find it didn't, I persevered until it became apparent it was really pro-religious nonsense. A very, very disappointing book.

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subtle 08:53 Fri
In reply to john arran:

> Have you read The Life of Pi?

No, but I've read The Ascent of Rum Doodle

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Hooo 08:55 Fri
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> The contradiction is obvious. Just careless? I don't know; what do you think? Would you get two such significant events in your life mixed up?

Exactly. Now it's been pointed out, the evidence is everywhere. He slipped up there, and no doubt there's more. I believed because they were great stories and had no reason not to, but also I don't have the experience to spot the discrepancies​. The experienced climbers on here should have had him for breakfast!

Post edited at 08:56
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Robert Durran 08:59 Fri
In reply to subtle:

> No, but I've read The Ascent of Rum Doodle

I thought that was rubbish too. I've never understood why people rate it or find it funny or entertaining. Childish nonsense.

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McHeath 09:00 Fri
In reply to Stichtplate:

> FFS! Not even a spoiler alert!

Reminds me of a reported conversation between a friend who'd been to see "Titanic" when it had just been released and his teenage sister. He at breakfast: "Yeah, and when the ship sinks ... " She, bursting into tears: "Oh no, you've spoilt it for me now!"

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subtle 09:00 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I thought that was rubbish too. I've never understood why people rate it or find it funny or entertaining. Childish nonsense.

Quite - I never got the appeal of Mountain Days and Bothy Nights either

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Robert Durran 09:12 Fri
In reply to Hooo:

> Exactly. Now it's been pointed out, the evidence is everywhere. He slipped up there, and no doubt there's more. I believed because they were great stories and had no reason not to, but also I don't have the experience to spot the discrepancies​. The experienced climbers on here should have had him for breakfast!

But he clearly had a genuine deep knowledge of climbing and came across as very authentic from a climbing point of view. Picking up on little inconsistencies between widely separated posts would have been unlikely if you weren't actively looking for them.

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Neil Foster Global Crag Moderator09:14 Fri
In reply to Hooo:

>....... The experienced climbers on here should have had him for breakfast!

Are you sure they didn’t?!

Neil

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Rob Exile Ward 09:16 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

In my case, as a contemporary of the character, there was definitely an element of thinking 'blow me, is this what  I should have been doing for all these years; there must have been a whole population of high achievers which I never knew.' 

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David Lanceley 09:16 Fri
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I posted the following on the original Goucho RIP post;

I can’t be the only one here with some nagging doubts about Mr Gaucho, or as we now know, Nick.  There has been some gentle probing already, “any photos of the 38 route in winter?”, “I live in Chamonix why don’t we get together sometime”.  


No one actually seems to know him in real life apart from the recently-arrived Mike 1234.  The climbing scene of the 70’s and 80’s was quite small and someone operating at his level would have a high profile.  Who were all the “stronger” partners?  There is a hugely impressive list of routes in his UKC profile but not a single photo?


I acknowledge that the writing is good, sometimes brilliant, but I fear it is fiction rather than fact and in the final chapter the hero is killed off with a heart attack.


I do hope I’m wrong and apologise if any of the above has caused offence or distress but I’m just about old enough to remember the Keith McCallum affair……..

The post was understandably quickly pulled by the mods in respect for the apparently deceased so was only seen by a very few.

So who is Goucho?
 

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Michael Hood 09:20 Fri
In reply to Stichtplate:

> FFS! Not even a spoiler alert!

You're welcome

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Michael Hood 09:23 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

> But, to be fair, it would have been even more riveting as a live broadcast.

I don't think I would have been able to cope with watching that live. I suspect my adrenaline output would have been dangerously prodigious, was bad enough just watching it in the cinema.

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Enty 09:24 Fri
In reply to Hooo:

> Are you now going to tell us that Mrs NumNum is not really like she is in his posts? My faith in UKC is disintegrating. I'm not sure I'm real any more.


She's definitely like that. I've just stuck her in a taxi.

E

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Michael Hood 09:30 Fri
In reply to David Lanceley:

I sort of don't mind whatever the outcome...

We discover he was a real person - I'm ok with that, kudos for keeping under the radar so well, sad about his dying before writing his memoirs.

The fraudster is unmasked - well done for fooling so many of us without making us feel cheated by being fooled.

We never find out - somehow it's ok for the mystery and uncertainty and speculation to remain. Some enigmas are meant to stay just that.

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jcw 09:37 Fri
In reply to Ian Parsons:

I was one of those insomniacs but it seems my post did not send. For what it was worth it said

i suspect the hypostasis of the deceased Groucho is enjoying this post. Indeed I wonder if he has not contributed to it.

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Michael Hood 09:37 Fri
In reply to Enty:

But the NumNums are obviously exaggerated and someone having a fun forum persona.

Even if we don't know who he is we know that BirdieNumNum plays devil's advocate whilst sometimes injecting serious views that we're never quite sure are really his.

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Robert Durran 09:37 Fri
In reply to Michael Hood:

> I don't think I would have been able to cope with watching that live. 

Well the cameraman in the film couldn't bear to watch! I thought showing that was the finest touch in the whole film.

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Michael Hood 09:38 Fri
In reply to jcw:

Maybe started the thread

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Michael Hood 09:43 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

It wasn't just the film crew not feeling able to watch, it was also Alex's feelings of not wanting to put them in a position where they would have to watch if he slipped up (as well as not wanting any distractions or pressures from "watchers").

P.S. why is the expression "slipped up", whenever you slip you're always going to go down, not just in climbing situations.

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cb294 09:59 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

This. A load of pretentious rubbish. 

CB

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Stichtplate 10:12 Fri
In reply to jcw:

> I was one of those insomniacs but it seems my post did not send. For what it was worth it said

> i suspect the hypostasis...

I had to google that as I was only aware of its clinical meaning... which made for a decidedly odd/macabre sentence!

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Dave Garnett 10:23 Fri
In reply to TobyA:

> I was going to leap to your defence at that point and say that when you, very kindly, gave me a lift up to the Lakes that time it was in a nice, but otherwise perfectly sensible BMW! Have you packed the kids off to uni and decided it was time to have a rather fun mid-life crisis than involved buying a Porsche?

You should start a review of your weekend rides to the hills! 

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> I thought that was rubbish too. I've never understood why people rate it or find it funny or entertaining. Childish nonsense.

It was written as a piss-take of Hunt's book about the first successful Everest expedition.  These days, like Tom Patey's writing, it's very much a period piece.

It has its place, in context.

T.

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jcw 10:35 Fri
In reply to Stichtplate

In reply to Stichtplate:

I was unaware of any medical meaning. It contrasts with hyperstasis which has a sense of an elevated status where mysticism and myth often develop around a real life figure, usually post mortem. My,implication was that the person behind Goucho was probably having a chuckle and even perhaps throwing out some hints in the thread. 

Incidentally, has anyone an idea of why he chose Goucho for his nom de plume?

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Dave Garnett 10:39 Fri
In reply to David Lanceley:

> So who is Goucho?

I've always thought it was an interesting choice of pseudonym.  Not Groucho (a comedian, or the club), not Gaucho (the usual spelling for the Argentine cowboy) but Goucho.  Is there an Argentine connection or an abstruse allusion to him being a cowboy? ?  Is the author a dyslexic Steely Dan fan?  

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Bob Kemp 10:39 Fri
In reply to Michael Hood:

Re 'slipped up' - I wonder if it's based on something specific, maybe a dead metaphor, like 'out of sorts' (printing) or similar.

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Hugh Cottam 10:41 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

Hi Robert, care to elaborate on the authenticity of Touching the Void?

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Robert Durran 10:48 Fri
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

> It was written as a piss-take of Hunt's book about the first successful Everest expedition.

Yes, I know. I avidly read Hunt's and other similar books as a child. I just don't think Rum Doodle is a clever or funny piss take.

> These days, like Tom Patey's writing, it's very much a period piece.

I find Patey's writings wonderful and timeless.

Post edited at 10:58
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Robert Durran 10:52 Fri
In reply to Hugh Cottam:

> Hi Robert, care to elaborate on the authenticity of Touching the Void?

I have my thoughts, but I'm not sure a public forum is the place to do so - could I get in to trouble?

Did I mention them to you at some point in the past?

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Stichtplate 11:11 Fri
In reply to jcw:

> In reply to Stichtplate

> In reply to Stichtplate:

> I was unaware of any medical meaning.

The 4th stage of death, characterised by pooling of body fluids in the corpse's lower regions and causing a marked, two tone discolouration. It's one of the definitive signs on a diagnosis of death form.  Being unaware of its philosophical meaning, you can see why I was a little perturbed!

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alan moore 11:15 Fri
In reply to jcw:

> Incidentally, has anyone an idea of why he chose Goucho for his nom de plume?

I thought it was to junkie term: to gouch or gouch-out (lie around drooling).

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Bob Kemp 11:22 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

I don't think you could get into trouble if you questioned the authenticity of the narrative in terms of what it's possible to remember in such difficult circumstances. I seem to remember that this issue is raised in the book/film, or at least hinted at. Accusations of fakery might be seen as libellous though.  

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jcw 11:29 Fri
In reply to Michael Hood:

"Maybe started the thread"

do you mean the OP or are you deflecting attention from yourself? 😉

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felt 11:37 Fri
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I've always thought it was an interesting choice of pseudonym. 

"A nickname given to me by an old girlfriend many years ago, referring to the album of the same name by Steely Dan, which she reckoned summed me up.

It is deliberately spelt wrong, because she also said I was crap at riding a horse, and looked more like 'Groucho Marx' on one, hence 'Goucho' as opposed to 'Gaucho'."
 

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/how_did_your_username_come_about-512042?v=1#x6939073

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Dave Garnett 11:41 Fri
In reply to Stichtplate:

> I had to google that as I was only aware of its clinical meaning... which made for a decidedly odd/macabre sentence!

Me too.  An added benefit of the resultant crash course in Neoplatonism was the origin (therefore the correct spelling) of 'nous'.

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Dave Garnett 11:44 Fri
In reply to felt:

Wow!  So I wasn't far out then.  That so much abstract thought and wordplay went into it is interesting in itself.

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David Lanceley 11:51 Fri
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I think there is an explanation of the unusual spelling in one of Goucho's posts but I can't remember it now.

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Rob Exile Ward 12:05 Fri
In reply to David Lanceley:

In hindsight it's quite strange looking at his 'logbook', it listed just about every high profile route that had been featured in Mountain, High and other magazines in the 70s and 80s. It's a bit like hotel scene in 2001, when an alien intelligence has tried to infer how humans live by watching TV; it's as though Goucho has tried to infer what a great climber would have done by reading magazines.

Post edited at 12:15
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Dave Garnett 12:21 Fri
In reply to felt:

> "A nickname given to me by an old girlfriend many years ago, referring to the album of the same name by Steely Dan, which she reckoned summed me up.

> It is deliberately spelt wrong, because she also said I was crap at riding a horse, and looked more like 'Groucho Marx' on one, hence 'Goucho' as opposed to 'Gaucho'."

That does strike me as sounding bit like Grimer.

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John2 12:24 Fri
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Does this shed any light on the numerous spelling mistakes that litter his posts? Was he a highly literate person who threw in a solecism every now and then to further disguise his identity, or was he simply crap at spelling?

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In reply to Rob Parsons:

This thread has become fascinatingly philisophical and asks questions about the new world we live in.

How do we know anybody is for real on this forum? 

Aren't lies and fabrications the way to get on in the new political/media complex?

I have a mate who is at the cutting edge of IT and computer programming who tells me you soon won't be able to tell the difference between 'real' TV and virtual reality. When is a goal scored in football? When the referee sees it go in or when VAR decides? 

What is this forum for? Didn't Goucho entertain us? Does it matter if he is real? What does it say about trust? 

I still stand by my memory of climbing Alpamayo in 94 and Gates in 82 and the 38 route in 92 or was it 91? 

I 'll have to go and read Proust. 

😊 

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profitofdoom 12:55 Fri
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

>....... How do we know anybody is for real on this forum?....

I'm not real. I'm an algorithm beep beep beeeeeeeeep

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jcw 12:58 Fri
In reply to felt:

That is interesting. In my insomnia before unsuccessfully trying to post, I googled Marx Brothers thinking it was Goucho Marx, and then tried Goucho which was every time corrected to Gaucho.

There is an interesting line of Goucho research scholarship opening up on this thread. Suitable for one of those Uni guys trying to do a survey on climbing?

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Robert Durran 14:05 Fri
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> Accusations of fakery might be seen as libellous though.  

Ok. I shall stick to facts. There are two and only  two passages in all his books describing incidents in which I was directly involved. In one he replaced me with himself even though he was not there (though he was on the same trip). In the other he greatly embellished the incident to make it more dramatic (he would have heard the story first hand from me as well as in writing). So, in these two instances, he was quite happy not to let the strict truth get in the way of a good story. So I'm afraid I have to take all his tales with a pinch of salt even if they are based on actual events.

There was a while back an article in one of the mags by Jim Perrin about climbing hoaxes (Maestri, Cesen etc). In it he hinted that there was a story that had "entered the public consciousness" (or similar words), about which the truth would no doubt one day come out. This really leapt out at me at me - how many climbing or mountaineering stories are well known to the general public? What are the candidates? I was surprised that others did not pick up on it at the time. Does anyone else remember reading it?

Post edited at 14:22
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In reply to Dave Garnett:

From the Greek for mind, presumably, but I’m not sure about a ‘correct’ spelling.

jcm

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Dave Garnett 14:51 Fri
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Yes, but (a) I'd only ever come across the Latin for mind and (b) in the contexts I'd heard it used I'd assumed it might be some obscure cockney rhyming slang!

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alan moore 14:55 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yes Robert; I'm sure there were several instances where Jim Perrin's magazine articles implied that the touching the void story was made up. Don't know what his grounds were mind....

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In reply to Robert Durran:

I was sharing a house with Joe while he was writing Touching the Void. It’s prob worth bearing in mind that there was also an editor who was heavily involved. Tony Coldwell ((Cauldwell?) at publisher Cape. I think every event gets embellished to a certain extent for publication, and I must have heard Joe tell the story in parts or whole a thousand times at parties and in the pub. However, I never once heard any inconsistency, similarly never heard Simon qualify or correct any details. Given the kind of flak Simon took when they got back, he had no vested interest in anything untrue or over embellished. I remember Andy Fanshaw ha in to defend Simon at an AC meeting.

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Richard J 15:15 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

I don't doubt the basic outline of the Touching the Void story - I heard it first hand from Simon a month or two after they got back, before the book was thought of.  I had and have no reason at all to doubt his credibility, he still seemed shocked and traumatised about it all and if anything seemed to want to understate the drama of events rather than the opposite.  I did find Game of Ghosts a bit grating.  It described people I knew very well at the time and events I had heard about from other first-person sources, and though I didn't have the first hand experience that you had, it did seem that the things he described that I knew about were a bit slanted to increase their drama and overstate his centrality to them.  But none of this added up to inventing things from whole cloth.

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Robert Durran 15:27 Fri
In reply to alan moore:

> Yes Robert; I'm sure there were several instances where Jim Perrin's magazine articles implied that the touching the void story was made up. Don't know what his grounds were mind....

I'm only aware of that one instance myself and Perrin did not mention Touching the Void explicitly. It's just that I struggle to think of other mountaineering stories well known to the public. I'd love to know what Perrin was referring to and why!

Post edited at 15:47
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John2 15:31 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

Is this not a case of 'difficult second album' syndrome? His first book was a true account of what took place and a runaway success, he then embellished a few stories in an attempt to increase the sales for Game of Ghosts.

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Robert Durran 15:43 Fri
In reply to Richard J:

>  ......... a bit slanted to increase their drama and overstate his centrality to them.  But none of this added up to inventing things from whole cloth.

Yes, replacing me with himself in a small incident made sense, because I didn't appear anywhere else in the book, even if it did seem a bit cheeky. Saying that I fell off the North Face if the Eiger with a joke belay but somehow managed to stop myself before we both plummeted to our deaths (I didn't fall off at all), seems to stretch things somewhat, though I was more amused than annoyed when I read it! Of course I agree that these examples in isolation do not suggest a capacity for wholesale fakery.

Post edited at 15:45
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Robert Durran 15:49 Fri
In reply to John2:

> Is this not a case of 'difficult second album' syndrome? His first book was a true account of what took place and a runaway success, he then embellished a few stories in an attempt to increase the sales for Game of Ghosts.

And later books. Quite possibly.

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Dave Garnett 15:51 Fri
In reply to alan moore:

> Yes Robert; I'm sure there were several instances where Jim Perrin's magazine articles implied that the touching the void story was made up. Don't know what his grounds were mind....

Talk about people in glass houses!

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bouldery bits 16:06 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Ok. I shall stick to facts. There are two and only  two passages in all his books describing incidents in which I was directly involved. In one he replaced me with himself even though he was not there (though he was on the same trip). In the other he greatly embellished the incident to make it more dramatic (he would have heard the story first hand from me as well as in writing). So, in these two instances, he was quite happy not to let the strict truth get in the way of a good story. So I'm afraid I have to take all his tales with a pinch of salt even if they are based on actual events.

> There was a while back an article in one of the mags by Jim Perrin about climbing hoaxes (Maestri, Cesen etc). In it he hinted that there was a story that had "entered the public consciousness" (or similar words), about which the truth would no doubt one day come out. This really leapt out at me at me - how many climbing or mountaineering stories are well known to the general public? What are the candidates? 

The Ascent of Rum Doodle?

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Robert Durran 16:11 Fri
In reply to bouldery bits:

> The Ascent of Rum Doodle?

Now if that turns out to be a fabrication, it's right up there with Maestri and Cerro Torre.

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pasbury 19:23 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

How about that story of bivvying on the Dru I think it was and the whole ledge fell away in the night leaving him hanging by a tenuous peg with only one boot or something equally epic. Another time he apparently got avalanched down the North Face of something or other but survived. I remember thinking this guy has more than nine lives and buying into the whole " what an epic' schtick. It sounds like bollocks now to be honest. I really can't believe all that stuff happened to Joe Simpson. I think he found a gullible readership greedy for epics and fulfilled a need.

Post edited at 19:24
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John2 19:52 Fri
In reply to pasbury:

The Dru episode happened in 1983. I remember reading about it in the climbing magazines of the time. The Touching the Void episode on Siula Grande happened in 1985. I can find no reference in the climbing literature to the North Face of something or other.

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Robert Durran 20:50 Fri
In reply to pasbury:

> How about that story of bivvying on the Dru I think it was and the whole ledge fell away in the night leaving him hanging by a tenuous peg with only one boot or something equally epic. Another time he apparently got avalanched down the North Face of something or other but survived. I remember thinking this guy has more than nine lives and buying into the whole " what an epic' schtick. It sounds like bollocks now to be honest. I really can't believe all that stuff happened to Joe Simpson. I think he found a gullible readership greedy for epics and fulfilled a need.


I definitely wouldn't want to extrapolate my two personally verified distortions to making up whole epics. I just know that he is happy to "embellish" for the sake of a good story and am intrigued by what Perrin was implying in his article (though I am only speculating that he might have been talking about Touching the Void).

The avalanche ride was down the NE face "descent" route on the Courtes. I think it is in one of his books.

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john arran 20:56 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think it's extremely common for authors of popular climbing accounts to 'embellish' for dramatic effect, almost to the point of which we take many such accounts with considerable salt. Which is a shame, in my opinion, as many of them no doubt are genuinely gripping tales without any embellishment.

Then we're left with not really being able to tell what's authentic and what's 'enhanced for popular consumption', which partly explains why I have very little interest in reading many of the works of authors in the field. A great shame for the genuine tell-it-straight authors, for whom I feel very sorry as they are competing on an uneven playing field.

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wercat 21:16 Fri
In reply to John2:

indeed, there were a lot of jokes at the time about his proneness to these situations when the magazines published news items on them

In fact when I went to a lecture it was commented upon in a q from the audience

Post edited at 21:18
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pneame 22:02 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

Well all my heroes are being summarily devalued. Who's next, one has to ask?

[I hope I put the punctuation in the right place there...] 

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subtle 22:26 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes, replacing me with himself in a small incident made sense, because I didn't appear anywhere else in the book, even if it did seem a bit cheeky. Saying that I fell off the North Face if the Eiger with a joke belay but somehow managed to stop myself before we both plummeted to our deaths (I didn't fall off at all), seems to stretch things somewhat, though I was more amused than annoyed when I read it! 

So, I take it you tried the NF of the Eiger but were unsuccessful?

And were there the same time as Mr Simpson.

Please tell us your version of the story (without embellishment of course)

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jcw 22:43 Fri
In reply to pasbury:

Ok,oi, we're going too far here. I knew  Joe and the fact is he was accident prone in his youth. I remember Jules, a Brit settled in Chamonix who now is considered the expert ski boot fitter  there, asking me laughingly,whether I'd heard the latest Joe epic? At that time we did not know the story but merely that he'd had some new mishap out in the Andes.  The three Joe accidents we were thinking of, were falling down the snow slope of the NE Face of the Courtes, the extraordinary rescue on the Dru and seriously cutting himself  open on a piece of glass simply climbing back up the ladders to Montenvers. He did not like it when I used to jokingly say he was accident prone. He was a student in English at Edinburgh I seem to remember when I got to know him and if my memory serves me aright,  telling him he was an idiot to give up his course in his last year. 

The next time I saw him was  after having briefly checked for the publisher the French translation of his book and being invited to its launch. As I walked in he grinned and said something to the effect, bet you're going to take the piss. There are are some people who are accident prone. At one time, probably before Joe was even born, my climbing partner accused me quite seriously  of becoming accident prone after three events in fairly quick succession.

This thread is about Goucho and I think we should stick to him and not get sidetracked to possible parallels, particularly in making insinuations based on heresay about someone alive who is well known.

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Jon Stewart 22:53 Fri
In reply to David Lanceley:

> I posted the following on the original Goucho RIP post;

Yeah, when I read that I thought it was really out of order. Which in light of this thread now seems funny...

> So who is Goucho?

I've made up my mind, just from reading this (brilliant) thread. I don't know the author personally (we've met once) but I'm damn sure I know who it is.

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Robert Durran 23:13 Fri
In reply to subtle:

> So, I take it you tried the NF of the Eiger but were unsuccessful?

No, we were successful

> And were there the same time as Mr Simpson.

No. You may have misunderstood. The incident he described (p136 of my paperback copy of The Beckoning Silence - the one with the back to front photo of the Mitellegi Ridge on the cover!) happened to me and my climbing partner. We had talked about our ascent first hand to Joe and he had almost certainly read an article we wrote about it.

> Please tell us your version of the story (without embellishment of course).

We had a somewhat epic five day ascent in March/April 1989. It was very fraught and scary once the weather broke on day three but neither of us ever fell off! Though I did shit myself on day five (Joe is correct in that).

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subtle 23:24 Fri
In reply to Robert Durran:

Nice one - thanks for your response.

I had an unsuccessful attempt one summer, always good to hear of people succeeding.

I will need to reread that book, if I still have it!

Hope you have a good winter season.

Post edited at 23:36
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CurlyStevo 00:36 Sat
In reply to subtle:

anyone heard from sloper lately? after all this would be his best troll yet!

and what a user name to post his death Mike1234 and then to be deleted.

only mike knows him but he should know everyone, the best troll on ukc yet?

Post edited at 01:02
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pasbury 00:41 Sat
In reply to jcw:

Yes I really should have paused before pressing post.

I thought I was being provocative but actually was being a dick.

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CurlyStevo 01:03 Sat
In reply to subtle:

don't be too subtle

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alan moore 07:30 Sat
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Talk about people in glass houses!

Couldn't agree more!

But there is a difference between made-up stories and made-up people though.

I am I the only one who'se creeped out by this whole Goucho thing?

He was a bit of a windbag anyway. 

(Is it OK to speak ill of the undead?)

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In reply to pasbury:

Hi,

just an FYI, back in the day when we were sharing a climbers’ house, just in the everyday run of things Joe would get into scrapes. I took him to A&E on more than one occasion. Possibly because of his personality and love of danger this was inevitable. When bridge jumping was ‘a thing’ Joe proposed that we incrementally lengthen the ropes in order to pick a can of beer up out of the river as you flew past, which was met with looks of horror as we rapidly packed up. Artistic license probably, but Ive no doubt the stuff on the Dru etc actually happened.

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jon 09:16 Sat
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I've made up my mind, just from reading this (brilliant) thread. I don't know the author personally (we've met once) but I'm damn sure I know who it is.

Care to share your thoughts, Jon?

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Coel Hellier 09:45 Sat
In reply to john arran:

> I think it's extremely common for authors of popular climbing accounts to 'embellish' for dramatic effect, ...

So, since it seems to be on-theme for the thread:

In A Short Walk with Whillans, I always thought the falling stone taking the end off Patey's cigarette to be a bit far fetched, but perhaps legitimate dramatic license. .

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Jon Stewart 09:45 Sat
In reply to jon:

No. It's pretty much revealed upthread!

I doubt the OP was genuine. What I'm expecting now is a twist where the character gets his own back on the author for being killed off...some change of ending (like Adaptation by Charlie kauffman). And then the book comes out in time for Christmas delivery from amazon ;) 

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jcw 09:47 Sat
In reply to pasbury:

An honest and responsible reply, thanks

Post edited at 09:53
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Robert Durran 10:32 Sat
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Talk about people in glass houses!

Care to elaborate? 

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Robert Durran 10:39 Sat
In reply to alan moore:

> But there is a difference between made-up stories and made-up people though.

Which do you think is worse? To me, people adding fictional episodes to a real life is simply lying, whereas an entirely made up person such as Goucho could be considered a work of art.

> Am I the only one who'se creeped out by this whole Goucho thing?

Why? I'm just in admiration of the creation. I once actually apologised to him (and genuinely felt bad about it) for making a humourously intended comment which he took as insulting to his wife and to which he replied really quite angrily!

I liked him as a character.

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Robert Durran 10:46 Sat
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> In A Short Walk with Whillans, I always thought the falling stone taking the end off Patey's cigarette to be a bit far fetched, but perhaps legitimate dramatic license. .

But it is possible it happened. The trouble is that once dramatic license is generally accepted in climbing writing, almost everything is devalued, because you never know what is real and what isn't.

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alan moore 10:51 Sat
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Which do you think is worse? 

I've always enjoyed a bit of exaggeration and fibbing; especially when it's fairly obvious to the reader...Tom Patey is full if this and his stories would be poorer without it.

> Why? 

Maybe I'm embarrassed about being so old and naive as to believe that people on here were, on the whole, real. 

I am a real person btw

Post edited at 10:51
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Robert Durran 11:00 Sat
In reply to alan moore:

> I've always enjoyed a bit of exaggeration and fibbing; especially when it's fairly obvious to the reader........

If it is plainly obvious, it might be ok. The problem is when it isn't.

> I am a real person btw

So am I, though, come to think of it, there was once a brief discussion on here about whether I was or not - as I recall, I don't think some people could believe that a real person could be so wound up about a bolting issue! It was interesting to read that there had been an actual sighting of me at Ratho.

Post edited at 11:20
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jon 13:03 Sat
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> No. It's pretty much revealed upthread!

Hmmm, I've followed the whole thread and haven't seen any post from anyone that screams 'it's me, it's me... '

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Jon Stewart 13:12 Sat
In reply to jon:

> Hmmm, I've followed the whole thread and haven't seen any post from anyone that screams 'it's me, it's me... '

I've seen a couple that scream "it's him, it's him" though. Hmmmm, who would write amusing and insightful, bearly believable short form fiction about climbing in a format that was underhand, clever and quirky? So many characters in the UK climbing media scene to choose from...

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jon 13:15 Sat
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Aha... but I can certainly vouch that it's not who I think you mean...

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Robert Durran 13:16 Sat
In reply to jon:

> Aha... but I can certainly vouch that it's not who I think you mean...

OK. Let's get this straight. You know for certain it's not Grimes?

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jon 13:19 Sat
In reply to Robert Durran:

Well I wasn't referring to Grimer. So maybe I misunderstood Jon's answer. In fact, I certainly did.

Post edited at 13:19
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Robert Durran 13:23 Sat
In reply to jon:

> Well I wasn't referring to Grimer. So maybe I misunderstood Jon's answer. In fact, I certainly did.

Or I may have!

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steveb2006 13:43 Sat
In reply to subtle:

He (RD) wrote one of the best articles Ive read of an eiger ascent.

To Rob (digressing) you were also climbing with an accident prone (at least on that occasion) on the NE spur of the Doites all those years ago. I was one of the guys who helped out. All ended well fortunately.

S

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Robert Durran 14:08 Sat
In reply to steveb2006

> To Rob (digressing) you were also climbing with an accident prone (at least on that occasion) on the NE spur of the Doites all those years ago. I was one of the guys who helped out.

Ah right! Yes, 1988. I've been forever grateful for the assistance you and your partner gave us immediately after the accident That was a story that would not need any embellishment in the telling.......

> All ended well fortunately.

Except that my German partner (I only know his name was Stefan) whom I had met in the campsite insisted on driving himself home to Germany with his dislocated shoulder and knackered ankle rather than going to the hospital in Chamonix because he had no insurance. He owed me some money for his share of the cost of the considerable proportion of the rack we'd abseiled off during the epic retreat (I remember one particularly gripping abseil off a single Rock 1........ ) but I never heard from him again. I'm pretty sure he would not have ripped me off because he was certainly genuinely grateful to me for getting him off the mountain. So I've always wondered whether he came to grief on the way home.............

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