The Cleanest Line


Artwork: Walker Cahall
Artwork: Walker Cahall

Escape from Beacon Rock

By The Dirtbag Diaries   |   Mar 23, 2018 March 23, 2018

“For me, it was a way to stay connected, literally: tied to my free-range daughter by a length of 10-millimeter climbing rope, and connected to my own dream of being an adventurer,” says David Altschul. “And that was how I found myself, a few days later, on a ledge, high above the Columbia River, in the dark.”

For the past decade, David has told the story of the infamous “escape from Beacon Rock,” a failed attempt to climb a basalt monolith with his daughter, our producer, Jen. At age 72, it dawned on him that, rather than continue to tell the story of the failed climb, he could connect with his daughter by actually climbing Beacon Rock, and doing it this time as a “real” climber.

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