... the neg was uber dense, almost unprintably so. I eventually got something or an image to appear, but for 16 seconds @ f/5.6, that is a lot of light for tri-x, so im guessing the neg might be unprintable.
1) That's actually not a lot of light at all. Like I mentioned, some of my medium format negs take 90 seconds to print on 11x14. If you're printing 35mm on to 8x10 thats an 8x enlargement. Not insignificant.
2) I would not give up on the neg. Try reducing it. It has worked wonders on some of my overexposed/overdeveloped negs. Decide on cutting or proportional reduction. If the overall neg is just way too thick, go for cutting reduction. Plain Hypo and Ferri. And a bright light to keep tabs on the neg as it's reducing.