Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Northeast was having one of its greatest seasons in years. Temps were cold, everything was fat. In fact there was a subzero high on Saturday and I was arriving on Monday. By that Tuesday it was 65 F. Not cool. The January thaw had hit and it lasted only for the duration of my trip. This was all about salvaging something, anything. This was our first day of ice, climbing at Dracula at Frankenstein, NH. Notice how delamed it is as Andrew tops out?
The look of abject terror on my face upon finishing the lead.
This is the start of Elephant's Head Gully at Smugglers' Notch, VT. It had an "alpine" feel with the wind and the snow. Also, we used stoppers, cams, pitons and screws for protection. Actually a very fun route on a day when pretty much everyone was getting skunked.
Here's the direct mixed finish we took. Just a thin vein of ice, then shaft torques and turf sticks to exit. Very cool.
On the warm days we did some mixed climbing on road cuts. This is Cascade Lake (?) at the Keene Valley, NY.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Between Banff and Vermont I had a week and a half. Just enough time to pick up a few shifts at work and sneak in another ice trip. Cody was having a banner year and I couldn't resist. Here BJ and Jennifer cross the frozen Shoshone River to climb High on Boulder.
Marcus leading the 3rd pitch of Moonrise.
BJ reaching the top of the money pitch of High on Boulder.
Here I am starting Left Ghost, one of my favorite pitches.
BJ on the sharp end of the ephermal first pitch of Moratorium.
My family rented a condo in Canmore during Christmas. I knew that I wouldn't be able to be in the Canadian Rockies and not sneak away for at least one climb. Luckily I met a couple guys off gravsports-ice.com and we planned to run up the Icefields Parkway and climb Mixed Master. The guidebook touts it as the best mixed climb in the Canadian Rockies and it didn't disappoint.
The end of December is a tad late to climb Mixed Master as it tends to come in early and then fall apart as the season progresses. So, we got the climb in spicy conditions. The first pitch which was supposed to go at WI4, formed up as a thin vein of ice, overhanging in sections. Here Pierre tackles a steep section on the first pitch.
Anton leading the first pitch. He definitely had his head screwed on for this lead.
Here's a shot of the leftward rock traverse. The feet were almost entirely sloping slabs and the handholds went from nice edges and pick torques for your tools to stellar laybacking with hands. Unfortunately this pitch ran a tad long, forcing Pierre and Anton to simulclimb. In the process, Pierre took a block of ice to the face. The blood started pouring out and the decision was made to head down. All in all, its a great climb that I would love to finish when I make it up to the Rockies in early season again.