Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reality Bites

In what will surely be the final trip of this abbreviated and mediocre ice season, Marcus and I once again ventured north to the Canadian Rockies.  We had an absolutely perfect forecast the morning we left.  However, by that evening the avalanche danger had picked up and two of our three climbing days were predicted to have substantial snow.  That's how it goes in the Rockies...  Thankfully, even though snow augmented our plans, we still had decent temps and could get on more protected routes.

Day one involved a run up Kitty Hawk and a recon of the Stanley Headwall for an attempt the following day.  Personally, I never considered the routes on the SH as possible objectives (other than Nemesis or Suffer Machine which are moderate by comparison).  Actually getting up near the routes and sussing them out in my head really opened up some doors and I'm ready to step through them.... but not until avy conditions stabilize.  We encountered a scary snow pack, turned tail and ran home.

The previous day we watched a couple Quebecois climbers on FR.  I can only assume they packed along a couple sets of brass balls on their rack to even contemplate that approach with current snow conditions... yikes.  In a completely unsurprising move, we ended up at Haffner and Marcus ticked Fight Club which he had been quite close to sending for a while.

The final day ended up being quite snowy but we managed to push the Subaru into the ghost for some low hanging fruit in the Valley of the Birds.  I can't say I will ever plan to go to the VOTB again, but with the 10-minute walk, its more than likely I will end up there at some point.  FWIW the mixed routes at the Bird Cage are not worthy...

Here's to a short season.  I can't say I climbed anything that great or even much of anything at all.  It was at times disappointing and frustrating and at others rewarding to get on some rare-formers.  At the very least I ended the season already excited for the next year... so how bad could it be?

Thankfully Kitty Hawk is NOT where Marcus was first to fly...

The Stanley Headwall with French Reality on R

Friday, February 01, 2013

Every Dog Has Its Day

Had a quick trip to, ahem, Washington, for some ice climbing this week.  I think we nabbed the end of the good conditions (and I use that term loosely) having good days at Dog Dome in Leavenworth and at Banks Lake.  Overall conditions were fairly bleak.  Though there were some rarely formed climbs in, they were probably tougher than they would be in a good year.  Regardless we had fun and climbed several pitches each day.  It was certainly nice to not need to venture so far afield to go climbing...