Moab ’17

P1200747I had only been home for a couple of days when Lane asked me again to join Paul, Michael, and him in Moab. The steady rain in Seattle and the pending work project sent me re-packing light enough to fit in a small Honda with 3 guys, their gear, and a dog.(what, am I a teenager?) We met Lane in Moab after a communication fiasco that would be repeated throughout the trip. It is a very different experience climbing and travelling as a party of four. A leader must emerge, yet maintain democracy. Though it may allow greater flexibility, misunderstandings are bound to occur. A few nice advantages become evident however:

If you need 2 ropes to get down, you are set.

If a partner or 2 wants a break, set.

If one of the cars are too lightweight, pile in the other.

Working as a team to get the first leader up the first pitch can be very quick.

Critical gear can be handed back, or left in place for the 2nd team.

Photography.

“Swap-roping” (swapping top ropes)

Makes for fun team meals at camp or restaurants. Shared expenses.

As a result of good weather, luck and company, we all got up some great towers and crag pitches:

4-9-17 Maverick Butt. 4p to 5.11 w Lane, Paul, Michael R. What a crag!

4-10-17 Sister Superior, Jah Man 4p 10+a0. Went too high at the crux, fell. Such a great route though.

4-11-17 W. Face 3 Gossips 3p 5.11 a1. Intense crack climbing, got it with 1 take, and 2 gear-pulls.

4-12-17 Long Dong rt. Kissing Couple 5p 5.11 ao. Our favorite climb, we all agreed. Tough first pitch, got it clean, except the blank section at the top bolt. We came in from the high approach, and 3 of us got to take the low approach out. Paul got the car and picked us up. Met interesting folk on trail.

4-14-17 Scarface Wall 4p to 5.11b. Got the on-sight of the legendary routes at this amazing crag.

4-15-17 Donnelly Canyon 3p to 5.10 w Lane, Ramsey, Whitney. Lane and I got to pretend that we belonged with 2 charming young ladies.

Some photos by Lane, James, and Michael Rowley Photography

Red Rocks ’17

I’m just gonna let the pictures do the talking about my best trip to Red Rocks yet.

Ok maybe the stats can have a word too..

3-26-17 Prince of Darkness 5.10c a0 7p with JC, difficult route! Holds are worn out.

3-27-17 Black Magic, Lotta Balls 6p 5.8+

3-28-17 Epinephrine 5.9 16p, Wow, what a route!!

3-29-17 Black Corridor 6p to 10c

3-31-17 The Fox, Danger Bros. Roof+ 4 others 6p to 11a w Mike. Burley , fun routes!

4-1-17 Y2K, Next Century, Out of Control 7p to 10d, stuck rope y2k, other 2 routes are fantastic.

4-2-17 Community Pillar 5.8+ 6p Think fun tunneling

4-3-17 Fiddler on the Roof 10d 4p So techy, thin, 48p total

Thanks to Jeff, Stefanie, Jenn, and Mike, love you guys..

click image to enlarge..

Canada Ice and Mixed 3-17

Until I saw the photos on the Canada Facebook page, I was not planning a 3rd trip back to the Rockies. The locals had just installed several new routes on the 70m wall right of Twisted. The pictures showed wild, exposed climbing, and a mind blowing setting. Of course the exposure led Keenan, myself, and many others to scramble there to sample the newer climbs. I would describe the area as the light version of Stanley Headwall of fun! Not too hard, but feels like you are on something steep and difficult. I hope they can form every year. (note; now that I look at old pics of Twisted, I think they will regularly form!)

3-11-17 Nasty Habit 3p wi5-m7  WHAT A GREAT ROUTE!! p1 starts out fun mixed (m6, gear to 3″) to a bolt protected dagger move, fun lead to start the trip on. Nice easy alpine p2 with thin ice wi4. P3 is fun, scratchy hooks, getting gradually steeper, fun sticking the ice too. We then couldn’t do Blobs, because of 2 parties already on it.

3-12-17 Lower Weeping Wall, center 3p wi4/5. We wanted to do the upper pillar too, but 6 new inches of snow began sloughing off in the hot sun.

3-13-17 Curtain Call 2p wi5/6. Super fat fun in easy shape. long leads though as always.

3-14-17 Blob, Blob, Blob 3p wi3-m6+. Got our revenge on this amazing climb racing a local party that photographed us. Cant say enough about the 2 pitches….amazing, athletic, weird, and steep moves. Watch for large loose blocks. It wont take long to see that the routes are new, and still loose in places.

 

This great trip made me glad that I trained hard, keep an eye on route reports, and participate in the fantastic sport of technical winter climbing!

click to enlarge photos

 

 

Hyalite 2-’17

p2 of ZA

p2 of ZA

Even though it was warming up in the Northwest, I wasn’t ready to hang up my crampons. I asked 4 friends to go to Hyalite and one-by-one they all backed out! I then asked facebook and found Bill, a driven yet laid back climber that had yet to get on ice this season. Bill arranged a place to stay with friends there in Bozeman, and we were off for a long weekend of driving and ice climbing.

I wouldn’t suggest warming up on the Matrix, but all of my training and 60+ pitches of ice this season justified getting on a difficult and spooky lead. Bill led Feeding the Cat, and we got laps in on it too.

I was waffling on doing Zack Attack the next day, but Bill was persistent about trying it, so off we went, starting up G2 early in the morning the slogging up sometimes deep drifts got us to the base 1-2 hours later. We then started up the incredible 5 pitch climb with Bill leading the first pitch (m4) in style. I did a short mix pitch left to the piton belay station(m4), then Bill did the dry finish to the right of rotten, thin ice of p3(m4). It was then up to me to do the last 2 short ice steps to finish this long spectacular route. The last one was very steep at the top trying to wiggle through the overhanging finish! This is the best the route has come in the last 8 years! tr from Bryan

Since Mummy 3 and 4 were in epic fat shape too, I had to head there the next day for the chance of a lifetime conditions. (my last time on Mummy 2011) After I did Scepter in fat condition, Bill took the opportunity to lead Mummy 3 in all ice condition(wi3+).  It was up to me to lead Mummy 4. I chose the right side, it had delicate ice blobs to stem from the rock on the right, and bizarre ice on the left eventually forming a chimney with rock on the right and ice, left. At the top I had to go left to finish this wonderful lead. We were happy with our 12 pitch weekend, but are we ready to hang up the crampons yet? No way,

Some photos courtesy of Bill P.

Canada Ice 1-17

So I must REALLY like ice climbing because I went up by myself for 2 weeks with only 1 partner lined up for 4 of the days. Why else would I spend countless hours in sub-freezing temps, put up with cold toes, screaming barfie hands, slick roads, lonely evenings , and one good meal per day? There were many fun days no matter my complaining. One of those days in particular was one of the best days of my ice and mixed career too. Here is the break down of the fun I had with 10 different people!

1-15-17 Junkyards 4p to wi4 w Jack

1-16 Haffner 2p w14

1-17-17 Guinness attempt 2p to wi3 w/Jenn, Paul. small sluff sent us packing

1-18-17 Redman/Whiteman 4p to m6 wi6 w/ Jeremy R

1-19 -17 Johnson wi4 w/ Jeremy P

1–20-17 Wuthering/Green Angel 3p to wi4 w/ Steve, Jeremy

1-22-17 Big Dipper, Little Dipper 3p to wi4, w/Jeremy, trying to find Lacey G.

1-23-17 Hafner 5p to m6 wi4 w/ Mike, Rachel, Trystan -soon to be bad asses

1-24-17 Circus Circus wi4 3p w/Jim Elzinger. Rarely formed route with a legendary partner

1-25-17 Unicorn/Kitty attempt wi4 2p w/Nolan, broken pick

I have to say, the day with Jeremy R on Whiteman/Redman was especially awesome. I was happy to give the crux of Whiteman to Jeremy, and what a super job he did on that intimidating lead! We spent 14 hours that day in a beautiful area doing the 4 amazing pitches.

It was fun doing 2 days in the Ghost with Jeremy, and Steve too climbing 3 routes that I hadn’t done yet. Both days ended in a headlamp blur at the end of long distant approaches for great ice with no crowds. Of course after 50 pitches of ice and mixed so far this season, I hurt my knee(mildly) on flat ground , so now Index is on my mind for a few weeks from now. What an exceptional ice season, I hope this can be the normal type of winter once again.

Thanks to all of my wonderful partners, and especially Steve for setting me up with a room, and partners for most of the days.

West of Banks: Champagne, Sundance Kid

p1190229Doug and I packed up the full array of ice gear and headed out in his plush truck camper for a overnight jaunt to the lesser known realms just west of Banks Lake. Neither of us had climbed out there, and man what a great outing we had! We drove past Champagne to find it was the most sheltered and sunny, therefore best option in the frigid temps. To stick with the pattern though, we found Joe and Jason already enjoying the steepness of its 2 great pitches. We did the 2 pitch route in the afternoon shade after them.

The next day we went into stunning Moses Coulee ( reminds me of Cody), and proceeded to get very humbled gazing at the very formidable Butch Cassidy. It reminded me of a longer version of Zenith, another legendary sandbag.. We drove past it and other scare fests to do the Sundance Kid. Doug took the lead under virgin conditions, excavating his way up through the overhangs. Banks is such an amazing yet stiff area to climb. It matters dramatically whether or not the ice conditions are good, bad ,and/or untrammeled. Be careful out there in this banner season, stoke is high yet there have been a good number of accidents. Pay attention to the grades and realize Banks is a bit sandbagged at times when conditions are less than optimal.

Shitting Razorblades, Banks Lake

..with a name like that…

The internet is a mixed blessing when ice season rolls around. It is tough to be tortured daily by photos of amazing routes, yet nice to know they are in and have been getting climbed. I had a 1 day window that James and I used driving to Banks Lake and had a wallop of a time climbing!

Razorblades is a 2-3 pitch route that rarely see its first pitch form, and P1 has seen very few ascents. P1(aka, Eating Razorblades) was in chandeliered and drippy shape. It had a back off sling that attested to that. It took a while to get up the steep, thin and rotten ice, but this was my shot, and I made the most of it all the way to the top. I found it to be difficult and awkward going.

I was lucky enough to be climbing the first pitch when a talented photographer was nearby. He took the following 4 pictures. His outstanding site is here: http://jonjonckersphotography.format.com/

 

p1 Photo by Jon Jonkers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonckers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonkers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonckers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonkers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonckers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonkers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonckers

upper tiers report

Jens on upper tiers,   snap of recent

The last 2 pitches were no gimme either. A strong leader with lots of screws could combine them, but I was I no hurry even though wet  from drips on all sections. What a great climb!! I hope to head back this next weekend too.

Escape to the Desert: part 2

I have just discovered my floor for the lowest temps I am willing to ice climb in: 7 degrees fahrenheit. So the temps were heading much lower for the week that I had set aside for my friend Mike. He convinced me that the thing to do is get a  plane ticket and enjoy the sun and warmth of Red Rocks and Zion. It worked out fine doing about 20 pitches in the 2 areas over 4 days . Up first was a romp up the south face of Windy peak. We had wanted to try Jubilant Song but to keep with the crowding theme, there was already 4 people ahead, we opted for a route next to it name Hot Fudge Thursday. It is a fun 6 pitch route that has 4 great pitches mostly at the start. We also found out why it is called Windy Peak.

We were then excited to try the Tatooine Route on Kinesava in Zion: A legendary  15 pitch 5.11 route on the South Face of Mt. Kinesava. We hiked in with heavy packs and spent a beautiful night at the base. The only problem was that spending 14 hours on a ridgerest pad is not good for our backs. We both were stiff in the morning and climbed as high as we dared push. We cleared the first 4 pitches and were impressed with the quality and position of the climb. I will be back to try again with a different tactic: fix 2 ropes, and fire the next day. We rounded the trip off with 70 degree  perfection cragging at Black Rocks near St. George.

 

 

Canada Ice 12-16

Kidd Falls, p2

Kidd Falls, p2

Please, Click here to help my fallen friend Tyler

Stoke never runs higher than the first ice trip of the season. When else would you try find a last minute partner, drive 24hrs in a 2wd vehicle, spend 5 days in the same motel room, and suffer single digit temperatures?

“..because it’s worth it”, replied my friend Priti. She had just finished a quicky trip to the newly frigid Rockies. Her and her hubby got good early season laps on great climbs such as Bourgeau Right , R+D, and Twisted Sister. Stoked after seeing pics of many fun adventures , I somehow found a willing partner myself on mt. proj , and off we went. I had climbed briefly with Joe a few years back, and remembered that he was safe, and willing to try most sane proposals. High on my list was yet another run at Amadeus, Unicorn, and other mixed treats. This particular season has produced great conditions.

Just like with our incoming administration, there was an impending sense of doom coming in the form of a cold front that was to push the mercury down to single digits. We knew to act fast and make plans fluid as the crowds and conditions allowed. Only the last 2 days had rough weather, so we had a great time doing the following 11 pitches:

12-2-16 haffner 4p to m6 w/joe. Lean conditions, yet lots of ice building.

12-3-16 Kidd Falls wi4, 2p w/Joe. We drove past 4 cars at Amadeus, and only found 2 parties finishing with Kidd, Spectacular route! Warning: Severe avalanche danger on this route!

12-4-16 Grotto 3p to wi4. Drove to Icefields and the roads hadn’t been plowed in a while. Then, past 2 cars again at Amadeus. Plan c: Snowy day at thin His route for laps.

12-5-16 Amadeus wi4-m5, 2p w/ Steve, Joe. Finally only 1 car parked there in very cold temps, Great to have Steve, and his #4 cam along!

Red Rocks ’16

Escape to the Desert part 1

Sandstone has its own flow and its been a couple of years since I’ve touched it. So fun to climb on, and I am glad to have had extra time to climb and ( a sweet condo to..)recover. Thanks to Bob for the invite and the idea to spend a great couple of weeks in Red Rocks!

10-19-16, wake up wall, 5p to 11a

10-20-16 Breakaway/ La Cierta Edad 10d, 6p

10-22-16 Nightcrawler 4p 10c

10-25 -16 The Hood, Mt Charlston 4p to 10d

10-26-16 Inti Watana, mt. Wilson, 10c, 12p

10-28-16 wake up 3p to 10d

10-29-16 SourMash BVW 10a 4-8p

10-31-16 Eagles Dance 10c, A0 9p

11-2-16 Black Corr. 5p to 11a

First up was combining Breakaway/ La Cierta Edad. Wicked steep intro to the game on Breakaway, spicy too. It was nice to wind down on La Cierta, but got worked from the overall day.
10-19 Hoover Dam sightseeing on rest day. Quite an experience for a concrete guy such as myself!
10-22 Nightcrawler 4p 10c Just wow, what a great climb. It was so hot, that we just waited in the shade (until 130pm)at the base for the whole route to go into the shade, got back at dark though. Great straight up trad climbing.

10-26 Inti Watana, mt. Wilson, Not hard for the grade just long and pretty fun. Tiring day.

10-29 SourMash BVW 10a 4-8p Super fun route and the moves are great! Probably my favorite route  of the trip! Did it in 4 amazing pitches.

10-31 Eagles Dance 10c, A0 9p. Ended the trip on one of Red Rocks great climbs! Even more enjoyable to me than Levitation, and it has a single rope (70m)rap line!! We combined a few and did it in 7.

What fun it was to have relatively great weather in  the disneyland-for-climbers that this place is. Can’t wait for my next trip here.

Click images to enlarge..