Then along came a (much bigger) Spider..
So I recently returned to my volcanic climbing roots with another ascent of the Black Spider (2010, Center Drip) and a new variation on Mt Adams (2011, Ice Extension). Slag heaps they are, but they can offer good long seasonal ice due to their altitude.
Looking to take the next step, I have started looking at a much more tempestuous project. When I say project, I am talking about a long time frame to possibly align the many issues with a massive and dangerous climb. I dont think the climbs themselves are very difficult, it is the rock and icefall I am most concerned with. Which leads me to think the face has a short conditions window to mitigate that and the many other barriers to getting to the top of the Willis Wall. We saw a monster bergsrund at the base. It is the largest on I have ever seen in the lower states. Here is a close up of it:
We did not get close enough to find a way through it, but it looked very daunting. In the line of the fire, and it would not be a place to wander around in the dark. The dead of winter or early spring would tame it out, but then one would be concerned about snow avalanches then.
Of course it would need to be cold as well as stable weather in store. When we were there last week it did not get below 45 degrees at night (7500′). Game over for now.
There are people that think it would go in late fall. I see this as a bony, black ice sketchathon. It would need to be a heavy snow pack in the prior winter to help with that. Though in the 80s I had success with the Eliot Glacier Headwall on mt Hood one October day, climate change has left more scree and ancient hard ice these days in the fall.
Each of the 3 ribs have their particular issues too. I think the center is the most dangerous due to the amount of rock I saw at the base. All save the left rib has very high serac fall danger too. Here is Jens’ short trip report from the most recent rip I know of. He found an interesting way around the shrund. Lorens Trip Report
Which brings me to the final issue, is it all worth it as a route to spend so much energy on? I prefer technical difficulty combined with aesthetics when looking for a route to pursue. Is this what I will find there? I am not sure, but I will have to have another look at it for sure, Be safe, and I would love to hear any input on this subject, Wayne
Update, thanks, there are some good ideas in the comments now.