Banks Ice ’19, and what a season!

Banks Lake and old man winter eventually delivered with a vengeance. I don’t want it to ever end! We got our ice season this winter(2018/19), but it didn’t start until February!! Incredibly too, it lasted until mid-March. Leaving us adequate daylight, we reveled in pitch after pitch, ascending rarely formed climbs that one could only dream of.

For me, this incredible season was not with out struggle too. I ended up in an ambulance with severe back issues for xmas. I did manage a little time off from work though right as the lion of winter got going in February. All told, I ended up with over 70 pitches of difficult ice and mixed climbing, visiting many different areas along the way. I feel so lucky.

What a pleasure it was to end this seasonal voyage with a couple of trips to Banks Lake. Its no secret that it is one of the harder areas to be successful at. The climbs are steeper and bigger than they look. The quality if ice can be a major issue as well.

With the confidence that can only come with new ropes, (Thanks Sterling!) we set out on back to back weekends. After seeing nobody on a FAT Razorblades, we scurried off to our “warm up” route on Saturday,  and anything else our arms would allow on Sunday (Pillar 1). What an astounding adventure Razorblades presents! That start pitch is always wet, crappy ice and yet so fun and difficult. Be careful with this one!

Last weekend we set our sights on Zenith, again in much fatter shape than my previous seasons efforts. We got scooped twice on it however! The second party took pity on us though and gave us the access to this amazing waterfall that I hadn’t gotten “clean”, nor got to the top of, on my prior tries. Lane Jenn and I had a day we will never forget as it was in great condition. Sunday again, was the :whatever-was-left-of-our-arms: climbing day. Banks has such a great atmosphere, we really enjoyed the “power of place” it offers.

click image to enlarge

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