I swear, my life is like being in a wild movie at times. Strange ironies and plot twists are always around the corner when going for big objectives, or in this case sometimes not going for them…
I had given up for the year on the second of 2 projects for the season. My first project was Astroman last fall, and it went well. Next, I was going to throw everything I could at the next project, including hiring a guide for the Cryo! The route came in fat, but the stars never aligned , so until I was asked by a random stranger to climb Cryo, it was off. More on that later.
After being home for 1 day from Colorado, the Puget Sound floods barely let me pass to fly to Calgary for the week. Joining me for all but 2 days, Jenn and I wanted to make the most of it while our town became an island. Except for the deep snow, conditions were great. We dispatched some great climbs right away! :
2-7 Dream On 5p to wi4 w/Landon. Did all of the pitches around it, Saw Nachtmahr! See photo.
2-8 Louise Falls 2p to wi4w/Jenn. Had it to ourselves in afternoon. J’s first go at it.
2-9 Melt Out 3p wi3 Fun, wet route
2-10 Weeping Pillar 6p wi6 w/Jenn. Did the proper route this time. Jenns first wi6! chandelier second pitch for 15m. Long route!! Dripping mostly avoidable.
2-12 The Drive-In 3p D6 w/Jenn Leads D5!. Great, moderate dry tooling!!
2-13 Cryophobia attempt 6p wi5+ M8 (A0 for us) w/James W.
The night before Jenn and I were going for Weeping Pillar, there was another group of 3 that were staying at Rampart as well. They had tried a variety of routes(Curtain Call, Weeping Pillar, Musashi) with limited success for wild reasons as well! We got to talking mixed, and James from NZ, busts out with looking for partners to do Cryo. I looked over to Jenn and asked her if she knows anyone interested in doing it.
Ambitions should be kept realistic.
I knew that the climb was over my head, that’s why the guide idea sounded great. Now I would have to swap leads, find the new (much longer)approach, ascend, and descend without much beta. I was nervous as I kissed my gal goodby at the airport the night before. The next am, we were off-route soon enough with all the different roads and trails wandering around. We lost an hour, but got lucky the rest of the way in. The big issue was obviously going to be the winds. Once on route, we were hammered by high winds and spindrift soaked our gloves. Mid route, there was a lull in the storm, but as we pushed on to near the top, it burst, and the last belay I did was brutal. It was only 1 ice pitch to the top, but the margins of survival got too thin. If there had been a walk off, we may have gone on, but I was worried about the overhanging rappels in again high winds. Only by pushing a bit beyond what we should have, did we get up the business of the route, but like being a bad actor in a movie, we took “aid” on many a bolt. So it is with dreams-come-true, the truth sometimes hurts. The way out was brutal, but the wind was now at our backs after 12 hours on the move. We may have ended up in the ditch on the drive out too. The route is incredible and lives up to the hype. I am glad I picked so worthy of an objective. This will be hard to top, and I may retire from such bold objectives anyways.
This amazing 96p season could not have happened with the help of so many great people. I am sure to miss a few names, but thanks Jenn, Landon, James, Steve, Janet, and Dave. You all rock!