Our winter sucks so my wife gave me a choice: Hawaii or Colorado... I chose to go find winter. ( Read more... )
"Anchorage is great," they say. "It's only 20 minutes from Alaska." By they I mean the red state rural minority who believe in the Three Ps: the Permanent Fund, Providence and Palin. As much as I hate the saying they have a point. 20 minutes from Spenard, strip clubs and Sams Club you can hit the park and head east for 400 miles before you hit another road. And most of the year I manage to get out of Anchorage and enjoy Alaska on a regular basis, but the fall is different. Fall in Anchorage means foul weather; freezing rain, sun and snow all in the same week. ( Read more... )
Ripple. How many times have you climbed it? Once a season? Twice a season? Three times? For the past two years? For the past five years? 10 years? If you're a southcentral ice climber it's that route that you do at least once a year. It's close, it's always in, and it's always enjoyable. ( Read more... )
Layers, rain, renovations, life changes and work have kept me from getting out too much but the light is finally starting to return and with it my motivation for longer days. So on sunday Jake and I headed out to climb 3 Ring Circus. The ice was in terrible shape (mongo dinner plates with every swing) but temps in the mid-20s and light until 5pm made for a good long day. We climbed 800' in 5 pitches and then bailed off manky alder anchors to reach the ground just as it got dark. A good long day and a beautiful hike out Eagle River in the dark.
You don't ski during an ice year. ( Read more... )
I worked all last weekend – so when a sunny day and an ice climbing partner presented themselves mid-week I jumped on the opportunity. Wayne and I drove down to Portage and found an unoccupied Follies with an easy creek crossing to the base. Follies is a well known local classic that sometimes has an abysmal approach. For the most part the ice across the creek tends to be pretty thin – and I guess lots of people have had mini-epics when falling through the ice or having the wade across in fishing waders. We lucked out… the creek was frozen solid and we walked across and were at the base in minutes.
Wayne on the second pitch.
More pix after the jump. ( Read more... )
I love classics… be it rock, ice, ski descents and even the occasional mellow river run. So when I heard that the classic ice routes in Middle Glacier Canyon were fatter than usual we dusted off the ice gear and headed south to give one a try. We hiked into the canyon and checked out all the routes. Most of the routes looked either hard or thin, but Lucky Man looked better than usual.
Lucky Man is a wonderful ice route that is about 300’ tall and was first climbed by Charlie Sassera and Robert Frank in 1982. It usually has a very very thin beginning - after which the route ascends a mellow ramp system to the canyon rim. However this year there is a super easy sneak on climbers left that gets you past the thin horrow-show of verglass and stubby placements down low on the route. ( Read more... )
Charlie Sassara left an email last Thursday: "Want to try a route this Saturday? Call me." I read it slowly and then called, trying to figure out what the best excuse would be to not go. "I can't," I told him. "We just bought a house. I'm out of shape. My exercise has consisted of moving boxes and caulking." I tried to sound weak, even upping the pitch to elevate my whiny voice. "I'm just not in shape to go climbing."
"Ahh come on..." Charlie responded. "You've got a real job now. You've got a mortgage. The rest of your life is going to be like this. Get off the fucking couch and go climbing with me."
I started to protest; after all me going climbing with Charlie means I would have to secretly pack ascenders. I stammered.. it was hard to argue with his logic. So I said yes.
So come Saturday Charlie and I trudged into the North face of the Wedge. After some discussion about options Charlie chose to ascend a series of gullies and dihedrals on a buttress just left of the couloir that drops from ridge right at obvious bend of the peak (climbers left of the rock routes). ( Read more... )
Yes; believe it or not there is ice in Virginia! Just about every year, if you're willing to spend your free time driving to the coldest, darkest highest points of the state, you can find ice for at least 3-4 weeks out of the year. For those living around Charlottesville there is a small but dedicated contingent of ice climbers who are willing to skip work when the ice is in.