Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Glebe Ice

A lot about ice conditions can change in a few weeks. Right after I wrote about the great ice formation in the early season the weather took a turn for the worse. I won't make that mistake again. A few weeks of positive temperatures and rain wrecked most of the ice in the province. The only exceptions were the ice gullies of the Waterford area: Parlee and Glebe.

Sunday Stef and I went to Glebe. We drove in as far as we could with his 4x4 and snow chains cutting the hike in half. Plenty of climbers in there (a dozen or so) for a remote area. We actually waited in line for ice routes!

Mike D. leading what looks like a killer steep pitch. You need to remind yourself that snow doesn't stick to vertical ice. 

After trading a few leads on the slabby fat stuff we made for the main entertainment of the day. Stef hucked himself at what I think was 'The Cardinal's Realm' in solid WI4 condition. Hard steep ice gave him a workout I think. Great climb. While I was cleaning it I also got a great show looking across the gully at Greg H. tackle "Knight to Bishop" which I'd say was in questionable shape. It's pillar wasn't touched down by much and made a sickly hollow noise with each strike. As Greg made it about 4 m up a crack split across the main pillar... which led to a swift descent. First time I've seen a climber swinging from a single point of ice contact. Exciting. I wish I'd had a video. Text seems like it doesn't do the scene any justice.

Hope to report lots more ice yet this year!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fat Ice

Is the title referring to the climber... or the conditions?  The answer is probably both.

On Sunday I was very happy to be swinging tools again. Great first day of the season for me. Pete and I checked into Mt. Misery and it is forming up better already than it's been in several years. We climbed laps on Strait Up, Main Street, and I actually made a go at leading one of the easy slabs on the right. We finished the day playing gently on the pillars at the left end of the lower tier which are already touched down and solid (Golden Pillar I think?)

Golden Pillar is in.

Main Street is fat fat fat!
Being the father of a 6 month old I am finding myself at least 7 months out-of-shape. There has not been a lot of climbing in recent months (evidenced by the lack of activity here). Although I'm trying to keep up in noon-hour workouts it's just not the same as climbing, and I felt it on Sunday. On pitch 6 of the day my arms just couldn't get into a good lock-off... and when that stops working ice climbing gets sloppy. Not surprising... but I think I need to dial back on the cookies if I'm going to be aiming to lead WI4 again this year. Less cookies = more ice.