Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gravel Creek Ice Climbing

On Martin Luther King day, the Wharf Rat, Old Crow and I went out to Gravel Creek to check out the big ice climb there. We made good time with two snowmachines and were at the base within 20 minutes.

Jon Cobb and Bill Billmier were out there as well, so we started after they set up their own top rope. Luckily, Wharf Rat and Old Crow elected me as the rope gun so I got the lead.

The ice on the right side was wet and thunker, which made for relatively easy climbing despite the steepness. I plugged six screws in along the way then one more with a v-thread for the anchor. Wharf Rat and Old Crow each took a run up while Cobb and Billmier TRed the steep steep steep left side.

After Cobb and Billmier left, we put in a redirectional piece and I climbed up the left side, which was sustained vertical cauliflower/chandelier ice for a long, long way. It would be a spicy lead, to say the requiring cajones the size of grapefruits.

The fun though, was just beginning. When we got back to Wharf Rat's truck, we promptly got it stuck. 45 minutes and a lot of digging (with our helmets) and we were free.

As we left the parking lot we were stoked to be heading home. "What's that noise," Wharf Rat said. Turns out the spring support on his trailer had totally snapped. That noise we heard while driving was the tire rubbing against the jagged metal of the trailer.

Long story short, we had to call a tow truck and get the trailer towed back to Wasilla. That translated into lots of time and lots of money. A shitty end to a great day of climbing, but it could have been much worse.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mountain Fellowship Fund Grant

The American Alpine Club just awarded me the Mountain Fellowship Fund grant for $800. In April and May I will be going to the Revelations to attempt a first ascent on a specific unclimbed peak.

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what I am doing because if I do, you dirty thieves will probably snake my line. :)

A big thanks to the American Alpine Club who will help make this possible.

American Alpine Club

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hyped up for Hypercard

After my parter Old Crow recovered from a very long night downtown, we had breakfast then headed out to the highway for a quick jaunt on the steeps. The ice is great right now with lots of seldom formed drips in quite well. We had our eyes on Hypercard, the thin smear to the left of Roadside Attraction.

My rock beat his scissor and after an energy drink and some Queens of the Stone Age on full blast during the drive out, I was amped up and rearing to go. The cars already lined up in eager anticipation of some climber/highway carnage.

The first 25 feet are thin and nearly impossible to protect, so I ran it out until I got to the first ledge. A 16cm screw sunk to the head, but in some very bad ice, so I put another just a few feet higher. The second part was the hardest...steep and aerated ice with a good runout. I made it through and even got a piece awesome is that!!!

I got a little rest at the top of the second flow and put in a screw in solid ice. Up there, the ice was super wet and what we call 'thunker' which means it was very secure. Though I had leashes, I had them super super loose so I was pretty much climbing leashless, since I had no ability to rest on them. Basically, I got super pumped. Regardless, I made it up to the anchor and decided just to belay my partner up from the top instead of rapping down. Besides, it looked cooler that way.

Old Crow seconded and cleaned, then we rapped down and looked both ways before crossing the street and drove off like it 'ain't no thang!'