Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Eagle River Ice

Eagle River is without a doubt my favorite place to climb. The views are gorgeous, the approaches are relatively easy and there's so much to do within an hour or two from the car.

I've already climbed out there three times this ice season, but haven't posted anything about it. So, as I try to get motivated (see post below), here's a little trip report from a day on the ice with my good friend Richard Baranow.

Mr. Chugach himself knows the range and especially Eagle River better than anybody, without a doubt. We had talked about going out and scoping an unclimbed ice route high up in the valley but the motivation to hike 4,000' for one pitch of ice wasn't quite there.

Richard, all smiles!

So instead we went to a beautiful early season climb that rides up a gully for more than 2,000'. Well, we hit it in early the early season of early season. The climb was definitely 'in' but it was wetter than a fish.

Richard and I brought a rope but never took it out. We climbed the first three main ice pillars, all of which are fairly steep but never too hard. The third pillar was so unbelievably wet, we would have been dryer had we jumped in a pool. Even though it was steep, we opted not to rope up due to the water. The idea was just to climb as fast through it as possible.

An interesting note would be that I fell up to my waist in a deep pool when some ice broke underneath me. Soaking but not too cold, we climbed to the base of the main pillar. It was equally as wet, so we took an exit trail and hiked back down.

Richard coming up with Clint's swimming pool below him

Richard running up the third main piece of ice

...and getting SOAKED!!!

My clothes were stiff as they turned to solid ice sheets. All in all, it was a good day on the ice in late October. Sometimes the fun comes in suffering a little bit.

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