Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ice-capades (or Craig know best)

I haven't climbed on rock for weeks, my memories of sun, sand and wine-red rocks are fading. My focus now is on a myriad of unlikely variables coming together to freeze water onto stone, moss and small shrubs. Forecasts are checked daily for any sign of a cold front, precipitation is both necessary and feared and the boots rarely have time to really dry out.

Yes, the Ice has arrived.

Why didn't I bring my rock shoes?

Thanks to Jens' limitless motivation and a few generous climbers (mostly Craig) posting their finds on the internet we've managed to swing and kick our way up several routes.

Looking up the Goatee. Jens and I failed to properly insulate our cameras, ended up with frozen batteries and therefore few pictures.

Looking down...

Pretty much all of these routes have been very moderate, our radically curved picks are over-qualified for ice that feels more like crawling than climbing. The few "hard" moves we've tackled, on the other hand, felt beyond my endurance and less than fun (ice climbing is fun, right?).

Mikey crawling up Grey Falls in a trippy ebbing fog.

In other words, I'm more than happy to crawl up "easy" ice and gain a solid foundation (It's good to be a gumby again, right?).

Mediocre ice in a spectacular setting. Warrior Wall looms above 'Consolation Falls'.

My ice tools, which seemed so futuristic and advanced when I bought them, remind me of a 2-year old computer, outdated just enough to be disappointing.

Jens on our second lap of 'Sword Gully' in as many days.

Wow, look at those fancy tools...

Can't really complain though, visions of piolets as tall as a man, hob-nailed boots and lederhosen bring my whining to a stop and force me to be thankful for what I have. I can tell though, it's just a little bit easier with those pinky rests...

Jens on Hidden Lake

Lake Wenatchee Ice. 'Timequake' and 'This too Shall Pass'?

Looks pretty mellow, right?

If it's warm enough to drink beer, it's not cold enough to climb ice.