Thursday, January 21, 2010

California Ice

Kevin (K-bone), Brad (B-Rad the youth), and myself went into the Beartooth mountains to climb California ice. California ice is a 3,000 foot WI 4/5 spilling off Sylvan peak and flowing all the way to the east rosebud Valley floor, 4,000 feet below. This is said to be one of the longest ice climbs in the lower 48, and a classic alpine experience to boot. We left the truck at 5:20am and hit the ice flow soon after, we soloed 1,500' of WI 2/3 to the base of the "headwall", then climbed the headwall in two long pitches. B-rad lead a WI 4 pitch to a cave belay (55m), then I lead a WI 4/5 pitch to an ice ledge (65m). The beautiful 3rd pitch went to K-bone and was the icing on the cake. B-rad then lead another WI3 pitch to the top of the main flow. Here we decided to take the climb to the top, which proved to be brutal. Unconsoladated snow groveling leading to more WI2 which we soloed. We topped out the plateau at dark, then ran towards spread creek under threatening skies and a fierce wind. We dropped into Spread creek and decended 4,000 feet of hell. Deep unconsoladated snow in which a pixie stix arrangement of dead fall hid underneath. After countless falls, countless curses, and countless mgs of dukkha, we hit the valley floor and stumbled back to "Truck Norris" at 9:00 pm. Not a speed ascent, but a great day out, Cheers!

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