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!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

East Rosebud: new ice and old ice

Bridget and I headed into the Beartooths to climb some ice this weekend. I have been spying a little mixed line in the next ravine north (downstream) of "Hellroaring Falls" for a few years now. I imagined a steep rock section to a hanging ice dagger with bolts for protection (the rock at hellroaring falls is very compact). What I found was a "cute" little mixed climb about 15 meters long with a hanging dagger. There were crack systems so I opted to lead it on gear (some poor). I fixed a pin midway up and trundled BIG rocks off to make it more repeatable in the future. I did find some ancient tat on a tree at the top so its most likely been climbed, so I'll just do the traditional Beartooth thing and call it a F.R.A. I think "Low Hanging Fruit" would be a good name for this route, all-in-all it's a worthy climb minutes from the car and is about M5 in difficulty, cheers.

We also climbed "Upper Rosebud Falls". It was brittle and the strong winds were knocking off microwave sized rocks from above the ice climb that came crashing down. Other than that it was a great day out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

mixing it up

We've been mixed climbing a lot this winter. Here are just a few sampler pictures of what we've been trying. Cheers.