Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Early Winter Cragging

The snow has finally come once again and sent me hobbling out the door on my ski pole crutches to get my fill of ice, freezing belays and the screaming barfies. First off Eddie and I headed up to Ptarmagian to perform the ritual of being molested by dozens of angry moose all the while being harassed by his out of control demon dog, Morgan. We decided to climb Only the Hookers Get the Blues so we could quickly remember how strenuous and scary steep ice is during the early season. After feebly hobbling down the knee busting coulior to our bikes on the way out, I realized I had forgotten my headlamp and was subsequently treated to blind biking over the ice and around the moose while attempting to keep on the hard packed trail. Alas more recovery time will be needed before I can make that hike again.

Eddie following the first ice step - by John G

The goods - by John G

Hookers in all its glory - by John G

Next up was my annual pilgrimage to Nabesna. With four days off and plans of grandeur on my mind I found myself at the base of the thin, reverberating pillar that is Wing and a Prayer and a sudden change of mind that left me paying out rope as Eddie gently tapped his way upwards. Evening chatter with the other climbers at the cabin left us with the knowledge that it was a dry season in Nabesna so we set off on an exploritory mission Saturday. Not finding anything worth climbing we pointed my truck towards home and hit town in time for some sleep.

Wing and a Prayer - by John G

Cool stemming action higher up - by John G

Can you spot the mud volcanoes? - by John G

Back in town I made a quick trip down to Portage and ran a few laps on Five Fingers. Narrowly avoiding Marcos engine exploding we enjoyed nice warm temps and plastic ice.

Five Fingers - by Marco Carter
On Monday, my last day off, I headed out to Hatchers Pass with Eddie to try to redpoint a mixed route at Hillside Pillars I had previously attempted. The creek was now nicely frozen up and soon I was racking up. After much soul searching and encouragement I made the irreversible traverse step facing a highly unpleasant fall opportunity over marginal gear. Thankfully I found a good cam and finished up the bolt line pumped out of my mind. Many thanks to Eddie for the long cold belay!

Whirlpool - by John G

Bear Hug - by Eddie Phay

Yay for bolts - by Eddie Phay

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