Monday, February 25, 2008

From One Day To The Next

This weekend, Travis and I wanted to go tick off some routes that we had already attempted this year, but had been turned back due to rotten weather, slow leaders, other parties on the climb, or some other reason. On the menu for Saturday was Broken Hearts, as many pitches as we could get through. The weather was a beautiful, sun lit forty two degrees when we left the car.

Travis on pitch one.

Topping out on Pitch One.

Travis leading Pitch Two.

Making a go on Pitch Three.

After bailing off midway up the bottom. We could hear ice falling from the upper tier while we were up there, so we cut our losses.

The next objective for the weekend was Chasing The Sun. You have to love Wyoming weather, as it was maybe ten degrees when we left the car Sunday for this climb, and snowing. We were concerned with what this sudden shift in weather would do to the ice.

Travis on the approach.

Travis giving Pitch Two a go.

This was pretty much our high point. Since it was so warm, then so cold, most of the ice was fairly well rotted out. Travis tried going up higher, but dinner plates the size of our bodies were coming off, so we decided to get the hell out of there. He then tried another line, after we both discussed the possibility of it actually going. He got about the same height as these pictures, and had to bail, on account of the crappy ice. The first pitch was starting to melt out at the top by the time we got back to it, so we bailed off of that fairly quick as well. Oh well, next time. It was still a good weekend to be out playing. And of course, it begins to feel more and more like spring. I was getting all excited for some rock climbing, some more mountain biking, maybe some boating, and as I write this it is snowing. Hard. I guess maybe winter still has a bit of bite to her. More time for ice climbing!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Early Season Mountain Biking

Today was beautiful. In the low forties when I woke up, so I decided today would be a good day to start getting in shape for mountain biking season. After gathering all my gear back up, and really getting off to a later start than I wanted, I decided to go to Cody's version of Moab's Slickrock Trail. I was kind of nervous as I drove out and saw snow on the ground, but most of the trail had melted off. There were a few wet spots, and a couple snow bank drops, but nothing too horrible. Go Ride!!! If the weather stays the way it is supposed to, it will be a great week for it!

The drop in, also the top of the Climb From Hell

Different view, on the way back up the Climb From Hell.

The trail follows roughly six miles of this fun kind of stuff!

A cool rock formation at the bottom of a swale.

The exit of the slickrock, before dropping into the two track through Oregon Basin

The exit climb up slickrock.

The view from the desert. Slickrock follows the length of the rim.

Back at the car. Slickrock starts at the skyline.

Tuesday Ice Climbing Trip Report

So, I didn't get very many pictures of this particular adventure, because the climbing was so amazing. Travis and I originally decided to do Too Cold To Fire Monday, but we were both so fried from Ice Fest that we barely managed to drive up the Valley. So we decided to save it for Tuesday. It was about 42 degrees when we left Deer Creek Campground, and the sun was shining. Good! After freezing to death on Smoked Turkey, I welcomed the change.

Too Cold To Fire.

Travis leading pitch two.

Trav trying to figure out how to get around the headwall.

Tuesday was a perfect day for this kind of climb. It's usually rated a pretty solid WI4, but with the temperature the way it was, sticks came easy. The hardest part was all the weird moves to clear bulges, and getting tools to swing in ways they aren't used to being swung. There were some beautiful windows, just left of Trav's line, where the ice was probably two inches thick, and completely clear. You could see the rock and water running behind the thing. Of course I had to smash one on the way up, since it was the only place I could get a tool to go in. Once over the crux headwall, things were definitely snowcone. One swing would bury an axe to the hilt, until the very top, which was some fairly tricky mixed climbing. For Cody it was tricky, anyway. We were back down to the car by noon, back home by one. Good short day, very much worth the hike.

The Cody Waterfall Ice Festival Trip Report

This last weekend was the Waterfall Ice Festival. Everything went pretty smoothly, aside from not getting any sleep for four days.

Saturday Travis and I took a clinic out for beginners. Most of them had never seen a crampon before in their life, and all of them made it to the top. Very cool experience, as always when you can teach people new stuff.

Clinic go-ers at the bottom of Deer Creek Falls

Sitting up on the ridge, shooting photos.

Climber at the top of Deer Creek Falls

Top ropes set up, ready to go

Everyone was shooting photos.

Travis getting people ready to get back down.

Saturday night I had some younger guys from Grand Junction, Colorado, ask me to play tour guide for them. They wanted something to challenge them, so I suggested we hiked back to Smoked Turkey. Aside from the minor goofs that occur when you aren't used to climbing with people, everything went very well, and although we didn't get to climb the Drum Stick, we did get three pitches of quality ice in.

Pitch One

Pitch Two

Doug (from Denver) leading up the first pitch

Chris leading the Left Wing, with the Drum Stick in the foreground.

Doug on the crux of the Left Wing.

I'm not sure what our official numbers were, as of yet. I know there were alot of people running around, and I got to catch up with some old friends, and meet some really cool new people. The two boys from Grand Junction are planning a Cataract Canyon trip, and want me to go along with them, since I have done it before. We'll have to see how this summer goes!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Ghost Mountain

So today I felt like going for a little ski trip. Red Lodge was closed, for the most part, due to high winds, so I wasn't going to drive there for nothing. I also wanted to check out some ice climbs on the North Fork, and see how this new snow was affecting the climbs. So came the idea to hike the old Sleeping Giant ski area. This area hasn't been operating in about five years, so it's only accessible by those willing to hike.

Hiking the trees. From here it turns into about a 35 thru 45 degree slope... with five feet of snow. At least.

The snow pit. This block failed at ground level after moderate stress. Kinda spooky, especially since I was by myself.

The chair to no where.

No action shots, but some tracks.

A busy day at Sleeping Giant

If it wouldn't have been so late in the day, I would have been more inclined to make another lap. I was thinking about going back up there and running laps, but I'm not sure that I want to break that trail again. It took an hour and a half to gain five hundred feet. The wind was BLOWING. When I came back down, where my bootpack was exposed, it was already blown shut. it was a good way to spend the afternoon!