Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Getting Out, Winter Layering intro.

A couple nights ago my friend Phil and I decided that a drytooling session was in order.  After a month (December) of great ice climbing in Ogden, UT, the weather turned a bit fickle and drytooling has become the best option.  A few days after Christmas, the weather went from nighttime lows in the teens and low 20s to lows in the mid 30s and highs near 50 degrees.  This continued for about a week and then got cold again.  After four days of cold weather, Phil and I headed up to Malan's Waterfall.  The skies were covered with clouds that morning and the temperatures hovered around 30 degrees F.  The ice definitely looked thinner than a couple weeks previous, but we both agreed it looked thick enough to safely climb.  While I was leading the lower pitch (the only pitch that was in), a refrigerator sized chunk of ice fell off one of the upper pitches and hit the top of the first pitch, about 50 feet left of where I was climbing.  It shattered  and sent shards (baseball-size shards) of ice at Phil and me.  Once at the top of the route, I quickly belayed Phil up to me and we rapped off the route and called it a day.

First Pitch of Malan's Waterfall (WI4+ according to Mountainproject, 140ft)

I haven't been ice climbing since that day.  Don't get me wrong, I wasn't scared off.  I can't wait to get back on the ice!  However, school has since started back up, Phil is back to work full-time (which means we will start our 3am assaults again soon), and the weather has been too warm!  In order to try to stay in shape, I have been snowshoeing (still not enough snow for good backcountry skiing), doing pull-ups on hangboards and ice tools, doing push-ups and crunches, and running. 
Nearing the top of Ben Lomond with Kelsey

On our way back from Lewis Peak

The primary focus of this winter has been about perfecting our systems--not only our technical systems (building anchors, transitions between pitches, etc), but also our physical bodies (though perfecting is far from what is happening to my body) and our clothing and gear systems.  Perfecting one's system is critical for moving fast, light, and safe in the mountains.  In the past, I have been held back from moving fast for these three reasons (one or the other, not usually all three reasons at the same time).  We have a relatively big objective in mind this winter, and having our systems dialed could be the difference between success and failure.
The next few posts will focus on my clothing system and some other good options.

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