More often than not, rumination should precede regurgitation. But, sometimes the nuanced emotions and fleeting experiences doesn’t take long to fizzle away. In such situations, may be it is better to let it bubble up while it still can. Those experiences feel fantastic, while it lasts. This post is a rough summary of such a day.
Feb 6th 2022: After a thoroughly satisfying climb on Rambles centre flow the week before, I climbed one of my most fun and a bit heady line, the left-most one on Carl’s Berg wall on the Duffey Lake road yesterday. I led a thin full 60m pitch (WI3+ conditions may be) – possibly just left of Roadside Philosophy (FA: 60 m WI4 M5 (R/X) Fred Giroux, Alex Shamp 2018) or some variation or something very near it. (With Farbod, Jenn & Braden).
This was supposed to be a good mileage day to refine the skills and learn more from Farbod, a veteran ice climber with loads of experience. So, I was in a relaxed, laid back state of mind during the 2 hour drive and 30 mins snow slog. Due to the warm temperatures over the past few days, we were not sure about what we would find in climbable condition – other than Rambles may be! So we decided to just get out there and see what it was like.
I wasn’t sure what I was getting on. Personally, it was more sketchy than hard. It turned out to be a completely different experience than what I had set out for, probably making it more involved and hence, memorable to me personally.
We found it in WI3+ conditions may be. There were no mixed pitches. Most sections were covered with thin ice/snice. It is hard to say as things have formed very well and different this year. The ice quality was generally poor, and I wasn’t sure if the pitch could go or will I need to bail. Thankfully, thick bulges that took good screws every 20 feet and especially before a couple of short steeper sections (10m, 80/85 degree).
Since I was the first one up that day, I did not know the line I would be taking, which depended on ice quality and protection. I did not want to build anchors midway in poor ice, so I gunned for a tree near the top of the cliff. I barely managed to reach the tree; it was a full 60m rope stretcher pitch.
Since I wasn’t sure about the rope length or ice quality, I decided to place less screws and keep some in the reserve for the buffer. I ended up placing 8 screws for the full rope length. Definitely getting into some high consequence no-fall zones – not something that I like to get into. I could have placed more but needed to keep some for bailing / anchor midway in case I didn’t reach the tree.
As far as stretching the limits go, I was not close to it for sure. I felt, I still probably had a notch or two more and was well within my comfort levels. I don’t think I’ll be pushing my limits on sketchy ice in the near future. I first need to learn and distinguish what is sketchy and what is not.
Overall, a fine day with something that I am super happy and stoked to get done.