Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two new ice routes in October!

I just got back from a really fun road trip to Nevada & California, but before I left I was super-duper psyched to get some ice climbing in! As much as I love mountaineering & rock climbing all summer, I still spend much of the summer looking forward to ice climbing season!

My new route on Mt. Burstall climbs the thin ice near the center of the photo.
Anyways, for my first day on ice this year I took a drive down the Spray Lakes road by myself with the intention of climbing R&D. However, as I was passing Burstall Pass parking lot I noticed a cool looking line on Mt. Burstall. I had my bike on the roof so the approach only took about and hour, and soon I was picking my way up some slabby rock onto the thin ice. The ice turned out to be pretty good grade 3 or easy grade 4. The hardest climbing was at the bottom but I continued up all the way to the ridge line, from where I spotted the route I did 2 days later with Eammon. I descended the ridge (1 rappel) back to the Burstall Pass trail.
Moyen Monster (WI6, M5R) is the sliver of ice in the very middle of the picture.

The first pitch of Moyen Monster from below, with the second pitch partly visible up and left.
Two days later, Eammon & I headed down the same trail with out sights on a sliver of ice I'd spotted on Snow Peak, just right of Burstall Pass. A couple hours later we were at the base nervously looking up at 60 meters of vertical chandeliered ice. I decided to give it a go, and it was indeed full value! The climbing was sustained WI6 and was mostly too airy for good ice screws. There were some super cool features though, and it rekindled my addiction to steep ice.
Above this pitch, we traversed left a short ways and Eammon did a great job of leading through some overhanging & unprotected M5 climbing onto a strip of WI4 ice to the top. We continued up snowslopes and short rock steps to the summit and easily descended the ridge. Last winter Eammon, Steve Holeczi & I started our season with a new route we named "Facile (easy in french) Monster", and since this one was significantly harder we named it "Moyen (medium) Monster".
Eammon's feet above the M5R overhang.

Eammon making faces for the camera on the summit, as usual.

J. Mills
CRAG Head Guide

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