Monday, January 30, 2012

A Strong Kiwi We Bumped Into On El Cap

I don't typically like to re-post content from others on my site...  however... this is worth it!

Featured is Mayan Smith-Gobat's free ascent of the Salathe wall. She passed our party much lower on this route and we chatted for a while sharing a belay station. She seemed pretty focused on the route at the time but was still sociable. At the time I didn't have a clue who she was (other than obviously some woman who'd just cruised a hard pitch below me and then blasted off at warp speed after we'd spoken). I think if I'd have known it probably wouldn't have changed much of the conversation but I'd have probably wished her luck and maybe I'd have offered her a Nutella sammich. Actually... I'd probably have asked her to shoot our ropes up the next few pitches for us!

Anyway, we're probably about a dozen pitches below her in this video. I caught a glimpse of the Mammoth Terraces where we bivied one night. Maybe if you squint real hard you'll see us flailing with our haul-bags down lower.

The video itself is actually excellent.

Mayan Smith-Gobat climbing the Salathe Headwall from Andy Bardon on Vimeo.

Makes me think about what this year's climbing goals might be?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Crew for Mt. Misery Ice

Mt. Misery was a busy place yesterday. A dozen ice climbers were present sharing what little ice was there. Waiting in line for ice is virtually unheard of but a dozen climbers is probably 50% of the entire NB ice climbing community.

At the lower tier the main line Strait Up was in o.k. shape and was led several times. All the flows right of it were fat and pretty fun. All the fun pillars normally formed up on the left end were completely missing or very very thin. Too bad. In another month I'd like to bring Ice School here but it's going to have to improve considerably between now and then. The weather was cold and cloudy and the ice brittle. Conditions lent to ice shattering off in large solid plates. I spent a few tense moments staring at my tool thinking "don't move" as the ice cracked out from it a foot in every direction. Having a last screw in below my feet made it exciting.

I did manage to get a few interesting pictures...  Dom leading 'Main Street' in lean conditions.

The nicest lines of the day were in the upper tier where I'd never actually climbed before. A few nice pillars were led and took very good screws. Each swing of the tool landed with a damp 'thownk', burring itself to the hilt.

A series of Shawn on the left-hand ramp for his first ice lead. Nice work!

Marty grabbing the nice, central pillar:

Greg led a hairy-looking line which started in a steep cave and involved breaking out of an awkward looking ice-chimney. (Sorry... no good photos). This fella has been leading hard stuff all year. Nice work Greg! All done on a un-harnessed belay to boot!

It gave me a chance to test out my new boot liners. Several years ago my dog ate what must have been all the tasty parts of my mountain boot liners. Ever since I've been looking for an affordable replacement. Finally last week I had some luck and scored a pair on Ebay from a French military surplus dealer. They were a perfect match and only set me back 25 euros, including the international shipping. Score! They worked perfect. The only downer of the day was that my ice pants managed to get shredded mantling over a dead log. I need a good seamstress now and a huge patch of Gore-Tex. Any ideas anyone?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Updated Look

I updated the look and layout of the site (obviously). I think it's less cluttered this way. What do you think?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Still Thin at the Quarry

Had a fun day out at the Quarry yesterday with a good crew from the club. Spent the day playing on top-rope for the most part although Drain Pipe was in. Despite the prediction of -18 (-25 with windchill) we weren't feeling cold. In the sun this place cooks. Magda's watch thermometer was reading +5 degrees when sitting on her black backpack in the afternoon sun. Water was flowing all day and the ice had a hard, but kinda sticky consistency which made thin-ice climbing work well. In another 2 weeks I hope the entire area grows in.

I did manage to learn something... a well-constructed V-thread will probably hold a rappel! Jon built one which I bounce-tested pretty violently and it stood up like a champ with only a bit of surface cracking. I gotta get one of those V-hooks.

Jon C... waving his arms no doubt in the middle of some funny BS story. 
Doktor Magma... getting into the thin business.
... great success!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Parlee Brook Ice in Good Form

I don't think Parlee Brook could have worked out any better. I managed to tag into a good crew headed in there today and was glad I did. We started off by driving as close as anyone will ever get with cars. The walk to the top was less than 5 minutes rather than the typical 45.

Almost all lines are fully in. Sunbake, Kings Horses, Yellow, and Blue Pillars were lead. Temperatures were perfect and the ice was varied. Brittle in spots and completely hero in others.

A few shots of Marty Theriault leading Blue Pillar:

Also a shot of Shawn Burdette following me up King's Horses:

Also ran into this fella and spoke with him for a while. Turns out he's authored a book on NB's waterfalls and was just collecting some wintertime Parlee photos for his site:

Cheers. Chris.