Monday, March 24, 2014

Late Season Ice

For the past few trips, I've been climbing at the Hatchery... but decided to give it a rest given the recent access concerns (which are now thankfully solved). A week or two of reduced pressure there may help the situation further.  

Sonia and I decided to gamble on the conditions at Mt. Misery. We knew that it was likely to be mostly sun-baked and rotten, but it's been cold enough at night still to have hope. 

Before talking about the ice I'll mention the scene that greeted us. Upon dropping our packs and making our way to the anchor trees we found a scene of harsh natural selection.  A deer had been cornered at the edge of the cliff by coyotes and was freshly torn apart a few hours before we arrived. Not much of it left to look at... a bit of fur, part of a rib-cage and spinal column, and most of the lower guts. You are going to go right through it if you want to top-rope there for now. I tried my best to get Sonia to pose for a selfie with it... she was game right up until we found the cute little hooves.  Too bad.  

Not your typical scene!
The ice was rotten, but stable and full. We top-roped a few pitches and one was lead at the upper tier. Screws were marginal and took a bit of time to remove the bad surface ice. The melt-patter has actually left most of what's left in steeper conditions than normal... and very fun. The ice has the consistency of dense hard Styrofoam... and every swing is a guaranteed stick! I think it will survive until next weekend! 
Late season ice

Baked but full conditions.
I also realized the best part about late-season ice isn't the hero texture. When it's early-mid season my ethic is to leave daggers and overhangs alone. They are forming... and may yet touch down for someone to enjoy. During the late season that ethic goes away and I go out of my way to smash, bash, and drop anything that will make a big crash. Makes me think there should be a date on the calendar around March 15th for this. Fuck ice ethics... Super fun! 

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