My friend Ian Welsted has a rule of thumb about -15 C being the cutoff temperature for getting on interesting ice. It sounds arbitrary, but is actually amazingly spot on. Any colder than that and already fragile chandeliers turn into brittle crystal, smooth curtains into armour plate, and one's extremities into useless clubs. Of course like most rules, this one has exceptions to it. If the sun is shining, then even -30 C can feel downright reasonable. Just make sure to be down from the climb when it dips below the horizon. Ian pushing the temperature envelope while looking for a new way onto the ephemeral ice of French Toast on the Stanley Headwall. By the time we had rappelled off, the forecast storm had moved in, bringing cold, wind, and snow, and turning the usually casual walk off into a bit of an epic. That's more like it. Ian on a much more pleasant day, attempting a new route on the wall left of Polar Circus. We made the mistake of naming the unclimbed line Polish
Showing posts from November, 2010
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Over the years I have shared many fine adventures with my friend Eamonn. Lately a few common threads seem to run through these outings: virgin ice, early starts, long approaches, and sandblasting spindrift. Last Saturday was no exception. Eamonn enjoying a brief windless interlude... ... that of course was too good to last. A fine position on the edge of the range. At times the wind was so strong (gusts of over 160 km/h were recorded on ridge tops), the spindrift did not even make it down. On the approach we followed the tracks of a mountain lion. A fondness for ice climbing and good looks seem to go together. Photo: Eamonn Walsh.