Showing posts from April, 2011

Playing pinball on the Spray Range traverse

I like link ups. There is something very satisfying about doing multiple routes in a day, be it ice climbing or Yammering (or sometimes both ). But link ups, let us face it, are also rather contrived. On Yam, say, you climb a route, you walk back down to your stuff, you move it to the base of another route, you climb it, you walk back down... For instance one June Jon Walsh and I did what we somewhat pretentiously referred to as an El Cap day: three routes adding up to over 900 m of climbing, each route featuring much 5.10 with 5.11 cruxes. I know, for a true El Cap day the cruxes should have been in the 5.13 range; I guess ours was was a poor man's El Cap. Still, I barely squeaked through the crux on the last route, and felt wasted the following day. It was a fun enchainment, but not a very natural one. Not quite El Cap. An enchainment becomes more compelling when each link in the chain naturally leads to the next one, like ice flowing over successive tiers on a mountainside. G

Twelve years later

April 1999 . My most exciting winter season yet was wrapping up. The X-Games, Ouray, early repeats of hard routes big and small: it felt like being caught up in a whirlwind of overhanging rock and ice. Toward the end of the season I got involved in the Rockies' biggest new-wave mixed project to date, the visionary Rocket Man on Mt. Patterson. The route was the brainchild of 'Everyday Dave' Thomson, but the scale of the project meant extra manpower was needed, which was where I came in. Kefira Allen and I spent a couple of days toiling on the wall, jumaring up lines strung over the lower pitches, bolting our way toward the final icicle, pushing the high point a little higher. Dave Thomson and Eric Dumerac were the first to top out on the route: after jugging to the top of the ropes, they finished up the last two pitches of ice. From below the ice had looked continuous and so the drill got left behind. But Rocket Man had an ace up his sleeve:  the final ice did not quite conn