OK. Weekend of Remembrance Day.
Saturday saw Richard and I at King Creek again for some equipment tuning and Luger training. My crampons are about as good as I can get them, and so far they are now working great with my new boots. Still have a little getting use to, but great otherwise. The ice was somewhat thinner than a week previous, but still good. As for the Luger training…. Well he’s coming along. Less barking than before, and he seems to do a little better when we are a little further away….. Better-ish.
Sunday was a trip to the Ghost with Richard and Ron (aka. the eater of the lunchables and drinker of the Red Bull). After talking to a couple at the bottom of Big Hill who had been up the Joker we decided to head for THOS. GBU looked thin, but there was tones of ice to the right of it. THOS was definitely in “early season” conditions. Thin and wet with thin ice on the pools. After tying Luger at the base of the first step we were off and running at a snails pace. Most of the steps had near non-existent top outs, but were easily managed. After numerous steps of ice and deep pools with thin ice, I managed to send a 15 to 20 lbs piece right onto Richard’s hand… oops. With a now useless pinky Richard pressed on. Shortly after this I fall through the ice covering a bottomless pit of man-eating liquid. I managed to catch myself on the rock and a log by the time I was waist deep. Much Pirate language ensued. Then I hear it. Crack whoosh! Richard has found his own pool. So, back to the dog it is. We warn two other parties of three of the man-eating liquid and start to rap down, Richard and I hoping the whole time to see Ron find his own hole in the ice! On the very last pool Ron had a chance of falling into it happens! Ha ha! Crossing the pools turned out to be the crux of the day. As we are about to start the second last rap what do we see…. Luger! Hold the PHONE! He should be….. what! The now untied Luger is a step of near vertical ice above where we left him. Oh well, he’s unhurt and happy to see us so it can’t be bad, right!? Richard did have some fun being lowered with a wriggling 100lbs Luger. Eheheh. Lesson learned: Use a locking biner when tying Luger up!
Monday! Yes Monday! I had a day off. Monday sees the trip into the Ghost again, this time with Danylo. Phantom Falls WI 4 R, a climb that doesn’t form every year, turns out to be the objective. Great fun on the drive in with the Jeep. Gearing up for the approach saw the usual conversations you have with a new climbing partner… which climbs you had fun on… where you epic’ed… who you epic’ed with… the usual ;-)
Then Danylo starts to explain: I started have a bunch of epics with this one partner and then I started thinking about it and I realized I was just having a lot of epics in general…. You know the common denominator was ‘me’ every time…
I laugh at him, he laughs at himself, it’s a good time. So off we go. The hike in isn’t bad at all. When we finally get to the climb we both look at the top and think “Wow, that’s thin/narrow”. But we look at it some more. It really is an aesthetic line! More looking. Look from this angle. Look from that angle. You know it doesn’t look so bad… Well I’m the one to fess up and tell Danylo that I think it’s a little beyond my headspace this early in the season. Happy to hear that he wants to give to bottom half a shot we flake the ropes and get geared up. Off he goes. Now keep in mind that he had just explained he has this habit of epicing. So he starts up, places a screw, up more, more screws. Just as he’s approaching the start of the narrow section he looks down and says he’s going to set up a belay and bring me up. He’s not to sure about the narrow section apparently. Well some words of encouragement from me and a few minutes to collect himself and he decides to have a go at it. A little higher and he places another crew then something comes down. Ting ting ting ping…. Ring…. OK, now I know what ice sounds like and that was definitely metal!
“Eh! Danylo! Something metal just fell.”
“Yeah, something metal fell!”
“Just a sec… The bail on my crampon… there’s only half left”Ok, so down he comes. Not only did the bail break, but the frame of the crampon itself is cracked as well. Well I might as well head up. Off I go. After getting to the high-point I decide that the crux will be to much leashless. But wait! My leashes at in my pack! Shit! Oh well back down for me. Place the first Allbeebackenoff of the season. Danylo still wants to have a go at it so he borrows one of my crampons for the second attempt. Success, a slow slow success, but Success nonetheless! Then it’s my turn… just as it starts snowing then blizarding. Oh well, full Scottish conditions it is then! Arrrg! Great climb, but real narrow at the top! Another not done by me route ticked off! Woot woot!