Ice / mixed climbing
This post is going to be a quick and dirty. No preaching, no spraying, no shameless advertising! I've been so busy with work, training, and life lately that blogging time has been sparse to say the least. So until the next one, I'm mainly just going to post a few pics of me for a change, thanks to Paul and Magda. I don't usually post very many photos of myself but here's a few from some of the amazing Rockies classics I've been on lately. i wish I had some skiing photos from some of the neck deep days at the Rogers Pass I've had, but it's too hard to stop and take them when you're having that much fun. The ski posts will come soon as the days get longer and more interesting adventures begin to unfold.… For now, here's some climbing b-roll, Canadian Rockies style...
Me, on the fourth pitch of Cryophobia, M8 225 meters. Easily one of the best mixed routes in range! Photo: Magda Kosior
me on the second pitch of the French Reality. Yet another multi-pitch mega classic! Photo:Paul Bride
Me on the second pitch of Nightmare on Wolf Street. Another one of my vavorites. The Stanley Headwall is in great shape shape this year! Photo: Paul Bride
The first mixed pitch of Nightmare on Wolf Street with Magda Kosior on belay duty. Photo: Paul Bride
Skate skiing is one of my favorite forms of training, and who better to do it with than my 27 month old daughter Zoe. Here she's immitating me without the skis during a break. "Faster Daddy faster" is what i mostly hear when towing her!
And here's a photo of where I'm going in a week, for a week! One of my favorite zones. Hopefully conditions will be as good as the last two times.
A photo of me taken by Joshua Lavigne on nearing the top of the second pitch. (Yes, we goofed around with camera gear, did some filming and photo work. The beauty of climbing as a team of three!)
Check Your Head M6+R, WI 5+ 180m; FA:Jason Kruk, Joshua Lavigne, Jon Walsh November 25th, 2012
This mixed adventure is well worth the long approach. Skis are recommended. You can see the upper half of the route from highway 93, and it lies at the right end of of the first main wall at the Storm Creek Headwall. The rock is excellent and belays are mostly bolted, and at good stances. For the most part, the drytooling is very positive in good cracks, and protects well with natural gear. The best place to park is at the Stanley Headwall parking, approximately .8 km south of the Storm Creek Headwall fire break approach slope, which has a "no stopping avalanche zone" sign on the highway right below it. The route itself lies in a big avalanche path, so stable snow conditions are needed to climb it.
Ski up the fire break, take the road to the left at the top of it to the creek. Follow the creek up the drainage to headwall. Ascend the fan to the base of the route, 2.5 - 3 hours.
Approach pitch: solo 30 meters of very thin WI2 (no pro), to an ice belay in a cave.
Pitch 1: M6, 32 meters - Start up a couple short ice flows and gain a left facing corner with good gear. A couple delicate slab moves gain a short right facing corner. Follow it for a couple body lengths to a left facing corner that leads to a snow ledge and a two bolt belay.
Pitch 2: M6+ R, 35 meters - Take the groove straight up from the left edge of the ledge. Move leftwards past two pitons (only fixed pro on route). The second is a very good lost arrow. Once it's clipped, traverse left on small edges and continue trending up and left until another crack can be reached. Follow it straight up and eventually becomes a shallow right facing corner, that ends at a snow ledge, a two bolt belay, and the lower angle halfway "ledge". The second half of the traverse is a little bit run-out, but not the hardest part of the pitch.
Pitch 3: M5 25 meters - Head up from the belay, and then take a hard left where it's easiest. A two bolt anchor is found just before the ice.
Pitch 4: WI 5+ 40 meters - The left side of the ice was thicker and offered the most protectable line. Small rock gear was useful to protect the initial moves onto the thin curtain at the bottom. We belayed at a protected stance from ice screws on the right hand side, before the final steep pillar.
Pitch 5: WI 4+ 25 meters - Straight forward high quality ice climbing to an ice anchor at the top.
Rappel notes: It's a 57-meter rappel from the top of the ice to the highest bolted anchor. Then a 45-50-meter rappel straight down to a 2-nut station at a hanging stance (drill battery died). Then a 20 meter free hanging rappel to the ground.
Rack: 2 60-meter ropes; 1 set of nuts, 1 set of micro cams, 2 sets of
cams from .3 camelot to #3 camelot. 8-10 ice screws. Pitons optional
(we placed 2 and left them fixed).
Two different angles of the climb, showing the belays and rappel stations
I climbed one of the best pitches of trad mixed I think I've ever done this past weekend. The route was the Uniform Queen on the Stanley Headwall (very close to Man Yoga), and it doesn't get much better than its third pitch, which involves climbing a dead vertical hand crack and a thin smear of ice - at the same time!. The hand cracks for your right hand and foot, and the thin smear of ice is for your left tool and foot. Hand jams in the right crack seemed to be the only way at times, which is a little out of character for the Rockies. After about thirty meters of this, a small icy overhang needs to be passed before reaching easier grounded and the belay. It doesn't seem to come in that often so if you haven't done it, you should go now! The grade is M7…
Thanks Gery, for the great day and the photos.
For more photos and Gery's website: http://vertical-unlimited.smugmug.com/Ice-and-Mixed-climbing/Uniform-Queen-Stanley-Headwall/20528062_nJXLQ5#1625870348_z9H3wDS
"Uniform Queen" is marked. The third pitch starts at the top of the arrow. The fat ice in the middle is the "Suffer Machine".
Me following the second pitch.
Halfway up the third pitch.