Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Ice Conditions: Grotto Canyon (Mar 6)

I spent a warm day in Grotto Canyon with Brian McKenna of Toronto. It was +6 C at 2pm; not exactly winter conditions. The dirt road into the upper parking is an ice rink in the morning. A SUV ahead of us got stuck on a slight incline and could not go forward to backwards without slipping sideways so they parked it in the middle of the track to wait for softer ice in afternoon which would offer better traction. Seems best to park further back and walk a bit more.

Grotto Falls: It's a waterfall in the truest sense of the word. There is lots of surface water flowing over the ice and it is impossible to keep ropes and gloves dry.

Hers: Very white and sun leached. Lots of rock showing through and closer inspection reveals that it is all detached from the rock behind. Seemed too sketchy to climb safely so we gave it a miss. I think it is done for the season.

His: The ice is in better condition than Hers; it is blue and well attached. A big ice umbrella / roof has formed halfway up but is well protected by bolts on the left. I think these bolts are new this year since I have never seen them before.

Mixed routes: The 3 bolted mixed routes are very wet with lots of water flowing over the rock. I'd avoid them until temperatures get colder or you'll just end up ripping unfrozen rock holds off.

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