Monday, December 17, 2007

Ice Conditions: Moonlight and Snowline (Dec 17)

Climbed Moonlight and Snowline today (Dec 17) in Evan-Thomas Creek in Kananaskis Country. It was a mild day with the temperature hovering around zero making for pleasant ice conditions. The bottom 10 meters of both routes are thin (10cm screws can protect it) but they quickly thicken up to accept 13cm screws and even 16cm screws by the 20m height. Both have seen much traffic already thus nicely track-set with good hooks and steps. The upper sections both offer wet plastic blue ice.

2 Low 4 Zero is in its usual thin shape but it looks to have been climbed recently (bring lots of stubby screws and maybe even a few pins). Chantilly Falls looks blue and wet; however, the last step hasn't fully filled out yet and looks a little bit too pillar-like to be called WI2.

Canmore Ice Festival

The ice festival saga continues. Last weekend was the 9th annual Canmore Ice Climbing Festival. This is always an awesome event but of course I am biased since it is my home town. Lots of clinics, fun events, parties, comps and good energy. I presented a slide show for the opening evening event which was well received then taught an advanced mixed climbing clinic the following day. I missed the "Tight and Bright" party on the Saturday night but heard it went off. I managed to take 3rd place in the speed competition on the ice wall on the Sunday. Two weekends in a row (Bozeman last weekend) and two 3rd places; I'm not sure if that is a good or bad rut to be in. The ice wall and sponsor bazaar was well attended both days despite Arctic temperatures. In my opinion, this event has improved since Yamnuska Mountain Adventures took it over 2 years ago and I think it will continue to grow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bozeman Ice Festival

Flailing on projects in the Bingo Cave. photo by John Irvine

I just returned home from an awesome week in Bozeman, Montana climbing in Hyalite Canyon for the Bozeman Ice Festival. This is the 2nd year in a row that Arc'teryx has sent me to this fun event; however, this was the first year for the Grivel Ice Breaker Invitational in which I partook. The comp took place on Thursday, Nov 29. The format reflected the challenges of real climbing with a partner. Every non-local was randomly drawn to climb with a local. I was paired with the talented Adam Knoff. There were 6 male teams and 3 female teams. We had between 7am and 4pm to climb as many routes as we could in any 3 of the 4 areas in the main canyon. This meant lots of hiking. Adam and I managed 11 pitches of climbing (10 different routes) spread over the Winter dance area, Twin Falls area and Genesis area. We ran back to the parking lot hitting the clock 1 minute before 4pm making us the only male team to not lose points for being late. Guy Lacelle and Ross Lynn won while Adam and I came third. The main thing is that we were pleasantly exhausted from so much climbing and hiking. I was psyched to get to climb so many classics in a day. I'm already looking forward to next years comp.

The following are the results:

1. Ross Lynn & Guy Lacelle - 9,950 with a 300 point time penalty for 9,650 points : 13 pitches. Elevator Shaft, The Fat One, The Itchy & Scratchy Show, The Scrappy One, Upper Greensleeves Right, Upper Greensleeves Left, Genesis I, Hang Over, Hang Over Mixed Variation, Genesis II, Slot Corner 2nd pitch, The Curtains, Over Easy.

2. Chris Hamilton & Steven Koch - 9,500 points with a 400 point time penalty for 9,100 points: 12 pitches. Elevator Shaft, The Itchy & Scratchy Show, Mummy Cooler II, The Sceptre, Fat Chance, Thin Chance, Switchback Falls, Crypt Orchid, Cave & Gully, Feeding the Cat, Twin Falls Left, Twin Falls Right.

3. Adam Knoff & Sean Issac - 8,750 points with no time penalty: 11 pitches. The Sceptre, Fat Chance, Thin Chance, The White Zombie, Twin Falls Left, Twin Falls Right, Slot Corner 2nd pitch, Land of the Lost, The Curtains, Over Easy.

4. Whit Magro & Rob Cordery-Cotter - 8,750 with a 200 point time penalty for 8,550 points : 11 pitches. The Itchy & Scratchy Show, The Thrill is Gone, Magically Delish, Fat Chance, The White Zombie, Thin Chance, Sun Vow, Desert Dance, Switchback Falls, Twin Falls Left, Twin Falls Right.

5. Nate Opp & Brian Prax - 7,800 with a 100 point time penalty for 7,700 points : 10 pitches. The Fat One, Magically Delish, Upper Greensleeves Left, Upper Greensleeves Right, Genesis I, Hang Over, Hang Over Mixed Variation, Genesis II, The Curtains, Over Easy.

6. Kris Erickson & Pierre Darbellay - 6,450 with a 200 point time penalty for 6,350 points : 7 pitches. The Good Looking One, Mummy Cooler II, Mummy Cooler III, Mummy Cooler IV, The Sceptre, Dribbles.

1. Jen Olson & Sarah Hueniken - 6,750 points : 9 pitches. Mummy Cooler I, Mummy Cooler II, Fat Chance, The White Zombie, Thin Chance, Switchback Falls, The Overgrown Gully, Twin Falls Left, Twin Falls Right.

2. Meg Hall & Zoe Hart - 2,850 points : 5 pitches. The Fat One, The Scrappy One, The Thrill is Gone, Clump Tree Gully, Genesis I.

3. Amy Bullard & Kitty Calhoun - 2,000 points : 3 pitches. The Fat One, Fat Chance, Over Easy.

On Friday, Chris Alstrin and I checked out the Bingo World cave where locals have been bolting horizontal drytooling roofs. I remember seeing this cave 8 years ago when Pete Tapley was giving me a tour. I was surprised then that no one had tackled this obvious challenge. I am psyched to see it is no longer being ignored. After flogging ourselves in the cave, we did a lap up the Elevator Shaft, a classic WI4.

Saturday and Sunday were spent teaching clinics for the festival. I really enjoy this aspect of these vents because its gets folks psyched on ice climbing. Both days participants left with tired arms and big smiles. Mission complete.