The wind on the peaks must have been howling.
I spent New Year’s climbing ice up in Canada with Wes and BJ. Very glad to get to climb with them again and to squeeze in a short trip between work and a wedding. Getting to fly up to Seattle and meet up with folks in Washington makes the world seem much smaller and more manageable.
Can you say BRRR!?
The ice was in, but not as full as we might have liked, though one shouldn’t complain too much with this kinda thing. Part of the fun of ice climbing is the chase. Routes form differently year to year, and you never know how good the ice will be till you’re on it. There were routes that we had wanted to try, but weren’t formed well enough, though we still climbed as much as we could each day, so it wasn’t like we were missing out. Temperatures were also a bit colder than we would have liked, -13°C (7°F) on the last day. Seeing the forecasts in Celsius made it hard to figure out how cold it was, though it didn’t really matter because it was cold enough that we all had cold toes most of the time (plus some frost nip for Wes, yikes!).
Lots of excavating ice on this pitch. Most axe or crampon placements took 6 to 15 swings or kicks to clear out and stick.
On this lead BJ dropped an ice tool and while it was starting to spin backward through the air, he reached back up and snatched it back, then in the same motion slammed it back into the ice. You can imagine why he’d be grinning in this photo:
Grinning. (Ear to ear)
The last climb of the trip was across a very frozen lake. There’s still some part of your brain that says walking across a lake is dumb. Seeing how thick the fracture lines were was our ‘reassurance’ that it was thick enough to walk on…
Stable enough to walk on, but still strange.
Cold and happy.
Oh, and Wes discovered that instant coffee+Redvines actually tastes pretty good. We were all surprised. (Starbucks Via, in this case)
The rest of the photos are in the Lillooet Ice set on Flickr.