Frozen Chicken Air

Monday, June 16, 2008

The chicken has melted?

Long time no sign of life, URL changed, photo's gone (they're still on Picasa!),...

But we're still alive... Cis?! Cis?! me poking Cis

Oh.... there are some new plans for climbing :-)
There are some plans for blogging too.

But yeah... not much to write about iceclimbing in summer, is there?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The last ice is climbed

The last ice is climbed, we've returned to civilisation (?), to say Calgary.

Reorganizing our stuff, cleaning the car (!), some shopping, sightseeing, eating, drinking,... we're taking it easy this weekend. Tomorrow night we'll be on the plane again. Our latest adventures will follow later.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Icefield Adventures addon: The Rampart Creek Hostel

De plaats waar we sliepen tijdens ons Icefield Parkway avontuur was het HI Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel, ergens langs de Parkway. Een behoorlijk afgelegen plek, zonder elektriciteit - uitgezonderd recent ge├»nstalleerde LED verlichting op zonne├źnergie - geen Internet en geen stromend water.

Kookvuur en verwarming waren op gas, water kon uit de beek - Rampart Creek - gehaald worden, en de WC was grootmoeders stijl in een apart hok een eindje wandelen van de andere gebouwen.

Behoorlijk basic dus, maar in orde. Bovendien was er een sauna, die je eerst zelf lange tijd moest warm stoken met hout, maar die we toch 2 keer benut hebben. Om af te koelen bij de sauna was er sneeuw genoeg voorhanden.

De gardien was een jonge gast met dreadlocks, een heel relaxte, fijne kerel, die het onder meer cool vond om in de meer dan een meter hoge sneeuw een kampvuur te maken.

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Icefield Adventures #3 : Panther Falls

The day after Weeping Wall, of course the weather was all clear, but we were somewhat tired.

Because of all the fresh snow, a lot of possible climbing spots were out of order due to avalanche danger. Some of them weren't, among them the Panther Falls, a not so high waterfall over some kind of a cave that can be climb on both the outside and the inside. The outside had a lot of fresh snow, but the inside offered a lot of possibilities.

The Panther Falls cave is also home to one of - if not the - the world's hardest mixed routes: Musashi. No chance we would get much higher than one single meter in it, but we had the luck to see 2 Scottish climbers - Malcolm Kent & Rob Gibbons - working in it, and doing quite well to say.

So we spent more time watching them and taking pictures, than actually climbing that nice little pillar on the right side of the cage...

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Back in Canmore

Back from some climbing in a very remote valley. Interesting time. One day of rest in Canmore & then back for some more climbing in the wilderness until saturday. More updates soon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ski fahren!

Today we went skiing at Lake Louise. The next days we're off to the wilderness again, so radio silence till tuesday or so.

Yeah yeah, we still have to write the next parts of our Icefield Parkway adventure, but that will be for another time!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Icefield adventures #2: The Weeping Wall

Having enough of long approaches and eager to get to the #1 on our checklist, we went for the (Lower) Weeping Wall on tuesday.

The plan is to alternate leading the multipitch, C1sc0 taking the first lead. The ice is less brittle than what we got the days before, not wet too, and the temperature is within the acceptable range. When you are standing right in front of it, the Weeping Wall looks less high, steep and threathening too. All very encouraging...

But after the second pitch, which I lead, and which has brought us into steeper and more brittle ice, C1sc0 doesn't feel like leading anymore. Following is alright he says, so we decide to continue, me leading. To ease our mind and stamina, and to diminish rope friction, we try to not make too long pitches. It has begun to snow lightly, but continuously - it won't stop anymore for the rest of the day, bringing us more than 15 centimeters of fresh snow..

The third pitch is a rather long one, bringing me on an almost hanging belay, with very little place to stand. The fourth pitch begins with some more steep and sometimes brittle ice, leading me onto a less steep snow field with lots of fresh snow on an unreliable crust of frozen snow, sounding a bit hollow. I find some good ice at the top of it, time for the fourth belay. The top seems to get nearer...

Looking up, a short piece of good looking ice leading to some kind of cave seems to introduce the final bit of steep ice under the top, marked by the small tree we have been focussing from beneath. While climbing this small tree has grown larger and larger, but never seemed to come nearer though...
The "good looking" ice turns out to be the most rotten crap I climbed on so far, and even while I'm not climbing straight up, C1sc0 gets tons of it. He tries to hide under the backpack, his only hope being a cleaned up way to follow.
I thought to make it to the top in this fifth pitch, but the crap makes me halt for a last intermediate belay in the little caveish thing I reach, the best belay so far, as I got shelter for the snow and wind now.

The worrying thing though is the last steep piece of ice. It looks like WI5 - and it probably is - but I know the top tree is near, and I've done it before. Before I start climbing again, I ask C1sc0 to keep silent, as I know even the best meant encouragement will piss me off while leading this.
Having cleared my mind as good as possible, I start off, traversing a meter to the left, and then up vertically. No Pockets to hook, and all I chop comes down. I can have it brittle, I can have it steep, but this combination after five strenuous pitches... it's too much!
I retreat to the belay. I remember what we saw from the last belay, and how the crust of snow and rotten ice has lead me to the cave, and I realize I must traverse to the left to reach little less steep ice. The traverse is awkward, my axes searching a hold on the vertical inhospitable ice pillars, my feet trying to find a grip in the loose crap. But after a few meters, I reach some cauliflower ice inviting me up, so I ascent the last meters to the snow slope at the top. There's nothing but rocks beneath this snow, so one last little challenge before I can walk to the little belay tree, which turns out to be a huge pine tree with half a meter diameter!

While I am securing C1sc0 up, my emotions are getting to strong. Is a man allowed to weep on the Weeping wall?

I am weeping... the snow, the brittle ice, the steep ice, the rotten ice, having to lead all the way,... I don't know. But I am glad I made it. This must be my most extreme climb ever, I don't need more than this!

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