Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gravity's Rainbow Dec 24

Climbed Gravity's Rainbow Christmas Eve with the Giblet. It was fat and easy. There are a couple distinct lines in right now that offer super fun climbing. I started up the independent pillar, but was soon soaked to the bone. I opted for the far right side instead. Great slabs and mini pillars took us 70meters up to the big ledge and fixed anchor off to the right. Mike led the 2nd pitch, discovering the high point of previous attempts, a screw well frozen over just below the snice eggshell finish. 2 70meter raps and we were back down before the sun hit the road.

Conditions look favorable for Gravity's to hang around for the week. Kennedy's and Mixed Emotions also look like they might be good soon. There were tracks leading up to Kennedy's, but I have not heard of a send yet. The first pitch looked ok in the dawn light, but was a waterfall by noon when I came back up the pass for a ski.

Photos : The Natural leads up the left side pillar. Gravity's Rainbow from the approach trail.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Eureka Dec 23

Went over to Eureka on the 23rd with hopes of doing Stairway with a gentleman from back east. The snow was starting to fall as we left the parking lot. It was also blowing very hard from the north and moving alot of snow. You could see the wind slab building in the gully you cross right before the route. We decided to go back and try Whorehouse instead. We made the drifty walk up to the base and started up. The spindrift was pretty intense, and after many minutes of waiting for it to end I downclimbed. On the way out of the approach gully, enough new snow had blown in to cover our tracks and create a new slab. The gully isn't steep enough to avalanche in most places, but the shooting cracks and loud whumps we got on the way out we still exciting. Overall, an excellent reminder in the extreme variability of weather conditions and snow pack in the San Juans .

More snow is forecasted this week. It may take a while for things to settle down enough to do the bigger routes there. There are a crazy number of other ephemeral routes in though. The Dukes of Hazzard is fat and to the ground, Bad Ass Pencil is big, and the Outward Bound Wall has mulitple drips and smears all over it.

Photos are Whorehouse thru the spindrift, Outward Bound Wall, and Stairway.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dec 18 Ice Conditions, Eureka

Climbed Whorehouse Hoses with a crew on Tuesday. The ice was good where exposed. I think we got most of the slot cleared out, there is some sizeable debris on the benches. A testament to avalanche possibilities often underestimated on that route.

The left top pitch is a snow ramp, the right is nice and solid. 

In the photo, Bergfuhrer Jeff Ward puts the cord up for laps on the final headwall. You can clearly see the hollow hose in the center of the pitch.

An excellent effort by all.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dec 17 Ice Conditions

Conditions are great at the skylight area. All the snow is melting and many good variations are in. 

Choppo's, Skylight, and 
the slippery climbs are all in super shape. 

Killer Pillar, Heart of Darkness, and AC/DC are all in sporting condition as well. Better lead them while they are there. Tourist Trap needs some more ice.

Lots of folks are making the drive up, I've only had to pull one lad out so far, not bad.

The photos are Killer Pillar, Choppo's, and Slip Slidin' Away. 

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Skylight Dec 8.

There is some ice on the skylight climbs, along with some snow. Everyone is definitely jonesing to climb some ice, as witnessed by these photos. Not sure who the lads on Skylight were, they were giving it a good effort, it looked a little rickety. Most folks have just been drytooling.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Ouray Ice Park Conditions and Opening

Here is the official press release from OIPI regarding the opening of the ice park.
December 7, 2007

Ouray Ice Park Inc

RE: Ouray Ice Park Conditions and Opening Date

Dear Ouray Ice Park patrons, Winter weather has been slow to come to the San
Juans this season. Current conditions on the morning of December 7 are such
that we do not have climbable conditions in the Ouray Ice Park. However, it
is currently snowing in Ouray and cold temperatures are predicted to be
below freezing all next week. With any luck, climbing conditions may

The Ouray Ice Park Board of Directors as well as the staff will walk the
Park Wednesday, December 12 to assess safety and ice conditions. Please
check in with us that evening for an Ice Park conditions update, and status
of the Park's opening on Saturday, December 15.

Have an ice day!!
Ouray Ice Park, Inc.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dec 3. Ouray Ice Conditions Report

The last storm brought snow to the high country, but rain down here in Ouray. The park held up well and is again gaining size. With some colder temps now, the ice should be in great shape, as usual, for opening day Dec. 15.

Ice conditions in other parts of the San Juans are quite variable. Eureka has been reliable, with Gully 2, Goldrush, Highway to Hell, and Hoser's Highway being very good. The South Mineral Climbs have also been good, although I'm not sure if you can still drive in or not.

Skylight, the Ribbon, and BBB are trying to come in and should be fat when it gets cold again. All the skylight climbs were running a lot yesterday (mon). The talisman has a bunch of ice, but looks quite sporty and hollow in sections.

Horsetail is running. Dexter has some ice, but I haven't been up close.

The ice hose  is reportedly very difficult. A couple of strong teams have backed off recently.

Going to Eureka tomorrow, I try to get some photos up of everything.