Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ice Climbing - 12/28/2011

It's been a very long time since I've been ice climbing. My regular ice climbing partner died in a car accident back in March of 2005, and my current climbing partner (my wife Amy) was always scared of trying it, so I haven't been on ice since like January or February of 2005. We'll I've been trying to convince my wife to try it ever since we got married, and she was finally warming up to the idea just before we moved to SoCal (where there isn't much ice climbing to be had). Since we were going to Utah for Christmas we decided to take ice gear with us in case the ice was in and we could do some climbing. Lucky for us, the ice in Utah was in great condition while we were there.

We decided to just do some top roping on The Apron of Stairway to heaven up Provo Canyon. I wasn't really feeling up to leading since it had been so long since I've been ice climbing, and The Apron is a great place for setting up a TR.

Stairway to Heaven (The Apron is the first 100 ft. where you can see people in the photo)

We headed out early on Wednesday the 28th for Amy's first ice climb. When we pulled up to the parking area we could see one person climbing (with his belayer) and 2 people hiking up to the ice which is pretty good for the most popular ice climb in Utah. We made the hike up (which was more difficult than usual due to the lack of any snow in Utah) and arrived at the ice a short time later. I headed around the right side of the ice to access the ledge and set up a toprope.

As I was getting to the ledge at the top of The Apron I ran into someone that I knew and had climbed with on several occasions in the past. Neither of us remembered the others name, but we exchanged names again (his name is Dan), and caught up a little bit before I went on to set up our TR. I just think that it's crazy that the first time I went ice climbing in like 6 years I ran into someone that I had climbed with previously. I guess the ice climbing world is still pretty small.

Anyway, I set up a TR and we started climbing.

Me Climbing

Amy ready to climb

Amy Climbing

We started on an easy WI3 section and both TR'd it. Amazingly enough Amy loved it and wanted to climb some more. We just kept the same anchor and moved the rope to the other side of a bulge where it looked like it would be a little bit more difficult. I gave Amy some pointers on how she could improve and she ran up the route again. She ended up climbing just a couple feet to the left of where she climbed the first time which kept it at about WI3 again (with much better technique than the first time I must add), then I ran up a section a few feet further to the left that went at closer to WI5 (at least from what I thought it felt like after many years of not climbing ice).

Amy on her second time up

Me on the second route

We had to leave after the two climbs since my parents were babysitting and we didn't want to inconvenience them for too long, but as we hiked out Amy was talking about how we needed to get another pare of crampons and set of Ice Tools so that we could get more into ice climbing. I think the trip was a success.

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