It’s mid-December and things are still looking like it’s early November. Nevertheless, there IS some ice to climb out there! People are finding ice up on Mt. Washington and Mt. Webster, the Dike was climbed again, and there was ice to climb on the North Face of Pitchoff this weekend.
I managed to finally get out and swing the tools on Sunday, making a run up Shoestring Gully. It was not your typical Shoestring experience, but it was IN! (Maybe not In enough to make the roadside report, but it was in enough for Matt, Chris, and I, motivated by the fact that we’re soft and didn’t want to get up at 4 just to live the human popsicle experience on Washington, to try!).
Bodyweight supported fully by ice – Matt demonstrating this new fangled "ice climbing" thing.
Chris and Matt exiting off of "thick water" into the snow and turf – typical early season mixed climbing!
It was boney and thin, with parts of it better resembling “thick water” than nice hard ice, but it sure was nice to swing the tools. Granted, I think Matt is actually out right now shopping for new picks as a result of our adventures, but I think it as worth it!
Matt looking like a pro while I have an ADD moment…
Hopefully the gradually dropping temperatures will result in more options and a return of ice to the lower elevations. Until then, we’ll just have to celebrate the small victories!
Article by Patrick Cooke