Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The plan to go to Ouray, Colorado in January for the Ice Festival is final. I bought my plane ticket this past weekend. Hooray! Ouray! With no ice to be found anywhere in South Central, Alaska, we will have to go "outside" to find some ice to climb!
Last year at this time I had done my first lead at Candyland, climbed the Beer climbs, and climbed Ripple twice in Eklutna Canyon. Right now Candyland has no ice, not even a dribble. Eklutna River is still flowing freely, so no access to the canyon. The beer climbs are in a sad state. I planned to head out to Echo Bend with some friends this weekend, but we most likely cannot get across Eagle River. The ice forum is dead, not even any mention of people out looking for ice. Why would you when it's been in the upper 30's? Global warming or climate cycles, whatever it is, this sucks...
To Ouray! January 9th Kim and I are headed down to Ouray, Colorado to climb some crazy ice, fend off the climbing snobs, and maybe meet Will Gadd (Kim's hero). We are both participating in three climbing clinics each. Three different clinics each, which is our ploy to beat the system and really get six clinics for the price of three, by sharing what we learned with each other. I'll be learning "Advanced Ice", "Fundamental Footwork" (much needed), and kicking it bad ass style at a "Mixed Climbing for Women" clinic.
Mixed climbing is climbing a combination of rock and ice with your ice tools. Last year at the Canmore Ice Festival in Alberta I met Ines Papert, the best woman ice climber in the world (if not the best ice climber in the world), and watched as she danced up a mixed climb and made it look so easy. I have been itching to try mixed climbing ever since, but we don't have many opportunities for mixed in Alaska that I know of.
So off to Ouray in January and then I will head back over to Pennsylvania for a late Christmas and some East Coast skiing in the Poconos.
photo courtesy of ourayicefestival.com