Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I recently read on another blog that the first hundred leads on ice are the most difficult mentally. After that it gets easier. I figure I'm about one quarter of my way there. Lately my mind has been racing about leading.

On one side I believe that I am an ice climber, that I can work my way up to difficult ice in the next few years, and that I belong on the sharp end of the rope. The other side of me usually comes out when I am following someone on steep ice. I tend to panic a bit, the rope pulls me in the wrong direction, I climb really fast and have thoughts that I don't belong on the ice. As soon as I regain control, take a few breaths and relax I feel great and am back to knowing what I want and believing in what I can actually do.

This weekend I headed out to Nebesna with Carlene and Jayme. Carlene has been climbing a few more years than me and Jayme has been on the ice for 10 or more years. The plan was to drive out Saturday, scope out the climbs, stay in a cabin that night and climb all day Sunday.

Saturday we arrived to snow covered Nebesna and 34 degrees at around 4pm. Nebesna is an old gold mining town and seems somewhat deserted now. We didn't see another car on the road. We hiked and drove around a bit and picked out a spot we would try to get to the next day.

Sunday morning we started at 8am, snowshoeing for 3 and half hours, taking turns breaking trail through hard crust and sugar snow...

We ditched our snowshoes as soon as we got to the ice and free climbed a few short steps to get the base of the actual climbs...

Jayme led up a few pitches of a "Wing and a Prayer" and Carlene and I followed up side by side

The views from up there were amazing. I could get spoiled climbing in places like this. No other parties to be seen anywhere, just us and the Caribou.

We rapped out by 6 pm and hiked out quickly under the sunset of pink and purple, admiring our nicely laid trail on the way back...

Monday more climbing in Caribou Creek on the way back. Jayme led up the first pitch of Kids Corner. This is the climb that had both me and Kim backing down back in December. Carlene and I followed side by side as thoughts of "What am I doing here?" passed through my head yet again. For some reason those thoughts very quickly passed when Jayme suggested I lead the next pitch. I went over to it, swung a tool into it and had that feeling of, "Yeah, I can do this." I have come to recognize that feeling and have learned to take advantage of it, because it seems to be fleeting.

I guess when I get somewhere around 100 leads I will stop having this battle in my head. I suppose then I'll get bored and need a new challenge.

1 comment:

Tom Smart said...

Good job! Makes me a little jealous. I'd like to lead on ice, but can't get enough practice around here.