Since my climb of Colchuck's NE Face I have been resting an injury and focusing on organizing an up coming trip to the Alaska Range. That said, I haven't been able to resist a little bit of upward movement.
Nearly a month ago, Dan and I tried a fantastic route on Comet Spire, an orange sentinel north of Prusik Peak. The route, which I had scoped a week earlier with Cole Allen, reminded me of Patagonia, ice running up a steep tower to an airy perch. We approached on larch studded snow slopes and laughed our way up a 400 foot stretch of AI3, shooting for a runnel that broke the final buttress. The sun warmed my body but the cold in the breeze stung my face. The day was perfect. Then, a snowfield high above us slid, swiping powerfully through where we had climbed only moments before.
Comet Spire from Snow Lakes
Our perfect day became quite intimidating and we safely bailed down a protected rock buttress with no issues. Although we didn't summit, winter climbing on the opposite side of the range for a change was inspiring and eye opening. I can't wait to go back.
Beautiful climbing on the East Face of Comet Spire
Since then I have powered down into an even chiller mode, mostly working and resting, but...
The past few years I have found myself wandering the Snow Creek Valley, mostly alone, chasing elusive pieces of blue I see through the winter snow. Each glimpse of ice leads me to the next. Those quiet wanderings help me gather my thoughts and keep me fit for real objectives. Ice climbing in Washington does not show itself easily. Endless searching yields a seemingly limited outcome, but then you spot a runnel up a tower or a rock face with just enough ice and protection to scratch up. Finally, the lines are starting to add up and more beckon around the corner. The past few weeks we found a fun 900 foot M5 up a rock buttress, climbed a tough mixed route and stumbled on the crag of our future winter...now it's time to rock climb (and go to Alaska in May!).
The Millennium Tower
Snice runnel on M-Tower