Monday, May 23, 2011

Before The North

Alright. I'll say it. This blog has become a barren, souless place. I apologize for that and promise more updates in the coming months. With an injury behind me, the adventures are already piling up again. I just returned from my first trip to the Alaska range, so needless to say I've got a good story and a few fuzzy photos to upload onto the blogosphere in the coming days. This post is in regards to a couple of "training runs" I took before my trip. I've attached a few words to describe each day.

Storm Swept on The Cotter-Bebie
This isn't just another D-tail summit. Dragging the rope over the unrecognizable snow hump I scream uselessly through the wind at Dan. "Your on belay!" "YOUR ON BELAY!" Finally the rope creeps. I know he didn't hear me, but I bet he's cold. You gotta start moving sometime. It's all I can do to hold my ground at the summit belay. Gusts push negative temperatures through the gaps in my clothing and prickly ice indents itself in my frozen face.

But I've got it good. Dan's head lamp isn't working and his black crawl to the top is riddled with tricky mixed moves. Finally, a shadowy hump approaches at the end of the rope. The storm blows harder. Light or no light, visiblity is cut to nothing. Luckily, we know the mountain by feel. Two lefts and a half mile of blind heel punching returns us to the base of the face. Dehydrated and tired we slip on snowshoes and slog across the dormant lake.

"Good Alaska training," I spit out through a frozen beard. "We got what we came for!", says Dan.

Dan enjoying incredible conditions before the storm on Dragontail's Cotter-Bebie

Bailure On Bridge Creek Wall
Crack! "Oh, no!", I yell, cramming myself further into the dirty gash I'm already wedged in. Ice particles dance on my hardshell as I wait for the big bomb to crater. "I knew it was too early for this climb," I think, hoping the ice patch that just slid from the summit slabs hasn't obliterated Sol.

My, "Are you OK!?" is greeted with a nervous smile and crazy eyes. Our adventure just got a little too adventerous. I sling a block and thread the rope to rappel. "Let's get the hell out of here!".

Sol before the ice fall, pysched to attempt Bridge Creek Wall's East Face.

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