Saturday, September 17, 2011

Adventure Journal: Pickets Day 5

Dan and I kick it at the Himmelhorn/Ottohorn Col

"Ouch!" Just the slightest bump and my hands burn in pain. The last days of rope handeling and rough rock have taken their toll. Blood pools under my nails and my digits are swollen. None the less, the sun rises again and we have mountains to climb.

We decide to summit The Ottohorn without taking any equipment from our camp. While the first ascent party of the traverse we are currently on rolled over The Ottohorn and on to the Frenzilspits, we have a slightly different plan as we are heading out another path.

The Ottohorn is only 3rd class and we enjoy the easy scrambling. Only 30 feet from the summit ridge our easy route explodes into a fresh rock fall zone. We each push ourselves to try and find a way through the sketchy fresh blocks.

Myself trying to deal with the rock fall zone near the Ottohorn's summit

"I just can't justify this," I say. "We need the damn rope!"

What to do? The discussion continues...

We've failed on the Southern Picket's easiest summit and thrown away valuable time. Discouraged, we arrive back in camp kicking dirt and feeling stupid for not having our gear with us. I start feeling our original intentions for a full south to north summit ridge traverse evaporating in a variety of compounding issues.

We know we didn't-couldn't bring enough enough food for the whole traverse and if we spend the day here, we further deplete the precious stash. We knew we might need a rest somewhere along the lines. Could this be that day?

"Let's eat lunch and rest for a couple of hours," Dan says. "Then, we can take the rope up and bag the Ottohorn. Tomorrow we will descend the glacier and climb the Frinzelspits via it's south face. That way, today is mostly a rest day."

Leaving the col for try #2 on the Ottohorn

After some lounging, we pick up the rope and a few pieces and retrace our steps up the Ottohorn. Instead of tackling the fresh rock scar, we find amazing pitches of 5.7 around the corner. Juggy climbing rambles to the summit that had discouraged us earlier in the day.


Back in camp shortly after, we lounge in the sun and search for rejuvination. Our discussion focuses on the realities of finishing our original project. Our biggest issue is food, but short days, on sight maneuvering, and broken glaciers are also slowing our pace. I know if we go all the way, I will have a "power bar a day" rations by the time it's all done. Can we do it?

No comments: