Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ames Ice Hose

Ames Ice Hose, WI5 180m.
   The flood this year, for many families and individuals, was tragic.  For me, as an ice climber, it was the best thing imaginable.  The groundwater in the high country was unreal, and almost everything is in all-time condition.  I had some good experiences in October and November, getting up on Pikes Peak for Blind Assumption and doing Alexander's Chimmney on Longs. I regret missing out on Smear of Fear, my confidence and conditioning still had a way to go, and now that I'm in the depths of an ice bender and in better shape, it's sublimated away.  So it goes.
   David Fay and I headed out to Telluride and crashed at a ski bum house with some CC alums.  It was quickly clear to me that I could never live like them(alot more partying than skiing), but having a place to stay was rad.  We took a look at Bridal Veil.  It seemed chandeliered and in difficult early season condition.  Saturday was spend cragging at Bear Creek.
   The next day we decided to push ourselves a bit and get on Ames.  It turned out to be less than a stretch for us.  Usually the first pitch is an unprotected mixed climb, serious and technical.  Instead we found a great pillar of steep ice.  I led the first pitch and then David led 2 and 3, taking us to the top of the route.  All the pitches were pristine, no signs of traffic and great ice.  They all required about a WI4/5 effort, each being difficult in a different way.
Pitch 1.
The first pitch was a short, 40 foot curtain of vertical ice.  I picked my way slowly up it.
Pitch 2
The steep chimmney had filled in completely.  David stemmed it out for a nice lead.
Pitch 3, smooth and blue.
Pitch 3 had sustained sections of brittle blue ice.  David led the rope stretcher quickly.

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