Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On the hunt for ice!

Travel pig smells ice!
©Doug Shepherd
When we last left off, Travel Pig was making new friends at Mt. Evans on the hunt for ice in Colorado.  It's time to pick up the adventures and see what else he has gotten up to this season!
Scott Bennet rapping into the Black Wall on Mt. Evans
©Doug Shepherd
First up, Scott and I put a new route up near The Black Wall on Mt. Evans.  I've walked, skied, and run into this wall over 10 times over the last few years, looking for ice and mixed routes.  This year proved to be the year to get it done, as Scott and I put a new route called Monochrome that goes up the left side of the wall.  Shortly afterward, Will Mayo and Ben Collett put up Silhouette, a fantastic mixed route up free hanging daggers just to the right of Monochrome.  I'm super psyched to see this area get so much attention after making the journey so many times!!
Marcus Donaldson leading the second pitch of The Talisman
©Doug Shepherd
Travel Pig and I making mochas in Ouray
©Marcus Donaldson
Macrus Donaldson on the Right Racing Stripe
©Doug Shepherd
Next, Marcus showed up from the Pacific Northwest and we made a quick trip to Ouray, CO to climb a few classic mixed routes.  We managed to get up The Talisman, Right Racing Stripe, The Ribbon, and made an attempt on The Sword of Damocles in a quick weekend away from work.

Myself leading Necrophilia in Rocky Mountain National Park
©Jared Vilhauer
Jared Vilhauer, Travel Pig, and myself after repeating a rare mixed route in Rocky Mountain National Park
©Doug Shepherd
John Korfmacher fun hogging at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park
©Doug Shepherd
Then, Jared showed up in Denver for a day and we climbed the amazing thin ice route Necrophilia followed by repeating what we think is the late Jack Roberts and Michael Bearzi's route Broken Axes.  It wasn't quite full winter yet, but the next weekend it finally snowed enough to get out the skis out with good friends.

Steep Ice Clinic participants at the Ouray Ice Festival
©Doug Shepherd
After a busy end to the semester and quick trip over the holidays, it was time for the Ouray Ice Festival!  This year we had packed clinics every day and I had the pleasure of teaching lots of excited ice climbers.  I always have a blast at the festival, between seeing old friends, teaching clinics, and getting a few laps in on favorite climbs.

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