Showing posts with label Mammut Gear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mammut Gear. Show all posts

Monday, January 21, 2013

Widow's Tears

First off, I need to introduce myself.  I'm Doug Shepherd, a new addition to the Mammut team.  I live in northern New Mexico, where I was born, and am now working as a scientist.  On any given weekend I might be playing in our local mountains or attempting big, cold, icy climbs in some remote mountain range.  My friends occasionally stage interventions on my behalf, particularly when it's rock climbing weather and I'm packing for yet another try on some frozen/mixed horror show on a remote peak instead of enjoying the perfect basalt climbing right by my house.

Recently, I've been attempting these climbs on short trips (less than a week) from home because of my family and work responsibilities.  Some people have termed this kind of climbing "smash and grab", but I prefer "ninja alpinism" and have a great story to share from this past weekend that definitely qualifies as a sneak ascent...

Widow's Tears, ~1200 ft of continuous ice, in Yosemite National Park
I was in southern California for work when my friend Greg Loniewski let me know he had climbed Widow's Tears, a rarely forming 1200 ft ice climb in Yosemite National Park, on January 3rd.  It had seen three other ascents after his and was holding up decently.  This route has been a dream route for me since I started climbing, one of those climbs that is more rumor than truth and many people had attempted but never succeeded on.

Unfortunately, I was stuck in meetings until Thursday, January 18th, and the temperatures were warming up.  Florian Dörfler, a climbing partner of mine who lives in Santa Barbara, was game for a crazy mission.  He picked me up around 10PM on Thursday night and we drove straight to Yosemite, stopping at a massive 24-hour grocery store in Fresno for supplies and at Greg's house to pick up ice screws and a hand-drawn map of the approach and descent.  This climb would not have happened without Greg's map, which gave us just enough information to find the route and the descent, leaving the spirit of adventure alive on the route itself.

Just a small part of WinCo, the largest grocery store I've ever been in.  We lost time on the drive just because we wandered around forever looking at all the different food!
One of our better finds at WinCo, fresh cinnamon rolls at 1AM
We arrived at the parking lot around 4:30AM on Friday and quickly repacked, pounding as many cinnamon rolls that our stomachs could take.  We were soon off, following Greg's map that laid out the general direction to go.  Despite his excellent directions, we still managed to get lost in our sleep deprived state, eventually making it to the base of the climb as it started to get light.

Florian starting the approach after no sleep and driving all night
Florian soloing up the approach ice and snow before Widow's Tears
The first two pitches had started to delaminate in the heat, but we managed to find just enough gear and bonded ice to make them go.  From the third pitch on, the ice quality continually improved until we were climbing hero ice at the top.  As I started up the third pitch, we both remarked that it didn't seem that far to the rim.  How wrong we were, as we were at least 200m from the top.  We kept a good pace, feasting on the variety of snacks we had bought in Fresno and marveling at the position and quality of the climb.  At one point we simul-climbed a long pitch hoping to reach the top, only to be stopped 50m short because I ran out of gear and had to bring Florian up.  This is a huge route!

Myself leading our 3rd pitch, where the ice quality dramatically improved

We thought we could reach the rim on our 5th pitch, but had to stop and belay for one last pitch after simul-climbing for a bit
Florian finishing our 5th pitch, thankful for the protection of his Tripod 2 helmet!
Looking down at Florian on my way to the top of the climb
The view of El Capitan across the valley when we topped out
Florian starting the descent through the woods
The route took us about 6.5 hours from the base to the top and we lounged in the sun for a bit because we had gotten soaked on the last few pitches from the water pouring down the sun-lit ice and snow above the climb.  We knew the descent was roughly four miles through the trees, crossing a few ridges and then finally picking up the trail leading down to the Wawona tunnel parking lot.  Thankfully, a few teams had already been that way, providing us with a foot track to follow through the woods.  Both Florian and I were starting to slow down at this point, the effects of not sleeping the night before catching up with us.  We slowly stumbled our way back to the car, arriving shortly after the sun had set.  We drove back to Greg's house to drop off his gear, where he surprised us with cold beer, fresh pasta, and a place to crash.  The next morning, after sleeping in and eating a huge breakfast, we rallied over to Reed's Pinnacle and climbed classic granite cracks in the warm sun.  A huge ice route one day and perfect rock the next day made the long drives totally worth it!  Huge thanks goes out to Greg for his hospitality and sharing his hard-won beta.

Florian about to receive a Yosemite education in hand-stacking
Stayed tuned for stories from a quick two week trip to Patagonia, including an ascent of Cerro Torre!  I'm really excited to be part of the team and honored to share this space with so many friends and awesome athletes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ouray Ice Festival 2013

Ouray Ice Park - Colorado
The 2013 Ouray Ice Festival in Colorado went off without a hitch thanks to our Mammut athletes and staff! Climbers world-wide attended the festival to celebrate the sport of ice climbing, learn tricks and tips from professional athletes and to watch some of the best mixed climbers in the world compete during the 18th annual event.
Box Canyon is where the Ouray magic happens - Andrea Charest on the mixed comp route
Mammut athletes, Andrea Charest and Whit Magro competed in both the Elite Mixed Climbing Competition and the Hari Berger Speed Climbing Comp. Both athletes also taught participants during daily clinics throughout the weekend!

Clinic participants gearing up in Vendor Row

Women's mixed climbing clinic with - Andrea Charest

Andrea Charest with her clinic participants
We had a great time meeting new friends and providing Mammut demo equipment for a large crowd of enthusiastic ice climbers.
Heather Lords kept folks engaged and entertained at the Mammut booth
... and with the occasional down time, we kept ourselves warm with Ambler Jackets and entertained with food and hot drinks at the Mammut booth in vendor row!
Steve Lloyd warming up a snack!
This was Andrea's first competition at the Ouray Ice Festival. Despite below zero temps and being the first athlete to attempt the route, she climbed strong and with confidence. I was psyched to see her compete so well!
Andrea Charest

Andrea calm and collected at -6 degrees Fahrenheit

Stylin' on the steeps!
Whit Magro also had a very strong run on the mixed comp route; easily picking up the 4th place title!
Mag-Daddy Whit Magro!

Right at home for Whit!

Whit sussing out the next section

Tough love with the Tuna Roll
The Speed climbing comp was a new addition this year to the Ouray Ice Festival. It provided a nice high-speed experience for athletes and spectators and was surely a home run addition to the festival!
Andrea Charest racing in the speed comp
By Sunday evening, Ouray Colorado was returning to a sleepy mountain town as many of the event participants and vendors headed home. It was easy to see the satisfaction on many faces from yet another spectacular Ouray Ice Festival. We'd like to thank all of the volunteers, participants and vendors who make the Ouray Ice Festival possible. Looking forward to 2014! We hope to see many of you return to Ouray next year!

~ Dean Lords

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Patagonia 2011......

I'm sitting in the Salt Lake air port having just left Bozeman at 6 degrees with a foot of fresh snow. Finally a blessing from the powder gods and I am leaving. Seems to be a standard for me. I'll have to wait until March.

I'm on my way to Patagonia for another round of hopeful alpine climbing. Nate Opp out of Bozeman, Josh Wharton from Colorado, and my self make up our team. We have all the latest and greatest from Mammut to fend off the harsh weather that rips through down here. Most exciting is that we have some huge plans for this trip. I would like to share one of the tools that we used in planning. It's a newish web site that was set up by the foremost expert in Patagonia. Check it out at It's a comprehensive guide to most of the climbing that exists in the Fitz Roy and Torre Groups.

I will be making regular posts at this blog site to keep all those interested in our adventures current to our location and our climbing . Stay tuned and please send us some high pressure.

Whit Magro