The Transition Continues

Yesterday, I didn’t quite rocket out of school at the end, but I didn’t waste a lot of time, either. Arriving at the Crane Mountain Trailhead at 3:15p, I grabbed my pre-packed gear, threw off dress clothes, slapped on outdoor duffs and snowshoes, and motored to the Measles Wall. My shovel work of the previous afternoon had minimal payback: I Am Lesion was still completely soaked, but H1N1 while not dry was close enough to top-rope. Didn’t hurt that I used real climbing shoes this time ’round. It was a fun return to Crane Mountain rock climbing.

There was a dry swathe of rock left of the as-yet unclimbed center route, so I shifted the belay over to it and spent the rest of my two-hour stint there falling up that line. It’s schtinkin’ hard. I managed to get every move, but one or two of them are reallll marginal, and linking them all together will be very challenging. Of course, once the rock to the right dries off, things get a lot easier, basically hugging close to H1N1 and using many of the same holds. But that left variation will always be there for those wanting stiffer ascents.

While I climbed, I heard occasional crashes of ice falling off the Upper Measles Wall. There wasn’t a lot of that left to fall down, by now I suspect it’s all gone. I didn’t go over to check Wedding Cake, but it probably could still be climbed. Not that it would be fun: the steep faces are probably not safe, and the low-angle tiers would be snow-slogs.

I’ve been ice climbing for something like 20 years now, but until the last three or so, I never really considered it “my” sport. It was just something I did to bridge the gap between climbing seasons – rock climbing seasons, that is. That has changed: for the first time, I’m sad to see the season end. It is ending earlier than usual, and in all likelihood rock climbing will be sparse for another month. Moreover, I had a bunch of projects I was itching to tackle this year, many of which I couldn’t make happen. These all play a part in wanting the season to last a bit longer. No doubt the sun will shine, the cliffs will warm up, and I’ll soon be ecstatically pitching myself upward on rock, but for awhile, I am going to miss ice climbing.

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