Waterfall Wall Kicks In

Despite the frigid conditions, after a day cooped up with chores and paperwork, I decided to race out to Crane’s Waterfall Wall and see how it looked. It looked…marvelous.

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My Hometown Ice 

Having left the house at 2:45, there wasn’t a lot of time to for gawking. I pulled on crampons, donned the helmet, and grabbed tools. The ice’s appearance proved to be somewhat deceptive: as I rapidly gained height, a well-placed tool hit the ice and sent a shocking fracture lightning-quick in two directions. A deep crack sounded, and I felt in my feet the ice shift. It was a bit worrisome, but fortunately the route lies on low-angle slab; any breakage would almost certainly remain in place. Still, every time the ice did this – and it did this several times – it was very unsettling.

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The Tempest Variation lies behind me.

I reached the top without incident and continued upward. The second pitch was less prone to fracture, and of course quickly becomes more an ice stroll than climb.

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Sorry about all the vanity pix. This is midway up pitch 2. 

Dispatching that in short order, the short third pitch got the thwack treatment.

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The third pitch lies behind me 

I kept going, up the nontechnical (i.e. “walk-up”) fourth pitch and the fifth pitch, in rapidly diminishing light and equally declining temperature. In view of the last pitch, I turned homeward. That cherry topping would have to wait for the next day.

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Stylin’ the Single Tool up pitch 1.

Postscript: Jamie and I got up the entire route today, including that steep upper pitch. I only whined a little. And the bottom pitch was incredibly well-healed. Apparently, my pokes and stabs of the previous afternoon allowed water to escape and run down the falls, healing those fractures, coating the entire route in a fresh frosting of soft, comforting ice. In short, the ice is in well right now. Get on it!

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Cashing in on the 4- top pitch. Two tools for this one!

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