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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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