Four for the Waterfall Wall


Tuesday threatened to congeal into a busy day on Crane Mountain’s ice. Shaun, an erstwhile client of mine, has continued climbing ice on his own for a few years now. He emailed me about a visit to Crane. I was delighted to show him around the joint, but might have to work, so I called up the ever-ready Tom Lane to see if he could show Shaun around should I be unable to do so. Not long thereafter, I received a message from another person planning to visit Crane the same day. He would be coming up from downstate and wanted info about getting to the Waterfall Wall. As Monday evening arrived, so too did Shaun, as well as an email from Steve confirming his plan to come to Crane, with one or two other people. Before the evening was over, Ben called to see if he could get out on ice Tuesday. I was starting to think I’d have to pull off a sock to keep count of who was coming, but things settled down after that and we all got some sleep. 

Tuesday morning, it was cold, but the sky was clear and the air was calm. My phone was, too, which meant I could join any crowd that came. The crowd whittled down a bit with that news: Tom had skied hard, fast, and continuously the day before, and was happy to get some rest today. Steve’s party arrived, a party of two. Ben, who works a late night job, didn’t make it. The potential for seven on ice didn’t come to pass. But four is a good even number, and four it was who headed out this morning for a run up the Waterfall Wall.

Shaun leads the first pitch

Steve and Paul were earlybirds, getting to my house by 7:15am and heading toward the ice before 8. Shaun and I took a more casual pace, since I had to make a few calls before leaving the house. We hit the trail at 9. By the time we reached the flow, the other two were out of sight.

Speedily eating up the second pitch.

No matter. Shaun led rapidly up the first three pitches, we walked the fourth to the base of the fifth, and he led just as swiftly up that one. By the time we reached the top of the penultimate pitch, Steve and Paul were setting a TR on the top one.


I walked around to set our rope on the mixed line to the right, and soon the four of us were swapping lines to sample both the steep ice and the joys of mixed climbing.

Shaun takes his turn on the now-standard finish pitch 

Steve and Paul ran their laps and said good-bye. I mentioned that their walk down would pass directly by Fifi’s Frozen Fingers, but they assured me they were calling it a day. I mentioned that it might be too tempting to pass up, but waved farewell regardless as they descended southward.

The mixed variation to the top pitch

Shaun and I ran our laps on the mixed variation, then broke down the anchors and headed south ourselves. We had no intention of passing up Fifi’s. And I noticed as I scrambled up to set the TR, there were fresh footprints heading the same way. Apparently, it was indeed too alluring.

Look Ma, no hands!

We ran our laps here, and packed up before the sun could sneak behind the mountain’s shoulder. I knew it would get way cold once that happened, so it was time to go. I couldn’t help regretting that we passed up a TR on West Coast Connection, however. As we passed under it, we could see it is in fantastic shape. Perhaps later this week…

Yep, this is FUN

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