Another Starbuck Run

Steve powers up Banana Almond Bread

Steve powers up Banana Almond Bread

Another brief run to Starbuck awards us with even better ice, and this time some company joining in the fun. Tom, Steve, and I made a midweek trip to the now-familiar parking spot on the side of Route 28 and, after an extended delay (don’t ask), headed in to Starbuck Right once again.

Steve stemming through the crux of Cool Beans

Steve stemming through the crux of Cool Beans

Steve was the workhorse this time, loading up the gear and heading up and around to set a line on Cool Beans. While the ice was finally in form for leading, none of us was. Before he rapped down, two more gentlemen came walking in.

Another party led up Dark Roast, the right side of the same fat ice formation

Another party led up Dark Roast, the right side of the same fat ice formation

They expected us a little more than we them, having seen our cars, but still, it is peculiar to see another party ice climbing south of the Chapel Pond region midweek unless (and even if) it is a holiday. As it turns out, this was a holiday for the two who joined us: they were attending their annual Dippikill Reunion. Tom and I had met these two previously, in similar unlikely circumstances, during the same celebration several years ago. They had hiked to and climbed Providence on the same day Tom and I climbed a line to its right.
After reacquainting ourselves with each other, they led up Dark Roast while we three top-roped Cool Beans. We took our time, so after they had run the route and top-roped Banana Almond Bread to boot, we took over their turf as they went over to top-rope some of the skinnier lines.

BananaAlmondBread01

We would end the day on the two lines that share that leftmost steep, fat ice. Our neighbors ran several of lines to our right and were still climbing when we left.
It is obvious the fat lines are even fatter than last week. These and the fat ice lines in the broken alcove to their left are leadable now. However, the smears to the right are beginning to look pretty battered and torn. O’Ryan’s Belt is the only near-undone line, everything else is plenty manageable still, but the use is beginning to show. None of these lines is well-bonded; the thaw must have run water between ice and rock, with the water running down before freezing. The upcoming thaw may wreak havoc on them.

Tom contemplates the crux of Cool Beans

Tom contemplates the crux of Cool Beans

UPDATE: Tom, Paul, & I went in to Starbuck Left on the last day of January. The thaw is indeed ruining things; nothing left of Central was in good shape. We climbed one forty foot line, I believe Ben’s original FA, which was fat at the bottom, hollow and, iceless, and soggy at the top. We will be needing some extended cold weather to climb much other than maybe the fat ice lines of Starbuck Right – and even they are likely to fall down this first week of February.

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