Blue Mountain Ice

Jason starts out leading the Blue Mountain Ice

Jason starts out leading the Blue Mountain Ice

…nothing that you’d travel for.

Thus spake the master; and he is write, er, right. The ice along the Tirrell Pond trail listed in Blue Lines 2 won’t, and shouldn’t, draw a crowd. But for two intrepid ice-scratchers, it did provide a pleasant  amount of climbing surrounded by an even more pleasant forest setting.

Jason has a limited schedule for climbing these days, so when a long weekend lay ahead, we made plans to climb together, his call on the venue. Wanting to avoid the crush in the traditional haunts, and somewhat limited by the rash of warm spells we’ve had this winter, he settled on a snowshoe hike to this locale.

Jason treks by one of many large boulders in the vicinity of the Blue Mountain Ice Flow

Jason treks by one of many large boulders in the vicinity of the Blue Mountain Ice Flow

The trail is certainly easy enough, and the ice is easy to locate. As the trail enters a private inholding, plentiful signs announce the fact. The trail turns into the private land, running along a small cliff, the last vestige of a long, steep ridge running to the west of the trail; at this point, head west along the base of the ridge for perhaps a hundred yards.

Jason, already most of the way up the Blue Mountain Ice Flow

Jason, already most of the way up the Blue Mountain Ice Flow

Jason tied in to the sharp end and led the route, which given its immense height (sixty feet is probably exaggeration), extreme steepness (one might imagine a grade 4 line in really, really fat conditions), and its current state (somewhat mushy, given the 45°F temps), his was a courageous undertaking, handsomely executed.

There is a little potential for other ice climbing near the flow, these being two short, but good-looking options

There is a little potential for other ice climbing near the flow, these being two short, but good-looking options

In all seriousness, we had a good time. The flow is wide enough to climb at least 3 distinct paths, and in better conditions probably is more challenging. Yes, the flow itself is no reason to make the trip, but the trail is interesting, the forest surrounding the area is relatively open, and dotted liberally with large boulders.

Jason is 6'6" tall, so this is not a little boulder!

Jason is 6’6″ tall, so this is not a little boulder!

We walked farther west along the base of the ridge and saw short ice flows that, if not for the warm conditions that day, might have made a full day of climbing. There is a break in the ridge about 100m beyond the standard ice flow, at the top of which appear to be two fifty foot grade 2s, and farther along we spotted a couple narrow, fat strips of ice on steep rock. Here and there may be interesting mixed lines to attempt someday.

The woods at the base of the ridge is full of beech trees with advanced blight wounds, all dead or dying.

The woods at the base of the ridge is full of beech trees with advanced blight wounds, all dead or dying.

Not that I am suggesting anyone lug gear in there to do so…

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