Monday, February 25, 2013

Monumental Achievements

One of the great things about climbing is that it's an extremely personal pastime (call it a sport if you want). You challenge yourself as much or as little as you like. Like many other sports endeavors it's counterproductive to compare yourself to others. It's best to set personal goals, and then try to achieve them. At the same time climbing can be intensely social, and the bond you develop with your partners is a special one.
I spent five days last week climbing at Lake Willoughby with two individuals who were relative newcomers to "The Lake". For some, ice climbing at the Lake is a stepping stone to even bigger and harder climbing objectives. For most, however, climbing at the Lake is a gigantic notch in one's climbing belt and a great goal to shoot for as an ice climber. There are more big ice routes here, in one place, than there are at any other spot outside of the Canadian Rockies and Newfoundland. If you're an ice climber in the US it's a "must visit" spot.

If you've never climbed at the Lake, it's a trip. Full 60-meter pitches test your fitness, strain your calves, and require precise tool placements. If you put a pedometer on your arms, the number of swings per day would likely number in the thousands. It's quite the proving ground for ice climbers looking for a challenge.

Here are a few shots from my trips there last week.

Maryana leading on the Tablets

The second pitch of "Road Warrior" has outstanding traditional mixed climbing.

The awesome traverse on pitch 1 of "Road Warrior"

Maryana leading pitch 1 of The Glass Menagerie. I suspect
 we'll be hearing about her a lot a few seasons from now.

Moonrise at Sunset. A lovely place to be.
Fern, swinging for the fences with his new Grivel Quantums 

Art Mooney and Mike on the Tablets

Hanging with straight arms is good technique.

Fern looking solid near the top of the Left Tablet on
a very warm sunny day, quite the treat.
Thank you Maryana and Fern for being fun, safe partners and solid climbers during our days at the Lake. Looking forward to seeing you both soon!