Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hyalite to the grill

Was up in Bozeman for a few days hanging with my good friends Whit and Kimberly. Putting up new routes, having fun, and checking out the new and easy winter access to the canyon.

The mineral that the canyon is named after:

The ice was generally in bad shape (sans the WI3's) and taking dinner plates to the face was a common occurrence.

Da U.P.

aka The Upper Pennisula

What happens when an entire trip is built on one photo of one climb? What happens when this one climb is an ice climb? What happens when said climb is no where to be found? You roll with the punches.

The photo i've been dreaming about for two years:

and what we found:

Ice is a fickle beast and I know better. During our 5 days of climbing on the shores of Lake Superior near Munising, Michigan, we were experiencing what we thought were 'fat' conditions. Everything seemed to be 'in'. So to our suprise, 2 days before we left, we finally went to go climb Singing in the Rain. After the 7.5 mile approach we searched all day, looking for the climb, navigating with our crappy map. Frustated, with turned back, and noticed that the climb was right before our eyes the entire day - it just wasn't there...

All was not lost and we found some great climbs, some climbed and some not. The potential for short, hard ice routes in this area is HUGE.

The Worst 3 Miles

On a recent successful mission to climb a forgotten ice flow in Zion National Park, we got completly schooled on the approach. The dirt roads we thought we were going to drive, were buried under 3 feet of snow. Not just any snow, but snow with a breakable crust. 6 out of every 10 steps would bring you crashing through, sinking up to your knees, sometimes your thighs, with the crust bashing your shins everytime as if tenderizing a t-bone. It reminded me of something my dad used to tell us when we were kids, 'if your gonna be stupid you better be tuff'. Well we were definetly tough this day.

I will always bring a set of skis when ice climbing from now on. Lesson learned.

Friday, January 23, 2009

South Ridge or Bust...


On a recent outing to shoot a pair of gloves for a client, Shingo and I decided to try the south ridge of Mt. Superior in the winter. Being a family man and all, coupled with deadlines, I had only one day for the shoot. and boy was it a doozy. We were greeted with limited visibility, wading through chest deep snow, and crazy corniced ridges. We made it up through the summer 'crux' just above suicide chute and called it quites on the upper technical ridge due to fading light and our noon start. After a quick rappel back down to Suicide we had our skis on. Instead of tempting fate with Suicide we dropped off the backside into the unknown. Oh man, that is a cool chute to ski, i will be back to photograph and i will be back to complete the ridge in winter...

Office Space

Man Cave Update - aka JTs cube

What happens when you leave on vacation the first time (China)- all your posters get turned upside down... What happens when you leave on vacation the second time (Mali)- you get a cubical sized PBR mobile... Whats the third time have in store?

New Year's in the Needles

This could very well be my new favorite time of year to climb in the Needles (South Dakota). No cars, no people, a nice three mile bike ride to acres and acres of endless potential. It was chilly, like highs in the 20s, so climbing hard was out of the question. Instead, we decided on climbing easy routes to easy summits in search of original summit registers. Luck was on our side and we found a few....