Belaying out of a cave is a luxury. You are blocked from the wind and most importantly falling ice bombs from your partner.
Bill Looking Out
Inside the Cave
Once we got going again Bill lead off on the second pitch and within no time was at the end of our 230 foot rope. He literally had about 3 feet of slack when he reached the anchor. Hurray for long ropes!!!!
Although this also meant that it was my turn to lead. The only pitch that I never wanted to lead all day. The dreaded Killer Piller. This year the killer is not so killer at all but the thing is, in my mind it can't be anything but the hardest pitch of ice in the whole world. I mean come on it has a special name and everything, and its not the fluffy bunny pitch....its the killer, as in dead, pillar as in steep as vertical gets. But again this is all in my head.
Me Looking up at the Killer Piller
Photos By Bill Billmeier
So I start out traversing across the snow, until I reach the ice. To make the whole climb even worse in my mind there is spindrift continually drifting down MY line. I was so fed up before i even got to the ice! When I step off of a full footed surface to kicking into ice with two small points on my crampons, it makes things feel steeper and harder. Again most of this is all in my head, really its just fine.
The climb was short, steep and super sweet. It looked like a grade two from below, but it wasn't, or didn't feel like it to me! I was super psyched when I popped up above the ice onto the snow ramp that leads to the safety of the alder trees. Then i started to belay Ryan and Bill up.
I'm really still not sure how they pulled it off but Ryan and Bill managed to climb at the same time up this last pitch and so topped out together at the same time.
Bill and I
We all enjoyed the sun for a few moments and then decided we had best get out of there and back to the car. We still had to drive to Anchorage. We ended up rappeling down the opposite side of the climb than the route we took up.
Killer Piller Belay Cave
Friends Helping Friends
There ended up being another really nice cave lower down with an anchor already all set up. It kinda snuck up on you. It was a pretty narrow entrance, but was surprisingly roomy inside.
Ryan rappelled first and in this pic you can see him at the bottom. Bill took this picture of me
Bill Rappeling out of the Hole
The hole looks so small from down below. It was amazing that it was so big inside. This was an awesome climb, although I had some special moments on it, as usual. I hope you all enjoyed looking at the pictures, feel free to skip the ramblings!!
Leaving the Climb behind in the Sun
One More Self Portrait