Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gravel Creek Approach and Kid's Corner Comraderie

Friday morning dawned warm and beautiful. The skies were clear and the sun was beaming, truly a perfect day to go climbing in the Matanuska valley. So Lynn, John, and I made plans to go climb the Gravel Creek Pillar. After a fun snowmachine ride in, we gazed up at one of the most aesthetic climbs I have ever seen. Two hundred feet of blue, steep fun, encased in steep canyon walls, it looked like a line out of my dreams, but I was awake. Right as we pulled up a big whorl of spindrift settled over the climb, the sun had just started to hit the canyon wall. We all looked at each other, talked about the unsettling lack of a deposition zone at the bottom of the climb, tucked in a massive avalanche gully. We looked at each other some more, the climb, the loaded snow slopes above the climb in the sun....then I stepped off the machine into the snow...not very encouraging, about 8 inches of heavy snow on top of a foot of facets that looked like bugle chips. An incredibly perfect upside down snowpack, and an avalanche waiting to happen. We talked about how stupid we would feel if we got caught. I racked my brain for excuses of why it was safe. Its hard to walk away from a beautiful climb on a sunny day, but thats what we did.

Lynn the Beautiful Alien Head


The Banks of the Matanuska River


Lynn in a Sno Go Snow Swirl


The Goods


The Goods on Zoom

So after bailing on the climb, we went and giggled our way up kids corner....or I should say Lynn and I giggled, and John the token male didn't giggle, but laughed at and with us. An awesome day out, albeit an easy climbing one, and difficult decision making day.

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Clint Helander said...

Sweet climb eh? That left side had me shaking on TR. What an amazing climb. The middle is a super fun solid WI4, fun fun fun!

See you on Sunday with TAC!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sherrie,

My name is Todd, I ran into you working for Ascending Path at Ripple one weekend. I was looking at the ice condition forum on the site and found my way to your blog. Either way I wanted to just let you know that my belayer and I are not incompetent. It turns out that the second rope I was trailing was only 60m and the rope I climbed on was 70m, that is why I could not make the ground. We both felt like jack asses in front of another professional. Looks like you have been having a good ice season. Take it easy and enjoy the ice before its gone.