Sunday, December 7, 2008

Caribou Creek

Every time I go to Caribou I'm reminded how long of a day it really is. I can safely say that with the drive it takes 8 hours just to get to and from the climbs. At this time of the year that means you start in the dark, end in the dark, and hopefully were on route for the short amount of daylight available. But its totally worth it, so I do it every year.

Something happened to the way the water flows above Cantellya this year, and it spilled over to a whole new rock face. Its huge, steep and sick, I just wasn't feeling sassy enough to tackle it, so I led the lefter line on the standard first pitch. Even the easy looking line felt wicked steep.
Sometimes its hard for me to suck it up and take the hard proud line, I always wish I did when I'm back on the ground, but usually content to be a scaredy cat while I'm climbing. Sometimes its hard to find the balance between pushing my boundaries, scaring myself shitless, or it being too easy. Maybe I'm just not into the groove yet, but steep ice still feels really hard right now. Its frustrating to have climbed for so many seasons, and feel nervous about a pitch I've led before. Although I think every time I've led this particular pitch its always been challenging. Caribou creek is always a humbling adventure for me, whether I epic or not.

Cantellya on Steroids


Me Approaching the Base of Cantellya
Photo By: Doug Jewell

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One thing I am grateful for is fantastic climbing partners. Lynn, Doug and I were so on top of it Saturday morning, we left Anchorage by 7:30am. Plus cheerful company on freezing belay ledges really makes the day go better.

Lynn, Me, and Doug


Doug and Lynn roshed for the second pitch and Doug won. Although the ice wasn't particularly steep, it was horribly cantankerous, and Doug had to battle with microwave size ice bulges breaking off, and somewhere in there snapped a pick. I wanted to stand on my pedestal and preach about black diamonds amazingly fragile B rated pick, but he broke a T rated one, so I can't now. He borrowed my tools and went back up, ran out of screws, debated a v thread, but in the end picked up a screw from lower down, and finished the pitch. Its good to see others push themselves and succeed.

Doug Leading the Second Pitch


Lynn and I got to the top right about as it was getting dark, and since my headlamp was in my pack far far away, I was grateful.

The Car

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1 comment:

chris said...

I have never heard of China Doll. Are you referring to Redemption? From your pics, that climb is in big this year. That high pillar on the left that drops out of the middle of the wall usually comes in every year but is in real fat from the looks of your pic. It looks like Graveyard has finally come back from the dead. And, it looks like Kantellia has taken a turn in its formation with most of the ice forming left. The Thag pillar is sick. Looks like you guys did it on foot. Makes for a long day, no?