Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's Still Winter at the O'Malley Waterfall

I feel like I stepped back into winter yesterday complete with blue ice and blowing snow. Lynn and I went with a loose plan to the Glen Alps parking lot. Since we weren't sure of the best way to go we ended up taking a modified approach above the summer trail that goes to Williwaw Lakes. The snow was firm and cruiser for scale skis and I never had to put on my skins.

Lynn Skiing with Ptarmigan Mountain in the Background


It took us about 2.5 hours to get to the climb. The O'Malley waterfall is beautiful, its been over a month since I've seen ice that blue.

Looking out of the Cave


Lynn won the rosh for the first pitch and took a really pretty line, the ice was high quality with some steepness to it.

Lynn Leading the First Pitch


Spin drift would intermittently come down and coat us, at first it was refreshing, then it got cold. At the top of the second pitch it became unrelenting and it began to feel as if I was being avalanched on a little at a time. By the time Lynn got to the belay the wind had picked up even more and I was coated with snow. Both of us agreed that the situation was less than ideal and that we should retreat with haste. Setting a V thread with constant snow sweeping down proved very challenging. The holes got clogged, I would bend down to try and look and more snow would pour over my head...a little unpleasant.

Lynn in the Wind

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Since we only brought one rope, three V-threads later we were back on the ground and went back in the cave to recuperate. Its been a while since I've gotten thoroughly whacked by the weather. It was a nice reminder that even though its starting to feel like summer in the lowlands, there is still plenty of winter left in the mountains.

The O'Malley Waterfall

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Although we didn't do the loop like we had idealized I have no regrets bailing. This climb will be in for a while yet.

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