Friday, November 20, 2009

It's Bigger than it Looks: Gravel Creek Pillar

Bill emailed me a picture of the gravel creek pillar last week, it looked mean and beautiful, I thought Bill could lead it for sure. He told me that it was a 2 hour approach from the yurt, I said maybe I would come up the night before and we could leave super early, and a plan was made.

The Gravel Creek Pillar
"In all its early season glory"
photo by: Bill Billmier

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The Pretty Approach


I'm always astounded at how different climbs look at different angles, it truly is a reoccuring theme of amazement in my life. The picture of the pillar above looks gnarly. By the time I was standing underneath the climb looking up it looked about 100 feet tall, 50 feet of that mellow grade 2 ice....

Me Being Deliberate
Photo: Bill Billmier


It felt steeper and longer than it looked from the ground. Sometimes that happens just because I'm leading, and sometimes like this day, it really is a long pitch. The feet on this climb were amazing, huge ledgy steps and wide stems, but the ice felt steep, about the hardest I want right now. It went good, but I had to concentrate : )

Bill lead the upper pitch and it was super fun. The ice was bone dry, a sharp contrast to the rain shower on the pitch before.

Upper Pitch

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A fantastic day out.

Top Out Shot




John N said...

How was it getting across the Matanuska River?

Sherrie Soltis said...

thats a funny question because I crossed it in the dark both times, mostly on foot, but had a packraft for just in case. Things would probably be ok in the light, but can't say for sure.