Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mineral Creek Exploration

Ry and I got to Valdez late Friday night, although we did the customary shine the headlights on Bridal Veil, it was still too murky to get a good look. So we headed up the canyon early Saturday morning....things were looking doable, yet harder than usual. The river was open and flowing all seemed too difficult for our first day out in Valdez.

The last bunch of years I've been wanting to go back Mineral Creek but the avalanche danger has always been too high...this year there isn't that much snow in the mountains, and the sun doesn't get high enough in the sky for long enough to really create back we went...

Ry Heading Back Mineral Creek


If I was leading grade 6 pillars right now, I would have been so psyched by all the sweet ice back there. Seriously it was insane. But I'm not leading grade 6, and neither is Ry. There are a few grade 3 climbs back there, but they looked seriously unappealing with a foot of snow on them. Ry and I spied a piece of ice high in a narrow canyon and decided that was probably the best thing to check out.

Ry Heading up the Canyon Fever Gully


The canyon was a lot longer than it looked from the ground...and steeper. We got to a chockstone with water running under it and could spy a short step of ice above. I tapped around at the ice on the side and with little encouragement the small curtain collapsed. I fished around an ice covered snow cone for potential screws, but came up empty...a spindrift from nowhere came down and rained on our heads....I looked down at 800 feet of steep snow and ice, my inner anxiety rose up and I was all of sudden not super psyched to keep going....then I started doubting that we were in the right gully, turning around seemed like a logical option...although now sitting in the hotel typing all I can think wasn't that bad, I totally should have went for it...

High Point....LAME!


The ice to Ry's left is what I knocked down, and it was way steeper and bigger than it looks in the picture...but not that bad...that's the one thing that I hate about climbing is that I feel like a total loser when I back down on something that in retrospect I know I should have done, but in the moment it didn't add frustrating! If I don't let stuff like this go though I'll quit climbing all together.

So far away from a life goal of leading Wowie Zowie! This is one of the most beautiful pieces of ice that I have ever seen...absolutely amazing how steep and long this route is.

The Jaw Dropping Totally Intimidating Wowie Zowie

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Although I didn't really get much climbing in, it was still a gorgeous day out exploring a cool little side valley in Valdez, and I got awesome views all day of Wowie Zowie...very aptly named!

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