Ryan and I met up with Makenzie, an awesome valdez local, and headed back up to Sheep Creek. We weren't really sure how long the route we wanted to climb was since it disappeared up the folds of a rock coloir, but the initial pitch looked cruiser.
True to the nature of Valdez things are one again bigger than they look. Four hundred feet of ice later on "the first pitch" I pulled over the last bulge. From here it was a steep 300 ft snow slope to the base of the next step.
A full 200 foot pitch of fun climbing took us to the base of another small step that unfortunately we couldn't see above. This is when the occasional trickle of melting snow and ice became a full on small avalanche that flew by me and Ryan but some pieces hit Makenzie below.
Mackenzie at the Top of the Third Pitch
There wasn't much debate on whether we should bail after that. While Ryan belayed Mackenzie I set the V-thread. I wish I could have seen over that last little step, because I know there is a lot more ice up there. Next time.
The conditions necessary to make this approach and routes feasible are a low snow year, but enough snow to fill in the holes in the creek, cloudy days where it doesn't snow, or early starts before the sun warms up enough to cause rock and snow avalanches. These things don't often all come together in Valdez!