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2005 02 05 Ice Fournel

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So this weekend I helped out with the outing club with ice climbing. We took out people on nice long routes. This valley has more than a hundred ice climbs!! it is pretty incredible.

I, considering my upper body has suffered from lower-body-only winter activities like skiing, wanted to take some beginners on an easy 3 route. I tripled up with Garth, a south african, and Mark, an englishman, greeat!, the team foreigners!, in fact we decided it would be silly to speak in french, although every once in a while we would switch... bref... In the morning, we lost about one hour searching for this 3 route which looked like it was not there, i.e. a short section of ice with lots of snow. So we decided to do the 15 minute approach route where everybody is on. To kill time, we did the first pitch of Colosse de Rhodes, the first pitch rated a 4 or 3+. Luckly these trade routes can be done with no effort (really, if you make a hole yourself, you are dumb considering you can find a pre-made hole in any square foot of ice.

Finally our route was cleared and we headed up. The first two pitches were really nice, then we had a snow ramp. In order to save time, I let Mark and Garth climb ahead (while placing plenty of protection) to save on rope stacking... We finally got to what was suppose to be the last pitch, I offered for them to lead it, but they said no, something like it is steep.. jesus, I have to do everything, lead up to it fine, it was also a very nice pitch, but these things are long, and I made it within 8 meters of the top. Looking at the watch, I notice it was getting late, but considering how much time we had lost in the morning, and that I knew the way/rap down, I let them do the pitch too.... yadi yadi yadi ya... we rapped in the dark... yadi yadi yadi ya, we got back late, pissing a lot of people off... I hope it won't happen again, that is all I can say (and we'll clearly specify a rendezvous time).

The second day, we switched Garth for the wordy Mathieu, and headed out to search another "3". We walked with Alex and co. Finding our three not in condition, great, we took on the 4 that Alex had done the previous day. The route was excellent, but this time unfortunately, being a south facing climb, all the holes (pick and screws) were filled up through the night, so I actually climbed this one all by myself, the crux is a short 3 meter vertical section. Mark and Mathieu followed very well, and then we just fooled around with the second and last pitch.

Oh did I mention that I have gone leashless! it is really the way to go, you can rest your arms so much more than with leashes...this trip a lot of first for me, climbing leashless, and climbing with BC skiing boots, which work great.

We'll see what the rest of the winter brings, and I seems that I have not been ostrecized from the club yet... luckily for me the boards from both clubs don't talk to each other :)

Photos: H=Hector, J=Julien, M=Mark


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