The ice on the weekend had been super rotten and barely climbable, it was now raining and 10 degrees C, and the forecast was calling for a week of more rain and double digit temps….
Ice climbing season was over.
So on March 20, when Spring officially arrived, I put away my ice climbing gear for the season: I cleaned out my pack, washed my things, lubed my gear, tucked it all away in the gear room and broke out my outdoor rock shoes and harness.
Yeah baby! Bring on the Spring!*
While I had gone out about 2-3 times the previous winter top-roping on rented gear, I would say that this winter was my first real season ice climbing.
I had all my own gear. I lead my first ice climb. And I actually had fun!
(Compared to last year when I was just cold and frustrated, cat-scratching the ice with crampons loosely strapped to over-sized boots wondering miserably why everyone made it look so easy?)
As I reflect on this past ice season, I have some confessions to make.
Things I wouldn’t readily admit too… but will today because I couldn’t come up with any better ideas for a blog post ;)
- Every time I go ice climbing when it is really cold outside, I hold my tongue to my ice pick in a secret experiment to see how cold it has to be for my tongue to stick to it (so far, no conclusions)
- If I get a cut on my face from shattering ice and someone asks about it at work, I usually tell them I was scratched by a friend’s cat. It’s easier.
- One time, while cleaning, I put a quickdraw in my mouth. Don’t do that.
- If I am feeling lazy and the weather says it will be really cold outside, I will leave my gear in the trunk instead of bringing it inside right away and cleaning it.
Longest time gear spent in trunk? 4 days.
- I believe a day of ice climbing burns all the calories from the french fries, beers, burger, brownies, ice cream and boston cream donuts I eat before and afterward
- If I sold all of my ice climbing gear at its full-retail value, I could buy myself a decent new-used car (thinking about this still makes me barf in my mouth a little)
- If there is a long approach, I don’t wear a bra because it gets all sweaty in the back while hiking with a pack. It is a bit awkward later if we go out to a restaurant for food.
- I honestly thought ice climbing would make me a stronger rock climber
- If you can lead WI 4+ or greater I picture what our children might look like for a few minutes after
Anything you’d like to add to the list? Oh wait! I’ve got one more:
Picture Confession: I was only waist deep in the snow for the photo. There is clearly a path dug out on the right we used to get to the climb.
*It turns out this gesture was mostly symbolic, however, as the following week temperatures dropped and stayed between -4 and -12 degrees C. I stubbornly refused to unpack my ice stuff, so while all my friends went ice climbing that weekend, I took Friday off and drove to Kentucky instead…