22 February 2010

That shrinking feeling

Climbing plans during the last few days have been hit and miss, two days rest went without a hitch then we had decided to climb on the Terminator Wall (or Trophy Wall) the following day. During the approach to the routes my 3 year old, super comfortable boots wore holes in my feet. It seems that the warm air central heating was enough to shrink my boots, so after visit to the ski boot fitters for a stretch we were ready to try for the Terminator Wall again the next day.

"Now where did I leave those axes"

My outing on the Terminator Wall was not perfect either as I began with an attempt at Haunted by Waters. I know where the hold over the roof was meant to be (the photo in the guide is not a red herring) and the route has been done since the first ascent, but not many times judging by the condition I found it in. I can only assume that verglas had put the hold beyond the blind scratchings of my pick.

Me clipping the bolt in the roof (Ramon Marin)

As I didn't want to waste time trying to redpoint Haunted we moved on to plan B: Sea of Vapours by the Postscriptum start and Original Traverse. To start Ramon carefully picked his way up the thin, debonded and brittle ice of Postcriptum in the cold conditions.

Ramon on Postcriptium

Then I was carefully traversing from the belay when Carlos's words popped in to my mind.... There is a thin unprotected traverse on to thin ice then the only way to proceed is to climb up to thicker, protectable ice, all the time threatened by a swing back in to the corner.... It was at this time I requested that Ramon stop taking photos. Once I had placed a couple of screws climbing up little pillars and steep featured ice was good fun then as the angle eased things got less entertaining. We pressed on up featureless hard ice until near the top then as light faded decided to bail.

A mammoth retreat from the Terminator Wall was made longer by having to stomp back up to retrieve an axe that I had left in the snow (they are still going well, thanks Danny).

The Terminator Wall as we found it. Sea of Vapors starts with the thin smear (postcriptum) then joins the right hand ice line.

No comments:

Post a Comment