Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ice Time in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Adventure Report - submitted by Nate Smith

Earlier this week we climbed all 5 pitches of the great white icesicle in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Overall we moved at a great pace, especially considering this was my friend Brady's first multi-pitch ascent.

The first and second pitch of climb were pretty straight forward, good purchase and good ice. The crux came on the super fun and a little buldgy 3rd pitch. Because of time, we debated on whether or not to descend at that point. I had never done the last two pitches and was eager to try them so we opted to go for it.

Starting on the 4th pitch the ice got a little thin in some areas. We worked through it after some dicey manouvering to find better ice. The fifth pitch ended up being what I felt was the most technical part of the climb. It started with a traverse out, vertical up, winding staircase around and ending with another vertical up. We topped out at some trees and decsended via the walkoff. Super fun, super excited to have completed the entire route. Amazingly good time!

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Beta and gear recommendations: This time of the year a couple of warnings are for the 4th and 5 th pitch. The ice is starting to get thin right now and the rain we just had probaly makes this even worse.

A few gear pieces I was stoaked on were:
  • Grivel Alp Wing ice tools - Light and strong they handle super well as both an alpine and vertical ice tool.
  • Grivel Ultimate 360 degree Ice Screws - They grab the ice super well, enter super quick, and the design allows the bolt hanger to hand regardless of the shape of the ice.
  • Beal Joker 9.1 climbing rope - I believe its the smallest single line on the market right now. We used a 70m cut that allows you to descend the Great White one pitch at a time if needed. Super light, easy to clip and great to handle in an alpine environment.
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