On the feathers edge of death we know who we are. Today was a great day in the mountains, the temps began at 18 degrees when we started around 9am and by the time we made it into town it was almost 70 degrees in the mid afternoon sun. Warm temps or wild horses couldn't pull me away from the ice a day sooner then I must say goodbye to Hyalite. As some of you know April 1st the road into Hyalite closes for six weeks (or what I call rock climbing season). But today was a day of lessons and they were important.
Today's objective was on Northern facing slopes in Hyalite. The forecast called for a large temperature spike by midday and the forecast was right on the money. We hit (and I led) Dielectric Breakdown WI5+, Curtains WI4 and Over Easy WI3. We knew we needed to climb fast to avoid wet slides even on the Northern facing climbs so we set out to move fast and efficient. On the Southern facing slopes we witnessed several large avalanches rolling over ice climbs. Our choice to stay on Nothern facing slopes was a very good one.
But today's lesson wasn't about what I did right. While climbing Dielectric Breakdown WI5+ a thin smear of ice, something that shouldn't happen, happened. The ice was thin but good when my two feet blew out and one of my tools popped off. It was on that razors edge of my left tool that I found some true inspiration. This climb was well within my grade but I made it harder. I should have done better but I didn't. This climb is basically an easy top rope the trick is not to knock it down while leading it. That means that leading it is basically a head game and I'm good at that. It's moments like this that inspire me to train more, dig deeper and not give up. Being left with the only the razors edge of my left tool in the ice, I wasn't scared, I was mad. There's no place in the program that I run for sketchy BS.
I spend as many days as I can on my tools. In the summer dry tooling and in the winter getting after it on ice. I do this because I love ice climbing as much as anything on earth. Failing to raise my bar would be an abandonment of my love. As the seasons begin to change from winter to spring I know one thing: I can do better, and I must. It's not that winter is leaving, winter is coming ;) - Be ready, be ferocious, climb hard.