Saturday, March 26, 2011

World Cup Wall in RMNP - 3.6.11

Ryan and I skinning the rescue trail
Ski and Ice Climbing day in the Park

The 2010/11 ice season has been pretty good to me.  I have climbed in Ouray, RMNP, I70 areas and many other locations in Colorado.  I've been able to get out to multiple new areas as well.  Recently I was able to check out a new area with my friend Ryan Bogus.  We were prepared to skin into Black Lake and climb two hard routes, Stoneman and Yellow Curtain, but instead a closer wall of ice caught our eye and we decided to cut the trek short.  2.5 miles instead of 6 miles sounded very enticing to us and the proximity was also good in regard to weather and wind conditions.  Glacier Gorge was holding snow and it was deep so flotation was required, so we stepped into our skis, threw some pretty heavy packs onto our backs, and skinned in to the World Cup wall in RMNP.
This is the hiking and skinning trail we
took to get to the ice

Check out the map to the left that I made using the My Tracks Android app on my phone.  The world Cup wall in Rocky is rarely climbed because of the difficult approach and we had a heck of a time getting to the wall.  We skinned the rescue trail and made good time to the Chaos Canyon junction.  We noticed the ice up to the right and back toward Lake Haiyaha in a band of ridges so we broke our own skin trail and headed back to the north east.  There were a couple ribs of rock and deep snow with steep slopes so we knew it was going to be a while before we would gain the top of the ridge and be able to skin back to the wall.  We tried to cut a Z skin trail up over one of the ribs, but to no avail.  The slope had slide potential and the snow was incredibly deep.
Check out more after the break!

We were forced to get out of our skis and wallow up the hill through the trees where the snow was more wind blown and conducive to hiking.  We strapped our skis to our packs and made a slow but steady pace to the top.  After what felt like an hour of hoofing it up the snowy incline we hit the rib and got up to a rock wall.  We threw the skis back on and rounded the corner toward what we thought would be the good section of the ice.  Just around the corner was the ice we saw from the trail far below.  This area was amazing!  Right away we noticed potential much like Loch Vale.  There were multiple lines with stunning routes and what looked like difficulties ranging from easy warmups to hard mixed test pieces.  There were roofs of rock with ice curtains and gullies full of ice. We counted at least 4 pure ice lines and at least another 8 mixed routes!

Ryan and I working our way up to the ridge
Notice all the ice down the ridge from Ryan!!!
Ryan on the first route...WI3+/4.  The mixed
route is just to the left.
Ryan on the last route a mixed M6-ish line
Ryan on our ski descent back to the car
The day was long with the skinning, hiking and climbing.  We had a great time climbing a couple warm up ice routes and we checked out what turned out to be a M6 with some ice for the top out.  We had a great time and got some good climbing in.  I can't wait to get back to this area, the potential is huge!!!

Video will be coming soon!