Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Toast to the Good Life & the Season

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view..." Edward Abbey

Climbers know that Old Rag season starts on a crisp winter, fall or spring day when the sun hits the slabs and the friction is good. The season goes till it gets hot, buggy, overgrown,and overcrowded. Be sure to go out prepared, but Old Rag season is right now and it's off to a fantastic start!

Does it get any better? I think the answer is no.

Good Days for Ducks

Heavy snow-melt, spring rains, flooding and cold wet feet are an acquired taste, but good days for ducks will bring the blooms and make the sunny warm ones all the better.

The Canadian goose pictured above(3-15) was loving the banks of the mighty Shenandoah river. The gentle waves lapped against the nearly flooded town of Harpers Ferry bringing food within easy bill-reach.

The Crocuses aren't native, but they are up, and beautiful!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Routes with a View

People say that your dreams, are the only things that save ya. - The Arcade Fire

At Shenandoah Mountain Guides we live our dreams. Many nights we dream of climbing ice, and in Virginia and West Virginia we have climbed a lot of it. We don't lead guided ice trips, sorry, too dangerous, but here's a couple pictures I couldn't help but put up.

The above picture is one I am proud of, as the route was very hard for me. Protected by rock gear, I lobed off the lower rock holds three years in a row! On the day I finally climbed it I first backed down scared. Second try I took the whipper (lead fall) and for the first time in my climbing career, a piece of gear pulled. The fall was arrested quickly by the piece just below, which was in a much better crack. I stepped up shaking for my third go, it would be the last either way.
I have nothing to compare to the feeling of completing a route like that, but I love it, and I think it's why I love to show others climbing so much.
The climb was a first ascent, and I named it Fire and Ice.

The next two pictures are also on ice formations we are very likely to be the first to have climbed, although, they are on a very recognizable rock out-cropping, which can be easily seen from a road. On the right side of the cliff Jeremy's Medicine Man overlooks a beautiful view and is climbed via a steep ice ramp leading to a thin pillar finish.

On the left side of the cliff I climbed through some reachy rock moves that lead to the windblown icicle pictured behind me below. After a couple delicate moves to get out on the ice I enjoyed a deep breath, the valley view, and thirty feet of fun, easier climbing. I named the route The Snotcicle, you will know why if you see it.

Now that the snow and ice are melting, we have started to have rock dreams. Here's a couple friends chilling on the top after a great climb up the prow above the Cacapon river.
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