East Vail Ice

East Vail Ice

March 18th, 2011

Elias, Bridgette, & Ben

Routes:

Rigid Designator WI5, 115ft

Cupcake Corner WI4-5 M5, 75ft

With so much powder piling up above the ice falls in the east Vail chutes it had given me little reason not to keep riding the deep.  Yet after work an opportunity to climb with one of the valley’s best, Elias aka the Spaniard, is hard to turn down.  My ice climbing experience is rather limited but I am still drawn to the challenge of a different kind of climbing.  Putting on crampons and swinging axes feels awkward at first, but soon it becomes an extension of your body.  It opens up the world of rock allowing for different moves up things that might be unclimbable without tools.  Setting the pick of the ice axe into vertical slots only wide enough to slip a quarter into or placing a point of your crampon on a sliver of a seam.  It also takes some mental adjustments climbing with tools.  It is now possible to reach higher while torquing on smaller seams.  Then once you are hanging by a seam it takes your confidence a little while to gain the trust of your tools holding you to a pillar of ice.

Here are some photos from Cupcake Corner…

Elian on Cupcake Corner

Elias on Cupcake Corner

Elias topping out on Cupcake

Elias topping out on Cupcake

Ben Lysdahl cranking up the mixed climbing

Ben Lysdahl cranking up the mixed climbing

Ben with The Fang in the forground

Ben with The Fang in the forground

Bridgette finding a spot for her axe

Bridgette finding a spot for her axe

Weston moving onto the icing of the Cupcake (Photo - Stanley Rose)

Weston moving onto the icing of the Cupcake (Photo - Stanley Rose)

Last couple of moves to the top (Photo - Stanley Rose)

Last couple of moves to the top (Photo - Stanley Rose)

The only way to describe  Elias climbing is; a powerful yet delicate elegant dance on ice.  He makes quick work, never second guessing a move, swinging the axe hard but never to hard, and always moving upwards on the 115′ pillar of ice.  In about 10 minutes he was making his final moves, pulling himself over the top of the vertical section of ice falls.  Standing atop this giant icicle looking down, yelling for a lower, he passed the mere 3 ice screws placed on the way up.  For those of you who get a chance to climb with Elias it is a great pleasure, even just a chance to watch will probably get you excited enough to want to try it for yourself.

Photos from the Rigid Designator…

Elias leading the Rigid Designator

Elias leading the Rigid Designator

Elias high up on the Rigid Designator

Elias high up on the Rigid Designator

Elias flying up

Elias flying up

Elias leading

Elias leading

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1 Comment

Filed under All Posts, Snow, Winter

One response to “East Vail Ice

  1. Kelly Malmquist

    Very cool.

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