I’ve been in Bozeman for the last two days and after today’s session we’ll start the drive home. I woke up early this morning after a fitfull night’s sleep. After spending a half hour trying to fall asleep I decided to get up get my free breakfast and feed my internet addiction.
After two days my hands are sore, and after a short tumble on what ended up being sugar snow over hard ice my knees are a black and blue train wreck. Some how my shoulder has managed to hold without too much pain. Maybe it’s starting to get better. I took five days off, which is a lot for me, to rest it before this trip and I was feeling everyone of those “rest” days on our hike in yesterday.
Our plan was to climb ” The Dribbles” however we ended up climbing “Curtains” which is just a tad bit harder. It was the longest stretch of vertical ice I’ve ever climbed and I was pumped silly. Of course most of this is due to my wonderfully lacking skills. Thinking there was going to be more of that I was ready to bail. However the last two pitches provided some rambling WI2 ice with a nice coating of sugar. I let my gaurd drop and took a bit of a tumble and slide. This scared the shit out of me and I screamed what was described as a “scream of terror”. As I slide I had a vision of the rope coming taught and ripping out the belay taking Dave and Troy along with it.
Luckily that didn’t happen and I came to a stop after sliding 12-15 feet. Troy said my face carried a look of panic. The impact was hard enough that my tether managed to unclip from my tool and clip to the rope that Troy was climbing on. Somehow I managed to hang on to the tool. I sunk it as deep as I could and quickly tried to unweight the belay. After untangling from the ropes I climbed like hell the rest of the way.
The three of us rapped from a small ass tree at the top of the third pitch. The tree was stressful, but out of the way of the huge snow slab sitting up above. Unfortunetly, the next two raps were right in the middle of the gully. I have never been that stressed on rappel. I went last on each rappel so I got to spend the longest time worrying about what could come my way.
Once I touched down and pulled the ropes I sat down shoveled some food down my gullet and said “I can’t wait to get back to the car, where this whole thing will be fun”. Sure enough after navaigating the trail in the dark with no headlamp I could look back at the whole thing as fun. So be it.
I want to end with a short rant. Rappeling is stressful and I don’t understand how it could possibly be a sport in and of itself. It is probably the most dangerous part of climbing. But then again some people think ice climbing is pretty dumb too.
I’ll post some photos once I get back.