"Laura?" I turned around in Wilson's Friday afternoon to see Steve Larson striding towards me. Apparently he and his climbing partner, Mischa, had been slogging around on the North Ridge of Mt. Tom, but decided to turn to their Plan B. Now, I already had a plan to go play around Saturday, but when they emphatically encouraged me to join them in Lee Vining Canyon on Saturday, how could I say no?? Plans were solidified later over filets and a 2003 Heitz Cellar Cab (THANKS, MISCHA!!!) back at the Moose Lodge.
Ice Climbing at Lee Vining Canyon!
Not in a million years would I have thought I would stand at the base of a frozen cascade with a rope tied through my harness. But here I was, trudging up LVC with Steve and Mischa, into fairly g-d awful headwinds (quite the wind event yesterday out here: I almost saw an 18-wheeler lose it!). It wasn't too cold, except for the wind and blowing snow:
But we were at Chouinard Falls, along with the rest of the crowds, by 9:30 or so, and Steve set up our route for the day:
We ended up doing laps here. My first try was, well, not quite an utter failure, but I did lose all grip strength and felt the worst pump ever in my forearms. (I tend to forget that I've been blessed with ginormous leg strength, and leave them out to hang!) But, I felt tremendously safe on the top rope, so I was rearing to give it another go. Mischa was also relatively new to ice climbing, but he is a climber with a ton of experience, so he made it look so easy!
On my third try, with Steve even free-climbing up next to me for the first 10feet or so for coaching, I willed myself to the top of the route. I was leaning pretty heavily on the rope, I will happily admit, because my body wasn't remotely used to this sort of insanity, and I was tired! All I could think about as I neared the top was: "Don't hit the rope with the pick, Laura!" As Mischa lowered me down, I laughed and smiled and cheered, as did the others at the base where I was (Kevin Trieu and Yannick, with whom I hiked Ritter last summer were there climbing, too!).
It was too windy to climb with the hat, but at least Steve got one good shot:
We headed out around 2:30 or so, with Steve and Mischa looking at possible playgrounds for Sunday (I'm going snow-shoeing!). Afterwards, we headed to the Tiger Bar in June Lake for refreshments.
Thanks to both Steve and Mischa for a fantastic day, and for being so patient with me up there on the ice. *sigh* I guess that's something else to add to the gear list...
Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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Should you have used your legs more instead of your arms to climb, would that have helped? I've never ice climbed, so maybe you need your arms to plant the ice axe good in case your toe hold gives way. Hmm?
Piece of cake.
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