Ouray Ice Climb, Sunday February 1 2009

Got up for an earlier start. Not sure what's up with the Victorian Inn. Lady claims she's the new owner but seems like she's trying to run it into the ground. Breakfast set to start when most good climbers will already be setting up their routes, letting everything run out and then quietly asking if anyone is interested in more before putting dishes away. Hopefully she'll figure it out and start having breakfast at a decent time and provide at least the same quantity and quality of food as the other places in town and possibly save the Vic. Being at the foot of the trail isn't enough anymore in this economy when there are two or three others right there for almost exactly the same price, and much newer.

Anyway, enough rant.

Met Nate and John at the 2nd lot and we headed out for 5 Fingers Area, though Nate and I were both feeling pretty knackered and wanted to just lap some WI3 for a warmup. John said the bottom of this route (1st chain at bottom of 5 Fingers) was pretty mellow, and we could work our way out over a short (20' or so) WI5 section. Pretty candlesticked, new crunchy chandelier ice. Yuck.

Shelf lower right, leads to ramp and crack mentioned below

Nate did pretty good, and John did great, but I decided to make the bottom into WI4+ and wore myself out, and I pumped out on the short section of 5, and ended up downclimbing to go around onto the face, and pumped out worse there - fell off and swung good for some great bruised shins and cut lip. Blood everywhere!

I was on a autoblock belay and was going to have Nate lower me to a little shelf at the bottom of the icicle so he could switch me to regular belay and lower me (much less hassle). While standing on the ramp, looking down 70' to the ground below along a mixed WI2/WI3 ramp, and then up to the left along the 2' wide ramp heading up to what looked like a 5.4 exit crack to the plateau above, I got an insane flash of insight.

I untied, then walked up in crampons to the crack. A bit more exposure than I liked. More like 5.8, but at the roof it was only about 15' of bouldering, so I tried it. Decided I didn't like it in crampons and tools, so I took them off and harnessed them. Then tried it. About that time Nate was looking for me, having pulled up the empty rope and freaking. He passed a rope down to me and that made it much nicer with a belay. Thanks John and Nate.

That pretty much did me in, so I wiped up my blood and wrapped it up for the day.