Alpental Lift-served Ice Part II
January 28, 2001
More pictures coming...
This could easily become a habit. Though the skiing hasn’t been worth a crap at Snoqualmie Pass this year, I’ve taken advantage of my “Big S Expanded” lift pass several times now to access some very entertaining ice at Alpental.
Sarah and I had plans to do “something” on Sunday. As usual, it came right down to the last minute for us to decide what. Sarah spent Saturday making the trek to Camp Muir, and with homework beckoning, something closer to home sounded good. When Jens invited us to join
he and Matt for some lift-served ice, it sounded like the perfect plan.
And so, after a few last-minute phone calls to borrow gear and arrange the proper meeting time, we finally met up at Starbucks around 8:00 AM. As we unloaded and geared up in the Alpental lot, Sarah asked who had grabbed her boots from her car at Starbucks. Doh! A quick search of my car confirmed her fear: No boots. After a brief strategy,
I mean "strategerie", session, we decided that the best option was for her to try to rent a pair of downhill boots. Hmm, would they rent her downhill boots to put on her randonee skis?
Jens and I urged her use her abundant blue-eyed womanly wiles to charm the
(hopefully) guy at the rental counter.
We skied over to the lift and met up with Matt. While Sarah went to rent boots, Jens, Matt, and
I rode the lift up so that we could get the tope ropes set up. It was not a cold day, but that lift always seems cold to me. Thankfully, they replaced the old double with a high speed quad a couple years ago, so the ride is a lot shorter now. After four minute lift ride and a two minute ski and we were in good position to scope out the lines. We decided to put one TR on the same line Jens and I climbed in
late December, and the other just to the left. Jens and I both fell when we hit hard water ice on the ski slope just above the climb. No, this has not been a normal winter here.
We geared up and Jens I and scrambled around to the top. I used a giant cedar tree for the line on the right, with a directional on the smaller tree right at the
top of the route. Jens found a good tree for the line on the left and extended the anchor with two web-o-lettes and a sling. We rapped down, inspecting the lines as we went.
Sarah showed up with her rental boots just as we touched down. She’d even managed to sweet-talk the lift operator into letting her ride up for free. Bonus!
Matt on the slab
Jens and Matt climbed the left line, while Sarah and I climbed on the right. The right line was challenging, but easier than in December.
There was more ice, so no mixed moves required. On the left, Jens did some dandy climbing to clear overhanging terrain up high and top out.
Matt working the Red Line.
We switched and each took a lap. I found the left line to be very entertaining. I took a direct line to the alcove below the overhang, then sputtered up and over, making it look much harder than it really was. Still, though, it was quite fun. I worked my left foot up an edge on the rock, and made some creative tool placements, while my right foot dangled. I really need to be doing more pull-ups!
Jens tops out on the left while Sarah rests in the cave on the
Jens and Matt climbed a half-pitch mixed line to the right of the main pillar, then Jens belayed Sarah again on the left while I climbed the mixed line.
Jens working it on the mixed line (photo and finger by Matt)
Sarah on the left, Loren on the right (photo by Jens)
I made a half-hearted attempt to climb higher, but the column wasn’t strong enough and I didn’t want to break it off. Finally, I climbed the right line again to clean the gear from the top. I rapped off and we skied back to the beer, er, car.
Another fun day of climbing during this bizarre winter.