Ice Climbing Vail
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Back to Vail for more ice climbing! This time we climbed at Timber Falls with myself, Jean, Tom, Sara, Wayne, and Rob. This piece of ice was great because it had a wide variety of difficulty to chose routes from. Tom lead up to the anchors then placed a couple ropes for top ropes and away we went! It was snowing pretty hard at time and was bright blue skies at other times. We all did several climbs and some mixed rock/ice routes that were a ton of fun! Tom "wowed" us all with his skills to climb a thin and broken pillar and do a monster chin-up to the next piece of ice where he completed the route. Holy Crap! I tried and quickly fell off during the chin-up and knocked the pillar loose with my knee. Next Rob attempted it and toppled the entire pillar with a huge crash. It was pretty wild because each time you would lightly put an ice tool or crampon on it, the entire thing would vibrate, it was no larger in diameter then a full grown Aspen tree. Great stuff and very challenging! We finished off the day with races up the less then vertical ice to completely wear ourselves out.....

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Instead of heading back to Lincoln Falls for ice climbing, Wayne easily talked Jean and I into heading to the superb ice at Vail. I've heard lots about it, but never had the balls to go without someone who has already climbed there. Wayne was there the previous w/end and couldn't say enough good about it! We could see the amazing "Fang" on the way up right next to where we would climb. Luckily no one was climbing "Rigid Designator" (aka. Rigid Defecator) so we hopped on it. The first crux was finding a way above to set up a top rope. Hugging the cliff face we walked right past the slot with a fixed rope and went WAY too far down. On the way back we saw the frayed roped and pulled ourselves up there and got to the "drift wood anchors". The formation was so huge we had to tie a 50M and a 60M rope together to reach the bottom, this made for an awesome rappel.
Wayne hit the ice first and hammered his way up the left side with a couple overhanging sections. My arms hurt just watching! Jean was next and took the route on the right-hand side and made her way to the top without too much trouble and a couple brief rests. I took the same route as Jean. My arms were seriously sore after one climb up the ~150ft route! We figured we each had one more climb in ourselves so we just climbed variations of the same ice formation. I tried the overhanging sections and after a fall and a couple facefuls of ice I got above them, talk about intense! That was enough for me. So we packed it up and headed back to the cars with big smiles on our faces. Right next to the truck was a giant 10 point elk having a staring contest with us!

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