Thursday, March 3, 2011

Trip Report: Last day out of the season!?

Every day we go out becomes the "last day" out...because the current temperature fluctuations are making our noblest of endeavours a risky business...
So! although sunday's excursion with Ryan was our last day out, Tuesday's excursion with Evan was also our last day out. Who knows, maybe next week we'll have another last day out.

We decided to take advantage of some outstanding bluebird weather to zip into Elora and check the conditions at Irvine Creek, a great little haunt right in the town (Irvine empties into the Grand).

We parked on the side of the road, walked over to the gorge edge, hopped a barrier and rappelled in. Probably the most relaxed approach possible, dandy! All things considered (recent near-double-digit weather with rain) the ice was in great condition, in some cases noticeably fat and growing.
Once in the gorge, it's possible to walk along the edge of the river to the bases of a few WI4's. In this area, climbing is speediest if you are comfortable leading WI4 ice up to 40ft...if you had to build TR stations at each climb, it'd be a bit of a headache. Luckily the ice was in fat conditions and provided plentiful fun.

We started the day on a nice fat section with great ice and a sketchy topout. My lead, Evan redpoint.
Next we turned to the left and jumped on this cool vertical curtain that spills over an overhanging tree. short distances of vertical between excellent rests, but the thin nature and verticality make it more of a head game. The ice was bomber though so made for a great time! My lead, Evan redpoint.
More leading followed, up some stepped WI3+ with some serious excavation required to find screws. Me: "hey man, this is right up your alley!" Evan: "eh?" Me: "it's like a bloody archaeological dig up here finding screw placements!" (Evan has a master's in classics). Good times! My lead, Evan redpoint. You can sort-of see the line following the right edge of this compiled picture:
Some pretty creative climbing was required here to navigate the mushrooms and poor surface ice. 'twas great!

Did some more exploring, the fantastic pillar down the river was still standing...hopefully it'll hang out for a little while so we can get out on it! Conditions are quickly deteriorating though so we'll have to see.

Re-learned an important lesson about standing in the line of fire, though...
no worries, i'm fine...and it'll leave a great scar!

Keep it cold!

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