Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ice Nine - sorta

Darwin and Mendel from Lamarck Col. Taken a year earlier on Mendel Right couloir climb.
August 2006
Ice Nine, the almost mythical ice couloir on the north face of Mt. Mendel. Having previously easily soloed the neighboring Right Mendel Couloir I was itching to tackle the harder left couloir known as Ice Nine. I recruited Jeff and we made the arduous trek over Lamarck Col. The climb up to the crux pitch was 'in'. The crux pitch was bare rock. Jeff made an attempt to lead the overhanging pitch (dry) but eventually we climbed out the east wall and completed the climb on rock. From the upper rock we could see the upper pitches of the couloir held ice but the exit pitch looked again dry, so we elected not to transition back to ice climbing mode. With the exception of the attempt on the crux pitch, we ended up soloing the entire climb. Sadly with the continuing drought and warming, we may not see this climb again as an ice climb.
Conditions 2005

Conditions 2006

Lamarck Col

climbing the apron

Jeff passing the awkwardly difficult first chockstone.

Escaping the couloir up the east wall

Ice in the upper couloir