Sunday morning and WE were to meet Joel Torretti, Mike Royer and Ian Austin for some SWPA climbing. Although the WE turned into I, but I'll get to that in a minute. Ian is a good friend of Josh Hurst who made the trip down from Maine earlier this year to climb. Josh's trip was fun despite the fact that it was doomed by miserable warm weather and a short, unlucky fall that basically ended his ice season. Upon Josh's recommendation, Ian decided to hook up with our little SWPA posse to sample the ice while passing through PA from out west. Saturday was out for me, so Ian hooked up with Joel Torretti and Mike Royer who both drove in from Central PA to work on the Upper Meadow mixed climbing. Word is that Joel was close to sending the left var. Currently the finish pillar on the direct route has fallen down, making the finish impossible. Here are some photos of the crew working the line.
Joel working the project with Ian on belay, Photo by Mike Royer
Ian Austin giving it a go, photo by Mike Royer
Joel getting close to the send, photo by Mike Royer
Like the post started, WE (Laura and I) were to meet the guys on Sunday to get out to some bigger lines in the area, but Saturday Laura caught ill and was in no shape to be climbing on Sunday. She was seriously bummed out since the steepness is her preference and she had to miss what might've been one of the last days of season. She's had a great season getting really strong and improving on her technique. The hard work has paid off as she's been getting many compliments from other climbers about how smooth and effortless she seconds the steepest ice lines. I hope we can squeeze in another day out since she had to miss the fun this weekend. Get well soon sweetie, lets go climbing! I met Joel, Mike and Ian at Valley Dairy in Connellsville. We made our way to the crag, geared up and set off to the crag. Mike and I snowshoed in while Joel and Ian skied in. A foot of more of new snow had fallen overnight. Parking this week was easier than previous trips here and we wasted no time getting to the climbing. The climbs looked amazing.
Ian reaching the top on Madrocket WI5+, Photo by Mike Royer
Through the final overlap, I'm nearing the belay of Madrocket WI5++, Photo Mike Royer
Topping out Ian's new line Madrocket (note the person above my right shoulder for scale) , Photo by Ian Austin
When I reached the bealy, Ian and I reveled in our happiness of such a great climb. Time to go down. Well I think it took us longer to sort out (untangle) our ropes for the rap than the climb took. Rats nest #1. After some work, we got the ropes in order and made our way to the ground. The new official name of the line dubbed "Monsta" is now Madrocket WI5++. Joel and Mike had been working hard on The Beast. I was up for our team. I was planning on climbing The Beast when Joel and Mike were done, but Ian poked at me to try the line just right of Madrocket. It appeared a little easier than Madrocket but harder than The Beast. It was unclimbed and I like unclimbed so I decided to give it a whirl. We had a sip of coffee and watched the other team for a minute before I started up. Joel was on lead slowly working his way up the line. He was not climbing as he normally would. I could tell he wasn't going under full power. He made his way up a little over half way to the crux sections and just didn't have the steam to keep going. His attempts on the mixed lines the day before got the best of him. Wisely he backed off and came down to the ground. Mike went up cleaning Joels screws and lowering off the thread. Great attempt guys! Well I was up to try a new line. I used a similar start as Madrocket but quickly went right after the opening pillar.
Working up through Double A WI6, Photo by Mike Royer
Last bulge before the final crux on Double A WI6, Photo by Mike Royer
My highpoint of Double-A WI6, Photo by Mike Royer
While Ian and I were taking on Double A, Joel and Mike decided to try Son of Beast WI5, but backed off due to poor ice. Mike decided to try The Awakening WI5. I didn't get to see him climb, but heard that it went very well for him. Great work and congrats on the send Mike! Dr. Bob and Regina made an appearance around noonish. Busy in the hole, I didn't get to talk to them. From what I heard they decided to try The Infinite WI5, but only made part of the route.
Dr. Bob racking up for The Infinite WI5, Photo by Regina Schulte-Ladbeck
Climber, Professor, Photographer, all around fun girl, Dr. Regina, Schulte-Ladbeck
The completed new lines, Madrocket WI5 (left) and Double A WI6 (right) photo by Ian Austin