Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year; keeping the tradition alive.

Nothing like 45 and raining for New Years Day ice climbing...
Happy 2011 everyone.  Its been a tradition of mine to climb on New Years day for 15 years now.  It started on January 1, 1997 with original ice climbing partners, Matt Johns and Scott Richards.  It was the beginning of our 2nd year of ice climbing.  We decided to "start the year off right" by climbing.  We set our ambitions high and decided to try for the first ascent of a 2 pitch route in a local active quarry.  The day went great despite a few "minor" incidents.  I led the first pitch and Scott led the 2nd.  It went successful and we ended up naming the route New Years Revolution WI4+.  It was quite an accomplishment for us at the time.  We used by today's standards archaic tools and gear.  No speed cranks on screws, Snargs, original Footfangs, Black Prophets, North Face lobster mitts, etc.  Little did I know that day was the start of a tradition that I still uphold.  A year or so later, Matt moved from PA to KY.  He's found great climbing life at the mega popular Red River Gorge.  He and I remain great friends to the day.  We don't get to climb together as much as we'd like, but that makes the time that we share on the rope that much better.  He occasionally visits to climb ice in the winter and boulder in the warmer months.  Scott moved across country to Wenatchee, Washington to pursue an outdoor lifestyle there.  Tragically he died in a kayaking accident on Icicle Creek shortly after his move there.   I had no idea we'd never climb together again.  Life is different from the old days, but still the tradition continues and each New Years Day I think back to how it all began and am thankful for how much fun I have and all the great friends I've made climbing here in PA.

Starting up the first ascent of NYR 4+ first pitch 1997

Scott Richards on Pitch 2

Enjoying New Years 1997
Today was no exception.  It almost didn't happen.  Despite an incredible start to the 2010/11 ice season, New Years Day and several days leading up to it, were warmer than normal.  When Laura and I left the house the first time, it was 50 degrees and raining.  Still we were determined to climb.  We drove to Ohiopyle to climb only to have some serious downpour happening at the parking lot.  We turned tail and drove home deciding not to climb in the rains.  We went home and hung out for a few hours and as luck would have it, the rains stopped and we decided to pack back up and make the return drive to the cliffs.  It was raining a lot less, but still raining.  We decided to "climb" anyhow.  Laura got some new boots to try and was itching to put them to use.
L's new kicks, Lowa Mountain Expert GTX
  We rigged the main flow and Season Finale on top rope.  We each ran a few laps with some older CF Cobras that Fred from Exkursion lent to Laura to mess with.  It was the most fun we've had on 25' of seriously wet ice.  What a fun day, no ground breaking accomplishments, just a lot of fun climbing with my incredible partner, Laura.  Here's a few pictures from the day.
Fred's tools and a tool happy to be outside for the new year

The warm temps sent the start to my project down.
It about crushed our heads.  Get it L! 

Happy 2011!  from "US"

Laura bringing in the new year on the deteriorating ice
Tomorrow the temps are supposed to drop below freezing and the 10 day is looking very promising.  Next weekend we should be out at it again with vastly improved conditions.  Hope everyone had as much fun this New Years day as we did!


  1. Great post Tim! I can remember New Year's Revolution like it was yesterday, man does time fly!
    Glad to see you are carrying on the New Year's Day tradition. You truely are the driving force behind the killer climbing that SWPA offers. Take care my friend and I will see you soon. Matt

  2. Looking good, Tim, without the beard ;-).

    Happy New Year, happy climbing!