Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday at Ohiopyle State park

Laura in non typical climbing clothes, imitating an old west gunfight?
Are you sure we're going climbing?
Last night it was a tough call whether to pack for big ice or mix climbing.  Laura and I are itching to get in some real local ice and were hoping to climb at SCII.  After a little discussion we decided that conditions would most likely not be favorable enough to climb.  So we packed up with mixed climbing in mind, leaving the sharp crampons and ice screws at home for a better day.  Ohiopyle State park would be our destination.  We were going to enjoy the results from yesterdays work.  I put in some time equipping a line that we've top roped before at Bruner Run.  Its a beautiful line up through overhangs and seams with some funky corner moves.  It'll involve spicy gear placements in between bolted blank sections.  The route overhangs about 15' in 55' of climbing.

Doing work son!
Steep, overhanging, mixed climbing
Figuring some moves, clearing some cracks, all in a days work!
The sign at the gate on Bruner Run Road.  If the gate is open drive to the crag
 at the bottom, otherwise its a steep walk down and back.
We set off to Bruner Run only to find the gate at the top of the road leading down to the river closed due to current icy conditions.  Bummed by the road closure Laura and decided to visit Lower Meadow Run instead and save the new line for another day.  Instead of heading straight to Lower Meadow, we decided to go check conditions at SCII to see how they faired after the several days of warm weather last week.  Upon arrival we found the summit to have quite a bit more snow blanketing the ground.  We booted up and hiked down to check it out.  Conditions are looking way better than I expected.  Here's a photo of what it looked like today.
Laura checking ice conditions dressed in
her Patagucci SCII camo edition softshell
Conditions looked better than I expected and some of the ice obviously made it through the last warm up.  If the temps stay cold at night things will most likely continue to improve.  For now the water is flowing nicely and there is still hope for some climbs this season.  After a quick look we hiked back to the car and made the drive back to Ohiopyle to climb at Lower Meadow.

We hiked back across the bridge and up the stream to the crag.  The icicles were hanging everywhere.  The Main Flow has touched down and is building quick, but will most likely not survive the week as have most of the ice lines.  The mixed lines are dripping, but climbable.  Caveman is running the most and will involve some serious wet misery if climbed.  Anger Management has some usable ice on it, but the finish is not in its thick icy state.  Usually this line is about a grade easier without the ice up there, but rules out any pro from the last bolt to the finish.  We decided to climb Season Finale a traditionally protected M6 R.  This climb is always spooky.  Its only about 35' long but packs quite a punch.  The minimal gear placements are in questionable rock with the only solid piece being 5' from the finish, after the crux.  The climb went well with a little mind management and some encouragement from Laura.  I thought I was coming off just after placing the last and best piece on the route.  I was getting pumped quick.  There was no fear of falling and being injured at this point, but there was the fear of having to repeat that piss poor protected crux again.  I hung on and made the last few burly moves to the anchors.  Here's some shots of me on the climb.

Making the most of the ice?
Getting a pice below the crux

Working through the crux
A little further to the anchors
 The ground shots don't do this route much justice.  What it lacks in height it makes up for in spice.  Most find the line to be much harder than expected.  Here's another perspective.  Laura cleaning the route.

Laura starting up
Laura hanging tough through the crux

Getting rough
Removing the last cam fried Laura and a hang was in order
A short rest had Laura cranking through the thin ice finish
It was a great climb and I'd highly recommend it to anyone thats solid at the grade and proficient at placing gear!  If you think its a little over your head and aren't ready to tie into the sharp end, don't feel left out.  Its an easy hike to the top and the ring anchors make it easy to rig this climb on top rope and provide hours of fun mixed climbing practice.

Unfamiliar with Ohiopyle climbing?  Get in touch... I'll provide the info you need to get climbing in this neck of the woods.

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