Thursday, January 5, 2012

SW Pennsylvania ice climbing, weekend outlook

To climb or Not to climb? the good, the bad, and the wet!

I took a trip out to the local spots to see how the cold contributed to our dismal ice conditions.  Things are looking better, but still not quite "in".  UNLESS... you've had enough and really want to get out climbing in a bad way. Well its time to get after it.  Its not ice climbing, but its winter climbing.  The local mixed lines will go this weekend and here's the scoop.  

has a variety of options at Lower Meadow.  Season Finale actually has a thin ice start and is in really good shape for climbing.  Its the first mixed line on the approach.  Just before the full ice climbs on the trail.  There are ring anchors at the finish, if one's feeling froggy and jumps on the sharp end for this R rated mixed delight.  Otherwise the rings are accessible from the top for easy top rope fun for all.  Either way this climb is looking sweet!  Here's a picture of it today.

Season Finale could be your season opener!
The main ice lines of Lower Meadow Run are growing, but not ready.  Various mixed options exist, although some ice is poorly bonded and expected to get worse by the weekend.  There was a LOT of running water flowing and running down the ice and cliffs.  Expect to get wet and dress appropriately it getting out.

Main Flow and left and Lower Meadow Run,
Ohiopyle State Park, PA
Captain Caveman is thin and dripping with water, but it'll go!
Sits at a lower elevation than Ohiopyle, but conditions really aren't that much different.  Lots of ice building, but its not bonded well and wet.  The only real climbable options at Irishtown are Dirty T the easier of the two bolted mixed lines or Dynamite the harder of the two lines.  Both have a bolt or two buried under a little ice which may need cleared away.  Good year for water, but bad for ice building temperatures.
Dirty T with ice all the way to the ground
Dynamite wet and climbable
This unexplored, unclimbed, potentially good drytool
line is left and around the corner from Dirty T


Son of Beast is coming along nicely. 
The Grand Central area is building well, but not there yet.
TONS of water coming down.  Scuba Style. OUT!
The SICK-le is currently an ice dagger
with a waterfall running down it.  OUT!

Bird of Prey for the day!

Today I was lucky enough to see this local American Kestrel eating a mouse it had just captured.  I've actually noticed it quite a few times recently.  It sits on the wires along the road almost daily waiting on a meal.  I was on my way to check conditions when I saw it with a mouse in its grasp.  I doubled back to get a photo and watch it pick the mouse apart for a while.  It moved across the road to some pines when I snapped this photo.  It still has the mouse with it in the photo.  The American Kestrel is one of two types of Falcons that we have in our area.  Currently this one is living in the vicinity of Brown's farm on Bear Rocks Road in Fayette County.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these photos! These challenging and exciting spots can be really inspiring for novice and professional ice climbers. Keep up the great work!