From the car the down range routes looked decent... Up close they were much more chandeliered.
We scoped a few routes, but decided we should try some lines on the Pistol-Whipped Wall before the sun brought them down. These lines have been looked at over the years, but never quite formed to my or any would be ascentionists likings. This wall gets blasted by sun. The recent weather trends as well as abundant ground water formed up the wall better than I've ever seen it. It was formed, but baking fast. I'll be the first to admit, I'm a pretty big chicken when it comes to sun and ice, especially here in SWPA where I've seen my share of collapses and have the bumps and scars to prove it. I prefer routes in the shade, but these looked very cool and who knows when they'll be like this again. I decided to skip the sharp end and go with the safety of a top rope.
The routes were a lot of fun and very cool. Today's conditions involved about 10' of mixed climbing to gain the candlesticked ice. Once on the ice, it was straight forward pillar climbing, but very "early season" and baking fast. I climbed the lines three times two different ways before it became the consistency of a snow cone. Too bad the ice on this wall faces directly into the sun. It would be such an amazing wall for mixed and pure, steep ice routes in the 4+ to 5+ range up to 100'.
Photos, courtesy of Ray Burnsworth with Wildfilm Productions.