Sunday, March 2, 2014

Double Date for Winter Storm "Titan"

Me checking out a newly formed, unclimbed line.  Far right flow, I'm bouldering the starting moves.
Called on Account of Security in the forground
What better way to spend a double date than sending sweet lines in SWPA?  We managed just that all whilst enduring winter storm "Titan".  This megastorm (that wasn't) may have had many other climbers quivering in their climbing boots, but not Tom Thomas, and his wife Mariann.  They were happy to brave the storm to join Laura and myself for a "double date" at the local stash.  Tom's been chomping at the bit to sink some picks into the local legends.  Our date went like this...  We met at Valley Dairy in Connellsville for a romantic breakfast of daily specials.  Eggs, meat, and home fries or "little cubed potatoes" as Tom calls them.  Breakfast was awesome as usual and we set off up the ridge for the crag.  We parked and made the hike in.  Upon arrival Tom and Mariann were impressed by the amount of steep ice.
A happy Tom and Mariann
We poked around a bit to scope things out and pick some routes.  Tom and Mariann quickly racked up and got on the ever classic Final Obligation WI5.  Tom was practically buzzing with excitement.  He climbed the line very well and ran it up to the trees for the full experience.  Here's a few photos of Tom enjoying the great conditions.
Tom, all smiles and getting started
Final inspection before committing
The full line of Final Obligation WI5
Mariann on belay, Tom climbing
While Tom and Mariann enjoyed Final Obligation, Laura and I checked out a few lines before deciding to try Big Nasty WI5+.  The line was obviously damaged and rebuilt a bit from the last warm spell.  This only helped the climb live up to its name.  Notoriously funky and usually shotty pro are the norm on this line.  I thought I might be able to pick my way up through safely and tied in for a go.

Starting up Big Nasty
Looked easy enough...
Deep into it and getting worse
Needless to say, I hit my point where protection was too sketchy for me and I bailed...  This shit was spooky regardless what the photos look like.  Tom and Mariann moved onto Called on Account of Security WI4.  It was in the best conditions I think I've ever seen.  While clocking in at the lower end of difficulty for this crag, this climb is surely not to be missed.  Its actually one of my top picks and always a blast!

Mariann in action
Climbing in the fury of  winter storm "Titan"
While Tom and Mariann climbed Called, Laura and I went over and jumped on The Awakening WI5.  It was much skinnier than the last time I'd climbed it, but looked good.  Here's a few photos of me climbing it.
Opening moves of The Awakening

the "crux" section
a few meters to the finish of this gem
Sopping wet and cold from the wet snow that had been falling most of the day, we decided to pack up and make the uphill slog out.  We hiked and were all riding the "climbers high" all the way to the cars.  What an awesome "Double Date" and a great first day for Tom on the undisputed best ice in PA.  Glad you two could join us for some fun.  Keep your fingers crossed for cold temps this week.  We may break our record for the latest day climbed here of March 3rd.  We're looking forward to sampling your mixed stash!

1 comment:

  1. The weathermen are idiots - they ruined my whole day on Sunday (although it was a nice storm for about an hour) - I knew it was going to be "bitchin" up there - maybe one more Sunday