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Great White Icicle - Personal Goals/Speed Challenge - Utahclimbers.com

Great White Icicle - Personal Goals/Speed Challenge

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Great White Icicle - Personal Goals/Speed Challenge

Postby cpage » Thu Dec 25, 2008 1:15 pm

The Great White Icicle we all love it because it is close to SLC, its conditions change with each climb and many ice climbers use it as a training ground for other ice venues or goals.

Last year in December I joined a webinar with Hans Florine on climbing the Nose Route of El Capitan. Prior to getting to know Hans I would wonder up to the GWI and climb it just like I had done it dozens of time before and my car to car times would be three hours or more. The first thing I learned from Hans about climbing faster is that you do not need to run or take unnecessary risks. For the most part as a climber I was loosing most of my time stopping. It is easy to waste time at the car, stopping and resting on the approach, at the base of the first pitch prepping and getting ready, resting midway on a pitch and slow belay changes.

I do not profess to be any kind of an expert. Last year I bettered my times from in excess of three hours to 1:42. Someplace in the back of my head I believe I can do GWI in less than an hour car to car. I am guessing that it will need to be a solo climb (to date I have never soloed the GWI).

I would like to invite others to join in on sharing ideas on training and climbing ice faster. Yesterday (Christmas Eve Morning) I climbed the GWI for the second time this year. My partner Doug Folland and I did it in 2:10. Not a great time but respectable for this early in the season.

For those that would like to participate and post personal bests I believe we ought to have three categories. Solo (no ropes), Team of Two (roped), Team of Three (roped). Pictures would be fun but it is hard to take pictures while you are going for a personal/team best. I am sure with a little communication we could get a photographer or two on the route.

Carl …
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Postby grk10vq » Thu Dec 25, 2008 9:27 pm

sounds allright.

last winter the ma and i ran a full circle, car to car, in 1 hour/45 minutes.
we weren't being very time efficient either.

we soloed everything up to the very last pitch and were fortunate to spend a large majority of the descent on are rear ends.

its nice to think we could improve that time because, well, i've got other things to do, but i remember waiting a lot at the base for two parties to get going, we took forever racking up, and we shot the shit most casually with a few groups before setting sail.

what helps me is having everything ready to go in the pack the day/morning before. i get up, dress in what i'm planning on wearing, minus boots/gaitors/top layers and head out half suited.

what doesn't help me is my ocd and minimalistic traits.
where as i like to have everything i need, i also don't like bringing anything extra, which leaves me spending a lot of time second guessing things.
i also lose time lacing my boots extra tight and futzing with my gaitors.
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Postby Tenesmus » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:47 am


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Postby ns » Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:14 am

Heard rumors that the record is around 18 min, car to car. Alex Lowe, Mark Twight and Bill Belcourt supposedly were racing for the record years back. Conditions need to be really good in order to get back down the descent gully quickly. I've tried to go fast a few times but haven't tried for a super fast ascent. Under 1 hour is definitely possible for you Carl.

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Postby cd » Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:26 pm


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Postby Brian in SLC » Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:52 pm


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Postby cpage » Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:10 am

Where I am at - or how I am currently climbing , I am 57 and weigh 210. I know those are two strikes against me but the weight leaves lots of room for improvement. I last checked my body fat on 5/14/2008 while training to climb the Nose. My body weight was 216 and my body fat was 16.39%. Even though I am a little lighter now I am guessing my body fat is also a little higher. I have changed jobs and it is now more difficult to get to the gym to work out. Hans gave me some great training ideas that I will share in a future post, but the first thing I need to do is get myself back into the gym. I hate the gym this time of year because of all the people setting New Years resolutions.

After conditioning I believe your partner choice is very important. Doug Folland is usually my partner at least one morning a week. He is a Veterinarian, a great problem solver and he thinks dynamically. So far, he has been happy to let me lead. Usually we solo to the bottom of the Bulge then rope up and climb to the newer anchors below and left of the Curtain. By not climbing to the two Cave Anchors on the right of the route we save a lot of time by having two belay points versus three.

On Christmas Eve morning Doug pointed out that I placed four screws on the Bulge pitch (three on the actual Bulge and one on the small headwall 40 feet below the anchors) then I placed three screws on the Curtain pitch. I was thinking of two different time saving ideas. First if I am carrying eight or more screws there are no reasons for Doug to take the time to clean the ice out of the screw. Once a screw is used leave it on Doug’s harness and keep leading with the remaining un-used screws. This would save on time cleaning and transferring the screws back to me. The second thought I had is if I do not need to regain the screws then I could simply clip the belay at the bottom of the Curtain pitch with a draw and Doug and I could simultaneously-climb the last pitch.

After this last snow storm I am guessing that the descent gully will be in great shape. I like to take all my gear off and get it in my pack. I now this takes a little time but it seems make the descent a lot faster and more fun.

That is my venting for this morning – make sure you read the avalanche report before going out. It is scary dangerous. Does anyone know of any life threatening snow slides in the past on the GWI or the descent route?

Carl …
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Postby builttospill » Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:28 am

Wasn't Tony C in one on GWI a few years back? I could be wrong about who it was, but it seemed like I remember it was a big wet slide near the end of the season.

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Postby ns » Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:29 pm

Hey Carl,

A speed attempt is committing. A pack with extras can be a major factor in slowing you down. Climb it a few times in a row (same day) to get comfortable and give an honest evaluation of what you will need to do it. If you haven't solo'd it yet, maybe it's not right to try. You can still go fast roped up, you just have to evaluate what you feel is safe. Place screws in good stances and punch it on steeper ground. If you are already soloing to the bulge, that is a good place to work on shaving time. Climbing in the gym will help, but really you need to focus on cardio. You'd be surprised on how much time you can shave on the approach and descent by running or moving faster there.

Good luck,

Nathan

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Postby bsmoot » Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:56 pm

Does anyone know of any life threatening snow slides in the past on the GWI or the descent route?

I heard the same thing from Tony. He said his shoulder got bruised...I think he was on the bulge.

Other than that, I have never heard of any life threatening slides since I started climbing.

Spindrift avalanches liven up snowy days!

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Postby builttospill » Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:05 pm


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Postby db » Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:53 pm


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Postby Brian in SLC » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:05 pm


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Postby grk10vq » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:28 pm

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Postby Brian in SLC » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:22 pm



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