Great White Icicle - Personal Goals/Speed Challenge

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going fast ice climbing.

Postby Hans » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:50 pm

Thank you Carl for speaking well of me.

It sure looks like you all have a great ice climbing circuit there to play on. It's very cool to see some challenges being thrown around.

Whether you "beat" Alex Lowe or not, it's fun to measure/time yourself and see if you can improve on YOUR best time. Alex would say the best climber is the one having the most fun. I don't know what he'd say about the fastest climber. -But I say: if climbing is fun, than speed climbing lets us get in more fun.

I am a total novice at ice climbing so can't really offer up any pragmatic or detailed tips for your goal to go fast on the ice.

Maybe see you all at the end of the month at the OR show in SLC.


Being in a hurry or rush isn't really fun. But being quick is a great joy.

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Postby grk10vq » Fri Jan 09, 2009 7:57 am

party of three jive turkeys who'd never climbed together:


to the moon alice.
like me on facebook

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Postby Dave Budge » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:22 am

Two things:

In the nineties there was a large debris pile at the base of the GWI with the remains of destroyed trees. There were tree trunks in the debris above the ramp. FYI.

Just to put all this in context, Alex Lowe was a freak. I was never a great ice climber, but I thought I was good until I climbed the GWI with Alex a few times. Both times we met in the parking lot. Although I had soloed it several dozens of times by then, he must have thought I was a danger to myself and asked if I wanted to join him. Watching him climb this little overhanging variation on the last pitch was very educational for me. I decided that day not to ever push it on ice, I didn't have what it takes. He danced up verglas, a few times stemming on icicles with diameters the size of his legs. When I followed I knocked off every piece of ice within my reach and eventually had to hand-over-hand up the rope. Humbling. I realized that day that mere mortals engaging in a sport as serious as ice climbing need to realize their own limitations. Alex was a professional climber with amazing abilities. I share this not to discourage, but to add the modicum of wisdom gained from sharing a rope with the man.

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Postby jun » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:10 am

As a side note:

Yesterday Sevrdhed and I met at he park-n-ride to hit up Alta free skiing. Before leaving we looked over to Scruffy Band and were commenting how wide and good Scruffy Right looked. I definitely wanted to be over there.
Less than two hours later, when we got back, Scruffy Right no longer existed as the whole middle section had broken off.

Anyone up there when this happened?
Up, way up.

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Postby cpage » Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:49 am

What a fun, interesting and dangerous climb. Doug Folland, myself along with Dee Winegar on his 62nd birthday and ‘s owner Blake Taylor climbed the GWI in the wee hours of Friday January 9th. Doug and I looking to see if we could set a new personal best with a better time than last years 1:42. We have been training every morning for two weeks and decided to make one technical change in our climb. We usually solo climb to the base of the Bulge and then rope up for the last two pitches. This climb the plan was to simply clip the last anchor with a draw and continue simo climbing to the end of the route.

The weather was cold, snowing hard with steady wind and some hard wind gusts.

The approach up through the top of the Ramp had lots of deep snow and in places because of the up hill angle the snow was to my mid-thigh not to mention punching through several holes that went into the water. The ramp looked like a waterfall with a steady flow of ice and snow on top of the ice. Doug and I alternated breaking trail. We got to the Bulge in 30 minute, ten minute slower that when we climbed the route in 2:10 earlier this year.

To the top, because of the less than good ice conditions on the lower half of the route I approached the Bulge with the idea that if the ice was compromised we would turn back. The wind and snow made it difficult to see the route from the anchors. When I arrived at the ice it seemed good and I placed a screw at the bottom of the Bulge, ascended the Bulge and placed another screw near the top and a third screw at the little head wall 30 feet before the left side Curtain Anchors. At this point Doug is preparing and setting off as a simo climber. When I got to the left side Curtain anchor I clipped a quick draw and the rope to the anchor and moved toward the Curtain pitch. The snow was very deep and I broke through into water twice. Reaching the ice I put a screw in and start up just right of the cauliflower ice. The ice was thin as I made my way to the left of the real Curtain. I placed the last screw of this climb into the side of the Curtain and continued up. Near the finish I had my right ax in the frozen moss, my left ax in ice and when I kicked with my left foot a big chunk of ice broke free just below my left ax. I yelled ice and quickly realized that the ice had fallen behind the dome of ice into the falls. There was another big chunk of ice dangling attached to a tree root. I yelled ice then pulled it free and guided it behind the dome and into the water fall. I knew I was on very sketchy ice so I sank my left ice ax higher and into the frozen moss, followed by sinking my right ax higher and also into the moss. I looked at my feet for a perch for my right crampon. Pulling with both arms I get my right foot high, as my left foot touch the ice to the left another large section of ice fell. I yelled Ice and this time I could hear the ice rumbling down the canyon. Doug my simo-climbing partner was hit in the shoulder but maintained is position on the ice, the ice continued down over the Bulge and airborne over Blake’s head. We all communicated and luckily no one was hurt. I climbed to the belay tree and finished belaying Doug to the top.

The descent , as I belayed Doug final climbing effort using a Reverso I was able to prepare for the descent. I like everything in my pack except one ax. When Doug arrived I added the screws and draws to my pack and Doug and I where off headed towards the truck. Wading through the deep snow we blazed a trail around Rosqvist Ridge and to the start of the descent gully. I sat down at the first opportunity to glissade. Instead of going all the way to the gully I headed just right of the big pine as a short cut. It’s steeper and faster and you guessed it I set off a loose snow slide and I thought good, this will help get down the mountain faster. The slide quickly turned into a small avalanche and I was going fast than I wanted to with lots a power building up behind me. I stuck my foot out to the right to catch a tree a slow myself then caught the next tree with my arms. Most of the slide passed me and I let going continuing to ride the moving snow. When I stopped I jumped up and started down the mountain as fast as I could go. Sometimes running and sometimes glissading. Where you turn right to cross the streambed I turned and couldn’t see Doug. I waited there until he was back in sight, communicated that he was ok and across and down I went. I pushed into the deep snow after the trees then sat and glissaded the first of the remaining two steep areas. That slide went well and I started out into the last possible slide zone and sure enough under my feet I felt the top layer of wind blow slow crack. I looked down and saw the snow moving leaving the scar of a 6 to 8 inch slab slide. I was down and the slide only last for twenty or so feet to the trees. I looked up and the scar was about twenty feet wide. Doug soon followed and down the trail we headed crossing the bridge to the truck. Doug looks at his watch; try’s to do the math as we both heave for air. The time was 1 hour 45 minutes, just three minutes longer than our best time last year.

Conclusion , nothing like great friends, happy 62nd birthday to my cousin Dee Winegar, thanks to Blake Taylor and I’m so glad he didn’t get hurt from the large chunks of ice. When Blake got to the truck he said he had been hit three separate times and a big thanks to my great climbing partner Doug Folland. I believe we will get real close to the one hour mark with better conditions. The only technical change will be trying next time is a shorter rope for the simo climbing.

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Postby ScaredSilly » Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:09 am

I know of several people who have done the GWI car to car in sub 30 minutes. The last time I timed myself it was at 29 minutes. This was about 5 years ago, after 8 off months due to two herniated discs. In the early years while Alex, Bill, Mark, and others were doing car to car runs I was trying to have a bit more fun and make it house to house. I think once I managed a 60 minute run (this was when I lived near Foothill Village Mall).

Here are some tips - one comes from Alex who I climbed with on occasion. Quit swinging your tools so damned hard. It does not always take sticks 1" deep into the ice to be secure. In other words learn the ice and what is needed to be efficient by placing your tools just as deep as they really need to be. Many times a quick hook is all you need.

Leave your tools in your pack and just rely on your crampons. Or as Jeff Lowe would call it go ice bouldering. Try climbing up to the Bulge without your tools. Again this will help you learn what the ice is doing.

Learn to pace yourself - yeah you can race up the second pitch but that can leave you winded for the Bulge which needs a bit more attention. The same with the terrain above the above - relax and enjoy it before the final step grabs you.

Finally, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice.

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Postby cpage » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:02 pm

Scared Silly - I am in awe and have tremendous respect of all the successful climbers from years gone by, there commitment to the unknown and sometimes with homemade gear demands my respect. As a young man I had no idea that there was climbing going on in Utah. To have been your neighbor I am sure we would have been friends and I would have climbed at a much younger age. I feel lucky to come from a gene pool that allows me to push myself now that I am in my late fifties.

I appreciate the tips on ice climbing. I find your suggestions both timely and informative. I feel like I have a light hand on the ice but the results of all the broken ice on my last climb would indicate that I am a hack. I’m pretty sure I will skip the nude glissade idea.

It looks like we will make our next attempt on Wednesday morning. I am hoping the temperatures will be more like Alta’s than the SL Valley. Thanks again for your comments and please tells us about your original ice gear and your first climb.

Carl …
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Postby BackClip » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:00 am

Temps in the upper 30's this morning.

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Postby Skyman » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:12 pm

db wrote: Don't get dead trying to shave :30

Best advice ever on this thread.


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Postby cpage » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:23 am

First Solo Ascent and Later a New Personal/Team Best of 1:13, I had planned on an attempt to have a new personal best last Wednesday. Tuesday hit a high temperature of 50 degrees and the over night low was 39 degrees so we cancelled. I checked around for the next couple of days and didn't find anyone who had an ice update. Sunday, I get up and start thinking church doesn't start until 1:00 pm, so I ask my wife, do you want to take a ride to the canyon to check out the GWI, I got a quick no, so I called my 91 year old mother to see if she would like to go for a ride and got another no. Oh well, I thought, I guess I will go by myself. As I prepared I decided to dress for a climb and take my axes, crampons and a rope.

When I got to the parking area the ice looked good so I grabbed my gear and wondered up to the first pitch and started climbing. The ice was great and the next thing you know I have done my first solo of the GWI. I only made one mistake. I didn't check my time as I left the car, so I have know idea how fast I did it.

New Personal/Team Best, this morning Doug Folland and myself climbed the GWI car to car in 1:13. This is 30 minutes faster than our previous best of 1:43 set last season. We have been concentrating on cardio training and technique. Today’s climb we soloed to the base of the Bulge then simo-climbed to the summit with a 100 foot rope. I placed four screws and clipped one belay anchor.

On the way home we talked about how to shave the last 13 minutes of our time to get our sub one hour climb. It is clearly possible and hopefully it will happen in the next couple of weeks. My thanks go to all who have shown an interest in our one hour goal and who have posted suggestions. Many thanks go to Doug Folland and to the many climbing partners I have had in the past. Like Hans Florine always says Don’t climb in a hurry but be quick .

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Postby builttospill » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:03 pm

Nice work Carl. I'm betting your solo time was closer to an hour, if not under it. Looks like you'll have to go solo it again to know for sure.

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Postby cpage » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:36 am

Attached is a link of Hans Florine’s interview after setting the speed record with Yuji last fall on the Nose of El Cap ... 620&page=1 . Hans is coming to Salt Lake today and will be at the trade show. If you are there or you see him around make sure you say hi, he is a great guy and loves to talk to climbers.

Also, Nate Smith from Liberty Mountain has a link on page two of this thread. I have asked and most readers have not watched it. Please take a few minutes to see a speed record being set along with a little humor added. Both links are well worth your time

I appreciated everyone’s encouragement for my less than one hour GWI goal.

Carl ...
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Postby Brian in SLC » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:29 am

cpage wrote:Also, Nate Smith from Liberty Mountain has a link on page two of this thread. I have asked and most readers have not watched it. Please take a few minutes to see a speed record being set along with a little humor added. Both links are well worth your time

That's cause everyone saw it goin' on four years ago.

Ryan is old now, and, rumor has it last week when he climbed the icicle, he placed, gasp, four ice screws.

Almost ready for the rockin' chair is what I'm thinkin'...
boissal wrote:Somebooody's smart balls need to be kicked all the way up the roof of his not so smart mouth.

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Postby paintrain » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:57 pm

I witnessed it - I saw him place said ice screws.

The guy has become a total slob. He placed gear, he only climbs V10 , did just 2 - 100 mile ultra marathons last year.

Somebody throw in the towel for that guy. Its over.


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Postby sevrdhed » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:09 pm

paintrain wrote:did just 2 - 100 mile ultra marathons last year.

That's pathetic. Only 2 100 milers? What a complete wuss.

We are talking about driving, right?

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