The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Kandersteg ice

We headed back to Leysin yesterday & climbed some great roadside ice on the way - conditions at the moment are just fantastic.

Not bad for a few pitches of roadside ice!

I drove up the Rhone valley this morning & through to Kandersteg on the Autoverlad from Goppenstein. As the train came out of the tunnel & pulled up in Kandersteg it was immediately obvious the ice is good here as well
Driving through the village you could see the Oeschinensee Wall directly above Kandersteg stacked full of ice & every route was formed!
Conditions here also fantastic.
All the rarely formed pillars are all touching down & most routes looking fat - I'd need to have a close look at routes like Riese Integral but it's touching down & if its not climbable at the moment? then, if the temperature cycle continues, then it won't be long until it is.

Having said that, I wouldn't have climbed anything super steep like that today even if I though it was climbable as it was super cold this morning (minus 18)  & it didn't get above minus 10 all day!

The ice felt super cold all day & very hard/brittle on some pitches - you could feel the cold coming off the ice! - sounds crazy if you haven't been icefall climbing!! You'd think 'of cause the ice feels cold'..........too cold & the ice contracts & becomes under to much tension, brittle, hard & unpleasant to climb....also more dangerous on super steep pitches where there is already a lot of'll here the ice cracking with axe placements...stay off that stuff!

We had a great day though & climbed on the left hand side of the main wall - Namenlos, a great 5 pitch route at WI4+ (i'll give it the + today as it felt harder than WI4!)

Tim enjoying the 1st steep pitch on the left side of the icefall

On the 5th pitch we had to exit through this window out onto the steep ice pillar above, 30m above the ground, both feet first coffin style! as the window's the size of my chest at a squeeze!

Tim enjoying a cold shower! after exiting the window & traversing the pillar above

It was worth the battle today! Tim enjoying topping out on Pitch 5, Namenlos WI4(+!)
Completely frozen hands, gear,'ve gotta love the ice! 
Safe climbing


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