|soloing on 30/11 at the mid-point of the gully leading up to the goods
On the 25th, the climbs on the right side (coming up from Stowe) were hanging with forming ice, verglassed slabs and wet rock. The upper pitches of the climbs looked like they were coming along nicely. The lower parts where just wet rock or a very thin sheet of ice with water running underneath. The ice on Ragnarock and Elephants Head Gully was coming in but certainly not formed.
The west-facing side on the left was much more inviting: shielded from the sun, cold, hoarfrost and a dusting of snow. I went up the creek bed to approach the amphitheatre where Blind Fate looked good and a beautiful ice column as part of a line immediately to the left also was promising.
I climbed up the final approach gully mixing it up on thin ice and rock until I was under Blind Fate, (III, WI4). I took the Blind Fate option, mostly because I wanted to climb a Bouchard route on two different continents. I moved over the lower angle ramp, trending right. The ice was pretty thin and not always well bonded because of some running water. The upper part was in great shape. Plastic ice, well structured and a joy to climb.
I was back up at Smugglers Notch on Monday, 30 November. The warm weather on Thanksgiving Thursday and the following Friday took its toll on the fragile, early season ice. Everything had substantially deteriorated. The Elephants Head Buttress side was stripped of much of the hanging ice and just wet. The climbs in the Blind Fate sector were broken and dangerously unclimbable. All the following photos are from Monday, 30 November.
|two daggers that will be nice when they touch down
|elphants head sector
|the good stuff at the end
|second 30 meter rappel
I made five, 30 meter rappels to the base of the ice gully. finding good ice for V-threads was a challenge. I bored four holes for one anchor and equalised them with cord. The rest of the anchors were normal threads, with the last one from a tree.
|skinny rap line through v-threads