First tool swinging of the season

 

All packed andd raring to go. Tested out the Gregory Alpinisto 35, which performed splendidly. Stay tuned for a gear review...

 

My friend Aili and I headed out on Monday to get in the first tool swinging of the season. Somehow every year it seems to get earlier and earlier (mostly due to my inability to patiently wait for the WI ice to show up); last year I was on the seracs beginning of October, this years it a week before the end of September.  Oh yeah, have I mentioned how I love ice.

Aili and I drove to Mt. Baker to ice climb on some seracs on the the Coleman Glacier.   The approach was snowless, but had a few knarly stream crossings.  Beware the second to the last one, it ate one of my trekking poles.  Once we reached the cliff overlooking the Coleman, we followed the climbers trail along the ridge down to a trail that led onto the lower, flat part of the glacier.  After donning our crampons, we navigated our way around crevasses up to some very nice seracs.

We high-fived each other that we were kicking off our ice season BEFORE October!!  Yes, it was only glacier ice, but it was still ice and we were

 

Coleman Glacier. Seraces here we come!

 

still swinging tools!  We got in a few good laps on lower grade stuff, then some longer vertical ice.  I even did a few laps sans tools to practice on my cramponing technique.  It feels so weird to climb ice with nothing in your hand.

On the long trek back to the car, Aili and I were on cloud nine.  We had had a great day on the ice!  Sure it had sprinkled….a lot…, sure we had had far too many nasty river crossings (including one that had eaten my trekking pole), but we had climbed ice!  It had been a successful round trip, no injuries, and we had gotten in some good swings on steep ice.  That’s one good day!

I’m returning to the Coleman on Sunday for more ice climbing.  River, leave my newtrekking poles alone, I refuse to loose two in less than a week!

 

 

Ice climbing on the Coleman Glacier, Mt. Baker.

 

 

Coleman Glacier, Mt. Baker.

 

 

Aili rapping down from the anchor she built.

 

 

Sporting my new cute turquoise OR Alibi jacket. Another gear review in the works...

 

 

Happy happy ice tools!

 

 

All smiles after a day on the ice.

 

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~ by Genevieve Hathaway on October 2, 2010.

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