Midget Seracing

Our midget serac. Hey ice climbers can't be too choosey in June! Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

So it isn’t quite August.  Isn’t quite seracing season.  In fact it’s still June and very much still snowing in the mountains.  In fact, we have already set a record for mountain snowfall and that’s not conducive to vertical ice climbing.  But, I wasn’t going to let that stop me on this weekend’s Nisqually glacier on Mt. Rainier unit I instruct for the Washington Alpine Club’s Basic Climbing Class.  Dubbed, Snow II, at this weekend we go over crevasse rescue (student’s prussik out of crevasses), z-pulley, glacier travel, walking on low angle ice, and vertical ice.  Catch was…. there’s so much bloody snow!! Have you every INTENTIONALLY dug out a crevasse?  Now I can say I have.  Very surreal for a mountaineer to do, usually your avoiding them like the plague.  Then there was digging out low angle ice.  One needs ice to practice crampon technique.  We had to find some, and it was all very inconveniently under feet of snow.  So we dub, and dug and dug somemore.

The unit I primarily taught was Vertical Ice.  We did get quite lucky

Getting my alpine ice climb on in June! Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

and found a midget serac.  Once could get in about 2.5 swings before topping out.  But hey, the students learned a thing or two about ice climbing and I was able to spend the weekend ice bouldering!  Which for an #addictedtoice person, in June, is quite a happy way to spend a day.  The debate raged as to whether this this was swinging tools for the last time of last season or swinging tools for this first time of this upcoming season.  June is relatively in the middle between last season and the upcoming one, so I called it for this season.

Awesome! Tools officially swung for the 2011-2012 ice season.  Now I just have to patiently wait until August for the real seracs to melt out.

So when’s the earliest you’ve been out climbing on ice season?  Send me a few stories.

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~ by Genevieve Hathaway on June 10, 2011.

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