climber

The Raptor!

I am not an ice climber….well, I have now gone, liked it, and I will most certainly go again!

My first experience was years ago with an acquaintance.  I wasn’t quite sure what he was looking for, but we hiked around a lot up the Lawn Lake Trail.  I never took my tools off the pack, even to this day I have no idea what moderate ice we might have been looking for.  Oh well.

All Mixed Up, Thatchtop Mt., RMNP

My second experience, was this November a few weeks after my whipper in Zion.  My experienced friend was very patient while I gimped up the trail, and even more caring when we stopped at the base of All Mixed Up to gear up and my feet were already frozen.  After attempting to warm them, feed me, hydrate me, dance around, we ended up turning around.

What a sissy!

I am from Minnesota, I used to tolerate the cold so well.  Wow, too many winters chasing eternal fall!

My third experience was just after Thanksgiving and it went swimmingly.  Granted I borrowed warmer, more appropriate, boots.

The three of us, 2 non-experienced ice climbers and a third who had previously climbed at our desired destination, Hidden Falls.  We had a leisurely breakfast, drove to Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park, strapped on the packs, and wandered down the road, now winter trail, west.

Then we wandered down the road east, back tracking.  We wandered a short trail parallel to the road for awhile.  Then we wandered about another pull-out and trail.  Finally, we wandered further west definitively.  Our third, “leader”, didn’t quite remember how far to wander the road, where Hidden Falls might be hidden, and surely didn’t even know what day it was.

All in good fun.  We arrived, just as another pair of climbers was hiking out.

Perfect.  Place to ourselves.

I just top-roped, but messed around with dry-tooling (which I had done before last winter in the Cascades), but I also got to climb a few pitches of just ice.

I was enjoying my new ice tools, and the boys were also enjoying my new ice tools.  The Trango Raptors saw 8-10 pitches on their first day out.  These nice tools have an aggressive pick, are quite light, and have an excellent grip.  I really enjoyed the grip set up, allowing me to switch hands comfortably, gripping above the standard grip location was equally as comfortable and easy.

Get your new pair at http://www.trango.com/ice_gear/Raptor  

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