Sam Hennessey and I spent a great couple days down in the cooke city area climbing some ice. We climbed Triplet and found it to be a very enjoyable route and it is still in good shape, although the sun is starting to affect the first pitch a bit. We agreed each pitch to be about WI4+, with the spectacular "crack pillar" pitch being the crux.
I had my eye on a drainage on Abiathar for exploration, and although it appeared to not have anything worth climbing, we did catch a glimpse, from the XC-ski track, of a nice piece of ice a bit to the north. We decided to go check it out the following day. Turns out, it was an incredible climb, and given how prominent it is, I feel like it must have been climbed before, although no mention of it in any of the books or sign of rap anchors. Either way, it was a awesome day! 90 min ski up the drainage (two major drainages north of the House that Jack Built drainage) saw us to the base of the first pitch. A nice little WI4ish curtain (60 feet). A rope length of snow got us to a second bulge (easy WI3, 30 feet) and into the upper ampitheather. We solo'd up another maybe 40 feet of WI3 to a snow ledge and belayed on the right. The final pitch is an awesome pillar - (145 feet of ice, 175 feet to a tree anchor). One could find climbing on either side of the WI5 spectrum, although the line we took was probably soft WI5. One long double rope free hanging rap got us back to the ampitheather. We then made two shorter raps back to our skis. The drainage itself had some pretty decent snow and is a decent ski out. (Traverse in and out of the drainage about 10 min from the road due to cliffs and down timber.)
Anyone know what this climb is? It certainly should get climbed often, as the approach is relatively mild, there appears to be little to no avy danger AND the climbing is really good!
Other climbs: Didn't see but I am sure House that Jack Built and Hydromonster are both in and good. Marlboro Madness & 2pump Chump both in and good. Barronette Falls is huge, Dancing w/ Hippo is not in. South of summit looked great. The bottom two pitches of Skull Cave Pillars are fat, but the upper pillar is broken off. Fossil Fuel looked good and interesting. Park Gate was huge. The Plum and Silver Falls both looked as if they suffered from the recent warm and sunny weather. Silver Gate climbs good (the center is in but appears skinny and probably challenging). The top of Petrified Dreams looks good, but it appears that the bottom 20 feet of the climb is missing. Have fun.
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