Renewable Resources mismarked

Submitted by kephoto on Sun, 12/11/2005 - 19:25
Well the detective work continues. On Saturday Cloe and I were climbing on Barronette Mtn. on what is described in Jojo?s Winter Dance as Renewable Resources. Due to prior emailing with Tom Kalakay it appears as though the route RR has been mislabeled in the guidebook and is located just down and left of Dancing with the Hippo, the middle pitch in the three tiered cliff. (see post ?New Route on Barronette) The selection of ice on display currently in Cooke city is impressive and for those that have not had a sampling I would highly recommend an adventure. Renewable Resources: This is how I would describe the pitch Ross Lynn and I climbed that is the actual Renewable Resources, minus the first mixed pitch. One could climb on the lower angle rock down and left of the obvious ice pitch for a mixed adventure but it wasn?t appealing enough to tempt us. Climb a steep curtain 50 ft(4+) to a large cave that has a freestanding pillar 40ft(5+/6-) continuing up a steep curtain30ft(5), pull over the lip to continue directly up lower angle ice to a large boulder. There is a chock stone on the climber?s left, at the base of the boulder, which was used for threading a rappel. Cloe and I were determined to figure out what exactly the route labeled RR was all about. Upon walking up to the first pitch we quickly determined that we didn?t have enough gear to tackle the first 100 ft of rock that overhung more than 8ft, that pitch will have to wait. We walked around left to the base of the obvious "thick" ice and started there. The first 20 meters of climbing led to a large ledge on ice that was difficult to protect, averaging in thickness of only a few inches except in a few places. Stubbies galore!! The second pitch (40m) was a classic WI 4 with thin sections of ice in a few places but mostly thick yet brittle ice. The end provided interesting climbing as we moved right onto a thin ice ribbon, finishing through a classic birthing canal exit of rock as the ice seemed to dry up just at the top of the difficulties. Major foresteering was required to get a sling around the tree at the top of the route so I?m in question if anyone had ever bothered with this pitch. (Any info please) With the temps finally coming out of the icebox and back to where the mere mortal can reside, we experienced a comfortable 20+ degree day under the most brilliant of blue skies. We deemed our climbing experience as one under the sun of the ?Sheltering Sky.? Both RR and Saturdays route are recommended. Kristoffer Erickson [img][/img] [img][/img] [img][/img] [img][/img]

Kris asked me to see if my understanding of the mountain would add anything to the question of which route is which. I must admit, sorting out Barronette as well as I did was one of my most proud achievements for "Winter Dance." It was epic. It may not even be right but it's as good as it can all things considered. There is no question that many of the things on Barronette have had numerous "first ascents." Consider it an ongoing work in progress. For those of you interested in Barronette, local history or the trivails of a guidebook author - read on. Otherwise, this lengthy tome probably isn't worth your effort. During the research of the book, Tom had casually mentioned a two pitch route he did right of the Fossil Cave with Ty Mack. Some obscure drawings he gave indicated a mixed pitch followed by a steep pillar. I applied the realities of the various limestone caves to what Tom told me but remained confused to where this route might be. That is, until I was in Billings going through photos with Chad Chadwick. He has a blurry print photo of a great looking route that I was able to identify as the same thing Cloe and Kris climbed on December 10th. Having only seen a few anemic icicles there myself, I realized here was one of those great Cooke routes that hasn't been seen since the drought started. It does have a mixed pitch below it on the left side of the big cave below the "Y-pitch" of "Jim and Jeff's Route." It was an easy assumption that this was Tom's mystery route. I came up with the name "Renewable Resource" since it sort of went with the theme of the nearby Fossil cave and suggests the ephemeral, yet ever-returning, nature of ice. Tom seemed to like the name, so it stuck. My error, in hindsight, was that I didn't look closely at the very bottom of the groove I thought was the first pitch of "Renewable Resource" (you can walk around it). Of course there is the big hanger to the right (below the Y-pitch) that if in Canada would have three bolt lines headed for it (see photo on page 304 of Winter Dance). I just assumed that the bottom of the groove would be the M4 that Tom reported. Kris and Cloe confirmed, however, that it was super overhanging and unlikely to be a ground-up M4. This mistake was compounded by my recollection and photos of the other caves along the base of Barronette. I had walked the entire base of the cliff while trying to figure things out. I have photos of the cave below the route Kris and Ross did on November 29 ("Let It Come Down") but I was focused on the drip at the very fall-line in the back of the cave and don't have any photos or recollection of a M4ish corner on the left-hand side. Now that Tom pointed it out on the photo posted on the other thread, it's obvious and very likely the line they took back in 1999. So in conclusion, it appears that "Renewable Resource" is in fact the line just left of "Dancing with the Hippo" and the route Kris and Cloe did is still awaiting a name although it is well-described on page 304 of Winter Dance. Bottom line, it doesn't really matter. They both look like great routes so go do 'em! The photo on pages 298-99 show all the gullies in question. The lower unclimbed pitch of Kris and Cloe's route is immediately above the "B" in Barronette and the corner of Tom & Ty's "Renewable Resource" is above the "te" in Barronette. I'll put together some updated info and post it on the "More Beta" page of my web site

Do to the lack of formal information about many of the routes in this area a name can be helpful in conversations as to what has and has not been done. To further the conversation of those choosing to read through all of the chatter and to help those guide book authors with collecting the info, I think it best to describe the route Cloe and I climbed as "The Sheltering Sky" If anyone has legitimate information about route please chime in. If you want to post something like, "ya I climbed that route back in the 80's," let's put a name and photo to the post so we can all benifit from the information and history. Kristoffer Erickson