Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Sandstone Ice Fest-2012

The Sandstone Ice Fest....I mean The Sandstone Slush Fest as it was coined this year on Saturday.  We woke up from the tents to 34 degrees and rain.  We went to Amy's in town for breakfast to 34 degrees and pouring rain! We came back to the quarry after breakfast  to a soaking wet mess, but this time armed with an umbrella from the dollar store!
But, the stoke was high and the 150 people plus in the quarry that morning all still had a great time. Maybe it's our Midwestern character, maybe it was our desire to climb ice for the first time of the season, or maybe we are all just a little bit off our rocker.  But everyone had a smile, and I think the only person that complained just a bit was me (sorry!).

I opened up the morning by teaching the Intro to Ice clinic with Dave.  We had a great group of 15 people, some of them never had ice climbed before.  Everyone at the fest was able to demo some of the latest gear from Scarpa, and Grivel throughout the course of the day, which everyone took advantage of.
That evening we had a door prize raffle and and an MCA raffle for an entire Black Diamond ice set up of new tools, crampons and a harness.  In the door prize raffle, one winner won a sweet new Osprey Mutant pack! We also had a special guest speaker giving a slideshow on climbing the Grand Teton. It was a great show ;)
Sunday was a bit colder, with new snow overnight (finally) and a return to below frezing temps.  The day started with a Mixed clinic and another Intro clinic with climbers climbing every inch of free ice along the quarry wall. 

A great time was had by all, and we thank the MCA, Tony (the fest organizer) and Jeff Engel for being the lead Ice farmer of the 2012/13 season!  Without these folk, the fest would not be possible.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The last step...

The printing proof was delivered today to Bill.  A few last minute edits/changes and off to the printer!  We are using a local printer located in Marquette and should have the copies in hand to sell by mid-January. 

  • 150 pages, full color
  • Detailed route descriptions to 198 names routes
  • Quality maps of the region and specific areas
  • Most of the routes are GPS tagged for easier targeting
  • Quality route photos
  • Places to go to eat, drink and sleep in town if not staying in a snow bank
  • Ice fest information and regional info to boot!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

An excerpt from the new Munising Ice Guide

At the most basic level, three primary components are required to climb frozen waterfalls: vertical relief, water, and cold.  In the upper Midwest, we are blessed with an abundance of water and some vertical relief, both of which brings us ice climbers great joy.  However, cold is the unknown variable in this equation, which has become increasingly more important to us each coming season.  In some years, the north wind blows early, causing the water to get hard so we can make our annual pilgrimage north by late December.  In other years, it seems like the cold will never arrive, so the ice doesn't form much at all.

Climate change is real. There is no question that it is happening and we need to make conscious effort as individuals to educate ourselves about this issue.  Global warming is an issue affecting us as ice climbers and I urge you to consider your daily actions to think not of just today, but for winters to come and many more pitches of ice to climb.  This is a global issue affecting us on a regional level.  Your actions in this region today are amplified on the global scale.

Live for Winter! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Alexander's Chimney.

Two short videos of the second pitch of AC.  Climbed 10/2/12.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Editing is Fun....

In the last four days, over 150 edits have been made to the guide, not including the early edits made by Mary and Eric last month.  Headed to the Printer this week!

Need to thank from Madison;
Dave Nelson
Gary Jugenheimer
Mary Swenson
Eric Pueschel

And now just need to figure out how to edit this post by rotating the photo...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Marmot Nabu Jacket-NeoShell

The Nabu Jacket. Used twice for reals and once out to a bar. The below links are to industry PR/Kool-aid ;) type releases and the below is from me. Starting with each climb and then a recap. As of note, if I did the climbs below in my GORE paclite jacket, I would have overheated for sure and been very uncomfortable.     

Stoked at the base of The Beehive, Montana.  Nov 23.  Warm in the sun, below freezing temps in the shade/cloud cover.  Variable wind on route, strong on the summit.  Just racked up to lead the first pitch of this;
Wore a I/O BIO (at the time) Merino wool Pilot suit for my only layer below the jacket and a belay parka above for the belays. 

Leading the third pitch.  In the sun, but windy.

 Leading a wet WI 4 in Hyalite called Champagne Sherbert. Nov 24th.  Warm! Above freezing temps and wet. The route was spitting water down the middle and made my pants damp, but not my jacket.  My pants were made of Polartec Powershield O2 fabric. I wore just the Pilot suit below the jacket.

Approaching Alexander's Chimney, RMNP via Lamb's Slide.  Dec 2ed. 38 in the parking lot and breezy at 7am.  Colder up high and breezy with occasional strong gusts.  I wore the same Pilot suit as in Montana, but this time I layered a thin Marmot fleece that is hooded and very comparable to a slightly thinner Patagonia R1.

 Leading pitch 2 of AC.  Belay parka in the "JacPack"

Following above the chockstone on AC. Without a puffy at the belay, It would have been quite cold!  As the day wore on, the winds picked up, as my shoes were blown 10 meters across the parking lot in one gust when we got back to the car.  This was part the same wind event responsible for the Fern lake fire growing 3 miles in three hours during the overnight on Nov 30th. Not cool and threatens Estes Park...Also, climbed in just a thin pair of windstopper gloves with leather palms for reinforcement the whole day, including the approach and descent.  Brought belay gloves, but didn't use them... weird as my feet and legs were a bit cold, but my hands were fine most of the day.  I went through that initial "wood hands" feeling in the beginning of the day then they were good to go.

The Nabu Jacket, available Spring 2013 from Marmot is the newest NeoShell Jacket from them.  I am wearing the Fall 2013 sample. (Full disclosure, I am a Marmot rep from Wisconsin and I have never worn the Zion jacket outside.  I think the hood sucks and I have always thought the fabric to be to thick for me).  So, in the temps and conditions used above, I am falling in love with this jacket.  They made improvements in my mind over the Zion for an excellent alpine/water ice climbing jacket.  First off the fabric is much thinner and I believe more breathable then the Zion.  Second, the Nabu also has stretch which is noticeable when you put it on, but not noticeable while climbing in it which is the way you want it to be.  Marmot also corrected the small hood on the Zion as the hood on the Nabu fits comfortably over my helmet (even though it still could have just a slightly larger brim).

The arms are a perfect length for me, even using an under-cuff thin glove like I used to climb with on AC. For reference, I am a bit over 5' 10'' and 182lbs and no idea of my wingspan/ape index. The cuffs have a simple Velcro strap closure that works well for me. The center back length was also good, as the jacket stayed below my harness at all times with only having to pull it down once on the two routes above, for a total of 6 pitches climbed.  

Overall there are four bungee cord closures for the jacket.  One on the hem that has both a right and left pull tab for tightening.  The other three are on the hood to make an optimal fit.  One for center height for front to back adjustment, and the two others are on the each side for up and down adjustment. Each of the side  bungees are on the front of the hood from the center height bungee down to where the main zippers meet.  The jacket also has four pockets.  Two hand warmers and  two chest pockets. One chest pocket is on the outside and one is on the inside of the jacket, but opposite of the outside side.  The outside pocket also has a headphone port to boot. Just hope the batteries don't run out on the Walkman Marc Twight style, cuz that would be poor style. 

My first negative comment is the zipper.  I think that the front zipper is a bit tough to close and it really bogs down when the angle of the zipper changes from flat to curved at the neck.  I have to use two hands to pull it up which is kinda annoying while climbing,  But, it is a waterproof zip and they are always just a bit "thicker".  The other thing that I never truly love with Marmot is the size of the seam taping.  The tape on this jacket is 3/4 of an inch.  I know that there is smaller tape available used by other brands, and without knowing much about tape and fabric/tape/glue combinations, I will leave this one alone until I ask a professional. 

Overall very stoked about this jacket.  Waterproof. Breathable. Relatively light weight. (love the green color with white zips!).  So far very good, and only the rest of the winter will tell me more.