Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guilty as Charged

Ian, found to be at fault for failure to pose.  

Generally, in the interest of preserving the thinly veiled perception of being an unique individual, I steer clear of the trendy mountain endeavors.  You know the ones; those routes that seem to "suddenly" come into the collective consciousness and get done time after time, for a time. I like to hold myself falsely "above" such in vogue enterprises. However, sometimes the critical mass of mojo is irresistible.  Carpooling with a buddy, he gets a text suggesting some obscure ice.  Mere hours later, a call comes in:  "What do you know about the ice in Convict Canyon?"  Walk into the gym not much later, greeted with "have you heard of the big ice climb on Laurel?"  Literally, while then working out, the proverbial straw broke this stubbornly self-defeating "free-thinkers" back.  Ian texted "maybe we should climb that thing in Convict.  Check out Ryan's facebook."  Crackbook consulted, photo ogled, plan solidified, envy trumps pride. 

Looking down pitch one.   Sunny ice with crappy rock.  What the heck?
 We proceeded with limited info and lofty ambitions.  It seemed as though it would be easy to find the start, and sketchy beta indicated that we may be able to sketch our way higher where others had rappelled   Why not try and top it out?  At least two parties had climbed two pitches in the last few days. Rumors of an ice line in here called "Conviction" circulated with the teasers. "We can get more than they all got".  Greed and gluttony?  Check and check.

P2.  Low-angle mixed to fat ice.  P1 and P2 are separated by a couple hundred feet of mellow snow.
While approaching and climbing the initial pitches, Ian regales with tales of frustration and early-morning guide logistics gone way wrong.  My mellow buddy describes anger utterly incomprehensible to me.  I respond with my own tales of barely contained rage in the face of recent misunderstandings.  Wrath indeed. 

The best part of the route:  Steep snow, to some moat-wallowing, to classic
 mixed terrain,  to this  too-steep-to-be-true snow pitch.  Recent climbers turned around just below.

Exotic snow arete, mid-route.  Frozen stuff below, bare-booted loose-rock
climbing above.  
Facing the "fun stuff" on the rocky headwall about two thirds up, Ian lamented "you get all the cool leads!"  Lust much, hombre?

Final tech pitch and some of the best work I've seen Ian do.
  Loose, steep, committed, calm as a cucumber. 
Fear not, as Ian missed out on virtually none of the excitement.  For the final technical pitch, I was more than happy to sloth around in my belay snow-hole, gradually melting into the protection of yet another snow-arete.  While loose rock rained to either side of my stance, Ian fought through crumbling holds under each appendage, dodgy protection, and the knowledge that our only way out was up.  From my lazy stupor, pulling the same moves on top-rope proved to be very difficult.

Final stroll on stunning ridge to inconsequential summit.  

We did manage to find the "short cut" descent in the skier's "Mini Pinner" couloir.
Pretty aesthetic finish to a sweet day of mediocre climbing.  

View of the zone from Mt. Morrison, December 2012.  Had we known
we'd climb over there so soon, better photos may have been secured.
Location: East Face of Mt. Laurel's South Shoulder
Grade: WI4 5.7 R 1600 ft.
Ian McEleney and Jed Porter. February 13, 2013
Suggested names: "Complete Conviction", "7 Deadly Sins", "Too Silly to Report"?  

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