Pages

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roberts Horn -- Alpine Style

Photo from SummitPost.com
A couple days ago, Jason and I climbed the east face of Roberts Horn with skis on our back, and then hiked/skied off south face and out Primrose Cirque.  Roberts Horn is located in the Southern Wasatch and accessed via Provo Canyon and Aspen Grove. This year's thin snow conditions have resulted in fairly decent ice conditions.  We pitched out the waterfall staircase.  After that, route finding on limestone slab and thin snow and ice tested our level of commitment.  It took us 1.5 hrs to approach, 7.5 hrs to climb the face, and another 2.5 hrs to descend on skis.  (Apologies to Brothers Sam and Aaron who put us on to this, but because they are responsible citizens, couldn't go.)

Jason Dorais approaching the base of the climb.  That's about 4 pitches of fairly challenging (for us) ice climbing.
Old snow left from last year at the base of the climb.  As winter progresses, the ice fall will mostly fill in.  In fact, Ben Ditto and Matt Turley have skied the East Face of Roberts Horn in fat snow conditions.
Jason leading Pitch 1.
Me leading Pitch 2.  The ice was super cold and hard, making screw placements really really frustrating.  At the top of the bulge above, the ice gets thin.  I pulled over the top scratching madly on bare rock.  (Photo: Jason Dorais)
Jason on Pitch 3.  This was a short but fun pitch.  There isn't a picture of Pitch 4.  I started leading it, but tapped out and handed the rack to Jason who sent it.  After that, we had some debate about whether it is bad style to clip and hang on your tool to set a screw.  I say, who cares? 
Thin snow conditions were a concern.  We were wary of triggering a hard slab.  Or falling of rock slab.  That wouldn't have been fun.  After the fourth pitch, we simul-climbed, putting in half a screw where we could, and occasionally a pin.  For the most part, the placements were anti-textbook, but we figured they would be better than nothing.  And they gave us some level of comfort.
This is a picture of Jason topping out, finally.  We didn't take the most direct route up the face, always looking for the path of least resistance.  But that also created uncertainty as to whether we would eventually get dead ended.  It wasn't until we topped out that we were sure that we would see the top.  And when we did, it was 5:00 p.m. and getting dark fast.
Adding to the fun-ness of the day was our ski descent in the dark.  We called Brother Sam twice for directions on how to get down. On top of that was the fact that my water froze solid around 9:00 a.m. and I went pretty much until 7:30 pm without taking a sip.  If one criteria of alpine climbing is that at some point you wish you weren't there, then I can check that box off.  But that is also the very reason alpine climbing is fun.  Without the discomfort and challenge, that sense of accomplishment and the pleasure derived from climbing a mountain wouldn't be there.  And that would be worse than not drinking anything all day.



13 comments:

Christopher3000 said...

Jared, I think it's considered bad style to clip and hang on your tool because it can pop out and break your face open. Looks fun. Any experience with Grivel G22's? Considering some steel crampons and not sure if I want to compromise in rigidity, but the G22's sure look nice...

Jared said...

True. Very true. But then I would say it is even worse style to fall off while putting in a screw. A choice of bad and badder I guess.

I don't have any experience with the G22, but I really like the monopoint configuration on the G20. In addition to the monopoint on the G20, there is a mini point that stabilizes, which I like. The only think I don't like about the Grivels is that they don't pack well. The G20s or G22s don't have a sliding link bar. Petzl's Dart, for instance packs up nicely. Also, the points in the middle of your instep on both the G20 and G22 are a bit funky.

SLC sherpa said...

So jealous...

I'll go for the repeat once this kid learns how to sleep and the conditions are fatter. You in Chris?

Unknown said...

Man. What a perfect day in the Mountains! Looks like you two had a good one. (minus the dehydration headaches) I just moved to town from Summit County. I believe you have raced (Skimo) with some good friends and partners of mine. I would be stoked to get out and bang some ice,vert and turns. Are there any sub-radar Skimo races here? It would be fun to get a kick in the pants before the ones later in the season.
Drop a line teagueholmes@gmail.com
Cheers

Unknown said...

Summit County Colorado/Breckenridge...

jun said...

Were you clipped into your tool from your harness via a daisy chain or the likes? I'm sure it's bad form if you're purist Eurotrash, but for us mere mortals I would say what you did was just dodgy, not bad form. Great pics, nice adventure.

Jared said...

Yes. Daisy chain. And I will publicly admit that I have both fallen and hung on my umbilicals.

d said...

Very nice Jared. Cool outing.

Christopher3000 said...

Andy, I'm in, but you'll need to sell me a pair of race skis/bindings/skins(to bolster your Gerber budget/give me a fighting chance on the approach)before I truly become an alpinist.

RichardsBeer said...

Thanks to sharing nice post. This seems to be less than some of the other Summit County snowmobile trails are limited, it is always good, and allow the peace of the forest sink into the earth and solve our minds.

Summit County snowmobile rentals

justein clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
justein clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
justein clark said...

cheap train horn kits are meant to be loud so that an approaching locomotive can be heard from blocks. The driver should know when and where to use this horn to maintain efficient transport.