The great thing about Idaho is that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than being able to guess what tomorrow;s weather is going to be. You may doubt that this is a great thing, but can you imagine living somewhere like California where it was ALWAYS hot? Or what about Seattle where it ALWAYS rains? Variety is the spice of life and I've been kept on my toes this spring bouncing from early season mountaineering to catching a few warm hours on the local crags trying to get my sport climbing up to par.
Mysha is still my favorite belayer (sorry guys - she's just prettier than you are) and so I have headed to the crag at Heise and Paramount a couple of times to get some chalk on my fingers and try out a new lightweight harness I recently purchased from C.A.M.P. The harness was great, but almost a little too slimmed down for full function in racking gear. However, it feels like wearing almost nothing at all and the fit makes the harness move with me very well!
Mysha likes the green color of the harness, so I think I'll keep it. Scott Hurst and I headed to the mountains a couple of weeks ago and climbed Super Gully on Lost River Peak (Class 3 ridgeline preceded by moderate snow climbing). The route was in good condition, but the evidence of recent avalanches was obvious. We moved into the gully and then across the throat of it with caution. The upper portions were especially good and quite stable.
The knife-edge ridge from South to North Summits was slightly easier than when I did the climb last Spring. The weather turned out to be perfect, and we enjoyed a quick decent on mash potato snow!
Scott and Kyle Steadman returned last week with a group of BYU-Idaho students and found a very different mountain. The weather was good, the conditions of the gully were also good, but Kyle reported a massive cornice running the length of the summit ridge. The cornice was heavily wind-loaded and when Scott cautiously stepped onto the ridge, his body weight triggered an avalanche. Needless to say, the group wisely retreated from the walk across the knife-edge ridge.
Wind and graupel also hit the group, feeding them a
substantial dose of true mountain conditions. Kyle returned from the encounter addicted to the battle that is mountaineering, and eager for more!
I'm hoping Memorial Day allows Scott and I to hit the crag with our families. If the weather is lousy in the valley, I'll just set my sights on the mountains and plan for winter climbing conditions. It hardly seems like nest week will be the first week of June. I wonder if there's still ice on Short Line Couloir.....