"Dreams are the touchstones of our characters" -David Thoreau

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sea and River Ice Meet Verticle Ice


Annina enjoying hot coco on the sea
This week has been a busy one so far!  Everyday I have been out skiing on the sea ice in the evenings.  It has been fantastic to ski around the islands near my house.  Really get a different perspective than in the summer.  People say the ice is to thin but from my testing samples I at least trust it fully in our bay.  I took a long ice screw and drilled a few samples from different places and found that there was a good 4cm thick ice layer.  Below that was a 4-5cm layer of water/slush and then some more hard ice.  With a 21cm screw I couldn't get through the bottom layer so it has to be at least 10cm+ in thickness.  So with those two layers it should be really good.  I am still not sure if I would walk there, but skiing is no problem.

Finally some cold weather in the form of -20'C (-5'F) has come!  A lot of people don't like it so much but the more time you spend outside in it the more you get used to it.  I remember a few winters ago on my ski trip brushing my teeth in the morning in just a sweater, no hat, and no gloves in -35'C (-31'F).  I guess if a person stays inside all the time you will get used to the +20'C and it will feel crazy cold outside.  Amazing that the human body can adapt so well.

Me Skiing on the Sea
Annina also joined me on a few of the ski trips across the sea ice.  She bundled up and just went for it properly and really enjoyed it.  It is always tricky to dress for this weather as most people overdress, then sweat, then freeze.  Once you get it right it is really wonderful and amazing.  Usually the trick is to almost under dress and then put a warm down jacket on when you stop.  Although it's always good to have a good hat and mittens/gloves on. 

Two days ago in the evening Jody and I went to this farmed ice wall near my house.  We were surprised that despite the temperature it didn't feel that cold.  The Ice wall is about 15m (50ft) high but pretty vertical right next to the river.  The ice conditions were okay but the ice was mostly pretty chopped up.  Jody led the first two lines which were very good leads.  I then seconded them and felt pretty okay but it felt weird on the manufactured knobbly ice.

I then led two lines and felt pretty good although the ice on the second line was a bit airy on this pillar.  It was a little nerving but otherwise I felt surprisingly comfortable on the nearly vertical ice.  Jody then seconded the lines.  We then set up a top rope on the steepest line and we did some laps of the wall until we got tired.  We climbed very efficiently and pretty fast considering everything.  It was a very good session as we each led and seconded a total of 60m of climbing and trained each ~40m of top roping for a total of 100m (328ft) of vertical climbing each.  Pretty good for a few hours.  Really great fun to climb with Jody and am looking forward to the next climb with him.

Me leading
Jody Leading

 Today I will venture out again on the vertical ice and then tomorrow we (Annina and I) will head to the summer cottage.  The forecast is for -25'C(-13'C) in the days and then -30to-35'C (-22to-31'F) in the nights this weekend.  Should be interesting also since the road is snowed in and we have to ski the last kilometers and haul our stuff in.  Should be fun!  Thanks for reading and stay tuned! =)

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