Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ah, hell, I'm stupid - I forgot to post a link to Graham's packs (Cilo Gear). They're very nice and very lightweight and very comfy and excellent for ice and other things, and if you're in the market for a new pack, as someone who has fit and sold pretty much all of the major brands of packs out there for many years, I would definitely recommend them to a lot of people (but they're not for everyone, I have to say... you need a brain to fully appreciate them...)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I can't even find a photo of Crystal Ice Tower to steal, and I've already posted a Multiplication Gully photo, so no pictures tihs time! Graham and I hit the road around 4:30 on Saturday, getting caught in a small amount of traffic leaving the city but otherwise getting up to Keene around 9PM. We dropped stuff off at the bivy and then headed over to a party down the road. I wasn't really up for playing poker, but once it degenerated into more of a drinking game involving penalty shots (dregs of the bottles mixed together), I joined in with someone else's money and managed not to lose any of it. Bed around 1:30AM; up around 7 to go climb. I was doing fine (I'd taken it relatively easy as I had to drive us back to the bivy, after all) but I think Graham was pretty hung over...

At any rate, there was some debate as to whether we should just go toprope as Graham hadn't climbed ice in ages and just wanted some mileage, or I should go lead something. Apparently if you're me, you're not really climbing unless you're leading, according to Joe (although the kids from NJ got an "Oh, OK, that sounds cool" when they said they were going to go toprope the quarry wall...) so somehow I got talked into attempting White Line Fever. It was somewhat cold and the ice was somewhat brittle, but I tried to convince myself it looked manageable.... yeah right... I got a move and a half off the ground (ie about 3 feet) and ended up deciding it wasn't happening that day. Graham, rather than being a good partner and bitching at me to shut up and climb, said oh, OK, and we loaded up and hiked down to check out Quinn the Eskimo, clear down at the other end of the canyon. It looked pretty not-in down below so we walked back, and decided to hit the Quarry Wall. By the time we got there (after a lovely bushwhack because I stopped to fix a crampon and looked up to find Graham halfway up the hillside above Pitchoff Right, out of earshot), we found the wall draped with 5 ropes as a group from Colgate (the same one that was crossing the pond as a herd a few weeks ago when Philip and I were on Chouinard's) was there hacking away. We tossed a rope over the rock at the left and and gave a mixed line a go. I think it would have gone except that I was climbing with Graham's tools and his leashes were too long so I was totally pumping out... Eventually we moved the rope over, climbed some 4-4+ish line and headed back to the bivy. We got back around 4:30 and all I wanted was a beer...

10 beers, 3 frozen pizzas, a pound of pasta, a box of donuts and a marriage proposal from a married man later, I was passed out and apparently snoring by 10:30 PM. Slept until 8:30, woke up feeling like crap (but reasonable for the amount of alcohol) but pulled myself together, ate a good breakfast and was out in Wilmington by 10AM. The thought of giving Crystal Ice Tower another go had crossed my mind (especially as it was warmer; it was about 23 degrees) but we decided on Multiplication Gully since I was pretty positive that I could lead that. There was a party coming down just as we pulled up, and another one just starting up. We waited in the car for a good hour, by which point the first party had made it down. It turned out to be Chad, the guide from EMS who I'd climbed Unexpected Pleasure and Roaring Brook Falls with last year, and he warned us that the other party looked like they were preparing for an epic. They were definitely slow; I started up the climb as soon as the second was out of sight and still managed to get to the trees near the top of the first pitch just as the other leader was starting on the first pitch. Brought up Graham, watched the leader try and back off of a move (above the crux!) for about half an hour before he finally decided to bail. I offered to grab his screw and leave it at the mountaineer for him, but they insisted on waiting... and wait they did. Right in the line of fire. It can't have been fun to cower for an hour whilst I sent down TV sized hunks of ice, but they did. By the time I got to the top, I was just about out of slings (I guess I clipped 10 pieces in 60 meters... but I'm a wimp!) but I feel that I did it fairly well. I never really had any moments where I had to talk myself into just going despite being nervous (which I encounter fairly often on rock); it was more a matter of just finding comfortable tool placements. Only one oh shit! moment when the bulge that both my tools were in suddenly cracked. I was tempted to knock it off so I could get to the ice beneath, but it was basically a 150lb chunk of ice that was going to end up in my chest. I ended up going up the 6 inch band of ice between it and the side of the gully, and send the whole thing crashing down as I kicked it with my feet. Scary!

The guys from NJ were NOT having a good day; they were just leaving even as we packed up our ropes and were leaving as well; one of the guys slipped on the steep slope at the base and started going down down down while Graham yelled arrest arrest arrest! Gave them their screw and sling back, which they thanked us for, and then they pretty much packed up and left - I tried to chat but they weren't really very talkative, and they weren't talking to each other. They just pretty much looked miserable... I felt pretty bad for them...

Hopefully I'll get back again one more time before the season's over, because White Line Fever (which turns out to be graded NEI 4-... doable by me? If it's really plastic?) is going DOWN! Ha - I owe at least that much to the guys at the Bivy who've got faith in me, right?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Google Link

This is a little long, but pretty funny.

Had Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien for lunch today. Yum yum! Top ten burgers in NYC? I want to try them all out!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I just put Tourist Trap at the top of my netflix list. I remember seeing it on TV back when I was very very young - I remember the indian, the staring mannequins, and the head chasing the girl through the woods. For probably a decade after that movie, I slept on my back, with my hands folded over my stomach (to prevent stabbing/axing!). I haven't seen it since then but I hope it lives up to my memories.

Speaking of netflix, can you name the top 10 movies ever rented on it, in order? My team at trivia night on Tuesday didn't even manage to come up with ONE of the movies on the list. I bet you can't, either.