Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ice, Ice, Baby!

My knee has been healing well and I've managed to climb a few ice routes in the last week. With our thin and weak snowpack I've been more inspired to ice climb than to go on a tour. Maybe that will change when I get my new skis! Here are some pictures of Trail Creek ice. Drew brought his helmet cam out for the first time and we got a few photos from that. Look for some videos to come.

James killin' it in Rock Roll Canyon. This was his second day ice climbing ever and he's hooked!

We gotta come up with a good name for this flow. It's short, but really fun and I think there could be a mixed route or two out the cave. How about Mini Me?

A couple helmet cam pics.

Monday, December 14, 2009


My friend Guy Lacelle passed away late last week while climbing in Hyalite Canyon, Montana. While i am extremely sad with his passing, i can't help but celebrate the many days of ice and mixed climbing we've shared over the years. Guy and I shared a lot of the same beliefs. He did not drink alcohol, despised elitism and secrecy, and believed it's not about what you've got, but what you give. There is no doubt Guy had what it took to be "Guy Lacelle" soloist, mixed climber, ice master, and explorer of new terrain, but his life was about giving. And that is what he did with his time and his talent. To many he will be remembered as one of the best ice climbers in the world, but to those who have known Guy for decades, or for those who knew him for a brief few hours, he will be remembered as someone who loved climbing, loved sharing it with anyone who had passion, and loved the human spirit of compassion, motivation, and wanted to see others succeed.
This weekend many of the best ice climbers in the world gathered at the Bozeman Ice Festival to share our love of winter climbing with others who wanted to learn about it. In the wake of Guy's death and the heavy cloud of sorrow that haunted many of us, we could not disappoint our friend by calling it quits for the weekend. And I'm glad we didn't. I got to share two full days with dozens of people who wanted to learn about ice and mixed climbing. It's not paid guiding. All or most of the athletes who attend the Bozeman Ice Festival donate our time to share skills with those in attendance. Simply for the love of sharing what makes our lives so meaningful.
The highlight of the weekend was sharing some time with my friend Tom Smartt, who had never been ice climbing before. He pretty much owned every piece of ice and mixed route he attempted. It was like watching an artist paint a picture!
Without the opportunity to share what i know, climbing would be selfish and meaningless to me. And whether it's sharing information or climbing skills with others, for me, it's the right thing to do and is what makes my climbing world go around.
The climbing community lost another important and well loved icon. Yet by the end of the weekend, a new ice climbing soul was born. Welcome to the fold young Tom Smartt. Just remember, it's not what you've got, it's what you give...
Two thumbs up from Tom Smartt
-Dean Lords

Saturday, December 5, 2009

New Route in the Sawtooths

I recently received some photos from my friend James Q Martin. Q, (as his friends call him) is writing an article on the Sawtooths for Climbing magazine. He had arrived early in September and spent almost two weeks climbing and shooting photos at the Elephants Perch. I wasn't able to join him until the end of his stay and we ventured up to the Finger of Fate for a couple days. Q wanted to climb the ultra classic "Open Book" on the Finger and "anything else that looked good". I told him I had my eye on a line that my college roommate and I tried years ago. He inquired and I described it as "a finger to hands spitter diagonalling through a short headwall". Q's eyes light up...

We arrived at the upper lakes just as the sun was dropping behind Sevy Peak and the western skyline. If we wanted to get on the route, we'd better hustle! We dropped our loads and boogied up to the line.

I remembered climbing the first pitch years ago; a wide lichen covered crack that gave access to the upper headwall. I also remembered climbing up to a two piece, magic X anchor built with finger sized gear. Mike (my old roommate) had belayed me up to this partially hanging stance. I looked at the anchor, I looked at Mike. I looked at the anchor again. I didn't like the fact that we had only two pieces in, but our meager rack at that time didn't afford us to beef it up and still have plenty of small gear for the route. Uneasy about putting my full weight on the anchor, I set up and belayed Mike as he eased out into the thin line that split orange stone. Mike was a strong climber, but neither of us were in any sort of shape for what we were getting ourselves into. He wrenched his fingers in the first few locks and tried to wiggle in a stopper. After what seemed like forever, legs began to quiver, his forearms rippling, Mike re-racked the stopper and fiddled in a cam. Then he said "take". We looked at each other, then the anchor, then the cam Mike was weighting... the sentiment was mutual. Let's get the hell outta here! We bailed that day, and I hadn't been back... but I hadn't forgotten either.

In fading light with Q snapping photos and Rachel belaying, I climbed the route ground up, cleaning lichen and few loose holds as I went. I rested a few times on gear at the crux: thin tips and next to nothing for feet for 10 feet or so. Then it was into solid finger locks and jams to the top. The route is two pitches. P1 is probably 5.7 and a little dirty. P2 is probably 5.11-; I'd compare it to the 5.11s on the Perch. I'll have to get back next season to clean it up a bit and send!

Thanks to Mike for spying the line and Q and Rachel for making it a reality!!

Photos by James Q Martin

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paddling the south, west, pac. fork of the Salmon

Nov.2, 2009
I drove all the way back to berkeley and got the biggest board that I own and went back out.

This time I used a bit more tact and went to the sand dunes to scope out a riptide to aid in paddling out.

I scored a DOH+(?), macker. I made the drop, bottom turned into a mid face speed pump underneath a hucking lip. I didnt really have a chance to enjoy the view of the lip 5 feet over my head cuz it was only there for a split second (guess i should have stalled instead of pumped). I made an awkward hack off the top to another bottom turn to a speed pump to kick out. I got around to see where i was and saw the small pack of surfers that I started at, they were really far away, like 2-3 hundred yards. I was really amazed at how fast i went, but i did not want to get stuck back inside again.

I looked back out to sea to see a triple overhead steam roller charging towards me, I noodled my arms as fast as possible towards the biggest submarine beating of my life. A visceral tinkling of my worst nightmares spilled into my conscientiousness as i attempted to will my two lactic acid filled appendages into action.

I am five years old again only this time I am not asleep, the monster bering down on me is not a figment of my imagination. Its right there in front of me, rushing towards me frothing its gaping, roaring mouth.
The only way to escape it is to run towards it and go between its legs, only I cant run. No matter how hard I try I just cannot get my arms to move fast enough.

I began to silence the little boy inside of me and prepared to pay for what she gave me.