Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ice Climbing at Dragonfly Creek

High today: 33
Low today: 23

A year or two ago I was in Pittsburgh playing Cranium Conga when I got a card that said "write down something you would like to try someday" (or a sport, or skill, or something..) and well, I put "ice climbing" down. No one playing the game guessed my answer when I told them the first letter of what I wrote down. I very clearly remember my sister telling me, "you want to go ice climbing?! You're crazy.. you're going to die before you're 30!" Well guess what I did today!!! Heck yessssssssss! I've been excited for this trip since.. uhhh, November!

The conditions down the Parks were by all means of the word, crap. (that one's for you Jim)
We got to our destination down near Denali around 10am welcomed by breezy conditions that were colder than expected. By the time we walked down the gully a bit, the wind was gone and it snowed on us the whole time. Here I was very worried that winter was over already!! I was very happy to see the flakes in the air again.

Adam takes a first glance at what we're climbing on.

This was a pretty sweet trip because it was a beginner's trip but most everyone was well prepared and did fairly well. The ice was in great shape too. (I imagined it to be much worse)

The creek we were on flowed down to the Nenana River. It is still weird to me that in a month and a half this will be floatable... there are some signs of breakup though..

Ted is climbing on the left in the picture below. I was happy to see a familiar face on this trip. He did an awesome job, too. He even went all the way up one-axed!

Below is Randi, who I just met today and is awesome. She's from Illinois and is spending a semester up here. She has another year left after this but wants to move back to AK already. It was really weird meeting her because she not only looks like another Randi I know from State College, but she also sounded like a good friend of mine from school when she talked.

Below Malin is trying her hands at repelling on the rocks. I decided to stay to the ice because I figure we have all summer to repel off of rocks.. the ice will not be here forever!

Do you like my orange hat? I know it compliments the green sooo well :-P

Thanks to Ted for taking a few pics of me climbing. This was my last ascent up and the hardest. The one side of the ice was more difficult than the other.
We were out there for about 6 hours, but it seemed like it may have been 2 or 3. This kind of made me sad when they said we had to head back to Fairbanks. I was ready to camp out and just stay there for the rest of the weekend!! Definitely an awesome trip though and something I want to do again.

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