Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hidden Haven

Today Marty & I decided to get up early and load up my truck with lots of gear. First we planned to ice climb up Hidden Haven, then we planned to finish off the afternoon snow boarding at Brian Head. The forecast was for stormy and windy weather. The first storm in over a month. This has made for some great rock climbing weather this winter and I have indeed been taking advantage of the blue skies and sunny rock faces each afternoon on my days off. We left St. George in the rain and drove up Parowan Canyon. About 5 miles before Brian Head we pulled off the road and hiked through soggy snow to begin our ice climbing up Hidden Haven. Basically we were doing a slot canyon in reverse and instead of rappelling down each drop in the canyon we were climbing the ice flows that form at each drop or waterfall. The first "drop" forms a 30 ft ice curtain. Marty asked to try his first lead on ice. He began climbing and placed several ice screws and clipped the rope through the draws. Lead climbing on ice is a serious endeavor and falling is not a happy option. Soon we were at the top of the first obstacle and hiking up canyon in our crampons over the ice that covered the small stream in the bottom. The next two "steps" were about 30 feet as well, but not as steep. In fact, we "soloed" the 3rd step. This brought us to the real climb. Ninety feet of near vertical ice in a narrow slot. I chose to lead this pitch and placed as many ice screws as I had on me which meant I was on lead for close to 45 minutes. Pump city! I have to admit I was scared for a few moments up high on the climb as the ice thinned underneath me and I could see and hear the water running through it. It was a very satisfying feeling to have lead that pitch and to have gotten down safely. We then rappelled our way out of the canyon by dropping down each step of ice that we had previously climbed. The wind picked up and it was snowing off and on during our climb. We then changed our gear from ice climbing to snow boarding and began to drive up the mountain to Brian Head. We arrived at the resort to find all the lifts closed except one, the bunny hill where about 50 people were mobbing it. The mountain was engulfed by a true blizzard, with near white-out conditions and very high winds. So we turned around and headed back home passing several timid motorists on the steep snow-covered road winding down the canyon. Even St. George had high winds and lots of rain. We finished off the day soaking in the jacuzzi and reminiscing about the climb. Sweet!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Toyota Family

We just purchased a new Toyota Camry for Debbie. A chain of events that started with the destruction of Rebecca's car in Iowa by an incredible hail storm led to a Christmas Eve present like in the TV ads. A friend then made the comment that our garage and driveway looked like a Toyota car lot. So I thought a photo would be in order. I drive a Tacoma, Rebecca has inherited the Camry hybrid, Grandma Larsen drives a Camry, Deb has her brand new Camry, Sheri has a near new Prius hybrid and Marty has the old reliable Tundra.