Sunday, February 12, 2012

So there is Ice Climbing in Washington: Flow Reversal and Source Lake Line

Veronika starting up pitch 2 of Source Lake Line.

My first day out ice climbing this season and first time ice climbing in Washington was a day trip to the Source Lake basin below Chair Peak in the Alpental Valley. I am not much of an ice climber and every winter I tell myself that this is the season to get better. Unfortunately it never seems to turn out that way due to injuries, lack of time, lack of ice and a desire to go rock climbing. But on Saturday I teamed up with Veronika and she showed me that there is actually ice in Washington!

Source Lake Line. We took the right hand side. The left side is a WI 5.

After wallowing around in the low clouds and light snowfall, we finally found our line. Snowshoes or skis would have been nice as we were punching in quite a ways while breaking trail. Source Lake Line climbs a little gully about 500 - 1000 lower than the base of Chair Peak on climbers left. Veronika led up one very long mellow first pitch and opted to take the right hand variation, as the left side looked very steep and thin. The short second pitch was steep, WI 4 that looked like it hadn't been climbed all season. We topped out and rappelled off two very small tress. One 60 m rappel gets you to the base.

Second pitch of source lake line. Photo Veronika Glukhova.

We descended a couple hundred feet and then did a traverse for a couple hundred feet (skiers right). We ended up at the base of Flow reversal, which climbs on the buttress just beyond Bryant Coulior. Its another 2 pitches of WI 3 & 4. Again Veronika led a long first pitch with variable ice conditions and minimal good protection. The second pitch was a short and steep with a fun little ice chimney. One 60 m rappel off a little tree brought us to the base. It was a fun day and now I know that there is ice in Washington!

Traversing over to Flow Reversal. Photo Veronika Glukhova.

Flow Reversal. Photo Veronika Glukhova.

Finishing the second pitch of Flow Reversal. Photo Veronika Glukhova.

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