Saturday, May 8, 2010

Climbing Timpanogos: The Provo Hole

You roll out of bed at 5:00 a.m. stumbling through the routine of early morning preparation. After going through the checklist of what you have and what you need, you throw it haphazardly into the back of your car which is still filthy from your last adventure. You pick up your climbing partner, Jeremy Jolley, and make small talk as you drive through the morning twilight. The snow is gone down in the valley and it doesn't feel like you should be doing this type of thing anymore.

As you roll up to the trailhead, you look around and notice how far the snow line has receded. You force your feet into your boots and begin to walk. After a few minutes, a rhythm begins. The chatter of conversation thins and your breathing becomes just a little bit more laborious. Eventually there is snow. A layer of dirt covers the ice encrusted slope. The trail you were on becomes swallowed beneath it and eventually you are blazing a trail straight up the hill.

The crisp mountain, air mixed with the panoramic views, keep your mind alert. Having never been to this area you become so distracted by the mountains you almost forget how hard your heart is pounding in your chest. You pass another group in the middle of their ascent, there is always something to talk about when you encounter another person up here.

As you crest a small summit your view opens to the world beneath your feet. You are now somewhere above 11,000 feet. Walking the ridge on precarious ice makes you decide to pull on your crampons and pull out your ice axe. One slip could send you sliding on a journey toward the base of the mountain more than likely being interrupted by free falling off of cliffs or striking rocks on your merry way down.

As you reach your summit, you make preparations for your long descent. A nice layer of spring corn snow awaits and you greet it with enthusiasm.

This is my beginning to the day. My brain hadn't quite begun to function.

Willie Holdman cranking his way up early on in the climb. Check out the link, he is an amazing photographer. If you have been through the Salt Lake airport you have seen his stuff.

Partway up the Stairway to Heaven.

Another shot of Willie. The snow was so hard there was no real skin track to be made.

Pushing our way up.

As we gained the saddle we were greeted by this astounding view.

The climbing on the ridge got a little dicey. I busted out my crampons and ice axe for a bit.

Kind of crazy to think that this is what waited a few feet to my left on the ridge. In bad visibility it wouldn't be hard to accidentally walk out on a cornice and.... see ya later.

They were really cool formations.

Getting ready to go.

Loading up.

Jeremy Jolley slashing his way down.

Willie getting some of that springtime lovin'.

fun all the way down. We had a few route finding hiccups but we worked them out. This whole area was amazing. I want to go back during the winter next year. There is so much out there to be explored.

1 comment:

  1. NICE work boys.... I'm heading to Idaho for some couloir harvesting but count me in next week!