I was on my way up to the cities today for a little climbing at VE and stopped to check the ice at the Verm. Walking up the bike path I could see a cop car and truck on this side of the bike bridge and a truck on the other side. I knew something was up...again. I saw the crime scene tape and had to ask. Yep...the little "darlings" stole an Oldsmobile Integra Electra and threw it off the cliff. So paddling this spring watch for rocks, bikes and Oldsmobiles dropping on you. I think this ups the classification of the Verm considerably.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I woke up at 6:30am and looked out the window. The wind was beating the shrub outside and I knew it was brutally cold out. I thought just deal with it. There was so much I wanted to see today and so little time so I ate and was at the first river at 9am. I really wanted to challenge myself this trip...I think I did. Two days, eight rivers and my two favorite surf spots. On the way home I stopped and said "Hi" to a couple of friends and enjoyed the lunar eclipse as I drove home. Most all of the photos were taken with my trusty Pentax waterproof with the exception of Paradise Beach. The conditions were too extreme for me to want to take my SLR camera out. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
My first destination of the day...The Kadunce River. The wind was a solid 17mph and gusting to?? The temp was -4. Conditions were extreme to say the least. Needless to say I had so little time off and an ambitious adjenda that I just had to adapt to it. Once in the canyon the wind was not an issue. Looking up I could see the trees at the top of the canyon whipping back and forth but hardly a breath down below. I could see by the tracks that people had been up the river. Dog or maybe wolf tracks also. When I was almost to the first big cavern I saw a track that stopped me. Having been raised in Oregon I know what cougar tracks look like. At the age of nine I came face to face with one in my back yard. Looking at this track I knew it was very fresh and I was following him or her into a very narrow dark canyon. I weighed the odds and decided to continue but with caution and an eye to the cliffs. Damn if a deers butt on a cliff doesn't look like a cougar at first glance. I never did see the cat but found more tracks. He left the river towards the top. Talking to Dave he recounted a story of a friend that just saw one in Hovland. Just up the road from the Kadunce. They're out there. I canyoneered up to the put in and back and spent alot of time just enjoying the river. Beautiful start to a brutal day.
I spent quite a bit of time on Devil Track. Dave had suggested that I take the high trail to see Nightfall but extreme conditions had me canyoneering up the river from 61. The hike was beautiful. I took my time just enjoying each turn of the river. At times there wasn't a breath of wind in the canyon and othertimes the wind found me. It's amazing how much shelter can be found in a river canyon. I went as far as I could until I came to a waterfall that was too high for me to safely climb by myself and had to be satisfied with just bouldering on it. On the way back I stopped and took a good look at Nightfall. I know from looking at it I can do this ice and I can't wait to come back and try. I bouldered up a ways...probably higher than I should but somethings are just too tempting. By time I was back at the truck my right foot had developed a huge rub on the back of my heel. I bought the boots used and cheap and the right boot needs to be reshaped. By then I had put on alot of miles with these boots so I was ready to retire them for the trip.
I stopped at the park office to get the rundown on the trails and the best route to take to see the river. I opted to hike the park trail and then I hiked in on the river from highway 61 to the first insurmountable waterfall. The wind had died down considerably making it a pleasant hike. BTW Tony...the park ranger has stills of you running Lover's Leap from your video posted on the wall!
I stopped at the Manitou on the way back but this time I knew how to access the river without enchroaching on private property. What a fantastic river! Ice everywhere of all shapes and sizes. By this time my right foot was too sore for my boots and crampons but I did take my tools with and did some very minor ice bouldering. I want to come back to this spot for more actual climbing. Soon!
My trip wouldn't be complete without stopping to see my old friend the Baptism. I hiked in to see High Falls as the sun was setting. Since I didn't want to be caught out on the trails at night it turned into more of a trail run. Still a great ending to the day.
I finally found two days that I could head up to the North Shore. The trip actually started Monday night with my going to Midwest for an Ice Climbing Clinic. Carolyn was a great teacher and I learned alot about body movement and ice climbing in general. I went home incredibly stoked up since I was headed out early the next morning. Unfortunately I couldn't sleep just thinking about the trip. Not to mention as soon as I started to fall asleep...someone who will remain nameless...called at 12:41am and gave me the rundown on all the ice and what I could find. Needless to say I didn't get to sleep after that until after 4am. I did manage to hit the road at 8am and was on my way. First stop was Stoney. Small waves but I could tell by the telltale booty print in the snow there had to have been enough for a surfer recently. A quick stop at Gooseberry and back on the road. I had a mission for the day I wanted to accomplish. I stopped at the Manitou River but everywhere I saw Keep Out signs and didn't know the exact right access so I went further on to the Caribou River. I got my boots on and took my tools and went to find some ice. I tried my first climb on a steep incline with snow, ice and rock. Safe and just a good warm up. When I got to the falls it was just beautiful. I was able to ice boulder on the base for quite a bit. I went up maybe 15 feet which was probably higher than I should of but when working "without a net" you make certain every placement is solid. I was also able to do some dry tooling bouldering in the canyon. I left there tired and definately happy. I did a quick stop at the Temperance River. I hiked into the gorge up stream...incredible! Then down to the walking bridge above Superior. My next stop was Grand Marias. I grabbed a motel room and headed out the door to accomplish my mission...I didn't have much time left. I arrived at Paradise Beach at the exact perfect time. This is the only time I used my SLR camera and I got some beautiful photos of the sunset and moonrise. I stayed as long as the cold let me then called it a night. Tomorrow I had a big day planned.