Saturday, January 23, 2010

Just Saturday

Today I had plans to go ice climbing at Sandstone but with the storm threatening ice and destruction I stayed home. I looked out the window and saw my neighbors smoke was blowing flat straight and the wind was beating the trees. I do have those small kites I wanted to try so I spent the morning waxing my skis and getting my kiting gear together. I didn't know what to expect when I got to Lake Pepin. The wind was southeast and blowing hard. Since I was alone I just threw up my trainer kite. I was getting pulled just fine on it but then it started to downpour on me. Along with the rain the wind calmed down to below the trainer kites range. I picked up my soaked kite and skate skied back to shore. Well it's my only day off so I just went to the Cannon Valley Trail and put 4.2 miles on my XC skis. It was a good day to get wet...very wet. Here's some photos.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Maybe I'm Amazed!

This is AMAZING were the thought's I had as I drove into the Ice Pits. I was looking at the largest quarry I had ever seen with natural ice seeping in motionless falls in places along the cliffs. As I gazed in amazement the man said this is nothing...the real ice climbs are around the corner in the back. He was right. At the back of the quarry were farmed ice routes in excess of 100 feet. Not just one or two but the whole back wall and side were covered in ice. Every route you could imagine from mixed to beautiful ice. The color palate of the ice was clear to white and some the most crystalline shear blue you could imagine. A small waterfall still played down the wall on one side. This was the first Ice Pits Festival and things couldn't have turned out better. The weather was warm for January as Lori and I arrived early Saturday morning joining the rest of the Minnesota crew that had came out the night before. What an awesome day climbing ice! The Ice Pit is a non profit club dedicated to keeping ice climbing alive in the quarry. Dan Kopperud led the efforts to put this festival on and he did an awesome job. The members of the club did a whole lot of work to make this happen and made everyone there feel at home. There was demo gear available to try. Good treats to enjoy...I loved the Kind bars! And just a lot of great people to climb with. This place is so amazing it's hard to believe you're still in Wisconsin. Evening came and we were all hot tubbing it at the motel. After a great dinner, Dean Einerson gave a great talk and slide show on moutaineering. This was accompanied by two kegs of free beer and a great drawing for swag. Sunday dawned and it was another fun day of climbing ice. This was the first time I have been to the Ice Pits and certainly not the last.