Haireball, you came so close to keeping all the ice conditions in the same place, and then that senior moment. Someone delete that Leavenworth thread...
Both the skiing and climbing has been great over the last two weeks of awesome PNW winteryness, so here goes my attempt to recap recent waice conditions.
The first legit cold snap of the winter hit from around Feb 10 to 17. The temps were decently cold enough to get lowland ice forming, but what was somewhat unique is the cold was accompanied by non-stop precip so tons of snow fell during this cycle. Avy conditions went through the roof so most of the ice that got climbed was the lowland variety (I assume). But this snap happened late enough in the season, that the higher sun will tear things down quickly.
Based on daily drive-bys to Crystal, Skookum Falls looked climbable from maybe Feb 12 to 15 this year. Here is @moyboy 's Skookum TR from Feb 15th. The mighty and mysterious Snoquera did not form completely during this cold snap.
By around Feb 17th, it became kind of game on at Banks. The lack of much snow on the ground limited which seeps were seeping when the cold arrived. Many of the usual climber suspects were out there over the last few days, but it was nice and empty as usual too. Tom and I had a successful quick hit visit on Feb 18-19, and like most Banks trips, things were the same and different than previous visits. For the first time I have seen, Children of the Sun was surprisingly in, not just a thin smear wilting in the sun; so that was our first climb. The golfing is not good now because of the recent snow, non-white golf balls recommended:
Children was pretty wild and more three dimensional than it appeared from ground. Pic of Tom about 1/3 up - I built a belay about 2/3 up because I was not sure I could get to the telephone pole anchor (visible in pic above) at the top of the climb from the base, but it IS less than 60M from the base:
The mega pillar on Clockwork Orange's P2 was still not touching, will someone please haul an extension ladder up there for future ascents:
After such better-than-normal conditions to the south, I was excited to see the big boys on the Million Dollar Mile, but it was more hit or miss. The Cable's P1 was not touching:
For the connoisseurs, check out P2 on Thursday (above) - probably climbable, but here is how it looked it looked the next morning:
Based on the weather forecast, I assume P2's fate will befall most of Banks by Monday. Moving north, H202 was very in and very fun:
With a name like H202, it was wet of course, but I have never climbed a dry Banks pitch:
Moving north, Salt and Pepper - who wants to describe the beta for the approach, mixed pitch? This climb looks so cool:
The spectacular Zenith not close to touching:
The Pee Wee's Playground lines have never caught my eye before, but they looked all mostly climbable, depending on your tolerance for brush bashing topouts. We climbed this fun line, which I am calling Pee Wee 4:
Shitting Razors does not deserve a picture, the ice was not there enough to even call it shitty.
Maybe the most noteworthy formations and ascents during this cycle where two big lines up and right of the Punchbowl, I have never seen these form before and don't think they have names. To avoid and/or add to future confusion, I propose Twin Towers Left and Right for these climbs, with TTR being the right-most line pictured (the one that has it's own twin flows - confusing, huh). The pillar just right of the Punchbowl was not touching down and not climbed, I assume, and I've named it the Devils Deathcicle, AKA Trotsky's Terror (all Banks lines need at least two names).
On the way home, we climbed the classic Champagne which was much less fat compared to my two previous ascents in years prior, and there was a surprisingly thick jungle to bushwack/ice climb through to top out (which either grew really fast or is usually much more buried), but I still love this climb, one of the best in WA because of it's Cody-like ambiance. As seen from the walk off:
Starting up P2. This pic shows a close up the condition of most of the Banks ice we climbed (going, going, soon gone...):
How long will Banks be in? Let's just say if you are not there now, I would hesitate heading out after the weekend without some very current beta.
Some shorter climbs came in and were climbed near the Railyard crag rock area. Based on old tat I have seen stranded on the west facing wall, I have often wondered about how often these, or climbs around Merritt falls, or even some of the south facing gullies on Nason Ridge come in. The Hidden Lake ice on the north side of Nason was in a few weeks ago and is probably still good, but again, the avy conditions remain sketch so no one should be up there now. Haireball, please add these areas to your future ass-clamming missions.