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Everything posted by eldiente

  1. Trip: Chalten Massif- Patagonia - Fitz Roy Pillar Goretta Kearney Knight variation Date: 1/22/2015 Trip Report: My first time down to El Chalten. Such a wonderful place but so very hard to climb there. I’ve been climbing in the mountains for 15+ years and still felt like a total rookie down there, so much alpine trickery that is particular to that part of the world that would be hard to learn in the Lower 48. For me it was a lot of blunders, learning, suffering and even a bit of climbing mixed in during my 8 weeks there. We made it up a few peaks, here is a TR for our attempt at Fitz Roy. If anyone has any beta for this route I’d love to hear it. I know there’s a few other people on CC that have been there. Goretta Pillar goes up the right side of Fitz Roy, highest peak centre right in this picture. My goal for this trip was Fitz Roy, It is the biggest peak in the range and in my mind is the most beautiful peak I’ve ever seen. Religious. Although I wanted to get the summit, I wanted to do via something on the East or North Faces instead of the popular South Face. (Franco Argentina route) The Franco looks good but involves a lot of snow/mixed climbing and less rock climbing. The East and North Faces have rock climbing up to 4,000 feet long. The scale is hard to comprehend, take El Cap and add the Chief onto to top of it. That’s Fiz Roy. We settled on the Goretta Pillar on the North East Face of Fitz Roy The Goretta Pillar begs to climbed, a 2,000 foot tower of rock leaning against the shoulder of Fitz Roy. Such a prominent feature you can see it from the road 50 miles away. At the Lake on our first attempt. The hike up to high camp, (Passo Superior) goes up the glacier behind us First Attempt. Gear Cache. After a lot of crap weather we saw a short window the first week of January and rushed into the hills. On this first attempt we jumped the gun and never even tied in, an important learning experience that ended up being a scenic slog and a chance for us to cache our gear at high camp. We hiked in from town to Passo Superior (8 hours from town to high camp at Passo Superior) From town the hills looked dryish but as soon as we got on the glacier and into the sun we encounter thigh deep slush walking without flotation. Brutal hard work that saw us staggering into high camp at Passo Superior near dark where we met a Slovakian team getting ready for an early morning mission. The Slovakians had dug a snow cave as big as a hotel room, we weren’t as ambitious and dug out a tench big enough to get our heads into with our feet sticking out. Home in the snow trench. Slogging up to Passo Superior with the East Face of Fitz Roy. If you look closely you can see the Col to the right of Fitz Roy and the bivy block chalkstone During the night a proper snow fell, we were reasonably dry in our bivy sacks curled up in our half trench but it wasn’t looking promising for rock climbing the next morning. The Slovakians walked past our trench in the early hours, an hour later they walked back to their cave and back to bed. Not a good sign if the Slovakians are bailing. We laid around till the snow stopped falling, got up, packed-up and marched down to the glacier to town. We left as much gear as we could in the hopes that we could come back up the following week for second try. On the hike down my partner took a scary fall down the glacier when she tripped up on a hole and went head first down the hill. She was able to self arrest after sliding for 50 meters in the fog. Things learned. *Small weather windows right after big snow storms aren’t good for rock climbing on big faces. *The glaciers are hard work, do them at night when still frozen. *You’ll get soaked on the approach slogging up the glacier. Bring a change of boots or some method to keep your boots dry on the hike in. *Bring a tent. The camp at Passo Superior is just a flat spot between snow drifts and a cliff. The tent would help us sleep better and keep our kit dry. Second Attempt. The Col from hell. Two weeks went by before we got another chance at the Fitz Roy. This time the weather window looked amazing. Warm temps, no wind and lots of sun for 3 days, maybe even 4. We re-loaded with food for 5 days and slogged up from town. Surreal experience to be leaving town before dawn, the bars are still open and people are dancing away and we’re walking past with heavy packs and ice gear. We thought we’d make it up to the glacier before the sun hit. No luck, we slogged up the glacier again in a hot sun and suffered. The heat and the work load made me feel sick, every other step sinking in up to my waist in slushy snow. Hours and hours of this crap. At Passo Superior it was a beach like atmosphere, at least five other parties were lounging about in the sun resting up for next day’s mission. Turns out that three other parties were going up the Goretta Pillar, so much for a wilderness experience. From camp there is a clear view of the route and the glacier approach at the base of route. Looked like about an hour of glacier walking and then onto 1,000 vertical feet of snow/ice climbing in a Col to get to the base of the route. The rock looked dry and perfect, during the day when I touched the rock around camp it felt warm to the touch. Everyone at camp had a different strategy and a different variation up the Goretta Pillar. We chose the Kearny Knight variation (5.11 but mostly 5.10) The Col looked steep and bit gnarly but we assumed there’d be solid ice in there. Passo Superior. We felt good, our plan was to leave at midnight, dispatch with the 1,000 feet of ice climbing in the dark, climb the Goretta Pillar to the top of the pillar 3/4th of the way up, bivy, and on day two we’d summit Fitz Roy and do the raps down theFranco Argentina. Seemed doable, thousands of feet of 5.10 crack in one day, sure why not. We carried one pack for the follower, the follower would jumar as needed. Other gear included one shared sleeping bag, one shared bivy sack, 2x tools, light boots and pons for the second, heavy boots and steel pons for the leader. The Slovakian team starts up at dusk, they'd spend most of the night battling through the Col to reach the bloc. We woke up at midnight with mild temps and rushed onto the glacier, in the dark the glacier was solid, you could run across it in trainers. Ahead of us we could see a pair of headlamps at the Berghrusnd that guarded the entrance to the Col and we both got really nervous. The headlamps looked like they were inside an arena of ice, we suspected the bergschrund would be big but looking at the headlamps bob around we could tell that they were looking up at a wall of ice. An iceberg. We roped up front pointed up steep snow to the bergschrund and confirmed that the bergschrund was huge and over-hangging. The other party (Boulder boys) had moved off far right and were direct aiding a thin crack to try and bypass the huge wave of ice. Holy shit, direct aiding a crack with crampons on in the dark to end up on an unstable snow field with who knows what for an anchor? Seemed like a bad idea but turns out this is probably the best way. Normal Patagonia bullshit as it turns out. We were about to bail as we had no ice screws and could’t wait for the Boulder Boys to sort out their mystery aid line but then another party of Germans cruised up to us. Without much of a rest the German leader starts climbing directly up an over the bergschrund. The guy had no pro and his feet were popping off, his tools pulling through the slushy ice as he battled up over the lip. I was so sure that he’d fall that I stepped away from his belayer worried that I’d get caught in the ropes when they both went flying down the mountain. No fall occurred and shortly after the second German offered to fix our rope over the bergschrund. A lucky break for us but I realized that the only way to fix the rope was for us to give them our tools and use our tools as an anchor above to fix the rope. We couldn’t say no and sent up our ice tools and soon heard “rope fixed.” Maybe ice tools in the snow are a solid anchor? I have no idea but I was scared, very scared while jugging that line. We jugged the ropes and ended up on a steep snow slope as the sun rose. The race was on to get up this Col before it got any warmer. Carolyn took on a heroic lead block and sped up hundreds of feet of steep snow and ice while I jugged behind here. (mercifully on good anchors in rock now) After an hour of direct sun the entire Col came un-glued. Slush avalanches ran non-stop, not the light weight spindrift type stuff but heavy, fast moving slush and water racing down the Col. Somewhere around pitch 3 rockall from high on the Fitz came down, a plate size rock missed my head and punched through my pack. There was nothing we could do, we couldn’t bail and rap as the snow slopes below us were too unstable now nor could we speed up as the climbing suddenly became a heinous mix of slush, wet rock and ice with water running under it. I wasn’t nervous but logically concluded that it was very likely we’d be injured or killed in this Col. I took over the lead for a bit and tried my best to keep us away from the gullies of slush and instead on the rock. Kitchen sink style of climbing, direct aid for a few moves with rock shoes on, few moves of slush covered rock with tools in hands and then back to climbing with boots and pons on. All in one pitch. Finally up high we started encountering better ice but a garden hose of water and falling rock was coming down the right side. Nothing to do but push on. At this point we joined up with Boulder Boys, they had as many or more close calls and were frazzled. As we were all getting soaked a quick decision was made to have one leader go through the next few pitches and fix lines for the rest of us to jug up to the top. We rushed through the last few pitches in this method with one more close call as the cornice guarding the exit collapsed and nearly wiped out the leader. At 3:00PM we topped out on the bivy block with warm sun to greet us. Looking up one of the mixed pitches in the Col, heinous slush climbing. Looking up the last two pitches of the Col, Fitz Roy on the left. A member of the German team on the way down. One of the Boulder Boys flopped onto the bivy block and mentioned he had seen God while climbing in the Col. I think we all felt the same way, a feeling of wow I’m lucky to be alive mixed with a how could I be so stupid to climb something like that? No discussion was needed, we decided to stop there for the night and hopefully push on the next day. We were already behind schedule but felt the worst was behind us. 3,000 feet of rock climbing, that would be the easy part. While lounging in the sun a team high above us on the Goretta Pillar started rappelling down toward us. We were a bit confused, were they bailing. Yep it was the German team that had fixed our lines. They had encountered ice clogged cracks a dozen pitches higher and were bailing. Seemed impossible that the cracks could be icy given that we were shirtless at the bivy. That’s how it is. I was heart broken, all that effort for nothing. We went to bed and made a new plan to wake up the next day to have a leisurely crag day on Fitz Roy. We’d leave all the ice and bivy gear at the bivy block and climb light and free just for fun, when we hit ice we’d bail and head down. A good night sleep was had by the four of us in the most fabulous of all bivy sites. World class. A chockstone block the size of a house is wedged between Fitz Roy and Val Bois with big exposure on two sides looking right up the Goretta Pillar. Climb up onto the chockstone and take a nap. View of the route from the bivy. Quality. Bivy is kinda tight, Carolyn slept tied in. Morning with the Boulder Boys The next day we slept in until the sun warmed the rock. I’ll skip the pitch by pitch details but we climbed around 900 feet of glorious cracks and flakes before we hit ice and bailed. 5.10-5.10+ The rock on the North side of Fitz Roy is some of the best I’ve ever touched. Take a look at the pictures. Reminds me a lot of the Incredible Hulk or some of the classic pitches around Squamish. The French grades have always confused me however I can say that what is supposed to be “5.10” by the French Grade felt rather mellow. Think miles and miles of perfect hand cracks. Magical. The last pitch I lead ended up being an 80M long lead with some simul climbing and a bunch of icy rock. I had to direct aid moves and knock out some ice with hands as our tools were down back at the bivy. Icy 5.10+ free climbing, not much fun so we bailed from there. The Boulder Boys kept going but they stopped a few pitches higher and bailed. Took us a bit of time to locate some tat anchors for the descent and we ended up leaving a few bits of gear. We took a long break at the bivy block with hopes of letting the Col cool off and re-freeze before we rappelled that shit slide. Smart move as the Col was much less active when we went down it at dusk. Sadly the descent turned to shit and we went for an all night rap adventure. Our rope got stuck and had to be cut, and on two occasions I had to climb up after stuck ropes. Memorable moment there was coming across a fixed pin while climbing up after a stuck rope. I thought I’d French Free a move using this fixed pin, as soon as I pulled on the pin it came out in my hands and I almost pitched off. 3:00AM saw us staggering across the glacier and back to our tent at Passo Superior. I so desperately wanted to sleep in but at sunrise Carolyn was prodding me to get up and pack-up so we could hike back to town before the glacier turned into a swamp. The glacier was a slushy mess but we ran down it and took a three hour nap laying in the dirt at the lake before finishing the hike out to town. So how does one climb the Goretta Pillar? Good question. A few thoughts on this. Some of this might be obvious but it was things I didn't know. * We were too early in the season. Almost everyone we talked to encountered icy rock during that window. (20th of Jan) *The Col del Bloque on the North side of Fitz Roy really needs to be frozen up to be safe. Climb it at night or early in the season when it is “white.” The problem is that if you go late in the season when the rock on the Fitz Roy is ice free, this Col could be impossible. *Come from the East side and climb the Mate Porro route. This seems to be the new popular way up Goretta Pillar. Several parties went this way and reported dry rock, rad climbing, and a mellow glacier approach. Only downside is a long hike from Piedra Negra and there is no fixed gear so bailing would be expensive. *Climb on the snow when it is cold, climb rock when it is warm. Seems simple but this is make or break for so many of the routes there and it isn’t widely talked about. The sun is so strong there that approaches/Cols that are mellow in the cold become completely unsafe once the sun gets on them. Plan your day around it. Same goes for the raps. Rappelling onto a glacier or Col in direct sun is a good way to get hit in the head with falling ice. *The Cols are sandbags. This isn’t the Bugs. The guidebook says very little about the approach Cols but I found many of the Cols to be serious undertakings and if they were in the Cascades they’d be classic mixed climbing. These aren’t the kind of Cols you ski down. *Gear caching at high camp is awesome, makes it so much easier to rally if you only have a light pack to carry into high camp. Approach- Eight hours from town, could be done in six if done when the snow is hard. Gear Really hard to get the gear figured out as there is no "perfect" set-up for this type of route. You want to Free climb as much as possible but how do you free climb with a heavy pack on? Before going there I would have never thought of jugging a free route, but that's very normal. We took one light 40L pack for the follower to wear and the leader would wear nothing and tag the rap line. The follower would free as much as he could and would jug the rest while wearing the pack.
  2. petzl quark Old style $250

    Hey all I've got an eight year old pair of petzl quarks that need a new home. Tools have new picks on them that have seen 4x days of use with the new picks. I'd wager that I've climbed 10 days on them in the past five years, I mostly rock climb these days. I'm in Squamish but can ship. Nate
  3. FS Sum'Tec ice Axe Petzl $100

    Great tool, almost climbs as well as my Quarks but much lighter and works well on the descent. Used 3x times, cleaning out my gear closet. Nate
  4. Thanks! I didn't look at the ice tool anchor real carefuly but it looked like they took both of our tools and stuck them in in the snow like a snow picket and tied them off with slings. I have no experience with snow pickets so not sure how safe it was but hey it held. Glad you were able to get down there, special place! -Nate
  5. Cleaning out more gear from the closet. Here Black Diamond Cyborg Crampons Used these pons twice in the last three years. Always on ice, never dry tooled. I live in BC but can ship to the US. $100 o.b.o -Nate
  6. Ski-moe in low snow years

    Adams will be fine. Up high I'm sure it is dumping. -Nate
  7. FS Sum'Tec ice Axe Petzl $100

    Bump. 59cm with adze
  8. FS Sum'Tec ice Axe Petzl $100

    Has an adze, not sure about size but I'll check when I get home
  9. Smith Rock 11/11-11/14ish

    I'm down. shoot me a PM. -Nate
  10. I'm putting some feelers out to see if anyone would like to meet-up in Patagonia to climb. Also can anyone suggest any other places to connect with climbers in Patagonia (?) Any help would be great. Dates. I'll most likely be there Dec 15 through Feb 1. Objectives. My first trip there so not too picky, I'd be happy to climb most anything with my preference being rock routes vs ice. Me. 33 Male lives in Squamish. Comfortable on multi pitch trad climbing up to 5.12. My alpine experience has mostly been on alpine rock, Bugaboos, Sierras Stuart Range ect. I don't ice climb very often but can do moderate ice up to WI 4 and safe on glacier ice. I'm not a super athlete but move quickly on rock and enjoy suffering a bit. -Nate natetack AT gmail.com
  11. Trip: Colchuck Balanced Rock - The Scoop 5.11C Date: 9/25/2014 Trip Report: Always fun up there... Everyone gets excited for CBR, do people know there's this place called Squamish where you can climb way better/bigger routes 5 minutes from a parking lot? *laughs* Jokes aside, here's what we found, topo was right on. P1-P3. Mellow and dirty. There might have been a few short steps of 5.10 but mostly mossy 5.7-5.8. Kinda lame. P4. The Scoop. This pitch was worth the walk, one of the best pitches I've ever done in the alpine and for sure the pumpiest lead I've ever done in mountains. Looking up from the belay the pitch doesn't look that long but indeed it is 60M and steep/overhanging for most of it. Starts fingers and widens to perfect hands, this sounds good but by the time you get to the hands part of the pitch it is well past vertical and the pump is real. The locks on the pitch are very sharp, no greasing out. The hard choice is deciding between lay backing or straight in. I did a little bit of both but in retrospect would have lay backed more just to move quicker. Gear is great and goes from Blue master cam to #2 in perfect order. I brought triples orange master cams and triple .75BD it worked but 4x of .75 BD might help. The belay is medium sized gear or slung block. (Might need a 70M rope to sling the block) P5-P6. We wimped out on these pitches, looked kinda dirty and damp so we went right up a short 5.8 pitch to pillar belay (tat). Moved right again on a long 5.9 pitch that took us to the 4th class terrain and summit. No idea if other parties have gone this way but makes for a mellow way to the finish. Gear Notes: Double rack from Blue Master Cam to #2BD. Triple up the Orange Master Cam and .75. 1x #3 BD. No #4 needed. No nuts placed, might want to bring RPs and small cams if going up the proper finish, looks thin. Cold in the shade. Approach Notes: The usual.
  12. Thanks for opening this route. I bet scrubbing those pitches was an insane amount of work. The money pitch is perfectly clean. The lower pitches not so much, not terrible but it looks like a lot of water runs down the corner systems so I'm not sure if much can be done to keep them clean. -Nate
  13. hahah nice Blake. Yeah I can't resist poking a bit of fun at our friends to the South. Jokes aside, every season big new routes go up on the Chief that are word class and there isn't a peep about it in the climbing media or the internet. I think Alpinist must have a policy that it won't report on any FAs done within sight of McDonalds which disqualifies most routes around here. -Nate
  14. On P5 what's the beta with that start? I just looked at it and wasn't seeing how it went. Stem around the seam? Slab climb around it? -Nate
  15. Trip: Squamish- Tantalus Wall - Tantalus Wall 5.11C A0 Date: 8/25/2014 Trip Report: You don't hear much about this route and now I know why. Feels kinda wild with lots of burly climbing. I would only recommend this route if you've already done all the classics around town and/or like getting away from the crowds. Oh and the tree belay is the best belay in the world, not kidding. Might be worth the 50M OW lead just to experience this belay. P1 5.11C. Opening moves is a bananas hard bolt protected boulder problem. 5.11c? Really? Goes into a harsh pin scarred crack. Lots of pin scares on this route which is unusual for Squamish. P2. 5.10 OW. Brutal, 50M of 4-6 inch crack. I got smashed on this pitch. For a point of reference I thought Hypertension was easier. We only had 1x #5 cam. If I was doing it again I'd bring 1x #5 and 1x #6 and still walk them in front of me. There is some smaller gear in the back of the crack near the top but placing little gear deep in this gash is tough. P3. Dirty 5.8 to big ledge. P4. 5.11B. Wide corner climbing with a few ancient bolts goes right to a roof. Pull roof and into thin, pin scared crack. Pin scared crack was tough, flaring locks and trick gear. Not the usual Squamish splitter. P5. 5.11B More of the same, pin scared thin crack. In spots the crack pinches down so it wouldn't be possible to French Free. Tough for the grade. Crazy tree belay below roof. No joke, God created this belay just to be enjoyed. Thick tree is growing straight horizontal under a roof. Lay on your back in this tree and belay from bolts attached to wall. P6. 5.11A Aid bolt ladder to crack system to the right, tension into crack. Wild swing for the follower. More 5.11 to a shitty bolted stance. P7 5.11B. Up hard crack and then bust right onto slab (spooky!) to join up with the bolted slabs on Cerberus. Follow bolts wondering left to moderate crack and belay just below summit. The move coming out of the crack to the right looks really scary as there next piece of gear is way off to the right, however once you make a few balance moves you'll get on a nice crystal dyke that is mellow to traverse on. P8 5.6. 10M. Bump belay to the summit. Looking up at the tree belay! Gear Notes: Lots of small gear and RPs for all the pin scars. Triple up on Red C3-Orange master cam. Doubles up to a #2. 1x #3. Bring Green and Purple C3. For the OW pitch most parties do it with just 1x #5 and walk it for a very long way. Yikes! 1x #5 and 1x #6 would be better. Approach Notes: Skip the first 5.6 pitch and go up fixed hand line.
  16. One of the better routes in town. The "move" on HPD is really cool!
  17. Trip: Squamish - UnBearable. Date: 6/23/2014 Trip Report: Did a newish six pitch route up on the Prow Wall a few weeks ago that deserves more traffic. Very cool position. This routes isn't in the guidebook but there is good beta out there. Follow this link for topo and detailed beta. The Prow Wall as a whole doesn't see a lot of traffic as most of the routes up there are 5.13. UnBearable bypasses the 5.13 and takes you up one of the steepest walls in Squamish. Even though the route is only 6 pitches (5.12) it feels bigger as you climb 4-6 pitches (depends how you do it) on the Apron to get there. Here's my thoughts to add to the published topo P1. 5.10D Very hard flare start, burly climbing (more like 5.11) in a damp corner with hard to place gear, fight for your life. P2.5.10C Bump the belay 20M to the left from the top of P1 and belay the start of P2 from tree. Up dirty ramp and into nice fun layback flake crack. Mellow. P3. 5.11C. Classic pitch. Two bolts protect a tips crack that traverses lead into nice flaky finger crack. First crux is lay-backing bolt protected arete, very committing moves but jugs await. After that it is up into the elevator shaft. Steep double crack system (bear hug style) that feels like Sierra granite. The double cracks look mellow but are slightly over-hanging and gives a solid pump. P4. 5.12 Tips crack in a double corner. Stem and then eventfully climb left crack, micro gear, hard to get fingers in. Crack goes left under a huge flare roof. Some of the craziest moves I've ever done climbing in here. To traverse left and under roof (finger crack) I laid on my back and slithered and jammed facing the sky with my body horizontal. Gear is good and would be easy to aid. P5 and P6 5.11 We combined these into one pitch. The "Gentlemen's Flake" was kinda tough, maybe the second hardest pitch on the route. Flared/dirty finger locks go into a long under-cling . (#4, #3, #2 cams) Very physical. Feet are kinda dirty in the under-cling section making it feel insecure. Skip the hanging belay and do easy 5.10 climbing to the summit. Very cool summit belay sitting on the diving board with tourists milling around. Most of these pictures were from other places online but I did shoot one picture that day. -Nate Tack Prow Wall is left side of gully. Chris leading up the Gentlemen's Flake. Summit top-out is up through that wide gap by the diving board. (Few moves of easy chimney climbing) Gear Notes: Double set of cams to # 3 with 1x #4. Triple up on the finger size pieces. Bring a few micro nuts or tiny cams for the start of the 5.12 pitch. Approach Notes: Climb any route on the Apron and walk through the forest. Take trail down and left into gully as if you were going to Ultimate Everything. Continue up gully through fixed lines, moss and a lot of lose rock. Right with the gully pinches down and gets really bushy you'll see P1 on your left.
  18. Beacon

    The point of this topic (for me) was that in most places people should really think about getting rid of fixed pins and replacing them with bolts. (Or if good natural pro is available just get rid all of the fixed gear) Why? Fixed pins can and do blow, if you can't trust the fixed gear enough to fall on it than it just litter anyway. (much in the same way that fixed tat has 20 slings on it and all of it is trash) Yeah it is exciting to get above a manky fixed pin and feel brave, but if that's the sensation you want there is plenty of heads-up climbing at Beacon with no fixed gear that'll shrink your balls right up. I don't live there but one thing to think about is maybe next season after the Winter thaw check the pins on the popular routes and if they are at all suspect (they probably are all suspect) replace them with a bolt and paint the bolt black to hide it. -Nate
  19. Beacon

    You guys still think fixed pins are a good idea for pro out there? http://www.bolt-products.com/Glue-inBoltDesign.htm "A piton can only be trusted on the day it was placed and only the climber who placed can give an opinion on its reliability, anything else is only a guess.Reports of pitons found on the ground below climbs or being removed by hand within a few years of placing are commonplace and give a fair indication of their unreliability, as does the number of serious and often fatal accidents involvingin-situ pitons."
  20. Off to prison again for CascadeClimbers member

    So I ask again, what's going on? I don't understand this thread.
  21. A few days in Squamish

    Check your PM. -Nate
  22. Off to prison again for CascadeClimbers member

    Jokes aside I don't get it. Is Oly going to jail for having sex with animals? -Nate
  23. Off to prison again for CascadeClimbers member

    This is crazy! What is Oly saying?
  24. Royal Columns Injury

    Portland climber... He pulled the flake off, flake cut the rope and dropped him 20 feet to the ground. Climber broke a leg as did the belayer.
  25. first ascent Exit 38 ice, possible FA

    Yikes! Pack a parachute for that lead or bring some bouldering pads. -Nate