So a whole crew of us OGE’s took a Friday and cruised up to our local mixed climbing test ground Snake Mountain. The energy was high with every one psyched to get on some of the 8 equipped routes on the north face. Our crew consisted of Ivan Tighe (web-fulfillment), Ande Kahora (former employee and local guide), Drew (part time floor employee, and full time grad student at UVM), myself (merchandise manager), Allison Cowel ( a former employee here, and now our local Evolv rep), and Timmy (local character and roofing contractor).
A few weeks previously, Snake Mountain’s first bolted M-route Raven and Glass put up by a bunch of OGEers a few years ago got a over haul with several new bolts added making it safe to lead. On the first ascent the bottom third of the route formed up as one, huge, grade four pillar. In subsequent years it has formed as a delicate thin short column with a transition on to a massive free hanging pillar. After sending the pillar/column you shake out on the ice and get ready for an exciting 30 feet of steep dry tooling to the top. With the addition of the new bolts on the bottom you don’t have to solo the first 40 feet and “Raven and Glace” is sure to be an area classic.
Everyone was chomping at the bit to get on this gem. Ande, Ivan, and Tim got right at it, working the moves and taking multiple whips on the well bolted M7 top out.
I had other plans. I had been scoping out a route to the right of Fang Shui a route put up by one of our buyers Josh Worley, but left of Alien Nation another Josh Worley creation. I’d rappelled down the line last year and scoped the top of the route putting in an anchor and a bolt up high. I quickly realized that the bottom roof would need to be bolted on lead as it is nearly a 10 foot horizontal below another smaller roof. I tore my shoulder early in the season last year and never got back to bolt it. New year and stronger than ever, I’m psyched to bolt this thing. I headed up with the community drill, a 10-year-old Bosh Annihilator and a whole bunch of aid shit I haven’t used in nearly 3 years.
I’d never bolted anything on lead/aid before. My previous route at Snake (Rainbow Pony, M7) was done completely on rappel in warmer fall weather. This route will be done in winter with the bottom going in on lead so the experience was certainly going to be interesting. The first bolt went in the roof with me standing on a screw and tensioned into my ice tools wedged behind a block under the roof. I aided up on that bolt and looked around for the moves out the roof a series of really cool hooks in the seam lead out the roof. Sick! I began aiding out the roof on my tools sticking them in these really cool sinker slots and drilled the second bolt. The drill was dying in the cold and it took a lot of effort drilling above my head from my tools but I got the third and last hole drilled after some swearing. I lowered to the ground and felt like a train hit me. Man my abs were sore, but my psyche was high, I’ll be back next week to finish this rig off.
While I was swinging around and pulling my abs apart. Ivan, Timmy, and Allison rolled over to check out Solid Gold yet another Josh route. With Allison pulling some of her first dry tooling moves. She had a great time, proclaiming “dry tooling is way better than ice climbing, this is a blast!” With that kind of psyche to get out winter climbing there’s a bright winter climbing future for this woman.
Ande was also getting after it, continuing to work the moves on Fang Shui M9/M10, and taking a huge whip going for the chains. A great effort and a new high point for Ande!
With the light fading we all packed up and headed down to Vergennens for some apre climbing food and drink at the local watering hole the Antidote.